Genesis – Chapter 26

The Bible – Old Testament

 Genesis

Index

Genesis

Chapter 26

1

There was a famine in the land (distinct from the earlier one that had occurred in the days of Abraham), and Isaac went down to Abimelech, king of the Philistines in Gerar.

2

The LORD appeared to him and said: “Do not go down to Egypt, but continue to camp wherever in this land I tell you.

3

Stay in this land, and I will be with you and bless you; for to you and your descendants I will give all these lands, in fulfillment of the oath that I swore to your father Abraham.

4

I will make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and give them all these lands, and in your descendants all the nations of the earth shall find blessing – 

5

this because Abraham obeyed me, keeping my mandate (my commandments, my ordinances, and my instructions).”

6

1 So Isaac settled in Gerar.

7

When the men of the place asked questions about his wife, he answered, “She is my sister.” He was afraid, if he called her his wife, the men of the place would kill him on account of Rebekah, since she was very beautiful.

8

But when he had been there for a long time, Abimelech, king of the Philistines, happened to look out of a window and was surprised to see Isaac fondling his wife Rebekah.

9

He called for Isaac and said: “She must certainly be your wife! How could you have said, ‘She is my sister’?” Isaac replied, “I thought I might lose my life on her account.”

10

“How could you do this to us!” exclaimed Abimelech. “It would have taken very little for one of the men to lie with your wife, and you would have thus brought guilt upon us!”

11

Abimelech therefore gave this warning to all his men: “Anyone who molests this man or his wife shall forthwith be put to death.”

12

2 Isaac sowed a crop in that region and reaped a hundredfold the same year. Since the LORD blessed him,

13

he became richer and richer all the time, until he was very wealthy indeed.

14

He acquired such flocks and herds, and so many work animals, that the Philistines became envious of him.

15

(The Philistines had stopped up and filled with dirt all the wells that his father’s servants had dug back in the days of his father Abraham.)

16

So Abimelech said to Isaac, “Go away from us; you have become far too numerous for us.”

17

Isaac left there and made the Wadi Gerar his regular campsite.

18

(Isaac reopened the wells which his father’s servants had dug back in the days of his father Abraham and which the Philistines had stopped up after Abraham’s death; he gave them the same names that his father had given them.)

19

But when Isaac’s servants dug in the wadi and reached spring water in their well,

20

3 the shepherds of Gerar quarreled with Isaac’s servants, saying, “The water belongs to us!” So the well was called Esek, because they had challenged him there.

21

4 Then they dug another well, and they quarreled over that one too; so it was called Sitnah.

22

When he had moved on from there, he dug still another well; but over this one they did not quarrel. It was called Rehoboth, because he said, “The LORD has now given us ample room, and we shall flourish in the land.”

23

From there Isaac went up to Beer-sheba.

24

The same night the LORD appeared to him and said: “I am the God of your father Abraham. You have no need to fear, since I am with you. I will bless you and multiply your descendants for the sake of my servant Abraham.”

25

So he built an altar there and invoked the LORD by name. After he had pitched his tent there, his servants began to dig a well nearby.

26

Abimelech had meanwhile come to him from Gerar, accompanied by Ahuzzath, his councilor, and Phicol, the general of his army.

27

Isaac asked them, “Why have you come to me, seeing that you hate me and have driven me away from you?”

28

They answered: “We are convinced that the LORD is with you, so we propose that there be a sworn agreement between our two sides – between you and us. Let us make a pact with you:

29

you shall not act unkindly toward us, just as we have not molested you, but have always acted kindly toward you and have let you depart in peace. Henceforth, ‘The LORD’S blessing be upon you!'”

30

Isaac then made a feast for them, and they ate and drank.

31

Early the next morning they exchanged oaths. Then Isaac bade them farewell, and they departed from him in peace.

32

That same day Isaac’s servants came and brought him news about the well they had been digging; they told him, “We have reached water!”

33

5 He called it Shibah; hence the name of the city, Beer-sheba, to this day.

34

6 When Esau was forty years old, he married Judith, daughter of Beeri the Hittite, and Basemath, daughter of Elon the Hivite.

35

But they became a source of embitterment to Isaac and Rebekah.

1 [6-11] The Yahwist’s version of the wife-sister episode at Gerar; the Elohist’s version ( Genesis 20:1-18) is connected with Abraham and Sarah.

2 [12-33] The Yahwist’s version of the story about the wells at Beer-sheba; again, the Elohist’s version ( Genesis 21:22-23) is connected with Abraham. A redactor joined the two accounts by means of the parenthetical  Genesis 26:15,  18.

3 [20] Esek: “challenge.”

4 [21] Sitnah: “opposition”; one might expect the text to be continued by some such words as “because they were in opposition there.”

5 [33] Shibah: “seven,” for the sake of a closer assonance with Beer-sheba; but the present version of the story says nothing about there being seven wells there as implied in  Genesis 21:28-31. The Greek version understood the Hebrew text more logically as shebua, “oath,” in keeping with the present story.

6 [34-35] These verses from the Priestly source, which have no logical connection with the preceding stories, serve as an introduction to the following section on Esau’s loss of his birthright by suggesting a motivation for this in Isaac’s and Rebekah’s dislike for Esau’s Canaanite wives.

Genesis – Chapter 25

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 Genesis

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Genesis

Chapter 25

1

1 Abraham married another wife, whose name was Keturah.

2

She bore him Zimran, Jokshan, Medan, Midian, Ishbak, and Shuah.

3

Jokshan became the father of Sheba and Dedan. The descendants of Dedan were the Asshurim, the Letushim, and the Leummim.

4

The descendants of Midian were Ephah, Epher, Hanoch, Abida, and Eldaah. All of these were descendants of Keturah.

5

Abraham deeded everything that he owned to his son Isaac.

6

2 To his sons by concubinage, however, he made grants while he was still living, as he sent them away eastward, to the land of Kedem, away from his son Isaac.

7

The whole span of Abraham’s life was one hundred and seventy-five years.

8

Then he breathed his last, dying at a ripe old age, grown old after a full life; and he was taken to his kinsmen.

9

His sons Isaac and Ishmael buried him in the cave of Machpelah, in the field of Ephron, son of Zohar the Hittite, which faces Mamre,

10

the field that Abraham had bought from the Hittites; there he was buried next to his wife Sarah.

11

After the death of Abraham, God blessed his son Isaac, who made his home near Beer-lahai-roi.

12

These are the descendants of Abraham’s son Ishmael, whom Hagar the Egyptian, Sarah’s slave, bore to Abraham.

13

These are the names of Ishmael’s sons, listed in the order of their birth: Nebaioth (Ishmael’s firstborn), Kedar, Adbeel, Mibsam,

14

Mishma, Dumah, Massa,

15

Hadad, Tema, Jetur, Naphish, and Kedemah.

16

These are the sons of Ishmael, their names by their villages and encampments; twelve chieftains of as many tribal groups.

