As we near the end of our series on Old Testament history, today we look at the first part of the major events that are described in Genesis through Judges. This is a very brief, high-level overview of just some of the events. The rest will be covered in the next post.
Creation-As His first saving work for Israel, God created the world with mankind as its ruler, to worship Him functioning as His image, blessing them and the whole earth.
- God created all that exists
- On the first day, God created it light, separating it from the darkness
- On the second day, God separated the waters to form the sky by an expanse so that both heaven and ocean are creatures of God.
- On the third day, God caused dry land to appear and vegetation to sprout from the heart to provide food for His creatures.
- On the fourth day, God banished total darkness, created the sun, moon, and stars to guide the worship seasons and signal the passage of time.
- On the fifth day, God created water dwelling creatures and birds
- On the sixth day, God created land dwelling creatures and made mankind
- On the seventh day, God contemplated His work, deemed it good, and sanctified the seventh day.
Fall/Punishments-Unbelieving sin of Adam and Eve with their disobedience to God’s command to not eat from the tree of knowledge. As a result of disobedience, God imposed punishment on humankind. As a result God condemned the blame shifting people to travail, the woman in childbirth and subservience to her husband, and the man to travail in work and finally death, and cursed the serpent to be crushed by the women’s seeds .
Proto-evangelium-literally, “the first good news”, evidence of God’s mercy and grace, concern and compassion for Adam and Eve in the provision of coverings for them following the Fall. Important to note that this precedes their expulsion from the garden (Handbook on the Pentateuch, p 43-44).
The question of Gen 6:1-2-“When human beings began to increase in number on the earth and daughters were born to them, 2 the sons of God saw that the daughters of humans were beautiful, and they married any of them they chose.” There are several interpretations to explain the “sons of God” and “daughters of men”. The first, and most popular is that the “sons of God” is a reference to the descendants of Seth, and the “daughters of men” is a reference to the descendants of Cain, referring to the mingling in marriage between the godly Sethite line and the ungodly Cainite line. The second interpretation suggests that the “sons of God” are ancient dynastic rulers, and the “daughters of men” are their royal harems; this interpretation moves toward an ambiguous reference potentially to a group of regal individuals whose existence has not yet been mentioned. The third interpretation suggests that the “sons of God” are angels and the “daughters of men” are humans wherein the sin is cohabitation between supernatural and natural beings (Handbook on the Pentateuch, p 61-63).
Flood-as God inspected the earth, He found it corrupt and filled with violence. God told Noah of His plan for a life destroying flood and of His plan to deliver Noah and his family with a remnant of animal life through an ark Noah should build. God repeated that He would bring a flood upon the earth to destroy all flesh under heaven, but He promised to make a covenant with Noah and his family who would enter the ark. After brining a year-long flood in which all flesh died, Yahweh delivered Noah, his family, and the animals with them .
Noahic Covenant-After the waters receded, Noah waited on God’s command to eventually leave the ark to fulfill the creation blessing to fill the earth. God renewed the creation blessing by granting an everlasting covenant to all flesh promising not to destroy the whole earth by flood ever again. God gave the rainbow as the covenant sign to remind Himself that He would not again make war with the earth by a flood .
Canaanite Curse-Ham broke loyalty with his father Noah when he found Noah drunk with wine, “uncovered”, and reported this to his brothers. Shem and Japheth maintained loyalty by not looking on their father’s nakedness, but proceeding to cover him. Noah cursed Ham’s youngest son Canaan (Handbook on the Pentateuch, p 73-74).
Tower of Babel-captured in Genesis 11, the story of the tower opens with the migration of people from the east to the plain of Shinar. Men rebelliously determine to build a city to prevent their scattering over the earth and to make a name for themselves. The sin of the people does not lie in the desire to build a city, which is a neutral, amoral act; it is the motivation behind the undertaking-the concept of immortality. The Bible reports that God intervenes when learning of their motives and he confuses the language of the people; God’s punishment is directed at both the instrument of sin that made the building project possible, the one language, and at the intention of that sin, to avoid being scattered over the earth (Handbook on the Pentateuch, p 75-76).
Abrahamic Covenant-God leads fearful Abraham to understand and trust His promises, especially of descendants by giving him a covenant with a covenant sign to mark those who may share in covenant fulfillment .
Covenant of Circumcision-God grants Abraham promises of a son by Sarah and innumerable and royal offspring, calling him to live faithfully in covenant, especially giving him the sign of circumcision to mark those who may share in covenant fulfillment. .
The Binding of Isaac-Abraham proves his radical covenant loyalty to God in facing the most stringent of the threats to the promise, God’s command to sacrifice Isaac, Gen 22 .
