Genesis 1:21 MEANING

Genesis 1:21
(21) God created great whales.--Whales, strictly speaking, are mammals, and belong to the creation of the sixth day. But tannin, the word used here, means any long creature, and is used of serpents in Exodus 7:9-10 (where, however, it may mean a crocodile), and in Deuteronomy 32:33; of the crocodile in Psalm 74:13, Isaiah 51:9, Ezekiel 29:3; and of sea monsters generally in Job 7:12. It thus appropriately marks the great Saurian age. The use, too, of the verb bara, "he created," is no argument against its meaning to produce out of nothing, because it belongs not to these monsters, which may have been "evolved," but to the whole verse, which describes the introduction of animal life; and this is one of the special creative acts which physical science acknowledges to be outside its domain.

After their kind.--This suggests the belief that the various genera and species of birds, fishes, and insects were from the beginning distinct, and will continue so, even if there be some amount of free play in the improvement and development of existing species.

Verse 21. - And God created (bara, is in ver. 1, to indicate the introduction of an absolutely new thing, viz., the principle of animal life) great whales. Tanninim, from tanan; Greek, τείνω; Latin, tendo; Sansc., tan, to stretch. These were the first of the two classes into which the sheretzim of the previous verse were divided. The word is used of serpents (Exodus 7:9; Deuteronomy 32:33; Psalm 91:13; Jeremiah 51:34), of the crocodile (Ezekiel 29:3; Ezekiel 32:2), and may therefore here describe "great sea monsters" in general: τὰ κ´τη τὰ μεγάλα (LXX.); "monstrous crawlers that wriggle through the water or scud along the banks (Murphy); whales, crocodiles, and other sea monsters (Delitzsch); gigantic aquatic and amphibious reptiles (Kalisch, Macdonald). And every living creature (nephesh chayyah) which moveth. Literally, the moving, from ramas, to move or creep. This is the second class of sheretzim. The term remes is specially descriptive. of creeping animals (Genesis 9:2), either on land (Genesis 7:14) or in water (Psalm 69:35), though here it clearly signifies aquatic tribes. Which the waters brought forth abundantly after their kind. The generic terms are thus seen to include many distinct orders and species, created each after its kind. And every winged fowl after his kind. Why fowls and fish were created on the same day is rot to be explained by any supposed similarity between the air and the water (Luther, Lyra, Calvin. etc. or any fancied resemblance between the bodily organisms of birds and fishes, but by the circumstance that the firmament and the waters were separated on the second day, to which it was designed that this day should have a correspondence. And God saw that it was good. As in every other instance, the productions of this day approve themselves to the Divine Creator's judgment; but on this day he marks his complacency by a step which he takes for the first time, viz., that of pronouncing a benediction on the newly-created tribes. Nothing could more evince the importance which, in the Creator's judgment, attached to this day's work.

1:20-25 God commanded the fish and fowl to be produced. This command he himself executed. Insects, which are more numerous than the birds and beasts, and as curious, seem to have been part of this day's work. The Creator's wisdom and power are to be admired as much in an ant as in an elephant. The power of God's providence preserves all things, and fruitfulness is the effect of his blessing.And God created great whales,.... Which the Targums of Jonathan and Jarchi interpret of the Leviathan and its mate, concerning which the Jews have many fabulous things: large fishes are undoubtedly meant, and the whale being of the largest sort, the word is so rendered. Aelianus, from various writers, relates many things of the extraordinary size of whales; of one in the Indian sea five times bigger than the largest elephant, one of its ribs being twenty cubits (r); from Theocles, of one that was larger than a galley with three oars (s); and from Onesicritus and Orthagoras, of one that was half a furlong in length (t); and Pliny (u) speaks of one sort called the "balaena", and of one of them in the Indian sea, that took up four aces of land, and so Solinus (w); and from Juba, he relates there were whales that were six hundred feet in length, and three hundred sixty in breadth (x) but whales in common are but about fifty, seventy, eighty, or at most one hundred feet. Some interpret these of crocodiles, see Ezekiel 29:3 some of which are twenty, some thirty, and some have been said to be an hundred feet long (y) The word is sometimes used of dragons, and, if it has this sense here, must be meant of dragons in the sea, or sea serpents, leviathan the piercing serpent, and leviathan the crooked serpent, Isaiah 27:1 so the Jews (z); and such as the bishop of Bergen (a) speaks of as in the northern seas of a hundred fathom long, or six hundred English feet; and who also gives an account of a sea monster of an enormous and incredible size, that sometimes appears like an island at a great distance, called "Kraken" (b); now because creatures of such a prodigious size were formed out of the waters, which seemed so very unfit to produce them; therefore the same word is here made use of, as is in the creation of the heaven and the earth out of nothing, Genesis 1:1 because this production, though not out of nothing, yet was an extraordinary instance of almighty power,

And every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly after their kind; that is, every living creature that swims in the waters of the great sea, or in rivers, whose kinds are many, and their numbers not to be reckoned; see Gill on Genesis 1:20.

and every winged fowl after his kind; every fowl, and the various sorts of them that fly in the air; these were all created by God, or produced out of the water and out of the earth by his wonderful power:

and God saw that it was good; or foresaw that those creatures he made in the waters and in the air would serve to display the glory of his perfections, and be very useful and beneficial to man, he designed to create. (Some of the creatures described by the ancients must refer to animals that are now extinct. Some of these may have been very large dinasours. Ed.)

(r) Hist. Animal. l. 16. c. 12. (s) Ib. l. 17. c. 6. (t) Ibid. (u) Nat. Hist. l. 9. c. 3.((w) Polyhistor. c. 65. (x) Plin. Nat. Hist. l. 32. c. 1.((y) See Thevenot's Travels, par. 1. c. 72. p. 246. Harris's Voyages, &c. vol. 1. p. 287, 485, 759. (z) T. Bab. Bava Bathra, fol. 74. 2.((a) History of Norway, p. 199. (b) Ibid. p. 210, &c.

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