Handbook of Genesis
Beginning of World, Man, Hebrew Nation
Creation Flood Abraham Isaac Jacob Joseph
Authorship of Genesis
The age-old Hebrew and Christian tradition is that Moses, guided of God, composed Genesis out of ancient documents existent in his dry. The book closes something like 100 years before Moses. Moises could have gotten this information only by direct revelation from God, or through such historical records as had been handed down from his forefathers.
Opening with the "Creation Hymn," there are then given ten "Books of Generations" which constitute the framework of Genesis. It seems that they were incorporated bodily by Moses, with such additions and explanations as he may have been guided of God to make. These eleven documents are as follows:
These eleven documents, originally family records of God's Chosen Line, and kindred families, which compose the book of Genesis, cover the first 2000 years of man's history, from the Creation of Man to the Settlement of God's Chosen People in Egypt.
The "Creation Hymn " 1 :1 -2:3
A poetic description, in measured, majestic movement, of the successive steps of creation, cast in the mold of the oft-recurring Biblical "seven." In all literature, scientific or otherwise, there is no sublimer account of the Origin of Things.
Who wrote the "Creation Hymn"? Used by Moses, but written, no doubt, long before, perchance by Abraham, or Noah, or Enoch or Adam. Writing was in common use ages before the days of Moses. Some of God's "commandments, statutes and laws"
were in existence in the days of Abraham, 600 years before the days of Moses (Genesis 26:5) .
How did the writer know what happened before man appeared? No doubt God "revealed to him the remote past as later the distant future was made known to the prophets."
Who knows but what God himself may have taught this hymn to Adam? And it may have been recited by word of mouth, around the family circle, or sung as a ritual in primitive worship ( hymns constituted a large part of the very earliest forms of literature), generation after generation, till Writing was invented, God himself guarding its transmission, till finally, under the master mind of Moses, it took its place as the Opening Utterance of the Divine Book of the Ages.
If the Bible is GOD's Word, as we believe it to be, and if God knew from the beginning that He was going to use the Bible as a main instrument in the Redemption of Man, why should it be difficult to believe that God himself, co-eval with His creation of man, gave to man the germ and nucleus of that Word?
"ln the Beginning" GOD Created the Universe. What follows, in the "Seven days," describes the Forming of substance already created, in preparation of the Earth's Surface for the Creation and Abode of Man. The creation of Man, according to Biblical chronology, was about 4000 B.c. But the creation of the Universe may have been countless ages earlier.
Who Made God?
Every child asks this question. And no one can answer it. There are some things beyond us. We cannot conceive of the Beginning of Time, nor the End of Time, nor the Boundaries of Space. The world has been in existence Always, or, it was Made out of Nothing; one, or the other; yet we can conceive of neither. This we do know: thee highest of all things within reach of our thinking is Personality, Mind, Intelligence. Where did it come from? Could the Inanimate create Intelligence? In FAITH we accept, as the Ultimate in our thinking, a Power higher than ourselves, GOD, in hope that some day, in the beyond, we shall understand the mysteries- of existence.
The Universe which God Created
Astronomers estimate that the Milky Way, the Galaxy or which our earth and solar system belong, contains over 30,000,000,000 suns, many of them immensely larger than our sun, which is a million and half times larger than the earth. The Milky Way is shaped like a thin watch, its diameter from rim to rim being 200,000 light-years:
a light-year is the distance that light travels in a year at the rite of 186,000 miles per second. And there are, at least, 100,000 Galaxies like the Milky Way, some of them millions of light-years apart. And all this may be only a tiny speck in what is beyond in the infinite, end-less stretch of space.
Chapters 1:2 to 2:3. The Seven Days
Whether lh.y were days of 24 hours, or long successive periods, we do not know. The word "days" has variable meanings. In l:5 it is used as a term for Light. In I : 8, 13 it seems to mean a day of 24 hours. In 1:14, 16 it seems to mean a 12-hour day. In 2:4 it seems to cover the whole period of creation. In such passages as Joel 3: 18, Acts 2:20, John 16:23, "that day" seems to mean the whole Christian era. In such passages as II Timothy 1:12 it seems to refer to the era beyond the Lord's Second Coming. And in Psalm 90:4 and II Peter 3:8, "one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one dry."
This chapter is not a treatise on Science. Yet its harmony with present Biological and Zoological Knowledge is amazing.
First Day, I :2-5
Light. Light must have been included in the "heavens and earth" that were created in the "beginning." But the earth's surface must have been still in darkness, because the cooling earthcrust, covered with boiling waters, must have sent up dense layers of mists and gases that completely shut out the sun's-light. Light, and the Succession of Day and Night, were established on the Earth's Surface when the cooling processes had diminished the density of the fog sufficiently for Light to penetrate. However, the Sun itself did not become Visible till the Fourth Day.
Second Day, l:6-8
The Firmament, called "Heaven," here means the Atmosphere, or Layer of Air, between the water-covered earth and the clouds above, made possible by the cooling of the earth's waters, still warm enough to make clouds that hid the Sun.
Third Day, 1:9- 13
Land and Vegetation. The earth's surface, till now, it seems, had been wholly covered with water, because continual breaking of newly-formed thin crust must have kept the earth's surface smooth, as a liquid ball. But the crust, as it became cooler and thicker, began to buckle up, and islands and continents began to appear. No rains as yet; but dense mists watered the newly-formed land, which was still warm by its own heat. A tropical climate everywhere; and Vegetation must have grown rapidly and in gigantic proportions, which, under countless alternate submergences and upheavals, produced our present-day coal beds.
Fourth Day, 1:1 4- 19
Sun, Moon, Stars. They must have been created "in the beginning." On the "first day" their light must have penetrated the earth's mists (1:3), while they themselves were not visible. But now, due to the lessened density of clouds, as a result of further cooling of the earth, they became Visible on earth. Seasons came when the earth's surface ceased to receive heat from within, and became dependent on the Sun as its only source of heat.
Fifth Day, 1:20-25
Sea Animals, Birds. Notice the progression: 1st, 2nd days, Inanimate things; 3rd day, Vegetable Life; 5th day, Animal Life.
Sixth Day, I:24-31
Land Animals and MAN. The earth at last ready for Man's abode, God made Man in HIS OWN IMAGE. God saw everything that He had made, and it was "very good" (1:4, 10, 12, 18, 21, 25, 31). But soon the picture darkened. God must have known beforehand that it would, and must have regarded his whole work of the creation of man as but a step toward the glorious world that will yet issue from it, as told in the closing chapters of Revelation.
God Rested. Not absolutely (John 5:17), but from this particular creative work. This was l basis of the Sabbath (Exodus 20, 11 ) . It bears a mystical reference to Heaven (Hebrews 4:4, 9). The number "Seven" may figure in the structure of the universe far beyond man's knowledge.
ARCHAEOLOGICAL NOTE: Babylonian Creation Stories
Epics of Creation, in various forms, on tablets which were in circulation before the time of Abraham, have been found in recent years in the ruins of Babylon, Nineveh, Nippur and Ashur, which are strikingly similar to the "Creation Hymn" of Genesis.
There are "seven" tablets (or epochs) of creation-"in the beginning" a "primeval abyss"-a "chaos of waters" called "the deep"- the gods "formed all things"-made the "upper and lower firmaments" -"established the heavens and the earth"-the 4th day "ordained the stars"-"made the grass and the green herbs to grow"-"the beasts of the field and the cattle and all living things"-on"the 6th day "formed man out of the dust of the ground"-"they became living creatures" -"man with wife they dwelt"-"companions they were"-in a garden was their dwelling"-"clothing they knew not'-the "7th" day was
appointed a "holy day," and "to cease from all business commanded."
These Babylonian and Assyrian Creation stories are all grossly Polytheistic. But with so many points of similarity to the Genesis account it would seem that they must have had a common origin. Are not these corrupted traditions a testimony to the fact of a
ARCHAEOLOGICAL NOTE: Original Monotheism
The Bible represents the human race as starting with a belief in ONE GOD, and that Polytheistic Idolatry was a later development. This is directly contrary to the present day theory that the idea of One God with a gradual development upward from Animism. The Bible view has received confirmation from Archaeology. Dr. StePhen
Langdon, of Oxford University, has found that the earliest Babylonian inscriptions suggest that man's first religion was a belief in One God, and from that there was a rapid decline into Polytheism and Idolatry. (See Langdon's "Semitic Mythology:' and
the "Field Museum-Oxford University Expedition 'to Kish," by Henry Field, Leaflet 28) .
Sir Flinders Petrie said that the Original religion of Egypt was Monotheistic. Sayce announced (1898) that he had discovered, on three separate tablets in the British Museum, of the time of Hammurabi, the words "Jahwe (Jehovah) is God." Leading anthropologists have recently announced that among all primitive races there was a belief in One Supreme God: (see Dr. Schmidt's "Origin and Growth of Religion-Facts and Theories") .
"Generations of the Heqvens snd Eorth," 2:4-4:26
Sometimes called the "second Account" of Creation. It starts with a reference to the desolate condition of the earth (2:5,6), which corresponds to the early part of the "third day" in the "first account (1:9, 10); then gives some details omitted from the first
account; and then proceeds with the story- of Man's Fall. It is supplemental, not contradictory. Added details are not contradictions.
Who was the original author of this document? It carries the story down to the 6th, generation of Cain's descendants (4: 17-22) , and closes while Adam was still alive (he lived to the 8th generation of Seth's descendants 5:4-25 ) . So everything in it happened in Adam's lifetime. If writing was not invented while Adam was yet alive, may it not be that Adam told these things over and over in his family circle, so that at least their substance-took a sort of fixed from till writing was invented? May it not be that Moses recorded the story of Man's Fall, in the main, in the very words in which Adam himself had told it?
Chapter 2:4-17. The Garden of Eden
In the chapter 1 the Creator is called "God" (Elohim) , generic name of the Supreme Being. Here it is "The Lord God". (Jehovah Elohim), His personal name: first step in God's revelation of Himself.
No Rain, but a Mist" (5, 6). This must mean that, for a while, the earth was watered by heavy fogs, because the earth's surface was so warm, and consequent vapors so dense, that cooling raindrops on the far outer fringes of the clouds would turn to vapor again before they reached the earth.
"Tree of Life" (9; 3:23) may have been an actual food of Immortality , indicating that Immortality is dependent on something outside ourselves. This Tree will again be accessible to those who have washed their robes in the -blood of the Lamb (Revelation 2:7; 22:2, 14).
"Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil" (9,.17) was "good for food" "a delight to the eyes," and "to be desired to make one wise" (3:6). Whatever the exact nature of this Tree, literal, figurative or symbolic, the essence of Adam and Eve'S sin, in part, at least,
was this: Transference of Control of their lives from God to Themselves. God had, in substance, told them they could do Anything they wanted to, EXCEPT that One Thing. It was a Test of their Obedience. As long as they refrained, God was their Master. When, in spite of God's " command, they did that One -Thing, they made Themselves their Own Master. Is not that the Essence of Human Sin? From the beginning God designed Man to LIVE FOREVER, the one condition"being Obedience to God. Man failed. Then began the long, slow process of Redemption, by a. Savior, through Whom
Man may regain his lost estate. Only in obedience to God is Life.
