Genesis 1:22
And God blessed them, saying, Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let fowl multiply in the earth.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(22) Be fruitful, and multiply.—This blessing shows that the earth was replenished with animal life from a limited number of progenitors, and probably from a small number of centres, both for the flora and for the fauna.

Genesis 1:22. God blessed them — Behold the cause of the continuance in existence, and of the fruitfulness and multiplication, of the sundry kinds of creatures! It is owing to this word only that, though thousands of years have rolled away since their creation, not one species of them, amid so many, has been lost. Hence the inclination in every creature to propagate its species, and hence the wonderful and tender care they take of their young, till they are able to provide for themselves! So that, notwithstanding the daily great consumption of the creatures for the food of man, there is still such a succession of them, that the innumerable multitudes consumed for our use are not even missed. How wonderful that Being who is the author of this fertility and plenteousness!1:20-25 God commanded the fish and fowl to be produced. This command he himself executed. Insects, which are more numerous than the birds and beasts, and as curious, seem to have been part of this day's work. The Creator's wisdom and power are to be admired as much in an ant as in an elephant. The power of God's providence preserves all things, and fruitfulness is the effect of his blessing.Blessed them. - We are brought into a new sphere of creation on this day, and we meet with a new act of the Almighty. To bless is to wish, and, in the case of God, to will some good to the object of the blessing. The blessing here pronounced upon the fish and the fowl is that of abundant increase.

Bear. - This refers to the propagation of the species.

Multiply. - This notifies the abundance of the offspring.

Fill the waters. - Let them be fully stocked.

In the seas. - The "sea" of Scripture includes the lake, and, by parity of reason, the rivers, which are the feeders of both. This blessing seems to indicate that, whereas in the case of some plants many individuals of the same species were simultaneously created, so as to produce a universal covering of verdure for the land and an abundant supply of aliment for the animals about to be created - in regard to these animals a single pair only, at all events of the larger kinds, was at first called into being, from which, by the potent blessing of the Creator, was propagated the multitude by which the waters and the air were peopled.

Ge 1:20-23. Fifth Day. The signs of animal life appeared in the waters and in the air.

20. moving creature—all oviparous animals, both among the finny and the feathery tribes—remarkable for their rapid and prodigious increase.

fowl—means every flying thing: The word rendered "whales," includes also sharks, crocodiles, &c.; so that from the countless shoals of small fish to the great sea monsters, from the tiny insect to the king of birds, the waters and the air were suddenly made to swarm with creatures formed to live and sport in their respective elements.

He gave them power of procreation and fruitfulness, which is justly mentioned as a great blessing, Psa 128:3-4.

Fill the waters in the seas; and consequently in the rivers, which come from the sea, and return into it.

Let fowl multiply in the earth, where they shall commonly have their habitation, though they had their original from the waters; of which see Poole on "Gen 1:20". And God blessed them,.... With a power to procreate their kind, and continue their species, as it is interpreted in the next clause,

saying, be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas: and these creatures do multiply exceedingly, and vast quantities there are of them in the mighty waters, though the consumption of some sorts of them is very great. Our English word "fish" is derived from the Hebrew word "fush", which signifies to multiply and increase:

and let fowl multiply in the earth; as they did, and continue to do to this day.

And God {r} blessed them, saying, Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let fowl multiply in the earth.

(r) That is, by the virtue of his word he gave power to his creatures to reproduce.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
22. God blessed them] With the creation of the living animals of the water and the air is introduced the mention of a new Divine act, that of blessing. It is connected with the gift of life (see note on Genesis 1:21). The animal world differs from the vegetable world in its distinctive principle of life. The animals possess powers, instincts, and energies which are to be exercised, and on the exercise of which God gives His blessing. He has placed them in conditions favourable to their development and multiplication. Modern science, especially as represented by the honoured names of Darwin and Lyell, has shewn in what wonderful and varied ways the blessing of God has attended both the multiplication of animal life and the adaptation of the animals to their surroundings.Verse 22. - And God blessed them. To bless is to wish well to (Genesis 27:4; Numbers 6:23). In the case of God blessing inanimate things, it signifies to make them to prosper and be abundant (Exodus 23:25; Job 1:10; Psalm 65:11). The nature of the blessing pronounced upon the animal creation had reference to their propagation and increase. Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let fowl multiply in the earth. The paronomastic combination, be fruitful and multiply, became a regular formula of blessing (cf. Genesis 24:60; Genesis 35:11; Genesis 48:4; Psalm 128:3, 4). The Divine benediction was not simply a wish; but, adds Calvin, "by the bare intimation of his purpose he effects what men seek by entreaty." Nor was it meaningless that the words of benediction were addressed to the creatures; it was designed to teach that the "force of the Divine word was not meant to be transient, but, being infused into their natures, to take root and constantly bear fruit" (Calvin). The Fifth Day. - "God said: Let the waters swarm with swarms, with living beings, and let birds fly above the earth in the face (the front, i.e., the side turned towards the earth) of the firmament." ישׁרצוּ and יעופף are imperative. Earlier translators, on the contrary, have rendered the latter as a relative clause, after the πετεινὰ πετόμενα of the lxx, "and with birds that fly;" thus making the birds to spring out of the water, in opposition to Genesis 2:19. Even with regard to the element out of which the water animals were created the text is silent; for the assertion that שׁרץ is to be understood "with a causative colouring" is erroneous, and is not sustained by Exodus 8:3 or Psalm 105:30. The construction with the accusative is common to all verbs of multitude. שׁרץ and שׁרץ, to creep and swarm, is applied, "without regard to size, to those animals which congregate together in great numbers, and move about among one another." חיּה גפשׁ, anima viva, living soul, animated beings (vid., Genesis 2:7), is in apposition to שׁרץ, "swarms consisting of living beings." The expression applies not only to fishes, but to all water animals from the greatest to the least, including reptiles, etc. In carrying out His word, God created (Genesis 1:21) the great "tanninim," - lit., the long-stretched, from תּנן, to stretch-whales, crocodiles, and other sea-monsters; and "all moving living beings with which the waters swarm after their kind, and all (every) winged fowl after its kind." That the water animals and birds of every kind were created on the same day, and before the land animals, cannot be explained on the ground assigned by early writers, that there is a similarity between the air and the water, and a consequent correspondence between the two classes of animals. For in the light of natural history the birds are at all events quite as near to the mammalia as to the fishes; and the supposed resemblance between the fins of fishes and the wings of birds, is counterbalanced by the no less striking resemblance between birds and land animals, viz., that both have feet. The real reason is rather this, that the creation proceeds throughout from the lower to the higher; and in this ascending scale the fishes occupy to a great extent a lower place in the animal economy than birds, and both water animals and birds a lower place than land animals, more especially the mammalia. Again, it is not stated that only a single pair was created of each kind; on the contrary, the words, "let the waters swarm with living beings," seem rather to indicate that the animals were created, not only in a rich variety of genera and species, but in large numbers of individuals. The fact that but one human being was created at first, by no means warrants the conclusion that the animals were created singly also; for the unity of the human race has a very different signification from that of the so-called animal species. - (Genesis 1:22). As animated beings, the water animals and fowls are endowed, through the divine blessing, with the power to be fruitful and multiply. The word of blessing was the actual communication of the capacity to propagate and increase in numbers.
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