Any thoughts on this set?

Page 1 of 1 (15 items)
This post has 14 Replies | 0 Followers

Posts 7508
DAL | Forum Activity | Posted: Thu, Nov 1 2018 10:18 PM

How good or useful is it? International Theological Commentary. Included in base packages (Wesleyan Methodist Gold). No link since every time I insert one it gets moderated some how.

DAL

Posts 7508
DAL | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Nov 1 2018 10:20 PM

https://www.logos.com/product/5786/international-theological-commentary

Virtually no ratings on best commentaries dot com

Posts 7508
DAL | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Nov 1 2018 10:26 PM

What do you know, it let me insert a link this time ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ‘Œ

Posts 7508
DAL | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Nov 2 2018 7:17 AM

 Anyone? come on one at a time not everybody at the same time ๐Ÿ˜

Posts 1273
Myke Harbuck | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Nov 2 2018 7:42 AM

I have it but never looked at it until today, at least that I can remember. Looks pretty solid. Exegetical with a little bit of application. Certainly not technical or critical, and no original language or word study. I liked what I read on Ruth 1. Here is a sample.

Orpah’s Choice: Return to Moab (1:14)
Orpah kissed Naomi and followed her advice to “turn back … go your way” (v. 12). Naomi urged Ruth to follow her (v. 15), leaving Naomi in her bitterness, free to return by herself.


The Narrator does not condemn Orpah for her decision. However, readers of the story of Ruth may well think of Orpah’s decision in two ways: it might mean a going back to the old ways of Moab, to the traditional culture and religion of Moab, to the people of Chemosh (see “A Negative View of Moab,” 9). On the other hand, readers might think of Orpah’s return to Moab as an opportunity for her to bring to her people a new vision of Yahweh’s steadfast love and of human relations which she had seen as a member of this family that worshipped Yahweh. She might play a role like that of the young Israelite girl who served Naaman’s wife (2 Kgs. 5:1–5).


Ruth’s Choice: Back to Bethlehem with Naomi (1:16–18)
Ruth’s decision is the direct opposite of Orpah’s. She loved her mother-in-law so much that she refused to do her bidding! Instead of kissing Naomi and returning to her Moabite home, Ruth “clung to her” (1:14). As we see from Gen. 2:24, the word “cling” signifies the formation of a new unity binding both sides together. When Ruth stepped forward to “cling” to Naomi, she bound the lives of these two vulnerable widows together in a new solidarity.


A Radical Decision, and a Beautiful Vow
Ruth’s beautiful vow expressing her radical decision is remarkable not only in its contrast to Orpah’s decision, but also in the implications it had for Ruth herself. It meant a complete break with her past. At the same time, the Narrator’s brief comment that Naomi, seeing Ruth’s determination, “said no more to her” (Ruth 1:18) suggests that Naomi did not understand why this young Moabite woman would want to give up hopes of a home to follow her. She was still asking the question in her heart, “Why will you go with me? “(v. 11).


Your walk, my walk. Whereas Orpah had followed Naomi’s advice to “go your way” back to Moab (Ruth 1:12), Ruth signified her decision to “go,” or “walk” (another translation of the same Hebrew word), with Naomi (v. 16). It was now no longer “the woman” alone (v. 5), but mother and daughter walking side by side, sharing life together.


Your lodging, my lodging. Whereas Orpah had sought “security” in the house of a husband (v. 9), Ruth was ready to give up the “security” of a husband and family, spend nights (“lodge”) on the way, enjoy her friendship, and help Naomi in her search for a new “security.”


Your people, my people. Ruth’s decision not to “leave” Naomi (1:16) meant that she had to “leave” her own people and native land (2:11) and bind herself to Naomi’s people. She was like the disciples of Jesus who “left house … brothers … sisters … mother … father … children … fields for [Jesus’] sake and for the sake of the good news” (Mark 10:29).


Your God, my God. In contrast to Orpah who went back to “her gods” (Ruth 1:15), Ruth was ready to make an absolute commitment to the God Naomi had taught her to love. So, in addition to clinging to Naomi, she was ready to “cling” to Yahweh (Ps. 63:8), thereby binding herself to Yahweh’s covenant with Abraham, which extended to David and across the generations to Jesus Christ. Ruth is one of numerous other people in the Bible who declared their loyalty to Yahweh across cultural and religious lines: Jethro the Midianite (Exod. 18:11), Rahab the Canaanite (Josh. 2:11), Naaman the Syrian (2 Kgs. 5:15), foreign merchants from Egypt, Ethiopia, and Seba (Isa. 45:14), and the Ethiopian official (Acts 8:36). Ruth is like countless others across the ages who have made the costly decision to follow the “God of gods and Lord of lords” (Deut. 10:17).


