An easy approach to understand the structure of Genesis is observing its content and style. The book divides into two sections: Genesis 1-11 and Genesis 12-50. The former is the Ancient History covers the time between creation and the tower of Babel. The time its covered is more than the total time of the rest of Bible recorded. The second part of Genesis is history of Israelite Fathers. Time in this section slows the pace and focus on a man, Abraham and his family for four generations. Its tells about God initiates His salvation to mankind starts from calling Abraham, with His blessing, moves from his homeland to Canaan; to the death of his descendant Joseph at the end of the book.
It is interesting to find both sections starts with God’s word. In Gen 1:1: God said, “Let there be light…”, God initiates the creation of the world by His word. And in Gen 12:1: “Now the Lord said to Abram, ‘Go from your country… I will show you…” God initiates Abraham to His election plan also through His word. Both sections are constructed begins with a creation by the Word of God. The power of His Word creates the universe (1:1) as well as a new destiny of a special people, nation through a man (12:1).
Not only similarity shown in the beginning of the two sections, as in all fifty chapters of Genesis, many repeated words and phrases have been carefully adopted. Let compare the two accounts of creation in Gen 1 and Gen 2-3 and explain what I have found. The description of the creation of the world varies one from the other in terms of its content, word, phrase and style.
1. The writer of Gen 1 chooses repeated words and phrase to describe God’s creation: “And God said” or “Then God said” (v. 3,6,9,11,14, 20,24,26); u...
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...with the new nations after the Flood (10:1) and emphasis on the descendants of elected nations (11:10, 27) to the prologue of Abram.
Another 5 episodes is being constructed in the section of History of Israelite Fathers, three records the story of Abraham & Isaac (12:1-25:18), the story of Jacob (25:19-36:43) and the story of Joseph (37:1-50:26). The other two episodes narrate Ishmael at the end of Abraham cycle (25:12,18) and Esau at the end of Jacob cycle (36:1, 43).
Therefore, using a genealogy approach, by counting and listing the generation to generation, connects separate ancient stories and complies them, writer A constructs the book of Genesis and contribute a sense of unity to it. And in a wider sense, writer A construct the sections of Ancient History and History of Israelite Fathers with a common beginning - God’s creation with the power of His Word.
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