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Genesis 1-15 New English Translation (NET Bible)

The Creation of the World

In the beginning[a] God[b] created[c] the heavens and the earth.[d]

Now[e] the earth[f] was without shape and empty,[g] and darkness[h] was over the surface of the watery deep,[i] but the Spirit of God[j] was moving[k] over the surface[l] of the water.[m] God said,[n] “Let there be[o] light.”[p] And there was light! God saw[q] that the light was good,[r] so God separated[s] the light from the darkness. God called[t] the light “day” and the darkness[u] “night.” There was evening, and there was morning, marking the first day.[v]

God said, “Let there be an expanse[w] in the midst of the waters and let it separate water[x] from water.” So God made the expanse and separated the water under the expanse from the water above it.[y] It was so.[z] God called the expanse “sky.”[aa] There was evening, and there was morning, a second day.

God said, “Let the water under the sky be gathered to one place[ab] and let dry ground appear.”[ac] It was so. 10 God called the dry ground “land”[ad] and the gathered waters he called “seas.” God saw that it was good.

11 God said, “Let the land produce vegetation:[ae] plants yielding seeds and[af] trees on the land bearing fruit with seed in it, according to their kinds.”[ag] It was so. 12 The land produced vegetation—plants yielding seeds according to their kinds, and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds. God saw that it was good. 13 There was evening, and there was morning, a third day.

14 God said, “Let there be lights[ah] in the expanse[ai] of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them be signs[aj] to indicate seasons and days and years, 15 and let them serve as lights in the expanse of the sky to give light on the earth.” It was so. 16 God made two great lights[ak]—the greater light to rule over the day and the lesser light to rule over the night. He made the stars also.[al] 17 God placed the lights[am] in the expanse of the sky to shine on the earth, 18 to preside over the day and the night, and to separate the light from the darkness.[an] God saw that it was good. 19 There was evening, and there was morning, a fourth day.

20 God said, “Let the water swarm with swarms[ao] of living creatures and let birds fly[ap] above the earth across the expanse of the sky.” 21 God created the great sea creatures[aq] and every living and moving thing with which the water swarmed, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. God saw that it was good. 22 God blessed them[ar] and said, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the water in the seas, and let the birds multiply on the earth.”[as] 23 There was evening, and there was morning, a fifth day.

24 God said, “Let the land produce living creatures according to their kinds: cattle, creeping things, and wild animals, each according to its kind.”[at] It was so. 25 God made the wild animals according to their kinds, the cattle according to their kinds, and all the creatures that creep along the ground according to their kinds. God saw that it was good.

26 Then God said, “Let us make[au] humankind[av] in our image, after our likeness,[aw] so they may rule[ax] over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the cattle, and over all the earth,[ay] and over all the creatures that move[az] on the earth.”

27 God created humankind[ba] in his own image,
in the image of God he created them,[bb]
male and female he created them.[bc]

28 God blessed[bd] them and said[be] to them, “Be fruitful and multiply! Fill the earth and subdue it![bf] Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and every creature that moves on the ground.”[bg] 29 Then God said, “I now[bh] give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the entire earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food.[bi] 30 And to all the animals of the earth, and to every bird of the air, and to all the creatures that move on the ground—everything that has living breath[bj] in it—I give[bk] every green plant for food.” It was so.

31 God saw all that he had made—and it was very good![bl] There was evening, and there was morning, the sixth day.

The heavens and the earth[bm] were completed with everything that was in them.[bn] By[bo] the seventh day God finished the work that he had been doing,[bp] and he ceased[bq] on the seventh day all the work that he had been doing. God blessed the seventh day and made it holy[br] because on it he ceased all the work that he[bs] had been doing in creation.[bt]

The Creation of Man and Woman

This is the account[bu] of the heavens and the earth[bv] when they were created—when[bw] the Lord God[bx] made the earth and heavens.[by]

Now[bz] no shrub of the field had yet grown on the earth, and no plant of the field[ca] had yet sprouted, for the Lord God had not caused it to rain on the earth, and there was no man to cultivate the ground.[cb] Springs[cc] would well up[cd] from the earth and water[ce] the whole surface of the ground.[cf] The Lord God formed[cg] the man from the soil of the ground[ch] and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life,[ci] and the man became a living being.[cj]

The Lord God planted an orchard[ck] in the east,[cl] in Eden;[cm] and there he placed the man he had formed.[cn] The Lord God made all kinds of trees grow from the soil,[co] every tree that was pleasing to look at[cp] and good for food. (Now[cq] the tree of life[cr] and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil[cs] were in the middle of the orchard.)

10 Now[ct] a river flows[cu] from Eden[cv] to water the orchard, and from there it divides[cw] into four headstreams.[cx] 11 The name of the first is Pishon; it runs through[cy] the entire land of Havilah, where there is gold. 12 (The gold of that land is pure;[cz] pearls[da] and lapis lazuli[db] are also there). 13 The name of the second river is Gihon; it runs through[dc] the entire land of Cush.[dd] 14 The name of the third river is Tigris; it runs along the east side of Assyria.[de] The fourth river is the Euphrates.

15 The Lord God took the man and placed[df] him in the orchard in[dg] Eden to care for it and to maintain it.[dh] 16 Then the Lord God commanded[di] the man, “You may freely eat[dj] fruit[dk] from every tree of the orchard, 17 but[dl] you must not eat[dm] from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when[dn] you eat from it you will surely die.”[do]

18 The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone.[dp] I will make a companion[dq] for him who corresponds to him.”[dr] 19 The Lord God formed[ds] out of the ground every living animal of the field and every bird of the air. He brought them to the man to see what he would[dt] name them, and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name. 20 So the man named all the animals, the birds of the air, and the living creatures of the field, but for Adam[du] no companion who corresponded to him was found.[dv] 21 So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep,[dw] and while he was asleep,[dx] he took part of the man’s side[dy] and closed up the place with flesh.[dz] 22 Then the Lord God made[ea] a woman from the part he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man. 23 Then the man said,

“This one at last[eb] is bone of my bones
and flesh of my flesh;
this one will be called[ec] ‘woman,’
for she was taken out of[ed] man.”[ee]

24 That is why[ef] a man leaves[eg] his father and mother and unites with[eh] his wife, and they become one family.[ei] 25 The man and his wife were both naked,[ej] but they were not ashamed.[ek]

The Temptation and the Fall

Now[el] the serpent[em] was shrewder[en] than any of the wild animals[eo] that the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Is it really true that[ep] God[eq] said, ‘You must not eat from any tree of the orchard’?”[er] The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat[es] of the fruit from the trees of the orchard; but concerning the fruit of the tree that is in the middle of the orchard God said, ‘You must not eat from it, and you must not touch it,[et] or else you will die.’”[eu] The serpent said to the woman, “Surely you will not die,[ev] for God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will open[ew] and you will be like God, knowing[ex] good and evil.”[ey]

When[ez] the woman saw that the tree produced fruit that was good for food,[fa] was attractive[fb] to the eye, and was desirable for making one wise,[fc] she took some of its fruit and ate it.[fd] She also gave some of it to her husband who was with her, and he ate it.[fe] Then the eyes of both of them opened, and they knew they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.

The Judgment Oracles of God at the Fall

Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God moving about[ff] in the orchard at the breezy time[fg] of the day, and they hid[fh] from the Lord God among the trees of the orchard. But the Lord God called to[fi] the man and said to him, “Where are you?”[fj] 10 The man replied,[fk] “I heard you moving about[fl] in the orchard, and I was afraid because I was naked, so I hid.” 11 And the Lord God[fm] said, “Who told you that you were naked?[fn] Did you eat from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?”[fo] 12 The man said, “The woman whom you gave me, she gave[fp] me some fruit[fq] from the tree and I ate it.” 13 So the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this[fr] you have done?” And the woman replied, “The serpent[fs] tricked[ft] me, and I ate.”

14 The Lord God said to the serpent,[fu]

“Because you have done this,
cursed[fv] are you above all the cattle
and all the living creatures of the field!
On your belly you will crawl[fw]
and dust you will eat[fx] all the days of your life.
15 And I will put hostility[fy] between you and the woman
and between your offspring and her offspring;[fz]
he[ga] will strike your head,
and[gb] you[gc] will strike[gd] his heel.”[ge]

16 To the woman he said,

“I will greatly increase[gf] your labor pains;[gg]
with pain you will give birth to children.
You will want to control your husband,[gh]
but he will dominate[gi] you.”

17 But to Adam[gj] he said,

“Because you obeyed[gk] your wife
and ate from the tree about which I commanded you,
‘You must not eat from it,’
the ground is cursed[gl] because of you;
in painful toil you will eat[gm] of it all the days of your life.
18 It will produce thorns and thistles for you,
but you will eat the grain[gn] of the field.
19 By the sweat of your brow[go] you will eat food
until you return to the ground,[gp]
for out of it you were taken;
for you are dust, and to dust you will return.”[gq]

20 The man[gr] named his wife Eve,[gs] because[gt] she was the mother of all the living.[gu] 21 The Lord God made garments from skin[gv] for Adam and his wife, and clothed them. 22 And the Lord God said, “Now[gw] that the man has become like one of us,[gx] knowing[gy] good and evil, he must not be allowed[gz] to stretch out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever.” 23 So the Lord God expelled him[ha] from the orchard in Eden to cultivate the ground from which he had been taken. 24 When he drove[hb] the man out, he placed on the eastern side[hc] of the orchard in Eden angelic sentries[hd] who used the flame of a whirling sword[he] to guard the way to the tree of life.

The Story of Cain and Abel

Now[hf] the man was intimate with[hg] his wife Eve, and she became pregnant[hh] and gave birth to Cain. Then she said, “I have created[hi] a man just as the Lord did!”[hj] Then she gave birth[hk] to his brother Abel.[hl] Abel took care of the flocks, while Cain cultivated the ground.[hm]

At the designated time[hn] Cain brought some of the fruit of the ground for an offering[ho] to the Lord. But Abel brought[hp] some of the firstborn of his flock—even the fattest[hq] of them. And the Lord was pleased with[hr] Abel and his offering, but with Cain and his offering he was not pleased.[hs] So Cain became very angry,[ht] and his expression was downcast.[hu]

Then the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry, and why is your expression downcast? Is it not true[hv] that if you do what is right, you will be fine?[hw] But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching[hx] at the door. It desires to dominate you, but you must subdue it.”[hy]

Cain said to his brother Abel, “Let’s go out to the field.”[hz] While they were in the field, Cain attacked[ia] his brother[ib] Abel and killed him.

Then the Lord said to Cain, “Where is your brother Abel?”[ic] And he replied, “I don’t know! Am I my brother’s guardian?”[id] 10 But the Lord said, “What have you done?[ie] The voice[if] of your brother’s blood is crying out to me from the ground! 11 So now you are banished[ig] from the ground, which has opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand. 12 When you try to cultivate[ih] the ground it will no longer yield[ii] its best[ij] for you. You will be a homeless wanderer[ik] on the earth.”

13 Then Cain said to the Lord, “My punishment[il] is too great to endure![im] 14 Look, you are driving me off the land[in] today, and I must hide from your presence.[io] I will be a homeless wanderer on the earth; whoever finds me will kill me!” 15 But the Lord said to him, “All right then,[ip] if anyone kills Cain, Cain will be avenged seven times as much.”[iq] Then the Lord put a special mark[ir] on Cain so that no one who found him would strike him down.[is] 16 So Cain went out from the presence of the Lord and lived in the land of Nod,[it] east of Eden.

The Beginning of Civilization

17 Cain was intimate with[iu] his wife, and she became pregnant[iv] and gave birth to Enoch. Cain was building a city, and he named the city after[iw] his son Enoch. 18 To Enoch was born Irad, and Irad was the father of[ix] Mehujael. Mehujael was the father of Methushael, and Methushael was the father of Lamech.

19 Lamech took two wives for himself; the name of the first was Adah, and the name of the second was Zillah. 20 Adah gave birth to Jabal; he was the first[iy] of those who live in tents and keep[iz] livestock. 21 The name of his brother was Jubal; he was the first of all who play the harp and the flute. 22 Now Zillah also gave birth to Tubal-Cain, who heated metal and shaped[ja] all kinds of tools made of bronze and iron. The sister of Tubal-Cain was Naamah.

23 Lamech said to his wives,

“Adah and Zillah, listen to me!
You wives of Lamech, hear my words!
I have killed a man for wounding me,
a young man[jb] for hurting me.
24 If Cain is to be avenged seven times as much,
then Lamech seventy-seven times!”[jc]

25 And Adam was intimate with[jd] his wife again, and she gave birth to a son. She named him Seth, saying, “God has given[je] me another child[jf] in place of Abel because Cain killed him.” 26 And a son was also born to Seth, whom he named Enosh. At that time people[jg] began to worship[jh] the Lord.

From Adam to Noah

This is the record[ji] of the family line[jj] of Adam.

When God created humankind,[jk] he made them[jl] in the likeness of God. He created them male and female; when they were created, he blessed them and named them “humankind.”[jm]

When[jn] Adam had lived 130 years he fathered a son in his own likeness, according to his image, and he named him Seth. The length of time Adam lived[jo] after he became the father of Seth was 800 years; during this time he had[jp] other[jq] sons and daughters. The entire lifetime[jr] of Adam was 930 years, and then he died.[js]

When Seth had lived 105 years, he became the father of[jt] Enosh. Seth lived 807 years after he became the father of Enosh, and he had[ju] other[jv] sons and daughters. The entire lifetime of Seth was 912 years, and then he died.

When Enosh had lived 90 years, he became the father of Kenan. 10 Enosh lived 815 years after he became the father of Kenan, and he had other sons and daughters. 11 The entire lifetime of Enosh was 905 years, and then he died.

12 When Kenan had lived 70 years, he became the father of Mahalalel. 13 Kenan lived 840 years after he became the father of Mahalalel, and he had other sons and daughters. 14 The entire lifetime of Kenan was 910 years, and then he died.

15 When Mahalalel had lived 65 years, he became the father of Jared. 16 Mahalalel lived 830 years after he became the father of Jared, and he had other sons and daughters. 17 The entire lifetime of Mahalalel was 895 years, and then he died.

18 When Jared had lived 162 years, he became the father of Enoch. 19 Jared lived 800 years after he became the father of Enoch, and he had other sons and daughters. 20 The entire lifetime of Jared was 962 years, and then he died.

21 When Enoch had lived 65 years, he became the father of Methuselah. 22 After he became the father of Methuselah, Enoch walked with God[jw] for 300 years,[jx] and he had other[jy] sons and daughters. 23 The entire lifetime of Enoch was 365 years. 24 Enoch walked with God, and then he disappeared[jz] because God took[ka] him away.

25 When Methuselah had lived 187 years, he became the father of Lamech. 26 Methuselah lived 782 years after he became the father of Lamech, and he had other[kb] sons and daughters. 27 The entire lifetime of Methuselah was 969 years, and then he died.

28 When Lamech had lived 182 years, he had a son. 29 He named him Noah,[kc] saying, “This one will bring us comfort[kd] from our labor and from the painful toil of our hands because of the ground that the Lord has cursed.” 30 Lamech lived 595 years after he became the father of Noah, and he had other[ke] sons and daughters. 31 The entire lifetime of Lamech was 777 years, and then he died.

32 After Noah was 500 years old, he[kf] became the father of Shem, Ham, and Japheth.

God’s Grief over Humankind’s Wickedness

When humankind[kg] began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born[kh] to them,[ki] the sons of God[kj] saw that the daughters of humankind were beautiful. Thus they took wives for themselves from any they chose. So the Lord said, “My Spirit will not remain in[kk] humankind indefinitely,[kl] since[km] they[kn] are mortal.[ko] They[kp] will remain for 120 more years.”[kq]

The Nephilim[kr] were on the earth in those days (and also after this)[ks] when the sons of God would sleep with[kt] the daughters of humankind, who gave birth to their children.[ku] They were the mighty heroes[kv] of old, the famous men.[kw]

But the Lord saw[kx] that the wickedness of humankind had become great on the earth. Every inclination[ky] of the thoughts[kz] of their minds[la] was only evil[lb] all the time.[lc] The Lord regretted[ld] that he had made humankind on the earth, and he was highly offended.[le] So the Lord said, “I will wipe humankind, whom I have created, from the face of the earth—everything from humankind to animals,[lf] including creatures that move on the ground and birds of the air, for I regret that I have made them.”

But[lg] Noah found favor[lh] in the sight of[li] the Lord.

The Judgment of the Flood

This is the account of Noah.[lj]

Noah was a godly man; he was blameless[lk] among his contemporaries.[ll] He[lm] walked with[ln] God. 10 Noah had[lo] three sons: Shem, Ham, and Japheth.

11 The earth was ruined[lp] in the sight of[lq] God; the earth was filled with violence.[lr] 12 God saw the earth, and indeed[ls] it was ruined,[lt] for all living creatures[lu] on the earth were sinful.[lv] 13 So God said[lw] to Noah, “I have decided that all living creatures must die,[lx] for the earth is filled with violence because of them. Now I am about to destroy[ly] them and the earth. 14 Make[lz] for yourself an ark of cypress[ma] wood. Make rooms in the ark, and cover[mb] it with pitch inside and out. 15 This is how you should make it: The ark is to be 450 feet long, 75 feet wide, and 45 feet high.[mc] 16 Make a roof for the ark and finish it, leaving 18 inches[md] from the top.[me] Put a door in the side of the ark, and make lower, middle, and upper decks. 17 I am about to bring[mf] floodwaters[mg] on the earth to destroy[mh] from under the sky all the living creatures that have the breath of life in them.[mi] Everything that is on the earth will die, 18 but I will confirm[mj] my covenant with you. You will enter[mk] the ark—you, your sons, your wife, and your sons’ wives with you. 19 You must bring into the ark two of every kind of living creature from all flesh,[ml] male and female, to keep them alive[mm] with you. 20 Of the birds after their kinds, and of the cattle after their kinds, and of every creeping thing of the ground after its kind, two of every kind will come to you so you can keep them alive.[mn] 21 And you must take[mo] for yourself every kind of food[mp] that is eaten,[mq] and gather it together.[mr] It will be food for you and for them.”

22 And Noah did all[ms] that God commanded him—he did indeed.[mt]

The Lord said to Noah, “Come into the ark, you and all your household, for I consider you godly among this generation.[mu] You must take with you seven pairs[mv] of every kind of clean animal,[mw] the male and its mate,[mx] two of every kind of unclean animal, the male and its mate, and also seven pairs[my] of every kind of bird in the sky, male and female,[mz] to preserve their offspring[na] on the face of the entire earth. For in seven days[nb] I will cause it to rain[nc] on the earth for forty days and forty nights, and I will wipe from the face of the ground every living thing that I have made.”

And Noah did all[nd] that the Lord commanded him.

Noah[ne] was 600 years old when the floodwaters engulfed[nf] the earth. Noah entered the ark along with his sons, his wife, and his sons’ wives because of[ng] the floodwaters. Pairs[nh] of clean animals, of unclean animals, of birds, and of everything that creeps along the ground, male and female, came into the ark to Noah,[ni] just as God had commanded him.[nj] 10 And after seven days the floodwaters engulfed the earth.[nk]

11 In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, on the seventeenth day of the month—on that day all the fountains of the great deep[nl] burst open and the floodgates of the heavens[nm] were opened. 12 And the rain fell[nn] on the earth forty days and forty nights.

13 On that very day Noah entered the ark, accompanied by his sons Shem, Ham, and Japheth, along with his wife and his sons’ three wives.[no] 14 They entered,[np] along with every living creature after its kind, every animal after its kind, every creeping thing that creeps on the earth after its kind, and every bird after its kind, everything with wings.[nq] 15 Pairs[nr] of all creatures[ns] that have the breath of life came into the ark to Noah. 16 Those that entered were male and female,[nt] just as God commanded him. Then the Lord shut him in.

17 The flood engulfed the earth for forty days. As the waters increased, they lifted the ark and raised it above the earth. 18 The waters completely overwhelmed[nu] the earth, and the ark floated[nv] on the surface of the waters. 19 The waters completely inundated[nw] the earth so that even[nx] all the high mountains under the entire sky were covered. 20 The waters rose more than 20 feet[ny] above the mountains.[nz] 21 And all living things[oa] that moved on the earth died, including the birds, domestic animals, wild animals, all the creatures that swarm over the earth, and all humankind. 22 Everything on dry land that had the breath[ob] of life in its nostrils died. 23 So the Lord[oc] destroyed[od] every living thing that was on the surface of the ground, including people, animals, creatures that creep along the ground, and birds of the sky.[oe] They were wiped off the earth. Only Noah and those who were with him in the ark survived.[of] 24 The waters prevailed over[og] the earth for 150 days.

But God remembered[oh] Noah and all the wild animals and domestic animals that were with him in the ark. God caused a wind to blow over[oi] the earth and the waters receded. The fountains of the deep and the floodgates of heaven were closed,[oj] and the rain stopped falling from the sky. The waters kept receding steadily[ok] from the earth, so that they[ol] had gone down[om] by the end of the 150 days. On the seventeenth day of the seventh month, the ark came to rest on one of the mountains of Ararat.[on] The waters kept on receding[oo] until the tenth month. On the first day of the tenth month, the tops of the mountains became visible.[op]

At the end of forty days,[oq] Noah opened the window he had made in the ark[or] and sent out a raven; it kept flying back and forth[os] until the waters had dried up on the earth.

Then Noah[ot] sent out a dove[ou] to see if the waters had receded[ov] from the surface of the ground. The dove could not find a resting place for its feet because water still covered[ow] the surface of the entire earth, and so it returned to Noah[ox] in the ark. He stretched out his hand, took the dove,[oy] and brought it back into the ark.[oz] 10 He waited seven more days and then sent out the dove again from the ark. 11 When[pa] the dove returned to him in the evening, there was[pb] a freshly plucked olive leaf in its beak! Noah knew that the waters had receded from the earth. 12 He waited another seven days and sent the dove out again,[pc] but it did not return to him this time.[pd]

13 In Noah’s six hundred and first year,[pe] in the first day of the first month, the waters had dried up from the earth, and Noah removed the covering from the ark and saw that[pf] the surface of the ground was dry. 14 And by the twenty-seventh day of the second month the earth[pg] was dry.

15 Then God spoke to Noah and said, 16 “Come out of the ark, you, your wife, your sons, and your sons’ wives with you. 17 Bring out with you all the living creatures that are with you. Bring out[ph] every living thing, including the birds, animals, and every creeping thing that creeps on the earth. Let them increase[pi] and be fruitful and multiply on the earth!”[pj]

18 Noah went out along with his sons, his wife, and his sons’ wives. 19 Every living creature, every creeping thing, every bird, and everything that moves on the earth went out of the ark in their groups.

20 Noah built an altar to the Lord. He then took some of every kind of clean animal and clean bird and offered burnt offerings on the altar.[pk] 21 And the Lord smelled the soothing aroma[pl] and said[pm] to himself,[pn] “I will never again curse[po] the ground because of humankind, even though[pp] the inclination of their minds[pq] is evil from childhood on.[pr] I will never again destroy everything that lives, as I have just done.

22 “While the earth continues to exist,[ps]
planting time[pt] and harvest,
cold and heat,
summer and winter,
and day and night will not cease.”

God’s Covenant with Humankind through Noah

Then God blessed Noah and his sons and said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth. Every living creature of the earth and every bird of the sky will be terrified of you.[pu] Everything that creeps on the ground and all the fish of the sea are under your authority.[pv] You may eat any moving thing that lives.[pw] As I gave you[px] the green plants, I now give[py] you everything.

“But[pz] you must not eat meat[qa] with its life (that is,[qb] its blood) in it.[qc] For your lifeblood[qd] I will surely exact punishment,[qe] from[qf] every living creature I will exact punishment. From each person[qg] I will exact punishment for the life of the individual[qh] since the man was his relative.[qi]

“Whoever sheds human blood,[qj]
by other humans[qk]
must his blood be shed;
for in God’s image[ql]
God[qm] has made humankind.

“But as for you,[qn] be fruitful and multiply; increase abundantly on the earth and multiply on it.”

God said to Noah and his sons,[qo] “Look. I now confirm[qp] my covenant with you and your descendants after you[qq] 10 and with every living creature that is with you, including the birds, the domestic animals, and every living creature of the earth with you, all those that came out of the ark with you—every living creature of the earth.[qr] 11 I confirm[qs] my covenant with you: Never again will all living things[qt] be wiped out[qu] by the waters of a flood;[qv] never again will a flood destroy the earth.”

12 And God said, “This is the guarantee[qw] of the covenant I am making[qx] with you[qy] and every living creature with you, a covenant[qz] for all subsequent[ra] generations: 13 I will place[rb] my rainbow[rc] in the clouds, and it will become[rd] a guarantee of the covenant between me and the earth. 14 Whenever[re] I bring clouds over the earth and the rainbow appears in the clouds, 15 then I will remember my covenant with you[rf] and with all living creatures of all kinds.[rg] Never again will the waters become a flood and destroy[rh] all living things.[ri] 16 When the rainbow is in the clouds, I will notice it and remember[rj] the perpetual covenant between God and all living creatures of all kinds that are on the earth.”

17 So God said to Noah, “This is the guarantee of the covenant that I am confirming between me and all living things[rk] that are on the earth.”

The Curse on Canaan

18 The sons of Noah who came out of the ark were Shem, Ham, and Japheth. (Now Ham was the father of Canaan.)[rl] 19 These were the three sons of Noah, and from them the whole earth was populated.[rm]

20 Noah, a man of the soil,[rn] began to plant a vineyard.[ro] 21 When he drank some of the wine, he got drunk and uncovered himself[rp] inside his tent. 22 Ham, the father of Canaan,[rq] saw his father’s nakedness[rr] and told his two brothers who were outside. 23 Shem and Japheth took the garment[rs] and placed it on their shoulders. Then they walked in backwards and covered up their father’s nakedness. Their faces were turned the other way[rt] so they did not see their father’s nakedness.

24 When Noah awoke from his drunken stupor[ru] he learned[rv] what his youngest son had done[rw] to him. 25 So he said,

“Cursed[rx] be Canaan![ry]
The lowest of slaves[rz]
he will be to his brothers.”

26 He also said,

“Worthy of praise is[sa] the Lord, the God of Shem!
May Canaan be the slave of Shem![sb]
27 May God enlarge Japheth’s territory and numbers![sc]
May he[sd] live[se] in the tents of Shem
and may Canaan be the slave of Japheth!”[sf]

28 After the flood Noah lived 350 years. 29 The entire lifetime of Noah was 950 years, and then he died.

The Table of Nations

10 This is the account[sg] of Noah’s sons: Shem, Ham, and Japheth.[sh] Sons[si] were born[sj] to them after the flood.

The sons of Japheth[sk] were Gomer,[sl] Magog,[sm] Madai,[sn] Javan,[so] Tubal,[sp] Meshech,[sq] and Tiras.[sr] The sons of Gomer were[ss] Ashkenaz,[st] Riphath,[su] and Togarmah.[sv] The sons of Javan were Elishah,[sw] Tarshish,[sx] the Kittim,[sy] and the Dodanim.[sz] From these the coastlands of the nations were separated into their lands, every one according to its language, according to their families, by their nations.

The sons of Ham were Cush,[ta] Mizraim,[tb] Put,[tc] and Canaan.[td] The sons of Cush were Seba,[te] Havilah,[tf] Sabtah,[tg] Raamah,[th] and Sabteca.[ti] The sons of Raamah were Sheba[tj] and Dedan.[tk]

Cush was the father of[tl] Nimrod; he began to be a valiant warrior on the earth. He was a mighty hunter[tm] before the Lord.[tn] (That is why it is said, “Like Nimrod, a mighty hunter before the Lord.”) 10 The primary regions[to] of his kingdom were Babel,[tp] Erech,[tq] Akkad,[tr] and Calneh[ts] in the land of Shinar.[tt] 11 From that land he went[tu] to Assyria,[tv] where he built Nineveh,[tw] Rehoboth Ir,[tx] Calah,[ty] 12 and Resen, which is between Nineveh and the great city Calah.[tz]

13 Mizraim[ua] was the father of[ub] the Ludites,[uc] Anamites,[ud] Lehabites,[ue] Naphtuhites,[uf] 14 Pathrusites,[ug] Casluhites[uh] (from whom the Philistines came),[ui] and Caphtorites.[uj]

15 Canaan was the father of[uk] Sidon his firstborn,[ul] Heth,[um] 16 the Jebusites,[un] Amorites,[uo] Girgashites,[up] 17 Hivites,[uq] Arkites,[ur] Sinites,[us] 18 Arvadites,[ut] Zemarites,[uu] and Hamathites.[uv] Eventually the families of the Canaanites were scattered 19 and the borders of Canaan extended[uw] from Sidon all the way to[ux] Gerar as far as Gaza, and all the way to[uy] Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, and Zeboyim, as far as Lasha. 20 These are the sons of Ham, according to their families, according to their languages, by their lands, and by their nations.

21 And sons were also born[uz] to Shem (the older brother of Japheth),[va] the father of all the sons of Eber.

22 The sons of Shem were Elam,[vb] Asshur,[vc] Arphaxad,[vd] Lud,[ve] and Aram.[vf] 23 The sons of Aram were Uz, Hul, Gether, and Mash.[vg] 24 Arphaxad was the father of[vh] Shelah,[vi] and Shelah was the father of Eber.[vj] 25 Two sons were born to Eber: One was named Peleg because in his days the earth was divided,[vk] and his brother’s name was Joktan. 26 Joktan was the father of[vl] Almodad,[vm] Sheleph,[vn] Hazarmaveth,[vo] Jerah,[vp] 27 Hadoram, Uzal,[vq] Diklah,[vr] 28 Obal,[vs] Abimael,[vt] Sheba,[vu] 29 Ophir,[vv] Havilah,[vw] and Jobab. All these were sons of Joktan. 30 Their dwelling place was from Mesha all the way to[vx] Sephar in the eastern hills. 31 These are the sons of Shem according to their families, according to their languages, by their lands, and according to their nations.

32 These are the families of the sons of Noah, according to their genealogies, by their nations, and from these the nations spread[vy] over the earth after the flood.

The Dispersion of the Nations at Babel

11 The whole earth[vz] had a common language and a common vocabulary.[wa] When the people[wb] moved eastward,[wc] they found a plain in Shinar[wd] and settled there. Then they said to one another,[we] “Come, let’s make bricks and bake them thoroughly.”[wf] (They had brick instead of stone and tar[wg] instead of mortar.)[wh] Then they said, “Come, let’s build ourselves a city and a tower with its top in the heavens[wi] so that[wj] we may make a name for ourselves. Otherwise[wk] we will be scattered[wl] across the face of the entire earth.”

But the Lord came down to see the city and the tower that the people[wm] had started[wn] building. And the Lord said, “If as one people all sharing a common language[wo] they have begun to do this, then[wp] nothing they plan to do will be beyond them.[wq] Come, let’s go down and confuse[wr] their language so they won’t be able to understand each other.”[ws]

So the Lord scattered them from there across the face of the entire earth, and they stopped building[wt] the city. That is why its name was called[wu] Babel[wv]—because there the Lord confused the language of the entire world, and from there the Lord scattered them across the face of the entire earth.

The Genealogy of Shem

10 This is the account of Shem.

Shem was 100 years old when he became the father of Arphaxad, two years after the flood. 11 And after becoming the father of Arphaxad, Shem lived 500 years and had other[ww] sons and daughters.

12 When Arphaxad had lived 35 years, he became the father of Shelah. 13 And after he became the father of Shelah, Arphaxad lived 403 years and had other[wx] sons and daughters.[wy]

14 When Shelah had lived 30 years, he became the father of Eber. 15 And after he became the father of Eber, Shelah lived 403 years and had other sons and daughters.

16 When Eber had lived 34 years, he became the father of Peleg. 17 And after he became the father of Peleg, Eber lived 430 years and had other sons and daughters.

18 When Peleg had lived 30 years, he became the father of Reu. 19 And after he became the father of Reu, Peleg lived 209 years and had other sons and daughters.

20 When Reu had lived 32 years, he became the father of Serug. 21 And after he became the father of Serug, Reu lived 207 years and had other sons and daughters.

22 When Serug had lived 30 years, he became the father of Nahor. 23 And after he became the father of Nahor, Serug lived 200 years and had other sons and daughters.

24 When Nahor had lived 29 years, he became the father of Terah. 25 And after he became the father of Terah, Nahor lived 119 years and had other sons and daughters.

26 When Terah had lived 70 years, he became the father of Abram, Nahor, and Haran.

The Record of Terah

27 This is the account of Terah.

Terah became the father of Abram, Nahor, and Haran. And Haran became the father of Lot. 28 Haran died in the land of his birth, in Ur of the Chaldeans,[wz] while his father Terah was still alive.[xa] 29 And Abram and Nahor took wives for themselves. The name of Abram’s wife was Sarai.[xb] And the name of Nahor’s wife was Milcah;[xc] she was the daughter of Haran, who was the father of both Milcah and Iscah. 30 But Sarai was barren; she had no children.

31 Terah took his son Abram, his grandson Lot (the son of Haran), and his daughter-in-law Sarai, his son Abram’s wife, and with them he set out from Ur of the Chaldeans to go to Canaan. When they came to Haran, they settled there. 32 The lifetime[xd] of Terah was 205 years, and he[xe] died in Haran.

