Friday, May 02, 2014

6. Genesis 12 (The Call of Abram)

Today it's Genesis 12.
  • Outline of Genesis: Genesis 1-11 form a unit, the pre-history of Israel as it were, from creation to Abraham. The next section will cover the adventures of Abraham.
  • Abram's Call: The first half of Genesis 12 is Yahweh's initial call of Abram from Haran in the north down to Canaan. YHWH promises to bless Abram and make him into a great nation (12:2), to give the land to his seed (12:7), and that all the tribes of the earth will be blessed in him (12:3). These promises will appear throughout this part of Genesis.
  • Paul's arguments: Paul will use several of these promises when arguing with his Christian opponents. In Galatians 3:8, the blessing of the nations through him is reinterpreted in terms of justification by faith for the Gentiles. In Galatians 3:16, he will reinterpret the promise to Abraham's seed as a promise about Christ. 
  • Sacred Trees: We shouldn't assume that Abram understood nearly as much about God as we now know. For example, sacred trees seem to play a role in his contact with God. There is a (sacred) oak of Moreh near Shechem. A sanctuary of Yahweh will eventually be here by this sacred oak, with the book of the Law placed in it (Joshua 24:26).
  • Sacred Sites: From Shechem, Abram goes on to Bethel and builds an altar to the Lord there. His grandson Jacob will have more than one experience of God there and will set up a sacred pillar there.
  • Lookin' Good at 65: The second half of the chapter gives us the first of three very similar incidents involving either Abraham and Sarah or Isaac and Rebekah. In this one, Abram and Sarai go to Egypt because of a famine and Pharaoh takes her into his household and makes her one of his wives. But YHWH sends some plagues on Pharaoh. Pharaoh finds out and expels them from Egypt.
Previous notes:
1. Genesis 1:1-2:3 (Creation)
2. Genesis 2:4-3:24 (The Fall)
3. Genesis 4-5 (Cain and Abel)
4. Genesis 6-9 (The Flood)
5. Genesis 10-11 (The Tower of Babel)

Sunday on to Genesis 13-14.

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