Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Bible Summary of the Book of Genesis


Moses wrote the book of Genesis, as well as the next four books of the Bible. He may have combined oral traditions and other written accounts to compose this book, in addition to receiving new information from God.


Genesis Chapter 1


In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

-Genesis 1:1


He created everything in six days, then rested on the seventh day. That's why the seventh day, or Sabbath ("rest" in Hebrew), is special.


God created humans last and made them in God's image. He made humans to rule over the rest of creation.


So God created mankind in his own image,
    in the image of God he created them;
    male and female he created them.

- Genesis 1:27


Humans and animals were to eat only plants.



Genesis 2

God made a man ("Adam" in Hebrew) and placed him in a garden in Eden to take care of it. The garden was near the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers.


Then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.

- Genesis 2:7


Two trees in the middle of the garden were the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil and the Tree of Life.


And the Lord God commanded the man, "You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die."

- Genesis 2:16-17


The Lord God said, "It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him."

- Genesis 2:18


God brought the animals He had made to Adam to name them, but they were not suitable helpers for him.


So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man's ribs and then closed up the place with flesh. Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man.


The man said,

"This is now bone of my bones
    and flesh of my flesh;
she shall be called 'woman,'
    for she was taken out of man."

- Genesis 2:21-23


Adam and Eve were both naked, and they felt no shame.



Genesis 3

The serpent, the craftiest animal, spoke to Eve and contradicted God. It said that the consequence of eating from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil would not be death but that her eyes would be opened and that she would be like God, knowing good and evil.


Eve ate some of the fruit from the Tree and gave some to Adam. Both of their eyes were opened, and they realized that they were naked. They sewed fig leaves together to cover themselves.


When God came to the garden, Adam and Eve hid from Him because they were afraid. God called to them and questioned them.


God then cursed the serpent to crawl and to be the enemy of humans. God made childbirth painful for women and made men the ruler over women within the household. God made it more difficult to work the ground and said that humans will return to dust since that is what He made the man from.


"By the sweat of your brow
    you will eat your food
until you return to the ground,
    since from it you were taken;
for dust you are
    and to dust you will return."

- Genesis 3:19


God then made garments of skin for Adam and Eve and confirmed that they had become like God, knowing good and evil. He then banished them from the garden so that they would not also eat from the Tree of Life and live forever. God placed cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the Tree of Life.



Genesis 4

Adam and Eve became the parents of Cain, then Abel. Cain was a farmer and Abel a shepherd. Cain brought some of his produce as an offering to God, but Abel brought the firstborn of his flocks. God was pleased with Abel's offering but not Cain's. This made Cain angry.


God told Cain that if he did what was right, He would accept him. Otherwise, sin would overtake him.


"If you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; 

it desires to have you, but you must rule over it."

- Genesis 4:7


Cain then killed Abel.


Then the Lord said to Cain, "Where is your brother Abel?"

"I don't know," he replied. "Am I my brother's keeper?"

- Genesis 4:9


God then cursed Cain to be a wanderer and said that the soil would no longer produce crops for him.


Cain was afraid that someone would kill him, but God placed a mark on Cain warning of God's punishment if anyone killed Cain.


Cain then went to live east of Eden.


Cain and his wife had a son named Enoch. Cain also built a city and named it after his son.


Cain's descendants invented stringed instruments and pipes and the art of forging tools from iron and bronze.


One of Cain's descendants married two women. This is the first example of polygamy in the Bible.


Lamech said to his wives,

“Adah and Zillah, listen to me;
    wives of Lamech, hear my words.
I have killed a man for wounding me,
    a young man for injuring me.
If Cain is avenged seven times,
    then Lamech seventy-seven times."

- Genesis 4:23-24


Adam and Eve, meanwhile, became the parents of Seth. Around the time of Seth's son, people began to call on the name of the Lord.



Genesis 5

God had created Adam to be like Him. Adam's children were like Adam.


Adam and his descendants lived hundreds of years, up to Methuselah's 969. All of them died except for Enoch.



Enoch walked faithfully with God; then he was no more, because God took him away.

- Genesis 5:24



Genesis 6

Some "sons of God" had children by "daughters of men." This is the time when the Nephilim were on the earth.


God saw how sinful people were and declared that He would destroy everything on the earth in 120 years.


The Lord saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, 

and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time.

- Genesis 6:5


Noah, however, was favored by God because he was a righteous man. God told Noah to build an ark, with its exact dimensions and materials. God told Noah to bring two of every kind of animal with him, along with enough food for himself and his family.



Genesis 7

God told Noah to take seven pairs of every kind of clean animal and two of every unclean animal. These animals came to Noah and entered the ark.


God shut Noah and his family and the animals in the ark. Then, it rained for 40 days and nights. There was so much rain that the water covered the mountains. All the people, land animals, and birds died, except those on the ark.


The water flooded the earth for 150 days.



