1 In the beginning God created heaven, and earth. 2 And the earth was void and empty, and darkness was upon the face of the deep; and the spirit of God moved over the waters. 3 And God said: Be light made. And light was made. 4 And God saw the light that it was good; and he divided the light from the darkness. 5 And he called the light Day, and the darkness Night; and there was evening and morning one day. 6 And God said: Let there be a firmament made amidst the waters: and let it divide the waters from the waters. 7 And god made a firmament, and divided the waters that were under the firmament, from those that were above the firmament, and it was so. 8 And God called the firmament, Heaven; and the evening and morning were the second day. 9 God also said; Let the waters that are under the heaven, be gathered together into one place: and let the dry land appear. And it was so done. 10 And God called the dry land, Earth; and the gathering together of the waters, he called Seas. And God saw that it was good. 11 And he said: let the earth bring forth green herb, and such as may seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after its kind, which may have seed in itself upon the earth. And it was so done. 12 And the earth brought forth the green herb, and such as yieldeth seed according to its kind, and the tree that beareth fruit, having seed each one according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. 13 And the evening and the morning were the third day. 14 And God said: Let there be lights made in the firmament of heaven, to divide the day and the night, and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days and years: 15 To shine in the firmament of heaven, and to give light upon the earth, and it was so done. 16 And God made two great lights: a greater light to rule the day; and a lesser light to rule the night: and The stars. 17 And he set them in the firmament of heaven to shine upon the earth. 18 And to rule the day and the night, and to divide the light and the darkness. And God saw that it was good. 19 And the evening and morning were the fourth day. 20 God also said: let the waters bring forth the creeping creature having life, and the fowl that may fly over the earth under the firmament of heaven. 21 And God created the great whales, and every living and moving creature, which the waters brought forth, according to their kinds, and every winged fowl according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. 22 And he blessed them, saying: Increase and multiply, and fill the waters of the sea: and let the birds be multiplied upon the earth. 23 And the evening and morning were the fifth day. 24 And God said: Let the earth bring forth the living creature in its kind, cattle and creeping things, and beasts of the earth, according to their kinds. And it was so done. 25 And God made the beasts of the earth according to their kinds, and cattle, and every thing that creepeth on the earth after its kind. And God saw that it was good. 26 And he said: Let us make man to our image and likeness: and let him have dominion over the fishes of the sea, and the fowls of the air, and the beasts, and the whole earth, and every creeping creature that moveth upon the earth. 27 And God created man to his own image: to the image of God he created him: male and female he created them. 28 And God blessed them, saying: Increase and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it, and rule over the fishes of the sea, and the fowls of the air, and all living creatures that move upon the earth. 29 And God said: Behold I have given you every herb bearing seed upon the earth, and all trees that have in themselves seed of their own kind, to be your meat: 30 And to all beasts of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to all that move upon the earth, and wherein there is life, that they may have to feed upon. And it was so done. 31 And God saw all the things that he had made, and they were very good. And the evening and morning were the sixth day.
1 So the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the furniture of them. 2 And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made: and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had done. 3 And he blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made. 4 These are the generations of the heaven and the earth, when they were created, in the day that the Lord God made the heaven and the earth: 5 And every plant of the field before it sprung up in the earth, and every herb of the ground before it grew: for the Lord God had not rained upon the earth; and there was not a man to till the earth. 6 But a spring rose out of the earth, watering all the surface of the earth. 7 And the Lord God formed man of the slime of the earth: and breathed into his face the breath of life, and man became a living soul. 8 And the Lord God had planted a paradise of pleasure from the beginning: wherein he placed man whom he had formed. 9 And the Lord God brought forth of the ground all manner of trees, fair to behold, and pleasant to eat of: the tree of life also in the midst of paradise: and the tree of knowledge of good and evil. 10 And a river went out of the place of pleasure to water paradise, which from thence is divided into four heads. 11 The name of the one is Phison: that is it which compasseth all the land of Hevilath, where gold groweth. 12 And the gold of that land is very good: there is found bdellium, and the onyx stone. 13 And the name of the second river is Gehon: the same is it that compasseth all the land of Ethiopia. 14 And the name of the third river is Tigris: the same passeth along by the Assyrians. And the fourth river is Euphrates. 15 And the Lord God took man, and put him into the paradise of pleasure, to dress it, and to keep it. 16 And he commanded him, saying: Of every tree of paradise thou shalt eat: 17 But of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat. For in what day soever thou shalt eat of it, thou shalt die the death. 18 And the Lord God said: It is not good for man to be alone: let us make him a help like unto himself. 19 And the Lord God having formed out of the ground all the beasts of the earth, and all the fowls of the air, brought them to Adam to see what he would call them: for whatsoever Adam called any living creature the same is its name. 20 And Adam called all the beasts by their names, and all the fowls of the air, and all the cattle of the field: but for Adam there was not found a helper like himself. 21 Then the Lord God cast a deep sleep upon Adam: and when he was fast asleep, he took one of his ribs, and filled up flesh for it. 22 And the Lord God built the rib which he took from Adam into a woman: and brought her to Adam. 23 And Adam said: This now is bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called woman, because she was taken out of man. 24 Wherefore a man shall leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they shall be two in one flesh. 25 And they were both naked: to wit, Adam and his wife: and were not ashamed.