Your burial place, my burial place. Orpah went back to her own people and would be buried there with her ancestors, but Ruth’s solidarity with Naomi extended even to death and burial by her side, as foremothers of the people of Israel.


Ruth and Abraham
Ruth’s bold decision to make new ties of kinship, family, country, and faith invites comparison with Abraham, who left his own country, his family, and his father’s house (Gen. 12:1) in response to God’s call. As Abraham and Sarah were founding father and mother of a new people, so Ruth was the founding mother of a new dynasty, and hence a link in the family line of the coming Messiah. However, in Ruth’s case we know of no divine command. Unlike Abraham, she had to make the decision by herself to follow Naomi. She had no husband or retinue of servants to go with her. She was ready to accept insecurity because of her faith in Naomi’s God.


A Model for Today
Today Ruth may be compared with women and men who cross cultural, racial, and regional boundaries to bind themselves with one another in faith-based covenantal relationships that look to the future with faith and hope. From India comes the challenge to people of faith to seek solidarity over against “communal frenzy” that can tear a people apart (Report of the Seventh Biannual Conference of the SCM of India).


After attending an ecumenical gathering in Seoul, Korea, a Thai woman wrote that she “found out who Christ was through ethnically and culturally diverse individuals … We came to know Christ as the Lord who came into the world to meet us attired in the rich dress of our varied cultures, liberating us from those powers which divided us, reconciling us to Himself and one another, and forming us into community committed to peace, justice and the care of creation … As a woman, I felt Christ being closer to us—women of this entire world not just a particular place” (Woranut Pantupong, “Reflections on Seoul—a Year Later”).


Arrival in Bethlehem (1:19–22)
The Narrator emphasizes the return of Naomi and Ruth by repeating three times “they came to Bethlehem” (Ruth 1:19, 22). Yet what should have been a joyful homecoming was, instead, full of bitterness. In her words to the women of Bethlehem, Naomi made three complaints (vv. 20–21).

Bitterness
First, she stressed her bitterness of soul by using the Hebrew word for “bitter” three times: “It has been far more bitter (mar) for me than for you” (v. 13). “Call me Mara (bitter), for the Almighty has dealt bitterly (mar) with me” (v. 20). Bitterness like Naomi’s appears frequently in the Old Testament. It is a very human form of anger, a complaint that life is not fair, and is found often in the Old Testament. The lives of the slaves in Egypt were made “bitter with hard service” (Exod. 1:14). The people in the wilderness “could not drink the water of Marah because it was bitter” (Exod. 15:23), Rachel, in a voice of “lamentation and bitter weeping,” was grieving for her children, refusing “to be comforted … because they are no more” (Jer. 31:15). King Hezekiah could not sleep because of “the bitterness of my soul” (Isa. 38:15). Jeremiah wept bitterly when the enemy took his people captive in 597 b.c. (Jer. 13:17). At the fall of Tyre, the merchants of the Mediterranean world wept “in bitterness of soul, with bitter mourning” (Ezek. 27:31). The people of Israel, personified as Mother Zion, complained that God “has filled me with bitterness … sated me with wormwood” (Lam. 3:15); Job protested “in the bitterness of my soul” (Job 7:11), that “the Almighty … made my soul bitter” (27:2). Readers can understand Naomi’s bitterness of soul.


Yet the story of Ruth reminds us that bitterness is not the last word. Naomi will later praise Yahweh “whose kindness has not forsaken the living or the dead” (Ruth 2:20). King Hezekiah realized that his suffering was for his own “welfare” (Isa. 38:17). Mother Zion in her bitterness still believed that
… The Lord will not reject forever.
Although he causes grief, he will have compassion
according to the abundance of his steadfast love;
for he does not willingly afflict
or grieve anyone.
(Lam. 3:31–32)


Affliction
Second, Naomi complained that Yahweh had “dealt harshly” with her. This expression is a translation of a Hebrew verb สฟanah, which means basically to “answer,” as in the petition “answer me, for I am poor and needy” (Ps. 86:1). When the answer is harsh, the meaning may be “to afflict,” as in the threat that “the Lord will afflict you with consumption, fever …” (Deut. 28:22; cf. NIV translation of Ruth 1:21, “afflicted me”). Naomi’s complaint was that when she cried to the Lord for an answer at the time of the death of her husband, Yahweh answered her with the death of her two sons. She could have used words from the Psalms like “I am lonely and afflicted” (Ps. 25:16), or “O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer; and by night, but find no rest” (Ps. 22:2). Behind her complaints, however, would be the faith that Yahweh does “not despise or abhor the affliction of the afflicted” (Ps. 22:24).


