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catholic truth society publishers to the holy see

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The CTS New Catholic Bible This Edition first published 2007 by The Incorporated Catholic Truth Society, 40-46 Harleyford Road, London, SE11 5AY. Copyright © 2007 The The Incorporated Catholic Truth Society, save as otherwise indicated. Nihil Obstat: The Reverend Canon John Redford S.T.L., L.S.S., D.D. Imprimatur: The Most Reverend Kevin McDonald B.A., S.T.L., S.T.D., Archbishop of Southwark, 31 July 2007. The Nihil Obstat and Imprimatur are a declaration that a publication is considered to be free from doctrinal or moral error. It is not implied that those who have granted the Nihil Obstat and Imprimatur agree with the contents, opinions or statements expressed. The publishers are grateful to the following for permission to reproduce copyright material. All biblical text excluding the Psalms © 1966, 1967 and 1968 by Darton, Longman & Todd Ltd and Doubleday & Company, Inc. Nihil Obstat: Lionel Swain S.T.L., L.S.S. Imprimatur: ✙ John Cardinal Heenan, Westminster, 4 July 1966. The texts of the Grail Psalms © The Grail (England) 1963, published by HarperCollins Publisher. Used by permission. Imprimatur: ✙ William Cardinal Godfrey, Westminster, 25 March 1962. ISBN 978 1 86082 466 1 (Compact Hardbound Edition) ISBN 978 1 86082 468 5 (Compact Travel Edition) ISBN 978 1 86082 467 8 (Standard Hardbound Edition) ISBN 978 1 86082 469 2 (Presentation Edition) Layout by The Bible Society, Swindon, UK. Printed by L.E.G.O. S.p.A., Milan, Italy.

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FOREWORD This edition of the Bible is intended to partner the use of the Bible in the liturgy, enabling public and private readers to prepare and follow up the liturgical readings. For this reason the translations used are those familiar from the books used in the Roman Catholic liturgy, the Jerusalem Bible and the Grail Psalter. The introductions to each Book and the explanatory notes are entirely fresh, written for this edition, though some use has been made of the notes to the New Jerusalem Bible. It is hoped that they will also prove a useful aid to private study of the Bible. Since the presumption has been that the text to be commented is that used in the liturgy, only in the rarest of cases has reference been made in the notes to alternative texts or manuscript readings. The biblical text is preceded by a resumÊ of the Constitution of Vatican II on the Bible, which sums up the Church’s view of the part played by the scriptures in the life of a Christian. The biblical text is followed not only by a brief conspectus of the usual biblical apparatus, but also by an Index to the Notes, a Table of the passages prescribed for reading at the Eucharist and an explanation of this arrangement, a list of the Psalms and Canticles used in the four-week cycle of Roman Breviary, a list of scriptural passages prescribed by the Church or suggested for use in various ritual celebrations and a note on Lectio Divina. Finally the maps of the New Jerusalem Bible have been included, with grateful acknowledgement to Darton, Longman & Todd. I am deeply grateful also to Bernard Robinson and Ian Boxall, who worked through the Notes respectively to the Old and New Testaments, and made many valuable suggestions. I am also grateful to my hosts and students at Holy Trinity Institute, Tafara, where a good deal of the work was done.

Henry Wansbrough Ampleforth Abbey Holy Trinity Institute, Tafara, Zimbabwe

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CONTENTS Scripture in the Life of the Church . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . vi Preface to the Biblical Text . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . x

THE OLD TESTAMENT THE PENTATEUCH Genesis (Gn) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 Numbers (Nb) . . . . . . . . . . . . 189 Exodus (Ex) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 79 Deuteronomy (Dt) . . . . . . . . 250 Leviticus (Lv) . . . . . . . . . . . . . 142 THE HISTORICAL BOOKS Joshua (Jos) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 305 Ezra (Ez) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 659 Judges (Jg) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 344 Nehemiah (Ne) . . . . . . . . . . . 675 Ruth (Rt) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 384 Tobit (Tb) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 696 1-2 Samuel (1-2 S) . . . . . 390, 437 Judith (Jdt) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 716 1-2 Kings (1-2 K) . . . . . . 477, 523 Esther (Est) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 739 1-2 Chronicles (1-2 Ch) . 567, 610 1-2 Maccabees (1-2 M) . 757, 802 THE WISDOM BOOKS Job (Jb) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .837 Song of Songs (Sg) . . . . . . . . 1110 Psalms (Ps) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 892 Wisdom (Ws) . . . . . . . . . . . 1123 Proverbs (Pr) . . . . . . . . . . . . 1049 Ecclesiasticus/Ben Sira (Si) . 1155 Ecclesiastes/Qoheleth (Qo) . . 1097 THE PROPHETS Isaiah (Is) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1238 Obadiah (Ob) . . . . . . . . . . . 1634 Jeremiah (Jr) . . . . . . . . . . . . 1358 Jonah (Jon) . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1638 Lamentations (Lm) . . . . . . . 1460 Micah (Mi) . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1642 Baruch (Ba) . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1473 Nahum (Na) . . . . . . . . . . . . 1654 Ezekiel (Ezk) . . . . . . . . . . . . 1484 Habakkuk (Hab) . . . . . . . . . 1660 Daniel (Dn) . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1556 Zephaniah (Zp) . . . . . . . . . . 1667 Hosea (Ho) . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1589 Haggai (Hg) . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1675 Joel (Jl) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1609 Zechariah (Zc) . . . . . . . . . . . 1679 Amos (Am) . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1618 Malachi (Ml) . . . . . . . . . . . . 1695

THE NEW TESTAMENT THE GOSPELS AND ACTS Matthew (Mt) . . . . . . . . . . . 1700 Luke (Lk) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1799 Mark (Mk) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1761 John (Jn) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1860

Acts of the Apostles (Ac) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1914

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 THE PAULINE LETTERS Romans (Rm) . . . . . . . . . . . . 1972 1 Thessalonians (1 Th) . . . . 2072 1 Corinthians (1 Co) . . . . . . 2000 2 Thessalonians (2 Th) . . . . 2078 2 Corinthians (2 Co) . . . . . . 2024 1 Timothy (1 Tm) . . . . . . . . 2081 Galatians (Ga) . . . . . . . . . . . 2039 2 Timothy (2 Tm) . . . . . . . . 2089 Ephesians (Ep) . . . . . . . . . . . 2049 Titus (Ti) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2094 Philippians (Ph) . . . . . . . . . 2058 Philemon (Phm) . . . . . . . . . 2097 Colossians (Col) . . . . . . . . . 2065 Letter to the Hebrews (He) . 2100 LETTERS TO ALL CHRISTIANS & REVELATION James (Jm) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2120 2 John (2 Jn) . . . . . . . . . . . . 2152 1 Peter (1 P) . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2128 3 John (3 Jn) . . . . . . . . . . . . 2154 2 Peter (2 P) . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2136 Jude (Jude) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2155 1 John (1 Jn) . . . . . . . . . . . . 2141 Book of Revelation (Rv) . . . 2158 TABLES AND NOTES

1. Historical Framework . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2185 2. Weights, Measures & Money . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2187 3. Index to the Notes in the Text . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2188 SCRIPTURE AND CATHOLIC LITURGY

4. The Sunday and Weekday Lectionary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2199 A. The Pattern of the Readings at Mass . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2199 B. Scripture Readings for Sunday Mass . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2201 C. Scripture Readings for Weekday Mass . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2206 D. Scripture Readings for Mass in Biblical Order . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2215 5. The Liturgy of the Hours . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2232 A. The Cycles of Readings for the Liturgy of Hours . . . . . . . . . . . 2232 B. Psalms and Canticles used in the 4-week Breviary Cycle . . . . 2234 C. Office of Readings – 1 Year Cycle . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2236 D. Office of Readings – 2 Year Cycle . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2239 SCRIPTURE, PRAYER AND SACRAMENTS

