The End of the Beginning

Continuing a plan to get through the entire Bible in a year, follow as I journal through the reading. I have chosen a straightforward approach that begins in Genesis and ends in Revelation. This will not be an in-depth study or a comprehensive commentary. There are plenty of sources for such material. This is stage one Bible reading, taking the text at face value and sharing impressions.

Today’s reading comes from the book of Genesis, chapters 48 through 50, wrapping up the Bible’s first book. Some impressions from the text:

  • In Genesis 48, we see the relationship between Jacob and Esau echoed in that of Ephraim and Manasseh. Once again, God places the second-born above the first, in contradiction to cultural norms and human expectations. As with Jacob and Esau, this is meant to ensure that God gets the glory for his work, lest men think they earned his favor through some merit.
  • Genesis 49:4 appears to reference Genesis 35:22, where brief mention is made of Jacob’s firstborn son Reuben laying with one of Jacob’s wives, the servant of Leah named Bilhah. No context was provided in Genesis 35, leaving the mention seeming out of place. Here in Genesis 49 we learn that Reuben’s sin was cause for Jacob to denounce him. “Unstable as water, you shall not have preeminence, because you went up to your father’s bed; then you defiled it—he went up to my couch!”
  • After Jacob’s death, his elder sons fear that Joseph may take vengeance on them for their crimes against him. It appears that they fabricate a message from their father, asking Joseph to forgive them. But that ruse proves unnecessary. Joseph forgives them because he understands that they “meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.” He does not place himself in the position of judge. “…am I in the place of God?”
  • Genesis ends with the account of Joseph’s death. The next four-hundred years go by with little of significance to the biblical narrative. Israel grows in the womb which Egypt provides, ready to be birthed through the Exodus.

Return soon as we continue our year-long journey through the text of the Bible.

Catch up on the previous entries:

In the Beginning: The Creation, His Rest, Our Fall – Genesis 1-3

An End of All Flesh: Abel’s Murder, Man’s Corruption, and the Great Flood – Genesis 4-7

Noah’s Flood Led to History’s First Post-Apocalyptic Society – Genesis 8-11

Abram Believed: The Pre-Gospel Gospel – Genesis 12-15

Abraham, the Father of Faith, Also Harbored Doubt – Genesis 16-18

Twin Cities of Sin: The Judgment of Sodom and Gomorrah – Genesis 19-21

Was Abraham a Psychotic Child Murderer? – Genesis 22-24

Isaac Follows in His Father’s Footsteps – Genesis 25 and 26

Deception and Fraud, Not of God, But Used for His Purpose – Genesis 27-29

Jacob’s Dysfunctional Polygamous Family – Genesis 30 and 31

Jacob Wrestled with God and Man, and Prevailed – Genesis 32-34

Joseph Betrayed and Sold Into Slavery – Genesis 35-37

Joseph and the Suffering of the Righteous – Genesis 38-40

From Slave to Ruler: Joseph Ascends – Genesis 41 and 42

God Seeks to Persevere and Reconcile – Genesis 43 through 45

Israel Takes Root in Egypt’s Womb – Genesis 46 and 47