Genesis 8

With Noah and the animals with him in the ark in mind, God sent a wind over the earth to make the water recede. After the 150 days, the water had gone down enough that the ark rested on the mountains of Ararat.


Forty days later, Noah began sending birds out to see if they could find dry land. Finally, a dove returned with a fresh olive branch in its beak.


After a little more time, God told Noah to leave the ark.


Noah built an altar to God and sacrificed some of the clean animals. Then God decided to never curse the ground again because of humans (as He did in Genesis 3) or destroy every living thing, as He had in the Flood, even though He knew that humans would continue to be sinful.


"As long as the earth endures,
seedtime and harvest,
cold and heat,
summer and winter,
day and night
will never cease."

- Genesis 8:22


Genesis 9

God blessed and his sons with the ability to have many descendants and with authority over the animals. He also gave humans explicit permission to eat animals. God did, however, command humans not to eat animal blood.


God also said that He would judge any person or animal that shed human blood.


"Whoever sheds human blood,
    by humans shall their blood be shed;
for in the image of God
    has God made mankind."

- Genesis 9:6


God then promised Noah and all the animals to never flood the entire earth again and set the rainbow in the clouds to remind Himself of the promise.


"Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth."

- Genesis 9:16


Later, Noah planted a vineyard and got drunk on the wine he made. As he was lying naked in his tent, his youngest son, Ham, went in, saw Noah naked, and went out and told his older brothers. The two older brothers, Shem and Japheth, then walked in backward so that they would not see Noah naked and placed a garment over him.


When Noah woke up, he cursed Ham's descendants to be the slaves of Shem and Japheth's.



Genesis 10

The descendants of Japheth spread out toward the sea.


The descendants of Ham inhabited such notable places as Cush, Egypt, Babylon, Assyria, and Canaan.


The descendants of Shem lived toward the east.



Genesis 11

There was only one language.


As people moved east, they built a city on the plain of Shinar. They built a brick tower in the city to make a name for themselves so that they wouldn't be scattered over the earth.


God saw what they were doing and knew that if people continued to work together, they could do almost anything they dreamed of. To prevent this, He caused them to speak different languages, and they moved away into various people groups. The city they were building is called Babel (Confusion).


Tracing the line of Shem, we eventually come to Abram, later named Abraham. The descendants of Shem are Semites, or Semitic people.


Abram's father was Terah, who lived in Ur of the Chaldeans. Terah started to take his family to Canaan but stopped short, settling in Harran.



Genesis 12

God told Abram to move on from Harran.


"Go from your country, your people and your father's household to the land I will show you.


"I will make you into a great nation,
    and I will bless you;
I will make your name great,
    and you will be a blessing.
I will bless those who bless you,
    and whoever curses you I will curse;
and all peoples on earth
    will be blessed through you."

- Genesis 12:1-3


Abram was 75 years old when he left Harran. His wife, Sarai, went with him, as did his nephew Lot.


When Abram arrived in Canaan, God promised to give him the land, and Abram built multiple altars throughout Canaan to worship God.


When a famine came to the land of Canaan, Abram went to stay in Egypt. Afraid of the Egyptians, he told Sarai to lie and say that she was his sister only (she was actually his half-sister and wife). Otherwise, an Egyptian might kill Abram to take Sarai for himself, because Sarai was beautiful (at 65 years of age).


Pharaoh did take Sarai to be his wife, but God caused Pharaoh and his household to become sick so that he couldn't sleep with her. When Pharaoh realized what was happening, he sent Abram and Sarai away.



Genesis 13

Abram and his family went back to Canaan. By this time, both he and Lot had acquired so much livestock that their shepherds were fighting over land and resources.


Abram, not wanting to be in conflict with Lot, suggested that they split up. He even offered Lot first pick of where to go.


Lot saw that there was plenty of water on the plain of the Jordan, so he moved there, toward the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. These cities were known to be wicked.


God then promised to give Abram the whole land and to give him more descendants than he could count.



Genesis 14

When war broke out in the area around Sodom and Gomorrah, Lot was taken captive. Someone escaped and told Abram what happened. Then Abram, along with his allies and 318 of his male servants, tracked down and defeated the force that had taken Lot. Abram rescued all the people and recovered all the goods.


Melchizedek (King of Righteousness), who was the king of Salem (Peace) and also a priest of God, came out to meet Abram and blessed him. (Note: The city of Salem had not been involved in the fighting.) Then Abram gave Melchizedek a tenth of all the goods.


The king of Sodom offered to let Abram keep the rest of the goods for himself.


But Abram said to the king of Sodom, "With raised hand I have sworn an oath to the Lord, God Most High, Creator of heaven and earth, that I will accept nothing belonging to you, not even a thread or the strap of a sandal, so that you will never be able to say, 'I made Abram rich.'"

- Genesis 14:22-23



Genesis 15

Abram questioned God as to how his descendants would take possession of the land when, as of yet, he had no descendants.


God assured him that He would give him many descendants.


Abram believed the Lord, and he credited it to him as righteousness.

