Friday, January 02, 2009

Notes on the Bible January 1-2

Gen 1-6

Gen 2:15 And the Lord God took the man, and put him in the Garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it. The two verbs used there: "to dress" and "to keep" (abad and shamar in Hebrew) are more commonly translated "to serve" and "to guard." The only other context in which the two are used together is in the work of the Levitical priests. This seems to indicate then that man's labor is a religious service due unto God. This underscores the "creation ordinance" nature of labor.

Gen 3:16 "I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception." The multiplication of conceptions does not seem to me to refer necessarily to having large numbers of children. It may also refer to the fact of unfruitful conceptions, that is, pregnancies that end in miscarriages. Even reproduction is negatively affected by the curse, as any woman who has had children, or hopes to have children, knows.

Gen 6:1-4 The Sons of God and the daughters of man. There is an overabundance of literature on this passage. However, it should be noted that when the KJV says "the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair," it tends to lead most readers into thinking that the daughters of man were distinctive for their beauty. This is almost certainly not the case. Rather, it says "that they were good." If the text had meant to say "beautiful," it would almost certainly have said "good of appearance." I think rather the attraction of the daughters of man was their culture, as depicted in Genesis 4 in the line of Cain. This lends further credence to the idea that the sons of God were the descendants of Seth, and that the daughters of man were the descendants of Cain.

Matthew 1-2

The Genealogy of Jesus. There has been a lot of debate on the contrasting genealogies of Jesus in Matt 1 and Luke 3. I recommend the reader look at the discussion in John W. Haley Alleged Discrepancies of the Bible as well as Gleason Archer's Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties. Any thorough commentary on Matthew or Luke will also discuss the issues.

Matthew 2:18 Rachel weeping for her children. In what sense does this event (the so-called Slaughter of the Innocents) fulfill Jeremiah's statement? Jeremiah's statement certainly has its primary reference to the lamentation concerning the exile. The context makes it clear the Jeremiah's hearers were to look past the exile to the rejoicing of restoration. Jeremiah has adopted the image of Rachel's lamentation (Genesis 35) as she lay dying (in that sense her sons were lost to her) to Judah's sense of loss as they see their brightest and best taken into exile. This lamentation is replaced by rejoicing in the promised future. Matthew then sees in Jeremiah's statement a sense in which the evils attendant on the arrival of the Messiah, while rightly lamented at the time of their occurrence, usher in a greater glory. It also seems to me that there lies beneath Rachel's lamentation in Genesis 35 an allusion to the curse of Gen 3:16.

1 comment:

Chris said...

Dr. Shaw,

Indeed, the Genesis 6 passage has caused much ink to be spilled. The Cain/Seth approach has appealed to me for some time. Can you recommend some works that articulate this view further?

By His grace,