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Genesis 1:2, thoughts
Genesis 1:2

And the Earth was chaos and shallow, and darknesses was on the surface of the deep abyss. And the Spirit of God incubated/brooded/hovered on the surface of waters.

Most translations of this verse, which are from the Masoretic, use the words "moved" or "swept", NRSV: "swept over the face of the waters". The Masoretic text uses the phrase "me'rachepheth", from "rachaph" (See #7363 in Strong's Hebrew Concordance, a primitve root meaning "to brood").

Targum Onkelos (transliterated) renders this verse in the following manner:

v'are'a havath tzad'ya v'reiqanya nachshokha al-apei t'homa v'Rukha min qadam YY (MarYah) m'nash'va al-apei ma'ya. (My transliteration may not be too cool)

Onkelos: "a wind from before the Lord blew upon the face of the waters"

Jerusalem Targum: "the Spirit of mercies from before the Lord breathed upon the face of the waters"

Lamsa translated Genesis 1:2 in the following manner: And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the water.

It appears to me that the text of Peshitta indicates Rukha d'Koodsha was "incubating" life as in "preparing it" and "growing it" into what it was to become. Hang with me on this. While the word "moved" probably isn't entirely incorrect, I feel that it doesn't convey the fuller sense of the plain words of Peshitta.

The word "incubating" is defined as "hover envelopingly, heating to optimal temperature for growth, to provide heat, so as to promote embryonic development; to maintain (a chemical or biochemical system) under specific conditions in order to promote a particular reaction; to form or consider slowly and protectively, as if hatching; to maintain eggs, organisms, or living tissue at optimal environmental conditions for growth and development."

I found an interesting comment by John Wright Follette (whom I believe was a Protestant minister ? who died in 1966), where he said: "When He brings forth creation, the Word says the 'Holy Spirit moved upon the deep'. The Holy Spirit 'BROODED' (in Hebrew) over the deep. It is the same word that carries the thought of incubation, and brings life. This brooding is like to a hen setting on her eggs. The Holy Spirit 'BROODED' over the deep, and God's creative Word brought forth the glorious creation that we have through the power of the Spirit." (I'm not endorsing Follette's teachings, but only quoting what I thought was an interesting note on this verse).

Any thoughts on this?
The Hebrew word merachefet is best rendered 'to hover', like a bird of prey staying in the air in one spot, hovering, but watching over a large area. In modern Hebrew, the root is still used to mean 'hover' - for example, a 'hovercraft' is marchef, because it moves/hovers over the surface of the water.
'To brood' is a slightly different idea, because the mother bird is sitting without moving. But I still like your analogy.
When the spirit hovers over the surface of the water in Gen 1:2, it is preparing for action, delivering energy to be used for the new creation.
- Ewan MacLeod

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