Calamity
Third, Naomi blamed God for bringing “calamity” on her. She was not alone in this. Another translation of the verb is found in Moses’ complaint that Yahweh had “mistreated” his people (Exod. 5:22). Elijah said the same thing about Yahweh’s treatment of the widow: “O Lord my God, have you brought calamity even upon the widow with whom I am staying, by killing her son?” (1 Kgs. 17:20). Jeremiah compared Yahweh to a “deceitful brook, like waters that fail” (Jer. 15:18). Job spoke in the same way: “Surely now God has worn me out … shriveled me up … torn me in his wrath, and hated me” (Job 16:7, 8, 9).


Unrecognized Hope
Ironically, Naomi, perhaps completely wrapped up in her own suffering, did not even mention her Moabite daughter-in-law. The Narrator makes sure that the reader will not overlook the importance of “Ruth the Moabite, her daughter-in-law, who came back with her from the country of Moab” (Ruth 1:22). Naomi did not yet know that God’s answer to her cries was in the Moabite woman who had clung to her and sworn to walk by her side on her return to Bethlehem. Ruth would cause “Mara” (“the bitter one”) to become “Naomi” (the “lovely one”) again. She would fill the void of emptiness in Naomi’s heart with fullness, embody God’s grace instead of harshness, and bring blessing in place of calamity. She would bring “hope for your future” (Jer. 31:17), and change her “mourning into dancing” (Ps. 30:11).

Myke Harbuck
Lead Pastor, www.ByronCity.Church
Adjunct Professor, Georgia Military College

Posts 1689
Ken McGuire | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Nov 2 2018 7:50 AM

I got on the Christmas Special CD's about a dozen years ago. I found it to be decent set, but have generally not used it after my library grew and I had other sets.

Pulling up Gen 1.1-2, we get this treatment:



The Beginning of Creation (1:1–2)

