Genesis 1:1-5

Genesis 1:1-5
Baptism of the Lord B7


In the beginning when GodA createdB the heavensC and the earth,D 

Notes on verse 1

A “God” = Elohim.
B “created” = bara. This is to create, shape, choose, or select. It is the word used in Genesis 1:1 when God created the heavens and the earth.
C “heavens” = shamayim. Root may mean being lofty. This is sky, the air, or heaven. It is in a dual noun form so this might refer to the part of the sky where the clouds move on the one hand and the part beyond that where the sun, moon, and stars are on the other hand.
D “earth” = erets. 19x in OT. From parats (to make a breach, burst out, compel, disperse; to break out literally or figuratively). This is a breach or a gap. It could be a break, whether literal or figurative.

the earth was a formlessE voidF and darknessG covered the face of the deep,H while a windI from God sweptJ over the face of the waters. 

Notes on verse 2

E “formless” = tohu. Root may mean a wasteland or desert. This is desolation or waste. Figuratively, it refers to emptiness, chaos, confusion, futility, something worthless or meaningless, or unreality. Used as an adverb, it can mean in vain.
F “void” = bohu. 3x in OT. Root might mean being empty. So, this is void or chaos or ruin.
G “darkness” = choshek. From chashak (to be or become dark). This is literal darkness is contrast to light. Figuratively, it can be obscurity, sorrow, misery, blindness, wickedness, destruction, death. It can also be hiding places. Additionally, it can mean judgment, mourning, ignorance, evil, or sin.
H “deep” = tehom. Perhaps from hum (to roar, murmur, cause an uproar, agitate; to defeat in battle, destroy). This is the deep or the abyss. Either understood as a formless empty place of nothingness or as a place of confusion filled with water – the deep the feeds the waters of the earth.
I “wind” = ruach. This is breath, wind, air, cool, spirit. This is wind, which resembles the breath and so this can be used figuratively for life itself or being frail/mortal/impermanent. It can refer to the air of the sky or the spirit.
J “swept” = rachaph. 3x in OT. This is to flutter or move or shake. It can also mean to relax or grow soft.

3 Then God said, “Let there be light”;K and there was light. 4 And God saw that the light was good;L and God separated the light from the darkness. God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night.M And there was eveningN and there was morning,O the first day.

Notes on verses 3-5

K “light” = or. From or (to be or become light). This is light, sun, sunshine, dawn, or daylight. Figuratively, it can refer to light from instruction, light of a face (that is to say one that is cheerful or finds favor). It can refer to prosperity or salvation; a light that guides, a light eternal from Zion.
L “good” = tob. This is good, beautiful, pleasant, agreeable, bountiful, at ease. This word is used for goodness as a concept, a good thing, a good person. This can refer to prosperity and welfare as well as joy, kindness, sweetness, and graciousness. So, this is ethically good, but also enjoyably good.
M “night” = layil. Properly, this refers to light twisting away. It is used for night or midnight. Figuratively, this can mean adversity.
N “evening” = ereb. This is night, dusk, or evening.
O “morning” = boqer. From baqar (to seek, plow, break forth, admire, care for). This refers to the break of day. So it is dawn, early, morning, or morrow.

Image Credit: “Lightening” by Giles Chiroleu, 2008.

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