« AnteriorContinuar »
this it would not be impracticable for men in one theological institution especially cminent in any department, by being relieved of something of their ordinary work, to help in another in their own specialty. When these means should fail the system would have advanced so far, and have developed so great usefulness, as to make a recognized demand for the establishment of special professorships, and meantimo the men would have been in training to fill these when established. Thus we might even look forward to facilities in our own country for a degree of completeness and thoroughness of training in cach specialty of theological acquirement which can now only be obtained by going abroad.
AN EXPOSITION OF THE ORIGINAL TEXT OF GENESIS
1. AND II.
BY REV. SAMUEL HOPKINS, MILTON, N.Y.
$ 5. “ WITHOUT FORM AND VOID." “Now 1 the land was without form and void.” It was the hu , “ the solid land.” It was in existence, and in the state here described. But, as God himself testifies by Isaiah
i Thc Hebrew particle Vav (;), like the Greek kal, has a great varicty of meanings. Noldius, in his Concordance, specifics some seventy or cighty. It is sufficient here to say, that not infrcqucntly it has the force of our word "now" in its sense of " at this time," as in our version Gen. jii. 1 ; xii. 1. And again, the force of "now" as a conjunction to introduce an explanation, as iu Gen. xviii. 1: “Now, he sat in the tent-door," etc. In this case, the account which follows is "explanatory" of how, or in what manner, “the Lord appeared unto Abraham,”-the statement immediately prcccding. The conjunction intervenes to indicate this explanation. A case, we conceive, precisely parallel to the one in hand, “ God crcated the heaven and the carth. Now (9) the carth was,” etc. The Vav indicating a coming explanation of the preceding statement: “Now” (i.c. it was on this wisc that God did crcate them) “the earth was without form," ctc., to the close of the narrative. In cither of these cases, the natural effect of the translation "and," which appears in our version, is to reverse the time-order of the statements. In Gen. xviii. 1, to represent that God first ap
(xlv. 18) “not” such“ did he create it.” He found it (so to speak) in this state before he did that which he calls “creating it.” His creating it took place after it had been such, and, of course, after it began to be.
Let us examine the clause before us particularly and in detail.
« The earth was." The land-earth was in existence. The language is very definite. It naturally signifies, to all pupilreaders, that the self-same land, or earth, which is the subject of the whole discourse — the self-same land-earth on which we live — was actually existing then just as now, just as we know it; that is, substancely the same-in no one sense and in no one degree different, except as hereinafter set forth. We have no right to think otherwise.
We say the language is very definite; not “God created earth ; carth was,” but “God created the earth. Now the earth was." There is the same emphatic, rigid, individualizing definiteness in the fourth commandment; though it wrongly disappears in our version : “On six days did Jehovah make the carth.” No Israelite at the foot of the mount could have understood this as of any other or different earth than the very one on which he stood, unchanged, save by the making. peared to Abraham, and that afterwards Abraham "sat in the door of his tent," etc. But the nature of the narrative forbids this construction ; and so clearly that every reader reads "and,” but understands “now," or, “on this wise it was.” The same force, we conceive, pertains to the same particle in Gen. i. 2, and most pertinently. In this case, as in the other, a wrong index is given by the rendering "and.” In neither case with "now" can any space of time bo plausibly or naturally supposcd between the first statement and what follows. In cach case with "now" the brief statement and the explanatory are bound together, or rather are identified by the conjunction. And in each the conjunction indicates that the account following it is explanatory of the brief announcement before it. Wo have as much textual reason for saying that there is a hiatus of a thousand years, or of ten thousand, between the two clauses of Gen. xviii. 1, as for saying that there is a like hiatus between Gen. i. 1 and Gen. i. 2. The construction is precisely the same in cach case. We do not regard the Septuagint as authority. Yet it is very noticeable how its translators in this particular casc understood the Hebrew particle. In all other cases, throughout this chapter, they express it by kal; but here they express it by ôé. They do so also in iii. 1; x. 1 ; xii. 1 ; xvi. 1, where our version reads "now"; and also in iv. 1 ; xiii. 1 ; xiv. I, where our version has “and.”
On the eve of its creative experience, this our earth was. This unit mass was then. This, we say, is involved in the simple formula, “ The carth (the solid) was.” We have a right to say so, because the writer, not making distinction, by name or otherwise, between the earth proper before creating and after, gives us the right to say so. And if any one say that that earth was not a self by itself, or that that earth was another and a different self from this, then he must show good cause, and must find his cause in the text.
Wo make another memorandum. If the words the earth was,” by any adroit exegesis, can be so construed as not to express a real individuality, then, in the paper before us, we have no statement that our carth ever has been individualized, or even that it is now. If it is not in these words recognized as a unified body, separate from all other matter, then its unification is nowhere recognized through the whole account.
