Week Two: Genesis 23-50 

This week, read: Genesis 23-50 

At Least Know This

Abraham dies in chapter 25, and the stories of his descendants continue. God made a covenant with Abraham in Genesis 12, to use Abraham and his descendants to unify all people back to God. The point of the stories is always “How is God going to keep his promises?”

 

Author and Date

Jesus once referred to the first five books of the Bible as the “Books of Moses” (Mark 12:26). So, through most of church history, people assumed that Moses wrote those books. Modern analysis of the ancient Hebrew text shows that there were many people (or many groups) that edited the book. 

The book of Genesis was probably put in its final form during the Babylonian Exile (587-538 BC). Abraham, the main character in the first part of Genesis, may have lived around 1750 BC (give or take a couple hundred years).

 

Historical Situation 

For most of this part of Genesis, the Children of Israel are in Palestine. They are mostly nomadic, tending their flocks. In chapter 41 and 42, there was a famine in the land of Palestine. Jacob’s sons go down to Egypt to find food (Egypt has the Nile, so there’s almost always food in Egypt).

 

Important Passages

At the end of chapter 21, Abraham and Sarah have one son, Isaac. So, after all these years since God made his covenant (Genesis 12), he finally has a son that will continue God’s promise of Abraham having many children. It’s written so that the reader let’s out a sigh of relief, saying, “Finally! God kept his covenant.”

Then, at the beginning of chapter 22, God tests Abraham by telling him to sacrifice his only son. As with all the stories in Genesis, you’re meant to jump to your feet and say, “Oh no! How can God carry out his promises if Isaac is dead?” After each story in Genesis 22-50, you’re meant to watch how God carries out his promises. 

 

Faith Insights 

The story of Joseph moving from a spoiled child, to a slave, to a prisoner, to ultimately the prime minister of Egypt is a fascinating one. It shows how God was with Joseph the entire time, and God continued to keep the promise he gave to Abraham. In all our journeys of life, God is with us, too—walking with us and always keeping his promises. 

 

 

 

 

If you run across a passage that you have questions about, feel free to post questions (or insights that you have received from the Bible reading), then please click here.

Our first face-to-face meeting is on January 10, 2019 at 6:30-7:45.