17

The span of Ishmael’s life was one hundred and thirty-seven years. After he had breathed his last and died, he was taken to his kinsmen.

18

3 The Ishmaelites ranged from Havilah-by-Shur, which is on the border of Egypt, all the way to Asshur; and each of them pitched camp in opposition to his various kinsmen.

19

This is the family history of Isaac, son of Abraham; Abraham had begotten Isaac.

20

Isaac was forty years old when he married Rebekah, the daughter of Bethuel the Aramean of Paddan-aram and the sister of Laban the Aramean.

21

Isaac entreated the LORD on behalf of his wife, since she was sterile. The LORD heard his entreaty, and Rebekah became pregnant.

22

But the children in her womb jostled each other so much that she exclaimed, “If this is to be so, what good will it do me!” She went to consult the LORD,

23

and he answered her: “Two nations are in your womb, two peoples are quarreling while still within you; But one shall surpass the other, and the older shall serve the younger.”

24

When the time of her delivery came, there were twins in her womb.

25

4 The first to emerge was reddish, and his whole body was like a hairy mantle; so they named him Esau.

26

5 His brother came out next, gripping Esau’s heel; so they named him Jacob. Isaac was sixty years old when they were born.

27

As the boys grew up, Esau became a skillful hunter, a man who lived in the open; whereas Jacob was a simple man, who kept to his tents.

28

Isaac preferred Esau, because he was fond of game; but Rebekah preferred Jacob.

29

Once, when Jacob was cooking a stew, Esau came in from the open, famished.

30

6 He said to Jacob, “Let me gulp down some of that red stuff; I’m starving.” (That is why he was called Edom.)

31

7 But Jacob replied, “First give me your birthright in exchange for it.”

32

“Look,” said Esau, “I’m on the point of dying. What good will any birthright do me?”

33

But Jacob insisted, “Swear to me first!” So he sold Jacob his birthright under oath.

34

Jacob then gave him some bread and the lentil stew; and Esau ate, drank, got up, and went his way. Esau cared little for his birthright.

1 [1-11] Though mentioned here, Abraham’s marriage to a “concubine,” or wife of secondary rank, and his death are not to be understood as happening chronologically after the events narrated in the preceding chapter.

2 [6] The land of Kedem: or “the country of the East,” the region inhabited by the Kedemites or Easterners ( Genesis 29:1;  Judges 6:3,  33;  Job 1:3;  Isaiah 11:14). The names mentioned in  Genesis 25:2-4, as far as they can be identified, are those of tribes in the Arabian desert.

3 [18] Pitched camp: literally “fell”; the same Hebrew verb is used in  Judges 7:12 in regard to the hostile encampment of Bedouin tribes. The present passage shows the fulfillment of the prediction contained in  Genesis 16:12.

4 [25] Reddish: in Hebrew, admoni, a reference to Edom, another name for Esau ( Genesis 25:30;  36:1). Edom, however, was really the name of the country south of Moab where the descendants of Esau lived. It was called the “red” country because of its reddish sandstone. Hairy: in Hebrew, sear, a reference to Seir, another name for Edom ( Genesis 36:8). One might expect the text to say, “So they named him Seir”; but Esau (esaw) also means “hairy.”

5 [26] Esau’s heel: the Hebrew is baaqeb esaw, a reference to the name Jacob; cf  Genesis 27:36. Probably, however, the name Jacob has no true etymological connection with the Hebrew word for “heel” (aqeb) but is instead a shortened form of some such name as yaaqob-el (“may God protect”).

6 [30] Red stuff: in Hebrew, adom; another play on the word Edom, the “red” land.

7 [31] Birthright: the privilege that entitled the first-born son to a position of honor in the family and to a double share in the possessions inherited from the father.

Genesis – Chapter 24

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 Genesis

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Genesis

Chapter 24

1

Abraham had now reached a ripe old age, and the LORD had blessed him in every way.

2

1 Abraham said to the senior servant of his household, who had charge of all his possessions: “Put your hand under my thigh,

3

and I will make you swear by the LORD, the God of heaven and the God of earth, that you will not procure a wife for my son from the daughters of the Canaanites among whom I live,

4

but that you will go to my own land and to my kindred to get a wife for my son Isaac.”

5

The servant asked him: “What if the woman is unwilling to follow me to this land? Should I then take your son back to the land from which you migrated?”

6

“Never take my son back there for any reason,” Abraham told him.

7

“The LORD, the God of heaven, who took me from my father’s house and the land of my kin, and who confirmed by oath the promise he then made to me, ‘I will give this land to your descendants’ – he will send his messenger before you, and you will obtain a wife for my son there.

8

If the woman is unwilling to follow you, you will be released from this oath. But never take my son back there!”

9

So the servant put his hand under the thigh of his master Abraham and swore to him in this undertaking.

10

2 The servant then took ten of his master’s camels, and bearing all kinds of gifts from his master, he made his way to the city of Nahor in Aram Naharaim.

11

Near evening, at the time when women go out to draw water, he made the camels kneel by the well outside the city.

12

3 Then he prayed: “LORD, God of my master Abraham, let it turn out favorably for me today and thus deal graciously with my master Abraham.

13

While I stand here at the spring and the daughters of the townsmen are coming out to draw water,

14

if I say to a girl, ‘Please lower your jug, that I may drink,’ and she answers, ‘Take a drink, and let me give water to your camels, too,’ let her be the one whom you have decided upon for your servant Isaac. In this way I shall know that you have dealt graciously with my master.”

15

He had scarcely finished these words when Rebekah (who was born to Bethuel, son of Milcah, the wife of Abraham’s brother Nahor) came out with a jug on her shoulder.

16

The girl was very beautiful, a virgin, untouched by man. She went down to the spring and filled her jug. As she came up,

17

the servant ran toward her and said, “Please give me a sip of water from your jug.”

18

“Take a drink, sir,” she replied, and quickly lowering the jug onto her hand, she gave him a drink.

19

When she had let him drink his fill, she said, “I will draw water for your camels, too, until they have drunk their fill.”

20

With that, she quickly emptied her jug into the drinking trough and ran back to the well to draw more water, until she had drawn enough for all the camels.

21

The man watched her the whole time, silently waiting to learn whether or not the LORD had made his errand successful.

22

When the camels had finished drinking, the man took out a gold ring weighing half a shekel, which he fastened on her nose, and two gold bracelets weighing ten shekels, which he put on her wrists.

23

Then he asked her: “Whose daughter are you? Tell me, please. And is there room in your father’s house for us to spend the night?”

24

She answered: “I am the daughter of Bethuel the son of Milcah, whom she bore to Nahor.

25

There is plenty of straw and fodder at our place,” she added, “and room to spend the night.”

26

The man then bowed down in worship to the LORD,

27

saying: “Blessed be the LORD, the God of my master Abraham, who has not let his constant kindness toward my master fail. As for myself also, the LORD has led me straight to the house of my master’s brother.”