“ The earth was without form” - a translation responsible for many mistakes and for much perplexity. The Hebrew word is (ann) tohu. This word and its companion word (ra) bohu,“ a void,” are not defined in the context, and neither is repeated. Each has a meaning, which we must find if we can.
In one instance, the word tohu,“ without form,” is rendered by the phrase “the empty place” (Job xxvi. 7), explained in the next clause by (haa) “nothing.” In one instance (Joo vi. 18) it is rendered by the word“ nothing." Each, rightly enough. It is also rendered “for nought” (Isa. xxix. 21), meaning for what is worth nothing. Again, it is rendered by the word “confusion,” as applied to “molten images” (Isa. xli. 29). But as idols are neither confusion nor no things, the better rendering is, “worth nothing," as in Isa. xxix. 21. The same is its meaning when rendered by the word "vanity” (1 Sam. xii. 21 ; Isa. xl. 23 ; xliv. I; xlv. 19; lix. 4). In other instances it signifies “a wilderness," “ a desert,” “ a waste,” “ a desolation ” (Deut. xxxii. 10; Job xii. 24; Psa. cvii. 40).
These are all the passages in which the word occurs, except
a few which we shall soon cite. However, we have really nothing to do with its meaning, except in its terrene, or geographic, applications. We take up, then, only its signification last mentioned, - a desert, a waste, a desolation, as being purely applicable to the case in hand. With this caveat, however, — that as in the texts from which we have last quoted it we have no means of deciding, from the context, the antecedent condition or history of the several tracts of which it is predicated, - that is, no means of deciding whether they had always been desolations, or whether they had become such through some lack or by some judicial blight, so in the case before us we have no means of deciding, from the context, whether the carth had been always a desolation, or whether it had been made such through some lack or by some judicial blight.
The first passage we cite as explanatory of the terrene signification of this word is “ The city of confusion (tohu) is broken down” (Isa. xxiv. 10). Here the tohu (tho wasteness, the desolation) of the city is explained by the words “ broken down.” A city of tohu is a city in ruins. This is graphically illustrated by the context : “ The Lord maketh the land empty and waste, ..... utterly cmptied and utterly spoiled. ..... In the city is left desolation, and the gate is smitten with destruction."
We now turn to the only remaining texts where this word is found, and where it stands (as in Gen. i. 2) in immediate connection with bohu, “a void.” “For 1 he shall stretch out upon it (that is, upon the land of Idumea] the line of confusion (ann) and the stones of (ará, bohu) emptiness” (Isa. xxxiv. 11); that is, The Lord shall mete out to it the allotment of a desolation and the doom of a void. Now look
1 In our version the pertinence and force of the IIcbrow particle (1) Vavis lost by the translation "and.” With this conjunction the sentence seems to have no business there. It has the aspect of an interpolation. We give to the particle the rendering “for,” or “ bccausc,” which seems to us to be imperatively required by the context. Thus read, the sentence, otherwise irrelevant, assumes the highest importance ; indicating impressively the cause of the fearful judgments described in the preceding and in the following context. For this signification of the particle, scc Gesenius in No. 4; Noldius ? No. 30, p. 298.
at the context: “ The streams, pitch; the dust, brimstone; the land, burning pitch ; thorns in the palaces of the kingdom, nettles and brambles in her fortresses; the whole country a habitation of dragons, a court for owls; a trystingplace for wild beast, satyr, screech-owl, and vulture ; lying waste from generation to generation.”
Such is the awful and graphic definition of the tohu, or “ desolation," which was to be awarded to Idumca. But she was also to receive an allotment of bohu — “ voidness," “emptiness.” What was that? The context explains : The “great slaughter ;. the land soaked with blood ; no nobles in the kingdom ; her princes nothing ; no one passing through her borders ” — in this was to be her voidness, her emptiness, her bohu - a voidness of life. The ruin of her habitations, the tohu ; her depopulation, the bohu which the Lord was to bring upon Idumea. Very clear illustrations, these, of these two words.
In Jer. iv. 23 we have the same entire phrase, both in Hebrew and in English, which occurs in Gen. i. 2: “ The earth (was) without form and void.” In verses 20, 27, the same word which is here carelessly rendered the carth" is rendered “ the land,” and rightly ; for the subject of discourse is the land of Judah. It is this land, or country, which the prophet prophetically describes as “ without form and void ” ; literally and truly," a desolation and a void.” As with the text cited from Isaiah, so with this. Before it and after it are to be found the illustrative definitions of its terms.
“We are spoiled " - laid waste (Gesenius, , Pual form). “Destruction upon destruction! The whole land laid waste, even to its tents and curtains; the fruitful place a wilderness; all the cities broken down; the whole land desolate.” Here is its tohu,“ desolation,” dire and complete.
" Lo, no man!” Even "all the birds of the air fled! the whole city fled into thickets or climbed up upon the rocks; every city forsaken, and not a man dwelling therein.” Here is the bohu, the “ voidness" of Judah - voidness of life - not a man, not a bird.