Genesis 2:1-3

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DAY 7. THE DAY OF REST
← Land creatures and humankind

KJV

1 Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them.
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 made.
And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.

NRSV

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

לעשות — The redundant final word

[speaking of the Hebrew Bible's first distinct section, Genesis 1:1 to 2:3, which ends with this word לעשות.]

"When a text is written this way, apparently superfluous words become highly conspicuous. There is one obviously superfluous word: the last of the entire passage. The verse says, 'God sanctified the seventh day for on it he rested from all the work that he had created' (2:3). The sentence should finish there. In fact, though, there is one extra word in the Hebrew, לעשות la'asot, which means 'to do, to make, to function'. What is its significance? Two classic commentators, Ibn Ezra and Abrabanel[1], interpret it to mean, '[he had created it] in such a way that it would continue to create itself.' Without stretching the text too far, we might say that la'asot means, quite simply, 'to evolve'.

Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, The Great Partnership
Re asah: la'asot is from asah, a verb that goes along with the create-form-make trio, but with a more general meaning, as evident from Rabbi Sacks' translation of it above. — BP

A longer quotation from The Great Partnership, showing the context of this passage, is cited at Structure of Genesis 1:1-2:3.

See also this rabbinical observation of a pre-scientific concept corresponding to evolution, in Genesis 1:21, also mentioned by Rabbi Sacks.

God's rest

God's rest when the creation is finished foreshadows the promised rest after the wilderness wanderings of Israel (95:11) and the rest in the Kingdom of God, a reward that has always been expected to follow a life in Jesus Christ (Hebrews 4:1-11).

Was further creation ruled out?

A literal reading may suggest that God stopped creating at the end of a literal week. See, however, Psalm 102:18, which refers to people "yet to be created", and other references at Ongoing Creation.

Bruce (talk)

Many references

There are many links to this Genesis 2:1-3 page in this wiki. As of 1st July 2023:

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  1. Ibn Ezra (1089-1167) and Isaac Abarbanel (1437-1508)