|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
1:6-13 The earth was emptiness, but by a word spoken, it became full of God's riches, and his they are still. Though the use of them is allowed to man, they are from God, and to his service and honour they must be used. The earth, at his command, brings forth grass, herbs, and fruits. God must have the glory of all the benefit we receive from the produce of the earth. If we have, through grace, an interest in Him who is the Fountain, we may rejoice in him when the streams of temporal mercies are dried up.
Verse 11. - And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so. Three terms are employed to describe the vegetation here summoned into existence. Kalisch regards the first as a generic term, including the second and the third; but they are better understood as distinct classes: -
(1) grass, deshe, first sprouts of the earth, tender herb, in which the seed is not noticed, as not being obvious to the eye; "tenera herha sine semine saltem conspicuo" (Rosenmüller); probably the various kinds of grasses that supply food for the lower animals (cf. Psalm 23:2);
(2) "the herb (eseb) yielding seed," the more mature herbage, in which the seed is the most striking characteristic; the larger description of plants and vegetables (cf. Genesis 9:3); and
(3) "the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon (or above) the earth." The first clause describes its specific nature - "fruit-bearing;" the second, its peculiar characteristic - enclosing the seed in its fruit; the third, its external appearance - rising above the ground. "This division is simple and natural. It proceeds upon two concurrent marks, the structure and the seed. In the first the green blade is prominent; in the second, the stalk; in the third, the woody texture. In the first the seed is not conspicuous; in the second it is conspicuous; in the third it is enclosed in a fruit which is conspicuous" (Murphy). The phrase "after his kind, appended to the second and third, seems to indicate that the different species of plants were already fixed. The modern dogma of the origin of species by development would thus be declared to be un-biblical, as it has not yet been proved to be scientific. The utmost that can be claimed as established is that "species," qua species, have the power of variation along the line of certain characteristics belonging to themselves, but not that any absolutely new species has ever been developed with power indefinitely to multiply its kind.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And God said, let the earth bring forth grass,.... Which had been impregnated by the Spirit of God that moved upon it when a fluid; and though now become dry land, it retained sufficient moisture in it, and was juicy and fit to produce vegetables; and especially as it had the advantage of the expanded air about it, and the warmth of the primordial light or fire; though all this would have been insufficient to produce plants and trees at full growth, with their seed in them, and fruit on them, without the interposition of almighty power: this seems to intend the germination or budding out of the tender grass, and the numerous spires of it which cover the earth, and by their verdure and greenness give it a delightful aspect, as well as afford food for the creatures:
the herb yielding seed; this is distinct from the former; that denotes herbage in general, which grows up of itself without being sown or manured, and is the food of beasts; this in particular, herbs and plants for the use of man, which yield a seed which either falling from it sows itself again, or is taken from it and sown on purpose to reproduce it, being useful or delightful:
and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind; as apples, pears, plums, apricots, nectars, peaches, oranges, lemons, &c,
whose seed is in itself upon the earth; each of which produce a seed according to the nature of them, which being sown produce the like, and so there is a continuance of them upon the earth:
and it was so; as God commanded it should, as appears from the following verse.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
11. let the earth bring forth—The bare soil was clothed with verdure, and it is noticeable that the trees, plants, and grasses—the three great divisions of the vegetable kingdom here mentioned—were not called into existence in the same way as the light and the air; they were made to grow, and they grew as they do still out of the ground—not, however, by the slow process of vegetation, but through the divine power, without rain, dew, or any process of labor—sprouting up and flourishing in a single day.
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