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Bible Commentaries

John Trapp Complete Commentary
Genesis 2

 

 

Verse 1

Genesis 2:1 Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them.

Ver. 1. All the host of them.] His upper and nether forces, his horse and foot, as it were, all creatures in heaven, earth, or under earth; called God’s host, for their (1) number, (2) order, (3) obedience. These the Rabbins (a) call magnleh cheloth, and matteh cheloth, the upper and lower troops ready pressed.


Verse 2

Genesis 2:2 And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made.

Ver. 2. He rested,] that is, he ceased to create; which work he had done, without either labour or lassitude [Isaiah 40:28] He made all, by command not by works. {nutu, non motu.}


Verse 3

Genesis 2:3 And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.

Ver. 3. God blessed the seventh day,] i.e., made it an effectual means of blessing to him that sanctifieth it, as a rest from bodily labour and spiritual idleness, as Ignatius (a) exhorts.

And sanctified it,] i.e., consecrated and set it apart for holy use; as they sanctified, that is, appointed Kedesh for a city of refuge {Joshua 20:7, margin.}


Verse 4

Genesis 2:4 These [are] the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that the LORD God made the earth and the heavens,

Ver. 4. Jehovah God.] Moses first calls God JEHOVAH here, when the universal creation had its absolute being. This is the proper name of God. The Jews pronounce it not; we profane it, which is to them a great stumbling block. The first among the Christians that pronounced Jehovah was Petrus Galatinus. But if ye would pronounce it according to the own letters, it should be Jahua, as Jarmuth, Jagnakob. This essential and incommunicable name of God, is by the more ancient better minded Hebrews called Hashem, "the name," by an excellency; and Shem hamphorash, "the expounded name," because it might be expounded by a name of twelve letters, which is this, say they, Ab, Ben veruach hakkodesh, that is, the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. They call it also Tetragrammaton, or the name consisting of four letters. In reference whereunto, likely, the Pythagoreans used to swear by τετιραχτη, quaternity, or the number of four; which they also called "the fountain of everlasting nature," παγαν αεναου φυσεως.


Verse 5

Genesis 2:5 And every plant of the field before it was in the earth, and every herb of the field before it grew: for the LORD God had not caused it to rain upon the earth, and [there was] not a man to till the ground.

Ver. 5. The Lord hath caused it to rain.] And none but he can give rain, [Jeremiah 14:22] the means of fruitfulness, which yet he is not tied to as here. The Egyptians used in mockery to tell the Grecians, that if God should forget to rain, they might chance to starve for it.


Verse 6

Genesis 2:6 But there went up a mist from the earth, and watered the whole face of the ground.

Ver. 6. But there went up a mist.] The matter of rain: and hereby God tempered the mortar whereof he would make man, as he did the clay with spittle, wherewith he cured the blind. [John 9:6]


Verse 7

Genesis 2:7 And the LORD God formed man [of] the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.

Ver. 7. Formed man of the dust.] Not of the rocks of the earth, but dust, that is soon dispersed, to note our frailty, vility, and impurity. {Lutum enim conspurcat omnia, sic et caro.} (a) But why should so glorious a soul (called here Neshamah, of affinity to Shamajim, heaven, whence it came) dwell in this corruptible and contemptible body? For answer, besides God’s will, and for order of the universe, Lombard saith, (b) that by the conjunction of the soul with the body, so far its inferior, man might learn and believe a possibility of the union of man with God in glory, notwithstanding the vast distance of nature, and excellence; the infiniteness of both in God, the finiteness of both in man.

And breathed into his nostrils.] The greatest man is but a little air and dust tempered together. {Quidam volunt metaphoram sumptam a vitrorum formatione.} What is man, saith one, (c) but Nους και χους, soul and soil, breath and body, a pile of dust the one, a puff of wind the other, no solidity in either? Man is nothing else but the son of the earth, the nephew of nothing, {terrae filius, nihili nepos} saith Augustine; or a piece of clay neatly made up, (d) as Arian upon Epictetus hath it.