28

Then the girl ran off and told her mother’s household about it.

29

Now Rebekah had a brother named Laban.

30

As soon as he saw the ring and the bracelets on his sister Rebekah and heard her words about what the man had said to her, Laban rushed outside to the man at the spring. When he reached him, he was still standing by the camels at the spring.

31

So he said to him: “Come, blessed of the LORD! Why are you staying outside when I have made the house ready for you, as well as a place for the camels?”

32

The man then went inside; and while the camels were being unloaded and provided with straw and fodder, water was brought to bathe his feet and the feet of the men who were with him.

33

But when the table was set for him, he said, “I will not eat until I have told my tale.” “Do so,” they replied.

34

“I am Abraham’s servant,” he began.

35

“The LORD has blessed my master so abundantly that he has become a wealthy man; he has given him flocks and herds, silver and gold, male and female slaves, and camels and asses.

36

My master’s wife Sarah bore a son to my master in her old age, and he has given him everything he owns.

37

My master put me under oath, saying: ‘You shall not procure a wife for my son among the daughters of the Canaanites in whose land I live;

38

instead, you shall go to my father’s house, to my own relatives, to get a wife for my son.’

39

When I asked my master, ‘What if the woman will not follow me?,’

40 he replied: ‘The LORD, in whose presence I have always walked, will send his messenger with you and make your errand successful, and so you will get a wife for my son from my own kindred of my father’s house.

41

Then you shall be released from my ban. If you visit my kindred and they refuse you, then, too, you shall be released from my ban.’

42 “When I came to the spring today, I prayed: ‘LORD, God of my master Abraham, may it be your will to make successful the errand I am engaged on!

43

While I stand here at the spring, if I say to a young woman who comes out to draw water, Please give me a little water from your jug,

44 and she answers, Not only may you have a drink, but I will give water to your camels, too – let her be the woman whom the LORD has decided upon for my master’s son.’

45

“I had scarcely finished saying this prayer to myself when Rebekah came out with a jug on her shoulder. After she went down to the spring and drew water, I said to her, ‘Please let me have a drink.’

46 She quickly lowered the jug she was carrying and said, ‘Take a drink, and let me bring water for your camels, too.’ So I drank, and she watered the camels also.

47

When I asked her, ‘Whose daughter are you?’ she answered, ‘The daughter of Bethuel, son of Nahor, borne to Nahor by Milcah.’ So I put the ring on her nose and the bracelets on her wrists.

48 Then I bowed down in worship to the LORD, blessing the LORD, the God of my master Abraham, who had led me on the right road to obtain the daughter of my master’s kinsman for his son.

49

If, therefore, you have in mind to show true loyalty to my master, let me know; but if not, let me know that, too. I can then proceed accordingly.”

50 Laban and his household said in reply: “This thing comes from the LORD; we can say nothing to you either for or against it.

51

Here is Rebekah, ready for you; take her with you, that she may become the wife of your master’s son, as the LORD has said.”

52 When Abraham’s servant heard their answer, he bowed to the ground before the LORD.

53

Then he brought out objects of silver and gold and articles of clothing and presented them to Rebekah; he also gave costly presents to her brother and mother.

54 After he and the men with him had eaten and drunk, they spent the night there. When they were up the next morning, he said, “Give me leave to return to my master.”

55

Her brother and mother replied, “Let the girl stay with us a short while, say ten days; after that she may go.”

56 But he said to them, “Do not detain me, now that the LORD has made my errand successful; let me go back to my master.”

57

They answered, “Let us call the girl and see what she herself has to say about it.”

58 So they called Rebekah and asked her, “Do you wish to go with this man?” She answered, “I do.”

59

At this they allowed their sister Rebekah and her nurse to take leave, along with Abraham’s servant and his men.

60 Invoking a blessing on Rebekah, they said: “Sister, may you grow into thousands of myriads; And may your descendants gain possession of the gates of their enemies!”

61

Then Rebekah and her maids started out; they mounted their camels and followed the man. So the servant took Rebekah and went on his way.

62 Meanwhile Isaac had gone from Beer-lahai-roi and was living in the region of the Negeb.

63

4 One day toward evening he went out. . . in the field, and as he looked around, he noticed that camels were approaching.

64 Rebekah, too, was looking about, and when she saw him, she alighted from her camel

65

and asked the servant, “Who is the man out there, walking through the fields toward us?” “That is my master,” replied the servant. Then she covered herself with her veil.

66 The servant recounted to Isaac all the things he had done.

67

Then Isaac took Rebekah into his tent; he married her, and thus she became his wife. In his love for her Isaac found solace after the death of his mother Sarah.

1 [2] Put your hand under my thigh: the symbolism of this act was apparently connected with the Hebrew concept of children issuing from their father’s “thigh” ( Genesis 46:26;  Exodus 1:5). Perhaps the man who took such an oath was thought to bring the curse of sterility on himself if he did not fulfill his sworn promise. Jacob made Joseph swear in the same way ( Genesis 47:29). In both these instances, the oath was taken to carry out the last request of a man upon his death.

2 [10] Nahor: it is uncertain whether this is to be understood as the name of Abraham’s brother ( Genesis 11:27), Rebekah’s grandfather ( Genesis 24:15), or the city of the same name (as known from the Mari documents): Aram Naharaim, situated near Haran ( Genesis 11:31) in northern Mesopotamia.

3 [12] Let it turn out favorably for me: let me have a favorable omen; cf  Genesis 24:14.

4 [63] He went out: the meaning of the Hebrew term that follows this is obscure.

Genesis – Chapter 23

The Bible – Old Testament

 Genesis

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Genesis

Chapter 23

1

The span of Sarah’s life was one hundred and twenty-seven years.

2

She died in Kiriatharba (that is, Hebron) in the land of Canaan, and Abraham performed the customary mourning rites for her.

3

1 Then he left the side of his dead one and addressed the Hittites:

4

2 “Although I am a resident alien among you, sell me from your holdings a piece of property for a burial ground, that I may bury my dead wife.”

5

The Hittites answered Abraham: “Please, sir,

6

listen to us! You are an elect of God among us. Bury your dead in the choicest of our burial sites. None of us would deny you his burial ground for the burial of your dead.”

7

Abraham, however, began to bow low before the local citizens, the Hittites,

8

while he appealed to them: “If you will allow me room for burial of my dead, listen to me! Intercede for me with Ephron, son of Zohar, asking him

9

to sell me the cave of Machpelah that he owns; it is at the edge of his field. Let him sell it to me in your presence, at its full price, for a burial place.”

10

3 Now Ephron was present with the Hittites. So Ephron the Hittite replied to Abraham in the hearing of the Hittites who sat on his town council:

11

“Please, sir, listen to me! I give you both the field and the cave in it; in the presence of my kinsmen I make this gift. Bury your dead!”

