Wednesday, November 30, 2016

The Nations (Genesis 10)

Just a quick few notes about the structure of Genesis as it pertains to chapter 10. As we have already seen, Genesis alternates between story sections and genealogy sections. Each of these sections begin with a formulaic, introductory sentence. Thus we have, following the preamble of chapter 1 through 2:4, ten clear sections:

The story of Adam
The descendants of Adam
The story of Noah
The descendants of Noah
The descendants of Shem
The story of Abraham
The descendants of Ishmael
The story of Jacob
The descendants of Esau
The story of Joseph

The only place where we seemingly break the pattern is here in chapter 10. We seem to get two genealogical interludes back-to-back. What does divide them is uncharacteristically short, and doesn’t start with the formulaic statement.

However, the story of the tower of Babel is hugely important to the “primordial” history in Genesis. More on that next week.

For now, it is important to see that the genealogy of chapter 10 is different from those that proceed and follow it. It does not give ages nor does it always seem to refer to individuals. This is a look past Babel to the resulting nations—the various and diverse cultures that emerge following the flood. Once again, we will see the importance of this more when we look at the narrative of Babel…

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