6. Praying with the Bible: Lectio Divina . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2245 7. Scripture for celebrating the Sacraments . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2246 8. Scripture and praying the Holy Rosary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2247 MAPS

9. Index to the Maps . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2247

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SCRIPTURE IN THE LIFE OF THE CHURCH A ResumÊ of The Dogmatic Constitution on Revelation (Die Verbum, 1965, Vatican II) Chapter One: Revelation 2. In his love God chose to reveal himself in order to invite us into his friendship. The plan of salvation is expressed both in God’s deeds throughout the history of salvation and in the words which make clear the mystery contained in them. 3. He already showed himself to the first human beings, and, though they fell, aroused in them the hope of being saved. He called Abraham and made of him a great nation. Through the patriarchs, Moses and the prophets, he prepared the way for the gospel. 4. Finally he sent his Son, the eternal Word, to tell us the deepest realities of God. Christ completed this revelation by his words and deeds, but especially through his death and resurrection and by sending the Spirit of truth. 5. By the grace of God and the help of the Holy Spirit we are enabled to respond to this revelation with the obedience of faith, which moves the heart and opens the eyes of the mind. 6. Although God can be known with certainty by the light of human reason, by revelation God shares with us those divine treasures which transcend human understanding. Chapter Two: The Transmission of Revelation 7. God ensured that his revelation would be handed on to all generations. So Christ commissioned the apostles to hand on by oral preaching and example the gospel which they had received from him. The same commission was also fulfilled by those apostles and apostolic men who, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, committed this message to writing. In order to keep the gospel whole and alive the apostles handed over their own teaching role to bishops as their successors.

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8. With the help of the Holy Spirit there is a growth in the understanding of the message handed down, through the contemplation and study made by believers, and by the preaching of those who have received through episcopal succession the sure gift of truth. 9. Sacred scripture, written down under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, is the word of God. By the light of the same Holy Spirit the successors of the apostles preserve, explain and spread this word of God. Therefore tradition and scripture are to be honoured with the same reverence. 10. Tradition and scripture form one deposit of the word of God, interpreted by the teaching office of the Church, which serves the word of God by listening to it, guarding it and explaining it faithfully. Tradition, scripture and the teaching authority of the Church cannot stand one without the others. Chapter Three: Inspiration and the Interpretation of Scripture 11. Since the revealed realities presented in scripture were written down under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, they have God as their author, and every part of all the books of Old and New Testament is sacred and normative. They teach faithfully and without error everything that God wanted put into the sacred writings for the sake of our salvation. Since the authors of scripture made use of their powers and abilities in consigning to writing what God wanted, they are true authors. 12. Therefore the interpreter must carefully investigate what meaning the sacred writers intended, and especially the literary form used, since truth is expressed differently in history, prophecy, poetry and other forms of speech. Due attention must be paid to contemporary conventions of writing and expression. At the same time, however, attention must be given to the unity of scripture and to the living tradition of the Church. The task of exegetes is to work towards a better understanding of scripture, so that through this preliminary study the judgement of the Church may mature. 13. The words of God are expressed in human language just as the Word of God took to himself frail human nature. Chapter Four: The Old Testament 14. In his love of all humanity, God chose for himself a people to whom he revealed himself in such a way that Israel came to experience more and more deeply the ways of God with men and women. This plan of salvation gives the Old Testament permanent value.

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15. The principal purpose of this plan of salvation was, however, to prepare for the coming of Christ and the messianic kingdom, and to announce it by prophecy and various types. The Old Testament offers a lively sense of God, noble teachings about God, sound wisdom about human life and a wonderful treasury of prayers. 16. The books of the Old Testament attain their full meaning in the New Testament and in turn shed light upon it and explain it. Chapter Five: The New Testament 17. The word of God is supremely set forth in the New Testament, for the Word of God became flesh and dwelt among us. Christ established the Kingdom of God on earth and completed his work by his death, resurrection and ascension, and by sending the Holy Spirit. The writings of the New Testament witness to this. 18. Among the writings of the New Testament the gospels have first place as principal witness to the life and teaching of Jesus. What the apostles preached at Christ’s command they and other apostolic men wrote down under the inspiration of the Spirit. 19. The Church insists on the historical character of the gospels. The gospel-writers handed on the truth of what Jesus had said and done, with the clearer understanding gained from the resurrection and the gift of the Spirit of truth. They selected from the tradition they had received by word of mouth or in writing, synthesising and applying it to the situation of their churches, but always reliably telling the truth about Jesus. 20. The letters of Paul and the other apostolic writings express more and more fully the truth about Jesus, the saving power of his work, the beginnings and growth of the Church and its destined completion. Chapter Six: Scripture in the Life of the Church 21. The Church venerates the scripture as it does the body of the Lord, being nourished equally by both, especially in the liturgy. In the sacred books the heavenly Father meets his children with great love and speaks with them, providing power and energy for the Church, for ‘the word of God is alive and active’. 22. Easy access to the scripture should be available to all. The Church ensures that accurate translations are made from the original texts. If, with due approval of Church authority, these translations are made in co-operation with other believers, they will be available to all Christians.

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23. The Church is concerned continually to reach a deeper understanding of the scriptures, and encourages Catholic exegetes and other students of theology, under the guidance of the teaching office of the Church, to an exploration and exposition of the Bible, so that the ministers of the word may be able to nourish the people of God by the scriptures. 24. Study of the sacred text is the soul of theology, and must enrich all Christian preaching and instruction, especially the liturgical homily. 25. All priests, clergy and other ministers of the word should persevere in reading and study of the Bible. All Christians, especially religious, should learn the knowledge of Jesus Christ by frequent reading of the Bible and by taking advantage of available instruction. They should remember that prayer should accompany the reading of scripture, making possible a conversation with God. It devolves on bishops to provide instruction on the right use of the Bible, and translations equipped with explanations adequate to furthering familiarity with the Bible and its spirit. Editions of the Bible with suitable comments should also be provided for the use of non-Christians. 26. In this way the treasure of revelation should increasingly fill human hearts. As the life of the Church flourishes by participation in the Eucharist, so we may hope for a new surge of vitality from increased veneration of God’s word.

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PREFACE TO THE BIBLICAL TEXT The Hebrew and Greek Bibles The canon of the Hebrew Bible was fixed by the Palestinian Jews in the second century AD and contains only the Hebrew books. The Greek Bible, the Septuagint (LXX), supposedly translated by 70 people in 70 days, includes also Jdt, Tb, 1-2 M, Ws, Si, Bar, and certain passages in Est (printed in italics) and in Dn (3.24-90; chs 13-14). These books, commonly termed ‘Deuterocanonical’, formed part of the earliest Christian canon. In the fifth century, however, St Jerome insisted that only those books written in Hebrew were part of the canon. He was followed by Luther and much of the Protestant tradition, which does not regard the books written in Greek as canonical. Some Eastern Orthodox traditions accept one or two other books (e.g. Henoch) as canonical. The translation The Jerusalem Bible is a translation made from the French Bible de Jérusalem by a distinguished team under the leadership of Alexander Jones, and first published by Darton, Longman & Todd in 1966. This text follows the original Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek texts. For the Old Testament the Hebrew and Aramaic text is that established by Jewish scholars in the ninth century AD. Only when this text presents insuperable difficulties have other versions, notably the LXX, been used. For the Greek books of the LXX and the New Testament the text established by scholars in modern times has been used. For the Psalms the Grail translation has been used. It should be noted that this follows the numbering used in the Greek and Latin (Vulgate) versions, not the Hebrew; the Hebrew number of the Psalm is given in brackets. Verse-numbering When the Latin (Vulgate) numbering differs from the Hebrew or Greek numbering, the Latin number is given in smaller type.