12

But Abraham, after bowing low before the local citizens, addressed Ephron in the hearing of these men:

13

“Ah, if only you would please listen to me! I will pay you the price of the field. Accept it from me, that I may bury my dead there.”

14

Ephron replied to Abraham, “Please,

15

4 sir, listen to me! A piece of land worth four hundred shekels of silver – what is that between you and me, as long as you can bury your dead?”

16

5 Abraham accepted Ephron’s terms; he weighed out to him the silver that Ephron had stipulated in the hearing of the Hittites, four hundred shekels of silver at the current market value.

17

Thus Ephron’s field in Machpelah, facing Mamre, together with its cave and all the trees anywhere within its limits, was conveyed

18

to Abraham by purchase in the presence of all the Hittites who sat on Ephron’s town council.

19

After this transaction, Abraham buried his wife Sarah in the cave of the field of Machpelah, facing Mamre (that is, Hebron) in the land of Canaan.

20

Thus the field with its cave was transferred from the Hittites to Abraham as a burial place.

1 [3] The Hittites: a non-Semitic people in Canaan; their relationship to the well-known Hittites of Asia Minor is uncertain.

2 [4] A resident alien: literally “a sojourner and a settler,” i.e., a long-term resident alien. Such a one would normally not have the right to own property. The importance of Abraham’s purchase of the field in Machpelah, which is worded in technical legal terms, lies in the fact that it gave his descendants their first, though small, land rights in the country that God had promised the patriarch they would one day inherit as their own. Abraham therefore insists on purchasing the field and not receiving it as a gift.

3 [10] Who sat on his town council: probable meaning of the literal translation, “who came in at the gate of his city”; so also in  Genesis 23:18.

4 [15] Four hundred shekels: probably an exorbitant sum; Jeremiah ( Jeremiah 32:9) paid only seventeen shekels for his field in Anathoth, though the Babylonian invasion no doubt helped to reduce the price.

5 [16] The current market value: the standard weight called a shekel varied according to time and place.

Genesis – Chapter 22

The Bible – Old Testament

 Genesis

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Genesis

Chapter 22

1

1 Some time after these events, God put Abraham to the test. He called to him, “Abraham!” “Ready!” he replied.

2

2 Then God said: “Take your son Isaac, your only one, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah. There you shall offer him up as a holocaust on a height that I will point out to you.”

3

Early the next morning Abraham saddled his donkey, took with him his son Isaac, and two of his servants as well, and with the wood that he had cut for the holocaust, set out for the place of which God had told him.

4

On the third day Abraham got sight of the place from afar.

5

Then he said to his servants: “Both of you stay here with the donkey, while the boy and I go on over yonder. We will worship and then come back to you.”

6

Thereupon Abraham took the wood for the holocaust and laid it on his son Isaac’s shoulders, while he himself carried the fire and the knife.

7

As the two walked on together, Isaac spoke to his father Abraham. “Father!” he said. “Yes, son,” he replied. Isaac continued, “Here are the fire and the wood, but where is the sheep for the holocaust?”

8

“Son,” Abraham answered, “God himself will provide the sheep for the holocaust.” Then the two continued going forward.

9

When they came to the place of which God had told him, Abraham built an altar there and arranged the wood on it. Next he tied up his son Isaac, and put him on top of the wood on the altar.

10

Then he reached out and took the knife to slaughter his son.

11

But the LORD’S messenger called to him from heaven, “Abraham, Abraham!” “Yes, Lord,” he answered.

12

“Do not lay your hand on the boy,” said the messenger. “Do not do the least thing to him. I know now how devoted you are to God, since you did not withhold from me your own beloved son.”

13

As Abraham looked about, he spied a ram caught by its horns in the thicket. So he went and took the ram and offered it up as a holocaust in place of his son.

14

3 Abraham named the site Yahweh-yireh; hence people now say, “On the mountain the LORD will see.”

15

Again the LORD’S messenger called to Abraham from heaven

16

and said: “I swear by myself, declares the LORD, that because you acted as you did in not withholding from me your beloved son,

17

I will bless you abundantly and make your descendants as countless as the stars of the sky and the sands of the seashore; your descendants shall take possession of the gates of their enemies,

18

and in your descendants all the nations of the earth shall find blessing – all this because you obeyed my command.”

19

Abraham then returned to his servants, and they set out together for Beer-sheba, where Abraham made his home.

20

4 Some time afterward, the news came to Abraham: “Milcah too has borne sons, to your brother Nahor:

21

Uz, his first-born, his brother Buz, Kemuel (the father of Aram),

22

Chesed, Hazo, Pildash, Jidlaph, and Bethuel.”

23

Bethuel became the father of Rebekah. These eight Milcah bore to Abraham’s brother Nahor.

24

His concubine, whose name was Reumah, also bore children: Tebah, Gaham, Tahash, and Maacah.

1 [1] God put Abraham to the test: to prove the firmness of Abraham’s faith in God’s promise that through Isaac all the nations of the earth would find blessing; cf  Genesis 18:10,  18;  21:12.

2 [2] Only one: uniquely precious, especially loved; therefore the same term is rendered in  Genesis 22:12,  17 as “beloved.”

3 [14] Yahweh-yireh: a Hebrew expression meaning “the Lord will see”; the reference is to the words in  Genesis 22:8, “God himself will see to it.”

4 [20-24] A list of Aramean tribes who lived to the east and northeast of Israel, twelve in number, like the twelve tribes of Israel ( Genesis 35:23) and the twelve tribes of Ishmael Genesis ( 25:12-16).

Genesis – Chapter 21

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 Genesis

Index

Genesis

Chapter 21

1

The LORD took note of Sarah as he had said he would; he did for her as he had promised.

2

Sarah became pregnant and bore Abraham a son in his old age, at the set time that God had stated.

3

Abraham gave the name Isaac to this son of his whom Sarah bore him.

4

When his son Isaac was eight days old, Abraham circumcised him, as God had commanded.

5

Abraham was a hundred years old when his son Isaac was born to him.

6

Sarah then said, “God has given me cause to laugh, and all who hear of it will laugh with me.

7

Who would have told Abraham,” she added, “that Sarah would nurse children! Yet I have borne him a son in his old age.”

8

Isaac grew, and on the day of the child’s weaning, Abraham held a great feast.

9

1 Sarah noticed the son whom Hagar the Egyptian had borne to Abraham playing with her son Isaac;

10

so she demanded of Abraham: “Drive out that slave and her son! No son of that slave is going to share the inheritance with my son Isaac!”

11

Abraham was greatly distressed, especially on account of his son Ishmael.

12

But God said to Abraham: “Do not be distressed about the boy or about your slave woman. Heed the demands of Sarah, no matter what she is asking of you; for it is through Isaac that descendants shall bear your name.

13

As for the son of the slave woman, I will make a great nation of him also, since he too is your offspring.”

