26.Let us make man Although the tense here used is the future, all must acknowledge that this is the language of one apparently deliberating. Hitherto God has been introduced simply as commanding; now, when he approaches the most excellent of all his works, he enters into consultation. God certainly might here command by his bare word what he wished to be done: but he chose to give this tribute to the excellency of man, that he would, in a manner, enter into consultation concerning his creation. This is the highest honor with which he has dignified us; to a due regard for which, Moses, by this mode of speaking would excite our minds. For God is not now first beginning to consider what form he will give to man, and with what endowments it would be fitting to adorn him, nor is he pausing as over a work of difficulty: but, just as we have before observed, that the creation of the world was distributed over six days, for our sake, to the end that our minds might the more easily be retained in the meditation of God’s works: so now, for the purpose of commending to our attention the dignity of our nature, he, in taking counsel concerning the creation of man, testifies that he is about to undertake something great and wonderful. Truly there are many things in this corrupted nature which may induce contempt; but if you rightly weigh all circumstances, man is, among other creatures a certain preeminent specimen of Divine wisdom, justice, and goodness, so that he is deservedly called by the ancients μικρίκοσμος , “a world in miniature.” But since the Lord needs no other counsellor, there can be no doubt that he consulted with himself. The Jews make themselves altogether ridiculous, in pretending that God held communication with the earth or with angels. The earth, forsooth, was a most excellent adviser! And to ascribe the least portion of a work so exquisite to angels, is a sacrilege to be held in abhorrence. Where, indeed, will they find that we were created after the image of the earth, or of angels? Does not Moses directly exclude all creatures in express terms, when he declares that Adam was created after the image of God? Others who deem themselves more acute, but are doubly infatuated, say that God spoke of himself in the plural number, according to the custom of princes. As if, in truth, that barbarous style of speaking, which has grown into use within a few past centuries, had, even then, prevailed in the world. But it is well that their canine wickedness has been joined with a stupidity so great, that they betray their folly to children. Christians, therefore, properly contend, from this testimony, that there exists a plurality of Persons in the Godhead. God summons no foreign counsellor; hence we infer that he finds within himself something distinct; as, in truth, his eternal wisdom and power reside within him.
In our image, etc Interpreters do not agree concerning the meaning of these words. The greater part, and nearly all, conceive that the word image is to be distinguished from likeness. And the common distinction is, that image exists in the substance, likeness in the accidents of anything. They who would define the subject briefly, say that in the image are contained those endowments which God has conferred on human nature at large, while they expound likeness to mean gratuitous gifts. But Augustine, beyond all others, speculates with excessive refinement, for the purpose of fabricating a Trinity in man. For in laying hold of the three faculties of the soul enumerated by Aristotle, the intellect, the memory, and the will, he afterwards out of one Trinity derives many. If any reader, having leisure, wishes to enjoy such speculations, let him read the tenth and fourteenth books on the Trinity, also the eleventh book of the “City of God.” I acknowledge, indeed, that there is something in man which refers to the Fathers and the Son, and the Spirit: and I have no difficulty in admitting the above distinction of the faculties of the soul: although the simpler division into two parts, which is more used in Scripture, is better adapted to the sound doctrine of piety; but a definition of the image of God ought to rest on a firmer basis than such subtleties. As for myself, before I define the image of God, I would deny that it differs from his likeness. For when Moses afterwards repeats the same things he passes over the likeness, and contents himself with mentioning the image. Should any one take the exception, that he was merely studying brevity; I answer, that where he twice uses the word image, he makes no mention of the likeness. We also know that it was customary with the Hebrews to repeat the same thing in different words. besides, the phrase itself shows that the second term was added for the sake of explanation, ‘Let us make,’ he says, ‘man in our image, according to our likeness,’ that is, that he may be like God, or may represent the image of God. Lastly, in the fifth chapter, without making any mention of image, he puts likeness in its place, (Gen_5:1.) Although we have set aside all difference between the two words we have not yet ascertained what this image or likeness is. The Anthropomorphites were too gross in seeking this resemblance in the human body; let that reverie therefore remain entombed. Others proceed with a little more subtlety, who, though they do not imagine God to be corporeal, yet maintain that the image of God is in the body of man, because his admirable workmanship there shines brightly; but this opinion, as we shall see, is by no means consonant with Scripture. The exposition of Chrysostom is not more correct, who refers to the dominion which was given to man in order that he might, in a certain sense, act as God’s vicegerent in the government of the world. This truly is some portion, though very small, of the image of God. Since the image of God had been destroyed in us by the fall, we may judge from its restoration what it originally had been. Paul says that we are transformed into the image of God by the gospel. And, according to him, spiritual regeneration is nothing else than the restoration of the same image. (Col_3:10, and Eph_4:23.) That he made this image to consist in righteousness and true holiness, is by the figure synecdochee; for though this is the chief part, it is not the whole of God’s image. Therefore by this word the perfection of our whole nature is designated, as it appeared when Adam was endued with a right judgment, had affections in harmony with reason, had all his senses sound and well-regulated, and truly excelled in everything good. Thus the chief seat of the Divine image was in his mind and heart, where it was eminent: yet was there no part of him in which some scintillations of it did not shine forth. For there was an attempering in the several parts of the soul, which corresponded with their various offices. In the mind perfect intelligence flourished and reigned, uprightness attended as its companion, and all the senses were prepared and moulded for due obedience to reason; and in the body there was a suitable correspondence with this internal order. But now, although some obscure lineaments of that image are found remaining in us; yet are they so vitiated and maimed, that they may truly be said to be destroyed. For besides the deformity which everywhere appears unsightly, this evil also is added, that no part is free from the infection of sin.
In our image, after our likeness I do not scrupulously insist upon the particles ב, (beth,) and כ, (caph) I know not whether there is anything solid in the opinion of some who hold that this is said, because the image of God was only shadowed forth in man till he should arrive at his perfection. The thing indeed is true; but I do not think that anything of the kind entered the mind of Moses. It is also truly said that Christ is the only image of the Fathers but yet the words of Moses do not bear the interpretation that “in the image” means “in Christ.” It may also be added, that even man, though in a different respects is called the image of God. In which thing some of the Fathers are deceived who thought that they could defeat the Asians with this weapon that Christ alone is God’s, image. This further difficulty is also to be encountered, namely, why Paul should deny the woman to be the image of God, when Moses honors both, indiscriminately, with this title. The solution is short; Paul there alludes only to the domestic relation. He therefore restricts the image of God to government, in which the man has superiority over the wife and certainly he meant nothing more than that man is superior in the degree of honor. But here the question is respecting that glory of God which peculiarly shines forth in human nature, where the mind, the will, and all the senses, represent the Divine order.
