mc2499 at mclink.it
Tue Jan 26 14:53:52 EST 1999
I have two uneducated gripes about your interesting post.
>Gen 2:6-7 a two-fold resolution to the conditions of v. 5:
>1. Rain clouds began to come up [or He brought up rain clouds - ya`aleh
>for incipient action] from the earth and they watered the whole face of
>2. The Lord God formed the man, dust from the ground . . . and he became
>a living soul.
>Explanation: the word "rain-cloud" 'ed or )"D is often translated
>"stream," as if it were rising out of the ground. Doesn't fit the
>context (problem was - "no rain," not "no water"!). Only other place
>where 'ed is found is Job 36: 27 - "rain cloud" makes better sense:
>27 When he draws up drops from the sea,
> they distill as rain from his rain cloud ('Ed)
Who actually translates 'ed as "cloud" here?
The translations I've consulted work on the mist/vapour idea from which the
rain is distilled and the clouds which come in the following verse release
>28 The clouds pour down their moisture
> and abundant showers fall on mankind.
>Further evidence for 'ed as "rain cloud" - (1) targums so translate it;
>(2) Eblaite evidence cited by Dahood. Dahood also notes the proper name
>Matred (MA+R"D) in Gen 36:39, which he translates as "rain of the
>rain-cloud" with elided aleph.
>Objection: clouds don't "come up" from the ground. Answer - in Biblical
>idiom, they do (the rain clouds first appear on the horizon, so "come
>up" as they approach the viewer.
>Ps 135:7 He makes clouds rise from the ends of the earth;
>He sends lightning with the rain
>and brings out the wind from its storehouses.
>"rise" = same verb as Gen 2:6 (`lh).
I think it is an observable event to see clouds rise from the ends of the
earth: clouds come over the horizon (the ends of the earth). It is a
different matter to seem them rise out of the earth, which is not what one
could consider a normally observable event. So, I don't think you've
answered the serious objection you raised.
I would think that the sources of rain in the OT/HB are quite clear. Rain
comes from heaven as in 1Kgs8:35 (=2Chr6:26), "When heaven is shut up and
there is no rain...". The windows of heaven were opened when the flood began.
Clouds come out of the western sea as you point out here:
>Also 1 Kings 18:44; "Behold, a cloud as small as a man's hand is coming
>up from the sea" (or west).
This is yet another example of the observable event of a cloud coming from
afar, just as is the case with the following:
>Jer 10:13/51:16. "And He makes the clouds to rise (hiphil, `lh) from
>the end of the earth."
There doesn't seem to be anything parallel to the reading of cloud for 'ed
coming out of the earth, as you are proposing here:
>Suggested translation of v. 6: "He began to bring up rain clouds from
>the earth, and they watered the whole surface of the ground." (takes as
>hiphil, with God as subject, like Ps 135:7, Jer 10:13)
The only real indicator to justify this reading, I'd guess, is the mention
of no rain in 2:5. But then, it doesn't seem central to the story of God
needing the moisture before he could form man from the dust of the ground.
Nor is it considered important to say anything else about rain, relying
more on the notion of rivers.
It seems to me that 2:4b-5 is simply as most scholars see it these days, as
an introduction to a second creation account proceeding from a dry world.
When God started this creation, the earth had no plants nor herbs -- but
earth, there was, just as there was the deep in the first creation account.
Yes, one wet, one dry. We should also note the difference in approach to
God in the two differing accounts: in the first it is usually enough for
God to say and it happened; in the second we have a God with his sleaves
rolled up, getting his hands dirty with the dust from the ground, planting
a garden, taking the man and putting him in the garden.
The preconceptions of these two creation accounts are quite different:
whereas the first is a cosmic creation that takes place due to the word of
God out of a watery chaos (reminiscent of the dangers of the Mesopotamian
floods), the second is a terrestrial creation that takes place with the
physical involvement of God acting in a dry world (more suggestive of a
Given the lesser scope for the creation, the more physical (and less
theological) nature of God's creation and the Palestinian type context, I'd
guess that the second creation account is quite a bit older than the first.
If this is the case, it would seem unlikely that there was any original
intent of a "resumption and expansion" by 2:4b ff of parts of chapter one.
Your post, John, has been quite thought-provoking.
>Note indication of dischronology in Gen 2:8, 15 [..]
>Reason for non-chronological narrative in Genesis 2:4-25: It is an
>example of "synoptic/resumption-expansion."[..]
(There is of course another explanation for the observed phenomenon: after
inserting information one sometimes goes back to pick up the thread of the
original discourse by repeating an idea from before the insertion. The
inserted piece here would be the description of the garden of Eden.)
>Note continuation of the two-fold concerns of vv. 5-7 (vegetation,
>Relationship between v. 8 and the following:
>V. 8a "The Lord God planted a garden toward the east, in Eden."
> Resumed and expanded in the description of the garden and its source of
>water, vv. 9-14.
>V. 8b "and there He placed the man whom He had formed."
> This thought is resumed and expanded on in vv. 15-25
>The start of v. 9 (which uses the wayyiqtol form) must be
>chronologically prior to v. 8b (otherwise Adam would starve while his
>food supply was growing).
>Vv. 10-14 are an explanatory "aside;" they explain how the garden was
>V. 15 repeats the thought of v. 8b, adding the purpose - "to cultivate
>it" (also picks up on v. 5b - there was no man to cultivate it). Vv
>18-25 - details of the creation of woman. Indication of dischronology
>compared to Genesis 1. Using the standard wayyiqtol in v. 19 rather
>than an "aside" pluperfect comment "serves to elevate the material to a
>main-line situation in the narrative, rather than demoting the material
>to a subordinate level." (In translation, using the pluperfect may be
>preferable to avoid confusion).
>Reading Genesis 1 in light of Genesis 2:
>Gen 1:2 like 2:5 in two-fold condition: (1) earth was "unproductive and
>uninhabited" (tohu wabohu), (2) darkness was over the face of the deep.
>Parallel structure of the six days of creation (two sets of three days,
>double creation on days 3 and 6):
>1 light 4 light-bearers
>2 waters above/below 5 birds/sea creatures
>3a dry ground 6a land animals
>3b vegetation 6b man
(Yes, this is how I analyse the account as well, except that I don't
consider it a double account as much as a forming and a populating account.)
>3b-6b (vegetation/man) are the two-fold focus of Gen 2:4-25.
>Conclusion: "Gen 2:4-25 is properly read as a resumption and expansion
>not of Day 6 but of Days 3b and 6b taken together as a unit."
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