14

2 Early the next morning Abraham got some bread and a skin of water and gave them to Hagar. Then, placing the child on her back, he sent her away. As she roamed aimlessly in the wilderness of Beer-sheba,

15

the water in the skin was used up. So she put the child down under a shrub,

16

and then went and sat down opposite him, about a bowshot away; for she said to herself, “Let me not watch to see the child die.” As she sat opposite him, he began to cry.

17

God heard the boy’s cry, and God’s messenger called to Hagar from heaven: “What is the matter, Hagar? Don’t be afraid; God has heard the boy’s cry in this plight of his.

18

Arise, lift up the boy and hold him by the hand; for I will make of him a great nation.”

19

Then God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water. She went and filled the skin with water, and then let the boy drink.

20

God was with the boy as he grew up. He lived in the wilderness and became an expert bowman,

21

with his home in the wilderness of Paran. His mother got a wife for him from the land of Egypt.

22

3 About that time Abimelech, accompanied by Phicol, the commander of his army, said to Abraham: “God is with you in everything you do.

23

4 Therefore, swear to me by God at this place that you will not deal falsely with me or with my progeny and posterity, but will act as loyally toward me and the land in which you stay as I have acted toward you.”

24

To this Abraham replied, “I so swear.”

25

Abraham, however, reproached Abimelech about a well that Abimelech’s men had seized by force.

26

“I have no idea who did that,” Abimelech replied. “In fact, you never told me about it, nor did I ever hear of it until now.”

27

Then Abraham took sheep and cattle and gave them to Abimelech and the two made a pact.

28

Abraham also set apart seven ewe lambs of the flock,

29

and Abimelech asked him, “What is the purpose of these seven ewe lambs that you have set apart?”

30

Abraham answered, “The seven ewe lambs you shall accept from me that thus I may have your acknowledgment that the well was dug by me.”

31

5 This is why the place is called Beer-sheba; the two took an oath there.

32

When they had thus made the pact in Beer-sheba, Abimelech, along with Phicol, the commander of his army, left and returned to the land of the Philistines.

33

6 Abraham planted a tamarisk at Beer-sheba, and there he invoked by name the LORD, God the Eternal.

34

Abraham resided in the land of the Philistines for many years.

1 [9-19] This story of Hagar’s expulsion, in the Elohist source, is in general a duplicate of the one from the Yahwist source in  Genesis 16:5-14; but the two stories differ greatly in detail.

2 Placing the child on her back: the phrase is translated from an emended form of the Hebrew text. In the current faulty Hebrew text, Abraham put the bread and the waterskin on Hagar’s back, while her son apparently walked beside her. This reading seems to be a scribal attempt at harmonizing the present passage with the data of the Priestly source, in which Ishmael would have been at least fourteen years old when Isaac was born; compare  Genesis 16:16 with  Genesis 21:5; cf  Genesis 17:25. But in the present Elohist story Ishmael is obviously a little boy, not much older than Isaac; cf  Genesis 15:18.

3 [22] Here and in  Genesis 21:32 the Greek text has “. . . Abimelech, accompanied by Ahuzzath, his councilor, and Phicol . . .”; but this is probably a secondary harmonization with  Genesis 26:26. Abimelech took Phicol with him in order to intimidate Abraham by a show of strength.

4 [23] This place: Beer-sheba ( Genesis 21:31). Abimelech had come from Gerar ( Genesis 20:2), about thirty miles west of Beer-sheba.

5 [31] Beer-sheba: the Hebrew name really means, “the well of the seven,” i.e., the place where there are seven wells, alluded to in the episode of the seven ewe lambs,  Genesis 21:28-30; but it can also be interpreted to mean “the well of the oath.”

6 [33] God the Eternal: in Hebrew, el olam, perhaps the name of the deity of the pre-Israelite sanctuary at Beer-sheba, but used by Abraham merely as a title of Yahweh; cf  Isaiah 40:28.

Genesis – Chapter 20

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 Genesis

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Genesis

Chapter 20

1

1 Abraham journeyed on to the region of the Negeb, where he settled between Kadesh and Shur. While he stayed in Gerar,

2

he said of his wife Sarah, “She is my sister.” So Abimelech, king of Gerar, sent and took Sarah.

3

But God came to Abimelech in a dream one night and said to him, “You are about to die because of the woman you have taken, for she has a husband.”

4

Abimelech, who had not approached her, said: “O Lord, would you slay a man even though he is innocent?

5

He himself told me, ‘She is my sister,’ and she herself also stated, ‘He is my brother.’ I did it in good faith and with clean hands.”

6

God answered him in the dream: “Yes, I know you did it in good faith. In fact, it was I who kept you from sinning against me; that is why I did not let you touch her.

7

2 Therefore, return the man’s wife – as a spokesman he will intercede for you – that your life may be saved. If you do not return her, you can be sure that you and all who are yours will certainly die.”

8

Early the next morning Abimelech called all his court officials and informed them of everything that had happened, and the men were horrified.

9

Then Abimelech summoned Abraham and said to him: “How could you do this to us! What wrong did I do to you that you should have brought such monstrous guilt on me and my kingdom? You have treated me in an intolerable way.

10

What were you afraid of,” he asked him, “that you should have done such a thing?”

11

“I was afraid,” answered Abraham, “because I thought there would surely be no fear of God in this place, and so they would kill me on account of my wife.

12

Besides, she is in truth my sister, but only my father’s daughter, not my mother’s; and so she became my wife.

13

When God sent me wandering from my father’s house, I asked her: ‘Would you do me this favor? In whatever place we come to, say that I am your brother.'”

14

Then Abimelech took flocks and herds and male and female slaves and gave them to Abraham; and after he restored his wife Sarah to him,

15

he said, “Here, my land lies at your disposal; settle wherever you please.”

16

3 To Sarah he said: “See, I have given your brother a thousand shekels of silver. Let that serve you as a vindication before all who are with you; your honor has been preserved with everyone.”

17

Abraham then interceded with God, and God restored health to Abimelech, that is, to his wife and his maidservants, so that they could bear children;

18

for God had tightly closed every womb in Abimelech’s household on account of Abraham’s wife Sarah.

1 [1-18] This story from the Elohist source (see note on  Genesis 4:25) combines elements found in the two very similar but distinct stories of the Yahwist source, in  Genesis 12:10-20;  26:6-11.

2 [7] Spokesman: the Hebrew term nabi used here is regularly translated as “prophet,” but it simply means “one who speaks on behalf of another,” whether the latter is God, as in almost all cases, or another man, as in  Exodus 4:16.

3 [16] A thousand shekels of silver: not a gift distinct from that of the animals and the slaves ( Genesis 20:14), but the monetary value of these.

Genesis – Chapter 19

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 Genesis

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Genesis

Chapter 19

1

The two angels reached Sodom in the evening, as Lot was sitting at the gate of Sodom. When Lot saw them, he got up to greet them; and bowing down with his face to the ground,

2

1 he said, “Please, gentlemen, come aside into your servant’s house for the night, and bathe your feet; you can get up early to continue your journey.” But they replied, “No, we shall pass the night in the town square.”