The Obedience of Abram

12 Now the Lord said[xf] to Abram,[xg]

“Go out[xh] from your country, your relatives, and your father’s household
to the land that I will show you.[xi]
Then I will make you[xj] into a great nation, and I will bless you,[xk]
and I will make your name great,[xl]
so that you will exemplify divine blessing.[xm]
I will bless those who bless you,[xn]
but the one who treats you lightly[xo] I must curse,
so that all the families of the earth may receive blessing[xp] through you.”

So Abram left,[xq] just as the Lord had told him to do,[xr] and Lot went with him. (Now[xs] Abram was 75 years old[xt] when he departed from Haran.) And Abram took his wife Sarai, his nephew[xu] Lot, and all the possessions they had accumulated and the people they had acquired[xv] in Haran, and they left for[xw] the land of Canaan. They entered the land of Canaan.

Abram traveled through the land as far as the oak tree[xx] of Moreh[xy] at Shechem.[xz] (At that time the Canaanites were in the land.)[ya] The Lord appeared to Abram and said, “To your descendants[yb] I will give this land.” So Abram[yc] built an altar there to the Lord, who had appeared to him.

Then he moved from there to the hill country east of Bethel and pitched his tent, with Bethel on the west and Ai on the east. There he built an altar to the Lord and worshiped the Lord.[yd] Abram continually journeyed by stages[ye] down to the Negev.[yf]

The Promised Blessing Jeopardized

10 There was a famine in the land, so Abram went down to Egypt[yg] to stay for a while[yh] because the famine was severe.[yi] 11 As he approached[yj] Egypt, he said to his wife Sarai, “Look,[yk] I know that you are a beautiful woman.[yl] 12 When the Egyptians see you they will say, ‘This is his wife.’ Then they will kill me but will keep you alive.[ym] 13 So tell them[yn] you are my sister[yo] so that it may go well[yp] for me because of you and my life will be spared[yq] on account of you.”

14 When Abram entered Egypt, the Egyptians saw that the woman was very beautiful. 15 When Pharaoh’s officials saw her, they praised her to Pharaoh. So Abram’s wife[yr] was taken[ys] into the household of Pharaoh,[yt] 16 and he did treat Abram well[yu] on account of her. Abram received[yv] sheep and cattle, male donkeys, male servants, female servants, female donkeys, and camels.

17 But the Lord struck Pharaoh and his household with severe diseases[yw] because of Sarai, Abram’s wife. 18 So Pharaoh summoned Abram and said, “What is this[yx] you have done to me? Why didn’t you tell me that she was your wife? 19 Why did you say, ‘She is my sister,’ so that I took her[yy] to be my wife?[yz] Now, here is your wife. Take her and go!”[za] 20 Pharaoh gave his men orders about Abram,[zb] and so they expelled him, along with his wife and all his possessions.

Abram’s Solution to the Strife

13 So Abram went up from Egypt into the Negev.[zc] He took his wife and all his possessions with him, as well as Lot.[zd] (Now Abram was very wealthy[ze] in livestock, silver, and gold.)[zf]

And he journeyed from place to place[zg] from the Negev as far as Bethel. He returned[zh] to the place where he had pitched his tent[zi] at the beginning, between Bethel and Ai. This was the place where he had first built the altar,[zj] and there Abram worshiped the Lord.[zk]

Now Lot, who was traveling[zl] with Abram, also had[zm] flocks, herds, and tents. But the land could[zn] not support them while they were living side by side.[zo] Because their possessions were so great, they were not able to live[zp] alongside one another. So there were quarrels[zq] between Abram’s herdsmen and Lot’s herdsmen.[zr] (Now the Canaanites and the Perizzites were living in the land at that time.)[zs]

Abram said to Lot, “Let there be no quarreling between me and you, and between my herdsmen and your herdsmen, for we are close relatives.[zt] Is not the whole land before you? Separate yourself now from me. If you go[zu] to the left, then I’ll go to the right, but if you go to the right, then I’ll go to the left.”

10 Lot looked up and saw[zv] the whole region[zw] of the Jordan. He noticed[zx] that all of it was well watered (this was before the Lord obliterated[zy] Sodom and Gomorrah)[zz] like the garden of the Lord, like the land of Egypt,[aaa] all the way to Zoar. 11 Lot chose for himself the whole region of the Jordan and traveled[aab] toward the east.

So the relatives separated from each other.[aac] 12 Abram settled in the land of Canaan, but Lot settled among the cities of the Jordan plain[aad] and pitched his tents next to Sodom. 13 (Now[aae] the people[aaf] of Sodom were extremely wicked rebels against the Lord.)[aag]

14 After Lot had departed, the Lord said to Abram,[aah] “Look[aai] from the place where you stand to the north, south, east, and west. 15 I will give all the land that you see to you and your descendants[aaj] forever. 16 And I will make your descendants like the dust of the earth, so that if anyone is able to count the dust of the earth, then your descendants also can be counted.[aak] 17 Get up and[aal] walk[aam] throughout the land,[aan] for I will give it to you.”

18 So Abram moved his tents and went to live[aao] by the oaks[aap] of Mamre in Hebron, and he built an altar to the Lord there.

The Blessing of Victory for God’s People

14 At that time[aaq] Amraphel king of Shinar,[aar] Arioch king of Ellasar, Kedorlaomer king of Elam, and Tidal king of nations[aas] went to war[aat] against Bera king of Sodom, Birsha king of Gomorrah, Shinab king of Admah, Shemeber king of Zeboyim, and the king of Bela (that is, Zoar).[aau] These last five kings[aav] joined forces[aaw] in the Valley of Siddim (that is, the Salt Sea).[aax] For twelve years[aay] they had served Kedorlaomer, but in the thirteenth year[aaz] they rebelled.[aba] In the fourteenth year, Kedorlaomer and the kings who were his allies came and defeated[abb] the Rephaites in Ashteroth Karnaim, the Zuzites in Ham, the Emites in Shaveh Kiriathaim, and the Horites in their hill country of Seir, as far as El Paran, which is near the desert.[abc] Then they attacked En Mishpat (that is, Kadesh) again,[abd] and they conquered all the territory of the Amalekites, as well as the Amorites who were living in Hazezon Tamar.

Then the king of Sodom, the king of Gomorrah, the king of Admah, the king of Zeboyim, and the king of Bela (that is, Zoar) went out and prepared for battle. In the Valley of Siddim they met[abe] Kedorlaomer king of Elam, Tidal king of nations,[abf] Amraphel king of Shinar, and Arioch king of Ellasar. Four kings fought against[abg] five. 10 Now the Valley of Siddim was full of tar pits.[abh] When the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah fled, they fell into them,[abi] but some survivors[abj] fled to the hills.[abk] 11 The four victorious kings[abl] took all the possessions and food of Sodom and Gomorrah and left. 12 They also took Abram’s nephew[abm] Lot and his possessions when[abn] they left, for Lot[abo] was living in Sodom.[abp]

13 A fugitive[abq] came and told Abram the Hebrew.[abr] Now Abram was living by the oaks[abs] of Mamre the Amorite, the brother[abt] of Eshcol and Aner. (All these were allied by treaty[abu] with Abram.)[abv] 14 When Abram heard that his nephew[abw] had been taken captive, he mobilized[abx] his 318 trained men who had been born in his household, and he pursued the invaders[aby] as far as Dan.[abz] 15 Then, during the night,[aca] Abram[acb] divided his forces[acc] against them and defeated them. He chased them as far as Hobah, which is north[acd] of Damascus. 16 He retrieved all the stolen property.[ace] He also brought back his nephew Lot and his possessions, as well as the women and the rest of[acf] the people.

17 After Abram[acg] returned from defeating Kedorlaomer and the kings who were with him, the king of Sodom went out to meet Abram[ach] in the Valley of Shaveh (known as the King’s Valley).[aci] 18 Melchizedek king of Salem[acj] brought out bread and wine. (Now he was the priest of the Most High God.)[ack] 19 He blessed Abram, saying,

“Blessed be Abram by[acl] the Most High God,
Creator[acm] of heaven and earth.[acn]
20 Worthy of praise is[aco] the Most High God,
who delivered[acp] your enemies into your hand.”

Abram gave Melchizedek[acq] a tenth of everything.

21 Then the king of Sodom said to Abram, “Give me the people and take the possessions for yourself.” 22 But Abram replied to the king of Sodom, “I raise my hand[acr] to the Lord, the Most High God, Creator of heaven and earth, and vow[acs] 23 that I will take nothing[act] belonging to you, not even a thread or the strap of a sandal. That way you can never say, ‘It is I[acu] who made Abram rich.’ 24 I will take nothing[acv] except compensation for what the young men have eaten.[acw] As for the share of the men who went with me—Aner, Eshcol, and Mamre—let them take their share.”

The Cutting of the Covenant

15 After these things the Lord’s message came to Abram in a vision: “Fear not, Abram! I am your shield[acx] and the one who will reward you in great abundance.”[acy]

But Abram said, “O Sovereign Lord,[acz] what will you give me since[ada] I continue to be[adb] childless, and my heir[adc] is[add] Eliezer of Damascus?”[ade] Abram added,[adf] “Since[adg] you have not given me a descendant, then look, one born in my house will be my heir!”[adh]

But look,[adi] the Lord’s message came to him: “This man[adj] will not be your heir, but instead[adk] a son[adl] who comes from your own body will be your heir.” The Lord[adm] took him outside and said, “Gaze into the sky and count the stars—if you are able to count them!” Then he said to him, “So will your descendants be.”

Abram believed[adn] the Lord, and the Lord[ado] credited[adp] it[adq] as righteousness[adr] to him.

The Lord said[ads] to him, “I am the Lord[adt] who brought you out from Ur of the Chaldeans[adu] to give you this land to possess.” But[adv] Abram[adw] said, “O Sovereign Lord,[adx] by what[ady] can I know that I am to possess it?”

The Lord[adz] said to him, “Take for me a heifer, a goat, and a ram, each three years old, along with a dove and a young pigeon.” 10 So Abram[aea] took all these for him and then cut them in two[aeb] and placed each half opposite the other,[aec] but he did not cut the birds in half. 11 When birds of prey came down on the carcasses, Abram drove them away.

12 When the sun went down, Abram fell sound asleep,[aed] and great terror overwhelmed him.[aee] 13 Then the Lord said to Abram, “Know for certain[aef] that your descendants will be strangers[aeg] in a foreign country.[aeh] They will be enslaved and oppressed[aei] for 400 years. 14 But I will execute judgment on the nation that they will serve.[aej] Afterward they will come out with many possessions. 15 But as for you,[aek] you will go to your ancestors[ael] in peace and be buried at a good old age.[aem] 16 In the fourth generation[aen] your descendants[aeo] will return here, for the sin of the Amorites has not yet reached its limit.”[aep]

17 When the sun had gone down and it was dark, a smoking firepot with a flaming torch[aeq] passed between the animal parts.[aer] 18 That day the Lord made a covenant[aes] with Abram: “To your descendants I give[aet] this land, from the river of Egypt[aeu] to the great river, the Euphrates River— 19 the land[aev] of the Kenites, Kenizzites, Kadmonites, 20 Hittites, Perizzites, Rephaites, 21 Amorites, Canaanites, Girgashites, and Jebusites.”[aew]