Chapter 2:I8-25. The Creqtion of Woman
It had already been stated in 1:27 that Man was created "Male and Female." Here the manner of Woman's creation is more fully told". And here, at the start of the human race, at the outset of Sacred Writ, is ordained the divine origin and sanctity of Marriage: One Man and One Woman, One Flesh (24).
Scripture represents Marriage as an earthly counterpart of the relation between Christ and the Church (Ephesians 5:25-32; Revelation 19:7; 21:2, 9). The Church is called the "Bride" of Christ. Adam's bride was made from his side, while he was asleep (21, 22). This may be a primeval picture of the Church, Bride of Christ, being made out of "blood and water" that came from Christ's side, while He was in "sleep" on the Cross (John 19:34; I John 5:6, 8).
"Naked, and Not Ashamed" (25) . It may be that they were enswathed in the ethereal Light of God, as Jesus was when he was Transfigured ( Mark 9: 3 ) ; and which vanished on the entrance of Sin, and which will one day again clothe the Redeemed (Revelation 3:4; 21:23). Of all God's creatures, as far as we know, Man alone wears Clothing, a badge of our sinful nature.
Location of the Garden of Eden
It was on the Euphrates and Tigris rivers, at their junction with the Pishon and Gihon ( 2 : 10- 14) . The Pishon and Gihon have not been identified. The Euphrates and Tigris rise in the Caucasus mountain region of southwest Asia, flow southeastward, and empty into the Persian Gulf.
Thus man may be said to have been created at about the center of the earth's surface; for this Caucasus-Euphrates region is approximate center of Eastern Hemisphere, which is the largest of the two Hemispheres.
Ethnologists quite generally consider this region to have been the original home of all the present races of men. It was the region from whence came the ox, goat, sheep, horse, pig, dog, apple, peach, pear, plum, cherry, quince, mulberry, gooseberry vine, olive, fig, date, almond, wheat, barley, oats, pea, bean, flax, spinach, radish, onion, and most of our fruits and vegetables. The cradle of the human race.
While there are some who think that the Armenian Highlands, on the headwaters of the Euphrates and Tigris, which may not have been as high above sea level as now, might possibly have been the particular site of the Garden of Eden, the traditional and generally accepted site of the Garden of Eden, is Babylonia, near the mouth of the Euphrates.
At present the Euphrates and Tigris unite about 100 miles above the Persian Gulf. In Abraham's day the Gulf extended inland as far as Ur, and the two rivers entered the Gulf by separate streams.The whole Babylonian'plain was made by alluvial deposit of these two rivers. The river beds changed their courses often.
In Adam's time, possibly, the two rivers may have united for a short distance, and divided again, before entering the Gulf; the Garden being on the united stream between the function and separation of the rivers, thus making four branches, or "heads" (2:10); the two rivers continuing as the east and west coast of the Gulf, and called Gihon and Pishon. In ancient inscriptions the Persian Gulf was called a "river."
ARCHAEOLOGICAL NOTE: Eridu, Troditionol Gqrden of Eden
The particular spot which tradition has fixed as the site of the Garden of Eden is a group of mounds, 12 miles south of Ur, known as Eridu (Abu Sharem). It was the home of "Adapa," the Babylonian Adam. The Weld Prism says the first two kings in history reigned at Eridu.
Ancient Babylonian inscriptions say, "Near Eridu was a garden, which in was a mysterious Sacred Tree, a Tree of Life, planted by the gods, whose roots were deep, while its branches reached to heaven, protected by guardian spirits, and no man enters".
The ruins of Eridu were excavated by Hall and Thompson, of the British Museum (1918-19). They found indications that it had been a prosperous city, revered as the Original Home of Man.
The Eridu Region
The region around Eridu, excavations have revealed, was densely populated in the earliest known ages of history, and was for centuries dominating Center of the Word; a region where many of the oldest and most valuable inscriptions have been found.
Ur, home of Abraham, was 12 miles from Eridu. Fara, traditional home of Noah was 70 miles away. 'Obeid (AI 'Ubaid), where the oldest known historical document was found, was only 15 miles from Eridu.
Lagash, where immense primitive libraries were found was only 60 miles from Eridu.
Nippur, library center, was 100 miles from Eridu. Erech, Nimrod's city, was 50 miles from Eridu.
Larsa, where Weld Prism was found, 40 miles from Eridu. Babylon was only 150 miles from Eridu.
It was effected through the subtlety of the Serpent. The Serpent is represented as speaking as of himself. But later Scripture indicates that it was Satan speaking through the Serpent (II Corinthians 11:3, 14; Revelation 12:9; 20:2). Some have thought that originally the Serpent stood erect, and was very beautiful, and by nature fitted to be the tool of Satan. He inveigled Adam and Eve into Disobedience of their Creator. The dreadful work was done. And the pall of Sin and Gloom and Toil and Pain and Death fell upon a world which God had made beautiful.
Why Did God Make Man So That He could sin?
Well, is there any other way He could have made him? Could there be a Moral Creature without the power to Choose? FREEDOM is God's gift to man: Freedom to Think, Freedom of Conscience; even though. man uses his freedom to Disobey God.
In a certain train wreck, the engineer, who could have saved his life by jumping, stuck to his post, and thereby saved the passengers, but lost his own life. They erected a monument, Not to the Train, for it did only what its machinery Forced it to do, but to the Engineer, who, of his own volition, Chose to give his life, to save the passenger. What virtue is there in obeying God, if, in our Nature there is not inclination to do otherwise? But if, of our Own Choice, and against the steady urge of our Nature, we obey God, there is Character in that.
But Did Not God Foreknow that Man Would Sin?
Yes; and He foreknew the fearful consequences; and He also foreknew the Ultimate Outcome. We suffer and suffer, and wonder and wonder, why God has made such a world. But one day, after all has come to Final Fruition, our Suffering will be Over, and our Wonderment will Cease, and, with the Redeemed of all ages, we will join in
never-ending Hallelujahs of Praise to God for Creating us as He did, and for leading us on to Life, Joy and Glory, in the Endless Ages of Eternity (Revelation 19: 1-8).
Effect of Sin on Nature
Here, in the opening pages of the Bible, we have a, primeval explanation of Nature as it is today: common Hatred of Snakes (3:14, t5); Pain in Childbirth (3:15); and the earth's Spontaneous Production of Useless Weeds, while food-bearing vegetation has to
be Toilsomely Cultivated (3:17-19). Also Foregleams of Christ, in the Seed of the Woman (3: 15), and in Sacrifice and Atonement (4:4).
"Seed of the Woman," 15
Here, immediately after the Fall of Man, is God's prophecy that His Creation of Man would yet prove to be successful, through the "Seed of the Woman." This is the Bible's first hint of a Coming Redeemer. The use of "He" (15) shows that One Person is meant.
There has been only ONE descendent of Eve who was born of Woman without being begotten of Man. Here, right at the start of the Bible story, is this foregleam of Christ; and, as the pages pass. Hints, Foregleams, Glimpses, Pictures and Plain Statements, become clearer and more abundant, so that, as we come to the end of the Old Testament, there has been drawn L fairly Complete Picture of Christ.
"The Mother of All Living" (20). On the Unity of the race in Adam is based the Atonement of Christ. One man's sin brought Death. One Man's Death brought Redemption (Romans 5:12-19).
ARCHAEOLOGICAL NOTES: Bobylonion Traditions of Fall of Man
Early Babylonian inscriptions abound in references to a "tree of life," from which man was driven, by the influence of an evil spirit personified in a serpent, and to which he was prevented from returning by guardian cherubs.
Among these tables is a story of "Adapa," so strikingly parallel, to the Biblical story of Adam, that he is called the Babylonian Adam.- "Adapa, the seed of mankind,"-"the wise man of Eridu,"-"blameless," - then he "offended the gods,"- "through knowledge,"- then he "became mortal,"-"food of life he ate not,"-"sickness he imposed on the people,"-the gods said, "he shall nor rest," -"they clothed him with a mourning garment."
There are two ancient Seals, which seem to portray in Picture exactly what Genesis says in words:
The "Temptation" found , among ancient Babylonian tablets, now- in the British "Museum, seems definitely to refer to the Garden of Eden story. In the center is a Tree; on the right, a Man, on the left, a Woman, plucking Fruit; behind the woman , a Serpent, standing errect, as if whispering to her.
The "Adam and Eve" Seal, found, 1932, by Dr. E. A. Spreiser, of the University Museum of Pennsylvania, near the bottom of the Tepe Gawra Mound, 12 miles north of Nineveh. He dated the Seal at about 3.500 B.C., and called it "strongly suggestive of the Adam ans Eve story": a naked man and a naked woman, walking as if utterly down-cast and broken-hearted, followed by a serpent.
The seal is about an inch in diameter, engraved on stone. It is now in the University Museum at Philadelphia.
Other Traditions of the Fall of Man
Persian: our first parents, innocent, virtuous, and happy, lived in a Garden, where there was a Tree of Immortality, till an evil spirit in the form of a Serpent appeared.
Hindoo: In the first age man was free from evil and disease, had all his wishes, and lived long.
Greek: the first men, in the golden age, were naked, free from evil and trouble, enjoyed communion with the gods.
Chinese: had a tradition of a happy age, when men had an abundance of food, surrounded by peaceful animals.
Mongolians and Tibetans: had similar traditions.
Teutons: the primeval race enjoyed a life of perpetual festivity.
All Barbarous Races: have traditions of a more civilized state.
The original story of the Garden of Eden was, no doubt, told by Adam to Methuselah, and by Methuselah to Noah, and by Noah to his sons; and in the national cultures that followed it became variously and grossly modified.
Assuming that Adam and Eve were created full-grown, Cain, when he killed Abel, must have been about 129 years old; for Seth was born soon after (4:25), at which time Adam was 130 (5:3).
Abel's Sacrifice (4:4) was acceptable, because he was righteous (1 John 3:12) , and because it was offered in faith (Hebrews 1 1 :4) . On the entrance of Sin, it seems, God had ordained such sacrifice. Ir appears to have been a sort of primeval picture of the Atoning Death of Christ.
Cain's Wife (4:17) must have been his Sister, for Eve was the ''mother of all living" ( 3 : 20) . Adam had unnamed sons and daughters (5:4) ; tradition says, 33 sons and 27 daughters.
Who was there for Cain to fear? (4:14) In the 130 years from Adam's creation to Abel's murder, a good many generations had arisen, with a total population probably of many thousands.
Cain's Sign (4:15). Whatever it was, the people must have understood what it meant. This may have been the origin of writing: .the mark stood for an Idea: and, soon, different mark for different ideas.
Cain's City ,(4:17), somewhere east of Eden, was probably only a village of rude huts, with a wall for defense, to serve as a sort of headquarters for his outcast offspring.