3

He urged them so strongly, however, that they turned aside to his place and entered his house. He prepared a meal for them, baking cakes without leaven, and they dined.

4

Before they went to bed, all the townsmen of Sodom, both young and old – all the people to the last man – closed in on the house.

5

They called to Lot and said to him, “Where are the men who came to your house tonight? Bring them out to us that we may have intimacies with them.”

6

Lot went out to meet them at the entrance. When he had shut the door behind him,

7

he said, “I beg you, my brothers, not to do this wicked thing.

8

I have two daughters who have never had intercourse with men. Let me bring them out to you, and you may do to them as you please. But don’t do anything to these men, for you know they have come under the shelter of my roof.”

9

They replied, “Stand back! This fellow,” they sneered, “came here as an immigrant, and now he dares to give orders! We’ll treat you worse than them!” With that, they pressed hard against Lot, moving in closer to break down the door.

10

But his guests put out their hands, pulled Lot inside with them, and closed the door;

11

2 at the same time they struck the men at the entrance of the house, one and all, with such a blinding light that they were utterly unable to reach the doorway.

12

3 Then the angels said to Lot: “Who else belongs to you here? Your sons (sons-in-law) and your daughters and all who belong to you in the city – take them away from it!

13

We are about to destroy this place, for the outcry reaching the LORD against those in the city is so great that he has sent us to destroy it.”

14

4 So Lot went out and spoke to his sons-in-law, who had contracted marriage with his daughters. “Get up and leave this place,” he told them; “the LORD is about to destroy the city.” But his sons-in-law thought he was joking.

15

As dawn was breaking, the angels urged Lot on, saying, “On your way! Take with you your wife and your two daughters who are here, or you will be swept away in the punishment of the city.”

16

When he hesitated, the men, by the LORD’S mercy, seized his hand and the hands of his wife and his two daughters and led them to safety outside the city.

17

As soon as they had been brought outside, he was told: “Flee for your life! Don’t look back or stop anywhere on the Plain. Get off to the hills at once, or you will be swept away.”

18

“Oh, no, my lord!” replied Lot.

19

“You have already thought enough of your servant to do me the great kindness of intervening to save my life. But I cannot flee to the hills to keep the disaster from overtaking me, and so I shall die.

20

5 Look, this town ahead is near enough to escape to. It’s only a small place. Let me flee there – it’s a small place, isn’t it? – that my life may be saved.”

21

“Well, then,” he replied, “I will also grant you the favor you now ask. I will not overthrow the town you speak of.

22

Hurry, escape there! I cannot do anything until you arrive there.” That is why the town is called Zoar.

23

The sun was just rising over the earth as Lot arrived in Zoar;

24

at the same time the LORD rained down sulphurous fire upon Sodom and Gomorrah (from the LORD out of heaven).

25

6 He overthrew those cities and the whole Plain, together with the inhabitants of the cities and the produce of the soil.

26

But Lot’s wife looked back, and she was turned into a pillar of salt.

27

Early the next morning Abraham went to the place where he had stood in the LORD’S presence.

28

7 As he looked down toward Sodom and Gomorrah and the whole region of the Plain, he saw dense smoke over the land rising like fumes from a furnace.

29

Thus it came to pass: when God destroyed the Cities of the Plain, he was mindful of Abraham by sending Lot away from the upheaval by which God overthrew the cities where Lot had been living.

30

8 Since Lot was afraid to stay in Zoar, he and his two daughters went up from Zoar and settled in the hill country, where he lived with his two daughters in a cave.

31

The older one said to the younger: “Our father is getting old, and there is not a man on earth to unite with us as was the custom everywhere.

32

Come, let us ply our father with wine and then lie with him, that we may have offspring by our father.”

33

So that night they plied their father with wine, and the older one went in and lay with her father; but he was not aware of her lying down or her getting up.

34 Next day the older one said to the younger: “Last night it was I who lay with my father. Let us ply him with wine again tonight, and then you go in and lie with him, that we may both have offspring by our father.”

35

So that night, too, they plied their father with wine, and then the younger one went in and lay with him; but again he was not aware of her lying down or her getting up.

36 Thus both of Lot’s daughters became pregnant by their father.

37

9 The older one gave birth to a son whom she named Moab, saying, “From my father.” He is the ancestor of the Moabites of today.

38 10 The younger one, too, gave birth to a son, and she named him Ammon, saying, “The son of my kin.” He is the ancestor of the Ammonites of today.

1 [2] Gentlemen: Lot does not yet know that the distinguished-looking men are God’s messengers; cf  Genesis 18:3.

2 [11] Blinding light: a preternatural flash that temporarily dazed the wicked men and revealed to Lot the true nature of his guests.

3 [12] Since Lot apparently had no sons, a glossator interpreted the term to mean sons-in-law.

4 [14] It is uncertain whether Lot’s sons-in-law were fully married to his daughters or only “engaged” to them (Israelite “engagement” was the first part of the marriage ceremony), or even whether the daughters involved were the same as, or different from, the two daughters who were still in their father’s house.

5 [20] A small place: the Hebrew word misar, literally “a little thing,” has the same root consonants as the name of the town Zoar in  Genesis 19:22.

6 [25] Overthrew: The consistent use of this term, literally “turned upside down,” to describe the destruction of the Cities of the Plain seems to imply that their upheaval ( Genesis 19:29) was caused primarily by an earthquake; this would naturally be accompanied by a disastrous fire, especially in a region containing bitumen ( Genesis 14:10) and its accompanying gases.

7 [28-29] From the height east of Hebron, Abraham could easily see the region at the southern end of the Dead Sea, where the Cities of the Plain were probably located.

8 [30-38] This Israelite tale about the origin of Israel’s neighbors east of the Jordan and the Dead Sea was told partly to ridicule these racially related but rival nations and partly to give folk etymologies for their names.

9 [37] From my father: in Hebrew, meabi, similar in sound to the name “Moab.”

10 [38] The son of my kin: in Hebrew, ben-ammi, similar in sound to the name “Ammonites.”

Genesis – Chapter 18

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Genesis

Chapter 18

1

The LORD appeared to Abraham by the terebinth of Mamre, as he sat in the entrance of his tent, while the day was growing hot.

2

Looking up, he saw three men standing nearby. When he saw them, he ran from the entrance of the tent to greet them; and bowing to the ground,

3

1 he said: “Sir, if I may ask you this favor, please do not go on past your servant.

4

Let some water be brought, that you may bathe your feet, and then rest yourselves under the tree.

5

Now that you have come this close to your servant, let me bring you a little food, that you may refresh yourselves; and afterward you may go on your way.” “Very well,” they replied, “do as you have said.”

6

2 Abraham hastened into the tent and told Sarah, “Quick, three seahs of fine flour! Knead it and make rolls.”

7

He ran to the herd, picked out a tender, choice steer, and gave it to a servant, who quickly prepared it.