1 Now the serpent was more subtle than any of the beasts of the earth which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman: Why hath God commanded you, that you should not eat of every tree of paradise? 2 And the woman answered him, saying: Of the fruit of the trees that are in paradise we do eat: 3 But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of paradise, God hath commanded us that we should not eat; and that we should not touch it, lest perhaps we die. 4 And the serpent said to the woman: No, you shall not die the death. 5 For God doth know that in what day soever you shall eat thereof, your eyes shall be opened: and you shall be as Gods, knowing good and evil. 6 And the woman saw that the tree was good to eat, and fair to the eyes, and delightful to behold: and she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave to her husband, who did eat. 7 And the eyes of them both were opened: and when they perceived themselves to be naked, they sewed together fig leaves, and made themselves aprons. 8 And when they heard the voice of the Lord God walking in paradise at the afternoon air, Adam and his wife hid themselves from the face of the Lord God, amidst the trees of paradise. 9 And the Lord God called Adam, and said to him: Where art thou? 10 And he said: I heard thy voice in paradise; and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself. 11 And he said to him: And who hath told thee that thou wast naked, but that thou hast eaten of the tree whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldst not eat? 12 And Adam said: The woman, whom thou gavest me to be my companion, gave me of the tree, and I did eat. 13 And the Lord God said to the woman: Why hast thou done this? And she answered: The serpent deceived me, and I did eat. 14 And the Lord God said to the serpent: Because thou hast done this thing, thou art cursed among all cattle, and beasts of the earth: upon thy breast shalt thou go, and earth shalt thou eat all the days of thy life. 15 I will put enmities between thee and the woman, and thy seed and her seed: she shall crush thy head, and thou shalt lie in wait for her heel. 16 To the woman also he said: I will multiply thy sorrows, and thy conceptions: in sorrow shalt thou bring forth children, and thou shalt be under thy husband’s power, and he shall have dominion over thee. 17 And to Adam he said: Because thou hast hearkened to the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee, that thou shouldst not eat, cursed is the earth in thy work: with labour and toil shalt thou eat thereof all the days of thy life. 18 Thorns and thistles shall it bring forth to thee, and thou shalt eat the herbs of the earth. 19 In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread till thou return to the earth out of which thou wast taken: for dust thou art, and into dust thou shalt return. 20 And Adam called the name of his wife Eve: because she was the mother of all the living. 21 And the Lord God made for Adam and his wife garments of skins, and clothed them. 22 And he said: Behold Adam is become as one of us, knowing good and evil: now therefore lest perhaps he put forth his hand and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever. 23 And the Lord God sent him out of the paradise of pleasure, to till the earth from which he was taken. 24 And he cast out Adam: and placed before the paradise of pleasure Cherubims, and a flaming sword, turning every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.
HAYDOCK CATHOLIC BIBLE COMMENTARY (Old Testament) Genesis through Deuteronomy | BellesHeures's Weblog
THE BOOK OF GENESIS.
The Hebrews now entitle all the Five Books of Moses, from the initial words, which originally were written like one continued word or verse; but the Sept. have preferred to give the titles the most memorable occurrences of each work. On this occasion, the Creation of all things out of nothing, strikes us with peculiar force. We find a refutation of all the heathenish mythology, and of the world’s eternity, which Aristotle endeavoured to establish. We behold the short reign of innocence, and the origin of sin and misery, the dispersion of nations, and the providence of God watching over his chosen people, till the death of Joseph, about the year 2369 (Usher) 2399 (Sal. and Tirin) B.C. 1631. We shall witness the same care in the other Books of Scripture, and adore his wisdom and goodness in preserving to himself faithful witnesses, and a true Holy Catholic Church, in all ages, even when the greatest corruption seemed to overspread the land. H.
This Book is so called from its treating of the Generation, that is, of the Creation and the beginning of the world. The Hebrews call it Bereshith, from the word with which it begins. It contains not only the History of the Creation of the World, but also an account of its progress during the space of 2369 years, that is, until the death of Joseph.
Ver. 1. Beginning. As St. Matthew begins his Gospel with the same title as this work, the Book of the Generation, or Genesis, so St. John adopts the first words of Moses, in the beginning; but he considers a much higher order of things, even the consubstantial Son of God, the same with God from all eternity, forming the universe, in the beginning of time, in conjunction with the other two Divine Persons, by the word of his power; for all things were made by Him, the Undivided Deity. H. — Elohim, the Judges or Gods, denoting plurality, is joined with a verb singular, he created, whence many, after Peter Lombard, have inferred, that in this first verse of Genesis the adorable mystery of the Blessed Trinity is insinuated, as they also gather from various other passages of the Old Testament, though it was not clearly revealed till our Saviour came himself to be the finisher of our faith. C. — The Jews being a carnal people and prone to idolatry, might have been in danger of misapplying this great mystery, and therefore an explicit belief of it was not required of them in general. See Collet. &c. H. — The word bara, created, is here determined by tradition and by reason to mean a production out of nothing, though it be used also to signify the forming of a thing out of pre-existing matter. 21. 27. C. — The first cause of all things must be God, who, in a moment, spoke, and heaven and earth were made, heaven with all the Angels; and the whole mass of the elements, in a state of confusion, and blended together, out of which the beautiful order, which was afterwards so admirable, arose in the space of six days: thus God was pleased to manifest his free choice in opposition to those Pagans who attributed all to blind chance or fate. Heaven is here placed first, and is not declared empty and dark like the earth; that we may learn to raise our minds and hearts above this land of trial, to that our true country, where we may enjoy God for ever. H.
