This is a rough translation of what I believe to be the meaning of the second chapter of the Book of Genesis. I worked from the King James Version of the Bible but took reference from a number of other translations and sought the definitions of words originally used (via Biblehub). I will be adding to and refining this translation as time goes on.Ervin Welsh
Additionally, I will be expounding on some of the choice words I’ve used to allude to some of the meanings in the Biblical text (not yet explored here). The Biblical text employs multiple literary devices that paint distinct pictures along separate trajectories but all of which arrive at the same point.
I’ll explore these metaphors and allusions in time as well but have conveyed here (as best I can for now) what I have gathered so to be the moral/psychological significance of the second chapter and this considering like significance as it develops throughout the book.
2:1 This was how a new way of life was conceived of and brought into fruition.
2:2 The area of focus thereafter was enjoying the new way of life.
2:3 With pleasure, the Judges declared their oath to live the prescribed way of life and entreated the people to take the oath as well, which would be binding for all who’d take it.
2:4 The following is an account of the transitions from what was in former times and was being inquired into; to what was ultimately brought into being by the Judges as the new way of life.
2:5 With every joy and pleasure before it had been known. For there had not yet been disillusionment with the way of life the people had known or questions arising therefrom and subsequently pursued.
2:6 But uncertainty, desire and fear welled up within the people.
2:7 And their Conscience quelled all these, reshaping the people’s views on what they did not know and causing them to revisit what they believed they knew. The Judges discussed their thoughts for a way of life and those who bought-in, saw life differently — it appeared sweeter than it had formerly.
2:8 Their Conscience caused thoughts of contentment to take root at the fore of people’s mind. And the people meditated on this.
2:9 Pleasant, even joyful (serene) thoughts increased in the people’s mind — thoughts they found to be a pleasure for preoccupying themselves with. The way by which serenity comes into being and is maintained was apparent; as was the way by which serenity and misery alike are given rise to, abound and are turned upside-down.
2:10 Thoughts of serenity began to flourish as life was imagined through a newly furnished lens. This was fed by a constant stream of awareness of the way of life within which they dwelled. These thoughts cultivated characteristically distinct but interwoven personalities within the Judges.
2:11 The first personality to arise was the same to subsequently organize the later ones. This was characterised by attention, contentiousness, care and caution.
2:12 Thoughts were freely unfolding at this time — unbridled by judgement and free from obscurity owing to desire. There was no confusion about that which was known and that which wasn’t.
2:13 This meekness maintained its place as a prominent characteristic while joy broke fourth. Next, the people began to discriminate between what brought pleasure and what was the cause of former (and continuing) misery.
2:14 Complimentary characteristics such as strength in conversancy, developed as the differences between that which was pleasant and that which wasn’t, were inquired into further. What was good in the sight of those who would judge the people came clearer and how to maneuver the undesirable came into focus. Taken together, these characteristics cultivated a budding garden of contentment. The last area of focus (and its related personality), was continued inquiry — particularly self, and environmental observation, and this furthered malleability. What is here described as though four personalities was, however, integrated by the resolve to stay watchful of thought and feeling, and thus turn fluidly from one way of being to another as necessary.
2:15 The Judges required those over whom they (would) rule(d), to vow to live as they prescribed — being watchful of their ways and directing themselves straight.
2:16 And the Judges urged the people to preoccupy themselves with joy as the principle end.
2:16 They urged the people however, not to preoccupy themselves with the inquiry into the way by which serenity and misery comes into being, is maintained and is turned upside-down; because once they begin to, they would increase their own misery.
2:18 And the Judges thought about the vow the people would be taking, and the fact that they’d do so without pursuing the same inquiries they themselves had, and they concluded that the people would lead unfulfilling lives if this were the way they decided to make the vow. They (the Judges) believed the people needed to come to see (on their own), that which the Judges had discovered about serenity.
2:19 And the Judges discussed with the people, bringing to them matters about which they should inquire — matters they had inquired into and found joy as a result. And the Judges were attentive to the people’s views on the thoughts they shared. And whichever people perceived their thoughts, so were they allowed to view them (i.e. they retained their liberty).
2:20 And the people ascribed values to all the thoughts the Judges had shared but some ascribed no favourable value, and their vow was half-hearted.
2:21 And the Judges allowed those people’s thoughts to grow dark; and they (those people) brooded thereupon. And they returned to the thoughts they had in former days. They nursed feelings of anguish and misery but concealed this from the Judges; thereby becoming fearful as well, that their thoughts and ambitions would be discovered and thwarted.
2:22 And the side of themselves they vowed to put away, they (those people) instead nurtured and therefrom, brought fourth their own conception of an ideal way of life.
2:23 And they said to themselves, “This [conception] shall comfort us concerning our [ambitions].” (Genesis 5:29, KJV)
2:24 Thereafter, those people observed a different way of life — one of their own conception — wherein wisdom animated their ways. And attaining knowledge of the way by which serenity and misery comes into being, is maintained and is thwarted, became their preoccupation and acting on said knowledge became their organizing principle.
2:25 And they were clever (cunning/subtil), those people with their thoughts; and their ambitions would pull them in opposing directions (though this they did not yet understand). (Genesis 3:15, KJV)