|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
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.
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.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
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.
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