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Italics Italics normally indicate a quotation from another book of the Bible. In Est and Dn, however, they indicate passages of the LXX which do not exist in the Hebrew Bible. Marginal References The source of an italicised quotation in the text is always given first. References within the same book are given before those in other books of the Bible. Introductions and Notes It is assumed that a reader consulting the Notes will have already read the Introduction to the Book. Material given in the Introductions is not normally repeated in the Notes. In the synoptic Gospels the priority of Mk is assumed as a working hypothesis, and notes given to a passage in Mk are not repeated in the parallel passages of Mt or Lk. Where a passage is paralleled in Mt and Lk, notes given in Mt are not repeated in Lk. Abbreviations (Abbreviations for titles of books of the Bible are given on pp. iv-v) Ch.







The Greek translation of the Hebrew OT, made at Alexandria during the last two centuries BC, but according to legend by 70 translators in 70 days.




New Testament


Old Testament


The Pastoral Letters, 1-2 Tm, Ti

v., vv.

verse, verses


indicates further marginal references given at the reference so marked.


parallel passage within the same book


parallel passage in another book


passage later used or quoted at the reference given

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THE PENTATEUCH Introduction to the Pentateuch The name ‘Pentateuch’ means ‘fivefold’ in Greek, because the five Books which compose it were written on five different scrolls of roughly equal length. It is the basic Torah, ‘Law’ or more exactly ‘Instruction’ of Israel, the foundation of all Israel’s life. It contains the stories which express the relationship of the world to God, the singling out of a family and then a tribe as God’s Chosen People, and the instructions of how they must live to be God’s very own.

A living Tradition These written works evolved and developed over many centuries, in the way that the traditions of any people do, a tradition living and vibrant, learning from and adapting to varying circumstances and needs. Already in the eighteenth century a sharp-eyed medical doctor noticed that different sources contribute to the story, each with its own definable characteristics (sketched in the Introduction to the Book of Genesis). The nomenclature and emphases are different. There are occasional clashes of detail, typical of oral tradition, which make the overall agreement stand out as all the more remarkable.

The foundations of the Bible For Jews the Pentateuch is the basic part of the Bible, for Samaritans the only part, for Christians the foundation of all that is to follow. The first eleven chapters of Genesis set the scene for all biblical history with a series of deeply theological stories. These stories lay out the fundamental dependence on a loving Creator of all things, the interrelationship of man and woman, human dignity and fallibility. The inbuilt human attraction to evil is balanced by the divine willingness to forgive and to heal. Once this basic situation is established we begin to follow the history of the Chosen People, from God’s choice of Abraham in Genesis to the establishment of a people and its wanderings and murmurings in the desert before the settlement in the land of promise (Exodus). Then the way of life of those who would be God’s own people is set out in detail, partly in the form of legislation, partly in the form of stories (Leviticus and Numbers). Finally the Book of Deuteronomy emphasizes that the relationship between God and his people is one of love, the filial love of the people responding to the parental love of a faithful and forgiving God.

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GENESIS Introduction The book of beginnings Genesis is the book of beginnings. The first 11 chapters relate in historical form the biblical view of certain universal truths, the dependence of the universe on a creator, the place of human beings within this universe, their special relationship to the creator, their special dignity, their ineradicable tendency to failure and the repeated need of the creator to succour and forgive. The stories make use of imagery and language common to the Near Eastern (especially Babylonian) religious poetry, but use these pictures to convey a quite different analysis of the structure of reality. In the Babylonian world-picture human beings are mere puppets, dancing to a tune set by the gods. In the Bible they are God’s representatives on earth, the object of constant divine love and concern.

God’s promises After these chapters we are introduced to the epic heroes who stand at the starting-point of Israel’s history. The first hero of the book is Abraham. God calls him to leave his homeland and set out into the unknown, promising him protection, numerous descendants and a land. Two other heroes, Isaac, an elusive character, and the trickster Jacob, succeed to the promise. The story of these three is compounded of family adventures, feuds and frustrations, heroic and unheroic episodes, and incidents explaining names, places and customs which were felt to date from the dawn of the people’s history. Through them all runs the thread of the promise of a land by their own protector, the God of the Fathers. Finally the next stage of the history is reached in a brilliantly polished and literary story of the move, under Joseph’s patronage, of the whole clan into Egypt. Once there, they are ready for the decisive moment of the Exodus.

How the Book came to be written The traditions here gathered are obviously drawn from a variety of sources. There are occasional clashes and contradictions and widespread evidence of particular interests and concerns. During most of the 20th century scholars thought to discern four separate traditions, each with its own agenda: • The Yahwist (who calls God ‘YAHWEH’, and presents an awesome, but familiar and caring anthropomorphic deity). This was considered the oldest stream of tradition, preserved in Abraham’s country around his tomb in the southern city of Hebron. • The Elohist (who initially calls God ‘Elohim’, and is less bewitching as a story-teller but morally more sophisticated). These were traditions brought from the northern part of Israel by the exiles from Samaria in 721 B.C. • The Deuteronomist (strongly aware of the disastrous later history of Israel). This stratum, stronger in the later books of the Pentateuch than in Genesis, was often associated with Josiah’s reform in 622 B.C.

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• The Priestly writer (whose interests are in genealogies, ages and the later sacred institutions of the people). Such matters became all-important in the Judaism of the Exile. A perfect example is Genesis 1. Colour-coded editions were even published, attributing single verses to different traditions. Though these distinct interests cannot be denied, and add spice to the reading, recent scholarship has doubted that there is sufficient coherence to speak of four separate traditions.

Dating Genesis Another question has been the date of composition. There is little doubt that the book reached its final form at or after the end of the Babylonian exile. Particularly the stress on the promise of a land accords with the longing of the exiles in Babylon to return to their own land. When did the traditions begin? Oral traditions of a people can be handed down accurately for centuries. Abraham has commonly been placed against a background of Near Eastern laws and customs of c. 1850 B.C., but such laws and customs obtained for many centuries. It is strange that the later tradition does not mention Abraham till the period of the Exile, and Jacob scarcely does better. It would be reasonable to suppose, therefore, that the traditions about the patriarchs remained shadowy until the Exile and reached their present elaboration only then. Only in an alien country, when they had lost the land, the Temple and the monarchy, did the children of Israel realise the value of their heritage and of the divine promises sufficiently to preserve the traditions for posterity in written form.

Plan of the Book I


The Origin of the World and of the Human Race A. The Creation and the Fall B. The Flood C. From the Flood to Abraham The Story of Abraham The Story of Isaac and Jacob The Story of Joseph

1 — 11 1.1 — 6.4 6.5 — 9.17 9.18 — 11.32 12.1 — 25.18 25.19 — 37.1 37.2 — 50.26

Liturgical Note The Book of Genesis gives the biblical and therefore the Church’s view of many questions asked by people today: the origin of the world, the psychological and spiritual make-up of each member of the human race, our frailty and our dependence on God, and how God deals with sin in the world. So at the highpoint of the liturgical year, the Easter Vigil, we begin with two readings from Genesis, the first on the creation, the second on the beginning of Israel’s sacrificial worship in Genesis 22. The first 11 chapters of Genesis, the pre-history, are read in Weeks 5 and 6 of Year 1 in the Lectionary for Mass. As an analysis in historical form of human relationships to God, good and bad, it helps to set the scene for the liturgical year. The story of the Patriarchs Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Joseph, comes in Weeks 12-14. The marriage liturgy also contains a reading from Genesis which illustrates the relationship of man and woman finding its fulfillment in worship of God and in procreation.

