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Genesis About this book

About this book
The name “Genesis” comes from a Greek word meaning “beginning”. And this is a book of beginnings, because it talks about the beginning of the universe, the beginning of the human race, and the beginning of the people of Israel.
The first part of Genesis (1—11) tells about creation and the human race up to the time of Abraham. Everything God created was good, but the first two human beings, Adam and Eve, disobeyed him and brought evil into the world. People became so sinful that God decided to send a flood to kill everyone except a man named Noah and his family. They worshipped God, and so God told them to build a large boat to save themselves and a few of each kind of animals and birds. After the flood people again spread out over the earth, and most of them stopped worshipping God.
The rest of the book of Genesis (12—50) contains the story of Abram and his family. God chose them to be the beginning of his own special people. God also changed Abram's name to Abraham, and the name of Abram's wife Sarai to Sarah. Abraham and his wife Sarah had no children, but God promised that they would have a child and that their descendants would some day have their own land and be a blessing for all nations.
Abraham and Sarah moved to Canaan, the land that God had promised to give their descendants. Abraham and Sarah had a son, Isaac, when they were very old. Isaac later had two sons, Jacob and Esau. As the book concludes, Jacob's twelve sons and their families are living in Egypt. One of these brothers, Joseph, had become the governor of Egypt. But Joseph knew that God would some day keep his promise to his people:
Before Joseph died, he told his brothers, “I won't live much longer. But God will take care of you and lead you out of Egypt to the land he promised Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.”
(50.24)
A quick look at this book
1. The story of creation (1.1—2.25)
2. The first sin and the first murder (3.1—4.16)
3. Descendants of Adam before the flood (4.17—5.32)
4. Noah and the flood (6.1—9.28)
5. The descendants of Noah and the tower of Babel (10.1—11.32)
6. The Lord chooses Abram (12.1-20)
7. Abram and Lot (13.1—14.24)
8. The Lord's promises to Abram (15.1-21)
9. Abram, Hagar, and Ishmael (16.1-16)
10. God changes Abram's name to Abraham and promises him a son (17.1—18.15)
11. Abraham, Lot, Sodom, and Gomorrah (18.16—19.38)
12. Abraham, Sarah, and Isaac (20.1—23.20)
13. Rebekah, a wife for Isaac (24.1-67)
14. The death of Abraham (25.1-18)
15. Isaac and his family (25.19—28.9)
16. Jacob and his family (28.10—35.29)
17. Esau and his family (36.1-43)
18. Joseph is sold by his brothers as a slave (37.1-36)
19. Judah and Tamar (38.1-30)
20. Joseph in Egypt (39.1—41.57)
21. Joseph and his brothers (42.1—45.28)
22. Jacob and his family go to Egypt (46.1—47.31)
23. Jacob blesses his family and dies (48.1—50.14)
24. Joseph dies (50.15-26)
Introduction
The title of this book in the Hebrew Bible comes from the first word of the book, Bereshith, “In the beginning.” The English title, Genesis, a Greek word meaning “origin,” comes from the title of this book in the ancient Greek Septuagint Bible, simply by borrowing it without translating. The title is appropriate since Genesis is a book of beginnings: the beginning of the universe and the planet earth, the origin of all earth's life forms and human beings, the first entry of sin and suffering into the world through the human inclination to disobey God and to presume they know better than God what is right or wrong.
The beginnings of God's chosen people—the Israelites—follow these “pre-historical” accounts with the story of Abraham and Sarah and all of the Israelites' earliest ancestors (chapters 12–50). Abraham is famed for his great faith and his willingness to follow the call of God to leave his homeland in the region of the Upper Euphrates River and to venture to a new land, where God promised that many of his descendants would one day live. The stories of his son, Isaac, and his grandsons, Esau and Jacob, follow. The twelve sons of Jacob (also called Israel) become the founders of the twelve tribes of Israel as Jacob, his sons, and their households (“souls,” according to Exod 1.5) settled into life in the Nile Delta in Lower Egypt, where they had been forced by famine to seek food and work. It may have appeared then that the light of God's promise was growing dim as they were forced by their desperate circumstances to abandon their homes and livelihoods in the land of promise.
But Genesis tells how God's providence intervened in the person of Joseph, a great-grandson of Abraham and one of the twelve sons of Jacob. In a fit of jealousy the other brothers had sold the young Joseph into slavery in Egypt, but thanks to his bright mind and the providence of God, Joseph had risen to power in Egypt as vizier, reporting directly to Pharaoh. Joseph's careful planning enabled Egypt to get through the “lean years” of famine by storing up grains during the good years for later rationing. It was also Joseph's gracious generosity that led him to forgive his brothers and care for his family in their desperation. All through the book, the central character is God, the creator and gracious provider.
Outline
The Creation of the Universe, Earth, and Human Beings (1.1—2.25)
The Beginning of Sin and Suffering in Human Life (3.1-24)
From Adam to Noah (4.1—5.32)
Noah and the Great Flood (6.1—10.32)
The Tower of Babel (11.1-9)
From Shem to Abraham (11.10-32)
The Israelite Ancestors: Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (12.1—35.29)
The Descendants of Esau (36.1-43)
Joseph and his Brothers (37.1—45.28)
The Israelites in Egypt (46.1—50.26)