Polygamy (4:19) soon followed murder, in Cain's family. God had ordained, at the start, that One men and One woman live together in marriage (2:24). But man soon managed otherwise.
ARCHAEOLOGICAL NOTE: Early Use of Metals
While Adam was yet living his descendants learned the use of copper and iron, and invented musical instruments.
Until recently the use of iron was thought to have been unknown previous to the 12th century B.C. The terms which historians and archaeologists have used to denote the successive steps in the advance of civilization are:
In 1933 Dr. H. E. Frankfort, of the Oriental institute, discovered, in the ruins of Asmar, about 100 miles northeast of Babylon, an Iron blade which had been made about 2700 B.C.; thus pushing back the known use of iron some 1,500 years.
Primitive inscriptions have revealed that Babylonia has never been inhabited with people unacquainted with the use of metals. Copper instruments have been found in the ruins of a number of pre-Flood cities, see under chapter 5.
The Weld Prism, which gives. names of ten long-lived kings who reigned before the Flood, says that the 3rd, 5th, and 6th reigned at may be a tradition of Cain's city, 4:17.
"The Book of the Generations of Adam" 5:I to 6:8
The 3rd document composing the book of Genesis. It carries the story to the 500th year of Noah,s life ( 5:32). It may have been started by Adam, continued by Enoch and Methuselah, and completed by Noah. Copies of this and the two previous documents
may have been made by Noah on clay tablets, and buried, es the tradition says, at Sippar. Copies may have been taken into the Ark.
Their ages are listed as follows: Adam, 930 years, Seth, 912 years, Enosh, 905 years, Kenan, 910 years, Mahalalel, 895 years, Jared, 962 years, Enoch, 365 years, Methuselah, 969 years, Lamech , 777 years, Noah, 950 years.
The Great Age to which they lived is ordinarily explained on the theory that Sin had only begun its malign influence on the race.
Figures in this chapter, with 6:6, indicate that there were 1656 years between Creation of Man and the Flood. Some think that, inasmuch as this genealogy, and that in chapter 11, each have 10 generation, they may be abbreviated, as that of Jesus in Matthew 1. But the formula, "lived-years, and begat-," is against such a theory.
Enoch , 21 -24
He was the Best of Them. In a society of unspeakable wickedness, he "walked with God." Born 622 years after the creation of Adam, he was contemporary with Adam 308 years. "God took him" 69 years before the birth of Noah, while he was only 365.
The one other to be thus Translated, without-having to die, was Elijah (2 Kings 2) , Enoch and Elijah, perhaps, being intended of God to be a sort of fore-picture of the happy fate of the saints who will be in the flesh when the Lord Returns (1 Thessalonians 4:17).
Arabs had a legend that it was Enoch who invented Writing. The New Testament refers to a Prophecy of Enoch (Jude 14).
He was the Oldest of the ten (969 years) , son of Enoch. His life overlapped that of Adam by 243 years and that of Shem by 98 years, thus forming a connecting link between the Garden of Eden and the Post-Flood world. He died the year of the Flood.
ARCHAEOLOGICAL NOTE: Primeval Longevity
Berosus, a Babylonian historian of 100 B.C. basing his history on archives in the Temple of Marduk, copied from primitive inscriptions, many of which have been found, named 10 long-lived kings who reigned before the Flood, each reigning from 10,000 to 60,000 years, as: Aloros, Alaparos, Amelon, Ammenon, Megalaros, Daonos, Eudorachus, Amenpsinos, Otiartes, Xisuthros. "In the time of Xisuthros," says Berosus, "the Great Deluge occurred."
The Weld Prism and Nippur Tablets, assigning thousands of years to each reign, name the Pre-Flood kings as:
"Then the Flood overthrew the land."
These must be the same kings as those named by Berosus, known by different names after the Confusion of Tongues at Babel. The tablets that give these names were written after the Historic period began. It seems that the ancients, in speaking of their PRE-Historic times, fell into the same temptations that our moderns do, of exaggerating to vast dimensions the chronology of their primeval world.
Besides the Babylonians: Persians, Egyptians, Hindoos, Greeks, and others had traditions of the great longevity of earth's earliest inhabitants. Where could such traditions come from, except from the fact that the first men did actually live long?
ARCHAEOLOGICAL NOTE: Excavations in Pre-Flood Cities
The cities named at the top of this page, as the homes of Pre-Flood kings, have been identified, except Badgurgurru. Excavations in their ruins, and the ruins of other Pre-Flood cities, have brought to light many features of Ante-Diluvian life, and have made very real to us the world of the first few chapters of Genesis.
Among the Pre-Flood cities excavated are: Eridu, Obeid, Erech, Susa, Tepe Gawra, Ur, Kish, Fara (Shuruppak), Sippar (Accad), Larso, Jemdet Nasr. In their ruins archaeologists have gotten very close to the beginnings of settled life in Babylonia.
Among the relics of Pre-Flood peoples found in these ruins are such things as painted pottery, flint . implements, tools, turquoise vases, copper axes, copper mirrors, hoes, sickles, implements of stone, flint, quartz, fish hocks, models of boats, an underground kiln, beautiful vitrified pottery, cosmetics which pre-historic women used for darkening their eyebrows and eyelids, brick ruins of temples painted red or covered with plaster, pottery artistically .painted in intricate geometric patterns and figures of birds, even a chariot, and architectural accomplishments that indicate an "astonishingly advanced
The "sons of God" (6:2) are thought to have been either fallen angels, to which there may be reference in II Peter 2:4 and Jude 6, or leaders in Sethite families who intermarried with godless descendants of Cain. These abnormal marriages, whatever they were, filled the earth with corruption and violence.
Jesus regarded the Flood as an Historical Fact, and likened the time of His Coming Again to the days of Noah (Matthew 24:37-39). What is going on in the world at the present time, makes us wonder, if, even now, those days may be returning.
The "120 years" (6:3) maI mean respite to the Flood. Or, it may mean reduced span of life, from that referred to in chapter 5.
"The Generations of Noah" 6:9 to 9:28
The 4th document composing the book of Genesis. It contains the story of the Flood, as told, and perhaps recorded, by Noah, and handed on by Shem to Abraham.
Chapter 6:9-I8. Noah and the Ark
The Ark was about 450 feet long, 7 5 feet wide, 45 feet high. It had three decks, divided into compartments, with a window course around the top. It must have been very much the same size and Proportion as ocean ships of today. Living on the banks of a great river, boat building was one of man's earliest accomplishments. Cuneiform tablets indicate that at the dawn of history the inhabitants of Babylonia engaged in river traffic. Noah's home, according to Babylonian tradition, was at Fara, on the Euphrates, about 70 miles from site of the Garden of Eden. So boat building and river traffic must have been familiar to Noah from childhood.
In 6:19-21 and 7:2 it is explained that Seven pairs of Clean animals, but only One pair of each of the others, were to be taken into the Ark. Some have calculated that there was room in the Ark for 7000 species of animals.
It was a gigantic task to build the Ark, gather the animals and store the necessary food. Noah and his three sons could not have done it alone. Being grandson of Methuselah, and great grandson of Enoch, he may, as the Babylonian tradition says' have been a City-King; and may have employed thousands of men in the work. And
he may have been the best part of 120 years doing it (6:3), and was undoubtedly the subject of unceasing ridicule, but undaunted in his Faith (2 Pete 2:5; Hebrews 11 :7) .
Chapter 7:6 to 8:I9. The Flood
"Fountains of the great deep were broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened" (7:11). The Euphrates Valley might almost be called the Isthmus of the Eastern Hemisphere, where the Mediterranean Sea and Indian Ocean approach each other. The Armenian Mountain country is almost like an island system, with the Caspian and Black Seas on the north, the Mediterranean on the west, and the Persian Gulf and Indian Ocean on the south. A cataclysmic subsidence of the region would cause the waters to pour in from these seas, as rain poured down from above.
Extent of the Flood
"All the high mountains that were under the whole heavens were covered. And all flesh died that moved upon the earth" (7:19, 21) . This, doubtless, is the very language in which Shem related, or wrote, the story of the Flood to his children and grandchildren. He told it as he saw it. Are we to interpret his language according to his to own geography? or present day geography? The whole race, except Noah and his family, were destroyed. To destroy the race it was necessary for the Flood to cover only so much of the earth as was inhabited. Accepting the Bible account as it is, there had been only TEN generations from Adam, the first man. How could ONE family, in TEN generations, with primitive modes of travel, populate the whole earth? Most likely the race had not spread far outside the Euphrates basin.
Time in the Ark
Noah went into the Ark 7 days before it began to rain (7:4, 10). It began.to rain 17th day of 2nd month of Noah,s 600th year (7:11). Rained 40 days (7:12). Waters prevailed 150 days (7:24; 8:3). Ark rested 17th day of 7th month (8:4). Removed Ark's Covering 1st day of 1st month of Noah's 601sr year (8:13). Went our of Ark 27th day of 2nd month (8:14-19). In the Ark 1 year 17 days: 5 months floating, 7 months on mountain.
After floating some 500 miles or more from where it had started, the Ark rested on a peak in mountains of Armenia, called Ararat, about 200 miles north of Nineveh, Mt
Ararat is 17,000 ft high. At its foot is a city called Nexuana, or Nakhichevan, which claims the tomb of Noah. The name means, "Here Noah settled."
It may be that the Flood produced a clarified air that made the Rainbow clearly visible. And God designated it as the Sign of His Covenant with mankind that there would not be another Flood (9:8-17). The earth's next destruction will be by Fire (2 Peter 3:7).
Chapter 9:I8-28. Noah's Prophecy
Descendants of Ham to be servant races; Shemites to preserve knowledge of the True God; Japhetic races to have largest portion of world, and to supplant Semitic races as teachers of God. It was fulfilled when Israelites took Canaan, Greeks took Sidon, and Rome conquered Carthage; and ever since Japhetic races have dominated the world, and have been converted to the God of Shem, while Semitic races have occupied a place of comparative insignificance; and Hamitic races a place of servitude. An amazing forecast!
Reported Discovery of Noah's Ark
It has been announced in a number of publications that certain Russian aviators, just prior to the Bolshevik Revolution, claimed to have seen the hulk of a gigantic ship high up in the inaccessible glacier fastnesses of Mt. Ararat; and that they reported their find to the Russian Government. Just then the Czarist Government was overthrown by the atheistic Bolsheviks, and these reports were never made public.
Babylonian Trodition of the Flood
Archives of the Temple of Marduk, in Babylon, as related by Berosus, 300 B.C., contained this story: Xisuthros, a king, was warned by one of the gods to build a, ship, and take into it his friends and relatives and all different kinds of animals, with all necessary food. Whereupon he built an immense ship, which was stranded in Armenia. Upon subsidence of the Flood, he sent out birds; the third time they returned not. He came out, builded an altar, and sacrificed.
Egyptians had a legend that the gods at one time purified the earth by a great Flood, from which only a few shepherds escaped.
Greek tradition: Deucalion, warned that the gods were going to bring a flood upon the earth, for its great wickedness, built an ark, which rested on Mt. Parnassus. A dove was sent out twice.