Ver. 2. Spirit of God, giving life, vigour, and motion to things, and preparing the waters for the sacred office of baptism, in which, by the institution of Our Lord Jesus Christ, we must be born again; and, like spiritual fishes, swim amid the tempestuous billows of this world. v. Tert., &c. W. H. — This Spirit is what the Pagan philosophers styled the Soul of the World. C. — If we compare their writings with the books of Moses and the prophets, we shall find that they agree in many points. See Grotius. H.
Ver. 3. Light. The sun was made on the fourth day, and placed in the firmament to distinguish the seasons, &c.; but the particles of fire were created on the first day, and by their, or the earth’s motion, served to discriminate day from the preceding night, or darkness, which was upon the face of the deep. H. — Perhaps this body of light might resemble the bright cloud which accompanied the Israelites, Ex. xiv. 19, or the three first days might have a kind of imperfect sun, or be like one of our cloudy days. Nothing can be defined with certainty respecting the nature of this primeval light. C.
Ver. 4. Good; beautiful and convenient:—he divided light by giving it qualities incompatible with darkness, which is not any thing substantial, and therefore Moses does not say it was created. C. — While our hemisphere enjoys the day, the other half of the world is involved in darkness. S. Augustine supposes the fall and punishment of the apostate angels are here insinuated. L. imp. de Gen. H.
Ver. 6. A firmament. By this name is here understood the whole space between the earth and the highest stars. The lower part of which divideth the waters that are upon the earth, from those that are above in the clouds. Ch. — The Heb. Rokia is translated stereoma, solidity by the Sept., and expansion by most of the moderns. The heavens are often represented as a tent spread out, Ps. ciii. 3. C.
Ver. 7. Above the firmament and stars, according to some of the Fathers; or these waters were vapours and clouds arising from the earth, and really divided from the lower waters contained in the sea. C.
Ver. 11. Seed in itself, either in the fruit or leaves, or slips. M. — At the creation, trees were covered with fruit in Armenia, while in the more northern regions they would not even have leaves: Calmet hence justly observes, that the question concerning the season of the year when the world began, must be understood only with reference to that climate in which Adam dwelt. Scaliger asserts, that the first day corresponds with our 26th of October, while others, particularly the Greeks, fix it upon the 25th of March, on which day Christ was conceived; and, as some Greeks say, was born and nailed to the cross. The great part of respectable authors declare for the vernal equinox, when the year is in all its youth and beauty. H. See T. and Salien’s Annals, B.C. 4053.
Ver. 14. For signs. Not to countenance the delusive observations of astrologers, but to give notice of rain, of the proper seasons for sowing, &c. M. — If the sun was made on the first day, as some assert, there is nothing new created on this fourth day. By specifying the use and creation of these heavenly bodies, Moses shows the folly of the Gentiles, who adored them as gods, and the impiety of those who pretend that human affairs are under the fatal influence of the planets. See S. Aug. Confes. iv. 3. The Heb. term mohadim, which is here rendered seasons, may signify either months, or the times for assembling to worship God; (C.) a practice, no doubt, established from the beginning every week, and probably also the first day of the new moon, a day which the Jews afterwards religiously observed. Plato calls the sun and planets the organs of time, of which, independently of their stated revolutions, man could have formed no conception. The day is completed in twenty-four hours, during which space the earth moves round its axis, and express successively different parts of its surface to the sun. It goes at a rate of fifty-eight thousand miles an hour, and completes its orbit in the course of a year. H.