- Genesis 15:6


To give Abram even more assurance, God had him cut various animals in half in preparation to make a covenant. When Abram fell asleep, God appeared to him again and said that his descendants would be slaves in another country for 400 years. After that, they would come back to Canaan. The reason for the delay, God said, is that the sins of the Amorites had not yet reached their full measure.


Then, God, appearing as a smoking firepot with a blazing torch, passed between the pieces of animals.



Genesis 16

Sarai was barren. After 10 years of living in Canaan, she gave her Egyptian slave Hagar to Abram as his surrogate wife.


Abram had sex with Hagar, and she became pregnant. Then she despised Sarai. Abram told Sarai to do whatever she wanted with Hagar, so Sarai mistreated Hagar.


Hagar, still pregnant, ran away into the desert. The angel of the Lord appeared to her there and told her to go back to Sarai and submit to her and that she would have many descendants through her son, Ishmael.


The angel of the Lord also said to her:


"You are now pregnant
    and you will give birth to a son.
You shall name him Ishmael
    for the Lord has heard of your misery.
He will be a wild donkey of a man;
    his hand will be against everyone
    and everyone's hand against him,
and he will live in hostility
    toward all his brothers."

- Genesis 16:11-12


Hagar then understood that she had seen the God who sees her.


Abram was 86 years old when Ishmael was born.



Genesis 17

When Abram was 99, God made a covenant with him, renewing the promise to give Abram's descendants the land of Canaan and to make them into a great nation.


God then gave Abram the stipulation that to be included in the covenant, every male in his family had to be circumcised at 8 days old. Male servants were also to be circumcised.


God also changed Abram's name to Abraham, the meaning of which changed from "Exalted Father" to "Father of Many." And He changed Sarai's name to Sarah and said that she would bear Abram a son the next year. This son would be the one to carry on the covenant.


Abraham laughed and asked that Ishmael be blessed. God assured him that He would bless Ishmael but that Sarah would have a son, and they were to name him Isaac (Laughter).


Abraham then circumcised himself, Ishmael, and all his male servants.



Genesis 18

Soon after, Abraham saw three strangers walking by and offered them a meal.


As they were eating, one of the men said that He would return around that time next year and that Sarah would have a son.


Sarah, in the tent, overheard and laughed because she was so old. The man asked why she laughed.


"Is anything too hard for the Lord?

I will return to you at the appointed time next year, and Sarah will have a son."

- Genesis 18:14


As the "men" were leaving, they walked with Abraham toward Sodom and Gomorrah. God told him that He was going to destroy the two cities for their wickedness.


Abraham questioned whether God would destroy the cities if some righteous people were living there. God answered, starting at 50 and going all the way down to 10, that He would spare the cities if there were even that few righteous people living there.



Genesis 19

The two "men" were revealed to be angels in the form of men. They went to Sodom. Lot was sitting in the gateway of the city and insisted they stay in his house. The two "men" agreed, but later that night, the men of the city surrounded Lot's house and threatened to break in and attack him if Lot didn't send his guests out to be sexually abused by the men.


Lot went out and offered to send out his two daughters instead, but the men did not agree and advanced toward the house. The two angels then pulled Lot back into the house and struck the crowd with blindness.


The angels told Lot to take his family and leave the city because they were going to destroy it. Lot tried to warn the two men who were engaged to his daughters, but they brushed him off, thinking he must be joking.


At dawn, the angels again warned Lot to leave the city. He hesitated for some reason, and the angels took him, his wife, and their two daughters by the hand and led them out of the city, telling them to flee and not look back.


Lot begged to take refuge in a small town nearby named Zoar. The angels allowed it, but as the family was fleeing, Lot's wife looked back and turned into a pillar of salt. She had seen the Lord raining down brimstone (burning sulfur) on the city and on the surrounding area, including Gomorrah.


Abraham saw the smoke from where he was.


God rescued Lot for Abraham's sake.


Later, Lot and his two daughters moved to the mountains because they were afraid to stay in Zoar. Because there were no other men around, his two daughters agreed to get Lot drunk and have sex with him. The older daughter gave birth to Moab (ancestor of the Moabites), and the younger daughter gave birth to Ammi (ancestor of the Ammonites). Lot was not aware of having sex with his daughters.



Genesis 20

Abraham went to Gerar and told King Abimelek that Sarah was his sister, so Abimelek took Sarah as his wife. But God warned Abimelek in a dream not to have sex with her. He told Abimelek to have Abraham pray for him because Abraham was a prophet.


The next morning, Abimelek asked Abraham why he had wronged him in this way but then also gave him gifts of cattle and slaves and money and sent him away in peace. Then Abraham prayed for Abimelek, and God allowed Abimelek's wife and female slaves to conceive again.



Genesis 21

God enabled Sarah to have a son at the age of 90. Abraham was 100 years old. When their son Isaac was eight days old, Abraham circumcised him, as God commanded him.


