This chapter is an appendix to the history of the creation, explaining,
and enlarging on that part of it, which relates immediately to man.
We have in it,
The institution of the sabbath, which was made for man, to further
his holiness and comfort, ver. 1 - 3.
A more particular account of man's creation, as the summary of the
whole work, ver. 4 - 7.
A description of the garden of Eden, and the placing of man in it
under the obligations of a law and covenant, ver. 8 - 17.
The creation of the woman, her marriage to the man, and the
institution of the ordinance of marriage, ver. 18 - 25.
1-3: We have here, (1.) The settlement of the kingdom of nature,
in God's resting from the work of creation, (Ge 2:1,2).
Where observe, 1. That the creatures made both in heaven and earth,
are the hosts or armies of them, which speaks them numerous, but
marshalled, disciplined, and under command. God useth them as his hosts for
the defence of his people, and the destruction of his enemies. 2. That the
heavens and the earth are finished pieces, and so are all the creatures
in them. So perfect is God's work that nothing can be added to it or
taken from it, (Ec 3:14). 3. That after the end of the first six
days, God ceased from all work of creation. He hath so ended his work,
as that though in his providence he worketh hitherto, (Joh 5:17).
preserving and governing all the creatures, yet he doth not make any new
species of creatures. 4. That the eternal God, tho' infinitely happy in
himself, yet took a satisfaction in the work of his own hands. He did
not rest as one weary, but as one well - pleased with the instances
of his own goodness. (2.) The commencement of the kingdom of grace, in
the sanctification of the sabbath day, (Ge 2:3). He rested on
that day, and took a complacency in his creatures, and then
sanctified it, and appointed us on that day to rest and take a
complacency in the Creator; and his rest is in the fourth commandment
made a reason for ours after six days labour. Observe, 1. That the
solemn observation of one day in seven as a day of holy rest, and holy work,
is the indispensible duty of all those to whom God has revealed his holy
sabbaths. 2. That sabbaths are as ancient as the world. 3. That the
sabbath of the Lord is truly honourable, and we have reason to honour it;
honour it for the sake of its antiquity, its great author, and the
sanctification of the first sabbath by the holy God himself, and in
obedience to him, by our first parents in innocency.
4-7: In these verses, 1. Here is a name given to the Creator,
which we have not yet met with, Jehovah. The LORD in capital
letters, is constantly used in our English translation, for Jehovah.
This is that great and incommunicable name of God, which speaks his having
his being of himself, and his giving being to all things. It properly
means, He that was, and that is, and that is to come. 2. Further notice
taken of the production of plants and herbs, because they were made to
be food for man. 3. A more particular account of the creation of man,(Ge 2:7). Man is a little world, consisting of heaven and earth, soul and
body. Here we have all account of the original of both, and the putting
of both together: The Lord God, the great fountain of being and power,
formed man. Of the other creatures it is said, they were created and
made; but of man, that he was formed, which notes a gradual process
in the work with great accuracy and exactness. To express the creation of
this new thing, he takes a new word: a word (some think) borrowed
from the potter's forming his vessel upon the wheel. The body of man is
curiously wrought. And the soul takes its rise from the breath of
heaven. It came immediately from God; he gave it to be put into the
body, (Ec 12:7) as afterwards he
gave the tables of stone of his own writing to be put into the
ark. 'Tis by it that man is a living soul, that is, a living man.
The body would be a worthless, useless carcase, if the soul did not animate
8-15: Man consisting of body and soul, a
body made out of the earth, and a rational immortal soul, we have in
these verses the provision that was made for the happiness of both. That
part of man, which is allied to the world of sense, was made happy, for
he was put in the paradise of God; that part which is allied to the
world of spirits was well provided for, for he was taken into covenant
with God. Here we have,
A description of the garden of Eden, which was intended for the
palace of this prince. The inspired penman in this history writing for the
Jews first, and calculating his narratives from the infant state of the
church, describes things by their outward sensible appearances, and leaves
us, by farther discoveries of the divine light, to be led into the
understanding of the mysteries couched under them. Therefore he doth not
so much insist upon the happiness of Adam's mind, as upon that of his
outward estate. The Mosaic history, as well as the Mosaic law, has
rather the patterns of heavenly things, than the heavenly things
themselves, (Heb 9:23).
Observe, (1.) The place appointed for Adam's residence was a
garden; not an ivory house. As clothes came in with sin, so did
houses. The heaven was the roof of Adam's house, and never was any
roof so curiously cieled and painted: the earth was his floor, and
never was any floor so richly inlaid: the shadow of the trees was his
retirement, and never were any rooms so finely hung: Solomon's in all
their glory were not arrayed like them. (2.) The contrivance and
furniture of this garden was the immediate work of God's wisdom and power.
