“The Heb. nom. רוּחַ [rûaḥ] occurs 387x in the OT. ‘It is best considered a primitive nom., related to an ayin-vowel root רֻח “to breathe”’ … Similar roots are accounted for in the Ugar. rḥ, Phoen. rḥ, and the Arab. rı̂ḥ, wind, and rûḥ, spirit, which are both derived from rāḥa, to blow; cf. Eth. rōḥa, make a slight wind” (M. V. Van Pelt, W. C. Kaiser, Jr., and D. I. Block, NIDOTTE).
NRSV: while a wind from God swept over the face of the waters
Fox: rushing-spirit of God hovering over the face of the waters
Potential rendering: while a wind, the breath of God, swept over the face of the waters
"The only other use is in Deut. 32:11 (in the Piel stem as in Gen. 1:2): ‘like an eagle that stirs up [ʿûr] its nest, that hovers [rāḥap] over its young.’ Scholars have traditionally supposed that this verse concerns how a bird teaches its young to fly, specifically how the parent provokes the young to flight. The parent bird drives the young eagle from the perch by intimidation, by rushing at the young while vigorously flapping its wings. ... But this interpretation may be called into question by the possibility that ʿûr in Deut. 32:11 does not mean ‘to stir up,’ but rather ‘to watch over, to protect,’ as in Ugar. ǵyr.”
“Translation into Greek was not difficult because pneuma has a similar range. The Latin spiritus, however, begins to foreground the abstract and immaterial secondary meanings of the Hebrew term, leaving behind the more tangible significations of wind and breath; this process was institutionalized and reinforced by Christian theological developments that - privileging abstraction and "spirituality" over more concrete imagery - ultimately left behind the meanings of wind or breath altogether” (Seidman).
At the beginning of God’s creating of the heavens and the earth,
the earth—still barren and vacant,
darkness on the face of a primeval ocean,
and a wind, the breath and spirit of God, hovering on the face of the waters--
God said: Let there be light. And there was light.