Hindu tradition: Manu, warned, built a ship, in which he alone escaped from a Deluge which destroyed all creatures.
Chinese tradition: Fa-He, founder of Chinese civilization, is represented as having escaped from a Flood sent because man had rebelled against heaven, and his wife, 3 sons and 3 daughters.
England: Druids had a legend that the world had been re-peopled from a righteous patriarch who had been saved in a strong ship from a Flood sent to destroy man for his wickedness.
Polynesians have stories of a Flood from which 8 escaped.
Mexicans: One man, his wife and children, were saved in a ship from a Flood which overwhelmed the earth.
Peruvians: One men and one woman were saved in e box that floated on the flood waters.
American Indians: Various legends, in which 1, 3 or 8 persons were saved in a Boat above the waters on a high mountain.
Greenland: The earth once tilted over, and all men were drowned, except one men and one woman, who re-peopled the earth. (See International Standard Bible Encyclopedia.)
Universality of the Tradition
Babylonians, Assyrians, Egyptians, Persians, Hindus, Greeks, Chines, Phrygians, Fiji Islanders, Esquimaux, Aboriginal Americans, Indians, Brazilians, Peruvians, and indeed every branch of the whole human race, Semitic, Aryan, Turanian-have traditions of a Great
Deluge that destroyed all mankind, except one family, and which impressed itself indelibly on the memory of the ancestors of all these races before they separated. "All these myths are intelligible only on the supposition that some such event did actually occur. Such a universal belief, not springing from some instinctive principle of our nature, must be based on an Historical Fact.
ARCHAEOLOGICAL NOTE: The Flood Tablets
George Smith, of the British Museum, found (1872), in tables from the Library of Assur-banipal at Nineveh, accounts of the Flood curiously parallel to the Bible account, which had been copied from tablets dating back to the First Dynasty of Ur, a period about midway, between the Flood and Abraham. Later, many of these ancient tables were found. In these tables these expressions repeatedly appear: "The Flood ," "the age before the Flood," :inscriptions of the time before the Flood."
Babylonian Noah's own story of the Flood
It,is part,of what is called the Gilgamesh Epic. Gilgamesh was the 5:th king of the Erech dynasty, which was of of the first dynasties after the Flood. This Epic gives the story of his adventures, one of which was a visit to the island abode of Utnapishtim, the Babylonian Noah. This visit is depicted on a seat found recently at Tell Billa near Nineveh. In his reply to Gilgamesh, Utnapishtim (Noah) relates the story of the Flood and his escape from it. In substance, and in brief, it is as follows: "The assembly of
the gods decided to send a Deluge. They said, On the sinner let his sin rest. O man of Shuruppak, build a ship, save your life. Construct it with six stories, each with seven parts. Smear it with bitumen inside and outside. Launch it upon the ocean. Take into the ship seed of life of every kind. I built it. With all that I had I loaded it, with silver,
gold, and all living things that I had. I embarked upon the ship with my family and kindred. I closed the door. The appointed time arrived. I observed the appearance of the day. It was terrible. All light was turned to darkness. The rains poured down. The storm raged like a battle charge on mankind. The boat trembled. The gods wept. I looked out upon the sea. Alt mankind was turned to clay, like logs floating about. The tempest ceased. The flood was over. The ship grounded on Mt. Zazir. On the seventh day I sent one a dove; it returned. I sent out a swallow; it returned. I sent out a raven; it alighted, it waded about; it croaked; it did not return. I disembarked. I appointed a sacrifice. The gods smelled the sweet savor. They said, Let it be done no more."
ARCHAEOLOGICAL NOTE: The Flood Deposit at Ur
These traditions of the Flood, though mixed with polytheism and some evident myth, show that the Flood had become a fixed fact in the memory of the early inhabitants of Babylonia. And now, within the last few years, an Actual Layer of Mud, evidently deposited by the Flood, has been found in three separate places: Ur, which was 12 miles from the traditional site of the Garden of Eden; at Fara, traditional
home of Noah, 60 miles further up the river; and at Kish, a suburb of Babylon, 100 miles still further up the river; and, possibly, also rt a fourth place, Nineveh, 300 miles still further up the river.
At Ur, city of Abraham, the Joint Expedition of the university Museum of Pennsylvania and the British Museum, under the leadership of Dr. C. L. Woolley, found (1929), near the bottom of the Ur mounds, underneath several strata of human occupation, a great bed of solid water-laid clay 8 feet thick without admixture of human relic, with yet the ruins of another city buried beneath it. Dr. Woolley said that 8 feet of sediment implied a very great depth and a long period of water, that it could not have been put there by any ordinary overflow of the rivers, but only by some such vast inundation as the Biblical Flood. The civilization underneath the flood layer was so different from that above it that it indicated to Dr. Woolley "a sudden and terrific break in the continuity of history."
ARCHAEOLOGICAL NOTE: The Flood Deposit at Kish
Kish (Ukheimer, El-Ohemer, Uhaimir), on the east edge of Babylon, on a bed of the Euphrates which is now dry, was said, on the tablets, to have been first city rebuilt after Flood.
The Field Museum-Oxford University Joint Expedition, under the direction of Dr. Stephen Langdon, found (1928-29) a bed of clean water-laid clay, in the lower strata of the ruins of Kish, 5 feet thick, indicating L flood of vast proportions. 19 the flood layer is located just above the wall ruins. It contained no objects of any kind. Underneath it the relics represented an entirely different type of culture. Among the relics found was a four-wheeled Chariot, the wheels made of wood and copper nails, with the skeletons
of the animals that drew it. (See "Field Museum-Oxford University Expedition to Kish," by Henry Field, Leaflet 28.)
ARCHAEOLOGICAL NOTE: The Flood Deposit at Far
Fara (Shuruppak, Sukkurru), home of the Babylonian Noah, about half way between Babylon and Ur. Once on the Euphrates, now 40 miles to the east. A low-lying group of mounds, beaten by the sands of the desert. Excavated ( 193 1) , by Dr. Eric Schmidt, of the University Museum of Pennsylvania. He found the remains of three cities: the top one, contemporaneous with the 3rd dynasty; the middle city, Early Sumerian; and the bottom city, Pre-Flood.
The Flood Layer was between the middle city and the bottom city. It consisted of yellow dirt, a mixture of sand and clay, definitely alluvial, water-laid, solid earth, without relics of human occupation. Underneath the flood deposit was a layer of charcoal and ashes, a dark colored culture refuse which may have been wall remains, painted pottery, skeletons, cylinder seals, stamp seals, pots, pans and vessels.
At Nineveh Also In "Annals of Archaeology and Anthropology," Vol. XX, pages 134-35, P1 73, M. E. L. Mallowan, director of the British Museum Excavations at Nineveh ( 1932-33), describing the sinking of a pit in- the Great Mound, through 90 feet from the top to virgin soil, states that 70 feet of the 90 represented five pre-historic strata of
occupation, and that about half-way down, between the 2nd and 3rd strata from the bottom, there was a stratum some 8 feet thick consisting of alternate layers of viscous mud and riverine sand with 13 distinct rises in level, which in his opinion, indicated a series of severe pluvial seasons. There was a distinct difference between the pottery
under the wet layer, and that above it.
"The Generation of the Sons of Noah," 10:1 to 11:9
5 th document composing Genesis, prepared, probably, by Shem, and handed on to Abraham: Shem lived from 98 years before Flood till 150 years after birth of Abraham (11:10).
Noah's family dis-embarked from the Ark at Mt Ararat, near the headwaters of the Euphrates. Then, it seems, they migrated back, 500 miles, to Babylonia, their Pre-Flood home. Then, 100 years later (10:25), were scattered by the Confusion of Tongues.
Descendants of Japheth, North zone of Notions, 2-5
Japhethites went Northward, and settled in regions around the Black and Caspian Seas; and became progenitors of the great Caucasian races of Europe and Asia.
Descendants of Ham, South Zone of Notions, 6-20
Hamites went Southward. The names given seem to indicate South and Central Arabia, Egypt, the East Shore of the Mediterranean, and the East coast of Africa. Canaan, son of Ham, and his descendants, settled and gave their name to the land which later became the home land of the Jews. Egypt was called the "Land of Ham." Ham himself may have led the migration to Egypt. "Khen," an Egyptian god, was
Egyptian equivalent of the Hebrew word "Ham." Egypt was called "Mizraim,"the name of Ham's son. Nimrod was a Hamite.
Descendants of Shem, Central Zone of Notions, 21 -31
Shemites included Jews, Assyrians, Syrians, Elamites, in north Euphrates Valley and its borders.
Nimrod was the most outstanding leader in the 400 years between the Flood and Abraham. Grandson of Ham (8), born soon after the Flood, judging, by the ages mentioned in 11:10-16, he may have lived through the whole period. He was e, very enterprising man.
His fame as a "mighty hunter" (10:9), meant that he was protector of the people at a time when wild animals were a continual menace. Early Babylonian seals represented a king in combat with a lion. This may be a tradition of Nimrod.
In his ambition to control the rapidly multiplying and spreading race, he seems to have been leader in the Tower of Babel enterprise (10:10; 11:9). And, after the Confusion of Tongues, and Dispersion of People, Nimrod seems to have, later, resumed work on Babylon. Then he built three nearby cities, Erech, Accad and Calneh, , and
consolidated them into one kingdom under his own rule. This was the beginning of Imperialism.
Babylonia was long known as the "Land of Nimrod." He was afterward deified, his name being identical with "Merodach."
Still ambitious to control the ever-spreading race, Nimrod went 300 miles further north, and founded Nineveh (though one version says it was Asshur) and three nearby cities, Rehoboth, Calah and Resen. This constituted Nimrod's northern kingdom. For many centuries afterward, these two cities, Babylon and Nineveh, founded by Nimrod, were the Leading Cities of the World.
Cuneiform inscriptions state that Nineveh was colonized from Babylon; which is an archaeological confirmation of Genesis 10: 11.
The Confusion of Tongues occurred in the 4th generation after the Flood, about the time-of the birth of Peleg (10:25), which was 101 years after the Flood, and 326 years before the Call of Abraham (10:26). It was God's method of dispersing the race to its task of subduing the earth. It may, in part, account for the variety of gods, and the variety of names of Pre-Flood Persons.
Work on the Tower of Babel was stopped temporarily; but was resumed by those who remained in Babylonia; and the Tower became the center around which Babylon was built. It became a Pattern for similar towers in other Babylonian cities and may have suggested the form of Pyramids in Egypt.
ARCHAEOLOGICAL NOTE: Site of the Tower of Babel
The traditional Tower of Babel is at Borsippa, 10 miles southwest from the center of Babylon. Sir Henry Rawlinson found in a foundation corner in Borsippa a cylinder with this inscription: "The tower of Borsippa, which a former king erected, and completed to a height of 42 cubits, whose summit he did not finish, fell to ruins in ancient times. There was no proper care of its gutters for the water; rain and storms had washed away its brick, and the tiles of its roof were broken. The great god Marduk urged me to restore it. I did not alter its sire, or change its foundation walls, At a favorable time I renewed its brick work and its roofing tiles, and I wrote my name on the cornices of the edifice. I built a new as it had been ages before; I erected its pinnacle as it was in remote days." This seems like tradition of the unfinished tower of Babel.
