The differences so far illustrated in just the opening verse of the second creation account (Gen 2:4b) become even more dramatic as we move through the narrative. Genesis 2:5-7, for example, evidence a dramatic shift in emphasis, thematic material, message, vocabulary, and style.
By way of introduction it might be said that the perspective adopted in these opening verses and indeed throughout this entire creation narrative is an agricultural one, focusing on man’s relationship to the ground and to the vegetation of that ground. Already in verses 5-7 there is a heightened emphasis on plants as agricultural produce, their fields, the rain required for growing that produce, and man for cultivating or tilling these fields and its vegetation. Man, in other words, is essentially defined in relation to the ground whence he was made, and specifically in relation to tilling the ground to produce his livelihood (2:5; 2:15; 3:23). By … Read more
In Genesis 2:5 we saw that the author of this creation story could not have Yahweh create the earth’s vegetation until the two initial conditions necessary for their existence and growth were first established—a water source and a man.
Thus the dry, barren earth that we were presented with in verse 5—one that was unable to support produce and vegetation—is immediately transformed in the following verses with the appearance of a mist that rises up from the earth in verse 6, thus providing irrigation, and the formation of the man in verse 7, thus providing the labor needed to work the field’s produce.
But a mist (’ed) went up from the earth and watered all the face of the ground, and god Yahweh molded (yatsar) the man (ha ’adam), clay from the ground (ha ’adamah), and blew into his nostrils the breath of life and the man became a living
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In radically contradictory fashion to the creation of man (and woman) in the first creation account, when all is said and done in the second creation account, the substance from which man is made and that which he essentially becomes are shockingly no different than what is said about every other animal in this creation narrative.
And god Yahweh molded (yatsar) the man (ha ’adam), clay from the ground (ha ’adamah), and blew into his nostrils the breath of life and the man became a living being (nephesh hayah). (Gen 2:7)
And god Yahweh molded (yatsar) from the ground (ha ’adamah) every animal of the field and every fowl of the skies and brought them to the man (ha ’adam) to see what he would call them. And whatsoever the man called every living being (nephesh hayah), that was its name. (Gen 2:19)
In Genesis 2:4b-25, and only in this … Read more