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The two powerful groups making up the community—the priestly families who controlled the Temple and who traced their origin to Moses and the wilderness wanderings, and the major landowning families who made up the "elders" and who traced their own origins to Abraham, who had "given" them the land—were in conflict over many issues, and each had its own "history of origins", but the Persian promise of greatly increased local autonomy for all provided a powerful incentive to cooperate in producing a single text.

Genesis is perhaps best seen as an example of a creation myth , a type of literature telling of the first appearance of humans, the stories of ancestors and heroes, and the origins of culture, cities and so forth. In David Clines published his influential The Theme of the Pentateuch — influential because he was one of the first to take up the question of the theme of the entire five books. Clines' conclusion was that the overall theme is "the partial fulfillment — which implies also the partial nonfulfillment — of the promise to or blessing of the Patriarchs".

By calling the fulfillment "partial" Clines was drawing attention to the fact that at the end of Deuteronomy the people are still outside Canaan. The patriarchs , or ancestors, are Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, with their wives Joseph is normally excluded. Through the patriarchs God announces the election of Israel, meaning that he has chosen Israel to be his special people and committed himself to their future.

The promise itself has three parts: offspring, blessings, and land. The ancestors, however, retain their faith in God and God in each case gives a son — in Jacob's case, twelve sons, the foundation of the chosen Israelites. Each succeeding generation of the three promises attains a more rich fulfillment, until through Joseph "all the world" attains salvation from famine, [30] and by bringing the children of Israel down to Egypt he becomes the means through which the promise can be fulfilled.

Scholars generally agree that the theme of divine promise unites the patriarchal cycles, but many would dispute the efficacy of trying to examine Genesis' theology by pursuing a single overarching theme, instead citing as more productive the analysis of the Abraham cycle, the Jacob cycle, and the Joseph cycle, and the Yahwist and Priestly sources. To this basic plot which comes from the Yahwist the Priestly source has added a series of covenants dividing history into stages, each with its own distinctive "sign".

The first covenant is between God and all living creatures, and is marked by the sign of the rainbow; the second is with the descendants of Abraham Ishmaelites and others as well as Israelites , and its sign is circumcision ; and the last, which does not appear until the book of Exodus , is with Israel alone, and its sign is Sabbath. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. For the comics, see The Book of Genesis comics. Genesis Exodus Leviticus Numbers Deuteronomy. See also: Primeval history and Patriarchal age. Main article: Documentary hypothesis. Main article: Weekly Torah portion.

Notes on the Pentateuch: Ex - 40 by Charles Henry MacKintosh

Bible portal. Freedman Ed. Clifford; Daniel J. Harrington Reading the Old Testament: An Introduction. Paulist Press. Sweeney, Marvin In Evans, Craig A.

Bandstra, Barry L. Reading the Old Testament. Cengage Learning. Bergant, Dianne Genesis: In the Beginning. Liturgical Press. Blenkinsopp, Joseph Continuum International Publishing Group. Brueggemann, Walter Atlanta: John Knox Press. Carr, David M. Eerdmans Dictionary of the Bible. Amsterdam University Press. Cotter, David W De La Torre, Miguel Belief: A Theological Commentary on the Bible.

Westminster John Knox Press. Fretheim, Terence E. Edited by Leander E. Keck, vol. Nashville: Abingdon Press, Hamilton, Victor P The Book of Genesis: chapters 1— The Book of Genesis: chapters 18— Hirsch, Samson Raphael. The Pentateuch: Genesis. Translated by Isaac Levy. Judaica Press, 2nd edition Originally published as Der Pentateuch uebersetzt und erklaert Frankfurt, — Kass, Leon R.

The Beginning of Wisdom: Reading Genesis. New York: Free Press, Kessler, Martin; Deurloo, Karel Adriaan McKeown, James Plaut, Gunther. Genesis 1— Sacks, Robert D A Commentary on the Book of Genesis. Edwin Mellen. Sarna, Nahum M.


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Behind idolatry was Satan. God introduced Himself. Pharaoh got acquainted with God and acknowledged Him as God. A question arises from this episode: Why the plagues? Each plague was directed against a particular god in Egypt. God wanted to reveal to His own people that He, the Lord, was far greater than any god of Egypt and that He had power to deliver them.

McGee, J.

What is phishing?

Thru the Bible Commentary, Vol. He was riding across the country with William Wrigley, the chewing gum man. Wrigley was a Christian, as they rode on the train he told Billy Sunday that he had made it a practice in his life to give the Lord one tenth of everything that he made, and he added that it was not the last tenth of he made that he gave to the Lord. William Wrigley gave the Lord the first tenth of his earnings. It is quite interesting how the Lord blessed him and prospered him. Now God doesn't guarantee material prosperity to anyone, but it is interesting how he has blessed men and women who put Him first.