The Bible begins with a statement unlike that which can be found in any other known creation story (including the one in Gen. 2:4b–25). It speaks of a “beginning,” that is, a time prior to which one cannot go. Scripture has nothing to say about what preceded the creation of the world, not even any statement about the prior existence of God. That is clearly none of our business, even if it were possible to conceive it. The difficulty of thinking about so absolute a beginning as this is reflected in the problem of understanding exactly what 1:1–2 are saying. The verses may be translated three possible ways: (1) the traditional way, with v. 1 an independent sentence; (2) taking v. 1 as a dependent clause with v. 2 the independent clause: “At the beginning of God’s creating the heavens and the earth, the earth was waste and void …”; (3) taking v. 1 as a dependent clause with v. 3 as the independent clause and v. 2 as a parenthesis: “At the beginning of God’s creating the heavens and the earth—the earth being waste and void …—God said, ‘Let there be light.’ ” The complex discussion of the lexical, grammatical, syntactical, comparative, and stylistic factors involved cannot be repeated here, since despite the volume of research done on the subject, no decisive argument has yet been produced. Option 3 seems to be the weakest, however. Studies of the structure of the passage, already alluded to, agree that v. 3 ought to stand by itself, as the first act of creation, so vv. 1–2 should not be dependent on it. Also, combining vv. 1–3 into one, long, rambling sentence produces a construction so completely different from the simple, straightforward sentences comprising the rest of the passage that it is difficult to believe P could have strayed so far from his controlled presentation as to produce that “syntactic monster” (as one scholar called it) as his introductory words. Options 1 and 2 seem to be almost equally possible, according to what we know.
Options 1 and 2 both raise questions about the nature of the creative act. Neither explicitly states that God created the world out of nothing, although v. 1, taken as an independent sentence, can be argued as supporting that (as has been done for centuries). But if v. 1 states that the heavens and earth (i.e., the cosmos) were created out of nothing, what is v. 2 talking about? The most common answer has been that this is the first stage; God initially created the formless materials of the cosmos, then proceeded to shape something of them. But many scholars have found this to be an unsatisfactory explanation. Those who claim that v. 1 is a temporal clause, dependent on v. 2, conclude that it is therefore impossible to deduce creation out of nothing from these verses, for they simply tell us how God began to create order out of preexisting chaos. It may be asked whether that is necessarily so. “At the beginning of God’s creating the heavens and the earth the earth was waste and void …” might be speaking of beginning as the first creative step, the production of formless matter. But the question that intrudes itself is why P, who is so clear and so careful to make himself understood everywhere else, leaves us with the apparently unresolvable dilemma presented by these first two verses. After discussion of the key terms, an answer will be offered, appealing to the subject matter as the reason for the problem.
The Hebrew word reshith (beginning) is used fifty times in the Bible, but in only one place that is a good parallel to this passage: Isa. 46:10, which seems to speak of an absolute end and an absolute beginning. All other beginnings occur in the midst of history, which means the use of the word elsewhere cannot provide us certain knowledge about what P may have meant by it in Gen. 1:1. A similar problem of uniqueness is associated with baraสพ (“create”). Only God is the subject of this verb in Hebrew, and so it is restricted in meaning to divine activity, unlike our use of the English word “create.” This means there are no true analogies to the expression “God created” to be found within human experience. Hence the first three words of the Bible, “In the beginning God created” (or “When God began to create”) must be most accurately taken as celebrating a mystery. The author insists on giving God complete priority, exclusive initiative, and sole instrumentality as he ponders our existence and this place in which we exist. As the first word denotes something unique that can never be repeated and the second word (“create”) denotes something exclusive, which only God can do, the concluding words of the verse are comprehensive; “heavens and earth” is the typical Hebrew way of speaking of the cosmos, the entire created universe. Some early interpreters, understanding this, then insisted that the cosmos was created in an instant, in spite of the seven-day pattern that follows; but that surely was not P’s idea, for time is a crucial element in his scheme. A better way to understand the intention of this verse is to take it as a true introduction, a heading that sums up the gist of the whole passage.
Logically, then, one would think v. 3 should come next, but interrupting the smooth flow of divine activity is a series of three difficult clauses. “The earth was tohu wabohu” uses a pair of words that occur together in two other places (Isa. 34:11; Jer. 4:23), denoting an utterly desolate place. The familiar “waste and void” (or as an alternative, “desolate and empty”) are English terms that convey reasonably well the meaning and the feeling of these words. Immediately P’s attention turns to earth, for he is reporting God’s preparation of a place for human beings to live and anything that does not directly impinge on human life does not interest him greatly. The second clause uses two more words expressive of disorder and threat to life, “darkness” and “the deep.” The symbolic value of darkness and light is so obvious to everyone that it scarcely needs to be explained. Throughout the Bible darkness represents evil and the threat to life, while life represents good, life itself, and even God himself (John 1:4–9). The word translated “deep” (tehom) has for a long time been associated with Tiamat, the antagonist of Marduk in the Babylonian creation epic; Tiamat represents disorder, and her body is used by Marduk as the raw materials from which to create the world. But this association should not be overemphasized, for although the two words may be related, there is no similarity of thought. Tehom in the OT simply represents the cosmic ocean and in no case is it an enemy that God defeats, nor does it furnish the materials from which he creates anything. It is an exact parallel to the “waters” in the third clause of this verse.
