The Story of Genesis

The first book of Moses, Genesis, is also the first book in the Bible. In the beginning, first of all, there was God. The Hebrew word we use for God is Elohim, which is plural. But that does not mean that there were more Gods, but the announcement of the triune God. The Bible begins with the story of God’s creation of the universe, heaven, and sea; plants and trees; sun, moon, and stars; fish, birds, and animals. In the end, he created the first people in his image. God created a beautiful garden to be their home. Everything was flawless. So, God created everything to be perfect. After creating the first people, He gave them free will.

God gave all of us freedom because He did not want us to be robots but to have free will. The first humans could eat any fruit from the Garden of Eden. Yet, there was only one rule. Adam and Eve, the first man and the first woman, could eat the fruit from every tree in the garden, except one, from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Did Adam and Eve choose to follow God’s rule?

Unfortunately, they decided not to obey God. And so sin entered our world. The first people, Adam and Eve, lived in a beautiful garden, and they had all the food they needed and good company. Since God did give them free will, they could decide whether to be faithful or rebellious to God. Both Adam and Eve tried to find excuses for what they had done, but they both chose to do something wrong. They had to leave their garden of paradise. God did not throw them out of the garden because He was angry with them or because He stopped loving them.

The fall into sin

Besides the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, there was also the tree of eternal life. God threw them out of the Garden of Eden out of too much love for them. Even though it seems that friendship with God was over, in reality, God never stopped loving them. Moreover, we see in chapter 3, the devil himself, revealing to the people. It is quite interesting why he choose a figure of an animal, and even more interesting the type of creature, snake.

During their conversation, we can see the first tool, a lie, the devil is using to con them. To pint out, a snake is only a symbol of the devil. Equally important, the matter of choice is a symbol of love. The story of Genesis, “So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.” (Genesis 3:24, KJV)

Adam, Eve
Image by WikiImages from Pixabay

The flood and Noah’s ark

After Adam and Eve left the Garden of Eden, things got even worse. At first, they had two sons, and one of their sons, Cain, killed his younger brother Abel. The only other of their children that in mention by name was Seth. Increasingly, the human race became more numerous and spread throughout the Earth. On the negative side, violence, cruelty, and evil have also increased. The world was corrupt, and God was sad because He created man in the first place. He decided it was time for a fresh start. At that time, there was only one person, Noah, who tried to live according to God’s will.

God told Noah that He would destroy the world by the flood, but Noah and his family would be safe in the ark. Noah accepted God’s instructions he built a ship, where he placed his family and all species of animals and provided food for all of them. The rain started, and it fell continuously for forty days, and the water covered the land for several weeks, while Noah and the others in the boat sailed safely. After the rain stopped and the water withdrew Noah, and his family reliably populate the area. God was very sorry for flooding the Earth, so He promised that He would never do it again.

God is faithful, and He is keeping all of His promises. Try these free Bible on worksheets to relate with Noah and the rest of the first people.

Tower of Babel

After the flood, Noah’s three sons – Shem, Ham, and Japheth were settled in different places and had several children, and all the people in the world are their descendants. As time was passing, people forgot God. People became self-sufficient and thought they could do whatever they wanted. Not only he saw what they had become, but He also didn’t like it. Then there was one language on the whole earth. As they departed from the east, they found a field in the land of Shinar and stayed there. So they said to one another, let us make plates and bake them in the fire.

Why? The bricks were, for them, instead of stone, and resin for earth instead of lime. They wanted to build a city and a tower, where the top of the tower will go to the heavens. For that reason, the Lord said them behold since the people have one and one language in all, and they have begun to do it, and they will not mind doing anything they set out to do. God went down and swept their tongues so that they wouldn’t understand what they say to each other. I asked my self why did they use the name Babylon?

