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enesis 




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GENERAL EDITOR : 
PRINCIPAL WALTER F. ADENEY, M.A., D.D. 



(Beneeie 



INTRODUCTION; REVISED VERSION WITH 
NOTES, GIVING AN ANALYSIS SHOWING 
FROM WHICH OF THE ORIGINAL DOCU 
MENTS EACH PORTION OF THE TEXT 
IS TAKEN; INDEX AND MAP 



EDITED BY 



W. H. BENNETT, D.D. (ABER.) 

M.A. (t-OXD.), LITT.D. (CAMB.), PROFESSOR, NEW COLLEGE AND 

HACKNEY COLLEGE, LONDON, SOMETIME FELLOW OF 

ST. JOHN S COLLEGE, CAMBRIDGE 



EDINBURGH : T. C. & E. C. JACK 
AND 34 HENRIETTA STREET, LONDON, W.C. 



The REVISED VERSION is printed by permission of the 
Universities of Oxford and Cambridge 



THE CENTURY BIBLE 
GENESIS 



OXFORD 
HORACE HART, PRINTER TO THE UNIVERSITY 



THE AHCIEUT IfOSLD - ^ 




Hi*- fxhiibirrgh. Geojrr*rpluc*l lutihit* 



B. Some of die identtfto&tom* in 




tip are uncertain , compare- 



John .Bai-tluuamew & Co. 



Volumes already published or in preparation : 

NEW TESTAMENT. 

1. MATTHEW, by Prof. W. F. SLATER, M.A. 

2. MARK, by Principal SALMON!), D.D. 

3. LUKE, by Principal W. F. ADENEY, D.D. 
4- JOHN, by the Rev. J. A M^CLYMONT, D.D. 

5. ACTS, by Prof. J. VERNON BARTLET, M.A. 

6. ROMANS, by the Rev. A. E. GARVIE, M.A., B.D. 

7- I AND II CORINTHIANS by Prof. J.MAssiE, M.A., D.D. 

8. EPHESIANS, COLOSSIANS, PHILEMON, PHILIP- 

PIANS, by the Rev.G. CURRIE MARTIN, M.A., B.D. 

9. I AND II THESSALONIANS, GALATIANS, by Prin 

cipal W. F. ADENEY, D.D. 

10. THE PASTORAL EPISTLES, by the Rev. R. F. 

HORTON, M.A., D.D. 

11. HEBREWS, by Prof. A. S. PEAKE, M.A. 

12. THE GENERAL EPISTLES, by Prof. W. H. BENNETT, 

D.D. 

13. REVELATION, by the Rev. C. ANDERSON SCOTT, M.A. 

OLD TESTAMENT. 

GENESIS, by the Rev. Prof. W. H. BENNETT, Litt.D., 
D.D. 

JUDGES AND RUTH, by the Rev. G. W. THATCHER, 

M.A., B.D. 
I AND II SAMUEL, by the Rev. Prof. A. R. S. KENNEDY, 

M.A., D.D. 

JOB, by Piof. A. S. PEAKE, M.A. 
I AND II KINGS, by the Rev. Prof. SKINNER, D.D. 
PS ALMS(Vo!.I) I TO LXXII.by the Rev. Prof. DAVISON, D.D 
PSALMS (Vol. II) LXXIII TO END, by the Rev. Prof. 

DAVISON, D.D. 

ISAIAH, by the Rev. Principal WHITEHOUSE, M.A., D.D. 
MINOR PROPHETS: HOSEA, JOEL, AMOS, OBADIAH. 

JONAH, MICAH, by the Rev. R. F. HORTON, M.A., D.D. 
MINOR PROPHETS : NAHUM, HABAKKUK, ZEPHANIAH, 

HAGGAI, ZECHARIAH, MALACHI, by the Rev. Canon 

DRIVER, D.D. 



EDITOR S PREFACE 

FOR the chief works used in the preparation of this 
edition of Genesis see on p. 63, and acknowledge 
ments in footnotes. The division of the text between 
the documents out of which Genesis was compiled is 
indicated by capitals inserted in the text in brackets, 
and at the head of the pages. These capitals are 
explained in the Table of Symbols, p. 52; and the 
theory of the analysis is expounded on pp. 9 ff., 16 ff., 
45 ff. For the convenience of the reader the explana 
tions of technical terms, &c., have been repeatedly 
indicated by references ; they may also be found by 
consulting the index. 



CONTENTS 



EDITOR S INTRODUCTION i 

TEXT OF THE REVISED VERSION WITH ANNOTATIONS . 73 
INDEX .......... 409 

MAP : THE ANCIENT WORLD . . . To face Titlf 

DIAGRAM OF SEMITIC COSMOLOGY ..... 66 



THE BOOK OF GENESIS 

INTRODUCTION 



THE BOOK OF GENESIS 



INTRODUCTION 

i. THE MESSAGE OF GENESIS. 

IN this book many voices speak to us from a remote 
past. It has been written of Jesus : 

* Dim tracts of time divide 

Those golden days from me, 
Thy voice comes strange o er years of change, 

How can we follow Thee ? 

Comes faint and far Thy voice 

From vales of Galilee, 
The vision fades in ancient shades, 

How should we follow Thee ? 

The tracts of time which divide us from the characters 
of Genesis, and even from the authors who tell their story, 
are longer by centuries, and sometimes by millenniums, 
than those which have elapsed since our Lord was a man 
among men. Yet the lines quoted above are only partly 
true in either case. Abraham, Jacob, and Joseph are no 
mere shadowy visions, but familiar friends, more real to 
many than the statesmen and generals of our own day ; 
and the far-off voices are neither faint nor strange, but 
still speak clear, intelligible, and emphatic words on faith, 
and hope, and duty. The Patriarchs appeal to us, interest 
and help us, because they are types of classes of men ; 
their adventures were not unfamiliar experiences in the 
ancient East, and still stand as vivid pictures and sym 
bols of crises in human life to-day. There have been 
there are still many Abrahams who have gone out, not 
knowing whither they went, in obedience to some dictate 
B 2 



4 THE BOOK OF GENESIS 

of conscience, to some prospect of spiritual advantage, 
rightly interpreted as the call of God ; many Jacobs, who 
have, so to speak, stumbled into the Divine Presence, 
when their only thought was of headlong flight from the 
consequences of weakness, folly, and sin ; many Josephs, 
too, who have found in humiliating ruin the appointed 
pathway to honourable service. Such vicissitudes of 
fortune or of conduct are not far from any of us, and we 
are all encouraged by the possibilities of grace suggested 
by these ancient stories. A mediaeval Rabbi has well 
said that the faults and failures of prophets, patriarchs, 
and saints are recorded for our encouragement ; we see 
that the heroes of the inspired narrative are human, and 
that what is told of them is a story of Divine enabling 
which may be read as a promise to our feeble and erring 
selves. It is the human, the representative character of 
these narratives which has preserved them, and procured 
for them a place in Scripture. Many generations felt that 
they expressed real experiences, and therefore handed 
them on as their own testimony also to the righteousness 
and love of God. 

Thus the lives of the Patriarchs enshrine for us some 
of the most primitive and yet the most permanent ideas 
as to man, and life, and God. Going further back, the 
story of the Fall dramatizes, so to speak, the awakening 
to the sense of sin in the race and in the individual. It 
helps us, as it has helped mankind ever since it was 
written, to interpret the distrust and fear which hinder 
our fellowship with God. But the stories of the Creation, 
the Fall, and the Flood also expound men s faiths con 
cerning God and Nature, and show us how the Divine 
Life had revealed itself long ago as One, ruling alike 
everywhere in the known and the unknown. 

The Book of Genesis tells us, moreover, of God in 
history. By a bold and picturesque figure, common to 
the early annals of Israel and other communities, the 
fortunes of peoples Ishmael, Israel, Edom are depicted 



INTRODUCTION 5 

as the adventures of their heroic ancestors. In these we 
constantly read of an overruling Providence ; God calls 
Abraham from Haran ; meets Jacob at Bethel, and Hagar 
in the wilderness. Thus from the outset the history of 
Israel is part of its Bible, and there is a recognition of 
the Divine government of nations. In this way our book 
strikes one of the key-notes of O. T. Revelation the 
rights of religion in national and international politics. 
The same truth is further emphasized by the absence of 
any anxiety to distinguish the history of single persons 
from that of tribes ; the O. T. gives no countenance to 
the idea that the obligations of a people are less stringent 
and exacting than those of individuals, but treats both 
alike as regards duty to God and man. 

Again, there are many striking illustrations in Genesis 
of the fact that inspiration constantly leads men on to 
new truth, and yet at the same time enables them to 
retain what was true in their old faith, and thus to 
acknowledge the continuity of Revelation, and to find 
a Word of God alike in the earlier and less perfect, and in 
the more advanced teaching of their sacred literature. 
Thus the two accounts of the Creation l represent two 
different stages of religious thought. Yet the reverence 
for the more ancient story did not prevent the Israelites 
from accepting another symbolic narrative which em 
bodied more advanced truth ; nor did their enthusiastic 
appreciation of new light lead them to cast aside a Scrip 
ture hallowed by many sacred memories and associa 
tions. The two were placed side by side. Our authors 
have even been careful to preserve edifying fragments of 
old tradition when the rest of a story had to be discarded, 
because it shocked spiritual feelings enlightened by the 
progress of Revelation ; as, for instance, in the case of 
the account ~ of the marriage of the sons of God and the 
daughters of men, which is obviously incomplete. It is 

1 Gen. ii. 4 b -25 (the older). Gen. i. i ii. 4*. 

2 Gen. vi. 1-4. 



6 THE BOOK OF GENESIS 

doubtless true that the authors of Genesis would not have 
enforced its lessons in such words as have been used here ; 
if they had worked out these ideas they would probably 
have stated them ; but it is the property of inspired truths, 
as of great formulae of science like the law of gravitation, 
that in later ages they have a far wider application than 
their authors ever dreamed of. We perhaps understand 
our book best if we regard it as a great gallery of sacred 
pictures in which the facts of the spiritual life are illus 
trated by graphic word-painting ; its narratives bear much 
the same relation to dogmatic theology that a landscape 
by Turner does to an ordnance map. But, above all else, 
and in spite of all differences in the way of thinking and 
speaking, one clear truth is handed down to us from these 
ancient days. Genesis, as has been said, includes the 
spiritual experiences of many generations ; and all the 
varied voices with which it speaks assure us of the reality 
of man s fellowship with God. Later on it will be ex 
plained that the contents of this book range from the dim 
traditions which were Israel s earliest memories to the 
religious speculations of the Jews who lived after the Exile 
a period of some hundreds of years. The succession of 
inspired writers whose works have been combined to form 
the Pentateuch are all convinced that God was near to 
man, speaking to him, listening to his prayers, revealing 
Himself in many ways, from the time when He walked in 
the Garden with Adam and Eve till He spake with 
Moses face to face as a man talketh with his friend. 
Moreover, in the pictures of patriarchal times the inspired 
writers reveal their own experiences, and tell us that they 
too knew God and were found of Him. They swell the 
chorus of agelong, world-wide testimony which encour 
ages us to believe that God is found by those who seek 
Him ; and thus they help to justify the believer in 
interpreting his spiritual life as a true fellowship with the 
Invisible Presence of Infinite and Eternal Love. 
Thus in Genesis we learn something of the beginnings 



INTRODUCTION 7 

of the history which was the Divine preparation for the 
coming of Christ ; we see men discerning in that history 
the first steps towards a work of God which they did not 
fully understand, but which was made manifest in the 
Incarnation ; we are shown something of that progressive 
Revelation which culminated in the N. T. 

2. THE HISTORICAL CIRCUMSTANCES 
OF THE PERIOD. 

The period with which Genesis deals appears at first 
sight to be that from the Creation to the Death of 
Joseph. A closer examination l , however, shows that there 
are references to the history of Israel, at any rate as late 
as the time of David 2 , and perhaps as late as that of 
Jeroboam II 3 . It is impossible to attempt to deal with 
these many centuries in detail, but a few words may be 
given to the general situation. The world of Genesis 
includes Egypt, Arabia, and Western Asia, from the 
Mediterranean to the lands east of the Tigris, and from 
the Black Sea to the Indian Ocean, but the writers had 
only dim ideas of the country beyond the Tigris, or north 
of the head-waters of that river and the Euphrates. This 
world of Genesis formed a closely connected interna 
tional system, like the Greek states and the nations of 
modern Christendom. Our book has been compiled* out 
of a series of documents, and these documents again have 
been compiled from older works and from traditions 5 . 
The people who told the oldest traditions in the most 
primitive form in which we can trace them in Genesis 
thought of the world as consisting of the city-states of 

1 .See p. 47. - See on xxxvi. 31. 

3 See on xlix. * See Composition, pp. 9 ff. 

5 Neither the memor} nor the imagination of Israel could 
go back to a time at which this international system did not 
exist ; except that the dim, far-off ages from the Creation 
to the building of the Tower of Babel came to be regarded 
as a direct preparation for it. 



8 THE BOOK OF GENESIS 

Palestine and Phoenicia, the nomad tribes of the desert, 
and the empires of the Nile valley on the one hand, and 
the plains of the Euphrates and the Tigris on the other. 
The ruling races in Egypt, Assyria, and Babylonia 
changed from century to century ; sometimes each of 
these dominions was held in a single hand, sometimes 
each was divided between a number of petty princes ; but 
always the two foci of the world s life were Egypt and 
Babylon l . Palestine was usually subject to one or other 
of the two ; or else debatable ground, the battle-field on 
which their armies met. Thus Palestine was saturated 
with the influence, political, social, commercial, and 
religious, of Egypt and Babylon. Sometimes the one 
was dominant, sometimes the other; sometimes both 
the great powers were absorbed at the same time by 
internal distractions, and Palestine was left for a while 
to itself. But commercial, diplomatic, and social inter 
course with Egypt and the East did not cease when 
Pharaoh or Sargon was too busy at home to send an 
army into Palestine. The opinion is now very widely 
held that throughout our period the great religious and 
social influence in the world was Babylon. 

During the period before the conquest of Canaan the 
tribes which afterwards became Israel roamed as nomads 
through this ancient world, encamping now by the 
Euphrates, now at Haran, now by the Nile; sometimes 
traversing Canaan, but mostly frequenting the pasture 
lands south and east of Palestine. An interval, as it 
seems, when none of the great powers could interfere in 
the Promised Land, enabled them to obtain a footing 
east and west of Jordan ; and after a long and arduous 
struggle the tribes of Israel combined with each other, 
and with many of the previous inhabitants of Canaan, 
to form first the united kingdom of Saul, David, and 

1 Babylon is used for the sake of brevity for the states 
in the districts watered by the Euphrates and the Tigris. 



INTRODUCTION 9 

Solomon, and then the two kingdoms of Judah and 
Israel. During this period the Israelites were at various 
times the allies, subjects, enemies, or suzerains of Ammon, 
Moab, Edom, Syria, and other neighbouring states and 
peoples 1 . 

3. How GENESIS WAS WRITTEN 2 . 

Genesis was not originally a separate book ; it is merely 
the first of the five volumes into which the Pentateuch 3 , 
or Jewish Torah or Law, was divided for the sake of 
convenience. But this division was made in just the 
right place, so that Genesis, as far as its contents are 
concerned, is a complete work in itself; it concludes the 
history of the Patriarchs, and leaves the beginnings of 
the history of Israel, as a nation, for Exodus. Never 
theless, as Genesis was originally part of the Pentateuch, 
its history is that of the whole work, and we cannot 
understand how Genesis was written without briefly 
sketching the history of the composition of the Pen 
tateuch. 

The Pentateuch* was not an original work written 
throughout in the same period by a single author ; it was 
a compilation from earlier works, some of which were 
themselves compilations from still earlier works. It was 
the final edition 5 of the Law of Israel, these earlier works 
being former editions of the Law. 

To the reader of Genesis the title Law seems out of 
place, but a glance at the rest of the Pentateuch shows 

1 Cf. Interpretation, p. 47. 

2 For the traditional theory that the whole of the Pentateuch 
was actually written by Moses see Appendix. 

3 Pentateuch means the five-volumed (book). 

4 As a matter of fact it is very commonly held that the 
original work included also Joshua ; and this work is often 
called the Hexateuch (Hexateuch = Pentateuch and Joshua); 
according to this view much of what is said in this section 
and elsewhere of the Pentateuch might also be said of the 
Hexateuch. 

* As far as the Bible is concerned. 



io THE BOOK OF GENESIS 

that more than half the contents are laws in one form or 
another, or else sermons on the duty of observing the 
laws. This title Law, moreover, shows us that the 
Jews thought the laws more important than the history ; 
the Pentateuch to them was first and foremost a law- 
book ; the stories were chiefly useful as explaining or 
illustrating the laws. 

But to return to our present subject, how our book 
was written, this may perhaps be best illustrated by a 
comparison with what are sometimes called Harmonies of 
the Gospels, which have been compiled from the four 
Gospels so as to form a continuous life of our Lord 
which shall include everything narrated in all the four. 
In such works paragraphs and clauses from one Gospel 
alternate with those from the others. In the same way 
the Pentateuch is a combination of four earlier works 
dealing with the history and the laws of Israel. These 
works will be described in detail later on ; we shall speak 
of them in this commentary as the Primitive Document 1 , 
the Elohistic Document 2 , Deuteronomy 3 , and the Priestly 
Document*. These four were combined by the editors 
of the Pentateuch into a single continuous work. As in 
the case of a Harmony of the Gospels, these editors 
retained the actual words of the older works. In their 
anxiety to include as much as possible of the contents 
of these four documents they will often give the same 
law twice over, if it is found in two of the documents 5 ; 
and similarly they insert contradictory laws and state 
ments", and give alternative and inconsistent versions 
of the same story. Thus there are two accounts of the 
Creation, i. i ii. 4* on the one hand, and ii. 4 b -25 on 
the other. In the former, amongst other differences, man 
is created after the animals, whilst in the latter man is 

1 Usually known as the Jehovistic or Yahwistic Document, 
and denoted by the symbol J ; cf. p. 22. 

2 E ; cf. p. 30. s D ; cf. p. 13. 4 P ; cf. p. 34. 

5 e. g. Exod. xx ; Deut. v. 6 e. g. Exod. xx. 24 ; Dcut. xii. 



INTRODUCTION n 

created before the animals l . When the agreement 
between a narrative in one document and the corre 
sponding narrative in another was sufficiently close, 
the editors constructed a single continuous narrative 
made up of alternate clauses or paragraphs from the 
two documents. The account of the Flood, vi viii, is 
such a compilation. Here again, in their anxiety to 
preserve what they found in the documents, the editors 
did not hesitate to place contradictory statements side 
by side. Thus some verses 2 tell us that Noah took 
in two of each kind of animal, whilst others 3 state that 
he took in two of each kind of unclean animal, but seven 
of each kind of clean animal. 

Naturally, however, the editors thought it necessary 
sometimes to omit portions of the documents, or to make 
additions of their own, or to introduce other alterations. 
If a paragraph in one document was word for word 
the same as a paragraph in another, and both came in 
the same place, it would have been absurd to insist on 
writing the same thing twice over. Probably too there 
were sections which the editors omitted because they 
were unseemly or unedifying. On the other hand, in 
constructing a continuous story out of sections from 
different works it would be necessary to insert a few 
words here and there to make the whole read smoothly. 
Moreover, in ancient times notes and comments were 
seldom distinguished from the text which they explained, 
and there is no doubt that the editors added many notes 
and comments to explain what they took from the 
documents or sources ; and these notes or comments, 
in the course of constant copying and re-copying of 
manuscripts, came to be written as if they were part 
of the book itself. They are so found in the existing 
manuscripts, and so printed in current editions of the 
Hebrew Old Testament and the English Bible. It was 

1 Cf. also the notes on these sections. 

2 vii. 8 f. 3 vii. 2. 



12 THE BOOK OF GENESIS 

the book in its final form, including such additions, 
which was accepted as part of the Sacred Scriptures, 
first by the Jews, and then by the Christian Church. 

We have said that the Pentateuch was compiled from 
four earlier works. This compilation, however, was not 
done at a single stroke. The final editor did not combine 
four documents, but two, one of which had already been 
compiled from the three others. Very briefly, omitting 
details and qualifications for the sake of simplicity, the 
process may be described in two different ways. First, 
we may start from our Pentateuch and work backwards. 
The compiler of our Pentateuch had before him two 
works, the Priestly Document l and a threefold com 
bination of earlier works 2 . This threefold combination, 
again, had been compiled from Deuteronomy 3 and a 
twofold combination of earlier works 4 . Finally, this 
twofold combination had previously been compiled from 
two earlier works, the Primitive Document and the 
Elohistic Document B . 

Now let us reverse the process and describe this series of 
compilations from the beginning rather more fully. In 
early times, before the division of Israel into the Northern 
and Southern Kingdoms, the Israelites possessed numerous 
laws and customs, together with many traditions as to 
the early history of man and of Israel. Some of these 
were preserved in writing, others were handed clown by 
word of mouth. Many laws and customs were simply 
perpetuated by habit, practice, and regular observance. 
At some time between the death of Solomon and the Fall 
of Samaria 7 , two collections were made of these laws, 
customs, and traditions : one, the Primitive Document, 

1 Denoted by the symbol P. 

9 Denoted by the composite symbol JED. 

3 Denoted by the symbol D. 

* Denoted by the composite symbol J K. 
5 Denoted by the symbol J. 

* Denoted by the symbol E. 

7 Between about B.C. 960 to B.C. 721. 



INTRODUCTION 13 

in Judah ; the other, the Elohistic Document, in the 
Northern Kingdom. As time went on these works were 
somewhat modified in process of copying ; or, as we 
should say, new editions of them were published. 

In the reign of Manasseh or Josiah a new work was 
compiled * in Judah, chiefly dealing with laws and customs, 
and was accepted as the Law of Judah by a solemn 
covenant at the time of the reforms of Josiah 2 . This 
is the Book of the Law found in the temple, and included 
the bulk of our Deuteronomy. This also passed through 
various editions. 

About the same time, probably a little later than 
B.C. 621, an editor combined current editions of the 
Primitive Document 3 and of the Elohistic Document* 
into a single work, which we may call the Twofold 
Document r> . 

At some time during the Exile the current editions of 
Deuteronomy and the Twofold Document were combined 
into what we may call the Threefold Document 8 . 

After the Exile a new edition of the history, with a 
new collection of laws, was compiled at Babylon, and 
completed before the time of Ezra and Nehemiah 7 ; this 
was the Priestly Document 8 . This is probably the 
Book of the Law which Ezra brought from Babylon 9 . 
This work also passed through various editions. 

Soon after, the current edition of the Priestly Document 
was combined with the Threefold Document into a 
Fourfold Document 10 . It is not certain whether this 
Fourfold Document was simply our Pentateuch, or 
whether it also included Joshua. If the latter was the 
case, Joshtia was afterwards separated from the Penta 
teuch. Last of all the Pentateuch was divided into our 
Five Books, and Genesis arose as a separate book. 

1 Between about B.C. 700 and B.C. 621. a B.C. 621. 

* J. 4 E. 5 JE. 6 JED. 

7 B. c. 444. s P. 9 Ezra vii. 6. 

10 JEDP. 



14 THE BOOK OF GENESIS 

We may further illustrate this process by equations 
and diagrams ; first by a series of equations : 



JE + D-JED. 
J E D + P = Pentateuch or * 
j JED + P=JEDP = Hexateuch. 
(JEDP- Joshua = Pentateuch. 
By way of diagram we may give the following : 

CUSTOMS, LAWS, AND TRADITIONS. 



JE D 



JED 



PENTATEUCH 

These diagrams and equations, however, are only a very 
rough statement of the facts. Thus the authors of 
Deuteronomy and the Priestly Document were acquainted 
with one or both of the two earlier documents, the 
Primitive and the Elohistic. Indeed, the legal portions 
of Deuteronomy and the Priestly Document maybe called 
enlarged and emended editions of the legal portions of 
the Primitive and Elohistic Documents. 

Many features in the history of the Pentateuch may be 
illustrated from the composition of the Gospels. It is 
often maintained that there were originally two main 
records of our Lord s life and teaching, the Gospel of 

1 Cf. above, p. 9. 



INTRODUCTION 15 

Mark and the Logia of Matthew. These were combined 
independently by Luke into his Gospel, and by the author 
of the first Gospel into the Gospel of Matthew ; just as 
the Primitive and Elohistic Documents were combined 
into the Twofold Document. John, as a new and largely 
independent edition of the Life and Teaching, may be 
compared to Deuteronomy ; and a Harmony of the Gospels 
would, as we have said, correspond to the Pentateuch. 

We have already explained 1 how the Pentateuch came 
to be called the Law. As Moses was the founder of the 
national religion of Israel its system of law was traced 
back to him. This system from time to time was adapted 
to the changing circumstances of successive periods ; so 
that we have editions of the Law during the earlier 
monarchy in the Primitive and Elohistic Documents ; 
during the later monarchy in Deuteronomy ; during the 
period after Exile in the Priestly Document and the 
complete Pentateuch ; but these were put forward as 
developments of the same system of Law ; it was claimed 
that they were governed by the spirit and principles of 
the great Lawgiver, and that thus they rested on his 
authority ; hence each of them was called the Law of 
Moses. Similarly, when we speak of the Gospel of 
Christ, we do not confine the term to the actual words 
of Christ, but we include the Apostolic teaching about 
Christ, notably the Pauline doctrine of the Atonement. 

We fear that our readers will consider this exposition 
cumbrous and complicated, and yet we have simplified 
it in every possible way, omitting many details and 
qualifying statements, just as in a small map straight 
lines are substituted for a series of small curves. The 
difficulty is partly artificial, and arises from the fact that 
so many even now have grown up with the idea that the 
whole of the Pentateuch was actually written by Moses ; 
they have always read the book from this point of view, 

1 Page 9. 



16 THE BOOK OF GENESIS 

and it is hard and almost painful to try to look at it from 
any other standpoint. We can only say that, to a careful 
and intelligent student, the theory of the Mosaic author 
ship of the whole Pentateuch involves innumerable 
difficulties which have to be met by complicated and 
disingenuous explanations. But the difficulty is partly 
real ; the Pentateuch is the product of the influence of 
Revelation on the life and thought and religion of Israel 
for many centuries. It is only natural that the history of 
this long process should be complicated. . 

4. THE TRADITIONS AND DOCUMENTS FROM 
WHICH GENESIS WAS COMPILED. 

(a) Introductory, We propose here to give some fuller 
account of the sources mentioned in the previous section. 
We have not thought it necessary to refer further to 
Deuteronomy, because no portion of that document is 
included in Genesis ; but additions may have been made 
by editors writing under the influence of Deuteronomy. 
We take first the early traditions ()(/). 

(K) Babylonian Sources (Hammurabi, &c.). In these 
ancient stories we catch the far-off echoes of the thought 
and passion and action of the life of many thousands of 
years ago. It was a time when heaven and earth seemed 
nearer than they do to-day ; when it seemed no incredible 
thing that man should meet with God walking in His 
garden in the cool of the day. Hence we find in strange 
combinations the figures of Bedouin Sheikhs, mighty and 
warlike kings, angels, and even of Yahweh Himself, the 
God of Israel. We have learnt of late that Genesis in 
cludes traces of even more primitive ideas of Nature, and 
man, and God ; reminiscences of a fantastic mythology, 
in which gods and demi-gods, heroes and men, trees and 
stones, rivers and springs of water, the powers of Nature and 
the heavenly bodies were mingled in a strange confusion. 
Similarly, the technical terms of the Christian Church 
include reminiscences of Paganism, and the most sacred 



INTRODUCTION 17 

day of the calendar, Good Friday, is named after the 
heathen goddess Freya. 

Amongst the ultimate sources of Genesis we must reckon 
the primitive Semitic stories of the origin of the world 
and other traditions. These are now known to us from 
the documents which have been, and are being, dug up 
from buried libraries of Assyria and Babylonia. We call 
them documents, but their form is quite different from 
that of modern writings. There are tablets, bricks, 
cylinders of baked clay, wall-panels, and the bases and 
surfaces of statues, inscribed with those curious com 
binations of arrowheads known as the cuneiform character. 
In these we may still read the ancient Babylonian versions 
of the stories of the Creation, the Flood, and the long-lived 
heroes who came before the Flood. Here, too, we find 
names of ancient kings who are identified with Amraphel 
and his allies, of whom we read in chapter xiv. 

We do not know exactly how the Biblical stories are 
connected with the Babylonian traditions. We know 
that Palestine and the rest of \Vestern Asia was under 
the influence of Babylon from very early times. The 
numerous inscriptions of Hammurabi, king of Babylon, 
probably Amraphel, show that about B. C. 2250 the suze 
rainty of Babylon extended to the Mediterranean. 

Later on the recent discovery of a number of cuneiform 
tablets l , from the archives of the Egyptian Foreign Office 
of about B.C. 1400, show that the Babylonian language 
and character were used in the diplomatic correspondence 
between Egypt and the states of Western Asia ; and 
that at that time there was constant commercial and 
diplomatic intercourse between Egypt and Babylon, pass 
ing through or along the borders of Palestine. Moreover, 
even the letters sent by Canaanite tributary princes to 
their Egyptian suzerain are written in Babylonian. Again, 
from about B. C. 900 to 605 the influence of Assyria was 

1 The Amarna Tablets. 
C 



i8 THE BOOK OF GENESIS 

dominant in Western Asia, and the Assyrian civilization 
was practically the same as that of Babylonia, and Babylon 
during this period was a dependency of Assyria. From 
B.C. 606 to 538 Babylon again held the supremacy of 
Western Asia, and during this period the flower of the 
Jewish people were carried captive to Babylon. Although 
at the end of this period Persia wrested the supremacy 
from Babylon, that great city still remained for centuries 
a centre of culture and religion, and one of the capitals 
of the Persian Empire. During all this period there was 
an influential Jewish colony at Babylon. Doubtless, if 
our information were more complete, we could trace a 
continuous Babylonian influence in Palestine from the 
earliest times to the Reforms of Ezra and NeKemiali 1 . 
It does not follow that the Biblical stories were derived 
from any of the cuneiform documents now known to us. 
Gen. i-x and the Babylonian narratives may be indepen 
dent developments of primitive Semitic traditions; or, 
again, the Israelites may in the first instance have derived 
these traditions from the Canaanites *. But the intercourse 
of Babylon with Palestine shows that the Israelite narra 
tives may have been again and again revised and corrected 
through the influence of Babylonian religion and literature. 
Moreover, since the Priestly Document 3 was compiled 
during and after the Exile by Jews living in Babylon, we 
should expect to find in it traces of the study of Babylonian 
literature extant at that time. Doubtless such study is 
the cause of some of the parallels between the Priestly and 
Babylonian stories of the Creation and the Flood ; and 
it is possible that some of the resemblances between 
the Priestly Laws and the Code of Hammurabi* may be 
due to Jewish research during and after the Exile. In 
the same way the narrative of Abraham and Amraphel 
(Hammurabi) in chapter xiv may be partly based on 

1 B.C. 444. 2 See p. 21. s See pp. 34 ff. 

4 A collection of over three hundred laws with a long 
preamble, inscribed on a great block of black marble. 



INTRODUCTION 19 

information derived from Babylon, possibly by Jews of 
the Captivity. 

The extent of Babylonian influence on Israel is matter 
of controversy ; even the name and worship of Yahweh 
are said to have been derived from Babylon. Recently 
a distinguished Assyriologist, Prof. Friedrich Delitzsch, 
in two famous lectures before the German Emperor, 
insisted on the debt of Israel to Babylon, and maintained 
that because of this indebtedness, and for other reasons, 
the O.T. is not a revelation. We should be inclined to 
draw the opposite conclusion. Consider the enormous 
prestige of Babylon, the venerable antiquity of its tradi 
tions, its imperial power and splendour, its advanced 
civilization, its stately temples and magnificent ritual. 
We might have expected that the Jews would be over 
whelmed by such influences, that they would have been 
dazzled and led astray. No doubt many lost faith in 
Yahweh, abjured their nationality, and became merged 
in the surrounding heathenism. But read the Priestly 
account of the Creation \ and note the wonderful spiritual 
discrimination and insight with which the writer uses the 
traditional framework to express the most sublime truths. 
Is there not here the influence of the Divine Spirit, 
all the more manifest because it overcomes opposing 
forces ? 

(c) Egyptian Sources (the Story of Joseph). The 
influence of Egypt in Palestine was constant and power 
ful ; but the prophets who sympathized with Isaiah, 
Jeremiah, and Ezekiel regarded the Egyptian influence 
as corrupt both in politics and religion. The authors and 
editors of the Pentateuch were of one mind with these 
prophets, so that they made little use of Egyptian sources. 
But it seems probable that the story of Joseph is partly 
derived from an Egyptian narrative 2 . 

