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Friday, April 15, 2011

Leupold Genesis part 54 verse 24

24. And God said: Let the earth bring forth living creatures after their kind, domestic animals, reptiles, and wild beasts of the earth after their kind; and it was so.

We have come to the work of the sixth day. The nobler and higher forms of animal life are to be brought forth and finally man himself. We have a kind of mediate creation as on the third day (v. 11), for the earth is bidden to produce them or bring them forth--totse'-- cause to come forth." The situation is really very simple, as far as the text is concerned. God could have called forth these creatures by His mere word; instead He speaks the word that enables the earth to bring them forth. They are to have such kinship with the earth that they may again be able to return to the earth. There is no confusion here of two points of view, which P here fails properly to reconcile with one another: namely an old view, which is the outgrowth of some ancient natural philosophy, and a higher conception of pure creation by the word (Procksch). That both types of creation here flow into one is the simple fact noted by the text. To create artificial difficulty and to pose as having ability to detect strains of older and imperfectly assimilated elements of tradition, merely serves to make the unlearned suspicious without reason and is proof on the critic's part of not having fully comprehended what the author said.

On the shortened form totse' see K. S. 189.

The "living creatures" brought into being on this day are first described by this general title, which we have noted above (v. 20) to mean literally "soul of life," because the animating thing, the soul (nehesh), is the most prominent feature about them. Let it be remarked separately at this point that according to the Scriptures not only man has a soul but also all living creatures even down to fishes and birds. However, the soul as such is then regarded merely as the animating principle, the thing that causes them to breathe. Yet the soul of other creatures is not the same as that of man; it originated in a manner which makes it inferior by much to the animating principle in man, as a comparison with 2:7 indicates.

These "living creatures" now are of three classes. First we find "domestic animals," behemah, which may also be translated "cattle." According to its root, "to be dumb," this classword describes these creatures as dumb brutes. Used sometimes in reference to all animals, it is here employed in reference to cattle or domestic animals because of its manifest contrast here with the wild beasts. Yet "cattle" is still a bit too narrow a term; "domestic animals" (Meek) is better. The second class is described as remes, which comes from the root meaning "to move about lightly" or to "glide about." "Creepers" almost covers the term, however, "creeping things" is too narrow (A. V.), for it does not seem to allow for bigger creatures like reptiles. "Reptiles" (Meek) again is too narrow, for it does not allow `for the smaller types of life. Everything, therefore, large or small, that moves upon the earth or close to the earth, having but short legs, may be said to be included: The third class comes under" the head of "wild beasts of the earth" (chayyath ha'ssrets). This is an appropriate designation from two points of view: the original comes from the root chay, to live, for these beasts are wild because "of their vital energy and activity" (B D B), an abundance of life throbs in them; then the modifying phrase "of the earth" is added to their name, because in a sense different from the other two classes these beasts have freedom of movement upon the earth. The first time this name is used in v. 24 we have the archaic connective, a remnant from an old case ending chaytho and the word 'erets without the article-- poetic--making a more solemn and dignified double term coming from the lips of the Almighty (K. S. 268 and 292).--When the narrator continues his own account, he lapses into the unarchaic prose chayyath ha'ssrets (v. 25). A double "after their kind," first applying to "the living creatures" as a whole then to the three classes separately, impresses this distinctive limitation upon all these creatures--a truth amply confirmed as not to be eradicated, as all who have engaged in crossbreeding of animals can abundantly testify.

The three class names are in the singular, collective (K. S. 255 d).

An unwarranted critical verdict in regard to the three classes just mentioned is rendered by Procksch, who calls this classification "very imperfect, based half on the history of civilization half on natural history." It certainly is uncalled for to expect a writer of hoary antiquity to operate with the specific scientific nomenclature of the twentieth century. Without a doubt, all readers who perused the accounts in a sympathetic spirit clearly detected that this popular grouping was sufficient to call to mind all types of living creatures as men not trained scientifically are wont to think of them.

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