2:1 Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. 2 And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done. 3 So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all his work that he had done in creation.
The Creation of Man and Woman
of the heavens and the earth when they were created,
in the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens.
Footnotes 2:5 Or open country
 2:5 Or earth; also verse 6
 2:6 Or spring
It struck me, as it never had before, that there is a puzzle here. Genesis 2 apparently says that humans were created before plants were. Genesis 1, taken literally, says that plants were created on the third day, and humans on the sixth. I am not a Hebrew scholar, but the translation above, also the NIV and the NASB, seem to say that there were no plants growing until Adam was created. Here's the ASV, which is public domain:
|And no plant of the field was yet in the earth, and no herb of the field had yet sprung up; for Jehovah God had not caused it to rain upon the earth: and there was not a man to till the ground;|
So what's going on? Well, it seems to me that Genesis 2:5 is scriptural evidence that the days of creation of Genesis 1 are not meant to be taken literally. (Exodus 20:11 seems to be evidence that they were.)
I knew that Meredith G. Kline, who was a Bible scholar, had written about Genesis 2:5 as evidence for non-literal days, and that knowledgeable Christian blogger Jeremy Pierce had written about this subject also, and that neither had argued that correctly interpreting Genesis demands that the days of Genesis 1 were literal, but reading this passage in the ESV reminded me forcefully of this matter.
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Note added Jan 24: There have been enough comments that I plan to post again on this subject. Also, I entered it in this week's Christian Carnival, so it may get a few more readers, who may also deserve some sort of response.