The Bible, the world’s best-selling book of all time, records key events concerning humanity, from the creation of the first man and woman (described in Genesis, its first book) to the end of this age, described throughout the Tanakh (Christian Old Testament) and expanded upon in the book of Revelation (the closing book of the Brit Chadashah or Christian New Testament). This study is a continuation of ‘Genesis Part 1,’ which described the creation of the world and its inhabitants; its corruption and progressive deterioration through the influence of humanity’s implacable adversary ha–satan; and G*d’s indissoluble pact with Noah, ratified by a rainbow.
Test Your Knowledge
1. Where was Babel located?
2. From which of Noah’s sons was Abram descended?
3. Where did Abram first call upon G*d’s Name?
4. Where did Lot go from Sodom and Gomorrah, and what were the two tribes resulting from his incestuous acts?
5. Name the father and brothers of Abram
6. How old were Abraham and Sarah at the birth of Isaac?
7. Discuss Abram’s call.
8. Why did Lot and Abram part company, and where did each of them go?
9. Discuss G*d’s three covenants with Abram (Genesis 13, 15, 17).
10. How was the third covenant different from the first two?
11. Why did Hagar name her child Ishmael?
12. Comment on Abraham’s bargaining with G*d re Sodom
13. What is the significance of Beersheba?
14. What moved G*d to swear by Himself in Genesis 22?
15. Where, and at what age, did Sarah die?
16. Discuss Abraham’s two deceptions
Highlights of Genesis Chapters 11 – 25
In Chapter 11, we see the second rebellion of humanity against the Creator, beginning, as in the first case, with the sinful act of Canaan, and then becoming more generalised in the events leading to the construction and demolition of the Tower of Babel. The first Fall occurred among the flowers and fruits of Eden; the second among the bricks and asphalt of the city. Chapter 12 describes the call of Abraham, known as the Friend of G*d and Father of the Faithful. All the saved of all ages are “children of Abraham.” Just as through Noah, G*d bridged the gap between the antediluvian and post-diluvian worlds, through Abraham, He bridged the gulf between humanity’s second great apostasy and the appearance of the Lord Jesus Christ, the Sun of Righteousness with healing in His wings. The next three chapters contain details of Abram’s separation from Lot; a military operation in which Abram and his allies rescued Lot following his capture by a raiding party; and a confirmation of the heavenly promise to Abram.
After 10 years in which the promised son and heir has failed to materialise, Sarai suggests Abram father a child by her personal maid Hagar. Through this means, which was perfectly legitimate in that day, Abram and Sarai try to help G*d fulfil His promise. However, G*d reaffirms His existing covenant with Abraham, and commands the rite of circumcision as its sign (Chapter 17). In Chapter 18, G*d reaffirms the covenant for the benefit of Sarah, and announces the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, which duly takes place (Chapter 19), as referenced throughout the New Testament. Chapter 20 describes the way in which Abraham and Sarah use an act of subterfuge as a protective device: although this strategy appeared to work from a human standpoint, in fact, G*d’s intervention was required in order to effect His plans for Abraham.
Chapters 21 – 25 detail the birth of Isaac, Ishmael’s mockery followed by the expulsion of Hagar and Ishmael from Abram’s household; the constitution and charter of Judaism, and the embryo of Christianity; the death of Sarah and her burial in the Cave of Machpelah; the procurement of a bride for Isaac; the birth of Jacob and Esau; and the act of Esau selling his birthright.
The Faithfulness of Abraham
Faithfulness trusts even when the final form of our circumstances is unforeseeable. The age and personal circumstances of Abram (later Abraham) made the fulfilment of G*d’s promises to him seem impossible, but he remained faithful. Faithfulness always sees that nothing is impossible for G*d.
Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD and turn away from evil. This will bring healing to your body and refreshment to your bones. Proverbs 3:7-8.
Answers to T-Y-K Questions
1. Babel was located in Shinar, in northern Mesopotamia.
2. Abram was a descendant of Shem.
3. Abram first called on G*d’s Name in Bethel-near-Ai, where he built an altar.
4. From Sodom and Gomorrah, Lot went to a small town called Zoar. The two tribes resulting from the incest between Lot and his daughters were the Ammonites and the Moabites.
5. Abram’s father was called Terah; his brothers were Nahor and Haran.
6. Abraham and Sarah were 100 and 91, respectively, when Isaac was born.
7. G*d told Abram at age 75, while he was living in Ur of the Chaldees in Mesopotamia, to leave town for a destination to be revealed. Taking his wife Sarai and nephew Lot (the deceased Haran’s son), he moved to Canaan, settling between Bethel and Ai.
8. Abram and Lot parted company due to arguments among their individual entourages re territorial encroachments. Abram then lived in Canaan, while Lot chose the fertile plain of Jordan.
9. G*d’s three covenants with Abram: (1) In Genesis 13: 14-18, after his parting from Lot, G*d assured Abram of Canaan as his inheritance. (2) In Genesis 15, after Abram rescued Lot and encountered Melchizedek, G*d told Abram in a vision of his impending fatherhood. (3) In Genesis 17, Abram ratified the afore-mentioned covenant through circumcision.
10. G*d’s third covenant with Abram differed from the first two in that it involved a physical manipulation of flesh, in the male circumcision rite, as well as a name change from Abram to Abraham.
11. Hagar gave her son the name Ishmael because G*d had heard her in her distress after Sarai had evicted her and her teenaged son Ishmael into the desert.
12. Abraham set a minimal number of righteous souls for G*d to save the city, successively lowering it from 50 to 45, 40, 30 and, finally, 10. Thus, he was the first intercessor.
13. Beersheba, which means ”Well of Seven’ or ‘Well of oath,’ marked the place where Abraham made a peace treaty with Abimelech, King of Gerah, and called upon the Name of the Lord.
14. The willingness of Abraham to sacrifice his only legitimate son (Genesis 22) is the act that moved G*d to swear by Himself.
15. Sarah died aged 127 in Kiriath Arba (Hebron, Canaan), when Isaac was 36.
16. Abraham’s two deceptions: (1) In Egypt, he claimed that Sarah was his sister, leading to Pharaoh taking her into his palace (Gen 12: 10-20). (2) He made the same claim to Abimelech King of Gerah in Genesis 20:1-7.