(d) Stories from the Sanctuaries. Many of the narra- 

1 Gen. i. i ii. 4. 2 See notes on xxxvii, xxxix-xl. 
C 2 



20 THE BOOK OF GENESIS 

tives are connected with the great Israelite sanctuaries 
or high places, the oak of Moreh by Shechem 1 , Bethel 2 , 
Mamre by Hebron 3 , Jerusalem 4 , Beer-lahai-roi 5 , Beer- 
sheba", and Gilead 7 . As they describe how the Patri 
archs founded the sanctuaries, or visited them, or 
endowed them with tithes, we may naturally suppose that 
the stories were preserved at these places ; and that the 
authors of the Primitive and Elohistic Documents derived 
them from the priests, just as Herodotus gathered informa 
tion from the priests in Egypt and Babylon. 

(e) Ancient Lyrics. The Pentateuch contains many 
poems ; and several of these are in Genesis. In addition 
to smaller fragments there are the Sword Song of Lamech 8 , 
Noah s Oracle on his Sons 9 , the Blessings of Isaac on 
Jacob and Esau 10 , and the Blessing of Jacob". These 
poems were not composed by the authors of the four main 
documents used in the Pentateuch 1: , but are older than 
any of these documents. Perhaps originally they were 
preserved in the memories and on the lips of the people, 
and then written down, either separately or in collections 
of poems. The authors of the documents may thus have 
obtained the poems from oral tradition, or from separate 
writings, or from collections. Some poems in other books 
of the Pentateuch, and in Joshua and Samuel, c., are 



I Gen. xii. 6 (Abram) ; xxxiii. 18, xxxv. 4 Jamb ; xxxvii. TZ 
(Joseph) : cf. Deut. xi. 30, xxvii. 4 ; Joshua xxiv. 26 ; Judges 
ix. 4. 

3 Gen. xii. 8, xiii. 3, 4 (AbranO ; xxviii. 19, xxxi. 13, xxxv. 
1-15 (Jacob) : cf. i Kings xii. 29 ; Hos. iv. 15, x. 15 ; Amos 
iii. 14, iv. 4, v. sf.. vii. 10, 13. 

s Gen. xiii. 18, xviii. i, xxiii. 19, xxv. 9 (Abraham) ; xxxv. 
27 (Isaac and Jacob). 

4 Gen. xiv. 18. 

* Gen. xvi. 14 (Hagarand Ishmael); xxiv. 62. xxv. TI Isaac\ 

6 Gen. xxi. 33, xxii. 19 (Abraham) ; xxvi. 33 (Isaac) ; xlvi. i 
(Israel) : cf. Amos v. 5. 

7 Gen. xxxi. 47-52 ; Joshua xxii. 10 : cf. Hos. xii. u. 

8 iv. 23, 24. 9 ix. 25-27. 10 xxvii. 27-29, 39, 40. 

II xlix. 1-27. 12 See pp. 22 ff. 



INTRODUCTION 21 

expressly said to be taken from older collections, e.g. 
Num. xxi. 14, 15 from the Book of the Wars of Yahweh; 
Joshua x. 12 (the Sun and Moon standing still), 2 Sam. 
i. i8ff. (David s Lament over Saul and Jonathan), 
and, according to the LXX, I Kings viii. 12 from the 
Book of Jashar. Possibly some or all of the poems in 
Genesis are derived from one or other of these two 
collections ; but if poems were taken from the same col 
lections, there is no obvious reason why the collection 
should be named in some instances and not in others. 

(/) Other Ancient Traditions. We have spoken of 
traditions derived from Babylon, of others preserved at 
the various sanctuaries, and also of poems current amongst 
the ancient Israelites. No doubt there were other tradi 
tions. Many of the narratives in Genesis describe scenes 
of nomad life ; it is held by some that the Israelites looked 
back upon the nomad period of their history as a Golden 
Age of primitive virtue, prosperity, and happiness ; and 
that in later generations the stories told long ago round 
the camp-fires of the wandering tribes were still told by 
mothers to their children, and repeated amongst the 
maidens at the well, by the guests at rustic merry-makings, 
and in the evening gatherings of the peasants when the 
day s work was done. Such story-telling is still a promi 
nent feature of social gatherings in the East, especially 
amongst the Bedouin. We must remember, however, 
that the Israelites on the southern and eastern border 
lands either retained nomad habits, or were in close and 
constant intercourse with nomads, so that these stories 
might be handed down by a continuous tradition amongst 
nomad tribes. It is also probable that the Israelites 
might borrow or adapt traditions of their other neigh 
bours, e.g. the Phoenicians, Philistines, Ammon,Moab, and 
Edom. The authors of the documents would find these 
various traditions like the poems -current in writing 
or otherwise, and would embody them in their works. 



23 THE BOOK OF GENESIS 

PRIMITIVE DOCUMENT (J). 

(a) Characteristics. As a rule the most interesting 
stories have been taken from this document ; they are 
told in a simple, childlike fashion, and the author does 
not allow himself to be hampered by the niceties of exact 

(theology. Thus he, and he alone, uses the name Yahweh 
in Genesis, without regard to the time when that name 
was first revealed to Israel. Yahweh, too, is constantly 
spoken of as if He were a man. He moulds the first man 
and the first animals out of clay, as a potter might mould 
a vessel ; He walks in the garden He has planted; He 
comes down from heaven to see what the builders of 
Babel are doing; and He accepts the hospitality of 
Abraham, as any traveller might make himself at home in 
the tent of a Bedouin sheikh. Again, he delights to tell 
us how people and places came to have their names, 
though his explanations are usually rather plays upon 
words than serious derivations. Alan is called adain 
because he was made out of the soil, adamah ; Abraham 
is the father, ab, of many nations, hamon l ; and the names 
of the twelve tribes must each have some suggestive 
explanation. A consonant more or less does not matter 
in these popular epigrams. The author takes a frank 
interest in the ancient sanctuaries, the high places, with 
their sacred trees, and tells us, for instance, how Abraham 
set up altars by the terebinth at Shechem 2 , on the hill 
near Bethel 3 , by the terebinths at Mamre near Hebron 4 , 
and how the sacred tamarisk at Beer-sheba had been 
planted by him 5 . 

He has a lively style, and a varied and vivid vocabulary. 
A few of his peculiarities may be cited: Israel is more 
often used than Jacob, the inhabitants of Palestine are 
called Canaanites. 



1 A multitude. a Gen. xii. 6. 

:; Cm. xii. 8. * Gen. xiii. 18. 

5 Gen. xxi. 33. 



INTRODUCTION 23 

The Primitive Document l is now only known to us as 
a series of chapters, paragraphs, and sentences scattered 
through the Pentateuch, Joshua, and Judges, and perhaps 
also Saimiel, or even the earlier part of Kings, But 
these disjecta membra, together with others which have 
been lost, once formed a continuous narrative in a small 
roll or book 2 . This work may be called a history, first of 
mankind and then of Israel, from the Creation to the 
conquest of Canaan, or even to the death of David, or 
perhaps even to the revolt of the Ten Tribes 3 . It was, 
however, a continuous history only in the sense that the 
different sections were written one after another in the 
same book. The author was more anxious to preserve 
interesting and instructive stories than to compose a con 
nected and consistent narrative. His work is a collection 
of anecdotes arranged roughly in chronological order. 
Most of them were borrowed with more or less alter 
ation from older writings, and the accounts of the doings 
of the Patriarchs at the ancient high places near Shechem, 
Hebron, Bethel, and Beer-sheba were doubtless derived 
from the priests of these sanctuaries. 

There seem to have been two chief editions of this 
work, an earlier edition 4 , compiled about B.C. 850, and 
a later edition with many additions 5 , about B.C. 700-650, 
i. e. between the time of Hezekiah and Josiah. 

The sympathetic interest taken in the high places 
with their sacred trees shows that the author wrote before 
the great reform of Israelite worship in the time of Josiah, 
when the outlying sanctuaries were suppressed, sacrifice 
was confined to the one temple at Jerusalem, and the 
ritual was purged of many superstitious practices. Yet 



1 The symbol for which is J. The document is often styled 
the Yahwistic (or Jehovistic) Document. 

2 Cf. p. 30. 

8 See Skinner, i Kings xii (Century Bible). 

4 Denoted by the symbol J 1 . 

5 These additions are denoted by the symbol J 2 . 



24 THE BOOK OF GENESIS 

the narratives set forth and illustrate a faith in one Holy 
God, who punishes sin and rewards righteousness. The 
author s unsophisticated views as to doctrines allow him 
to speak of Yahweh as if He were a man, and often 
appeared on earth as a man amongst men, working for 
them, talking to them, and eating with them. This way 
of writing sets forth most vividly the nearness of the 
Divine Presence, the keen interest which God takes in 
human affairs, and the reality of an intimate fellowship 
between God and man. These same truths were more 
fully revealed in the life of Jesus of Nazareth, so that 
primitive tradition partly anticipated the Gospel history 
of the Incarnation. 

() Names and Symbols. We have called this docu 
ment the Primitive Document, because it preserves the 
ancient traditions in a more primitive form than do the 
other sources of the Pentateuch. It is probably also older 
than the Elohistic Document. The Primitive and Elohistic 
Documents together are often called the Prophetic 
Documents, because they are held to have been compiled 
under the influence of the prophets of the eighth century. 
The Primitive Document is usually called the Yahivistic 
(or Jehovistic) Document, and its author the Yahivist (or 
Jehovist], because it is the only document which uses the 
Divine Name Yahmch (Jehovah} in Genesis. The symbol 
used to denote it is J \ 

(c) Contents. The portions of the Primitive Document 
which are included in Genesis, i. e. those referring to 
the period from the Creation to the death of Joseph, may 
be summarized thus : 

ii. 4 b -25- The Creation. When the world was a 
barren waste Yahweh 2 moulded a man of the clay and 
breathed into him the breath of life, so that he became 
alive. He planted a garden, and placed him in it to keep 

1 C. has also been used (by Dillmann\ and the different 
strata see p. 13^ in it have been denoted by J l , J 2 , J :l , &c. 
- St-f note on ii. 4. 



INTRODUCTION 25 

it ; but forbade his eating the fruit of the tree of the 
knowledge of good and evil. To provide the man with 
a companion Yahweh formed all the different kinds of 
animals, but none of them were suitable ; so that at last 
Yahweh threw the man into a trance and shaped a 
woman out of one of his ribs. This was the origin of mar 
riage. In those first days the man and woman were 
naked, and not ashamed. 

iii. 7#<? Fall. Tempted by the Serpent the man and 
woman eat of the forbidden fruit ; they perceive their 
nakedness and hide themselves. Yahweh calls them 
into His presence ; elicits a confession, inflicts penalties 
on the man, the woman, and the Serpent ; and turns the 
man and the woman out of the garden. 

iv. 1-16. Cain and Abel. Eve, the woman, bears 
Cain and Abel. When they are grown up Cain is jealous, 
because Yahweh favours Abel. Cain murders Abel. 
Yahweh punishes him by driving him out as an exile, but 
sets a mark on him that no one shall kill him. 

iv. 17-24. The Beginnings of Civilization. Genealogy 
from Cain to Lamech. Lamech institutes the practice of 
marrying two wives. His sons found the various arts 
of primitive civilization. Lamech s song of triumph. 

iv. 25, 26. Adam, Seth, Enoch. Men begin to worship 
Yahweh. 

vi. 1-4. The sons of God marry the daughters of men. 

vii. 5 viii. 22 (portions of 1 ). The Flood. Yahweh 
purposes to destroy all living creatures because of the 
wickedness of men ; but He bids Noah save himself and 
his family, seven - of each clean animal, and two of each 
unclean animal in an Ark. Noah obeys. After seven 
days there comes a flood caused by forty days rain. 
Yahweh shuts up Noah in the Ark. All living beings are 

1 See Analysis, p. 53. 2 See notes on this section. 



26 THE BOOK OF GENESIS 

drowned except those in the Ark. Yahweh stops the 
rain, and the waters fall. Forty days later Noah sends 
out first the raven and then the dove twice, at intervals of 
seven days. When the dove does not return Noah 
removes the covering of the Ark and sees that the ground 
is dry. Noah [leaves the Ark l ], and offers a sacrifice to 
Yahweh, who promises that He will not again destroy 
every living thing, or interrupt the regular course of the 
seasons. 

ix. 18, 19. The re-peopling of the Earth by Noah s 
three sons Shem, Ham, and Japheth. 

ix. 20-27. The Curse of Canaan. Noah institutes the 
cultivation of the vine and the making of wine. He gets 
drunk and exposes himself. Shem and Japheth show 
a consideration for him which Ham had neglected ; they 
are blessed and he is cursed. 

x. (Portions of 2 ). The Origin of the Nations. A dis 
tribution of the peoples of the Hebrew world between the 
three sons of Noah. 

xi. 1-9. The Tower of Babel. Mankind, still one 
community, speaking one language, propose to build 
a city and a tower that they may not be separated. 
Yahweh makes them speak different languages, so that 
they cannot understand one another, and scatters them 
over the face of the earth. 

Abram and Lot. [Terah, Abram s father, and his 
family leave Ur \] 

xi. 28-30, xii. 1-4% 6-20. Abram, Sarai [and Lot? 1 ] 
migrate from Haran to Canaan. Abram builds altars at 
Shechem and Bethel. On account of a famine he visits 
Egypt ; Sarai, supposed, on his own showing, to be his 
sister, is taken into Pharaoh s harem ; but is released on 
account of the plagues sent by Yahweh. Abram is dis 
missed from Egypt. 

1 See Remark, p. 52. 

J Src Analysis, Table B. p. 53 ; cf. p. 38. 



INTRODUCTION 27 

xiii. 1-5, 7-1 i a , 1 2-1 8. Abram .and Lot come to 
Bethel, and separate because their herdmen quarrel. 
Lot settles at Sodom ; Abram in Canaan, which Yahweh 
promises to his seed. He builds an altar at Hebron. 

xv. (Portions of 1 ). Yahweh promises Abram an heir, 
and covenants to give Canaan to his seed. 

xvi. l b , 2, 4-14. Sarai, being childless, gives Hagar to 
Abram ; but when she sees that Hagar is pregnant she 
ill-treats her. Hagar runs away (but is sent back by an 
angel 2 ) ; Ishmael is born. 

xviii-xix. 3 Yahweh and two angels appear in the form 
of men to Abraham at Mamre, and are hospitably enter 
tained by him. Yahweh announces that Sarah shall bear 
a son ; she laughs incredulously, and is rebuked. Yahweh 
announces to Abraham the doom of Sodom ; but promises, 
at his intercession, that the city shall be spared if ten 
righteous men are found in it. The two angels reach 
Sodom, and are hospitably entertained by Lot, who protects 
them from the men of Sodom. They tell Lot of the 
coming doom of the city, and with difficulty induce him 
to flee with his family. He is allowed to take refuge in 
Zoar, and Yahweh destroys Sodom and Gomorrah 
with fire from heaven. Lot s wife looks back, and is 
turned into a pillar of salt. Lot and his daughters flee 
from Zoar to a cave, and Lot becomes the father of Moab 
and Ammon by his two daughters. 

Abraham and Isaac, xxi. 1-7 4 . Isaac is born. xxi. 
22-34 4 . Abraham worships Yahweh at Beer-sheba, and 
makes a covenant with Abimelech. xxii. 20-24. Abraham 
hears that his brother Nahor has children and grand 
children, one of the latter being Rebekah. xxiv. Abraham 
sends his steward Eliezer to his kinsfolk at Haran to 
fetch a wife for Isaac. He is divinely led to choose 
Rebekah, who returns with him and marries Isaac, 



1 See Analysis, Table B. " Cf. notes on this passage. 

a Except xix. 29. 4 Parts of these sections. 



2 8 THE BOOK OF GENESIS 

[Abraham having died during the servant s absence 1 ], 
xxv. 1-6 (out of place, or addition). Abraham s second 
wife, Keturah, and family ; the provision made for them 
and Ishmael. Ii b , 18. The homes of Isaac and Ishmael. 
Isaac, Jacob, and Esau. xxv. 21-26% 27-34. Esau and 
Jacob are born ; Esau sells his birthright to Jacob for 
bread and lentil-soup, xxvi. 1-33. Isaac sojourns at Gerar, 
and is blessed by Yahweh. He makes Rebekah pass as 
his sister, but the fraud is discovered. His herdmen have 
disputes with the Philistines at Gerar as to the wells ; but 
the dispute is ended by a covenant confirmed by an oath with 
the king, Abimelech, hence the place where the covenant was 
made is called Beer-sheba, i. e. Well of the Oath, xxvii. 
1-45 <1 . Jacob and Rebekah induce Isaac to bless Jacob, 
under the impression that he is blessing Esau. He subse 
quently blesses Esau, xxviii. 10-22 2 . Jacob flees to Haran ; 
on his way he lights, without knowing it, on a holy place. 
Yahweh appears to him and blesses him. He calls the 
place Beth-el, xxix, xxx. 2 Jacob sojourns with Laban at 
Haran ; serves him fourteen years for Rachel and 
Leah, by whom and their handmaids Bilhah and Zilpah, 
he has eleven sons and one daughter. He afterwards 
serves Laban for a share of the flock, xxxi. I xxxii. 2 3 . 
Jacob flees from Haran ; Laban overtakes him in Gilead, 
and they make a covenant, xxxii. 3 -xxxiii. 17*. Jacob 
prepares to meet Esau ; at Peniel he wrestles with a 
supernatural being and receives the name Israel. Jacob 
and Esau meet and are reconciled : they separate, Jacob 
goes to Succoth, Esau to Mount Seir. [xxxiii. 18 xxxiv. 
3 1 3 . Jacob at Shechem. Episode of Dinah r ?] xxxv. 16-22. 
Birth of Benjamin and death of Rachel. Reuben s sin. 
xxxvi. 21-39. The kings of Edom. 
Jacob and Joseph, xxxvii. 3 Joseph rouses his brothers 



1 See on xxiv. 63. " Parts of. 

3 Portions, soe Table B. * Mostly. 

5 It is not certain that J had a version of this story. 



INTRODUCTION 29 

hatred by telling tales ; but for Judah they would have 
slain him ; they sell him to Ishmaelites. xxxviii. Tamar, 
the wife of Judah s son Er, becomes by a stratagem the 
mother of Perez and Zerah by Judah. xxxix. Joseph is 
sold to an Egyptian 2 , whom he serves with success and 
acceptance. His master s wife tempts him ; and, on his 
refusal, gets him imprisoned on a false charge of attempted 
outrage, xli. 3 [ 4 ] He is released, and made vizier of Egypt ; 
provides corn for a famine, and marries the daughter of 
Poti-phera, the priest of On [ s ]. xlii. 2 Joseph s brethren 
come to Egypt to buy corn, and meet Joseph, xliii. 6 Judah 
induces Israel to let them go to Egypt again and take 
Benjamin. They go ; Joseph entertains them at a feast, 
xliv. A cup is hidden in Benjamin s sack ; he is charged 
with stealing it, and Joseph proposes to keep him as 
a slave. Judah intercedes, xlv. s Joseph makes himself 
known, and sends for his father, xlvi. 1-5 3 . Israel goes 
down to Egypt, xlvi. 28- xlvii. 4, 6 b . Joseph meets him ; 
introduces five of the brethren to Pharaoh ; they obtain 
a settlement in Goshen and the superintendentship of 
the royal cattle, xlvii. 12-27% 28-31. During the famine 
Joseph provides food for his kinsfolk, and sells corn to 
the Egyptians. He makes a new settlement of the land 
of Egypt. Joseph promises to bury Israel in Canaan, 
xlviii. 3 Israel adopts Ephraim and Manasseh, and bestows 
his chief blessing on the younger, Ephraim. xlix. 1-27, 
33 b . Israel blesses his twelve sons, and dies. 1. i-n, 14. 
Joseph buries Israel in Canaan. 

1 See note on xxxvii. ar. 

2 The reference to Potiphar is inserted by an editor. 

3 Portions. 

4 Perhaps J had also an account of Pharaoh s dream ; see 
on xli. 

5 Probably J also mentioned the births of Ephraim and 
Manasseh. 

6 Mostly. 



30 THE BOOK OF GENESIS 

ELOHISTIC DOCUMENT (E). 

(a) Characteristics. The original edition l of this docu 
ment is generally held to have been compiled in the 
Northern Kingdom about B.C. 750, shortly before the 
fall of Samaria. Its author was, therefore, a contem 
porary, perhaps an elder contemporary, of Hosea, Amos, 
Isaiah, and Micah, and may have written under Jero 
boam II of Israel and Uzziah of Judah. This document, 
too 2 , is now only known by the portions preserved in the 
Pentateuch and other historical books ; but in the closing 
days of the Jewish Monarchy it was current as a small 
book or pamphlet, no doubt in the form of a roll. It 
further resembles the Primitive Document in being a col 
lection of narratives and other material which the author 
or editor obtained from older books or from oral tradition. 
The Elohist, however, differs in some respects from the 
author of the Primitive Document. He is less of an 
antiquarian and more of a preacher ; he is less interested 
in the poetry and dramatic force of the popular narratives, 
and more anxious about their religious influence. He 
does not merely bring out what is best in the old faith, 
but, like Isaiah and the prophets of the eighth century, 
he is moved by a flowing tide of spiritual life, thought, 
and fervour ; he lived in a time when old things were 



1 The Elohistic Document, as it was used for the compilation 
of the Pentateuch, &c. < see p. 9), is generally held to have 
been a revised and enlarged edition of an earlier vvork(E 1 ) ; it 
is fairly certain this earlier work made use of still earlier works. 
It is often difficult to distinguish with certainty and accuracy 
between (a) these very early works, (b) the first edition (E 1 ) 
of our work, and (c) the additions (E 2 ) made by the editor of 
the revised and enlarged edition. The two editions E 1 and E 1 
+ E 2 are so similar in style, spirit, and ideas, that what is said 
in this section will, for the most part, apply indifferently to 
both ; but is written with special reference to E 1 . Cf. p. 23. 

The revised Elohistic Document E = E 1 + E 2 is usually dated 
about R. c. 650, in the reign of Manasseh of Judah. 

- Cf. p. 23. 



INTRODUCTION 31 

passing away and all things were becoming new. But, 
like all men who live in such a time, the Elohist does 
not represent the new dispensation, but the transition 
from the new to the old. Both consciously and uncon 
sciously he is continually taking for granted the faith, the 
ideas, the language in which he was trained, even when 
they are logically inconsistent with the new truth of a 
higher Revelation. Thus he accepts the sacred pillars 1 
of the ancient sanctuaries as perfectly legitimate 2 ; though 
a later legislation denounced these pillars as superstitious 
relics of idolatry 3 . It is natural that, writing in a transition 
period, the Elohist should so adapt the ancient stories 
that they may serve to illustrate new truths. The name 
Yahweh was part of the revelation made to Israel through 
Moses 4 ; hence the Elohist is careful not to use this 
name before his time. Isaiah and the prophets denounced 
idolatry ; and the Elohist tells us how Jacob and Joshua 
destroyed idols 6 . He tries to avoid speaking of God as 
a man ; God no lo nger walks, talks, and eats 6 with men, 
but reveals His will through dreams 7 and by voices from 
heaven 8 . Moreover, it is the Elohist who sets forth the 
Divine prohibition of the sacrifice of children in the story 
of the Offering of Isaac. The Elohist, again, shows a 
special moral feeling in telling how a patriarch s wife 
came to be taken into the harem of a Gentile king. The 
older narratives 8 would have allowed us to suppose that 
the patriarch spoke falsely in stating that his wife was 
his sister, but the Elohist is careful to tell us that she 
was his 7/cz^/"-sister 10 . But we must not suppose that this 
writer s anxiety to point a moral makes him either dry 
or dull. We do not know exactly how much is his own 
and how much he borrowed from earlier authorities ; but 



1 Map9ebas. - Gen. xxxv. 14 ; Exod. xxiv. 4. 

" Exod. xxiii. 24, JE ; Deut. vii. 5. * Exod. iii. 15. 

5 Gen. xxxv. 4 ; Joshua xxiv. 14. 

Cf. p. 24. 7 Gen. xx. 3. 8 Gen. xxi. 17, xxii. n. 
J Gen. xii. 13, xxvi. 7. 10 Gen. xx. 12. 



32 THE BOOK OF GENESIS 

in any case his exquisite literary taste is shown in the 
beautiful stories of the Offering of Isaac, Jacob at Beth-el, 
and Joseph in Egypt. 

(b) Names and Symbols. The Elohistic Document 
is so called because its author, like the Priestly Writer 1 , 
held the theory that the Divine Name Yahweh was 
first revealed to Moses at Sinai. Hence the Elohist 
does not use this Name in Genesis, but the Name 
Elohim, God. 

At one time the Elohistic and Priestly Documents, 
because they both used Elohim and avoided Yahweh in 
Genesis, were supposed to be one work, and were called 
the Elohist, or the Grundschrift, i. e. the Fundamental 
Document. When the two were separated, it was at 
first supposed that our Elohistic Document was the later, 
and it was called the Later or Second Elohist. The 
Elohistic and the Primitive Documents are sometimes 
spoken of together as the Prophetic Documents 1 . 

The usual symbol for this document is E ; B has also 
been used (by Dillmann), and the different strata (see 
p. 30) in it have been denoted by E 1 , E 2 , E 3 . 

(c) Contents. xv. (A few fragments of 8 ). God s 
Covenant with Abram. 

xx. 1-17. Abraham at Gerar. Abraham comes to 
sojourn in Gerar. Sarah, supposed, on his own showing, 
to be his sister, is taken into the harem of the king 
Abimelech, but is released on account of the remonstrance 
of God, and the plague sent by Him 4 . Abimelech 
compensates Abraham, and invites him to settle in his 
land. In response to Abraham s prayer the plague is 
removed. \Birth of Isaac 6 .} 

xxi. 8-21. Hagar and Ishmael driven out. At the 
feast made at the weaning of Isaac, Sarah is jealous of 



1 Cf. pp. 34 ff. 3 See p. 24. 

8 See Analysis, Table B, and cf. p. 27. 

* See note on xx. 17, 18. 3 See Remark, p. 52. 



INTRODUCTION 33 

Ishmael, and demands that he and Hagar shall be driven 
out. Abraham, by God s direction, consents ; they are 
sent away, and Ishmael is on the point of dying of thirst 
when God shows Hagar a well. Ishmael grows up in 
the desert, and marries an Egyptian wife. 

xxi. 22-24, 27, 31, 34. The Covenant with Abimelech. 
A covenant is made, confirmed with an oath. Hence the 
well was called Beer-sheba *. 

xxii. 1-13, 19. The offering up of Isaac. God bids 
Abraham offer Isaac as a sacrifice. They journey 
together to the appointed place ; Abraham builds an 
altar, places Isaac upon it, and prepares to slay him. 
An angel stays his hand, and he offers instead a ram 
he sees caught in a neighbouring thicket. They return 
to Beer-sheba. 

xxvii. 1-45 2 . Jacob and Rebekah induce Isaac to 
bless Jacob, under the impression that he is blessing 
Esau. He subsequently blesses Esau, xxviii. 10-22 3 . 
Jacob flees to Haran ; on his way he lights, without 
knowing it, on a holy place. God appears to him and 
blesses him. He calls the place Beth-el, and promises to 
pay tithes, xxix, xxx. 3 Jacob sojourns with Laban at 
Haran ; serves him fourteen years for Rachel and Leah, 
by whom and their handmaids he has eleven sons and 
a daughter. He afterwards serves for a share of the flock. 
xxxi. i xxxii. 2 s . Jacob flees from Laban; Laban 
overtakes him at Gilead ; they make a covenant. Jacob 
continues his journey, and meets angels at Mahanaim. 
xxxii. 3 xxxiii. 17 3 . Jacob s wrestling; his new name, 
Israel ; his reconciliation with Esau, xxxiii. 18 xxxiv. 31 4 . 
Jacob at Shechem. Episode of Dinah, xxxv. 1-8 4 , 14. 
Jacob goes to Beth-el and fulfils his vow. xxxv. 16-22 ? 
Birth of Benjamin, and death of Rachel ; Reuben s sin. 

1 Which might mean either Well of the Oath or Well of 
the Seven. 

4 Parts of. 3 Portions. 

4 In part, see Table B. 



34 THE BOOK OF GENESIS 

xxxvii. 1 Joseph rouses his brothers 1 envy by dreams of 
pre-eminence ; but for Reuben they would have slain him ; 
they put him in a pit from which he is taken by Midianites, 
who sell him for a slave in Egypt to Potiphar,the captain of 
the guard. xl. The chief butler and chief baker are placed 
in custody of the captain of the guard ; Joseph interprets 
their dreams ; the chief butler is restored to favour, but 
forgets Joseph, xli. 1 Pharaoh dreams a dream, which his 
magicians cannot interpret ; the chief butler mentions 
Joseph, who interprets the dream as a prediction of a 
famine. Joseph is appointed to provide for this famine ; 
he marries, and has two sons, xlii. 2 The brethren come 
to Joseph to buy corn ; he treats them as spies ; ascertains 
that they have a younger brother ; lets them go, on 
condition that they bring him ; and keeps Simeon as a 
hostage. When they come home, and tell their story, 
Jacob refuses to send Benjamin, xliii. 3 The brethren 
visit Egypt a second time [with Benjamin] 4 . xlv. 3 Joseph 
makes himself known 5 , and sends for Jacob, xlvi. 1-5 2 . 
Jacob goes down to Egypt, and sacrifices at Beer-sheba 
on his way. xlviii. 2 Jacob adopts Ephraim and Manasseh, 
and bestows the chief blessing on the younger, Ephraim. 
1. 15-22. Joseph promises to continue his kindness to his 
brethren after Jacob s death. Joseph lives to see his great 
grandchildren. He makes the Israelites swear to take 
his bones to Canaan. He dies. 



PRIESTLY DOCUMENT [P]. 

(a) Characteristics. This book, like those already 
described , was originally a separate book or pamphlet, 
and was also, after a fashion, a very short history of 
Israel. But it was chiefly written for the sake of the 
laws which it records ; to show how, when, and why they 



In part, see Table B. " Mostly. 

Portions. * See Remark, p. 52. 5 See pp. 23. 30. 



INTRODUCTION 35 

were made, and how earlier events had prepared the way 
for them. The author lived in Babylon after the Exile ; 
he had read the older books, and also Babylonian annals 
of ancient times, and poems on the beginnings of the gods 
and the world. But he did not merely piece together 
bits from other works. These did not always tell the 
story clearly or fully, and they sometimes contradicted 
each other. The Priestly writer took into account what 
he had read, and what he knew of man and God, and 
tried to think out how things must really have happened. 
He calculated dates, and how men and peoples were 
related to each other, and so made a story, first of 
mankind, and then of Israel, from the Creation to the 
death of Joshua. Genesis contains those portions of this 
book which relate to the period before the oppression of 
the Israelites in Egypt. 

The Priestly writer was inspired to see that: 

Through the ages one unchanging purpose runs; 

he saw God working out His ends throughout the whole 
course of Nature and History; heaven and earth, men 
and nations, had been formed, controlled, and directed in 
order that Israel might fulfil its mission and achieve its 
destiny. If we are to understand this view of the Divine 
purpose, we must remember that Israel was the fore 
runner of Christ. 
Moreover, 

The thoughts of men are wider with the process of 
the suns ; 

our author wrote towards the close of the period of O. T. 
revelation, when Israel had been taught of God many truths 
that were unknown in more primitive times. He tells his 
story so that it may illustrate the fuller Divine teaching ; 
and he leaves out anything that might seem to clash with 
it. His account of the Creation is the last of many 
editions of an ancient Semitic story ; but he has purged 
it of its polytheistic superstition, and made it a noble and 
D 2 



3 6 THE BOOK OF GENESIS 

simple declaration of the making of all things by God, 
who is One, holy and benevolent. 

In this document, too, we read Thou shalt love thy 
neighbour as thyself 1 , and that God created man in His 
own image V 

Some of the more technical characteristics are given in 
the following paragraphs. 

The following section will illustrate the interest shown 
by this document in genealogies and chronology, an 
interest which extends .to statistics generally, e.g. the 
dimensions of the ark 3 , and the minute details as to 
the tabernacle and its furniture 4 . Such features are due 
to the legal nature of the work, which dominates even 
the sections of it found in Genesis. It is true there are 
few actual laws, only those of the Sabbath 5 and of 
Circumcision 6 . But the way in which these are intro 
duced reveals the character of other narratives ; one 
object in telling the stories of the Creation and of 
Abraham is to give the account of the origin of these 
observances, and to furnish the great historical precedents, 
or leading cases. The genealogies prove Israel s title 
to Canaan and to pre-eminence among mankind, partly 
by its descent in the direct male line, through eldest 
sons, from the first man who was made in the image of 
God ; and partly, where the descent is through a younger 
son, by special Divine choice and covenant. 

