Genesis 1-2

from SDS
The chiastic structure of the first half of Day Three, Genesis 1:9-10 (ESV)

A And God said, “Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together into one place,

B. and let the dry land appear”.

C, And it was so.

B’.  God called the dry land Earth,

A’.  and the waters that were gathered together he called Seas. And God saw that it was good.

The chiastic structure of Day Four, Genesis 1:14-19

A.(14a)  And God said, “Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night;

B.(14b)  and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years:

C.(15) and let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so.

D.(16a)  And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also.

C’.(17) And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth,

B’.(18a)  and to rule over the day and over the night,

A’.(18b) and to divide the light from the darkness: and God saw that it was good. And the evening and the morning were the fourth day.

The chiastic structure of Day Seven, Genesis 2:1-3 (ESV)

A. (1) Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them.

B. (2a) And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made;

C. (2b) and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made.

B’.(3)  And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it:

A’. (3) because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made. 

Genesis 2:4

A. These are the generations [toledoth] of the heavens and the earth

B. when they were created [bara’]

B’.  in the day that the LORD God [Yahweh Elohim] made [’asah]

A’.  the earth and the heavens

2 thoughts on “Genesis 1-2”

  1. Genesis 2:4 chiasm. When account is taken of the Hebrew structure, this verse’s chiastic structure can be seen to be:

    A. these (are) (the) generations of the heavens and the earth
    B. in their creation
    b. in (the) day of making
    a. (by) the Lord God of earth and heavens

  2. My close analysis of Genesis 1:14-18 (Day Four) leads me to think that this passage does not constitute an ideal chiasm. One could perhaps argue that I’m being too demanding. I’d be interested in any responses to the following breakdown:

    [14 And God said,]
    A “Let there be lights
    B in the expanse of the heavens
    C to separate the day from the night.
    F And let them be for signs and for seasons, and for days and years,
    A 15 and let them be lights
    B in the expanse of the heavens
    D to give light upon the earth.” And it was so.
    A 16 And God made the two great lights—
    E the greater light to rule the day and the lesser light to rule the night—
    G and the stars.
    B 17 And God set them in the expanse of the heavens
    D to give light on the earth,
    E 18 to rule over the day and over the night,
    C and to separate the light from the darkness.
    [And God saw that it was good. 19 And there was evening and there was morning, the fourth day.]

    So the pattern arising from my analysis (excluding first and last lines) is as follows: A B C F, A B D, A E G, B D E C — making Genesis 1:14-18 not an ideal chiasm, in my view.

    Regarding the “chiastic structure” displayed above: I suggest some concerns: (1) B’ matches D better than it matches B. (2) The wording “lights in the firmament of the heaven” is found in A as well in C, so this muddies the specialness of the match between C and C’. (3) I think that A (which focuses on God as creator and includes the words “lights”, “day”, “night”) matches D at least as well as it matches A’.

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