And man became a living soul.] Dicaearchus doubted of the soul, whether there was such a thing in natural events. {rerum natural} (e) He could not have doubted of it without it; as man cannot prove logic to be unnecessary, but by logic.


Verse 8

Genesis 2:8 And the LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed.

Ver. 8. And the Lord God planted.] Had planted (to wit, on the third day, when he made trees) for man’s pleasure, a garden or paradise in Eden, whence ηδονη, in the upper part of Chaldea, whereabout Babel was founded. It was destroyed by the deluge; the place indeed remained, but not so the pleasantness of the place, the rose fell and remained thorny. {cecidit rosa, mansit spina} And yet that country is still very fruitful, returning, if Herodotus and Pliny (a) may be believed, the seed beyond credulity.

He put the man whom he had formed.] And formed him not far from the garden, say the Hebrews; to mind him that be was not here to set up his rest, but to "wait till his change should come."


Verse 9

Genesis 2:9 And out of the ground made the LORD God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil.

Ver. 9. Every tree, &c.] The Hebrews think that the world was created in September, because the fruits were then ripe and ready. Eπεχω

The tree of life also.] A symbolical tree; by the eating of the fruit whereof Adam should have had Gaius’s prosperity, "his body should have been in health, as his soul prospered," [3 John 1:2]

The tree of knowledge of good and evil.] So called, not because itself either knew, or could cause man to know; but from the event; God forewarning our first parents, that they should know by woeful experience, unless they abstained, what was the worth of good, by the want of it; and what the presence of evil, by the sense of it. In like sort the waters of Meribah, and Kibroth Hattaavah, or the graves of lust, received their names from that which happened in those places.


Verse 10

Genesis 2:10 And a river went out of Eden to water the garden; and from thence it was parted, and became into four heads.

Ver. 10. And a river went out.] Pliny writeth, (a) that in the province of Babylon there is burning and smothering a certain lake or bog, about the size of an acre. And who knows, whether that be not a piece of Paradise now drowned and destroyed?


Verse 11

Genesis 2:11 The name of the first [is] Pison: that [is] it which compasseth the whole land of Havilah, where [there is] gold;

Ver. 11. Where there is gold.] Which, though never so much admired and studiously acquired, is but the guts and garbage of the earth. Gold is that which the basest element yields, the most savage Indians get, servile apprentices work, Midianitish camels carry, miserable muckworms adore, unthrifty ruffians spend. It is to be wondered that, treading upon these minerals, we cannot contemn them. They lie farthest from heaven, and the best of them in Havilah, farthest of all from the Church. Adam had them in the first paradise. In the second we shall not need them. Money is the monarch of this world, and answers all things; but in the matters of God, money bears no mastery, will fetch in no commodity [Job 28:15] Wise men esteemed it as the stones of the street. [2 Chronicles 1:15] Children of wisdom might not possess it in their girdles. [Matthew 10:9] Medes cared not for it; [Isaiah 13:17] and devils were sent to keep rich and pleasant palaces. [Isaiah 13:22] So subject these metals are to ensnare and defile us, that God made a law to have them purified, ere he would have them used, [Numbers 31:22-23] and appointed the snuffers and snuff-dishes [Exodus 25:38] of the sanctuary to be made of pure gold, to teach us to make no account of what he put to so base offices, and is frequently given to so bad men. The Spaniard (a) found in the mines of America more gold than earth. Hasten we to that country where "God shall be our gold, and we shall have plenty of silver" {Job 22:25, margin}


Verse 12

Genesis 2:12 And the gold of that land [is] good: there [is] bdellium and the onyx stone.

