Genesis ii.

Notes & Commentary:

Ver. 1. Furniture, ornaments or militia, whether we understand the Angels, or the stars, which observe a regular order and obey God. (Menochius)

Ver. 2. He rested, &c. That is, he ceased to make any new kinds of things. Though, as our Lord tells us, John v. 17. He still worketh, viz. by conserving and governing all things, and creating souls. (Challoner) — Seventh day. This day was commanded, Exodus xx. 8, to be kept holy by the Jews, as it had probably been from the beginning. Philo says, it is the festival of the universe, and Josephus asserts, there is no town which does not acknowledge the religion of the sabbath. But this point is controverted, and whether the ancient patriarchs observed the seventh day, or some other, it is certain they would not fail, for any long time, to shew their respect for God’s worship, and would hardly suffer a whole week to elapse without meeting to sound forth his praise. The setting aside of stated days for this purpose, is agreeable to reason, and to the practice of all civilized nations. As the Hebrews kept Saturday holy, in honour of God’s rest, so we keep the first day of the week, by apostolic tradition, to thank God for the creation of the world on that day, and much more for the blessings which we derive from the resurrection of Jesus Christ and the sending down of the Holy Ghost, which have given it a title above all other days. (Haydock) — On the seventh day, at the beginning of this verse, must be taken exclusively, as God finished his work on the 6th, whence the same Septuagint and Syriac have here on the 6th day. (Haydock) — But the Hebrew and all the other versions agree with the Vulgate. (Calmet) — The similarity of ver. 6 and ver. 7 in Hebrew may have given rise to this variation. (Haydock)

Ver. 4. Day. Not that all things were made in one day: but God formed in succession; first, heaven and earth, then the ornaments of both. Every plant, &c. which on the first day did not spring up, (as water covered the surface of the earth,) on the 3d, by the command of God, without having any man to plant, or rain to water them, pushed forth luxuriantly, and manifested the power of the Creator. (Haydock) — Thus Christ founded his Church by his own power, and still gives her increase; but requires of his ministers to co-operate with him, as a gardener must now take care of the plants which originally grew without man’s aid. (Du Hamel) — By observing that all natural means were here wanting for the production of plants, God asserts his sole right to the work, and confounds the Egyptian system, which attributed plants, &c. to the general warmth of the earth alone. (Calmet)

Ver. 7. Breath of life or a soul, created out of nothing, and infused into the body to give it life. (Haydock)

Ver. 8. Of pleasure, Hebrew Eden, which may be either the name of a country, as chap. iv. 16, or it may signify pleasure, in which sense Symmachus and St. Jerome have taken it. — From the beginning, or on the 3d day, when all plants were created, Hebrew mikedem, may also mean towards the east, as the Septuagint have understood it, though the other ancient interpreters agree with St. Jerome. Paradise lay probably to the east of Palestine, or of that country where Moses wrote. The precise situation cannot be ascertained. Calmet places it in Armenia, others near Babylon, &c. Some assert that this beautiful garden is still in being, the residence of Henoch and Elias. But God will not permit the curiosity of man to be gratified by the discovery of it, chap. iii. 24. How great might be its extent we do not know. If the sources of the Ganges, Nile, Tigris, and Euphrates, be not now changed, and if these be the rivers which sprung from the fountains of Paradise, (both which are points undecided) the garden must have comprised a great part of the world, (Haydock), as the Ganges rises in Judea [India?], and the Nile about the middle of Africa. (Tirinus)

Ver. 9. The tree of life. So called, because it had that quality, that by eating of the fruit of it, man would have been preserved in a constant state of health, vigour, and strength, and would not have died at all. The tree of knowledge. To which the deceitful serpent falsely attributed the power of imparting a superior kind of knowledge beyond that which God was pleased to give. (Challoner) — Of what species these two wonderful trees were, the learned are not agreed. The tree of knowledge, could not communicate any wisdom to man; but, by eating of its forbidden fruit, Adam dearly purchased the knowledge of evil, to which he was before a stranger. Some say it was the fig-tree, others an apple-tree, Canticle of Canticles viii. 5. But it probably agreed with no species of trees with which we are acquainted, nor was there perhaps any of the same kind in paradise. (Tirinus)

Ver. 10. A river, &c. Moses gives many characteristics of Paradise, inviting us, as it were, to search for it; and still we cannot certainly discover where it is, or whether it exist at all at present, in a state of cultivation. We must therefore endeavour to find the mystic Paradise, Heaven and the true Church; the road to which, though more obvious, is too frequently mistaken. See St. Augustine, City of God xiii. 21.; Proverbs iii. 18. (Haydock)

Ver. 15. To dress it. Behold God would not endure idleness even in Paradise. (Haydock)