  1. Genesis 1:1 tn The translation assumes that the form translated “beginning” is in the absolute state rather than the construct (“in the beginning of,” or “when God created”). In other words, the clause in v. 1 is a main clause, v. 2 has three clauses that are descriptive and supply background information, and v. 3 begins the narrative sequence proper. The referent of the word “beginning” has to be defined from the context since there is no beginning or ending with God.sn In the beginning. The verse refers to the beginning of the world as we know it; it affirms that it is entirely the product of the creation of God. But there are two ways that this verse can be interpreted: (1) It may be taken to refer to the original act of creation with the rest of the events on the days of creation completing it. This would mean that the disjunctive clauses of v. 2 break the sequence of the creative work of the first day. (2) It may be taken as a summary statement of what the chapter will record, that is, vv. 3-31 are about God’s creating the world as we know it. If the first view is adopted, then we have a reference here to original creation; if the second view is taken, then Genesis itself does not account for the original creation of matter. To follow this view does not deny that the Bible teaches that God created everything out of nothing (cf. John 1:3)—it simply says that Genesis is not making that affirmation. This second view presupposes the existence of pre-existent matter, when God said, “Let there be light.” The first view includes the description of the primordial state as part of the events of day one. The following narrative strongly favors the second view, for the “heavens/sky” did not exist prior to the second day of creation (see v. 8) and “earth/dry land” did not exist, at least as we know it, prior to the third day of creation (see v. 10).
  2. Genesis 1:1 sn God. The ending of the Hebrew term אֱלֹהִים (ʾelohim) is commonly used to indicate plural nouns, but also has other functions such as indicating abstract concepts, or the concrete expression of an abstract concept. For example, Saul is referred to as “lord” with the morpheme that often marks plural, but meaning that he, as king, is the concrete expression of being a “lord.” When referring to the one true God, אֱלֹהִים (ʾelohim) marks God as the actual expression of deity. And the verb that is used with it is singular. In contrast, when the same form is used as a plural reference to the false gods of the nations, the associated verb is plural. Likely the term was a title for the true God but is used so frequently that it becomes viewed as a name.
  3. Genesis 1:1 tn The English verb “create” captures well the meaning of the Hebrew term in this context. The verb בָּרָא (baraʾ) always describes the divine activity of fashioning something new, fresh, and perfect. The verb does not necessarily describe creation out of nothing (see, for example, v. 27, where it refers to the creation of man); it often stresses forming anew, reforming, renewing (see Ps 51:10; Isa 43:15; 65:17).
  4. Genesis 1:1 tn Or “the entire universe”; or “the sky and the dry land.” This phrase is often interpreted as a merism, referring to the entire ordered universe, including the heavens and the earth and everything in them. The “heavens and the earth” were completed in seven days (see Gen 2:1) and are characterized by fixed laws (see Jer 33:25). “Heavens” refers specifically to the sky, created on the second day (see v. 8), while “earth” refers specifically to the dry land, created on the third day (see v. 10). Both are distinct from the sea/seas (see v. 10 and Exod 20:11).
  5. Genesis 1:2 tn The disjunctive clause (conjunction plus subject plus verb) at the beginning of v. 2 gives background information for the following narrative, explaining the state of things when “God said…” (v. 3). Verse one is a title to the chapter, v. 2 provides information about the state of things when God spoke, and v. 3 begins the narrative per se with the typical narrative construction (vav [ו] consecutive followed by the prefixed verbal form). (This literary structure is paralleled in the second portion of the book: Gen 2:4 provides the title or summary of what follows, 2:5-6 use disjunctive clause structures to give background information for the following narrative, and 2:7 begins the narrative with the vav consecutive attached to a prefixed verbal form.) Some translate 1:2a “and the earth became,” arguing that v. 1 describes the original creation of the earth, while v. 2 refers to a judgment that reduced it to a chaotic condition. Verses 3ff. then describe the re-creation of the earth. However, the disjunctive clause at the beginning of v. 2 cannot be translated as if it were relating the next event in a sequence. If v. 2 were sequential to v. 1, the author would have used the vav consecutive followed by a prefixed verbal form and the subject.
  6. Genesis 1:2 tn That is, what we now call “the earth.” The creation of the earth as we know it is described in vv. 9-10. Prior to this the substance which became the earth (= dry land) lay dormant under the water.
  7. Genesis 1:2 tn Traditional translations have followed a more literal rendering of “waste and void.” The words describe a condition that is without form and empty. What we now know as “the earth” was actually an unfilled mass covered by water and darkness. Later תֹהוּ (tohu) and בֹּהוּ (bohu), when used in proximity, describe a situation resulting from judgment (Isa 34:11; Jer 4:23). Both prophets may be picturing judgment as the reversal of creation in which God’s judgment causes the world to revert to its primordial condition. This later use of the terms has led some to conclude that Gen 1:2 presupposes the judgment of a prior world, but it is unsound method to read the later application of the imagery (in a context of judgment) back into Gen 1:2.
  8. Genesis 1:2 sn Darkness. The Hebrew word simply means “darkness,” but in the Bible it has come to symbolize what opposes God, such as judgment (Exod 10:21), death (Ps 88:13), oppression (Isa 9:1), the wicked (1 Sam 2:9) and in general, sin. In Isa 45:7 it parallels “evil.” It is a fitting cover for the primeval waste, but it prepares the reader for the fact that God is about to reveal himself through his works.
  9. Genesis 1:2 tn The Hebrew term תְּהוֹם (tehom, “deep”) refers to the watery deep, the salty ocean—especially the primeval ocean that surrounds and underlies the earth (see Gen 7:11).sn The watery deep. In the Babylonian account of creation Marduk killed the goddess Tiamat (the salty sea) and used her carcass to create heaven and earth. The form of the Hebrew word for “deep” is distinct enough from the name “Tiamat” to deny direct borrowing; however, it is possible that there is a polemical stress here. Ancient Israel does not see the ocean as a powerful deity to be destroyed in creation, only a force of nature that can be controlled by God.
  10. Genesis 1:2 tn The traditional rendering “Spirit of God” is preserved here, as opposed to a translation like “wind from/breath of God” (cf. NRSV) or “mighty wind” (cf. NEB), taking the word “God” to represent the superlative. Elsewhere in the OT the phrase refers consistently to the divine spirit that empowers and energizes individuals (see Gen 41:38; Exod 31:3; 35:31; Num 24:2; 1 Sam 10:10; 11:6; 19:20, 23; Ezek 11:24; 2 Chr 15:1; 24:20).
  11. Genesis 1:2 tn The Hebrew verb has been translated “hovering” or “moving” (as a bird over her young, see Deut 32:11). The Syriac cognate term means “to brood over; to incubate.” How much of that sense might be attached here is hard to say, but the verb does depict the presence of the Spirit of God moving about mysteriously over the waters, presumably preparing for the acts of creation to follow. If one reads “mighty wind” (cf. NEB) then the verse describes how the powerful wind begins to blow in preparation for the creative act described in vv. 9-10. (God also used a wind to drive back the flood waters in Noah’s day. See Gen 8:1.)
  12. Genesis 1:2 tn Heb “face.”
  13. Genesis 1:2 sn The water. The text deliberately changes now from the term for the watery deep to the general word for water. The arena is now the life-giving water and not the chaotic abyss-like deep. The change may be merely stylistic, but it may also carry some significance. The deep carries with it the sense of the abyss, chaos, darkness—in short, that which is not good for life.
  14. Genesis 1:3 tn The prefixed verb form with the vav (ו) consecutive introduces the narrative sequence. Ten times in the chapter the decree of God in creation will be so expressed. For the power of the divine word in creation, see Ps 33:9; John 1:1-3; 1 Cor 8:6; Col 1:16.sn God said. By speaking, God brings the world into existence. The efficacious nature of the word of the Lord is a prominent theme in this chapter. It introduces the Law, the words and commandments from the Lord that must be obeyed. The ten decrees of God in this chapter anticipate the ten words in the Decalogue (Exod 20:2-17).
  15. Genesis 1:3 tn “Let there be” is the short jussive form of the verb “to be”; the following expression “and there was” is the short preterite form of the same verb. As such, יְהִי (yehi) and וַיְהִי (vayehi) form a profound wordplay to express both the calling into existence and the complete fulfillment of the divine word.
  16. Genesis 1:3 sn Light. The Hebrew word simply means “light,” but it is used often in scripture to convey the ideas of salvation, joy, knowledge, righteousness, and life. In this context one cannot ignore those connotations, for it is the antithesis of the darkness. The first thing God does is correct the darkness; without the light there is only chaos.
  17. Genesis 1:4 tn Heb “And God saw the light, that it was good.” The verb “saw” in this passage carries the meaning “reflected on,” “surveyed,” “concluded,” “noted.” It is a description of reflection of the mind—it is God’s opinion.
  18. Genesis 1:4 tn The Hebrew word טוֹב (tov) in this context signifies whatever enhances, promotes, produces, or is conducive for life. It is the light that God considers “good,” not the darkness. Whatever is conducive to life in God’s creation is good, for God himself is good, and that goodness is reflected in all of his works.
  19. Genesis 1:4 tn The verb “separate, divide” here explains how God used the light to dispel the darkness. It did not do away with the darkness completely, but made a separation. The light came alongside the darkness, but they are mutually exclusive—a theme that will be developed in the Gospel of John (cf. John 1:5).sn The idea of separation is critical to this chapter. God separated light from darkness, upper water from lower water, day from night, etc. The verb is important to the Law in general. In Leviticus God separates between clean and unclean, holy and profane (Lev 10:10; 11:47 and 20:24); in Exodus God separates the Holy Place from the Most Holy Place (Exod 26:33). There is a preference for the light over the darkness, just as there will be a preference for the upper waters, the rain water which is conducive to life, over the sea water.
  20. Genesis 1:5 tn Heb “he called to,” meaning “he named.”sn God called. Seven times in this chapter naming or blessing follows some act of creation. There is clearly a point being made beyond the obvious idea of naming. In the Babylonian creation story Enuma Elish, naming is equal to creating. In the Bible the act of naming, like creating, can be an indication of sovereignty (see 2 Kgs 23:34). In this verse God is sovereign even over the darkness.
  21. Genesis 1:5 tn Heb “and the darkness he called night.” The words “he called” have not been repeated in the translation for stylistic reasons.
  22. Genesis 1:5 tn Another option is to translate, “Evening came, and then morning came.” This formula closes the six days of creation. It seems to follow the Jewish order of reckoning time: from evening to morning. Day one started with the dark, continued through the creation of light, and ended with nightfall. Another alternative would be to translate, “There was night and then there was day, one day.”sn The first day. The exegetical evidence suggests the word “day” in this chapter refers to a literal 24 hour day. It is true that the word can refer to a longer period of time (see Isa 61:2, or the idiom in 2:4, “in the day,” that is, “when”). But this chapter uses “day,” “night,” “morning,” “evening,” “years,” and “seasons.” Consistency would require sorting out how all these terms could be used to express ages. Also, when the Hebrew word יוֹם (yom) is used with a numerical adjective, it refers to a literal day. Furthermore, the commandment to keep the sabbath clearly favors this interpretation. One is to work for six days and then rest on the seventh, just as God did when he worked at creation.
  23. Genesis 1:6 tn The Hebrew word refers to an expanse of air pressure between the surface of the sea and the clouds, separating water below from water above. In v. 8 it is called “sky.”sn An expanse. In the poetic texts the writers envision, among other things, something rather strong and shiny, no doubt influencing the traditional translation “firmament” (cf. NRSV “dome”). Job 37:18 refers to the skies poured out like a molten mirror. Dan 12:3 and Ezek 1:22 portray it as shiny. The sky or atmosphere may have seemed like a glass dome. For a detailed study of the Hebrew conception of the heavens and sky, see L. I. J. Stadelmann, The Hebrew Conception of the World (AnBib), 37-60.
  24. Genesis 1:6 tn Heb “the waters from the waters.”
  25. Genesis 1:7 tn Heb “the expanse.”
  26. Genesis 1:7 tn This statement indicates that it happened the way God designed it, underscoring the connection between word and event.
  27. Genesis 1:8 tn Though the Hebrew word can mean “heaven,” it refers in this context to “the sky.”
  28. Genesis 1:9 sn Let the water…be gathered to one place. In the beginning the water covered the whole earth; now the water was to be restricted to an area to form the ocean. The picture is one of the dry land as an island with the sea surrounding it. Again the sovereignty of God is revealed. Whereas the pagans saw the sea as a force to be reckoned with, God controls the boundaries of the sea. And in the judgment at the flood he will blur the boundaries so that chaos returns.
  29. Genesis 1:9 tn When the waters are collected to one place, dry land emerges above the surface of the receding water.
  30. Genesis 1:10 tn Heb “earth,” but here the term refers to the dry ground as opposed to the sea.
  31. Genesis 1:11 tn The Hebrew construction employs a cognate accusative, where the nominal object (“vegetation”) derives from the verbal root employed. It stresses the abundant productivity that God created.sn Vegetation. The Hebrew word translated “vegetation” (דֶּשֶׁא, desheʾ) normally means “grass,” but here it probably refers more generally to vegetation that includes many of the plants and trees. In the verse the plants and the trees are qualified as self-perpetuating with seeds, but not the word “vegetation,” indicating it is the general term and the other two terms are sub-categories of it. Moreover, in vv. 29 and 30 the word vegetation/grass does not appear. Smr adds an “and” before the fruit trees, indicating it saw the arrangement as bipartite (Smr tends to eliminate asyndetic constructions).
  32. Genesis 1:11 tn The conjunction “and” is not in the Hebrew text, but has been supplied in the translation to clarify the relationship of the clauses.
  33. Genesis 1:11 sn After their kinds. The Hebrew word translated “kind” (מִין, min) indicates again that God was concerned with defining and dividing time, space, and species. The point is that creation was with order, as opposed to chaos. And what God created and distinguished with boundaries was not to be confused (see Lev 19:19 and Deut 22:9-11).
  34. Genesis 1:14 sn Let there be lights. Light itself was created before the light-bearers. The order would not seem strange to the ancient Hebrew mind that did not automatically link daylight with the sun (note that dawn and dusk appear to have light without the sun).
  35. Genesis 1:14 tn The language describing the cosmos, which reflects a prescientific view of the world, must be interpreted as phenomenal, describing what appears to be the case. The sun and the moon are not in the sky (below the clouds), but from the viewpoint of a person standing on the earth, they appear that way. Even today we use similar phenomenological expressions, such as “the sun is rising” or “the stars in the sky.”
  36. Genesis 1:14 tn The text has “for signs and for seasons and for days and years.” It seems likely from the meanings of the words involved that “signs” is the main idea, followed by two categories, “seasons” and “days and years.” This is the simplest explanation, and one that matches vv. 11-13. It could even be rendered “signs for the fixed seasons, that is [explicative vav (ו)] days and years.”sn Let them be for signs. The point is that the sun and the moon were important to fix the days for the seasonal celebrations for the worshiping community.
  37. Genesis 1:16 sn Two great lights. The text goes to great length to discuss the creation of these lights, suggesting that the subject was very important to the ancients. Since these “lights” were considered deities in the ancient world, the section serves as a strong polemic (see G. Hasel, “The Polemical Nature of the Genesis Cosmology,” EvQ 46 [1974]: 81-102). The Book of Genesis is affirming they are created entities, not deities. To underscore this the text does not even give them names. If used here, the usual names for the sun and moon [Shemesh and Yarih, respectively] might have carried pagan connotations, so they are simply described as greater and lesser lights. Moreover, they serve in the capacity that God gives them, which would not be the normal function the pagans ascribed to them. They merely divide, govern, and give light in God’s creation.
  38. Genesis 1:16 tn Heb “and the stars.” Now the term “stars” is added as a third object of the verb “made.” Perhaps the language is phenomenological, meaning that the stars appeared in the sky from this time forward.
  39. Genesis 1:17 tn Heb “them”; the referent (the lights mentioned in the preceding verses) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
  40. Genesis 1:18 sn In days one to three there is a naming by God; in days five and six there is a blessing by God. But on day four there is neither. It could be a mere stylistic variation. But it could also be a deliberate design to avoid naming “sun” and “moon” or promoting them beyond what they are, things that God made to serve in his creation.
  41. Genesis 1:20 tn The Hebrew text again uses a cognate construction (“swarm with swarms”) to emphasize the abundant fertility. The idea of the verb is one of swift movement back and forth, literally swarming. This verb is used in Exod 1:7 to describe the rapid growth of the Israelite population in bondage.
  42. Genesis 1:20 tn The Hebrew text uses the Polel form of the verb instead of the simple Qal; it stresses a swarming flight again to underscore the abundant fruitfulness.
  43. Genesis 1:21 tn For the first time in the narrative proper the verb “create” (בָּרָא, baraʾ) appears. (It is used in the summary statement of v. 1.) The author wishes to underscore that these creatures—even the great ones—are part of God’s perfect creation. The Hebrew term תַּנִינִם (tanninim) is used for snakes (Exod 7:9), crocodiles (Ezek 29:3), or other powerful animals (Jer 51:34). In Isa 27:1 the word is used to describe a mythological sea creature that symbolizes God’s enemies.
  44. Genesis 1:22 tn While the translation “blessed” has been retained here for the sake of simplicity, it would be most helpful to paraphrase it as “God endowed them with fruitfulness” or something similar, for here it refers to God’s giving the animals the capacity to reproduce. The expression “blessed” needs clarification in its different contexts, for it is one of the unifying themes of the Book of Genesis. The divine blessing occurs after works of creation and is intended to continue that work—the word of blessing guarantees success. The word means “to enrich; to endow,” and the most visible evidence of that enrichment is productivity or fruitfulness. See C. Westermann, Blessing in the Bible and the Life of the Church (OBT).
  45. Genesis 1:22 sn The instruction God gives to creation is properly a fuller expression of the statement just made (“God blessed them”), that he enriched them with the ability to reproduce. It is not saying that these were rational creatures who heard and obeyed the word; rather, it stresses that fruitfulness in the animal world is a result of the divine decree and not of some pagan cultic ritual for fruitfulness. The repeated emphasis of “be fruitful—multiply—fill” adds to this abundance God has given to life. The meaning is underscored by the similar sounds: בָּרָךְ (barakh) with בָּרָא (baraʾ), and פָּרָה (parah) with רָבָה (ravah).
  46. Genesis 1:24 tn There are three groups of land animals here: the cattle or livestock (mostly domesticated), things that creep or move close to the ground (such as reptiles or rodents), and the wild animals (all animals of the field). The three terms are general classifications without specific details.
  47. Genesis 1:26 sn The plural form of the verb has been the subject of much discussion through the years, and not surprisingly several suggestions have been put forward. Many Christian theologians interpret it as an early hint of plurality within the Godhead, but this view imposes later trinitarian concepts on the ancient text. Some have suggested the plural verb indicates majesty, but the plural of majesty is not used with verbs. C. Westermann (Genesis, 1:145) argues for a plural of “deliberation” here, but his proposed examples of this use (2 Sam 24:14; Isa 6:8) do not actually support his theory. In 2 Sam 24:14 David uses the plural as representative of all Israel, and in Isa 6:8 the Lord speaks on behalf of his heavenly court. In its ancient Israelite context the plural is most naturally understood as referring to God and his heavenly court (see 1 Kgs 22:19-22; Job 1:6-12; 2:1-6; Isa 6:1-8). (The most well-known members of this court are God’s messengers, or angels. In Gen 3:5 the serpent may refer to this group as “gods/divine beings.” See the note on the word “evil” in 3:5.) If this is the case, God invites the heavenly court to participate at the creation of humankind (perhaps in the role of offering praise, see Job 38:7), but he himself is the one who does the actual creative work (v. 27). Of course, this view does assume that the members of the heavenly court possess the divine “image” in some way. Since the image is closely associated with rulership, perhaps they share the divine image in that they, together with God and under his royal authority, are the executive authority over the world.
  48. Genesis 1:26 tn The Hebrew word is אָדָם (ʾadam), which can sometimes refer to man, as opposed to woman. The term refers here to humankind, comprised of male and female. The singular is clearly collective (see the plural verb, “[that] they may rule” in v. 26b) and the referent is defined specifically as “male and female” in v. 27. Usage elsewhere in Gen 1-11 supports this as well. In 5:2 we read: “Male and female he created them, and he blessed them and called their name ‘humankind’ (אָדָם).” The noun also refers to humankind in 6:1, 5-7 and in 9:5-6.
  49. Genesis 1:26 tn The two prepositions translated “in” and “after” (or “according to”) have overlapping fields of meaning and in this context seem to be virtually equivalent. In 5:3 they are reversed with the two words. The word צֶלֶם (tselem, “image”) is used frequently of statues, models, and images—replicas (see D. J. A. Clines, “The Etymology of Hebrew selem,” JNSL 3 [1974]: 19-25). The word דְּמוּת (demut, “likeness”) is an abstract noun; its verbal root means “to be like; to resemble.” In the Book of Genesis the two terms describe human beings who in some way reflect the form and the function of the creator. The form is more likely stressing the spiritual rather than the physical. The “image of God” would be the God-given mental and spiritual capacities that enable people to relate to God and to serve him by ruling over the created order as his earthly vice-regents.sn In our image, after our likeness. Similar language is used in the instructions for building the tabernacle. Moses was told to make it “according to the pattern” he was shown on the mount (Exod 25:9, 10). Was he shown a form, a replica, of the spiritual sanctuary in the heavenly places? In any case, what was produced on earth functioned as the heavenly sanctuary does, but with limitations.
  50. Genesis 1:26 tn Following the cohortative (“let us make”), the prefixed verb form with vav (ו) conjunctive indicates purpose/result (see Gen 19:20; 34:23; 2 Sam 3:21). God’s purpose in giving humankind his image is that they might rule the created order on behalf of the heavenly king and his royal court. So the divine image, however it is defined, gives humankind the capacity and/or authority to rule over creation.
  51. Genesis 1:26 tc The MT reads “earth”; the Syriac reads “wild animals” (cf. NRSV).
  52. Genesis 1:26 tn Heb “creep” (also in v. 28).
  53. Genesis 1:27 tn The Hebrew text has the article prefixed to the noun (הָאָדָם, haʾadam). The article does not distinguish man from woman here (“the man” as opposed to “the woman”), but rather indicates previous reference (see v. 26, where the noun appears without the article). It has the same function as English “the aforementioned.”
  54. Genesis 1:27 tn The third person suffix on the particle אֵת (ʾet) is singular here, but collective.
  55. Genesis 1:27 sn The distinction of “humankind” as “male” and “female” is another point of separation in God’s creation. There is no possibility that the verse is teaching that humans were first androgynous (having both male and female physical characteristics) and afterward were separated. The mention of male and female prepares for the blessing to follow.
  56. Genesis 1:28 tn As in v. 22 the verb “bless” here means “to endow with the capacity to reproduce and be fruitful,” as the following context indicates. As in v. 22, the statement directly precedes the command “be fruitful and multiply.” The verb carries this same nuance in Gen 17:16 (where God’s blessing of Sarai imparts to her the capacity to bear a child); Gen 48:16 (where God’s blessing of Joseph’s sons is closely associated with their having numerous descendants); and Deut 7:13 (where God’s blessing is associated with fertility in general, including numerous descendants). See also Gen 49:25 (where Jacob uses the noun derivative in referring to “blessings of the breast and womb,” an obvious reference to fertility) and Gen 27:27 (where the verb is used of a field to which God has given the capacity to produce vegetation).
  57. Genesis 1:28 tn Heb “and God said.” For stylistic reasons “God” has not been repeated here in the translation.
  58. Genesis 1:28 tn Elsewhere the Hebrew verb translated “subdue” means “to enslave” (2 Chr 28:10; Neh 5:5; Jer 34:11, 16), “to conquer,” (Num 32:22, 29; Josh 18:1; 2 Sam 8:11; 1 Chr 22:18; Zech 9:13; and probably Mic 7:19), and “to assault sexually” (Esth 7:8). None of these nuances adequately meets the demands of this context, for humankind is not viewed as having an adversarial relationship with the world. The general meaning of the verb appears to be “to bring under one’s control for one’s advantage.” In Gen 1:28 one might paraphrase it as follows: “harness its potential and use its resources for your benefit.” In an ancient Israelite context this would suggest cultivating its fields, mining its mineral riches, using its trees for construction, and domesticating its animals.
  59. Genesis 1:28 sn The several imperatives addressed to both males and females together (plural imperative forms) actually form two commands: reproduce and rule. God’s word is not merely a form of blessing, but is now addressed to them personally; this is a distinct emphasis with the creation of human beings. But with the blessing comes the ability to be fruitful and to rule. In procreation they will share in the divine work of creating human life and passing on the divine image (see 5:1-3); in ruling they will serve as God’s vice-regents on earth. They together, the human race collectively, have the responsibility of seeing to the welfare of that which is put under them and the privilege of using it for their benefit.
  60. Genesis 1:29 tn The text uses הִנֵּה (hinneh), often archaically translated “behold.” It is often used to express the dramatic present, the immediacy of an event—“Look, this is what I am doing!”
  61. Genesis 1:29 sn G. J. Wenham (Genesis [WBC], 1:34) points out that there is nothing in the passage that prohibits the man and the woman from eating meat. He suggests that eating meat came after the fall. Gen 9:3 may then ratify the postfall practice of eating meat rather than inaugurate the practice, as is often understood.
  62. Genesis 1:30 tn The phrase נֶפֶשׁ חַיָּה (nefesh khayyah, “living breath”) usually refers to a “living creature” but is used slightly differently in this context. The term נֶפֶשׁ (nefesh) refers to breath or the throat and by extension to breathing creatures or the soul. The phrase “breath of life” uses a different noun for “breath” and the noun for “life” instead of the adjective.
  63. Genesis 1:30 tn The phrase “I give” is not in the Hebrew text but has been supplied in the translation for clarification.
  64. Genesis 1:31 tn The Hebrew text again uses הִנֵּה (hinneh) for the sake of vividness. It is a particle that goes with the gesture of pointing, calling attention to something.
  65. Genesis 2:1 tn See the note on the phrase “the heavens and the earth” in 1:1.
  66. Genesis 2:1 tn Heb “and all the host of them.” Here the “host” refers to all the entities and creatures that God created to populate the world.
  67. Genesis 2:2 tn Heb “on/in the seventh day.”
  68. Genesis 2:2 tn Heb “his work which he did [or “made”].”
  69. Genesis 2:2 tn The Hebrew term שָׁבַּת (shabbat) can be translated “to rest” (“and he rested”) but it basically means “to cease.” This is not a rest from exhaustion; it is the cessation of the work of creation.
  70. Genesis 2:3 tn The verb is usually translated “and sanctified it.” The Piel verb קִדֵּשׁ (qiddesh) means “to make something holy; to set something apart; to distinguish it.” On the literal level the phrase means essentially that God made this day different. But within the context of the Law, it means that the day belonged to God; it was for rest from ordinary labor, worship, and spiritual service. The day belonged to God.
  71. Genesis 2:3 tn Heb “God.” The pronoun (“he”) has been employed in the translation for stylistic reasons.
  72. Genesis 2:3 tn Heb “for on it he ceased from all his work which God created to make.” The last infinitive construct and the verb before it form a verbal hendiadys, the infinitive becoming the modifier—“which God creatively made,” or “which God made in his creating.”
  73. Genesis 2:4 tn The Hebrew phrase אֵלֶּה תּוֹלְדֹת (ʾelleh toledot) is traditionally translated as “these are the generations of” because the noun was derived from the verb “beget.” Its usage, however, shows that it introduces more than genealogies; it begins a narrative that traces what became of the entity or individual mentioned in the heading. In fact, a good paraphrase of this heading would be: “This is what became of the heavens and the earth,” for what follows is not another account of creation but a tracing of events from creation through the fall and judgment (the section extends from 2:4 through 4:26). See M. H. Woudstra, “The Toledot of the Book of Genesis and Their Redemptive-Historical Significance,” CTJ 5 (1970): 184-89.sn The expression this is the account of is an important title used throughout the Book of Genesis, serving as the organizing principle of the work. It is always a heading, introducing the subject matter that is to come. From the starting point of the title, the narrative traces the genealogy or the records or the particulars involved. Although some would make the heading in 2:4 a summary of creation (1:1-2:3), that goes against the usage in the book. As a heading it introduces the theme of the next section, the particulars about this creation that God made. Genesis 2 is not a simple parallel account of creation; rather, beginning with the account of the creation of man and women, the narrative tells what became of that creation. As a beginning, the construction of 2:4-7 forms a fine parallel to the construction of 1:1-3. The subject matter of each תּוֹלְדֹת (toledot, “this is the account of”) section of the book traces a decline or a deterioration through to the next beginning point, and each is thereby a microcosm of the book which begins with divine blessing in the garden, and ends with a coffin in Egypt. So, what became of the creation? Gen 2:4-4:26 will explain that sin entered the world and all but destroyed God’s perfect creation.
  74. Genesis 2:4 tn See the note on the phrase “the heavens and the earth” in 1:1.sn This is the only use of the Hebrew noun תּוֹלְדֹת (toledot) in the book that is not followed by a personal name (e.g., “this is the account of Isaac”). The poetic parallelism reveals that even though the account may be about the creation, it is the creation the Lord God made.
  75. Genesis 2:4 tn Heb “on the day.” In contrast to the numbered days in ch. 1 (see note on “day” at 1:5), “day” appears here in a phrase which means “at the time when.” It may but does not need to refer to a particular day. It can refer to a broader period of time (cf. Obad 11), though typically a short period of time pertaining to a particular event. Here it summarizes the seven days of creation as “when” the Lord created.
  76. Genesis 2:4 sn Advocates of the so-called documentary hypothesis of pentateuchal authorship argue that the introduction of the name Yahweh (Lord) here indicates that a new source (designated J), a parallel account of creation, begins here. In this scheme Gen 1:1-2:3 is understood as the priestly source (designated P) of creation. Critics of this approach often respond that the names, rather than indicating separate sources, were chosen to reflect the subject matter (see U. Cassuto, The Documentary Hypothesis). Gen 1:1-2:3 is the grand prologue of the book, showing the sovereign God creating by decree. The narrative beginning in 2:4 is the account of what this God invested in his creation. Since it deals with the close, personal involvement of the covenant God, the narrative uses the covenantal name Yahweh (Lord) in combination with the name God. For a recent discussion of the documentary hypothesis from a theologically conservative perspective, see D. A. Garrett, Rethinking Genesis. For an attempt by source critics to demonstrate the legitimacy of the source critical method on the basis of ancient Near Eastern parallels, see J. H. Tigay, ed., Empirical Models for Biblical Criticism. For reaction to the source critical method by literary critics, see I. M. Kikawada and A. Quinn, Before Abraham Was; R. Alter, The Art of Biblical Narrative, 131-54; and Adele Berlin, Poetics and Interpretation of Biblical Narrative, 111-34.
  77. Genesis 2:4 tn See the note on the phrase “the heavens and the earth” in 1:1; the order here is reversed, but the meaning is the same.
  78. Genesis 2:5 tn Heb “Now every sprig of the field before it was.” The verb forms, although appearing to be imperfects, are technically preterites coming after the adverb טֶרֶם (terem). The word order (conjunction + subject + predicate) indicates a disjunctive clause, which provides background information for the following narrative (as in 1:2). Two negative clauses are given (“before any sprig…”, and “before any cultivated grain” existed), followed by two causal clauses explaining them, and then a positive circumstantial clause is given—again dealing with water as in 1:2 (water would well up).
  79. Genesis 2:5 tn The first term, שִׂיחַ (siakh), probably refers to the wild, uncultivated plants (see Gen 21:15; Job 30:4, 7); whereas the second, עֵשֶׂב (ʿesev), refers to cultivated grains. It is a way of saying: “back before anything was growing.”
  80. Genesis 2:5 tn The two causal clauses explain the first two disjunctive clauses: There was no uncultivated, general growth because there was no rain, and there were no grains because there was no man to cultivate the soil.sn The last clause in v. 5, “and there was no man to cultivate the ground,” anticipates the curse and the expulsion from the garden (Gen 3:23).
  81. Genesis 2:6 tn The conjunction vav (ו) introduces a third disjunctive clause. The Hebrew word אֵד (ʾed) was traditionally translated “mist” because of its use in Job 36:27. However, an Akkadian cognate edu in Babylonian texts refers to subterranean springs or waterways. Such a spring would fit the description in this context, since this water “goes up” and waters the ground.
  82. Genesis 2:6 tn Heb “was going up.” The verb is an imperfect form, which in this narrative context carries a customary nuance, indicating continual action in past time.
  83. Genesis 2:6 tn The perfect with vav (ו) consecutive carries the same nuance as the preceding verb. Whenever it would well up, it would water the ground.
  84. Genesis 2:6 tn The Hebrew word אֲדָמָה (ʾadamah) actually means “ground; fertile soil.”sn Here is an indication of fertility. The water would well up from the earth (אֶרֶץ, ʾerets) and water all the surface of the fertile soil (אֲדָמָה). It is from that soil that the man (אָדָם, ʾadam) was made (Gen 2:7).
  85. Genesis 2:7 tn Or “fashioned.” The prefixed verb form with vav (ו) consecutive initiates narrative sequence. The Hebrew word יָצַר (yatsar) means “to form” or “to fashion,” usually by plan or design (see the related noun יֵצֶר [yetser] in Gen 6:5). It is the term for an artist’s work (the Hebrew term יוֹצֵר [yotser] refers to a potter; see Jer 18:2-4.)sn Various traditions in the ancient Near East reflect this idea of creation. Egyptian drawings show a deity turning little people off of the potter’s wheel with another deity giving them life. In the Bible humans are related to the soil and return to it (see 3:19; see also Job 4:19, 20:9; and Isa 29:16).
  86. Genesis 2:7 tn The line literally reads “And Yahweh God formed the man, soil, from the ground.” “Soil” is an adverbial accusative, identifying the material from which the man was made.