As the Priestly Document regards the Divine Name 
Yahweh, and the Mosaic laws, as revelations to Moses 
of matters hitherto unknown to men, it abstains from 
using Yahweh, and substitutes Elohim 7 or El Shaddai 8 ; 
the Patriarchs neither erect altars nor offer sacrifices ; 
and there is no recognition of the difference between clean 
and unclean meats. 

1 Lev. xix. 18. 2 Gen. i. 27. 

3 Gen. vi. 13-16. P. 4 Exod. xxv xxxi, xxxv- xl. P. 

" Gen. ii. 1-4*. 6 Gen. xvii. 

7 God. 6 God Almighty. 



INTRODUCTION 37 

The document has a very characteristic vocabulary and 
style, which have much in common with exilic and post- 
exilic literature. Any reader who carefully examines the 
opening section in Genesis will note the frequent re 
currence of the same words, phrases, and formulae. 

(b) Names and Symbols. This document has been 
called (i) the Book of the Four Covenants 1 , because it 
records the covenants made by God with Adam, Noah, 
Abraham, and Moses ; (2) the First or Earlier Elohist, 
by those who at one time regarded it as the earliest of the 
Pentateuchal documents: Elohist because it uses the 
Divine Name Elohim in Genesis. (3) The term Second 
or Later Elohist, on the other hand, has sometimes been 
used for it by those who hold the current modern view 
that it is the latest of the main documents of the Penta 
teuch. (4) This document was part of what was once 
known as the Grundschrift or Fundamental Document 1 , 
or as the Book of Origins, and the title Grundschrift has 
sometimes been used roughly for it by itself, but (5) the 
usual term for it is the Priestly Code or Document. 

The ordinary symbol for this work is P. The symbols 
A, Q have also been used for it, or the bulk of it ; and 
the symbols P 1 , P 2 , P 3 , or P h , Pe, P B for the successive 
strata of it ; P * or P h is also known as H or the Law 
of Holiness. The Priestly portions of Genesis are chiefly 
P 2 or PS, i.e. they belong to the main work of the 
Priestly writers, and contain little of the laws which they 
took over from earlier codes, or of the additions which 
later writers made to their work. 

(c] Contents. The Priestly Document in Genesis mainly 
consists of genealogies and chronological statistics, which, 
taken together, furnish a complete genealogy from Adam 
to the Twelve Patriarchs, and an equally complete scheme 
of chronology for the same period. It consists, in Genesis, 
of ten sections, each headed the Generations of 3 . 

1 So Wellhausen. 2 See p. 32. 

3 Toledoth ; see note on ii. 4. 



38 THE BOOK OF GENESIS 

The Priestly narrative in our book may be summarized 
thus : 

(1) i. I ii. 4*. The Generations of Heaven and Earth. 
God, in seven days, reduces to order the primaeval chaos 
and forms sea and land and heavenly bodies ; creates all 
kinds of vegetable and animal life ; and, last of all, man 
in His own image. He rests on the seventh day, and 
thus institutes the Sabbath. 

(2) v. 1-28, 30-32. The Generations of Adam. 
Genealogy and chronological statistics from Adam to 
the three sons of Noah. 

(3) Portions 1 of vi. 9 ix. 29. The Generations of 
Noah, The Flood is caused by the breaking up of 
the fountains of the abyss and the opening of the windows 
of heaven. Noah and his family, and two each of every 
kind of beast and bird, are saved in the ark ; all other 
living creatures are destroyed. The Flood lasts a year and 
ten days ; the stages of its progress are dated according 
to the years, &c., of Noah s life. God makes a covenant 
with Noah, and gives the rainbow as a sign. 

(4) Portions of x. 2 The Generations of the Sons of 
Noah. A distribution of the peoples of the Hebrew 
world between the three sons of Noah. 

(5) xi. 10-26. The Generations of Shan. Genealogy 
and chronological statistics from Shem to the three sons 
of Terah. 

(6) xi. 27, 31,32. The Generations of Terah. Terah s 
family. Terah, Abram, Lot, and Sarai migrate from Ur 
of the Chaldees to Haran, where Terah dies. 

xii. 4 b , 5. Abram, aged 75, leaves Haran for Canaan 
with his wife Sarai, and with Lot; but (xiii. 6, u b ), 
separates from Lot, because their herds are too large to 
pasture together. 

xvi. i a , 3, 15, 16. Sarai, being childless, gives Hagar 
to Abram, and Ishmael is born when Abram is 86. 

1 See Analysis, Table B. ~ See Analysis, Table B ; cf. p. 26. 



INTRODUCTION 39 

xvii. When Abram is 99 God changes his name to 
Abraham, Sarai s to Sarah ; makes a covenant with him ; 
institutes circumcision as the sign of the covenant ; and 
promises him a son by Sarah, who is now 90. 

xix. 29. God overthrows the cities of the Plain, but 
rescues Lot. 

xxi. 1-5 l . Isaac is born and circumcised. 

xxiii. Sarah dies at the age of 127, and Abram buries 
her at Machpelah near Hebron, in a grave purchased 
from the Hittites. xxv. 7-10. Abram dies at the age of 
175, and Isaac and Ishmael bury him at Machpelah. 

(7) xxv. 12-17. The Generations of Ishmael. The 
descendants of Ishmael; Ishmael dies at the age of 137. 

(8) xxv. 19, &c. The Generations of Isaac, xxv. 19,20. 
Isaac, aged 40, marries Rebekah ; [Birth of Esau and 
Jacob] 2 . xxvi. 34, 35. Esau, at the age of forty, grieves 
his parents by marrying two Hittite wives, xxvii. 46 
xxviii. 9. In order that Jacob may not marry a Hittite 
he is sent to Paddan-aram to marry a daughter of Laban. 
Esau, perceiving the offence he has given by marrying 
Hittites, marries an Ishmaelite wife. xxix. 24, 28 b , 29, 
xxx. 4 a , 21, 22 a . Jacob marries [Leah] 3 and Rachel, and 
their handmaids are Zilpah and Bilhah. Birth of Dinah. 
xxxi. 1 8. He leaves Paddan-aram to return to Isaac, 
xxxv. 9-13, 15. As Jacob is on his way home God appears 
to him at a certain place and changes his name to Israel ; 
Jacob names the place Beth-el, xxxv. 22 b -29. Jacob s 
twelve sons. Jacob comes to Isaac at Hebron. Isaac 
dies at the age of 180; Esau and Jacob bury him. 

(9) xxxvi. 1-30, 40-43, xxxvii. 3 The Generations of 
Esau. His wives 4 and descendants. He separates from 
Jacob because their herds are too large to pasture together, 
and goes out of Canaan into Edom. 

(10) xxxvii. 2 a , &c. The Generations of Jacob. [Some 

1 In part. 2 See Remark, p. 52. 

3 See Remark, p. 52, and cf. xxxv. 23. 
* See commentary. 



40 THE BOOK OF GENESIS 

preliminary account of Joseph *.] xli. 46. Joseph, at the 
age of thirty, appears before Pharaoh, and is made his 
vizier, xlvi. 6-27. Jacob and his family, sixty-six in all 
the names are given go down to Joseph in Egypt ; mean 
while Joseph has married Asenath, the daughter of an 
Egyptian priest, and has two sons, Ephraim and 
Manasseh. xlvii. 5 b , 6 a , 7-11, 27 b . Pharaoh settles 
Israel in Goshen ; Jacob, at the age of 130, blesses 
Pharaoh. The Israelites prosper and multiply, xlvii. 28, 
xlviii. 3-6. At the age of 147 Jacob blesses Joseph and 
adopts his two sons. xlix. 29-33, 1. 12, 13. Jacob dies, 
and, in accordance with his expressed wishes, is buried 
with Abraham and Isaac at Machpelah. 

Contents of the Priestly Document in the rest of the 
Hexateuch <l . The main sections of this document outside 
of Genesis are Exodus xxv xxxi, xxxv xl, the whole of 
Leviticus, Numbers i x, xvii xix, xxv xxxi, xxxiii 
xxxvi ; also in the rest of the Hexateuch portions of P are 
combined with the other documents. 

The history is carried on in a continuation of the 
genealogical and chronological scheme of Genesis ; and 
is used as a framework for the numerous laws which 
form the bulk of the document, and have given it the 
name of the Priestly Code. 

The history comes to an end with the death of Joshua 
but the historical books Judges Kings have received 
additions by writers who wrote under the influence of 
the Priestly Document ; and Chronicles is a re-statement 
of the history of Israel from this point of view. 

5. How GENESIS HAS BEEN HANDED DOWN 

TO US. 

The original copy of Genesis has long since perished ; 
and the book is now only known to us from manuscripts 
written long after the time of Christ, and from editions 

1 See Remark, p. 52. 

3 For details see volumes on Exodus, &c. 



INTRODUCTION 41 

printed from such manuscripts, and translations made 
from them. 

The oldest manuscripts now in existence in which 
Genesis is contained are those of the LXX or Greek trans 
lation. These are the great manuscripts of the Greek 
Bible, containing the N. T. in the original Greek and the 
Greek translation of the O. T. The most famous, and 
probably the oldest, of these is the Vatican Codex 1 , 
so called because it is preserved in the Papal Library 
of the Vatican at Rome. Next in age and importance is 
the Sinaitic Codex 2 , so called because it was found in 
a monastery on Mount Sinai. This manuscript, however, 
only contains portions of the Greek Genesis. These two 
manuscripts were written in the fourth century of the 
Christian era. Another important manuscript of the 
Greek Bible is the Alexandrine Codex 3 , which was once 
preserved at Alexandria, and was presented to Charles I 
by a patriarch of Alexandria, and is now in the British 
Museum. This manuscript was written in the fifth century, 
and contains most of Genesis. There are also many later 
manuscripts of the Greek Bible. The translation of our 
book which is preserved in these various copies was prob 
ably made in the third century before Christ. We must 
remember that the oldest existing manuscripts of this 
Greek translation were written in the fourth century of 
our era, about 600 years after the translation was 
made, about 700 years after the completion of the 
Pentateuch, and perhaps about 1600 years after the time 
of Moses *. 

The next oldest manuscripts in which Genesis is found 
are those containing the Latin, Egyptian, and Syriac 

1 Often denoted by the symbol B. 

a Usually denoted by the symbol N, the Hebrew letter 
Aleph. 

3 Usually denoted by the symbol A. 

* Dating the completion of the Pentateuch about B.C. 400, 
and the Exodus about B.C. 1300; the latter date is quite un 
certain. 



42 THE BOOK OF GENESIS 

Versions of the O. T. These translations were made 
between A. D. 150-400, and the oldest manuscripts of 
them which contain our book or portions of it were written 
between A.D. 400-600. These versions were either made 
from or influenced by the LXX or Greek translation. 

The oldest Hebrew manuscript containing Genesis 
whose date is known belongs to the ninth century after 
Christ, and is not written in the characters used by the 
ancient Israelites, but in the character used in printed 
Hebrew Bibles, and known as Square Hebrew. It is 
really an Aramaic character. There are also manuscripts 
preserved amongst the Samaritans, or obtained from 
them. These are written in a form of the old Israelite 
character, and are known as the Samaritan Pentateuch. 
Probably none of them are older than the ninth century 
A. D. Thus, as far as we know, the oldest existing 
manuscript of the Hebrew Genesis was written about 
1 200 years after the completion of the Pentateuch, and 
perhaps considerably more than 2000 years after the 
time of Moses 1 . Thus our oldest manuscripts are those 
of a version, and were copied about 700 years after our 
book was completed ; and our oldest Hebrew manuscripts 
were not written till about 500 years later. During 
these long intervals the book must have been copied 
again and again. Each copying was an opportunity for 
making mistakes or intentional alterations ; and the 
reader may naturally suppose that Genesis, as we find it 
in these manuscripts, is very different from the same book 
as it stood when the Pentateuch was completed. No 
doubt there have been alterations, but the changes were 
limited by the care the Jews took in copying the O. T. 
During the first few centuries of the Christian era they 
devised an elaborate system to secure the accurate copying 
of their Scriptures. They counted clauses, words, and 
even letters. Hence we are fairly sure that our Hebrew 

1 Cf. footnote to p. 41. 



INTRODUCTION 43 

manuscripts are almost identical with those in circulation 
among the Jews about A. D. 200-400 ; still, however, 
about 600 years after the completion of the Pentateuch. 

We must frankly admit that we are uncertain as to the 
original form of many passages, some of which, unfortu 
nately, are important and interesting, for instance, the 
clause in Jacob s Blessing on Judah translated in the 
English versions, Until Shiloh come 1 . But this un 
certainty is comparatively limited; with the various 
manuscripts at our disposal we are practically sure that 
the original Genesis was substantially the same as the 
book we now have. In order to give the full reasons 
for our assurance we should have to enter into many 
technical details, but we may state one leading con 
sideration, which will be easily understood without any 
technical knowledge. Our present manuscripts are the 
result of three distinct processes : (a) a process of 
frequent copying and recopying of Greek manuscripts 
of a Greek translation ; (b) a similar process of copying 
Hebrew manuscripts in the Square Hebrew character ; 
(c) a third like process of copying the Samaritan 
Pentateuch 2 , i.e. of copying Hebrew manuscripts in the 
Samaritan variety of the ancient Hebrew character 3 . 
In each process mistakes would arise, but not the same 
mistakes. The blunders and changes made by Greek 
scribes copying Greek manuscripts would seldom corre 
spond exactly to those made by Jewish scribes copying 
Hebrew manuscripts. And again, the mistakes made by 
Jewish scribes copying manuscripts in the Square 
Hebrew character would not, as a rule, be the same as 
those made by Samaritan scribes copying Hebrew written 
in Samaritan characters. Hence when these three 



1 Gen. xlix. 10. 2 See above, p. 42. 

3 For the sake of simplicity we have ignored MSS. of 
versions other than the Greek or LXX. The existence of 
these additional authorities strengthens the argument but does 
not alter its character. 



44 THE BOOK OF GENESIS 

authorities agree in giving the same texts, or a Greek 
rendering equivalent to the Hebrew of the Hebrew 
manuscripts, we may reasonably conclude that we have 
something very like the original. Now these three 
authorities, the LXX in its Greek manuscripts, the 
Hebrew as given in the Square Hebrew manuscripts 1 , 
and the Hebrew as given in the Samaritan manuscripts, 
give us substantially the same narratives ; that is to say, 
the narratives as we know them in our English Bibles. 

We have spoken of the various ancient manuscripts, 
from these were derived the printed editions of the 
Hebrew O. T., and of the Greek, Latin, and other trans 
lations of the O. T. Our A. V. is a revision of previous 
English translations which were largely influenced by 
the Vulgate or Latin translation made by the learned 
Latin divine or Father, Jerome, c, A. D. 400. This 
Latin translation was a revision of previous translations 
made from the LXX. The R. V. is a revision of the 
Authorised. 

The English Bible, as we are familiar with it, contains 
many features that were not in the Hebrew, especially 
in the A. V. The title Genesis or Beginning 1 or 
Origin is taken from the LXX. The Jews used as 
title the first word of the book, Bereshith, which means 
In the beginning. The contents of the various chapters, 
and the dates in the margins of copies of the A. V., are 
interpolations, and do not correspond to anything in the 
Hebrew. The division into chapters and verses was not 
present in the original book. The verses appear to 
correspond substantially to those into which the book 
was divided by Jewish scholars in the early centuries 
after Christ. The division into chapters seems to have 
been first made in manuscripts of Jerome s Latin trans 
lation, the Vulgate, early in the thirteenth century. 
According to one authority, this division was made by 

1 Called the Massoretic Text. 



INTRODUCTION 45 

Stephen Langton, Archbishop of Canterbury. From the 
Vulgate it passed into Hebrew, English, and other Bibles. 

6. How OUR GENESIS HAS BEEN DIVIDED UP 

INTO ITS ORIGINAL DOCUMENTS. 

We have explained 1 that Genesis was compiled by 
a series of editings from three or more ancient works. 
None of these works survive, except so far as portions of 
them are contained in Genesis. Clearly it was a very 
hard task to determine from which original document each 
section of our book was taken ; indeed, it is a task which 
can never be fully accomplished. Nevertheless, numerous 
scholars belonging to almost every branch of the Christian 
Church have laboured at this task with patient industry 
during a period of more than a hundred years ; and their 
labours have been crowned with a large measure of 
success. There is very general agreement as to which 
portions belonged to the Priestly Document 2 , and as to 
which portions of i xix belonged to the Primitive 
Document 3 . With regard to the portions of xx 1 
which do not belong to the Priestly Document, some are 
assigned with comparative certainty to the Primitive or 
the Elohistic Document 4 , as the case may be ; but there 
are others the origin of which is uncertain, they may have 
come from either. 

An exhaustive discussion of the reasons why the several 
parts of Genesis have been assigned to one or other 
document would fill many large volumes ; but we may 
very briefly indicate the character of the methods of 
analysis. The first clue was the use of the Divine Names. 
It was noticed that in some passages Yahiveh, LORD, 
was used, and in others Elohim, God 5 . An examination 
of the Yahweh passages showed that they were similar in 
language, style, and ideas, and in historical and religious 

1 See pp. 9, 16. 2 Pp. 34 ff. 3 Pp. 22 ff. 

4 P. 30. 

3 On the use in ii, iii, of Yahweh Elohim see note on ii. 4. 



46 THE BOOK OF GENESIS 

standpoint ; so that they seemed to be portions of one 
work, which has been styled the Yahwistic, Jehovistic, 
or, in this book, the Primitive Document *. The Elohim 
passages in chapters i xix were also very similar to 
each other, and very different from the Yahweh passages, 
so that they seemed to be portions of another work, the 
Priestly Document 2 . But the Elohim passages in 
chapters xx 1 were by no means all alike. The study 
of the Elohim passages in i xix revealed the peculi 
arities of the Priestly Document, and enabled critics to 
ascertain that many of the Elohim passages in xx 1 also 
belonged to this document. The other, non-Priestly, 
Elohim passages in xx 1 also closely resembled each 
other ; they differed widely from the Priestly passages, 
but had a good deal in common with the Yahwistic or 
Primitive sections. These non-Priestly Elohim passages 
therefore seemed to come from a third work, known as 
the Elohistic Document 3 . 

There are, however, in Genesis a number of passages 
which do not contain either Yahweh or Elohim ; but the 
characteristics of the three documents were ascertained, 
as we have seen, from the passages which do contain 
Divine Names. As a rule some of these characteristics 
occurred in the other passages, and thus they too were 
assigned to one or other document. 

In some cases, however, the analysis cannot be com 
pleted. Apart from the use of Divine Names, the 
Elohistic, and the Yahwistic, or Primitive Document, are 
sometimes so similar, that, when the Divine Names do 
not occur, it may be clear that a passage belongs to one 
or other of these two, but we may not know which ; or, 

1 A closer examination revealed minor differences which 
show that this document was itself compiled from earlier works ; 
cf. p. 23. 

2 See pp. 34 ff. 

3 In this also there were minor differences which pointed to 
compilation from earlier works; see p. 32. 



INTRODUCTION 47 

again, it may be clear that a passage is compiled from 
these two, but we may not be able to say how much 
comes from each. Moreover, there are phrases and 
sentences which present no special peculiarities, and may 
have been taken from any of the three documents \ Often 
the most important verses of a passage can be clearly 
recognized as coming from one or other document, but it 
is impossible to be certain as to the exact point at which 
an extract from one document ends and an extract from 
another begins. Moreover, at the point of union between 
extracts from two documents the editors often inserted 
a few words of their own to make the whole run smoothly. 
As the editors sometimes imitate the style of the docu 
ments, it is not always easy to distinguish a fragment of 
a document from an editorial addition. 

7. THE INTERPRETATION OF GENESIS. 
If we take into account the varying views held by 
different scholars, we shall have to consider the probabilitjp 
that the Book of Genesis may include various kinds of 
material which may be roughly classified as follows : 

(a) Ordinary History. The story of Joseph, for 
instance, may be taken as the account of events which 
really happened to a historical individual, Joseph, who 
really existed. Such history might be supposed to be 
accurate in every detail by those who hold the strictest 
theory of verbal inspiration. 

(b) Tribal History. Narratives which seem at first 
sight to be concerned with individuals may really be 
setting forth, in this somewhat figurative fashion, the 
relations and fortunes of tribes. For instance, the account 
in chapter xxxiv of the seduction of Dinah, and the 
revenge taken by Simeon and Levi, is often interpreted as 
referring to an attack on Shechem by the two tribes of 
Simeon and Levi. 

1 For the sake of simplicity the editorial additions are mostly 
ignored in this section. 



48 THE BOOK OF GENESIS 

(6~) Typical Narratives. Portions of some of the stories 
have been supposed to have arisen through attributing 
to tribal heroes, like Abraham and Jacob, experiences 
familiar in early days. We use the word familiar in 
a limited sense, as the experiences which popular tradition 
loves to describe are usually romantic, striking, or excep 
tional ; e. g. the risks run by Sarah and Rebekah when 
sojourning in Egypt or at Gerar, and the meeting of 
Jacob and Rachel at the well. 

(d) Israelite Traditions. Some scholars would think 
the term Ordinary History, as applied to any part of 
Genesis^ to be misleading ; and would yet hold that the 
book includes ancient Israelite traditions, which had their 
origin in actual individuals and events. 

(e) Semitic Cosmology and Accounts of the Beginnings 
of the Nations and of Civilisation. It is commonly held 
that many of the earlier sections of Genesis go back to 
literature or traditions older than the existence of Israel 
as a separate people. The accounts of the Creation and 
the Flood have much in common with the Babylonian 
narratives on the same subjects. The Biblical stories on 
these and other topics are commonly held to be Israelite 
versions of the narratives which arose amongst the Semites 
to account for the Beginnings of the World, of Man, and 
of Culture. Such narratives are really a picturesque way of 
setting forth scientific * theory. I n dealing with an ancient 
work, like Genesis, compiled from still more ancient 
sources, we cannot say how much of its contents belong 
to each of these classes of material. But the following 
may be taken as a very rough and approximate account of 
views held by many modern scholars. 

The Priestly Document is an edifying history of the 
religion and religious standing of Israel, written in Oriental 
fashion, according to which literal statements of fact, pictur 
esque imagery, and figurative narratives are combined 
without any attempt to indicate which is which. 

1 i. e. scientific according to the ideas of the times. 



INTRODUCTION 49 

Of the older material, the incidents from the Creation 
to the Tower of Babel belong to (e] Semitic Cosmology ; 
but the genealogies in chapter x, and, perhaps, some 
other items, are Tribal History. 

Chapter xiv (Abraham, Amraphel [Hammurabi], Lot, 
and Melchizedek) is often regarded as Ordinary History. 

The remainder of the material is mostly Tribal His 
tory , often expanded into Typical Narratives ; but in these 
there are embedded Israelite Traditions and probably 
actual facts as to historical individuals, such as Abraham, 
Jacob, and Joseph. 

The Tribal History recorded in Genesis may be briefly 
summarized thus 1 : 

The nations known to Israel were assigned to three 
groups 2 , (a) Japheth, including the less-known peoples to 
the north and west ; (ti) Ham, including Egypt, Canaan, 
and many Arabian tribes; (c] Shem, including many 
Arabian tribes, and the tribes related to or descended 
from Abraham. 

The Israelites considered themselves as akin 3 to the 
Syrians of Haran ; to Moab and Ammon (Lot) ; to the 
Ishmaelite, Nahorite, and Keturaean Arabs, including 
Midian and Sheba, and especially to Edom. Edom was 
a monarchy before Israel 4 . 

Israel was formed 15 by the confederation of various 
tribes in the first instance, Jacob, Leah, Rachel, Bilhah, 
and Zilpah ; which became by various changes the Twelve 
Tribes. During this time Israel was involved in various 
relations, peaceful and hostile, with the Syrians of Haran, 
Edom, and the Canaanites. 

In early times Reuben was the leading tribe, but lost 
its leadership. In a conflict with the Canaanites 7 a tribe 

1 For details, sec notes on the several sections. 

Ch. x ; as far as possible reference to discrepancies ha.s 
been reserved for the detailed notes. 

3 xi, xvi, xix, xxii, xxiv, xxv, xxvi, xxix. xxx. 

XXXVI. 



50 THE BOOK OF GENESIS 

named Dinah was annihilated, and the tribes of Simeon 
and Levi were reduced to mere remnants. The tribe of 
Judah 1 was largely formed out of Canaanite or Edomite 
elements ; its clans in early times were Er, Onan, and 
Shelah : but Er and Onan were destroyed, and after 
wards replaced by Perez and Zerah. The tribe of Joseph 
was divided in later times into Ephraim and Manasseh. 
In earlier times Manasseh, later on Ephraim, was the 
more important of these two 2 . 

Our uncertainty as to the exact character of different 
sections of the book may affect our views as to the methods 
of Divine revelation, but it does not in any way invalidate 
the claim of Genesis to be regarded as an inspired record 
of revelation. Our Lord s parables show us that God 
can teach us by narratives which are not literal history ; 
so that we have no right to set aside the Divine teaching 
in Genesis if it is shown to come to us through similar 
narratives. To speak of tribes or nations as if they were 
individuals is a perfectly legitimate form of history, when 
once it is recognized and understood. But when tribal 
history is told in this way it naturally assumes forms 
which are true of individual life and convey lessons to 
individuals ; indeed, this method of setting forth the 
history of a community is only possible because social 
life is individual life raised to a higher power. The 
editors who compiled Genesis in its final form intended 
the accounts of the Patriarchs to be read as edifying 
narratives of the lives of individuals, whose examples 
might warn, encourage, and otherwise instruct the readers. 
The story of these lives was not told in the spirit of 
modern scientific history, but in order to illustrate moral 
truths ; and for this purpose we can still use them, what 
ever our view may be as to the amount of history they 
contain. 

It must also be remembered that the Priestly Document 

1 xxxviii. 3 xli. 61 f.. xlviii. 



. INTRODUCTION 51 

was intended to supersede the older documents, and to 
suppress the more anthropomorphic narratives, e.g. the 
statement that Yahweh built up the first woman out of 
a rib which He had taken from the side of the first man. 
Popular feeling was too strong for the Priestly theologians, 
and they had to be content with setting their own account 
side by side with the older narratives in the complete 
Pentateuch. But the final editors worked in the spirit 
and under the influence of the Priestly Document. We 
are convinced 1 that they intended that the anthropo 
morphic narratives should be corrected or interpreted 
according to the more enlightened views of the Priestly 
writer. For instance, they did not intend that the 
building up of Eve out of Adam s rib should be taken 
literally. 

1 This view, perhaps, is hardly that of the majority of 
scholars. 



E 2 



52 THE BOOK OF GENESIS 



TABLES. 
A. SYMBOLS. 

The various documents, &c., are denoted by the following 
symbols, which are inserted in square brackets in the R. V. 
text, pp. 73 ff., e.g. [P], at the beginning of each section of 
a document. Also the document or documents from which 
a page or sections of a page were taken are indicated at the 
top of each page, e. g. P, or P, J, E, &c. 

J. The Primitive Document (or Yahwistic or Jehovistic 
Document), using Yahwelt (Jehovah, LORD) in Genesis 1 . 

E. The Elohistic Document, using Elohim (God) in Genesis" 1 . 

JE. The Twofold Document, compiled from J and E. 
This symbol (JE) is placed against passages derived 
from this combined document, in cases where it is 
not certain to which of the three, J, E, or R JE , the 
passage belongs ; or how the passage should be 
divided between J and E s and R JE . 

P. The Priestly Document, also using Elohim (God) in 
Genesis *. 

R. Additions by one or other of the various editors : (a"- 
the editor, denoted by R JE . who combined J and E 
into JE ; or (6) the editor, denoted by R D , who com 
bined JE with Deuteronomy D; or (r) the editor, 
denoted by R p , who combined P with JED, and 
completed the Pentateuch " . 

Remark. When some incident is only found in one or more 
of the documents, and not in the others, it is often probable 
that it was contained originally in the latter document or 
documents, but has been omitted in the combined work to 
avoid repetition ; cf. p. n. 

1 See p. 22. * See p. 30. 3 See p. 12. 

1 See p. 34. See p. 14. 






INTRODUCTION 



53 



B. TABLE OF THE ANALYSIS 1 . 
(a) I XIX. 



J 


P 


R 


ii. 46 iv. 


i. i ii. 4. 




v. 29. 


v. 1-28, 30-32. 




vi. 1-8. 


vi. 9-22. 




vii. 1-5, 7, 10, 12, 


vii. 6,8,9, ", T 3- 




i6b, 17, 22 f. 


i6a, 18-21, 24. 




viii. 26, 3<7, 6-12, 


viii. i, sa, 36-5, 




136, 20-22. 


130, 14-19. 




ix. 18-27. 


ix. 1-17, 28, 29. 




x. 8-19, 21, 24-30. 


X. 1-7, 20, 22 f., 3 if. 




xi. 1-9, 28-30. 


xi. 10-27, 3 1 * 


f Unknown 1 


xii. i-4fl, 6-20. 


xii. 46, 5. 


4 Source Y 


xiii. 1-5, 7-na, 


xiii. 6, 116. 


( xiv. j 


12-18. 






XV. 2 






xvi. ib, 2, 4-14. 


xvi. ict, 3, 15 f., xvii. 




xviii. 






xix. 1-28, 30-38. 


xix. 29. 





(6) XX L. 



J 


E 


P 


R 


xxi. i, 2rt, 7, 
25, 26,28-30. 


xx. 1-17. 
xxi. 6, 8-24, 
27, 31. 


xxi. 1 6, 26-5. 


xx. 1 8. 


xxi. 3 
xxii. 20-24. 


2-34- 
xxii. 1-13, 19. 




xxii. 14-18. 






xxni. 




XXIV. 








xxv. 1-6, 1 1 6, 
1 8, 2i-s6a, 

27-34- 
xxvi. 6-14, 16, 

!?, 19-33- 
xxvii. 


1-45- 


XXV. 7-1 1, 12- 
17, 19, 20, 
26ft. 

xxvi. 34, 35. 
xxvii. 46. 


xxvi. 1-5, 
15, 18. 


XXVlll. IO-22. 


xxvin. 1-9. 





1 For symbols J, E, P, R see p. 52. 
3 Portions of xv are ascribed to E. 



THE BOOK OF GENESIS 
(6) XX L. (/.) 



J 


E 


P 


R 


xxix. 2-14, 


xxix. i. 


xxix. 24, 286, 




31-35. 




29. 




xxix. 15-23, 25-283, 30. 






xxx. 1-3, 46-20, 226-43. 


XXX. 4<J, 21, 




xxxi. i-i8a, 19-50. 


xxxi. 186. 






xxxi. 51-55. 






xxxii. 3-32*. 


xxxii. if. [24- 








32*]. 






xxxiii. 1-17 . 


xxxiii. 1-17 2 . 


xxxiii. -i8rt 2 . 


xxxiii. 18 * 


xxxiii. 18 xxxiv. 31 is based 




xxxiv. 


on J and E, and contains 




31. 


fragments of both. 








xxxv. 1-5, 7, 


xxxv. 6 2 , 9- 






8, 14. 


13, 15, 226- 




XXXV. l6-22fl. 


29. 




xxxvi. 31-39. 




xxxvi. 1-30, 








40-43- 




xxxvii. 26-4, 


xxxvii. 5-11, 


xxxvii. i, sa. 




12-130;, 146, 


136, I 4 fl, 15- 






18, 21, 256- 


17, 19, 20, 






27. 286, 32fl, 


22253, 283, 






33*, 35- 


28^-31, 326, 








33, 34, 3- 






xxxviii. 














xxxix. i6 4 . 


XXXIX \ 


xl 5 . 




xl. 3 6,i S 6\ 




xli. 1-32 . 




xli. 146 ". 


xli. 33-37- 






xli. 41-45- 


xli. 38-40. 


xli. 46. 




xli. 4 


7-49- 
xli. 50-52 . 




xli. 506 . 


xli. 53-57- 






xlii. 1-7. 







1 Mostly. Portions. ~ Except 16. 

* Potiphar . . . guard. s Except 16, 156. &c. 

* From < into the prison, and from and here ; for one or two 
other fragments of R see commentary. 

7 Except 146. " And they brought . . . dungeon. 

* Except 506. 10 From which Asenath. 



INTRODUCTION 



55 



(4) XX L. (cont.} 



J 


E 


P 


R 


xlii. 27, s8rt, 


xlii. 8-26, 286- 






38. 


37- 






xliii. 1-13, 15- 


xliii. 14, 236. 






23, 25-34. 








xliv. 








xlv. i xlvi. 5. 


xlvi. 6-27. 




xlvi. 28 xlvii. 




xlvii. 5, 6#, 7- 




4,6*. 




n. 




xlvii. 12-27*7, 




xlvii. 276, 28. 