Vernon McGee. O Joy that seekest me thru pain I cannot close my heart to thee; I trace the rainbow through the rain, And feel the promise is not vain, That morn shall tearless be.

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What Is the Pentateuch?

Here the mountain is called Sinai. The story is fragmentary. Its opening lines seem not to have been preserved. We enter at the point when preparations are ordered for a theophany on Mount Sinai. These preparations are entirely restrictive: The people must remain pure, launder their clothing and wait in anticipation for three days Exodus — Above all, when the Lord arrives they must remain at a safe distance; violators will be executed Exodus — The danger that the deity may surge forth and destroy those who come too close is so great that the Lord refuses to make his appearance until he is absolutely certain that his warnings have been received and heeded Exodus — The theophany as described in J takes place all at once on the third day.

The Lord comes down in the sight of all the people, but the different groups of participants, arranged in tiers, experience it in varying ways. The people are charged to stand back and watch; they witness fire, smoke and the trembling of the mountain, but they are not to attempt to gaze at YHWH. They may not even approach until the signal is given that it is safe to do so Exodus , 20— From this vantage point they are vouchsafed a view of the God of Israel and are graciously spared death, which would normally result from such a vision.

Only Moses continues on alone and comes near the Lord Exodus —2, 9— Here the fragmentary nature of J is apparent. Did this actually occur at this point in the story? The Sinai theophany was probably an experience in its own right, in which the people as a whole participated, though in varying degrees. The covenant at Sinai, in which the laws were given, was made later, as a mark of reconciliation in the wake of some crisis, the complete story of which has been lost. In what has been preserved of the first part of this story, Moses climbs the mountain four times:.

He also descends four times, each time carrying out the task assigned. The tetragrammaton, YHWH, features prominently and is proclaimed by the Lord himself when the covenant is made. As seems to be the case with other J stories, this narrative appears not to have survived in its entirety. The fire cloud encasing the majesty of God takes up residence atop the mountain. Moses enters the cloud, and God gives him, at great length, the instructions for building and furnishing the Tabernacle, preparing the vestments and performing the investiture of the priesthood, and consecrating the altar Exodus , — Though some of these matters involve permanent legislation, Moses is told that the actual lawgiving will commence only after the Tabernacle instructions are carried out Exodus Then, as promised, God concludes the session by presenting Moses with a testimony, to be deposited in the Tabernacle ark, and dismisses him.

As Moses descends with the testimony Exodus , the residual radiation of the divine reflection shines from his face, causing the people to flee.

C. H. Mackintosh

He explains the source of his fearsome radiance to Aaron and the tribal chiefs, who coax the people to return and face Moses. Moses transmits to them the words of God—with the understanding that thereafter he will cover his radiant face Exodus — Moses assembles the people and reports to them, ordering them to supply the needed materials and build the Tabernacle Exodus — Ten months after arriving at Sinai, the Israelites complete the portable abode for the deity, and Moses dutifully deposits the testimony in the magnificent ark Exodus At the beginning of the second year, as the fire cloud descends from Sinai, God takes up residence in the Tabernacle, filling the tent and finally shrinking into the divine throne room Exodus — This visual arrival of God is thereafter repeated each time camp is struck and reversed each time the journey is to continue Exodus —38; Numbers — God calls to Moses from within the tent Leviticus , and the lawgiving process begins.

The first laws to be imparted pertain to the methods of offering sacrifices Leviticus 1—7 , as the consecration of the priesthood and dedication of the Tabernacle Leviticus 8—9 cannot take place until these laws have been elucidated. Then the rest of the law code is unfolded a section at a time by the voice speaking to Moses from within the tent. Strictly speaking, Mount Sinai is not the place of lawgiving. The laws are given in the Tabernacle: Sinai is merely where the majesty of God rested before the lawgiving commenced and where the Tabernacle was first erected; it is not the holy mountain of God.

God does not dwell on the mountain; the fire cloud comes from heaven, settles temporarily on the mountain and finally descends to earth. There is no prophetic Moses as in E. Here Moses merely receives divine commands and conveys them to the people. He is not attributed with initiative, intercession or impulsiveness. P nowhere refers to these events or any part of them as a covenant; in P the covenant is the promise to the patriarchs Genesis —8 , not the giving of the law. The divine fire cloud and divine fire are part of a prolonged public theophany.