  87. Genesis 2:7 tn The phrase נִשְׁמַת חַיִּים (nishmat khayyim, “breath of life”) appears for certain only here. In Gen 6:17; 7:15 the phrase is רוּחַ חַיִּים (ruakh khayyim, “breath/spirit of life”), where רוּחַ can mean “breath, wind, spirit.” And in Gen 7:22 the phrase is נִשְׁמַת רוּחַ חַיִּים (nishmat ruakh khayyim, “breath of the breath/spirit of life”). T. C. Mitchell (“The Old Testament Usage of Neshama,” VT 11 [1961]: 177-87) suggests the possibility that נְשָׁמָה (neshamah, “breath”) may not be used for animals but only God and man. BDB 675 s.v. נְשָׁמָה 4 states that the word refers to the human “spirit” in Prov 20:27. Many versions, including the NET, take it that way at Job 26:4 (KJV, NASB, NIV, NKJV, NLT, NRSV). Job 32:8 asserts that God’s “breath” gives people understanding. If so, this may be part of indicating that God made humans differently than other breathing living organisms (נֶפֶשׁ חַיָּה, nefesh khayyah). However Gen 7:22 and Job 34:14-15 may use the term נְשָׁמָה of animals.sn Human life is described here as consisting of a body (made from soil from the ground) and breath (given by God). Both animals and humans are called “a living being” (נֶפֶשׁ חַיָּה) but humankind became that in a different and more significant way.
  88. Genesis 2:7 tn The Hebrew term נֶפֶשׁ (nefesh, “being”) is often translated “soul,” but the word usually refers to the whole person. The phrase נֶפֶשׁ חַיָּה (nefesh khayyah, “living being”) is used of both animals and human beings (see 1:20, 24, 30; 2:19).
  89. Genesis 2:8 tn Traditionally “garden,” but the subsequent description of this “garden” makes it clear that it is an orchard of fruit trees.sn The Lord God planted an orchard. Nothing is said of how the creation of this orchard took place. A harmonization with chap. 1 might lead to the conclusion that it was by decree, prior to the creation of human life. But the narrative sequence here in chap. 2 suggests the creation of the garden followed the creation of the man. Note also the past perfect use of the perfect in the relative clause in the following verse.
  90. Genesis 2:8 tn Heb “from the east” or “off east.”sn One would assume this is east from the perspective of the land of Israel, particularly since the rivers in the area are identified as the rivers in those eastern regions.
  91. Genesis 2:8 sn The name Eden (עֵדֶן,ʿeden) means “pleasure” in Hebrew.
  92. Genesis 2:8 tn The perfect verbal form here requires the past perfect translation since it describes an event that preceded the event described in the main clause.
  93. Genesis 2:9 tn Heb “ground,” referring to the fertile soil.
  94. Genesis 2:9 tn Heb “desirable of sight [or “appearance”].” The phrase describes the kinds of trees that are visually pleasing and yield fruit that is desirable to the appetite.
  95. Genesis 2:9 tn The verse ends with a disjunctive clause providing a parenthetical bit of information about the existence of two special trees in the garden.
  96. Genesis 2:9 tn In light of Gen 3:22, the construction “tree of life” should be interpreted to mean a tree that produces life-giving fruit (objective genitive) rather than a living tree (attributive genitive). See E. O. James, The Tree of Life (SHR); and R. Marcus, “The Tree of Life in Proverbs,” JBL 62 (1943): 117-20.
  97. Genesis 2:9 tn The expression “tree of the knowledge of good and evil” must be interpreted to mean that the tree would produce fruit which, when eaten, gives special knowledge of “good and evil.” Scholars debate what this phrase means here. For a survey of opinions, see G. J. Wenham, Genesis (WBC), 1:62-64. One view is that “good” refers to that which enhances, promotes, and produces life, while “evil” refers to anything that hinders, interrupts or destroys life. So eating from this tree would change human nature—people would be able to alter life for better (in their thinking) or for worse. See D. J. A. Clines, “The Tree of Knowledge and the Law of Yahweh,” VT 24 (1974): 8-14; and I. Engnell, “‘Knowledge’ and ‘Life’ in the Creation Story,” Wisdom in Israel and in the Ancient Near East [VTSup], 103-19. Another view understands the “knowledge of good and evil” as the capacity to discern between moral good and evil. The following context suggests the tree’s fruit gives one wisdom (see the phrase “capable of making one wise” in 3:6, as well as the note there on the word “wise”), which certainly includes the capacity to discern between good and evil. Such wisdom is characteristic of divine beings, as the serpent’s promise implies (3:5) and as 3:22 makes clear. (Note, however, that this capacity does not include the ability to do what is right.) God prohibits man from eating of the tree. The prohibition becomes a test to see if man will be satisfied with his role and place, or if he will try to ascend to the divine level. There will be a time for man to possess moral discernment/wisdom, as God reveals and imparts it to him, but it is not something to be grasped at in an effort to become “a god.” In fact, the command to be obedient was the first lesson in moral discernment/wisdom. God was essentially saying: “Here is lesson one—respect my authority and commands. Disobey me and you will die.” When man disobeys, he decides he does not want to acquire moral wisdom God’s way, but instead tries to rise immediately to the divine level. Once man has acquired such divine wisdom by eating the tree’s fruit (3:22), he must be banned from the garden so that he will not be able to achieve his goal of being godlike and thus live forever, a divine characteristic (3:24). Ironically, man now has the capacity to discern good from evil (3:22), but he is morally corrupted and rebellious and will not consistently choose what is right.
  98. Genesis 2:10 tn The disjunctive clause (note the construction conjunction + subject + predicate) introduces an entire paragraph about the richness of the region in the east.
  99. Genesis 2:10 tn The Hebrew active participle may be translated here as indicating past durative action, “was flowing,” or as a present durative, “flows.” Since this river was the source of the rivers mentioned in vv. 11-14, which appear to describe a situation contemporary with the narrator, it is preferable to translate the participle in v. 10 with the present tense. This suggests that Eden and its orchard still existed in the narrator’s time. According to ancient Jewish tradition, Enoch was taken to the Garden of Eden, where his presence insulated the garden from the destructive waters of Noah’s flood. See Jub. 4:23-24.
  100. Genesis 2:10 sn Eden is portrayed here as a source of life-giving rivers (that is, perennial streams). This is no surprise because its orchard is where the tree of life is located. Eden is a source of life, but tragically its orchard is no longer accessible to humankind. The river flowing out of Eden is a tantalizing reminder of this. God continues to provide life-giving water to sustain physical existence on the earth, but immortality has been lost.
  101. Genesis 2:10 tn The imperfect verb form has the same nuance as the preceding participle. (If the participle is taken as past durative, then the imperfect would be translated “was dividing.”)
  102. Genesis 2:10 tn Or “branches”; Heb “heads.” Cf. NEB “streams”; NASB “rivers.”
  103. Genesis 2:11 tn Heb “it is that which goes around.”
  104. Genesis 2:12 tn Heb “good.”
  105. Genesis 2:12 tn The Hebrew term translated “pearls” may be a reference to resin (cf. NIV “aromatic resin”) or another precious stone (cf. NEB, NASB, NRSV “bdellium”).
  106. Genesis 2:12 tn Or “onyx.”
  107. Genesis 2:13 tn Heb “it is that which goes around.”
  108. Genesis 2:13 sn Cush. In the Bible the Hebrew word כּוּשׁ (kush, “Kush”) often refers to Ethiopia (so KJV, CEV), but here it must refer to a region in Mesopotamia, the area of the later Cassite dynasty of Babylon. See Gen 10:7-10 as well as E. A. Speiser, Genesis (AB), 20. The man Cush had a son named Havilah (see 2:11: “land of Havilah”). Another son was Nimrod, the centers of whose kingdom were in Babylon, Ninevah, and similarly placed cities. Eden was in the East, which was where the headwaters of the four rivers were.
  109. Genesis 2:14 tn Heb “Asshur” (so NEB, NIV).
  110. Genesis 2:15 tn The Hebrew verb נוּחַ (nuakh, translated here as “placed”) is a different verb than the one used in 2:8.
  111. Genesis 2:15 tn Traditionally translated “the Garden of Eden,” the context makes it clear that the garden (or orchard) was in Eden (making “Eden” a genitive of location).
  112. Genesis 2:15 tn Heb “to work it and to keep it.”sn Note that man’s task is to care for and maintain the trees of the orchard. Not until after the fall, when he is condemned to cultivate the soil, does this task change.
  113. Genesis 2:16 sn This is the first time in the Bible that the verb tsavah (צָוָה, “to command”) appears. Whatever the man had to do in the garden, the main focus of the narrative is on keeping God’s commandments. God created humans with the capacity to obey him and then tested them with commands.
  114. Genesis 2:16 tn The imperfect verb form probably carries the nuance of permission (“you may eat”) since the man is not being commanded to eat from every tree. The accompanying infinitive absolute adds emphasis: “you may freely eat,” or “you may eat to your heart’s content.”
  115. Genesis 2:16 tn The word “fruit” is not in the Hebrew text, but is implied as the direct object of the verb “eat.” Presumably the only part of the tree the man would eat would be its fruit (cf. 3:2).
  116. Genesis 2:17 tn The disjunctive clause here indicates contrast: “but from the tree of the knowledge….”
  117. Genesis 2:17 tn The negated imperfect verb form indicates prohibition, “you must not eat.”
  118. Genesis 2:17 tn Or “in the very day, as soon as.” If one understands the expression to have this more precise meaning, then the following narrative presents a problem, for the man does not die physically as soon as he eats from the tree. In this case one may argue that spiritual death is in view. If physical death is in view here, there are two options to explain the following narrative: (1) The following phrase “You will surely die” concerns mortality which ultimately results in death (a natural paraphrase would be, “You will become mortal”), or (2) God mercifully gave man a reprieve, allowing him to live longer than he deserved.
  119. Genesis 2:17 tn Heb “dying you will die.” The imperfect verb form here has the nuance of the specific future because it is introduced with the temporal clause, “when you eat…you will die.” That certainty is underscored with the infinitive absolute, “you will surely die.”sn The Hebrew text (“dying you will die”) does not refer to two aspects of death (“dying spiritually, you will then die physically”). The construction simply emphasizes the certainty of death, however it is defined. Death is essentially separation. To die physically means separation from the land of the living, but not extinction. To die spiritually means to be separated from God. Both occur with sin, although the physical alienation is more gradual than instant, and the spiritual is immediate, although the effects of it continue the separation.
  120. Genesis 2:18 tn Heb “The man’s being alone is not good.” The meaning of “good” must be defined contextually. Within the context of creation, in which God instructs humankind to be fruitful and multiply, the man alone cannot comply. Being alone prevents the man from fulfilling the design of creation and therefore is not good.sn The statement about Adam being alone precedes the naming of the animals, and the command to be fruitful (1:28) came after the creation of woman (1:27). Naming the animals will show that none of them qualify as a companion for Adam (v. 20).
  121. Genesis 2:18 tn Traditionally “helper.” The English word “helper,” because it can connote so many different ideas, does not accurately convey the connotation of the Hebrew word עֵזֶר (ʿezer). Usage of the Hebrew term does not suggest a subordinate role, a connotation which English “helper” can have. In the Bible God is frequently described as the “helper,” the one who does for us what we cannot do for ourselves, the one who meets our needs. In this context the word seems to express the idea of an “indispensable companion.” The woman would supply what the man was lacking in the design of creation and logically it would follow that the man would supply what she was lacking, although that is not stated here. See further M. L. Rosenzweig, “A Helper Equal to Him,” Jud 139 (1986): 277-80.
  122. Genesis 2:18 tn The Hebrew expression כְּנֶגְדּוֹ (kenegdo) literally means “according to the opposite of him.” Translations such as “suitable [for]” (NASB, NIV), “matching,” “corresponding to” all capture the idea. (Translations that render the phrase simply “partner” [cf. NEB, NRSV], while not totally inaccurate, do not reflect the nuance of correspondence and/or suitability.) The man’s form and nature are matched by the woman’s as she reflects him and complements him. Together they correspond. In short, this prepositional phrase indicates that she has everything that God had invested in him.
  123. Genesis 2:19 tn Or “fashioned.” To harmonize the order of events with the chronology of chapter one, some translate the prefixed verb form with vav (ו) consecutive as a past perfect (“had formed,” cf. NIV) here. (In chapter one the creation of the animals preceded the creation of man; here the animals are created after the man.) However, it is unlikely that the Hebrew construction can be translated in this way in the middle of this pericope, for the criteria for unmarked temporal overlay are not present here. See S. R. Driver, A Treatise on the Use of the Tenses in Hebrew, 84-88, and especially R. Buth, “Methodological Collision between Source Criticism and Discourse Analysis,” Biblical Hebrew and Discourse Linguistics, 138-54. For a contrary viewpoint see IBHS 552-53 §33.2.3 and C. J. Collins, “The Wayyiqtol as ‘Pluperfect’: When and Why,” TynBul 46 (1995): 117-40.
  124. Genesis 2:19 tn The imperfect verb form is future from the perspective of the past time narrative.
  125. Genesis 2:20 tn Here for the first time the Hebrew word אָדָם (ʾadam) appears without the article, suggesting that it might now be the name “Adam” rather than “[the] man.” Translations of the Bible differ as to where they make the change from “man” to “Adam” (e.g., NASB and NIV translate “Adam” here, while NEB and NRSV continue to use “the man”; the KJV uses “Adam” twice in v. 19).
  126. Genesis 2:20 tn Heb “there was not found a companion who corresponded to him.” The subject of the third masculine singular verb form is indefinite. Without a formally expressed subject the verb may be translated as passive: “one did not find = there was not found.”
  127. Genesis 2:21 tn Heb “And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall on the man.”
  128. Genesis 2:21 tn Heb “and he slept.” In the sequence the verb may be subordinated to the following verb to indicate a temporal clause (“while…”).
  129. Genesis 2:21 tn Traditionally translated “rib,” the Hebrew word actually means “side.” The Hebrew text reads, “and he took one from his sides,” which could be rendered “part of his sides.” That idea may fit better the explanation by the man that the woman is his flesh and bone.
  130. Genesis 2:21 tn Heb “closed up the flesh under it.”
  131. Genesis 2:22 tn The Hebrew verb is בָּנָה (banah, “to make, to build, to construct”). The text states that the Lord God built the rib into a woman. Again, the passage gives no indication of precisely how this was done.
  132. Genesis 2:23 tn The Hebrew term הַפַּעַם (happaʿam) means “the [this] time, this place,” or “now, finally, at last.” The expression conveys the futility of the man while naming the animals and finding no one who corresponded to him.
  133. Genesis 2:23 tn The Hebrew text is very precise, stating: “of this one it will be said, ‘woman’.” The text is not necessarily saying that the man named his wife—that comes after the fall (Gen 3:20).sn Some argue that naming implies the man’s authority or ownership over the woman here. Naming can indicate ownership or authority if one is calling someone or something by one’s name and/or calling a name over someone or something (see 2 Sam 12:28; 2 Chr 7:14; Isa 4:1; Jer 7:14; 15:16), especially if one is conquering and renaming a site. But the idiomatic construction used here (the Niphal of קָרָא [qaraʾ] with the preposition ל [lamed]) does not suggest such an idea. In each case where it is used, the one naming discerns something about the object being named and gives it an appropriate name (See 1 Sam 9:9; 2 Sam 18:18; Prov 16:21; Isa 1:26; 32:5; 35:8; 62:4, 12; Jer 19:6). Adam is not so much naming the woman as he is discerning her close relationship to him and referring to her accordingly. He may simply be anticipating that she will be given an appropriate name based on the discernible similarity.
  134. Genesis 2:23 tn Or “from” (but see v. 22).
  135. Genesis 2:23 sn This poetic section expresses the correspondence between the man and the woman. She is bone of his bones, flesh of his flesh. Note the wordplay (paronomasia) between “woman” (אִשָּׁה, ʾishah) and “man” (אִישׁ, ʾish). On the surface it appears that the word for woman is the feminine form of the word for man. But the two words are not etymologically related. The sound and the sense give that impression, however, and make for a more effective wordplay.
  136. Genesis 2:24 tn This statement, introduced by the Hebrew phrase עַל־כֵּן (ʿal ken, “therefore” or “that is why”), is an editorial comment, not an extension of the quotation. The statement is describing what typically happens, not what will or should happen. It is saying, “This is why we do things the way we do.” It links a contemporary (with the narrator) practice with the historical event being narrated. The historical event narrated in v. 23 provides the basis for the contemporary practice described in v. 24. That is why the imperfect verb forms are translated with the present tense rather than future.
  137. Genesis 2:24 tn The prefixed verb form יַעֲזָב (yaʿzov) may be an imperfect, “leaves,” with a gnomic or characteristic nuance, or a jussive, “should leave” (possibly indicated by the short o-vowel). The next two verbs, each a perfect consecutive, continue the force of this verb. For other examples of עַל־כֵּן (ʿal ken, “therefore, that is why”) with the imperfect in a narrative framework, see Gen 10:9; 32:32 (the phrase “to this day” indicates characteristic behavior is in view); Num 21:14, 27; 1 Sam 5:5 (note “to this day”); 19:24 (perhaps the imperfect is customary here, “were saying”); 2 Sam 5:8. The verb translated “leave” (עָזָב, ʿazav) normally means “to abandon, to forsake, to leave behind,” when used with human subject and object (see Josh 22:3; 1 Sam 30:13; Ps 27:10; Prov 2:17; Isa 54:6; 60:15; 62:4; Jer 49:11). Within the context of the ancient Israelite extended family structure, this cannot refer to emotional or geographical separation. The narrator is using hyperbole to emphasize the change in perspective that typically overtakes a young man when his thoughts turn to love and marriage.
  138. Genesis 2:24 tn The verb is traditionally translated “cleaves [to]”; it has the basic idea of “stick with/to” (e.g., it is used of Ruth resolutely staying with her mother-in-law in Ruth 1:14). In this passage it describes the inseparable relationship between the man and the woman in marriage as God intended it.
  139. Genesis 2:24 tn Heb “and they become one flesh.” The retention of the word “flesh” (בָּשָׂר, basar) in the translation often leads to an incomplete interpretation. The Hebrew word refers to more than just a sexual union. The man and woman bring into being a new family unit (הָיָה plus preposition ל [hayah plus lamed] means “become”). The phrase “one flesh” occurs only here and must be interpreted in light of v. 23. There the man declares that the woman is bone of his bone and flesh of his flesh. To be one’s “bone and flesh” is to be related by blood to someone. For example, the phrase describes the relationship between Laban and Jacob (Gen 29:14); Abimelech and the Shechemites (Judg 9:2; his mother was a Shechemite); David and the Israelites (2 Sam 5:1); David and the elders of Judah (2 Sam 19:12); and David and his nephew Amasa (2 Sam 19:13; see 2 Sam 17:25; 1 Chr 2:16-17). The expression “one flesh” seems to indicate that they become, as it were, “kin,” at least legally (a new family unit is created) or metaphorically. In this first marriage in human history, the woman was literally formed from the man’s bone and flesh. The first marriage sets the pattern for how later marriages are understood and explains why marriage supersedes the parent-child relationship. See NT use of this passage in Matt 19:5-6; Mark 10:8; 1 Cor 6:16; and Eph 5:31.
  140. Genesis 2:25 tn Heb “And the two of them were naked, the man and his wife.” sn Naked. The motif of nakedness is introduced here and plays an important role in the next chapter. In the Bible nakedness conveys different things. In this context it signifies either innocence or integrity, depending on how those terms are defined. There is no fear of exploitation, no sense of vulnerability. But after the entrance of sin into the race, nakedness takes on a negative sense. It is then usually connected with the sense of vulnerability, shame, exploitation, and exposure (such as the idea of “uncovering nakedness” either in sexual exploitation or in captivity in war).
  141. Genesis 2:25 tn The imperfect verb form here has a customary nuance, indicating a continuing condition in past time. The meaning of the Hebrew term בּוֹשׁ (bosh) is “to be ashamed, to put to shame,” but its meaning is stronger than “to be embarrassed.” The word conveys the fear of exploitation or evil—enemies are put to shame through military victory. It indicates the feeling of shame that approximates a fear of evil.
  142. Genesis 3:1 tn The chapter begins with a disjunctive clause (conjunction + subject + predicate) that introduces a new character and a new scene in the story.
  143. Genesis 3:1 sn Many theologians identify or associate the serpent with Satan. In this view Satan comes in the disguise of a serpent or speaks through a serpent. This explains the serpent’s capacity to speak. While later passages in the Bible indicate there was a satanic presence behind the serpent (see Rev 12:9 and 20:2), the immediate context first pictures the serpent as one of the animals of the field created by God (see vv. 1, 14). An ancient Jewish interpretation explains the reference to the serpent in a literal manner, attributing the capacity to speak to all the animals in the orchard. This text (Jub. 3:28) states, “On that day [the day the man and woman were expelled from the orchard] the mouth of all the beasts and cattle and birds and whatever walked or moved was stopped from speaking because all of them used to speak to one another with one speech and one language [presumed to be Hebrew, see 12:26].” Josephus, Ant. 1.1.4 (1.41) attributes the serpent’s actions to jealousy. He writes that “the serpent, living in the company of Adam and his wife, grew jealous of the blessings which he supposed were destined for them if they obeyed God’s behests, and, believing that disobedience would bring trouble on them, he maliciously persuaded the woman to taste of the tree of wisdom.” However, Scripture does not mention all the animals speaking, and there is no evidence of animals with capacity for intelligent speech. So more probably Satan, like God with Balaam's ass (Num 22:28), enabled the serpent. He spoke through it. Arnold Fruchtenbaum (The Book of Genesis [Ariel’s Bible Commentary], 91), citing Baba Batra and Midrash Rabbah, Bereishit 18:6, gives quotes to show this was the view of rabbinic writings.
  144. Genesis 3:1 tn The Hebrew word עָרוּם (ʿarum) basically means “clever.” This idea then polarizes into the nuances “cunning” (in a negative sense, see Job 5:12; 15:5 [cf. 2 Cor 11:3]), and “prudent” in a positive sense (Prov 12:16, 23; 13:16; 14:8, 15, 18; 22:3; 27:12). This same polarization of meaning can be detected in related words derived from the same root (see Exod 21:14; Josh 9:4; 1 Sam 23:22; Job 5:13; Ps 83:3). The negative nuance obviously applies in Gen 3, where the snake attempts to talk the woman into disobeying God by using half-truths and lies. But since God's original creation was good (Gen 1:31), the serpent’s natural sagacity has been perverted and exploited. His second comment shows that he used feigned ignorance for the first. He was aware of the emphasis on “surely” dying (see Gen 2:17) and aware of knowing good and evil by the tree, ideas Eve had not mentioned. He showed knowledge beyond the capacity of animals. He lied and so was disloyal to God. These facts indicate control of the serpent by a supernatural being.sn There is a wordplay in Hebrew between the words “naked” (עֲרוּמִּים, ʿarummim) in 2:25 and “shrewd” (עָרוּם, ʿarum) in 3:1. The point seems to be that the integrity of the man and the woman is the focus of the serpent’s craftiness. At the beginning they are naked and he is shrewd; afterward, they will be covered and he will be cursed.
  145. Genesis 3:1 tn Heb “animals of the field.”
  146. Genesis 3:1 tn Heb “Indeed that God said.” The beginning of the quotation is elliptical and therefore difficult to translate. One must supply a phrase like “is it true”: “Indeed, [is it true] that God said.”
  147. Genesis 3:1 sn God. The serpent does not use the expression “Yahweh God” [Lord God] because there is no covenant relationship involved between God and the serpent. He only speaks of “God.” In the process the serpent draws the woman into his manner of speech so that she too only speaks of “God.”
  148. Genesis 3:1 tn Heb “you must not eat from all the tree[s] of the orchard.” After the negated prohibitive verb, מִכֹּל (mikkol, “from all”) has the meaning “from any.” Note the construction in Lev 18:26, where the statement “you must not do from all these abominable things” means “you must not do any of these abominable things.” See Lev 22:25 and Deut 28:14 as well.
  149. Genesis 3:2 tn There is a notable change between what the Lord God had said and what the woman says. God said “you may freely eat” (the imperfect with the infinitive absolute, see 2:16), but the woman omits the emphatic infinitive, saying simply “we may eat.” Her words do not reflect the sense of eating to her heart’s content.
  150. Genesis 3:3 sn And you must not touch it. The woman adds to God’s prohibition, making it say more than God expressed. G. von Rad observes that it is as though she wanted to set a law for herself by means of this exaggeration (Genesis [OTL], 86).
  151. Genesis 3:3 tn The Hebrew construction is פֶּן (pen) with the imperfect tense, which conveys a negative purpose: “lest you die” = “in order that you not die.” By stating the warning in this way, the woman omits the emphatic infinitive used by God (“you shall surely die,” see 2:17).
  152. Genesis 3:4 tn The response of the serpent includes the infinitive absolute with a blatant negation equal to saying: “Not—you will surely die” (לֹא מוֹת תְּמֻתוּן, lo’ mot temutun). The construction makes this emphatic because normally the negative particle precedes the finite verb. The serpent is a liar, denying that there is a penalty for sin (see John 8:44).sn Surely you will not die. Here the serpent is more aware of what the Lord God said than the woman was; he simply adds a blatant negation to what God said. In the account of Jesus’ temptation Jesus is victorious because he knows the scripture better than Satan (Matt 4:1-11).
  153. Genesis 3:5 tn Or “you will have understanding.” This obviously refers to the acquisition of the “knowledge of good and evil,” as the next statement makes clear.
  154. Genesis 3:5 tn Or “like divine beings who know.” It is unclear how the plural participle translated “knowing” is functioning. On the one hand, יֹדְעֵי (yodeʿe) could be taken as a substantival participle functioning as a predicative adjective in the sentence. In this case one might translate: “You will be, like God himself, knowers of good and evil.” On the other hand, it could be taken as an attributive adjective modifying אֱלֹהִים (ʾelohim). In this case אֱלֹהִים has to be taken as a numerical plural referring to “gods,” meaning “divine or heavenly beings,” because if the one true God were the intended referent, a singular form of the participle would appear as a modifier. Following this line of interpretation, one could translate, “You will be like divine beings who know good and evil.” The following context may support this translation, for in 3:22 God says to an unidentified group, “Look, the man has become like one of us, knowing good and evil.” It is possible that God is addressing his heavenly court (see the note on the word “make” in 1:26), the members of which can be called “gods” or “divine/heavenly beings” from the ancient Israelite perspective (cf. KJV, NAB, JPS). (We know some of these beings as messengers or “angels.”) An examination of parallel constructions shows that a predicative understanding (“you will be, like God himself, knowers of good and evil,”) is possible (see Gen 27:23, where “hairy” is predicative, complementing the verb “to be”). Other evidence suggests that the participle is attributive, modifying “divine/heavenly beings” (see Ps 31:12; Isa 1:30; 13:14; 16:2; 29:5; 58:11; Jer 14:9; 20:9; 23:9; 31:12; 48:41; 49:22; Hos 7:11; Amos 4:11). In all of these texts, where a comparative clause and accompanying adjective/participle follow a copulative (“to be”) verb, the adjective/participle is attributive after the noun in the comparative clause. The translation of “God,” though, is supported by how אֱלֹהִים (ʾelohim) is used in the surrounding context where it always refers to the true God and many translations take it this way (cf. NIV, TNIV, RSV, NRSV, ESV, HCSB, NLT, NASB, REB, and NKJV). In this interpretation the plural participle refers to Adam and Eve.
  155. Genesis 3:5 sn You will be like God, knowing good and evil. The serpent raises doubts about the integrity of God. He implies that the only reason for the prohibition was that God was protecting the divine domain. If the man and woman were to eat, they would enter into that domain. The temptation is to overstep divinely established boundaries. (See D. E. Gowan, When Man Becomes God [PTMS], 25.)
  156. Genesis 3:6 tn Heb “And the woman saw.” The clause can be rendered as a temporal clause subordinate to the following verb in the sequence.
  157. Genesis 3:6 tn Heb “that the tree was good for food.” The words “produced fruit that was” are not in the Hebrew text, but are implied.
  158. Genesis 3:6 tn The Hebrew word תַּאֲוָה (taʾavah, translated “attractive” here) actually means “desirable.” This term and the later term נֶחְמָד (nekhmad, “desirable”) are synonyms.sn Attractive (Heb “desirable”)…desirable. These are different words in Hebrew. The verbal roots for both of these forms appear in Deut 5:21 in the prohibition against coveting. Strong desires usually lead to taking.
  159. Genesis 3:6 tn Heb “that good was the tree for food, and that desirable it was to the eyes, and desirable was the tree to make one wise.” On the connection between moral wisdom and the “knowledge of good and evil,” see the note on the word “evil” in 2:9.sn Desirable for making one wise. The quest for wisdom can follow the wrong course, as indeed it does here. No one can become like God by disobeying God. It is that simple. The Book of Proverbs stresses that obtaining wisdom begins with the fear of God that is evidenced through obedience to his word. Here, in seeking wisdom, Eve disobeys God and ends up afraid of God.
  160. Genesis 3:6 tn The pronoun “it” is not in the Hebrew text, but is supplied (here and also after “ate” at the end of this verse) for stylistic reasons.sn She took…and ate it. The critical word now discloses the disobedience: “[she] ate.” Since the Lord God had said, “You shall not eat,” the main point of the divine inquisition will be, “Did you eat,” meaning, “did you disobey the command?” The woman ate, being deceived by the serpent (1 Tim 2:14), but then the man ate, apparently willingly when the woman gave him the fruit (see Rom 5:12, 17-19).
  161. Genesis 3:6 sn This pericope (3:1-7) is a fine example of Hebrew narrative structure. After an introductory disjunctive clause that introduces a new character and sets the stage (3:1), the narrative tension develops through dialogue, culminating in the action of the story. Once the dialogue is over, the action is told in a rapid sequence of verbs—she took, she ate, she gave, and he ate.
  162. Genesis 3:8 tn The Hitpael participle of הָלָךְ (halakh, “to walk, to go”) here has an iterative sense, “moving” or “going about.” While a translation of “walking about” is possible, it assumes a theophany, the presence of the Lord God in a human form. This is more than the text asserts.
  163. Genesis 3:8 tn The expression is traditionally rendered “cool of the day,” because the Hebrew word רוּחַ (ruakh) can mean “wind.” U. Cassuto (Genesis: From Adam to Noah, 152-54) concludes after lengthy discussion that the expression refers to afternoon when it became hot and the sun was beginning to decline. J. J. Niehaus (God at Sinai [SOTBT], 155-57) offers a different interpretation of the phrase, relating יוֹם (yom, usually understood as “day”) to an Akkadian cognate umu (“storm”) and translates the phrase “in the wind of the storm.” If Niehaus is correct, then God is not pictured as taking an afternoon stroll through the orchard, but as coming in a powerful windstorm to confront the man and woman with their rebellion. In this case קוֹל יְהוָה (qol yehvah, “sound of the Lord”) may refer to God’s thunderous roar, which typically accompanies his appearance in the storm to do battle or render judgment (e.g., see Ps 29).
  164. Genesis 3:8 tn The verb used here is the Hitpael, giving the reflexive idea (“they hid themselves”). In v. 10, when Adam answers the Lord, the Niphal form is used with the same sense: “I hid.”
  165. Genesis 3:9 tn The Hebrew verb קָרָא (qaraʾ, “to call”) followed by the preposition אֶל (ʾel) or ל (lamed) “to, unto”) often carries the connotation of “summon.”
  166. Genesis 3:9 sn Where are you? The question is probably rhetorical (a figure of speech called erotesis) rather than literal, because it was spoken to the man, who answers it with an explanation of why he was hiding rather than a location. The question has more the force of “Why are you hiding?”
  167. Genesis 3:10 tn Heb “and he said.”
  168. Genesis 3:10 tn Heb “your sound.” If one sees a storm theophany here (see the note on the word “time” in v. 8), then one could translate, “your powerful voice.”
  169. Genesis 3:11 tn Heb “and he said.” The referent (the Lord God) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
  170. Genesis 3:11 sn Who told you that you were naked? This is another rhetorical question, asking more than what it appears to ask. The second question in the verse reveals the Lord God’s real concern.
  171. Genesis 3:11 sn The Hebrew word order (“Did you from the tree—which I commanded you not to eat from it—eat?”) is arranged to emphasize that the man’s and the woman’s eating of the fruit was an act of disobedience. The relative clause inserted immediately after the reference to the tree brings out this point very well.
  172. Genesis 3:12 tn The Hebrew construction in this sentence uses an independent nominative absolute (formerly known as a casus pendens). “The woman” is the independent nominative absolute; it is picked up by the formal subject, the pronoun “she” written with the verb (“she gave”). The point of the construction is to throw the emphasis on “the woman.” But what makes this so striking is that a relative clause has been inserted to explain what is meant by the reference to the woman: “whom you gave me.” Ultimately, the man is blaming God for giving him the woman who (from the man’s viewpoint) caused him to sin.
  173. Genesis 3:12 tn The words “some fruit” here and the pronoun “it” at the end of the sentence are not in the Hebrew text, but are supplied for stylistic reasons.
  174. Genesis 3:13 tn The use of the demonstrative pronoun is enclitic, serving as an undeclined particle for emphasis. It gives the sense of “What in the world have you done?” (see R. J. Williams, Hebrew Syntax, 24, §118).
  175. Genesis 3:13 sn The Hebrew word order puts the subject (“the serpent”) before the verb here, giving prominence to it.
  176. Genesis 3:13 tn This verb (the Hiphil of נָשָׁא, nashaʾ) is used elsewhere of a king or god misleading his people into false confidence (2 Kgs 18:29 = 2 Chr 32:15 = Isa 36:14; 2 Kgs 19:10 = Isa 37:10), of an ally deceiving a partner (Obad 7), of God deceiving his sinful people as a form of judgment (Jer 4:10), of false prophets instilling their audience with false hope (Jer 29:8), and of pride and false confidence producing self-deception (Jer 37:9; 49:16; Obad 3).
  177. Genesis 3:14 sn Note that God asks no question of the serpent, does not call for confession, as he did to the man and the woman; there is only the announcement of the curse. The order in this section is chiastic: The man is questioned, the woman is questioned, the serpent is cursed, sentence is passed on the woman, sentence is passed on the man.
  178. Genesis 3:14 tn The Hebrew word translated “cursed,” a passive participle from אָרָר (ʾarar), either means “punished” or “banished,” depending on how one interprets the following preposition. If the preposition is taken as comparative, then the idea is “cursed [i.e., punished] are you above [i.e., more than] all the wild beasts.” In this case the comparative preposition reflects the earlier comparison: The serpent was more shrewd than all others, and so more cursed than all others. If the preposition is taken as separative (see the note on the word “banished” in 4:11), then the idea is “cursed and banished from all the wild beasts.” In this case the serpent is condemned to isolation from all the other animals.
  179. Genesis 3:14 tn Heb “go”; “walk,” but in English “crawl” or “slither” better describes a serpent’s movement.
  180. Genesis 3:14 sn Dust you will eat. Being restricted to crawling on the ground would necessarily involve “eating dust,” although that is not the diet of the serpent. The idea of being brought low, of “eating dust” as it were, is a symbol of humiliation.
  181. Genesis 3:15 tn The Hebrew word translated “hostility” is derived from the root אֵיב (ʾev, “to be hostile, to be an adversary [or enemy]”). The curse announces that there will be continuing hostility between the serpent and the woman. The serpent will now live in a “battle zone,” as it were.
  182. Genesis 3:15 sn The Hebrew word זֶרַע (zera‘, “seed, offspring”) can designate an individual (Gen 4:25) or a collective (Gen 13:16) and may imply both in this line. The text anticipates the ongoing struggle between humans (the woman’s offspring) and snakes (the serpent’s offspring). An ancient Jewish interpretation of the passage states: “He made the serpent, cause of the deceit, press the earth with belly and flank, having bitterly driven him out. He aroused a dire enmity between them. The one guards his head to save it, the other his heel, for death is at hand in the proximity of men and malignant poisonous snakes.” See Sib. Or. 1:59-64. For a similar interpretation see Josephus, Ant. 1.1.4 (1.50-51). The text may also allude to a larger conflict, as Tremper Longman (Genesis [The Story of God Commentary], 67) suggests that the author and the ancient audience of Genesis would have seen the serpent as representing spiritual forces of evil. This verse can be seen as a piece of the same fabric discussing the conflict between good and evil, where the serpent also represents Satan (cf. Rev 12:9) and the woman’s seed also represents God’s people and the Messiah. The promise of seed in the Books of Moses and the rest of the Old Testament is a developing motif of anticipatory hope. After referring to humanity here, in subsequent contexts it refers to Israel (Abraham’s seed), the Davidic line, and to the Messiah. Interpreters who understand this verse as an allusion to the spiritual conflict vary in how incipient or developed they view the theme to be here.