29-31. 








xlviii. i, 2, 7-22. 


xlviii. 3-6. 




xlix. 1-27, 336. 




xlix. 28Z>-33rtf. 


xlix. 28a. 


1. i-u, 14. 


1. 15-26. 


1. 12, 13. 





C. COMPARATIVE TABLE OF CHIEF CONTENTS OF 
THE THREE MAIN DOCUMENTS. 

Introductory Note, (a) Only complete sections are shown ; 
where independent accounts have been pieced together to 
form a continuous narrative they are given under a single 
heading, which is printed across the columns belonging to the 
documents from which these accounts are taken, e. g. Flood. 

(l>) Where different documents give separate complete 
accounts the title is printed separately in each column, e. g. 
Creation. 

(f) Fragments of documents embedded in sections from other 
documents, and small additions, are not always shown in this 
table. 

(cT) In some cases sections are transposed or repeated for 
the sake of comparison, and the transposition is explained in 
footnotes. 

(e) For further details of analysis see Table B, 



THE BOOK OF GENESIS 



THE ORIGINS OF THE WORLD AND THE 

NATIONS. 



p 

(Priestly Document?) 


J 
{Primitive Document?) 


E 

(Elohistic 
Document.} 


i. i ii. 4a. Creation. 


ii. 46-25. Creation, 
iii. The Fall. 






iv. 1-15. Cain and 
Abel. 




v. 1-8. Genealogy. 
Adam to Enoch. 


iv. [i6 ! -24] 25, 26. 
Genealog} 7 , Adam 
to Enoch (Worship 
of Yahweh). 




v. 9-27. Genealogy, 
Cainan to Lamech. 


iv. 16-18 . Genea 
logy, Cain to La 
mech. 




v. 28-31. Family of 
Lamech (Noah, &c.). 


iv. 18-24 l Family of 
Lamech ( Jabal, &c. ). 




v. 32. Sons of Noah. 


vi. 1-4. Sons of God 
and daughters of 






men. 




vi. 5 viii. Flood. 




ix. 1-17. Covenant 
and Rainbow. 


ix. 18-27. Curse of 
Canaan. 




ix. 28 x. Origin of the Nations. 






xi. 1-9. Tower of 
Babel. 




xi. 10-26. Genealogy, 
Shem to Terah and 






his sons. 







1 Transposition. 



INTRODUCTION 



57 



II. ABRAHAM. 



p 


J 


E 


xi. 27, 31 f., xii. 46, 5. 
Migration to Canaan. 


xi. 28-30, xii. 1-3, 
6-9. Migration to 
Canaan. 






xii. 10-20. Abram in 






Egypt. 




xiii. 6, nb. Separa 
tion of Abram and 
Lot. 


xin. 1-5, 7-1 in, 12- 
18. Separation of 
Abram and Lot. 





xiv. Abram rescues 
Melchizedek. 



(Unknown Source) 

Lot from Amraphel, and meets 



xv. Yahweh promises Abram an 

heir, and Canaan to his seed. 
Birth of Ishmael. 



xvii. Institution of 
Circumcision. 



xix. 29. Overthrow of 
the cities of the 
Plain. Rescue of 
Lot. 



xviii. 1-15. Promise 
of birth of Isaac. 

xviii. 16-33. An 
nouncement of doom 
of Sodom and Go 
morrah. Abram in 
tercedes for Sodom. 

xix. i-n. The angels 
sojourn with Lot, 
and are threatened 
by the men of So 
dom. 

xix. 12-25. Over 
throw of the cities 
of the Plain. Rescue 
of Lot. 

xix. 26. Lot s wife a 

pillar of salt. 
xix. 27, 28. Abraham 

surveys the ruin, 
xix. 30-38. Birth of 

Ammon and Moab. 



THE BOOK OF GENESIS 



II. ABRAHAM (cont.). 



p 


J 


E 






xx. Abraham 






at Gerar. 


xxi. 1-7. Birth of Isaac. 








xxi. 8-21. 






Hagar and 






Ishmaelsent 






away. 




xxi. 22-34. Covenant 






between Abraham 






and Abimelech at 






Beer-sheba. 








xxii. 1-13, 19 






(14-18 =R 






Offering up 






of Isaac. 




xxii. 20-24. Abra 






ham s kinsfolk. 




xxiii. Death and 






burial of Sarah. 








xxiv. Eliezer obtains 






Rebekah as a wife 






for Isaac. 






xxv. 1-6. Abraham s 






family by Keturah. 




xxv. 7- 1 1 a. Death 






and burial of Abra 






ham. 







III. ISAAC. 



xxv. 12-17. The de 
scendants of Ish- 
mael. His death. 

xxv. 19, 20. Mar 
riage of Isaac. 

xxv. 26 b. Age of 
Isaac. 



xxv. lib. Isaac at 
Beer-lahai-roi. 18. 
Territory of Ishmael. 



XXV. 21-26(7. 27-34. 

Birth of Esau and 
Jacob. Sale of birth 
right. 



INTRODUCTION 



59 



p 


J 


E 




xxvi. 1-33 1 . Isaac at 
Gerar ; strife and 






covenant with A- 






bimelech. 




xxvi. 34, 35. Esau s 






wives. 






xxvii. 46. Plan for 
Jacob s marriage. 


xxvii. 1-45. Jacob and Rebekah 
defraud Esau of his father s bless 
ing. Jacob s flight. 



IV. JACOB. 



xxviii. 1-9. Jacob sent 
to Paddan-aram to 
marry a kinswoman. 
Esau takes another 
wife, an Ishmaelite. 

xxix. 24, s8b, 29. 

xxx. 4, 21, 22 a. 
Jacob at Paddan- 
aram. 

xxxi. i8b. Jacob 
leaves Paddan-aram 
to return to Isaac. 



xxxv. 6, 9-13, 15. 
Jacob comes to Luz. 
God blesses him, 



xxviii. 10-22. Jacob at Beth-el. 



xxix, xxx (rest of). Jacob at Haran. 
Birth of eleven Patriarchs [and 
Dinah], from Leah and Zilpah, 
Rachel and Bilhah. Jacob outwits 
Laban as to his wages. 

xxxi. i-i8a, 19 xxxii. 2. Jacob 
flees from Haran, Laban overtakes 
himinGilead; theymakeacovenant; 
Jacob continues his journey, and 
meets angels at Mahanaim. 

xxxii. 3 xxxiii. 17. Jacob s wrest 
ling, and his new name Israel ; his 
reconciliation with Esau. 

xxxiii. 18-20 . Jacob comes to 
Shechem, buys land, and builds an 
altar. 

xxxiv 1 . Dinah is seduced at She 
chem ; Simeon and Levi avenge her. 
xxxv. 1-5, 7, 
8, 14. Jacob 
goestoBeth- 



1 In part. 



6o 



THE BOOK OF GENESIS 



JACOB (cont.). 



p 


J 


E 


and changes his 
name to Israel. Ja 
cob names the place 
Beth-el. 




el and fulfils 
his vow. 
Death of De 
borah, Rebe- 






kah s nurse. 


xxxv. 226-29. Jacob s 
twelve sons. He 
comes to Isaac at 


xxxv. 16-22^. Benjamin is born ; 
Rachel dies ; Reuben s sin. 


Hebron ; Isaac dies, 
and his sons bury 
him. 




xxxvi. 1-30, 40-43. 
Descendants of Esau. 


xxxvi. 31-39. Kings 
of Edom. 




xxxvii. i. Jacob in 
Canaan. 







V. JOSEPH AND HIS BRETHREN. 



xxxvii. 2a. Heading. 
Joseph seventeen. 



xli.46. Joseph at the 
age of thirty becomes 
vizier of Egypt. 



xxxvii. Joseph, Jacob s favourite 
son, is envied by his brethren, and 
sold for a slave into Egypt. 

xxxviii. The story of 
Tamar and Judah 
and his sons. 



xxxix. Joseph and 
his master s * wife ; 
Joseph in prison. 



xl. Joseph in 
terprets the 
dreams of 
two prison 
ers in his 
master s cus 
tody. 

xli. 1-32. Jo 
seph inter 
prets Phar 
aoh s dream; 
and 
xli. 33-57. is made vizier of Egypt, 



1 The reference to Potiphar is due to an editor. 



INTRODUCTION 



61 



p 


J 


E 




provides corn for the famine, mar 
ries an Egyptian wife, and has two 




sons. 




xlii. The brethren s first journey to 
Egypt and meeting with Joseph. 




xliii. The brethren s second journey 
to Egypt and meeting with Joseph. 




xliv. A cup is hidden 
in Benjamin s sack ; 
he is charged with 
stealing it, and Jo 
seph proposes to 
keep him as a slave. 
Judah intercedes. 






xlv. Joseph makes himself known, 
and sends for Jacob. 


xlvi. 6, 7. Jacob and 
his family go down 
to Egypt. 


xlvi. 1-5. Israel (J 
Egypt. 


acob) goes to 

Jacob sacri- 
ficesatBeer- 






sheba. 


xlvi. 8-27. The grand 
sons of Jacob. 






xlvii. 5, 6 a, 7-11. 
Jacob comes to 
Joseph ; he is 130 ; 
he blesses Pharaoh. 


xlvi. 28 xlvii. 4, 6b, 
12. Joseph meets 
Israel, introduces his 
brethren to Pharaoh. 




Jacob and his family 
settle in the land of 


They settle in 
Goshen. 




Rameses. 






xlvii. 276, 28. Jacob s 
family prosper. He 
reaches the age of 
147. 


xlvii. 12-27^, 29-31. 
Joseph sells corn to 
the Egyptians, and 
makes a new settle 
ment of the land. 






He promises to bury 
Israel in Canaan. 




xlviii. 3-6. Jacob 
adopts Ephraim and 
Manasseh. 


xlviii. i, 2, 7-22. Israel-Jacob adopts 
Ephraim and Manasseh, and bestows 
his chief blessing on Ephraim, the 




younger son. 



62 THE BOOK OF GENESIS 

JOSEPH AND HIS BRETHREN (cont.}. 



p 


J 


E 


xlix. 28-33^, c. He 
charges his sons to 
bury him at Mach- 
pelah and dies. 


xlix. 1-27, 336. Israel- 
Jacob blesses his 
twelve sons and 
dies. 




I. 12, T3. His sons 
bury him at Mach- 
pelah. [226, 26 a. 
Joseph dies, aged 
no years. ? = E.] 


1. I-IT, 14. Joseph 
buries Israel in Ca 
naan at (?) Abel- 
mizraim. 


1. 15-26. Jo 
seph pro 
mises to 
continue his 
kindness to 
his brethren. 








He sees his 








great-grand 
children. He 








makes the 








Israelites 








swear to take 








his bones to 








Canaan. He 


i 

i 




dies. 



INTRODUCTION 63 



D. BOOKS RECOMMENDED AS USEFUL TO ENGLISH 
READERS. 

I. BIBLE DICTIONARIES. 

DR. HASTINGS Bible Dictionary*. 4 vols. (T. & T. Clark.) 
Encyclopaedia Biblica*, DR. CHEYNE and DR. J. S. BLACK. 

(A. & C. Black.) The simpler and easier articles and portions 

of articles. 

II. INTRODUCTION. 

The Hexateuch *, edited by J. ESTLIN CARPENTER and G. HAR- 
FORD-BATTERSBY. 2 vols. (Longmans.) 

The first volume gives the best English exposition of the 
arguments for the modern theory of the Pentateuch, the theory 
followed in this work. The second volume gives the R.V. 
of the Hexateuch (Pentateuch and Joshua), arranged in parallel 
columns to show the analysis into the original documents. 

The sections on the Pentateuch and Genesis in 

Introduction to the Literature of the Old Testament, DRIVER. 
(T. & T. Clark.) 

A Biblical Introduction, BENNETT and ADENEY. (Methuen.) 

Primer of the Bible, BENNETT. (Methuen.) 

III. COMMENTARIES ON GENESIS. 

DELITZSCH, Eng. Tr. (T. & T. Clark.) 

* DILLMANN, Eng. Tr. (T. & T. Clark.) 

* The author wishes to acknowledge his special obligations, 
in addition to others referred to in the notes, to the works 
marked with an asterisk *, and also to the following : 

The commentaries on Genesis by Gunkel, Holzinger, and 
Spurrell ; C. J. BALL S edition of the text of Genesis (DR. PAUL 
HAUPT S Sacred Books of the Old Testament} ; and for informa 
tion as to the cuneiform inscriptions and other matters connected 
with Assyriology, in addition to the relevant sections of the 
above works, to GUNKEL S Schopfung und Chaos. JENSEN S 
Assyrisch-babylonische My then und Epen, and J. D. DAVIS S 
Genesis and Semitic Tradition (Nutt;. 



THE BOOK OF GENESIS 

REVISED VERSION V/ITH ANNOTATIONS 




Gen. i. 6. DIAGRAM OF PRIMITIVE SEMITE (BABYLONIAN OR 
HEBREW) CONCEPTION OF THE UNIVERSE. 

This illustration is taken from the article COSMOGONY by Rev. 
Principal Whitehouse, D.D., in Dr. Hastings Dictionary of the 
Bible; and our thanks are due to Dr. Whitehouse, and to the 
publishers, Messrs. T. & T. Clark, for permission to use the block. 
In this article Dr. Whitehouse writes : The writer of this article 
sketched this outline from a study of numerous Old" Testament 
passages about twelve years ago, and found in Jensen s Cosmologie 
Jpr Bab., published in iS(>o, a diagram nlmost identical in character, 
descriptive of the universe according to Babylonian conceptions, and 
based purely upon the data of the cuneiform inscriptions a re 
markable testimony to the correspondence of Babylonian and Hebrew 
ideas on this subject. 



THE BOOK OF GENESIS 

THE PRIESTLY (P) NARRATIVE OF THE CREATION *. 

i. i, 2. The Primaeval Chaos. 

i. 3-5. The First Day. The creation of Light ; the institution 
of Day and Night. 

i. 6-8. The Second Day. The creation of the firmament, 
dividing the upper and the lower waters. 

i. 9-13. The Third Day. The formation of earth and seas ; 
the earth produces vegetation. 

i. 14-19. The Fourth Day. The creation of sun, moon, and 
stars. 

i. 20-23. The Fifth Day. The creation of the living creatures 
that inhabit the waters, and of the flying creatures. 

i. 24-31. The Sixth Day. The creation of the living creatures 
that live on dry land ; the creation of mankind. 

ii. 1-4". The Seventh Day. God rests ; the institution of the 
Sabbath. 

a) Form of the Narrative. As in the case of many of the 
priestly narratives ~, each paragraph of this section is arranged 
according to a set formula, with the necessary variations. The 
main features are as follows : 

And God said. Let there be ... and it was so ... and saw 
that it was good. And there was evening and there was morning, 
a ... day. 

(If) The Babylonian Narrative of the Creation. It had long been 
known that cosmogonies, or accounts of the Creation, having 
much in common with the opening chapters of Genesis, were once 
current among the Babylonian and other Semitic peoples. Until 
recently, however, these accounts were chiefly known from 
fragments of ancient writers quoted by the Church historian 
Eusebius 3 . A Babylonian cosmogony is given by Berosus, a 



1 See p. 34. a Cf. p. 34. 

3 Early in the fourth century A. D. 

F 2 



68 GENESIS 

contemporary of Alexander the Great, and a priest of Bel in 
Babylon about B. c. 280-300. 

Berosus states that in the beginning there was a dark chaos of 
waters, peopled by strange monsters, and ruled by a woman 
Thamte. Bel cleft her in twain ; made one half of her earth, and 
the other heaven ; and destroyed the monsters. Then, to people 
the empty world, Bel bade one of the gods cut off his (Bel s) head, 
mix the blood with the soil, and thus fashion men and animals. 
Afterwards apparently in no way incommoded by this operation 
Bel formed the heavenly bodies . 

Eusebius also gives fragments of a Phoenician cosmogony taken 
from the works of Philo of Byblus in Phoenicia, who lived in 
the time of Nero and his successors. Philo professes to translate 
an ancient Phoenician history by Sanchom athon, a possibly mythi. 
cal personage, supposed to have lived at a remote antiquity, 
perhaps in the time of the Judges. 

As far as can be gathered from the obscure fragments extant, 
this cosmogony begins with Chaos and Spirit ; the appearance of 
Desire led to the formation of Mot, the Abj ss of Waters. An egg 
was formed ; heavenly bodies, sun, moon, &c., appeared ; and 
then animal life was produced on the earth. 

An account of the Babylonian cosmogony is also quoted from 
the Neo-Platonist philosopher Damascius 2 . This is in the form of 
a genealogy of gods, mostly in pairs, and these are interpreted as 
personifications of the different parts of the universe at its 
successive stages. The first pair are Apason the father, and Tanthe 
the mother of the gods ; and the genealogy concludes with Belos, 
the creator of the world as it now is. 

But these late, obscure, and imperfect accounts can now be 
corrected and supplemented by Babylonian documents written 
nearly six hundred years before Christ ; and it is maintained that 
the cosmogony fojnd in these documents can be traced, at any 
rate in its main features, as early as B. c. 3000. 

In 1875, the late Mr. George Smith discovered, among the ruins 
of the library of Ashurbanipal at Nineveh, portions of a series of 
tablets containing in cuneiform character the Assyrian or Baby 
lonian account of the Creation. Other portions have been dis 
covered since, but we do not even now possess the complete series. 

This cosmogony may be summarized thus : 

It begins with a primaeval chaos ruled over by Apsu, the ocean, 
the father, and Tiamat, the abyss, the mother. Apsu is the 
Apason of Damascius ; and Tiamat is the Tanthe of Damascius 

1 Probably, if we had the original text of Berosus, we should find 
either that Eusebius has misquoted him, or that there is some 
explanation of these remarkable proceedings. 

a About A.D. 529. 



i. i ii. 4 n . P 69 

and the Thamte of Berosus. Then the various gods appeared ; 
the parallel accounts we have referred to, together with some 
expressions in the cuneiform documents, suggest that they were 
born of Apsu and Tiamat. The succeeding portion of the tablets 
is lost, and we next meet with a long account of a struggle 
between the upper deities on the one hand, and Tiamat and the 
lower deities on the other. Marduk or Merodach, the great 
Babylonian deity also known as Bel, stands forth as champion of 
the upper deities ; slays Tiamat and divides her body into two 
parts. Of one half he made a covering for the heavens, to prevent 
the upper waters from breaking loose. He placed the heavens 
opposite the seas. Then he appointed places for the great gods, 
and arranged the stars to measure months and years . The 
series of tablets concludes with a hymn in honour of Mardtik, 
which describes him as bringing the dead to life . . . creating 
mankind . . . punishing evil-doers . . . working righteousness. 

Another fragment of a tablet usually regarded as belonging to 
this series, though its position in the series is not certain, speaks 
of Marduk creating cattle, wild beasts, and creeping things. 

The number of the tablets is uncertain ; it has been estimated at 
either six or seven. 

There is another Babylonian account of the Creation which 
will be referred to in connexion with chapter ii. 

Comparison shows that this Babylonian narrative, and the 
cosmogonies of Berosus, Philo Byblius, and Damascius are 
versions of the same original, and that the latter writeis may be 
used, with caution, to supply gaps in the series of cuneiform tablets. 
It is also clear that Gen. i. i ii. 4* is yet another parallel version. 
Details will be mentioned in the following rotes, but we may call 
attention here to the general resemblances and differences. In 
both we have the primaeval chsos; a sentence in Berosus seems 
to imply that light existed before Marduk formed the heavenly 
bodies. In both there is the division between heaven and earth, 
and the half of the body of Tiamat seems to correspond to the 
firmament in Genesis. In both the movements of the heavenly 
bodies mark off periods of time. Berosus, too, speaks of men as 
partaking of Divine thought, which may perhaps correspond to 
the making of men in the image of God. Other parallelisms 
which have been drawn are doubtful. 

The differences are no less striking, and need not be fully 
enumerated. The use of recurring formulae, and the methodical 
division into days, each with its separate creative act or acts, are 
absent from the tablets. The Babylonian order of the making of 

1 The tablets are imperfect at this point, and the connexion 
between the gods and the stars is not dear, but there is no doubt 
that the latter are spoken of as measurers of time. 



70 GENESIS 

things is not yet clearly ascertained ; but apparently it differed 
from that in Genesis, as the heavenly bodies are spoken of before 
the dry land. But the one important difference is that the 
Babylonian account revels in myths concerning the doings of 
multitudinous gods, demons, and monsters, while Genesis gives us 
an almost scientific account of creation by one God ; the mythi 
cal features have been carefully removed, and can only be traced 
in a few phrases. There is another curious difference: the 
Babylonian account contains certain moral features, the description 
of the character of Marduk ; and, perhaps, certain moral admoni 
tions addressed to the newly created man -. These features are 
absent from the Biblical cosmogony ; the moral nature of God is 
not expressly described, and the admonitions to mankind are not 
concerned with morality. We trust it will not seem paradoxical 
to say that the narrative gains by this omission ; the brief story is 
the more impressive because it is confined to its one great subject 
of creation ; the writer knew that he would have ample oppor 
tunity to deal with ethics later on. Nevertheless his interest in 
the minutiae of ritual 3 makes itself felt even here ; a paragraph 
is devoted to the directions as to food, and creation finds its climax 
in the institution of the Sabbath *. 

(c) The relation of the Babylonian and the Scriptural cosmogonies. 
The comparison of the cuneiform tablets with the opening section 
of Genesis shows that these documents cannot be wholly inde 
pendent ; there must be some literary connexion between them. 
The great antiquity of the story told by the tablets, and the 
comparatively recent date of the work from which Gen. i. is 
taken", show that the Babylonian mythologists cannot have 
borrowed from Genesis. Moreover, it is difficult to believe that 
a myth in which the gods are evolved from Chaos would be 
elaborated out of an account of the Creation in which God appears 
as pre-existent and creating all things. The object of the Hahy- 
lonian epic is to do honour to the great god of Babylon ; and if its 
authors had had Genesis before them, they would have been eager 
to ascribe to Merodach the unique majesty which Genesis assigns 
to God. 

It is. however, often held that Gen. i. r ii. 4" is an edition of 
the cosmogony of the tablets, purged of its polytheistic myths. 
The Priestly Document was composed in Babylon after the Fall 
of Jerusalem; and its authors might easily have studied some such 
tablets as those which have been discovered in the library of 



1 According to the knowledge of the times. 

2 See article CREATION, 6 note (Cheyne\ in Cheyne and Black s 
Encyclopaedia Biblica. 

3 See p. 36. Gen. i. 29, 30. : Gen. ii. 1-3. 

6 See p. 35. 



i. i ii. 4 n . P 7 1 

Aohurbanipal ; or they might have heard some version of the 
ancient myths from their Babylonian neighbours. 

On the other hand, it has been suggested that the two cosmo 
gonies are independent developments from an ancient myth which 
was current amongst the common Semitic ancestors of the 
Israelites and the Babylonians. 

Probably the truth lies between these two views. The latter 
seems excluded by the close resemblances of the two narratives ; 
the former by the intimate connexion between Israel, Assyria, 
and Babylon J in many periods kng before the Exile. Even before 
B.C. 2000 the influence of Babylonian civilization seems to have 
extended over Western Asia, including Syria and Palestine. 
Perhaps the most convincing testimony to this fact is found in the 
Amarna tablets. These are a collection of Eg3 T ptian archives 
recently discovered at Tel-el-Amarna in the Nile Valley. They 
consist of dispatches from the Egyptian officials and subject- princes 
in Palestine and Phoenicia, and from the kings of Babylon and 
other rulers of Western Asia to the Pharaohs, Amenophis III and 
IV, c. B.C. 1414-1365. These dispatches are, for the most part, 
in Babylonian cuneifoi m ; and are written on tablets of baked clay, 
after the fashion of Babylonian documents. Babylonian, therefore, 
was the language of diplomacy^ the lingua franca of Western Asia. 
Again, at a later time, the states in the Valley of the Euphrates 
regained their supremacy over Palestine ; from the time of Jehu 
till the Captivity the Israelite kingdoms paid tribute to Nineveh 
or Babylon. One can hardly believe that the Babylonian epic of 
the Creation was unknown to the Israelites till after the Fall of 
Jerusalem ; it is more probable that it was current in Canaan from 
a very early tiire, and had become part of the folklore of the 
country, and ultimately of Israel. It would be modified by the 
development of religious ideas amongst the Israelites ; find Gen. i. 
i ii. 4* represents the form it received during the Exile from the 
authors of the Priestly Document. 

There is, moreover, direct evidence in the O.T. that the Israelites 
were acquainted with the Babylonian Creation epic. It has been 
pointed out 2 that several writers use the imagery of the contest 
of Merodach, the God of Light, with Tiamat, the monstrous Queen 
of Darkness and Chaos, to describe the warfare of God against evil. 
Thus Yahweh cut Rahab in pieces, and pierced the dragon s ; 
in the last day He will punish leviathan and slay the dragon that 
is in the sea 4 ; He has broken the heads of the dragons in the 

1 Assyria and Babylon were so closely connected in language and 
religion, that for the purpose of our present discussion they were 
virtually one. 

2 Especially by Gunkel in his Schopfung und Chaos. 

3 Isa. Ii. 9. 4 Isa. xxvii. i. 



72 GENESIS 

waters, and broken the heads of leviathan in pieces 1 . Many 
similar passages might be quoted. 

(rl) Egyptian Doctrines of Creation. According to the Book of 
the Dead, Turn, the sun-god of Hehopolis, was the creator, and it 
is said of him that he is the creator of the heavens, the maker of 
all existences, who has begotten all that there is, who gave birth 
to the gods, who created himself, the lord of life who bestows 
upon the gods the strength of youth V In the hymns in honour 
of another sun-god, Aten-Ra, composed in the reign of the royal 
reformer Khu-en-Aten, c. B.C. 1400, it is said of Aten-Ra, 
besides whom there is no other, that he created all things, 
the far-off heavens, mankind, the animals, the birds ; it is he 
who brings in the years, creates the months, makes the days, 
reckons the hours ; and it seems as if Khu en-Aten meant thnt 
tb.2 idea that he was one God, the God livin-g in truth, was to be 
an article of real faith, and no longer merely a phrase 1 . Such 
vie \V3. however, existed sidebyside, and were sometimes professed 
concurrently with crude polytheistic myths on the same subject, 
e. g. that the universe was born out of the egg laid by the goose 
sacred to the god Seb * ; a view which would have commended itself 
to Carlylc. 

(t") The Relation to Modern Science. It was formerly the cu^tTm, 
in discussing the opening chapters of Genesis, to compare 
their statements with the results of scientific research. One 
writer would assert that the views of science falsely so-called 
must be rejected because they did not square with Scripture ; 
another would be equally certain that the Bible and science 
could not be reconciled, bat would maintain that the preference 
must be given to science ; while a third would perform miracles 
of exegesis in order to show that the language of Genesis was 
consistent with modern astronomy and geology. Now, however, 
the progress of Christian thought relieves us from the necessity of 
any such discussion. Most theologians reco~nize that Revelation 
did not intend to communicate information as to science. In such 
matters the inspired authors were allowed to write according to 
their education an-1 the knowledge of their times, just as they 
were in matters of grammar and literary taste. The Holy Spirit 
no more corrected their science than their spelling. Hence, as the 
Bible does not claim to be inspired as to geology or astronomy, 
its authority in no way depends on the accuracy of its statements 
on these subjects 5 . The first narrative of the Creation, for 



1 Ps. Ixxiv. 14. 

8 Sayce, Religions of Ancient Egypt arid Babylonia, p. 83. 

3 Erman, Life in Ancient Egypt, Eng. tr. &c., p. 262. 

4 Sayce, Religions, &c., p. i 

8 The above is not to be taken as an exact and exhaustive 



GENESIS I. i. P 73 

[P] IN the beginning God created the heaven and the 1 

instance, teaches us the relation of the Universe and Man to God ; 
the exact sequence of physical phenomena is no part of its 
religious teaching; this latter is the mere form of the narrative, 
with which inspiration was not concerned . 

For the initials in the text in square brackets and at the tops of the 
pages see Table p. 52. 

1. It is generally considered that this section originally began 
with ii. 4 a . These are the generations . . . created, as a heading ; 
cf. the notes on that verse. 

In the beginning 1 . No article is expressed in the Hebrew, but 
it is probably implied by the construction. This exordium is 
imitated in John i. i, 2, and i John i. i, and the article is not 
expressed in either of these passages. 

In tna beginning- God 2 created. The E. V. rendering 
constitutes the first verse a summary of the whole account ; it 
tells us that God created heaven and earth, and the following 
verses describe in detail how they were created. But a more 
probable rendering is In the beginning when God created . . . and 
when the earth was waste . . . God said, Let there be light . . ., 
i. e. the beginning of God s creating the ordered heaven and earth 
from the primaeval chaos was the Divine utterance, Let there be 
light. 

created. The Hebrew word 3 is a late and comparatively 
rare word ; it is chiefly if not entirely found in exilic and post- 
exilic writings 4 , and is one of the characteristic words of the 
Priestly Document. It is a special term of the Divine making of 
what is new and wonderful, but does not in itself necessarily 
express creation out of nothing. According to the more probable 
view of this passage, the Creation started, not from nothing, but 
from the primaeval chaos ; the author did not trouble himself as to 
the origin of this chaos. This view was still taken by the author 
of the Wisdom of Solomon *, who speaks of Wisdom creating the 
world out of formless matter. But 2 Maccabees* speaks of God 
creating heaven and earth not of things that were ; and 

statement of technical dogmatics, but as a popular, practical 
application of a view that is widely held. 

1 For a comparison of the two accounts of the Creation, see on 
Gen. ii. 4 b -25- 

2 For God see on ii. 4, p. 22. 3 Bard . 

4 The Priestly Document (P), 2 Isaiah, Ezekiel, post-exilic Psalms, 
&c. It is also found in some passages that may be pre-exilic. 

5 About B.C. 100; xi. 17, I.V. 

6 About B.C. I25-A. D. 70; vii. 28. 



74 GENESIS 1. 2,3. P 

2 earth. And the earth was waste and void ; and darkness 
was upon the face of the deep : and the spirit of God 

3 moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, Let 

similarly the Epistle to the Hebrews says of the Creation l . What is 
seen hath not been made out of things which do appear. 

2. wasta and void : Heb. Tohtt wdbhohu, a compound ex 
pression, fairly represented by our chaos, 1 or by the formless 
matter of Wisdom. The phrase only occurs elsewhere in Isa. 
xxxiv. n, in the description of the ruin of Edom, he shall stretch 
over it the line of confusion (tohu\ and the plummet of emptiness 
(boluf), and in Jer. iv. 23, I beheld the earth, and, lo, it was 
waste and void; and the heavens, and they had no light. A 
Phoenician cosmogony 2 begins with the Wind 3 and his wife Baan, 
who is generally regarded as corresponding to the Bo/tti of our 
passage. 

tJia deep : Heb. TeJiont, the primaeval abyss, which the 
Semitic cosmogonies personify as Tiaiitnf, or Tantlie. or Thawte, 
the arch-enemy of the heavenly gods. 

the spirit of God. According to another cosmogony of Philo 
Byblius the first beings were Spirit (Pnenina ) and Chaos. Spirit 
is literally wind ; cf. above. 

moved upon: R. V. marg., was brooding upon. The Hebrew 
word only occurs twice elsewhere, Dent, xxxii. ir, of an eagle 
that fluttereth over her young, and Jer. xxiii. 9, my bones 
shake 5 . The root is found in Aramaic, sometimes of a bird 
hatching an egg. Perhaps the phraseology here retains a 
reminiscence of the form of the cosmogony in which heaven and 
earth were produced from the world-egg. 

For this primaeval chaos consisting of an abyss of waters lying 
in darkness, cf. in the opening of the Babylonian epic : 
When heaven was not named above, 

And earth below had made itself no name, 

Apsu (the ocean), the primaeval, that begat them, 

And tnu-um-HiH* Tiamat. that bare them, 

Mixed their waters together. 

Not one of the gods had yet arisen. 
And in Berosus : Primarily all consisted of darkness and 

1 xi. 3. " Quoted by Eusebius from Philo Byblius. 

3 Anernos. * Merakepketh, 

The word in Jeremiah is sometimes treated as a different root of 
the same form. 

6 A word of uncertain meaning, perhaps synonymous with 
primaeval. 



GENESIS 1. 4,5. P 75 

there be light : and there was light. And God saw the 4 
light, that it was good : and God divided the light from 
the darkness. And God called the light Day, and the 5 

water, and strange creatures of peculiar form arose therein. . . . 
Over them reigned a woman . . . Thamte. 

3. And God said. The cuneiform speaks of the word of 
Merodach ; no god can alter that which he ordains. 

light. Merodach or Marduk. the creator, according to the 
Babylonians, of heaven and earth, was a solar deity ; and his 
appearance is often interpreted as the appearance of light at the 
beginning of creation. 