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The creation of the worlda


In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2 Now the earth was a formless void,b there was darkness over the deep, and God’s spirit hovered over the water. 3 God said, ‘Let there be light’, and there was light. 4 God saw that light was good, and God divided light from darkness. 5 God called light ‘day’, and darkness he called ‘night’. Evening came and morning came: the first day. 6 God said, ‘Let there be a vaultc in the waters to divide the waters in two’. And so it was. 7 God made the vault, and it divided the waters above the vault from the waters under the vault. 8 God called the vault ‘heaven’. Evening came and morning came: the second day. 9 God said, ‘Let the waters under heaven come together into a single mass, and let dry land appear’. And so it was. 10 God called the dry land ‘earth’ and the mass of waters ‘seas’, and God saw that it was good. 11 God said, ‘Let the earth produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants, and fruit trees bearing fruit with their seed inside, on the earth’. And so it was. 12 The earth produced vegetation: plants bearing seed in their several kinds, and trees bearing fruit with their seed inside in their several kinds. God saw that it was good. 13 Evening came and morning came: the third day. 14 God said, ‘Let there be lightsd in the vault of heaven to divide day from night, and let them indicate festivals, days and years. 15 Let them be lights in the vault of heaven to shine on the earth.’ And so it was. 16 God made the two great lights: the greater light to govern the day, the smaller light to govern the night, and the stars. 17 God set them in the vault of heaven to shine on the earth, 18 to govern the day and the night and to divide light from darkness. God saw that it was good. 19 Evening came and morning came: the fourth day. 20 God said, ‘Let the waters teem with living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth within the vault of heaven’. And so it was. 21 God created great sea-serpents and every kind of living creature with which the waters teem, and every kind of winged creature. God saw that it was good. 22 God blessed them, saying, ‘Be fruitful, multiply, and fill the 1 a. This first account of the creation, 1.12.4a, seeks to present the relationship between the known world and God. It is not a day-by-day historical account, but the order is logical. (framework, vv. 3-10, immovable objects, vv. 11-13, movable objects, vv. 1431). The climax is the creation of human beings. It also seeks, with the emphasis of the priestly tradition, to show that the seventh-day rest on the Sabbath is part of the structure of reality. b. The Hebr. is tohu and bohu. It is not creation out of nothingness, a formula which

first occurs in 2 M 7.28, but a sense of bringing order out of chaos, or shape and form to that which had none. Not to have shape or form amounts to non-existence. c. The seeming dome of heaven is conceived as holding back the monstrous mass of waters lest they engulf and destroy the world. d. To the neighbouring peoples these were deities, but in this analysis they do not even have names, but simply serve to mark out festivals.

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waters of the seas; and let the birds multiply upon the earth’. 23 Evening came and morning came: the fifth day. 24 God said, ‘Let the earth produce every kind of living creature: cattle, reptiles, and every kind of wild beast’. And so it was. 25 God made every kind of wild beast, every kind of cattle, and every kind of land reptile. God saw that it was good. 26 God said, ‘Let use make man in our own image, in the likenessf of ourselves, and let them be masters of the fish of the sea, the birds of heaven, the cattle, all the wild beasts and all the reptiles that crawl upon the earth’. 27

God created man in the image of himself, in the image of God he created him, male and female he created them.

28 God

blessed them, saying to them, ‘Be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth and conquer it. Be masters of the fish of the sea, the birds of heaven and all living animals on the earth.’ 29 God said, ‘See, I give you all the seed-bearing plants that are upon the whole earth, and all the trees with seed-bearing fruit; this shall be your food. 30 To all wild beasts, all birds of heaven and all living reptiles on the earth I give all the foliage of plants for food.’g And so it was. 31 God saw all he had made, and indeed it was very good. Evening came and morning came: the sixth day. Thus heaven and earth were completed with all their array. 2 On the seventh day God completed the work he had been doing. He rested on the seventh day after all the work he had been doing. 3 God blessed the seventh day and made it holy,a because on that day he had rested after all his work of creating. 4 Such were the originsb of heaven and earth when they were created.


The origin of human beingsc

àHeb 4.4


At the time when the LORD God made earth and heaven 5 there was as yet no wild bush on the earth nor had any wild plant yet sprung up, for the LORD God had not sent rain on the earth, nor was there any man to till the soil. 6 However, a flood was rising from the earth and watering all the surface of the soil. 7 The LORD God fashioned man of dust from the soil.d Then he breathed into his nostrils a breath of life, and thus man became a living being. e. Creation of human beings is distinguished by 1) being the final climax of creation, 2) a seeming consultation in heaven, 3) the poetry of v. 27, 4) the image of God, 5) explicit mention of sexual differentiation. f. The human couple share not only in God’s authority over creation but in divine care for the world and in his work of creation. g. The vegetarian diet marks perfect peace, even among predators. The situation changes at 9.3. 2 a. Although the institution is part of the created order, the word ‘Sabbath’ is not to be

àMk 10.6 par; à1 Co 11.7

used till the Law is given, Ex 16.23. b. The Hebr. word means ‘lineage’, ‘history of a line’, 6.9; 25.19, etc. It implies that the story of creation is an earthly story, not heavenly as in creation-myths of the neighbouring nations. c. An account of the origin of the human couple, its ideal state and the loss of that state, of human dignity and misery. The story is full of lively and endearing anthropomorphisms. d. A typical Hebr. pun: ‘man’=adam, ‘soil’=adamah.

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8 Is 51.3; Ezk 28.13; 31.9


8 The LORD God planted a garden in Edene which is in the east, and there he put the man he had fashioned. 9 The LORD God caused to spring up from the soil every kind of tree, enticing to look at and good to eat, with the tree of lifef and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil in the middle of the garden. 10 A river flowed from Eden to water the garden, and from there it divided to make four streams.g 11 The first is named the Pishon, and this encircles the whole land of Havilah where there is gold. 12 The gold of this land is pure; bdellium and onyx stone are found there. 13 The second river is named the Gihon, and this encircles the whole land of Cush. 14 The third river is named the Tigris, and this flows to the east of Ashur. The fourth river is the Euphrates. 15 The LORD God took the man and settled him in the garden of Eden to cultivate and take care of it. 16 Then the LORD God gave the man this admonition, ‘You may eat indeed of all the trees in the garden. 17 Nevertheless of the tree of the knowledge of good and evilh you are not to eat, for on the day you eat of it you shall most surely die.’ 18 The LORD God said, ‘It is not good that the man should be alone. I will make him a helpmate.’i 19 So from the soil the LORD God fashioned all the wild beasts and all the birds of heaven. These he brought to the man to see what he would call them; each one was to bear the name the man would give it. 20 The man gave names to all the cattle,j all the birds of heaven and all the wild beasts. But no helpmate suitable for man was found for him. 21 So the LORD God made the man fall into a deep sleep. And while he slept, he took one of his ribs and enclosed it in flesh.k 22 The LORD God built the rib he had taken from the man into a woman, and brought her to the man. 23 The man exclaimed:

‘This at last is bone from my bones, and flesh from my flesh! This is to be called woman,l for this was taken from man.’ à1 Co 6.16

24 This is why a man leaves his father and mother and joins himself to his wife, and they become one body. 25 Now both of them were naked, the man and his wife, but they felt no shame in front of each other.

e. Eden is an unknown, mythical geographical name. From its similarity to the Hebr. word ‘dn=‘delight’, it was understood in that sense. f. A tree of life appears frequently in Near Eastern myths, the fruit of which is usually unattainable to human beings. g. Cush=Ethiopia; the Rivers Tigris and Euphrates border Mesopotamia, but the other names are unknown. The great rivers of the world have their origin in paradise. h. Eating from this tree means usurping the divine privilege of deciding what is good and what is evil; the temptation is to proud independence, questioning God’s judgment of good and evil.

i. Note the LORD’s tender care throughout this story. He sews up Adam’s wound, v. 21, comes to see how they are getting on, acts as dress-maker, etc. j. By giving them names Adam completes their creation, already acting in the image of the LORD. k. In its primary sense flesh is ‘meat’. It is also what binds a group of human beings together, a family, Gn 29.14, or ‘all flesh’, Gn 6.17, 19. In Hebr. thought there is no Platonic idea of a body inhabited by a soul, Ws 8.20, but a person is an enlivened body. It can also stand for what is frail or perishable in humanity, Gn 6.3; Is 40.6. See also Ga 5.16d. l. Pun: ish=‘man’, ishah=‘woman’.