And let them have dominion Here he commemorates that part of dignity with which he decreed to honor man, namely, that he should have authority over all living creatures. He appointed man, it is true, lord of the world; but he expressly subjects the animals to him, because they having an inclination or instinct of their own, seem to be less under authority from without. The use of the plural number intimates that this authority was not given to Adam only, but to all his posterity as well as to him. And hence we infer what was the end for which all things were created; namely, that none of the conveniences and necessaries of life might be wanting to men. In the very order of the creation the paternal solicitude of God for man is conspicuous, because he furnished the world with all things needful, and even with an immense profusion of wealth, before he formed man. Thus man was rich before he was born. But if God had such care for us before we existed, he will by no means leave us destitute of food and of other necessaries of life, now that we are placed in the world. Yet, that he often keeps his hand as if closed is to be imputed to our sins.
And God said, Let us make man – It is evident that God intends to impress the mind of man with a sense of something extraordinary in the formation of his body and soul, when he introduces the account of his creation thus; Let Us make man. The word אדם Adam, which we translate man, is intended to designate the species of animal, as חיתו chaitho, marks the wild beasts that live in general a solitary life; בהמה behemah, domestic or gregarious animals; and רמש remes, all kinds of reptiles, from the largest snake to the microscopic eel. Though the same kind of organization may be found in man as appears in the lower animals, yet there is a variety and complication in the parts, a delicacy of structure, a nice arrangement, a judicious adaptation of the different members to their great offices and functions, a dignity of mien, and a perfection of the whole, which are sought for in vain in all other creatures. See Gen_3:22.
In our image, after our likeness – What is said above refers only to the body of man, what is here said refers to his soul. This was made in the image and likeness of God. Now, as the Divine Being is infinite, he is neither limited by parts, nor definable by passions; therefore he can have no corporeal image after which he made the body of man. The image and likeness must necessarily be intellectual; his mind, his soul, must have been formed after the nature and perfections of his God. The human mind is still endowed with most extraordinary capacities; it was more so when issuing out of the hands of its Creator. God was now producing a spirit, and a spirit, too, formed after the perfections of his own nature. God is the fountain whence this spirit issued, hence the stream must resemble the spring which produced it. God is holy, just, wise, good, and perfect; so must the soul be that sprang from him: there could be in it nothing impure, unjust, ignorant, evil, low, base, mean, or vile. It was created after the image of God; and that image, St. Paul tells us, consisted in righteousness, true holiness, and knowledge, Eph_4:24 Col_3:10. Hence man was wise in his mind, holy in his heart, and righteous in his actions. Were even the word of God silent on this subject, we could not infer less from the lights held out to us by reason and common sense. The text tells us he was the work of Elohim, the Divine Plurality, marked here more distinctly by the plural pronouns Us and Our; and to show that he was the masterpiece of God’s creation, all the persons in the Godhead are represented as united in counsel and effort to produce this astonishing creature.
Gregory Nyssen has very properly observed that the superiority of man to all other parts of creation is seen in this, that all other creatures are represented as the effect of God’s word, but man is represented as the work of God, according to plan and consideration: Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. See his Works, vol. i., p. 52, c. 3.
And let them have dominion – Hence we see that the dominion was not the image. God created man capable of governing the world, and when fitted for the office, he fixed him in it. We see God’s tender care and parental solicitude for the comfort and well-being of this masterpiece of his workmanship, in creating the world previously to the creation of man. He prepared every thing for his subsistence, convenience, and pleasure, before he brought him into being; so that, comparing little with great things, the house was built, furnished, and amply stored, by the time the destined tenant was ready to occupy it.
It has been supposed by some that God speaks here to the angels, when he says, Let us make man; but to make this a likely interpretation these persons must prove, 1. That angels were then created. 2. That angels could assist in a work of creation. 3. That angels were themselves made in the image and likeness of God. If they were not, it could not be said, in Our image, and it does not appear from any part in the sacred writings that any creature but man was made in the image of God. See Clarke’s note on Psa_8:5.
The importance assigned in the Biblical record to the creation of man is indicated by the manner in which it is introduced. And God said, Let us make man. Having already explained the significance of the term Elohim, as suggesting the fullness of the Divine personality, and foreshadowing the doctrine of the Trinity (Gen_1:1), other interpretations, such as that God takes counsel with the angels (Philo, Aben Ezra, Delitzsch), or with the earth (Maimonides, M. Gerumlius), or with himself (Kalisch), must be set aside in favor of that which detects in the peculiar phraseology an allusion to a sublime concilium among the persons of the Godhead (Calvin, Macdonald, Murphy). The object which this concilium contemplated was the construction of a new creature to be named Adam; descriptive of either his color, from adam, to be red, (Josephus, Gesenius, Tuch, Hupfeld); or his appearance, from a root in Arabic which signifies “to shine,” thus making Adam “the brilliant one;” or his compactness, both as an individual and as a race, from another Arabic root which means “to bring or hold together” (Meier, Furst); or his nature as God’s image, from dam, likeness (Eichorn, Richers); or, and most probably, his origin, from adamah, the ground (Kimchi, Rosenmüller, Kalisch).
In our image, after our likeness. The precise relationship in which the nature of the Adam about to be produced should stand to Elohim was to be that of a tselem (shadow—vid. Psa_39:7; Greek, σκιαì σκιìασμα) and a damuth (likeness, from damah, to bring together, to compare—Isa_40:8). As nearly as possible the terms are synonymous. If any distinction does exist between them, perhaps tselem (image) denotes the shadow outline of a figure, and damuth (likeness) the correspondence or resemblance of that shadow to the figure. The early Fathers were of opinion that the words were expressive of separate ideas: image, of the body, which by reason of its beauty, intelligent aspect, and erect stature was an adumbration of God; likeness, of the soul, or the intellectual and moral nature. According to Augustine image had reference to the cognitio veritatis; likeness to amor virtutis. Irenaeus, Clement, and Origen saw in the first man nature as originally created, and in the second what that nature might become through personal ethical conflict, or through the influence of grace. Bellarmine thought “imaginem in natura, similitudinem in probitate et justitia sitam esse,” and conceived that “Adamum peccando non imaginem Dei, sed similitudinero perdidisse.” Havernick suggests that image is the concrete, and likeness the abstract designation of the idea. Modern expositors generally discover no distinction whatever between the words; in this respect following Luther, who renders an image that is like, and Calvin, who denies that any difference exists between the two. As to what in man constituted the imago Dei, the reformed theologians commonly held it to have consisted
(1) in the spirituality of his being, as an intelligent and free agent;
(2) in the moral integrity and holiness of his nature; and
(3) in his dominion over the creatures (cf. West. Conf; Gen_4:2).
