And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called he Seas: and God saw that it was good.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Genesis 1:2). As it was soon learned by experience that the solid ground was continuous at the bottom of the water-masses, and that these were a mere superficial deposit gathering into the hollows, the term was, by an easy extension of its meaning, applied to the whole surface, as it was diversified by land and water. Our word "earth" is the term to express it in this more extended sense. In this sense it was the meet counterpart of the heavens in that complex phrase by which the universe of things is expressed.
And to the gathering of the waters called he seas. - In contradistinction to the land, the gathered waters are called seas; a term applied in Scripture to any large collection of water, even though seen to be surrounded by land; as, the salt sea, the sea of Kinnereth, the sea of the plain or valley, the fore sea, the hinder sea Genesis 14:3; Numbers 34:11; Deuteronomy 4:49; Joel 2:20; Deuteronomy 11:24. The plural form "seas" shows that the "one place" consists of several basins, all of which taken together are called the place of the waters.
The Scripture, according to its manner, notices only the palpable result; namely, a diversified scene of "land" and "seas." The sacred singer possibly hints at the process in Psalm 104:6-8 : "The deep as a garment thou didst spread over it; above the mountains stood the waters. At thy rebuke they fled; at the voice of thy thunder they hasted away. They go up the mountains; they go down the valleys; unto the place that thou hast founded for them." This description is highly poetical, and therefore true to nature. The hills are to rise out of the waters above them. The agitated waters dash up the stirring mountains, but, as these ascend, at length sink into the valleys, and take the place allotted for them. Plainly the result was accomplished by lowering some and elevating other parts of the solid ground. Over this inequality of surface, the waters, which before overspread the whole ground, flowed into the hollows, and the elevated regions became dry land. This is a kind of geological change which has been long known to the students of nature. Such changes have often been sudden and violent. Alterations of level, of a gradual character, are known to be going on at all times.
This disposition of land and water prepares for the second step, which is the main work of this day; namely, the creation of plants. We are now come to the removal of another defect in the state of the earth, mentioned in the second verse, - its deformity, or rude and uncouth appearance.
9. let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place—The world was to be rendered a terraqueous globe, and this was effected by a volcanic convulsion on its surface, the upheaving of some parts, the sinking of others, and the formation of vast hollows, into which the waters impetuously rushed, as is graphically described (Ps 104:6-9) [Hitchcock]. Thus a large part of the earth was left "dry land," and thus were formed oceans, seas, lakes, and rivers which, though each having its own bed, or channel, are all connected with the sea (Job 38:10; Ec 1:7).sea, but seas; because of the differing quantity and nature both of several seas, and of the rivers, and other lesser collections of waters, all which the Hebrews call seas.
The separation of the waters was begun on the second day, Genesis 1:6, &c., but not perfected till this third day; therefore God’s approbation of that work is not mentioned there, but here only.
And the gathering together of the waters called he seas; for though there was but one place into which they were collected, and which is the main ocean, with which all other waters have a communication, and so are one; yet there are divers seas, as the Red sea, the Mediterranean, Caspian, Baltic, &c. or which are denominated from the shores they wash, as the German, British, &c. and even lakes and pools of water are called seas, as the sea of Galilee and Tiberias, which was no other than the lake of Gennesaret,
And God saw that it was good; that these two should be separate, that the waters should be in one place, and the dry land appear, and both have the names he gave them: and this is here mentioned, because now the affair of the waters, the division aud separation of them, were brought to an end, and to perfection: but because this phrase is here used, and not at the mention of the second day, hence Picherellus, and some others, have thought, that this work is to be ascribed to the second day, and not to the third, and render the beginning of the ninth verse, and "God had said", or "after God had said, let the waters under the heaven", &c. Genesis 1:9.And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called he Seas: and God saw that it was good.