  183. Genesis 3:15 tn The singular pronoun refers to the offspring. As a collective noun, זֶרַע (zeraʿ, “seed, offspring”) may be replaced by a plural pronoun (Isa 65:23; Ezra 2:59; Neh 7:61). When the referent is singular it must have corresponding singular forms. But it may also take a singular verb (Gen 16:10; 22:17; 24:60) or be replaced by a singular pronoun even when referring to a collective group (Deut 31:21). So by form alone, the referent may be to a group or an individual. The LXX translates “seed” with a neuter noun (σπέρμα, sperma) but then uses the masculine singular pronoun, indicating the translator may have taken the pronoun to refer to a person. Gordon Wenham (Genesis 1-15 [WBC] 80-81) notes that the Palestinian targums (Pseudo-Jonathan, Neofiti, Fragment-Targums), and possibly the Targum Onqelos in the East, had a messianic interpretation.
  184. Genesis 3:15 tn Or “but you will…”; or “as he attacks your head, you will attack his heel.” The disjunctive clause (conjunction + subject + verb) is understood as contrastive. Both clauses place the subject before the verb, a construction that is sometimes used to indicate synchronic action (see Judg 15:14).
  185. Genesis 3:15 sn The address in the second person singular can extend to the descendants of the one being addressed. For example in Gen 28:14, the Lord says to Jacob, “Your offspring will be like the dust of the earth, and you [second masculine singular] will spread out to the west, east, north, and south.” Jacob will not personally “spread out” in all directions, but rather his offspring will. Applied here the reference is to the ongoing conflict between humans and snakes. Not viewing this device at work here would distinguish the continuing battle of this snake against humanity, suggesting to some interpreters that the serpent stands for Satan.
  186. Genesis 3:15 tn The nuance of this rare verb is difficult to know with certainty. The woman’s offspring and the serpent’s offspring are both said to שׁוּף (shuf) at each other. Some have supposed two homonymous roots meaning “to bite” and “to crush,” but this appears to force the context (the results of striking) into the verb. Cognates in West and South Semitic include meanings of spreading, rubbing out, smearing, stroking, and polishing (HALOT, 1446). Perhaps a back and forth motion is central to the meaning and this can easily be pictured in a confrontation between a person and a snake, whether striking at each other or swaying before the attack. LXX uses τηρέω (tēreō) “to watch, keep, guard,” apparently envisioning the two watching each other in anticipation of attack. Others emphasize the act of striking, “bring blows against” (Josephus Ant. 1.1.11) or the result of the striking motion, “bruise, bite.” In the other two uses of the verb the subjects are darkness (Ps 139:11) and a storm (Job 9:17). Gordon Wenham (Genesis 1-15 [WBC], 80-81) suggests “batter,” as a storm would strike in Job. For Ps 139:11 a conjectural reading from סָכַך (sakhakh; “to cover”) has become widely accepted in place of שׁוּף. Others propose that שׁוּף (shuf) and שָׁאַף (shaʾaf) are related, the latter including meanings “to pester, to attack” (HALOT, 1375). sn Rom 16:20 may echo Gen 3:15 but it does not use any of the specific language of Gen 3:15 in the LXX. Paul’s Greek word for “crush” in Rom 16:20 may reflect use of the Hebrew of Gen 3:15 rather than the LXX. Paul chose imagery of God soon crushing Satan’s head under the feet of the church. If Paul was interpreting Gen 3:15, he was not seeing it as culminating in and limited to Jesus defeating Satan via the crucifixion and resurrection, but as extending beyond that.
  187. Genesis 3:15 sn Ancient Israelites, who often encountered snakes in their daily activities (see, for example, Eccl 10:8 and Amos 5:19), would find the statement quite meaningful as an explanation for the hostility between snakes and humans. (In the broader ancient Near Eastern context, compare the Mesopotamian serpent omens. See H. W. F. Saggs, The Greatness That Was Babylon, 309.) This ongoing struggle, when interpreted in light of v. 15, is a tangible reminder of the conflict introduced into the world by the first humans’ rebellion against God. Many Christian theologians, going back to Justin Martyr (a.d. 160) and Irenaeus (a.d. 180), additionally understand v. 15 as the so-called protevangelium, prophesying Christ’s victory over Satan (see W. Witfall, “Genesis 3:15 – a Protevangelium?” CBQ 36 [1974]: 361-65; and R. A. Martin, “The Earliest Messianic Interpretation of Genesis 3:15, ” JBL 84 [1965]: 425-27). According to this view, the passage would give the first hint of the gospel. Satan delivers a crippling blow to the Seed of the woman (Jesus), who in turn delivers a fatal blow to the Serpent (first defeating him through the death and resurrection [1 Cor 15:55-57] and then destroying him in the judgment [Rev 12:7-9; 20:7-10]). In this view, v. 15b must be translated in one of the following ways: “he will crush your head, even though you attack his heel” (in which case the second clause is concessive) or “he will crush your head as you attack his heel” (the clauses, both of which place the subject before the verb, may indicate synchronic action).
  188. Genesis 3:16 tn The imperfect verb form is emphasized and intensified by the infinitive absolute from the same verb.
  189. Genesis 3:16 tn Heb “your pain and your conception,” suggesting to some interpreters that having a lot of children was a result of the judgment (probably to make up for the loss through death). But the next clause shows that the pain is associated with conception and childbirth. The two words form a hendiadys (where two words are joined to express one idea, like “good and angry” in English), the second explaining the first. “Conception,” if the correct meaning of the noun, must be figurative here since there is no pain in conception; it is a synecdoche, representing the entire process of childbirth and child rearing from the very start. However, recent etymological research suggests the noun is derived from a root הרר (hrr), not הרה (hrh), and means “trembling, pain” (see D. Tsumura, “A Note on הרוֹן (Gen 3, 16),” Bib 75 [1994]: 398-400). In this case “pain and trembling” refers to the physical effects of childbirth. The word עִצְּבוֹן (ʿitsevon, “pain”), an abstract noun related to the verb (עָצַב, ʿatsav), includes more than physical pain. It is emotional distress as well as physical pain. The same word is used in v. 17 for the man’s painful toil in the field.
  190. Genesis 3:16 tn Heb “and toward your husband [will be] your desire.” The nominal sentence does not have a verb; a future verb must be supplied, because the focus of the oracle is on the future struggle. The precise meaning of the noun תְּשׁוּקָה (teshuqah, “desire”) is debated. Many interpreters conclude that it refers to sexual desire here, because the subject of the passage is the relationship between a wife and her husband, and because the word is used in a romantic sense in Song 7:11 HT (7:10 ET). However, this interpretation makes little sense in Gen 3:16. First, it does not fit well with the assertion “he will dominate you.” Second, it implies that sexual desire was not part of the original creation, even though the man and the woman were told to multiply. And third, it ignores the usage of the word in Gen 4:7 where it refers to sin’s desire to control and dominate Cain. (Even in Song of Songs it carries the basic idea of “control,” for it describes the young man’s desire to “have his way sexually” with the young woman.) In Gen 3:16 the Lord announces a struggle, a conflict between the man and the woman. She will desire to control him, but he will dominate her instead. This interpretation also fits the tone of the passage, which is a judgment oracle. See further Susan T. Foh, “What is the Woman’s Desire?” WTJ 37 (1975): 376-83.
  191. Genesis 3:16 tn The Hebrew verb מָשַׁל (mashal) means “to rule over,” but in a way that emphasizes powerful control, domination, or mastery. This also is part of the baser human nature. The translation assumes the imperfect verb form has an objective/indicative sense here. Another option is to understand it as having a modal, desiderative nuance, “but he will want to dominate you.” In this case, the Lord simply announces the struggle without indicating who will emerge victorious.sn This passage is a judgment oracle. It announces that conflict between man and woman will become the norm in human society. It does not depict the NT ideal, where the husband sacrificially loves his wife, as Christ loved the church, and where the wife recognizes the husband’s loving leadership in the family and voluntarily submits to it. Sin produces a conflict or power struggle between the man and the woman, but in Christ man and woman call a truce and live harmoniously (Eph 5:18-32).
  192. Genesis 3:17 tn Since there is no article on the word, the personal name is used, rather than the generic “the man” (cf. NRSV).
  193. Genesis 3:17 tn The idiom “listen to the voice of” often means “obey.” The man “obeyed” his wife and in the process disobeyed God.
  194. Genesis 3:17 sn For the ground to be cursed means that it will no longer yield its bounty as the blessing from God had promised. The whole creation, Paul writes in Rom 8:22, is still groaning under this curse, waiting for the day of redemption.
  195. Genesis 3:17 sn In painful toil you will eat. The theme of eating is prominent throughout Gen 3. The prohibition was against eating from the tree of knowledge. The sin was in eating. The interrogation concerned the eating from the tree of knowledge. The serpent is condemned to eat the dust of the ground. The curse focuses on eating in a “measure for measure” justice. Because the man and the woman sinned by eating the forbidden fruit, God will forbid the ground to cooperate, and so it will be through painful toil that they will eat.
  196. Genesis 3:18 tn The Hebrew term עֵשֶׂב (ʿesev), when referring to human food, excludes grass (eaten by cattle) and woody plants like vines.
  197. Genesis 3:19 tn The expression “the sweat of your brow” is a metonymy, the sweat being the result of painful toil in the fields.
  198. Genesis 3:19 sn Until you return to the ground. The theme of humankind’s mortality is critical here in view of the temptation to be like God. Man will labor painfully to provide food, obviously not enjoying the bounty that creation promised. In place of the abundance of the orchard’s fruit trees, thorns and thistles will grow. Man will have to work the soil so that it will produce the grain to make bread. This will continue until he returns to the soil from which he was taken (recalling the creation in 2:7 with the wordplay on Adam and ground). In spite of the dreams of immortality and divinity, man is but dust (2:7), and will return to dust. So much for his pride.
  199. Genesis 3:19 sn In general, the themes of the curse oracles are important in the NT teaching that Jesus became the cursed one hanging on the tree. In his suffering and death, all the motifs are drawn together: the tree, the sweat, the thorns, and the dust of death (see Ps 22:15). Jesus experienced it all, to have victory over it through the resurrection.
  200. Genesis 3:20 tn Or “Adam”; however, the Hebrew term has the definite article here.
  201. Genesis 3:20 sn The name Eve means “Living one” or “Life-giver” in Hebrew.
  202. Genesis 3:20 tn The explanatory clause gives the reason for the name. Where the one doing the naming gives the explanation, the text normally uses “saying”; where the narrator explains it, the explanatory clause is typically used.
  203. Genesis 3:20 tn The explanation of the name forms a sound play (paronomasia) with the name. “Eve” is חַוָּה (khavvah) and “living” is חַי (khay). The name preserves the archaic form of the verb חָיָה (khayah, “to live”) with the middle vav (ו) instead of yod (י). The form חַי (khay) is derived from the normal form חַיָּה (khayyah). Compare the name Yahweh (יְהוָה) explained from הָיָה (hayah, “to be”) rather than from הָוָה (havah). The biblical account stands in contrast to the pagan material that presents a serpent goddess hawwat who is the mother of life. See J. Heller, “Der Name Eva,” ArOr 26 (1958): 636-56; and A. F. Key, “The Giving of Proper Names in the OT,” JBL 83 (1964): 55-59.
  204. Genesis 3:21 sn The Lord God made garments from skin. The text gives no indication of how this was done, or how they came by the skins. Earlier in the narrative (v. 7) the attempt of the man and the woman to cover their nakedness with leaves expressed their sense of alienation from each other and from God. By giving them more substantial coverings, God indicates this alienation is greater than they realize. This divine action is also ominous; God is preparing them for the more hostile environment in which they will soon be living (v. 23). At the same time, there is a positive side to the story in that God makes provision for the man’s and woman’s condition.
  205. Genesis 3:22 tn The particle הֵן (hen) introduces a foundational clause, usually beginning with “since, because, now.”
  206. Genesis 3:22 sn The man has become like one of us. See the notes on Gen 1:26 and 3:5.
  207. Genesis 3:22 tn The infinitive explains in what way the man had become like God: “knowing good and evil.”
  208. Genesis 3:22 tn Heb “and now, lest he stretch forth.” Following the foundational clause, this clause forms the main point. It is introduced with the particle פֶּן (pen) which normally introduces a negative purpose, “lest….” The construction is elliptical; something must be done lest the man stretch forth his hand. The translation interprets the point intended.
  209. Genesis 3:23 tn The verb is the Piel preterite of שָׁלַח (shalakh), forming a wordplay with the use of the same verb (in the Qal stem) in v. 22: To prevent the man’s “sending out” his hand, the Lord “sends him out.”
  210. Genesis 3:24 tn The verb with the vav (ו) consecutive is made subordinate to the next verb forming a temporal clause. This avoids any tautology with the previous verse that already stated that the Lord expelled the man.
  211. Genesis 3:24 tn Or “placed in front.” Directions in ancient Israel were given in relation to the east rather than the north.
  212. Genesis 3:24 tn The Hebrew word is traditionally transliterated “the cherubim.”sn Angelic sentries (Heb “cherubim”). The cherubim in the Bible seem to be a class of angels that are composite in appearance. Their main task seems to be guarding. Here they guard the way to the tree of life. The curtain in the tabernacle was to be embroidered with cherubim as well, symbolically guarding the way to God. (See in addition A. S. Kapelrud, “The Gates of Hell and the Guardian Angels of Paradise,” JAOS 70 [1950]: 151-56; and D. N. Freedman and M. P. O’Connor, TDOT 7:307-19.)
  213. Genesis 3:24 tn Heb “the flame of the sword that turns round and round.” The noun “flame” is qualified by the genitive of specification, “the sword,” which in turn is modified by the attributive participle “whirling.” The Hitpael of the verb “turn” has an iterative function here, indicating repeated action. The form is used in Job 37:12 of swirling clouds and in Judg 7:13 of a tumbling roll of bread. Verse 24 depicts the sword as moving from side to side to prevent anyone from passing or as whirling around, ready to cut to shreds anyone who tries to pass.
  214. Genesis 4:1 tn The disjunctive clause (conjunction + subject + verb) introduces a new episode in the ongoing narrative.
  215. Genesis 4:1 tn Heb “the man knew,” a frequent euphemism for sexual relations.
  216. Genesis 4:1 tn Or “she conceived.”
  217. Genesis 4:1 tn Here is another sound play (paronomasia) on a name. The sound of the verb קָנִיתִי (qaniti, “I have created”) reflects the sound of the name Cain in Hebrew (קַיִן, qayin) and gives meaning to it. The saying uses the Qal perfect of קָנָה (qanah). There are two homonymic verbs with this spelling, one meaning “obtain, acquire” and the other meaning “create” (see Gen 14:19, 22; Deut 32:6; Ps 139:13; Prov 8:22). The latter fits this context very well. Eve has created a man.
  218. Genesis 4:1 tn Heb “with the Lord.” The particle אֶת (ʾet) is not the accusative/object sign, but the preposition “with” as the ancient versions attest. Some take the preposition in the sense of “with the help of” (see BDB 85 s.v. אֵת; cf. NEB, NIV, NRSV), while others prefer “along with” in the sense of “like, equally with, in common with” (see Lev 26:39; Isa 45:9; Jer 23:28). Either works well in this context; the latter is reflected in the present translation. Some understand אֶת as the accusative/object sign and translate, “I have acquired a man—the Lord.” They suggest that the woman thought (mistakenly) that she had given birth to the incarnate Lord, the Messiah who would bruise the Serpent’s head. This fanciful suggestion is based on a questionable allegorical interpretation of Gen 3:15 (see the note there on the word “heel”).sn Since Exod 6:3 seems to indicate that the name Yahweh (יְהוָה, yehvah, translated Lord) was first revealed to Moses (see also Exod 3:14), it is odd to see it used in quotations in Genesis by people who lived long before Moses. This problem has been resolved in various ways: (1) Source critics propose that Exod 6:3 is part of the “P” (or priestly) tradition, which is at odds with the “J” (or Yahwistic) tradition. (2) Many propose that “name” in Exod 6:3 does not refer to the divine name per se, but to the character suggested by the name. God appeared to the patriarchs primarily in the role of El Shaddai, the giver of fertility, not as Yahweh, the one who fulfills his promises. In this case the patriarchs knew the name Yahweh, but had not experienced the full significance of the name. In this regard it is possible that Exod 6:3b should not be translated as a statement of denial, but as an affirmation followed by a rhetorical question implying that the patriarchs did indeed know God by the name of Yahweh, just as they knew him as El Shaddai. D. A. Garrett, following the lead of F. Andersen, sees Exod 6:2-3 as displaying a paneled A/B parallelism and translates them as follows: (A) “I am Yahweh.” (B) “And I made myself known to Abraham…as El Shaddai.” (A') “And my name is Yahweh”; (B') “Did I not make myself known to them?” (D. A. Garrett, Rethinking Genesis, 21). However, even if one translates the text this way, the Lord’s words do not necessarily mean that he made the name Yahweh known to the fathers. God is simply affirming that he now wants to be called Yahweh (see Exod 3:14-16) and that he revealed himself in prior times as El Shaddai. If we stress the parallelism with B, the implied answer to the concluding question might be: “Yes, you did make yourself known to them—as El Shaddai!” The main point of the verse would be that El Shaddai, the God of the fathers, and the God who has just revealed himself to Moses as Yahweh are one and the same. (3) G. J. Wenham suggests that pre-Mosaic references to Yahweh are the product of the author/editor of Genesis, who wanted to be sure that Yahweh was identified with the God of the fathers. In this regard, note how Yahweh is joined with another divine name or title in Gen 9:26-27; 14:22; 15:2, 8; 24:3, 7, 12, 27, 42, 48; 27:20; 32:9. The angel uses the name Yahweh when instructing Hagar concerning her child’s name, but the actual name (Ishma-el, “El hears”) suggests that El, not Yahweh, originally appeared in the angel’s statement (16:11). In her response to the angel Hagar calls God El, not Yahweh (16:13). In 22:14 Abraham names the place of sacrifice “Yahweh Will Provide” (cf. v. 16), but in v. 8 he declares, “God will provide.” God uses the name Yahweh when speaking to Jacob at Bethel (28:13) and Jacob also uses the name when he awakens from the dream (28:16). Nevertheless he names the place Beth El (“house of El”). In 31:49 Laban prays, “May Yahweh keep watch,” but in v. 50 he declares, “God is a witness between you and me.” Yahweh’s use of the name in 15:7 and 18:14 may reflect theological idiom, while the use in 18:19 is within a soliloquy. (Other uses of Yahweh in quotations occur in 16:2, 5; 24:31, 35, 40, 42, 44, 48, 50, 51, 56; 26:22, 28-29; 27:7, 27; 29:32-35; 30:24, 30; 49:18. In these cases there is no contextual indication that a different name was originally used.) For a fuller discussion of this proposal, see G. J. Wenham, “The Religion of the Patriarchs,” Essays on the Patriarchal Narratives, 189-93.
  219. Genesis 4:2 tn Heb “And she again gave birth.”
  220. Genesis 4:2 sn The name Abel is not defined here in the text, but the tone is ominous. Abel’s name, the Hebrew word הֶבֶל (hevel), means “breath, vapor, vanity,” foreshadowing Abel’s untimely and premature death.
  221. Genesis 4:2 tn Heb “and Abel was a shepherd of the flock, and Cain was a worker of the ground.” The designations of the two occupations are expressed with active participles, רֹעֵה (roʿeh, “shepherd”) and עֹבֵד (ʿoved, “worker”). Abel is occupied with sheep, whereas Cain is living under the curse, cultivating the ground.
  222. Genesis 4:3 tn Heb “And it happened at the end of days.” The clause indicates the passing of a set period of time leading up to offering sacrifices.
  223. Genesis 4:3 tn The Hebrew term מִנְחָה (minkhah, “offering”) is a general word for tribute, a gift, or an offering. It is the main word used in Lev 2 for the dedication offering. This type of offering could be comprised of vegetables. The content of the offering (vegetables, as opposed to animals) was not the critical issue, but rather the attitude of the offerer.
  224. Genesis 4:4 tn Heb “But Abel brought, also he….” The disjunctive clause (conjunction plus subject plus verb) stresses the contrast between Cain’s offering and Abel’s.
  225. Genesis 4:4 tn Two prepositional phrases are used to qualify the kind of sacrifice that Abel brought: “from the firstborn” and “from the fattest of them.” These also could be interpreted as a hendiadys: “from the fattest of the firstborn of the flock.” Another option is to understand the second prepositional phrase as referring to the fat portions of the sacrificial sheep. In this case one may translate, “some of the firstborn of his flock, even some of their fat portions” (cf. NEB, NIV, NRSV).sn Here are two types of worshipers—one (Cain) merely discharges a duty at the proper time, while the other (Abel) goes out of his way to please God with the first and the best.
  226. Genesis 4:4 tn The Hebrew verb שָׁעָה (shaʿah) simply means “to gaze at, to have regard for, to look on with favor [or “with devotion”].” The text does not indicate how this was communicated, but it indicates that Cain and Abel knew immediately. Either there was some manifestation of divine pleasure given to Abel and withheld from Cain (fire consuming the sacrifice?), or there was an inner awareness of divine response.
  227. Genesis 4:5 sn The Letter to the Hebrews explains the difference between the brothers as one of faith—Abel by faith offered a better sacrifice. Cain’s offering as well as his reaction to God’s displeasure did not reflect faith. See further B. K. Waltke, “Cain and His Offering,” WTJ 48 (1986): 363-72.
  228. Genesis 4:5 tn Heb “and it was hot to Cain.” This Hebrew idiom means that Cain “burned” with anger.
  229. Genesis 4:5 tn Heb “And his face fell.” The idiom means that the inner anger is reflected in Cain’s facial expression. The fallen or downcast face expresses anger, dejection, or depression. Conversely, in Num 6 the high priestly blessing speaks of the Lord lifting up his face and giving peace.
  230. Genesis 4:7 tn The introduction of the conditional clause with an interrogative particle prods the answer from Cain, as if he should have known this. It is not a condemnation, but an encouragement to do what is right.
  231. Genesis 4:7 tn The Hebrew text is difficult, because only one word occurs, שְׂאֵת (seʾet), which appears to be the infinitive construct from the verb “to lift up” (נָאָשׂ, naʾas). The sentence reads: “If you do well, uplifting.” On the surface it seems to be the opposite of the fallen face. Everything will be changed if he does well. God will show him favor, he will not be angry, and his face will reflect that. But more may be intended since the second half of the verse forms the contrast: “If you do not do well, sin is crouching….” Not doing well leads to sinful attack; doing well leads to victory and God’s blessing.
  232. Genesis 4:7 tn The Hebrew term translated “crouching” (רֹבֵץ, rovets) is an active participle. Sin is portrayed with animal imagery here as a beast crouching and ready to pounce (a figure of speech known as zoomorphism). An Akkadian cognate refers to a type of demon; in this case perhaps one could translate, “Sin is the demon at the door” (see E. A. Speiser, Genesis [AB], 29, 32-33).
  233. Genesis 4:7 tn Heb “and toward you [is] its desire, but you must rule over it.” As in Gen 3:16, the Hebrew noun “desire” refers to an urge to control or dominate. Here the desire is that which sin has for Cain, a desire to control for the sake of evil, but Cain must have mastery over it. The imperfect is understood as having an obligatory sense. Another option is to understand it as expressing potential (“you can have [or “are capable of having”] mastery over it.”). It will be a struggle, but sin can be defeated by righteousness. In addition to this connection to Gen 3, other linguistic and thematic links between chaps. 3 and 4 are discussed by A. J. Hauser, “Linguistic and Thematic Links Between Genesis 4:1-6 and Genesis 2-3, ” JETS 23 (1980): 297-306.
  234. Genesis 4:8 tc The MT has simply “and Cain said to Abel his brother,” omitting Cain’s words to Abel. It is possible that the elliptical text is original. Perhaps the author uses the technique of aposiopesis, “a sudden silence” to create tension. In the midst of the story the narrator suddenly rushes ahead to what happened in the field. It is more likely that the ancient versions (Smr, LXX, Vulgate, and Syriac), which include Cain’s words, “Let’s go out to the field,” preserve the original reading here. After writing אָחִיו (ʾakhiyv, “his brother”), a scribe’s eye may have jumped to the end of the form בַּשָׂדֶה (bassadeh, “to the field”) and accidentally omitted the quotation. This would be an error of virtual homoioteleuton. In older phases of the Hebrew script the sequence יו (yod-vav) on אָחִיו is graphically similar to the final ה (he) on בַּשָׂדֶה.
  235. Genesis 4:8 tn Heb “arose against” (in a hostile sense).
  236. Genesis 4:8 sn The word “brother” appears six times in vv. 8-11, stressing the shocking nature of Cain’s fratricide (see 1 John 3:12).
  237. Genesis 4:9 sn Where is Abel your brother? Again the Lord confronts a guilty sinner with a rhetorical question (see Gen 3:9-13), asking for an explanation of what has happened.
  238. Genesis 4:9 tn Heb “The one guarding my brother [am] I?”sn Am I my brother’s guardian? Cain lies and then responds with a defiant rhetorical question of his own in which he repudiates any responsibility for his brother. But his question is ironic, for he is responsible for his brother’s fate, especially if he wanted to kill him. See P. A. Riemann, “Am I My Brother’s Keeper?” Int 24 (1970): 482-91.
  239. Genesis 4:10 sn What have you done? Again the Lord’s question is rhetorical (see Gen 3:13), condemning Cain for his sin.
  240. Genesis 4:10 tn The word “voice” is a personification; the evidence of Abel’s shed blood condemns Cain, just as a human eyewitness would testify in court. For helpful insights, see G. von Rad, Biblical Interpretations in Preaching; and L. Morris, “The Biblical Use of the Term ‘Blood,’” JTS 6 (1955/56): 77-82.
  241. Genesis 4:11 tn Heb “cursed are you from the ground.” As in Gen 3:14, the word “cursed,” a passive participle from אָרָר (ʾarar), either means “punished” or “banished,” depending on how one interprets the following preposition. If the preposition is taken as indicating source, then the idea is “cursed (i.e., punished) are you from [i.e., “through the agency of”] the ground” (see v. 12a). If the preposition is taken as separative, then the idea is “cursed and banished from the ground.” In this case the ground rejects Cain’s efforts in such a way that he is banished from the ground and forced to become a fugitive out in the earth (see vv. 12b, 14).
  242. Genesis 4:12 tn Heb “work.”
  243. Genesis 4:12 tn Heb “it will not again (תֹסֵף, tosef) give (תֵּת, tet),” meaning the ground will no longer yield. In translation the infinitive becomes the main verb, and the imperfect verb form becomes adverbial.
  244. Genesis 4:12 tn Heb “its strength.”
  245. Genesis 4:12 tn Two similar sounding synonyms are used here: נָע וָנָד (naʿ vanad, “a wanderer and a fugitive”). This juxtaposition of synonyms emphasizes the single idea. In translation one can serve as the main description, the other as a modifier. Other translation options include “a wandering fugitive” and a “ceaseless wanderer” (cf. NIV).
  246. Genesis 4:13 tn The primary meaning of the Hebrew word עָוֹן (ʿavon) is “sin, iniquity.” But by metonymy it can refer to the “guilt” of sin, or to “punishment” for sin. The third meaning applies here. Just before this the Lord announces the punishment for Cain’s actions, and right after this statement Cain complains of the severity of the punishment. Cain is not portrayed as repenting of his sin.
  247. Genesis 4:13 tn Heb “great is my punishment from bearing.” The preposition מִן (min, “from”) is used here in a comparative sense.
  248. Genesis 4:14 tn Heb “from upon the surface of the ground.”
  249. Genesis 4:14 sn I must hide from your presence. The motif of hiding from the Lord as a result of sin also appears in Gen 3:8-10.
  250. Genesis 4:15 tn The Hebrew term לָכֵן (lakhen, “therefore”) in this context carries the sense of “Okay,” or “in that case then I will do this.”
  251. Genesis 4:15 sn The symbolic number seven is used here to emphasize that the offender will receive severe punishment. For other rhetorical and hyperbolic uses of the expression “seven times over,” see Pss 12:6; 79:12; Prov 6:31; Isa 30:26.
  252. Genesis 4:15 tn Heb “sign”; “reminder.” The term “sign” is not used in the translation because it might imply to an English reader that God hung a sign on Cain. The text does not identify what the “sign” was. It must have been some outward, visual reminder of Cain’s special protected status.
  253. Genesis 4:15 sn God becomes Cain’s protector. Here is common grace—Cain and his community will live on under God’s care, but without salvation.
  254. Genesis 4:16 sn The name Nod means “wandering” in Hebrew (see vv. 12, 14).
  255. Genesis 4:17 tn Heb “knew,” a frequent euphemism for sexual relations.
  256. Genesis 4:17 tn Or “she conceived.”
  257. Genesis 4:17 tn Heb “according to the name of.”
  258. Genesis 4:18 tn Heb “and Irad fathered.”
  259. Genesis 4:20 tn Heb “father.” In this passage the word “father” means “founder,” referring to the first to establish such lifestyles and occupations.
  260. Genesis 4:20 tn The word “keep” is not in the Hebrew text, but is supplied in the translation. Other words that might be supplied instead are “tend,” “raise” (NIV), or “have” (NRSV).
  261. Genesis 4:22 tn The traditional rendering here, “who forged” (or “a forger of”) is now more commonly associated with counterfeit or fraud (e.g., “forged copies” or “forged checks”) than with the forging of metal. The phrase “heated metal and shaped [it]” has been used in the translation instead.
  262. Genesis 4:23 tn The Hebrew term יֶלֶד (yeled) probably refers to a youthful warrior here, not a child.
  263. Genesis 4:24 sn Seventy-seven times. Lamech seems to reason this way: If Cain, a murderer, is to be avenged seven times (see v. 15), then how much more one who has been unjustly wronged! Lamech misses the point of God’s merciful treatment of Cain. God was not establishing a principle of justice when he warned he would avenge Cain’s murder. In fact he was trying to limit the shedding of blood, something Lamech wants to multiply instead. The use of “seventy-seven,” a multiple of seven, is hyperbolic, emphasizing the extreme severity of the vengeance envisioned by Lamech.
  264. Genesis 4:25 tn Heb “knew,” a frequent euphemism for sexual relations.
  265. Genesis 4:25 sn The name Seth probably means something like “placed”; “appointed”; “set”; “granted,” assuming it is actually related to the verb that is used in the sentiment. At any rate, the name שֵׁת (shet) and the verb שָׁת (shat, “to place, to appoint, to set, to grant”) form a wordplay (paronomasia).
  266. Genesis 4:25 tn Heb “offspring.”
  267. Genesis 4:26 tn The word “people” is not in the Hebrew text, but is supplied in the translation. The construction uses a passive verb without an expressed subject. “To call was begun” can be interpreted to mean that people began to call.
  268. Genesis 4:26 tn Heb “call in the name.” The expression refers to worshiping the Lord through prayer and sacrifice (see Gen 12:8; 13:4; 21:33; 26:25). See G. J. Wenham, Genesis (WBC), 1:116.
  269. Genesis 5:1 tn Heb “book” or “roll.” Cf. NIV “written account”; NRSV “list.”
  270. Genesis 5:1 tn Heb “generations.” See the note on the phrase “this is the account of” in 2:4.
  271. Genesis 5:1 tn The Hebrew text has אָדָם (ʾadam).
  272. Genesis 5:1 tn Heb “him.” The Hebrew text uses the third masculine singular pronominal suffix on the accusative sign. The pronoun agrees grammatically with its antecedent אָדָם (ʾadam). However, the next verse makes it clear that אָדָם is collective here and refers to “humankind,” so it is preferable to translate the pronoun with the English plural.
  273. Genesis 5:2 tn The Hebrew word used here is אָדָם (ʾadam).
  274. Genesis 5:3 tn Heb “and Adam lived 130 years.” In the translation the verb is subordinated to the following verb, “and he fathered,” and rendered as a temporal clause.
  275. Genesis 5:4 tn Heb “The days of Adam.”
  276. Genesis 5:4 tn Heb “he fathered.”
  277. Genesis 5:4 tn The word “other” is not in the Hebrew text, but is supplied for stylistic reasons.
  278. Genesis 5:5 tn Heb “all the days of Adam which he lived”
  279. Genesis 5:5 sn The genealogy traces the line from Adam to Noah and forms a bridge between the earlier accounts and the flood story. Its constant theme of the reign of death in the human race is broken once with the account of Enoch, but the genealogy ends with hope for the future through Noah. See further G. F. Hasel, “The Genealogies of Gen. 5 and 11 and their Alleged Babylonian Background,” AUSS 16 (1978): 361-74; idem, “Genesis 5 and 11, ” Origins 7 (1980): 23-37.
  280. Genesis 5:6 tn Heb “he fathered.”
  281. Genesis 5:7 tn Heb “he fathered.”
  282. Genesis 5:7 tn Here and in vv. 10, 13, 16, 19 the word “other” is not in the Hebrew text, but is supplied for stylistic reasons.
  283. Genesis 5:22 sn With the seventh panel there is a digression from the pattern. Instead of simply saying that Enoch lived, the text observes that he “walked with God.” The rare expression “walked with” (the Hitpael form of the verb הָלָךְ, halakh, “to walk” collocated with the preposition אֶת, ʾet, “with”) is used in 1 Sam 25:15 to describe how David’s men maintained a cordial and cooperative relationship with Nabal’s men as they worked and lived side by side in the fields. In Gen 5:22 the phrase suggests that Enoch and God “got along.” This may imply that Enoch lived in close fellowship with God, leading a life of devotion and piety. An early Jewish tradition, preserved in 1 En. 1:9 and alluded to in Jude 14, says that Enoch preached about the coming judgment. See F. S. Parnham, “Walking with God,” EvQ 46 (1974): 117-18.
  284. Genesis 5:22 tn Heb “and Enoch walked with God, after he became the father of Methuselah, [for] 300 years.”
  285. Genesis 5:22 tn The word “other” is not in the Hebrew text, but is supplied for stylistic reasons.
  286. Genesis 5:24 tn The Hebrew construction has the negative particle אֵין (ʾen, “there is not,” “there was not”) with a pronominal suffix, “he was not.” Instead of saying that Enoch died, the text says he no longer was present.
  287. Genesis 5:24 sn The text simply states that God took Enoch. Similar language is used of Elijah’s departure from this world (see 2 Kgs 2:10). The text implies that God overruled death for this man who walked with him.
  288. Genesis 5:26 tn The word “other” is not in the Hebrew text, but is supplied for stylistic reasons.
  289. Genesis 5:29 sn The name Noah appears to be related to the Hebrew word נוּחַ (nuakh, “to rest”). There are several wordplays on the name “Noah” in the story of the flood.
  290. Genesis 5:29 tn The Hebrew verb יְנַחֲמֵנוּ (yenakhamenu) is from the root נָחָם (nakham), which means “to comfort” in the Piel verbal stem. The letters נ (nun) and ח (khet) pick up the sounds in the name “Noah,” forming a paronomasia on the name. They are not from the same verbal root, and so the connection is only by sound. Lamech’s sentiment reflects the oppression of living under the curse on the ground, but also expresses the hope for relief in some way through the birth of Noah. His words proved to be ironic but prophetic. The relief would come with a new beginning after the flood. See E. G. Kraeling, “The Interpretations of the Name Noah in Genesis 5:29, ” JBL 48 (1929): 138-43.
  291. Genesis 5:30 tn The word “other” is not in the Hebrew text, but is supplied for stylistic reasons.
  292. Genesis 5:32 tn Heb “Noah.” The pronoun (“he”) has been employed in the translation for stylistic reasons.
  293. Genesis 6:1 tn The Hebrew text has the article prefixed to the noun. Here the article indicates the generic use of the word אָדָם (ʾadam): “humankind.”
  294. Genesis 6:1 tn This disjunctive clause (conjunction + subject + verb) is circumstantial to the initial temporal clause. It could be rendered, “with daughters being born to them.” For another example of such a disjunctive clause following the construction וַיְהִי כִּי (vayehi ki, “and it came to pass when”), see 2 Sam 7:1.
  295. Genesis 6:1 tn The pronominal suffix is third masculine plural, indicating that the antecedent “humankind” is collective.