The third clause in Gen. 1:2 is one of the most difficult in the entire passage, because of the ambiguity of one word and the rareness of another. The word ruah, traditionally translated “spirit,” can also mean wind or breath. And the Hebrew root of merahephet occurs in only two other places, Deut. 32:11 and Jer. 23:9, where it is used of an eagle that spreads out its wings over its nest and of the wavering movements of a drunken man. Now the issue is this: Is this third clause a continuation of the description of chaotic conditions found in the first two, does it describe the presence of God even in the midst of chaos, or is it a direct introduction to the creative word of Gen. 1:3? For those who believe the first option makes the most sense, ruah must be translated “wind,” and since elohim (God) can sometimes be used as a superlative adjective, something like “mighty wind” is a possible translation. However, the two uses of merahephet elsewhere do not suggest the kind of movement that would be expected of a mighty wind; and it would seem an odd choice of terms for P, who uses the word elohim of the Creator so prominently in verse after verse, to use the same word as an ordinary adjective here. Spirit or breath of God thus seem to be more likely renderings; and if we can draw any conclusions about the kind of movement described from the other two occurrences of merahephet, it is likely to be something like hovering, as a bird does. It does not mean “brooding,” so does not denote some process by which the cosmos was produced out of chaos, as some scholars have suggested. Others have noted the relationship between breath and the spoken word in Hebrew usage elsewhere in the OT and have suggested this is a direct introduction to “And God said.”
That this clause represents an action of God contrary to the conditions denoted in the first two clauses is supported by the observation that creation deals with each element of those clauses. Form takes the place of shapelessness and populations fill the empty spaces. Light is created and the realm of darkness is limited. Boundaries are set for the deep so that the dry land may be inhabited. But if we were to take the third clause as an additional chaotic element, a mighty wind raging over the surface of the waters, then we would be left with a storm that is never stilled, never alluded to in the work of creation. The ruah elohim must be either Spirit of God or breath of God, an introduction to v. 3.
We have seen that v. 2 does not fit any of the various outlines of the passages that have been proposed, and the exact relationship between v. 1 and v. 2 cannot be established with certainty. And yet the rest of the passage is remarkably regular, unusually simple in its choice of words and its syntax. I suggest that the reason for this peculiarity is to be found in the subject. The verse does not fit because the subject does not fit. The theology of P emphasizes without qualification that God is the only source of anything that exists and that the will of God is for good, and only for good. Yet this author is no sheltered person who can imagine that the world of the present is perfect; he is realistic enough and honest enough to acknowledge that there is a “shadow” to God’s good creative work. But how can one speak or think of that? To say that chaos existed before God began to create would be to acknowledge that something negative, contrary to God, existed alongside God in the beginning, and P will not do that. To say that God created the negative, life-threatening forces in the cosmos is completely contrary to P’s theology. Yet he is aware of conditions in the material world that are inadequate for God’s purposes since they do not support life—they exist or at least threaten to appear. That becomes evident in P’s account of the Flood, when “all the fountains of the great deep burst forth, and the windows of the heavens were opened” (7:11; cf. 8:2). That is, P knows that disorder, the threat of annihilation of God’s good creation, may reappear in this world. He remains optimistic, in his account of the Flood as in his telling of creation, for in the covenant with Noah God promises never again to destroy the earth with a flood (9:9–15). But P knows he cannot ignore the threat. He must assure us that God deals with it.
This is P’s wise way of acknowledging the problem of evil, the evils that afflict human existence but cannot be attributed to human sin. To whom can they be attributed, then? Not to God, P insists. They do not fit the structure of the creation of the universe because they are what God did not will. They stand awkwardly between the announcement of the creation of a complete cosmos (1:1) and the description of how God produced order and life. As Karl Barth commented, these words represent “the world which according to His revelation was negated, rejected, ignored and left behind in His actual creation” (Church Dogmatics, III/1, 108). The Priestly writer recognizes that nothing positive can be said about cosmic evil; it will not fit any theology that confesses an omnipotent, righteous God, and yet it continues to threaten. As P’s accounts of creation and the Flood show us, faith in the omnipotent, righteous God enables us to push the threat far out to the very fringes of existence, and yet it will not completely disappear. Since that is true, and since it is very likely that this passage was produced under circumstances where all that was good in the lives of writer and readers had been challenged and lost, it is a remarkable testimony, for it refuses to speak of any conflict. God is completely in charge, and all proceeds serenely.


