And God blessed them, saying, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.”
(Genesis 1:22 NKJV)
And God H430 blessed H1288 them, saying, H559 Be fruitful, H6509 and multiply, H7235 and fill H4390 (H853) the waters H4325 in the seas, H3220 and let fowl H5775 multiply H7235 in the earth. H776 (Genesis 1:22 KJV+)
I have written before on this verse, but really never looked into this aspect of it. I knew He had told them to multiply and be fruitful, but I missed the “blessing” part. The Lord didn’t just create the birds and then leave them on their own. He cared about them and “blessed” them. Below is the definition of Strong’s Hebrew word and then Thayer’s Greek word for Blessing or Blessed.
Strong – H1288
A primitive root; to kneel; by implication to bless God (as an act of adoration), and (vice-versa) man (as a benefit); also (by euphemism) to curse (God or the king, as treason): – X abundantly, X altogether, X at all, blaspheme, bless, congratulate, curse, X greatly, X indeed, kneel (down), praise, salute, X still, thank.
Thayer – G2127
1) to praise, celebrate with praises
2) to invoke blessings
3) to consecrate a thing with solemn prayers
3a) to ask God’s blessing on a thing
3b) pray God to bless it to one’s use
3c) pronounce a consecratory blessing on
4) of God
4a) to cause to prosper, to make happy, to bestow blessings on
4b) favoured of God, blessed
Part of Speech: verb
Let’s see what some of the commentaries have to say about the birds being blessed by God:
(Chuck Smith) – “But we get the more complex life forms that sort of are a little independent. They’re not rooted, they’re not grounded, they are mobile, and the various cycles that God has created, the whole process is just so marvelous indeed. The water, teeming with life, and then the air, and the many, many kinds of birds and the variety of birds that God has created. And those instinctive abilities in the birds!
I’m always fascinated by that little bird in Hawaii that goes up into the Aleutian chain in order to mate. During the summer, they take off from Hawaii and they fly all the way up into Alaska where they mate. They build their nests, they lay the eggs, they hatch their young. And then with the coming of winter, they don’t want to spend winter in Alaska — and who can blame them. And you have to almost envy them, spending their winters in Hawaii. They take off over the thousands of miles without suitcases, without spare gas tanks, without compasses or navigational equipment. And they come and fly right into Hawaii, sometimes they get into severe storms, one-hundred, two-hundred mile an hour winds that blow them off course, but somehow they find their way right in. You say, “oh, they remember the way they flew out.”
How do they reckon? Some think they have some kind of device that tunes on the magnetic field of the earth. I don’t know. But, really, they’re not following the same path, so that argument’s sort of shot down, because, really, the parents decide to leave for Hawaii before the kids are able to fly that far. So, the parents fly off to Hawaii, leaving their kids in Alaska! But, it doesn’t seem to matter, cause a couple of weeks later, their kids take off and they fly right to Hawaii. Never been there before, yet somehow, God has built into this little bird that kind of instinct; and that’s a bird brain. And it’s not a very big kind of a computer. Talk about microsystems!
Oh, the wisdom of God, the wisdom of God. How thrilling to be able to see the design in nature, all testifying of the wisdom of the God that I serve. I’m so glad that I serve Him. I’m so glad that I know Him. Such a glorious God, so wise; all of these created life forms. Now, He created also the mammals, the great whales. He created the animals, the domesticated-type animals, all after their own kind.
And the evening and the morning were the fifth day.”
(John Gill) – “Genesis 1:22
And God blessed them,…. With a power to procreate their kind, and continue their species, as it is interpreted in the next clause, saying, be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas: and these creatures do multiply exceedingly, and vast quantities there are of them in the mighty waters, though the consumption of some sorts of them is very great. Our English word “fish” is derived from the Hebrew word פוש, “fush”, which signifies to multiply and increase:
and let fowl multiply in the earth; as they did, and continue to do to this day.”
(Matthew Henry) – “2. The blessing of them, in order to their continuance. Life is a wasting thing. Its strength is not the strength of stones. It is a candle that will burn out, if it be not first blown out; and therefore the wise Creator not only made the individuals, but provided for the propagation of the several kinds; God blessed them, saying, Be fruitful and multiply, Gen_1:22. God will bless his own works, and not forsake them; and what he does shall be for a perpetuity, Ecc_3:14. The power of God’s providence preserves all things, as at first his creating power produced them. Fruitfulness is the effect of God’s blessing and must be ascribed to it; the multiplying of the fish and fowl, from year to year, is still the fruit of this blessing. Well, let us give to God the glory of the continuance of these creatures to this day for the benefit of man. See Job_12:7, Job_12:9. It is a pity that fishing and fowling, recreations innocent in themselves, should ever be abused to divert any from God and their duty, while they are capable of being improved to lead us to the contemplation of the wisdom, power, and goodness, of him that made all these things, and to engage us to stand in awe of him, as the fish and fowl do of us.”
(Haydock Commentary) – “Genesis 1:22
Blessed them, or enabled them to produce others. — Multiply: the immense numbers and variety of fishes and fowls is truly astonishing.”
(K & D) – “As animated beings, the water animals and fowls are endowed, through the divine blessing, with the power to be fruitful and multiply. The word of blessing was the actual communication of the capacity to propagate and increase in numbers.”
(John Wesley) – “Observe, 2, The blessing of them in order to their continuance. Life is a wasting thing, its strength is not the strength of stones; therefore the wise Creator not only made the individuals, but provided for the propagating of the several species, Gen_1:22. God blessed them, saying, Be fruitful, and multiply – Fruitfullness is the effect of God’s blessing, and must be ascribed to it; the multiplying of the fish and fowl from year to year, is still the fruit of this blessing here.”
Oh that men would praise the LORD for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men! (Psalms 107:31 KJV)
The Lord not only blessed the birds, but provided them with the instinct and DNA to be able to reproduce and adapt to the changing conditions. Those that have not been able or suffered disasters be they natural or man-made have become extinct. The “kinds” have produced great varieties (over 10,400 species) that we enjoy as we study and view the different families. While He blessed the birds, in turn, we are blessed because we are able to enjoy the vast variety of these avian creations. Praise the Lord!