Ver. 12. And the gold of that land is good.] But pale, because it feareth, saith one, wittily, those many that lie in wait for it. {Sed melius est pallens aurum, quam fulgens aurichalcum.} (a) The common cry is, "Who will show us any good?" [Psalms 4:6] That will I, saith God to Moses, when he gave him a glimpse of his glory. [Exodus 33:19] and I will "show thee, O man, what is good," &c. {Ostendam tibi omne bonum} [Micah 6:8-9] As for gold, how good soever in itself, it is to men but an imaginary good at best: for it is opinion which setteth the price upon it: brass or leather, {forma publica percussum} saith Seneca, that is, stamped for coin, may pass as well as gold; it did so some time in the Roman provinces; and here in England also, in the time of the barons’ wars. Yea, gold oft proves to the possessors a real evil. [Proverbs 1:19-20] It doth always so, when it gets within them, (b) as it did within the covetous Pharisees, so that they "said to the fine gold, Thou art my confidence". {as Job 31:24} Pindar saith, it was an opinion of the people concerning Rhodes, that Jupiter rained down gold upon that city, so rich it was; yet is it now in slavery to the Turk. America is said to have as much gold ore as other earth: yet are the Americans bound by the proud Spaniard to be both popish and poor upon pain of death. Susiana, the country here called Havilah, the gold whereof is so good, had its name from Shushan or Susa, the palace of the kings of Persia, the stones whereof were joined together with gold, saith Cassiodorus: yet is it now called, in the Persian tongue, Valdac, from the poverty of the place. "Trust not," therefore, "in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy". [1 Timothy 6:17]

And the onyx-stone.] Precious stones are but earth blemished and impure. {terra maculae et immunditiae.}


Verse 13

Genesis 2:13 And the name of the second river [is] Gihon: the same [is] it that compasseth the whole land of Ethiopia.

Ver. 13. The name of the second river is Gihon.] This is the same, say some, which the Egyptians call Nile. Others make it to be a channel of the river Euphrates, called by those that dwell near it Naharsares. The hill where Solomon was anointed king, was also called Gihon.


Verse 14

Genesis 2:14 And the name of the third river [is] Hiddekel: that [is] it which goeth toward the east of Assyria. And the fourth river [is] Euphrates.

Ver. 14. Hiddekel.] Or Tigris, which hath its name from the swiftness of the stream: Tigris in the Median tongue signifieth an arrow, saith Curtius, which flieth very swiftly. The tiger also is the swiftest of all beasts. Hiddekel signifieth sharp, swift. Contrariwise, Nile floweth gently, { Lene fluit Nilus} saith Claudian; so do the waters of Shiloah, [Isaiah 8:6] creeping and crooking" slowly" and slily, called therefore, as some think, "the dragon well". [Nehemiah 2:13] And of the river Araris (probably Saone) in Germany, Caesar said, (a) whether it move forward, or backward, who can tell?


Verse 15

Genesis 2:15 And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.

Ver. 15. To dress it, and to keep it.] This he did as without necessity, so without pains, without weariness. It was rather his recreation than his occupation. He laboured now by an ordinance; it was after his fall laid upon him as a punishment, [Genesis 3:19] to eat his bread in the sweat of his nose. God never made any, as he made Leviathan, to sport himself only; or to do, as it is said of the people of Tombutum in Africa, that they spend their whole time in piping and dancing; but to "work," either "with his hands" or his head, "in the sweat of his brow," or of his brain, "the thing that is good"; [Ephesians 4:28] and with how much the more cheerfulness any one goeth about his business, by so much the nearer he cometh to his paradise.


Verse 16

Genesis 2:16 And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat:

Ver. 16. Commanded the man, saying.] God hath given man dominion over all the sublunary creatures; and lest he should forget that he had a Lord whom to serve and obey, he gave him this command to keep.

Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat.] The less need he had to have been so lickerish after forbidden fruit. προθεραπειαν hic adhibet, quod misericordiae est. But stolen waters are sweet; Nitimur in vetitum, &c.


Verse 17

Genesis 2:17 But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.

