G. J Spurrell.

Notes on the text of the book of Genesis : with an appendix online

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II, 26), and sometimes again, whole passages from one
document are omitted, possibly because they were at variance
with the accounts given by the others (see in P the brief
accounts in 11, 27-32; the omission of the introduction to
the history of Abram, previous to chap. 12; of the Divine
manifestation to Isaac, see 35, 12 ; of the sojourn of Jacob
in Paddan Aram ; of all the history of Joseph prior to Jacob's
arrival in Egypt). Frequently extracts from J are given in
an abridged form, in order that P may be reported more
fully (cf. 2, 5 f. 4, 25 f., the Story of Creation, and the Table
of Nations, J) and 16, 15 f. 21, 2ff. 25, 7 ff. 32,4. 35, 28f. P.
Elsewhere, however, in the story of the Patriarchs the extracts
from J are abridged in favour of E. With the exception
of the history of Joseph, E contains (from chap. 20 onwards)
fewer passages which are verbally reported. Usually the
portions in E are expanded by notices from J, or anything
worth recording in E is incorporated into the narrative
of J. When combining his sources the compiler, as far
as possible, or as far as he deemed necessary, appears
to have taken the narrative verbally from each and inserted
both in his work (cf. chap. 2 f. side by side with chap, i,


chap. 27 side by side with 26, 34 f. and 28, 1-9; 48, 3-7
side by side wilh 48, 9-22). Elsewhere, as for example,
where the event need only be quoted from one document
(e. g. the birth or death of any person), he selects his account
from one source, even though the same event be recorded
in more than one document. In other cases the compiler
found two accounts in the documents before him, agreeing
in the main but differing in details, he would then weave one
account into the other, omitting from each what could not
be reconciled, and choosing from both what best suited the
plan of his work (cf chaps. 7 f . 10. 16. 25. 27-37. 39-50).
It was not always possible, without further revision, to place
side by side, or to weld together the individual extracts from
two or three sources. So it was necessary to eliminate what
was contradictory from one or other of the documents (e. g.
21, 17 ff. explanation of Ishmael's name, 32, 8 of Mahanaim,
33, 10 of Peniel, cf. 31, 25), or to insert here and there
small additions or remarks in order to fill up gaps and
remove contradictions. So 4, 25. 10, 24. 21, 14. 26, i a.
15- 18. 35, 9, 37, 5b. 8b. 39, I. 20. 43, 14. 46, I- To the
desire to produce a readable whole may be attributed the
accommodation necessary to preserve consistency in the use
of the names Abram and Sarai, in all passages previous to
chap. 17, of the double name Yahweh Elohim in chaps. 2-3 ;
also the change of Elohim into Yahweh in 17, i. 21, i.
Another expedient was frequently employed with the same
object in view, viz. transposing entire portions of the narra-
tive (so II, 1-9. 12, 10-20. 25, 5f. II b. 25, 21 ff. 47, 12 ff.),
or of brief notices (so 2, 4 a. 31, 45-50- 37> 26, etc.),
consequently R was obliged to insert all kinds of small
additions; cf i, i. 9, 18. 13, i. 3 f. 24, 62. In other
passages the sources are loosely combined (e.g. 7, 7-9. 22.
15) 7 f- 3I5 45 ff- chap. 36. 46, 8-27), the compiler now and
then making additions of his own to bring the documents


into harmony (e.g. 21, 34. 27, 46. 35, 5. 46, 12-20). Ex-
planatory glosses are also found (e.g. 20, 18. 31, 47. 35, 6.
and chap. 14 (where they are numerous), some of which may
be due to a later corrector. All kinds of little additions
occur, which are probably not derived from the sources
themselves, but were inserted, either when the sources were
welded together into one work, or some time after this. These
insertions were added partly to explain the object of the
narrative (15, 12-16. 22, 15-18. 26, 3 b-5); partly to make
it harmonize with statements occurring elsewhere (25, 18 b.
35, 22 a, perhaps 4, 15 a), and partly to introduce new
notices, or new phases of tradition which were not mentioned
in the three chief documents (10, 9. 32, 33; perhaps 2, 10-
14, and in 10, 14; 11, 28 b. 31b. 15,7. 22, 2, etc.). Some-
times possibly use was also made of materials taken from
other sources than J, E, and P (e.g. perhaps in chap. 14) \

^ Cf. Di.*, p. xvi. For full details of the various works bearing on
the criticism of the Pentateuch, see Driver, Introd., p. 1 f., and cf. Di.,
Gen.^, p. XX.