In this connection the profound thought of Maimonides, elaborated by Tayler Lewis (vial. Lunge, in loco), should not be overlooked, that tselem is the specific, as opposed to the architectural, form of a thing; that which inwardly makes a thing what it is, as opposed to that external configuration which it actually possesses. It corresponds to the min, or kind, which determines species among animals. It is that which constitutes ‘the genus homo. And let them have dominion. The relationship of man to the rest of creation is now defined to be one of rule and supremacy. The employment of the plural is the first indication that not simply an individual was about to be called into existence, but a race, comprising many individuals The range of man’s authority is farther specified, and the sphere of his lordship traced by an enumeration in ascending order, from the lowest to the highest, of the subjects placed beneath his sway. His dominion should extend over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air (literally, the heavens), and over the cattle (the behemah), and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing (romeo) that creepeth upon the earth.
Man. – Man is a new species, essentially different from all other kinds on earth. “In our image, after our likeness.” He is to be allied to heaven as no other creature on earth is. He is to be related to the Eternal Being himself. This relation, however, is to be not in matter, but in form; not in essence, but in semblance. This precludes all pantheistic notions of the origin of man. “Image” is a word taken from sensible things, and denotes likeness in outward form, while the material may be different. “Likeness” is a more general term, indicating resemblance in any quality, external or internal. It is here explanatory of image, and seems to show that this term is to be taken in a figurative sense, to denote not a material but a spiritual conformity to God. The Eternal Being is essentially self-manifesting. The appearance he presents to an eye suited to contemplate him is his image. The union of attributes which constitute his spiritual nature is his character or likeness.
We gather from the present chapter that God is a spirit Gen_1:2, that he thinks, speaks, wills, and acts (Gen_1:3-4, etc.). Here, then, are the great points of conformity to God in man, namely, reason, speech, will, and power. By reason we apprehend concrete things in perception and consciousness, and cognize abstract truth, both metaphysical and moral. By speech we make certain easy and sensible acts of our own the signs of the various objects of our contemplative faculties to ourselves and others. By will we choose, determine, and resolve upon what is to be done. By power we act, either in giving expression to our concepts in words, or effect to our determinations in deeds. In the reason is evolved the distinction of good and evil Gen_1:4, Gen_1:31, which is in itself the approval of the former and the disapproval of the latter. In the will is unfolded that freedom of action which chooses the good and refuses the evil. In the spiritual being that exercises reason and will resides the power to act, which presupposes both these faculties – the reason as informing the will, and the will as directing the power. This is that form of God in which he has created man, and condescends to communicate with him.
And let them rule. – The relation of man to the creature is now stated. It is that of sovereignty. Those capacities of right thinking, right willing, and right acting, or of knowledge, holiness, and righteousness, in which man resembles God, qualify him for dominion, and constitute him lord of all creatures that are destitute of intellectual and moral endowments. Hence, wherever man enters he makes his sway to be felt. He contemplates the objects around him, marks their qualities and relations, conceives and resolves upon the end to be attained, and endeavors to make all things within his reach work together for its accomplishment. This is to rule on a limited scale. The field of his dominion is “the fish of the sea, the fowl of the skies, the cattle, the whole land, and everything that creepeth on the land.” The order here is from the lowest to the highest. The fish, the fowl, are beneath the domestic cattle. These again are of less importance than the land, which man tills and renders fruitful in all that can gratify his appetite or his taste. The last and greatest victory of all is over the wild animals, which are included under the class of creepers that are prone in their posture, and move in a creeping attitude over the land. The primeval and prominent objects of human sway are here brought forward after the manner of Scripture. But there is not an object within the ken of man which he does not aim at making subservient to his purposes. He has made the sea his highway to the ends of the earth, the stars his pilots on the pathless ocean, the sun his bleacher and painter, the bowels of the earth the treasury from which he draws his precious and useful metals and much of his fuel, the steam his motive power, and the lightning his messenger. These are proofs of the evergrowing sway of man.
26. Let us make] LXX ποιήσωμεν, Lat. faciamus. The use of the 1st pers. plur. is a well-known crux of interpretation. How are we to explain its occurrence in the utterance of the Almighty? The only other passages in which it is found are
(1) Gen. 3:22, “And the Lord God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us”;
(2) Gen. 11:7, “Go to, and let us go down, and there confound their language”;
(3) Isai. 6:8, “And I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Very different explanations have been given.
i. Until recently, the traditional Christian interpretation has seen in the 1st pers. plur. a reference to the Three Persons of the Blessed Trinity. The requirements of a sound historical exegesis render this view untenable: for it would read into the Book of Genesis the religious teaching which is based upon the Revelation of the New Testament.
ii. It has been regarded as a survival of polytheism, and has been compared with “Elohim,” a plural word for “God” which some regard as a relic of polytheism. But “Elohim, in the present context, is always combined with a verb in the singular. Why should “said” be in the singular, if “let us” indicates the plurality of Gods? Again, any departure from the strictest monotheism is unthinkable in the writing of the Priestly Code. The explanation may safely be dismissed as improbable in the extreme.
iii. It has been explained as the plural of Majesty. It is pointed out that the commands and rescripts of royal personages are conveyed in the 1st pers. plur.; and reference is made, in support of this view, to Ezra 4:18, 1 Macc. 10:19, 11:31. It may be allowed that the view is tenable; but the examples adduced are drawn from a very late period of Biblical literature, and, as an explanation, it appears to be little in harmony with the directness and simplicity of the passage.