The Transfer of the Birthright-Jacob in unbelieving faith in the covenant promises, seeks to grasp God’s promise by buying the birthright from Esau who despised his birthright, Gen 25
The Transfer of the Blessing-God provides twin offspring to Isaac, choosing the younger, Jacob to receive the blessing, Isaac offers to bless Esau, scheming against God; Jacob and Rebekah scheme to get the blessing for Jacob against Isaac and Esau. Rebekah sends Jacob to Isaac, he appears before his father and receives blessing. Esau appears before Isaac and receives antiblessing. Rebekah protects Jacob by sending him away, Gen 25 .
Jacob’s Dream at Bethel-Jacob has a dream in which he sees a stairway to heaven with angels ascending and descending on it. God grants the Abrahamic blessing to Jacob who in response vows to worship Yahweh at Bethel giving a tithe tribute offering, Gen 28 .
Joseph’s Dreams-Joseph experiences two dreams in which he and his brothers were binding sheaves of grain when his sheaf rose and stood upright while the others bowed down to it. In the second dream, he retells that the sun, moon, and eleven stars were bowing down to him, Gen 37 .
Pharaoh’s Dreams-Pharaoh experiences two dreams that he asks his wise men and magicians to interpret. In the first dream, Pharaoh was standing by the Nile and seven cows came up out of the river who were sleek and fat and they grazed among the reeds. After them, seven ugly cows came out of the river and stood beside the seven sleek cows. The cows that were ugly ate the seven sleek cows. The second dream was of seven heads of grain, healthy and good growing on a single stalk. After them seven other heads of grain sprouted and they were scorched by the sun and wind. The thin heads of grain swallowed up the seven healthy heads of grain. Joseph interpreted through the power of the Lord that there was to be a famine coming, with seven years of plenty, and seven years of famine. Joseph instructed Pharaoh to gather stores for the country during the seven years of plenty so that when the famine came, there might be food, Gen 41.
Pharaoh’s Infanticide Program-God’s blessing on Israel caused fearful Pharaoh to enslave the people. Israel was fruitful and continued to increase while living in Egypt. Pharaoh declared to two Hebrew midwives that when a Hebrew woman gives birth to a son, he must be killed, but that all girls might live. The Hebrew midwives feared God and could not carry out the order; God blessed the midwives and the people of Israel continued to increase. Then Pharaoh gave the order to his people, that “Every Hebrew boy that is born you must throw into the Nile, but let every girl live”, Ex 1.
Burning Bush-Moses was tending the sheep of his father-in-law Jethro at Horeb, the mountain of God. An angel of the Lord appeared to him in flames of fire within a bush. Moses saw that the bush was on fire, but did not burn and went to inspect it further. The Lord spoke to Moses, telling him that he was on holy ground, to remove his sandals, and that He had seen the plight of the people of Israel and that Moses would be the one to deliver them from Egypt. Moses spoke with God concerning Israel’s deliverance, God revealed His name to Moses, provided a sign to him, and Moses claimed he could not speak well and God gives Aaron to assist Moses, Ex 3.
Ten Plagues-Moses and Aaron approach Pharaoh to release Israel from the slavery of Egypt. God has hardened Pharaoh’s heart and he refuses and increase the workload of the Israelites. As a result, God shows His power to Pharaoh and all of Egypt through ten plagues.
- The Plague of Blood-the Lord tells Moses to use his staff (that had become a snake), to stretch it over the river and all the water will become blood, even water in vessels and stones, Ex 7
- The Plague of Frogs-after seven days, Moses and Aaron return to Pharaoh and say that if Israel is not released, that frogs will come over the Egyptians, Ex 8
- The Plague of Gnats-the Lord tells Moses and instructs Aaron to take his staff, strike the ground, and the dust will become gnats that will afflict Egypt, Ex 8
- The Plague of Flies-Moses and Aaron visit Pharaoh again, this time to make a distinction between Israel and Egypt in the affliction of the plague. Swarms of flies then only affect the people of Egypt, Ex 8.
- The Plague on Livestock-the Lord brings about an affliction on all the livestock of the Egyptians and their cattle, horses, donkeys, camels, sheep and goats all die, Ex 9
- The Plague of Boils- the Lord brings about a plague of boils, instructing Moses and Aaron to take handfuls of soot and to toss it into the air in the presence of Pharaoh so that it becomes festering boils that afflict people and animals, Ex 9.
- The Plague of Hail-the Lord brings about a plague of hail that destroys crops of the Egyptians, Ex 9
- The Plague of Locusts-the Lord brings about a plague of locusts, they are intentionally sent to destroy what was not destroyed during the plague of hail, Ex 10.
- The Plague of Darkness-the Lord brings about darkness over the land for three days, Ex 10.
- The Plague of the Firstborn-for those who do not follow the Passover ceremony, the firstborn from every household is killed, Ex 11.