Because the Lord cleared away the language of the entire earth, and from there the Lord scattered them over all the earth. Lord separated them because they wanted to build a high tower to reach the Heavens. It is a second time in the book of Genesis that people wanted to be like God. Of course, for God, it was the easiest way to stop them with this idea. As a result of their behavior, today we have a lot of languages.

Chapter 12, 13 &14

Further, in the story of Genesis chapter 11, we see a review of the people from Noah and his sons, until Abraham. After the flood, Abraham’s family settled in Ur. Thereupon Abraham’s father decided to go to the land of Canaan, but they only reached a city called Haran. Abraham was living there with his family when God told him to leave everything and go to Canaan. In Genesis chapter 12, we read what God said to Abraham and gave Him the promises. Abraham was obedient. He came to the land of Canaan with his wife Sarah and Lot, the son of his brother.

But many difficulties are yet to come. Since Sarah was a beautiful woman, Abraham told her to introduce herself as his sister because, if the Egyptians found out that he was a husband, they would kill him, but if he introduced himself as a brother, he might survive. God was faithful and did not remain with Abraham. He inflicted great evils on Pharaoh for Sarah’s sake, to save them both. More in chapters 13 and 14, we read that there were not enough pastures for Abraham’s and Lot’s animals. So they decided to separate. Later, Lot and his family were attacked and captured.

Abraham saved him, and the local rulers paid homage to him, especially the priest-king Melchizedek. Abraham obeyed God, and God looked after Abram, giving him everything he needed, but something was missing, Abraham had no children. He needed a son to continue the family line, to fulfill God’s promise that he would be the father of the people. Not only did God promise a son to Abraham and Sarah, but he told them that he would have many descendants. His son would have children, and his children would have children, and so on.

Chapter 15, 16 & 17

After all of those stories in the book of Genesis, God, once again, talked to Abraham. The Lord comforted him not to be afraid because the Lord was protecting him. However, Abraham was not entirely satisfied, he desired to have children. Then God did something marvelous; He took Abram out to look at the sky and see stars because that is how many descendants he would have. The key is the verse:” And he, andved in the Lord; and he counted it to him for righteousness.” (Genesis 15:6, KJV). After the sacrifice was made, the two allied. We further read that Sarah was old and had not yet given birth to a child to Abraham.

At that time, barrenness was considered a curse, even a sufficient reason for a divorce. So, Sarah decided to give her slave Hagar to Abraham so that she could give birth to his child. So, it was since Hagar slept with Abraham she soon became pregnant. Fun fact: Hagar is the first concubine to be mentioned in historical writings. But Agar was transformed by her pregnancy, so she became proud. To Sara’s astonishment, her meek slave turned into an arrogant woman.

A couple of events later, Ismail was born, which means God hears in translation. We further read in chapter 17 that God strengthened his covenant with Abraham, that the Lord is God, the God of Abraham, and the God of his descendants. And the sign of that covenant will be circumcision. Eight days after birth, every male child will be circumcised. God also promises that Sarah will give birth to a son. Read more about Abraham and Sarah on the next page.

Sodom and Gomorrah

Sodom and Gomorrah are two biblical cities mentioned in chapters 18 and 19 of Genesis and later in the New Testament. When God saw that the sin was high in those two cities, He sent His messengers. To see if the people would still act like that. As Abraham stood before the Lord, he asked Him if God would kill the faithful with the unrighteous. He asked God if He would kill fifty spiritual people with all the other sinners? That is where Abram’s negotiation with God begins, to which God answers that if there are fifty faithful people, He will keep the whole city.

So God won’t clear out the whole city because of fifty faithful people. Abraham did not give up. He asked the Lord, what if there are five righteous people less? God agreed that He would not destroy the city if He found forty-five good people. A few more settlements and the Lord ended the conversation with Abraham and arranged that the number would be ten righteous people. God sent his two envoys to Sodom, and Lot greeted them at the gates of the city bowed to them, and invited them to spend the night with him. Although they planned to sleep on the street, they accepted the invitation.