  296. Genesis 6:2 sn The Hebrew phrase translated “sons of God” (בְנֵי־הָאֱלֹהִים, vene haʾelohim) occurs only here (Gen 6:2, 4) and in Job 1:6; 2:1; 38:7. There are three major interpretations of the phrase here. (1) In the Book of Job the phrase clearly refers to angelic beings. In Gen 6 the “sons of God” are distinct from “humankind,” suggesting they were not human. This is consistent with the use of the phrase in Job. Since the passage speaks of these beings cohabiting with women, they must have taken physical form or possessed the bodies of men. An early Jewish tradition preserved in 1 En. 6-7 elaborates on this angelic revolt and even names the ringleaders. (2) Not all scholars accept the angelic interpretation of the “sons of God,” however. Some argue that the “sons of God” were members of Seth’s line, traced back to God through Adam in Gen 5, while the “daughters of humankind” were descendants of Cain. But, as noted above, the text distinguishes the “sons of God” from humankind (which would include the Sethites as well as the Cainites) and suggests that the “daughters of humankind” are human women in general, not just Cainites. (3) Others identify the “sons of God” as powerful tyrants, perhaps demon-possessed, who viewed themselves as divine and, following the example of Lamech (see Gen 4:19), practiced polygamy. But usage of the phrase “sons of God” in Job militates against this view. For literature on the subject see G. J. Wenham, Genesis (WBC), 1:135.
  297. Genesis 6:3 tn The verb form יָדוֹן (yadon) only occurs here. Some derive it from the verbal root דִּין (din, “to judge”) and translate “strive” or “contend with” (so NIV), but in this case one expects the form to be יָדִין (yadin). The Old Greek has “remain with,” a rendering which may find support from an Arabic cognate (see C. Westermann, Genesis, 1:375). If one interprets the verb in this way, then it is possible to understand רוּחַ (ruakh) as a reference to the divine life-giving spirit or breath, rather than the Lord’s personal Spirit. E. A. Speiser argues that the term is cognate with an Akkadian word meaning “protect” or “shield.” In this case, the Lord’s Spirit will not always protect humankind, for the race will suddenly be destroyed (E. A. Speiser, “YDWN, Gen. 6:3, ” JBL 75 [1956]: 126-29).
  298. Genesis 6:3 tn Or “forever.”
  299. Genesis 6:3 tn The form בְּשַׁגַּם (beshaggam) appears to be a compound of the preposition ב (bet, “in”), the relative שֶׁ (she, “who” or “which”), and the particle גַּם (gam, “also, even”). It apparently means “because even” (see BDB 980 s.v. שֶׁ).
  300. Genesis 6:3 tn Heb “he”; the plural pronoun has been used in the translation since “man” earlier in the verse has been understood as a collective (“humankind”).
  301. Genesis 6:3 tn Heb “flesh.”
  302. Genesis 6:3 tn See the note on “they” earlier in this verse.
  303. Genesis 6:3 tn Heb “his days will be 120 years.” Some interpret this to mean that the age expectancy of people from this point on would be 120, but neither the subsequent narrative nor reality favors this. It is more likely that this refers to the time remaining between this announcement of judgment and the coming of the flood.
  304. Genesis 6:4 tn The Hebrew word נְפִילִים (nefilim) is simply transliterated here, because the meaning of the term is uncertain. According to the text, the Nephilim became mighty warriors and gained great fame in the antediluvian world. The text may imply they were the offspring of the sexual union of the “sons of God” and the “daughters of humankind” (v. 2), but it stops short of saying this in a direct manner. The Nephilim are mentioned in the OT only here and in Num 13:33, where it is stated that they were giants (thus KJV, TEV, NLT “giants” here). The narrator observes that the Anakites of Canaan were descendants of the Nephilim. Certainly these later Anakite Nephilim could not be descendants of the antediluvian Nephilim (see also the following note on the word “this”).
  305. Genesis 6:4 tn This observation is parenthetical, explaining that there were Nephilim even after the flood. If all humankind, with the exception of Noah and his family, died in the flood, it is difficult to understand how the postdiluvian Nephilim could be related to the antediluvian Nephilim or how the Anakites of Canaan could be their descendants (see Num 13:33). It is likely that the term Nephilim refers generally to “giants” (see HALOT 709 s.v. נְפִילִים) without implying any ethnic connection between the antediluvian and postdiluvian varieties.
  306. Genesis 6:4 tn Heb “would come to.” The verb בּוֹא (bo’; “to come, enter”) with the preposition אֶל (’el; “to”) means “to approach, to come to” (HALOT 113 s.v. בּוֹא) and is a euphemism for coming together for sexual relations. See the note at 2 Sam 12:24 on this phrase being only a euphemism. A more literal rendering such as “get together with” would be less clear about the sexual implication, so a clearer euphemism has been used for the translation. The Hebrew imperfect verbal form portrays the action as repetitive or customary.
  307. Genesis 6:4 tn Heb “and they gave birth to them.” The masculine plural suffix “them” refers to the “sons of God,” to whom the “daughters of humankind” bore children. After the Qal form of the verb יָלָד (yalad, “to give birth”) the preposition ל (lamed, “to”) introduces the father of the child(ren). See Gen 16:1, 15; 17:19, 21; 21:2-3, 9; 22:23; 24:24, 47; 25:2, etc.
  308. Genesis 6:4 tn The parenthetical/explanatory clause uses the word הַגִּבֹּרִים (haggibborim) to describe these Nephilim. The word means “warriors; mighty men; heroes.” The appositional statement further explains that they were “men of renown.” The text refers to superhuman beings who held the world in their power and who lived on in ancient lore outside the Bible. See E. A. Speiser, Genesis (AB), 45-46; C. Westermann, Genesis, 1:379-80; and Anne D. Kilmer, “The Mesopotamian Counterparts of the Biblical Nephilim,” Perspectives on Language and Text, 39-43.
  309. Genesis 6:4 tn Heb “men of name” (i.e., famous men).
  310. Genesis 6:5 sn The Hebrew verb translated “saw” (רָאָה, raʾah), used here of God’s evaluation of humankind’s evil deeds, contrasts with God’s evaluation of creative work in Gen 1, when he observed that everything was good.
  311. Genesis 6:5 tn The noun יֵצֶר (yetser) is related to the verb יָצָר (yatsar, “to form, to fashion [with a design]”). Here it refers to human plans or intentions (see Gen 8:21; 1 Chr 28:9; 29:18). People had taken their God-given capacities and used them to devise evil. The word יֵצֶר (yetser) became a significant theological term in Rabbinic literature for what might be called the sin nature—the evil inclination (see also R. E. Murphy, “Yeser in the Qumran Literature,” Bib 39 [1958]: 334-44).
  312. Genesis 6:5 tn The related verb חָשָׁב (khashav) means “to think, to devise, to reckon.” The noun (here) refers to thoughts or considerations.
  313. Genesis 6:5 tn Heb “his heart” (referring to collective “humankind”). The Hebrew term לֵב (lev, “heart”) frequently refers to the seat of one’s thoughts (see BDB 524 s.v. לֵב). In contemporary English this is typically referred to as the “mind.”
  314. Genesis 6:5 sn Every inclination of the thoughts of their minds was only evil. There is hardly a stronger statement of the wickedness of the human race than this. Here is the result of falling into the “knowledge of good and evil”: Evil becomes dominant, and the good is ruined by the evil.
  315. Genesis 6:5 tn Heb “all the day.”sn The author of Genesis goes out of his way to emphasize the depth of human evil at this time. Note the expressions “every inclination,” “only evil,” and “all the time.”
  316. Genesis 6:6 tn Or “was grieved”; “was sorry.” In the Niphal stem the verb נָחָם (nakham) can carry one of four semantic meanings, depending on the context: (1) “to experience emotional pain or weakness,” “to feel regret,” often concerning a past action (see Exod 13:17; Judg 21:6, 15; 1 Sam 15:11, 35; Job 42:6; Jer 31:19). In several of these texts כִּי (ki, “because”) introduces the cause of the emotional sorrow. (2) Another meaning is “to be comforted” or “to comfort oneself” (sometimes by taking vengeance). See Gen 24:67; 38:12; 2 Sam 13:39; Ps 77:3; Isa 1:24; Jer 31:15; Ezek 14:22; 31:16; 32:31. (This second category represents a polarization of category one.) (3) The meaning “to relent from” or “to repudiate” a course of action which is already underway is also possible (see Judg 2:18; 2 Sam 24:16 = 1 Chr 21:15; Pss 90:13; 106:45; Jer 8:6; 20:16; 42:10). (4) Finally, “to retract” (a statement) or “to relent or change one’s mind concerning,” “to deviate from” (a stated course of action) is possible (see Exod 32:12, 14; 1 Sam 15:29; Ps 110:4; Isa 57:6; Jer 4:28; 15:6; 18:8, 10; 26:3, 13, 19; Ezek 24:14; Joel 2:13-14; Am 7:3, 6; Jonah 3:9-10; 4:2; Zech 8:14). See R. B. Chisholm, “Does God ‘Change His Mind’?” BSac 152 (1995): 388. The first category applies here because the context speaks of God’s grief and emotional pain (see the following statement in v. 6) as a result of a past action (his making humankind). For a thorough study of the word נָחָם, see H. Van Dyke Parunak, “A Semantic Survey of NHM,” Bib 56 (1975): 512-32.
  317. Genesis 6:6 tn Heb “and he was grieved to his heart.” The verb עָצָב (ʿatsav) can carry one of three semantic senses, depending on the context: (1) “to be injured” (Ps 56:5; Eccl 10:9; 1 Chr 4:10); (2) “to experience emotional pain”; “to be depressed emotionally”; “to be worried” (2 Sam 19:2; Isa 54:6; Neh 8:10-11); (3) “to be embarrassed”; “to be offended” (to the point of anger at another or oneself); “to be insulted” (Gen 34:7; 45:5; 1 Sam 20:3, 34; 1 Kgs 1:6; Isa 63:10; Ps 78:40). This third category develops from the second by metonymy. In certain contexts emotional pain leads to embarrassment and/or anger. In this last use the subject sometimes directs his anger against the source of grief (see especially Gen 34:7). The third category fits best in Gen 6:6 because humankind’s sin does not merely wound God emotionally. On the contrary, it prompts him to strike out in judgment against the source of his distress (see v. 7). The verb וַיִּתְעַצֵּב (vayyitʿatsev), a Hitpael from עָצָב, alludes to the judgment oracles in Gen 3:16-19. Because Adam and Eve sinned, their life would be filled with pain, but sin in the human race also brought pain to God. The wording of v. 6 is ironic when compared to Gen 5:29. Lamech anticipated relief (נָחָם, nakham) from their work (מַעֲשֶׂה, maʿaseh) and their painful toil (עִצְּבֹן, ʿitsevon), but now we read that God was sorry (נָחָם) that he had made (עָשָׂה, ʿasah) humankind for it brought him great pain (עָצָב).
  318. Genesis 6:7 tn The text simply has “from man to beast, to creatures, and to birds of the air.” The use of the prepositions עַדמִן (min…ʿad) stresses the extent of the judgment in creation.
  319. Genesis 6:8 tn The disjunctive clause (conjunction plus subject plus verb) is contrastive here: God condemns the human race, but he is pleased with Noah.
  320. Genesis 6:8 tn The Hebrew expression “find favor [in the eyes of]” is an idiom meaning “to be an object of another’s favorable disposition or action,” “to be a recipient of another’s favor, kindness, mercy.” The favor/kindness is often earned, coming in response to an action or condition (see Gen 32:5; 39:4; Deut 24:1; 1 Sam 25:8; Prov 3:4; Ruth 2:10). This is the case in Gen 6:8, where v. 9 gives the basis (Noah’s righteous character) for the divine favor.
  321. Genesis 6:8 tn Heb “in the eyes of,” an anthropomorphic expression for God’s opinion or decision. The Lord saw that the whole human race was corrupt, but he looked in favor on Noah.
  322. Genesis 6:9 sn There is a vast body of scholarly literature about the flood story. The following studies are particularly helpful: A. Heidel, The Gilgamesh Epic and the Old Testament Parallels; M. Kessler, “Rhetorical Criticism of Genesis 7, ” Rhetorical Criticism: Essays in Honor of James Muilenburg (PTMS), 1-17; I. M. Kikawada and A. Quinn, Before Abraham Was; A. R. Millard, “A New Babylonian ‘Genesis Story’,” TynBul 18 (1967): 3-18; G. J. Wenham, “The Coherence of the Flood Narrative,” VT 28 (1978): 336-48.
  323. Genesis 6:9 tn The Hebrew term תָּמִים (tamim, “blameless”) is used of men in Gen 17:1 (associated with the idiom “walk before,” which means “maintain a proper relationship with,” see 24:40); Deut 18:13 (where it means “blameless” in the sense of not guilty of the idolatrous practices listed before this; see Josh 24:14); Pss 18:23, 26 (“blameless” in the sense of not having violated God’s commands); 37:18 (in contrast to the wicked); 101:2, 6 (in contrast to proud, deceitful slanderers; see 15:2); Prov 2:21; 11:5 (in contrast to the wicked); 28:10; Job 12:4.
  324. Genesis 6:9 tn Heb “Noah was a godly man, blameless in his generations.” The singular “generation” can refer to one’s contemporaries, i.e., those living at a particular point in time. The plural “generations” can refer to successive generations in the past or the future. Here, where it is qualified by “his” (i.e., Noah’s), it refers to Noah’s contemporaries, comprised of the preceding generation (his father’s generation), those of Noah’s generation, and the next generation (those the same age as his children). In other words, “his generations” means the generations contemporary with him. See BDB 190 s.v. דוֹר.
  325. Genesis 6:9 tn Heb “Noah.” The proper name has been replaced with the pronoun in the translation for stylistic reasons.
  326. Genesis 6:9 tn The construction translated “walked with” is used in Gen 5:22, 24 (see the note on this phrase in 5:22) and in 1 Sam 25:15, where it refers to David’s and Nabal’s men “rubbing shoulders” in the fields. Based on the use in 1 Sam 25:15, the expression seems to mean “live in close proximity to,” which may, by metonymy, mean “maintain cordial relations with.”
  327. Genesis 6:10 tn Heb “fathered.”
  328. Genesis 6:11 tn Apart from Gen 6:11-12, the Niphal form of this verb occurs in Exod 8:20 HT (8:24 ET), where it describes the effect of the swarms of flies on the land of Egypt; Jer 13:7 and 18:4, where it is used of a “ruined” belt and “marred” clay pot, respectively; and Ezek 20:44, where it describes Judah’s morally “corrupt” actions. The sense “morally corrupt” fits well in Gen 6:11 because of the parallelism (note “the earth was filled with violence”). In this case “earth” would stand by metonymy for its sinful inhabitants. However, the translation “ruined” works just as well, if not better. In this case humankind’s sin is viewed as having an adverse effect upon the earth. Note that vv. 12b-13 make a distinction between the earth and the living creatures who live on it.
  329. Genesis 6:11 tn Heb “before.”
  330. Genesis 6:11 tn The Hebrew word translated “violence” refers elsewhere to a broad range of crimes, including unjust treatment (Gen 16:5; Amos 3:10), injurious legal testimony (Deut 19:16), deadly assault (Gen 49:5), murder (Judg 9:24), and rape (Jer 13:22).
  331. Genesis 6:12 tn Or “God saw how corrupt the earth was.”
  332. Genesis 6:12 tn The repetition in the text (see v. 11) emphasizes the point.
  333. Genesis 6:12 tn Heb “flesh.” Since moral corruption is in view here, most modern western interpreters understand the referent to be humankind. However, the phrase “all flesh” is used consistently of humankind and the animals in Gen 6-9 (6:17, 19; 7:15-16, 21; 8:17; 9:11, 15-17), suggesting that the author intends to picture all living creatures, humankind and animals, as guilty of moral failure. This would explain why the animals, not just humankind, are victims of the ensuing divine judgment. The OT sometimes views animals as morally culpable (Gen 9:5; Exod 21:28-29; Jonah 3:7-8). The OT also teaches that a person’s sin can contaminate others (people and animals) in the sinful person’s sphere (see the story of Achan, especially Josh 7:10). So the animals could be viewed here as morally contaminated because of their association with sinful humankind.
  334. Genesis 6:12 tn Heb “had corrupted its way.” The third masculine singular pronominal suffix on “way” refers to the collective “all flesh.” The construction “corrupt one’s way” occurs only here (though Ezek 16:47 uses the Hiphil in an intransitive sense with the preposition ב [bet, “in”] followed by “ways”). The Hiphil of שָׁחָת (shakhat) means “to ruin, to destroy, to corrupt,” often as here in a moral/ethical sense. The Hebrew term דֶּרֶךְ (derekh, “way”) here refers to behavior or moral character, a sense that it frequently carries (see BDB 203 s.v. דֶּרֶךְ 6.a).
  335. Genesis 6:13 sn On the divine style utilized here, see R. Lapointe, “The Divine Monologue as a Channel of Revelation,” CBQ 32 (1970): 161-81.
  336. Genesis 6:13 tn Heb “the end of all flesh is coming [or “has come”] before me.” (The verb form is either a perfect or a participle.) The phrase “end of all flesh” occurs only here. The term “end” refers here to the end of “life,” as v. 3 and the following context (which describes how God destroys all flesh) make clear. The statement “the end has come” occurs in Ezek 7:2, 6, where it is used of divine judgment. The phrase “come before” occurs in Exod 28:30, 35; 34:34; Lev 15:14; Num 27:17; 1 Sam 18:13, 16; 2 Sam 19:8; 20:8; 1 Kgs 1:23, 28, 32; Ezek 46:9; Pss 79:11 (groans come before God); 88:3 (a prayer comes before God); 100:2; 119:170 (prayer comes before God); Lam 1:22 (evil doing comes before God); Esth 1:19; 8:1; 9:25; 1 Chr 16:29. The expression often means “have an audience with” or “appear before.” But when used metaphorically, it can mean “get the attention of” or “prompt a response.” This is probably the sense in Gen 6:13. The necessity of ending the life of all flesh on earth is an issue that has gotten the attention of God. The term “end” may even be a metonymy for that which has prompted it—violence (see the following clause).
  337. Genesis 6:13 tn The participle, especially after הִנֵּה (hinneh) has an imminent future nuance. The Hiphil of שָׁחָת (shakhat) here has the sense “to destroy” (in judgment). Note the wordplay involving this verb in vv. 11-13: The earth is “ruined” because all flesh has acted in a morally “corrupt” manner. Consequently, God will “destroy” all flesh (the referent of the suffix “them”) along with the ruined earth. They had ruined themselves and the earth with violence, and now God would ruin them with judgment. For other cases where “earth” occurs as the object of the Hiphil of שָׁחָת, see 1 Sam 6:5; 1 Chr 20:1; Jer 36:29; 51:25.
  338. Genesis 6:14 sn The Hebrew verb is an imperative. A motif of this section is that Noah did as the Lord commanded him—he was obedient. That obedience had to come from faith in the word of the Lord. So the theme of obedience to God’s word is prominent in this prologue to the law.
  339. Genesis 6:14 tn A transliteration of the Hebrew term yields “gopher (גֹּפֶר, gofer) wood” (so KJV, NAB, NASB). While the exact nature of the wood involved is uncertain (cf. NLT “resinous wood”), many modern translations render the Hebrew term as “cypress” (so NEB, NIV, NRSV).
  340. Genesis 6:14 tn The Hebrew term כָּפָר (kafar, “to cover, to smear” [= to caulk]) appears here in the Qal stem with its primary, nonmetaphorical meaning. The Piel form כִּפֶּר (kipper), which has the metaphorical meaning “to atone, to expiate, to pacify,” is used in Levitical texts (see HALOT 493-94 s.v. כפר). Some authorities regard the form in v. 14 as a homonym of the much more common Levitical term (see BDB 498 s.v. כָּפָר).
  341. Genesis 6:15 tn Heb “300 cubits long, 50 cubits wide, and 30 cubits high.” The standard cubit in the OT is assumed by most authorities to be about 18 inches (45 cm) long.
  342. Genesis 6:16 tn Heb “a cubit.”
  343. Genesis 6:16 tn Heb “to a cubit you shall finish it from above.” The idea is that Noah was to leave an 18-inch opening from the top for a window for light.
  344. Genesis 6:17 tn The Hebrew construction uses the independent personal pronoun, followed by a suffixed form of הִנֵּה (hinneh, “look”) and the participle used with an imminent future nuance: “As for me, look, I am going to bring.”
  345. Genesis 6:17 tn Heb “the flood, water.”
  346. Genesis 6:17 tn The verb שָׁחָת (shakhat, “to destroy”) is repeated yet again, only now in an infinitival form expressing the purpose of the flood.
  347. Genesis 6:17 tn The Hebrew construction here is different from the previous two; here it is רוּחַ חַיִּים (ruakh khayyim) rather than נֶפֶשׁ חַיָּה (nefesh khayyah) or נִשְׁמַת חַיִּים (nishmat khayyim). It refers to everything that breathes.
  348. Genesis 6:18 tn The Hebrew verb וַהֲקִמֹתִי (vahaqimoti) is the Hiphil perfect with a vav (ו) consecutive (picking up the future sense from the participles) from קוּם (qum, “to rise up”). This may refer to the confirmation or fulfillment of an earlier promise, but it is more likely that it anticipates the unconditional promise made to humankind following the flood (see Gen 9:9, 11, 17).
  349. Genesis 6:18 tn The perfect verb form with vav (ו) consecutive is best understood as specific future, continuing God’s description of what will happen (see vv. 17-18a).
  350. Genesis 6:19 tn Heb “from all life, from all flesh, two from all you must bring.” The disjunctive clause at the beginning of the verse (note the conjunction with prepositional phrase, followed by two more prepositional phrases in apposition and then the imperfect verb form) signals a change in mood from announcement (vv. 17-18) to instruction.
  351. Genesis 6:19 tn The Hiphil infinitive construct לְהַחֲיוֹת (lehakhayot, here translated as “to keep them alive”) shows the purpose of bringing the animals into the ark—saving life. The Hiphil of this verb means here “to preserve alive.”
  352. Genesis 6:20 tn Heb “to keep alive.”
  353. Genesis 6:21 tn The verb is a direct imperative: “And you, take for yourself.” The form stresses the immediate nature of the instruction; the pronoun underscores the directness.
  354. Genesis 6:21 tn Heb “from all food,” meaning “some of every kind of food.”
  355. Genesis 6:21 tn Or “will be eaten.”
  356. Genesis 6:21 tn Heb “and gather it to you.”
  357. Genesis 6:22 tn Heb “according to all.”
  358. Genesis 6:22 tn The last clause seems redundant: “and thus (כֵּן, ken) he did.” It underscores the obedience of Noah to all that God had said.
  359. Genesis 7:1 tn Heb “for you I see [as] godly before me in this generation.” The direct object (“you”) is placed first in the clause to give it prominence. The verb “to see” here signifies God’s evaluative discernment.
  360. Genesis 7:2 tn Or “seven” (cf. NIV). Since seven is an odd number, and “seven” is qualified as male and female, only seven pairs can match the description (cf. TNIV, NRSV, HCSB).
  361. Genesis 7:2 sn For a study of the Levitical terminology of “clean” and “unclean,” see L. E. Toombs, IDB 1:643.
  362. Genesis 7:2 tn Heb “a male and his female” (also a second time at the end of this verse). The terms used here for male and female animals (אִישׁ, ʾish and אִשָּׁה, ʾishah) normally refer to humans.
  363. Genesis 7:3 tn Or “seven” (cf. NIV).
  364. Genesis 7:3 tn Here (and in v. 9) the Hebrew text uses the normal generic terms for “male and female” (זָכָר וּנְקֵבָה, zakhar uneqevah).
  365. Genesis 7:3 tn Heb “to keep alive offspring.”
  366. Genesis 7:4 tn Heb “for seven days yet,” meaning “after [or “in”] seven days.”
  367. Genesis 7:4 tn The Hiphil participle מַמְטִיר (mamtir, “cause to rain”) here expresses the certainty of the act in the imminent future.
  368. Genesis 7:5 tn Heb “according to all.”
  369. Genesis 7:6 tn Heb “Now Noah was.” The disjunctive clause (conjunction plus subject plus predicate nominative after implied “to be” verb) provides background information. The age of Noah receives prominence.
  370. Genesis 7:6 tn Heb “and the flood was water upon.” The disjunctive clause (conjunction plus subject plus verb) is circumstantial/temporal in relation to the preceding clause. The verb הָיָה (hayah) here carries the nuance “to come” (BDB 225 s.v. הָיָה). In this context the phrase “come upon” means “to engulf.”
  371. Genesis 7:7 tn The preposition מִן (min) is causal here, explaining why Noah and his family entered the ark.
  372. Genesis 7:8 tn Heb “two two” meaning “in twos.”
  373. Genesis 7:9 tn The Hebrew text of vv. 8-9a reads, “From the clean animal[s] and from the animal[s] which are not clean and from the bird[s] and everything that creeps on the ground, two two they came to Noah to the ark, male and female.”
  374. Genesis 7:9 tn Heb “Noah”; the pronoun has been used in the translation for stylistic reasons.
  375. Genesis 7:10 tn Heb “came upon.”
  376. Genesis 7:11 tn The Hebrew term תְּהוֹם (tehom, “deep”) refers to the watery deep, the salty ocean—especially the primeval ocean that surrounds and underlies the earth (see Gen 1:2).sn The watery deep. The same Hebrew term used to describe the watery deep in Gen 1:2 (תְּהוֹם, tehom) appears here. The text seems to picture here subterranean waters coming from under the earth and contributing to the rapid rise of water. The significance seems to be, among other things, that in this judgment God was returning the world to its earlier condition of being enveloped with water—a judgment involving the reversal of creation. On Gen 7:11 see G. F. Hasel, “The Fountains of the Great Deep,” Origins 1 (1974): 67-72; idem, “The Biblical View of the Extent of the Flood,” Origins 2 (1975): 77-95.
  377. Genesis 7:11 sn On the prescientific view of the sky reflected here, see L. I. J. Stadelmann, The Hebrew Conception of the World (AnBib), 46.
  378. Genesis 7:12 tn Heb “was.”
  379. Genesis 7:13 tn Heb “On that very day Noah entered, and Shem and Ham and Japheth, the sons of Noah, and the wife of Noah, and the three wives of his sons with him into the ark.”
  380. Genesis 7:14 tn The verb “entered” is not in the Hebrew text, but is supplied in the translation for stylistic reasons.
  381. Genesis 7:14 tn Heb “every bird, every wing.”
  382. Genesis 7:15 tn Heb “two two” meaning “in twos.”
  383. Genesis 7:15 tn Heb “flesh.”
  384. Genesis 7:16 tn Heb “Those that went in, male and female from all flesh they went in.”
  385. Genesis 7:18 tn Heb “and the waters were great and multiplied exceedingly.” The first verb in the sequence is וַיִּגְבְּרוּ (vayyigberu, from גָּבַר, gavar), meaning “to become great, mighty.” The waters did not merely rise; they “prevailed” over the earth, overwhelming it.
  386. Genesis 7:18 tn Heb “went.”
  387. Genesis 7:19 tn Heb “and the waters were great exceedingly, exceedingly.” The repetition emphasizes the depth of the waters.
  388. Genesis 7:19 tn Heb “and.”
  389. Genesis 7:20 tn Heb “rose 15 cubits.” Since a cubit is considered by most authorities to be about 18 inches, this would make the depth 22.5 feet. This figure might give the modern reader a false impression of exactness, however, so in the translation the phrase “15 cubits” has been rendered “more than 20 feet.”
  390. Genesis 7:20 tn Heb “the waters prevailed 15 cubits upward and they covered the mountains.” Obviously, a flood of 20 feet did not cover the mountains; the statement must mean the flood rose about 20 feet above the highest mountain.
  391. Genesis 7:21 tn Heb “flesh.”
  392. Genesis 7:22 tc The MT reads נִשְׁמַת רוּחַ חַיִּים (nishmat ruakh khayyim, “breath of the breath/spirit of life”), but the LXX and Vulgate imply only נִשְׁמַת חַיִּים (nishmat khayyim). Either the LXX translator omitted translation of both words because of their similarity in meaning, or the omission in LXX shows that the inclusion of רוּחַ in the MT is the addition of an explanatory gloss.
  393. Genesis 7:23 tn Heb “and he”; the referent (the Lord) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
  394. Genesis 7:23 tn Heb “wiped away” (cf. NRSV “blotted out”).
  395. Genesis 7:23 tn Heb “from man to animal to creeping thing and to the bird of the sky.”
  396. Genesis 7:23 tn The Hebrew verb שָׁאָר (shaʾar) means “to be left over; to survive” in the Niphal verb stem. It is the word used in later biblical texts for the remnant that escapes judgment. See G. F. Hasel, “Semantic Values of Derivatives of the Hebrew Root šʾr,” AUSS 11 (1973): 152-69.
  397. Genesis 7:24 sn The Hebrew verb translated “prevailed over” suggests that the waters were stronger than the earth. The earth and everything in it were no match for the return of the chaotic deep.
  398. Genesis 8:1 tn The Hebrew word translated “remembered” often carries the sense of acting in accordance with what is remembered, i.e., fulfilling covenant promises (see B. S. Childs, Memory and Tradition in Israel [SBT], especially p. 34).
  399. Genesis 8:1 tn Heb “to pass over.”
  400. Genesis 8:2 tn Some (e.g., NIV) translate the preterite verb forms in this verse as past perfects (e.g., “had been closed”), for it seems likely that the sources of the water would have stopped before the waters receded.
  401. Genesis 8:3 tn The construction combines a Qal preterite from שׁוּב (shuv) with its infinitive absolute to indicate continuous action. The infinitive absolute from הָלָךְ (halakh) is included for emphasis: “the waters returned…going and returning.”
  402. Genesis 8:3 tn Heb “the waters.” The pronoun (“they”) has been employed in the translation for stylistic reasons.
  403. Genesis 8:3 tn The vav (ו) consecutive with the preterite here describes the consequence of the preceding action.
  404. Genesis 8:4 tn Heb “on the mountains of Ararat.” Obviously a boat (even one as large as the ark) cannot rest on multiple mountains. Perhaps (1) the preposition should be translated “among,” or (2) the plural “mountains” should be understood in the sense of “mountain range” (see E. A. Speiser, Genesis [AB], 53). A more probable option (3) is that the plural indicates an indefinite singular, translated “one of the mountains” (see GKC 400 §124.o).sn Ararat is the Hebrew name for Urartu, the name of a mountainous region located north of Mesopotamia in modern day eastern Turkey. See E. M. Yamauchi, Foes from the Northern Frontier (SBA), 29-32; G. J. Wenham, Genesis (WBC), 1:184-85; C. Westermann, Genesis, 1:443-44.
  405. Genesis 8:5 tn Heb “the waters were going and lessening.” The perfect verb form הָיָה (hayah) is used as an auxiliary verb with the infinitive absolute חָסוֹר (khasor, “lessening”), while the infinitive absolute הָלוֹךְ (halokh) indicates continuous action.
  406. Genesis 8:5 tn Or “could be seen.”
  407. Genesis 8:6 tn The introductory verbal form וַיְהִי (vayehi), traditionally rendered “and it came to pass,” serves as a temporal indicator and has not been translated here.
  408. Genesis 8:6 tn Heb “opened the window in the ark which he had made.” The perfect tense (“had made”) refers to action preceding the opening of the window, and is therefore rendered as a past perfect. Since in English “had made” could refer to either the ark or the window, the order of the phrases was reversed in the translation to clarify that the window is the referent.
  409. Genesis 8:7 tn Heb “and it went out, going out and returning.” The Hebrew verb יָצָא (yatsaʾ), translated here “flying,” is modified by two infinitives absolute indicating that the raven went back and forth.
  410. Genesis 8:8 tn Heb “he”; the referent (Noah) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
  411. Genesis 8:8 tn The Hebrew text adds “from him.” This has not been translated for stylistic reasons, because it is redundant in English.
  412. Genesis 8:8 tn The Hebrew verb קָלָל (qalal) normally means “to be light, to be slight”; it refers here to the waters receding.
  413. Genesis 8:9 tn The words “still covered” is supplied in the translation for stylistic reasons.
  414. Genesis 8:9 tn Heb “him”; the referent (Noah) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
  415. Genesis 8:9 tn Heb “it”; the referent (the dove) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
  416. Genesis 8:9 tn Heb “and he brought it to himself to the ark.”
  417. Genesis 8:11 tn The clause introduced by vav (ו) consecutive is translated as a temporal clause subordinated to the following clause.
  418. Genesis 8:11 tn The deictic particle הִנֵּה (hinneh) draws attention to the olive leaf. It invites readers to enter into the story, as it were, and look at the olive leaf with their own eyes.
  419. Genesis 8:12 tn The word “again” is not in the Hebrew text, but is supplied in the translation for stylistic reasons.
  420. Genesis 8:12 tn Heb “it did not again return to him still.” For a study of this section of the flood narrative, see W. O. E. Oesterley, “The Dove with the Olive Leaf (Gen VIII 8-11),” ExpTim 18 (1906/07): 377-78.
  421. Genesis 8:13 tn Heb In the six hundred and first year.” Since this refers to the six hundred and first year of Noah’s life, the word “Noah’s” has been supplied in the translation for clarity.
  422. Genesis 8:13 tn Heb “and saw and look.” As in v. 11, the deictic particle הִנֵּה (hinneh) invites readers to enter into the story, as it were, and look at the dry ground with their own eyes.
  423. Genesis 8:14 tn In v. 13 the ground (הָאֲדָמָה, haʾadamah) is dry; now the earth (הָאָרֶץ, haʾarets) is dry.
  424. Genesis 8:17 tn The words “bring out” are not in the Hebrew text, but are supplied in the translation for stylistic reasons.
  425. Genesis 8:17 tn Following the Hiphil imperative, “bring out,” the three perfect verb forms with vav (ו) consecutive carry an imperatival nuance. For a discussion of the Hebrew construction here and the difficulty of translating it into English, see S. R. Driver, A Treatise on the Use of the Tenses in Hebrew, 124-25.
  426. Genesis 8:17 tn Heb “and let them swarm in the earth and be fruitful and multiply on the earth.”
  427. Genesis 8:20 sn Offered burnt offerings on the altar. F. D. Maurice includes a chapter on the sacrifice of Noah in The Doctrine of Sacrifice. The whole burnt offering, according to Leviticus 1, represented the worshiper’s complete surrender and dedication to the Lord. After the flood Noah could see that God was not only a God of wrath, but a God of redemption and restoration. The one who escaped the catastrophe could best express his gratitude and submission through sacrificial worship, acknowledging God as the sovereign of the universe.
  428. Genesis 8:21 tn The Lord “smelled” (וַיָּרַח, vayyarakh) a “soothing smell” (רֵיחַ הַנִּיחֹחַ, reakh hannikhoakh). The object forms a cognate accusative with the verb. The language is anthropomorphic. The offering had a sweet aroma that pleased or soothed. The expression in Lev 1 signifies that God accepts the offering with pleasure, and in accepting the offering he accepts the worshiper.
  429. Genesis 8:21 tn Heb “and the Lord said.”
  430. Genesis 8:21 tn Heb “in his heart.”
  431. Genesis 8:21 tn Here the Hebrew word translated “curse” is קָלָל (qalal), used in the Piel verbal stem.
  432. Genesis 8:21 tn The Hebrew particle כִּי (ki) can be used in a concessive sense (see BDB 473 s.v. כִּי), which makes good sense in this context. Its normal causal sense (“for”) does not fit the context here very well.
  433. Genesis 8:21 tn Heb “the inclination of the heart of humankind.”
  434. Genesis 8:21 tn Heb “from his youth.”
  435. Genesis 8:22 tn Heb “yet all the days of the earth.” The idea is “[while there are] yet all the days of the earth,” meaning, “as long as the earth exists.”
  436. Genesis 8:22 tn Heb “seed,” which stands here by metonymy for the time when seed is planted.
  437. Genesis 9:2 tn Heb “and fear of you and dread of you will be upon every living creature of the earth and upon every bird of the sky.” The suffixes on the nouns “fear” and “dread” are objective genitives. The animals will fear humans from this time forward.
  438. Genesis 9:2 tn Heb “into your hand are given.” The “hand” signifies power. To say the animals have been given into the hands of humans means humans have been given authority over them.
  439. Genesis 9:3 tn Heb “every moving thing that lives for you will be for food.”
  440. Genesis 9:3 tn The words “I gave you” are not in the Hebrew text, but are supplied in the translation for stylistic reasons.
  441. Genesis 9:3 tn The perfect verb form describes the action that accompanies the declaration.
  442. Genesis 9:4 tn Heb “only.”
  443. Genesis 9:4 tn Or “flesh.”
  444. Genesis 9:4 tn Heb “its life, its blood.” The second word is in apposition to the first, explaining what is meant by “its life.” Since the blood is equated with life, meat that had the blood in it was not to be eaten.
  445. Genesis 9:4 tn The words “in it” are supplied in the translation for stylistic reasons.sn You must not eat meat with its life…in it. Because of the carnage produced by the flood, people might conclude that life is cheap and therefore treat it lightly. But God will not permit them to kill or even to eat anything with the lifeblood still in it, serving as a reminder of the sanctity of life.
  446. Genesis 9:5 tn Again the text uses apposition to clarify what kind of blood is being discussed: “your blood, [that is] for your life.” See C. L. Dewar, “The Biblical Use of the Term ‘Blood,’” JTS 4 (1953): 204-8.
  447. Genesis 9:5 tn The word “punishment” is not in the Hebrew text, but is supplied in the translation for clarification. The verb דָּרָשׁ (darash) means “to require, to seek, to ask for, to exact.” Here it means that God will exact punishment for the taking of a life. See R. Mawdsley, “Capital Punishment in Gen. 9:6, ” CentBib 18 (1975): 20-25.
  448. Genesis 9:5 tn Heb “from the hand of,” which means “out of the hand of” or “out of the power of” and is nearly identical in sense to the preposition מִן (min) alone.
  449. Genesis 9:5 tn Heb “and from the hand of the man.” The article has a generic function, indicating the class, i.e., humankind.
  450. Genesis 9:5 tn Heb “of the man.”
  451. Genesis 9:5 tn Heb “from the hand of a man, his brother.” The point is that God will require the blood of someone who kills, since the person killed is a relative (“brother”) of the killer. The language reflects Noah’s situation (after the flood everyone would be part of Noah’s extended family), but also supports the concept of the brotherhood of humankind. According to the Genesis account the entire human race descended from Noah.
  452. Genesis 9:6 tn Heb “the blood of man.”
  453. Genesis 9:6 tn Heb “by man,” a generic term here for other human beings.
  454. Genesis 9:6 sn See the notes on the words “humankind” and “likeness” in Gen 1:26, as well as J. Barr, “The Image of God in the Book of Genesis—A Study of Terminology,” BJRL 51 (1968/69): 11-26.
  455. Genesis 9:6 tn Heb “he”; the referent (God) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
  456. Genesis 9:7 sn The disjunctive clause (vav plus subject plus verb) here indicates a strong contrast to what has preceded. Against the backdrop of the warnings about taking life, God now instructs the people to produce life, using terms reminiscent of the mandate given to Adam (Gen 1:28).
  457. Genesis 9:8 tn Heb “to Noah and to his sons with him, saying.”
  458. Genesis 9:9 tn Heb “I, look, I confirm.” The particle הִנְנִי (hineni) used with the participle מֵקִים (meqim) gives the sense of immediacy or imminence, as if to say, “Look! I am now confirming.”
  459. Genesis 9:9 tn The three pronominal suffixes (translated “you,” “your,” and “you”) are masculine plural. As v. 8 indicates, Noah and his sons are addressed.
  460. Genesis 9:10 tn The verbal repetition is apparently for emphasis.
  461. Genesis 9:11 tn The verb וַהֲקִמֹתִי (vahaqimoti) is a perfect with the vav (ו) consecutive and should be translated with the English present tense, just as the participle at the beginning of the speech was (v. 9). Another option is to translate both forms with the English future tense (“I will confirm”).
