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The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God stands forever. Isa 40:8

Category Archives: genesis

genesis 47:28-50:26, vayechi, “and he lived”

Read Genesis 47:28-50:26 at Bible Gateway.

You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.

The paragraph divisions for vayechiare posted here.

The complete chiastic structure formed by vayechi is posted here.

That Jacob split the birthright and blessing of Abraham into two, to confer part to Ephraim and part to Judah, is discussed here.

The statement of fact which Joseph makes in Gen 50:20, that what the brothers intended for evil, God intended for good, in order to save many lives, is a repeating theme, first mentioned by him in Gen 45:5. I find it something worthy to meditate on, that despite what the faith and prosperity preachers will tell you, God’s plan for your life might not be your absolute comfort in every circumstance. In order to accomplish the saving of many lives, which Joseph sets as the greater goal than his own personal comfort, Joseph needed to go through many years of hardship, to position him in the right place at the right time.

In fact, Jesus did not live for His own personal comfort either, but went through the ultimate hardship without rancor or bitterness toward God, in order to accomplish the saving of many lives. Jesus taught us to take up our cross and follow Him. Being His disciple is not about claiming a new car or a bigger house, but personal sacrifice from the motivation of love, for the saving of as many lives as possible.


genesis 44:18-47:27, vayigash, “and he drew near”

Read Genesis 44:18-47:27 at Bible Gateway.

I am God, the God of your father; do not fear to go down to Egypt, for I will make of you a great nation there. I will go down with you to Egypt, and I will also surely bring you up again; and Joseph will close your eyes.

I apologize that there is no new post for vayigash this week. We had a family emergency when Sabbath ended last week which is just now being resolved, so I trust I will be back to my regularly scheduled life and blog posting for next week.

The paragraph divisions and complete chiastic structure formed by vayigash is posted here.

The end of vayigash ends in a strong paragraph, the strong theme running from Gen 41:1-47:27. This strong theme also forms its own complete chiastic structure, which is posted here.

The extent of Judah’s transformation is discussed here. The logic of the paragraph divisions and how their unusual placement highlights Judah’s transformation and is prophetic of Messiah, is discussed here.

genesis 41:1-37, the answer of peace

"God shall give Pharaoh an answer of peace."

Genesis 41:16

Read Genesis 41:1-44:17 at Bible Gateway.

teaching tools of scripture

outline of genesis according to its hebrew paragraph divisions

Torah portion miketz is a single weak paragraph according to the Hebrew paragraph divisions:

Gen 41:1-44:17 {s} Joseph the overseer

The single chiastic structure formed by miketz is posted here. Normally an annual torah portion is subdivided by its paragraphs and strong themes. We don’t have that this week, but miketz is subdivided by its ancient triennial cycle torah portion divisions:

Gen 41:1-37, triennial cycle miketz, “at the end”
Gen 41:38-42:17, triennial cycle hanimtza, “can we find”
Gen 42:18-43:23, triennial cycle vayomer eleichem, “he said to them”
Gen 43:24-44:17, triennial cycle vayavei ha-ish, “then the man brought”

Gen 41:1-37 makes an interesting pair of chiastic structures:

Gen 41:1-15
1) Gen 41:1-7, Pharaoh dreamed two dreams in one night;
2) Gen 41:8, He sent for the magicians and wise men, but none could interpret the dreams;
3) Gen 41:9-13, The chief butler told Pharaoh about Joseph who interprets dreams;
central axis) Gen 41:14, Pharaoh sent for Joseph, and they brought him hastily out of the dungeon;
1) Gen 41:15a, And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, I have dreamed a dream;
2) Gen 41:15b, And there is none that can interpret it;
3) Gen 41:15c, And I have heard say of thee, that thou canst understand a dream to interpret it.

Gen 41:16-37
1a) Gen 41:16, Joseph answered Pharaoh, God shall give Pharaoh an answer of peace;
1b) Gen 41:17-24a, Pharaoh relates his dreams;
central axis) Gen 41:24b, I told this unto the magicians; but there was none that could declare it to me;
2b) Gen 41:25-32, Joseph relates the interpretation;
2a) Gen 41:33-37, Joseph’s wise counsel is God’s answer of peace.

I was struck by the A pair. Here was Joseph, wrongfully enslaved, wrongfully accused, living in the midst of a pagan land who does not know God. In fact, Joseph was living in the land Scripture identifies as a type of kingdom of darkness. He is taken before the ruler of that land, who believed himself to be the voice and embodiment of their sun god for that generation. The dreams themselves are dreams of destruction. They do not have a happy end.

So what does Joseph say? “God shall give Pharaoh an answer of peace.” And then, through Joseph’s wise counsel, God gives Pharaoh an answer of peace, an answer to the destruction and the doom and gloom. I just wonder if one of us were in Joseph’s shoes, would we say to “Pharaoh” in the nation’s capital, “God shall give you an answer of peace?” I can’t think of many that would.