Ver. 16. Two great lights. God created on the first day light, which being moved from east to west, by its rising and setting made morning and evening. But on the fourth day he ordered and distributed this light, and made the sun, moon, and stars. The moon, though much less than the stars, is here called a great light, from its giving a far greater light to earth than any of them. Ch. — To rule and adorn, for nothing appears so glorious as the sun and moon. M. — Many have represented the stars, as well as the sun and moon, to be animated. Ecclesiastes xvi, speaking of the sun says, the spirit goeth forward surveying all places: and in Esdras ix. 6, the Levites address God, Thou hast made heaven and all the host thereof; and thou givest life to all these things, and the host of heaven adoreth thee. S. Aug. Ench. and others, consider this question as not pertaining to faith. See Spen. in Orig. c. Cels. v. C. — Whether the stars be the suns of other worlds, and whether the moon, &c. be inhabited, philosophers dispute, without being able to come to any certain conclusion: for God has delivered the world to their consideration for dispute, so that man cannot find out the work which God hath made from the beginning to the end. Eccles. iii. 11. If we must frequently confess our ignorance concerning the things which surround us, how shall we pretend to dive into the designs of God, or subject the mysteries of faith to our feeble reason? If we think the Scriptures really contradict the systems of philosophers, ought we to pay greater deference to the latter, than to the unerring word of God? But we must remember, that the sacred writings were given to instruct us in the way to heaven, and not to unfold to us the systems of natural history; and hence God generally addresses us in a manner best suited to our conceptions, and speaks of nature as it appears to the generality of mankind. At the same time, we may confidently assert, that the Scriptures never assert what is false. If we judge, with the vulgar, that the sun, moon, and stars are no larger than they appear to our naked eye, we shall still have sufficient reason to admire the works of God; but, if we are enabled to discover that the sun’s diameter, for example, is 763 thousand miles, and its distance from our earth about 95 million miles, and the fixed stars (as they are called, though probably all in motion) much more remote, what astonishment must fill our breast! Our understanding is bewildered in the unfathomable abyss, in the unbounded expanse, even of the visible creation. — Sirius, the nearest to us of all the fixed stars, is supposed to be 400,000 times the distance from the sun that our earth is, or 38 millions of millions of miles. Light, passing at the rate of twelve millions of miles every minute, would be nearly 3,000 years in coming to us from the remotest star in our stratum, beyond which are others immensely distant, which it would require about 40,000 years to reach, even with the same velocity. Who shall not then admire thy works and fear thee, O King of ages! Walker. — Geog. justly remarks, “we are lost in wonder when we attempt to comprehend either the vastness or minuteness of creation. Philosophers think it possible for the universe to be reduced to the smallest size, to an atom, merely by filling up the pores;” and the reason they allege is, “because we know not the real structure of bodies.” Shall any one then pretend to wisdom, and still call in question the mysteries of faith, transubstantiation, &c., when the most learned confess they cannot fully comprehend the nature even of a grain of sand? While on the one hand some assert, that all the world may be reduced to this compass; others say, a grain of sand may be divided in infinitum! H.
Ver. 20. Creeping: destitute of feet like fishes, which move on their bellies. M. — Fowl. Some assert that birds were formed of the earth, but they seem to have the same origin as fishes, namely, water; and still they must not be eaten on days of abstinence, which some of the ancients thought lawful, Socrates v. 20. To conciliate the two opinions, perhaps we might say, that the birds were formed of mud, (C.) or that some of the nature of fish, like barnacles, might be made of water and others of earth. C. 11. 19. — Under: Heb. on the face of the firmament, or in the open air. H.
Ver. 22. Blessed them, or enabled them to produce others. — Multiply: the immense numbers and variety of fishes and fowls is truly astonishing.
Ver. 26. Let us make man to our image. This image of God in man, is not in the body, but in the soul; which is a spiritual substance, endued with understanding and free-will. God speaketh here in the plural number, to insinuate the plurality of persons in the Deity. Ch. — Some of the ancient Jews maintained that God here addressed his council, the Angels; but is it probable that he should communicate to them the title of Creator, and a perfect similitude with himself? C. — Man is possessed of many prerogatives above all other creatures of this visible world: his soul gives him a sort of equality with the Angels; and though his body be taken from the earth, like the brutes, yet even here the beautiful construction, the head erect and looking towards heaven, &c. makes S. Aug. observe, an air of majesty in the human body, which raises man above all terrestrial animals, and brings him in some measure near to the Divinity. As Jesus assumed our human nature, we may assert, that we bear a resemblance to God both in soul and body. Tertullian (de Resur. 5.) says, “Thus that slime, putting on already the image of Christ, who would come in the flesh, was not only the work of God, but also a pledge.” H. See S. Bern. on Ps. xcix. W.
Ver. 27. Male and female. Eve was taken from Adam’s side on this same day, though it be related in the following chapter. Adam was not an hermaphrodite as some have foolishly asserted. C. — Adam means the likeness, or red earth, that in one word we may behold our nobility and meanness. H.
Ver. 28. Increase and multiply. This is not a precept, as some protestant controvertists would have it, but a blessing, rendering them fruitful: for God had said the same words to the fishes and birds, (ver. 22.) who were incapable of receiving a precept. Ch. — Blessed them, not only with fecundity as he had done to other creatures, but also with dominion over them, and much more with innocence and abundance of both natural and supernatural gifts. — Increase. The Hebrews understand this literally as a precept binding every man at twenty years of age (C.); and some of the Reformers argued hence, that Priests, &c. were bound to marry: very prudently they have not determined how soon! But the Fathers in general agree that if this were a precept with respect to Adam, for the purpose of filling the earth, it is no longer so, that end being sufficiently accomplished. Does not St. Paul wish all men to be like himself, unmarried? 1 Cor. vii. 1. 7. 8. H.
Ver. 29. Every herb, &c. As God does not here express leave to eat flesh-meat, which he did after the deluge, it is supposed that the more religious part of mankind, at least, abstained from it, and from wine, till after that event, when they became more necessary to support decayed nature. H. M. — In the golden age, spontaneous fruits were the food of happy mortals. C.
Ver. 1. Furniture, ornaments or militia, whether we understand the Angels, or the stars, which observe a regular order and obey God. M.