Immediately after supper, the inhabitants of Sodom knocked on the door, asking the messengers of God to abuse them. Lot, righteous before God, did not give them instead he offered his two daughters, who were virgins. The mob refused the offer, saying that Lot was a newcomer among them, that he could not judge them, and that they would do worse to him.

Destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah

These two messengers of God quickly dragged Lot inside and closed the door. At that time, the people who were outside at once all went blind, from the smallest to the largest, so they could not get inside. They warned Lot to escape from the city with his family because they will destroy the entire city. When dawn came, they took Lot by the hand and took him out of the city with his two daughters and wife. As soon as they were taken outside, one of them told Lot not to turn to save his soul but to look ahead and run up the hill.

Lord allowed Lot, by his prayer, not to go to the mountain but to the city of Cigar. Lot arrives in Cigar the same day. Then the Lord sent a rain of brimstone and fire from heaven and destroyed these two cities and all their inhabitants. However, Lot’s wife turned, disobeying God’s word, and became a salt stone. She turned because she preferred the sin, and she desires the sin and that is why God turned her into a stone rock.

In the end, the Lord was fair, there was one righteous man in Sodom, and God saved that one. Lot leaves the city of Cigar and goes to live in a cave with his two daughters. Both of Lot’s daughters became pregnant by their father. First, the older one got him drunk so he wouldn’t know how to sleep with her, and the next night the younger one too. They did this to extend the line to their father. Nothing unusual for that time, cousins were marrying each other.

The birth of Isaac and the temptation of Abraham

We know that God is faithful and that when He promises something, He can fulfill it. Sarah was ninety years old, and Abraham was 100 years old when Isaac was born. Then Sarah told Abraham to release her slave and son because she did not want her son to share the inheritance with Hagar’s son. Although Abraham would not like it because of Ishmael and his son, he accepted because God decided so. At the same time, God gave the promise that He would make a great nation from Ishmael. God was with Hagar and Ishmael in the wilderness all the time.

Ishmael later became a hunter and later married an Egyptian woman. Sarah lived one hundred and twenty-seven years. Abraham buried his wife in a cave in the field of Machpelah, which is Hebron in the land of Canaan. God wanted to test Abraham to see how much he trusted Him. God told him to take Isaac and take him to Moriah and offer him as a sacrifice.

The next day, Abraham loaded the donkey, chased the wood, the servants, and Isaac, and they traveled for three days. Isaac noticed that something was wrong. There are wood and fire, but no lamb to sacrifice. To this, Abram replied that God would take care of the sacrifice. Abraham tied Isaac to the altar and swung his hand to slaughter his son with a knife. At that moment, the Angel of the Lord stopped him and said that he had done well because he feared God and did not pity his son. God was pleased with Abraham and blessed him that all nations should come from his seed because he obeyed the voice of God.

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Isaac’s weeding

Abraham did not want his son to marry one of the girls from the country where they lived because their people idolized wooden and stone statues. Isaac was supposed to marry a girl from the land of their relatives, where the true God was worshiped. He sent his servant on the road with gifts and presents. Along the way, he sees a girl, Rebecca, Bethuel’s daughter. Bethuel was the son of Nahor, Abraham’s brother, which makes Isaac and Rebekah cousins. The servant immediately cheered because he had found Abraham’s relatives. He explained to them what it was all about and whether Rebecca wanted to marry Isaac.

After she agreed, they set off the next day. They have not seen her since that day. Isaac fell in love with Rebecca very quickly. Abraham remarried a woman named Keturah. He lived one hundred and seventy-five years; he died full of life in old age. Ishmael and Isaac, both sons of Abraham, buried their father. Shortly afterward, Rebecca became pregnant and bore two sons, from whom two tribes would emerge. Like Sarah, Rebekah was barren for a long time before conceiving twins after twenty years.

