|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 13. - And the evening and the morning were the third day. For exposition vid. ver. 5. Has modern geological research any trace of this third day s vegetation? The late Hugh Miller identified the long-continued epoch of profuse vegetation, since then unparalleled in rapidity and luxuriance, which deposited the coal-measures of the carboniferous system, with the latter half of this Mosaic day. Dana, Dawson, and others, rejecting this conclusion of the eminent geologist on the ground that the underlying Devonian, Silurian, and Cambrian systems yield abundant fossiliferous remains of aquatic life, infer that the third day's vegetation is to be sought for among the "unresolved schists" of the Azoic period. The metamorphic rocks, it is true, have not as yet yielded any absolutely certain traces of vegetable life; and. indeed, it is an open question, among geologists whether any of the earliest formed metamorphic rocks now remain (cf. Green's 'Geology,' p. 308); but still it is susceptible of almost perfect demonstration that plants preceded animals upon the earth.
1. Among the hypozoic strata of this early period limestone rocks and graphite have been discovered, both of these being of organic origin.
2. In the process of cooling the earth must have been fitted for vegetable life a long time before animals could have existed.
3. As the luxuriant vegetation of the coal period prepared the way for the subsequent introduction of animal life by ridding the atmosphere of carbonic acid, so by the presence of plants must the ocean have been fitted to be the abode of aquatic life.
4. Vegetation, being directly, or mediately, the food of animals, must have had a previous existence. On these grounds Professor Dana concludes that the latter part of the Azoic age of geology corresponds with the latter half of the third creative day. In the Creation Series of Chaldean tablets are two fragments, which George Smith conjectures have a reference to the first part of the third day's work. The one is -
1. When the foundation of the ground of rock (thou didst make)
2. The foundation of the ground thou didst call...
3. Thou didst beautify the heaven...
4. To the face of the heaven...
5. Thou didst give... The other, which is much more mutilated and obscure, describes the god Sat (or Assur) as saying -
7. Above the sea which is the sea of...
8. In front of the esara (firmament) which I have made.
9. Below the place I strengthen it
10. Let there be made also e-lu (earth?) for the dwelling of [man?] ('Chaldean Genesis,' p. 68. )
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And the evening and the morning were the third day. The space of twenty four hours ran out, and were measured, either by the rotation of the body of light and heat around the earth, or of the earth upon its axis: and this was according to Capellus the twentieth day of April, and, according to Bishop Usher, the twenty fifth of October; though those who suppose the world was created in autumn make the first day to be the first of September, and so this must be the third of that month; the Jews are divided about the season of the creation; some say Nisan or March, others Tisri or September (g).
(g) Vid. T. Bab. Roshhashanah, fol. 11. 1.
Wesley's Notes on the Bible
1:9-13 The third day's work is related in these verse s; the forming the sea and the dry land, and making the earth fruitful. Hitherto the power of the Creator had been employed about the upper part of the visible world; now he descends to this lower world, designed for the children of men, both for their habitation, and their maintenance. And here we have an account of the fitting of it for both; the building of their house, and the spreading of their table. Observe,
1. How the earth was prepared to be a habitation for man by the gathering of the waters together, and making the dry land appear. Thus, instead of that confusion which was, when earth and water were mixed in one great mass; now there is order, by such a separation as rendered them both useful.
(1.) The waters which covered the earth were ordered to retire, and to gather into one place, viz. those hollows which were fitted for their reception. The waters thus lodged in their proper place, he called Seas; for though they are many, in distant regions, yet either above ground or under ground, they have communication with each other, and so they are one, and the common receptacle of waters, into which all the rivers run.
(2.) The dry land was made to appear, and emerge out of the waters, and was called Earth. Observe,
2. How the earth was furnished for the support of man, Ge 1:11,12. Present provision was made, by the immediate products of the earth, which, in obedience to God's command, was no sooner made but it became fruitful. Provision was likewise made for time to come, by the perpetuating of the several species of vegetables, every one having its seed in itself after its kind, that during the continuance of man upon the earth, food might be fetched out of the earth, for his use and benefit.
Genesis 1:13 Parallel Commentaries
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