The Pentateuch, which includes the first
five books of the Old Testament, beginning with Genesis and running
through Deuteronomy, has always been held in special veneration. These
five books are called THE LAW, as opposed to the later books, which are
either historic or poetic or prophetic, while the Pentateuch, though
partly historic, is mainly occupied with proclaiming the Law of God, and
establishing the rules by which the Hebrews aimed, and still aim today,
to regulate their lives.
Tradition assigns the authorship of these books to Moses, the chief
prophet, leader, and law-giver of his race. Hence the books are often called the five
books of Moses. Indeed, the later Hebrews seem to have believed that the early writings
of Moses were
identical with the five books as we possess them today; and this
Hebraic view was widely adopted in the early Christian Church. It is now
generally supposed, however, that the Pentateuch in its present form was written some centuries
death of Moses, uniting in a single account several detached earlier
records of his teaching.
Genesis, the name of which means "the beginnings," is the first of these
five books of the Law, or "five fifths" as the Hebrews call them.
Genesis receives its name both from its opening words and from its
contents ; for it explains the beginning of earth and of man. Many of
its verses contain poetic metaphors, which should not be too exactly
construed; yet it is historical in a vague and vastly broad sense. The
purpose of its history is to point out the relations existing between
God and man, and especially between God and the "chosen race," the
Hebrews. The book is thus the natural preliminary to the four following
ones, which proclaim the laws of God as established for man's guidance,
and tell the story of the revelation of these laws to Moses and his
Opening with the Creation, Genesis devotes five chapters to the first
peopling of the earth. Then in five more chapters it tells of the
destruction of mankind by the deluge, and of the second peopling of the
earth by the descendants of Noah. In the eleventh chapter, Abraham
appears as the central figure of the narrative. In him the faith and
knowledge of the true God was preserved or rather it was strengthened
and revealed anew, and he was sent with his family into Palestine, the
Holy Land. The story of Abraham and of his covenant with God occupies
fifteen chapters, toward the close of which his son and successor,
Isaac, becomes the central figure. Then in the twenty-sixth chapter
Jacob, the son of Isaac, is born, to succeed in his turn to the position
of the special friend and servant of God.
The twelve sons of Jacob were the progenitors of the twelve tribes of
Israel, so that the story of each of them is told at some length. Joseph was the
most prominent among them, and from the time of his birth, as related in the
he becomes gradually the central personage of the narrative, and so
continues till the end of the book. It was under his leadership that the Hebrews left
the Holy Land and settled in Egypt, where four hundred years of bondage were to
punish them for their sins, before Moses appeared.
Genesis thus stands as the introduction, not only to the account of
Moses and his promulgation of God's law, but to all the historical books
which follow, and which tell of the return of Abraham's descendants into
Palestine, and their fortunes during their second dwelling there. It
introduces also the poetical books and prophecies, which refer
frequently to the story of the creation, or of the patriarchs and their
covenant with God. Also in a sense Genesis introduces the New Testament;
for the Old Testament tells of the fall of man, and the New proclaims
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In the beginning was the Word. God spoke Heaven and Earth into being, and what a beautiful Word that must have been. The Hebrew
word Beresheet, which means "in the beginning," opens the Book of Genesis.
This decorated initial word is from the first volume of a planned multi-volume edition of the Hebrew Bible. The volume was
published by the Society of Jewish Bibliophiles, the Soncino Gesellschaft, in Germany in 1933. Hitler's rise to power
prevented the Society from completing what would have been the first bibliophilic edition of the Hebrew Scriptures.
Genesis Chapter 1
The Creation of Heaven and Earth. Of the sun, moon and stars. Of Man in the image of God. Appointment of food.
Genesis Chapter 2
The first Sabbath. The manner of the creation. The naming of the creatures. The making of woman and institution of marriage.
Genesis Chapter 3
The serpent deceives Eve. The fall of man. Punishment of mankind. Adam and Eve caste out of paradise. Temptation of man. Judgment of man.
Genesis Chapter 4
The birth, trade and religion of Cain and Able. Cain kills Able. The curse of Cain.
Genesis Chapter 5
Genealogy, age and death of the Patriarchs from
Noah. The godliness and translation of Enoch.