iv. It has been explained as the “plural of the fulness of attributes and powers.” It is pointed out that not only is the word for God (Elohim) plural in form, but also the words for “Lord” (Adon) and “Master” (Ba‘al) are often used in the plural of a single person. “It might well be that, on a solemn occasion like this, when God is represented as about to create a being in His own image, and to impart to him a share in that fulness of sovereign prerogatives possessed by Himself, He should adopt this unusual and significant mode of expression” (Driver, in loc.). It may, however, be questioned whether the passage in Gen. 11:7 satisfies the exacting requirements of this finely described test. Again, while “the plural of plenitude” in a substantive or adjective is unquestioned, it may be doubted, whether we should be right to explain the 1st pers. plur. of a verb on the ground that the speaker is one to whom the plural of the fulness of power can justly be attributed.
v. It has been explained as the plural of Deliberation. It has been truly remarked that there is more solemnity and dignity in the words, “Let us make man in our own image,” than would have been conveyed in the words, “Let me (or, I will) make man in my own image.” The entire simplicity of this explanation tends to recommend it.
vi. It was the old Jewish explanation that God is here addressing the inhabitants of heaven. In the thought of the devout Israelite, God was One, but not isolated. He was surrounded by the heavenly host (1 Kings 22:19); attended by the Seraphim (Is. 6:1–6); holding His court with “the sons of God” (Job 1:6, 2:1). We are told in a poetical account of the Creation, that when the foundations of the earth were laid, “all the sons of God shouted for joy,” Job 38:7 (cf. Ps. 29:1, 89:7, 103:19–22). It is claimed that, at the climax of the work of Creation, when man is about to be formed, the Almighty admits into the confidence of his Divine Purpose the angelic beings whose nature, in part, man will be privileged to share (Ps. 8:4, 5, cf. Heb. 2:7). At the risk of appearing fanciful, we may remind the reader that the birth of the Second Adam was announced by “the angel,” and “there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God” (Luke 2:13)
It has been objected against this view (1) that the Priestly Narrator nowhere mentions angels, and (2) that the explanation tends to detract from the dignity of man’s creation. But (1) angels are not here mentioned; and if the plur. indicates their presence in attendance upon the Almighty, the picture which it suggests is in harmony with the religious thought of the Israelites; and (2) the work of creating man is neither delegated to, nor shared with, others. God “created man in his own image” (v. 27); but, before creating him, He had associated with Himself all those who, through participation in image and likeness with Himself, would henceforth be allied to man.
The two last explanations appear to be the most probable.
man] Heb. âdâm. This, the first mention of “man” in Holy Scripture, is spoken by God. It denotes “mankind” generally. Note the plural “they” in the next sentence. On “Adam” as a personal name, see note on 2:7.
in our image, after our likeness] LXX reads “and after our likeness.” Some distinction must clearly be drawn between “image” (Heb. ṣelem; LXX εἰκών; Lat. imago) and “likeness” (Heb. d’mûth; LXX ὁμοίωσις; Lat. similitudo). The former is more permanent, the latter more fleeting. But the distinction cannot be pressed. In v. 1 we read “in the likeness (d’mûth) of God made he him,” and 5:3, “And he (Adam) begat a son in his own likeness, after his own image.” The most we can say is that “image” suggests reproduction in form and substance, physical or spiritual: and “likeness” gives the idea of resemblance and outward similarity. The words contain a truth which was wont to be exaggerated by Jewish and Patristic commentators. Man’s nature is made “in the image of God”; he possesses divine qualities indestructible and inalienable, which no animal possessed. He is made “after the likeness of God”; his character is potentially divine. He is capable of approaching, or receding from, the “likeness” of God. The resemblance can never be perfect: but it can increase, and it can diminish.
The view that there is any reference to the conception of an outward resemblance, in shape or form, to the Hebrew idea of the Personal Deity is wholly improbable, and is contrary to the spirit and teaching of the religion of Israel.
and let them have dominion, &c.] As this dominion is promised to man in virtue of his creation in God’s image, this sentence will helpfully shew that man’s superiority arises, not from physical strength, but through the equipment of his higher nature.
and over all the earth] It seems strange that mention of “the earth” should be interposed between two of the four classes of animals, “the cattle” and “every creeping thing,” over which man should rule. There can hardly be any doubt that the text, which is that also of the LXX and the Latin, has suffered from an early omission. We should read, with the Syriac Peshitto, “over all the beasts of the earth.” The addition of the words “beasts of,” in the sense of “the wild beasts of,” will complete the classification of living creatures, as (1) fish, (2) birds, (3) domestic animals, (4) wild beasts, (5) creeping things. This enumeration reproduces the animals previously mentioned (vv. 20–25).
27.So God created man The reiterated mention of the image of God is not a vain repetition. For it is a remarkable instance of the Divine goodness which can never be sufficiently proclaimed. And, at the same time, he admonishes us from what excellence we have fallen, that he may excite in us the desire of its recovery. When he soon afterwards adds, that God created them male and female, he commends to us that conjugal bond by which the society of mankind is cherished. For this form of speaking, God created man, male and female created he them, is of the same force as if he had said, that the man himself was incomplete. Under these circumstances, the woman was added to him as a companion that they both might be one, as he more clearly expresses it in the second chapter. Malachi also means the same thing when he relates, (Gen_2:15,) that one man was created by God, whilst, nevertheless, he possessed the fullness of the Spirit. For he there treats of conjugal fidelity, which the Jews were violating by their polygamy. For the purpose of correcting this fault, he calls that pair, consisting of man and woman, which God in the beginning had joined together, one man, in order that every one might learn to be content with his own wife.
So (or and) God created (bara, as in Gen_1:1, Gen_1:21, q.v.) man (literally; the Adam referred to in Gen_1:26) in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. The threefold repetition of the term “created” should be observed as a significant negation of modern evolution theories as to the descent of man, and an emphatic proclamation of his Divine original. The threefold parallelism of the members of this verse is likewise suggestive, as Umbreit, Ewald, and Delitzsch remark, of the jubilation with which the writer contemplates the crowning work of Elohim’s creative word. Murphy notices two stages in man’s creation, the general fact being stated in the first clause of this triumphal song, and the two particulars—first his relation to his Maker, and second his sexual distinction—in its other members. In the third clause Luther sees an intimation “that the woman also was created by God, and made a partaker of the Divine image, and of dominion over all.”
27. The reiteration of the principal words in the clauses of this verse has something of the rhythm of poetry. Repetition and love of detail are characteristics of the Priestly Code. “Created,” cf. vv. 1, 21 (see notes).
male and female] The distinction of the sexes, which is here given, has been omitted, probably for brevity’s sake, in the mention of the animals.