According to the story in Genesis, Jacob fought with his brother Esau in his mother’s womb. During the birth, he held the fifth brother, the firstborn. When they grew up, Esau became a hunter and farmer, a favorite of Isaac, while Jacob spent more time with his mother, Rebekah. One day, Esau trades his primacy (inheritance) with brother Jacob for a meal. Unlike his brother Esau, who was physically superior but more reckless, Jacob was resourceful and wise. Even in his youth, he showed how thoughtful he is.

Jacob’s adventure

Isaac grew old, so his eyesight weakened. Feeling his death, he told his older son Esau to bring food to eat, and then he would bless him. Jacob, with the help of his mother he tricked his father and brother so that he took his father’s blessing. The act put him at risk of death, so, at the insistence of his mother he had to escape to his uncle Laban in Haran. His uncle accepted him, and Jacob began to serve. He served to receive his daughter Rachel for a wife. However, there are complications for Isaac’s younger son. His uncle first cheats on his older daughter Leah.

Therefore, he had to serve for another seven years for Rachel, and he also served for cattle. Meanwhile, because of the jealousy of Laban’s sons, tensions arose between Jacob and Laban. He soon fled with his wives and children to Canaan. Although he reconciled with Laban in the meantime he continued his journey to Canaan because God had commanded him to do so. On his way, he also met the Angels of God.

And Jacob feared Esau and sent his servants to bring him cattle and gifts. Esau sent four hundred of his men to march on Jacob. Instead of fighting with his brother, he sent him more gifts, hoping to appease Esau. Jacob wrestled with a man until dawn and told him that he would not let him go until he blessed him. What the man said to him was no longer called Jacob but Israel. Then Jacob said that he had seen God face to face and that his soul had been saved. Read more about Jacob and Esau, and their story in the story of Genesis, on the next page.

head, beyond, district
Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Joseph was sold to Egypt

Continuing the story of Genesis, we come across Joseph, one of the twelve sons of Jacob. He was born to Jacob by his beloved Rachel, as the eleventh son. Like Sarah and Rebecca, Rachel was barren for a long time. The birth of children by these women was a symbol of God’s interference. Joseph’s birth in this way was a sign that God had a unique plan with him as well. In his youth, Joseph was described as the favorite of his father, Jacob, who made him special dresses. That, of course, caused jealousy and hatred among the other brothers.

This hatred was especially intensified by Joseph’s dreams, which he dreamed of, and from which it resulted that his brothers would worship him. On one occasion, his father sent him to visit the other brothers who were tending the cattle. When Joseph appeared, the brothers planned to kill him. Such a plan was rejected by the eldest brother Reuben, who proposed that he be thrown into a hole because he planned to release him later. So, the brothers wanted to throw Joseph into a pit.

But at the suggestion of Judah, they decided to sell him to the merchants of Minden, who took him as a slave to Egypt. To cover up what they had done, they sent Joseph’s father a bloody robe dipped in goat’s blood. When he got the clothes, Jacob thought that his son had been torn to pieces by a beast. The merchants take Joseph to Egypt and sell him to Potiphar, Pharaoh’s official. It was a new situation in which young Joseph found himself. Concerning the previous period, Joseph is described as a worthy and honest young man with whom God was. Seeing Joseph’s diligence and honesty, Potiphar appointed him manager of the court.

The sin of Judah

It is interesting, when people tell the story of Genesis, they skip chapter thirty-eight, the story of Judas’s sin. The story begins with Judas leaving his brothers at Adullamite named Hirah. He meets the daughter of a certain Canaanite, whose name was Shua. And he took her and lay with her. It is not said at all whether he married her. They had three sons the firstborn was called Er. The story then apparently, skips a period and tells Judas to marry his first son to a girl Tamar.

However, Er was sinful in the Lord’s opinion, so the Lord killed him. Judah then went to his second son named Onan, and told him to go to his brother’s wife and marry her in his brother’s name to raise seed for his brother. Onan did not like the idea too much, so in an attempt to obey his father when he lay down with his brother’s wife, he sowed seeds on the ground so that he would not give birth to his brother’s children. The Lord did not like this either, so he killed Onan.