The Lord God planted this garden, that is, he had planted it, upon
the third day when the fruits of the earth were made. We may well suppose
it to be the most accomplished place that ever the sun saw, when the All
- sufficient God himself designed it to be the present happiness of his
beloved creature. (3.) The situation of this garden was extremely sweet;
it was in Eden, which signifies delight and pleasure. The place is here
particularly pointed out by such marks and bounds as were sufficient when
Moses wrote, to specify the place to those who knew that country; but
now it seems the curious cannot satisfy themselves concerning it. Let
it be our care to make sure a place in the heavenly paradise, and then we
need not perplex ourselves with a search after the place of the earthly
paradise. (4.) The trees wherewith this garden was planted. [1.] It had
all the best and choicest trees in common with the rest of the ground.
It was beautified with every tree that was pleasant to the sight - It was
enriched with every tree that yielded fruit grateful to the taste, and
useful to the body. But, [2.] It had two extraordinary trees peculiar to
itself, on earth there were not their like. 1. There was the tree of
life in the midst of the garden - Which was not so much a natural means to
preserve or prolong life; but was chiefly intended to be a sign to Adam,
assuring him of the continuance of life and happiness upon condition of his
perseverance in innocency and obedience. 2. There was the tree of the
knowledge of good and evil - So called, not because it had any virtue to
beget useful knowledge, but because there was an express revelation of the
will of God concerning this tree, so that by it he might know good and
evil. What is good? It is good not to eat of this tree: what
is evil? To eat of this tree. The distinction between all other moral
good and evil was written in the heart of man; but this, which resulted from
a positive law, was written upon this tree. And in the event it
proved to give Adam an experimental knowledge of good by the loss of
it, and of evil by the sense of it. (5.) The rivers wherewith this
garden was watered, (Ge 2:10-14). These four rivers, (or one river
branched into four streams) contributed much both to the pleasantness and
the fruitfulness of this garden. Hiddekel and Euphrates are rivers
of Babylon. Havilah had gold and spices and precious stones; but
Eden had that which was infinitely better, the tree of life, and
communion with God.
The command which God gave to man in innocency, and the covenant he
than took him into. Hither we have seen God; man's powerful Creator, and
his bountiful benefactor; now he appears as his ruler and lawgiver.
16-17: Thou shall die - That is, thou shalt lose all the happiness
thou hast either in possession or prospect; and thou shalt become liable
to death, and all the miseries that preface and attend it. This was
threatened as the immediate consequence of sin. In the day thou eatest,
thou shalt die - Not only thou shalt become mortal, but spiritual death
and the forerunners of temporal death shall immediately seize thee.
18-20: It is not good that man - This man, should be alone -
Though there was an upper world of angels, and a lower world of brutes,
yet there being none of the same rank of beings with himself, he might be
truly said to be alone. And every beast of the field, and every fowl
of the air God brought to Adam - Either by the ministry of angels, or by a
special instinct that he might name them, and so might give a proof of
his knowledge, the names he gave them being expressive of their inmost
21-22: This was done upon the sixth day, as was also the placing
of Adam in paradise, though it be here mentioned after an account of the
seventh day's rest: but what was said in general, (Ge 1:27), that
God made man male and female is more distinctly related here, God
caused the sleep to fall on Adam, and made it a deep sleep, that so
the opening of his side might be no grievance to him: while he knows no
sin, God will take care he shall feel no pain.
23: And Adam said, this is now bone of my bones - Probably it was
revealed to Adam in a vision, when he was asleep, that this lovely
creature, now presented to him, was a piece of himself and was to be his
companion, and the wife of his covenant - In token of his acceptance of
her, he gave her a name, not peculiar to her, but common to her sex; she
shall be called woman, Isha, a She - man, differing from man in sex
only, not in nature; made of man, and joined to man.
24: The sabbath and marriage were two ordinances instituted in
innocency, the former for the preservation of the church, the latter for
the preservation of mankind. It appears by (Mt 19:4,5), that it was
God himself who said here, a man must leave all his relations to cleave to
his wife; but whether he spake it by Moses or by Adam who spake,(Ge 2:23) is uncertain: It should seem they are the words of
Adam in God's name, laying down this law to all his posterity.
The virtue of a divine ordinance, and the bonds of it, are stronger even
than those of nature. See how necessary it is that children should take
their parents consent with them in their marriage; and how unjust they
are to their parents, as well as undutiful, if they marry without it;
for they rob them of their right to them, and interest in them, and
alienate it to another fraudulently and unnaturally.
25: They were both naked, they needed no cloaths for defence
against cold or heat, for neither could be injurious to them: they
needed none for ornament. Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed
like one of these. Nay, they needed none for decency, they were
naked, and had no reason to be ashamed. They knew not what shame
was, so the Chaldee reads it. Blushing is now the colour of virtue,
but it was not the colour of innocency.