Ver. 2. He rested, &c. That is, he ceased to make any new kinds of things. Though, as our Lord tells us, John v. 17. He still worketh, viz. by conserving and governing all things, and creating souls. Ch. — Seventh day. This day was commanded, Ex. xx. 8. to be kept holy by the Jews, as it had probably been from the beginning. Philo says, it is the festival of the universe, and Josephus asserts, there is no town which does not acknowledge the religion of the sabbath. But this point is controverted, and whether the ancient patriarchs observed the seventh day, or some other, it is certain they would not fail, for any long time, to shew their respect for God’s worship, and would hardly suffer a whole week to elapse without meeting to sound forth his praise. The setting aside of stated days for this purpose, is agreeable to reason, and to the practice of all civilized nations. As the Hebrews kept Saturday holy, in honour of God’s rest, so we keep the first day of the week, by apostolic tradition, to thank God for the creation of the world on that day, and much more for the blessings which we derive from the resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ and the sending down of the Holy Ghost, which have given it a title above all other days. H. — On the seventh day, at the beginning of this verse, must be taken exclusively, as God finished his work on the 6th, whence the same Sept. and Syr. have here on the 6th day. H. — But the Heb. and all the other versions agree with the Vulgate. C. — The similarity of v. 6. and v. 7. in Heb. may have given rise to this variation. H.
Ver. 4. Day. Not that all things were made in one day: but God formed in succession; first, heaven and earth, then the ornaments of both. Every plant, &c. which on the first day did not spring up, (as water covered the surface of the earth,) on the 3d, by the command of God, without having any man to plant, or rain to water them, pushed forth luxuriantly, and manifested the power of the Creator. H. — Thus Christ founded his Church by his own power, and still gives her increase; but requires of his ministers to co-operate with him, as a gardener must now take care of the plants which originally grew without man’s aid. D. — By observing that all natural means were here wanting for the production of plants, God asserts his sole right to the work, and confounds the Egyptian system, which attributed plants, &c. to the general warmth of the earth alone. C.
Ver. 7. Breath of life or a soul, created out of nothing, and infused into the body to give it life. H.
Ver. 8. Of pleasure, Heb. Eden, which may be either the name of a country, as C. iv. 16. or it may signify pleasure, in which sense Symmachus and S. Jerom have taken it. — From the beginning, or on the 3d day, when all plants were created, Heb. mikedem, may also mean towards the east, as the Sept. have understood it, though the other ancient interpreters agree with S. Jerom. Paradise lay probably to the east of Palestine, or of that country where Moses wrote. The precise situation cannot be ascertained. Calmet places it in Armenia, others near Babylon, &c. Some assert that this beautiful garden is still in being, the residence of Henoch and Elias. But God will not permit the curiosity of man to be gratified by the discovery of it. C. iii. 24. How great might be its extent we do not know. If the sources of the Ganges, Nile, Tigris, and Euphrates, be not now changed, and if these be the rivers which sprung from the fountains of Paradise, (both which are points undecided) the garden must have comprised a great part of the world, H., as the Ganges rises in Judea, and the Nile about the middle of Africa. T.
Ver. 9. The tree of life. So called, because it had that quality, that by eating of the fruit of it, man would have been preserved in a constant state of health, vigour, and strength, and would not have died at all. The tree of knowledge. To which the deceitful serpent falsely attributed the power of imparting a superior kind of knowledge beyond that which God was pleased to give. Ch. — Of what species these two wonderful trees were, the learned are not agreed. The tree of knowledge, could not communicate any wisdom to man; but, by eating of its forbidden fruit, Adam dearly purchased the knowledge of evil, to which he was before a stranger. Some say it was the fig-tree, others an apple-tree. Cant. viii. 5. But it probably agreed with no species of trees with which we are acquainted, nor was there perhaps any of the same kind in paradise. T.
Ver. 10. A river, &c. Moses gives many characteristics of Paradise, inviting us, as it were, to search for it; and still we cannot certainly discover where it is, or whether it exist at all at present, in state of cultivation. We must therefore endeavour to find the mystic Paradise, Heaven and the true Church; the road to which, though more obvious, is too frequently mistaken. See S. Aug. C. D. xiii. 21. Prov. iii. 18. H.
Ver. 15. To dress it. Behold God would not endure idleness even in Paradise. H.
