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Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Leupold Genesis part 67 Genesis 2:2

2. And on the seventh day God declared His work on which He was engaged, finished, and He desisted on the seventh day from all the work on which He had been engaged.

After the first verse has plainly stated that all was finished, the statement of v. 2 to the effect that not until the seventh day God finished His work (A. R. V.) is, to say the least, misleading. A.V. evaded the problem by substituting "ended" for "finished" (v. 1), although the same verb root is involved yekkullu (v, 1), yekhal (v. 2). But the verb used in v. 2 is of the Piel stem, which is sometimes declarative in sense, as tiher means "to declare clean," Lev. 13:6- 14-48, and timme' means "to declare unclean," Lev. 13:8; 20:25. So here we may have the meaning, "He declared finished." Thus the difficulty, which prompted the Septuagint translators and many since (cf. K.) to alter "seventh" to "sixth," is satisfactorily removed. Cf. K. C. The pluperfect, adopted from Meek, "on which He had been engaged," is not a necessary translation. Pluperfect renderings should be employed with great caution. The meaning is the same when the imperfect is used: "on which He was engaged."

Since the primary meaning of the verb shabhath is "to cease" or "to desist," we are freed of all misconceptions which may attach to God's activity if we adopt this meaning. If God desisted from labour on this day, then no more work was done on it, then nothing had to be completed, then no unseemly thought about God's being weary needs to be rejected. The verse then amounts to an emphatic statement to the effect that just as on the preceding days a marvellous creative work was in progress, so now that type and that manner of working on God's part came to an end. He declared all finished, he desisted from all. The "work" that He desisted from is described by the term mela'khah, meaning a special task He had set for Himself and afterward "used regularly of the work or business forbidden on the Sabbath" (Driver quoted by Skinner) (Ex 29:9, 10; 35:2; Je 17:22, 24) et al. Incidentally, in this connection Skinner makes the very sane observation that "the actual Jewish Sabbath as we know it (is) without any point of contact in Babylonian institutions." However, the thing under consideration in these verses is not the Jewish Sabbath but the creation Sabbath.

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