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Genesis 1:6-8

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And God said, “Let there be an expanse in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters.” And God made the expanse and separated the waters that were under the expanse from the waters that were above the expanse. And it was so. And God called the expanse Heaven. And there was evening and there was morning, the second day.

And God said, “Let there be an expanse in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters.” And God made the expanse and separated the waters that were under the expanse from the waters that were above the expanse. And it was so. And God called the expanse Heaven. And there was evening and there was morning, the second day.
The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.
The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bib

Translators are advised to study carefully the picture of the universe as it was understood by the ancient Hebrew authors

And God said, “Let there be a vaulted dome in the midst of the waters, and ⌊let it cause a separation between the waters⌋.” So God made the vaulted dome, and he caused a separation between the waters which were under the vaulted dome and between the waters which were over the vaulted dome. And it was so. And God called the vaulted dome “heaven.” And there was evening, and there was morning, a second day.

Harris, W. H., III, Ritzema, E., Brannan, R., Mangum, D., Dunham, J., Reimer, J. A., & Wierenga, M. (Eds.). (2012). The Lexham English Bible (). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

6 And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters. 7 And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so. 8 And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day.

The Holy Bible: King James Version. (2009). (Electronic Edition of the 1900 Authorized Version., ). Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters is the first command of the second day.

covering yourself with light as with a garment,

covering yourself with light as with a garment, stretching out the heavens like a tent. He lays the beams of his chambers on the waters; he makes the clouds his chariot; he rides on the wings of the wind; The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

Reyburn, W. D., & Fry, E. M. (1998). A handbook on Genesis (p. 36). New York: United Bible Societies. covering yourself with light as with a garment, stretching out the heavens like a tent. He lays the beams of his chambers on the waters; he makes the clouds his chariot; he rides on the wings of the wind; The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

stretching out the heavens like a tent.

5  He set the earth on its foundations,

so that it should never be moved.

6  You covered it with the deep as with a garment;

the waters stood above the mountains.

7  At your rebuke they fled;

at the sound of your thunder they took to flight.

8  The mountains rose, the valleys sank down

to the place that you appointed for them.

9  You set a boundary that they may not pass,

so that they might not again cover the earth.

stretching out the heavens like a tent.

Translators are advised to study carefully the picture of the universe as it was understood by the ancient Hebrew authors. This may be done by reading the relevant articles in a Bible dictionary, along with such passages as , ; ; ; ; ; ; .

Reyburn, W. D., & Fry, E. M. (1998). A handbook on Genesis (p. 27). New York: United Bible Societies.

He lays the beams of his chambers on the waters;

He lays the beams of his chambers on the waters;

4  Praise him, you highest heavens,

and you waters above the heavens!

he makes the clouds his chariot;

he makes the clouds his chariot;

11  The pillars of heaven tremble

and are astounded at his rebuke.

he rides on the wings of the wind;

18  Can you, like him, spread out the skies,

hard as a cast metal mirror?

he rides on the wings of the wind;

The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

4  “Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?

Tell me, if you have understanding.

5  Who determined its measurements—surely you know!

Or who stretched the line upon it?

6  On what were its bases sunk,

or who laid its cornerstone,

7  when the morning stars sang together

and all the sons of God shouted for joy?

8  “Or who shut in the sea with doors

when it burst out from the womb,

9  when I made clouds its garment

and thick darkness its swaddling band,

10  and prescribed limits for it

and set bars and doors,

11  and said, ‘Thus far shall you come, and no farther,

and here shall your proud waves be stayed’?

The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

28  when he made firm the skies above,

when he established the fountains of the deep,

29  when he assigned to the sea its limit,

so that the waters might not transgress his command,

when he marked out the foundations of the earth,

6  who builds his upper chambers in the heavens

and founds his vault upon the earth;

A Handbook on Genesis Genesis 1:6–7

Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters is the first command of the second day. For Let there be see comments on verse 3. Firmament translates a Hebrew word used also in Psa 19:1, where it is in parallel with “heavens.” In Ezek 1:22 the same Hebrew word is translated “dome” by TEV. As used in Ezek 6:11; 25:6, the related verb in Hebrew means “to stamp with the feet,” and in Exo 39:3 it means “to hammer out, beat flat” with reference to hammering or flattening metal into sheets. The thought is that the firmament is like a hammered sheet of metal that covers the overhead space from horizon to horizon, something like a dome or inverted bowl. Something of this idea is expressed in Job 37:18. This covering dome is commanded to appear in the midst of the waters, just as the light was commanded to appear in the presence of pre-existing darkness. The dome of the sky is to come into existence between the upper waters and the lower waters, as is made clear in verse 7. In verse 8 the firmament is named “Heaven.”

grakkah rq’

1  The heavens declare the glory of God,

and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.

22 Over the heads of the living creatures there was the likeness of an expanse, shining like awe-inspiring crystal, spread out above their heads.

