ronning at ilink.nis.za
Thu Jan 28 02:17:42 EST 1999
Ian Hutchesson wrote:
> Dear John,
> I have two uneducated gripes about your interesting post.
> . . . (from my previous)
> >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
> >the ground.
> >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
> the rain.
Futato adopted Dahood's translation of Job 36: 27, and noted that the
NIV footnote gives an alternative "distills from the mist as rain" in
which case the "mist" is a cloud. I know people don't like to be
dahoodwinked, but I think it's fair to say Dahood was often right. He
based his analysis on Eblaite, which I'm not competent to evaluate, but
I would pick Eblaite over Sumerian/Akkadian to illuminate the meaning of
'ed. More important is the context, and I think Futato has a point that
"v6 is begging to be interpreted as a reference to rain" since the
reason there is no wild desert vegetation is there had been no rain.
> >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.
Futato does not directly address the point you raise, which I agree
makes his interpretation a bit problematic. I think the reason is that
he sees 1 Kgs 18:44 ("a cloud as small as a man's hand is rising from
the sea") as an adequate parallel (the viewer was literally looking out
over the sea from Mt. Carmel). It's true that one could read "west" for
"sea" so that it would be like "the ends of the earth," and one could
argue that "from the earth" does not convey the same idea as "from the
sea" (which presumes the viewer himself is not in the sea) or "from the
ends of the earth" (which presumes a distance between the viewer and the
cloud not indicated in Gen 2:6). I suppose whether one agrees with
Futato would depend on whether the argument for 'ed as "cloud," and the
argument from contex, are more persuasive than the slight difference in
idom between clouds rising (or being raised) "from the earth" or "from
the ends of the earth." I find his reasoning persuasive, and perhaps
someone could suggest a better explanation for this difference in idiom.
> 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.
Yes, but more specifically rain comes from the clouds, and clouds are
"brought up" or "rise" described with the same verb as in Gen 2:6.
> . . .
> 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.
Futato's point is, why mention rain if it's irrelevant to the story?
Why mention the desert vegetation if the only concern is for the
cultivated crops and the Garden of Eden?
> 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.
You can call them different or complementary. In the Gospels sometimes
we read that Jesus heals people with the spoken word, sometimes we read
that he "gets his hands dirty."
> 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
> Palestinian context).
I would say that Genesis 1 is universal and cosmic (not Mesopotamian) in
its approach, Genesis 2 is more local - "in the east" as a location for
the Garden of Eden presumes a western setting, as you say. Genesis 2 is
cosmology, so it can't be "another", and its place in the canon
indicates it is to be read as a partial expansion on some of the
creation events mentioned in Genesis 1.
> 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.
I have written in previous posts of how Genesis 2-4 depend on Genesis 1
for their interpretation, and how Genesis 1 is specifically re-enacted
in the history of Israel, so I won't repeat myself here. I think the
echo of the Genesis 1 creation language in the Cain-Abel story is quite
> Your post, John, has been quite thought-provoking.
In a good way, hopefully (I was just synopsizing Futato).
A brief note on another matter, Ian, if I recall correctly you said in a
previous post that the biblical writers were operating under the
assumption that the Philistines were always in Canaan. I think that the
following references would indicate that to the biblical writers it was
"common knowledge" that the Philistines came from Crete (Caphtor).
Deut 2:23 "As for the Avvim, who lived in villages as far [south] as
Gaza, the Caphtorim who came from Caphtor, destroyed them and lived in
their place." Jer 47:4 "For the Lord is going to destroy the
Philistines, / The remnant of the coastland (or islands) of Caphtor."
Amos 9:7 "Have I not brought up Israel from the land of Egypt, And the
Philistines from Caphtor and the Arameans from Kir?"
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