They were also of interest to the individuals, families and tribes of whom we read in the first 38 chapters of Genesis. They are: More specifically, these pivotal events involve: In these three major events there is a progression from the "very good" world which God created purposefully, to the fallen world in which God is working to bring about His purposes in creating the world and man. If He violated the covenant, He would in effect be subject to the same fate as the animals. Its message is rich and complex, and listing its main elements gives a succinct outline of the Biblical message as a whole. God's word of promise, sworn by oath to Abraham, intervenes in history to bless Abraham and his elect seed, whom He calls and separates to Himself to walk before Him in faith and obedience. for "source," "origin," or "birth" (see above). passed between the pieces" (Gen 15:17). The climax to this sequence of events comes when God commands Abraham to offer up Isaac as a burnt offering to Him. 50) and several Egyptian words and names used throughout these chapters. Thus, as a result of man's sin, the personal relationship that existed between God and man was, from man’s side of the relationship, irreparably damaged as God cursed the man and drove him from His presence. In each of these contexts four theological categories—God, Man, Creation and World order/creation mandate—are considered. God's word of judgment against all mankind: The confusion of man's language at the Tower of Babel (11:1–9), 1. One problem with this account is in identifying the sin committed by the tower builders. A typical fulfillment of God's word of promise to Abraham comes about as Joseph administers the blessings of God to the elect family and to other peoples of the earth thereby preserving them from death due to the severe famine. Of the three elements which comprise the biblical context, the theological element is by far most important for understanding the book of Genesis both as a whole and in part. This formula word for Genesis, then, marks a starting point, combining narrative and genealogy to move from one point (or toledot) to the end (or the next toledot). Without the exercise of faith, one could not partake of the blessings of the covenant. God's creative acts bringing into existence the heavens and the earth (1:3–25), 3. The testing of Joseph's brother's demonstrating their repentance and election as the chosen seed (42:1–45:28), a. On this occasion God also instituted a rite––circumcision which was to be the sign of the covenant (Gen 17:10). Remove the period at the end of Genesis 1:1and read it as originally intended: The conjunction at the beginning of Genesis 1:2 tells us that Genesis 1:1 is not a summary of the creation ac… "Subdue" and "rule" now have come to be expressed as "The fear and dread of you will fall upon the beasts of the earth and all the birds of the air, upon every creature that moves along the ground, and upon all the fish of the sea" (Gen 9:2). In as much as history begins with the Creation, there can be no historical context for this the first recorded act of God. It is supremely a book that speaks about relationships, highlighting those between God and his creation, between God and humankind, and between human beings. The inheritance right of an adopted household member or slave (see 15:1–4), the obligation of a barren wife to furnish her husband with sons through a servant girl (see 16:2–4), strictures against expelling such a servant girl and her son (see 21:10–11), the authority of oral statements in ancient Near Eastern law, such as the deathbed bequest (see 27:1–4,22–23,33)—these and other legal customs, social contracts and provisions are graphically illustrated in Mesopotamian documents. Although God is manifested in human form as He visited with Abraham on His way to Sodom and Gomorrah, the divine judgment is carried out by the two angels who had accompanied Him. Rather man would now have to toil with hard labor in order to get the land to produce the food needed to live. When once this act was accomplished, and Abraham did obey God, God instituted an irrevocable, unconditional program. (4:1–26), C. God's word of judgment falls upon all the descendants of Adam removing the universal spread of wickedness and violence by destroying all flesh on the earth through the flood, yet hope continues as He delivers Noah and his family by means of the ark and establishes a new world order in the aftermath of the flood through Noah and his sons. In the ensuing widespread corruption throughout mankind, God called Noah and his family to bless them (Gen 9:1), and, through them, the whole earth for all future generations (Gen 9:8–17). . As discussed in the Introduction to the Pentateuch, the most immediate recipients of the Book of Genesis would likely have been the Exodus generation. In view of the significant progressive development of this context, it will not be discussed here but will be noted and made use of to the extent needed in the process of understanding the book as a whole. Genesis 1:1-2:3 on Its Own Terms and in Its Own Historical and Literary Context Posted on January 30, 2015 by Steven DiMattei Genesis 1:1-2:3’s depiction of the creation of the world was shaped by ancient Near Eastern cosmological perspectives and … With a new world order in place, man sets out in a world in which there can no longer be a personal relationship with God, and man, in his fallen state, can do nothing to change it. It was, however, in the plan and purpose of God to do so. The Word of God responds in righteousness and justice to man’s act of disobedience by executing judgment on a world fallen under the dominion of the evil one, pronouncing the ultimate conquest over the evil one through conflict with the (elect) seed of the woman, and by limiting the immediate influence and spread of evil throughout the earth. Q. The Abrahamic Covenant establishes a covenant–relationship between Yahweh and Abraham and his descendants after him; Yahweh