Genesis 2:6
But there went up a mist from the earth, and watered the whole face of the ground.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(6) A mist.—This mist, as we learn from Job 36:27, where the same word is translated vapour, is the measure and material of the rain, and thus there was already preparation for the Divine method of watering the earth, and making it capable of producing food for man. But, as we gather from Genesis 1, vast periods of indefinite length intervened between the first rain and the creation of man; and in each of them numerous series of animals were introduced, adapted each to the geologic condition of its time. All this now is rapidly passed over, and three points only lightly touched: namely, first, the earth saturated with vapour, and unfit for man; secondly, the vapour condensing into rain, and the earth growing fit for man; thirdly, man.

Genesis 2:6. There went up — At certain times, it seems, as God appointed; a mist or vapour from the earth — Issuing from the abyss, or great deep of water in its bowels; (see Genesis 7:14;) and watered the whole face of the ground — Not with rain, but with dew. By this the earth was softened and fitted to nourish the plants of all kinds already created, and the seeds and roots of these that they might produce new plants.2:4-7 Here is a name given to the Creator, Jehovah. Where the word LORD is printed in capital letters in our English Bibles, in the original it is Jehovah. Jehovah is that name of God, which denotes that he alone has his being of himself, and that he gives being to all creatures and things. Further notice is taken of plants and herbs, because they were made and appointed to be food for man. The earth did not bring forth its fruits of itself: this was done by Almighty power. Thus grace in the soul grows not of itself in nature's soil, but is the work of God. Rain also is the gift of God; it came not till the Lord God caused it. Though God works by means, yet when he pleases he can do his own work without them; and though we must not tempt God in the neglect of means, we must trust God, both in the use and in the want of means. Some way or other, God will water the plants of his own planting. Divine grace comes down like the dew, and waters the church without noise. Man was made of the small dust, such as is on the surface of the earth. The soul was not made of the earth, as the body: pity then that it should cleave to the earth, and mind earthly things. To God we must shortly give an account, how we have employed these souls; and if it be found that we have lost them, though it were to gain the world, we are undone for ever! Fools despise their own souls, by caring for their bodies before their souls.As in the former narrative, so here, the remaining part of the chapter is employed in recording the removal of the two hinderances to vegetation. The first of these is removed by the institution of the natural process by which rain is produced. The atmosphere had been adjusted so far as to admit of some light. But even on the third day a dense mass of clouds still shut out the heavenly bodies from view. But on the creation of plants the Lord God caused it to rain on the land. This is described in the verse before us. "A mist went up from the land." It had been ascending from the steaming, reeking land ever since the waters retired into the hollows. The briny moisture which could not promote vegetation is dried up. And now he causes the accumulated masses of cloud to burst forth and dissolve themselves in copious showers. Thus, "the mist watered the whole face of the soil." The face of the sky is thereby cleared, and on the following day the sun shone forth in all his cloudless splendor and fostering warmth.

On the fourth day, then, a second process of nature commenced. The bud began to swell, the tender blade to peep forth and assume its tint of green, the gentle breeze to agitate the full-sized plants, the first seeds to be shaken off and wafted to their resting-place, the first root to strike into the ground, and the first shoot to rise towards the sky.

This enables us to determine with some degree of probability the Season of the year when the creation took place. If we look to the ripe fruit on the first trees we presume that the season is autumn. The scattering of the seeds, the falling of the rains, and the need of a cultivator intimated in the text, point to the same period. In a genial climate the process of vegetation has its beginnings at the falling of the early rains. Man would be naturally led to gather the abundant fruit which fell from the trees, and thus, even unwittingly provide a store for the unbearing period of the year. It is probable, moreover, that he was formed in a region where vegetation was little interrupted by the coldest season of the year. This would be most favorable to the preservation of life in his state of primeval inexperience.

These presumptions are in harmony with the numeration of the months at the deluge Genesis 7:11, and with the outgoing and the turn of the year at autumn Exodus 23:16; Exodus 34:22.

5, 6. rain, mist—(See on [5]Ge 1:11). There went up, from time to time, by God’s appointment, a vapour, or cloud, which going up into the air, was turned into rain, and fell down again to the earth from whence it arose; whereby the earth was softened, and disposed both to the nourishment of those plants or trees that were created, and to the production of new plants in a natural and ordinary way. But these words may be otherwise understood, the copulative and, here rendered but, being put for the disjunctive

or, as it is Exodus 21:15, Exodus 21:17, Job 6:22, Job 8:3, and in other places. Or, the negative particle not may be understood out of the foregoing clause, as it is usual in the Hebrew language, as Psalm 1:5, Psalm 9:17, Psalm 44:19, Psalm 50:8, Isaiah 28:27-28. And so these words may be joined with the foregoing, and both translated in this manner,

There was no rain, nor a man to till the ground, or (or

nor, for both come to one thing) so much as

a mist which went up from the earth, and watered (as afterwards was usual and natural) the whole face of the ground. But there went up a mist from the earth,.... After the waters had been drained off from it, and it was warmed by the body of light and heat created on the first day, which caused a vapour, which went up as a mist, and descended:

and watered the whole face of the ground; or earth, and so supplied the place of rain, until that was given: though rather the words may be rendered disjunctively, "or there went up" (g); that is, before a mist went up, when as yet there was none; not so much as a mist to water the earth, and plants and herbs were made to grow; and so Saadiah reads them negatively, "nor did a mist go up"; there were no vapours exhaled to form clouds, and produce rain, and yet the whole earth on the third day was covered with plants and herbs; and this is approved of by Kimchi and Ben Melech.

