Bible Discussion: Genesis 10-14

March 21, 2007, 12:00 pm; posted by
Filed under Bible, Job, Josh J, Steve, Tom  | 7 Comments

This week, Bweinh.com looks at the next five chapters of the Bible, Genesis 10-14.

Read our take on Genesis 1-4 and Genesis 5-9!

 
INTRODUCTION:
Job:
Even though history had progressed for thousands of years, some of it even well documented, it’s only at this point — with the dispersion of people and the singling out of Abram — that things begin to become truly interesting. Cities, ethnicities, cultures and customs begin to finally and firmly cement themselves into forms we still recognize today.

Steve:
Now the descendants really start to flourish again, and I suppose they have to, what with the whole of humanity reduced to the few folks stuck on the ark! Each of Noah’s three sons had at least four sons, and the few of those who were specifically mentioned had at least four sons, so if you assume they were all having daughters too, within about fifty years, they could have had a population of well over a thousand people. These growing people get some big ideas, God teaches them a lesson before the focus narrows, and we meet perhaps the most influential man in the Old Testament — father Abraham.

 
SOMETHING YOU’D NEVER NOTICED BEFORE:
Job:
Initially Abram and Lot went to Egypt to avoid famine, and there they accumulated so much wealth that, upon their return to Canaan, the land couldn’t support them yet again — a famine whose cure forced another famine.

Josh J:
First off, I love 10:9. Oh, so that’s why it’s said, “like Nimrod, a mighty hunter before the Lord.” Thanks for clearing that up. Actually, I think I’m going to start saying that now. Second, God’s earlier proclamation is often thought to have a dual meaning — the period of time for all of mankind pre-flood would be 120 years, and the lifetime of each individual man would be capped going forward. I found it interesting that this transition to a shorter lifespan happened gradually, over several generations.

Steve:
I saw a chart the other day on the website Brian referenced, and it showed how long the patriarchs lived and how their lives overlapped. If you look at the chart, or work out the dates as I have, you see that it’s easy to figure out how the Semites and Hebrews got their names — old Shem and Eber lived a LONG time. Shem (1558-2160) outlived Abraham (1948-2123), for goodness’ sake, his great-great-great-great-great-great-grandson! Eber (1723-2187) even outlived Ishmael (2034-2171)!

 
BEST BAND NAME FROM THE PASSAGE:
Josh J: A Separate Lot, The Great Trees of Mamre
Steve: The Coastland Peoples, Chedorlaomer
Tom: Descendants of Gomer
Job: Say You Are My Sister

 
STORY IT REMINDS YOU OF:
Tom:
Abraham is the original Boy Scout, retrieving his nephew Lot from kidnappers, then getting loot from the King of Sodom, but refusing to keep it.

Steve:
Having participated very closely in the construction of a tower myself — Dad and I put
up about 90% of the foam blocks in those walls — I can tell you there are plenty of challenges, even when everyone involved speaks the same language.

Job:
Abram’s constant intercession on Lot’s behalf, either with the locals or God, reminds me of an old brown Ross bicycle I used to have on the campus of Houghton College. The guys on my floor would constantly take it and place it in impossible scenario, in the crotch of a tree or on top of the chapel. Talking to security about getting it back or endangering myself to retrieve it from under a bridge in spring is very reminiscent of Abram’s devotion to his own.

Josh J:
Reading the story of Lot and Abram separating, I instantly remembered the illustration in the daily picture devotional my parents used to read to me each day as a child. We read through it story by story, day by day, and when we got to the end we’d start all over, till years later the book was well-worn and the stories were embedded in my mind. I really wish more parents would do this for their children.

 
DEEP THEOLOGICAL MEANING:
Job:
When God elects to confuse the building of the tower, I see in Him an urgency to encourage man not to strive to be like Him. That endorsement is reserved for the manifestation of Jesus. It is thus freeing, in a sense, to respect the unilateral — often inexplicable — vengeance, compassion and breathtaking destruction God is capable of without having to somehow align it with my own understanding, ability or ideology. Without having to be able to explain it, ’cause I mean, hey — it’s God, stupid.

Josh J:
The consequences of our actions affect not only us, but those around us as well. Abraham’s faith was a blessing not only to him, but also his descendants. Conversely, when Abraham lied to the Egyptians, the king’s household suffered as a result.

Steve:
The blessing of God is unmerited and permanent. No specific reason is given in the text why Abram was chosen for such a special honor, and the very next thing we see him do is lie to Pharaoh about his smokin’ hot wife Sarai, yet God’s plan remains the same. His grace is always bestowed on us freely, not because we earned it, and we need not live in fear that He’ll change his mind. His gifts and calling are irrevocable.

 
RANDOM THOUGHT:
Josh J:
I would have loved to witness the construction at Babel the exact moment the Lord confused their language. The pandemonium I imagine is equal parts terrifying and hilarious.

Job:
Lot’s wife must have been busted lookin’, ’cause she wasn’t pretending to be anyone’s sister.

