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Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Leupold Genesis part 45 verse 14, 15

14, 15. And God said: Let there be luminaries in the firmament of the heavens to divide the day from the night, and let them be for signs and seasons and for days and years; and let them be for luminaries in the expanse of the heavens to give light upon the earth; and it was so.

It at once stands out in reference to the work of this day that the purpose of the things that are made to function is stated in a far more detailed fashion than is the ease in regard to any other of the creative works. Nothing in the text explains this greater fulness of statement, but the suggestion advanced by Dillmann and others may be as satisfactory as any: "is there perhaps a silent contrast involved with the superstition of the heathen that is wont to attach itself to the stars?" The statement, therefore, is unusually exhaustive in order to show what purposes the Almighty fixed for the heavenly bodies and to leave no room for heathen misconstruction.

At once now the next problem suggests itself: how do the "luminaries" stand related to the light which was created on the first day? With this is involved a second question: how do these luminaries stand related to the heavens, which were created on the first day (v. 1)? The analogy of "the earth" created simultaneously with "the heavens" (v. 1) and its equipment and arrangement up till this point through v. 2-13 points in the proper direction. In other words, the earth is created in the rough, subject to certain deficiencies or incompletenesses which are removed one by one through the following days; similarly the heavens are created in the rough, heavenly bodies in vast spaces, not yet functioning as they shall later. What still remains to be done in and with them is now completed on the fourth day. The sun, moon and stars were in existence but were not yet doing the work which gets to be theirs in the fourth day's work. Light was in existence, but now these heavenly bodies come to be the ones that bear this light in themselves--"light-bearers," "luminaries," me'oroth. Heavenly bodies were in existence, but from this point onward they begin to serve a definite purpose in reference to the earth. Consequently, we are out of keeping with the plan according to which the course of creation has been proceeding if we separate the elements of 14a so as to make a definite pause after the statement, "let there be luminaries." This would imply the initial creation of all heavenly bodies. Rather, translating still more literally, the thing that is to transpire is this: "Let there become luminaries in the expanse of the heavens to divide the day from the night," etc. This really involves a double achievement: the non-luminous heavenly bodies become bearers of light, and this for the purpose of dividing the day from the night. The expression, "let there be lights"( A. V.) and Lichter (Luther) is inaccurate and misleading. "Light" in Hebrew is 'or; here stands the word ma'or, "light-bearer." This does not, however, now mean that "the atmosphere being completely purified--the sun, moon and stars were for the first time unveiled in all their glory in the cloudless sky" (Jamieson), for such a result would have been achieved automatically without divine fiat by the work of the second day. More reasonable is the assumption that the existing light, by being allocated to the sun, was tempered specifically to the needs of plant and animal life upon our planet. In any case, the purposes following arc definitely tied up ; with having the sun in particular function, as the primary light-bearer.

Consequently, though day and night following one another in rotation function satisfactorily as day and night without sun and moon, from this point onward the dividing of day and night is tied up specifically with these luminaries. So this purpose is stated first. The adverbial modifier "in the firmament of the heavens" shows the relation of the fourth day's work to that of the second. The firmament prepared in advance had to be thus prepared, otherwise the light of these luminaries would have failed to benefit the earth. The singular verb yehi is followed by the masculine plural (feminine only as to form) me'oroth, according to general Hebrew practice of letting the most general form of the verb begin the thought (G. K. 145 o).

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