The Book of Genesis (From Greek "Γένεσις" lit. "Beginning; Creation") is the first book of the Pentateuch in the Old Testament of the Bible. Genesis tells the origins of history starting with the Creation, and ending with Joseph's death. Genesis was written by Moses who was given the information and verified by God.
Though Genesis is ordered first both canonically and chronologically, it is the second book of the Bible written behind Job.
The Book of Genesis was written by Moses, about 2,700 years after The Creation, making it the second book of the Bible written. Interestingly, Moses was not present at any of the events recorded in Genesis. It is likely that Moses was revealed the details of many events while at Mt. Sinai, directly by God. Another likely (and maybe even complimentary) source for the details in Genesis was the retelling of the accounts orally throughout Israelite ancestry. Nevertheless, the Book of Genesis was directed in its authorship ultimately by God.
Compared to the other books of the Pentateuch Scripture doesn't directly vet Moses's authorship of Genesis. From ancient times Genesis has been grouped with the other four books: Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy and is similar in the genre and narrative style.
Apparently Genesis is divided into various accounts, often starting with the phrase "this is the account of". This phrase implies that Moses either got his information from outside sources or the information was directly copied. Usually, this phrase is used to precede genealogy, which were probably written down before Genesis. Moses would have copied these genealogies or relied on memory and oral tradition if they were passed down orally.
The other accounts like the sixth day of Creation would have been derived from information found in oral tradition or even a written account. The wording of these accounts may have been created by Moses himself or copied from another source. It does not appear oral tradition would have been written down word-for-word to produce these accounts based on the style being monotone.
The usage of this phrase may purely have been a way to organize or make easy reference of accounts for the Israelites. Instead of implying Moses copied or gathered his information from another source it simply may have been a heading or label to divide it from the rest of the text.
Genesis was probably written to document the origins of humanity and the Hebrew people for Israel. At the time of its writing few would have had the same education as Moses to be able to decipher multiple accounts of oral tradition, written records (including genealogy and historical accounts) as well as divine revelation. During Moses's tim,e the majority of Israel may not have even been literate.
Since the events of Genesis happened a few millennia prior, those who were unfamiliar with the oral tradition would have had no singular work to read about all of it. In addition the etiology of the world could not be easily connected with the covenants and promises made for the Hebrews. In writing Genesis not only was the origins of the world, sin, humanity and cultures explored but the covenants made to the Patriarchs tracing through the genealogy of the people mentioned in the events, the Israelites not only had proven records to verify their right to the Abrahamic Covenant,but also to learn of the ancestors of Israel. Through the genealogy and family relations the covenant of a chosen people could be traced to be continually true. Prophecies such as one alluding to Israel as subservient to Egypt could be verified.
Genesis also could show the nations not under the covenant to Abraham. It can be demonstrated how belief in God was carried through the lineage of Seth, rather than that of Cain. The origins of other countries some who would be future enemies of Israel could be traced back to a single person, who were direct descendants of either Shem, Ham or Japheth. Even further down the line countries could be traced back to sinful deeds of their founder such as Esau (Edom) and how the birth of Moab came about. The promise of there being many nations from Abraham asides from the Israelites could be proved, in particular ,the assurance that from Ishmael would stem a great many people.
Having verifiable documentation of an Israelite's root, and recorded instances of legally binding covenants between God and the Hebrew ancestors would justify Israel's conquest of Canaan, establishment as a Theocracy, as well as the requirement for circumcision.
In the earlier chapters of Genesis, one of its central themes is the origin or the beginning of many phenomena. The most prominent example of this is The Creation. Additionally it explains the Great Flood, the reason behind it (and foreshadows to Christ in both the Ark , and the Tribulation) and its impact on the Earth It also introduces the problem of sin and the need for a Law, until the time in which Jesus Christ would fulfill it. It also details the origin of different ethnicities, both from the almost complete extinction of the Earth, and from being dispersed from the Tower of Babel.
This is done by introducing the Abrahamic Covenant, which in the middle through the end of Genesis is constantly reiterated. This is originally brought to Abraham and after having his own children and ancestors, are reminded of this by God. This would serve as a foreshadowing to the nation of Israel, which is the nation by which both the Law and Jesus Christ would be born of.
Genesis primarily is a historical account. It gives account to many events in detail. Particularly, Genesis gives narratives following the life events of the Patriarchs and their impact on future Israelite establishment. Often times direct quotations from a person or even more significantly, God are used to detail conversations and the emotions being expressed.
Genesis also contains many genealogical records, or records of family lines. Chronological or genealogical records are used commonly for multiple reasons. Not only do they provide a historical preservation of Israelite ancestry, but they compliment the accounts of Genesis. These ancestry records not only reaffirm people mentioned, but also can fill the gap between two time periods where there is not a narrative to bridge them.
While Genesis does not contain Israelite law, like the rest of the Pentateuch's books, it does contain multiple covenants. Due to the strength of covenants, they were often considered law, hence why Genesis is categorized in the Pentateuch as a book of law.
I. The Creation
- A. Genesis 1 - Creation (Days One To Six)
II. The Fall
- A. Genesis 3 - The Fall
- C. Genesis 5 - Noah's ancestry
III. The Flood
- B. Genesis 7 - The Flood
- C. Genesis 8 - The flood waters recede
- D. Genesis 9 - Yahweh's covenant with Noah
- A. Genesis 10 - Noah's sons and their accounts
- C. Genesis 12 - Start of Abram's journey
- D. Genesis 13 - Abram and Lot separate
- E. Genesis 14 - Abram's war with the four kings
- F. Genesis 15 - Yahweh promises a son to Abram
- G. Genesis 16 - The birth of Ishmael
- H. Genesis 17 - The covenant of circumcision; Abram becomes Abraham
- I. Genesis 18 - Three visitors visit Abraham
- J. Genesis 19 - Lot's departure from Sodom
- K. Genesis 20 - Abraham dwells with Abimelech
- N. Genesis 23 - Abraham buries his wife Sarah
- B. Genesis 26 - Isaac deals with Abimelech
- C. Genesis 27 - Jacob gets Esau's blessing
- D. Genesis 28 - Jacob departs to Padan Aram
- F. Genesis 30 - Jacob's children; profits from Laban's flocks
- G. Genesis 31 - Jacob's family flees; Laban pursues him
- H. Genesis 32 - Jacob prepares to meet Esau; name changed to Israel
- I. Genesis 33 - Jacob makes peace with Esau; settles in Shechem
- L. Genesis 36 - Esau's sons and their accounts
VI. The Story of Joseph
- A. Genesis 37 - Joseph is taken into Egypt
- B. Genesis 38 - Judah's sons, including those with Tamar
- C. Genesis 39 - Joseph accused of rape, sent to prison
- D. Genesis 40 - Joseph interprets two men's dreams
- E. Genesis 41 - Joseph interprets Pharaoh's dreams
- F. Genesis 42 - Joseph's first encounter with his brothers
- G. Genesis 43 - Joseph's second encounter with his brothers
- H. Genesis 44 - Joseph's brothers charged with stealing
- I. Genesis 45 - Joseph reveals himself to his brothers
- J. Genesis 46 - Joseph's family travels to Egypt
- K. Genesis 47 - People become poor during the famine
- L. Genesis 48 - Jacob blesses Joseph's two sons
- M. Genesis 49 - Jacob's final words to his sons
- N. Genesis 50 - Deaths of Jacob and Joseph; Joseph forgives his brothers