Judah then went to Tamar, his daughter-in-law, and told her to stay as a widow in her father’s house until his third son, Shelah, grew up. Tamar did as he told her and went to live in her father’s house. Time passed, and Shuah, Judah’s wife died. Then Judas, with his friend Hirah, the Adullamite, went to Timnath to shear the sheep. When Tamara heard that Judas was coming to her place, she discarded the widow’s clothes, covered herself with a veil, and wrapped herself in it, she sat down by the road. Meanwhile, Judas forgot his promise.

Tamar’s wisdom

When Judas saw her, he thought she was an ordinary prostitute because she covered her face with a veil. Then Tamara asked him what are he going to give her to lie down with her? Judas offered a goat from the flock. Tamar, however, asked for the pledge until she got a goat, so she required a ring, a scarf, and a stick in his hand. Judas agreed, and he gave it to her, so he lay down with her, and she became pregnant. Tamara got up, left, and put on her widow’s uniform again. When Judah sent a goat for his friend Adullamite to bring back his pledge, he could not find the woman.

He started inquiring about the prostitute by the roadside, but he was told that there was no prostitute in that place. Three months later, Judas learned that Tamara, his daughter-in-law, become pregnant by adultery.

That infuriated Judas, so he said to take her out to be burned. When Tamar was brought before Judas, she confessed to her father-in-law was the one that made her pregnant. She showed everyone the ring, scarf, and cane he had given her. At this point, Judas admits that she was more righteous because he did not give her his son. After that, he never lay down with her. Tamar gave birth to twins, Pharez, and Zarah. It is a quite unique story in the story of Genesis.

Joseph’s adventure in Egypt

Namely, Potiphar’s wife liked Joseph; she was a woman who wanted to have a love affair. Although Joseph firmly rejected the chance, the woman used one opportunity to accuse him of attempted rape. When Potiphar heard this, he angrily throws Joseph into prison. Yet, Joseph gains understanding with the prison guard because the Lord was with him. And because of his charisma and honesty. One incident from the prison was crucial for the further course of events. In prison, Joseph accurately explained the impressions (dreams) of two inmates. After some time, Pharaoh also had visions that no one could interpret for him.

Then one of the former prisoners remembered Joseph and proposed him to Pharaoh. After a successful interpretation of dreams, in which he suffers a general drought and famine, Joseph becomes the second man after the pharaoh. The following is about Joseph’s brothers coming to Egypt to buy flour. Finally, after several vicissitudes, Joseph reveals himself to his brothers. But they were terrified, knowing what they had done to him. However, at that moment, Joseph gives a theological answer to everything that happened.

He said to them not to regret that they sold him there because God sent him before them for the sake of their life. At this point, the story of Genesis reveals the meaning of the whole story. Joseph was guided by the providence of God, even though he went through severe trials. Later we see that Joseph invited his father, Jacob, to Egypt. Here is a fantastic story in which followed the logical, temporal, and spatial framework. Only in this way, God expressed the idea that He had in mind. Israel’s departure for Egypt happened according to God’s plan. In the latest fiftieth chapter, Joseph buries their father Jacob, and in the last verse, Joseph dies.

Summary of the story of Genesis

As we are briefly finishing the story of Genesis and its central figures, let’s have a look at the first and the last verse.

In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. (Genesis 1:1, KJV)

So Joseph died, being an hundred and ten years old: and they embalmed him, and he was put in a coffin in Egypt. (Genesis 50:16, KJV)

At the beginning of the story of Genesis, we saw God creating the world and first people. Then destroying the world because of the sin, but saving Noah and his family. Few generations later, we meet Abraham, the father of a great nation. His children and grandchildren, Jacob, and at the end Jacob’s son Joseph. For better understanding, the Story of Genesis, read the individual story of every character.