MSG - 1 First this: God created the Heavens and Earth - all you see, all you don't see. Earth was a soup of nothingness, a bottomless emptiness, an inky blackness. God's Spirit brooded like a bird above the watery abyss.
The original Hebrew word translated as “brooded,” in Gen 1:2, is “m’rachefet” מְרַחֶפֶת. The root word is “rachaf” רָחַף, and conveys the sense of “shaking,” “moving,” or “fluttering,” as when a bird softly relaxes its flight to alight upon its young. It adequately describes the actions of the Ruach (Spirit) as he lovingly and closely watches over the created substance. How so? Well, this verb, although found three times in Scripture, is defined as “hovering” only one other time in the entire TaNaKH (Old Testament): “He found his people in desert country, in a howling, wasted wilderness. He protected him and cared for him, guarded him like the pupil of his eye, like an eagle that stirs up her nest, hovers over her young, spreads out her wings, takes them and carries them as she flies.” (Deuteronomy 32:10-11) This beautiful illustration of the protective power of the Spirit, in relation to his children, Am Yisra’el (People of Isra’el), as they traveled through the wilderness reminds me of the same Spirit that hovered over the waters at the beginning of creation. The word translated “hovers,” in our above verse, is the same root as the one used in Genesis 1:2, “rachaf.” In fact, to strengthen the connection between the two applications, the Haftarah portion to the Genesis Torah Portion is Isaiah 42:5-43:10. A “haftarah” is a prescribed reading portion from the prophets and writings, chosen by the Jewish people to compliment the Torah portion. In this passage, we read in the opening seventeen Hebrew words, a summary of the first chapter in Genesis: כֹּֽה־אָמַר הָאֵל יְהוָה בֹּורֵא הַשָּׁמַיִם וְנֹוטֵיהֶם רֹקַע הָאָרֶץ וְצֶאֱצָאֶיהָ נֹתֵן נְשָׁמָה לָעָם עָלֶיהָ וְרוּחַ לַהֹלְכִים בָּֽהּ “Thus says God, ADONAI, who created the heavens and spread them out, who stretched out the earth and all that grows from it, who gives breath to the people on it and spirit to those who walk on it….” I hope this brief explanation adds some insight to the verse in question. *This excerpt was lifted from my Messianic commentary to Genesis available in the eBible reading plans at this link: http://ebible.com/plans/landing/613