When, in view of the discoveries of the science of Anthropology, the question is asked whether there was one original pair of human beings, or whether each of the different races, Caucasian, Mongolian, Negro, Red Indian, Australian, &c., originated from one pair, or from groups of pairs, we must answer that such questions do not come within the horizon of thought in our passage. They are to be solved not by Revelation in Holy Scripture, but by the exercise of the gifts of patient enquiry, accurate observation, and sound reasoning. The Hebrew writer has in view a population drawn from a single stock. His account of the origin of Man, applicable to one race, is symbolical of all, if a plurality of origin is to be assumed.
15.And the king of Egypt spake. The tyrant now descends from the open violence and cruelty which had availed nothing, to secret plots and deceit. He desires the infants to be killed at their birth; and commands the midwives to be the instruments of this dreadful barbarity. We read of no such detestable example of inhumanity since the world began. I admit it has occasionally happened, that, upon the capture of a city, the conquerors have not spared even children and infants; that is to say, either in the heat of battle, or because the defense had been too obstinate, and they had lost many of their men, whose death they would avenge. It has happened, too, that an uncle, or brother, or guardian, has been impelled by the ambition of reigning to put children to death. It has happened, again, that in the detestation of a tyrant, and to destroy the very memory of his family, his whole offspring has been slain; and some have proceeded to such cruelty against their enemies, as to tear the little ones from their mothers’ breasts. But never did any enemy, however implacable, ever so vent his wrath against a whole nation, as to command all its male offspring to be destroyed in the midst of peace. This was a trial, such as to inflict a heavy blow on men of the utmost firmness, much more to bring low a fainting people, already weary of their lives. For, at first sight, each would think it more advantageous and desirable for them to sink down into an humbler state, than that the wrath of their enemies should be thus provoked against them by the blessings of God. And it is probable, such was the prostration of their minds, that they were not only sorely smitten, but almost stupified. For nothing else remained, but that the men should die without hope of offspring, and that the name and race of Abraham should soon be cut off, and thus all God’s promises would come to nought.
In these days, in which we have to bear similar insults, and are urged to despair, as if the Church would soon be utterly destroyed, let us learn to hold up this example like a strong shield: seeing that it is no new case, if immediate destruction seem to await us, until the divine aid appears suddenly and unexpectedly in our extremity. Josephus falsely conjectures that the midwives were Egyptian women, sent out as spies; whereas Moses expressly says, that they had been the assistants and attendants of the Hebrew women in their travail; and this erroneous idea is plainly refuted by the whole context, in which it especially appears that they were restrained by the fear of God from yielding to the sinful desire of the tyrant. Hence it follows, that they were previously possessed with some religious feeling. But another question arises, why two midwives only are mentioned by name, when it is probable that, in so great a population, there were many? Two replies may be given; either that the tyrant addressed himself to these two, who might spread the fear of his power amongst the others; or, that, desiring to proceed with secret malice, he made a trial of the firmness of these two, and if he had obtained their acquiescence, he hoped to have easily succeeded with the others; for shame forbade him from issuing an open and general command.
Hebrew midwives – Shiphrah and Puah, who are here mentioned, were probably certain chiefs, under whom all the rest acted, and by whom they were instructed in the obstetric art. Aben Ezra supposes there could not have been fewer than five hundred midwives among the Hebrew women at this time, but that very few were requisite see proved on Exo_1:19 (note).
Some time—say five or six years—having elapsed and the Pharaoh’s first plan having manifestly failed, it was necessary for him either to give up his purpose, or to devise something else. Persevering and tenacious, he preferred the latter course. He bethought himself that a stop might be put to the multiplication of the Israelites by means of infanticide on a large scale. Infanticide was no doubt a crime in Egypt, as in most countries except Rome; but the royal command would legitimate almost any action, since the king was recognised as a god; and the wrongs of a foreign and subject race would not sensibly move the Egyptian people, or be likely to provoke remonstrance. On looking about for suitable instruments to carry out his design, it struck the monarch that something, at any rate, might be done by means of the midwives who attended the Hebrew women in their confinements. It has been supposed that the two mentioned, Shiphrah and Puah, might be the only midwives employed by the Israelites (Canon Cook and others), and no doubt in the East a small number suffice for a large population: but what impression could the monarch expect to make on a population of from one to two millions of souls by engaging the services of two persons only, who could not possibly attend more than about one in fifty of the births? The midwives mentioned must therefore be regarded as “superintendents,” chiefs of the guild or faculty, who were expected to give their orders to the rest. (So Kalisch, Knobel, Aben Ezra, etc.) It was no doubt well known that midwives were not always called in; but the king supposed that they were employed sufficiently often for the execution of his orders to produce an important result. And the narrative implies that he had not miscalculated. It was the disobedience of the midwives (Exo_1:17) that frustrated the king’s intention, not any inherent weakness in his plan. The midwives, while professing the intention of carrying out the orders given them, in reality killed none of the infants; and, when taxed by the Pharaoh with disobedience, made an untrue excuse (Exo_1:19). Thus the king’s second plan failed as completely as his first—”the people” still “multiplied and waxed very mighty” (Exo_1:20).
Foiled a second time, the wicked king threw off all reserve and all attempt at concealment. If the midwives will not stain their hands with murder at his secret command, he will make the order a general and public one. “All his people” shall be commanded to put their hand to the business, and to assist in the massacre of the innocents—it shall he the duty of every loyal subject to cast into the waters of the Nile any Hebrew male child of whose birth he has cognisance. The object is a national one-to secure the public safety (see Exo_1:10): the whole nation may well be called upon to aid in carrying it out.
The Hebrew midwives. It is questioned whether the midwives were really Hebrew women, and not rather Egyptian women, whose special business it was to attend the Hebrew women in their labours. Kalisch translates, “the women who served as midwives to the Hebrews,” and assumes that they were Egyptians. (So also Canon Cook.) But the names are apparently Semitic, Shiphrah being “elegant, beautiful,” and Puah, “one who cries out.” And the most natural rendering of the Hebrew text is that of A. V.
Hebrew midwifes – Or “midwives of the Hebrew women.” This measure at once attested the inefficacy of the former measures, and was the direct cause of the event which issued in the deliverance of Israel, namely, the exposure of Moses. The women bear Egyptian names, and were probably Egyptians.