One day, Sarah saw Ishmael mocking Isaac and asked Abraham to send Hagar and Ishmael away from the family. Abraham was distressed, but God told him to do it and promised to make both of Abraham's sons into great nations.


When Hagar and Ishmael ran out of water in the desert, the angel of the Lord revealed a well of water to Hagar to keep the two of them from dying.


Ishmael became a great archer in the Desert of Paran and married a woman from Egypt. Hagar had been from Egypt.


Around this same time, Abimelek came to Abraham to make a treaty with him because he recognized God was with Abraham and wanted him as an ally rather than a potential enemy.


Genesis 22

God tested Abraham.


Then God said, "Take your son, your only son, whom you love—Isaac—and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on a mountain I will show you."

- Genesis 22:2


The next morning, Abraham took two of his servants and Isaac and started on the journey. They arrived on the third day. Abraham and Isaac went up the mountain alone.


As the two of them went on together, Isaac spoke up and said to his father Abraham…

"The fire and wood are here, but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?"

Abraham answered, "God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son."

And the two of them went on together.

- Genesis 22:6-8


At the top of the mountain, Abraham built an altar and laid Isaac on it. When he was about to kill him, the angel of the Lord called out to him and stopped him.


"Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son."

- Genesis 22:12


Abraham then sacrificed a ram that was caught by its horns in a thicket. Because of Abraham's obedience, God confirmed the promises He had made to him.


Meanwhile, the family of Nahor, Abraham's brother, was growing. One of Nahor's granddaughters was named Rebekah.



Genesis 23

Sarah died at the age of 127, and Abraham bought a field with a cave in it to bury her. This field and cave in Machpelah was the first piece of property he actually owned in Canaan.



Genesis 24

Abraham did not want Isaac to marry a Canaanite. He sent his servant to get a wife for Isaac from among his own relatives. Abraham assured the servant that God would send his angel ahead of him to make him successful in his mission.


The servant arrived in the town of Nahor and stopped a the well. He prayed that if he asked a woman who came to the well to give him a drink, she would offer to water his camels as well. Then he would know she was the one God had chosen for Isaac. And that's exactly what happened! Before he had finished praying, Rebekah came out and did exactly what he had prayed for.


Rebekah and her family agreed to the marriage, and she left with the servant the next morning. Isaac was pleased with Rebekah, and she was a comfort to him after the death of his mother Sarah.



Genesis 25

Abraham took another wife after the death of Sarah. Her name was Keturah, and he had sons by her but left the main inheritance of his estate to Isaac. Abraham died at 175 years old, and Isaac and Ishmael buried him in the cave of Machpelah.


Ishmael's descendants lived near the border of Egypt and were hostile to all the tribes related to them. Ishmael died at 137.


At age 40, Isaac married Rebekah. Rebekah couldn't have children for the first 20 years of their marriage, but Isaac prayed, and God answered his prayer, giving them twin boys. During the pregnancy, Rebekah felt the babies jostling one another in her womb. She asked God why this was happening, and He answered:


"Two nations are in your womb,
    and two peoples from within you will be separated;
one people will be stronger than the other,
    and the older will serve the younger."

- Genesis 25:23


Esau (Hairy) was the first to come out, followed by Jacob (Deceiver) holding onto Esau's heel. Esau was an outdoorsman and hunter, while Jacob liked "to stay at home among the tents." Isaac loved Esau, and Rebekah loved Jacob.


Jacob was making stew one day when Esau came in from the countryside hungry. Jacob told Esau to give him the birthright of the firstborn before he would give Esau any stew, and Esau agreed to the deal! – not valuing his birthright.



Genesis 26

When a famine occurred, God told Isaac not to go down to Egypt to live but to stay in Canaan. God confirmed the promises He had made to Abraham. So, Isaac went to the Philistine city of Gerar to seek aid from King Abimelek.


While in Gerar, Isaac lied and said Rebekah was his sister, fearing that the men of that place would kill him and take her if they knew she was his wife. But Abimelek saw Isaac caressing Rebekah and summoned him to ask him why he had put the men of his city in danger; if one of them had taken Rebekah, they would have been guilty without knowing it. So, Abimelek ordered his people not to harm Isaac or Rebekah.


Isaac's crops and flocks increased so much that the Philistines began to envy him. To sabotage him, they stopped up the wells Abraham had planted. King Abimelek even asked Isaac to move some distance away from the city.


In the Valley of Gerar, Isaac had to move three times and his servants had to dig three wells before the herders of Gerar stopped fighting with him over land and resources.


"Now the Lord has given us room and we will flourish in the land."

- Genesis 26:22


God again confirmed His promises to Isaac, and Isaac built an altar to worship Him.


Abimelek and his army commander came to make a treaty with Isaac.


Meanwhile, Esau married two Canaanite women, which grieved Isaac and Rebekah.