It is commonly thought by archaeologists that more likely the actual site was in the center of Babylon0 identified with the ruins north of the Marduk Temple. G. Smith found an ancient tablet reading: "The building of this illustrious tower offended the
gods. In , night they threw down what they had built. They scattered them abroad, and made strange their speech." This seems like a tradition of Babel. It is now immense hole 330 feet square, which has been used as a quarry from which to take bricks. When standing it consisted of a, number of successive platforms one on top of another,
each smaller than the one below, e, sanctuary to Marduk on the top.
The Tower of Babel
l. Genesis 11:4, "a tower with its top in heaven" is an expression of the vast pride of the first builders of "ziggurars," the artificial temple hills of Sumeria and Babylonia.
2. The notion was to concentrate, to build powerful groups and cities instead of obeying the command of Genesis 9:1. The old spirit of rebellion, the worship of man, and human pride was again in control.
3. The date of this scattering is not recoverable. Ussher's guesses are based on false premises. The genealogies of Genesis 5 ind 11 are undoubtedly abbreviated. Many genealogies illustrate the habit of omission.
4. Ziggurats still exist in ruin at Ur and Erech (mod. Warka) and their construction illustrates Genesis 11:3, 4. Their whole purpose whenever found was idolatrous worship and herein lay the sin of the Babel builders.
(a) Languages fall into a few large families. Within the family, resemblances are apparent and developmental can be traced back sometimes for 3000 years. Between the major groups-e.g. Indo-European and Semitic there is no resemblance.
(b) Woolley in "The Sumerians" and "Ur of the Chaldees', describes in detail the amazing engineering of a ziggurat.
"The Generations of Shem," 11 : 10-26
The document composing book of Genesis. In 10:21-31, Shem's descendants are named. Here the line is carried straight from Shem to Abraham, covering 10 generations (427 years). Shem himself my have recorded this entire genealogy, for his life spanned the period covered-by it. On the next table showing ages from Adam to the Flood, as .given in chapter 5; and from the Flood to Abraham, as given here in chapter 11.
According to these figures:
I was 1656 years from Adam to Flood: 427 years, Flood to Abraham.
Adam's life overlapped Methuselah by 243 years.
Methuselah' life overlapped Noah by 600 years, Shem by 98 years.
There were 126 years between death of Adam and birth of Noah.
Noah lived 350 years after Flood; died 2 years before birth of Abraham.
Shem lived from 98 years before Flood till 502 years after Flood.
Shem lived till 75 years after Abraham entered Canaan.
Adam live at birth of great-great-great great- great - grandchildren.
Noah lived to 9th generation of his own descendants.
In column at right, all but Peleg and Nahor, alive at birth of Abraham.
In such a period of longevity, population increased very rapidly.
Before Flood they lived to great age. Then, a gradual reduction.
"The Generations of Terah," 11:27 to 25:11
7th document composing the book of Genesis. The story of Abraham, recorded, probably, by Abraham ans Isaac.
This Period in Babylonian History
Ancient Babylonian inscriptions, after naming 10 Pre-Flood kings, add, "Then the Flood overthrew the land".
Then, for the period between the Flood and Abraham, 100 kings, of 20 different cities, or dynasties, are named.
On the tablets, for the early part of this period, there is a sudden reduction in the length of reigns, from enormous to reasonable figures, marking the dividing line between "Historic," that is, records made of Contemporaneous Events, and "Pre-Historic," that is, records of Earlier Event made from Oral tradition.
At the opening of the historic period there were settlements at Kish, Lagash, Erech, Ur, Eridu, Nippur, Accad, Babylon, Larsa, Fara, and other places. These were small fortified cities, each ruled by a king or priest-king. They were in constant conflict with one another. Sometimes one city would gain control over others thus making a small empire. This domination would last for a while, and then dissolve, or pass to some other city or cities. These kings recorded their exploits on clay tablets, thousands of which have been dug up in recent years. The tablets, however, do not indicate to what extent thee city-dynasties were contemporaneous, consecutive or overlapping. So the chronology of the period is very uncertain.
The Principal Dynasties, according to these tablets, ruling in Babylonia, between the Flood and Abraham, are named next. Notice: these centers of population were clustered around Eridu, traditional Eden, and Fara, traditional home of Noah.
Called on the tables the First Dynasty after the Flood. Kish was a suburb of Babylon, near the site of the of the Tower of Babel, earliest great Post-Flood city, main capital of Babylonia in the period immediately following the Flood. Here Dr. Langdon found remains of the Flood deposit.
Lagash was, capital of the first Sumerian, or Hamitic, kingdom, after the Flood, in South Babylonia, es Kish was the capital of the first Semitic kingdom, in North Babylonia; about 100 miles apart. Lagash was library center, excavated by Sarzec (1877-1901)
Erech, also called Uruk, or Warka, one of Nimrod's cities, was only 50 miles from traditional Garden of Eden. One of its kings, Lugalziggissi, called himself "Lord of the World." Erech was excavated by Koldewey (1913), and Noldeke and Jordan (1928-33).
They found it to be one of earth's oldest cities, with 18 distinct pre-historic layers. It was the chief seat of Ishtar worship, where prostitution was compulsory.
Accad, also called Sippar, another of Nimrod's cities, and another famous library center, was about 100 miles northwest from Noah's traditional home, Fara. It produced SARGON I, most famous warrior of pre-Abrahamic times, who ruled from Elam to Mt. Sinai. He was a great conqueror, builder and promoter of learning. He founded a great library. He is thought to have been about contemporary with Cheops, builder of the Great Pyramid in Egypt.
Only 12 miles from Eridu, Ur, for a while, after the Flood, was outstripped by other nearby cities. But by the time of Abraham it had grown to be the leading city of the world. Under two of its most famous kings, Ur-engur and Dungi, Ur ruled from the Persian Gulf to the Mediterranean.
About the time of Abraham's migration to Canaan (2000 B.c.), Babylon, under Hammurabi, came into supremacy. Hammurabi, a great warrior, who built temples and compiled a legal code, is commonly identified with "Amriphel" of Genesis 14 1.
This Period in Babylonian History
Excavations in Ur, the City of Abraham
Ur, also called Mugheir, and Mugayyar, was once a seaport, on the Persian Gulf , at the mouth of the Euphrates river, 12 miles from Eridu, traditional site of the Garden of Eden. A Pre-Flood city; destroyed by the Flood; and rebuilt. Just preceding the time of Abraham, it was the most magnificent city in all the world; a center of manufacture, farming and shipping, in a land of fabulous fertility and wealth, with caravans going in every direction to distant lands, and ships sailing from the docks, of Ur down the Persian Gulf with cargoes of copper and hard stone. Then, about the time of Abraham, it was eclipsed by Babylon, but remained an important city. on down to the Persian period; by the time the Gulf had receded, and the Euphrates had changed its course,
running 10 miles to the east; and Ur was abandoned" to be buried by the sandstorms of the desert.
The Ruins of Ur, a number of cities, one upon another, Abraham,s city near the bottom, consist of a tall mound, surrounded by lower subsidiary mounds, covering an area about 2 miles long northwest and southeast, and about 1/2 mile wide. Remnants of a surrounding wall, 70 feet thick, 80 feet high, have been traced for 2 1/2 miles. The
Sacred Area occupied by Temples and Palaces, was surrounded by an inner wall, 400 yards long, 200 yards wide.
The University Museum of Pennsylvania and the British Museum, in a Joint Expedition, under leadership of C.L. Woolley, for 12 seasons (1922-34) , each season lasting 4 or 5 winter months, with some 200 workmen each season, quite "thoroughly
explored the secrets of these ruins.
The Ziggurat, or Temple-Tower patterned after the Tower of Babel, is now the tallest mound, and in Abraham's day was the most conspicuous building in the city. It was last rebuilt by Nabonidus, in the 6th century B.C., on the ruins of the Temple that had stood in Abraham's time, which itself, in turn, had been rebuilt over the foundations (which still remain) of one that had stood there in pre-historic times. The Tower, as Abraham saw it, was square, terraced, built of solid brick, the successive terraces planted with trees and shrubbery; at the top a sanctuary to the Mooh-God.
The Temples. The two main Temples were those of the Moon-God, and the Moon-Goddess, Ningal; in their glory in Abraham's day; a vast complex of shrines, small rooms, living quarters for t he priests, priestesses and attendants: deities Abraham's father worshiped.
The Royal Tombs. One of the most amazing discoveries was the rich treasures of the tombs of Queen Shubad, Mes-kalam-dug, and an un-named King, in the lower levels of the Cemetery, of a time about midway between Abraham and the Flood. With the bones of the Queen were found a golden crown, head-dress, a great profusion of beads, necklaces, and ornaments of gold, silver, and semi-precious stones, cups, plates, saucers, toilet boxes, paint cups, a golden harp; the bones of 40 court servants who had been sacrificed at the burial of the Queen, with an endless variety of copper, bronze,
stone and flint implements, to serve the Queen in the next world; the remains of a chariot with the bones of the animals that drew it. These may now be seen in the University Museum at Philadelphia. They bear witness to a very high degree of skill, thus early; and also the practice of human sacrifice, and belief in a future life.
A Residence Section, of Abraham's time, was uncovered, homes, shops, schools and chapels, with thousands of tablets, business documents, contracts, receipts, hymns, liturgies, etc. The houses were built of brick, two-story, flush with the street, court on inside
Chapters 10, 11. From Flood to Abraham
This Period in Egyptiam History
While the Bible story starts in Babylonia, it soon shifts to Egypt, which ever afterward looms large in the Old Testament.
Egypt was founded, soon after the Flood, by Mizraim son of Ham. It was called the "Land of Ham."
While civilization was developing in Babylonia under Nimrod, Sergon and Hammurabi, it made strides in Egypt under the first 12 Dynasties, which covered the period between the Flood and Abraham.
Manetho's 31 Dynasties
Manetho, and Egyptian, about 250 B.c., wrote a history of Egypt, which he arranged under 31 dynasties, from Menes, first historical king, to the Greek conquest by Alexander the Great 332 B.C; and to this day ancient Egyptian history is commonly spoken of in terms of the 31 dynasties; and in the main their correctness has been corroborated by archaeological finding.
At first Egypt was composed of a number of family groups, or small tribes, each called a "kingdom." They had their "pre-historic" period, that is, a period before written records were made of contemporaneous events; with traditions of primeval long-lived gods, demi-gods and kings. They knew the use of gold, silver, copper, lead
and flint. They made boats and ships.
The Three Great Epochs of Egyptian History Were:
The Old Kingdom: Dynasties 3 to 6. Era of Pyramid Building. Variously placed at between 4000 B.C. and 2000 B.C., most commonly at about 2700 B.C. or 2400 B.C.