Jamieson, Fausset, & Brown
if it be a son, then ye shall kill him — Opinions are divided, however, what was the method of destruction which the king did recommend. Some think that the “stools” were low seats on which these obstetric practitioners sat by the bedside of the Hebrew women; and that, as they might easily discover the sex, so, whenever a boy appeared, they were to strangle it, unknown to its parents; while others are of opinion that the “stools” were stone troughs, by the river side – into which, when the infants were washed, they were to be, as it were, accidentally dropped.
Upon the stools – Literally, “two stones.” The word denotes a special seat, such as is represented on monuments of the 18th Dynasty, and is still used by Egyptian midwives.
17.But the midwives feared God. Moses does not mean that they were then first affected with the fear of God; but he assigns this reason why they did not obey his unjust command, viz., because reverence towards God had greater influence with them. And certainly, as all our affections are best directed by this rein, so also it is the surest shield for resisting all temptations, and a firm support to uphold our minds from wavering in seasons of danger. Now, they not only dreaded this crime as being cruel and inhuman; but because purer religion and piety flourished in their hearts; for they knew that the seed of Abraham was chosen of God, and had themselves experienced that it was blessed; and hence it was natural to feel, that it would be an act of very gross impiety to extinguish in it the grace of God. We must also observe the antithesis between the fear of God and the dread of punishment, which might have deterred them from doing right. Although tyrants do not easily allow their commands to be despised, and death was before their eyes, they still keep their hands pure from evil. Thus, sustained and supported by reverential fear of God, they boldly despised the command and the threatenings of Pharaoh. Wherefore those, whom the fear of men withdraws from the right course, betray by their cowardice an inexcusable contempt of God, in preferring the favor of men to his solemn commands. But this doctrine extends still more widely; for many would be more than preposterously wise, whilst, under pretext of due submission, they obey the wicked will of kings in opposition to justice and right, being in some cases the ministers of avarice and rapacity, in others of cruelty; yea, to gratify the transitory kings of earth, they take no account of God; and thus, which is worst of all, they designedly oppose pure religion with fire and sword. It only makes their effrontery more detestable, that whilst they knowingly and willingly crucify Christ in his members, they plead the frivolous excuse, that they obey their princes according to the word of God; as if he, in ordaining princes, had resigned his rights to them; and as if every earthly power, which exalts itself against heaven, ought not rather most justly to be made to give way. But since they only seek to escape the reprobation of men for their criminal obedience, let them not be argued with by long discussions, but rather referred to the judgment of women; for the example of these midwives is abundantly sufficient for their condemnation; especially when the Holy Spirit himself commends them, as not having obeyed the king, because they feared God.
The midwives feared God. The midwives had a sense of religion, feared God sufficiently to decline imbruing their hands in the innocent blood of a number of defenceless infants, and, rather than do so wicked a thing, risked being punished by the monarch. They were not, as appears by Exo_1:19, highly religious—not of the stuff whereof martyrs are made; they did not scruple at a falsehood, believing it necessary to save their lives; and it would seem that they succeeded in deceiving the king.
13.For thou hast possessed my reins Apparently he prosecutes the same subject, though he carries it out somewhat farther, declaring that we need not be surprised at God’s knowledge of the most secret thoughts of men, since he formed their hearts and their reins. He thus represents God as sitting king in the very reins of man, as the center of his jurisdiction, and shows it ought to be no ground of wonder that all the windings and recesses of our hearts are known to him who, when we were inclosed in our mother’s womb, saw us as clearly and perfectly as if we had stood before him in the light of mid-day. This may let us know the design with which David proceeds to speak of man’s original formation, tits scope is the same in the verse which follows, where, with some ambiguity in the terms employed, it is sufficiently clear and obvious that David means that he had been fashioned in a manner wonderful, and calculated to excite both fear and admiration, so that he breaks forth into the praises of God. One great reason of the carnal security into which we fall, is our not considering how singularly we were fashioned at first by our Divine Maker. From this particular instance David is led to refer in general to all the works of God, which are just so many wonders fitted to draw our attention to him. The true and proper view to take of the works of God, as I have observed elsewhere, is that which ends in wonder. His declaration to the effect that his soul should well know these wonders, which far transcend human comprehension, means no more than that with humble and sober application he would give his attention and talents to obtaining such an apprehension of the wonderful works of God as might end in adoring the immensity of his glory. The knowledge he means, therefore, is not that which professes to comprehend what, under the name of wonders, he confesses to be incomprehensible, nor of that kind which philosophers presumptuously pretend to, as if they could solve every mystery of God, but simply that religious attention to the works of God which excites to the duty of thanksgiving.
For thou hast possessed my reins – The word here rendered “possessed” means properly to “set upright,” to “erect,” and hence, the derivative of the verb is applied to a cane or reed, as being erect. Then the word means to found, to create, Gen_14:19, Gen_14:22 – as the heavens and the earth; and then, to get, to gain, to purchase, etc. Here the word seems to be used in its original sense, to make, create, etc. The idea is, not as in our translation, that God “possessed” or “owned” them but that he had “made” them, and that, “therefore,” he knew all about them. The word “reins” means literally the “kidneys;” and then, it comes to denote the inward part, the mind, the soul, the seat of the desires, affections, and passions. Jer_11:20. See Psa_7:9, note; Job_19:27, note. The meaning here is, that God had made him; that the innermost recesses of his being had been constituted as they are by God; and that, “therefore,” he must be able to see all that there is in the very depths of the soul, however it may be hidden from the eye of man.
Thou hast covered me in my mother’s womb – The word here rendered “cover” means properly to interweave; to weave; to knit together, and the literal translation would be, “Thou hast “woven” me in my mother’s womb, meaning that God had put his parts together, as one who weaves cloth, or who makes a basket. So it is rendered by DeWette and by Gesenius (Lexicon). The original word has, however, also the idea of protecting, as in a booth or hut, woven or knit together – to wit, of boughs and branches. The former signification best suits the connection; and then the sense would be, that as God had made him – as he had formed his members, and united them in a bodily frame and form before he was born – he must be able to understand all his thoughts and feelings. As he was not concealed from God before he saw the light, so he could not be anywhere.
I will praise thee – I will not merely admire what is so great and marvelous, but I will acknowledge thee in a public manner as wise, and holy, and good: as entitled to honor, love, and gratitude.