Ver. 17. The death of the soul, and become obnoxious to that of the body; thou shalt become a mortal and lose all the privileges of innocence. Though Adam lived 930 years after this, he was dying daily; he carried along with him the seeds of death, as we do, from our very conception. He had leave to eat of any fruit in this delicious garden, one only excepted, and this one prohibition makes him more eager to taste of that tree than of all the rest. So we struggle constantly to attain what is forbidden, and covet what is denied, cupimusque negata. God laid this easy command upon Adam, to give him an opportunity of shewing his ready obedience, and to assert his own absolute dominion over him. Eve was already formed, and was apprised of this positive command, (Chap. iii. 3.) and therefore, transgressing, is justly punished with her husband. True obedience does not inquire why a thing is commanded, but submits without demur. Would a parent be satisfied with his child, if he should refuse to obey, because he could not discern the propriety of the restraint? If he should forbid him to touch some delicious fruits which he had reserved for strangers, and the child were to eat them, excusing himself very impertinently and blasphemously, with those much abused words of our Saviour, It is not what enters into the mouth that defiles a man, &c. would not even a Protestant parent be enraged and seize the rod, though he could not but see that he was thus condemning his own conduct, in disregarding, on the very same plea, the fasts and days of abstinence, prescribed by the Church and by God’s authority? All meats are good, as that fruit most certainly was which Adam was forbidden to eat; though some have foolishly surmised that it was poisonous; but, the crime of disobedience draws on punishment. (Haydock) — Even when the sin is remitted, as it was to Adam, the penalty is not of course released, as some have pretended. This also clearly appears in baptized infants, who suffer the penalties due to original sin, as much as those who have not been admitted to the laver of regeneration. (St. Augustine; Worthington; Tirinus, &c.) — If on this occasion, Eve had alone transgressed, as she was not the head, her sin would have hurt only herself. But with Adam, the representative of all his posterity, God made a sort of compact, (Osee vi. 7.) giving him to understand, that if he continued faithful, his children should be born in the state of innocence like himself, happy and immortal, to be translated in due time to a happier Paradise, &c. but if he should refuse to obey, his sin should be communicated to all his race, who should be, by nature, children of wrath. — (St. Augustine, City of God xvi. 27; Ven. Bede in Luc. 11; &c.) — (Haydock) (Calmet)

Ver. 20. Names, probably in the Hebrew language, in which the names of things, frequently designate their nature and quality. See Bochart. — (Calmet)

Ver. 21. A deep sleep. Septuagint, “an ecstacy,” or mysterious sleep, in which Adam was apprised of the meaning of what was done, and how the Church would be taken from the side of Christ, expiring on the cross. (Menochius)

Ver. 23. Of my flesh. God did not, therefore, take a rib without flesh, nor perhaps did he replace flesh without a rib in Adam’s side, though St. Augustine thinks he did. These words of Adam are attributed to God, Matthew xix., because they were inspired by him. — Woman. As this word is derived from man, so in Hebrew Isha (or Asse) comes from Iish or Aiss; Latin vira woman, and virago comes from vir. (Haydock) — But we do not find this allusion so sensible in any of the Oriental languages, as in the Hebrew, whence another proof arises of this being the original language. (Calmet)

Ver. 24. One flesh, connected by the closest ties of union, producing children, the blood of both. St. Paul, Ephesians v. 23, discloses to us the mystery of Christ’s union with his church for ever, prefigured by this indissoluble marriage of our first parents. (Calmet)

Ver. 25. Not ashamed, because they had not perverted the work of God. Inordinate concupiscence is the effect of sin. (Haydock)

Bible Text & Cross-references:

God resteth on the seventh day, and blesseth it. The earthly paradise, in which God placeth man. He commandeth him not to eat of the tree of knowledge. And formeth a woman of his rib.

1 So the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the furniture of them.

2 And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made: *and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had done.

3 And he blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.

4 These are the generations of the heaven and the earth, when they were created, in the day that the Lord God made the heaven and the earth:

5 And every plant of the field before it sprung up in the earth, and every herb of the ground before it grew: for the Lord God had not rained upon the earth; and there was not a man to till the earth.

6 But a spring rose out the earth, watering all the surface of the earth.

7 And the Lord God formed man of the slime of the earth: and breathed into his face the breath of life; and man became a living soul.*

8 And the Lord God had planted a paradise of pleasure from the beginning: wherein he placed man whom he had formed.

9 And the Lord God brought forth of the ground all manner of trees, fair to behold, and pleasant to eat of: the tree of life also in the midst of paradise: and the tree of knowledge of good and evil.

10 And a river went out of the place of pleasure to water paradise, which from thence is divided into four heads.

11 *The name of the one is Phison: that is, it which compasseth all the land of Hevilath, where gold groweth.

12 And the gold of that land is very good: there is found bdellium, and the onyx stone.

13 And the name of the second river is Gehon: the same is it that compasseth all the land of Ethiopia.

14 And the name of the third river is Tigris: the same passeth along by the Assyrians. And the fourth river is Euphrates.

15 And the Lord God took man, and put him into the paradise of pleasure, to dress it, and to keep it.

16 And he commanded him, saying: Of every tree of paradise thou shalt eat.

17 But of the tree of knowledge of good and evil thou shalt not eat. For in what day soever thou shalt eat of it, thou shalt die the death.

18 And the Lord God said: It is not good for man to be alone: let us make him a help like unto himself.

19 And the Lord God having formed out of the ground all the beasts of the earth, and all the fowls of the air, brought them to Adam to see what he would call them: *for whatsoever Adam called any living creature, the same is its name.

20 And Adam called all the beasts by their names, and all the fowls of the air, and all the cattle of the field: but for Adam there was not found a helper like himself.

21 Then the Lord God cast a deep sleep upon Adam: and when he was fast asleep, he took one of his ribs, and filled up flesh for it.

22 And the Lord God built the rib which he took from Adam into a woman: and brought her to Adam.

23 And Adam said: *This now is bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of man.

24 *Wherefore a man shall leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife:** and they shall be two in one flesh.

25 And they were both naked: to wit, Adam and his wife: and were not ashamed.



2: Exodus xx. 11. and xxxi. 17.; Deuteronomy v. 14.; Hebrews iv. 4.

7: 1 Corinthians xv. 45.

11: Ecclesiasticus xxiv. 35.

19: Psalm cxlvii.[cxlvi.?] 4.

23: 1 Corinthians xi. 9.; Ephesians v. 31.

24: Matthew xix. 5.; Mark x. 7. — ** 1 Corinthians vi. 16.