Genesis 1:2
New International Version
Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.

New Living Translation
The earth was formless and empty, and darkness covered the deep waters. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the surface of the waters.

English Standard Version
The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.

Berean Study Bible
Now the earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the surface of the waters.

King James Bible
And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.

New King James Version
The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.

New American Standard Bible
And the earth was a formless and desolate emptiness, and darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the surface of the waters.

NASB 1995
The earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters.

NASB 1977
And the earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep; and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters.

Amplified Bible
The earth was formless and void or a waste and emptiness, and darkness was upon the face of the deep [primeval ocean that covered the unformed earth]. The Spirit of God was moving (hovering, brooding) over the face of the waters.

Christian Standard Bible
Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness covered the surface of the watery depths, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the surface of the waters.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness covered the surface of the watery depths, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the surface of the waters.

American Standard Version
And the earth was waste and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep: and the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
The Earth was chaos and empty and darkness on the faces of the depths and the Spirit of God hovered on the faces of the waters.

Brenton Septuagint Translation
But the earth was unsightly and unfurnished, and darkness was over the deep, and the Spirit of God moved over the water.

Contemporary English Version
The earth was barren, with no form of life; it was under a roaring ocean covered with darkness. But the Spirit of God was moving over the water.

Douay-Rheims Bible
And the earth was void and empty, and darkness was upon the face of the deep; and the spirit of God moved over the waters.

English Revised Version
And the earth was waste and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep: and the spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.

Good News Translation
the earth was formless and desolate. The raging ocean that covered everything was engulfed in total darkness, and the Spirit of God was moving over the water.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
The earth was formless and empty, and darkness covered the deep water. The Spirit of God was hovering over the water.

International Standard Version
When the earth was as yet unformed and desolate, with the surface of the ocean depths shrouded in darkness, and while the Spirit of God was hovering over the surface of the waters,

JPS Tanakh 1917
Now the earth was unformed and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep; and the spirit of God hovered over the face of the waters.

Literal Standard Version
and the earth was formless and void, and darkness [was] on the face of the deep, and the Spirit of God [was] fluttering on the face of the waters,

NET Bible
Now the earth was without shape and empty, and darkness was over the surface of the watery deep, but the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the water.

New Heart English Bible
Now the earth was formless and empty, and darkness was on the surface of the watery depths. And God's Spirit was hovering over the surface of the waters.

World English Bible
Now the earth was formless and empty. Darkness was on the surface of the deep. God's Spirit was hovering over the surface of the waters.

Young's Literal Translation
the earth hath existed waste and void, and darkness is on the face of the deep, and the Spirit of God fluttering on the face of the waters,

Additional Translations ...
Context
The Creation
1In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2Now the earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the surface of the waters. 3And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.…

Cross References
2 Corinthians 4:6
For God, who said, "Let light shine out of darkness," made His light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

Deuteronomy 32:11
As an eagle stirs up its nest and hovers over its young, He spread His wings to catch them and carried them on His pinions.

Job 38:9
when I made the clouds its garment and thick darkness its blanket,

Psalm 104:6
You covered it with the deep like a garment; the waters stood above the mountains.

Psalm 104:30
When You send Your Spirit, they are created, and You renew the face of the earth.

Psalm 136:6
He spread out the earth upon the waters. His loving devotion endures forever.

Psalm 148:7
Praise the LORD from the earth, all great sea creatures and ocean depths,


Treasury of Scripture

And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved on the face of the waters.

without.

Job 26:7
He stretcheth out the north over the empty place, and hangeth the earth upon nothing.

Isaiah 45:18
For thus saith the LORD that created the heavens; God himself that formed the earth and made it; he hath established it, he created it not in vain, he formed it to be inhabited: I am the LORD; and there is none else.

Jeremiah 4:23
I beheld the earth, and, lo, it was without form, and void; and the heavens, and they had no light.

Spirit.

Job 26:14
Lo, these are parts of his ways: but how little a portion is heard of him? but the thunder of his power who can understand?

Psalm 33:6
By the word of the LORD were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth.

Psalm 104:30
Thou sendest forth thy spirit, they are created: and thou renewest the face of the earth.









(2) And the earth.--The conjunction "and" negatives the well-meant attempt to harmonise geology and Scripture by taking Genesis 1:1 as a mere heading; the two verses go together, and form a general summary of creation, which is afterwards divided into its several stages.