The subsequent meetings between God and Moses also have their theophanic aspect, in the residual radiance of the divine presence beheld by the people each time Moses reports to them. Thus the private stage of the lawgiving ultimately involves the repeated, vicarious participation of the people. P envisions not only intermittent meetings with God for receiving the laws but also regular assemblies of the entire Israelite people, at which Moses conveys laws to them.

Furthermore, in P Moses is said to have received the laws and to have conveyed them orally to the people, but nowhere is he charged with writing them down, and nowhere is it related that he did so. P knows of no written Torah! In this account, Moses ascends Mount Sinai only once, to receive the Tabernacle instructions, and descends once, to carry them out.

When the Tabernacle is ready, all further revelation takes place there. The unique Priestly view of the connection between the giving of the law and the presence of God in the Tabernacle reflects the Priestly conception of the relationship between Israel and its God. Observance of the law is, after all, what will ensure the enduring presence of God among the Israelites, upon which their national existence depends. What of D, the Deuteronomic version? Deuteronomy seems to follow E in several respects: Like the Elohistic narrative, D emphasizes that the events at the mountain D calls it Horeb consist only of speech; no visual experience of the divine takes place Deuteronomy , D also contains the prophetic motif, relating that after the Decalogue is proclaimed directly by God, the people beg Moses to receive the laws on their behalf so that they are not consumed by the terrible fire, and the Lord and Moses agree Deuteronomy — Only two major points are changed.

First, in D the laws communicated to Moses after the theophany are not given to the people until 40 years later, on the eve of entry to the land of Canaan. The covenant at Horeb included the Decalogue only; the only covenant made over a larger corpus of laws is made in the steppes of Moab, just before Moses dies Deuteronomy Second and a result of the first , according to D, Moses writes down the Torah not at Horeb but rather just before he dies, depositing it with the Levites for posterity Deuteronomy — It should be evident that these four accounts were not composed to complement or supplement each other.

In fact, each account ignores the existence of the others. Even D, which is clearly parallel to E, does not pick up where E leaves off. Rather, it is a similar but competing account, contradicting E not only in its view of how Israel received the laws but also, and primarily, in the laws themselves, which differ in scope, in underlying viewpoint and in substance from the laws given in E.

The same is true of the other accounts. Source criticism theorizes that the separate documents were combined by redactors, scribes whose task was to create a single, continuous Torah from the ones already in existence. They treated the several existing documents as sacred literature, and they strove to combine them maximally, not selectively. Merging the several stories of the giving of the law into one was a major component of this endeavor. We do not know precisely how this took place, but we can at least describe it to some degree.

The Priestly version seems to have served as the framework. It also provides precise dates Exodus , ; Numbers , , Assuming that the other stories must somehow fit into and around P, the redactors proceeded to draw a series of logical conclusions. First, they reasoned, since both E and J tell of an awesome theophany at a mountain, they must be referring to the same event. Second, this event must have taken place as soon as the Israelites arrived at Sinai. This is only logical, since the Israelites got to work building the Tabernacle immediately after Moses informed them that God had ordered them to do so and since the Israelites left Sinai very soon after the Tabernacle was built.

Third, since both P and E speak of Moses receiving some object from God on the mountain, it stood to reason that the two refer to the same object. Fourth, since the testimony received according to P was placed in the ark and kept there for good, while the tablets in E were destroyed and replaced, the testimony of P must have been given twice. Thus, the Tabernacle story was made to straddle the account of the golden calf—the instructions and the first testimony being given before the calf was made, and the second testimony, followed by the prompt execution of the task, after forgiveness was granted.

The result of this, of course, was that in the combined account, Moses first receives the Tabernacle instructions when he climbs the mountain to get the first set of tablets, but he only conveys them to the people when he returns with the second set. Of course, it now appeared to be supplementary to the legislation given at Sinai. Finally, since D explicitly states that the Deuteronomic Torah was delivered by Moses at the end of his lifetime, the only possible place to position it was following the conclusion of the Priestly law code. Thus the impression was created that it amounted to a repetition of the law, though this too is never stated in the text.

It further emerges that Moses wrote down a second law book in addition to the one he had written at Sinai. We may never know when this extremely sophisticated literary process took place. Scholars differ on the origin and interrelationship of the separate documents. Whatever the precise circumstances may be, the composition of the Torah represents the crowning achievement in the process of collating, canonizing and codifying the aggregate of tradition, religious and legal practice, and historical memory that the First Temple period produced.


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What traditional interpretation saw as a single Mosaic text, critical analysis views as a mosaic of texts. It is no less significant for this. In fact, some would argue, a collection consisting of four impressionistic paintings and one collage is actually a better record of an encounter with the ineffable than a single, one-dimensional photograph.