Ver. 17. The death of the soul, and become obnoxious to that of the body; thou shalt become a mortal and lose all the privileges of innocence. Though Adam lived 930 years after this, he was dying daily; he carried along with him the seeds of death, as we do, from our very conception. He had leave to eat of any fruit in this delicious garden, one only excepted, and this one prohibition makes him more eager to taste of that tree than of all the rest. So we struggle constantly to attain what is forbidden, and covet what is denied, cupimusque negata. God laid this easy command upon Adam, to give him an opportunity of shewing his ready obedience, and to assert his own absolute dominion over him. Eve was already formed, and was apprised of this positive command, (C. iii. 3.) and therefore, transgressing, is justly punished with her husband. True obedience does not inquire why a thing is commanded, but submits without demur. Would a parent be satisfied with his child, if he should refuse to obey, because he could not discern the propriety of the restraint? If he should forbid him to touch some delicious fruits which he had reserved for strangers, and the child were to eat them, excusing himself very impertinently and blasphemously, with those much abused words of our Saviour, It is not what enters into the mouth that defiles a man, &c. would not even a Protestant parent be enraged and seize the rod, though he could not but see that he was thus condemning his own conduct, in disregarding, on the very same plea, the fasts and days of abstinence, prescribed by the Church and by God’s authority? All meats are good, as that fruit most certainly was which Adam was forbidden to eat; though some have foolishly surmised that it was poisonous; but, the crime of disobedience draws on punishment. H. — Even when the sin is remitted, as it was to Adam, the penalty is not of course released, as some have pretended. This also clearly appears in baptized infants, who suffer the penalties due to original sin, as much as those who have not been admitted to the laver of regeneration. S. Aug. W. T. &c. — If on this occasion, Eve had alone transgressed, as she was not the head, her sin would have hurt only herself. But with Adam, the representative of all his posterity, God made a sort of compact, (Ose. vi. 7.) giving him to understand, that if he continued faithful, his children should be born in the state of innocence like himself, happy and immortal, to be translated in due time to a happier Paradise, &c. but if he should refuse to obey, his sin should be communicated to all his race, who should be, by nature, children of wrath. — S. Aug. C. D. xvi. 27. Bede in Luc. 11. &c. — H. C.
Ver. 20. Names, probably in the Hebrew language, in which the names of things, frequently designate their nature and quality. See Bochart. — C.
Ver. 21. A deep sleep. Sept. “an ecstacy,” or mysterious sleep, in which Adam was apprised of the meaning of what was done, and how the Church would be taken from the side of Christ, expiring on the cross. M.
Ver. 23. Of my flesh. God did not, therefore, take a rib without flesh, nor perhaps did he replace flesh without a rib in Adam’s side, though S. Aug. thinks he did. These words of Adam are attributed to God, Mat. xix. because they were inspired by him. — Woman. As this word is derived from man, so in Hebrew Isha (or Asse) comes from Iish or Aiss; Latin vira woman, and virago comes from vir. H. — But we do not find this allusion so sensible in any of the Oriental languages, as in the Hebrew, whence another proof arises of this being the original language. C.
Ver. 24. One flesh, connected by the closest ties of union, producing children, the blood of both. S. Paul, Eph. v. 23. discloses to us the mystery of Christ’s union with his church for ever, prefigured by this indissoluble marriage of our first parents. C.
Ver. 25. Not ashamed, because they had not perverted the work of God. Inordinate concupiscence is the effect of sin. H.
Ver. 1. Why hath God? Heb. “Indeed hath God, &c.” as if the serpent had overheard Eve arguing with herself, about God’s prohibition, with a sort of displeasure and presumption. S. Augustine thinks, she had given some entrance to these passions, and the love of her own power, and hence gave credit to the words of the serpent, de Gen. ad lit. xi. 30. She might not know or reflect that the serpent could not reason thus, naturally; and she had as yet, no idea or dread of the devil. Lombard, 2 Dist. 21. This old serpent entered into the most subtle of creatures, and either by very expressive signs, or by the motion of the serpent’s tongue, held this delusive dialogue with Eve. Moses relates what happened exteriorily; but from many expressions, and from the curse, v. 15, he sufficiently indicates, that an evil spirit was the latent actor. H. — Of every tree. Satan perverts the word of God, giving it an ambiguous turn: in doing which, he has set heretics a pattern, which they follow. M.
Ver. 3. Not touch it. She exaggerates, through dislike of restraint, S. Amb. Or through reverence, she thought it unlawful to touch what she must not eat, lest perhaps, as if there could be any doubt. “God asserts, the woman doubts, Satan denies.” S. Bern. Thus placed, like Eve, between God and the devil, to whom shall we yield our assent? H. — Perhaps we die, Heb. “lest ye die.”
Ver. 5. God. The old serpent’s aim is, to make us think God envies our happiness. H. — Or he would have Eve to suppose, she had not rightly understood her maker, who would surely never deprive her of a fruit which would give her such an increase of knowledge, as to make her conclude she was before comparatively blind. M. — As gods, Heb. Elohim, which means also princes, angels, or judges. It appears, that our first parents had flattered themselves with the hopes of attaining a divine knowledge of all things. C.
Ver. 6. Woman saw, or gazed on with desire and fond dalliance. M. — Consulting only her senses, which represented the fruit to her as very desirable, and caused her to give credit to the devil’s insinuations, rather than to the express word of God. Do not unbelievers the like, when they refuse to admit the real presence and transubstantiation, though they cannot be ignorant, that this way of proceeding always leads to ruin. — Her husband, who, instead of reproving her for her rashness, did eat, through excessive fondness, not being able to plead ignorance, or that he was deceived. “Earth trembled from her entrails, sky loured, and muttering thunder, some sad drops wept at completing of the mortal sin.” — Original, &c. Paradise Lost, ix. 1000. H. — Gen. ii. 14. In what light soever we consider the fault of this unhappy pair, it is truly enormous: the precept was so easy and just, the attempt to be like God in knowledge so extravagant, that nothing but pride could have suggested such woeful disobedience. By the disobedience of one man, many were made sinners, Rom. v. 19. This ruin of himself, and of all his posterity, Adam could not hide from his own eyes. C. ii. 17. C.