Was is not the copula, but the substantive verb existed, and expresses duration of time. After creation, the earth existed as a shapeless and empty waste.

Without form, and void.--Literally, tohu and bohu, which words are both substantives, and signify wasteness and emptiness. The similarity of their forms, joined with the harshness of their sound, made them pass almost into a proverb for everything that was dreary and desolate (Isaiah 34:11; Jeremiah 4:23). It expresses here the state of primaeval matter immediately after creation, when as yet there was no cohesion between the separate particles.

Darkness.--As light is the result either of the condensation of matter or of vibrations caused by chemical action, this exactly agrees with the previous representation of the chaos out of which the earth was to be shaped. It existed at present only as an incoherent waste of emptiness.

The deep.--T?hom. This word, from a root signifying confusion or disturbance, is poetically applied to the ocean, as in Psalm 42:7, from the restless motion of its waves, but is used here to describe the chaos as a surging mass of shapeless matter. In the Babylonian legend, Tiamat, the Hebrew t?hom, is represented as overcome by Merodach, who out of the primaeval anarchy brings order and beauty (Sayce, Chaldean Genesis, pp. 59, 109, 113). . . .

Verse 2. - And the earth. Clearly the earth referred to in the preceding verse, the present terrestrial globe with its atmospheric firmament, and not simply "the land" as opposed to "the skies" (Murphy); certainly not "the heavens" of ver. 1 as well as the earth (Delitzsch); and least of all "a section of the dry land in Central Asia" (Buckland, Pye Smith). It is a sound principle of exegesis that a word shall retain the meaning it at first possesses till either intimation is made by the writer of a change in its significance, or such change is imperatively demanded by the necessities of the context, neither of which is the case here. Was. Not "had become." Without form and void. Literally, wasteness and emptiness, tohu vabohu. The words are employed in Isaiah 34:11 and Jeremiah 4:23 to depict the desolation and desertion of a ruined and depopulated land, and by many have been pressed into service to support the idea of a preceding cosmos, of which the chaotic condition of our planet was the wreck (Murphy, Wordsworth, Bush, &c). Delitzsch argues, on the ground that tohu vabohu implies the ruin of a previous cosmos, that ver. 2 does not state specifically that God created the earth in this desolate and waste condition; and that death, which is inconceivable out of connection with sin, was in the world prior to the fall; that ver. 2 presupposes the fall of the angels, and adduces in support of his view Job 38:4-7 ('Bib. Psychology,' sect. 1, p. 76; Clark's 'For. Theol. Lib.') - a notion which Kalisch contemptuously classes among "the aberrations of profound minds," and "the endless reveries" of "far-sighted thinkers." Bush is confident that Isaiah 45:18, in which Jehovah declares that he created not the earth roan, is conclusive against a primeval chaos. The parallel clause, however, shows that not the original state, but the ultimate design of the globe, was contemplated in Jehovah's language: "He created it not tohu, he formed it to be inhabited;" i.e. the Creator did not intend the earth to be a desolate region, but an inhabited planet. There can scarcely be a doubt, then, that the expression portrays the condition in which the new-created earth was, not innumerable ages, but very shortly, after it was summoned into existence. It was formless and lifeless; a huge, shapeless, objectless, tenantless mass of matter, the gaseous and solid elements commingled, in which neither organized structure, nor animated form, nor even distinctly-traced outline of any kind appeared. And darkness (was) upon the face of the deep. The "deep," from a root signifying to disturb, is frequently applied to the sea (Psalm 42:8), and here probably intimates that the primordial matter of our globe existed in a fluid, or liquid, or molten form. Dawson distinguishes between "the deep" and the "waters," making the latter refer to the liquid condition of the globe, and the former apply to "the atmospheric waters," i.e. the vaporous or aeriform mass mantling the surface of our nascent planet, and containing the materials out of which the atmosphere was afterwards elaborated ('Origin of the World,' p. 105). As yet the whole was shrouded in the thick folds of Cimmerian gloom, giving not the slightest promise of that fair world of light, order, and life into which it was about to be transformed. Only one spark of hope might have been detected in the circumstance that the Spirit of God moved (literally, brooding) upon the face of the waters. That the Ruach Elohim, or breath of God, was not "a great wind," or "a wind of God," is determined by the non-existence of the air at this particular stage in the earth's development. In accordance with Biblical usage generally, it must be regarded as a designation not simply "of the Divine power, which, like the wind and the breath, cannot be perceived" (Gesenius), but of the Holy Spirit, who is uniformly represented as the source or formative cause of all life and order in the world, whether physical, intellectual, or spiritual (cf. Job 26:13; Job 27:3; Psalm 33:6; Psalm 104:29; Psalm 143:10; Isaiah 34:16; Isaiah 61:1; Isaiah 63:11). As it were, the mention of the Ruach Elohim is the first out-blossoming of the latent fullness of the Divine personality, the initial movement in that sublime revelation of the nature of the Godhead, which, advancing slowly, and at the best but indistinctly, throughout Old Testament times, culminated in the clear and ample disclosures of the gospel The special form of this Divine agent's activity is described as that of" brooding" (merachepheth, from raehaph, to be tremulous, as with love; hence, in Piel, to cherish young - Deuteronomy 32:11) or fluttering over the liquid elements of the shapeless and tenantless globe, communicating to them, doubtless, those formative powers of life and order which were to burst forth into operation in answer to the six words of the six ensuing days. As might have been anticipated, traces of this primeval chaos are to be detected in various heathen cosmogonies, as the following brief extracts will show: -