I. D''tr^^"^n. ^ In the begmmng' as h dpxfj, in John i, i ;
not ev rfi apxfi. JT'C'J^il is without the article, like "»^nN3,
Prov. 29, II ; T3, Is. 28, 2; ''I^S, Lev. 26, 27.

The Vss. and most commentators render, ^ In the hegimiing
God created^ etc. : the same rendering is perhaps indicated by
the accents, n ''1^X121 being marked off by Tifcha from what
follows \ If this rendering be adopted, n^tJ'X'ni must not be
taken relatively, i.e. ^ first ofalV, in opposition to a second or
third, which might follow ; for this is against the sense, as
heaven and earth include all; and we should rather expect
niJ^J^nB; but it must be taken absolutely, ' at first' (^ uran-
/dnglich'): hence the choice of the expression n^^S"i3^ which h")
does not occur elsewhere.

IT^ir^^'l = the beginning of a series, always relative to a
genitive either expressed or (as here, Deut. 33, 21. Is. 46, 10)
understood. As n''K^i^"i everywhere else (except in these two
passages) is followed by a genitive, Ewald, Bunsen, and
others follow Rashi and Ibn Ezra, and render, ' At first, when

^ In 3, i^ and 5^ Deut. 28, 47^ (tbip I'ln). 61"* (nninn iDpa).
Ex. 9, 24^ (•"'''t''? '^/J'? \^^)' ^^ ^°^ Tifcha, the word so accented
being closely connected in sense with the next following word. From
these and similar passages it seems that the argument from the accents
ought not to be pressed in this verse.



God created^ etc. . . . (ver. 3) then God said, Let there be light'
A similar construction to Ex. 6, 28 nin** ")3'=1 Di^3, where
D1^ in the construct state is followed by a sentence as its
genitive; so in Gen. 39, 20^^. Num. 3, i. Deut. 4, 15. Hos. i, 2.
Ps. 90, 15, etc.; see Ewald, § 332 d; Dav., S., § 25. n?o^5^"|, in
ver. 3, would then be the imperfect with waw conv. in answer
ton^tJ^Nin; cf. 19, 15 (id3 precedes). 27, 34 pyi?!l ♦ ♦ ♦ ib'J/ V'^^?;
Is. 6, I ni^ns; ♦ . . -l^sn niD HD^S ; and see Ewald, § 344 b ;
Driver, § 127 3. (Boettcher {Neue Aehr. i. 2-9) and others
prefer to read N'lS as in 5, i, which would be the more
common construction ; but this is not necessary.) According
to this interpretation verse 2 becomes a parenthesis, which is
unnatural, as a long and heavy sentence at the beginning of the
book would hardly be expected ; cf. also Ryssel, De Elohistae
Pentateiichi sermone (Lipsiae, 1878), p. 76. On the reading of
the LXX, cf. Geiger, Urschrift, etc., pp. 344, 439, 444, who, fol-
lowing the tradition that this was one of the thirteen places that
were altered for Ptolemy, considers that Rashi's construction
was the traditional one, that of the LXX being an innovation.
S13 'created' the common word in P in this connection,
is restricted to the divine workmanship, and always implies
the production of something new (in matter or form, as
ver. 21), being used literally and metaphorically (e.g. Ps.
51, 12). It is never followed by an accusative of the material
used, and thus implies the unconditioned operation (absolute
causality) of the agent. Its original meaning is generally
given as 'to cut' (cf. the Pi'el in Josh. 17, 15. 18, and Ges. in
Thes. ; and C. P. Ges. sub voce)^ then ' to shaped 'forml and
so ' create^ but it does not in itself express the idea of creation
out of nothing ; cf. the Arabic (jJii., prop, 'to smoothl 'polish^
then ' to create' ihe word used by Saadiah here. In the Pi el
it is used of man, 'to cut with effort:' contrast the intensive

CHAP. I, VER. 2.

Stem with Qal, the simple stem, used of the free-creating of
God without any effort; cf. Ew., § 126 a. The Samaritan
renders X13 by ^iiSZ^, which Del. explains as equivalent
to eBefxeXicdae ; See Heidenheim, Bid. Safn., Heft i. p. 70, who
mentions other explanations that have been suggested.

Q^^r^^^j plural of ^i^^5. The derivation of HI^N is dis-
puted ; see Appendix. D^"^?^{ pluralis excelleniiae, with a
singular verb; see Ges., § 124. i c; M. R., § 135. 2. So we
find DvV^ and 0''^'"1^5, used in a similar way, of human
superiors; and in Is. 19, 4 TW"^ D''J1X, singular and plural
as here. D^"^P^5 is only joined with a plural verb in special
cases; cf. the note on 20, 13, and Ewald, § 318 a; Dav., S.,
§ 116. R. 4.