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The Fall


The serpenta was the most subtle of all the wild beasts that the LORD God had made. It asked the woman, ‘Did God really say you were not to eat from any of the trees in the garden?’ b 2 The woman answered the serpent, ‘We may eat the fruit of the trees in the garden. 3 But of the fruit of the tree in the middle of the garden God said, “You must not eat it, nor touch it, under pain of death”.’ 4 Then the serpent said to the woman, ‘No! You will not die! 5 God knows in fact that on the day you eat it your eyes will be opened and you will be like gods, knowing good and evil.’ 6 The woman saw that the tree was good to eat and pleasing to the eye, and that it was desirable for the knowledge that it could give. So she took some of its fruit and ate it. She gave some also to her husband who was with her, and he ate it. 7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened and they realised that they were naked.c So they sewed figleaves together to make themselves loin-cloths. 8 The man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the LORD God among the trees of the garden. 9 But the LORD God called to the man. ‘Where are you?’ he asked. 10 ‘I heard the sound of you in the garden;’ he replied ‘I was afraid because I was naked, so I hid.’ 11 ‘Who told you that you were naked?’ he asked ‘Have you been eating of the tree I forbade you to eat?’ 12 The man replied, ‘It was the woman you put with me; she gave me the fruit, and I ate it’. 13 Then the LORD God asked the woman, ‘What is this you have done?’ The woman replied, ‘The serpent tempted me and I ate’. 14 Then the LORD God said to the serpent, ‘Because you have done this,


16 To

‘Be accursed beyond all cattle, all wild beasts. You shall crawl on your belly and eat dust every day of your life. I will make you enemies of each other: you and the woman, your offspring and her offspring. It will crush your head and you will strike its heel.’d the woman he said:e ‘I will multiply your pains in childbearing, you shall give birth to your children in pain.

3 a. In Hebr. ‘snake’ and ‘dragon’ are the same word; the dragon will lose its proud stance and become wormlike. The snake is a symbol of temptation common in Mesopotamian myth. It is often used as a phallic symbol. b. Part of the snake’s cleverness is to overstate its case. c. The awareness is not so much of sexuality as of need for protection once innocence has been lost.

d. The Gk has a masculine pronoun (‘he’, not ‘it’), which suggests a particular person rather than her progeny in general. This is the basis of the messianic interpretation of the Church Fathers. e. There is an etiological element in all of these: why the snake has no legs, why childbirth is painful, why men dominate women, why work is toilsome. All are the result of disorder, the loss of harmony and innocence.

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1 K 19.13

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GENESIS 4 Your yearning shall be for your husband, yet he will lord it over you.’

17 To the man he said, ‘Because you listened to the voice of your wife and ate from the tree of which I had forbidden you to eat,

18 19

‘Accursed be the soil because of you. With suffering shall you get your food from it every day of your life. It shall yield you brambles and thistles, and you shall eat wild plants. With sweat on your brow shall you eat your bread, until you return to the soil, as you were taken from it. For dust you are and to dust you shall return.’

20 The man named his wife ‘Eve’ because she was the mother of all those who live.f 21 The LORD God made clothes out of skins for the man and his wife, and they put them on. 22 Then the LORD God said, ‘See, the man has become like one of us, with his knowledge of good and evil. He must not be allowed to stretch his hand out next and pick from the tree of life also, and eat some and live for ever.’ 23 So the LORD God expelled him from the garden of Eden, to till the soil from which he had been taken. 24 He banished the man, and in front of the garden of Eden he posted the cherubs,g and the flame of a flashing sword, to guard the way to the tree of life.

Cain and Abela


The man had intercourse with his wife Eve, and she conceived and gave birth to Cain. ‘I have acquired a man with the help of the LORD’b she said. 2 She gave birth to a second child, Abel, the brother of Cain. Now Abel became a shepherd and kept flocks, while Cain tilled the soil. 3 Time passed and Cain brought some of the produce of the soil as an offering for the LORD, 4 while Abel for his part brought the firstborn of his flock and some of their fat as well. The LORD looked with favour on Abel and his offering. 5 But he did not look with favour on Cain and his offering, and Cain was very angry and downcast. 6 The LORD asked Cain, ‘Why are you angry and downcast? 7 If you are well disposed, ought you not to lift up your head? But if you are ill disposed, is not sin at the door like a crouching beast hungering for you, which you must master?’ 8 Cain said to his brother Abel, ‘Let us go out’; and while they were in the open country, Cain set on his brother Abel and killed him. f. Pun: the name Eve, hawah, is explained by hayah=‘live’. g. Modelled on the karibu, winged creatures who guard Babylonian temples, Ezk 1.5d. 4 a. Another story of the origin of evil, ascribing evil to jealousy, aggravated by sibling rivalry, violence, lying and denial of family solidarity. It also explains how the nomadic

way of life came about. It is also the first appearance of a theme frequent in Gn, God’s preference for the younger over the elder, the divine rejection of human values: Isaac, ch. 21; Jacob, 25.23; Rachel 29.17; also David, 1 S 16.1a. b. Pun: Cain (qain) is explained by qanah=‘acquire’.

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9 The LORD asked Cain, ‘Where is your brother Abel?’ ‘I do not know’ he replied. ‘Am I my brother’s guardian?’ 10 ‘What have you done?’ The LORD asked. ‘Listen to the sound of your brother’s blood, crying out to me from the ground. 11 Now be accursed and driven from the ground that has opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood at your hands. 12 When you till the ground it shall no longer yield you any of its produce. You shall be a fugitive and a wanderer over the earth.’ 13 Then Cain said to the LORD, ‘My punishment is greater than I can bear. 14 See! Today you drive me from this ground. I must hide from you, and be a fugitive and a wanderer over the earth. Why, whoever comes across me will kill me!’ 15 ‘Very well, then,’c The LORD replied ‘if anyone kills Cain, sevenfold vengeance shall be taken for him.’ So the LORD put a mark on Cain, to prevent whoever might come across him from striking him down. 16 Cain left the presence of the LORD and settled in the land of Nod,d east of Eden.

The descendants of Caine 17 Cain had intercourse with his wife, and she conceived and gave birth to Enoch. He became builder of a town, and he gave the town the name of his son Enoch. 18 Enoch had a son, Irad, and Irad became the father of Mehujael; Mehujael became the father of Methushael, and Methushael became the father of Lamech. 19 Lamech married two women: the name of the first was Adah and the name of the second was Zillah. 20 Adah gave birth to Jabal: he was the ancestor of the tent-dwellers and owners of livestock. 21 His brother’s name was Jubal: he was the ancestor of all who play the lyre and the flute. 22 As for Zillah, she gave birth to Tubal-cain: he was the ancestor of all metalworkers, in bronze or iron. Tubal-cain’s sister was Naamah. 23 Lamech said to his wives:


‘Adah and Zillah, hear my voice, Lamech’s wives, listen to what I say: I killed a man for wounding me, a boy for striking me. Sevenfold vengeance is taken for Cain, but seventy-sevenfold for Lamech.’f

Seth and his descendantsg 25 Adam had intercourse with his wife, and she gave birth to a son whom she named Seth, ‘because God has granted me other offspring’ she said ‘in place of Abel, since Cain has killed him’. 26 A son was also born to Seth, and he named him Enosh. This man was the first to invoke the name of the LORD.

c. Anthropomorphically, God changes his mind out of pity for Cain, cf. 6.6. d. Nod (nod) is ‘a land of wandering’ (nud), not a geographical location. e. Cain, condemned to a wandering life, curiously becomes the ancestor of all city life. The names indicate activities: Jabal suggests yabal=‘to lead’; Jubal suggests yobel=‘trumpet’;

Naamah suggests naawah= ‘pretty’ (so possibly city-prostitution). Tubal is a mining region. f. This aggressive triumph-song marks a dramatic increase in violence. g. Names: Seth is linked to sith=‘to place’, Enosh to enosh=‘man’. The first invocation of the name of the LORD contradicts Ex 3.14 and shows use of a different source.

