This book, in the Hebrew copies of the Bible, and by the Jewish
writers, is generally called Bereshith, which signifies "in the
beginning", being the first word of it; as the other four books of
Moses are also called from their initial words. In the Syriac and
Arabic versions, the title of this book is "The Book of the
Creation", because it begins with an account of the creation of all
things; and is such an account, and so good an one, as is not to be
met with anywhere else: the Greek version calls it Genesis, and so
we and other versions from thence; and that because it treats of the
generation of all things, of the heavens, and the earth, and all
that are in them, and of the genealogy of men: it treats of the
first men, of the patriarchs before the flood, and after it to the
times of Joseph. It is called the "first" book of Moses, because
there are four more that follow; the name the Jewish Rabbins give to
the whole is \^hrwt yvmwx hvmx\^, "the five fifths of the law", to
which the Greek word "pentateuch" answers; by which we commonly call
these books, they being but one volume, consisting of five parts, of
which this is the first. And that they were all written by Moses is
generally believed by Jews and Christians. Some atheistical persons
have suggested the contrary; our countryman Hobbes {a} would have
it, that these books are called his, not from his being the author
of them, but from his being the subject of them; not because they
were written by him, but because they treat of him: but certain it
is that Moses both wrote them, and was read, as he was in the Jewish
synagogues, every sabbath day, which can relate to no other writings
but these, \\#Joh 1:45-47 Ac 15:21\\. And Spinosa, catching at some
doubts raised by Aben Ezra on \\#De 1:1\\ concerning some passages
which seemed to him to have been added by another hand, forms
objections against Moses being the author of the book of Genesis;
which are sufficiently answered by Carpzovius {b}. Nor can Ezra be
the author of the Pentateuch, as Spinosa suspects; since it is plain
these writings were in being before his time, in the times of
Josiah, Amaziah, yea, of David, and also of Joshua, \\#2Ch 34:14\\
\\#2Ch 25:4 1Ki 2:3 Jos 8:34\\ nay, they are even referred to in
the book of Ezra as the writings of Moses, \\#Ezr 3:2 6:18\\ to
which may be added, in proof of the same, \\#De 31:9,24\\. Nor are
there any other writings of his authentic; what are ascribed to him,
as the Analepsis of Moses, his Apocalypse, and his Last Will and
Testament, are apocryphal. That this book of Genesis particularly
was written by him, is evident from the testimony of Philip, and
even of our Lord Jesus Christ, who both testify that he wrote
concerning the Messiah, \\#Joh 1:45 5:46\\ as he did in this book,
where he speaks of him as the seed of the woman that should break
the serpent's head; as the seed of Abraham, in whom all the nations
of the earth should be blessed; and as the Shiloh, to whom the
gathering of the people should be, \\#Ge 3:15 22:18 49:10\\. Nor is
there any reason to believe that he wrote this book from the annals
of the patriarchs, since it does not appear, nor is it very
probable, that they had any; nor from traditions delivered down from
one to another, from father to son, which is more probable,
considering the length of the lives of the patriarchs: but yet such
a variety of particulars respecting times, places, persons, their
genealogies and circumstances, so nicely and exactly given, can
scarcely be thought to be the fruit of memory; and much less is it
to be imagined that he was assisted in it by Gabriel, when he lived
in solitude in Midian: but it is best of all to ascribe it to divine
inspiration, as all Scripture is by the apostle, \\#2Ti 3:16\\ for
who else but God could have informed him of the creation, and the
manner and order in which every creature was brought into being,
with a multitude of things recorded in this book? the design of
which is to lead men into the knowledge and worship of the one true
God, the Creator of all things, and of the origin of mankind, the
fall of our first parents, and their posterity in them; and to point
at the means and method of the recovery of man by the Messiah, the
promised seed; and to give an account of the state and case of the
church of God, in the times of the patriarchs, both before and after
the flood, from Adam, in the line of Seth, to Noah; and from Noah to
the times of Joseph, in whose death it ends: and, according to Usher
{c}, it contains an history of two thousand, three hundred, and
sixty nine years.

{a} Leviath. par. 3. c. 33.
{b} Introduct. ad Libr. Bib. V. T. c. 4. sect. 2.
{c} Annal. Vet. Test. p. 17.


This chapter contains an account of the creation of the universe,
and all things in it; asserts the creation of the heaven and earth
in general, and describes the state and condition of the earth in
its first production, \\#Ge 1:1-2\\ and then proceeds to declare the
work of each of the six days of creation, and to give an account of
light, its separation from darkness and the names of both, the work
of the first day, \\#Ge 1:3-5\\ of the firmament, its use and name,
the work of the second day, \\#Ge 1:6-8\\ of the appearance of the
earth, and the production of grass, herbs, and trees in the earth,
the work of the third day, \\#Ge 1:9-13\\ of the sun, moon, and
stars, their situation, and use, the work of the fourth day,
\\#Ge 1:14-19\\ of the fowls of the air, and the fishes of the sea,
the work of the fifth day, \\#Ge 1:19-23\\ of all kinds of cattle,
and beasts, and creeping things, \\#Ge 1:24-25\\ and then of man,
created male and female, after the image of God, having a grant of
dominion over the rest of the creatures, the fruit of divine
consultation, \\#Ge 1:26-28\\ and of a provision of food for man and
beast, \\#Ge 1:29-30\\. And the chapter is concluded with a survey
God took of all his works, and his approbation of them; all which
were the work of the sixth day, and closes the account of the
creation in that space of time, \\#Ge 1:31\\.