Genesis 1:5

5 God called the light "day." He called the darkness "night." There was evening, and there was morning. It was day one.

Genesis 1:5 Meaning and Commentary

Genesis 1:5

And God called the light day, and the darkness he called
Either by the circulating motion of the above body of light, or by the rotation of the chaos on its own axis towards it, in the space of twenty four hours there was a vicissitude of light and darkness; just as there is now by the like motion either of the sun, or of the earth; and which after this appellation God has given, we call the one, day, and the other, night:

and the evening and the morning were the first day:
the evening, the first part of the night, or darkness, put for the whole night, which might be about the space of twelve hours; and the morning, which was the first part of the day, or light, put also for the whole, which made the same space, and both together one natural day, consisting of twenty four hours; what Daniel calls an "evening morning", ( Daniel 8:26 ) and the apostle (nucyhmeron) , a "night day", ( 2 Corinthians 11:25 ) . Thales being asked which was first made, the night or the day, answered, the night was before one day {m}. The Jews begin their day from the preceding evening; so many other nations: the Athenians used to reckon their day from sun setting to sun setting F14; the Romans from the middle of the night, to the middle of the night following, as Gellius F15 relates; and Tacitus F16 reports of the ancient Germans, that they used to compute not the number of days, but of nights, reckoning that the night led the day. Caesar F17 observes of the ancient Druids in Britain, that they counted time not by the number of days, but nights; and observed birthdays, and the beginnings of months and years, so as that the day followed the night; and we have some traces of this still among us, as when we say this day se'nnight, or this day fortnight. This first day of the creation, according to James Capellus, was the eighteenth of April; but, according to Bishop Usher, the twenty third of October; the one beginning the creation in the spring, the other in autumn. It is a notion of Mr. Whiston's, that the six days of the creation were equal to six years, a day and a year being one and the same thing before the fall of man, when the diurnal rotation of the earth about its axis, as he thinks, began; and in agreement with this, very remarkable is the doctrine Empedocles taught, that when mankind sprung originally from the earth, the length of the day, by reason of the slowness of the sun's motion, was equal to ten of our present months F18. The Hebrew word (bre) , "Ereb", rendered "evening", is retained by some of the Greek poets, as by Hesiod F19, who says, out of the "chaos" came "Erebus", and black night, and out of the night ether and the day; and Aristophanes F20, whose words are,

``chaos, night, and black "Erebus" were first, and wide Tartarus, but there were neither earth, air, nor heaven, but in the infinite bosom of Erebus, black winged night first brought forth a windy egg''

And Orpheus F21 makes night to be the beginning of all things.

(Hugh Miller (1802-1856) was the first person to popularise the "Day-Age" theory. In his book, "Testimony of the Rocks", that was published in the year after his untimely death, he speculated that that the days were really long ages. He held that Noah's flood was a local flood and the rock layers were laid down long periods of time. F22 This theory has been popularised by the New Scofield Bible first published in 1967. See Topic 8757.


F13 Laert. in Vita Thaletis. p. 24.
F14 Plin. Nat. Hist. l. 2. c. 77.
F15 Noct. Attic. l. 3. c. 2.
F16 De Mor. German. c. 11.
F17 Commentar. l. 6. p. 141.
F18 Vid. Universal History, vol. 1. p. 79.
F19 (ek caeov d'erebov) Hesiod. Theogonia.
F20 (caov hn kai nux erebov te melan proton) &c. Aristophanes in Avibus.
F21 Hymn. 2. ver. 2.
F22 Ian Taylor, p. 360-362, "In the Minds of Men", 1984, TEV Publishing, P.O. Box 5015, Stn. F, Toronto, Ontario, M4Y 2T1.

Genesis 1:5 In-Context

3 God said, "Let there be light." And there was light.
4 God saw that the light was good. He separated the light from the darkness.
5 God called the light "day." He called the darkness "night." There was evening, and there was morning. It was day one.
6 God said, "Let there be a huge space between the waters. Let it separate water from water."
7 And that's exactly what happened. God made the huge space between the waters. He separated the water that was under the space from the water that was above it.
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