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O V E R V I E W: The fi rst book of the Bible, Genesis, covers the period from God's creation of the heavens and the earth through the Israelites' entrance into Egypt. In both Greek and Hebrew, the fi rst word of this book means 'beginning'--and Genesis records a number of beginnings: the universe, the earth, plants, animals, humankind, sin, judgment, redemption and more. While many times listed as secondary players in the drama of Genesis, women play key roles in the book of beginnings and often shed light on the humanness of God's chosen people. Adam and Eve fail the test of obedience to God, and they each incur different consequences. God tells Adam that the ground will be cursed because of his actions. And God announces to Eve that she will have 'pains in childbearing.' Both consequences are evident then and now! The Hebrew nation begins with the call of Abram (later renamed Abraham) (see Ge. 12). His wife, Sarai, renamed Sarah, serves as the matriarch of the Hebrew race. God will use the Hebrews to introduce salvation to the humanity. He rewards the elderly Abraham's faith with the birth of his second son, Isaac. Sarah is overjoyed and laughs with delight (see Ge 21:6). Isaac grows up and marries Rebekah. After a struggle with infertility, God blesses the couple with twin sons---Jacob and Esau. God selects the younger twin, Jacob (later renamed Israel) to become the progenitor of the Covenant people---the Israelites. Jacob and his wives---Leah and Rachel---and their servants---Zilpah and Bilhah---have a total of 12 sons and one daughter. The book climaxes with Israel and his family in Egypt where God uses one son, Joseph, to provide for their survival; from this family comes the 12 tribes of Israel. A U T H O R : M O S E S Although the authorship of the entire Pentateuch (the fi rst fi ve books: Genesis---Deuteronomy) has been challenged during the last quarter of a century, there is no compelling reason to deny the traditional view: These books were the work of Moses, who lived at the time of the Israelite exodus from Egypt. Many scholars believe God's divine revelation enabled Moses to write about the parts of the Pentateuch he did not live through (Genesis and the latter parts of Deuteronomy). Aside from the internal and external information confi rming Mosaic authorship, there are confi rming statements made by the Lord Jesus. On one occasion Jesus stated, 'For Moses said...' (Mk 7:10 quoting Ex 20:12), and on another occasion he stated, 'What did Moses command you?' (Mk 10:3 referring to Dt 24:1--4). To affi rm that Moses is the author of the Pentateuch neither rules out assistance from other persons, nor Moses' use of outside material, and the possibility of later updates by others. Genesis? Book Intro D A T E : While some scholars date the Israelite departure from Egypt at around 1225 B.C., most accept the date to be earlier, sometime around 1446 B.C. Thus, the book of Genesis is believed to have been composed between the Exodus and the entrance of the Israelites into the land of Canaan 40 years later, around 1406 B.C. O U T L N E : The phrase, 'the generations of,' repeated 11 times, points us to the outline of the book of Genesis. This phrase can be understood as the 'record' or 'story of.' I. The Story of Creation (Gen. 1---2:3) II. The Story of Adam and Eve (Gen. 2:4---4) III. The Story of Adam's Descendants (Gen. 5---6:8) IV. The Story of Noah (Gen. 6:9---9:17) V. The Story of Noah's Sons (9:18-11:9) VI. The Story of Shem's Descendants (Gen. 11:10-26) VI. The Story of Abraham and Sarah (Gen. 11:27---25:11) VII. The Story of Ishmael, Hagar's son (Gen. 25:12-18) VIII. The Story of Isaac and Rebekah (Gen. 25:19---27:40) IX. The Story of Esau, Jacob, Leah and Rachel (Gen. 27:41-33:20) X. The Story of Dinah and the Shechemites (Gen. 34:1-31) XI. The Story of Jacob, Esau and Joseph continued (Gen. 35---37:36) XII. The Story of Judah and Tamar (Gen. 38:1-30) XIII. The Completion of the story of Joseph (Gen. 39-50)
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