8

3 Then he got some curds and milk, as well as the steer that had been prepared, and set these before them; and he waited on them under the tree while they ate.

9

“Where is your wife Sarah?” they asked him. “There in the tent,” he replied.

10

4 One of them said, “I will surely return to you about this time next year, and Sarah will then have a son.” Sarah was listening at the entrance of the tent, just behind him.

11

Now Abraham and Sarah were old, advanced in years, and Sarah had stopped having her womanly periods.

12

5 So Sarah laughed to herself and said, “Now that I am so withered and my husband is so old, am I still to have sexual pleasure?”

13

But the LORD said to Abraham: “Why did Sarah laugh and say, ‘Shall I really bear a child, old as I am?’

14

Is anything too marvelous for the LORD to do? At the appointed time, about this time next year, I will return to you, and Sarah will have a son.”

15

Because she was afraid, Sarah dissembled, saying, “I didn’t laugh.” But he said, “Yes you did.”

16

The men set out from there and looked down toward Sodom; Abraham was walking with them, to see them on their way.

17

The LORD reflected: “Shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do,

18

now that he is to become a great and populous nation, and all the nations of the earth are to find blessing in him?

19

Indeed, I have singled him out that he may direct his sons and his posterity to keep the way of the LORD by doing what is right and just, so that the LORD may carry into effect for Abraham the promises he made about him.”

20

6 Then the LORD said: “The outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is so great, and their sin so grave,

21

that I must go down and see whether or not their actions fully correspond to the cry against them that comes to me. I mean to find out.”

22

While the two men walked on farther toward Sodom, the LORD remained standing before Abraham.

23

Then Abraham drew nearer to him and said: “Will you sweep away the innocent with the guilty?

24

Suppose there were fifty innocent people in the city; would you wipe out the place, rather than spare it for the sake of the fifty innocent people within it?

25

Far be it from you to do such a thing, to make the innocent die with the guilty, so that the innocent and the guilty would be treated alike! Should not the judge of all the world act with justice?”

26

The LORD replied, “If I find fifty innocent people in the city of Sodom, I will spare the whole place for their sake.”

27

Abraham spoke up again: “See how I am presuming to speak to my Lord, though I am but dust and ashes!

28

What if there are five less than fifty innocent people? Will you destroy the whole city because of those five?” “I will not destroy it,” he answered, “if I find forty-five there.”

29

But Abraham persisted, saying, “What if only forty are found there?” He replied, “I will forebear doing it for the sake of the forty.”

30

Then he said, “Let not my Lord grow impatient if I go on. What if only thirty are found there?” He replied, “I will forebear doing it if I can find but thirty there.”

31

Still he went on, “Since I have thus dared to speak to my Lord, what if there are no more than twenty?” “I will not destroy it,” he answered, “for the sake of the twenty.”

32

But he still persisted: “Please, let not my Lord grow angry if I speak up this last time. What if there are at least ten there?” “For the sake of those ten,” he replied, “I will not destroy it.”

33

The LORD departed as soon as he had finished speaking with Abraham, and Abraham returned home.

1 [3] Abraham addresses the leader of the group, whom he does not yet recognize as Yahweh; in the next two verses he speaks to all three men. The other two are later ( Genesis 19:1) identified as messengers.

2 [6] Three seahs: one ephah, about half a bushel.

3 [8] Curds: a type of soft cheese or yoghurt.

4 [10] One of them: i.e., the Lord. Abraham now realizes this for the first time when he hears the prediction of a miraculous birth. About this time next year: literally “when the time becomes alive,” i.e., at the time when birth is due after the period of gestation; the conception is understood as taking place soon after the prediction.

5 [12] Sarah laughed: see note on  Genesis 17:17.

6 [20] Israelite tradition was unanimous in ascribing the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah to the wickedness of these cities, but tradition varied in regard to the nature of this wickedness. According to the present account of the Yahwist, the sin of Sodom was homosexuality ( Genesis 19:4-5), which is therefore also known as sodomy; but according to Isaiah ( Isaiah 1:9-10;  3:9), it was a lack of social justice; Ezekiel ( Ezekiel 16:46-51) described it as a disregard for the poor, whereas Jeremiah ( Jeremiah 23:14) saw it as general immorality.

Genesis – Chapter 17

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 Genesis

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Genesis

Chapter 17

1

1 When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the LORD appeared to him and said: “I am God the Almighty. Walk in my presence and be blameless.

2

Between you and me I will establish my covenant, and I will multiply you exceedingly.”

3

When Abram prostrated himself, God continued to speak to him:

4

“My covenant with you is this: you are to become the father of a host of nations.

5

2 No longer shall you be called Abram; your name shall be Abraham, for I am making you the father of a host of nations.

6

I will render you exceedingly fertile; I will make nations of you; kings shall stem from you.

7

I will maintain my covenant with you and your descendants after you throughout the ages as an everlasting pact, to be your God and the God of your descendants after you.

8

I will give to you and to your descendants after you the land in which you are now staying, the whole land of Canaan, as a permanent possession; and I will be their God.”

9

God also said to Abraham: “On your part, you and your descendants after you must keep my covenant throughout the ages.

10

This is my covenant with you and your descendants after you that you must keep: every male among you shall be circumcised.

11

Circumcise the flesh of your foreskin, and that shall be the mark of the covenant between you and me.

12

Throughout the ages, every male among you, when he is eight days old, shall be circumcised, including houseborn slaves and those acquired with money from any foreigner who is not of your blood.

13

Yes, both the houseborn slaves and those acquired with money must be circumcised. Thus my covenant shall be in your flesh as an everlasting pact.

14

If a male is uncircumcised, that is, if the flesh of his foreskin has not been cut away, such a one shall be cut off from his people; he has broken my covenant.”

15

3 God further said to Abraham: “As for your wife Sarai, do not call her Sarai; her name shall be Sarah.

16

I will bless her, and I will give you a son by her. Him also will I bless; he shall give rise to nations, and rulers of peoples shall issue from him.”

17

4 Abraham prostrated himself and laughed as he said to himself, “Can a child be born to a man who is a hundred years old? Or can Sarah give birth at ninety?”

18

Then Abraham said to God, “Let but Ishmael live on by your favor!”

19

God replied: “Nevertheless, your wife Sarah is to bear you a son, and you shall call him Isaac. I will maintain my covenant with him as an everlasting pact, to be his God and the God of his descendants after him.

20

As for Ishmael, I am heeding you: I hereby bless him. I will make him fertile and will multiply him exceedingly. He shall become the father of twelve chieftains, and I will make of him a great nation.

21

But my covenant I will maintain with Isaac, whom Sarah shall bear to you by this time next year.”

22

When he had finished speaking with him, God departed from Abraham.

23

Then Abraham took his son Ishmael and all his slaves, whether born in his house or acquired with his money – every male among the members of Abraham’s household – and he circumcised the flesh of their foreskins on that same day, as God had told him to do.