1. The Chaldean legend, deciphered from the creation tablet discovered in the palace of Assurbanipal, King of Assyria, 2. c. 885, depicts the desolate and void condition of the earth thus: -

"When above were not raised the heavens,
And below on the earth a plant had not grown up;
The abyss also had not broken up their boundaries;
The chaos (or water) tiamat (the sea) was the producing-mother of the whole of them," etc. ('Chaldean Genesis,' p. 62.)

2. The Babylonian cosmogony, according to Berosus (B.C. 330-260), commences with a time "in which there existed nothing but darkness" and an abyss of waters, wherein resided most hideous beings, which were produced of a twofold principle... The person who presided over them was a woman named Omoroea, which in the Chaldean language is Thalatth, in Greek Thalassa, the sea, but which might equally be interpreted the moon" ('Chaldean Genesis,' pp. 40, 41). . . .

Parallel Commentaries ...


Hebrew
Now the earth
וְהָאָ֗רֶץ (wə·hā·’ā·reṣ)
Conjunctive waw, Article | Noun - feminine singular
Strong's 776: Earth, land

was
הָיְתָ֥ה (hā·yə·ṯāh)
Verb - Qal - Perfect - third person feminine singular
Strong's 1961: To fall out, come to pass, become, be

formless
תֹ֙הוּ֙ (ṯō·hū)
Noun - masculine singular
Strong's 8414: A desolation, desert, a worthless thing, in vain

and void,
וָבֹ֔הוּ (wā·ḇō·hū)
Conjunctive waw | Noun - masculine singular
Strong's 922: A vacuity, an undistinguishable ruin

and darkness
וְחֹ֖שֶׁךְ (wə·ḥō·šeḵ)
Conjunctive waw | Noun - masculine singular
Strong's 2822: The dark, darkness, misery, destruction, death, ignorance, sorrow, wickedness

was over
עַל־ (‘al-)
Preposition
Strong's 5921: Above, over, upon, against

the surface
פְּנֵ֣י (pə·nê)
Noun - common plural construct
Strong's 6440: The face

of the deep.
תְה֑וֹם (ṯə·hō·wm)
Noun - common singular
Strong's 8415: An abyss, the deep

And the Spirit
וְר֣וּחַ (wə·rū·aḥ)
Conjunctive waw | Noun - common singular construct
Strong's 7307: Wind, breath, exhalation, life, anger, unsubstantiality, a region of the sky, spirit

of God
אֱלֹהִ֔ים (’ĕ·lō·hîm)
Noun - masculine plural
Strong's 430: gods -- the supreme God, magistrates, a superlative

was hovering
מְרַחֶ֖פֶת (mə·ra·ḥe·p̄eṯ)
Verb - Piel - Participle - feminine singular
Strong's 7363: To brood, to be relaxed

over
עַל־ (‘al-)
Preposition
Strong's 5921: Above, over, upon, against

the surface
פְּנֵ֥י (pə·nê)
Noun - common plural construct
Strong's 6440: The face

of the waters.
הַמָּֽיִם׃ (ham·mā·yim)
Article | Noun - masculine plural
Strong's 4325: Water, juice, urine, semen


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