For I am fearfully and wonderfully made – The word rendered “fearfully” means properly “fearful things;” things suited to produce fear or reverence. The word rendered “wonderfully made” means properly to distinguish; to separate. The literal translation of this – as near as can be given – would be, “I am distinguished by fearful things;” that is, by things in my creation which are suited to inspire awe. I am distinguished among thy works by things which tend to exalt my ideas of God, and to fill my soul with reverent and devout feelings. The idea is, that he was “distinguished” among the works of creation, or so “separated” from other things in his endowments as to work in the mind a sense of awe. He was made different from inanimate objects, and from the brute creation; he was “so” made, in the entire structure of his frame, as to fill the mind with wonder. The more anyone contemplates his own bodily formation, and becomes acquainted with the anatomy of the human frame, and the more he understands of his mental organization, the more he will see the force and propriety of the language used by the psalmist.
Marvellous are thy works – Fitted are they to excite wonder and admiration. The particular reference here is to his own formation; but the same remark may be made of the works of God in general.
And that my soul knoweth right well – Margin, as in Hebrew, “greatly.” I am fully convinced of it. I am deeply impressed by it. We can see clearly that the works of God are “wonderful,” even if we can understand nothing else about them.
15.My strength was not hid from thee That nothing is hid from God David now begins to prove from the way in which man is at first formed, and points out God’s superiority to other artificers in this, that while they must have their work set before their eyes before they can form it, he fashioned us in our mother’s womb. It is of little importance whether we read my strength or my bone, though I prefer the latter reading. He next likens the womb of the mother to the lowest caverns or recesses of the earth. Should an artizan intend commencing a work in some dark cave where there was no light to assist him, how would he set his hand to it? in what way would he proceed? and what kind of workmanship would it prove? But God makes the most perfect work of all in the dark, for he fashions man in mother’s womb. The verb רקם, rakam, which means weave together, is employed to amplify and enhance what the Psalmist had just said. David no doubt means figuratively to express the inconceivable skill which appears in the formation of the human body. When we examine it, even to the nails on our fingers, there is nothing which could be altered, without felt inconveniency, as at something disjointed or put out of place; and what, then, if we should make the individual parts the subject of enumeration? Where is the embroiderer who — with all his industry and ingenuity — could execute the hundredth part of this complicate and diversified structure? We need not then wonder if God, who formed man so perfectly in the womb, should have an exact knowledge of him after he is ushered into the world.
My substance was not hid from thee – עצמי atsmi, my bones or skeleton.
Curiously wrought – רקמתי rukkamti, embroidered, made of needlework. These two words, says Bishop Horsley, describe the two principal parts of which the human body is composed; the bony skeleton, the foundation of the whole; and the external covering of muscular flesh, tendons, veins, arteries, nerves, and skin; a curious web of fibres. On this passage Bishop Lowth has some excellent observations: “In that most perfect hymn, where the immensity of the omnipresent Deity, and the admirable wisdom of the Divine Artificer in framing the human body, are celebrated, the poet uses a remarkable metaphor, drawn from the nicest tapestry work: –
When I was formed in secret;
When I was wrought, as with a needle,
in the lowest parts of the earth.
“He who remarks this, (but the man who consults Versions only will hardly remark it), and at the same time reflects upon the wonderful composition of the human body, the various implication of veins, arteries, fibres, membranes, and the ‘inexplicable texture’ of the whole frame; will immediately understand the beauty and elegance of this most apt translation. But he will not attain the whole force and dignity, unless he also considers that the most artful embroidery with the needle was dedicated by the Hebrews to the service of the sanctuary; and that the proper and singular use of their work was, by the immediate prescript of the Divine law, applied in a certain part of the high priest’s dress, and in the curtains of the tabernacle, Exo_28:39; Exo_26:36; Exo_27:16; and compare Eze_16:10; Eze_13:18. So that the psalmist may well be supposed to have compared the wisdom of the Divine Artificer particularly with that specimen of human art, whose dignity was through religion the highest, and whose elegance (Exo_35:30-35) was so exquisite, that the sacred writer seems to attribute it to a Divine inspiration.”
In the lowest parts of the earth – The womb of the mother, thus expressed by way of delicacy.
My substance was not hid from thee – Thou didst see it; thou didst understand it altogether, when it was hidden from the eyes of man. The word “substance” is rendered in the margin, “strength” or “body.” The Septuagint, the Latin Vulgate, the Syriac, the Arabic, and Luther render it, “my bone,” or “my bones.” The word properly means strength, and then anything strong. Another form of the word, with different pointing in the Hebrew, means a bone, so called from its strength. The allusion here is to the bodily frame, considered as strong, or as that which has strength. Whatever there was that entered into and constituted the vigor of his frame, the psalmist says, was seen and known by God, even in its commencement, and when most feeble. Its capability to become strong – feeble as it then was – could not even at that time be concealed or hidden from the view of God.
When I was made in secret – In the womb; or, hidden from the eye of man. Even then thine eye saw me, and saw the wondrous process by which my members were formed.
And curiously wrought. – Literally, “embroidered.” The Hebrew word – רקם râqam – means to deck with color, to variegate. Hence, it means to variegate a garment; to weave with threads of various colors. With us the idea of embroidering is that of working various colors on a cloth by a needle. The Hebrew word, however, properly refers to the act of “weaving in” various threads – as now in weaving carpets. The reference here is to the various and complicated tissues of the human frame – the tendons, nerves, veins, arteries, muscles, “as if” they had been woven, or as they appear to be curiously interweaved. No work of tapestry can be compared with this; no art of man could “weave” together such a variety of most tender and delicate fibres and tissues as those which go to make up the human frame, even if they were made ready to his hand: and who but God could “make” them? The comparison is a most beautiful one; and it will be admired the more, the more man understands the structure of his own frame.
In the lowest parts of the earth – Wrought in a place as dark, as obscure, and as much beyond the power of human observation as though it had been done low down beneath the ground where no eye of man can penetrate. Compare the notes at Job_28:7-8.
