1 In the beginning God ([a]Elohim) [b]created [by forming from nothing] the heavens and the earth.(A) 2 The earth was [c]formless and void or a waste and emptiness, and darkness was upon the face of the deep [primeval ocean that covered the unformed earth]. The Spirit of God was moving (hovering, brooding) over the face of the waters. 3 And God said, [d]“Let there be light”; and there was light. 4 God saw that the light was good (pleasing, useful) and [e]He affirmed and sustained it; and God separated the light [distinguishing it] from the darkness.(B) 5 And God called the light day, and the darkness He called night. And there was [f]evening and there was [g]morning, one day.
6 And God said, “Let there be an [h]expanse [of the sky] in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters [below the expanse] from the waters [above the expanse].” 7 And God made the expanse [of sky] and separated the waters which were under the expanse from the waters which were above the expanse; and it was so [just as He commanded]. 8 God called the expanse [of sky] heaven. And there was evening and there was morning, a second day.
9 Then God said, “Let the waters below the heavens be gathered into one place [of standing, pooling together], and let the dry land appear”; and it was so. 10 God called the dry land earth, and the gathering of the waters He called seas; and God saw that this was good (pleasing, useful) and He affirmed and sustained it. 11 So God said, “Let the earth sprout [tender] [i]vegetation, [j]plants yielding seed, and fruit trees bearing fruit according to (limited to, consistent with) their kind, whose seed is in them upon the earth”; and it was so. 12 The earth sprouted and abundantly produced vegetation, plants yielding seed according to their kind, and trees bearing fruit with seed in them, according to their kind; and God saw that it was good and He affirmed and sustained it. 13 And there was evening and there was morning, a third day.
14 Then God said, “Let there be light-bearers (sun, moon, stars) in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night, and let them be useful for signs (tokens) [of God’s provident care], and for marking seasons, days, and years;(C) 15 and let them be useful as lights in the expanse of the heavens to provide light on the earth”; and it was so, [just as He commanded]. 16 God made the two great lights—the greater light (the sun) to rule the day, and the lesser light (the moon) to rule the night; He made the [galaxies of] stars also [that is, all the amazing wonders in the heavens]. 17 God placed them in the expanse of the heavens to provide light upon the earth, 18 to rule over the day and the night, and to separate the light from the darkness; and God saw that it was good and He affirmed and sustained it. 19 And there was evening and there was morning, a fourth day.
20 Then God said, “Let the waters swarm and abundantly produce living creatures, and let birds soar above the earth [k]in the open expanse of the heavens.” 21 God created the great sea monsters and every living creature that moves, with which the waters swarmed according to their kind, and every winged bird according to its kind; and God saw that it was good and He affirmed and sustained it. 22 And God blessed them, saying, “Be fruitful, multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.” 23 And there was evening and there was morning, a fifth day.
24 Then God said, “Let the earth bring forth living creatures according to (limited to, consistent with) their kind: livestock, crawling things, and wild animals of the earth according to their kinds”; and it was so [because He had spoken them into creation]. 25 So God made the wild animals of the earth according to their kind, and the cattle according to their kind, and everything that creeps and crawls on the earth according to its kind; and God saw that it was good (pleasing, useful) and He affirmed and sustained it.
26 Then God said, “Let Us (Father, Son, Holy Spirit) make man in Our image, according to Our likeness [not physical, but a spiritual personality and moral likeness]; and let them have complete authority over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, the cattle, and over the entire earth, and over everything that creeps and crawls on the earth.”(D) 27 So God created man in His own image, in the image and likeness of God He created him; male and female He created them.(E) 28 And God blessed them [granting them certain authority] and said to them, “Be fruitful, multiply, and fill the earth, and subjugate it [putting it under your power]; and rule over (dominate) the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, and every living thing that moves upon the earth.” 29 So God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the surface of the entire earth, and every tree which has fruit yielding seed; it shall be food for you; 30 and to all the animals on the earth and to every bird of the air and to everything that moves on the ground—to everything in which there is the breath of life—I have given every green plant for food”; and it was so [because He commanded it]. 31 God saw everything that He had made, and behold, it was very good and He validated it completely. And there was evening and there was morning, a sixth day.