  462. Genesis 9:11 tn Heb “all flesh.”
  463. Genesis 9:11 tn Heb “cut off.”
  464. Genesis 9:11 tn Heb “and all flesh will not be cut off again by the waters of the flood.”
  465. Genesis 9:12 tn Heb “sign.”
  466. Genesis 9:12 sn On the making of covenants in Genesis, see W. F. Albright, “The Hebrew Expression for ‘Making a Covenant’ in Pre-Israelite Documents,” BASOR 121 (1951): 21-22.
  467. Genesis 9:12 tn Heb “between me and between you.”
  468. Genesis 9:12 tn The words “a covenant” are supplied in the translation for clarification.
  469. Genesis 9:12 tn The Hebrew term עוֹלָם (ʿolam) means “ever, forever, lasting, perpetual.” The covenant would extend to subsequent generations.
  470. Genesis 9:13 tn The translation assumes that the perfect verbal form is used rhetorically, emphasizing the certainty of the action. Other translation options include “I have placed” (present perfect; cf. NIV, NRSV) and “I place” (instantaneous perfect; cf. NEB).
  471. Genesis 9:13 sn The Hebrew word קֶשֶׁת (qeshet) normally refers to a warrior’s bow. Some understand this to mean that God the warrior hangs up his battle bow at the end of the flood, indicating he is now at peace with humankind, but others question the legitimacy of this proposal. See C. Westermann, Genesis, 1:473, and G. J. Wenham, Genesis (WBC), 1:196.
  472. Genesis 9:13 tn The perfect verbal form with vav (ו) consecutive here has the same aspectual function as the preceding perfect of certitude.
  473. Genesis 9:14 tn The temporal indicator (וְהָיָה, vehayah, conjunction + the perfect verb form), often translated “it will be,” anticipates a future development.
  474. Genesis 9:15 tn Heb “which [is] between me and between you.”
  475. Genesis 9:15 tn Heb “all flesh.”
  476. Genesis 9:15 tn Heb “to destroy.”
  477. Genesis 9:15 tn Heb “all flesh.”
  478. Genesis 9:16 tn The translation assumes that the infinitive לִזְכֹּר (lizkor, “to remember”) here expresses the result of seeing the rainbow. Another option is to understand it as indicating purpose, in which case it could be translated, “I will look at it so that I may remember.”
  479. Genesis 9:17 tn Heb “all flesh.”
  480. Genesis 9:18 sn The concluding disjunctive clause is parenthetical. It anticipates the following story, which explains that the Canaanites, Ham’s descendants through Canaan, were cursed because they shared the same moral abandonment that their ancestor displayed. See A. van Selms, “The Canaanites in the Book of Genesis,” OTS 12 (1958): 182-213.
  481. Genesis 9:19 tn Heb “was scattered.” The rare verb נָפַץ (nafats, “to scatter”) appears to be a bi-form of the more common verb פּוּץ (puts, “to scatter”) which figures prominently in the story of the dispersion of humankind in chap. 11. And the form here, נָפְצָה (nafetsah), could be repointed as נָפוֹצָה (nafotsah), the Niphal of פּוּץ.
  482. Genesis 9:20 sn The epithet a man of the soil indicates that Noah was a farmer.
  483. Genesis 9:20 tn Or “Noah, a man of the soil, was the first to plant a vineyard”; Heb “and Noah, a man of the ground, began and he planted a vineyard.”
  484. Genesis 9:21 tn The Hebrew verb גָּלָה (galah) in the Hitpael verbal stem (וַיִּתְגַּל, vayyitgal) means “to uncover oneself” or “to be uncovered.” Noah became overheated because of the wine and uncovered himself in the tent.
  485. Genesis 9:22 sn For the second time (see v. 18) the text informs the reader of the relationship between Ham and Canaan. Genesis 10 will explain that Canaan was the ancestor of the Canaanite tribes living in the promised land.
  486. Genesis 9:22 tn Some would translate “had sexual relations with,” arguing that Ham committed a homosexual act with his drunken father for which he was cursed. However, the expression “see nakedness” usually refers to observation of another’s nakedness, not a sexual act (see Gen 42:9, 12 where “nakedness” is used metaphorically to convey the idea of “weakness” or “vulnerability”; Deut 23:14 where “nakedness” refers to excrement; Isa 47:3; Ezek 16:37; Lam 1:8). The following verse (v. 23) clearly indicates that visual observation, not a homosexual act, is in view here. In Lev 20:17 the expression “see nakedness” does appear to be a euphemism for sexual intercourse, but the context there, unlike that of Gen 9:22, clearly indicates that in that passage sexual contact is in view. The expression “see nakedness” does not in itself suggest a sexual connotation. Some relate Gen 9:22 to Lev 18:6-11, 15-19, where the expression “uncover [another’s] nakedness” (the Piel form of גָּלָה, galah) refers euphemistically to sexual intercourse. However, Gen 9:22 does not say Ham “uncovered” the nakedness of his father. According to the text, Noah uncovered himself; Ham merely saw his father naked. The point of the text is that Ham had no respect for his father. Rather than covering his father up, he told his brothers. Noah then gave an oracle that Ham’s descendants, who would be characterized by the same moral abandonment, would be cursed. Leviticus 18 describes that greater evil of the Canaanites (see vv. 24-28).sn Saw the nakedness. It is hard for modern people to appreciate why seeing another’s nakedness was such an abomination, because nakedness is so prevalent today. In the ancient world, especially in a patriarchal society, seeing another’s nakedness was a major offense. (See the account in Herodotus, Histories 1.8-13, where a general saw the nakedness of his master’s wife, and one of the two had to be put to death.) Besides, Ham was not a little boy wandering into his father’s bedroom; he was over a hundred years old by this time. For fuller discussion see A. P. Ross, “The Curse of Canaan,” BSac 137 (1980): 223-40.
  487. Genesis 9:23 tn The word translated “garment” has the Hebrew definite article on it. The article may simply indicate that the garment is definite and vivid in the mind of the narrator, but it could refer instead to Noah’s garment. Did Ham bring it out when he told his brothers?
  488. Genesis 9:23 tn Heb “their faces [were turned] back.”
  489. Genesis 9:24 tn Heb “his wine,” used here by metonymy for the drunken stupor it produced.
  490. Genesis 9:24 tn Heb “he knew.”
  491. Genesis 9:24 tn The Hebrew verb עָשָׂה (ʿasah, “to do”) carries too general a sense to draw the conclusion that Ham had to have done more than look on his father’s nakedness and tell his brothers.
  492. Genesis 9:25 sn For more on the curse, see H. C. Brichto, The Problem ofCursein the Hebrew Bible (JBLMS), and J. Scharbert, TDOT 1:405-18.
  493. Genesis 9:25 sn Cursed be Canaan. The curse is pronounced on Canaan, not Ham. Noah sees a problem in Ham’s character, and on the basis of that he delivers a prophecy about the future descendants who will live in slavery to such things and then be controlled by others. (For more on the idea of slavery in general, see E. M. Yamauchi, “Slaves of God,” BETS 9 [1966]: 31-49). In a similar way Jacob pronounced oracles about his sons based on their revealed character (see Gen 49). Wenham points out that “Ham’s indiscretion towards his father may easily be seen as a type of the later behavior of the Egyptians and Canaanites. Noah’s curse on Canaan thus represents God’s sentence on the sins of the Canaanites, which their forefather Ham had exemplified.” He points out that the Canaanites are seen as sexually aberrant and Lev 18:3 describes Egypt and Canaan, both descendants of Ham, as having abominable practices. See G. Wenham, Genesis vol. 1 (WBC), 202.
  494. Genesis 9:25 tn Heb “a servant of servants” (עֶבֶד עֲבָדִים, ’eved ’avadim), an example of the superlative genitive. It means Canaan will become the most abject of slaves.
  495. Genesis 9:26 tn Heb “blessed be.”
  496. Genesis 9:26 tn Heb “a slave to him”; the referent (Shem) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
  497. Genesis 9:27 tn Heb “may God enlarge Japheth.” The words “territory and numbers” are supplied in the translation for clarity.sn There is a wordplay (paronomasia) on the name Japheth. The verb יַפְתְּ (yaft, “may he enlarge”) sounds like the name יֶפֶת (yefet, “Japheth”). The name itself suggested the idea. The blessing for Japheth extends beyond the son to the descendants. Their numbers and their territories will be enlarged, so much so that they will share in Shem’s territories. Again, in this oracle, Noah is looking beyond his immediate family to future generations. For a helpful study of this passage and the next chapter, see T. O. Figart, A Biblical Perspective on the Race Problem, 55-58.
  498. Genesis 9:27 sn There is some debate over whether God or Japheth is the subject. On the one hand, the brothers acted together and the refrain ending vv. 26 and 27 is the same, which suggests that v. 26 is about Shem and v. 27 is about Japheth. But it is not clear what it would mean for Japheth to live in Shem’s tents. A similar phrase occurs in Ps 78:55 where it means for Israel to occupy Canaan, but there is no reason in this context to expect Japheth to be blessed at the expense of Shem and occupy his territory. If this applies to Japheth, it would make more sense for it to mean that Japheth would participate in the blessings of Shem, but that is not clear for this phrase. On the other hand it is typical to keep the same subject if a new one is not explicitly introduced, suggesting that God is the subject here (see W. Kaiser, The Messiah in the Old Testament, 44-46). In addition, the phrase שָׁכַן בּ (shakhan b…, “to dwell in/among” is often used of the Lord dwelling among Israel, in Zion, making his name dwell there, or the Tabernacle dwelling among them. Referring to the “tents” (plural) of Shem looks ahead to tents of his descendants, not to the Tabernacle, though the Tabernacle being in the middle of the camp would seem to be a realization of the statement, as would Jesus’ presence among Israel.
  499. Genesis 9:27 tn In this context the prefixed verbal form is a jussive (note the distinct jussive forms both before and after this in vv. 26 and 27).
  500. Genesis 9:27 tn Heb “a slave to him”; the referent (Japheth) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
  501. Genesis 10:1 tn The title אֵלֶּה תּוֹלְדֹת (ʾelleh toledot, here translated as “This is the account”) here covers 10:1-11:9, which contains the so-called Table of Nations and the account of how the nations came to be dispersed.
  502. Genesis 10:1 sn The sons are not listed in order by age. Japheth was oldest (10:21); Ham was youngest (9:24). Shem is listed first due to importance.
  503. Genesis 10:1 sn Sons were born to them. A vertical genealogy such as this encompasses more than the names of sons. The list includes cities, tribes, and even nations. In a loose way, the names in the list have some derivation or connection to the three ancestors.
  504. Genesis 10:1 tn It appears that the Table of Nations is a composite of at least two ancient sources: Some sections begin with the phrase “the sons of” (בְּנֵי, bene) while other sections use “begot” (יָלָד, yalad). It may very well be that the “sons of” list was an old, “bare bones” list that was retained in the family records, while the “begot” sections were editorial inserts by the writer of Genesis, reflecting his special interests. See A. P. Ross, “The Table of Nations in Genesis 10—Its Structure,” BSac 137 (1980): 340-53; idem, “The Table of Nations in Genesis 10—Its Content,” BSac 138 (1981): 22-34.
  505. Genesis 10:2 sn The Greek form of the name Japheth, Iapetos, is used in Greek tradition for the ancestor of the Greeks.
  506. Genesis 10:2 sn Gomer was the ancestor of the Cimmerians. For a discussion of the Cimmerians see E. M. Yamauchi, Foes from the Northern Frontier (SBA), 49-61.
  507. Genesis 10:2 sn For a discussion of various proposals concerning the descendants of Magog see E. M. Yamauchi, Foes from the Northern Frontier (SBA), 22-24.
  508. Genesis 10:2 sn Madai was the ancestor of the Medes, who lived east of Assyria.
  509. Genesis 10:2 sn Javan was the father of the Hellenic race, the Ionians who lived in western Asia Minor.
  510. Genesis 10:2 sn Tubal was the ancestor of militaristic tribes that lived north of the Black Sea. For a discussion of ancient references to Tubal see E. M. Yamauchi, Foes from the Northern Frontier (SBA), 24-26.
  511. Genesis 10:2 sn Meshech was the ancestor of the people known in Assyrian records as the Musku. For a discussion of ancient references to them see E. M. Yamauchi, Foes from the Northern Frontier (SBA), 24-26.
  512. Genesis 10:2 sn Tiras was the ancestor of the Thracians, some of whom possibly became the Pelasgian pirates of the Aegean.
  513. Genesis 10:3 sn The descendants of Gomer were all northern tribes of the Upper Euphrates.
  514. Genesis 10:3 sn Ashkenaz was the ancestor of a northern branch of Indo-Germanic tribes, possibly Scythians. For discussion see E. M. Yamauchi, Foes from the Northern Frontier (SBA), 63.
  515. Genesis 10:3 sn The descendants of Riphath lived in a district north of the road from Haran to Carchemish.
  516. Genesis 10:3 sn Togarmah is also mentioned in Ezek 38:6, where it refers to Til-garimmu, the capital of Kammanu, which bordered Tabal in eastern Turkey. See E. M. Yamauchi, Foes from the Northern Frontier (SBA), 26, n. 28.
  517. Genesis 10:4 sn The descendants of Elishah populated Cyprus.
  518. Genesis 10:4 sn The descendants of Tarshish settled along the southern coast of what is modern Turkey. However, some identify the site Tarshish (see Jonah 1:3) with Sardinia or Spain.
  519. Genesis 10:4 sn The name Kittim is associated with Cyprus, as well as coastlands east of Rhodes. It is used in later texts to refer to the Romans.
  520. Genesis 10:4 tc Most of the MT mss read “Dodanim” here, but 1 Chr 1:7 has “Rodanim,” perhaps referring to the island of Rhodes. But the Qere reading in 1 Chr 1:7 suggests “Dodanim.” Dodona is one of the most ancient and revered spots in ancient Greece.
  521. Genesis 10:6 sn The descendants of Cush settled in Nubia (Ethiopia).
  522. Genesis 10:6 sn The descendants of Mizraim settled in Upper and Lower Egypt.
  523. Genesis 10:6 sn The descendants of Put settled in Libya.
  524. Genesis 10:6 sn The descendants of Canaan lived in the region of Phoenicia (Palestine).
  525. Genesis 10:7 sn The descendants of Seba settled in Upper Egypt along the Nile.
  526. Genesis 10:7 sn The Hebrew name Havilah apparently means “stretch of sand” (see HALOT 297 s.v. חֲוִילָה). Havilah’s descendants settled in eastern Arabia.
  527. Genesis 10:7 sn The descendants of Sabtah settled near the western shore of the Persian Gulf in ancient Hadhramaut.
  528. Genesis 10:7 sn The descendants of Raamah settled in southwest Arabia.
  529. Genesis 10:7 sn The descendants of Sabteca settled in Samudake, east toward the Persian Gulf.
  530. Genesis 10:7 sn Sheba became the name of a kingdom in southwest Arabia.
  531. Genesis 10:7 sn The name Dedan is associated with ʿUla in northern Arabia.
  532. Genesis 10:8 tn Heb “fathered.” Embedded within Cush’s genealogy is an account of Nimrod, a mighty warrior. There have been many attempts to identify him, but none are convincing.
  533. Genesis 10:9 tn The Hebrew word for “hunt” is צַיִד (tsayid), which is used on occasion for hunting men (1 Sam 24:12; Jer 16:16; Lam 3:15).
  534. Genesis 10:9 tn Another option is to take the divine name here, לִפְנֵי יִהוָה (lifne yehvah, “before the Lord [YHWH]”), as a means of expressing the superlative degree. In this case one may translate “Nimrod was the greatest hunter in the world.”
  535. Genesis 10:10 tn Heb “beginning.” E. A. Speiser, Genesis (AB), 67, suggests “mainstays,” citing Jer 49:35 as another text where the Hebrew noun is so used.
  536. Genesis 10:10 tn Or “Babylon.”
  537. Genesis 10:10 sn Erech (ancient Uruk, modern Warka), one of the most ancient civilizations, was located southeast of Babylon.
  538. Genesis 10:10 sn Akkad, or ancient Agade, was associated with Sargon and located north of Babylon.
  539. Genesis 10:10 tn No such place is known in Shinar (i.e., Babylonia). Therefore some have translated the Hebrew term כַלְנֵה (khalneh) as “all of them,” referring to the three previous names (cf. NRSV).
  540. Genesis 10:10 sn Shinar is another name for Babylonia.
  541. Genesis 10:11 tn The subject of the verb translated “went” is probably still Nimrod. However, it has also been interpreted that “Ashur went,” referring to a derivative power.
  542. Genesis 10:11 tn Heb “Asshur.”
  543. Genesis 10:11 sn Nineveh was an ancient Assyrian city situated on the Tigris River.
  544. Genesis 10:11 sn The name Rehoboth Ir means “and broad streets of a city,” perhaps referring to a suburb of Nineveh.
  545. Genesis 10:11 sn Calah (modern Nimrud) was located 20 miles north of Nineveh.
  546. Genesis 10:12 tn Heb “and Resen between Nineveh and Calah; it [i.e., Calah] is the great city.”
  547. Genesis 10:13 sn Mizraim is the Hebrew name for Egypt (cf. NRSV).
  548. Genesis 10:13 tn Heb “fathered.”
  549. Genesis 10:13 sn The Ludites were African tribes west of the Nile Delta.
  550. Genesis 10:13 sn The Anamites lived in North Africa, west of Egypt, near Cyrene.
  551. Genesis 10:13 sn The Lehabites are identified with the Libyans.
  552. Genesis 10:13 sn The Naphtuhites lived in Lower Egypt (the Nile Delta region).
  553. Genesis 10:14 sn The Pathrusites are known in Egyptian as P-to-reshi; they resided in Upper Egypt.
  554. Genesis 10:14 sn The Casluhites lived in Crete and eventually settled east of the Egyptian Delta, between Egypt and Canaan.
  555. Genesis 10:14 tn Several commentators prefer to reverse the order of the words to put this clause after the next word, since the Philistines came from Crete (where the Caphtorites lived). But the table may suggest migration rather than lineage, and the Philistines, like the Israelites, came through the Nile Delta region of Egypt. For further discussion of the origin and migration of the Philistines, see D. M. Howard, “Philistines,” Peoples of the Old Testament World, 232.
  556. Genesis 10:14 sn The Caphtorites resided in Crete, but in Egyptian literature Caphtor refers to “the region beyond” the Mediterranean.
  557. Genesis 10:15 tn Heb “fathered.”
  558. Genesis 10:15 sn Sidon was the foremost city in Phoenicia; here Sidon may be the name of its founder.
  559. Genesis 10:15 tn Some see a reference to “Hittites” here (cf. NIV), but this seems unlikely. See the note on the phrase “sons of Heth” in Gen 23:3.
  560. Genesis 10:16 sn The Jebusites were the Canaanite inhabitants of ancient Jerusalem.
  561. Genesis 10:16 sn Here Amorites refers to smaller groups of Canaanite inhabitants of the mountainous regions of Palestine, rather than the large waves of Amurru, or western Semites, who migrated to the region.
  562. Genesis 10:16 sn The Girgashites are an otherwise unknown Canaanite tribe, though the name is possibly mentioned in Ugaritic texts (see G. J. Wenham, Genesis [WBC], 1:226).
  563. Genesis 10:17 sn The Hivites were Canaanite tribes of a Hurrian origin.
  564. Genesis 10:17 sn The Arkites lived in Arka, a city in Lebanon, north of Sidon.
  565. Genesis 10:17 sn The Sinites lived in Sin, another town in Lebanon.
  566. Genesis 10:18 sn The Arvadites lived in the city Arvad, located on an island near the mainland close to the river El Kebir.
  567. Genesis 10:18 sn The Zemarites lived in the town Sumur, north of Arka.
  568. Genesis 10:18 sn The Hamathites lived in Hamath on the Orontes River.
  569. Genesis 10:19 tn Heb “were.”
  570. Genesis 10:19 tn Heb “as you go.”
  571. Genesis 10:19 tn Heb “as you go.”
  572. Genesis 10:21 tn Heb “And to Shem was born.”
  573. Genesis 10:21 tn Or “whose older brother was Japheth.” Some translations render Japheth as the older brother, understanding the adjective הַגָּדוֹל (haggadol, “older”) as modifying Japheth. However, in Hebrew when a masculine singular definite attributive adjective follows the sequence masculine singular construct noun plus proper name, the adjective invariably modifies the noun in construct, not the proper name. Such is the case here. See Deut 11:7; Judg 1:13; 2:7; 3:9; 9:5; 2 Kgs 15:35; 2 Chr 27:3; Neh 3:30; Jer 13:9; 36:10; Ezek 10:19; 11:1.
  574. Genesis 10:22 sn The Hebrew name Elam (עֵילָם, ʿelam) means “highland.” The Elamites were a non-Semitic people who lived east of Babylon.
  575. Genesis 10:22 sn Asshur is the name for the Assyrians. Asshur was the region in which Nimrod expanded his power (see v. 11, where the name is also mentioned). When names appear in both sections of a genealogical list, it probably means that there were both Hamites and Shemites living in that region in antiquity, especially if the name is a place name.
  576. Genesis 10:22 sn The descendants of Arphaxad may have lived northeast of Nineveh.
  577. Genesis 10:22 sn Lud may have been the ancestor of the Ludbu, who lived near the Tigris River.
  578. Genesis 10:22 sn Aram became the collective name of the northern tribes living in the steppes of Mesopotamia and speaking Aramaic dialects.
  579. Genesis 10:23 tc The MT reads “Mash”; the LXX and 1 Chr 1:17 read “Meshech.”sn Uz, Hul, Gether, and Mash. Little is known about these descendants of Aram.
  580. Genesis 10:24 tn Heb “fathered.”
  581. Genesis 10:24 tc The MT reads “Arphaxad fathered Shelah”; the LXX reads “Arphaxad fathered Cainan, and Cainan fathered Sala [= Shelah].” The LXX reading also appears to lie behind Luke 3:35-36.
  582. Genesis 10:24 sn Genesis 11 traces the line of Shem through Eber (עֵבֶר, ʿever) to Abraham the “Hebrew” (עִבְרִי, ʿivri).
  583. Genesis 10:25 tn The expression “the earth was divided” may refer to dividing the land with canals, but more likely it anticipates the division of languages at Babel (Gen 11). The verb פָּלַג (palag, “separate, divide”) is used in Ps 55:9 for a division of languages.
  584. Genesis 10:26 tn Heb “fathered.”
  585. Genesis 10:26 sn The name Almodad combines the Arabic article al with modad (“friend”). Almodad was the ancestor of a South Arabian people.
  586. Genesis 10:26 sn The name Sheleph may be related to Shilph, a district of Yemen; Shalph is a Yemenite tribe.
  587. Genesis 10:26 sn The name Hazarmaveth should be equated with Hadramawt, located in Southern Arabia.
  588. Genesis 10:26 sn The name Jerah means “moon.”
  589. Genesis 10:27 sn Uzal was the name of the old capital of Yemen.
  590. Genesis 10:27 sn The name Diklah means “date-palm.”
  591. Genesis 10:28 sn Obal was a name used for several localities in Yemen.
  592. Genesis 10:28 sn The name Abimael is a genuine Sabean form which means “my father, truly, he is God.”
  593. Genesis 10:28 sn The descendants of Sheba lived in South Arabia, where the Joktanites were more powerful than the Hamites.
  594. Genesis 10:29 sn Ophir became the name of a territory in South Arabia. Many of the references to Ophir are connected with gold (e.g., 1 Kgs 9:28; 10:11; 22:48; 1 Chr 29:4; 2 Chr 8:18; 9:10; Job 22:24; 28:16; Ps 45:9; Isa 13:12).
  595. Genesis 10:29 sn Havilah is listed with Ham in v. 7.
  596. Genesis 10:30 tn Heb “as you go.”
  597. Genesis 10:32 tn Or “separated.”
  598. Genesis 11:1 sn The whole earth. Here “earth” is a metonymy of subject, referring to the people who lived in the earth. Genesis 11 begins with everyone speaking a common language, but chap. 10 has the nations arranged by languages. It is part of the narrative art of Genesis to give the explanation of the event after the narration of the event. On this passage see A. P. Ross, “The Dispersion of the Nations in Genesis 11:1-9, ” BSac 138 (1981): 119-38.
  599. Genesis 11:1 tn Heb “one lip and one [set of] words.” The term “lip” is a metonymy of cause, putting the instrument for the intended effect. They had one language. The term “words” refers to the content of their speech. They had the same vocabulary.
  600. Genesis 11:2 tn Heb “they”; the referent (the people) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
  601. Genesis 11:2 tn Or perhaps “from the east” (NRSV) or “in the east.”
  602. Genesis 11:2 tn Heb “in the land of Shinar.”sn Shinar is the region of Babylonia.
  603. Genesis 11:3 tn Heb “a man to his neighbor.” The Hebrew idiom may be translated “to each other” or “one to another.”
  604. Genesis 11:3 tn The speech contains two cohortatives of exhortation followed by their respective cognate accusatives: “let us brick bricks” (נִלְבְּנָה לְבֵנִים, nilbenah levenim) and “burn for burning” (נִשְׂרְפָה לִשְׂרֵפָה, nisrefah lisrefah). This stresses the intensity of the undertaking; it also reflects the Akkadian text which uses similar constructions (see E. A. Speiser, Genesis [AB], 75-76).
  605. Genesis 11:3 tn Or “bitumen” (cf. NEB, NRSV).
  606. Genesis 11:3 tn The disjunctive clause gives information parenthetical to the narrative.
  607. Genesis 11:4 tn A translation of “heavens” for שָׁמַיִם (shamayim) fits this context because the Babylonian ziggurats had temples at the top, suggesting they reached to the heavens, the dwelling place of the gods.
  608. Genesis 11:4 tn The form וְנַעֲשֶׂה (venaʿaseh, from the verb עָשָׁה [ʿasah], “do, make”) could be either the imperfect or the cohortative with a vav (ו) conjunction (“and let us make…”). Coming after the previous cohortative, this form expresses purpose.
  609. Genesis 11:4 tn The Hebrew particle פֶּן (pen) expresses a negative purpose; it means “that we be not scattered.”
  610. Genesis 11:4 sn The Hebrew verb פּוּץ (puts, “scatter”) is a key term in this passage. The focal point of the account is the dispersion (“scattering”) of the nations rather than the Tower of Babel. But the passage also forms a polemic against Babylon, the pride of the east and a cosmopolitan center with a huge ziggurat. To the Hebrews it was a monument to the judgment of God on pride.
  611. Genesis 11:5 tn Heb “the sons of man.” The phrase is intended in this polemic to portray the builders as mere mortals, not the lesser deities that the Babylonians claimed built the city.
  612. Genesis 11:5 tn The Hebrew text simply has בָּנוּ (banu), but since v. 8 says they left off building the city, an ingressive idea (“had started building”) should be understood here.
  613. Genesis 11:6 tn Heb “and one lip to all of them.”
  614. Genesis 11:6 tn Heb “and now.” The foundational clause beginning with הֵן (hen) expresses the condition, and the second clause the result. It could be rendered “If this…then now.”
  615. Genesis 11:6 tn Heb “all that they purpose to do will not be withheld from them.”
  616. Genesis 11:7 tn The cohortatives mirror the cohortatives of the people. They build to ascend the heavens; God comes down to destroy their language. God speaks here to his angelic assembly. See the notes on the word “make” in 1:26 and “know” in 3:5, as well as Jub. 10:22-23, where an angel recounts this incident and says “And the Lord our God said to us…. And the Lord went down and we went down with him. And we saw the city and the tower which the sons of men built.” On the chiastic structure of the story, see G. J. Wenham, Genesis (WBC), 1:235.
  617. Genesis 11:7 tn Heb “they will not hear, a man the lip of his neighbor.”
  618. Genesis 11:8 tn The infinitive construct לִבְנֹת (livnot, “building”) here serves as the object of the verb “they ceased, stopped,” answering the question of what they stopped doing.
  619. Genesis 11:9 tn The verb has no expressed subject and so can be rendered as a passive in the translation.
  620. Genesis 11:9 sn Babel. Here is the climax of the account, a parody on the pride of Babylon. In the Babylonian literature the name bab-ili meant “the gate of God,” but in Hebrew it sounds like the word for “confusion,” and so retained that connotation. The name “Babel” (בָּבֶל, bavel) and the verb translated “confused” (בָּלַל, balal) form a paronomasia (sound play). For the many wordplays and other rhetorical devices in Genesis, see J. P. Fokkelman, Narrative Art in Genesis (SSN).
  621. Genesis 11:11 tn The word “other” is not in the Hebrew text, but is supplied for stylistic reasons.
  622. Genesis 11:13 tn Here and in vv. 15, 16, 19, 21, 23, 25 the word “other” is not in the Hebrew text, but is supplied for stylistic reasons.
  623. Genesis 11:13 tc The reading of the MT is followed in vv. 11-12; the LXX reads, “And [= when] Arphaxad had lived 35 years, [and] he fathered [= became the father of] Cainan. And after he fathered [= became the father of] Cainan, Arphaxad lived 430 years and fathered [= had] [other] sons and daughters, and [then] he died. And [= when] Cainan had lived 130 years, [and] he fathered [= became the father of] Sala [= Shelah]. And after he fathered [= became the father of] Sala [= Shelah], Cainan lived 330 years and fathered [= had] [other] sons and daughters, and [then] he died.” See also the note on “Shelah” in Gen 10:24; the LXX reading also appears to lie behind Luke 3:35-36.
  624. Genesis 11:28 sn The phrase of the Chaldeans is a later editorial clarification for the readers, designating the location of Ur. From all evidence there would have been no Chaldeans in existence at this early date; they are known in the time of the neo-Babylonian empire in the first millennium b.c.
  625. Genesis 11:28 tn Heb “upon the face of Terah his father.”
  626. Genesis 11:29 sn The name Sarai (a variant spelling of “Sarah”) means “princess” (or “lady”). Sharratu was the name of the wife of the moon god Sin. The original name may reflect the culture out of which the patriarch was called, for the family did worship other gods in Mesopotamia.
  627. Genesis 11:29 sn The name Milcah means “Queen.” But more to the point here is the fact that Malkatu was a title for Ishtar, the daughter of the moon god. If the women were named after such titles (and there is no evidence that this was the motivation for naming the girls “Princess” or “Queen”), that would not necessarily imply anything about the faith of the two women themselves.
  628. Genesis 11:32 tn Heb “And the days of Terah were.”
  629. Genesis 11:32 tn Heb “Terah”; the pronoun has been substituted for the proper name in the translation for stylistic reasons.
  630. Genesis 12:1 sn The Lord called Abram while he was in Ur (see Gen 15:7; Acts 7:2), but the sequence here makes it look like it was after the family left to migrate to Canaan (11:31-32). Genesis records the call of Abram at this place in the narrative because it is the formal beginning of the account of Abram. The record of Terah was brought to its end before this beginning.
  631. Genesis 12:1 tn The call of Abram begins with an imperative לֶךְ־לְךָ (lekh lekha, “go out”) followed by three cohortatives (v. 2a) indicating purpose or consequence (“that I may” or “then I will”). If Abram leaves, then God will do these three things. The second imperative (v. 2b, literally “and be a blessing”) is subordinated to the preceding cohortatives and indicates God’s ultimate purpose in calling and blessing Abram. On the syntactical structure of vv. 1-2 see R. B. Chisholm, “Evidence from Genesis,” A Case for Premillennialism, 37. For a similar sequence of volitive forms see Gen 45:18.sn It would be hard to overestimate the value of this call and this divine plan for the theology of the Bible. Here begins God’s plan to bring redemption to the world. The promises to Abram will be turned into a covenant in Gen 15 and 22 (here it is a call with conditional promises) and will then lead through the Bible to the work of the Messiah.
  632. Genesis 12:1 tn The initial command is the direct imperative (לֶךְ, lekh) from the verb הָלַךְ (halakh). It is followed by the preposition ל (lamed) with a pronominal suffix (לְךָ, lekha) emphasizing the subject of the imperative: “you leave.”
  633. Genesis 12:1 sn To the land that I will show you. The call of Abram illustrates the leading of the Lord. The command is to leave. The Lord’s word is very specific about what Abram is to leave (the three prepositional phrases narrow to his father’s household), but is not specific at all about where he is to go. God required faith, a point that Heb 11:8 notes.
  634. Genesis 12:2 tn The three first person verbs in v. 2a should be classified as cohortatives. The first two have pronominal suffixes, so the form itself does not indicate a cohortative. The third verb form is clearly cohortative.
  635. Genesis 12:2 sn I will bless you. The blessing of creation is now carried forward to the patriarch. In the garden God blessed Adam and Eve; in that blessing he (1) gave them a fruitful place, (2) endowed them with fertility to multiply, and (3) made them rulers over creation. That was all ruined at the fall. Now God begins to build his covenant people; in Gen 12-22 he promises to give Abram (1) a land flowing with milk and honey, (2) a great nation without number, and (3) kingship.
  636. Genesis 12:2 tn Or “I will make you famous.”
  637. Genesis 12:2 tn Heb “and be a blessing.” The verb form הְיֵה (heyeh) is the Qal imperative of the verb הָיָה (hayah). The vav (ו) with the imperative after the cohortatives indicates purpose or consequence. What does it mean for Abram to “be a blessing”? Will he be a channel or source of blessing for others, or a prime example of divine blessing? With the opposite notions of being a curse, taunt, horror, reproach, or proverb, a person (or the nation) is an example of such and/or referenced in a statement of such. For example, in Zech 8:13 God assures his people, “You will be a blessing,” in contrast to the past when they “were a curse.” Certainly “curse” here does not refer to Israel being a source of a curse, but rather to the fact that they became a curse-word or byword among the nations, who regarded them as the epitome of an accursed people (see 2 Kgs 22:19; Jer 42:18; 44:8, 12, 22). Therefore the statement “be a blessing” seems to refer to Israel being transformed into a prime example of a blessed people, whose name will be used in blessing formulae, rather than in curses. If the statement “be a blessing” is understood in the same way in Gen 12:2, then it means that God would so bless Abram that other nations would hear of his fame and hold him up as a paradigm of divine blessing in their blessing formulae. And yet the gnomic promise that begins v. 3 can be seen to identify the way in which Abraham could be a blessing to others; as they bless him, they are blessed by God.
  638. Genesis 12:3 tn The Piel cohortative has as its object a Piel participle, masculine plural. Since the Lord binds himself to Abram by covenant, those who enrich Abram in any way share in the blessings.
  639. Genesis 12:3 tn In this part of God’s statement there are two significant changes that often go unnoticed. First, the parallel and contrasting participle מְקַלֶּלְךָ (meqallelekha) is now singular and not plural. All the versions and a few Masoretic mss read the plural. But if it had been plural, there would be no reason to change it to the singular and alter the parallelism. On the other hand, if it was indeed singular, it is easy to see why the versions would change it to match the first participle. The MT preserves the original reading: “the one who treats you lightly.” The point would be a contrast with the lavish way that God desires to bless many. The second change is in the vocabulary. The English usually says, “I will curse those who curse you.” But there are two different words for curse here. The first is קָלַל (qalal), which means “to be light” in the Qal, and in the Piel “to treat lightly, to treat with contempt, to curse.” The second verb is אָרַר (ʾarar), which means “to banish, to remove from the blessing.” The point is simple: Whoever treats Abram and the covenant with contempt as worthless God will banish from the blessing. It is important also to note that the verb is not a cohortative, but a simple imperfect. Since God is binding himself to Abram, this would then be an obligatory imperfect: “but the one who treats you with contempt I must curse.”
  640. Genesis 12:3 tn Or “find blessing.” The Niphal of בָּרַךְ (barakh) occurs only three times, all in formulations of the Abrahamic covenant (Gen 12:2; 18:18; 28:14). The Niphal stem is medio-passive and it has traditionally been rendered as passive here. While this captures an assumption in the passage, it does not fully capture the nuance of the verb. The verb is denominative (based on the noun “blessing”) with its active voice in the Piel and its normal passive expression in the Pual (or the Qal passive participle). Some have argued that the Niphal has the same reciprocal notion as its Hitpael (which appears in two other formulations of the Abrahamic covenant: Gen 22:18; 26:4) and means “bless one another by you[r name].” As an example of being blessed, Abram would be mentioned in their pronouncements of blessing. This could be possible, but it is more likely that the Niphal is used instead of the Hitpael to indicate a different middle voice meaning than the Hitpael, just as it would not be expected to have the same passive meaning as the Pual. In the immediate context, the first lines of this verse explain how others may be blessed by God, specifically by blessing Abram. The middle voice nuance may be expressed as “they may consider themselves blessed through you,” or that “they may find/receive blessing through you.” The logical outcome is that those who bless Abraham receive blessing and thus will “be blessed” (passive), and that anyone on the earth may be part of that category. So a passive translation can be a fair rendering of this implication. This translation attempts to reflect the middle voice of the Niphal as well as a modal sense “may receive blessing,” since the blessing only comes to those who bless Abram. Additional iterations of the Abrahamic covenant extend this principle to his descendants.
  641. Genesis 12:4 sn So Abram left. This is the report of Abram’s obedience to God’s command (see v. 1).
  642. Genesis 12:4 tn Heb “just as the Lord said to him.”
  643. Genesis 12:4 tn The disjunctive clause (note the pattern conjunction + subject + implied “to be” verb) is parenthetical, telling the age of Abram when he left Haran.
  644. Genesis 12:4 tn Heb “was the son of five years and seventy year[s].”sn Terah was 70 years old when he became the father of Abram, Nahor, and Haran (Gen 11:26). Terah was 205 when he died in Haran (11:32). Abram left Haran at the age of 75 after his father died. Abram was born when Terah was 130. Abram was not the firstborn—he is placed first in the list of three because of his importance. A similar situation is true of the list in Gen 10:1 (Shem, Ham, Japheth), as Ham was the youngest son (9:24).
  645. Genesis 12:5 tn Heb “the son of his brother.”
  646. Genesis 12:5 tn For the semantic nuance “acquire [property]” for the verb עָשָׂה (ʿasah), see BDB 795 s.v. עָשָׂה.
  647. Genesis 12:5 tn Heb “went out to go.”
  648. Genesis 12:6 tn Or “terebinth.”
  649. Genesis 12:6 sn The Hebrew word Moreh (מוֹרֶה, moreh) means “teacher.” It may well be that the place of this great oak tree was a Canaanite shrine where instruction took place.
  650. Genesis 12:6 tn Heb “as far as the place of Shechem, as far as the oak of Moreh.”
  651. Genesis 12:6 tn The disjunctive clause gives important information parenthetical in nature—the promised land was occupied by Canaanites.
  652. Genesis 12:7 tn The same Hebrew term זֶרַע (zeraʿ) may mean “seed” (for planting), “offspring” (occasionally of animals, but usually of people), or “descendants” depending on the context.