Perhaps God is more generous than we are giving Him credit for. When we were His enemies, ignorant, and lost outside of the covenant of promise, He loved us and gave us an answer of peace, and caused us to be reborn into His family, rather than destroyed as an outsider. We deserved wrath, and He gave us peace instead. As long as it is still called “Today,” not the Day of the Lord, perhaps God yet has an answer of peace for us and for our country. I believe He does.

genesis 37:1-40:23, annual cycle vayeshev, “and he dwelt”

Read Genesis 37:1-40:23 at Bible Gateway.

Then Midianite traders passed by; so the brothers pulled Joseph up and lifted him out of the pit, and sold him to the Ishmaelites for twenty shekels of silver. And they took Joseph to Egypt.

Genesis 37:28

The paragraph divisions for vayeshev are posted here. Vayeshev forms its own complete chiastic structure, which is posted here. Now, each of the paragraphs in vayeshev also form their own chaistic structures:

Gen 37:1-36 {p} Joseph’s advancement and enslavement (this chiastic structure is posted here …)

Gen 38:1-30 {s} Judah departed from his brothers among the Canaanites (this chiastic structure is posted here …)

Gen 39:1-23 {p} Joseph departed from his brothers among the Egyptians

1a) Gen 39:1-6, Joseph brought low, but YHVH’s favor upon him;
1b) Gen 39:7, Master’s wife seeks to lie with Joseph;
central axis) Gen 39:8-10, Joseph’s refusal;
2b) Gen 39:11-19, Master’s wife lies about Joseph;
2a) Gen 39:20-23, Joseph brought low, but YHVH’s favor upon him.

(The significance of the strong theme from Gen 38:1-39:23, Judah and Joseph …)

Gen 40:1-23 {p} Joseph in prision

1a) Gen 40:1-4, The chief butler + baker offended Pharaoh, so he confined them in the prison house;
1b) Gen 40:5-8, They each dream a dream + Joseph: interpretations belong to God;
1c) Gen 40:9-14, The chief butler’s dream and interpretation;
central axis) Gen 40:14-15, Joseph: Remember me to Pharaoh for I have done nothing deserving of prison;
2c) Gen 40:16-19, The chief baker’s dream and interpretation;
2b) Gen 40:20a, The interpretation came to pass on the third day;
2a) Gen 40:20b-23, Pharaoh lifted butler + baker from prison/ restored one + hanged other, according to the interpretation.

Vayeshev reveals that Joseph was promoted three times: under his father, under Potiphar, and under the keeper of the prison; and he was brought low three times: into the pit, into slavery, and into the prison house. Three times Joseph faced a type of death, and was delivered from death: the first in the pit, the second as a slave (slavery is a type of death in scripture, for the former life is no more) and the third as a prisoner (prison is likewise a type of death in scripture, for the former life is again no more). Passages which are prophetic of Messiah in Torah contain Messianic signs consistently used … three, and deliverance from death, are significant Messianic signs (please see the teaching tools of scripture for more on that). Joseph is being highlighted as a Messianic type. Vayeshev is prophesying of the first coming and ministry of Messiah, which is: though exalted, and though righteous, Messiah will be brought low and suffer, not because of his own sins, but because of the sins of others.

genesis 32:3-36:43, vayishlach, “and he sent”

Read Genesis 32:3-36:43 at Bible Gateway.

And He said, "Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel, for you have struggled with God and with men, and have prevailed."

Genesis 32:28

Torah portion vayishlach contains these hebrew paragraph divisions (the teaching tools of scripture explain the teaching tools of hebrew paragraph divisions and chiastic structures):

Gen 32:3-33:17 {s} Jacob renamed Israel, “Upright of El”
Gen 33:18-20 {s} Jacob acquires property in Canaan + altar of Elohiym
Gen 34:1-31 {p} Defilement with Canaanites + killing/ plunder + rebuke
Gen 35:1-8 {p} Repentance and return to the house of God (Bethel)
Gen 35:9-22 {p} Renewal of the covenant
Gen 35:23-29 {p} The seed of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob
Gen 36:1-19 {s} The seed of Esau
Gen 36:20-30 {s} The seed of Seir
Gen 36:31-43 {s} The kings of Edom

The single chiastic structure formed by vayishlach is posted here. As I was meditating on the overarching theme of vayishlach, I realized that in the strong theme from Gen 32:3-34:31, the life of Jacob was repeating events from the lives of Abraham and Isaac, i.e., his faith in the promise of God was tested, first by fear of Esau, an obstacle to overcome in his obedience to God in returning to the land, and then by the trouble with Shechem. For I believe he was as fearful of retribution from the inhabitants of the land after Simeon and Levi killed the men of Shechem, as he was of Esau:

Then the messengers returned to Jacob, saying, “We came to your brother Esau, and he also is coming to meet you, and four hundred men are with him.” So Jacob was greatly afraid and distressed; and he divided the people that were with him, and the flocks and herds and camels, into two companies. And he said, “If Esau comes to the one company and attacks it, then the other company which is left will escape.” Gen 32:6-8

Then Jacob said to Simeon and Levi, “You have troubled me by making me obnoxious among the inhabitants of the land, among the Canaanites and the Perizzites; and since I am few in number, they will gather themselves together against me and kill me. I shall be destroyed, my household and I.” Gen 34:30

I believe these are two matching pairs of the chiastic structure formed by the strong theme from Gen 32:3-34:31, although I do not have it yet completed. It is proving to be quite complex. However, if the strong theme from Gen 32:3-34:31 is that Jacob’s faith in the promise is tested, then the theme of the next two strong paragraphs from Gen 35:1-22 is also that events from the life of Jacob are repeating events from the lives of Abraham and Isaac, because for his fathers, whenever their faith in the promise was tested, God followed it by a renewal or reaffirmation of the covenant and promises. And this is what we find with Jacob also.

Which brings us to Gen 35:23 to the end of the parashiot: seeds. That the strong paragraph division occurs at the end of Gen 35:29, makes a distinction between the seed of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob on the one hand, and the seed of Esau, who is Edom, on the other hand. You might say that the theme from Gen 35:23-36:43 is the two seeds, i.e., the seed of the people of God contrasted with the seed of the people of the world. We have seen Scripture highlight this contrast beginning with Cain and Abel, the very first seed.

Gen 32:3-34:31 {s+s+p} Jacob’s faith in the promise tested (Esau + Shechem)
Gen 35:1-22 {p+p} Repentance + renewal of the covenant
Gen 35:23-29 {p} The seed of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob
Gen 36:1-43 {s+s+s} The seed of Esau, who is Edom

I.e., The life of Jacob repeats events from the lives of Abraham/ Isaac (faith tested + covenant reaffirmed) + the two seeds. Or, Jacob/ Israel is the heir to the covenant with God, not Esau, and not Edom (not the world or the seed of the world).

For further reading: The Principle of the Seed by Brad Scott

genesis 28:10-32:2, vayetze, “and he left”

Read Genesis 28:10-32:2 at Bible Gateway.

"Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go."

Genesis 28:15

(Beginning with this post, I am trying to post the torah portion studies one week ahead, for those who like to study ahead.)

Torah portion vayetze is a single strong paragraph according to the Hebrew paragraph divisions (the teaching tools of scripture explain the teaching tools of hebrew paragraph divisions and chiastic structures):

Gen 28:10-32:2 {p} God fulfills His promise to Jacob

How did I come up with the topic theme of this paragraph, that God fulfilled His promise to Jacob? The single chiastic structure formed by this paragraph reveals it.

I found it interesting that only at the end of this long paragraph, do we have our first strong paragraph division in several chapters. The last strong paragraph division was at the end of Gen 25. So the entire section which God considers teaching a single overarching theme, is:

Gen 26:1-33 {s} Isaac and Abimelech (life of Isaac repeats events from the life of Abraham)
Gen 26:34-35 {s} Esau’s wives
Gen 27:1-28:9 {s} Jacob receives the blessing + Jacob’s wife (Life of Jacob repeats events from the life of Isaac)
Gen 28:10-32:2 {p} God fulfills His promise to Jacob (wives + children + flocks)

It turns out this single strong theme forms its own chiastic structure:

Gen 26:1-32:2
1a) Gen 26:1-33 {s}, God blesses Isaac in the land of his sojourning (Isaac and Abimelech);
1b) Gen 26:34-35 {s}, Esau’s wives;
central axis) Gen 27:1-42, Jacob receives the blessing;
2b) Gen 27:43-28:9 {s}, Jacob’s wife;
2a) Gen 28:10-32:2 {p}, God blesses Jacob in the land of his sojourning (wives + children + flocks).

The mystery of Esau’s wives is solved! Last week we saw that torah portion toledoth formed its own chiastic structure, leaving out the two verses of Gen 26:34-35 concerning Esau’s wives. We speculated at the time that it stood out like a sore thumb because it was a necessary component of a greater chiastic structure. And so it has proven to be.

The greater strong theme of this section seems to be, that God is transferring the blessing, covenant, and promises of Abraham to Isaac, and then to Jacob. Events from Isaac’s life repeat events from Abraham’s life, and events from Jacob’s life repeat events from Isaac’s life. God is revealing that the blessing, covenant, and promises in fact passed from Abraham to Isaac, not Ishmael; and then passed from Isaac to Jacob, not Esau. This reality revealed that the lives of the patriarchs also form an interesting repeating chiastic structure.