will be their God and they will be His unique people. (21:1–21), b. Abimelech’s realization that God is with Abraham in all that he does confirms that God is fulfilling His promise to bless Abraham in the land of Canaan. However, a certain amount of later editorial updating does appear to be indicated (see, e.g., notes on 14:14;36:31; 47:11). This thesis is a study of Genesis 38 as a distinct literary unit which is intimately related to its literary context. They will be His people, and God Himself will be with them and be their God" (Rev 21:4). ; Gen 26:1–3, 23, 24; 28:10–22; 31:3; 32:24–30; 35:1, 9; 46:1–4). Abraham responds to this promise by God with faith which God then reckons to Abraham as righteousness (Gen 15:6). It is through Abraham and his elect seed that God will now work to bring about His plan and purpose for man. (12:10–15:21), a. Famine in the land of Canaan causes Abram to compromise his faith in God’s promise to bless him in the land as he seeks relief in Egypt, but God's infliction of diseases on Pharaoh and his household protects Sarai from Pharaoh who then orders Abram to take his wife and go, leaving him no alternative but to return to Canaan. The election and rejection of Joseph as God's chosen ruler (37:1–38:30), b. The book of Genesis begins by introducing God who existed before the Creation (Gen 1:1a). "Genesis," is the title of the first book of the Bible. Genesis also claims that it was God who created the world (Gen 1:1b). Jacob's deception to get Isaac's blessing (27:1–46), 2. This is manifested in the serpent's attitude toward God which questions God’s truthfulness and challenges His authority. As Ge 1–38 is Mesopotamian in character and background, so chs. In the context of Genesis 48. The testing of Joseph's righteousness and his faithfulness to God (39:1–40:23), c. The vindication of Joseph through his elevation to ruler over all Egypt (41:1–57), 2. The last five sections constitute a much longer (but equally unified) account, and relate the story of God’s dealings with the ancestors of his chosen people Israel (Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Joseph and their families)—a section often called “patriarchal history” (11:27—50:26). The course of the narrative is improperly broken by the division of the chapter. The language and context denote a hostility on the part of Ishmael (and his descendants), toward his brethren (Isaac and his descendants), and even among Ishmael’s own people. The English title, Genesis, is Greek in origin and comes from the word geneseos, which appears in the pre-Christian Greek translation (Septuagint) of 2:4; 5:1. The scope of this judgment was individual and personal. It is thoroughly monotheistic, taking for granted that there is only one God worthy of the name and opposing the ideas that there are many gods (polytheism), that there is no god at all (atheism) and that everything is divine (pantheism). (30:25–43), c. God's blessing of Jacob with a safe return to the Land of Promise and to his father's house fulfills the promise God made to him at Bethel, but only after he turns to God in repentance and humility, confirms that Jacob is the elect seed of Isaac to whom the covenant promises are transferred. The need of the man for a companion like himself, impressed upon him through his naming all the animals, moves God to create the woman from the man's rib and bring her to him that he might cleave to her in intimate relationship and become one with her. Since toledot is derived from a Hebrew verb which means, to bear, to generate, it refers to what is "brought forth." Lastly, man would now be living under the dominion of the evil one, and, in this environment, God decreed that there would be enmity between the seed of the woman and the seed of the evil one (Gen 3:15). Though this is the most common view of these chapters, there are numerous clues left by the text itself, by the surrounding context, and by other passages in Scripture which indicate that something else is going on in the flood account. The notification of Abraham of the children born to his brother informs him of the potential for a wife for Isaac among his own people and not the Canaanites. 39). For example, world order in the physical realm is seen in the separation of the heavens and the earth and in their movements so as to provided for day and night, and for signs for seasons, days and years. to 1806 B.C. God's word of promise to Isaac and His blessing him confirms him as the elect seed of Abraham to whom the covenant oath is transferred, while Isaac's faith in God's promises demonstrate that he is the elect seed. Since the former was c. 966 b.c., the latter—and thus the date of the exodus—was c. 1446 (assuming that the 480 in1Ki 6:1 is to be taken literally; see Introduction to Judges: Background). God's creative acts bringing into existence man (1:26–30), 1. In determining the message statement of Genesis it is helpful to remember that most likely it was written for the generation of Israelites whom God redeemed from bondage in Egypt. The first phrase in the Hebrew text of 1:1 is bereshith (\"in [the] beginning\"), which is also the Hebrew title of the book (books in ancient times customarily were named after their first word or two). (21:1–22:19), a. Sarah’s conception and birth of Isaac fulfills God’s word of promise to provide an heir through her, and the jealousy aroused in Ishmael necessitates that he be sent away confirming that Isaac and not Ishmael is the elect seed of Abraham. One possibility is that the Plain of Shinar is the likely geographic location for Ur of the Chaldeans, the home of Abraham whose story is next presented. The relationship between the man and the woman was also drastically changed as there was now suspicion of motives between them (Gen 3:12) and a ruling of the man over the woman (Gen 3:16). The one who led man into rebellion against God will be defeated by the seed of the woman, a man! This conclusion is supported by the fact that chapter 10 