Gowan, D. E. (1988). From Eden to Babel: a commentary on the book of Genesis 1–11 (pp. 17–21). Grand Rapids, MI: W.B. Eerdmans Pub. Co.

The Gospel is not ... a "new law," on the contrary, ... a "new life." - William Julius Mann

L8 Anglican, Lutheran and Orthodox Silver, Reformed Basic, Academic Essentials

L7 Lutheran Gold, Anglican Bronze

Posts 13399
Mark Barnes | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Nov 2 2018 8:11 AM

DAL:
How good or useful is it? International Theological Commentary. Included in base packages (Wesleyan Methodist Gold). No link since every time I insert one it gets moderated some how.

Speaking personally, I don't like it, because I don't feel it delivers anything on it's promise of being "theological" (which is a real gap in the market, IMO).

That said, if you want a fairly middle-of-the-road intermediate level commentary, that deals with the text paragraph-by-paragraph (rather than verse by verse) it isn't bad.

It's also OT only.

Posts 1483
Rick Ausdahl | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Nov 2 2018 8:24 AM

Ken McGuire:

I got on the Christmas Special CD's about a dozen years ago. I found it to be decent set, but have generally not used it after my library grew and I had other sets.

Pulling up Gen 1.1-2, we get this treatment:



The Beginning of Creation (1:1–2)

The Bible begins with a statement unlike that which can be found in any other known creation story (including the one in Gen. 2:4b–25). It speaks of a “beginning,” that is, a time prior to which one cannot go. Scripture has nothing to say about what preceded the creation of the world, not even any statement about the prior existence of God. That is clearly none of our business, even if it were possible to conceive it. The difficulty of thinking about so absolute a beginning as this is reflected in the problem of understanding exactly what 1:1–2 are saying. The verses may be translated three possible ways: (1) the traditional way, with v. 1 an independent sentence; (2) taking v. 1 as a dependent clause with v. 2 the independent clause: “At the beginning of God’s creating the heavens and the earth, the earth was waste and void …”; (3) taking v. 1 as a dependent clause with v. 3 as the independent clause and v. 2 as a parenthesis: “At the beginning of God’s creating the heavens and the earth—the earth being waste and void …—God said, ‘Let there be light.’ ” The complex discussion of the lexical, grammatical, syntactical, comparative, and stylistic factors involved cannot be repeated here, since despite the volume of research done on the subject, no decisive argument has yet been produced. Option 3 seems to be the weakest, however. Studies of the structure of the passage, already alluded to, agree that v. 3 ought to stand by itself, as the first act of creation, so vv. 1–2 should not be dependent on it. Also, combining vv. 1–3 into one, long, rambling sentence produces a construction so completely different from the simple, straightforward sentences comprising the rest of the passage that it is difficult to believe P could have strayed so far from his controlled presentation as to produce that “syntactic monster” (as one scholar called it) as his introductory words. Options 1 and 2 seem to be almost equally possible, according to what we know.
Options 1 and 2 both raise questions about the nature of the creative act. Neither explicitly states that God created the world out of nothing, although v. 1, taken as an independent sentence, can be argued as supporting that (as has been done for centuries). But if v. 1 states that the heavens and earth (i.e., the cosmos) were created out of nothing, what is v. 2 talking about? The most common answer has been that this is the first stage; God initially created the formless materials of the cosmos, then proceeded to shape something of them. But many scholars have found this to be an unsatisfactory explanation. Those who claim that v. 1 is a temporal clause, dependent on v. 2, conclude that it is therefore impossible to deduce creation out of nothing from these verses, for they simply tell us how God began to create order out of preexisting chaos. It may be asked whether that is necessarily so. “At the beginning of God’s creating the heavens and the earth the earth was waste and void …” might be speaking of beginning as the first creative step, the production of formless matter. But the question that intrudes itself is why P, who is so clear and so careful to make himself understood everywhere else, leaves us with the apparently unresolvable dilemma presented by these first two verses. After discussion of the key terms, an answer will be offered, appealing to the subject matter as the reason for the problem.
The Hebrew word reshith (beginning) is used fifty times in the Bible, but in only one place that is a good parallel to this passage: Isa. 46:10, which seems to speak of an absolute end and an absolute beginning. All other beginnings occur in the midst of history, which means the use of the word elsewhere cannot provide us certain knowledge about what P may have meant by it in Gen. 1:1. A similar problem of uniqueness is associated with baraสพ (“create”). Only God is the subject of this verb in Hebrew, and so it is restricted in meaning to divine activity, unlike our use of the English word “create.” This means there are no true analogies to the expression “God created” to be found within human experience. Hence the first three words of the Bible, “In the beginning God created” (or “When God began to create”) must be most accurately taken as celebrating a mystery. The author insists on giving God complete priority, exclusive initiative, and sole instrumentality as he ponders our existence and this place in which we exist. As the first word denotes something unique that can never be repeated and the second word (“create”) denotes something exclusive, which only God can do, the concluding words of the verse are comprehensive; “heavens and earth” is the typical Hebrew way of speaking of the cosmos, the entire created universe. Some early interpreters, understanding this, then insisted that the cosmos was created in an instant, in spite of the seven-day pattern that follows; but that surely was not P’s idea, for time is a crucial element in his scheme. A better way to understand the intention of this verse is to take it as a true introduction, a heading that sums up the gist of the whole passage.
