Copyright 1997MWSC/Jeanie C. Crain All rights reserved.

Notes to Genesis

Names of God (names =power, personality, fate)

bulletEl Elyon-God Most High
bulletAdonai--Jewish use to show awe, My Lord
bulletHa-Shem-The Name (Orthodox Jews)
bulletThe Eternal
bulletNot a name but Presence Ex. 3.14 "I will be there when I will be there."
bulletGod Shaddai 17.1

Nature of Hebrew God

bulletExists beyond fate, nature, and sexuality
bullet(All powerful) Gives order and meaning to history
bulletBestows blessing to living creatures
bulletGives choice
bulletPunishes evil justly
bulletRules mercifully
bulletMakes covenants
bulletShapes human destiny through people of Israel

Contradictions and Opposites from Beginning

bulletPromise and delayed fulfillment
bulletFertility and barrenness
bulletRest and unrest
bulletLife and death
bulletKnowledge and ignorance
bulletMankind and animals
bulletHiding and revealing
bulletPresence and absence


bulletLonely hero provides cathartic release from frustrating battle against death
bulletDeath is overcome by community and law
bulletStress is on morality and order
bulletHumankind must make it through the world with knowledge of death
bulletHumankind created in image of God--1.27 (does not specify sex in Hebrew); image, passed on from generation to generation
bulletCovenant and election; Yahweh chooses (act of grace)
bulletMonotheism (several levels: preference for one deity, to worship of one deity, to believing that only one deity exists); contrast practical monotheism of Ten Commandments (exclusive worship of one deity) to philosophical monotheism (only one God exists); Abram, at least a practical monotheist
bulletSin (broken relationship and striving rather than rest)

Themes Found in Patriarchs-Abraham

bulletPunishment for sin with human questioning (Abram, orginally quiet, progressively questions)
bulletIntimacy with God through vision
bulletSibling rivalry with more serious outcome than murder
bulletSingling out of one to perform will of God
bulletPassing off of wife as sister episodes (12.8, 20, 26)
bulletMotif of affliction (inability to bear son; Hagar abuses temporary position; Ishmael protected by God and made into a nation)

Patterns in Life Span

bulletAbraham 175=7X5 squared
bulletIsaac 180=5X6 squared
bulletJacob 147+3X7 squared

Interpretation of levels of number symbolism: Human history is orderly and meaningful.


bulletRite of puberty and marriage
bulletHebrew moves back to birth (defuses sexuality; individual is made holy for life, not just for marriage; bears the mark in the body)

Spokesperson of God

bullet18.16 Urgent question of justice
bulletAbraham shows moral outrage, compassion
bulletHuman being confronts and questions God
bulletGod converses with self as result of questioning

Symbolism of Door/Entrance

bulletPlace of contact with God (Garden of Eden, Jacob's ladder)
bulletConfrontation with men 19.37

Life Themes

bulletSeparation between heir and first-born
bulletJourney into the unknown
bulletChild at point of death
bulletIntervention of Godís messenger
bulletParentsí sighting of the way out
bulletPromise of future blessing

Lessons Apparent in Abrahamís Life

bulletGives up past (12) leaves father, land
bulletGives up future (22) asked to sacrifice son
bulletAbrahamís active life as man of God is lived in span between (in present).

Mid-Point (22) Continuity/Discontinuity

bulletGod comes to rescue
bulletBeing chosen leads to difficulties
bulletLove leads to heartbreak
bulletManís decides relative to God
bulletAbrahamís silence--no sleepless night, says not a word
bulletAbraham, though secure in Godís covenant, must still function in the world (23)

Isaacís Betrothal/Journey

bulletSecond generation
bulletThemes of leaving, finding way, returning


bulletTroubled, triumphant
bulletThemes of struggle, deception, confrontation
bulletGives his name to Israel
bulletThemes of wandering, sibling rivalry, barren wife, wives in conflict, renaming, God perceived in dream and vision

Two Levels of Reality: Human and Divine

bulletHuman events viewed in context of Godís will
bulletTensions of fate/free will, destiny/choice

Jacobís Journey

bulletResembles that of grandfather Abraham (visionary)
bulletResembles that of son (Joseph, dreamer)
bulletAt portals of manhood, journeys into foreign land
bulletWives: love, jealousy, and children
bullet32--meeting with God
bulletWrestles with God, reunited with Esau
bulletConflict between Jacob and Esau=threat to covenant: could lead to extinction of Abram's family; Jacob's leaving land for 20 years also threatens covenant--family could simply return to Mesopotamia.
bulletEthnic distinctiveness and the land (like 14, appear as interlude)

Joseph (37-50)

bulletRelationship formed between Abram's family and land
bulletEmerging profile of Judah (significance for later history); role is parallel to that of Jacob (deceived, asks for evidence concerning identity)
bullet37--Judah's younger son: forces his way out when all seems lost; makes breach (Judah-Tamar, twins Perez, Zerah)
bulletJoseph (39), same kind of forcing out
bulletProvidential care of Joseph=sovereign control of history