on Genesis 1 :24
Let the earth bring forth the living creature, etc. - נפש חיה nephesh chaiyah; a general term to express all creatures endued with animal life, in any of its infinitely varied gradations, from the half-reasoning elephant down to the stupid potto, or lower still, to the polype, which seems equally to share the vegetable and animal life. The word חיתו chaitho, in the latter part of the verse, seems to signify all wild animals, as lions, tigers, etc., and especially such as are carnivorous, or live on flesh, in contradistinction from domestic animals, such as are graminivorous, or live on grass and other vegetables, and are capable of being tamed, and applied to domestic purposes. See the note on Genesis 1:29. These latter are probably meant by בהמה behemah in the text, which we translate cattle, such as horses, kine, sheep, dogs, etc. Creeping thing, רמש remes, all the different genera of serpents, worms, and such animals as have no feet. In beasts also God has shown his wondrous skill and power; in the vast elephant, or still more colossal mammoth or mastodon, the whole race of which appears to be extinct, a few skeletons only remaining. This animal, an astonishing effect of God's power, he seems to have produced merely to show what he could do, and after suffering a few of them to propagate, he extinguished the race by a merciful providence, that they might not destroy both man and beast. The mammoth appears to have been a carnivorous animal, as the structure of the teeth proves, and of an immense size; from a considerable part of a skeleton which I have seen, it is computed that the animal to which it belonged must have been nearly twenty-five feet high, and sixty in length! The bones of one toe are entire; the toe upwards of three feet in length. But this skeleton might have belonged to the megalonyx, a kind of sloth, or bradypus, hitherto unknown. Few elephants have ever been found to exceed eleven feet in height. How wondrous are the works of God! But his skill and power are not less seen in the beautiful chevrotin, or tragulus, a creature of the antelope kind, the smallest of all bifid or cloven-footed animals, whose delicate limbs are scarcely so large as an ordinary goose quill; and also in the shrew mouse, perhaps the smallest of the many-toed quadrupeds. In the reptile kind we see also the same skill and power, not only in the immense snake called boa constrictor, the mortal foe and conqueror of the royal tiger, but also in the cobra de manille, a venomous serpent, only a little larger than a common sewing needle.
on Genesis 1 :24
- VIII. The Sixth Day
24. בהמה behēmâh, "cattle; dumb, tame beasts."
רמשׂ remeś, "creeping (small or low) animals."
חוּה chayâh, "living thing; animal."
חוּת־חארץ chayatô-chā'ārets, "wild beast."
26. אדם 'ādām, "man, mankind;" "be red." A collective noun, having no plural number, and therefore denoting either an individual of the kind, or the kind or race itself. It is connected in etymology with אדמה 'ădāmâh, "the red soil," from which the human body was formed Genesis 2:7. It therefore marks the earthly aspect of man.
צלם tselem, "shade, image," in visible outline.
דמוּת demût, "likeness," in any quality.
רדה rādâh "tread, rule."
This day corresponds with the third. In both the land is the sphere of operation. In both are performed two acts of creative power. In the third the land was clothed with vegetation: in the sixth it is peopled with the animal kingdom. First, the lower animals are called into being, and then, to crown all, man.
Genesis 1:24, Genesis 1:25
This branch of the animal world is divided into three parts. "Living breathing thing" is the general head under which all these are comprised. "Cattle" denotes the animals that dwell with man, especially those that bear burdens. The same term in the original, when there is no contrast, when in the plural number or with the specification of "the land," the "field," is used of wild beasts. "Creeping things" evidently denote the smaller animals, from which the cattle are distinguished as the large. The quality of creeping is, however, applied sometimes to denote the motion of the lower animals with the body in a prostrate posture, in opposition to the erect posture of man Psalm 104:20. The "beast of the land" or the field signifies the wild rapacious animal that lives apart from man. The word חוּה chayâh, "beast or animal," is the general term employed in these verses for the whole animal kind. It signifies wild animal with certainty only when it is accompanied by the qualifying term "land" or "field," or the epithet "evil" רעה rā‛âh. From this division it appears that animals that prey on others were included in this latest creation. This is an extension of that law by which the organic living substances of the vegetable kingdom form the sustenance of the animal species. The execution of the divine mandate is then recorded, and the result inspected and approved.
on Genesis 1 :24