Thursday, December 31, 2009

Re-Read of Genesis

I was doing a re-read of Genesis this morning, well, the first 12 chapters at least. I am trying to get some prep done for a coming sermon series on Genesis in January through March.

I found a couple of things that spurred me to further thought, and figured this might be a chance to reach out to the more erudite crowd who surfs through this blog.

First, I realized that God gave all of the fruits and vegetables to Adam and Eve to eat in Genesis 1, only to then change the plan in Genesis 2.
Chapter 1:29 Then God said, "I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. 30 And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds of the air and all the creatures that move on the ground—everything that has the breath of life in it—I give every green plant for food." And it was so.

Chapter 2:15 The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. 16 And the LORD God commanded the man, "You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; 17 but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die."
Then I found this little bit in the story of Noah:
Genesis5:25 When Methuselah had lived 187 years, he became the father of Lamech. 26 And after he became the father of Lamech, Methuselah lived 782 years and had other sons and daughters. 27 Altogether, Methuselah lived 969 years, and then he died.

28 When Lamech had lived 182 years, he had a son. 29 He named him Noah c]" style=" line-height: 0.5em; ">[c] and said, "He will comfort us in the labor and painful toil of our hands caused by the ground the LORD has cursed." 30After Noah was born, Lamech lived 595 years and had other sons and daughters. 31 Altogether, Lamech lived 777 years, and then he died.

32 After Noah was 500 years old, he became the father of Shem, Ham and Japheth.

Genesis 7:6 Noah was six hundred years old when the floodwaters came on the earth. 7 And Noah and his sons and his wife and his sons' wives entered the ark to escape the waters of the flood.

As I read that Noah got on the boat the same year that Methuselah died. Did Methuselah die in the flood?


At January 02, 2010, Blogger Daniel Wilcox said...

Hi David,

That's how the narrative flow goes, but according to scholars I've read the second narrative was actually given centuries before the first.

There are other intriguing differences too aren't there? In the second, Adam is created first, then the animals, then Eve. In the first narrative, animals are created first, then humans--both male and female are created together. In the first, God is "above" creation, speaking it into existence, but in the second narrative, he walks in the Garden.

One of the most interesting commentaries I have read is Robert Alter's notes on the literal translation--The Five Books of Moses.
He shows how we lose much of the feel of the stories in modern translations. He demonstrates that in Genesis 24, 15 Hebrew words are reduced to only 5 in English!
Alter also shows intriguing puns, alliteration, and metaphors in the Hebrew that don't come through in most English translations. As a literature teacher, I love that kind of hidden stuff.
I wish I had continued my Hebrew class when I lived in Israel.

On the theological/ethical level, I find much that is troubling in Genesis.

In the Light,



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