Light is thought of here as a thing in itself, independent of the 
heavenly luminaries. Cf. Job xxxviii. 19, 20: 

Where is the way to the dwelling of light, 
And as for darkness, where is the place thereof; 
That thou shouldest take it to the bound thereof. 
And that thou shouldest discern the paths to the house 
thereof? 

So, according to the Gncstjcs 1 , Light was an emanation from 
the Aeon Sophia or Wisdom. Cf. also with the antithesis of 
light and darkness, the Zoroastrian Ormuzd and Ahriman, the 
deities or principles of light and darkness. 

and there was light. The word, the command of Gcd suffices. 
Thus the idea of light as one of a series of emanations from the 
primaeval Being or from matter is excluded, together with the 
mythical machinery of the polytheistic ccsmogonies. Cf. below on 
verse 4. 

4. good : useful, suitable for the work for which it was designed ; 
the it 1 (not in the Heb.) refers to the whole result of each 
creative act. 

divided the light from the darkness. The work of creation 
is largely thought of as the unravelling and setting in due order 
of what was entangled or confused in the primaeval chaos ; the 
light is separated from the darkness, the upper from the lower 
waters (verse 6), the waters from the dry land (verse 9), the day 
from the night (verse 14). This is the view of the original 
narrative ; the idea in verse 5 of light as new, springing into 
existence at the word of God, is a modification introduced by the 
inspired writer, who has not, however, cared to correct the older 
phraseology throughout. 

5. God called the light Day, &c. This statement need not 
be explained away as meaning called into existence, or 

1 Irenaeus I. i. 7. 



76 GENESIS 1. 6, 7. P 

darkness he called Night. And there was evening and 
there was morning, one day. 

6 And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst 
of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the 

7 waters. And God made the firmament, and divided 

appointed ; but should be taken in its natural sense, God gave 
to the period of light the name Day, &c. The name was not 
thought of as something trivial and accidental, but as bound up 
with the nature and being of the thing named ; hence the great 
importance attached to the name of God; cf. such phrases as 
for Thy name s sake. 

evening 1 . . . morning 1 . The author follows the arrangement 
in use amongst the Jews in his time, by which the day was 
reckoned from sunset to sunset. Possibly the primaeval darkness 
is thought of as the first evening. 

one day, not first day, as the second, third, &c. of the follow 
ing paragraphs ; perhaps because the author wishes to emphasize 
the fact that evening and morning made a day ; or one day may 
be just an equivalent for the first day. 1 In Gen. viii. 5. a portion 
of the same document, P, first of the month is literally one of 
the month. 

day : often explained in this chapter as a figurative expression 
for a long period (cf. 2 Pet iii. 8, One day is with the Lord as a 
thousand years, and Ps. xc. 4), but the whole passage shows 
that the author thought of ordinary days. 

6. firmament: R. V. marg. expanse, Heb. raqfa. Firmament 
is from the Vulgate firmameniuin, which is an exact ctymol -gicr.l 
equivalent of the Septuagint stercoma. The root is used in 
Hebrew and Aramaic in the sense of make firm ; also specializ 
ing in Hebrew into the senses of beat, stamp, beat out metal) 
into plates. This firmament is a so .id dome upholding the 
upper waters. Cf. the paved work of sapphire stone which 
Moses saw under the feet of the God of Israel ; and the firma 
ment which Ezekiel saw supporting the throne of God 2 , and the 
vault which God hath founded upon the earth . Heaven is 
also said to have pillars * ; and we read : 

Canst thon with him spread out the sky, 
Which is strong as a molten mirror 5 ? 

The idea of the heavens as solid or metallic is also found in 
classical writers. 

1 Exod. xxiv. 10. 2 Ezek. i. 26. * Amos ix. 6, R.V. 

4 Job xxvi. 11. * Job xxxvii. 18. 



GENESIS 1. 8,9. P 77 

the waters which were under the firmament from the 
waters which were above the firmament : and it was so. 
And God called the firmament Heaven. And there was 
evening and there was morning, a second day. 

And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be 
gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land 

7. God mads the firmament, and divided the waters which 
were under the firmament from the waters which were above 
the firmament. Cf. in the Babylonian epic : 

He (Merodach) divided it (the corpse of Tiamat) ... in two ; 
Made one half of it a covering for heaven ; 
Inserted a bolt, and placed a watchman, 
And bade him not to allow its waters to escape. 
He traversed the heavens, . . . 
And placed it opposite the Ocean (Apsu). 1 

In Ps. cxlviii. 4 we again meet with the waters that be above 
the heavens. So, too, in the Egyptian mythology, there is a 
river of heaven over which Ra, the sun-god, voyages in his 
boat ; and the upper or heavenly waters are also found in other 
mythologies. 

According to the LXX and the analogy of the other para 
graphs, the clause and it was so should be transferred from the 
end of verse 7 to the end of verse 6. The statement that the 
Divine command was fulfilled follows immediately on the Divine 
utterance ; cf. on verse 20. 

Note the absence of the usual clause and God saw that it was 
good. No satisfactory reason has been given for the omission. 
The LXX contains the clause in verse 8, after called the fiima- 
inent heaven. Perhaps this was the original reading, and the 
words were accidentally omitted. 

9. one place. The LXX has one gathering, and also 
after and it was so adds and the water under the heaven was 
gathered into their gatherings, and the dry land appeared. 
These readings are accepted by many scho!ars. In the other 
paragraphs the words and it was so are followed by some 
further statement as to what happened. 

In Jcr. v. 22 Yahweh places the sand ft r the bound of the sea ; 
and in Job xxxviii. 8, 10, He shuts up the sea with doors. 

The appearing of the dry land suggests to us either the receding 
of the waters or the uprising of the land, but the analogy of the 
earlier verses seems to show that earth and water formed one 
confused mass, which were separated by the Divine word. 



78 GENESIS 1. 10-14. P 

10 appear : and it was so. And God called the dry land 
Earth ; and the gathering together of the waters called 

11 he Seas : and God saw that it was good. And God said, 
Let the earth put forth grass, herb yielding seed, and 
fruit tree bearing fruit after its kind, wherein is the seed 

12 thereof, upon the earth: and it was so. And the earth 
brought forth grass, herb yielding seed after its kind, 
and tree bearing fruit, wherein is the seed thereof, after 

13 its kind : and God saw that it was good. And there 
was evening and there was morning, a third day. 

14 And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of 
the heaven to divide the day from the night ; and let 

11. let the earth put forth grass, &c. There are two 
distinct creative acts on the third day, the formation of sea and 
land, and the production of vegetation. This arrangement is 
necessitated by the author s scheme of seven days, the last of 
which is a day of rest. 

With the exception of one doubtful clause, the origin of vegeta 
tion is not given in the extant portions of the Creation epic most 
closely akin to Gen. i. i ii. 4*; but is found in the alternative 
Babylonian account described in connexion with Gen. ii, see 
especially on ii. 8, 9. 

grass: Heb. deshe , here used as a general term for 
vegetation, including herbage and trees ; perhaps because the 
trees are thought of as first appearing as tender, green shoots. 

herb yielding 1 seed. Grain-producing corn, &c., for food, as 
well as for seed of new plants. 

After seed the LXX adds after its kind. Cf. below. 

after its kind. The LXX places these words after seed 
thereof. The meaning of this phrase is that God created all the 
various kinds of grass, trees, and of the living creatures which 
inhabit the air and the waters (verse 21] and the earth f verse 24"). 

wherein is the seed thereof, should immediately follow 
fruit, as in the LXX. Cf. above. 

i. 14. On the first three days, heaven, earth, and seas are made 
ready for their inhabitants ; in the second three days the inhabitants 
of these several regions are created 1 . 

14. lights: luminaries, Heb. ine orolh. 

to divide the day from the nig ht. The light has already 

1 So Holzinsfer in loco. 



GENESIS 1. 15-18. P 79 

them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days and 
years : and let them be for lights in the firmament of the 15 
heaven to give light upon the earth : and it was so. 
And God made the two great lights ; the greater light to 16 
rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night : he 
made the stars also. And God set them in the firmament 17 
of the heaven to give light upon the earth, and to rule 18 
over the day and over the night, and to divide the light 
from the darkness : and God saw that it was good. 

been divided from the darkness, and there has been the alternation 
of evening and morning ; but the day and night are now more 
clearly marked oft" from one another by the appearance of the sun 
by day and the moon and the stars by night. 

14, 15. let them be for signs, &c. The heavenly bodies are 
not thought of, as they were by the Babylonians and others, 
sometimes even by Israelites, as deities or the abodes of deities ; 
but simply as (a) having astronomical and possibly astrological 
uses, fixing the calendar and enabling men to measure the lapse of 
time ; and (U) as heavenly lamps, giving light by day and night. 

14. the heaven : here the LXX and the Samaritan Pentateuch 
insert to give light upon the earth, and to rule over the day and 
the night. 

signs : Heb. offio/h, often used of a miraculous sign, e. g. of 
the transformation of Moses rod into a serpent 1 ; also applied 
to the rainbow as a sign that God would not again destroy the 
world by a flood 2 . It might possibly indicate a belief in astro 
logy ; but the Israelites do not seem to have been much given to 
that pseudo-science, and star-gazers are only mentioned to be 
condemned 3 . Hence signs are better understood as referring 
to time, weather, &c. 

seasons: Heb. ino adhim, fixed times, i. e. festivals, &c. 
1G. to rule : here figurative ; the sun by its light and heat, 
the moon by its light, are thought of as the governing forces of 
day and night respectively. The language, however, may be 
a reminiscence of the worship of sun and moon as divine monarchs, 
e. g. the Babylonian Shamash and Sin. 

the stars also. These words look like an afterthought, 
especially in the Hebrew, and are perhaps a later addition. 

15. to divide the light from the darkness. These words 
seem superfluous, as this division was made on the first da} 

1 Exod. iv. S. * Gen. ix. 12. " Isa. xlvii. 13. 



So GENESIS 1. 19, 20. P 

19 And there was evening and there was morning, a fourth 
day. 

20 And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly 
the moving creature that hath life, and let fowl fly above 

(verse 4). They may be an addition : or the author may refer in 
verse 4 to the initial separation of light and darkness as ultimate 
substances, and here to the way in which the division between 
them is actually shown to men. 

14-19. The most relevant lines of the parallel section of the 
Creation epic are as follows : 

He (Merodach) prepared stations for the great gods. 
As stars like to them he placed the constellations of the 

Zodiac l . 

He indicated the year .... 
He instituted twelve months, each with three stars. 

He placed the zenith in the midst of heaven, 

He made the moon shine, made the night subject to him, 

He appointed him . . . 2 to make known time 

Monthly, without failing . . . . a 

At the beginning of the month . . . . 2 

It shines with horns . . . . 3 

On the seventh day with a half-circle. 

A paragraph follows about the sun, the extant remains of which 
are too scanty to be deciphered. In the closing tablet we also 
read that Merodach appoints the courses for the stars of heaven. 

20. bring 1 forVi abundantly the moving- creature that 
hath life. R. V. marg., Heb. ; swarm with swarms of living 
creatures. 

fowl: Heb. *o/>//, by derivation flying thing, here used 
collectively for flying things in general, including not only birds, 
but insects, bats, &c. Cf. Lev. xi. 20, where shere (swarm of) 
ha ;the) oph is used for winged . . . things that go upon all 
four 3 , including four varieties of locusts or grasshoppers. 

The coupling in one creative act of the creatures of the sea and 
air has been variously explained : (a) by the necessity of including 
creation in six days (cf. on verses 9-13) ; and, also, for the sake 
of having ten creative acts, (b) The ranking together of the 

1 So Gunkel and Jensen, but translation doubtful. 
a Text or translation doubtful. 

8 So R.V. ; A.V., curiously, All fowls that creep, going upon 
all four. 



GENESIS 1. ai. P 81 

the earth in the open firmament of heaven. And God 21 
created the great sea-monsters, and every living creature 

animals of the water and air is to be explained by the simi 
larity of their elements, viz. fluidity and mobility, and the con 
nected manifold similarity of their organism and their propaga 
tion 1 . This is probably partly true; the narrative does not 
think of living creatures as produced from nothing, but from 
substance already existing. Naturally the sea-creatures were 
produced from the sea, and the land-creatures from the land ; but 
the air did not seem substantial enough to produce the air- 
creatures, and it seemed more reasonable, as the above quotation 
points out, to derive them from the sea than from the land : but (c) 
the author probably is influenced by some ancient tradition that 
birds were produced from the water. Perhaps this was connected 
with the Babylonian myth, preserved by Berosus, which states that 
the primaeval waters generated monstrous winged creatures. 
1st fowl fly : A. V., with LXX, fowl that may fly. 
heaven. Add after this, with the LXX, and on account 
of the analogy of the other paragraphs, and it was so ; cf. on 
verse 7. 

21. created: used here for the second time (cf. verse i), at the 
appearance of conscious life. 

sea-monsters : A. V. whales, Heb. tanm iiitn, a late 
word, found chiefly or wholly in exilic or post-exilic literature. 
Tannin is usually derived from a root TNN, to stretch, and 
even connected with the Greek and Latin root ten, which we 
have in tension, &c. ; tannin is therefore explained as a stretched- 
out, long, thin thing. like a serpent, &c. In Exod. vii. 9-12 the 
rods of Aaron and of Pharaoh s magicians are changed to tamiinint, 
E. V. serpents ; in the parallel passage, Exod. iv. 3, Moses rod 
becomes a nahash, the ordinary word for serpent. In Isa. xxvii. 
i the tannin is coupled with leviathan, and in li. 9 with 
4 Rahab, and in Ps. cxlviii. 7 with the tehomoth or abysses. 
In the last two passages E. V. renders dragons. Probably the 
author had in mind the aquatic monsters which in Babylonian 
mythology peopled the primaeval abyss. If so, he suggests a 
contrast; in the mythology there were monsters existing before 
Merodach the Creator, and capable of contending with him ; but 
in truth even the huge, mysterious monsters of the ab3 T ss are the 
work of the God of Israel. The term ; sea-monster is not very 
apt, as the author was probably thinking more of hippopotami 
and crocodiles than of sharks and whales. The behemoth in 
Job xl. 15-24 is the hippopotamus, and the leviathan in Job xli 

1 Dillmann, in loco, Eng. Tr. 
Ci 



82 GENESIS 1. 22-24. P 

that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, 

after their kinds, and every winged fowl after its kind : 

23 and God saw that it was good. And God blessed them, 

saying, Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in 

23 the seas, and let fowl multiply in the earth. And there 
was evening and there was morning, a fifth day. 

24 And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living 

the crocodile. There was a well of the famiin, E. V. dragon, 
at Jerusalem in post-exilic times. 

every living 1 creature that moveth. Like the corresponding 
moving creature that hath life, the phrase is used as more 
general than fish, in order to include every possible variety of 
creature that inhabited the waters ; cf. Ps. viii. 8 : 

The fowl of the air, and the fish of the sea, 
Whatsoever passeth through the paths of the seas. 

Moveth, strictly creepeth 1 ; perhaps to emphasize the most 
striking difference between plants and animals, the fact that the 
latter are not confined to one spot like the f .rmer. 

abundantly. There is nothing to indicate that only a single 
pair of each kind was originally produced. It is true that in the 
Priestly (P) narrative of the flood a pair of each kind is taken 
into the ark 2 , but there is clearly no analogy between the 
limited space of the ark and the unlimited water and air available 
at the Creation. 

winged fowl : fit. flying ( things > with wings ; cf. Ps. cxlviii. 
10, E. V. flying fowl, /// 1 , birds with wings. The redundant 
expression again emphasizes the most striking characteristics of 
the class. 

22. And God blessed them, saying 1 , Be fruitful, &c. The 
formula now receives an addition, which is repeated for man, and, 
in a different form, for the sabbath. The direct address in the 
second person, Be fruitful, &c., calls attention to the fact that 
animals are conscious beings, capable of receiving, understanding, 
and obeying the Divine commands. This utterance endows the 
creatures addressed with the power of reproduction. 

multiply, and fill the waters. The author thinks of a certain 
area being originally provided with fishes, birds, &c., and, later 
on, beasts, and men, and the rest of the world as being supplied 
from thence. 

2O-23. The section of the Creation epic which would doubtless 
have corresponded to this paragraph has not yet been found. 

1 Heb. RMS. * Gen. vi. 19, 20. 



GENESIS 1. 25, 2 (5. P 83 

creature after its kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and 
beast of the earth after its kind : and it was so. And 25 
God made the beast of the earth after its kind, and the 
cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth 
upon the ground after its kind : and God saw that it 
was good. And God said, Let us make man in our 26 

24. cattle : domestic animals. 
creeping thing 1 : reptiles. 
beast of the earth : wild beasts. 

The author thinks of the domestic animals and the beasts of 
prey as having been created tame and wild respectively. 

24,25. Notice the absence of the blessing given to the 
creatures of the water and of the air (verse 22), and to men 
Averse 28). No satisfactory explanation of this omission has been 
given. It has been suggested that the author was afraid of 
making his narrative too long, or wished to have just three 
blessings (verses 22, 28, ii. 3\ Perhaps an editor or scribe who 
was cramped for space omitted the blessing here, under the 
impression that verses 28-30 might do duly for the beasts as well 
as for men. The LXX of Joshua often omits formulae which 
are frequently repeated. 

Here again the Creation epic is defective ; but a fragment 
sometimes supposed to belong to that series speaks of the creation 
of cattle, wild beasts, and reptiles ; and the alternative account 
speaks of the creation of numerous varieties of land animals ; see 
on ii. 19. 

26. Let us make man. Cf. iii. 22, where, after the Fall, the 
Lord God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us ; xi. 7, 
where, after the building of the Tower of Babel, the Lord said, 
. . . Let us go down ; and Isa. vi. 8. where the prophet Heard 
the voice of the Lord, saying, . . . Who will go for us ? This 
us has been very variously interpreted: as referring to the 
Three Persons of the Trinity ; or to the manifold powers, 
qualities, and attributes of God ; or as being the royal we. 1 But 
the meaning is determined by Isa. vi, where Yahweh is described 
as surrounded by His heavenly court, the Seraphim, and mani 
festly addresses them. So here and elsewhere God is thought 
of as attended by subordinate supernatural beings, or, as we 
should say, angels. Such passages are so far an anticipation of 
the doctrine of the Trinity, as they imply a denial of that isolation 
of the Deity in heaven to which the bare doctrine of the absolute 
oneness of God inevitably tends. It has been pointed out that to 



f. Job i, ii. 
G 2 



84 GENESIS 1. 27. P 

image, after our likeness : and let them have dominion 
over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and 
over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every 
27 creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. And God 
created man in his own image, in the image of God 

xvrite Let MS make man in our image was less startling, and less 
suggestive of erroneous anthropomorphism, than to say, Let me 
make man in my image. Cf. below. 

man: Heb. adam; here a common noun, of uncertain de 
rivation, but by similarity of form suggesting the name Edom ; 
the word adainah, ground, cf. ii. 7, iii. 19; and the root DM, 
red, as in adoni, red, xxv. 30, and in dam, blood. Man 
here, like the singular words for flying creatures, 1 cattle, &c., 
is collective and equals mankind, the human race. 

in our image, after otir likeness. No distinction can be 
drawn here between image and likeness 1 ; they are not 
intended to express two distinct ideas, but are a pair of synonyms 
setting forth one idea with special emphasis and some variety in 
language. This likeness is again referred to in verses 1-3. Much 
discussion has taken place on the question Wherein did the 
author understand that this likeness consisted : whether in the 
outward appearance, e. g. the upright posture ; or the dominion 
over other animals (verse 28} ; or in the moral and spiritual 
attributes of God ? If the author had taken the very serious 
trouble of thinking out this problem he would have given us his 
solution. As it is, he has provided us with a general formula, 
which we are at liberty to use in the light of the Christian 
revelation. Probably he reproduces a feature of the ancient 
tradition. Primitive religion is usually frankly anthropomorphic 
at certain stages ; and the idea that man is the image of God is 
a commonplace of classical philosophers 2 . 

have dominion, &c. So also Ps. viii. 6-8: 

Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy 
hands ; 

Thou hast put all things under his feet : 

All sheep and oxen, 

Yea, and the beasts of the field ; 

The fowl of the air, and the fish of the sea. 
27. created : used for the third time, and here used three 
times by way of special emphasis. The formation of man was 
a more wonderful new departure than the creation of heaven and 



Ileb. fcleni and dcmnt^. " !^ce Dilltnann, in loco. 



GENESIS 1. 28, 29. P 85 

created he him ; male and female created he them. 
And God blessed them : and God said unto them, Be 28 
fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and sub 
due it ; and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and 
over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that 
moveth upon the earth. And God said, Behold, I have 29 
given you every herb yielding seed, which is upon the 
face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the 
fruit of a tree yielding seed ; to you it shall be for meat : 

earth (verse i), or the appearance of conscious life (verse 21). 
The other animals are brought forth by the waters or the earth ; 
but there is no hint of any material from which man is brought 
forth. In order to enhance the importance of the creative act and 
the dignity of man, God invites the co-operation of His heavenly 
ministers in this supreme work. 

male and female, thus providing for the continuance of the 
race by reproduction. The existence of two sexes, though 
common to man with the lower animals, is first mentioned here. 
The phrase almost reads like a correction of the earlier statement 
of ii. 21-23 that the formation of woman was a distinct act. This 
verse by itself could not be understood as stating that originally 
only a single pair was created, but as the same Priestly (P) writer 
in chapter v makes Adam the ancestor of the whole human race 
he apparently held that only one man was originally created ; he 
probably also took for granted that his readers would understand 
that only one woman was created, but this latter point could 
hardly be proved from the actual words of the Priestly narrative. 

28. fowl of the air. The LXX adds here, and over the 
cattle, and over all the earth, as in verse 26. 

moveth : R. V. marg., creepeth. 

29. I have given you every herb yielding 1 seed, . . . and 
every tree . . . for meat. ; Meat in its Elizabethan sense of 
food. The Priestly Document in its legal sections dwells upon 
the regulations of the Law as to food ; and in the same spirit it 
thinks of God as giving ordinances on this subject at the Creation. 
In the first, or antediluvian, dispensation both men and animals 
are thought of as living on a vegetarian diet, and therefore not 
taking life, but dwelling in peace together. It is not certain that 
any distinction is intended between the herb yielding seed given 
to man and the green herb given to the animals ; but perhaps 
the grains arid fruits are given to man and the grasses to the 
animals. Cf. ix. 1-7. 

the frviit of a tree. The LXX omits of a tree. 



86 GENESIS 1. 30 2. 2. P 

30 and to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the 
air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, 
wherein there is life, / have given every green herb for 

31 meat : and it was so. And God saw every thing that he 
had made, and, behold, it was very good. And there 
was evening and there was morning, the sixth day. 

2 And the heaven and the earth were finished, and ail 
2 the host of them. And on the seventh day God finished 

33. to every beast ... I have given every green herb. 
These verses imply universal peace amongst men and animals 
as having existed in a primaeval golden age. In Isa. xi. 6-9 this 
is also a feature of the future Messianic Age: The wolf shall 
dwell with the lamb, . . . the lion shall eat straw like the ox. . . . 
They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain. Similar 
pictures are found in classical writers. 

No provision is made for the fishes ; perhaps the author did not 
know how they fed, or did not care to overload his narrative by 
elaborating an unimportant detail. The cattle are perhaps here 
included with the other beasts. 

wherein there is life: R. V. marg., a living soul. The 
Hebrew for life or living soul is nephcsh hayyah, used else 
where in this chapter for living creature. The verse shows 
that, in the opinion of this writer at any rate, the ticphals, 
constantly translated soul/ denotes a principle or faculty common 
to animals and man, the animal life. 

31. God saw every thing 1 , ... it was very good. There is 
no special reference to man ; he is simply included in this general 
statement. The result of each creative act was satisfactory in 
itself, but there was ground for special satisfaction in con 
templating the completed work in which each portion was in 
perfect harmony with the rest. 

tha sixth ds,y, not merely, a sixth day, as in the previous 
paragraphs ; the last day of God s working, like the first, is 
marked as special. 

25-31. Here again the corresponding portion of the Creation 
epic has not been found; but the hymn to Mcrodach 1 speaks of 
him as creating mankind. 

ii. 1. all the host of them. Host 2 of heaven is found in the 
sense of the stars 3 ; and here the host stands for the inhabitants, 
contents, and belongings, so to speak, of heaven and earth. 

2. on the seventh day God finished his wort. These words 

1 Cf. p. ("><> 2 Heb. faba . 3 Cf. Jer. xxxiii. 22. 



GENESIS 2. 3 . P 87 

his work which he had made; and he rested on the 
seventh day from all his work which he had made. 
And God blessed the seventh day, and hallowed it : 3 
because that in it he rested from all his work which God 
had created and made. 

are difficult ; the context requires that they should mean that God 
did no work on the seventh day. But this would make the next 
clause, he rested on the seventh day, mere repetition ; moreover 
it is doubtful whether the Hebrew for finished work can mean 
did no work or left off work, 1 any more than we could say in 
English that a candidate, sitting for examinations from Monday to 
Saturday, finished 1 them on Sunday. Many scholars, however, 
feel compelled to accept the meaning desisted from .work, and 
try to show that it can be justified from Hebrew usage. 

The Samaritan Pentateuch J ,the LXX,and other ancient versions, 
read on the sixth day God finished, &c., which gives the sense 
required, but may merely show that translators or scribes felt the 
difficulty, and altered the text accordingly. On the other hand 
a careless scribe might easily substitute seventh for sixth by 
confusion with the seventh a line or two further down. 

The Rabbinical commentator Rashi 3 offers us two explanations. 
The first is that flesh and blood cannot know times and seasons 
exactly, and must leave cff on the same day on which they finish 
if they wish to be sure of not carrying work on into the next day ; 
Lut God knows time exactly, and, to put it in modern terms, can 
work up to the last second of one day, and stop the very begin 
ning of the next. The other explanation is as follows : What 
did the world yet lack (after the six days work) ? Rest. And so 
God made the world complete by introducing rest. 

It is clear that we must either read, with the LXX, &c., that God 
finished on the sixth day; or else we must understand our present 
text to mean that He abstained from work on the seventh day. 

3. hallowed it : marked it off from other days as a sacred 
season to be specially devoted to Himself. 

had created and made : more exactly, had creatively made, 
i. e. made in that peculiarly Divine way of working which is 
denoted by the word create, and which transcends human 
powers. 

The Hebrew word, however, may mean to put a stop to 
anything 1 rather than to put the finishing touches to it. 

2 See p. 42. 

3 A Rabbi who taught in France and Germany ; b. A. D. 1040, 
d. 1 105. 



88 GENESIS 2. 4. P 

4 These are the generations of the heaven and of the 

1-3. The usual formulae are omitted from this paragraph, 
probably to heighten the contrast between the seventh day, the 
day of rest, and the six working days. 

Here %ve have the institution of the Sabbath, or Day of Rest. 
Although the name is not actually mentioned, it is referred to 
in the twice-repeated rested, 1 Heb. shabath, from which Sab 
bath is usually l derived. We are not told of any observances 
enjoined upon man, but, in the Ten Commandments 2 , God s rest 
is given as a reason why man should abstain from work on the 
seventh day. 

There is no corresponding section of the Creation epic, but a 
similar observance of seventh days is found in the Babylonian 
calendar. On the seventh, fourteenth, twent3 r -first, twenty-eighth, 
but also on the nineteenth days of the month the king may not 
eat meat roasted by the fire, or any food prepared by the fire. 
nor must he change his clothes, nor offer sacrifices, nor ride in a 
chariot 3 . It is an evil day, an unlucky day, like our Friday . 

The word Sabbath may be of Babylonian origin, as similar 
words are found in that language, though with a somewhat differ 
ent usage. The noun sabatum is a day on which the gods rest 
from anger and may be propitiated, and the verb sabatti means 
to complete, and not to desist from. 

The Sabbath appears in the Primitive Codes 5 , especially in the 
Ten Commandments. 

Outside of the Pentateuch the Sabbath first appears as a sacred 
season in the episode of the Shunammite, whose husband was 
surprised at her journey to visit the man of God because it was 
neither new moon nor sabbath . 

4. These ara the generations, &c. This is the formula by 
which the Priestly Document introduces the ten sections of its 
history of the Patriarchs ; so. for instance, These are the genera 
tions of Noah, and similarly for Adam, the sons of Noah, 
Shem, Terah, IshmXel, Isaac, Esau, and Jacob 7 . The Hebrew 

1 It is sometimes connected with Sheba , seven; and the writer 
may intend to suggest a connexion with both \vords, more perhaps 
by way of noticing a similarity of form and meaning- than of 
asserting- an etymological derivation. 

a Kxod. xx. 11. 

3 Jastrow, Religion of Babylonia and Assyria. 

* Driver, in Hastings Diet, of the Bible, SABBATH, understands 
till:; Babylonian institution differently as a day which may be made 
favourable by observing these abstinences, or evil by neglecting them. 

3 Those included in J and K. G 2 Kings iv. _>;,. 

1 Gen. v. i, vi. g, x. i, xi. 10, 27, xxv. 12, 19, xxxvi. i, xxxvii. 2. 



GENESIS 2. 4 . PJ 89 

earth when they were created, [J] in the day that the 4 

word 1 is from a root meaning to beget, or bear children, and so 
conies to mean parentage, account of birth or descent, genealogy. 
Some of the sections introduced by this formula are genealogies, e.g. 
the generations of Adam (v), others include narratives, e. g. the 
generations of Noah (vi. 9), &c., &c. ; so that the term almost 
equals family history. As this formula elsewhere always stands 
at the head of a section, and as ii. 4 ff. belong to another 
document, it is commonly held that 4", These are the generations 
. . . created, originally stood at the beginning of the Priestly 
Document, and that they owe their present position to the editor 2 
who combined that document with the other sources of the 
Pentateuch. It may have seemed to him fitting that the words 
In the beginning should stand at the beginning of the Book of 
the Law ; or he may have felt that The generations, &c., would be 
a less striking exordium than In the beginning God created, &c. 
It is also possible that these considerations may have occurred to 
the Priestly writer, and that he may have marked the uniqueness 
of this section by using his formula for a conclusion instead of a 
heading. 

The LXX has ; This is the Book of the Genesis, &c., as in v. i ; 
and it has been suggested that the editor, before inserting a section 
from the other document, accidentally copied in the opening words 
of v. i, which were afterwards adapted to their present position. 

ii. 4 b -25. THE PRIMITIVE (J) NARRATIVE OF THE CREATION. 

ii. 4 b -6. The Primaeval Chaos. 

ii. 7. A man formed from the soil and the breath of God. 

ii. 8-14. Yahweh Elohim ( ; the Lord God ) plants a garden 
with trees and provides it with rivers. 

ii. 15-17. Yahweh Elohim places the man in the garden to 
tend it ; the trees are to furnish him with food; but he must not 
eat from the Tree of Knowledge under penalty of death. 

ii. 18-20. Yahweh Elohim forms the animals out of the soil 
to provide a companion for the man. The man names them, but 
fails to find a suitable companion for himself. 

ii. 21-25. Accordingly Yahweh Elohim throws the man into a 
trance, and from one of his ribs constructs a woman, whom the 
man accepts as his companion. Thus matrimony is instituted. 
The newly created couple are naked, and not ashamed. 

(a) The sources of this narrative. The main source, as we have 
indicated, is the older portion or stratum 3 of the Primitive 

1 Toledoth, from the root yalad. * See p. 10. 

* J 1 . See p. 23. 



go GENESIS 2. 5. J 

5 LORD God made earth and heaven. And no plant of the 

Jehovistic Document. But the Elohim (God) in the Divine 
Name Yahwoh Elohim ^Lord God) was not used in that docu 
ment, but has been added by the editor, perhaps to indicate that 
the Yahweh (Lord) of this section is the same as the Elohim (God) 
of the first chapter. There are other portions of ii. 4 b -25 which 
are considered editorial additions ; the more important of these 
are mentioned in the commentary, but it has not been thought 
necessary to indicate them in the text. 

(I)} Relation to i. i ii. 4*. In spite of the obvious differences 
the two accounts have important features in common. Both 
show the influence of the ancient tradition by beginning with 
a scene of waste desolation ; and the influence of inspired teach 
ing by the omission of all polytheistic ideas. On the other hand 
the differences are also important : the Priestly account is cosmic ; 
it deals with ear.th and heaven and all their hosts, with the dry 
land, and the firmament, and the waters above and below the 
firmament ; the Primitive account is local, and is only concerned 
with a garden and its inhabitants, and the streams that water it. 
In the Priestly account anthropomorphic language is used as little 
as possible ; but in ii. 4 b -25 Yahweh is frankly spoken of as a 
man might be ; He moulds a man out of dust, plants a garden, and 
takes a rib out of the man and builds it up into a woman. So 
far as the creation of the same beings is concerned the order is 
different ; especially in ch. ii the woman is formed last, as a kind of 
afterthought, to be the man s companion, and we are not told that 
God breathed into her the breath of life ; whereas in ch. i man and 
woman are formed by the same creative act in the likeness of God. 