Ver. 7. And the eyes, &c. Not that they were blind before, (for the woman saw that the tree was fair to the eyes, ver. 6.) nor yet that their eyes were opened to any more perfect knowledge of good; but only to the unhappy experience of having lost the good of original grace and innocence, and incurred the dreadful evil of sin. From whence followed a shame of their being naked; which they minded not before; because being now stript of original grace, they quickly began to be subject to the shameful rebellions of the flesh. Ch. — Behold the noble acquisition of experimental knowledge! This is supposed to have taken place about a week after they had enjoyed the sweets of innocence and of Paradise, that they might afterwards be moved to repentance, when they contrasted their subsequent misery with those few golden days. They saw that they had received a dreadful wound, even in their natural perfections, and that their soul was despoiled of grace, which, of themselves, they could never regain. O! what confusion must now have seized upon them! “Confounded long they say, as stricken mute.” Milton — H.
Aprons, or they interwove tender branches covered with leaves round their middle; a practice, which even the wild Indians and Americans observed, when they were discovered by Columbus. They will rise up in condemnation of those pretended civilized nations, who, like the Greeks, could wrestle or bathe quite naked, without any sense of shame. H. — Adam’s fig-tree, in Egypt, has leaves above a yard long, and two feet broad. C.
Ver. 8. Afternoon air. God’s presence has often been indicated by an unusual wind, 3 Kings xix. 12. Act. ii. 2. The sovereign judge will not suffer the day to pass over, without bringing our first parents to a sense of their fault. They hid themselves, loving darkness now, because their works were evil.
Ver. 9. Where. In what state have thy sins placed thee, that thou shouldst flee from thy God? S. Amb. C. 14. Some think it was the Son of God who appeared on this occasion, S. Aug. &c. or an Angel. C.
Ver. 10. Afraid. The just man is first to accuse himself: But Adam seeks for excuses in his sin: he throws the blame on his wife, and ultimately on God. M. — Thou gavest me. Heretics have since treated the Sovereign Good with the like insolence; saying plainly, that God is the author of sin, and that the crime of Judas is no less his work than the conversion of S. Paul. See Calvin’s works, and many of the first reformers, Luther, &c. cited. Ex. 8. 15. H.
Ver. 13. The serpent, which thou hast made so cunning, and placed with us, deceived me. God deigns not to answer their frivolous excuses. M.
Ver. 14. Cursed. This curse falls upon the natural serpent, as the instrument of the devil; who is also cursed at the same time by the Holy Ghost. What was natural to the serpent and to man in a state of innocence, (as to creep, &c. to submit to the dominion of the husband, &c.) becomes a punishment after the fall. S. Chrys. — There was no enmity, before, between man and any of God’s creatures; nor were they noxious to him. T. — The devil seems now to crawl, because he no longer aspires after God and heavenly things, but aims at wickedness and mean deceit. M.
Ver. 15. She shall crush. Ipsa, the woman: so divers of the fathers read this place, conformably to the Latin: others read it ipsum, viz. the seed. The sense is the same: for it is by her seed, Jesus Christ, that the woman crushes the serpent’s head. Ch. — The Hebrew text, as Bellarmine observes, is ambiguous: He mentions one copy which had ipsa instead of ipsum; and so it is even printed in the Hebrew interlineary edition, 1572, by Plantin, under the inspection of Boderianus. Whether the Jewish editions ought to have more weight with Christians, or whether all the other MSS. conspire against this reading, let others inquire. The fathers who have cited the old Italic version, taken from the Sept. agree with the Vulgate, which is followed by almost all the Latins; and hence we may argue with probability, that the Sept. and the Hebrew formerly acknowledged ipsa, which now moves the indignation of Protestants so much, as if we intended by it to give any divine honour to the blessed Virgin. We believe, however, with S. Epiphanius, that “it is no less criminal to vilify the holy Virgin, than to glorify her above measure.” We know that all the power of the mother of God is derived from the merits of her Son. We are no otherwise concerned about the retaining of ipsa, she, in this place, than in as much as we have yet no certain reason to suspect its being genuine. As some words have been corrected in the Vulgate since the Council of Trent by Sixtus V. and others, by Clem. VIII. so, if, upon stricter search, it be found that it, and not she, is the true reading, we shall not hesitate to admit the correction: but we must wait in the mean time respectfully, till our superiors determine. H. Kemnitzius certainly advanced a step too far, when he said that all the ancient fathers read ipsum. Victor, Avitus, S. Aug. S. Greg. &c. mentioned in the Douay Bible, will convict him of falsehood. Christ crushed the serpent’s head by his death, suffering himself to be wounded in the heel. His blessed mother crushed him likewise, by her co-operation in the mystery of the Incarnation; and by rejecting, with horror, the very first suggestions of the enemy, to commit even the smallest sin. S. Bern. ser. 2, on Missus est. “We crush,” says S. Greg. Mor. 1. 38, “the serpent’s head, when we extirpate from our heart the beginnings of temptation, and then he lays snares for our heel, because he opposes the end of a good action with greater craft and power.” The serpent may hiss and threaten; he cannot hurt, if we resist him. H.
