Genesis – Chapter 2

The Bible – Old Testament



Chapter 2


Thus the heavens and the earth and all their array were completed.


Since on the seventh day God was finished with the work he had been doing, he rested on the seventh day from all the work he had undertaken.


So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work he had done in creation.


1 Such is the story of the heavens and the earth at their creation. At the time when the LORD God made the earth and the heavens – 


while as yet there was no field shrub on earth and no grass of the field had sprouted, for the LORD God had sent no rain upon the earth and there was no man to till the soil,


but a stream was welling up out of the earth and was watering all the surface of the ground – 


2 the LORD God formed man out of the clay of the ground and blew into his nostrils the breath of life, and so man became a living being.


3 Then the LORD God planted a garden in Eden, in the east, and he placed there the man whom he had formed.


Out of the ground the LORD God made various trees grow that were delightful to look at and good for food, with the tree of life in the middle of the garden and the tree of the knowledge of good and bad.


4 A river rises in Eden to water the garden; beyond there it divides and becomes four branches.


The name of the first is the Pishon; it is the one that winds through the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold.


The gold of that land is excellent; bdellium and lapis lazuli are also there.


The name of the second river is the Gihon; it is the one that winds all through the land of Cush.


The name of the third river is the Tigris; it is the one that flows east of Asshur. The fourth river is the Euphrates.


The LORD God then took the man and settled him in the garden of Eden, to cultivate and care for it.


The LORD God gave man this order: «You are free to eat from any of the trees of the garden


except the tree of knowledge of good and bad. From that tree you shall not eat; the moment you eat from it you are surely doomed to die.»


The LORD God said: «It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a suitable partner for him.»


So the LORD God formed out of the ground various wild animals and various birds of the air, and he brought them to the man to see what he would call them; whatever the man called each of them would be its name.


The man gave names to all the cattle, all the birds of the air, and all the wild animals; but none proved to be the suitable partner for the man.


So the LORD God cast a deep sleep on the man, and while he was asleep, he took out one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh.


The LORD God then built up into a woman the rib that he had taken from the man. When he brought her to the man,


5 the man said: «This one, at last, is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; This one shall be called ‘woman,’ for out of ‘her man’ this one has been taken.»


6 That is why a man leaves his father and mother and clings to his wife, and the two of them become one body.


The man and his wife were both naked, yet they felt no shame.

1 [4b-25] This section is chiefly concerned with the creation of man. It is much older than the narrative of ⇒ Genesis 1:1-⇒ 2:4a. Here God is depicted as creating man before the rest of his creatures, which are made for man’s sake.
2 [7] God is portrayed as a potter molding man’s body out of clay. There is a play on words in Hebrew between adam («man») and adama («ground»). Being: literally, «soul.»
3 [8] Eden: used here as the name of a region in southern Mesopotamia; the term is derived from the Sumerian word eden, «fertile plain.» A similar-sounding Hebrew word means «delight»; the garden in Eden could therefore be understood as the «garden of delight,» so that, through the Greek version, it is now known also as «paradise,» literally, a «pleasure park.»
4 [10-14] Rises: in flood to overflow its banks. Beyond there: as one travels upstream. Branches: literally, «heads,» i.e., upper courses. Eden is near the head of the Persian Gulf, where the Tigris and the Euphrates join with two other streams to form a single river. The land of Cush here and in ⇒ Genesis 10:8, is not Ethiopia (Nubia) as elsewhere, but the region of the Kassites east of Mesopotamia.
5 [23] There is a play on the similar-sounding Hebrew words ishsha («woman») and ishah («her man, her husband»).
6 [24] One body: literally «one flesh»; classical Hebrew has no specific word for «body.» The sacred writer stresses the fact that conjugal union is willed by God.