Ver. 17. But of the tree, &c.] An exploratory prohibition. God knew well where we are weakest, and worst able to withstand; viz., about moderating the pleasures of our touch and taste, because these befall us not as men, but as living creatures. (a) Here, therefore, he lays a law upon Adam for the trial of his love, which, left to his own free will, he soon transgressed.

Thou shalt surely die.] Thou shalt surely and shortly, saith Zuinglius; or suddenly, die. {Certissime citissimeque morieris} And without doubt every man should die the same day he is born: the wages of death should be paid him presently. But Christ begs their lives for a season. For which cause he is said to be "the Saviour of all men," [1 Timothy 4:10] not of eternal preservation, but of temporal reservation. In which respect, also, God is said "so to have loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son," &c. [John 3:16] It was a mercy to all mankind that the Messiah was promised and provided, "sealed and sent into the world," that some might be saved, and the rest sustained in life, for their sakes. Symmachus renders it, Thou shalt be mortal.


Verse 18

Genesis 2:18 And the LORD God said, [It is] not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.

Ver. 18. And the Lord God said.] Had said; to wit, on the sixth day when he made man, and there was not a meet help found for him. Then God said, "It is not good," &c., and so created the woman by deliberate counsel, as before he had done the man. Only there it was in the plural, "Let us make," here, "I will make"; to show the unity of the essence of the Trinity of persons.

It is not good for man to be alone.] It is neither for his profit, nor his comfort. {Optimum solatium sodalitium.} The Hebrews, in their bigger Genesis, say, He who wanteth a wife, wanteth a help, a joy, a blessing, an expiation: R. Josua saith, he wants a name: R. Levi addeth, he wants life: R. Hija, the son of Gamri, saith, he is no perfect man who is unmarried: R. Iose saith, such a one is without a wall, without glory, riches, a crown, favour. (a)

I will make him a help meet for him.] Or, such another as himself, of the same form for perfection of nature, and for gifts inward and outward; one in whom he may see himself, and that may be to him as an alter-ego, a second self. [Ephesians 5:28] Such a one as may be a help to him - both for this life, (1.) by continual society and cohabitation; (2.) for procreation and education of children; - and for the life to come, (1.) as a remedy against sin; [1 Corinthians 7:2] (2.) as a companion in God’s service. [1 Peter 3:7] Nazianzen (b) saith, that his mother was not only a meet help to his father in matters of piety, but also a doctress and a governess; and yet he was no baby, but an able minister of the gospel. Budaeus, that learned Frenchman, had a great help of his wife in points of learning; she would be as busy in his study as about her housewifery. Placilla, the Empress, was a singular help to her husband, Theodosius, in things both temporal and spiritual. And so was our King Edward III’s Queen, a lady of excellent virtue, the same that built Queen’s College in Oxford. She drew evenly, saith the historian, (c) with the king her husband in all the courses of honour that appertained to her side, and seemed a piece so just cut for him, as answered him rightly in every joint.


Verse 19

Genesis 2:19 And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought [them] unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that [was] the name thereof.

Ver. 19. To see what he would call them.] If he had been permitted to name himself, it should have been, probably, the son of God, as he is called by Luke, [Luke 3:38] in regard of his creation. But God, to humble him, calls him, first, Adam, and after the fall, Enosh, that is, frail, sorry man, a mass of mortality, a mass of misery.


Verse 20

Genesis 2:20 And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him.

Ver. 20. Adam gave names.] A sign of his sovereignty; [Numbers 32:38; Numbers 32:41] an argument also of his wisdom, in giving them names according to their natures, as Hebricians well know.