Ver. 16. And thy conceptions. Sept. “thy groaning.” The multifarious sorrows of childbearing, must remind all mothers (the blessed Virgin alone excepted) of what they have incurred by original sin. If that had not taken place, they would have conceived without concupiscence, and brought forth without sorrow. S. Aug. C. D. xiv. 26. — Conceptions are multiplied on account of the many untimely deaths, in our fallen state. Power, which will sometimes be exercised with rigor. H. — Moses here shews the original and natural subjection of wives to their husbands, in opposition to the Egyptians, who, to honour Isis, gave women the superiority by the marriage contract. Diod. i. 2. C.
Ver. 17. Thy work, sin; thy perdition is from thyself: this is all that man can challenge for his own. H.
Ver. 18. Thorns, &c. These were created at first, but they would have easily been kept under: now they grow with surprising luxuriancy, and the necessaries of life can be procured only with much labour. All men here are commanded to work, each in his proper department. The Jews were careful to teach their children some trade or useful occupation. S. Paul made tents, and proclaims, If any man will not work, neither let him eat. 2 Thess. iii. 10. C.
Ver. 19. Dust, as to the visible part; and thy soul created out of nothing. This might serve to correct that pride, by which Adam had fallen; and the same humbling truths are repeated to us by the Church every Ash-Wednesday, to guard us against the same contagion, the worm of pride, to which we are all so liable. Thus Adam was again assured that he should die the death, with which God had threatened him, and which the devil had told Eve would not be inflicted. V. 4. God created man incorruptible, (inexterminabilem, immortal). But by the envy of the devil, death came into the world. Wisdom ii. 23. H.
Ver. 20. The living. Heb. chai, one who brings forth alive, (Symmachus) or one who imparts life, in which she was a figure of the blessed Virgin. C. — Adam gives his wife this new name, in gratitude for not being cut off by death on the very day of his transgression, as he had every reason to expect and fear he would have been. C. ii. 17. H. — The printed Hebrew reads here, and in many other place, Eva, he, instead of Eja, she; thus, He was the mother, v. 12. he gave, &c. an inaccuracy unknown to the Samar. and the best MS. copies. Kennicott.
Ver 21. Of skins, which Adam took from the beasts which he offered in sacrifice to his merciful Judge, testifying thereby that he had forfeited his life, and uniting himself to that sacrifice of the woman’s promised seed, by which alone he believed the sin of the world was to be expiated. H.
Ver. 22. Behold Adam, &c. This was spoken by way of reproaching him with his pride, in affecting a knowledge that might make him like to God. Ch. — “These are the words of God, not insulting over man, but deterring others from an imitation of his pride.” S. Aug. de Gen. xi. 39. — For ever. The sentence is left imperfect: (C.) but by driving man from Paradise, God sufficiently shewed how he would prevent him from eating of the tree of life, (H.) which Adam had not yet found. As he was now condemned to be miserable on earth, God, in mercy, prevented him from tasting of that fruit, which would have rendered his misery perpetual. M. — He would suffer him to die, that, by death, he might come, after a life of 930 years, spent in sorrow and repentance, to the enjoyment of himself. H. — Lest perhaps. God does not exercise his absolute power, or destroy free-will, but makes use of ordinary means and precautions, to effect his designs. S. Aug. W.
Ver. 24. Cherubims. Angels of the highest order, and of a very complex figure, unlike any one living creature. Theodoret supposes that God forced Adam to retire from that once charming abode, by the apparition of hideous spectres. The devils were also hindered from coming hither, lest they should pluck the fruit of the tree of life, and by promising immortality, should attract men to their service. The flaming sword, might be a fire rising out of the earth, of which Grotius thinks the pits, near Babylon, are still vestiges. These dreadful indications of the divine wrath would probably disappear, when Paradise had lost its superior beauty, and became confounded with the surrounding countries — Thus we have seen how rapidly Moses describes the creation of all things, the fall of man, and the promised redemption. But in these few lines, we discover a solution of the many difficulties which have perplexed the learned, respecting these most important subjects. We know that the world is not the effect of chance, but created and governed by divine Providence. We are no longer at the loss to explain the surprising contrast of good and evil, observable in the same man. When we have attentively considered the Old Adam and the New, we find a clue to lead us through all the labyrinths of our Holy Religion. We could wish, perhaps, for a greater detail in Moses, but he left the rest to be supplied by tradition. He has thrown light enough upon the subjects, to guide the well-disposed, and has left sufficient darkness to humble and to confound the self-conceited and wicked, who love darkness rather than the light. C. — Concerning the transactions of these early times, parents would no doubt be careful to instruct their children, by word of mouth, before any of the Scriptures were written; and Moses might derive much information from the same source, as a very few persons formed the chain of tradition, when they lived so many hundred years. Adam would converse with Mathusalem, who knew Sem, as the latter lived in the days of Abram. Isaac, Joseph, and Amram, the father of Moses, were contemporaries: so that seven persons might keep up the memory of things which had happened 2500 years before. But to entitle these accounts to absolute authority, the inspiration of God intervenes; and thus we are convinced, that no word of sacred writers can be questioned. H.