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The patriarchs before the flooda


This is the roll of Adam’s descendants: On the day God created Adam he made him in the likeness of God. female he created them. He blessed them and gave them the name ‘Man’ on the day they were created. 3 When Adam was a hundred and thirty years old he became the father of a son, in his likeness, as his image, and he called him Seth. 4 Adam lived for eight hundred years after the birth of Seth and he became the father of sons and daughters. 5 In all, Adam lived for nine hundred and thirty years; then he died. 6 When Seth was a hundred and five years old he became the father of Enosh. 7 After the birth of Enosh, Seth lived for eight hundred and seven years, and he became the father of sons and daughters. 8 In all, Seth lived for nine hundred and twelve years; then he died. 9 When Enosh was ninety years old he became the father of Kenan. 10 After the birth of Kenan, Enosh lived for eight hundred and fifteen years and he became the father of sons and daughters. 11 In all, Enosh lived for nine hundred and five years; then he died. 12 When Kenan was seventy years old he became the father of Mahalalel. 13 After the birth of Mahalalel, Kenan lived for eight hundred and forty years and he became the father of sons and daughters. 14 In all, Kenan lived for nine hundred and ten years; then he died. 15 When Mahalalel was sixty-five years old he became the father of Jared. 16 After the birth of Jared, Mahalalel lived for eight hundred and thirty years and he became the father of sons and daughters. 17 In all, Mahalalel lived for eight hundred and ninety-five years; then he died. 18 When Jared was a hundred and sixty-two years old he became the father of Enoch. 19 After the birth of Enoch, Jared lived for eight hundred years and he became the father of sons and daughters. 20 In all, Jared lived for nine hundred and sixty-two years; then he died. 21 When Enoch was sixty-five years old he became the father of Methuselah. 22 Enoch walked with God. After the birth of Methuselah he lived for three hundred years and he became the father of sons and daughters. 23 In all, Enoch lived for three hundred and sixty-five years. 24 Enoch walked with God. Then he vanished because God took him.b 25 When Methuselah was a hundred and eighty-seven years old he became the father of Lamech. 26 After the birth of Lamech, Methuselah lived for seven hundred and eighty-two years and he became the father of sons and daughters. 27 In all, Methuselah lived for nine hundred and sixty-nine years; then he died. 28 When Lamech was a hundred and eighty-two years old he became the father of a son. 29 He gave him the name Noah because, he said, ‘Here is one who will give us, in the midst of our toil and the labouring of our hands, a consolation derived from the ground that the LORD 2 Male and

5 a. These genealogies differ from and have a different source to those of 4.17-26. The long age-spans are not to be taken literally: long life is a divine blessing, and the gradual decrease corresponds to the increase of evil.

b. A year of years, i.e. 365 years, makes Enoch’s age complete. His mysterious disappearance made him in later Judaism a model of piety, Si 44.16, and the revealer of secrets, Jude 14. He is a central figure in the apocalyptic literature of Judaism.

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cursed’.c 30 After the birth of Noah, Lamech lived for five hundred and ninety-five years and became the father of sons and daughters. 31 In all, Lamech lived for seven hundred and seventy-seven years; then he died. 32 When Noah was five hundred years old he became the father of Shem, Ham and Japheth.

Sons of God and daughters of mena


When men had begun to be plentiful on the earth, and daughters had been born to them, 2 the sons of God, looking at the daughters of men, saw they were pleasing, so they married as many as they chose. 3 The LORD said, ‘My spirit must not for ever be disgraced in man, for he is but flesh; his life shall last no more than a hundred and twenty years’. 4 The Nephilimb were on the earth at that time (and even afterwards) when the sons of God resorted to the daughters of man, and had children by them. These are the heroes of days gone by, the famous men.

B. THE FLOODc The corruption of the human race 5 The LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that the thoughts in his heart fashioned nothing but wickedness all day long. 6 The LORD regretted having made man on the earth, and his heart grieved. 7 ‘I will rid the earth’s face of man, my own creation,’ the LORD said ‘and of animals also, reptiles too, and the birds of heaven; for I regret having made them.’ 8 But Noah had found favour with the LORD. 9 This is the story of Noah: Noah was a good man, a man of integrity among his contemporaries, and he walked with God. 10 Noah became the father of three sons, Shem, Ham and Japheth. 11 The earth grew corrupt in God’s sight, and filled with violence. 12 God contemplated the earth: it was corrupt, for corrupt were the ways of all flesh on the earth.

Preparations for the flood 13 God said to Noah, ‘The end has come for all things of flesh; I have decided this, because the earth is full of violence of man’s making, and I will efface them from the earth. 14 Make yourself an arkd out of resinous wood. Make it with reeds and line it with pitch inside and out.

c. A doubtful etymology of Noah, deriving it from nhm=‘console’. The Gk is more plausible, deriving it from nwh=‘give rest’. 6 a. A strange fragment, deriving from some myth about the increase of population threatening the gods, or another human attempt to gain immortality by marriage. The ‘sons of God’ have traditionally been understood as angels. In the sequence as it stands, it is the final straw which persuades the LORD to wipe out corrupt humanity. b. Often identified with the Anakim as a

prehistoric race of giants in Canaan. c. Stories of a disastrous flood occur in many cultures, and this story has many similarities to Babylonian accounts, which, though similar, lack any integration into a larger theological frame. Here two accounts (different numbers of animals: 6.19 and 7.2; variation in length and source of the flood) have been spliced together. God is presented in an endearingly human way. d. From an Egyptian word meaning ‘box’. It occurs only here and Ex 2.5.

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à2 P 2.5


15 This is how to make it: the length of the ark is to be three hundred cubits, its breadth fifty cubits, and its height thirty cubits. 16 Make a roof for the ark... put the door of the ark high up in the side, and make a first, second and third deck. 17 ‘For my part I mean to bring a flood, and send the waters over the earth, to destroy all flesh on it, every living creature under heaven; everything on earth shall perish. 18 But I will establish my Covenant with you, and you must go on board the ark, yourself, your sons, your wife, and your sons’ wives along with you. 19 From all living creatures, from all flesh, you must take two of each kind aboard the ark, to save their lives with yours; they must be a male and a female. 20 Of every kind of bird, of every kind of animal and of every kind of reptile on the ground, two must go with you so that their lives may be saved. 21 For your part provide yourself with eatables of all kinds, and lay in a store of them, to serve as food for yourself and them.’ 22 Noah did this; he did all that God had ordered him. The LORD said to Noah, ‘Go aboard the ark, you and all your household, for you alone among this generation do I see as a good man in my judgement. 2 Of all the clean animals you must take seven of each kind, both male and female; of the unclean animals you must take two, a male and its female 3 (and of the birds of heaven also, seven of each kind, both male and female), to propagate their kind over the whole earth. 4 For in seven days’ time I mean to make it rain on the earth for forty days and nights, and I will rid the earth of every living thing that I made.’ 5 Noah did all that the LORD ordered. 6 Noah was six hundred years old when the flood of waters appeared on the earth. 7 Noah with his sons, his wife, and his sons’ wives boarded the ark to escape the waters of the flood. 8 (Of the clean animals and the animals that are not clean, of the birds and all that crawls on the ground, 9 two of each kind boarded the ark with Noah, a male and a female, according to the order God gave Noah.) 10 Seven days later the waters of the flood appeared on the earth. 11 In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, and on the seventeenth day of that month, that very day all the springs of the great deep broke through, and the sluices of heaven opened. 12 It rained on the earth for forty days and forty nights. 13 That very day Noah and his sons Shem, Ham and Japheth boarded the ark, with Noah’s wife and the three wives of his sons, 14 and with them wild beasts of every kind, cattle of every kind, reptiles of every kind that crawls on the earth, birds of every kind, all that flies, everything with wings. 15 One pair of all that is flesh and has the breath of life boarded the ark with Noah; 16 and so there went in a male and a female of every creature that is flesh, just as God had ordered him. And the LORD closed the door behind Noah.