(g) "aut vapor ascendens", Junius & Tremellius.

But there went up a mist from the earth, and watered the whole face of the ground.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
6. there went up] or “there used to go up,” i.e. periodically. The frequentative idea of the verb is given in the LXX ἀνέβαινεν, Lat. ascendebat.

a mist] Heb. ’êd, a word found elsewhere in the O.T. only in Job 36:27, where it is rendered “vapour.” Here the meaning is not certain: the versions (LXX πηγή: Lat. fons: Targum “cloud”) reflect the doubt. The English versions follow the Targum. Recently, Assyriologists have compared the Babylonian êdû, meaning a “flood” or “overflowing.” It is possible that the rendering “spring” or “stream” maybe more accurate than “mist”; that in Job 36:27 ’êd may denote the “source” of the waters above the heavens; and that here it may refer to the hidden source of the rivers of the world. No account is given of the origin of rain.

watered] Literally, “gave to drink”; an expression better suited to a “stream” than to a “mist”: cf. Genesis 2:10, where it is used of a river. “The ground,” the face of which was watered by it, was “the cultivable soil” (adâmah).Verse 6. - But there went up a mist from the earth, and watered the whole face of the ground. The dry land having been separated from the waters, and the atmospheric ocean uplifted above them both, vaporous exhalations began to ascend to the aerial regions, and to return again in the shape of rain upon the ground. Jehovah thus caused it to rain upon the ground, and so prepared it for the vegetation which, in obedience to the Almighty fiat, sprung up at the close of the third day, although the writer does not mention its appearance, but leaves it to be inferred from the preceding section. That soon after its emergence from the waters the land should be "dry, sterile, and sandy" will not be thought remarkable if we remember the highly igneous condition of our planet at the time when the dry land was upheaved and the waters gathered into the subsiding valleys. Nothing would more naturally follow that event than the steaming up of vapors to float in the aerial sea. In fact, the rapidity with which evaporation would be carried on would very speedily leave the newly-formed land hard and dry, baked and caked into a crust, till the atmosphere, becoming overcharged with aqueous vapor, returned it in the shape of rain. To talk of insuperable difficulty and manifest dissonance where everything is clear, natural, and harmonious is to speak at random, and betrays an anxiety to create contradictions rather than to solve them. The account in vv. 5-25 is not a second, complete and independent history of the creation, nor does it contain mere appendices to the account in Genesis 1; but it describes the commencement of the history of the human race. This commencement includes not only a complete account of the creation of the first human pair, but a description of the place which God prepared for their abode, the latter being of the highest importance in relation to the self-determination of man, with its momentous consequences to both earth and heaven. Even in the history of the creation man takes precedence of all other creatures, as being created in the image of God and appointed lord of all the earth, though he is simply mentioned there as the last and highest link in the creation. To this our present account is attached, describing with greater minuteness the position of man in the creation, and explaining the circumstances which exerted the greatest influence upon his subsequent career. These circumstances were-the formation of man from the dust of the earth and the divine breath of life; the tree of knowledge in paradise; the formation of the woman, and the relation of the woman to the man. Of these three elements, the first forms the substratum to the other two. Hence the more exact account of the creation of Adam is subordinated to, and inserted in, the description of paradise (Genesis 2:7). In Genesis 2:5 and Genesis 2:6, with which the narrative commences, there is an evident allusion to paradise: "And as yet there was (arose, grew) no shrub of the field upon the earth, and no herb of the field sprouted; for Jehovah El had not caused it to rain upon the earth, and there was no man to till the ground; and a mist arose from the earth and watered the whole surface of the ground." היה in parallelism with צמח means to become, to arise, to proceed. Although the growth of the shrubs and sprouting of the herbs are represented here as dependent upon the rain and the cultivation of the earth by man, we must not understand the words as meaning that there was neither shrub nor herb before the rain and dew, or before the creation of man, and so draw the conclusion that the creation of the plants occurred either after or contemporaneously with the creation of man, in direct contradiction to Genesis 1:11-12. The creation of the plants is not alluded to here at all, but simply the planting of the garden in Eden. The growing of the shrubs and sprouting of the herbs is different from the creation or first production of the vegetable kingdom, and relates to the growing and sprouting of the plants and germs which were called into existence by the creation, the natural development of the plants as it had steadily proceeded ever since the creation. This was dependent upon rain and human culture; their creation was not. Moreover, the shrub and herb of the field do not embrace the whole of the vegetable productions of the earth. It is not a fact that the field is used in the second section in the same sense as the earth in the first." שׂדה is not "the widespread plain of the earth, the broad expanse of land," but a field of arable land, soil fit for cultivation, which forms only a part of the "earth" or "ground." Even the "beast of the field" in Genesis 2:19 and Genesis 3:1 is not synonymous with the "beast of the earth" in Genesis 1:24-25, but is a more restricted term, denoting only such animals as live upon the field and are supported by its produce, whereas the "beast of the earth" denotes all wild beasts as distinguished from tame cattle and reptiles. In the same way, the "shrub of the field" consists of such shrubs and tree-like productions of the cultivated land as man raises for the sake of their fruit, and the "herb of the field," all seed-producing plants, both corn and vegetables, which serve as food for man and beast. - The mist (אד, vapour, which falls as rain, Job 36:27) is correctly regarded by Delitzsch as the creative beginning of the rain (המטיר) itself, from which we may infer, therefore, that it rained before the flood.
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