Genesis 2:1 . THE NARRATIVE OF THE SIX DAYS' CREATION CONTINUED. The course of the narrative is improperly broken by the division of the chapter.
1. the heavens--the firmament or atmosphere.
host--a multitude, a numerous array, usually connected in Scripture with heaven only, but here with the earth also, meaning all that they contain.
were finished--brought to completion. No permanent change has ever since been made in the course of the world, no new species of animals been formed, no law of nature repealed or added to. They could have been finished in a moment as well as in six days, but the work of creation was gradual for the instruction of man, as well, perhaps, as of higher creatures ( Job 38:7 ).
Genesis 2:2-7 . THE FIRST SABBATH.
2. and he rested on the seventh day--not to repose from exhaustion with labor (see Isaiah 40:28 ), but ceased from working, an example equivalent to a command that we also should cease from labor of every kind.
3. blessed and sanctified the seventh day--a peculiar distinction put upon it above the other six days, and showing it was devoted to sacred purposes. The institution of the Sabbath is as old as creation, giving rise to that weekly division of time which prevailed in the earliest ages. It is a wise and beneficent law, affording that regular interval of rest which the physical nature of man and the animals employed in his service requires, and the neglect of which brings both to premature decay. Moreover, it secures an appointed season for religious worship, and if it was necessary in a state of primeval innocence, how much more so now, when mankind has a strong tendency to forget God and His claims?
4. These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth--the history or account of their production. Whence did Moses obtain this account so different from the puerile and absurd fictions of the heathen? Not from any human source, for man was not in existence to witness it; not from the light of nature or reason, for though they proclaim the eternal power and Godhead by the things which are made, they cannot tell how they were made. None but the Creator Himself could give this information, and therefore it is through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God ( Hebrews 11:3 ).
7. Here the sacred writer supplies a few more particulars about the first pair.
formed--had FORMED MAN OUT OF THE DUST OF THE GROUND. Science has proved that the substance of his flesh, sinews, and bones, consists of the very same elements as the soil which forms the crust of the earth and the limestone that lies embedded in its bowels. But from that mean material what an admirable structure has been reared in the human body ( Psalms 139:14 ).
the breath of life--literally, of lives, not only animal but spiritual life. If the body is so admirable, how much more the soul with all its varied faculties.
breathed into his nostrils the breath of life--not that the Creator literally performed this act, but respiration being the medium and sign of life, this phrase is used to show that man's life originated in a different way from his body--being implanted directly by God ( Ecclesiastes 12:7 ), and hence in the new creation of the soul Christ breathed on His disciples ( John 20:22 ).
Genesis 8-17 . THE GARDEN OF EDEN.
8. Eden--was probably a very extensive region in Mesopotamia, distinguished for its natural beauty and the richness and variety of its produce. Hence its name, signifying "pleasantness." God planted a garden eastward, an extensive park, a paradise, in which the man was put to be trained under the paternal care of his Maker to piety and usefulness.
9. tree of life--so called from its symbolic character as a sign and seal of immortal life. Its prominent position where it must have been an object of daily observation and interest, was admirably fitted to keep man habitually in mind of God and futurity.
tree of the knowledge of good and evil--so called because it was a test of obedience by which our first parents were to be tried, whether they would be good or bad, obey God or break His commands.
15. put the man into the garden of Eden to dress it--not only to give him a pleasant employment, but to place him on his probation, and as the title of this garden, the garden of the Lord ( Genesis 13:10 , Ezekiel 28:13 ), indicates, it was in fact a temple in which he worshipped God, and was daily employed in offering the sacrifices of thanksgiving and praise.
17. thou shalt not eat of it . . . thou shalt surely die--no reason assigned for the prohibition, but death was to be the punishment of disobedience. A positive command like this was not only the simplest and easiest, but the only trial to which their fidelity could be exposed.
Genesis 2:18-25 . THE MAKING OF WOMAN, AND INSTITUTION OF MARRIAGE.
18. it is not good for the man to be alone--In the midst of plenty and delights, he was conscious of feelings he could not gratify. To make him sensible of his wants,
19. God brought unto Adam--not all the animals in existence, but those chiefly in his immediate neighborhood to be subservient to his use.
whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof--His powers of perception and intelligence were supernaturally enlarged to know the characters, habits, and uses of each species that was brought to him.
20. but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him--The design of this singular scene was to show him that none of the living creatures he saw were on an equal footing with himself, and that while each class came with its mate of the same nature, form, and habits, he alone had no companion. Besides, in giving names to them he was led to exercise his powers of speech and to prepare for social intercourse with his partner, a creature yet to be formed.
21. deep sleep--probably an ecstasy or trance like that of the prophets, when they had visions and revelations of the Lord, for the whole scene was probably visible to the mental eye of Adam, and hence his rapturous exclamation.
took one of his ribs--"She was not made out of his head to surpass him, nor from his feet to be trampled on, but from his side to be equal to him, and near his heart to be dear to him."
23. Woman--in Hebrew, "man-ess."
24. one flesh--The human pair differed from all other pairs, that by peculiar formation of Eve, they were one. And this passage is appealed to by our Lord as the divine institution of marriage ( Matthew 19:4 Matthew 19:5 , Ephesians 5:28 ). Thus Adam appears as a creature formed after the image of God--showing his knowledge by giving names to the animals, his righteousness by his approval of the marriage relation, and his holiness by his principles and feelings, and finding gratification in the service and enjoyment of God.