(c) Relation to the Babylonian Cosmogony. We have seen that 
there is some similarity between this section and the Creation 
epic, but there is a closer connexion with what we may call the 
alternative (Babylonian) account of the Creation. This begins 
with a description of a time when neither trees, houses, cities 
(Nippur, Ekur, Uruk, &c.), temples, &c., existed ; all was sea. 
First were made the ancient cities Iiidu, E-Sakkila, Babel, then 
certain gods, then earth, and the firmament (?\ then, in succession, 
men, animals, the Euphrates and Tigris, vegetation, and various 
kinds of animals. The conclusion of this account is lost. Details 
of comparison between this alternative account and that in ii. 
4 ! -25 will be given in the commentary. Cf. also pp. 16 ff. 

4 b . the LORD God. LORD here and elsewhere in the O. T., 
when printed in small capitals, represents YHWH, the Israelite 
name of God 2 . Some time after the return from the Cnp .ivity, and 

1 Only in ii. 4 b iii. 24 in the Pentateuch. 

2 When the Heb. YHWH is immediately preceded by the Heb. 



GENESIS 2. 5. J 91 

field was yet in the earth, and no herb of the field had 

before the beginning of the Christian era, the Jews came to 
believe that the Divine Name YHWH was too sacred to be 
uttered on ordinary occasions. It was said to be pronounced by 
the High Priest on the Day of Atonement. At other times, when 
any one read or quoted aloud fiom the O. T., * Adonay, Lord/ 
was usually 1 substituted for YHWH, and similarly the LXX has 
Kit riots, the Vulgate dominits, and the E. V. LORD, where the 
Heb. has YHWH. Hebrew was originally written without 
vowels, but when the vowel points 2 were added 3 the vowels 
of Adonay or Elo/ittn 1 were written with YHWH, as a 
direction that these words were to read instead of the word 
whose consonants were YHWH ; thus we find the combinations 
YeHoWaH 4 and YeHoWiH. At the Reformation, the former 
being the more usual, was sometimes used as the name of the God 
of Israel, and owing to ignorance of its history was misread as 
Jehovah 5 , a form which has established itself in English, but 
does not give the pronunciation of the Divine Name it represents. 
Owing to the absence of vowel points in ancient Hebrew we do 
not certainly know how the Tetragrammaton u was read, but the 
current theory holds that it was sounded as Yaliweh. 

YHWH was the personal name of the God of Israel ; just as 
Chemosh was the personal name of the God of Moab, and as 
Jesus was the personal name of our Lord. 

The origin and derivation of YHWH are unknown, and are the 
subject of many theories. The name is often connected with the 
root hwh, to be, either as He who causes to be, the First Cause, 
or He who is, the Self-Existent, the Eternal. The latter view 
is given in Exod. iii. 14 T , where God tells Moses that His name 
is Eliych (the first person corresponding to YHWH, taken as a 
verbal form in the third person) or Ehych aslier ehye i. The 

word for Lord, Adonay, YHWH is represented in the E. V. by 
GOD, printed thus in capitals, e.g. Kzek. ii. 4, Lord GOD. Herein 
the E. V. follows the Vulgate, which followed the Jewish usage, 
indicated in the text of our Hebrew Bibles by the vowel points. 

1 See previous note. 

2 Dots and strokes to indicate vowels, something after the fashion 
of shorthand. 

3 About the sixth century A.D. Ges.-Kautzsch, p. 36. 

1 The e after Y, instead of the a of Adonay, is due to a 
technicality of Hebrew writing. 

5 In the Vulgate, in mediaeval Latin, and in German, the Heb. Y 
is represented by J, and VV by V. 

A term meaning- four-lettered, often used for YHWH. 

7 Probably an editorial note. 



92 GENESIS 2. 6. J 

yet sprung up : for the LORD God had not caused it to 

rain upon the earth, and there was not a man to till the 

6 ground ; but there went up a mist from the earth, and 

first person is used because God Himself is the speaker. The 
phrase Ehyeh aslier ehyeh is variously rendered by R. V. and 
R. V. marg., I am that I am, I am because I am, I am who 
am, or I will be that I will be, and the simple Ehyeh either I 
am or I will be. 

YHVVH has also been connected with hiv/i, in the sense of fall, 
He who causes to fall, e.g. the Rain-giver. It is possibly a 
foreign word, the explanation of which must be sought for in 
some non-Hebrew or even non-Semitic language. 

According to the Priestly 1 and the Elohistic- Documents this 
Divine Name was first revealed to Israel through Moses at the 
time of the Exodus. According to another writer 3 this name 
was first known in the time of Enosh, the grandson of Adam. 
The Primitive Document, as we see. uses it from the beginning. 

God, Heb. Elolrim 4 , a common noun in the plural, used for 
supernatural beings, and especially for God, both for the true 
God and for false gods. The form is commonly explained as a 
plural of majesty. The root is found in several Semitic languages, 
e. g. the Arabic Allah, but its etymology is unknown. It is 
sometimes explained as Object of dread, sometimes as the 
Mighty One. It is the ordinary Divine Name used bv the 
Priestly writer and the Elohist until they record the revelation 
of the name YHWH. 

made earth and heaven. The following- narrative savs 
nothing about the making of heaven. Perhaps the Primitive 
Document originally included an account of such a making, for 
which the editor substituted the Priestly narrative given in i. i 
ii. 4". 

5. no plant, &c. Here the primaeval chaos is a parched, barren 
laud, instead of the dark waters of i. 2. 

there was not a man to till the ground, and therefore 
there could be no crops of grain, which to men are an important 
part of the herb of the field " . Cf. also on the following verse. 

6. there went up a mist. The word mist only occurs 
here and in Job xxxvi. 27, R. V. : 

For he clraweth up the drops of water, 
Which distil in rain from his vapour. 

1 Kxod. vi. 2 ff. * Exod. iii. i 3 ff. 

Perhaps J- : sec p. ?$ and on iv. 26. 

1 On the insertion of Elohim in ii. and iii. see (\ p. 90. 

5 SoGunkel. * Heb. erf. 



GENESIS 2. 7. J 93 

watered the whole face of the ground. And the LORD 7 
God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed 
into his nostrils the breath of life ; and man became 

Here the LXX and other versions have spring or fountain, 
and a cognate Assyrian word 1 means flow or tide. 
Possibly, therefore, instead of mist we should understand a 
stream ; perhaps the great river that in some ancient cosmogonies 
encircles the whole earth ; see the next clause. 

The Hebrew construction should naturally describe a condition of 
things rather than an event ; that is, before the series of events 
narrated in the following verses there was barren land, either 
enveloped in a watery mist or washed by a great river. Verses 
5 and 6 do not seem quite consistent ; in verse 5 rain is thought of as 
the means of watering the ground, in verse 6 a mist or stream. Some 
scholars reconcile the two by understanding mist to mean a 
rain-cloud ; others suppose that verse 5 is an addition ; or that 
verse 6 once stood where we now have verses 10-14. 

4 b -6. The parallel lines of the corresponding cuneiform account 
are as follows : 

No holy house for the gods had been made in a sacred place, 
No reed had sprung up, no tree had been formed, 
No brick had been laid, no brick building had been erected, 
No house had been made, no city built, 
No city had been made, . . . 
Nippur had not been made, Ekur had not been built, 

7. formed-. This narrative does not use the word create. 

man of the dust of the ground: better, the man, or in 
idiomatic English a man. i. 27 gives the creation of mankind ; 
this verse, the formation of an individual. From the previous 
verse we should gather that the dust had been moistened, and 
had become clay. Man (adam\ . . . of the ground (adatna/i)may 
express the idea that man was named after the soil from which he 
was taken, which he tilled during his life, and to which he 
returned at death. This description of man s body as made of 
dust from the ground has been styled A first attempt at organic 
chemistry 3 . 

breathed into his nostrils the breath of life. Breath and 
breathing are the most obvious tokens of life ; when they cease 
life has ceased also. The clay figure which Yahweh had moulded 
became alive. a living soul, when He breathed into its nostrils. 
The Divine breath passing into the figure became a separate 
principle of life. The natural deduction is that the life of man is, 

1 Edu. * Hcb.yacar. 3 Gunkel. 



94 GENESIS 2. s. J 

i a living soul. And the LORD God planted a garden 
eastward, in Eden ; and there he put the man whom he 

as it were, a fragment of the Divine Life. Man is not only made 
in the image of God, as in the Priestly writer, but lives by the 
breath of God. But probably neither writer drew theological 
deductions from his statements ; they simply explained how man 
came to be, without working out the logical consequences of the 
method by which he was created or formed. 

The parallel lines of the Babylonian account are : 
That the gods might dwell in pleasant places, 
He (Merodach) formed men, 

The goddess Amru together with him formed the seed l of 
men. 

One form of the legend of Prometheus tells how he moulded 
men and animals of clay and animated them with fire from 
heaven. 

St. Paul emphasizes this account of the origin of man in i Cor. 
xv. 47-49, lit., The first man was of the earth, made of dust V a "d 
so throughout the paragraph we might substitute made of dust* 
for earthy. 

8. the IiORD God planted. Another anthropomorphic phrase. 
a garden eastward, ia Eden. l Garden would be better 
park or pleasaunce. The author may have had in mind the 
magnificent parks or gardens which surrounded the palaces of 
Egyptian and Assyrian kings. Eastward from Palestine, which 
is the standpoint of the writer. 

Eden is also referred to in Isa. li. 3; Ezek. xxviii. 13, the 
garden of God ; xxxi. 9-18, the trees of Eden"; xxxvi. 35; Joel 
ii. 3. We also find mention of an Eden :1 , a petty state in Syria or 
Mesopotamia, in the closing period of the kingdom of Judah ; but 
it is not likely that the writer identified his Eden with any neigh 
bouring district known to him. Eden has the consonants of 
a Hebrew root meaning delightful, pleasurable, and must have 
suggested this idea to Israelites. The name, however, was probably 
part of the ancient tradition. It is sometimes connected with 
a Babylonian word for steppe, wilderness," the garden of Eden 
having been planted in the midst of the primaeval wilderness. But 
none of these rival theories are very probable. 

If, as is often supposed, verses 10-14 arc a later addition , the 
original story did not define the position of Eden. In the same 

1 Query, the children. - R. V. earthy, Greek choichesi 

3 Or Kdens. Children of Eden, 2 Kin^s xix. 12; Isa. xxxvii. 
12; Eden. Ezek. xxvii. 23; house of Eden, Amos i. 5. 
1 See below. 



GENESIS 2. 9 . J 95 

had formed. And out of the ground made the LORD 9 
God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and 
good for food ; the tree of life also in the midst of the 
garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. 

way a modern devotional writer would not fix the position of 
Heaven in the Universe, even if he thought of it as a locality. 

For garden of Eden the LXX has paradise of Edem (sic\ 
and the Vulgate paradise of pleasure. Hence our Paradise 1 as 
a name for Eden and for the Christian Heaven. The word is 
found in the Hebrew O. T. in the form fardcs , R. V. and marg. 
forest, park, orchard, paradise. The word is found in ancient 
Persian in the sense of enclosure ; and has been read in Assyrian 
in the form Pardcsu as the name of a country. 

9. every tree: every kind of tree. 

the tree of life : i. e. according to iii. 22 the tree whose 
fruit renders those who eat it immortal. 

the tree of the knowledge of good and evil : similarly 
the tree whose fruit enables those who eat it to distinguish 
between good and evil. Good and evil does not, as far as the 
mere words are concerned, refer to morality, it might mean simply 
useful and injurious ; but the phrase is intended in a general 
sense. The man was not without knowledge in the beginning, 
but the eating of such fruit would give him added insight, wisdom, 
and knowledge ; the only acquisition of the kind mentioned in 
Genesis as the result of eating the fruit is the consciousness of sex. 

Partly because in iii. 3 only one tree the tree of knowledge 
is spoken of as in the midst of the garden, it is sometimes sup 
posed that the tree of life here and in iii. 22 is an addition from 
another story. Such a theory, however, seems unnecessary. 

The sacred tree played a great part in ancient worship and 
mythology. Robertson Smith 2 writes: There is abundant evidence 
that in all parts of the Semitic area trees were adored as divine. . . . 
By the modern Arabs sacred trees are called matta/til, places where 
angels or jinn descend and are heard dancing and singing. It is 
deadly danger to pluck as much as a bough from such a tree. 
A sacred tree, or its representative the ashera, was a feature of the 
ancient sanctuaries or high places, e. g. the oaks or terebinths at 
Shechem and Mamre, consecrated by their association with 
Abraham 3 . A Tree of Life 4 and other marvellous trees figure 
in Babylonian myths ; and sacred trees often appear on the 
monuments. 



1 Neh. ii. 8; Eccles. ii. 5; Cant. iv. 13. 

2 Religion of the Semites, p. 185 ff. 

3 Gen. xii. 6, xiii. 18, xviii. i ; Judges ix. 37. 4 Cf. on iii. 22. 



96 GENESIS 2. 10. J 

10 And a river went out of Eden to water the garden ; 
and from thence it was parted, and became four heads. 

1O-14. These verses are generally regarded as a later addition 
to the narrative. This jejune geographical description is not 
in keeping with the simple picturesqueness of the rest of the 
chapter, and rather reminds one of an extract from a manual of 
general information. The watering of the garden has already been 
provided for in verse 6. 

10. went out of Eden to water the garden. This is a little 
difficult to understand ; it apparently means that the river flowed 
into the garden from the part of Eden outside of it in verse 8 the 
garden is I M, and therefore only a part of, Eden. We should rather 
have expected the river to rise in the garden : but possibly the 
writer has in his mind some tradition now lost to us. 

from thence it was parted, and became four heads. On 
leaving the garden it divided itself into four branches or arms, as 
a river with a delta, e. g. the Nile, divides itself into branches at 
the entrance to the delta. 

11. 11-14. The Four Rivers. These rivers have given rise to 
much controversy, and are the subject of many theories, no one 
of which has yet been generally accepted. 

The author begins with what is least familiar to himself and his 
readers. The last river mentioned is the Euphrates, concerning 
which no details are given; they were unnecessary; every Israelite 
knew all about the Euphrates. The last but one is the somewhat, 
less familiar Tigris *, whose exact course was apparently not known 
to the writer (see below). The first two, the Pishon and the 
Gihon, raise difficulties as yet unsolved. Attempts have been made 
to connect them with streams at present existing in the neigh 
bourhood of the Euphrates and the Tigris, but these attempts 
have met with little success. Thus Prof. Sayce identifies the 
Gihor and the Pishon with the Kerkhah and the Pallakopas Canal, 
two streams which in ancient times flowed into the Persian Gulf, 
like the Euphrates and the Tigris. Thus the river is the Gulf, 
and the four heads the four streams mentioned 11 . But in our 
chapter the four heads flow out of and not into the river. Others 
identify the Gihon and the Pishon with streams in Mesopotamia 
or Armenia. But it is more probable that a solution must be 
looked for in the limited geographical knowledge of the writer and 
his times, and that no attempt must be made to square these verses 

1 So Dillmann. 

! Hiddekel of K. V. is its Hebrew name, the river is only mentioned 
elsewhere in the O. T. in Dan. x. 4. 

* Higher Criticism and the Monuments, pp. 0.7. 98, 



GENESIS 2. 11-13. J 97 

The name of the first is Pishon : that is it which com- n 
passeth the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold ; 
and the gold of that land is good : there is bdellium and 12 
the onyx stone. And the name of the second river is 13 

with actual geography as known to-day. The writer s meaning 
may be that the four most important rivers of his world had their 
sources in a great head of waters in Eden. The Nile would be 
one of these rivers, and is intended by the Gihon ; the fourth, the 
Pishon, cannot be certainly identified. To a reader with modern 
maps before him it may be difficult to believe that any one ever 
supposed that the Nile and the Euphrates came from the same 
source. But our author was only acquainted with a small area of 
the world s surface, surrounded by vast unknown regions, where 
imagination had free scope. Out of these unexplored lands the 
great rivers flowed into the known world of the day ; it seemed 
quite possible that their courses, before they came within the range 
of Hebrew knowledge, might so turn and wind as to meet in one 
common origin. The sources of the Nile have only been dis 
covered in recent times. Cf. below. 

11. Pishon. The name, if it is a real Hebrew word, would be 
derived from a root meaning to spring or leap up, and might 
be given to any turbulent stream. An Assyrian word pisannu 
is cited, meaning water channel. The position of the river is 
defined by the statement that it compasseth the whole land of 
Havilah . . . where there is gold, (12) which is good, together 
with bdellium and the onyx stone. The position of Havilah is 
uncertain; the name 1 may denote more than one district, and the 
products, gold, &c., mentioned here are found in too many places 
or are too obscure to help us much. The most probable view is 
that Havilah is the north-east district of Arabia, which is thought 
of as extending indefinitely eastward. The Pishon might then be 
one of the great Indian rivers, the Indus or the Ganges. 

12. bdellium 2 : a word of uncertain meaning, variously 
explained as an aromatic gum, or as pearls or some kind of precious 
stone. The latter view better suits the connexion with gold and 
the onyx stone. 

onyx 3 (marg. beryl ) stone. The word rendered thus has 
also been taken to mean turquoise, malachite, carbuncle, 
&c. ; it denotes some precious stone, but we do not know 
which. 

1 Found Gen. x. 7, 29 (which see), xxv. 18 ; i Sam. xv. 7 ; i Chron. 
i. 9, 23. 

* Heb. bedolah. 3 Heb. shoham. 

H 



98 GENESIS 2. 14-17. J 

Gihon : the same is it that compasseth the whole land of 

14 Gush. And the name of the third river is Hiddekel : 
that is it which goeth in front of Assyria. And the 

15 fourth river is Euphrates. And the LORD God took the 
man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it 

16 and to keep it. And the LORD God commanded the 
man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely 

17 eat : but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, 
thou shalt not eat of it : for in the day that thou eatest 
thereof thou shalt surely die. 

13. Gihon 1 . Taken as a Hebrew word the name might mean 
bursting through ; a corresponding word Jeiliun is still used 
as the name or title of Armenian and Indian rivers. But as this 
river is defined as compassing the -whole land of Gush, and Cush 
is usually Ethiopia, the Gihon is probably the Nile. Those who 
wish to identify the Gihon and the Pishon with actual rivers in the 
neighbourhood of the Tigris suppose that Cush here is a district 
in Babylonia 2 . 

14. Hiddebel: Tigris; both names are corruptions of the Assyrian 
name which is sometimes read as Idiglat. Tigris is the Greek form. 

in front of Assyria : marg., toward the east of. Assyria, 
however, stretched both cast and west of the Tigris. Probably the 
writer was onlyimperfectlyacquaintedwith the political geography 
of what was to him the Far East. It has also been suggested that 
Asshitr here is not Assyria, but the ancient city of Asshur, which 
lay on the west bank of the Tigris. 

15. dress: tend. 

16. The narrative is more graphic if this verse is read im 
mediately after verse 9. 

Of every tree . . . thon mayest . . . eat. Nothing is said of 
the herb yielding seed, the grain, which in i. 29 is also assigned 
to man for food. In Paradise man was to be spared the labour of 
ploughing, sowing, reaping, thrashing, &c. 

17. of the tree of ... knowledge . . . thou shalt not eat. As 
the narrative stands, this prohibition is an arbitrary test of 
obedience ; but probably in the story which the inspired writer 
adapted to his purpose it was a property of the tree itself that its 
fruit was fatal to men. 

in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die. 



Also the name of a brook near Jerusalem, i Kings i. 33, &c. 
See on Gen. x. 7. 






GENESIS 2. 18, i<> J 99 

And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man 18 
should be alone ; I will make him an help meet for him. 
And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast 19 
of the field, and every fowl of the air ; and brought them 
unto the man to see what he would call them : and 
whatsoever the man called every living creature, that was 

The natural meaning of this is that death would at once follow 
eating ; but in the sequel Adam and Eve do not die at once, but, 
apparently, are left to die a natural death in old age. The difficulty 
is not serious, in any case the point is that but for disobedience 
they would have lived for ever in the garden of Eden ; as it was, 
they became subject to death. How soon death came was a 
secondary matter. Nevertheless there is a slight inconsistency 
which is not removed by such explanations J as that the troubles 
and sufferings to which man became liable through sin are nothing 
else than disturbances of life, the beginnings of death ; or the 
Rabbinical suggestion that one day with the Lord is as a thousand 
years, and that Adam and Eve died before the end of the first 
millennium. It is more reasonable to suppose that Gcd in His 
mercy mitigates the severity of the penalty He had in the first 
instance ordained ~. But probably here again the difficulty is due 
to imperfect adaptation of ancient tradition. 

18. It is not good that the man should be alone. Man is 
essentially social, and only lives his true life in fellowship with his 
kind. 

I will make : not we, as in the Let us make 1 of i. 26. The 
LXX and Vulgate have Let us make here also, probably in order 
to harmonize the two accounts. 

an help meet: marg., (an help) "answering to ; a suitable 
companion and fellow worker. 

19. out of the ground the LORD God formed, &c. We should 
probably read with the LXX, also formed. 1 Man and the other 
animals were fashioned out of the same material ; but it is not 
said of them that Yahweh breathed into them the breath of life. 

Notice the absence of any reference to fishes. It was, indeed, 
obvious that a fish could not be a help meet for the man ; still, 
the silence on this head probably shows that the narrative- 
originated in an inland district. 

Corresponding verses of Babylonian poems enumerate a number 
of animals, wild cow, &c., &c., but are similarly silent about the 
fish. 

whatsoever the man called every living creature, that 

1 Quoted with approval by Dillmann. So Gunkel. 

H 2 



ioo GENESIS 2. 20-22. J 

ao the name thereof. And the man gave names to all 
cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of 
the field ; but for man there was not found an help meet 

21 for him. And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall 
upon the man, and he slept ; and he took one of his ribs, 

22 and closed up the flesh instead thereof: and the rib, 
which the LORD God had taken from the man, made he 

was the name thereof. The man would speak of each animal 
according to the impression he received of its nature, use, &c. ; 
and the epithet or phrase he applied to it would be its name. 
The only example given is the naming of the woman in verse 23. 

20. for man (R. V. marg., Adam ) there was not found an 
help meet for him. Instead of man we should probably read 
the man, as elsewhere in this account. The fashioning of the 
animals was an unsuccessful experiment, a striking instance of 
the frank anthropomorphism of this writer. Nothing is said so 
far of any other purpose these animals could serve, or of their 
relation to man. 

21. deep sleep. One word 1 , and that a special term used of 
a trance or supernatural slumber, e. g. of Abram when he saw the 
vision of the furnace and the lamp 3 , and of Saul and his followers 
when David was in their camp". The LXX translates it as 
ecstasy*. The man was made to sleep that he might not see 
the actual working of Yahweh ; in the same way the animals 
were not fashioned in his presence, but elsewhere, and were 
brought to him. 

22. made he : R. V. marg., Heb. builded he into, apparently 
used as a foundation upon which He constructed the woman. 
Here, as in the case of the animals, we are not told that Yahweh 
breathed into her the breath of life. 

21, 22. This building of the rib up into a woman is another 
instance of the unhesitating anthropomorphism of the Primitive 
Document (J). The verses obviously provide an explanation 
of the mutual affection of man and woman it is the natural 
drawing together of two parts which once belonged to the same 
life ; but the tradition hardly arose as a theory to explain conjugal 
love. There is more plausibility in the suggestion that the verses 
are simply the proverb Bone of my bone, &c., translated into 
narrative. 

1 Heb. tardemah. " Gen. xv. 12. 

3 i Sam. xxvi. 12; cf. Job iv. 13, xxxiii. 15; Prov. xix. 15. 

4 Ekstasis. 



GENESIS 2. 23, 24. J 101 

a woman, and brought her unto the man. And the man 23 
said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my 
flesh : she shall be called Woman, because she was taken 
out of Man. Therefore shall a man leave his father and 24 

23. This is now: in contrast to the former unsatisfactory 
companions offered to him : this time the woman was a perfect 
help meet for, or more literally corresponding to, the man. 

bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh : a popular phrase, 
so Gen. xxix. 14, Laban of Jacob ; 2 Sam. v. i, the tribes of Israel 
of David, &c. 

Woman (Heb. Ishshah) . . . Man (Heb. /s/z). As ah is the 
feminine termination in Hebrew, the word for woman was 
naturally taken to be the feminine of that for man. The LXX 
reads, instead of out of man, out of her man, i. e. her husband 
(Heb. ishshah *), which makes the correspondence still closer. 
Modern lexicons state that there is no etymological connexion 
between ish and ishshah. Popular etymologies such as this are 
a characteristic of this document 3 ; they are rather cases of 
playing upon words than serious etymologies. 

24. The Priestly account of the Creation culminated in the 
institution of a piece of religious ritual, the observance of the 
Sabbath ; this narrative leads up to the origin of matrimony. 
The verse can hardly have been intended as a formal injunction 
of monogamy, but the human race originates in a pair, man and 
woman ; and the writer probably thinks of this as the natural 
and most desirable arrangement. The explanation is sometimes 
given that only one woman was created because one was sufficient 
for the continuance of the race. This verse is quoted by our 
Lord as an argument against divorce for trivial reasons 3 ; and by 
Paul against unchastity 4 , and as illustrating the relation of Christ 
to the Church 5 . 

Therefore shall a man leave his father, &c. This verse is 
often understood to mean that a man on marrying would leave 
his father s family and attach himself to that to which his wife 
belonged ; and it is therefore held to be a reminiscence of a time 
when a bridegroom went to live in his wife s home 6 . The cases 

1 Some details of the Hebrew writing as found in the extant MSS. 
and in printed copies are ignored, as they were absent in ancient 
Hebrew. See p. 42. 

a See p. 22. 3 Matt. xix. 5 ; Mark x. 7. 

4 i Cor. vi. 16. s Kph. v. 31. 

6 Such a union is styled technically a becna marriage, and the 
state of society in which it is the custom the matriarchatc ; cf. 
Robertson Smith, Kinship and Marriage in Early Arabia, p. 71. 



102 GENESIS 2. 25. J 

his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife : and they 
25 shall be one flesh. And they were both naked, the man 
and his wife, and were not ashamed. 

of Jacob and of Moses are cited. The custom, however, did not 
exist in Israel under the monarchy ; and the verse may merely 
refer to a man setting up a separate home for himself and his 
wife, apart from his parents. 

thay. The LXX and other ancient versions read they 
twain, and the verse is quoted in this form in the N. T. 

25. naked, . . . and . . . not ashamed : like children, especially 
in the East, where children habitually go naked ; cf. on iii. 7. 

iii. THE FALL (J). 

iii. 1-6. The serpent tempts the woman, and she cats the 
forbidden fruit, and induces the man to do so also. 

iii. 7. They discover that they are naked, and make themselves 
aprons. 

iii. 8-10. Hearing the sound of Yahweh walking in the garden 
they hide themselves ; hut He calls to the man, who excuses 
. himself for hiding on the ground that he was naked. 

iii. n, is. Taxed by Yahweh, the man acknowledges that he 
has eaten the forbidden fruit, but pleads that it was given him by 
the woman. 

iii. 13. The woman pleads that she was beguiled by the 
serpent. 

iii. 14, 15. The curse on the serpent : it shall go upon its l.clly, 
and eat dust, and be at enmity with men. 

iii. 16. The curse on the woman. She shall suffer pain in 
bearing children, and shall be subject to her husband. 

iii. 17-19. The curse on the man. He shall live by wearisome 
drudgery, and when it is over he shall return to the dust from 
which he was fashioned. 

iii. 20. The man names the woman, Eve. 

iii. 21. Yahweh makes skin-coats for them. 

iii. 22-24. Lest the man should eat of the fruit of the tree of 
life, and thus become immortal, Yahweh drives him from the 
garden, and stations Cherubim to keep him out of it. 

(a) Sources. Chapter iii is a continuation of ii. 4" -25 : cf. 
what has been said of the sources of that section. 

(b) Babylonian Paralltk. In this .story the serpent plays the 
part of the enemy of God and man. and is vanquished and cast 
down by God. It is one of the many versions of the contest 
between the God (or gods) of heaven and the powers of 



GENESIS 3. T. J 103 

Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast df 3 

darkness ; the serpent corresponds to Tiamat and her allies in 
the Epic of Creation l . There is no exact parallel to this chapter 
in Babylonian documents yet discovered ; there are, however, 
some slight points of contact between it and the story of Adapa 
and the South Wind, which has been found on one of the 
Amarna tablets - . The similarity of the two names Adam, 
Adapa has been cited as a point of contact ; but is purely 
accidental 3 . Adapa breaks the wings of the South Wind, and 
is summoned to give account to Anu* ; his father Ea * warns him 
that he will be offered bread of death and water of death V 
but must refuse them, which he accordingly does. Anu upbraids 
him, and according to one interpretation tells him that he has 
lost immortality by his refusal. Whether Anu is supposed to 
be speaking the truth is not obvious. Clearly this story has very 
little in common with our narrative, especially as regards moral 
or spiritual teaching. 

Forbidden fruit or food is a familiar feature of folklore. For 
instance, there is the legend of the tree with golden apples in 
the garden of the daughters of Hesperus, guarded by a hundred- 
headed dragon, which was slain 6 by Hercules. Again, there is 
the story of Persephone, who had been carried off to the lower 
world. Hermes was sent to bring her back, but it was found 
that she had eaten part of a pomegranate, and she was obliged 
to sojourn in the lower world for a third of each year. 

A trace of a Babylonian version of the story of the Fall is often 
supposed to be found in a seal, sometimes described in popular 
works as representing the temptation of Adam and Eve and the 
tree of life. It depicts a tree -with fruit upon it ; on the two 
sides there are two clothed figures of a man and a woman, 
sitting on stools with their hands stretched out towards the 
fruit. Behind the woman there is a serpent, erect, poised 
upon the last fold of its tail, with its head above that of the 
woman. 

1. the serpent. It has been pointed out that the serpent here 
is a representative, and perhaps an unconscious reminiscence ol 
such primaeval powers of darkness as Tiamat. So far later exegesis 
is justified in regarding the Tempter as an incarnation of Satan. 



1 Sec ;>. 69. 2 See p. 71. 

3 Sayce s view that Adapa may be read as Adama is not adopted 
by other Assyriolo<rists, e.g. Jensen and Gunkel. 

4 Babylonian Drily. 

5 These are called later on by Anu bread of life and water of life. 

6 According to one form of the legend. 



104 GENESIS 3. i. J 

the field which the LORD God had made. And he said 
unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of 

So Rev. xii. 9, The great dragon, . . . the old serpent, he that is 
called the Devil and Satan ; and Milton 1 : 

Satan sought 

Where to lie hid 

and with inspection deep 

Considered every creature, which of all 

Most opportune might serve his wiles ; and found 

The serpent subtlest beast of all the field. 

Nevertheless the idea is foreign to this narrative, in which the 
serpent is merely a beast of the field which Yahweh had made. 
A modern reader wonders how He came to fashion so evil 
a creature, and recalls Omar Khayyam s complaint : 

Oh, Thou, who Man of baser Earth didst make, 
And ev n with Paradise devise the Snake. 

But obviously no such ideas were in the mind of the writer. To 
him, as to Milton s Satan, the repulsive, venomous serpent seemed 
the fittest imp of fraud, the natural enemy of man. The writer, 
a poet and practical moralist, of simple, childlike spirit, did not 
consider what theological deductions might be drawn from the 
mechanism of his story. Hence we must not think that this 
chapter offers us an explanation of the origin of evil ; evil is 
present in the serpent before man fell, and man sins through the 
influence of the evil outside of him. At the same time we must 
remember that this chapter does not belong to the document in 
which God saw everything that he had made, and, behold, it was 
very good ; the author of the latter statement was not thinking 
of the serpent. 

said. So too the ass spoke to Balaam - ; moreover, that such 
marvels should happen in the primaeval days before the Fall 
seemed natural to the primitive imagination. 

God. It is a characteristic of this document that it uses the 
Divine Name, Yahweh ; but Yahweh was the name of the God 
of Israel, and is not usually put into the mouths of non-Israelites, 
or used by Israelites in speaking to them. The ancestors of 
Israel are reckoned as Israelites, or. as we might say, true 
believers. Obviously the serpent was not an Israelite. 