Genesis 27

Isaac went blind when he was older. Not knowing when he would die, he called Esau to go hunt and prepare some food for him, after which he would give Esau his blessing as the firstborn. But Rebekah heard the conversation and told Jacob to cook some food and dress in Esau's clothes so that he would smell like his brother to trick his father and take the blessing of the firstborn. They even put goat hair on Jacob's hands so that he would feel hairy like Esau.


Isaac was suspicious but ultimately pronounced the blessing over Jacob, making him "lord over your brothers."


When Jacob left, Esau came in, and Isaac realized he had been tricked. Not being able to take back the original blessing given to Jacob, Isaac blessed Esau with the ability to get out from under Jacob's control "when you grow restless."


Then Esau vowed to kill Jacob when Isaac died. Rebekah heard him and told Isaac to send Jacob away to get a wife from her family so that he wouldn't marry a Canaanite.



Genesis 28

As Isaac sent Jacob back to get a wife from among his cousins, he blessed Jacob with the promises given to Abraham to inherit the land of Canaan and have many descendants.


Esau realized how much Isaac disliked the fact he had married Canaanite women, so he took a third wife, one of Ishmael's daughters.


On Jacob's way to Harran…


He had a dream in which he saw a stairway resting on the earth, with its top reaching to heaven,

and the angels of God were ascending and descending on it.

- Genesis 28:12


In the dream, God confirmed His promises to Abraham, now given to Jacob. When he woke up, Jacob set up the stone he had been lying on as a pillow and poured oil over it.


Then Jacob made a vow, saying, "If God will be with me and will watch over me on this journey I am taking and will give me food to eat and clothes to wear so that I return safely to my father's household, then the Lord will be my God and this stone that I have set up as a pillar will be God's house, and of all that you give me I will give you a tenth."

- Genesis 28:20-22



Genesis 29

Jacob arrived at a well near Harran and met his cousin Rachel as she was bringing her family's sheep to get water. Laban, Jacob's uncle, invited Jacob to stay with them.


Jacob offered to work for Laban for seven years as the bride price for marrying Rachel. He loved Rachel. But Laban had another daughter named Leah, the older sister of Rachel. When the time came for Jacob to marry Rachel, Laban gave him Leah instead. In the darkness, Jacob did not know the difference. In the morning, Laban explained it was customary to give the older daughter in marriage before the younger. He would give Rachel to Jacob a week later, but Jacob had to work for him another seven years.


God saw that Jacob did not prefer Leah, so He allowed her to have children, while Rachel remained childless. Leah had four boys in a row: Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah.



Genesis 30

Rachel became frustrated at having no children, so she gave her servant Bilhah to Jacob to sleep with. Bilhah's children would be counted as Rachel's. Bilhah gave birth to Dan, then Naphtali.


Leah had stopped having children, so she gave her servant Zilpah to Jacob. She gave birth to Gad and Asher.


Then Leah bargained with Rachel to let Jacob sleep with her again, and Leah gave birth to Issachar, then Zebulun, then Dinah.


Then God remembered Rachel; he listened to her and enabled her to conceive.

- Genesis 30:22


She gave birth to Joseph.


At this point, Jacob was ready to return home, but Laban convinced him to keep working for him in exchange for a share of Laban's flocks. The two agreed that any sheep or goat that wasn't white would belong to Jacob. Then, when the stronger female animals were ready to mate, he would peel poplar branches and have the animals mate in front of them. This increased his chances to produce dark and spotted young, so he became very prosperous.



Genesis 31

Laban and his sons became jealous of Jacob's success. Then, God told Jacob to go back to Canaan. Jacob told his two wives God had revealed the method of breeding to him in a dream, and they agreed to leave Paddan Aram and go to Canaan.


As they were leaving, Rachel stole Laban's household gods without Jacob's knowledge, and the family did not tell Laban they were leaving. Three days later, Laban heard about Jacob's departure and took his relatives with him to chase Jacob down. In a dream, God told Laban,


"Be careful not to say anything to Jacob, either good or bad."

- Genesis 31:24


When Laban caught up to Jacob, he accused him of not letting him bid his family farewell and of stealing his gods. Jacob admitted he was afraid Laban would take his wives back from him, then allowed Laban to search his belonging for the idols. Rachel was sitting on them on her camel. She told Laban she couldn't get up because she was on her period.


The two men, still unfriendly toward one another, made a covenant not to cross that spot to harm each other. Laban also charged Jacob not to take any other wives than his two daughters. The next morning, Laban bid his family farewell and returned home.



Genesis 32

Continuing on his way, Jacob had an encounter with angels. Jacob then sent messengers to tell Esau he was coming home and to ask for peace. When the messengers returned, they told Jacob that Esau was on his way with 400 men.


Afraid, Jacob divided his family and flocks into two groups.


He thought, "If Esau comes and attacks one group, the group that is left may escape."

- Genesis 32:8


Jacob then prayed to God, admitting he was unworthy of all the kindness God had shown him but calling on God to fulfill His covenant promises. Then he sent Esau a gift of livestock.