The Middle Kingdom: Dynasties 11 and 12. Era of Canal Building. Great Prosperity. About 2000 B.C. Time of Abraham.
The Empire Period: Dynasties 18 and 19. 1600-1200 B.c. The First World Empire. Ruled from Ethiopia to the Euphrates. This was the time of Israel's Sojourn in Egypt.
Is fairly well established back to 1600 B.C.; but beyond that it is very uncertain. Thus, Menes, the first historical king, is dated, by Egyptologists, variously as follows: Petrie, 5500 B.C.; Brugsch, 4500; Lepsius, 3900; Bunsen, 3600; Breasted, 3400; Meyer, 3300; Scharff, 3000; Poole, 2700; G. Rawlinson, 2450; Wilkinson, 2320;. Scharpe, 2000. Thus, it may be seen, Petrie and Breasted, two of the most famous
Egyptologists, differ by more than 2000 years as to the beginning point of Egyptian history. These same two men differ by 1000 years on the date of the pyramids, and 700 years on Hyksos period. Present tendency is to lower the dates, both of Egyptian and Babylonian chronology, placing the Great Pyramid at 2400 or 2 500 B.C.
Bible Chronology and Egyptian Chronology. Egyptians had traditions of the Flood back in the Pre-Historic period. The Pyramid civilization developed after the Flood. Sufficient time for considerable increase in population from Noah's family had to elapse. The Bible text seems to place the Flood about 2400 B.c.; while the general among Egyptologists for the beginning of the Egyptian Historical period is about 3000 B.c.; thus placing 600 years Before the Flood events which must have come considerable time. After the Flood. This seems like e conflict between Egyptian chronology and Bible chronology. But it may be noted, from the paragraph on Egyptian chronology, above, that some Egyptologists bring the beginning of the Egyptian historical period down to this side of 2400 B.C.; and it must be remembered that the Septuagint and Samaritan Pentateuch push the Bible date for the Flood back of 3000 B.c. So, it is only some of the Egyptian chronological-systems that are in conflict with some of the Biblical chronological systems; others are in perfect harmony.
This Period in Egyptian History
1st Dynasry. Menes (Mena), first historical king, consolidated various tribes, and united Upper and Lower Egypt. Conquered Sinai, and worked its turquois mines. His name is identified by some scholars with Mizraim, the son of Ham. He may have been about contemporary with Nimrod; while Nimrod was laying the foundations of
Imperialism among the small states of Babylonia, Menes was doing the same in Egypt. His tomb has been found at Abydos, and in it a vase of green glaze with his name. This dynasty had g kings.
2nd Dynasty. 9 kings. Semitic names indicate intercourse with Babylon. Mines of Sinai were worked.
3rd Dynasty. 5 kings. Kept up mining at Sinai. Built ships 160 feet long for Mediterranean made; made sea-voyage to Lebanon. Beginning of Pyramid Era. Zozer built the "Step-Pyramid," at Sakkaiah, 2 miles west of Memphis, with 6 receding stages, somewhat after the manner of Babylonian Temple-Towers. Snefru (Seneferu), next, imitated Zozer, but filled in the terraced stages, making smooth slopes, the first real pyramid, at Meydum, nearby.
4th Dynasty. 7 kings. Zenith of Pyramid Era. The Three Great Pyramids: of Cheops (Khufu), Khafre (Cephren), Menkure (Menkaura), at Gizeh, 8 miles west of Cairo. The largest was that of Cheops, one of Egypt's greatest rulers. Next was Khafre's, in connection with which he had the Sphinx carved out with a portrait of himself. Menkure's mummy was found in his pyramid.
5th Dynasty. 9 kings. Mining kept up in Sinail. Trading expeditions on the Mediterranean, to Phoenicia, Syria and Ophir.
The Egyptians had a strong belief in the future life. On the west side of the pyramid of Queen Khent-Kawes, of the 5th dynasty, a boat has been discovered, 110 feet long, 15 feet wide, which she had cut deep in the rock, to transport her soul to the other world. The tombs of the Pharaohs were well-stocked with the treasures of this world which they thought they were taking with them to the other world.
6th Dynasty. 6 kings. End of Old Kingdom. Pepi II, 5th king, reigned 90 years; longest reign in history.
7th, 8th, 9th, 10th Dynasties. 20 kings. Period of disintegration; many contending kingdoms.
11th Dynasty. T kings. Beginning of Great Middle Kingdom, which lasted through 12th dynasty.
12th Dynasty. 8 kings. Amenemhet III built the Temple of Serabit in Sinai where Petrie recently found the oldest alphabetic writing in the world. There was frequent intercourse with Syria. A canal was built from the Nile to the Red Sea. Senusert I built the Obelisk of On which is still standing. Senusert II is commonly thought to have been the Pharaoh when Abraham visited Egypt.
Unlike Babylonian Temple Towers, which were built with shrines at the top on which to worship the gods, were merely
Tombs to perpetuate the glory of the Pharaohs who built them. Beginning in the 1st dynasty, the Pyramid craze reached its zenith in the 4th dynasty.
The Great Pyramid of Cheops. Grandest monument of the ages. Covered 13 acres, 768 feet square (now 7 50) , 482 feet high (now 450). Estimated to have contained 2,300,000 stones of an average thickness of 3 feet each, and an average weight of 2 1/2 tons. Built of successive coats of rough-hewn blocks of limestone, the outer coat made smooth by exquisitely carved and close-fitting blocks of granite. These blocks have been removed and used in the building of Cairo. In the middle of the north side there is a passage, 3 feet wide, 4 feet high, which leads into a chamber cut in solid-rock, 100 feet under ground level and exactly 600 feet under the apex; with pictures and sculptures depicting the king's exploits. The mummy of Cheops was not there.
How Built. The stones were cut, with stone and copper instruments only, from a quarry 12 miles to the east, floated across the Nile during inundations, and then drawn up long sloping construction ramps of earth by endless gangs of men tugging at ropes, raised and brought into place by means of wedges driven alternately on one side and then the other of platforms with cradle-like bottoms. It is said to have required 100,000 men 10 years to build the causeway, and another 2O years to build the pyramid itself; all in forced labor; working classes and slaves, driven under the pitiless lash of the taskmaster.
Thee amazing thing about the Pyramids is that they were built at the dawn of history. Sir Flinders Petrie calls the Pyramid of Cheops "the greatest and most accurate structure the world has ever seen." The Encyclopedia Britannica says, "The brain power to which it testifies is as great as that of any modern man"
Here starts the story of Redemption. It had been hinted at in the Garden of Eden (3:15). Now, 2000 years after the Creation and Fall of Man, 400 years after the Flood, in a world lapsed into Idolatry and Wickedness. God called Abraham to become the founder of a movement having for its object the RECLAMATION and REDEMPTION of Mankind.
In that pioneer age of the earth, while nations were still not much more than tribal communities, prospecting and settling the more favored lands, Abraham, a righteous man, a believer in God, not an Idolater, one of the few still holding to the tradition of primitive Monotheism, was promised of God that his descendants:
1. Should inherit the land of Canaan.
3. They should become a Great Nation.
3. Through them ALL NATIONS SHOULD BE BLESSED.
This promise (12:2, 3; 22:18) is the foundation thought of which the whole Bible is a development. God first called Abraham in Ur (Acts 7:2-4; Genesis 11:31). Again in Haran (12:1-4). Again in Shechem (12:7) . Again in Bethel ( 13: 14-17 ) . And twice in Hebron (15: 5, 18; 17: 1-8) . The promise was repeated to Isaac (26:3, 4). And to Jacob (28: 13, 14; 35:11 , 12; 46:3, 4) .
It seems, from 11:26, 32; 12:4; Acts 7:2-4, that Abraham was born when his father was 130 years old, and was not the first-born, as might be inferred from 11:6, He was 75, when he entered Canaan. About 80 when he rescued Lot and met Melchizedek. 86 when Ishmael was born. 99 when Sodom was destroyed. 100 when Isaac was born. 137 when Sarah died. 160 when Jacob was born. He died at 175 , which was 115 years before Jacob's migration to Egypt.
The Development of Idolatry
Abraham was not an idolater. But he lived in a, world of idolatry. In the beginning man had had ONE God; and, in the Garden of Eden, had lived in rather intimate communion with God. But, with his sin and banishment, man lost his primeval knowledge of God; .and, groping in his darkness for a, solution of the mysteries of existence, he came to worship the powers of Nature which seemed to him to be the sources of life. Sex, because it was the means through which. life came, played a very important part in early Babylonian religion. Cuneiform inscriptions have revealed that
a large part of their liturgies were descriptions of sexual intercourse between gods and goddesses, through which, they thought, all things came into being. Then, too, the Sun and Rain and various forces of nature were Deified, because on them depended the life of the world. And Kings also, because they had power, came to be deified. Many cities and nations had f or their chief god their founder: as Asshur, father of the Assyrians, became the chief god of the Assyrians; and Marduk (Nimrod), founder of Babylon, became chief god of Babylon. And, to make their gods more real, images were made to represent the gods; and then the images themselves came to be worshiped as gods. Thus, man took his nosedive from Original Monotheism into the abyss of innumerable polytheistic idolatrous cultures, some of which, in their practices, were unspeakably vile and abominable.
The Idolatry of Abraham's Day
Ur was in Babylonia; and Babylonians had many gods and goddesses. They were worshipers of fire, the sun, moon, stars and various forces of nature. Nimrod, who had exalted himself against God in building the Tower of Babel, was ever afterward recognized as the chief Babylonian deity. Marduk was the common form of his name; later became identical with Bel. Shamash was the name of the sun-god. Sin, the moon-god, was the principal deity of Ur, Abraham's city. Sin's wife was called Ningal, the moon-goddess of Ur. She had many names, and was worshiped in every city as the
Mother-Goddess. Nina was one of her names, from which the city of Nineveh was named. Her commonest name in Babylonia was Ishtar. She was the deification of the sex passion; her worship required licentiousness; sacred prostitution in connection with her sanctuaries was a universal custom among the women of Babylonia. In connection with her temples were charming retreats or chambers where her priestesses entertained male worshipers in disgraceful ceremonies. In addition to these prostitute priestesses, every maid, wife or widow had to officiate at least once in her lifetime in these rites.
Abraham Believed in One God
His countrymen were Idolators. His father was an Idolater (Joshua 24:2). There are legends of his being persecuted as a child for refusal to worship Idols. How did Abraham know about God? No doubt, by direct revelation from God. And moreover, taking the figures in chapters 5 and 11 as they are, Noah's life extended to the birth of Abraham; and Noah's life was overlapped by Methuselah by 600 years while Methuselah's life was overlapped by Adam for 43 years. So Abraham could have learned directly -from Shem Noah's account of the Flood and Methuselah's account of Adam and the Garden of Eden.
