Genesis 1:26

Verse 26. And God said, Let us make man] It is evident that God

intends to impress the mind of man with a sense of something

extraordinary in the formation of his body and soul, when he

introduces the account of his creation thus; Let US make man. The

word Adam, which we translate man, is intended to designate

the species of animal, as chaitho, marks the wild beasts

that live in general a solitary life; behemah, domestic or

gregarious animals; and remes, all kinds of reptiles, from

the largest snake to the microscopic eel. Though the same kind of

organization may be found in man as appears in the lower animals,

yet there is a variety and complication in the parts, a delicacy

of structure, a nice arrangement, a judicious adaptation of the

different members to their great offices and functions, a dignity

of mien, and a perfection of the whole, which are sought for in

vain in all other creatures. See Ge 3:22.

In our image, after our likeness] What is said above refers

only to the body of man, what is here said refers to his soul.

This was made in the image and likeness of God. Now, as the

Divine Being is infinite, he is neither limited by parts, nor

definable by passions; therefore he can have no corporeal image

after which he made the body of man. The image and likeness must

necessarily be intellectual; his mind, his soul, must have been

formed after the nature and perfections of his God. The human

mind is still endowed with most extraordinary capacities; it was

more so when issuing out of the hands of its Creator. God was now

producing a spirit, and a spirit, too, formed after the

perfections of his own nature. God is the fountain whence this

spirit issued, hence the stream must resemble the spring which

produced it. God is holy, just, wise, good, and perfect; so must

the soul be that sprang from him: there could be in it nothing

impure, unjust, ignorant, evil, low, base, mean, or vile. It was

created after the image of God; and that image, St. Paul tells us,

consisted in righteousness, true holiness, and knowledge,

Eph 4:24 Col 3:10. Hence man was

wise in his mind, holy in his heart, and righteous in his

actions. Were even the word of God silent on this subject, we

could not infer less from the lights held out to us by reason and

common sense. The text tells us he was the work of ELOHIM, the

Divine Plurality, marked here more distinctly by the plural

pronouns US and OUR; and to show that he was the masterpiece of

God's creation, all the persons in the Godhead are represented as

united in counsel and effort to produce this astonishing creature.

Gregory Nyssen has very properly observed that the superiority

of man to all other parts of creation is seen in this, that all

other creatures are represented as the effect of God's word, but

man is represented as the work of God, according to plan and

consideration: Let US make MAN in our IMAGE, after our

LIKENESS. See his Works, vol. i., p. 52, c. 3.

And let them have dominion] Hence we see that the dominion was

not the image. God created man capable of governing the world,

and when fitted for the office, he fixed him in it. We see God's

tender care and parental solicitude for the comfort and well-being

of this masterpiece of his workmanship, in creating the world

previously to the creation of man. He prepared every thing for his

subsistence, convenience, and pleasure, before he brought him into

being; so that, comparing little with great things, the house was

built, furnished, and amply stored, by the time the destined

tenant was ready to occupy it.

It has been supposed by some that God speaks here to the

angels, when he says, Let us make man; but to make this a likely

interpretation these persons must prove, 1. That angels were then

created. 2. That angels could assist in a work of creation. 3.

That angels were themselves made in the image and likeness of God.

If they were not, it could not be said, in OUR image, and it does

not appear from any part in the sacred writings that any creature

but man was made in the image of God.

See Clarke on Ps 8:5.

Genesis 3:22

Verse 22. Behold, the man is become as one of us] On all hands

this text is allowed to be difficult, and the difficulty is

increased by our translation, which is opposed to the original

Hebrew and the most authentic versions. The Hebrew has hayah,

which is the third person preterite tense, and signifies was, not

is. The Samaritan text, the Samaritan version, the Syriac,

and the Septuagint, have the same tense. These lead us to a very

different sense, and indicate that there is an ellipsis of some

words which must be supplied in order to make the sense complete.

A very learned man has ventured the following paraphrase, which

should not be lightly regarded: "And the Lord God said, The man

who WAS like one of us in purity and wisdom, is now fallen and

robbed of his excellence; he has added ladaath, to the

knowledge of the good, by his transgression the knowledge of the

evil; and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the

tree of life, and eat and live for ever in this miserable state, I

will remove him, and guard the place lest he should re-enter.

Therefore the Lord God sent him forth from the garden of Eden,"

&c. This seems to be the most natural sense of the place. Some

suppose that his removal from the tree of life was in mercy, to

prevent a second temptation. He before imagined that he could

gain an increase of wisdom by eating of the tree of knowledge, and

Satan would be disposed to tempt him to endeavour to elude the

sentence of death, by eating of the tree of life. Others imagine

that the words are spoken ironically, and that the Most High

intended by a cutting taunt, to upbraid the poor culprit for his

offence, because he broke the Divine command in the expectation of

being like God to know good from evil; and now that he had lost

all the good that God had designed for him, and got nothing but

evil in its place, therefore God taunts him for the total

miscarriage of his project. But God is ever consistent with

himself; and surely his infinite pity prohibited the use of either

sarcasm or irony, in speaking of so dreadful a catastrophe, that

was in the end to occasion the agony and bloody sweat, the cross

and passion, the death and burial, of Him in whom dwelt all the

fulness of the Godhead bodily, Col 2:9.