The flood 17 The flood lasted forty days on the earth. The waters swelled, lifting the ark until it was raised above the earth. 18 The waters rose and swelled greatly on the earth, and the ark sailed on the waters. 19 The waters rose more and more on the earth so that all the highest moun-

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tains under the whole of heaven were submerged. 20 The waters rose fifteen cubits higher, submerging the mountains. 21 And so all things of flesh perished that moved on the earth, birds, cattle, wild beasts, everything that swarms on the earth, and every man. 22 Everything with the breath of life in its nostrils died, everything on dry land. 23 The LORD destroyed every living thing on the face of the earth, man and animals, reptiles, and the birds of heaven. He rid the earth of them, so that only Noah was left, and those with him in the ark. 24 The waters rose on the earth for a hundred and fifty days.

The flood subsides


But God had Noah in mind, and all the wild beasts and all the cattle that were with him in the ark. God sent a wind across the earth and the waters subsided. 2 The springs of the deep and the sluices of heaven were stopped. Rain ceased to fall from heaven; 3 the waters gradually ebbed from the earth. 4 After a hundred and fifty days the waters fell, and in the seventh month, on the seventeenth day of that month, the ark came to rest on the mountains of Ararat.a 5 The waters gradually fell until the tenth month when, on the first day of the tenth month, the mountain peaks appeared. 6 At the end of forty days Noah opened the porthole he had made in the ark and he sent out the raven. 7 This went off, and flew back and forth until the waters dried up from the earth. 8 Then he sent out the dove, to see whether the waters were receding from the surface of the earth. 9 The dove, finding nowhere to perch, returned to him in the ark, for there was water over the whole surface of the earth; putting out his hand he took hold of it and brought it back into the ark with him. 10 After waiting seven more days, again he sent out the dove from the ark. 11 In the evening, the dove came back to him and there it was with a new olive-branch in its beak. So Noah realised that the waters were receding from the earth. 12 After waiting seven more days he sent out the dove, and now it returned to him no more. 13 It was in the six hundred and first year of Noah’s life, in the first month and on the first of the month, that the water dried up from the earth. Noah lifted back the hatch of the ark and looked out. The surface of the ground was dry! 14 In the second month and on the twenty-seventh day of the month the earth was dry.

They disembark 15 Then God said to Noah, 16 ‘Come out of the ark, you yourself, your wife, your sons, and your sons’ wives with you. 17 As for all the animals with you, all things of flesh, whether birds or animals or reptiles that crawl on the earth, bring them out with you. Let them swarm on the earth; let them be fruitful and multiply on the earth.’ 18 So Noah went out with his sons, his wife, and his sons’ wives. 19 And all the wild

8 a. A mountain in Armenia, 2 K 19.37. In the Babylonian flood epic also the ark lands on a mountain and raven and dove, plus a swallow, are sent out. The anthropomorphism of v. 21 is also typical of those stories.

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beasts, all the cattle, all the birds and all the reptiles that crawl on the earth went out from the ark, one kind after another. 20 Noah built an altar for the LORD, and choosing from all the clean animals and all the clean birds he offered burnt offerings on the altar. 21 The LORD smelt the appeasing fragrance and said to himself, ‘Never again will I curse the earth because of man, because his heart contrives evil from his infancy. Never again will I strike down every living thing as I have done. 22

‘As long as earth lasts, sowing and reaping, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night shall cease no more.’

The new world order


God blessed Noah and his sons, saying to them, ‘Be fruitful, multiply and fill the earth. 2 Be the terror and the dread of all the wild beasts and all the birds of heaven, of everything that crawls on the ground and all the fish of the sea;a they are handed over to you. 3 Every living and crawling thing shall provide food for you, no less than the foliage of plants. I give you everything, 4 with this exception: you must not eat flesh with life, that is to say blood, in it. 5 I will demand an account of your life-blood. I will demand an account from every beast and from man. I will demand an account of every man’s life from his fellow men. 6


‘He who sheds man’s blood, shall have his blood shed by man, for in the image of God man was made.

7 ‘As for you, be fruitful, multiply, teem over the earth and be lord of it.’

àIs 54.9

8 God spoke to Noah and his sons, 9 ‘See, I establish my Covenantb with you, and with your descendants after you; 10 also with every living creature to be found with you, birds, cattle and every wild beast with you: everything that came out of the ark, everything that lives on the earth. 11 I establish my Covenant with you: no thing of flesh shall be swept away again by the waters of the flood. There shall be no flood to destroy the earth again.’ 12 God said, ‘Here is the sign of the Covenant I make between myself and you and every living creature with you for all generations: 13 I set my bow in the clouds and it shall be a sign of the Covenant between me and the earth. 14 When I gather the clouds over the earth and the bow appears in the clouds, 15 I will recall the Covenant between myself and you and every living creature of every kind. And so the waters shall

9 a. In the renewed world, peace has been finally shattered. This is marked by permission to eat meat. However, blood, the symbol of life, Lv 1.5f, belongs to God and may not be consumed. This is the beginning of ritual food-laws. Human life, being in the image of

God, may not be taken. b. Unlike the covenants with Abraham and Moses, this first covenant extends to all humanity. Rainbows are explained as a sign of the covenant.

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never again become a flood to destroy all things of flesh. 16 When the bow is in the clouds I shall see it and call to mind the lasting Covenant between God and every living creature of every kind that is found on the earth.’ 17 God said to Noah, ‘This is the sign of the Covenant I have established between myself and every living thing that is found on the earth’.

C. FROM THE FLOOD TO ABRAHAM Noah and his sons 18 The sons of Noah who went out from the ark were Shem, Ham and Japheth; Ham is the ancestor of the Canaanites. 19 These three were Noah’s sons, and from these the whole earth was peopled. 20 Noah, a tiller of the soil, was the first to plant the vine. 21 He drank some of the wine, and while he was drunk he uncovered himself inside his tent. 22 Ham, Canaan’s ancestor, saw his father’s nakedness, and told his two brothers outside. 23 Shem and Japheth took a cloak and they both put it over their shoulders, and walking backwards, covered their father’s nakedness; they kept their faces turned away, and did not see their father’s nakedness. 24 When Noah awoke from his stupor he learned what his youngest son had done to him. 25 And he said:

‘Accursed be Canaan.c He shall be his brothers’ meanest slave.’ 26 He


added: ‘Blessed be the LORD, God of Shem, let Canaan be his slave! May God extend Japheth,d may he live in the tents of Shem, and may Canaan be his slave!’

28 After the flood Noah lived three hundred and fifty years. 29 In all, Noah’s life lasted nine hundred and fifty years; then he died.

The peopling of the eartha


These are the descendants of Noah’s sons, Shem, Ham and Japheth, to whom sons were born after the flood:

2 Japheth’s sons: Gomer, Magog, the Medes, Javan, Tubal, Meshech,

Tiras. 3 Gomer’s sons: Ashkenaz, Riphath, Togarmah. 4 Javan’s sons: Elishah, Tarshish, the Kittim, the Dananites. 5 From these came the dispersal to the islands of the nations. c. These two curses on Canaan, father of the Canaanite inhabitants of Palestine whom the Israelites dominated, are not originally connected with Noah’s drunkenness. The sin was Ham’s not Canaan’s. d. Word-play of the name yaphet and yapht=‘make space’.

