Genesis, the first book of the Holy Bible, could be considered the original history book. The word ‘genesis’ is derived from the greek word for origin. Genesis is the book of beginnings. It tells the creation of the universe, the birth of the human race, the introduction of sin, the advent of nations, the origin of faith, the beginning of the Hebrew people and the start of the Jewish Nation.
Genesis has 50 chapters and can be roughly divided into 7 sections with 7 patriarchs; Adam, the first man; Seth, the first historian; Noah, the first preacher; Abraham, sometimes called the father of all nations; Isaac, father of the first recorded pair of twins; Jacob, who was renamed Israel after a wrestling match with an angel; and Joseph, favorite son of Israel.
God created the heavens and the earth according to Chapter one in seven days; which is one of the reasons 7 is regarded as the number of completion. Adam and Eve’s time in the garden of Eden and the loss of paradise can be found in chapters two and three. Chapter four tells the story of Cain, the first violent offender and Abel the first murder victim. Chapter five records the progeny of Seth, Adam and Eve’s third son, down to Noah and his three sons, Shem, Ham and Japheth.
God reveals to Noah the eminent flood in Chapter six. Chapters seven and eight tell the story of the ark, the flood, Noah and his wife and their three sons and their wives being spared with all the animals during the flood. Chapter nine tells when the waters recede and God’s promise that the world would never again be destroyed by water. The areas settled by each of Noah’s three sons are described in chapter ten. The legend of the Tower of Babel and the development of separate languages is found in Chapter eleven.
Chapters twelve through twenty four tell the story of Abram who becomes Abraham when he trusts the promises of God. The familiar tales of Sodam and Gomorrah, Lot’s wife, Ishmael (Abram’s firstborn), Isaac (first child born after Abram became Abraham) and Rebecca, Isaac’s wife are also found in these chapters.
Chapters twenty five through twenty eight tell the story of Jacob and Esau, Isaac’s twin sons. Leah, Jacob’s first wife who bore him six sons is first mentioned in chapter twenty nine. The birth of Jacob’s six other sons by three other women including Leah’s sister Rachel, who Jacob adored is told in chapters 30 and 31. Jacob’s name is changed to Israel in Chapter 32:8. Chapters 33 through 36 describe Esau and Jacob’s reunion and lists Esau’s children.
Joseph, Jacob’s favorite son, has prophetic dreams. He tells his brothers about a dream where he reigns over them in Chapter 37 and they sell him into bondage in Egypt. Chapters thirty eight through forty eight tell the story of Joseph’s time in Egypt, a great famine and his rise to power. Chapter forty nine tells the story of Joseph’s reunion with his brothers and his father. Genesis chapter 50 ends some time around 1700 B.C. with the settlement of the twelve tribes in Egypt.