Yea, hath God said? Did God really say ? insinuating that 
the prohibition was absurd, unreasonable, incredible. This pro 
hibition was addressed to the man before either the animals or 
the woman were formed, and we are left to imagine how the 

1 I aradise Lost, Bk. IX. * Num. xxii. jS. 



GENESIS 3. 2-5. J 105 

any tree of the garden ? And the woman said unto the 2 
serpent, Of the fruit of the trees of the garden we may 
eat : but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of 3 
the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither 
shall ye touch it, lest ye die. And the serpent said unto 4 
the woman, Ye shall not surely die : for God doth 5 
know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall 
be opened, and ye shall be as God, knowing good and 

serpent and the woman became acquainted with it. No doubt, 
according to a common habit of mind, the author thought of his 
characters as knowing what he knew himself. 

Ye shall not eat of any tree. The marginal alternative, all 
the trees. is less probable as a translation of the actual words, and 
is inconsistent with the context. The serpent magnifies the 
strictness of Yahweh, a method often adopted from better motives, 
but with equally unfortunate results. 

3. the tree which is in the midst of the garden. No second 
tree is mentioned, and no name is given to this tree. Possibly the 
woman first learnt from the serpent the qualities of the forbidden 
fruit. 

touch. There was no word of touching in the original 
prohibition. The woman had corrected the serpent s misrepre 
sentation, but could not refrain from a slight exaggeration on her 
own account. Jewish legend made this the cause of her fall. 
Hereupon it said the serpent pushed her hand against the 
tree; she touched it, and, of course, nothing happened. Sec, 
said he, you have broken the command not to touch, and you have 
not died ; now you can be sure that you can safely eat the fruit. 

4. Ye shall not surely die : rather, Ye shall certainly not die. 

5. God doth know, &c. The serpent explains the prohibition 
as due to God s jealousy of man a familiar idea in primitive 
religion, which still survives side by side with more worthy ideas 
of the Deity. 

your eyes shall be opened, to see in things qualities to which 
they were as yet blind. 

as God. The R. V. marg., as gods, would be less definite 
and emphatic ; it would take cloliim in its general sense of super 
natural beings, and would make the sentence mean, Ye shall 
have supernatural knowledge. The rendering God is more 
commonly adopted. 

The serpent charges God with malicious falsehood. This tree 
according to him might have been a supreme blessing to man, 
and God had not only withheld it from him, but had told him lies 



io6 GENESIS 3. 6, r . J 

6 evil. And when the woman saw that the tree was good 
for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that 
the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of 
the fruit thereof, and did eat ; and she gave also unto 

7 her husband with her, and he did eat. And the eyes of 
them both were opened, and they knew that they were 
naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made 



about it, obviously because He could not otherwise have prevented 
him from eating the fruit. 

6. the woman saw, &c. Hitherto, perhaps, the prohibition had 
led the woman to think of the forbidden fruit as harmful, poisonous, 
as we should say. and she had shrunk from it. Now she saw it 
in a new light, her eyes seemed already opened. The fruit was 
to be the source of great and mysterious blessings. She looked 
at it more attentive^, and it seemed beautiful and appetizing. 

to be desired to make one wise. This would be suggested 
by the serpent s words, and she might think that she saw s6me 
indication of this quality ; but perhaps we should translate with 
R. V. marg., desirable to look upon. 

she took . . . and did eat. Her eyes and her mind were 
possessed with the fascinations of the tree, she could not but eat. 

{fave also unto her husband . . . and he did eat. The 
process in the man s case was no doubt the .same as that just 
described, the woman taking the place of the su-rpent. The 
woman probably found the fruit pleasant, and told her husband so. 
So far it seemed as if the serpent were right, and the woman felt 
that she was asking her husband to share a great privilege. The 
Rabbis give another explanation : She thought within herself, If 
I die, let my husband also die, that he may not take another 
wife. 

7. the eyes of them both were opened. So far the promise of 
the serpent was fulfilled. 

they knew that they were naked. They became conscious 
of sex, and experienced a feeling of shame. This was the first- 
fruits, and also an example of the gift of knowledge acquired by 
eating the forbidden fruit It was no longer pleasant, but un 
comfortable and distressing. Tin- example shows us that hitherto 
they had been mentally children, innocent and inexperienced ; the 
fruit had bestowed upon them in a moment the knowledge which 
ordinary adults obtain through gradual experience. 

fig 1 leaves: though small and nut very suitable lor the purpose, 
they are said to be the large:- 1 leaves of trees available in 
Palestine. It has been suggested that the fig here is not the 



GENESIS 3. 8-12. J 107 

themselves aprons. And they heard the voice of the 8 
LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day : 
and the man and his wife hid themselves from the 
presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the 
garden. And the LORD God called unto the man, and 9 
said unto him, Where art thou? And he said, I heard 10 
thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was 
naked ; and I hid myself. And he said, Who told thee n 
that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, 
whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat ? 
And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest to be 12 

usual fig-tree, but another large-leaved tree, perhaps the banana. 
Such a view is very improbable. How did the man and woman, 
who had never worn clothes, learn to sew? Was this also part 
of the newly gained knowledge? The author probably forgot for 
the moment the special conditions of his narrative, and wrote as 
if the man and woman were people of his own time. The mention 
of fig leaves has suggested that the tree of knowledge was 
a fig-tree. 

aprons : rather as R. V. marg., girdles or loin-cloths. 

8. they heard, &c. , &c. The garden is the home of Yahweh, as 
well as of the man and woman. Like some Eastern householder, 
He walks in His garden to enjoy the freshness of the evening 
breeze. The man and woman hear the sound of His footsteps. 

voice : rather as R. V. marg., sound. 

cool: literally, as R. V. marg., Heb. wind. 

hid themselves, conscious of their disobedience, and ashamed 

of their nakedness, against which the fig leaves only imperfectly 

provided. 

9. Where art thou? Hitherto they had fearlessly met with 
Yahweh and walked with Him when He came to the garden. 
Their absence itself suggested that they had been disobedient. 
The mere question does not necessarily imply that Yahweh did 
not know where the man was. but such an idea would be in 
keeping with the frank anthropomorphism of the narrative. 

10. I was afraid, because I was naked. Doubtless true as 
far as it went, but not the whole truth. Naturally the man does 
not acknowledge the chief cause of his fear his disobedience. 

11. Who told thee, &c. The man s excuse betrayed him : it 
showed that he was in possession of new knowledge, which could 
only have come to him by eating the forbidden fruit. 

12. The woman whom thou gravest, &c. The man hints that 



io8 GENESIS 3. 13-15. J 

13 with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat. And 
the LORD God said unto the woman, What is this thou 
hast done ? And the woman said, The serpent beguiled 

14 me, and I did eat. And the LORD God said unto the 
serpent, Because thou hast done this, cursed art thou 
above all cattle, and above every beast of the field ; upon 
thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the 

15 days of thy life : and I will put enmity between thee and 

Yahweh Himself is to blame, because He had given him a temptress 
for his companion. 

13. the LORD God said unto the woman, &c. Yahweh takes 
no notice of the man s excuses and insinuations ; but gives the 
woman, in her turn, an opportunity of speaking for herself. 

14. the LORD God said unto the serpent, &c. The woman s 
excuse is not discussed. Yahweh s questions have now extracted 
the whole story, and He asks nothing of the serpent 

cursed . . . above all cattle : rather as R. V. marg., from 
among all cattle, i.e. the curse laid upon the serpent separated 
and distinguished it from all other animals. There is no question 
in this narrative of any cursing of animals generally, though the 
ground is cursed. Possibly the life of the animals seemed happy 
compared to that of man. On the other hand, Paul s statement 1 , 
that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth together in pain 
until now, may imply that the animals were included in the curse. 
We need hardly discuss the objection that the serpent should not 
have been cursed because animals are not responsible. Our author s 
moral philosophy did not make these fine distinctions between 
men and animals. In any case a beast which could talk, and 
tempt man, and tell lies about God might very well be morally 
responsible. 

upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat. 
That serpents ate dust was a widespread belief among the 
ancients V deduced no doubt from the constant proximity of the 
serpent s head to the dust. It is implied that before the Fall 
the serpent did not crawl upon its belly, and lived upon something 
else other than dust. In the seal mentioned above 3 the serpent is 
shown erect upon its tail. These details show that the author 
is thinking of an animal ; to go upon his belly and to eat dust 
would not be a suitable curse for the Devil. 

15. I will put enmity, &c. Part of the curse upon the serpent 
is the constant feud between the serpent tribe and mankind, 

Kom. viii. jj. a Uillmann. ;: See p. 103. 



GENESIS 3. 16. J 109 

the woman, and between thy seed and her seed : it shall 
bruise thy head, and thou shall bruise his heel. Unto 16 

a curse on both parties, exposing the one to incessant persecution 
and the other to danger and annoyance. 

it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel. 
The correct rendering and interpretation of this clause are doubtful, 
partly because the word 1 rendered bruise is very rare, and of 
uncertain meaning ; it only occurs here and in Job ix. 17, R. V., 
he breaketh me with a tempest, and in Ps. cxxxix. n, R. V., 
overwhelm, marg. cover. The R. V. rendering here, bruise, 
or better crush, is supported by the use of the root in Aramaic. 
Another rendering, lie in wait for, has been obtained from the 
use of a similar root in that sense. The Syriac version and some 
MSS. of the LXX have a similar translation to that of the R. V. 
The mention of head and heel is easily understood ; man attacks 
the serpent s head in order to deal a fatal blow ; while the man s 
heel is most accessible to the serpent. Crush or bruise, 
however, is not a suitable term for a serpent s sting ; but the use 
of a single verb with two different objects when it only suits one 
of them, though lax, is not impossible 2 . The alternative rendering, 
lie in wait for, given in the margin of the R. V., is adopted by 
the better MSS. of the LXX. The man and the serpent are 
thus described as continually seeking to destroy each other ; 
which, as far as the man is concerned, seems a little beneath his 
dignity. The Vulgate avoids the difficulties of both these render 
ings by giving the word different meanings in the two clauses ; 
thus, She shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt lay snares for her 3 
heel. The use of one word in a single sentence in two senses 
would be startling, but the writers of the O. T. were rather fond 
of playing upon words in this fashion. The reader will notice the 
she 4 of the Vulgate, which was interpreted by mediaeval commen 
tators as meaning the Virgin Mary. 

This verse has often been regarded as a Protcvangelion or first 
announcement of the gospel of redemption. The seed of the 
woman, according to this view, is Christ, who crushes the serpent s 
head, i. e. destroys the power of sin and Satan ; although He 
Himself suffers in doing so Satan bruises his heel. The latter 
phrase, however, seems singularly inappropriate for the Passion. 
There is nothing to indicate that any such ideas were in the mind 
of the writer; but the contest between mankind and the serpent 
naturally became a symbol of the conflict between good and evil, 

1 Heb. shuph. 

2 The usage is recognized, and labelled by a technical term, zeugma. 
8 Or his or its, ejus. * Ipsa. 



no GENESIS 3. 17. J 

the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow 

and thy conception; in sorrow thou shall bring forth 

children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, 

17 and he shall rule over thee. And unto Adam he said, 

in which the good triumphed in the person of Christ, but conquered 
through suffering. Moreover, ancient readers of this story knew 
parallel narratives, in which the serpent was an evil god and his 
antagonist a Divine redeemer, and would naturally find a similar 
meaning here. 

The serpent is partly punished through the woman whom lie 
has injured ; and its false pretence of friendship leads to lasting 
enmity. 

16. thy sorrow and thy conception: a pair of words ex 
pressing the single idea thy painful conception, i.e. the 
sufferings of pregnancy and birth. Instead of conception the 
LXX reads groaning, which is accepted by some scholars. The 
writer simply intends to tell us that the sufferings of woman s 
sexual life are the punishment of the sin of the first woman the 
sin by which she became conscious of her sex. It is true that 
the narrative, as it stands, seems to imply that no children were 
born before the Fall, but the writer can hardly have meant that 
no children would have been born but for the Fall. But. in any 
case, it is remarkable that in the Priestly Document the increase 
of the human race is due to the Divine blessing, here it is con 
nected with sin and the Divine curse. 

thy desire : another rare word, only elsewhere of Abel in 
relation to Cain 1 , and of the beloved in relation to Solomon a . 
The longing of the woman for the man is supposed to be greater 
than vice versa ; and this is reckoned as part of the suffering borne 
by woman as the penalty of her sin. The LXX has thy 
returning 3 . 

lie shall rule over thee : the subjection of the wife to the 
husband, which almost amounted to slavery in the ancient East, 
is also part of the punishment of the first sin. The woman. like 
the serpent, is partly punished through the person she has injured. 
17-19. The curse on the man must obviously apply also to 
the woman, otherwise she would remain immortal. Thus the 
heaviest punishment falls upon her. 

17. Adam: better ; the man ; Adam is not used as a proper 
name till v. i *. See, however, on iv. 25. 

1 Gen. iv. 7. * Sonij of Sol. vii. 10. 

8 Apostrophe, so also in Gen. iv. 7 ; and similarly in Song of Soi. 
vii. 10, epistrophf. 
4 Priestly Document. 



GENESIS 3. 18-20. J in 

Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, 
and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, 
saying, Thou shalt not eat of it : cursed is the ground 
for thy sake ; in toil shalt thou eat ot it all the days of 
thy life; thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to 18 
thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; in the 19 
sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return 
unto the ground ; for out of it wast thou taken : for dust 
thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return. And the man 20 
called his wife s name Eve ; because she was the mother 

cursed is tlie ground for thy sake. In order to punish the 
man the ground is made fertile only in weeds, that man s work 
may be hard and his reward small. These verses show that 
agriculture was regarded by the writer as a thankless drudgery. 
The Hebrew of for thy sake, as it would be written originally, 
might mean on account of thy transgression, and it has been so 
translated. A very slight alteration would give us when thou 
tillest it, which is substantially the rendering of the LXX, and is 
supported by the parallel of iv. 12. A similar uncertainty attaches 
to viii. 21 (which see). 

toil : marg., sorrow ; the Hebrew word is the same as that 
translated sorrow in the curse on the woman, verse 16. 

18. thou shalt eat the herb of the field. Instead of living on 
the fruit of trees, which involved little work, man would have to 
undergo the drudgery of cultivating the soil. Here again what is 
a blessing in i. 29 appears as a curse in this narrative. 

19. unto dust shalt thou return: and thus the threatened 
death would be inflicted ; cf. on ii. 17. 

20. This verse is not generally accepted as part of the main 
narrative, but is regarded as an addition from another source. 
As it stands, it connects with the reference to child-bearing in 
verse 16 ; but the man would not make a curse the occasion of 
giving the woman an honourable title ; moreover he had already 
named her in ii. 23. 

Eve: marg., Heb. Hawaii, that is, Living, or, Life. The 
LXX renders the word here Zoe\ Life ; elsewhere it gives Ena 
or, more probably, Hena ; the Vulgate has Heva. The verse 
connects the name with the Hebrew root for life, live, &c. It 
has also been connected with the Arabic hayy, kindred, the 
woman as mother being the recognized bond of kinship in some 
primitive states of society. The name no doubt comes from ancient 
Semitic tradition, and may not be Hebrew at all, but only 



ii2 GENESIS 3. 21-24. J 

at of all living. And the LORD God made for Adam and 
for his wife coats of skins, and clothed them. 

22 And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become 
as one of us, to know good and evil ; and now, lest 
he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of 

23 life, and eat, and live for ever : therefore the LORD God 
sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the 

24 ground from whence he was taken. So he drove out the 
man ; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden 

hebraized in form ; just as Boulogne (Gate) is anglicized into 
Bull and (Gate). In Aramaic hewya means serpent ; and it has 
been conjectured that the name comes from a tradition in which 
the mother of all was the primaeval dragon. 

21. the LORD God made . . . coats of skins, having apparently 
slain animals for the purpose, another exartfple of the writer s 
anthropomorphism. 

Adam : rather the man ; cf. verse 17. 

coats : under-garments, shirts, vests, to replace the loin 
cloths of fig leaves which had already been felt to be inadequate, 
verse 10. This act of Yahweh shows that He still cared for man s 
welfare, in spite of sin and the consequent curse. It is sometimes 
supposed that the original narrative of Eden and the Fall ends 
here, and that verses 22-24, an d the reference to the tree of life 
in ii. 9, are an addition from another document. The following 
notes will show that the standpoint of these verses seems to differ 
somewhat from that of the preceding narrative. 

22. In this verse Yahweh seems to show just that fear, lest 
man become unduly gifted, which the serpent falsely attributes to 
Him in verse 5. Nothing is said of the woman in these verses. 

is become as one of us : i. e. had attained to supernatural 
knowledge. For the us see on i. 26. 

tree of life : see on ii. 9. 

live for ever. The sentence is unfinished, perhaps for 
rhetorical effect. 

24. he placed at the east of the garden of Eden the Cherubim. 
The LXX has he placed him, i.e. the man, at the east, &c., 
and he stationed the Cherubim, a reading adopted by some 
scholars. According to this verse the man lived on the east of 
Eden, i. e. Eden lay to the west, whereas according to ii. 8 it lay 
to the east. Apart from the reading of the LXX, the Cherubim 
must have been stationed on the east, because the man lived 
eastward of Eden. 



GENESIS 3. 24. J n 3 

the Cherubim, and the flame of a sword which turned 
every way, to keep the way of the tree of life. 

the Cherubim mostly appear as the bearers or the guards 
of the throne of Yahweh. Thus the mercy-seat, His earthly 
throne, is guarded by two Cherubim 1 ; and He sits between the 
Cherubim 2 ; there were figures of Cherubim on the veils of the 
Tabernacle, and on the walls of the Temple 3 . Yahweh rides upon 
a Cherub 4 , and the mysterious beings which were seen by Ezekiel 
bearing the throne of God are called Cherubim. The Cherubim 
were winged"; in the elaborate but obscure description in Ezekiel 7 
the cherub has four faces, of a man, a lion, an ox, and an eagle ; 
but the prophet does not seem to follow ancient Israelite tradition. 
The origin botli of the idea and of the name 8 are unknown. In 
Egyptian monuments winged figures are depicted on the top of 
sacred chests, and statues of winged man-headed bulls were 
common in Assyria, where also winged figures are shown in 
connexion with sacred trees. The Cherubim have also been com 
pared to the mythical griffin 9 , a winged creature with lion s claws, 
eagle s beak, &c. They are often regarded as personifying thunder 
clouds ; if so, the flame of a sword, i. e. the flaming sword, 
would be suggested by the lightning. 

iv. 1-16. CAIN AND ABEL (J). 

iv. i, 2. Birth and occupations of Cain and Abel. 

iv. 3-5. Their offerings ; Abel s is accepted, but Cain s is re 
jected, and he is wroth. 

iv. 6, 7. Yahweh remonstrates with Cain. 

iv. 8. Cain murders Abel. 

iv. 9-12. Yahweh reproaches Cain with his crime, and lays 
a curse upon him. 

iv. 13-15. Cain begs that he may be protected from blood- 
revenge, and to that end Yahweh gives him a sign. 

iv. 16. Cain goes into exile. 

(ah Source. This narrative was taken from the Primitive Docu 
ment. It may or may not have been originally part of the same 
story as that which tells us of the Creation and the Fall. The 
Divine Name is no longer Yahweh Elohim, Lord God, but simply 

1 Exod. xxv. 18-22. 2 i Sam. iv. 4. 

3 Exod. xxvi. i ; i Kin^s vi. 35. Ps. xviii. 10. 

5 Ezek. x. T. * Exod. xxv. 20. Ezek. i, ix, x. 

8 The statement that kirtibu is found as the name of winged bulls 
in Assyria, and that this is the origin of Cherub, is not commonly 
accepted. 

8 Greek, gntps. 



Ti4 GENESIS 4. i. J 

4 And the man knew Eve his wife ; and she conceived, 
and bare Cain, and said, I have gotten a man with the 

Yahweh, Lord ; cf. on ii. 4. There are obvious obscurities and 
omissions, e. g. the absence of any reason why Cain s offering was 
rejected, which show that one of the editors has altered the 
original narrative ; doubtless because some of its features were 
not in accordance with more advanced religious views. 

(b) Origin of the Narrative. Nothing has yet been found in 
Babylonian or Egyptian inscriptions which can be regarded as 
the origin of this narrative or as a real parallel to it. But it seems 
to have been adapted from some non-Israelite tradition. It sets 
forth God s condemnation of murder, and the origin of the custom 
of blood-revenge, the latter, somewhat curiously, in the vengeance 
to be taken on anyone who should kill Cain. In the original story 
the reason for the rejection of Cain s offering would be an important 
feature. As Cain is elsewhere the name of a people , the story 
has the appearance of a piece of tribal folklore ; but this name 
may not have belonged to the original. 

The similarity of names has led to the suggestion that Cain and 
Abel here are the same as the Tubal-cain and Jabal of verses so 
and 22 (which see). 

1. Cain. The name in this document (J) is given by the 
mother ; an indication that this was the older usage ; we gather 
from the Priestly Document that in later times the father named 
the child a . 

Cain is used in Hebrew also as a common noun for lance, 
and in allied languages for smith, so in verse 22 Tubal-cain is 
the first smith. The connexion here with kanah, he acquired, 
is rather a play upon the words than an etymology. Cain is 
also the Hebrew name of the people known to us as the Kenites :I . 
The antediluvian Cainan * is another form of Cain. According to 
some this story is really about the Kenites, the tribe Cain being 
personified as an individual Cain. The Kenites were nomads 
to the south of Judah, and the story would thus explain that they 
came to be nomads through murderous outrages against allied or 
brother tribes. There are many difficulties in the way of ac 
cepting this view ; obviously the Kenites would not have told such 
a story against themselves, and the Israelites were usually on 
friendly terms with them. 

I have gotten a man with the help of the LORD. It is 

1 See on verse i. 

a So in xxi. 3, Abraham names Isaac j cf. Luke i. (u f. 
3 Num. xxiv. 22, &c., more commonly in the patronymic form 
Cainite, ktnt. 
* Gen. v. 9-14. 



GENESIS 4. 2-4- J "5 

help of the LORD. And again she bare his brother Abel, a 
And Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was- a tiller 
of the ground. And in process of time it came to pass, 3 
that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering 
unto the LORD. And Abel, he also brought of the 4 
firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the 

doubtful whether this is the right translation of the Hebrew. 
A more natural rendering of the Hebrew as it stands would be, 
I have gotten a man, even the Lord, a meaning sometimes given 
to the text, it being supposed that Eve was looking for the Mes 
siah or Divine Redeemer, and understood that He would be alike 
human. a man, and Divine, Yahweh, i. e. God incarnate. But 
we can hardly credit Eve with so accurate an anticipation of Nicene 
theology. The A. V.. a man from the Lord, is not really a trans 
lation of the Hebrew as it stands, but follows an ancient version 1 
made from a manuscript with a slightly different reading. We 
cannot now be sure as to what was written originally. 

2. Abel. No explanation is given of this name, which only 
occurs as a namejn this chapter. But the word 2 also occurs as 
a common" noun, vapour, breath. and an Israelite reader would 
think vapour a suitable name for a character who appears in 
history only to die. The name, however, may not be Hebrew, 
and is sometimes connected with the Assyrian ablii or erf In, son. 
Others see in it a corruption of Jabal, or understand it to mean herds 
man, &c. There is nothing to connect the name Abel with any tribe. 

3. in process of time. When the brothers had grown up, so 
that there is an interval of many years between verses i and 3. 

And ... it came to pass, that. This phrase is far too 
emphatic and almost solemn for the single, short, unemphatic 
Hebrew word 3 it represents. We have no equivalent English 
idiom, and the force of the original would be most nearly expressed 
by omitting the came to pass. Here, for instance, And in 
process of time Cain brought ; or perhaps by Now . . . Cain 
brought, or the colloquial And so ... Cain brought. 

brought ... an offering 1 . Thejiuthor assumes the existence 
of altars, and of the custom of sacrifice, without giving any account 
of their origin. It is quilc in accordance with the simplicity of 
early tradition that it should almost in the same breath explain 
the origin of some institutions and take for granted the existence 
| of others. 

4. firstling s . . . fat. The choicest animals, and the choicest 
part of the animals; Num. xviii. 17. 

1 Targum of Jonathan. a Hebel. 3 Way^hi. 

I 2 



n6 GENESIS 4. 5-7. J 

5 LORD had respect unto Abel and to his offering : but 
unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And 

6 Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell. And 
the LORD said unto Cain, Why art thou wroth ? and why 

j is thy countenance fallen ? If thou doest well, shall thou 
not be accepted ? and if thou doest not well, sin coucheth 
at the door : and unto thee shall be his desire, and thou 

4, 5. the XiOBD liad respect, &c. Yahweh had respect. i. c. 
approved of, and accepted. We are not told how acceptance was 
indicated. Perhaps the original author had in mind some omen, 
like the appearance of the entrails in a Roman sacrifice. Why 
He had respect unto Cain and not unto Abel is not explained. 
Verse 7 speaks of ; doing well and not well, but the question is 
what were the actual well-doing and ill-doing in the present 
instance? Many answers have been given to this question, but 
none of them are satisfactory. Thus, that Cain s character and 
life were evil and Abel s good ; or that Yahweh required a sacri 
fice of flesh ; or that He approved of herdsmen, and not of peasants 
cultivating the ground. No doubt the story in its original form 
stated the ground of acceptance and rejection, and this statement 
I has been omitted because it was not in accordance with the more 
I advanced teaching of revelation. Probably Cain s error lay in 
some failure of ritual ; cf. on verse 7. 

7. The Hebrew of this verse is unintelligible, and the form in 
which we now have it cannot be that in which it stood in the 
original story. This original text cannot now be restored. The 
alteration may be due to careless copying, and perhaps also 
to the same reason which led to the omission of the ground of 
the rejection of Cain ; see on verse 5. 

siialt thou not be accepted? marg., ; shall it not be lifted up ? 
a more literal rendering of the Hebrew, which might mean shall not 
the countenance be lifted up? ; cf. the fallen of the previous verses, 
sin concheth at the door: i. e. like a wild beast waiting to 
spring upon Cain. Sin might stand here for the punishment, 
or the guilt, or the power of sin. The latter is perhaps supported 
by the close of the verse. Others render a sin-offering lies at 
the door, i.e. the means of atonement are ready to haml. 

unto thee shall tae his desire, e. Desire is the word 
used in iii. 16, and in the R. V. text apparently his and him 
refer to Abel, and the meaning is that Cain was jealous of Abel, 
but that he had no need to bo so, because if Cain behaved well 
Abel his younger brother would look up to him, and be dependent 
on him. and obey him, as a wife does her husband. 



GENESIS 4. s, 9. J 117 

shalt rule over him. And Cain told Abel his brother, g 
And it came to pass, when they were in the field, that 
Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him. And 9 
the LORD said unto Cain, Where is Abel thy brother? 

In the R.V. marg. unto thee shall be its desire, but thou 
shouldest rule over it, the its and it refer to sin, which is 
personified as eager to master Cain, who, however, ought to 
be able to master it. 

We have commented on the R. V. because it is perhaps as good 
as any other of the many futile attempts to make sense of the 
present Hebrew text. 

The LXX has for the first part of the verse, If thou didst 
rightly offer, but didst not rightly divide, thou didst sin, hold thy 
peace. This would point to some failure in the details of ritual, 
and would mean, i Thou hast no right to be angry because thine 
offering was not accepted ; thou didst not observe the proper rules ; 
do not complain. 1 The LXX rendering implies a text differing 
only in a few letters from that in our Hebrew manuscripts. 

8. told. As the marg., said unto, points out. this is another 
attempt to give an intelligible translation of words which do not 
make sense in the original. The Hebrew can only mean, Cain 
said unto Abel his brother. and what he said is not given. The 
LXX, the Vulgate, the Samaritan Pentateuch, and the Syriac 
version insert here let us go into the field, and this may be the 
original, and have been accidentally omitted. It would account 
for the clause when they were in the field, and is accepted by 
many scholars. It is also possible that a clause was omitted here 
as unedifying, see on verse 6. But the scene of 3-7 would be 
a sanctuary, where even Cain would not venture to attack Abel, 
and the invitation to go into the field would be intended to lure 
the victim to a less sacred spot 1 . A slight alteration would give 
us a text which would be roughly equivalent to Cain picked 
a quarrel 2 . 

the field : the opdn country, as distinguished from the 
sanctuary (see above), or perhaps from the immediate neighbour 
hood of the home of Adam and his family. 

rose lip : a common phrase * for preparing to attack, almost 
equals set upon. 

9. Where is Abel thy brother? As in iii. gff., Yahweh 
seeks to elicit a confession ; Cain does not prevaricate, or make 
excuses, but lies straight out. 



1 Holzingcr. " Gunkel. 

3 Judges viii. 21, ix. 433 2 Kings iii. 24, &c. 



nS GENESIS 4. 10-14. J 

And he said, I know not: am I my brother s keeper. 

10 And he said, What hast thou done? the voice of thy 

11 brother s blood crieth unto me from the ground. And 
now cursed art thou from the ground, which hath opened 
her mouth to receive thy brother s blood from thy hand ; 

12 when thou tillest the ground, it shall not henceforth 
yield unto thee her strength ; a fugitive and a wanderer 

13 shalt thou be in the earth. And Cain said unto the 
LORD, My punishment is greater than I can bear. 

14 Behold, thou hast driven me out this day from the face 
of the ground ; and from thy face shall I be hid ; and 



my brother s keeper : perhaps a grim pleasantry ; Abel was 
the keeper of sheep 1 . 

10. thy brother s blood crieth. Cf. Job xvi. 18 ; Isa. xxvi. ai ; 
Heb. xii. 24, the blood of sprinkling that spcaketh better than 
that of Abel. 

11. from the ground: ambiguous; perhaps meant to suggest 
both so as to be driven away from the ground and cursed with 
a curse which works from the ground. Ground * is the cultivated 
land which Cain had tilled. 

12. it shall not ... yield ... her strength. An enhancement of 
the curse on Adam, whereby the ground was only to yield a poor 
return to hard toil. Now for Cain it is to be absolutely barren ; it 
is no use his tilling it any more, it will yield him nothing. If he 
remains in the hitherto cultivated district he will starve, hence he 
must wander forth. 

a fugitive and a wanderer : practically a compound ex 
pression, like waste and void in i. 2 (which see). 

13. My punishment is greater than I can bear. This trans 
lation is required by the next verse, which dwells upon the 
severity of the punishment. The R. V. marg. offers us two alter 
natives, Mine iniquit3 r is greater than I can bear, i. e. the sense 
of sin and remorse was an intolerable burden ; and Mine iniquity 
is greater than can be forgiven. 

14. from thy face shall I be hid : better perhaps, I shall hide 
myself, or I must hide myself. In the primitive tradition 
Yahweh is specially the ruler of the cultivated district, i. e. 
Canaan, and to leave Canaan for the surrounding wilderness 
was to lose the Divine protection in its ordinary manifestation. 

1 So Gunkel. Adatiiah. 



GENESIS 4. 15. J 119 

I shall be a fugitive and a wanderer in the earth ; and it 
shall come to pass, that whosoever findeth me shall slay 
me. And the LORD said unto him, Therefore whosoever 15 
slayeth Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold. 
And the LORD appointed a sign for Cain, lest any finding 
him should smite him. 

So when David s enemies drove him from Canaan they bade him 
Serve other gods 1 . This is one of the many indications that 
our Primitive Document was compiled after the settlement in 
Canaan. In still earlier times Yahweh was specially connected 
with Sinai. 

it shall come to pass. See on verse 3. 

whosoever findeth me. This seems inconsistent with the 
previous sections ; Abel is dead ; besides him we have only been 
told of Adam and Eve ; Cain is going away from them. Whom 
could he meet? Some have suggested wild beasts ; others children 
who were born to Adam while Cain was growing up ; and others 
men of another race than that of Adam. None of these answers 
are probable, and, on the other hand, it has been maintained that 
this clause shows that the section on Cain and Abel was not 
originally part of the story of the first family. The apparent 
inconsistency may be due to an oversight on the part of the 
narrator. 

shall slay me. The sentence suggests to us a whole world 
thirsting for vengeance on the first murderer ; but the author was 
thinking of the wild life of the desert, where the wandering 
stranger who had not secured the hospitality and protection of some 
tribesman was the lawful prey of any one who met him. 

15. vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold. Seven of 
the murderer s kindred, including, as a rule, the murderer himself, 
would be put to death. Cf. the execution of seven of Saul s 
family on account of his massacre of the Gibeonites, 2 Sam. xxi. 8. 
This verse is again referred to in verse 24. 

a sign. Some mark on Cain s body to indicate that he was 
under Divine protection, not to brand him as a murderer. 
Possibly the author had in mind some tribal mark of the Kenites 2 , 
like the Israelite circumcision. It should be noted that the 
narrative shows no trace of the idea that murder must necessarily 
be punished by death. Here, as in the case of Adam and Eve, 
Yahweh punishes, but yet shows a measure of mercy in relieving 
the culprits from the extreme consequences of their punishment. 
He provides Adam and Eve with clothes, and protects Cain from 

1 i Sam. xxvi. 19. 3 Cf. above, p. 114. 



izo GENESIS 4. 16, 17. J 

1 6 And Cain went out from the presence of the LORD, 
and dwelt in the land of Nod, on the east of Eden. 

