4 These are the generations of the heavens and the earth when they were created,
in the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens 5 When no bush of the field was yet in the land and no small plant of the field had yet sprung up—for the Lord God had not caused it to rain on the land, and there was no man to work the ground, 6 and a mist was going up from the land and was watering the whole face of the ground— 7 then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature. 8 And the Lord God planted a garden in Eden, in the east, and there he put the man whom he had formed.
We start with a bit of an anomaly. I am relying on the English Standard Version translation above as a starting point. However, when I go to the Blue Letter Bible translation tools, the English text changes between its final form and the form from which the tool kit works. Instead of what we have above, we instead have:
“This is the account of the heavens and the earth…” instead of “These are the generations of the heavens and the earth….”
The Hebrew root word in question, which generates either “the account” or “the generations” is the following: תּוֹלְדָה tôwlᵉdâh, to-led-aw’; or תֹּלְדָה tôlᵉdâh; from H3205; (plural only) descent, i.e. family; (figuratively) history:—birth, generations.
Verse 4 is our first use of a new name for “the Lord” in the Bible: יְהֹוָה Yᵉhôvâh, yeh-ho-vaw’; from H1961; (the) self-Existent or Eternal; Jeho-vah, Jewish national name of God:—Jehovah, the Lord. Compare H3050, H3069.
The following word, “God” comes from the root word for God(s) that we have seen used throughout so far: אֱלֹהִים ʼĕlôhîym, el-o-heem’; plural of H433; gods in the ordinary sense; but specifically used (in the plural thus, especially with the article) of the supreme God; occasionally applied by way of deference to magistrates; and sometimes as a superlative:—angels, × exceeding, God (gods) (-dess, -ly), × (very) great, judges, × mighty.
Verses 5 and 6 consists either of words we have looked at before, or words whose meaning is not controversial (as far as I know.) We are talking about a time prior to man’s creation. This was also prior to rain and vegetation. Looking back at Chapter 1 of Genesis, this points us toward a time before the events of “Day 3.”
from verse 6: “mist” אֵד ʼêd, ade; from the same as H181 (in the sense of enveloping); a fog:—mist, vapor.
Verse 7: “formed:” יָצַר yâtsar, yaw-tsar’; probably identical with H3334 (through the squeezing into shape); (compare H3331); to mould into a form; especially as a potter; figuratively, to determine (i.e. form a resolution):—× earthen, fashion, form, frame, make(-r), potter, purpose.
“dust” עָפָר ʻâphâr, aw-fawr’; from H6080; dust (as powdered or gray); hence, clay, earth, mud:—ashes, dust, earth, ground, morter, powder, rubbish. [We are getting close to having the tools to translate “DustyReviews” into an ancient language… I suppose that I should have expected the possibility that DustyReviews, in Hebrew, might also mean RubbishReviews.]
“and breathed” נָפַח nâphach, naw-fakh’; a primitive root; to puff, in various applications (literally, to inflate, blow hard, scatter, kindle, expire; figuratively, to disesteem):—blow, breath, give up, cause to lose (life), seething, snuff.
“into his nostrils” אַף ʼaph, af; from H599; properly, the nose or nostril; hence, the face, and occasionally a person; also (from the rapid breathing in passion) ire:—anger(-gry), before, countenance, face, forebearing, forehead, (long-) suffering, nose, nostril, snout, × worthy, wrath.
Verse 8: “planted” נָטַע nâṭaʻ, naw-tah’; a primitive root; properly, to strike in, i.e. fix; specifically, to plant (literally or figuratively):—fastened, plant(-er).
“garden” גַּן gan, gan; from H1598; a garden (as fenced):—garden.
“Eden” עֵדֶן ʻÊden, ay’-den; the same as H5730 (masculine); Eden, the region of Adam’s home:—Eden.
Looking at the translation, you might conclude – as I have concluded – that the English translation of Yehovah, as “Lord,” feels insufficient. Yehovah means, directly, “The Existing One.” The English word Lord, has the following etymology:
mid-13c., laverd, loverd, from Old English hlaford “master of a household, ruler, feudal lord, superior; husband,” also “God,” translating Latin dominus, Greek kyrios in the New Testament, Hebrew yahweh in the Old (though Old English dryhten was more frequent). Old English hlaford is a contraction of earlier hlafweard, literally “one who guards the loaves,” from hlaf “bread, loaf” (see loaf (n.)) + weard “keeper, guardian” (from PIE root *wer- (3) “perceive, watch out for”).
Compare lady (literally “bread-kneader”), and Old English hlafæta “household servant,” literally “loaf-eater.” For the contraction, compare Harold. The modern monosyllabic form emerged 14c. Meaning “an owner of land, houses, etc.,” is from c. 1300; the sense in landlord. As the “usual polite or respectful form of address to a nobleman under the rank of a duke, and to a bishop” [OED] from 1540s. As an interjection from late 14c. Lords “peers of England,” especially as represented in parliaments, is from mid-15c.
“The Existing One” feels like.. more… than “one who guards the loaves.” But that’s the limitations of language for you.
There is a long and rich history regarding the vocalization of the Name of God. Yehova / Jehova / Iehova are spellings of a vocalization of the Hebrew Tetragrammaton יהוה (YHWH). In my anecdotal experience, the American Christian Church – in recent years – leans more toward the use of Yahweh as a vocalization for YHWH.
I encourage reading and research on the topic, but failing a scholarly effort, here is a link to the Wiki article on the topic.
For many movie-goers around the world, Indiana Jones provided a look at this topic, too.
You should have noticed that Genesis Chapters 1 and 2 provides two different creation stories. Though similar in some respects, there are some differences, too:
- Genesis 1 shows us God creating plants, then animals, then man and woman. In Chapter 2, God creates man, plants, then animals, and later a woman.
- Genesis Chapter 1 describes God as “Elohiym.” Chapter 2 describes God as Yehovah/Yahweh Elohiym.
- Chapter 1 describes a very orderly and concise “Creation.” Chapters 2 and 3 – as we will see – have a more narrative-based format.
As a result of these differences, and other occasional instances of what appears to be competing authorship in Genesis, there is a widely held belief that Genesis has more than one author. An adjacent view of that belief is that a single author – commonly believed to be Moses – compiled sometimes competing traditions into one text. We will look at that more closely at a later time. But I wanted to put it on the radar of anyone reading along with me.