Logically, then, one would think v. 3 should come next, but interrupting the smooth flow of divine activity is a series of three difficult clauses. “The earth was tohu wabohu” uses a pair of words that occur together in two other places (Isa. 34:11; Jer. 4:23), denoting an utterly desolate place. The familiar “waste and void” (or as an alternative, “desolate and empty”) are English terms that convey reasonably well the meaning and the feeling of these words. Immediately P’s attention turns to earth, for he is reporting God’s preparation of a place for human beings to live and anything that does not directly impinge on human life does not interest him greatly. The second clause uses two more words expressive of disorder and threat to life, “darkness” and “the deep.” The symbolic value of darkness and light is so obvious to everyone that it scarcely needs to be explained. Throughout the Bible darkness represents evil and the threat to life, while life represents good, life itself, and even God himself (John 1:4–9). The word translated “deep” (tehom) has for a long time been associated with Tiamat, the antagonist of Marduk in the Babylonian creation epic; Tiamat represents disorder, and her body is used by Marduk as the raw materials from which to create the world. But this association should not be overemphasized, for although the two words may be related, there is no similarity of thought. Tehom in the OT simply represents the cosmic ocean and in no case is it an enemy that God defeats, nor does it furnish the materials from which he creates anything. It is an exact parallel to the “waters” in the third clause of this verse.
The third clause in Gen. 1:2 is one of the most difficult in the entire passage, because of the ambiguity of one word and the rareness of another. The word ruah, traditionally translated “spirit,” can also mean wind or breath. And the Hebrew root of merahephet occurs in only two other places, Deut. 32:11 and Jer. 23:9, where it is used of an eagle that spreads out its wings over its nest and of the wavering movements of a drunken man. Now the issue is this: Is this third clause a continuation of the description of chaotic conditions found in the first two, does it describe the presence of God even in the midst of chaos, or is it a direct introduction to the creative word of Gen. 1:3? For those who believe the first option makes the most sense, ruah must be translated “wind,” and since elohim (God) can sometimes be used as a superlative adjective, something like “mighty wind” is a possible translation. However, the two uses of merahephet elsewhere do not suggest the kind of movement that would be expected of a mighty wind; and it would seem an odd choice of terms for P, who uses the word elohim of the Creator so prominently in verse after verse, to use the same word as an ordinary adjective here. Spirit or breath of God thus seem to be more likely renderings; and if we can draw any conclusions about the kind of movement described from the other two occurrences of merahephet, it is likely to be something like hovering, as a bird does. It does not mean “brooding,” so does not denote some process by which the cosmos was produced out of chaos, as some scholars have suggested. Others have noted the relationship between breath and the spoken word in Hebrew usage elsewhere in the OT and have suggested this is a direct introduction to “And God said.”
That this clause represents an action of God contrary to the conditions denoted in the first two clauses is supported by the observation that creation deals with each element of those clauses. Form takes the place of shapelessness and populations fill the empty spaces. Light is created and the realm of darkness is limited. Boundaries are set for the deep so that the dry land may be inhabited. But if we were to take the third clause as an additional chaotic element, a mighty wind raging over the surface of the waters, then we would be left with a storm that is never stilled, never alluded to in the work of creation. The ruah elohim must be either Spirit of God or breath of God, an introduction to v. 3.
We have seen that v. 2 does not fit any of the various outlines of the passages that have been proposed, and the exact relationship between v. 1 and v. 2 cannot be established with certainty. And yet the rest of the passage is remarkably regular, unusually simple in its choice of words and its syntax. I suggest that the reason for this peculiarity is to be found in the subject. The verse does not fit because the subject does not fit. The theology of P emphasizes without qualification that God is the only source of anything that exists and that the will of God is for good, and only for good. Yet this author is no sheltered person who can imagine that the world of the present is perfect; he is realistic enough and honest enough to acknowledge that there is a “shadow” to God’s good creative work. But how can one speak or think of that? To say that chaos existed before God began to create would be to acknowledge that something negative, contrary to God, existed alongside God in the beginning, and P will not do that. To say that God created the negative, life-threatening forces in the cosmos is completely contrary to P’s theology. Yet he is aware of conditions in the material world that are inadequate for God’s purposes since they do not support life—they exist or at least threaten to appear. That becomes evident in P’s account of the Flood, when “all the fountains of the great deep burst forth, and the windows of the heavens were opened” (7:11; cf. 8:2). That is, P knows that disorder, the threat of annihilation of God’s good creation, may reappear in this world. He remains optimistic, in his account of the Flood as in his telling of creation, for in the covenant with Noah God promises never again to destroy the earth with a flood (9:9–15). But P knows he cannot ignore the threat. He must assure us that God deals with it.
This is P’s wise way of acknowledging the problem of evil, the evils that afflict human existence but cannot be attributed to human sin. To whom can they be attributed, then? Not to God, P insists. They do not fit the structure of the creation of the universe because they are what God did not will. They stand awkwardly between the announcement of the creation of a complete cosmos (1:1) and the description of how God produced order and life. As Karl Barth commented, these words represent “the world which according to His revelation was negated, rejected, ignored and left behind in His actual creation” (Church Dogmatics, III/1, 108). The Priestly writer recognizes that nothing positive can be said about cosmic evil; it will not fit any theology that confesses an omnipotent, righteous God, and yet it continues to threaten. As P’s accounts of creation and the Flood show us, faith in the omnipotent, righteous God enables us to push the threat far out to the very fringes of existence, and yet it will not completely disappear. Since that is true, and since it is very likely that this passage was produced under circumstances where all that was good in the lives of writer and readers had been challenged and lost, it is a remarkable testimony, for it refuses to speak of any conflict. God is completely in charge, and all proceeds serenely.