10 a. The peoples of the known world are divided up geographically and historically rather than by racial affiliation. The author reveals concern for the whole world. Several sources overlap, e.g. Assyria (Asshur) occurs twice, in vv.11 and 22.

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These were Japheth’s sons, according to their countries and each of their languages, according to their tribes and their nations. 6 Ham’s sons: Cush, Misraim, Put, Canaan. 7 Cush’s sons: Seba, Havilah, Sabtah, Raamah, Sabteca. Raamah’s sons: Sheba, Dedan. 8 Cush became the father of Nimrod who was the first potentate on earth. 9 He was a mighty hunter in the eyes of the LORD, hence the saying, ‘Like Nimrod, a mighty hunter in the eyes of the LORD’. 10 First to be included in his empire were Babel, Erech and Accad, all of them in the land of Shinar. 11 From this country came Ashur, the builder of Nineveh, Rehoboth-ir, Calah, 12 and Resen between Nineveh and Calah (this is the great city). 13 Misraim became the father of the people of Lud, of Anam, Lehab, Naphtuh, 14 Pathros, Cusluh and Caphtor, from which the Philistines came. 15 Canaan became the father of Sidon, his first-born, then Heth, 16 and the Jebusites, the Amorites, Girgashites, 17 Hivites, Arkites, Sinites, 18 Arvadites, Zemarites, Hamathites; later the Canaanite tribes scattered. 19 The Canaanite frontier stretched from Sidon in the direction of Gerar and as far as Gaza, then in the direction of Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah and Zeboim, and as far as Lesha. 20 These were Ham’s sons, according to their tribes and languages, according to their countries and nations. 21 Shem also was the father of children, the ancestor of all the sons of Eber and the elder brother of Japheth. 22 Shem’s sons: Elam, Asshur, Arpachshad, Lud, Aram. 23 Aram’s sons: Uz, Hul, Gether and Mash. 24 Arpachshad became the father of Shelah, and Shelah became the father of Eber. 25 To Eber were born two sons: the first was called Peleg, because it was in his time that the earth was divided, and his brother was called Joktan. 26 Joktan became the father of Almodad, Sheleph, Hazarmaveth, Jerah, 27 Hadoram, Uzal, Diklah, 28 Obal, Abima-el, Sheba, 29 Ophir, Havilah, Jobab; all these are sons of Joktan. 30 They occupied a stretch of country from Mesha in the direction of Sephar, the eastern mountain range. 31 These were Shem’s sons, according to their tribes and languages, and according to their countries and nations. 32 These were the tribes of Noah’s sons, according to their descendants and their nations. From these came the dispersal of the nations over the earth, after the flood. àAc 2.4c

The tower of Babela


Throughout the earth men spoke the same language, with the same vocabulary. 2 Now as they moved eastwards they found a plain in the land of Shinar where they settled. 3 They said to one

11 a. Another story of human pride and ambition to reach God unaided, using the great stepped tower-temples of Mesopotamia as a holy mountain. It also explains why there is a babble of different languages (pun on

Babel and balel=‘confuse’, v. 9). It ends with the scattering of the nations. This is the only story in Gn 1-11 which ends without an act of divine mercy; this will be repaired by the story of Abraham.

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another, ‘Come, let us make bricks and bake them in the fire’.—For stoneb they used bricks, and for mortar they used bitumen.— 4 ‘Come,’ they said ‘let us build ourselves a town and a tower with its top reaching heaven. Let us make a name for ourselves, so that we may not be scattered about the whole earth.’ 5 Now the LORD came down to see the town and the tower that the sons of man had built. 6 ‘So they are all a single people with a single language!’ said the LORD. ‘This is but the start of their undertakings! There will be nothing too hard for them to do. 7 Come, let us go down and confuse their language on the spot so that they can no longer understand one another.’ 8 The LORD scattered them thence over the whole face of the earth, and they stopped building the town. 9 It was named Babel therefore, because there the LORD confused the language of the whole earth. It was from there that the LORD scattered them over the whole face of the earth.

The patriarchs after the floodc 10 These are Shem’s descendants: When Shem was a hundred years old he became the father of Arpachshad, two years after the flood. 11 After the birth of Arpachshad, Shem lived five hundred years and became the father of sons and daughters. 12 When Arpachshad was thirty-five years old he became the father of Shelah. 13 After the birth of Shelah, Arpachshad lived four hundred and three years and became the father of sons and daughters. 14 When Shelah was thirty years old he became the father of Eber. 15 After the birth of Eber, Shelah lived four hundred and three years and became the father of sons and daughters. 16 When Eber was thirty-four years old he became the father of Peleg. 17 After the birth of Peleg, Eber lived four hundred and thirty years and became the father of sons and daughters. 18 When Peleg was thirty years old he became the father of Reu. 19 After the birth of Reu, Peleg lived two hundred and nine years and became the father of sons and daughters. 20 When Reu was thirty-two years old he became the father of Serug. 21 After the birth of Serug, Reu lived two hundred and seven years and became the father of sons and daughters. 22 When Serug was thirty years old he became the father of Nahor. 23 After the birth of Nahor, Serug lived two hundred years and became the father of sons and daughters. 24 When Nahor was twenty-nine years old he became the father of Terah. 25 After the birth of Terah, Nahor lived a hundred and nineteen years and became the father of sons and daughters. 26 When Terah was seventy years old he became the father of Abram, Nahor and Haran.

b. Stone and mortar are plentiful in Palestine; in Mesopotamia the building materials are brick and bitumen.

c. The genealogies now begin to narrow, to focus on Abraham.

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The descendants of Terah 27 These are Terah’s descendants: Terah became the father of Abram, Nahor and Haran. Haran became the father of Lot. 28 Haran died in the presence of his father Terah in his native land, Ur of the Chaldaeans.d 29 Abram and Nahor both married: Abram’s wife was called Sarai, Nahor’s wife was called Milcah, the daughter of Haran, father of Milcah and Iscah. 30 Sarai was barren, having no child. 31 Terah took his son Abram, his grandson Lot the son of Haran, and his daughter-in-law the wife of Abram, and made them leave Ur of the Chaldaeans to go to the land of Canaan. But on arrival in Haran they settled there. 32 Terah’s life lasted two hundred and five years; then he died at Haran.

II. THE STORY OF ABRAHAM àAc 3.25; àHeb 11.8

àJr 4.2; àGa 3.8

The call of Abrahama


The LORD said to Abram, ‘Leave your country, your family and your father’s house, for the land I will show you. 2 I will make you a great nation; I will bless you and make your name so famous that it will be used as a blessing. 3

‘I will bless those who bless you: I will curse those who slight you. All the tribes of the earth shall bless themselves by you.’b

4 So Abram went as the LORD told him, and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he left Haran. 5 Abram took his wife Sarai, his nephew Lot, all the possessions they had amassed and the people they had acquired in Haran. They set off for the land of Canaan, and arrived there. 6 Abram passed through the land as far as Shechem’s holy place, the Oak of Moreh. At that time the Canaanites were in the land. 7 The LORD appeared to Abram and said, ‘It is to your descendants that I will give this land’. So Abram built there an altar for the LORD who had appeared to him. 8 From there he moved on to the mountainous district east of Bethel, where he pitched his tent, with Bethel to the west and Ai to the east. There he built an altar to the LORD and invoked the name of the LORD. 9 Then Abram made his way stage by stage to the Negeb.

d. ‘Chaldaeans’, i.e. Babylonians, is anachronistic. The name does not occur before the 8th century BC. 12 a. The story of Israel begins with Abraham’s act of faith and the blessing given to Abraham, a double blessing of many descendants, v. 3, and a blessing of a land to the des-

cendants, v. 7; the latter is fulfilled only after the Exodus. b The formula may be understood in two ways, either (as v. 2 and 48.20) that the clans will say, ‘May you be blessed as Abraham was’, or (with Si 44.21 and LXX) ‘In you all nations will be blessed’.

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