The Creation of Man and Woman
2 So the heavens and the earth were completed, and all their hosts (inhabitants). 2 And by the seventh day God completed His work which He had done, and He rested (ceased) on the seventh day from all His work which He had done.(F) 3 So God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it [as His own, that is, set it apart as holy from other days], because in it He rested from all His work which He had created and done.(G)
4 This is the history of [the origin of] the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day [that is, days of creation] that the [l]Lord God made the earth and the heavens— 5 no shrub or plant of the field was yet in the earth, and no herb of the field had yet sprouted, for the Lord God had not caused it to rain on the earth, and there was no man to [m]cultivate the ground, 6 but a [n]mist (fog, dew, vapor) used to rise from the land and water the entire surface of the ground— 7 then the Lord God [o]formed [that is, created the body of] man from the [p]dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and the man became a living being [an individual complete in body and spirit].(H) 8 And the Lord God [q]planted a garden (oasis) in the east, in Eden (delight, land of happiness); and He put the man whom He had formed (created) there. 9 And [in that garden] the Lord God caused to grow from the ground every tree that is desirable and pleasing to the sight and good (suitable, pleasant) for food; the tree of life was also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the [experiential] knowledge (recognition) of [the difference between] good and evil.(I)
10 Now a river flowed out of Eden to water the garden; and from there it divided and became four [branching] rivers. 11 The first [river] is named Pishon; it flows around the entire land of Havilah, where there is gold. 12 The gold of that land is good; bdellium (a fragrant, valuable resin) and the [r]onyx stone are found there. 13 The name of the second river is Gihon; it flows around the entire land of Cush [in Mesopotamia]. 14 The third river is named Hiddekel (Tigris); it flows east of Assyria. And the fourth river is the Euphrates.
15 So the Lord God took the man [He had made] and settled him in the Garden of Eden to cultivate and keep it. 16 And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “You may freely (unconditionally) eat [the fruit] from every tree of the garden; 17 but [only] from the tree of the knowledge (recognition) of good and evil you shall not eat, otherwise on the day that you eat from it, you shall most certainly [s]die [because of your disobedience].”
18 Now the Lord God said, “It is not good (beneficial) for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper [one who balances him—a counterpart who is] [t]suitable and complementary for him.” 19 So the Lord God formed out of the ground every animal of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to Adam to see what he would call them; and whatever the man called a living creature, that was its name. 20 And the man gave names to all the livestock, and to the birds of the air, and to every animal of the field; but for Adam there was not found a helper [that was] suitable (a companion) for him. 21 So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam; and while he slept, He took one of his ribs and closed up the flesh at that place. 22 And the rib which the Lord God had taken from the man He made (fashioned, formed) into a woman, and He brought her and presented her to the man. 23 Then Adam said,
“This is now bone of my bones,
And flesh of my flesh;
She shall be called Woman,
Because she was taken out of Man.”
24 For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and shall be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh.(J) 25 And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed or embarrassed.
The Fall of Man
3 Now the serpent was more crafty (subtle, skilled in deceit) than any living creature of the field which the Lord God had made. And [u]the serpent (Satan) said to the woman, “Can it really be that God has said, ‘You shall not eat from [v]any tree of the garden’?”(K) 2 And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees of the garden, 3 except the fruit from the tree which is in the middle of the garden. God said, ‘You shall not eat from it nor touch it, otherwise you will die.’” 4 But the serpent said to the woman, “You certainly will not die!(L) 5 For God knows that on the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened [that is, you will have greater awareness], and you will be like God, knowing [the difference between] good and evil.” 6 And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was delightful to look at, and a tree to be desired in order to make one wise and insightful, she took some of its fruit and ate it; and she also gave some to her husband [w]with her, and he ate. 7 Then the eyes of the two of them were opened [that is, their awareness increased], and they knew that they were naked; and they fastened fig leaves together and made themselves coverings.
8 And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool [afternoon breeze] of the day, so the man and his wife hid and kept themselves hidden from the [x]presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. 9 But the Lord God called to Adam, and said to him, “Where are you?” 10 He said, “I heard the sound of You [walking] in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid myself.” 11 God said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten [fruit] from the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?” 12 And the man said, “The woman whom You gave to be with me—she gave me [fruit] from the tree, and I ate it.” 13 Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this that you have done?” And the woman said, “The serpent beguiled and deceived me, and I ate [from the forbidden tree].”(M) 14 The Lord God said to the serpent,
“Because you have done this,
You are cursed more than all the cattle,
And more than any animal of the field;
On your belly you shall go,
And dust you shall eat
All the days of your life.
“And I will put enmity (open hostility)
Between you and the woman,
And between your seed (offspring) and her [y]Seed;
He shall [fatally] bruise your head,
And you shall [only] bruise His heel.”(N)
16 To the woman He said,
“I will greatly multiply
Your pain in childbirth;
In pain you will give birth to children;
Yet your desire and longing will be for your husband,
And he will rule [with authority] over you and be responsible for you.”
17 Then to Adam the Lord God said, “Because you have listened [attentively] to the voice of your wife, and have eaten [fruit] from the tree about which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat of it’;
The ground is [now] under a curse because of you;
In sorrow and toil you shall eat [the fruit] of it
All the days of your life.
“Both thorns and thistles it shall grow for you;
And you shall eat the plants of the field.
“By the sweat of your face
You will eat bread
Until you return to the ground,
For from it you were taken;
For you are dust,
And to dust you shall return.”