But for Adam there was not found, &c.] God set all the creatures before him, ere he gave him a wife: (1.) That, seeing the sexes, he might desire to have a help in his kind and nature also. Men should not marry till they find in themselves the need of a wife. (2.) That seeing no other fit help, he might the more prize her. (a)


Verse 21

Genesis 2:21 And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof;

Ver. 21. And the Lord God caused a deep sleep.] It may be thought that Adam, observing that among all the creatures there was no meet match found for him, prayed in this deep sleep, or ecstasy, that such a help might be given unto him. This is Peter Martyr’s note upon the text. Isaac went forth to pray, [Genesis 24:63, marg.} when he had sent forth for a wife; and it was but reason. "For a prudent wife is from the Lord". {Proverbs 19:14] And he that "findeth a wife, findeth a good thing," [Proverbs 18:22] saith the wise man. A wife, that is, a good wife; for every married woman is not a wife, unless she be a help to her husband, in the best things especially. The heathen well saith, that every man when he marrieth, brings either a good or an evil spirit into his house, and so makes it either a heaven or a hell. (a) And it is a device of the Rabbins, but the moral is good, that in the names of Ish and Ishah is included Jah, the name of God; and that, if you take out Jod and He, whereof that name consists, there remains nothing but Esch, Esch, fire, fire; the fire of dissension and brawl, which burneth and consumeth to the fire of hell. It is not evil therefore to marry, but it is good to be wary to "marry in the Lord," as the apostle hath it. He that marrieth in the Lord, marrieth also with the Lord; and he cannot be absent from his own marriage. A good wife was one of the first real and royal gifts bestowed upon Adam; and God consults not with him to make him happy. As he was ignorant while himself was made, so shall he not know while a second self is made out of him; both that the comfort might be greater than was expected, as also that he might not upbraid his wife with any great dependence or obligation; he neither willing the work nor suffering any pain to have it done. (b) The rib can challenge no more of her than the earth can of him.

And he took one of his ribs.] The woman was made of a bone, saith a reverend writer, (c) and but one bone, {ne esset ossea} lest she should be stiff and stubborn. The species of the bone is expressed to be a rib, a bone that might be best spared, because there are many of them: a bone of the side, not of the head; the wife must not usurp authority over her husband: nor yet of the foot; she is not a slave, but a fellow-helper. A bone, not of any anterior part; she is not praelata, preferred before the man: neither yet of any hinder part; she is not post-posita, set behind the man: but a bone of the side, of the middle and indifferent part, to show that she is a companion, and "the wife of thy covenant". [Malachi 2:14] A bone she is from under the arm, to put man in mind of protection and defence to the woman. A bone not far from his heart, to put him in mind of dilection and love to the woman. A bone from the left side, as many think likely, (d) where the heart is, to teach that hearty love ought to be betwixt married couples.

Uxorem vir amato,

marito pareat uxor:

Conjugis illa suae cor,

caput ille suae.

A man will love his wife,

the wife should be obedient to her husband

The husband is that heart of her,

That husband is the head of her.


Verse 22

Genesis 2:22 And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man.

Ver. 22. And the rib which the Lord God had taken.] Matter, in the beginning of time, was taken from man to make a woman. And matter, in the fulness of time, was taken from a woman to make a man, even "the man Christ Jesus". [1 Timothy 2:5] And as out of the side of sleeping Adam Eve was formed; so, from the blood issuing out of the side and flesh of dying Christ, came his spouse the Church. His chief care therein was to "sanctify and cleanse" [Ephesians 5:26] his Church, and therefore he "came by water and blood". [1 John 5:6] So should it be every husband’s; then would not the devil so oft break his head with his own rib; or, as St Gregory hath it, climb so oft by his rib to his heart, as by a ladder. (a) A good wife doth him good, and not evil, all her days. But this is not every man’s happiness. Lucky Sulla, if he should not have had a wife. {Sulla faellx, si non habuisset uxorem!} So Job and Moses, for whom marriage caused problems. {quorum conjugium, conjurgium} There is in most a propension to the nuptial conjunction. The man misseth his rib, say the Rabbins; (b) the woman would be in her old place again, under the man’s arm or wing. "Then Naomi her mother-in-law said unto her, My daughter, shall I not seek rest for thee, that it may be well with thee?" [Ruth 3:1]

Made he a woman.] Heb., builded, that is, created with special care, art, and fit proportion, in the manner of a house. A body hath God given the woman more capacious and roomy, both for the conceiving and containing of her young babe, which dwells in her womb, as in its house, and hath all its household stuff, as it were, about it, till time produce it into the light of life. Adam was formed, Eve built; her frame consists of rarer rooms, of a more exact composition than his doth. And if place be any privilege, we find, saith one, hers built in Paradise, when his was made out of it.

