2:7 The Lord God formed 1 the man from the soil of the ground 2 and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, 3 and the man became a living being. 4
6:17 I am about to bring 5 floodwaters 6 on the earth to destroy 7 from under the sky all the living creatures that have the breath of life in them. 8 Everything that is on the earth will die,
7:22 Everything on dry land that had the breath of life 9 in its nostrils died.
1 tn Or “fashioned.” The prefixed verb form with vav (ו) consecutive initiates narrative sequence. The Hebrew word יָצַר (yatsar) means “to form” or “to fashion,” usually by plan or design (see the related noun יֵצֶר [yetser] in Gen 6:5). It is the term for an artist’s work (the Hebrew term יוֹצֵר [yotser] refers to a potter; see Jer 18:2-4.)
sn Various traditions in the ancient Near East reflect this idea of creation. Egyptian drawings show a deity turning little people off of the potter’s wheel with another deity giving them life. In the Bible humans are related to the soil and return to it (see 3:19; see also Job 4:19, 20:9; and Isa 29:16).
2 tn The line literally reads “And Yahweh God formed the man, soil, from the ground.” “Soil” is an adverbial accusative, identifying the material from which the man was made.
3 tn The Hebrew word נְשָׁמָה (nÿshamah, “breath”) is used for God and for the life imparted to humans, not animals (see T. C. Mitchell, “The Old Testament Usage of Nÿshama,” VT 11 : 177-87). Its usage in the Bible conveys more than a breathing living organism (נֶפֶשׁ חַיַּה, nefesh khayyah). Whatever is given this breath of life becomes animated with the life from God, has spiritual understanding (Job 32:8), and has a functioning conscience (Prov 20:27).
sn Human life is described here as consisting of a body (made from soil from the ground) and breath (given by God). Both animals and humans are called “a living being” (נֶפֶשׁ חַיַּה) but humankind became that in a different and more significant way.
4 tn The Hebrew term נֶפֶשׁ (nefesh, “being”) is often translated “soul,” but the word usually refers to the whole person. The phrase נֶפֶשׁ חַיַּה (nefesh khayyah, “living being”) is used of both animals and human beings (see 1:20, 24, 30; 2:19).
5 tn The Hebrew construction uses the independent personal pronoun, followed by a suffixed form of הִנֵּה (hinneh, “look”) and the a participle used with an imminent future nuance: “As for me, look, I am going to bring.”
6 tn Heb “the flood, water.”
7 tn The verb שָׁחָת (shakhat, “to destroy”) is repeated yet again, only now in an infinitival form expressing the purpose of the flood.
8 tn The Hebrew construction here is different from the previous two; here it is רוּחַ חַיִּים (ruakh khayyim) rather than נֶפֶשׁ הַיָּה (nefesh khayyah) or נִשְׁמַת חַיִּים (nishmat khayyim). It refers to everything that breathes.
9 tn Heb “everything which [has] the breath of the spirit of life in its nostrils from all which is in the dry land.”