Gowan, D. E. (1988). From Eden to Babel: a commentary on the book of Genesis 1–11 (pp. 17–21). Grand Rapids, MI: W.B. Eerdmans Pub. Co.

Wow!  I've been doing a study of Genesis 1, and have read through many, many pages in several commentaries.  I'm impressed with how well this commentary has taken all the various views and arguments I've been reading through on verses 1-3, and synthesized them clearly and neatly into just a few paragraphs.   For someone who wants to get a fairly accurate lay-of-the-land, I think it does a good job.  Well done!

Posts 1689
Ken McGuire | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Nov 2 2018 9:08 AM

Rick Ausdahl:
Wow!  I've been doing a study of Genesis 1, and have read through many, many pages in several commentaries.  I'm impressed with how well this commentary has taken all the various views and arguments I've been reading through on verses 1-3, and synthesized them clearly and neatly into just a few paragraphs.   For someone who wants to get a fairly accurate lay-of-the-land, I think it does a good job.  Well done!

While I have not done what you have done lately, I also was impressed when I looked it up for a sample on this text that we all know. That said, when I want something like this, I generally want a few notes (Footnotes, Endnotes, Paranthetical, I don't really care what style guide) to direct me a bit where to go next for more information, and while challenging to do this while still being readable, there are some intermediate level commentaries that offer this.

The Gospel is not ... a "new law," on the contrary, ... a "new life." - William Julius Mann

L8 Anglican, Lutheran and Orthodox Silver, Reformed Basic, Academic Essentials

L7 Lutheran Gold, Anglican Bronze

Posts 10744
Forum MVP
Jack Caviness | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Nov 2 2018 1:24 PM

DAL:
How good or useful is it? International Theological Commentary.

From a Independent Baptist Fundy—Think I received it in a base package somewhere around Logos 4. It's still in my library with a rating of 1. Rook a look at several random passages, and they all seemed to begin with a declaration that this event really did not happen.  I sometimes gain much from those with whom I disagree most, but this was too much for me.

Posts 7508
DAL | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Nov 2 2018 3:39 PM

Jack Caviness:

DAL:
How good or useful is it? International Theological Commentary.

From a Independent Baptist Fundy—Think I received it in a base package somewhere around Logos 4. It's still in my library with a rating of 1. Rook a look at several random passages, and they all seemed to begin with a declaration that this event really did not happen.  I sometimes gain much from those with whom I disagree most, but this was too much for me.

Would you mind sharing some examples of stories that supposedly didn’t happen according to these Commentaries?

Thanks!

DAL

Posts 7508
DAL | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Nov 2 2018 7:30 PM

Wow, I’ve been searching for reviews but have hardly found any on this set.  Even at $75 I don’t think it maybe worth the risk of buying just to later let it sit there without getting used. 

I have other alternatives and some time to think about it.

DAL

Posts 408
Erik | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Nov 3 2018 12:20 AM

For what it's worth, Tremper Longman gives it 2 Stars. His opinion:

"This is a series of short commentaries written from a third-world perspective. The purpose is both to shake off some of the assumptions of Western readers and to connect the text with contemporary issues. It often provides interesting insight into the Bible. At other times, however, these volumes are scarcely distinguishable from traditional commentaries."

Longman III, Tremper. Old Testament Commentary Survey (Kindle Locations 321-326). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

Quoting this reminds me that we haven't seen a new Commentary Survey in the past five years. I sure wish someone would have taken up John Glynn's work after his passing.

Posts 10744
Forum MVP
Jack Caviness | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Nov 3 2018 5:19 AM

DAL:
Would you mind sharing some examples of stories that supposedly didn’t happen according to these Commentaries?

Since I have not looked at any of these volumes in more than a dozen years, it would be difficult. Also note in following post that you decided against purchase. 

Posts 7508
DAL | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Nov 3 2018 5:35 AM

Jack Caviness:

DAL:
Would you mind sharing some examples of stories that supposedly didn’t happen according to these Commentaries?

Since I have not looked at any of these volumes in more than a dozen years, it would be difficult. Also note in following post that you decided against purchase. 

True, I decided I had other alternatives after I asked for samples.  From what Tremper said about this set, I think I can buy other more helpful resources that I’ll actually use instead of ITC.

Thanks everyone for sharing your thoughts! ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ‘Œ

DAL

Page 1 of 1 (15 items) | RSS