And brought her unto the man.] Marriage, then, is of Divine institution. The Saturnalian heretics sinfully said, that it was of the devil. And the blemish will never be wiped off from some of the ancients, who, to establish their own idol, of, I know not what virginity, have written most wickedly and basely against marriage. Three things we have here out of Moses to say for it against whatsoever opposite - viz., God’s (1.) Spoke; (2.) Led; (3.) Blessed. [Genesis 1:28] {Dixit, Duxit, Benedixit} God the Father ordained it; God the Son honoured it with His first miracle; God the Holy Ghost did the like, by overshadowing the betrothed Virgin. Papists and others that disgrace it appear herein more like devils than divines, if Paul may be judge; [1 Timothy 4:2-3] or Ignatius, who saith, If any call marriage a defilement, he hath the devil dwelling in him, and speaking by him. (c)


Verse 23

Genesis 2:23 And Adam said, This [is] now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.

Ver. 23. This is now bone of my bone.] This sentence, saith Tertullian, and, after him, Beda, is the first prophecy that was ever uttered in the world. And it is uttered in a way of admiration, which they that are taken with, do commonly use a concise kind of speech; especially if overjoyed, as Adam here was upon the first sight of the woman; whom he no sooner saw but knew, and thereupon cried out as wondering at God’s goodness to himself, "This now is bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh." Luther, the night before he died, was reasonably well, and sat with his friends at table. The matter of their discourse was, whether they should know one another in heaven, or not. Luther held it affirmatively, and this was one reason he gave: Adam as soon as he saw Eve, knew what she was, not by discourse, but by divine revelation; so shall we in the life to come. All the saints shall sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, having communion with them, not only as godly men, but as Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. And if with them, why not with others? (a) Chrysostom (b) saith, we shall point them out, and say, Lo, yonder is Peter, and that’s Paul, and there are the prophets, apostles, &c.

She shall be called woman.] Or maness, of man; as Ishah of Ish. He gave her her name from his own, by taking away one numeral letter that stands for ten, and adding another that stands for five; to note her infirmity, and duty of submitting to her husband, whose very naming of her notes her subjection.


Verse 24

Genesis 2:24 Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.

Ver. 24. Therefore shall a man leave, &c.] Whether these are the words of God, Adam, or Moses, it is uncertain, and not much material. (a) The husband is bound more to love his wife than his parents, in regard of domestical communion, adhesion, and cohabitation, not in regard of honour, obedience, and recompense.

And they two shall be one flesh.] Two in one flesh; not three or four, as the patriarchs of old, through ignorance, or inobservance of that plain prohibition. [Leviticus 18:18] It is possible they might mistake the word sister for one so by blood, which was spoken of a sister by nation, as those clauses, "to vex her," and "during her life," do evince.


Verse 25

Genesis 2:25 And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.

Ver. 25. They were both naked, and not ashamed.] Neither needed they. Sin and shame, as Papists say, hops and heresy, came in together. Clothes are the ensigns of our sin, and covers of our shame; to be proud of them is as great folly as for a beggar to be proud of his rags, or a thief of his halter. As the prisoner, looking on his irons, thinketh on his theft; so we, looking on our garments, should think on our sins.

 


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Bibliography Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Genesis 2:4". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/genesis-2.html. 1865-1868.


Lectionary Calendar
Wednesday, November 21st, 2018
the Week of Proper 28 / Ordinary 33
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