That night, Jacob sent his family and the rest of his possessions over the river while he stayed by himself. A man came and wrestled with him until daybreak, finally wrenching Jacob's hip. The man would not tell Jacob his name, but said,


"Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel,

because you have struggled with God and with humans and have overcome."

- Genesis 32:28


Jacob concluded he had seen God face to face. (Israelites do not eat the tendon attached to the socket of the hip because that's where God touched Jacob.)



Genesis 33

When he saw Esau and his 400 men approaching, Jacob put the two servant women and their children in front, then Leah and her children, and finally Rachel and Joseph, with himself behind them.


He himself went on ahead and bowed down to the ground seven times as he approached his brother.

- Genesis 33:3


But Esau ran forward and embraced Jacob. Esau said he didn't need all the gifts Jacob had sent, but Jacob insisted he keep them.


"If I have found favor in your eyes, accept this gift from me.

For to see your face is like seeing the face of God, now that you have received me favorably."

- Genesis 33:10


Then Esau returned to Seir, and Jacob bought some land from Hamor, the father of Shechem, and camped near the city of Shechem in Canaan.



Genesis 34

Dinah, the daughter of Jacob and Leah, went to visit the women of Shechem. Prince Shechem raped her, and he loved her. He told his father Hamor to get Dinah for him as his wife.


Hamor and Shechem came to talk to Jacob.


Meanwhile, Jacob's sons had come in from the fields as soon as they heard what had happened.

They were shocked and furious, because Shechem had done an outrageous thing in Israel by sleeping with Jacob's daughter—a thing that should not be done.

- Genesis 34:7


Hamor asked the family of Israel to intermarry with his people. Jacob's sons deceitfully said that if the Shechemite men circumcised themselves, they would agree.


Hamor and Shechem convinced their people to be circumcised, saying that all of Jacob's possessions would eventually become the Shechemites' once the family of Israel intermarried with them.


Three days later, while the Shechemite men were still in pain from circumcising themselves, Simeon and Levi, Dinah's brothers, secretly went and killed every male and brought Dinah back home. They looted the city and took the Shechemite women.


Jacob then told them they had brought trouble on him, fearing that the other people of the land would join forces against him.



Genesis 35

God told Jacob to move, and in response, he told everyone in his caravan to get rid of any idols they had with them. They did so, and no one pursued them as they moved back to Bethel, where Jacob had had his dream on his way to Laban. God appeared to Jacob again and repeated the covenant promises.


Later, as they moved on from Bethel toward Bethlehem, Rachel died giving birth to Benjamin.


They moved on from Bethlehem, and one day, Reuben, Jacob's firstborn, slept with Bilhah, and Jacob heard about it.


Jacob then visited his father Isaac, who was 180 years old. Isaac died, and Jacob and Esau buried him.



Genesis 36

Esau took his family and moved to Seir because he and Jacob had too many possessions to live together. Their country became known as Edom, and they had kings before Israel did.



Genesis 37

(This chapter seems to be a flashback to before Israel left Shechem and before Benjamin was born.)


When Joseph was 17, he brought a bad report to Jacob about his brothers as they were tending the flocks.


Now Israel loved Joseph more than any of his other sons, 

because he had been born to him in his old age;

and he made an ornate robe for him.

- Genesis 37:3


Their father's favoritism made Joseph's brothers hate him.


Joseph had two dreams. In the first, Joseph and his brothers were binding sheaves of grain, and their sheaves bowed down to his. They saw this as Joseph saying he would rule over them.


In the second dream, the sun and moon and 11 stars bowed down to him. Even Jacob was offended at this, but he kept it in mind.


One day, while Joseph's brothers were grazing the flocks near Shechem, Jacob sent Joseph to them. As he approached his brothers, they plotted to kill him. They planned to throw him down a cistern and say an animal killed him. Reuben said they should throw him in the cistern but not kill him. He planned to come back later and pull him out and take him home.


The brothers took Joseph's ornate robe off him and threw him down a dry cistern. When a caravan of Ishmaelites came by, they sold him to them, and they took him to Egypt. Meanwhile, Reuben had left, and when he came back, he saw Joseph missing from the cistern.


The brothers then slaughtered a goat and dipped Joseph's robe in it. They took it back to Jacob to make him think Joseph had been killed by an animal.


In Egypt, Potiphar, the captain of Pharaoh's guard, bought Joseph.



Genesis 38

Judah married a Canaanite woman. She gave birth to Er, Onan, and Shelah. The first son, Er, married a Canaanite woman named Tamar. Er was wicked, so the Lord put him to death. Onan then married Tamar. He was supposed to carry on Er's family line, but when he had sex with Tamar, he would pull out and spill his semen on the ground instead of impregnating her. The Lord put him to death for doing so.


Judah was afraid that his youngest son, Shelah, would also die if he married Tamar, so he told Tamar to wait until he was older.


