Jews and Christians interpret the Bible differently, especially when interpreting Messianic prophecies. Israel Today Magazine has an interesting article on the Messianic interpretation of Genesis 2:4.
It is quite possible that most Christians would not interpret Genesis 2:4 as a Messianic text. However, by the use of Midrash, the rabbis have found a “messianic prophecy” in Genesis 2:4. Below is an excerpt from the article dealing with the Messianic interpretation of Genesis 2:4:
Our first “messianic prophecy” comes from “These are the generations of the heavens and the earth” (Gen. 2:4).
The messianic clue in this verse requires a brief explanation. The scribes who copied the biblical text are called sofrim in Hebrew because they “counted” the letters, words, and verses in each book in order to ensure a faultless manuscript. This process revealed numerous irregularities, particularly between plene (full) and defective (short) spellings, Hebrew allowing words to be written with or without vowels.
For example, the word toledot (generations) in this verse can be spelled with or without the letter vav so that it can look like toledot, tledot, toledt, or tledt. These divergences were meticulously copied, not being considered “scribal errors” but intentional spellings hinting at possible hidden meanings.
The plene spelling toledot (generations) in Genesis 2:4 appears only here and Ruth 4:18, the latter verse stating “this is the genealogy (toledot) of Perez.” According to Jewish commentators, this unique spelling is that which links the two genealogies and juxtaposes Adam with the Messiah, the son of Perez.
Emeritus Professor of Old Testament
Northern Baptist Seminary
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