Challoner commentary

Genesis 1 : 6

A firmament

By this name is here understood the whole space between the earth, and the highest stars. The lower part of which divideth the waters that are upon the earth, from those that are above in the clouds.

Genesis 1 : 16

Two great lights

God created on the first day, light, which being moved from east to west, by its rising and setting, made morning and evening. But on the fourth day he ordered and distributed this light, and made the sun, moon, and stars. The moon, though much less than the stars, is here called a great light, from its giving a far greater light to the earth than any of them.

Genesis 1 : 26

Let us make man to our image

This image of God in man, is not in the body, but in the soul; which is a spiritual substance, endued with understanding and free will. God speaketh here in the plural number, to insinuate the plurality of persons in the Deity.

Genesis 1 : 28

Increase and multiply

This is not a precept, as some Protestant controvertists would have it, but a blessing, rendering them fruitful; for God had said the same words to the fishes, and birds, (ver. 22) who were incapable of receiving a precept.

Genesis 2 : 2

He rested

That is, he ceased to make or create any new kinds of things. Though, as our Lord tells us, John 5. 17,"He still worketh", viz., by conserving and governing all things, and creating souls.

Genesis 2 : 9

The tree of life

So called because it had that quality, that by eating of the fruit of it, man would have been preserved in a constant state of health, vigour, and strength, and would not have died at all.

Genesis 2 : 9

The tree of knowledge

To which the deceitful serpent falsely attributed the power of imparting a superior kind of knowledge, beyond that which God was pleased to give.

Genesis 3 : 7

And the eyes

Not that they were blind before, (for the woman saw that the tree was fair to the eyes, ver. 6.) nor yet that their eyes were opened to any more perfect knowledge of good; but only to the unhappy experience of having lost the good of original grace and innocence, and incurred the dreadful evil of sin. From whence followed a shame of their being naked; which they minded not before; because being now stript of original grace, they quickly began to be subject to the shameful rebellions of the flesh.

Genesis 3 : 15

She shall crush

Ipsa, the woman; so divers of the fathers read this place, conformably to the Latinothers read it ipsum, viz., the seed. The sense is the samefor it is by her seed, Jesus Christ, that the woman crushes the serpent's head.

Genesis 3 : 22

Behold Adam

This was spoken by way of reproaching him with his pride, in affecting a knowledge that might make him like to God.

Genesis 4 : 4

Had respect

That is, shewed his acceptance of his sacrifice (as coming from a heart full of devotion)and that, as we may suppose, by some visible token, such as sending fire from heaven upon his offerings.

Genesis 4 : 14

Every one, therefore, that findeth me, shall kill me

His guilty conscience made him fear his own brothers and nephews; of whom, by this time, there might be a good number upon the earth; which had now endured near 130 years; as may be gathered from Gen. 5. 3, compared with chap. 4. 25, though in the compendious account given in the scriptures, only Cain and Abel are mentioned.

Genesis 4 : 15

Set a mark

The more common opinion of the interpreters of holy writ supposes this mark to have been a trembling of the body; or a horror and consternation in his countenance.

Genesis 4 : 17

His wife

She was a daughter of Adam, and Cain's own sister; God dispensing with such marriages in the beginning of the world, as mankind could not otherwise be propagated. He built a city, viz. In process of time, when his race was multiplied, so as to be numerous enough to people it. For in the many hundred years he lived, his race might be multiplied even to millions.

Genesis 4 : 23

I have slain a man

It is the tradition of the Hebrews, that Lamech in hunting slew Cain, mistaking him for a wild beast; and that having discovered what he had done, he beat so unmercifully the youth, by whom he was led into that mistake, that he died of the blows.

Genesis 4 : 26

Began to call upon

Not that Adam and Seth had not called upon God, before the birth of Enos; but that Enos used more solemnity in the worship and invocation of God.

Genesis 6 : 2

The sons of God

The descendants of Seth and Enos are here called sons of God from their religion and pietywhereas the ungodly race of Cain, who by their carnal affections lay grovelling upon the earth, are called the children of men. The unhappy consequence of the former marrying with the latter, ought to be a warning to Christians to be very circumspect in their marriages; and not to suffer themselves to be determined in their choice by their carnal passion, to the prejudice of virtue or religion.

Genesis 6 : 3

His days shall be

The meaning is, that man's days, which before the flood were usually 900 years, should now be reduced to 120 years. Or rather, that God would allow men this term of 120 years, for their repentance and conversion, before he would send the deluge.

Genesis 6 : 4


It is likely the generality of men before the flood were of a gigantic stature in comparison with what men now are. But these here spoken of are called giants, as being not only tall in stature, but violent and savage in their dispositions, and mere monsters of cruelty and lust.

Genesis 6 : 6

It repented him

God, who is unchangeable, is not capable of repentance, grief, or any other passion. But these expressions are used to declare the enormity of the sins of men, which was so provoking as to determine their Creator to destroy these his creatures, whom before he had so much favoured.