20 The man named his wife Eve (life spring, life giver), because she was the mother of all the living. 21 The Lord God made tunics of [animal] skins for Adam and his wife and clothed them.
22 And the Lord God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of Us (Father, Son, Holy Spirit), knowing [how to distinguish between] good and evil; and now, he might stretch out his hand, and take from the tree of life as well, and eat [its fruit], and live [in this fallen, sinful condition] forever”— 23 therefore the Lord God sent Adam away from the Garden of Eden, to till and cultivate the ground from which he was taken. 24 So God drove the man out; and at the east of the Garden of Eden He [permanently] stationed the [z]cherubim and the sword with the flashing blade which turned round and round [in every direction] to protect and guard the way (entrance, access) to the tree of life.(O)
- Genesis 1:1 This is originally a plural form based on el (root meaning: strength), which itself is used to refer to God in compounds like El Shaddai (Almighty God). The word el is also used to refer to false gods, so the context determines whether Elohim means “God” or is better understood as “gods” (elohim).
- Genesis 1:1 Heb bara. Here and in 1:21, God created from nothing which is something only He can do. In 1:27, God used preexisting materials (man from the dust of the ground; Eve from Adam’s rib); each use of the word bara (“create”) must be considered in its specific context.
- Genesis 1:2 The Hebrew text here has two rhyming words, tohu and bohu, which have similar meanings of “wasteness” and “emptiness.” The construction is a figure of speech called hendiadys, in which two words are used together to express the same idea. The meaning is that the earth had no clearly discernible features at this point in creation but essentially was a mass of raw materials. This proves to be very important from philosophical and scientific viewpoints, because it documents the fact that the raw matter of the earth—and by extension, of the universe—did not coexist eternally with God, but was created by Him ex nihilo (Latin “out of nothing”).
- Genesis 1:3 This is not in the imperative mood (the ordinary grammatical form for a command), but God willed these creative events into existence. It is the voluntative mood in Hebrew. This translates, “It is My will that this happen.” English does not have the voluntative mood, which includes the jussive and cohortative forms. When “let” is used in this way, it represents a command not in the imperative mood, but rather an expression of God’s will, the jussive form. God literally commanded (willed) the world into existence.
- Genesis 1:4 “He affirmed and sustained it” is understood (deduced) from the context. The italic “and” alerts the reader or student of Hebrew that the word or words that follow are amplifications not found in the Hebrew text itself, but implied by it or by contextual factors.
- Genesis 1:5 The Hebrew word translated “evening” indicates dusk or sunset.
- Genesis 1:5 The Hebrew word translated “morning” indicates the time when it is getting light (dawn).
- Genesis 1:6 Or a firmament.
- Genesis 1:11 Or grass.
- Genesis 1:11 Or herbs.
- Genesis 1:20 Lit over the face of.
- Genesis 2:4 Heb YHWH (Yahweh), the Hebrew name of God which traditionally is not pronounced by the Jews, usually rendered Lord. See front material, Principles of Translation.
- Genesis 2:5 Lit work.
- Genesis 2:6 Or flow of water.
- Genesis 2:7 The word is “formed” (Heb yatsar), but in 1:26, 27 the action is described with the Hebrew word “created” (Heb bara).
- Genesis 2:7 The essential chemical elements found in soil are also found in humans and animals. This scientific fact was not discovered until recent times, but God is displaying it here.
- Genesis 2:8 This is a reference, not to the creation of plant life in general, but to the planting of specific plants in the Garden of Eden (2:8, 9).
- Genesis 2:12 It is often difficult to match the names or descriptions of ancient gems and other materials with their contemporary equivalents. Modern research indicates this may instead be carnelian, a red gemstone.
- Genesis 2:17 Both spiritually and physically, physical death in the sense of becoming mortal; they were created immortal.
- Genesis 2:18 Lit like his opposite.
- Genesis 3:1 The relationship between Satan and the serpent is not made clear, but Satan is identified with the serpent later in Rev 12:9, 14, 15, and 20:2. It seems difficult to believe that Eve would not have been suspicious of a talking creature, but at this point in time Eve probably knew next to nothing about animals; and in any case, the serpent, as it existed before the curse (v 14), was a very different creature from the reptile that is familiar to us today.
- Genesis 3:1 Or every.
- Genesis 3:6 This may have been sometime later. Jewish tradition said that Adam was absent at the time of Eve’s conversation with the serpent (according to the Talmud).
- Genesis 3:8 Lit face.
- Genesis 3:15 Many consider this verse the protevangelium, the first announcement of the gospel. This is the first prophecy about the Messiah (Christ), who through His death on the cross and resurrection would ultimately defeat Satan, the power behind the serpent, with a death blow. See Is 9:6; Matt 1:23; Luke 1:31; Rom 16:20; Gal 4:4; Rev 12:17.
- Genesis 3:24 Cherubim are ministering angelic beings who avenge assaults on God’s holiness.