Chapter 12:4-9. Abraham's Entrance in to Canaan
Haran, abut 600 miles northwest from Ur, 400 miles northeast from Canaan, was Abraham's first stopping place. He had set out from Ur, in search of a land where he could build a nation free from Idolatry, not knowing whither he was going (Hebrews 11:8). But Haran was already a well-settled region, with roads to Babylon, Assyria, Syria, Asia Minor and Egypt, along which caravans and armies constantly marched. So, after the death of his father Terah, Abraham, under the call of God, moved on in search of a more sparsely settled land.
Shechem, Abraham's first stopping place in Canaan, in the center of the land, was in a vale of surpassing beauty, between Mt. Ebal and Mt. Gerizim. Here Abraham built an altar to God, but soon moved on south in further exploration of the land.
Bethel, 20 miles south of Shechem, 10 miles north of Jerusalem, was Abraham's next stopping place. It was one of the highest points in Canaan, with a magnificent view in every direction. Abraham was following the top of the mountain range, probably, because the Jordan Valley on the east, and the Sea Coast Plain on the west, were already pretty well settled. In Bethel, too, he built an altar, as he did later at Hebron, and as he had done at Shechem, not only as an acknowledgement to God, but also as a publication of his Faith to the people among whom he had come to live. He must have liked Bethel; for that is where he settled when he returned from Egypt; till he and Lot separated.
Chapter 12;10-20. Abraham's Sojourn in Egypt
As he journeyed on south from Bethel, he must have passed close to Jerusalem; and, if Melchizedek was Shem, Abraham may have called on him, for he must have known him back in Babylonia. On account of famine, Abraham journeyed on into Egypt, to
sojourn there till the famine was over. It came near to getting him into trouble. His wife Sarah was beautiful; and powerful princes had a practice of confiscating beautiful women for themselves; and killing their husbands. His cautious subterfuge of calling Sarah his "sister" was not exactly a lie. She was his half-sister (20: 12). Marriages
between near relatives was common in early ages, till the growth of families offered wider selection.
ARCHAEOLOGICAL NOTE: Abraham's Visit to Egypt. On the tomb of Senusert II, of the 12th dynasty, at Benihassen, who is thought to have been the Pharaoh at that time, there is a sculpture depicting a visit of Asiatic Semitic traders to his court. The patriarchal narratives clearly suggest a vigorous commerce with Egypt (Genesis 12:10-20; 37:25; 43:11; 46:6) .
Lot was Abraham's nephew. They had been together since they had left Ur years before. But now their flocks and herds and tents hat become so extensive, and their herdsmen so quarrelsome over pasture lands, that it seemed best to separate. Abraham magnanimously give Lot his choice of all the land. Lot foolishly chose the Plain of Sodom. Then Abraham chose Hebron, which was henceforth his settled home.
This was to rescue Lot. Abraham must have been something of a military genius. With 318 men of his own, and some. help from neighbors, by a midnight surprise attack, he discomfited these four famous Babylonian kings. Armies then were small. Kings were tribal princes. Abraham was a sort of king, perhaps the head of a clan a
thousand or more.
ARCHAEOLOGICAL NOTE: Hammurabi. "Amraphel" ( 1 ) is commonly identified as Hammurabi, most famous of early Babylonian kings, the discovery of whose celebrated Code of Laws has made his name a household word. Abraham may have known him personally when he was in Ur. Hammurabi's "Code of Laws" is a voice from the dust of Abraham's world.
ARCHAEOLOGICAL NOTE: The "Way of the Kings" (5, 6). The places, named in verses 5, 6, by way of which the four Eastern kings came against Sodom, were so far east of the ordinary trade route, that Albright said that he once considered it an indication of the legendary character of the 14th chapter of Genesis; but, in1929, he discovered a line of great mounds, in Hauran and along the cast border of Gilead and Moab, of cities that flourished about 2000 B.C., indicating that it was a well-settled country,. or the trade route between Damascus and the gold and copper regions of Edom and Sinai.
Priest-King of Salem (Jerusalem) Hebrew tradition says that he was Shem, survivor of the Flood, who was still alive, earth's oldest living man, priest, in the patriarchal age, of the whole race. If so, it is a hint that, thus early, right after the Flood, God chose Jerusalem to be the scene of Human Redemption. Whoever he was, he was a picture and type of Christ (Psalm 110; Hebrews 5, 6, 7).
With explanation that, before his seed should inherit Canaan, they would spend 400 years in a, foreign land (when 15:13) , meaning Egypt. When Abraham was 100, and Sara 90, Isaac was promised; and the Covenant of Circumcision instituted, as a mark of God's nation.
These cesspools of iniquity were only a few miles from Hebron, the home of Abraham, and from Jerusalem, the home of Melchizedek; yet vile, their stench reached heaven. It had been only 400 years since the Flood, almost within the memory of men then living. Yet men had forgotten the lesson of that cataclysmic destruction of the race. And God "rained fire and brimstone"'on these two cities, to refresh men's memories, and to warn of the wrath of God that is in store for wicked men; and, perhaps, to serve as a token of the earth's final doom in a holocaust of fire' (2 Peter 2:5, 6; 3:7, 10).
Jesus likened the time of His Return to the days of Sodom (Luke 17 :26-32) ; as he did also to the days of the Flood. Both were periods of unspeakable wickedness. Today, on a scale never before known in history, with greed, brutality, beastliness and criminal instincts, in demons in the high places of earth, it does not require much imagination to see the end toward which we are heading, however much good men and statesmen may try to avert it. Unless there comes a world-movement of Repentance, the Day of Doom may not be far off.
Location of Sodom and Gomorrah
Either the north end or south end of the Dead Sea. "Sodom" (Usdom) is the name of the mountain at the southwest corner. There was persistent ancient tradition that great topographical changes took place around the south end of the Dead Sea when
Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed. Ancient writers generally thought that the sites of the two cities were buried beneath the Dead Sea.
The Dead Sea
The Dead Sea is about 40 miles long by 10 miles wide. The north and is very deep, in some places 1000 feet. The south third is nowhere deeper than 15 feet and in most places less than 10 feet. The water level is higher now than in Abraham's time, because of silting up by the Jordan and other streams, with no outlet. What is now the south third of the Dead Sea was then a plain.
In 1924, Drs. .W. F. Albright and M.G. Kyle, directing a joint Expedition of the American Schools and Xenia Seminary, found, at the southeast corner of the Dead Sea, five Oases, made by fresh water streams, and, centrally located to them, on a plain 500 feet above the level of the Dead Sea, at a place called Bab-ed-Dra, the remains of a great fortified enclosure, evidently a "high place" for religious festivals. There were great quantities of potsherds, flints, and other remains of a period dating between 2500 B.c. and 2000 B.c.; and evidence that the population ended abruptly about 2000 B.C. This evidence that the region was densely populated and prosperous indicates that it must have been very fertile, "like the garden of God." That the population ceased
abruptly, and that it has been a region of unmixed desolation ever since, seems to indicate that the district was destroyed by some great cataclysm which changed the soil and climate.
The opinion of Albright and Kyle, and most archaeologists, is the Sodom and Gomorrah were located on these oases, further down the streams, and that the site is now covered by the Dead Sea.
"Slime" ( 14:10) was bitumen, asphalt, pitch, a lustrous black petroleum product, which melts and burns. There are vast beds of it on both sides of the Dead Sea, more abundant at the south end, and great masses of it at the bottom. Considerable quantities of it have risen to the surface during earthquakes.
"Brimstone" ( 19:24) . Kyle said that under Mt. Usdom there is a stratum of salt 150 feet thick; and above it a stratum of marl mingled with free sulphur; and that at the proper time God kindled the gases; a great explosion took place; the salt and the sulphur were thrown into the heavens red hot, so that it did literally rain, fire and brimstone from heaven. Lot's wife was encrusted in'salt. There are many pillars of salt at the south end of the Dead Sea which have borne the name of "Lot's Wife." Indeed everything about the- region seems to dovetail exactly with the Biblical story of Sodom and Gomorrah.
Though Hebron was his main home, Abraham, from time to time, moved from place to place, in search of pasture for his herds. In Gerar, a Philistine city, some 40 miles west of Hebron, near the sea coast, he had another experience like that with Pharaoh (12:10-20) . Sarah must have been extremely beautiful, to thus attract the attention of kings, especially considering her age. Isaac and Rebekah had a similar experience with a later Abimelech, in the same city (chapter 26).
ARCHAEOLOGICAL NOTE: In towns named in connection with Abraham,Isaac, and Jacob: Shechem, Bethel, Ai, Gerar, Dothan: Albright and Garstang have found, in bottom levels of their ruins, shreds of about 2000 B.C. evidence that the towns did exist then.
lshmael, at the time, was about 15 years old (5, 8; 16:16). Paul used the story of these two children as an allegory of the Mosaic and Christian Covenants (Galatians 4:21-31).
Beersheba (30, 31), where Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob dwelt much of the time, was at the southernmost border of Canaan, some 20 miles southwest of Hebron, 150 miles from Egypt. It was a place of "seven wells." Wells in a semi-desert country like that were priceless possessions. The self-same wells are still there.
"God enjoined it only to forbid it." It was a test of Abraham's faith. God had promised that Isaac should be the father of nations (17:16) . Yet here God commands that Isaac be slain before he had any children. Somehow Abraham believed that God would bring him back to life (Hebrews 11:19). We do not know in what manner God made known the command to Abraham. But that it was the voice of God Abraham could not have doubted; for surely he would not have set out to perform a task so cruel and revolting without being certain that God had commanded it. The idea originated
with God, not with Abraham.
The Offering of Isaac was a Picture-Prophecy of the Death of Christ. A Father offering his Son. The Son Dead for Three Days (in Abraham's mind, 4) . A Substitution. An Actual Sacrifice. And it was on Mt. Moriah, the very same place where, 2000 years later God's Own Son was Offered. Thus, it was a Shadow, in the birth of the Hebrew nation, of the Grand Event the nation was born to bring about.
The Cave of Machpelah, where Sarah was buried, is on the west slope of Hebron, in a mosque, under Mohammedan control, who permit no Christian to enter. In 1862 the Prince of Wales, by special permit of the Sultan, entered. He saw stone tombs of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Sarah, Rebekah, and Leah; and a circular opening into a cavern below, which was supposed to be the real Cave of Machpelah, and which was said to have been un-entered for 600 years.
Rebekah was Isaac's second cousin. Abraham's purpose in sending back to his own people for a wife for Isaac was to keep his posterity free from Idolatry. If Isaac had married a Canaanitish girl, now different the whole history of Israel might have been. What a lesson for young people in the matter of chosing e mate.
Sarah had died at the age of 127, at which time Abraham was 137. He lived for 38 years after that, in which time he married Keturah. She bore him six sons, of whom came the Midanites. It was a Midianite woman that Moses married, 500 years later (Exodus 2:16-21). On the whole, Abraham was the "greatest, purest, and most venerable of the patriarchs, revered by Jews, Mohammedans and Christians." "Friend of God." "Father of the Faithful." Generous. Unselfish. A Superb Character, with Unbounded Trust in God.