already refers to the different languages spoken by the nations as they spread throughout the world (Gen 10:5, 20, 31). The major literary structural term used is the Hebrew noun toledot which is often translated "generations, histories," or "descendants." GENESIS 1:1 “In the beginning” KING JAMES VERSION (KJV) TRANSLATION, MEANING, CONTEXT. God's word of promise to Isaac the elect seed of Abraham (25:19–26:35), 1. (11:10–50:26), A. Nowhere is God's desire to bless man more apparent than in His dealing with Abraham and his descendants to whom He unconditionally promised to bless and to be the means through which He would bless all the families of the earth (Gen 12:1–3). In this act of divine judgment God is not a distant participant but is present in some way holding all participants accountable and pronouncing judgment on them. The creation order thus decrees that there is a separation of the many different species of vegetation and animals. 36). It gives us the first hint of God’s provision for redemption from the forces of evil (compare 3:15 with Ro 16:17–20) and contains the oldest and most profound statement concerning the significance of faith (15:6; see note there). 43), Egyptian religious and social customs (the end of chs. By attempting to reverse the roles and assert his independence of limitations, man became a marred and defective image, one who could no longer represent his sovereign in an unhampered and perfect way. People may understandably disagree about matters that are intrinsically uncertain in … The deceitfulness of the serpent/evil one causes the woman to succumb to the subtle temptations and the man to follow his wife in disobeying God's command. The author appears to locate Eden, humankind’s first home, in or near Mesopotamia; the tower of Babel was built there; Abram was born there; Isaac took a wife from there; and Jacob lived there for 20 years. Each of these documents is claimed to have its own characteristics and its own theology, which often contradicts that of the other documents. Genesis also is clear that God created man, and that He created man in His own image. The transfer of the covenant promises to Jacob (28:1–22), 3. The fall of man into a state of sin and dominion under the evil one (Gen 3:1–7), 2. Rebekah’s barrenness threatens Isaac’s faith in God to provide an heir through whom the covenant promises would continue, but his prayer to God affirms his faith which is rewarded by God as Rebekah conceives and gives birth to twins, yet God's purposes in election are made sure as He identifies the younger as the elect seed. While man’s fall into a state of rebellion against God resulted in the breaking of his personal relationship with God, God made provision for the eventual restoration of that image and relationship. From the opening verses of the second creation account, or if my reader prefers right at Genesis 2:4b, we notice stark differences in the text’s tone, style, vocabulary, message, presentation, and thematic and theological emphases and even beliefs. 43; 46), Egyptian administrative procedures (ch. Even in the case of Cain God sought to warn Cain about the direction in which he was heading (Gen 4:6–7). Conversely, those without faith, those who did not submit to circumcision were excluded from the benefits of the covenant, for God commanded, "Any uncircumcised male . World order is clearly established by man's relationship to God. Whether there would be a covenant program with Abraham depended upon Abraham's act of obedience. With a new world order set in place, man embarks into a world in which personal relationship with God is no longer possible and man, in his state of sin, can do nothing to change it. Based on the message statement and synthetic structure developed above, a synthesis of the text of Genesis may be constructed as follows. World order is also manifested in the relationship God established between the man and the woman—a man shall leave his father and mother and shall cleave to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh (Gen 2:24). (13:1–18), c. Abram’s refusal to accept the king of Sodom's offer to keep the plunder taken from Sodom and Gomorrah and recaptured by Abram, affirms his faith in God to bless him for he did not want any man to say he made Abram rich. The testing of Isaac's faith in God's promise to give the land to the descendants of Abraham (26:1–6), 3. (29:1–30:24), b. The Nuzi tablets (see chart, p. xxiii), though a few centuries later than the patriarchal period, shed light on patriarchal customs, which tended to survive virtually intact for many centuries. 1In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. (46:1–47:26), E. The expectant hope of the elect seed in the complete fulfillment of God's word of promise to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, is expressed in both Jacob's and Joseph's instructions concerning their burial in the land God promised to Abraham. Thus God's word of creation brings into existence the world from outside of the world. (14:1–24), d. God's unilateral cutting of a covenant with Abram affirms His intention to fulfill His word of promise, but this fulfillment will be delayed for Abram's descendants will first be enslaved and oppressed for 400 years in a foreign land until the iniquity of the Canaanites is complete. (50:1–26), Related Topics: Introductions, Arguments, Outlines, Frank DeCanio holds a Bachelor's degree in Electrical Engineering and a Master of Science degree in Systems Science from the Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn. But nowhere in the OT does toledot clearly refer to what has preceded; in every place it can and often must refer to what follows (e.g., in Ruth 4:18 the word looks forward to Perez's line). The 11th tablet of the Gilgamesh epic is quite similar in outline to the flood narrative in Ge 6–8. The implication here is that life is inherent in God. OK, now let’s start looking at Genesis 2. . 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