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)Verse 10. - And God called the dry land Earth. In opposition to the firmament, which was named" the heights" (shamayim), the dry land was styled "the fiats," "Aretz" (cf. Sansc., dhara; Pehlev., arta; Latin, terra; Gothic, airtha; Scottish, yird; English, earth; rid. Gesenius). Originally applied to the dry ground as distinguished from the seas, as soon as it was understood that the solid earth was continuous beneath the water masses, by an easy extension of meaning it came to signify the whole surface of the globe. And the gathering together of the waters called he Seas. Yamim, from yom, to boil or foam, is applied in Scripture to any large collection of water (cf. Genesis 14:3; Numbers 34:11; Deuteronomy 4:49; Joel 2:20). "The plural form seas shows that the one place consists of several basins" (Murphy). And God saw that it was good. The waters having been permanently withdrawn to the place founded for them by the upheaval of the great mountain ranges, and the elevation of the continental areas, the work thus accomplished is sealed by the Divine approval. The separation of the land and water was good, as a decided advance towards the completion of the cosmos, as the proper termination of the work commenced upon the previous day, as the production of two elements in themselves beautiful, and in separation useful as abodes of life, with which they were in due course to be replenished. "To our view," says Dawson, "that primeval dry land would scarcely have seemed good. It was a world of bare, rocky peaks and verdureless valleys - here active volcanoes, with their heaps of scoriae, and scarcely cooled lava currents - there vast mud-fiats, recently upheaved from the bottom of the waters - nowhere even a blade of grass or a clinging lichen. Yet it was good in the view of its Maker, who could see it in relation to the uses for which he had made it, and as a fit preparatory step to the new wonders he was soon to introduce. "Besides," the first dry land may have presented crags, and peaks, and ravines, and volcanic cones in a more marvelous and perfect manner than any succeeding continents, even as the dry and barren moon now, in this respect, far surpasses the earth" ('O.W.,' p. 181). Psalm 54:1-7. Even if we render Psalm 54:8, "the mountains arise, and they (the waters) descend into the valleys, to the place which Thou (Jehovah) hast founded for them," we have no proof, in this poetical account, of the elevation-theory of geology, since the psalmist is not speaking as a naturalist, but as a sacred poet describing the creation on the basis of Genesis 1. "The dry" God called Earth, and "the gathering of the waters," i.e., the place into which the waters were collected, He called Sea. ימּים, an intensive rather than a numerical plural, is the great ocean, which surrounds the mainland on all sides, so that the earth appears to be founded upon seas (Psalm 24:2). Earth and sea are the two constituents of the globe, by the separation of which its formation was completed. The "seas" include the rivers which flow into the ocean, and the lakes which are as it were "detached fragments" of the ocean, though they are not specially mentioned here. By the divine act of naming the two constituents of the globe, and the divine approval which follows, this work is stamped with permanency; and the second act of the third day, the clothing of the earth with vegetation, is immediately connected with it. At the command of God "the earth brought forth green (דּשׁא), seed yielding herb (עשׂב( breh ), and fruit-bearing fruit-trees (פּרי עץ)." These three classes embrace all the productions of the vegetable kingdom. דּשׁא, lit., the young, tender green, which shoots up after rain and covers the meadows and downs (2 Samuel 23:4; Job 38:27; Joel 2:22; Psalm 23:2), is a generic name for all grasses and cryptogamous plants. עשׂב, with the epithet זרע מזריע, yielding or forming seed, is used as a generic term for all herbaceous plants, corn, vegetables, and other plants by which seed-pods are formed. פרי עץ: not only fruit-trees, but all trees and shrubs, bearing fruit in which there is a seed according to its kind, i.e., fruit with kernels. הארץ על (upon the earth) is not to be joined to "fruit-tree," as though indicating the superior size of the trees which bear seed above the earth, in distinction from vegetables which propagate their species upon or in the ground; for even the latter bear their seed above the earth. It is appended to תּדשׁא, as a more minute explanation: the earth is to bring forth grass, herb, and trees, upon or above the ground, as an ornament or covering for it. למיגו (after its kind), from מין species, which is not only repeated in Genesis 1:12 in its old form למיגהוּ in the case of the fruit-tree, but is also appended to the herb. It indicates that the herbs and trees sprang out of the earth according to their kinds, and received, together with power to bear seed and fruit, the capacity to propagate and multiply their own kind. In the case of the grass there is no reference either to different kinds, or to the production of seed, inasmuch as in the young green grass neither the one nor the other is apparent to the eye. Moreover, we must not picture the work of creation as consisting of the production of the first tender germs which were gradually developed into herbs, shrubs, and trees; on the contrary, we must regard it as one element in the miracle of creation itself, that at the word of God not only tender grasses, but herbs, shrubs, and trees, sprang out of the earth, each ripe for the formation of blossom and the bearing of seed and fruit, without the necessity of waiting for years before the vegetation created was ready to blossom and bear fruit. Even if the earth was employed as a medium in the creation of the plants, since it was God who caused it to bring them forth, they were not the product of the powers of nature, generatio aequivoca in the ordinary sense of the word, but a work of divine omnipotence, by which the trees came into existence before their seed, and their fruit was produced in full development, without expanding gradually under the influence of sunshine and rain.
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