Quotes in the definitions are from Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance.

וְהָאָ֗רֶץ – Earth, land. Same word as verse 1, “…the heavens and the earth…”

הָיְתָ֥ה – To fall out, come to pass, become, be.

תֹ֙הוּ֙ – formlessness, confusion, unreality, emptiness.

וָבֹ֔הוּ – emptiness

וְחֹ֖שֶׁךְ – darkness, night, obscurity

עַל־ – above, over, upon, or against

פְּנֵ֣י – the face (as the part that turns)

תְה֑וֹם – deep, sea, abyss; almost always in poetry.

וְר֣וּחַ – air, anger, blast, breath; wind; feminine; “by resemblance breath, i.e. A sensible (or even violent) exhalation; figuratively, life, anger, unsubstantiality; by extension, a region of the sky; by resemblance spirit, but only of a rational being (including its expression and functions).”

אֱלֹהִ֔ים – elohim; another word from verse 1, Divine ones. “Plural of ‘elowahh; gods in the ordinary sense; but specifically used (in the plural thus, especially with the article) of the supreme God; occasionally applied by way of deference to magistrates; and sometimes as a superlative — angels, X exceeding, God (gods)(-dess, -ly), X (very) great, judges, X mighty.”

מְרַחֶ֖פֶת – to grow soft, relax, flutter, move, shake; “to brood; by implication, to be relaxed.”

עַל־ – above, over, upon, or against

פְּנֵ֣י – the face (as the part that turns)

הַמָּֽיִם׃ – Primeval deep; water; figuratively, juice; by euphemism, urine, semen, wasting, water.


Both in verse 1 and here in verse 2, there are mentions of words that are primarily used in poetry. Since poetry fits with the idea that this is allegorical instead of literal, I find that interesting.

Looking at the part that is usually translated, “And the Spirit of God….” I was suprised both by the translation of spirit (breath) and the comment, “only of a rational being,” and the fact that the word used here is feminine. Elohim can be translated goddesses (since it’s a plural word), which would fit with her breath or her spirit.


The earth was shapeless and empty, and the face of the abyss was obscured by darkness. The breath of the goddesses fluttered over the face of the primeval waters.

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