11 Thus says the Lord GOD: “Clap your hands and stamp your foot and say, Alas, because of all the evil abominations of the house of Israel, for they shall fall by the sword, by famine, and by pestilence.

6 For thus says the Lord GOD: Because you have clapped your hands and stamped your feet and rejoiced with all the malice within your soul against the land of Israel

3 And they hammered out gold leaf, and he cut it into threads to work into the blue and purple and the scarlet yarns, and into the fine twined linen, in skilled design

18  Can you, like him, spread out the skies,

hard as a cast metal mirror?

A Handbook on Genesis Genesis 1:6–7

And let it separate the waters from the waters is the second command. Here the command is that the dome or vault of the sky is to hold back the water above it from the water beneath it. Separate is the same word used in 1:4. Here the separation is a dividing of the waters above from the waters below, so that space exists between them. That space is the area under the dome. In Genesis 7 the flood is described as water bursting forth from the deep and rain coming down from the “windows of heaven,” which refers to openings in the arched dome of the sky. See also 2 Kgs 7:2, 19; Psa 148:4, for further examples of this view of the heavens.

2 Then the captain on whose hand the king leaned said to the man of God, “If the LORD himself should make windows in heaven, could this thing be?” But

4  Praise him, you highest heavens,

and you waters above the heavens!

A Handbook on Genesis Genesis 1:6–7

Note that TEV has brought forward the words “… and it was done” from verse 9 as the completion of the command, and has combined the two

The New American Commentary: Genesis 1–11:26 (2) Second Day of Creation (1:6–8)

The atmosphere then is depicted as a canopy or dome spread out over the earth. There is no indication, however, that the author conceived of it as a solid mass, a “firmament” (AV) that supported a body of waters above it. The “expanse” describes both the place in which the luminaries were set (vv. 14–15, 17) and the sky where the birds are observed (v. 20). Thus Genesis’ description of the “expanse” is phenomenological—to the observer on earth, the sun and stars appear to sit in the skies while at the same time birds glide through the atmosphere, piercing the skies. In the Old Testament elsewhere there is evidence that the Hebrews understood that clouds produced rain and thus, from a phenomenological perspective, “water” can be described as belonging to the upper atmosphere.147

It is pictorial language, like our expression ‘the vault of heaven’.

The New American Commentary: Genesis 1–11:26 (2) Second Day of Creation (1:6–8)

The theological significance of God’s creation of the skies is the clarification that God alone rules the powers of the heavens. Divine rule of the skies was particularly important for Sumerian religion, which gave prominent place to the heavens in its pantheon of gods (cf. 1:14). It was Anu, the sky god, and Enlil, god of the atmosphere, who established and deposed the kings of the Sumerian city-states. Baal in the Ugaritic pantheon is identified as the “Rider of the Clouds.” He was the god of storm and rain (cf. 1 Kgs 18), but Israel’s faith declares that Yahweh is the source of heaven’s powers (Ps 68:4). The passage therefore asserts that the heavens and their celestial inhabitants are merely instruments to serve God and his earthly creatures; they are not autonomous authorities.

Commentary on the Old Testament The Creation of the World

According to optical appearance, it is described as a carpet spread out above the earth (Ps. 104:2), a curtain (Isa. 40:22), a transparent work of sapphire (Ex. 24:10), or a molten looking-glass (Job 37:18); but there is nothing in these poetical similes to warrant the idea that the heavens were regarded as a solid mass

When God had made the light, he appointed the air to be the receptacle and vehicle of its beams, and to be as a medium of communication between the invisible and the visible world; for, though between heaven and earth there is an inconceivable distance, yet there is not an impassable gulf, as there is between heaven and hell. This firmament is not a wall of partition, but a way of intercourse.

Lest it should seem as if God had only commanded it to be done, and some one else had done it, he adds, And God made the firmament. What God requires of us he himself works in us, or it is not done.

When God had made the light, he appointed the air to be the receptacle and vehicle of its beams, and to be as a medium of communication between the invisible and the visible world; for, though between heaven and earth there is an inconceivable distance, yet there is not an impassable gulf, as there is between heaven and hell. This firmament is not a wall of partition, but a way of intercourse.

He that commands faith, holiness, and love, creates them by the power of his grace going along with his word, that he may have all the praise. Lord, give what thou commandest, and then command what thou pleasest. The firmament is said to be the work of God’s fingers

The naming of it: He called the firmament heaven. It is the visible heaven, the pavement of the holy city; above the firmament God is said to have his throne (Eze. 1:26), for he has prepared it in the heavens; the heavens therefore are said to rule, Dan. 4:26. Is not God in the height of heaven? Job 22:12. Yes, he is, and we should be led by the contemplation of the heavens that are in our eye to consider our Father who is in heaven. The height of the heavens should remind us of God’s supremacy and the infinite distance there is between us and him; the brightness of the heavens and their purity should remind us of his glory, and majesty, and perfect holiness; the vastness of the heavens, their encompassing of the earth, and the influence they have upon it, should remind us of his immensity and universal providence.

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