Years later, Judah's wife died. Once he recovered from his grief, he went to visit the men shearing his sheep. Tamar heard he was coming, and realizing he was never going to wed her to Shelah, she dressed up like a prostitute, covering her face with a veil. When Judah saw her, he promised to send her a young goat. In pledge, she asked for his personal seal and staff. Then he slept with her, and she became pregnant.


Three months later, Judah heard Tamar was pregnant. Because she was pledged to Shelah but had obviously slept with another man, Judah ordered her to be burned to death. When she was seized, she went word to Judah to see if he recognized the seal and staff.


Judah recognized them and said, "She is more righteous than I, since I wouldn't give her to my son Shelah."

- Genesis 38:26


Tamar gave birth to twin boys, Perez and Zerah.



Genesis 39

God made Joseph successful in the house of Potiphar, the captain of Pharaoh's guard, and Potiphar put him in charge of his entire household.


Being a handsome man, Potiphar's wife asked him multiple times to have sex with her. He refused, saying it would be a betrayal to Potiphar and a sin against God. One day, he was the only servant in the house, and Potiphar's wife took hold of his cloak and asked him to sleep with her. He ran out of the house, leaving his cloak behind. With his cloak in hand, she yelled for the other servants to come in and told them Joseph had tried to sleep with her.


When Potiphar came home, he had Joseph put in prison. But God made Joseph successful in prison, and the warden put him in charge of the other prisoners.



Genesis 40

Some time later, Pharaoh sent his cupbearer and baker to prison. After a while, they both had a dream on the same night. Not knowing what their dreams meant, they were concerned.


Then Joseph said to them, "Do not interpretations belong to God? Tell me your dreams."

- Genesis 40:8


The cupbearer dreamed he would fill Pharaoh's cup again with the wine from three grapevine branches, and Joseph correctly interpreted that he would do so in three days. He asked the cupbearer to remember him and mention him to Pharaoh because he had done nothing wrong to be put into prison.


The baker dreamed he had three baskets of bread on his head, and birds were eating it. Joseph correctly interpreted that in the three days, Pharaoh would have the baker executed, and birds would eat his flesh.



Genesis 41

Two years later, Pharaoh had two dreams, one after the other. In the first, seven lean cows ate seven fat cows. In the second, seven thin heads of grain ate seven full heads of grain.


None of the magicians or wise men of Egypt could interpret the dream. Then, the cupbearer mentioned Joseph, so Pharaoh called for him and asked if he could interpret it.


"I cannot do it," Joseph replied to Pharaoh, "but God will give Pharaoh the answer he desires."

- Genesis 41:16


When Pharaoh had told Joseph the dreams, Joseph explained that God was warning Pharaoh that He was about to send seven years of abundance on Egypt, followed by seven years of famine. The reason Pharoah had two dreams was that the matter had been firmly decided by God.


Then Joseph suggested that Pharaoh put someone in charge to collect and store up food during the seven years of abundance to be distributed during the seven years of famine. Pharaoh approved and put Joseph in charge. He was the second-highest ruler in all of Egypt.


Joseph was 30 years old when this happened. Pharaoh gave him Asenath, daughter of Potiphera the priest of On, to be his wife, and she gave birth to Manasseh and Ephraim.


After seven years, famine came to the whole region, but there was food stored up in Egypt.



Genesis 42

Jacob sent his sons to get food from Egypt. He did not send Benjamin for fear something might happen to him. When they arrived in Egypt to buy food, Joseph was there. They bowed to him (fulfilling Joseph's earlier dream) but did not recognize him. He recognized them but did not show it. He spoke to them harshly, questioning them and accusing them of being spies. They told them they had a younger brother at home, and he said they could prove the truth of what they were saying by sending one of their members to go get the final brother. Then he had all of them locked up in prison for three days.


At the end of the three days, Joseph changed his mind and said he would let all of them go except for one. Thinking they couldn't understand him because he was using an interpreter, they spoke freely in front of him and said they were being punished because of what they did to Joseph.


He had Simeon imprisoned again and sent the rest back with grain. He also had his servant secretly return each man's silver to his sack. When they had left and looked in their bags, they saw they still had their silver and were afraid they would be accused of not paying.


When they arrived home and told Jacob what happened, he would not let Benjamin go down with them because he was the only one of his mother's sons left, and if anything happened to him, he would die in grief. Reuben offered to let Jacob put both of Reuben's sons to death if he didn't bring Benjamin back safely, but Jacob would not allow it. He mourned that Joseph was lost, and now Simeon was too.



Genesis 43

When the family was out of food again, Jacob told his sons to go back to Egypt to buy more food, but they said they wouldn't go unless he sent Benjamin with them. Judah offered to guarantee Benjamin's safety, and Jacob allowed Benjamin to go. He also told them to take twice as much silver (to pay for both loads of grain) and some of the products of the land of Canaan as a gift to Joseph. Then he asked God to let Joseph be merciful to them and let Simeon and Benjamin both return with them.


