composed by priests. Order evolves from chaos by divine command, followed by God's resting, in example, on the sabbath.
That creation arose out of nothing — that is, not out of materials at hand — became the usual understanding of this verse;
see 2 Macc. 7.28
Spirit: the Heb. word also means “wind” or “breath.” In Mesopotamian myth, wind was an instrument for destroying the watery deep.
Genesis 1, by contrast, does not depict a battle between God and chaos.
Evening … morning: day began at sundown and hence the order given here.
Vault: a solid dome (Job 37.18
), retaining the upper waters whence the rains come (Gen. 7.11–12
Lights: Israel's neighbors regarded the celestial bodies as deities (see Deut. 4.19
). Here, they are results of God's creation.
The plural us (
) may be a majestic plural, or else refer to the minor divine beings thought to surround God, like courtiers of a human king
(1 Kgs. 22.19–22; Job 1.6
). Image: in non-Israelite texts often refers to statues and other concrete representations of kings and deities. Its meaning here
is not precisely stated.
To subdue the earth is to be free from nature's tyranny and from idolizing mere objects.
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