24

Abraham was ninety-nine years old when the flesh of his foreskin was circumcised,

25

and his son Ishmael was thirteen years old when the flesh of his foreskin was circumcised.

26

Thus, on that same day Abraham and his son Ishmael were circumcised;

27

and all the male members of his household, including the slaves born in his house or acquired with his money from foreigners, were circumcised with him.

1 [1] The Almighty: traditional but incorrect rendering of the divine title shaddai, of uncertain meaning.

2 [5] Abram and Abraham are merely two forms of the same name, both meaning, “the father is exalted”; another variant form is Abiram ( Numbers 16:1;  1 Kings 16:34). The additional – ha – in the form Abraham is explained by folk etymology as coming from ab-hamon goyim, “father of a host of nations.”

3 [15] Sarai and Sarah are variant forms of the same name, both meaning “princess.”

4 [17] Laughed: yishaq, which is the Hebrew form of the name “Isaac”; other similar explanations of the name are given in  Genesis 18:12 and  21:6.

Genesis – Chapter 16

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Genesis

Chapter 16

1

1 Abram’s wife Sarai had borne him no children. She had, however, an Egyptian maidservant named Hagar.

2

Sarai said to Abram: “The LORD has kept me from bearing children. Have intercourse, then, with my maid; perhaps I shall have sons through her.” Abram heeded Sarai’s request.

3

Thus, after Abram had lived ten years in the land of Canaan, his wife Sarai took her maid, Hagar the Egyptian, and gave her to her husband Abram to be his concubine.

4

He had intercourse with her, and she became pregnant. When she became aware of her pregnancy, she looked on her mistress with disdain.

5

So Sarai said to Abram: “You are responsible for this outrage against me. I myself gave my maid to your embrace; but ever since she became aware of her pregnancy, she has been looking on me with disdain. May the LORD decide between you and me!”

6

Abram told Sarai: “Your maid is in your power. Do to her whatever you please.” Sarai then abused her so much that Hagar ran away from her.

7

2 The LORD’S messenger found her by a spring in the wilderness, the spring on the road to Shur,

8

and he asked, “Hagar, maid of Sarai, where have you come from and where are you going?” She answered, “I am running away from my mistress, Sarai.”

9

But the LORD’S messenger told her: “Go back to your mistress and submit to her abusive treatment.

10

I will make your descendants so numerous,” added the LORD’S messenger, “that they will be too many to count.

11

3 Besides,” the LORD’S messenger said to her: “You are now pregnant and shall bear a son; you shall name him Ishmael, For the LORD has heard you, God has answered you.

12

He shall be a wild ass of a man, his hand against everyone, and everyone’s hand against him; In opposition to all his kin shall he encamp.”

13

4 To the LORD who spoke to her she gave a name, saying, “You are the God of Vision”; she meant, “Have I really seen God and remained alive after my vision?”

14

5 That is why the well is called Beer-lahai-roi. It is between Kadesh and Bered.

15

Hagar bore Abram a son, and Abram named the son whom Hagar bore him Ishmael.

16

Abram was eighty-six years old when Hagar bore him Ishmael.

1 [1-6] Sarah’s actions are all in keeping with the laws of the time, as known from ancient extra-biblical sources.

2 [7] The LORD’S messenger: a manifestation of God in human form; therefore in  Genesis 16:13 the messenger is identified with the Lord himself.

3 [11] Ishmael: in Hebrew the name means “God has heard.”

4 [13] The God of Vision: In Hebrew, el-roi; hence the name of the spring. Remained alive: for the ancient notion that a person died on seeing God, cf  Genesis 32:31;  Exodus 20:19;  Deut 4:33;  Judges 13:22.

5 [14] Beer-lahai-roi: probably “the well of living sight,” i.e., the well where one can see (God) and yet live.

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Genesis – Chapter 15

The Bible – Old Testament

 Genesis

Index

Genesis

Chapter 15

1

Some time after these events, this word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision: “Fear not, Abram! I am your shield; I will make your reward very great.”

2

But Abram said, “O Lord GOD, what good will your gifts be, if I keep on being childless and have as my heir the steward of my house, Eliezer?”

3

Abram continued, “See, you have given me no offspring, and so one of my servants will be my heir.”

4

Then the word of the LORD came to him: “No, that one shall not be your heir; your own issue shall be your heir.”

5

He took him outside and said: “Look up at the sky and count the stars, if you can. Just so,” he added, “shall your descendants be.”

6

1 Abram put his faith in the LORD, who credited it to him as an act of righteousness.

7

He then said to him, “I am the LORD who brought you from Ur of the Chaldeans to give you this land as a possession.”

8

“O Lord GOD,” he asked, “How am I to know that I shall possess it?”

9

2 He answered him, “Bring me a three-year-old heifer, a three-year-old she-goat, a three-year-old ram, a turtle-dove, and a young pigeon.”

10

He brought him all these, split them in two, and placed each half opposite the other; but the birds he did not cut up.

11

Birds of prey swooped down on the carcasses, but Abram stayed with them.

12

As the sun was about to set, a trance fell upon Abram, and a deep, terrifying darkness enveloped him.

13

Then the LORD said to Abram: “Know for certain that your descendants shall be aliens in a land not their own, where they shall be enslaved and oppressed for four hundred years.

14

But I will bring judgment on the nation they must serve, and in the end they will depart with great wealth.

15

You, however, shall join your forefathers in peace; you shall be buried at a contented old age.

16

3 In the fourth time-span the others shall come back here; the wickedness of the Amorites will not have reached its full measure until then.”

17

4 When the sun had set and it was dark, there appeared a smoking brazier and a flaming torch, which passed between those pieces.

18

5 It was on that occasion that the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying: “To your descendants I give this land, from the Wadi of Egypt to the Great River (the Euphrates),

19

the land of the Kenites, the Kenizzites, the Kadmonites,

20

the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Rephaim,

21

the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Girgashites, and the Jebusites.”

1 [6] Abraham’s faith in God’s promises was regarded as an act of righteousness, i.e., as expressing the “right” attitude of man toward God. In turn, God credited this to Abraham, i.e., gave him title to the fulfillment of God’s promises. St. Paul ( Romans 4:1-25;  Gal 3:6-9) makes Abraham’s faith a model for that of Christians.

2 [9] Three-year-old: ritually mature.

3 [16] Time-span: the Hebrew term dor is commonly rendered as “generation,” but it may signify a period of varying length. Neither this passage nor the statement about the four hundred years has any value for determining how long the Israelites were in Egypt.

4 [17] Brazier: literally “oven”; a portable one is meant here. The smoke and fire represent God’s presence. Although the text does not mention it, Abraham no doubt also walked between the split carcasses. For the meaning of this strange ceremony, see note on  Jeremiah 34:18-19.

5 [18] Made a covenant: literally “cut a covenant”; the expression derives from the ceremony of cutting the animals in two.