Genesis Chapter 6
The wickedness of the world provokes God wrath. The ark dimensions
and specifications. God commands Noah to bring two of every living thing into the ark.
Genesis Chapter 7
Noah, with his family, and the living creatures enter the ark. Beginning of the flood.
Genesis Chapter 8
The earth is flooded. Arks rests on mountains of Ararat. Noah leaves ark. Noah builds altar and offers sacrifice.
Genesis Chapter 9
God blesses Noah. Blood and murder forbidden. God's covenant signified by rainbow. Noah replenishes the world. Noah's nakedness.
Genesis Chapter 10
Generations of Noah. Family of Japheth, Ham, Canaan and Shem.
Genesis Chapter 11
One world language. Building of the Tower of Babel. Confusion of tongues. Confound language.
Genesis Chapter 12
Initiation of the Covenant. God calls Abram and blesses him with a promise of Christ. Abram journeys through Canaan.
Genesis Chapter 13
Abram and Lot return out of Egypt. God's promise to Abram. Abram builds altar.
Genesis Chapter 14
The battle of the kings. Lot taken prisoner. Abram rescues Lot, refuses reward.
Genesis Chapter 15
God promises Abram a son. Abram justified by faith. Canaan promised and confirmed by vision.
Genesis Chapter 16
Sara gives Hagar to Abram. Ishmael is born.
Genesis Chapter 17
God renews covenant. God changes Abram's name to Abraham - the Father of all nations. Circumcision is instituted. Sara promised a son; Isaac.
Genesis Chapter 18
Sarah's faith is tested.
Abraham entertains three angels.
Destruction of Sodom is revealed to Abraham.
Genesis Chapter 19
Angels take Lot and his wife and daughters out of Sodom. Sodomites are blinded. Sodom and Gomorrah are destroyed. Lot's wife pillar of salt.
The sin of Lot.
Genesis Chapter 20
Abraham sojourns at Gerar. Abraham says wife is sister.
Genesis Chapter 21
Birth of Isaac. Hagar and Ishmael sent into the wilderness. God promises he will make Ishmael a great nation.
Genesis Chapter 22
Offering of Isaac. God spares Isaac. Abraham sacrifices ram.
Genesis Chapter 23
Age and death of Sarah.
Genesis Chapter 24
Isaac marries Rebekah (Rebecca).
Genesis Chapter 25
Abraham age and death. Family of Isaac. Birth of Esau and Jacob.
Esau sells his birthright.
Genesis Chapter 26
The failure of Isaac. The failure of Esau.
Genesis Chapter 27
Jacob obtains Esau's blessing from Isaac.
Genesis Chapter 28
Jacob's Dream. Jacob's ladder. Jacob's vow.
Genesis Chapter 29
Genesis Chapter 30
Rachel bears Jacob a son.
Genesis Chapter 31
Genesis Chapter 32
Jacob wrestles Angel, God for a blessing. Jacob renamed Israel.
Genesis Chapter 33
Jacob makes peace with Esau.
Genesis Chapter 34
The defilement of Dinah.
Genesis Chapter 35
Jacob's family puts away idols. The death of Rachel and Isaac.
Genesis Chapter 36
History of Esau.
Genesis Chapter 37
Joseph hated by brothers. Joseph's brothers conspire to kill him. Joseph sold into slavery. Coat of many colors.
Genesis Chapter 38
Joseph's family sins.
Genesis Chapter 39
Josephs resists master's wife. Joseph thrown into prison.
Genesis Chapter 40
Josephs interprets prisoner dream.
Genesis Chapter 41
Joseph's test with Pharaoh's dreams. Plentiful Egypt.
Genesis Chapter 42
Joseph's brothers visit Egypt. Joseph imprisons brothers, sends brothers home.
Genesis Chapter 43
Joseph's brother's second journey to Egypt. Josephs entertains brothers.
Genesis Chapter 44
Genesis Chapter 45
Joseph makes himself known to his brothers. Joseph sends for his father.
Genesis Chapter 46
Jacob's family safe in Egypt.
Genesis Chapter 47
Jacob blesses the family in Egypt.
Genesis Chapter 48
Joseph visits his sick father. Israel prophecies their return to Canaan.
Genesis Chapter 49
Jacob dies in Egypt.
Genesis Chapter 50
Joseph dies in Egypt at 110 years old.
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