CCll^n ri^^. rit^ or "riS, the sign of the ace. when
defined (Ges., § 1 1 7. i ; M. R., § 32 ; Dav., -5"., § 7 2). It corre-
sponds to the Phoenician n*5_ |» NHIil, and others
(e.g. Ephrem and Saadiah), for riDnnD does not suit this
rendering, and the dividing of the waters in ver. 7, which
separated the earth from the water, forbids us to think of
a wind sent by God to dry up the earth.

HDm^. The usual fem. form with the participle, cf.
Ges., § 94. I and 2. Observe that this fem. form is accented,
like the segholates, on the penult. The word occurs again
in Deut. 32, 11, of an eagle brooding over its young. The
original meaning of the root is ' to be loose ' or ' slack,' and so
' to hover with loose wing,' the figure here being that of a bird
hovering over its young. The root is more widely used in
Syriac, the Pa'el »a„^j being equivalent to the Heb. root in
Deut. 1. c, which the Pesh. renders as here with .a-11^5 ; cf.

CHAP. I, VERS. 3, 4.

Bernstein, Syr. Chrest., p. 173. 4, and Lex., p. 480, the Syriac

word having also the notion of fructifying and fertilizing.

The Talmud, TracL Chag., c. 2, fol. 15, refers thus to this

passage, nj?:ii ^:^^^J? ^ a lurking-ptace ;' see further, Ges., § 85, 48;
Ewald, § 1 60b; and Stade, § 268 ff. Render, ^luminaries;

ITII. The perf. with waw conv. in continuation of the
voluntative M^ so in 28, 3 JT-MI . . O^X T3\ 3I5 44 nm:3J
>Tm . . . nnn,Ex. 5, 7; cf Ges., § 112. 3, c,^; M. R., § 24.
I a; Driver, § 113. 2 a; Dav., S., § 55 a.

1^1 nin*INT' may be rendered in three different ways :
I. As a eV hih. hvoiv, ''for signs of seasons^ afid for days arid for

CHAP. I, VERS. 12-14. II

years;' see Ges., Lehrgeh., p. 854, and cf. 3, 16. II. ' For
signs and for set times , and for days and years! III. ''For
signs, as zve/t for times, as a/so for days a?id years' (Tuch).
Against III. Del."* remarks that the correlatives * as wet/,' ' as
a/so ' are not sufficiently clearly expressed by 1 ... 1 , as, for
example, in Ps. 76, 7; nor is this rendering suitable to the
simplicity of the narrative. On I. it may be remarked that
though the hendiadys may be possible in 3, 16, it is by no means
necessary there, and Job 10, 17. 2 Chron. 16, 14 (cited by Ges.
1. c.) are not parallel. II. is the simplest and best rendering,
and is adopted by the Vss., Kn., Del., Di., and others.

n1n'l^^. 'The luminaries were to be niniN*, i.e. signs,
partly in an ordinary way as marks of the different regions
of heaven, of the weather, and partly in an extraordinary
way, e.g. through eclipses of the sun and moon, the
appearances of comets, etc., which were regarded by the
ancients as foreshadowing extraordinary events (Joel 3, 3 f.
Jer. 10, 2. Matt. 24, 29).' Knobel in Di.

l3'^1I?10. "tvid from ly> (nyi), 'to fix', denotes any
* stated p/ace,' as in the phrase nyiD ^nx ' tefit of meeting',
or as here, ' any fixed, stated time ;' cf. 17, 21. The D^'nyiD
here mean set times or seasons, in particular, stated annual
feasts, also periods in animal (cf. Jer. 8, 7, of the stork)
and vegetable life, and the seasons suitable to the various
occupations and employments of man.

□^::IL^1 D^n^V^. On the pointing \, cf. Ges., § 104.
2 c; Dav., § 15. i c. ' For days and for years ^ i.e. for dis-
tinguishing and counting the days, some being short, others
long, according to the season of the year: the years also
being long and short, according as they are reckoned by
the sun or moon. The nniNO had a threefold aim : (i) to


divide the day and night; (2) to fix the calendar; (3) to
give light on the earth.

16. The lights more exactly defined. ^iC'; on the various
ways in which the numerals may be connected with substan-
tives, see Ges., § 134 ; M. R., § 96 ff.; Dav., S., § 35 flf. On
the article with n^i^na, see Ges., § 126. 5 ; M. R., § 85 ; Dav.,
S., § 30.

Tll^n "^T^^^n n^. On this method of expressing the
comparative, cf. Ges., § 133. 2; M. R., § 86.

Online LibraryG. J SpurrellNotes on the text of the book of Genesis : with an appendix → online text (page 5 of 35)