Tom:
I just thought, reading the passages about Babel, that so much strife has come from that scrambling. What would the world be like if there were one language/culture?

Steve:
I wonder how many people these ‘kings’ of cities in chapter 14 actually ‘ruled’ over. My guess is they were more like tribal chieftains, unofficial mayors of the larger clans and villages in the region. But hey, ‘king’ sounds way cooler than ‘mayor,’ or even ‘chieftain.’ I may just crown myself King of my apartment. Anyone have a spare scepter?

Also, don’t we all have a relative like Lot, always getting into trouble and claiming the best stuff for himself?

 
WHERE IS JESUS IN THIS PASSAGE:
Tom:
“…and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”

Josh J:
The promise to Abram that all peoples on earth would be blessed through him was fulfilled by the coming of Christ through his lineage.

Steve:
He is, of course, one of the best ways in which Abraham’s promise of blessing was fulfilled, and there’s also some interesting connection between him and Melchizedek, as we learn later in the book of Hebrews. At the very least, Melchizedek was a teaching tool to show how rare it was to be a king AND a priest.

Job:
Most bluntly I see Jesus in Abraham’s blessing. No matter his intelligence, I’m sure this prophecy/promise must have confused Abram somewhat. Early on, with his dealings with the natives and the Egyptians, I sense he felt his allegiance to God and his tribe served a fairly divisive role rather than a blessing.

 
VERSE TO REMEMBER:
Tom, Steve:
12:2 – “I will make you a great nation;
I will bless you
And make your name great;
And you shall be a blessing.”

Josh J, Steve:
12:3 – “I will bless those who bless you,
And I will curse him who curses you;
And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”

Job:
14:22-23 – “But Abram said to the king of Sodom, ‘I have raised my hand to the LORD, God Most High, Creator of heaven and earth, and have taken an oath that I will accept nothing belonging to you, not even a thread or the thong of a sandal, so that you will never be able to say, ‘I made Abram rich.’ ”

Steve:
13:16 – “And I will make your descendants as the dust of the earth; so that if a man could number the dust of the earth, then your descendants also could be numbered.”

 
PORTION YOU WOULD MOST LIKE EXPLAINED IN HEAVEN:
Job:
I’ve heard Shakespeare had a vocabulary of 40,000 more words than today, and a cursory skimming of Beowulf will prove that just a few hundred years ago, English was a far different animal than what it is today. But still, I’d love to know if Latin or some Germanic dialect reared its ugly head at Babel to such a degree that I could’ve communicated in some fashion with the poor confused souls.

Steve:
It doesn’t make any sense to me that God was at all worried about the ancients succeeding in building a tower up to heaven. I understand there was an attitude problem, but the stated consequences don’t seem to follow, even if they had miraculously succeeded in their goal. Bizarre.

Josh J:
Where exactly does Melchizedek come from and how does he qualify as a priest of God Most High? The later scripture references in Psalms and Hebrews have never really cleared this up for me.

Also, why call Abram? Why choose the Jews?

 
LESSON TO TAKE AWAY:
Steve:
The Babel account points out one of mankind’s oldest and most enduring flaws – the desire to be like God. It was part of the original fall we saw a few weeks back, and here it appears to be the explanation for the original diaspora, the Lord scattering proud little men about the earth, and confusing their speech to boot. Don’t think of yourself more highly than you ought.

Josh J:
In 14:20, we encounter the first scriptural reference to the concept of tithing. The idea of giving ten percent is one that seems to be less popular today, but it’s one I still believe is vital to an obedient life.

Tom:
Greatness is not an end, but a means to an end: being a blessing.

 
GENERAL RESPONSE TO THE PASSAGE:
Josh J:
The impact of the call of Abram is incredible, determining much of the course of human and religious history. God called one righteous man, who was faithful to that calling, and God blessed the world through him, even though he wasn’t able to see or fully appreciate the magnitude of the blessing at the time.

Job:
Our God is very, very deliberate and I love how He would return so many years later, on the day of Pentecost, to replace babbling with the clarity of the Holy Spirit. Instead of confounding humans with different languages, He used it to show His power — “amazed and perplexed, they asked one another, “What does this mean?” The gospel preached in so many strange languages, courtesy of the Holy Spirit. “Too much wine,” my foot.

 
CONCLUSION:
Steve:
These chapters had it all — we’ve seen God’s gracious provision for the righteous, the introduction of the specific nation by which His salvation shall be sent, and — at the end — even warfare, intrigue and a mysterious visitor. And if the first 14 chapters of Genesis belonged on the History Channel, perhaps “Ancient Marvels,” the stories that fill the next four — a “wild man” born to a man’s mistress, a 90-year-old woman getting pregnant, and a city without ten righteous residents — are straight out of Springer.


Comments

7 Comments to “Bible Discussion: Genesis 10-14”

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  2. Steve Carroll on March 28th, 2007 6:18 am

    Great Study Guys,

    This is my Favorite part of Bweinh, I love the group approach.

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