"The Generations of lshmael" 25:1 2-18
8th document composing Genesis. Ishmael was Abraham's son-by Hagar, Sarah's Egyptian handmaid (chapter 16). Ishmaelites made Arabia their home, and became known generally as Arabians. Thus, Abraham was the father of the present Arab world. Rivalry between Isaac and Ishmael has persisted through the centuries in the antagonisms between Jews and Arabs.
Arabia is a peninsula, 1500 miles long, 800 miles wide, about 150 times the size of Palestine. It is mostly desert, with scattered oases, sparsely inhabited by nomadic tribes.
"The Generations of Isaac" 25:I9 to 35:29
The 9th document composing the book of Genesis. The story of Isaac and Jacob, handed on by Jacob to his sons.
Esau, the first-born, was Isaac's natural heir, and inheritor of the Abrahamic Promises. But God, knowing, before they were born, the qualities of the two men, chose Jacob to be transmitter of the precious heritage, which He hinted to their mother (23); which was the background of Jacob's deal with Esau (31) .
In the Line of Promise, all Abraham's sons were eliminated, except Isaac. Of Isaac's sons, Esau was eliminated, and Jacob only chosen. With Jacob the eliminating process stopped; and all Jacob's descendants were included in the Chosen Nation.
Not much is told of Isaac's life, beyond this incident of Abimelech and Rebekah, and the strife over wells. He had inherited the bulk of his father's extensive flocks and herds; was prosperous and rich; peaceable; and his life uneventful.
Isaac was born when Abraham was 100, and Sarah 90. He was 37 when his mother died. 40 when he married. 60 when Jacob was born. 75 when Abraham died. 137? when Jacob fled. 157? when Jacob returned. 167 when Joseph was sold. He died at 180, the year that Joseph became ruler of Egypt.
Abraham lived 17 5 years. Isaac, 180. Jacob 147 . Joseph, 110.
IMPORTANT: God's "Commandments, Statutes and Laws" (5). This looks very much like Biblical evidence that the beginnings of God's Written Word were already existent in Abraham's day.
He had already bought the Birthright from Esau (25:31-34). It was now necessary to get his father to validate the transfer. This he accomplished by deception. In evaluating the moral quality of Jacob's act a number of things need to be considered.
1. His mother put him up to it.
2. He earnestly desired the Birthright,. channel of God's promise of blessing to the whole world.
3. Hg.probably could have obtained it in no other way.
4. Esau cared nothing for it.
5. Jacob paid dearly for his fraud (see under chapter 29) .
6. God Himself, laying the foundation of gigantic world plans (Romans 9:10-13), made the choice before the boys were born (25:23).
Isaac's Predictions (29:40). God must have Put these words into Isaac's mouth; for they did come true. Jacob's descendants did attain a dominant position among the nations; and in time produced Christ, through Whom they are marching onward to universal empire. Esau's descendants, the Edomites, were subservient to Israel; and in time, they did throw off Israel's yoke (2Kings 8:20-22), and, they have disappeared from history.
The transfer of the Birthright from Esau to dated by Isaac. It is now Jacob had been validated in Heaven, God Himself giving assurance to Jacob that henceforth he is to be the recognized vehicle of the Promises. The Ladder was a hint that the Promises would culminate in something that would bridge Heaven and Earth, Jesus said that HE was the "Ladder (John 1:51) .
Jacob is thought to have been 77 ai this time. He was 15 when Abraham died. Was 84 when he married. 90 when Joseph, was born, 98 when he returned to Canaan. 12o when Isaac died. 130 when he went to Egypt. 147 when he died.
His first 77 years were spent in Canaan. The next 20 in Haran. Then 33 in Canaan. The last 17 in Egypt.
Haran was 400 miles northeast of Canaan. It was the place where Jacob's mother, Rebekah, had been raised, and from which his grandfather Abraham had migrated years before. Laban was Jacob's uncle. Jacob was there there 20. years. They were years of hardship and suffering. A wife, whom he did nor want, was forced on him by,
deceit, just as he had gotten his father's blessing by deceit. He had begun to reap what he had sown.
He had two wives and two concubines, whom, except one, he did not want, and who were forced on him. Of these, 12 sons were born.
This polygamous family, with many shameful things to their credit, was accepted of God, as a whole, to be the beginning of the Twelve Tribes which became the Messianic Nation, chosen of God to bring the Savior into the world. This shows:
He had left Canaan 20 years before, alone and empty-handed. Now, he was returning, a tribal prince, rich in flocks, herds and servants. God had kept His promise to Jacob (28:15). Jacob's parting with Laban ( 31:49) , originated the beautiful Mizpah benediction, now so widely used, "The Lord watch between me and thee, while we are absent one from another."
Angels, on Jacob's departure from Canaan, had wished him God-speed (28: 12). Now, on his return, Angels welcome him home (32:1).
Isaac was still living. Abraham had been dead about 100 years. Jacob was now entering his inheritance in the Promised Land of Canaan. God had been with him thus fer. He felt he needed God more than ever (32:24-30). Esau had vowed to kill Him (27 :41 ). Jacob was still afraid. They met, and separated, in peace.
Shechem was Jacob's first stopping place in Canaan, on his return. There he bought a parcel of ground, and erected an altar to God, as if planning to make it his home, temporarily at least. But the bloody act of Simeon and Levi made him odious to his neighbors. And soon he moved on to Bethel.
Bethel was the place where, 20 years before, in his flight from Canaan, Jacob had seen the Heavenly Ladder, and God had made him heir to the Abrahamic Promises. Now God reassures him that those Promises shall be fulfilled. Then Jacob moved on to Hebron, the home of Abraham and Isaac.
"The Generotions of Esour" Chapter 36
The 10th document composing the book of Genesis. A brief account of the origin of the Edomites.
Esau, in personal character, was "profane," irreligious; "despised" his birthright: Jacob, compared to Esau, was more fit to be the father of God's Messianic Nation.
Amalekites (12) were a branch of Esau's descendants. They were a wandering tribe, centering mainly about Kadesh, in the north part of the Sinai peninsula, but roaming in wide circles, even into Judah and far to the east. They were the first to attack Israel on departure from Egypt; and oppressed Israel in time of the Judges.
"Jobab" (34) is thought by some to have been "Job" of the book of Job. "Eliphaz" and "Teman" (10, 11) are named in book of Job.
"The Generations of Jacob," 37:2 to 50:26
- The 11th, and last, document composing Genesis. The story of Joseph and Israel's Migration to Egypt: incorporated, no doubt, with family records they had received from Abraham; and sacredly guarded through the years of their sojourn in Egypt.
The "coat of many colors" (3) was a badge of favoritism, possibly indicating Jacob's intention to make Joseph heir to the Birthright.
Reuben, Jacob's first-born, was natural heir to the Birthright; but he was disavowed because of his illicit relation with one of his father's concubines (35:22; 49:3, 4: 1 Chronicles 5:1, 2). Simeon and Levi, second and third in line of succession (29:31-35), were passed over because of their, crime at Shechem (34:25-30; 49:5-7). Judah, 4th son, was next in line; and, it may have been expected, in family circles, that the Birthright would fall to him.
Bur Joseph, though Jacob's 11th son, was Rachel's first-born. Rachel was Jacob's best-loved wife; and Joseph was his favorite son (37: 3). So the "coat" looked suspicious. And Joseph's dreams of his own ascendancy (5-10), aggravated the situation.
Thus, Judah and Joseph appear to have been rivals for the Birth-right. This may explain Judah's active part in selling Joseph into slavery (26, 27). The rivalry between Judah and Joseph passed to their descendants. The tribes of Judah and Ephraim (Joseph's son) were contenders for supremacy. Judah took the lead under David and Solomon. Then, under lead of Ephraim, Ten Tribes seceded.
This chapter is inserted probable, because Judah was progenitor of the Messiah; and it was in accord with Old Testament purpose to preserve family registers all along the line of succession, even though they contained some things not very praiseworthy.
Joseph was of unblemished character, unusually handsome, with an exceptional gift for leadership, and ability to make the best of every unpleasant situation. He was born in Haran, 75years after the death of Abraham, 30 years before the death of Isaac, when his father was about 90, and 8 years before the returned to Canaan. At 17 was sold into Egypt, 13 years in Potiphar's home, and in prison. At 30 became ruler of Egypt. Died at 110.
Joseph and Potiphar's wife. The "Tale of Two Brothers," on an ancient papyrus now in the British Museum, written in the reign of Seti II, shortly after the Exodus, has such close resemblance to the story of Joseph's and Potiphar's wife that the editor of the English edition of Brugsch's "History of Egypt" surmised that it must have been worked up from the incident which must have been recorded in the annals of the Egyptian court: A married man sends his younger brother, who was unmarried, and to whom he had entrusted everything about his place to his home, to bring some seed corn. The wife temps him. He refuses. She, angered, reports to her husband that he had tried to force her. The husband plans to kill him. He flees; and later becomes king of Egypt.
Joseph married a daughter of the priest of On; and, though he had a heathen wife, and ruled a heathen kingdom, and resided in a center of vile Idolatry, he maintained his childhood faith in the God of his fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
Joseph's Palace in On. Sir Flinders Petrie (1912), discovered ruins of a palace thought to have been that of Joseph.
The Seven Years' Famine. Brugsch, in his "Egypt under the Pharaohs," tells of an inscription which he calls a "very remarkable and luminous confirmation" of this. In a family rock-cut tomb of a certain Baba, governor of the city of EI-Kab, south of Thebes, erected in the 17th dynasty, which was contemporary with the 16th dynasty in the north, under which Joseph ruled, there is an inscription in which Baba claims to have done for his city what the Bible says Joseph did for all Egypt: "I collected corn, as a friend of the harvest god. And when i famine arose, lasting many years, I distributed corn to the city, each year of the famine." Brugsch says: "Since famines in Egypt are of the very greatest rarity, and since Baba lived about the-same time as Joseph, there remains but one fair inference: that the 'many years famine' in the days of Baba are the
'seven years of famine' under Joseph."
This has been called one of the most beautiful stories in all literature. The most touching incident in the story is where Judah, who, years before, had been leader in selling Joseph into slavery (37:26), now offers to become hostage for Benjamin (44:18-34).
God had planner that Israel should be nurtured, for a while, in Egypt, which was the most advanced civilization of that day. As Jacob passed out of Canaan, God gave him assurance that his descendants would return (46:3, 4).
Jacob seems to have split the Birthright, designating Judah as channel of Messianic Promise (49:10); yet pronouncing national prestige on Joseph's son Ephraim (48:19-22; 49:22-26; 1 Chronicles 5:1, 2).
Jacob's Prophecy about the Twelve Tribes, to a remarkable degree, parallels the subsequent history of the Tribes. "Shiloh" (10) is commonly taken to be a name for the Messiah. The tribe of Judah produced David; and David's family produced Christ.
Jacob's body was taken back to Hebron for burial. And Joseph exacted an oath, of his brothers, that when Israel returned to Canaan, they would carry his bones. This belief that Canaan would be their homeland was not forgotten; and, 400 years later, when they set out for Canaan, the took Joseph's bones along (Exodus 13:19).