When they arrived in Egypt, and Joseph saw Benjamin, he told his servant to take the brothers and prepare a meal for them at his house. The brothers thought Joseph was taking them home to make them his slaves for not paying for the grain on their first trip, but the servant assured them he had received their silver. Then he brought Simeon out to join them.


When Joseph arrived home, he ordered that Benjamin be given five times as much food as the others.



Genesis 44

As the brothers were getting ready to leave again, Joseph told his steward to secretly put the men's silver back in their sacks, along with Joseph's silver cup in Benjamin's sack. Before they got very far away from the city, Joseph sent his steward to stop them and accuse them of stealing the cup. The brothers swore they had not taken anything and that if anyone had the cup, that brother would be punished by becoming Joseph's slave.


When the cup was found in Benjamin's sack, however, all of the brothers returned to Joseph and offered to be his slave. Judah especially pleaded to take Benjamin's place.


"Now then, please let your servant remain here as my lord's slave in place of the boy,

and let the boy return with his brothers.

How can I go back to my father if the boy is not with me?

No! Do not let me see the misery that would come on my father."

- Genesis 44:33-34



Genesis 45

At this, Joseph wept and revealed himself to his brothers. The brothers were too afraid to speak, but he assured them he wouldn't harm them and that it was actually for their good God had sent him to Egypt.


"And now, do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here,

because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you."

- Genesis 45:5


He then invited them to go get Jacob and their families and live in Egypt, in the region of Goshen. Pharaoh himself seconded the invitation when he heard Joseph's family had come.


Then he sent his brothers away, and as they were leaving he said to them, "Don't quarrel on the way!"

- Genesis 45:24


When they told Jacob about Joseph being alive and ruling Egypt, Jacob decided to go see him.



Genesis 46

On the way to Egypt, God appeared to Jacob in a vision and told him not to be afraid to go down to Egypt because He would bring him back from there. All of Jacob's family – sixty-six people – went down to Egypt.


When they arrived, Joseph told his brothers to tell Pharaoh they were shepherds, which was true because of their large flocks, and Pharaoh allowed them to live separately in the land of Goshen because shepherds were detestable to Egyptians.



Genesis 47

Jacob was 130 when he arrived in Egypt and met Pharaoh.


Over the next few years, Joseph sold food to everyone in Egypt and Canaan. When the people's money was gone, Joseph allowed them to pay in livestock. After that, he accepted land and the servitude of the people in exchange for food. Only the priests were able to keep their lands as an allowance from Pharaoh.


Joseph then gave the people seed to plant but ordered them to bring a fifth of what they grew back to Pharaoh in payment.


Jacob lived in Egypt for 17 years and died at age 147. He made Joseph promise not to bury him in Egypt but to take his body back to Canaan and bury him with his ancestors.



Genesis 48

When Jacob was near death, Joseph brought his sons Manasseh and Ephraim to be blessed by his father. Jacob adopted the two boys as his own, effectively giving Joseph's family double inheritance rights in the family. He did this in honor of Rachel, Joseph's mother, who had been Jacob's favorite wife.


However, he blessed Ephraim over Manasseh, even though Manasseh was older. When Joseph tried to correct him by telling him Manasseh was older, Jacob said,


"I know, my son, I know. He too will become a people, and he too will become great.

Nevertheless, his younger brother will be greater than he,

and his descendants will become a group of nations."

- Genesis 48:19



Genesis 49

Jacob then prophetically blessed his sons.


Even though Reuben was firstborn, Jacob said he would no longer excel because he slept with Jacob's concubine Bilhah.


He cursed Simeon and Levi's anger for killing the Shechemites after the rape of Dinah.


Judah was blessed with leadership:


"The scepter will not depart from Judah,
    nor the ruler's staff from between his feet,

until he to whom it belongs shall come
    and the obedience of the nations shall be his."

- Genesis 49:10


  • Zebulun was to live on the seashore,
  • Issachar to do manual labor for his laziness,
  • Dan to bring justice through punishment,
  • Gad to fight back when attacked,
  • Asher to grow rich food,
  • Naphtali to have beautiful children,
  • Joseph to be strong and victorious through the power of the Lord and to be blessed with fertility both in crops and in children, and
  • Benjamin to be one who takes plunder from his enemies.


Before Jacob died, he instructed his children to bury him in the Cave of Machpelah. It was the place where Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Rebekah, and Leah were all buried.



Genesis 50

Joseph had Jacob embalmed, which took 40 days. Then Jacob's sons and all the dignitaries of Pharaoh's court accompanied Jacob's body to the Cave of Machpelah and buried him.


After Jacob died, Joseph's brothers were afraid Joseph would take revenge on them for selling him into slavery. They even sent him a message saying that before Jacob died, he had asked Joseph to forgive his brothers. Then they came to him and offered to serve him as slaves.


But Joseph said to them, "Don’t be afraid. Am I in the place of God?  

You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good

to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.

- Genesis 50:19-20


Joseph died at age 110. Before he died, Joseph made his brothers promise to carry his body back to Canaan. When he died, he was placed in a coffin in Egypt.




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