16.Thine eyes beheld my shapelessness, etc. The embryo, when first conceived in the womb, has no form; and David speaks of God’s having known him when he was yet a shapeless mass, τὸ κύημα , as the Greeks term it; for τὸ εμβρυον is the name given to the foetus from the time of conception to birth inclusive. The argument is from the greater’ to the less. If he was known to God before he had grown to certain definite shape, much less could he now elude his observation. He adds, that all things were written in his book; that is, the whole method of his formation was well known to God. The term book is a figure taken from the practice common amongst men of helping their memory by means of books and commentaries. Whatever is an object of God’s knowledge he is said to have registered in writing, for he needs no helps to memory. Interpreters are not agreed as to the second clause. Some read ימים, yamim, in the nominative case, when days were made; the sense being, according to them — All my bones were written in thy book, O God! from the beginning of the world, when days were first formed by thee, and when as yet none of them actually existed. The other is the more natural meaning, That the different parts of the human body are formed in a succession of time; for in the first germ there is no arrangement of parts, or proportion of members, but it is developed, and takes its peculiar form progressively. There is another point on which interpreters differ. As in the particle לא, lo, the א, aleph, is often interchangeable with ו vau; some read לו , to him, and others לא not. According to the first reading, the sense is, that though the body is formed progressively, it was always one and the same in God’s book, who is not dependent upon time for the execution of his work. A sufficiently good meaning, however, can be got by adhering’ without change to the negative particle, namely, that though the members were formed in the course of days, or gradually, none of them had existed; no order or distinctness of parts having been there at first, but a formless substance. And thus our admiration is directed to the providence of God in gradually giving’ shape and beauty to a confused mass.
Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect – This whole verse is very obscure, but the “idea” in this expression clearly is, “Before I had shape or form thou didst see what I was to be.” The single word in the original translated “my substance, yet being unperfect,” is גלם gôlem. It occurs only in this place, though the verb – גלם gâlam – is found in 2Ki_2:8, where it is used in reference to the mantle of Elijah: And Elijah took his mantle, and “wrapped it together,” etc. That is, he rolled it up, or he folded it. The noun, then, means that which “is” rolled or wrapped together; that which is folded up, and hence, is applicable to anything folded up or undeveloped; and would thus most aptly denote the embryo, or the foetus, where all the members of the body are as yet folded up, or undeveloped; that is, before they have assumed their distinct form and proportions. This is undoubtedly the idea here. Before the embryo had any such form that its future size, shape, or proportions could be marked by the eye of man, it was clearly and distinctly known by God.
And in thy book – Where thou recordest all things. Perhaps the allusion here would be to the book of an architect or draftsman, who, before his work is begun, draws his plan, or sketches it for the direction of the workmen.
All my members were written – The words “my members” are not in the original. The Hebrew is, as in the margin, “all of them.” The reference may be, not to the members of his body, but to his “days” (see the margin on the succeeding phrase) – and then the sense would be, all my “days,” or all the periods of my life, were delineated in thy book. That is, When my substance – my form – was not yet developed, when yet an embryo, and when nothing could be determined from that by the eye of man as to what I was to be, all the future was known to God, and was written down – just what should be my form and vigor; how long I should live; what I should be; what would be the events of my life.
Which in continuance were fashioned – Margin, “What days they should be fashioned.” Literally, “Days should be formed.” DeWette renders this, “The days were determined before any one of them was.” There is nothing in the Hebrew to correspond with the phrase “in continuance.” The simple idea is, The days of my life were determined on, the whole matter was fixed and settled, not by anything seen in the embryo, but “before” there was any form – before there were any means of judging from what I then was to what I would be – all was seen and arranged in the divine mind.
When as yet there was none of them – literally, “And not one among them.” Before there was one of them in actual existence. Not one development had yet occurred from which it could be inferred what the rest would be. The entire knowledge on the subject must have been based on Omniscience.
Mark 10:13. they brought] These probably were certain parents, who honoured Him and valued His benediction. The “children” in St Mark and St Matthew are “infants” in St Luk_18:15.
that he should touch them] or, as St Matthew adds, that he should lay his hands upon them and pray for them (19:13). Hebrew mothers were accustomed in this manner to seek a blessing for their children from the presidents of the synagogues, who were wont to lay their hands upon them. “After the father of the child,” says the Talmud, “had laid his hands on his child’s head, he led him to the elders one by one, and they also blessed him, and prayed that he might grow up famous in the Law, faithful in marriage, and abundant in good works.”
Cambridge Greek Testament
13. προσέφερον αὐτῷ παιδία. Mk and Mt. place this incident immediately after the discourse on divorce in a house at Capernaum, and Salmon (Human Element, p. 395) makes the attractive suggestion that the children of the house “were brought to Him to say goodnight, and receive His blessing before being sent to bed.” Lk. intimates that several parents brought their babes (τὰ βρέφη); and the disciples would hardly have interfered, if only the children of the house had been brought. Both Mk and Lk. say that the object was that the great Healer should touch the children, which Mt. enlarges into what He actually did; “that He should lay His hands on them and pray.” Cf. Gen_48:14. Syr-Sin. here has “lay His hands on them.” For the subj. after a past tense see Winer, p. 360; the opt. is going out of use, and no example of the opt. after ἵνα is found in N.T. Both Mk (Mar_2:4) and Mt. (often) use προσφέρειν of bringing the sick to Christ, and ailments in children are common; even those who had no ailment would be honoured by His touch. A girl of twelve is called παιδίον (Mar_5:39; Mar_5:42), so that we need not think of all these children as babies; the point is that their being too young to comprehend His teaching is no reason for keeping them from Him. In the First Prayer Book of Edward VI. this passage was substituted in the Office for Baptism for Mat_19:13-15, as clearer evidence of Christ’s love for children.
οἱ δὲ μαθηταὶ ἐπετίμησαν αὐτοῖς. See crit. note. To the disciples it seemed intolerable that the Master, whose strength was sorely tried by the number of adults whom He taught and healed, should be expected to attend to little children who had no need of any special attention.
Mark 10:14. he was much displeased] This feature is peculiar to St Mark. Only lately the Lord had expressed His love towards little children in a very remarkable manner (Mar_9:36, Mar_9:37).
of such] Rather, to such belongs the Kingdom of God. He says not of these, but of such: shewing that it is not children only, but the disposition of children which obtains the kingdom, and that to such as have the like innocence and simplicity the reward is promised.
Mark 10:16. took them up in his arms] He ever giveth more than men ask or think. He had been asked only to touch the children. He takes them into His arms, lays His Hands upon them, and blesses them. Twice we read of our Lord taking into His arms, and both times they were children whom He embraced, and both times the scenes are recorded only by St Mark (9:36, 10:16).
blessed them] Rather, He blesses them, according to some MSS. The present tense is in keeping with the graphic style of the Evangelist.