If you read Genesis closely, you will discover different stories stitched together. The end of one story starts the beginning of another which then has a new story tagged onto the end of it. This can cause contradictions; like, Genesis 10 talking about all the different people and their languages. Yet Genesis 11 opens with, “Now the whole earth had one language and the same words.” This isn’t an issue for me since I know the Bible is a compilation of a bunch of stories of different people and how they see the world. Genesis 10 is the end of one such story and Genesis 11 is the start of another story, where the original author did not know the author of Genesis 10. What we get in the book of Genesis is the editor taking all of these stories and stitching them into one big story.
This week I have read through Genesis four times and to be honest I haven’t gotten a whole lot out of it besides a few interesting perspectives and some questions. The genealogies I see as very significant, but I am not sure yet in what way.
I find it very interesting that nations are established based on a person being born. Canaan is the father of the Canaanites, Esau has a second name, Edom, and he is the father of the Edomites. Jacob is called Israel who also happens to be the father of the Israelite’s. We don’t see this today. We don’t even read about this in our history books. Europe didn’t have a son named United States who then went on to build a nation called United States who then had sons named Oregon, Texas, California or Washington. The closest thing my wife and I could come up with are small family-owned businesses. The business may or may not be named after the founder, but the business does take on characteristics of the founder(s).
Why am I making this sound significant? Because a big chunk of Genesis is this long list of begets. Which also means Genesis is trying to tell a story of Origins. At least that is what I have gathered so far this week. The list of begats (means birth) I believe will pay off in the long rung after I finish my stint in Genesis and I have a feeling it is going to turn out to be a foundational aspect of the rest of the Bible.
Family goes hand-in-hand with all of the begats and, as it turns out, the Hebrew word Bereshit (Genesis) means Beginnings. So it’s no wonder that families are a main part of Genesis. Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel, Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Ishmael, Jacob and Esau, Noah, Shem, Ham, and Japheth. There are lots of Beginnings in this book.
I want to emphasize that I’m going to read Genesis 250 times, which means I will be writing about these families a lot and I will do my best in each post to give a fresh perspective.
There we have it. Lots of begats and a strong emphasis on family. These two themes are all throughout Genesis and I can’t wait to see what themes pop out next week.