In Ge 1:26,27, we have seen man in the perfection of his

nature, the dignity of his office, and the plenitude of his

happiness. Here we find the same creature, but stripped of his

glories and happiness, so that the word man no longer conveys the

same ideas it did before. Man and intellectual excellence were

before so intimately connected as to appear inseparable; man and

misery are now equally so. In our nervous mother tongue, the

Anglo-Saxon, we have found the word [A.S.] God signifying, not

only the Supreme Being, but also good or goodness; and it is

worthy of especial note that the word [A.S.] man, in the same

language, is used to express, not only the human being so called,

both male and female, but also mischief, wickedness, fraud,

deceit, and villany. Thus a simple monosyllable, still in use

among us in its first sense, conveyed at once to the minds of our

ancestors the two following particulars: 1. The human being in

his excellence, capable of knowing, loving, and glorifying his

Maker. 2. The human being in his fallen state, capable of and

committing all kinds of wickedness. "Obiter hic notandum," says

old Mr. Somner in his Saxon Dictionary, "venit, [A.S.] Saxonibus

et DEUM significasse et BONUM: uti [A.S.] et hominem et nequitiam.

Here it is to be noted, that among the Saxons the term GOD

signified both the Divine Being and goodness, as the word man

signified both the human being and wickedness." This is an

additional proof that our Saxon ancestors both thought and spoke

at the same time, which, strange as it may appear, is not a common

case: their words in general are not arbitrary signs; but as far

as sounds can convey the ideal meaning of things, their words do

it; and they are so formed and used as necessarily to bring to

view the nature and proper ties of those things of which they are

the signs. In this sense the Anglo-Saxon is inferior only to the


Genesis 11:7

Verse 7. Go to] A form of speech which, whatever it might have

signified formerly, now means nothing. The Hebrew habah

signifies come, make preparation, as it were for a journey, the

execution of a purpose, &c. Almost all the versions understand

the word in this way; the Septuagint have δευτε, the Vulgate

venite, both signifying come, or come ye. This makes a very

good sense, Come, let its go down, &c. For the meaning of these

latter words see Ge 1:26, and Ge 18:21.

Genesis 20:13

Verse 13. When God caused me to wander] Here the word

Elohim is used with a plural verb, ( hithu, caused me to

wander,) which is not very usual in the Hebrew language, as this

plural noun is generally joined with verbs in the singular

number. Because there is a departure from the general mode in

this instance, some have contended that the word Elohim signifies

princes in this place, and suppose it to refer to those in

Chaldea, who expelled Abraham because he would not worship the

fire; but the best critics, and with them the Jews, allow that

Elohim here signifies the true God. Abraham probably refers to

his first call.

Genesis 31:7

Verse 7. Changed my wages ten times] There is a strange

diversity among the ancient versions, and ancient and modern

interpreters, on the meaning of these words. The Hebrew is

asereth monim, which Aquila translates δεκααριθμους ten

numbers; Symmachus, δεκακιςαριτμω, ten times in number; the

Septuagint δεκααμνων, ten lambs, with which Origen appears to

agree. St. Augustine thinks that by ten lambs five years' wages is

meant: that Laban had withheld from him all the party-coloured

lambs which had been brought forth for five years, and because the

ewes brought forth lambs twice in the year, bis gravidae pecudes,

therefore the number ten is used, Jacob having been defrauded of

his part of the produce of ten births. It is supposed that the

Septuagint use lambs for years, as Virgil does aristas.

En unquam patrios longo post tempore fines,

Pauperis et tuguri congestum cespite culmen,

Post aliquot mea regna videns mirabor aristas?

Virg. Ec. i., ver. 68.

Thus inadequately translated by DRYDEN:��

O must the wretched exiles ever mourn;

Nor, after length of rolling years, return?

Are we condemn'd by Fate's unjust decree,

No more our harvests and our homes to see?

Or shall we mount again the rural throng,

And rule the country, kingdoms once our own?

Here aristas, which signifies ears of corn, is put for harvest,

harvest for autumn, and autumn for years. After all, it is most

natural to suppose that Jacob uses the word ten times for an

indefinite number, which we might safely translate frequently; and

that it means an indefinite number in other parts of the sacred

writings, is evident from Le 26:26:

TEN women shall bake your bread in one oven. Ec 7:19:

Wisdom strengtheneth the wise more than TEN mighty men the city.

Nu 14:22:

Because all these men have tempted me now these TEN times.

Job 19:3:

These TEN times have ye reproached me. Zec 8:23:

In those days-TEN men shall take hold of the skirt of him that

is a Jew. Re 2:10:

Ye shall have tribulation TEN days.

Genesis 31:53

Verse 53. The God of their father] As Laban certainly speaks of

the true God here, with what propriety can he say that this God

was the God of Terah, the father of Abraham and Nahor? It is

certain that Terah was an idolater; of this we have the most

positive proof, Jos 24:2. Because the clause is not in the

Septuagint, and is besides wanting in some MSS., Dr. Kennicott

considers it an interpolation. But there is no need of having

recourse to this expedient if we adopt the reading abichem,

YOUR father, for abihem, THEIR father, which is

supported by several of Kennicott's and De Rossi's MSS., and is

precisely the same form made use of by Laban, Ge 31:29, when

addressing Jacob, and appears to me to be used here in the same

way; for he there most manifestly uses the plural pronoun, when

speaking only to Jacob himself. It is therefore to be considered

as a form of speech peculiar to Laban; at least we have two

instances of his use of it in this chapter.

Jacob sware by the fear of his father Isaac.]

See Clarke on Ge 31:42.

Genesis 35:7

Verse 7. El-beth-el] the strong God, the house of

the strong God. But the first el is wanting in one of De

Rossi's MSS., as it is also in the Septuagint, Vulgate, Syriac,

and some copies of the Arabic. The sentence reads much better

without it, and much more consistent with the parallel passages.

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