  653. Genesis 12:7 tn Heb “he”; the referent (Abram) has been supplied in the translation for clarification.
  654. Genesis 12:8 tn Heb “he called in the name of the Lord.” The expression refers to worshiping the Lord through prayer and sacrifice (see Gen 4:26; 13:4; 21:33; 26:25). See G. J. Wenham, Genesis (WBC), 1:116, 281.
  655. Genesis 12:9 tn The Hebrew verb נָסַע (nasaʿ) means “to journey”; more specifically it means to pull up the tent and move to another place. The construction here uses the preterite of this verb with its infinitive absolute to stress the activity of traveling. But it also adds the infinitive absolute of הָלַךְ (halakh) to stress that the traveling was continually going on. Thus “Abram journeyed, going and journeying” becomes “Abram continually journeyed by stages.”
  656. Genesis 12:9 tn Or “the South [country].”sn Negev is the name for the southern desert region in the land of Canaan.
  657. Genesis 12:10 sn Abram went down to Egypt. The Abrahamic narrative foreshadows some of the events in the life of the nation of Israel. This sojourn in Egypt is typological of Israel’s bondage there. In both stories there is a famine that forces the family to Egypt, death is a danger to the males while the females are preserved alive, great plagues bring about their departure, there is a summons to stand before Pharaoh, and there is a return to the land of Canaan with great wealth.
  658. Genesis 12:10 tn The Hebrew verb גּוּר (gur), traditionally rendered “to sojourn,” means “to stay for a while.” The “stranger” (traditionally “sojourner”) is one who is a temporary resident, a visitor, one who is passing through. Abram had no intention of settling down in Egypt or owning property. He was only there to wait out the famine.
  659. Genesis 12:10 tn Heb “heavy in the land.” The words “in the land,” which also occur at the beginning of the verse in the Hebrew text, have not been repeated here in the translation for stylistic reasons.
  660. Genesis 12:11 tn Heb “drew near to enter.”
  661. Genesis 12:11 tn The particle הִנֵּה (hinneh, “look”) is deictic here; it draws attention to the following fact.
  662. Genesis 12:11 tn Heb “a woman beautiful of appearance are you.”
  663. Genesis 12:12 tn The Piel of the verb חָיָה (khayah, “to live”) means “to keep alive, to preserve alive,” and in some places “to make alive.” See D. Marcus, “The Verb ‘to Live’ in Ugaritic,” JSS 17 (1972): 76-82.
  664. Genesis 12:13 tn Heb “say.”
  665. Genesis 12:13 sn Tell them you are my sister. Abram’s motives may not be as selfish as they appear. He is aware of the danger to the family. His method of dealing with it is deception with a half truth, for Sarai really was his sister—but the Egyptians would not know that. Abram presumably thought that there would be negotiations for a marriage by anyone interested (as Laban does later for his sister Rebekah), giving him time to react. But the plan backfires because Pharaoh does not take the time to negotiate. There is a good deal of literature on the wife-sister issue. See (among others) E. A. Speiser, “The Wife-Sister Motif in the Patriarchal Narratives,” Oriental and Biblical Studies, 62-81; C. J. Mullo-Weir, “The Alleged Hurrian Wife-Sister Motif in Genesis,” GOT 22 (1967-1970): 14-25.
  666. Genesis 12:13 tn The Hebrew verb translated “go well” can encompass a whole range of favorable treatment, but the following clause indicates it means here that Abram’s life will be spared.
  667. Genesis 12:13 tn Heb “and my life will live.”
  668. Genesis 12:15 tn Heb “and the woman.” The word also means “wife”; the Hebrew article can express the possessive pronoun (R. J. Williams, Hebrew Syntax, 19, §86). Here the proper name (Abram) has been used in the translation instead of a possessive pronoun (“his”) for clarity.
  669. Genesis 12:15 tn The Hebrew term וַתֻּקַּח (vattuqqakh, “was taken”) is a rare verbal form, an old Qal passive preterite from the verb “to take.” It is pointed as a Hophal would be by the Masoretes, but does not have a Hophal meaning.
  670. Genesis 12:15 tn The Hebrew text simply has “house of Pharaoh.” The word “house” refers to the household in general, more specifically to the royal harem.
  671. Genesis 12:16 sn He did treat Abram well. The construction of the parenthetical disjunctive clause, beginning with the conjunction on the prepositional phrase, draws attention to the irony of the story. Abram wanted Sarai to lie “so that it would go well” with him. Though he lost Sarai to Pharaoh, it did go well for him—he received a lavish bride price. See also G. W. Coats, “Despoiling the Egyptians,” VT 18 (1968): 450-57.
  672. Genesis 12:16 tn Heb “and there was to him.”
  673. Genesis 12:17 tn The cognate accusative adds emphasis to the verbal sentence: “he plagued with great plagues,” meaning the Lord inflicted numerous plagues, probably diseases (see Exod 15:26). The adjective “great” emphasizes that the plagues were severe and overwhelming.
  674. Genesis 12:18 tn The demonstrative pronoun translated “this” adds emphasis: “What in the world have you done to me?” (R. J. Williams, Hebrew Syntax, 24, §118).
  675. Genesis 12:19 tn The preterite with vav (ו) consecutive here expresses consequence.
  676. Genesis 12:19 tn Heb “to me for a wife.”
  677. Genesis 12:19 tn Heb “take and go.”
  678. Genesis 12:20 tn Heb “him”; the referent (Abram) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
  679. Genesis 13:1 tn Or “the South [country]” (also in v. 3).sn Negev is the name for the southern desert region in the land of Canaan.
  680. Genesis 13:1 tn Heb “And Abram went up from Egypt, he and his wife and all which was his, and Lot with him, to the Negev.”
  681. Genesis 13:2 tn Heb “heavy.”
  682. Genesis 13:2 tn This parenthetical clause, introduced by the vav (ו) disjunctive (translated “now”), provides information necessary to the point of the story.
  683. Genesis 13:3 tn Heb “on his journeys”; the verb and noun combination means to pick up the tents and move from camp to camp.
  684. Genesis 13:3 tn The words “he returned” are supplied in the translation for stylistic reasons.
  685. Genesis 13:3 tn Heb “where his tent had been.”
  686. Genesis 13:4 tn Heb “to the place of the altar which he had made there in the beginning” (cf. Gen 12:7-8).
  687. Genesis 13:4 tn Heb “he called in the name of the Lord.” The expression refers to worshiping the Lord through prayer and sacrifice (see Gen 4:26; 12:8; 21:33; 26:25). See G. J. Wenham, Genesis (WBC), 1:116, 281.
  688. Genesis 13:5 tn Heb “was going.”
  689. Genesis 13:5 tn The Hebrew idiom is “to Lot…there was,” the preposition here expressing possession.
  690. Genesis 13:6 tn The potential nuance for the perfect tense is necessary here, and supported by the parallel clause that actually uses “to be able.”
  691. Genesis 13:6 tn The infinitive construct לָשֶׁבֶת (lashevet, from יָשַׁב, yashav) explains what it was that the land could not support: “the land could not support them to live side by side.” See further J. C. de Moor, “Lexical Remarks Concerning Yahad and Yahdaw,” VT 7 (1957): 350-55.
  692. Genesis 13:6 tn The same infinitive occurs here, serving as the object of the verb.
  693. Genesis 13:7 tn The Hebrew term רִיב (riv) means “strife, conflict, quarreling.” In later texts it has the meaning of “legal controversy, dispute.” See B. Gemser, “The rîb—or Controversy—Pattern in Hebrew Mentality,” Wisdom in Israel and in the Ancient Near East [VTSup], 120-37.
  694. Genesis 13:7 sn Since the quarreling was between the herdsmen, the dispute was no doubt over water and vegetation for the animals.
  695. Genesis 13:7 tn This parenthetical clause, introduced with the vav (ו) disjunctive (translated “now”), again provides critical information. It tells in part why the land cannot sustain these two bedouins, and it also hints of the danger of weakening the family by inner strife.
  696. Genesis 13:8 tn Heb “men, brothers [are] we.” Here “brothers” describes the closeness of the relationship, but could be misunderstood if taken literally, since Abram was Lot’s uncle.
  697. Genesis 13:9 tn The words “you go” have been supplied in the translation for stylistic reasons both times in this verse.
  698. Genesis 13:10 tn Heb “lifted up his eyes and saw.” The expression draws attention to the act of looking, indicating that Lot took a good look. It also calls attention to the importance of what was seen.
  699. Genesis 13:10 tn Or “plain”; Heb “circle.”
  700. Genesis 13:10 tn The words “he noticed” are supplied in the translation for stylistic reasons.
  701. Genesis 13:10 sn Obliterated. The use of the term “destroy” (שַׁחֵת, shakhet) is reminiscent of the Noahic flood (Gen 6:13). Both at the flood and in Sodom the place was obliterated by catastrophe and only one family survived (see C. Westermann, Genesis, 2:178).
  702. Genesis 13:10 tn This short temporal clause (preposition + Piel infinitive construct + subjective genitive + direct object) is strategically placed in the middle of the lavish descriptions to sound an ominous note. The entire clause is parenthetical in nature. Most English translations place the clause at the end of v. 10 for stylistic reasons.
  703. Genesis 13:10 sn The narrative places emphasis on what Lot saw so that the reader can appreciate how it aroused his desire for the best land. It makes allusion to the garden of the Lord and to the land of Egypt for comparison. Just as the tree in the garden of Eden had awakened Eve’s desire, so the fertile valley attracted Lot. And just as certain memories of Egypt would cause the Israelites to want to turn back and abandon the trek to the promised land, so Lot headed for the good life.
  704. Genesis 13:11 tn Heb “Lot traveled.” The proper name has not been repeated in the translation at this point for stylistic reasons.
  705. Genesis 13:11 tn Heb “a man from upon his brother.”sn Separated from each other. For a discussion of the significance of this event, see L. R. Helyer, “The Separation of Abram and Lot: Its Significance in the Patriarchal Narratives,” JSOT 26 (1983): 77-88.
  706. Genesis 13:12 tn Or “the cities of the plain”; Heb “[the cities of] the circle,” referring to the “circle” or oval area of the Jordan Valley.
  707. Genesis 13:13 tn Here is another significant parenthetical clause in the story, signaled by the vav (ו) disjunctive (translated “now”) on the noun at the beginning of the clause.
  708. Genesis 13:13 tn Heb “men.” However, this is generic in sense; it is unlikely that only the male residents of Sodom were sinners.
  709. Genesis 13:13 tn Heb “wicked and sinners against the Lord exceedingly.” The description of the sinfulness of the Sodomites is very emphatic. First, two nouns are used to form a hendiadys: “wicked and sinners” means “wicked sinners,” the first word becoming adjectival. The text is saying these were no ordinary sinners; they were wicked sinners, the type that cause pain for others. Then to this phrase is added “against the Lord,” stressing their violation of the laws of heaven and their culpability. Finally, to this is added מְאֹד (me’od, “exceedingly,” translated here as “extremely”).
  710. Genesis 13:14 tn Heb “and the Lord said to Abram after Lot separated himself from with him.” The disjunctive clause at the beginning of the verse signals a new scene.
  711. Genesis 13:14 tn Heb “lift up your eyes and see.”sn Look. Earlier Lot “looked up” (v. 10), but here Abram is told by God to do so. The repetition of the expression (Heb “lift up the eyes”) here underscores how the Lord will have the last word and actually do for Abram what Abram did for Lot—give him the land. It seems to be one of the ways that God rewards faith.
  712. Genesis 13:15 tn Heb “for all the land which you see to you I will give it and to your descendants.”
  713. Genesis 13:16 tn The translation “can be counted” (potential imperfect) is suggested by the use of יוּכַל (yukhal, “is able”) in the preceding clause.
  714. Genesis 13:17 tn The connective “and” is not present in the Hebrew text; it has been supplied for purposes of English style.
  715. Genesis 13:17 tn The Hitpael form הִתְהַלֵּךְ (hithallekh) means “to walk about”; it also can carry the ideas of moving about, traversing, going back and forth, or living in an area. It here has the connotation of traversing the land to survey it, to look it over.
  716. Genesis 13:17 tn Heb “the land to its length and to its breadth.” This phrase has not been included in the translation because it is somewhat redundant (see the note on the word “throughout” in this verse).
  717. Genesis 13:18 tn Heb “he came and lived.”
  718. Genesis 13:18 tn Or “terebinths.”
  719. Genesis 14:1 tn The sentence begins with the temporal indicator וַיְהִי (vayehi) followed by “in the days of.”
  720. Genesis 14:1 sn Shinar (also in v. 9) is the region of Babylonia.
  721. Genesis 14:1 tn Or “king of Goyim.” The Hebrew term גּוֹיִם (goyim) means “nations,” but a number of modern translations merely transliterate the Hebrew (cf. NEB “Goyim”; NIV, NRSV “Goiim”).
  722. Genesis 14:2 tn Heb “made war.”sn Went to war. The conflict here reflects international warfare in the Early and Middle Bronze periods. The countries operated with overlords and vassals. Kings ruled over city states, or sometimes a number of city states (i.e., nations). Due to their treaties, when one went to war, those confederate with him joined him in battle. It appears here that it is Kedorlaomer’s war, because the western city states have rebelled against him (meaning they did not send products as tribute to keep him from invading them).
  723. Genesis 14:2 sn On the geographical background of vv. 1-2 see J. P. Harland, “Sodom and Gomorrah,” The Biblical Archaeologist Reader, 1:41-75; and D. N. Freedman, “The Real Story of the Ebla Tablets, Ebla and the Cities of the Plain,” BA 41 (1978): 143-64.
  724. Genesis 14:3 tn Heb “all these,” referring only to the last five kings named. The referent has been specified as “these last five kings” in the translation for clarity.
  725. Genesis 14:3 tn The Hebrew verb used here means “to join together; to unite; to be allied.” It stresses close associations, especially of friendships, marriages, or treaties.
  726. Genesis 14:3 sn The Salt Sea is the older name for the Dead Sea.
  727. Genesis 14:4 tn The sentence simply begins with “twelve years”; it serves as an adverbial accusative giving the duration of their bondage.
  728. Genesis 14:4 tn This is another adverbial accusative of time.
  729. Genesis 14:4 sn The story serves as a foreshadowing of the plight of the kingdom of Israel later. Eastern powers came and forced the western kingdoms into submission. Each year, then, they would send tribute east—to keep them away. Here, in the thirteenth year, they refused to send the tribute (just as later Hezekiah rebelled against Assyria). And so in the fourteenth year the eastern powers came to put them down again. This account from Abram’s life taught future generations that God can give victory over such threats—that people did not have to live in servitude to tyrants from the east.
  730. Genesis 14:5 tn The Hebrew verb נָכָה (nakhah) means “to attack, to strike, to smite.” In this context it appears that the strike was successful, and so a translation of “defeated” is preferable.
  731. Genesis 14:6 sn The line of attack ran down the eastern side of the Jordan Valley into the desert, and then turned and came up the valley to the cities of the plain.
  732. Genesis 14:7 tn Heb “they returned and came to En Mishpat (that is, Kadesh).” The two verbs together form a verbal hendiadys, the first serving as the adverb: “they returned and came” means “they came again.” Most English translations do not treat this as a hendiadys, but translate “they turned back” or something similar. Since in the context, however, “came again to” does not simply refer to travel but an assault against the place, the present translation expresses this as “attacked…again.”
  733. Genesis 14:8 tn Heb “against.”
  734. Genesis 14:9 tn Or “Goyim.” See the note on the word “nations” in 14:1.
  735. Genesis 14:9 tn The Hebrew text has simply “against.” The word “fought” is supplied in the translation for stylistic reasons.
  736. Genesis 14:10 tn Heb “Now the Valley of Siddim [was] pits, pits of tar.” This parenthetical disjunctive clause emphasizes the abundance of tar pits in the area through repetition of the noun “pits.”sn The word for “tar” (or “bitumen”) occurs earlier in the story of the building of the tower in Babylon (see Gen 11:3).
  737. Genesis 14:10 tn Or “they were defeated there.” After a verb of motion the Hebrew particle שָׁם (sham) with the directional he (שָׁמָּה, shammah) can mean “into it, therein” (BDB 1027 s.v. שָׁם).
  738. Genesis 14:10 tn Heb “the rest.”
  739. Genesis 14:10 sn The reference to the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah must mean the kings along with their armies. Most of them were defeated in the valley, but some of them escaped to the hills.
  740. Genesis 14:11 tn Heb “they”; the referent (the four victorious kings, see v. 9) has been supplied in the translation for clarity.
  741. Genesis 14:12 tn Heb “Lot the son of his brother.”
  742. Genesis 14:12 tn Heb “and.”
  743. Genesis 14:12 tn Heb “he”; the referent (Lot) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
  744. Genesis 14:12 tn This disjunctive clause is circumstantial/causal, explaining that Lot was captured because he was living in Sodom at the time.
  745. Genesis 14:13 tn Heb “the fugitive.” The article carries a generic force or indicates that this fugitive is definite in the mind of the speaker.
  746. Genesis 14:13 sn E. A. Speiser (Genesis [AB], 103) suggests that part of this chapter came from an outside source since it refers to Abram the Hebrew. That is not impossible, given that the narrator likely utilized traditions and genealogies that had been collected and transmitted over the years. The meaning of the word “Hebrew” has proved elusive. It may be related to the verb “to cross over,” perhaps meaning “immigrant.” Or it might be derived from the name of Abram’s ancestor Eber (see Gen 11:14-16).
  747. Genesis 14:13 tn Or “terebinths.”
  748. Genesis 14:13 tn Or “a brother”; or “a relative”; or perhaps “an ally.”
  749. Genesis 14:13 tn Heb “possessors of a treaty with.” Since it is likely that the qualifying statement refers to all three (Mamre, Eshcol, and Aner) the words “all these” have been supplied in the translation to make this clear.
  750. Genesis 14:13 tn This parenthetical disjunctive clause explains how Abram came to be living in their territory, but it also explains why they must go to war with Abram.
  751. Genesis 14:14 tn Heb “his brother,” by extension, “relative.” Here and in v. 16 the more specific term “nephew” has been used in the translation for clarity. Lot was the son of Haran, Abram’s brother (Gen 11:27).
  752. Genesis 14:14 tn The verb וַיָּרֶק (vayyareq) is a rare form, probably related to the word רֵיק (req, “to be empty”). If so, it would be a very figurative use: “he emptied out” (or perhaps “unsheathed”) his men. The LXX has “mustered” (cf. NEB). E. A. Speiser (Genesis [AB], 103-4) suggests reading with Smr a verb diq, cognate with Akkadian deku, “to mobilize” troops. If this view is accepted, one must assume that a confusion of the Hebrew letters ד (dalet) and ר (resh) led to the error in the traditional Hebrew text. These two letters are easily confused in all phases of ancient Hebrew script development. The present translation is based on this view.
  753. Genesis 14:14 tn The words “the invaders” have been supplied in the translation for clarification.
  754. Genesis 14:14 sn The use of the name Dan reflects a later perspective. The Danites did not migrate to this northern territory until centuries later (see Judg 18:29). Furthermore Dan was not even born until much later. By inserting this name a scribe has clarified the location of the region.
  755. Genesis 14:15 tn The Hebrew text simply has “night” as an adverbial accusative.
  756. Genesis 14:15 tn Heb “he”; the referent (Abram) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
  757. Genesis 14:15 tn Heb “he divided himself…he and his servants.”
  758. Genesis 14:15 tn Heb “left.” Directions in ancient Israel were given in relation to the east rather than the north.
  759. Genesis 14:16 tn The word “stolen” is supplied in the translation for clarification.
  760. Genesis 14:16 tn The phrase “the rest of “ has been supplied in the translation for clarification.
  761. Genesis 14:17 tn Heb “he”; the referent (Abram) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
  762. Genesis 14:17 tn Heb “him”; the referent (Abram) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
  763. Genesis 14:17 sn The King’s Valley is possibly a reference to what came to be known later as the Kidron Valley.
  764. Genesis 14:18 sn Salem is traditionally identified as the Jebusite stronghold of old Jerusalem. Accordingly, there has been much speculation about its king. Though some have identified him with the preincarnate Christ or with Noah’s son Shem, it is far more likely that Melchizedek was a Canaanite royal priest whom God used to renew the promise of the blessing to Abram, perhaps because Abram considered Melchizedek his spiritual superior. But Melchizedek remains an enigma. In a book filled with genealogical records he appears on the scene without a genealogy and then disappears from the narrative. In Ps 110 the Lord declares that the Davidic king is a royal priest after the pattern of Melchizedek.
  765. Genesis 14:18 tn The parenthetical disjunctive clause significantly identifies Melchizedek as a priest as well as a king.sn It is his royal priestly status that makes Melchizedek a type of Christ: He was identified with Jerusalem, superior to the ancestor of Israel, and both a king and a priest. Unlike the normal Canaanites, this man served “God Most High” (אֵל עֶלְיוֹן, ʾel ʿelyon)—one sovereign God, who was the creator of all the universe. Abram had in him a spiritual brother.
  766. Genesis 14:19 tn The preposition ל (lamed) introduces the agent after the passive participle.
  767. Genesis 14:19 tn Some translate “possessor of heaven and earth” (cf. NASB). But cognate evidence from Ugaritic indicates that there were two homonymic roots קָנָה (qanah), one meaning “to create” (as in Gen 4:1) and the other “to obtain, to acquire, to possess.” While “possessor” would fit here, “Creator” is the more likely due to the collocation with “heaven and earth.”
  768. Genesis 14:19 tn The terms translated “heaven” and “earth” are both objective genitives after the participle in construct.
  769. Genesis 14:20 tn Heb “blessed be.” For God to be “blessed” means that he is praised. His reputation is enriched in the world as his name is praised.
  770. Genesis 14:20 sn Who delivered. The Hebrew verb מִגֵּן (miggen, “delivered”) foreshadows the statement by God to Abram in Gen 15:1, “I am your shield” (מָגֵן, magen). Melchizedek provided a theological interpretation of Abram’s military victory.
  771. Genesis 14:20 tn Heb “him”; the referent (Melchizedek) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
  772. Genesis 14:22 tn Abram takes an oath, raising his hand as a solemn gesture. The translation understands the perfect tense as having an instantaneous nuance: “Here and now I raise my hand.”
  773. Genesis 14:22 tn The words “and vow” are not in the Hebrew text, but are supplied in the translation for clarification.
  774. Genesis 14:23 tn The oath formula is elliptical, reading simply: “…if I take.” It is as if Abram says, “[May the Lord deal with me] if I take,” meaning, “I will surely not take.” The positive oath would add the negative adverb and be the reverse: “[God will deal with me] if I do not take,” meaning, “I certainly will.”
  775. Genesis 14:23 tn The Hebrew text adds the independent pronoun (“I”) to the verb form for emphasis.
  776. Genesis 14:24 tn The words “I will take nothing” have been supplied in the translation for stylistic reasons.
  777. Genesis 14:24 tn Heb “except only what the young men have eaten.”
  778. Genesis 15:1 sn The noun “shield” recalls the words of Melchizedek in 14:20. If God is the shield, then God will deliver. Abram need not fear reprisals from those he has fought.
  779. Genesis 15:1 tc Instead of the Hiphil infinitive absolute הַרְבֵּה (harbeh), the Samaritan Pentateuch reads ארבה, the first person imperfect and most likely still Hiphil (ʾarbeh) meaning “I will make [your reward very] great.”tn Heb “your reward [in] great abundance.” When the phrase הַרְבֵּה מְאֹד (harbeh me’od) follows a noun it invariably modifies the noun and carries the nuance “very great” or “in great abundance.” (See its use in Gen 41:49; Deut 3:5; Josh 22:8; 2 Sam 8:8; 12:2; 1 Kgs 4:29; 10:10-11; 2 Chr 14:13; 32:27; Jer 40:12.) Here the noun “reward” is in apposition to “shield” and refers by metonymy to God as the source of the reward. Some translate here “your reward will be very great” (cf. NASB, NRSV), taking the statement as an independent clause and understanding the Hiphil infinitive absolute as a substitute for a finite verb. However, the construction הַרְבֵּה מְאֹד is never used this way elsewhere, where it either modifies a noun (see the texts listed above) or serves as an adverb in relation to a finite verb (see Josh 13:1; 1 Sam 26:21; 2 Sam 12:30; 2 Kgs 21:16; 1 Chr 20:2; Neh 2:2).sn Abram has just rejected all the spoils of war, and the Lord promises to reward him in great abundance. In walking by faith and living with integrity he cannot lose.
  780. Genesis 15:2 tn The Hebrew text has אֲדֹנָי יֱהוִה (ʾadonay yehvih, “Lord Yahweh”). Since the tetragrammaton (YHWH) usually is pointed with the vowels for the Hebrew word אֲדֹנָי (ʾadonay, “Lord”) to avoid pronouncing the divine name, that would lead in this place to a repetition of אֲדֹנָי. So the tetragrammaton is here pointed with the vowels for the word אֱלֹהִים (ʾelohim, “God”) instead. That would produce the reading of the Hebrew as “Lord God” in the Jewish textual tradition. But the presence of “Lord” before the holy name is rather compelling evidence that the original would have been “Lord Lord,” which is rendered here “Sovereign Lord.”
  781. Genesis 15:2 tn The vav (ו) disjunctive at the beginning of the clause is circumstantial, expressing the cause or reason.
  782. Genesis 15:2 tn Heb “I am going.”
  783. Genesis 15:2 tn Heb “the son of the acquisition of my house.”sn For the custom of designating a member of the household as heir, see C. H. Gordon, “Biblical Customs and the Nuzu Tablets,” Biblical Archaeologist Reader, 2:21-33.
  784. Genesis 15:2 tn The pronoun is anaphoric here, equivalent to the verb “to be” (R. J. Williams, Hebrew Syntax, 23, §115).
  785. Genesis 15:2 sn The sentence in the Hebrew text employs a very effective wordplay on the name Damascus: “The son of the acquisition (בֶּן־מֶשֶׁק, ben mesheq) of my house is Eliezer of Damascus (דַּמֶּשֶׂק, dammeseq).” The words are not the same; they have different sibilants. But the sound play gives the impression that “in the nomen is the omen.” Eliezer the Damascene will be Abram’s heir if Abram dies childless because “Damascus” seems to mean that. See M. F. Unger, “Some Comments on the Text of Genesis 15:2-3, ” JBL 72 (1953): 49-50; H. L. Ginsberg, “Abram’s ‘Damascene’ Steward,” BASOR 200 (1970): 31-32.
  786. Genesis 15:3 tn Heb “And Abram said.”
  787. Genesis 15:3 tn The construction uses הֵן (hen) to introduce the foundational clause (“since…”), and וְהִנֵּה (vehinneh) to introduce the main clause (“then look…”).
  788. Genesis 15:3 tn Heb “is inheriting me.”
  789. Genesis 15:4 tn The disjunctive draws attention to God’s response and the particle הִנֵּה (hinneh, translated “look”) mirrors Abram’s statement in v. 3 and highlights the fact that God responded to Abram.
  790. Genesis 15:4 tn The subject of the verb is the demonstrative pronoun, which can be translated “this one” or “this man.” That the Lord does not mention him by name is significant; often in ancient times the use of the name would bring legitimacy to inheritance and adoption cases.
  791. Genesis 15:4 tn The Hebrew כִּי־אִם (ki ʾim) forms a very strong adversative.
  792. Genesis 15:4 tn Heb “he who.”
  793. Genesis 15:5 tn Heb “he”; the referent (the Lord) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
  794. Genesis 15:6 tn The sentence begins with vav (ו) plus a perfect verb. It does not show simple sequence, which would have been indicated with a vav plus preterite as in the surrounding clauses. The nuance may be that Abram had already come to believe or did so while God was speaking. For a detailed discussion of the vav plus perfect construction in Hebrew narrative, see R. Longacre, “Weqatal Forms in Biblical Hebrew Prose: A Discourse-modular Approach,” Biblical Hebrew and Discourse Linguistics, 50-98. The verb אָמַן (ʾaman) occurs with a Niphal and Hiphil opposition. In the Niphal it means “to be faithful, reliable, firm, enduring.” While in the Hiphil, the form used here, it means “to consider or treat something as reliable, or dependable.” Abram regarded God as reliable for this promise; he believed.
  795. Genesis 15:6 tn Heb “and he”; the referent (the Lord) has been specified in the translation for clarity. The Lord is the subject of a series of third masculine singular preterite verbs in 15:5-7, while Abram is the subject of the perfect verb at the beginning of this verse.
  796. Genesis 15:6 tn The verb חָשַׁב (khashav) is a verb of recognition, which can be rendered with words like “think, plan, reckon, impute, consider, assign.” Uniquely in this verse, the verb has two objects (a double accusative) and a prepositional phrase with ל (lamed). Without the double accusative, the syntax of the verb would be straightforward. When the object of the verb is an attribute and the object of the preposition is a person, it means “consider X (the verb’s object) to apply to (ל) Y (person).” This also occurs when imputing guilt to someone (2 Sam 19:20; Ps 32:2); the attribute is functionally applied to someone. When the object of the verb and the object of the preposition are impersonal, it means “consider X to be Z.” Gen 15:6 has two direct objects and both are impersonal. The closest parallels use an additional preposition. For example, Job 19:11, “He considers me (object suffix) like (כ; kaf) his enemies toward (ל) him,” and Job 33:10 He considers me (object suffix) to be (ל) an enemy toward (ל) him.” So the normal uses of the verb include considering a trait or evaluation to apply to a person, and also considering one thing to be [like] another. The translation takes the two impersonal objects of the verb (the double accusative) as being equated, while the preposition (ל) indicates that the attribute is imputed to the personal object of the preposition. That is, the Lord considered it (Abram’s belief) to be צְדָקָה (tsedaqah; “righteousness”), and he imputed this righteousness to Abram. We might suppose different nuances to be possible for how the two accusatives relate. Is one the evidence of the other, the basis for the other, an expression of the other? Or are these questions imposed on the text? We should note that when imputing (חָשַׁב; khashav) guilt, or not imputing (i.e., forgiving) guilt (Ps 32:1-3) the emphasis is on the legal or relational standing. The concept of considering righteousness to apply to someone’s account also occurs without this verb, as in Deut 6:25 and 24:13 “it will be righteousness for you before the Lord your God.” While the act of obedience and motivation for it can be characterized as righteous, the emphasis is on the righteous standing that the obedient person has. Likewise, Abram’s righteous standing before God is of the greatest significance in this passage.
  797. Genesis 15:6 tn Heb “and he imputed it.” The third feminine singular pronominal suffix refers back to Abram’s act of faith, mentioned in the preceding clause. On third feminine singular pronouns referring back to verbal ideas see GKC 440-41 §135.p. Some propose taking the suffix as proleptic, anticipating the following feminine noun (“righteousness”). In this case one might translate: “and he reckoned it to him—[namely] righteousness.” See O. P. Robertson, “Genesis 15:6: A New Covenant Exposition of an Old Covenant Text,” WTJ 42 (1980): 259-89.
  798. Genesis 15:6 tn The noun צְדָקָה (tsedaqah, “righteousness”) occurs with the Niphal of the same verb in Ps 106:31. Alluding to the events recorded in Numbers 25, the psalmist notes that Phinehas’ actions were “credited to him as righteousness for endless generations to come.” Phinehas acted in opposition to idolatry. So he was righteous in motive, his actions were righteous in character, and after he acted he was accorded righteous standing before God. Further the Lord rewarded Phinehas with an unconditional, eternal covenant (Num 25:12-13) as he rewards Abram with a covenant. From that contextual fact, the צְדָקָה (tsedaqah) “righteousness”) may be viewed by some as focusing on the rewardability of the behavior more than the righteous standing before God, though the two notions are related. (See R. B. Chisholm, “Evidence from Genesis,” A Case for Premillennialism, 40.) In Phoenician and Old Aramaic inscriptions cognate nouns may be glossed as “correct, justifiable conduct” and may carry this same semantic nuance (DNWSI 2:962). HALOT seems to focus on the motive and character of righteous actions when it lists “loyalty to the community” among its glosses for צְדָקָה (HALOT, 1006). The translation takes the righteous standing to be central, though it coincides with righteous or loyal motives, righteous conduct, and being viewed as worthy of reward. sn This episode is basic to the NT teaching of Paul on justification (Romans 4). Paul weaves this passage and Ps 32 together, as both refer to imputing an attribute, righteousness or guilt. Paul explains that for the one who believes in the Lord, like Abram, God credits him with righteousness but does not credit his sins against him because he is forgiven. Justification does not mean that the believer is thoroughly righteous in motive and conduct; it means that God credits him with righteous standing, so that in the records of heaven (as it were) he is declared righteous. See M. G. Kline, “Abram’s Amen,” WTJ 31 (1968): 1-11.
  799. Genesis 15:7 tn Heb “And he said.”
  800. Genesis 15:7 sn I am the Lord. The Lord initiates the covenant-making ceremony with a declaration of who he is and what he has done for Abram. The same form appears at the beginning of the covenant made at Sinai (see Exod 20:1).
  801. Genesis 15:7 sn The phrase of the Chaldeans is a later editorial clarification for the readers, designating the location of Ur. From all evidence there would have been no Chaldeans in existence at this early date; they are known in the time of the neo-Babylonian empire in the first millennium b.c.
  802. Genesis 15:8 tn Here the vav carries adversative force and is translated “but.”
  803. Genesis 15:8 tn Heb “he”; the referent (Abram) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
  804. Genesis 15:8 tn See note on the phrase “Sovereign Lord” in 15:2.
  805. Genesis 15:8 tn Or “how.”
  806. Genesis 15:9 tn Heb “He”; the referent (the Lord) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
  807. Genesis 15:10 tn Heb “he”; the referent (Abram) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
  808. Genesis 15:10 tn Heb “in the middle.”
  809. Genesis 15:10 tn Heb “to meet its neighbor.”sn For discussion of this ritual see G. F. Hasel, “The Meaning of the Animal Rite in Genesis 15, ” JSOT 19 (1981): 61-78.
  810. Genesis 15:12 tn Heb “a deep sleep fell on Abram.”
  811. Genesis 15:12 tn Heb “and look, terror, a great darkness was falling on him.”
  812. Genesis 15:13 tn The Hebrew construction is emphatic, with the Qal infinitive absolute followed by the imperfect from יָדַע (yadaʿ, “know”). The imperfect here has an obligatory or imperatival force.
  813. Genesis 15:13 tn The Hebrew word גֵּר (ger, “sojourner, stranger”) is related to the verb גּוּר (gur, “to sojourn, to stay for awhile”). Abram’s descendants will stay in a land as resident foreigners without rights of citizenship.
  814. Genesis 15:13 tn Heb “in a land not theirs.”
  815. Genesis 15:13 tn Heb “and they will serve them and they will oppress them.” The verb עִנּוּ, (ʾinnu, a Piel form from עָנָה, ʾanah, “to afflict, to oppress, to treat harshly”), is used in Exod 1:11 to describe the oppression of the Israelites in Egypt.
  816. Genesis 15:14 tn The participle דָּן (dan, from דִּין, din) is used here for the future: “I am judging” = “I will surely judge.” The judgment in this case will be condemnation and punishment. The translation “execute judgment on” implies that the judgment will certainly be carried out.
  817. Genesis 15:15 tn The vav with the pronoun before the verb calls special attention to the subject in contrast to the preceding subject.
  818. Genesis 15:15 sn You will go to your ancestors. This is a euphemistic expression for death.
  819. Genesis 15:15 tn Heb “in a good old age.”
  820. Genesis 15:16 sn The term generation is being used here in its widest sense to refer to a full life span. When the chronological factors are considered and the genealogies tabulated, there are 400 years of bondage. This suggests that in this context a generation is equivalent to 100 years.
  821. Genesis 15:16 tn Heb “they”; the referent (“your descendants”) has been supplied in the translation for clarity.
  822. Genesis 15:16 tn Heb “is not yet complete.”sn The sin of the Amorites has not yet reached its limit. The justice of God is apparent. He will wait until the Amorites are fully deserving of judgment before he annihilates them and gives the land to Israel.
  823. Genesis 15:17 sn A smoking pot with a flaming torch. These same implements were used in Mesopotamian rituals designed to ward off evil (see E. A. Speiser, Genesis [AB], 113-14).
  824. Genesis 15:17 tn Heb “these pieces.”
  825. Genesis 15:18 tn Heb “cut a covenant.”
  826. Genesis 15:18 tn The perfect verbal form is understood as instantaneous (“I here and now give”). Another option is to understand it as rhetorical, indicating certitude (“I have given” meaning it is as good as done, i.e., “I will surely give”).sn To your descendants I give this land. The Lord here unconditionally promises that Abram’s descendants will possess the land, but he does not yet ratify his earlier promises to give Abram a multitude of descendants and eternal possession of the land. The fulfillment of those aspects of the promise remain conditional (see Gen 17:1-8) and are ratified after Abraham offers up his son Isaac (see Gen 22:1-19). For a fuller discussion see R. B. Chisholm, “Evidence from Genesis,” A Case for Premillennialism, 35-54.
  827. Genesis 15:18 sn The river of Egypt is a wadi (a seasonal stream) on the northeastern border of Egypt, not the River Nile.
  828. Genesis 15:19 tn The words “the land” are supplied in the translation for stylistic reasons.
  829. Genesis 15:21 tn Each of the names in the list has the Hebrew definite article, which is used here generically for the class of people identified.
New English Translation (NET)

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