17 And Cain knew his wife; and she conceived, and bare 
Enoch : and he builded a city, and called the name of 

the lawless violence of the wilderness into which lie is driven. 
The blood-revenge the sevenfold vengeance sanctioned by this 
story is rather a privilege of the kinsmen of the murdered man 
than a necessity of righteous government. Note also that though 
Yahweh s presence is specially in the cultivated district, yet He 
can protect Cain in the wilderness. 

16. from the presence of the LOKD : i. e. from the cultivated 
district ; cf. above. 

Nod, taken as a Hebrew word, would mean wandering, 
and might be not a real name, but a mere title of the land of 
wandering in which the wanderer wandered. If so. the author 
may have had no actual country in his mind, and it would be 
useless to try to identify it. 

iv. 17-24. GENEALOGY OF THE CAINITES (J). 

iv. 16-22. Cain, Enoch, Irad, Mehujael, Methushael, Lamech, 
Jabal, and his brothers Jubal and Tubal-cain, and his sister 
Naamah. 

The beginnings of civilization, of cities, of polygamy, of the life 
of herdsmen, of music, and of working with metal tools. 

iv. 23, 24. Lantech s sword-song. 

(rt) Source. Though this section belongs to the Primitive 
Document it may not have been originally part of the story of 
Cain and Abel. It seems hardly consistent for the fugitive and 
wanderer to build a city. Perhaps these verses were the original 
continuation of the story of Eden and the Fall ; and the genealogy 
of Noah and of the human race was traced through Cain ; and 
there was no mention of Scth 1 . In ch. v. 30 Lamech is the father 
of Noah. 

(/) Relation to chapter v. This section and chapter v (P) are 
two editions of the same gencalog3 r . It will be convenient to 
consider their relation and tlicir corresponding features, and some 
points as to the various names, in dealing with chapter v, the 
longer and later version. 

17. his wife. Whjiic Cain got his wife from, and who were 
the people by whom nhe xpected to be killed, are two similar 
problems. The usual exhumation of the former difficulty is that 
he married his sister ; but see on verse 14. 

Enoch. See on ch. v. 18. 



Cf. p. 124 //), and p. 125 (<?\ 



GENESIS 4. 18-20. J 121 

the city, after the name of his son, Enoch. And unto 18 
Enoch was born Irad : and Irad begat Mehujael : and 
Mehujael begat Methushael : and Methushael begat 
Lamech. And Lamech took unto him two wives : the 19 
name of the one was Adah, and the name of the other 
Zillah. And Adah bare Jabal : he was the father of such 20 

lie builded a city: the first city, and thus made a great 
advance in civilization. City, however, does not mean a large 
town, but any walled town. Our author is silent as to the 
position of this city, and we have no means of identifying it. 
There are many places with names more or less like Enoch. 

18. Irad. See v. 15, Jared. 
Mehujael. See v. 12, Mahalalel. 

Methushael. See v. 21, Methuselah ; the LXX has here 
also Methousala. 

Iiamech. See v. 25. 

19. two wives. Another advance in civilization, according to 
the ideas of the ancient Israelites. The husbands hitherto men 
tioned, Adam and Cain, had, as far as we are told, only one wife 
each ; and the author means that Lamech was the first to marry 
more than one. Polygamy was recognized as legitimate, and 
legislated for in the Pentateuch 1 and even in post-Christian 
Jewish writings. It was further commended by the example of 
the patriarchs. It was a specially common practice to take two 
wives, e. g. Abraham, Jacob, and Elkanah. See, however, on 
ii. 24. 

Adali . . . Zillah. Adah is variously explained as Light, 
Adornment, and even Darkness ; according to an carl} Chris 
tian scholar 2 Adah was the name of a Babylonian goddess 
corresponding to Hera or Juno. Zillah is explained as Shadow" ; 
but it is possible that neither name is a Hebrew word. Adah also 
occurs as the name of one of Esau s Hittite wives 3 , the ancestress 
of certain Edomite tribes. 

2O-22. Jabal . . . Jubal . . . Tubal-cain. The -cain in the 
last of these three is not perhaps properly part of the name, and 
without it the trio form a striking assonance, or if a colloquial 
term may be excused a jingle. Such groups of assonant names 
for brothers were not uncommon, e. g. the celebrated Mohammedan 
martyr brothers, Hasan and Hussain. Similarly the Arabs trans- 



1 Deut. xxi. i off., which specially refers to the case of tvio 
wives. 

- Hesychius, third and fourth centuries. 2 Gen. xxxvi. 2. 



122 GENESIS 4. 21, 22. J 

21 as dwell in tents and have cattle. And his brother s 
name was Jubal : he was the father of all such as handle 

32 the harp and pipe. And Zillah, she also bare Tubal- 
cain, the forger of every cutting instrument of brass and 



form Abel and Cain into Habil and Kabil 1 . Jabal (LXX, Jobel) 
and Jubal are both modifications of the Hebrew Yobel. ram, and 
are closely connected with Abel. Jabal had to do with rams, as 
a herdsman a living in tents ; Jubal, as a musician, the ram s horn 
being an important musical instrument with the ancient Israelites. 
Cf. also on v. 

20. father of such as dwell in tents, &c. : following a similar 
occupation to Abel, but at a more advanced stage. We are not 
told that Abel or his parents had any tent or house, and JabaFs 
cattle would include oxen as well as sheep. It is a little 
difficult to understand how the fashion of keeping cattle and 
living in tents should only come into existence after the institu 
tion of cities in verse 17. Father of = founder of the custom 
or art 

21. his brother s name. When the founders of two arts are 
said to be brothers, it means that these arts arose in the same- 
period and under the same circumstances ; here, that music had 
its origin amongst the nomads. 

harp : Heb. kinnor, hence the Greek kiiiura, a stringed instru 
ment, of which the shape and number of strings varied. 

pipe: A.V. organ, 1 Heb. ugabh. The nature of this instru 
ment is uncertain. According to the LXX it was a stringed 
instrument ; but it was more probably a wind instrument, flute, 
or mouth-organ, or bagpipe, according to various authorities. 
Here it might very well be a general term for wind instruments. 
Numerous pictures of wind and stringed instruments are shown 
on the Egyptian and Assyrian monuments. 

22. Tubal-cain. It is doubtful whether the LXX read cain 
at all. If read, we should probably not take it as part of the name, 
but translate Tubal, a smith. 

the forger of every cutting instrument: R.V. marg. an 
instructor of every artificer. Neither translation fairly represents 
the Hebrew, which here again is unintelligible. Doubtless the 
original author wrote, the father of all who do smith s work, &c., 
and careless scribes copied it incorrectly. 

brass: R.V. marg. copper. Brass, copper allo3 ed with 
zinc, was unknown to the ancients ; but they had copper, and 



1 Raethpren, Beitrage, &c., 149. 

Cattle, Heb. miqneh, includes both sheep and oxen. 



GENESIS 4. 33. J 123 

iron: and the sister of Tubal-cain was Naamah. And 23 
Lamech said unto his wives : 

Adah and Zillah, hear my voice ; 

Ye wives of Lamech, hearken unto my speech : 

For I have slain a man for wounding me, 

And a young man for bruising me : 

used bronze, copper with various alloys. Wandering clans or 
families of smiths are still found amongst the nomad Arabs. 

Naamah. : pleasant, also found as the name of Rehoboam s 
mother, and of a city in Judah ; almost the same as Naomi. In 
Phoenician the name occurs for the goddess Astarte 1 . The con 
nexion of the smith Tubal with the pleasant or beautiful Naamah 
has been compared with that between Vulcan and Venus. 

23, 24. These verses are a short poem, much older than the 
genealogy in which they stand. They are, no doubt, one oi the 
oldest portions of the material out of which the Primitive Document 
was compiled, and indeed of extant Hebrew literature. Note 
the parallelism which is the characteristic form of Hebrew 
poetry. There are six short lines, the second repeats in a slightly 
different form the sense of the first ; the fourth that of the third ; 
and the sixth expresses an idea corresponding to that of the 
fifth. 

23. For X have slain a man for wounding 1 me, And a young 
man for bruising me. According to the laws of Hebrew 
parallelism man and young man probably both refer to the 
same person, and the wounding and bruising to the same 
act ; just as, in the previous couplet, Adah and Zillah Yc 
wives of Lamech, and hear -- hearken. This R. V. text 
would refer to a single experience of Lamech ; the marg. I will 
slay, or better I slay, I am in the habit of slaying, is quite as 
probable. The verse would then mean, If any one strikes me, 
1 slay him. The other marginal rendering (---- A. V.) : 

I have slain a man to my wounding, 
And a young man to my hurt, 

would mean that Lamech felt he had committed an act which 
would cause him suffering. This does not suit the context, and 
can only have been retained in the marg. in deference to the 
authority of the A.V. The poem expresses the proud confidence 
of the Bedouin chief that he will promptly and thoroughly avenge 
any wrong done to him. The connexion here suggests that the 
occasion of the song was the discovery of the art of working 

1 13aethgen, Beitriige, &c., 150. 



124 GENESIS 4. 24-26. J 

24 If Cain shall be avenged sevenfold, 
Truly Lamech seventy and sevenfold. 

25 And Adam knew his wife again ; and she bare a son, 
and called his name Seth : For, said she, God hath 
appointed me another seed instead of Abel ; for Cain 

26 slew him. And to Seth, to him also there was born 
a son ; and he called his name Enosh : then began men 
to call upon the name of the LORD. 

metals by Tubal-cain. It is supposed that this art was used to 
forge metal weapons, and Lamech was confident because he was 
sure that he would be better armed than any of his neighbours ; 
but probably the song had originally nothing to do with Tubal- 
cain. According to a grotesque Jewish legend the : man slain 
was Cain, and the young man Tubal-cain. 

24. Cf. verse 15. 

iv. 25, 26. GENEALOGY OF THE SETHITES J\ 

Adam. Seth, Enosh. The beginning of the worship of Yahweh. 

(a) Source. These verses were included in the Primitive 

Document, but they may have been originally independent of the 

previous sections ; see below. 

25. Adam. The analogy ofiv. i would lead us to expect the 
man, ha- Adam; perhaps this was the original reading. 

Seth . . . hath appointsd. In Hebrew, Slieth . . . sliath. 

God. The various sections of ii. 4 b iv. 24 use Yahweh for 
the Divine name ; but according to these verses Yahweh was not 
known till the time of Enosh, hence Eve uses God instead. 
These differences of usage are an indication that the verses may 
not have been originally connected with the rest of these 
chapters. 

28. he called his name. In the Primitive Document the name 
is usually given by the mother ; cf. verse i. The exception here 
is no doubt due to the fact that no mother is mentioned. 

Enosh : properly a common noun meaning man, almost 
synonymous with adain. The name probably comes from a tra 
dition which spoke of the first man as Enosh and not Adam. The 
author of these versions has preserved both names by uniting them 
in a genealogy a familiar method of gathering up miscellaneous 
fragments of tradition that none might be lost. 

then begun men to call upon the nama of the LORD. The 
Hebrew text translated by the LXX and Vulgate had Pie. i.e. 
Enosh. b -gan to call on the name of Yahweh. and this reading 
is accepted by many scholar*. It would mean that Enosh insti- 



GENESIS 5. i. P 



125 



[P] This is the book of the generations of Adam. In the 5 

tuted the worship of Yahweh. According to Exod. iii. 14, vi. 2 
the name Yahweh was first made known to Israel by Moses ; 
cf. p. 22. 

v. THE PRIESTLY GENEALOGY OF THE HUMAN RACE FROM ADAM 
TO NOAH. 

For purposes of comparison the analysis is supplemented by 
that of the other two genealogies in parallel columns. The numbers 
call attention to the correspondences in cases where the order is 
different. 



iv. i, 17-24. 
Adam 



Cain 
(i) Enoch 

Irad 
(2, Mehujael 

Metluishacl 

Latnech 



iv. 25, 26. 
Adam 
Seth 
Enosh 



Adam 

Seth 

Enouh 

Kenan 
(2} Mahalalel 

Jarcd 
(i) Enoch 

Methuselah 

Lamech 

Noah 



I I ~"l 

Shem Ham Japheth. 



Jabal Jubal Tubal-cain. 

v. 24. Enoch is translated. 

v. 29. Etymology of the name Noah. 

(n) Source. Verse 29 (which scc i is from J, the rest of the 
chapter is from the Priestly Document (P). Note the Divine name, 

God Elohiin); the recurring formula , lived years, and 

begat : and lived after he begat years, and 

begat sons and daughters : and all the days of were years, 

and he died ; and the heading. The book of the generations. 
This chapter is the continuation off. i ii. 4*, so that the Priestly 
Document contained no account of the Garden of Eden, or of the 
Fall, or of Cain and Abel. Note also the systematic chronology 
which is a characteristic of this document. 

(b) Relation to the other Genealogies. The table given in the 
analysis shows that ch. v is another version of the genealogies 
in iv. The two chapters may either represent two different 
traditions or two theories based on the same tradition. 

(c) Significance of the Genealogies. The presence of these 



Cf. pp. 37. ( 7- 



126 GENESIS 5. i. P 

day that God created man, in the likeness of God made 

genealogies in the various documents was due, first of all, to the 
desire to preserve ancient and popular traditions hallowed by 
many sacred associations. Perhaps some of the genealogies were 
formed as aids to memory, as threads on which to hang a number 
of names of ancient worthies and stories concerning them, so that 
they might be held together and the more easily remembered. 
No doubt, too, the interest which the Israelites felt in their own 
genealogies moved them also to complete the chain of ancestors 
which connected them with the very beginnings of history. But 
in the Priestly Document the genealogies provide a scheme of 
chronology from the Creation to the Conquest of Canaan ; and 
the succeeding books cany on the scheme till it is merged in the 
chronology of the great empires of the East. 

(rf) The Chronology of the Priestly Document. This chapter gives, 
amongst other statistics, the intervals between the birth of each 
patriarch and the birth of his eldest son. These intervals are 
continuous, and when added together give the interval between 
the Creation and the birth of Noah. Then the age of Noah at the 
time of the Flood is given, and thus we get the interval between 
the Creation and the Flood. The rest of the Pentateuch and the 
Book of Joshua furnish similar statistics, which determine the date 
of the death of Joshua. From this point we have the lengths 
of the rule of the judges, and of the intervals between them ; 
then the lengths of the rule of Eli and Samuel, and of the reigns 
of the kings. In a Kings xxv. 27 this series of statistics is 
connected with the dates of the kings of Babylon, and thus fixes 
the time-relations of the events of Israelite history with the 
ascertained chronology of general history. Unfortunately there 
are gaps, and inconsistencies, and obvious errors in these sets 
of figures, partly due to the mistakes of copyists and editors. 
Hence the popular chronology of the O. T., which was based upon 
these data, is not trustworthy . 

This chapter itself shows how uncertain are our data, and how 
little they help as to fix a definite chronology. We have men 
tioned in the Introduction 2 that there are three main authorities 
for our text ; the figures given by them differ widely, so that the 
interval from the Creation to the Flood is 1656 years in the 
Massoretic MSS., 1307 years in the Samaritan MSS., and 224ayears 
in the LXX. The following table will show that the lengths 
of the lives are usually the same in all three; that the exceptions 
to this rule lead to the difference between 1656 of the Massorcts 

1 Compare the article CHRONOLOGY in Dr. Hastings Dictionary 
of the Bible. 
3 p. 41. 



GENESIS 5. 2. P 127 

he him ; male and female created he them ; and blessed 2 



and the 1307 of the Samaritans ; but that the period from the birth 
of a patriarch to that of his eldest son is usuall} 100 years less in 
the Massoretic MSS. than in the LXX, while the rest of the life is 
100 years more, so that the length of the whole life remains the 
same. 





Hebrew 


Hebrew 






Massoretic 


Samaritan 


LXX. 




MSS. 


MSS. 






ABC 


ABC 


.ABC 


Adam 


130 800 930 


130 800 930 


230 700 930 


Seth 


105 807 912 


105 807 912 


2 5 77 9 12 


Enos 


90 815 905 


90 815 905 


190 715 905 


Cainan 


70 840 910 


70 840 910 


170 740 910 


Mahalalel 


65 830 895 


65 830 895 


165 730 895 


Jared 


162 800 962 


62 785 847 


162 800 962 


Enoch 
Methuselah 


65 3 3 6 5 
187 782 969 


65 300 365 
6 7 6 53 7 20 


165 200 365 
167 802 969 


Lamech 


182 595 777 


53 600 653 


188 565 753 


Noah 


500 950 


500 950 


500 950 


Further interval 








to the Flood 


IOO 


100 IOO 




1656 


1307 


2243 



A. Age of patriarch at birth of first-born. 

B. Length of rest of patriarch s life. 

C. Length of whole life. 

It is noteworthy that in the Massoretic and Samaritan MSS. 
Methuselah dies in the year of the Flood ; in the Samaritan MSS. 
Jared and Lamech also die in the year of the Flood ; and that 
in the LXX Methuselah survives the Flood by four years. Cf. 
below. 

(<?) Original Source of the Names and Statistics. We have seen 
that our chief authorities differ in their statistics, and also differ 
systematically, so that the variations cannot be altogether due to 
mistakes in copying. Each authority had its own theory of the 
chronology, possibly connected with ideas as to the length of 
the existence of the world, and the time of the final catastrophe 
a subject much dealt with in the various apocalypses current when 
the different texts were formed. It has been pointed out that 



128 GENESIS 5. 2. P 

them, and called their name Adam, in the day when they 

according to the Hebrew MSS. the Exodus took place 2666 years 
after the Creation. As 2666 is two-thirds of 4000 this indicates 
a belief that the world would last 4000 years, and the statistics 
have no doubt been influenced by this view. Again, in the 
Samaritan text each patriarch lives fewer years than his predecessor 
with three exceptions, two of which, Enoch and Noah, are 
special cases. This gradual diminution will be due to a theory 
that human vitality was at a maximum at the Creation. Further, 
the deaths of certain patriarchs in the year of the Flood is 
evidently due to careful calculation. These considerations, how 
ever, only partially account for the divergences, which must for 
the most part be left without explanation. We cannot be certain 
which authority agrees most closely with the figures given in the 
original copy of the Priestly Document, possibly according to 
the present tendency of opinion the Samaritan MSS. The fact 
that copyists and translators did not hesitate to modify these 
statistics according to their view of history shows that they 
regarded them as expressing a theory rather than as vouched 
for by absolute authority 1 . 

No doubt, however, both names and figures were originally 
derived from tradition. The presence of most of the names in 
the Primitive Document 5 partly proves this. Moreover, Berosus 3 
begins his account of the Babylonian dynasties with a list of ten 
kings. Alorns, Alaparns, Antclon, Ammcnon, Megalams, Daonuf, 
EuedoracJut*. Aiiietupsittiis, Otiartes, and Xisuthnis. He assigns 
to each of them an enormously long reign, so that the ten reigns 
together extend over a period of 432,000 years. In spite of the 
differences in the names many scholars hold that the ten Babylonian 
kings ending with Xisuthrus, the hero of the Deluge, are the 
origin of the ten patriarchs ending with Noah s . 

(/) The Longevity o/" the Patriarch*. The long lives of the 
patriarchs have often been felt to be a stumbling-block, which 
apologists have sought to remove by ingenious but futile theories. 
For instance, the names, Adam, e., cxc., have been supposed to 
represent tribes or dynasties, and not individuals ; year has been 
held to mean month, &c., &c. These theories are worthless; 
the idea that men in primitive times lived very long lives is 
common to the traditions of many races, and was clearly held by 
the author of the Priestly Document. It is also clear that these 
figures have no historical value except as exemplifying Semitic 
theories of chronology. 

1. generations. Cf. ii. 4. 



So Gunkel. p. J2. 

Cf. commentary. 



GENESIS 5. s-ro. P 129 

were created. And Adam lived an hundred and thirty 3 
years, and begat a son in his own likeness, after his image; 
and called his name Seth : and the days of Adam after 4 
he begat Seth were eight hundred years : and he begat 
sons and daughters. And all the days that Adam lived 5 
were nine hundred and thirty years : and he died. 
: And Seth lived an hundred and five years, and begat 6 
Enosh : and Seth lived after he begat Enosh eight hun- 7 
dred and seven years, and begat sons and daughters: 
and all the days of Seth were nine hundred and twelve 8 
years : and he died. 

And Enosh lived ninety years, and begat Kenan : and 9,10 
Enosh lived after he begat Kenan eight hundred and 

1. 2. in the likeness, &c., &c. Cf. i. 26 ff. 

2. caUed their name Adam. The R.V. marg., Man, would suit 
this sentence better than Adam ; it would then mean that God 
named the race man. The reference may be to i. 26, where 
God says, Let us make man, and thus by implication names 
the new race He is about to create. The Priestly Document 
never mentions Adam s wife, but simply says that God created 
man in two sexes. But Man in this phrase does not suit the 
succeeding verses in which adam is the name of the first man. 
Possibly the original reading was called his name Adam. 

3. in his own likeness, &c. : passing on the likeness to God, 
verse i. The Priestly Document ignores the Fall, and Cain and 
Abel. 

called his name Seth. The father gives the name, as usually 
in this document, and necessarily so here, because this chapter 
entirely ignores wives. 

6. Enosh. See on iv. 26. The third Babylonian king in Berosus s 
list is Amelon, which, like Enosh, means man, so that there is 
a point of correspondence between the third king and the third 
patriarch. 

9. Kenan : Qenan, a strengthened form of Cain, Qayin, cf. iv. 17, 
and quite a different name from that of the son of Ham and of 
the people Kena an. The word occurs in Semitic inscriptions, 
and is found as the name of a Sabaean god. 1h\s fourth patriarch, 
because Qenan means smith, has been connected 1 with the 
fourth Babylonian king Ammenon= artisan. 

1 Gunkel. 
K 



130 GENESIS 5. 11-19. P 

1 1 fifteen years, and begat sons and daughters : and all the 
days of Enosh were nine hundred and five years : and 
he died. 

12 And Kenan lived seventy years, and begat Mahalalel : 

13 and Kenan lived after he begat Mahalalel eight hundred 

14 and forty years, and begat sons and daughters : and all 
the days of Kenan were nine hundred and ten years : 
and he died. 

15 And Mahalalel lived sixty and five years, and begat 

16 Jared : and Mahalalel lived after he begat Jared eight 
hundred and thirty years, and begat sons and daughters: 

17 and all the days of Mahalalel were eight hundred ninety 
and five years : and he died. 

18 And Jared lived an hundred sixty and two years, and 

19 begat Enoch : and Jared lived after he begat Enoch 

13. Mahalalel. Mahalale el, in iv. 18, Mehujael, Mekhuyael, 
or (according to another reading) Mekhiyya el ; the fifth patriarch. 
As Hebrew names Mahalalel has been explained as Praise of 
God or i Praised of God, and Mehujael as Smitten of God, Sec. 
but both may be corruptions of a Babylonian name Antel-Arunt, 
Aruru s Man, who is represented by Mcgalarus, Berosus s fifth 
Babylonian king 1 . Mahalalel occurs in Neh. xi. 4 as a clan of 
Judah. 

15. Jared: Jered; in iv. 18 Irad, l lrad; the sixth patriarch. 
Jered occurs in i Chron. iv. 18 as the name of a clan of Judah. 
According to the Samaritan Pentateuch Jared died in the year 
of the Flood ; it is probably implied that he was among the 
sinners who were drowned. Possibly, however, this date for 
his death is a correction of statistics which, by an oversight, 
made him survive the Flood. The corrector would make Jared 
die in the year of the Flood in order to alter the traditional 
figures as little as possible ; and may have thought of the 
patriarch as dying a natural death shortly before the catastrophe. 

18. Enoch. Cf. iv. 17 ; the seventh patriarch. This name in its 
Hebrew form Khanoch might mean dedication, and might be con 
nected with the building of the first city, iv. 17 ; but probably both 
Enoch and Berosus s seventh king Eucdorachns are corruptions of 
some Babylonian name. Numerous legends grew up in connexion 

1 Ball, Genesis, SBOT. 



GENESIS 5. 20-25. P 131 

eight hundred years, and begat sons and daughters : and 20 
all the days of Jared were nine hundred sixty and two 
years : and he died. 

And Enoch lived sixty and five years, and begat 21 
Methuselah : and Enoch walked with God after he begat 22 
Methuselah three hundred years, and begat sons and 
daughters : and all the days of Enoch were three hun- 23 
dred sixty and five years : and Enoch walked with God : 24 
and he was not ; for God took him. 

And Methuselah lived an hundred eighty and seven 25 

with Enoch, and a whole cycle of apocalyptic literature the 
Book of Enoch, &c. was written in his name. A sentence from 
the Book of Enoch is quoted in Jude 14 as a prophecy of * Enoch, 
the seventh from Adam. 

22. walked with God, instead of the simple lived used of 
the other patriarchs, indicates a special piety on the part of 
Enoch. The LXX has pleased God. 

23. three hundred sixty and five years. The number points 
to some connexion between Enoch and the solar year. Perhaps 
the Babylonian original of Enoch was a sun- god or solar hero. 

24. he was not; for God took him. LXX, he was not found, 
for God translated l him, and so Heb. xi. 5 : By faith Enoch was 
translated l that he should not see death ; and he was not found, 
because God translated him : for before his translation he hath 
had witness borne to him that he had been well-pleasing unto 
God. This interpretation of the LXX and Hebrews brings out 
what was intended by this verse. Similarly Yahweh took Elijah, 
and he was not found 2 . It has been pointed out that had the 
verse simply stated that Enoch only lived 365 years, the natural 
deduction according to current Jewish theology would have been 
that he was an exceptionally wicked man. The additional details 
guard against this misconception. 

25. Methuselah. Cf. Methushael, iv. 18 ; the eighth patriarch. 
These names, together with Amempsinus, Berosus s eighth Baby 
lonian king, are explained as equivalent to the Babylonian name 
Amcl-Sin, Man of Sin, the moon-god. In the Massoretic MSS. 
and in the LXX Methuselah lives 969 years, a longer life than that 
of any other patriarch ; but in the Samaritan MSS. he only lives 
720 years, a shorter time than all the others with the exception of 

2 2 Kings ii. i, 17. 
K 2 



132 GENESIS 5. 26-32. PJP 

26 years, and begat Lamech : and Methuselah lived after he 
begat Lamech seven hundred eighty and two years, and 

27 begat sons and daughters : and all the days of Methuselah 
were nine hundred sixty and nine years : and he died. 

28 And Lamech lived an hundred eighty and two years, 

29 and begat a son : [J] and he called his name Noah, say 
ing, This same shall comfort us for our work and for the 
toil of our hands, because of the ground which the LORD 

30 hath cursed. [P] And Lamech lived after he begat Noah 
five hundred ninety and five years, and begat sons and 

31 daughters : and all the days of Lamech were seven hun 
dred seventy and seven years : and he died. 

32 And Noah was five hundred years old : and Noah be 
gat Shem, Ham, and Japheth. 

Enoch and Lamech. According to the Massoretic and Samaritan 
MSS. Methuselah died in the 3^ear of the Flood, so that the 
Massoretic text contains the dramatic suggestion that the man 
who lived longest was at last drowned with his fellow sinners ; 
but cf. on Jared, verse 15. According to the LXX, Methuselah 
survived the Flood, which is clearly an oversight. 

Lamech. Cf. iv. 19. The ninth patriarch. No probable con 
nexion between this name and Otiartes, the ninth Babylonian 
king, has been discovered. In the Samaritan MSS. Lamech dies 
in the year of the Flood ; cf. on Jarccf, verse 15. 

29. IToah. The fcnth patriarch. The tenth Babylonian king, 
Xisuthrus, is also the hero of the Flood. No satisfactory account 
has yet been given of the origin of the name. 

This same shall comfort us, &c. This explanation of the 
name is from the Primitive Document; it contains the name 
Yahweh, and refers back to the story of the Fall, iii. 17-19. To 
comfort is nahcm, and these words are suggested by the super 
ficial resemblance to Noah ; they are not a real etymology. 

because of the ground: R.V. marg., which coniff/i from the 
ground. 

32. Shem, Ham, and Japheth. This genealogy, like that in 
iv. 17-24, ends in a set of three brothers. Whether the three 
names originally denoted peoples or traditional heroes is uncertain. 
Ham (K/innt) is sometimes explained" as equivalent to Kheni, an 
ancient name of Egypt, or as meaning hot, and denoting the 
peoples of the hot south. Cf. on ix. 24-27 and x. 



GENESIS 6. 1-3. J 133 

[J] And it came to pass, when men began to multiply 6 
on the face of the ground, and daughters were born unto 
them, that the sons of God saw the daughters of men 2 
that they were fair ; and they took them wives of all that 
they chose. And the LORD said, My spirit shall not 3 
strive with man for ever, for that he also is flesh: yet 

vi. 1-4. The Marriages of the Angels (J). Certain angels marry 
women, and of these unions were born the ancient heroes. 

(a) Source. This section was taken from the Primitive Document, 
whose editor seems to have placed it at this point of his narrative 
as an example of the wickedness which led to the Flood. But it 
is a fragment of an independent tradition, which had no original 
connexion with the stories of the Fall and the Flood. 

2. sons of God. The regular O. T. phrase for supernatural 
beings, which would include angels and demons ; sons of means 
belonging to the class of. Various other explanations, all quite 
impossible, have been devised in order to avoid the theological 
difficulties arising out of the idea of marriage between angels and 
women. For instance, it has been suggested that the sons of 
God were the pious Sethites, and the daughters of men the 
wicked descendants of Cr.in. 

Classical mythology is full of stories of marriages between gods 
or demi-gods and mortals. 

This section is the origin of numerous legends as to the Fall of 
the Angels, cf. 2 Pet. ii. q.f., Jude 6 f. ; but there is no reference 
to any punishment of the sons of God in this fragment of the 
ancient tradition. 

3, 4. These verses are extremely obscure ; verse 3 has no obvious 
connexionwith the context, and may be an addition. The obscurity 
probably arises from the mutilation and modification of the original 
story. 

3. My spirit shall not strive with man for ever. This 
rendering suggests that God was continually attempting to keep 
man in the ways of righteousness, and that man was continually 
resisting. The meaning of the word translated strive is quite 
uncertain. Many ancient versions have abide in, and K. V. marg. 
also suggests another alternative, rule in. In any case the verse 
seems to imply that but for the special intervention of Yahweh 
men would have lived for ever. We might get a connexion with 
the previous verses by supposing that the man referred to here 
means the offspring of these marriages, who would have been 
immortal, like the sons of God, if Yahweh had not interfered. 

for that he also is flesh : a meaningless truism, which cannot 
fairly represent anything that stood in the original story. Here 



134 GENESIS 6. 4 . J 

4 shall his days be an hundred and twenty years. The 
Nephilim were in the earth in those days, and also after 
that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters 
of men, and they bare children to them : the same were 
the mighty men which were of old, the men of renown. 

again the meaning of our present Hebrew text is quite uncertain. 
The R. V. marg., in their going astray they are flesh, is also 
obscure. It would seem to mean that in moral matters men were 
poor weak creatures. Or it might mean that they had become flesh, 
and lost their higher, divine nature, or perhaps their immortality, 
by going astray. Perhaps the present Hebrew text has arisen 
out of mistakes in copying. 

yet shall his days : a concession ; he might have been cut off 
at once. The R. V. marg., therefore, implies that but for this 
intervention man would have lived much more than 120 years. 

be an hundred and twenty years. This may mean that 
henceforward human life should be limited to 120 years, as distin 
guished either (a) from the patriarchs of ch. v who lived hundreds 
of years, or (b) from the immortality which men might have 
enjoyed ; cf. above. If the view () be taken, the verse is a very 
late addition either by the Priestly writer or one of his followers. 
But the verse has also been taken to mean that the human race 
would only be allowed to exist for another 120 years. If so, the 
reference would probably be to the coming Flood, and it would 
again seem that the verse did not belong to the original story. 

4. Nephilim: R. V. marg., giants. The Nephilim are only 
mentioned once again, Num. xiii. 33: And there, in Palestine, 
we, the twelve spies, saw the Nephilim, the sons of Anak 
which come of the Nephilim : and we were in our own sight 
as grasshoppers. If we render Nephilim, the word may be 
the name of some ancient race who were supposed to be descended 
from these marriages a view which ignored the Flood. But 
according to R. V. marg. the word is simply a rare term for giants. 

were in the earth in those days. Perhaps we might render 
arose in the earth, i. e. the Nephilim were the offspring of these 
marriages. At any rate, that must have been the meaning of the 
story in its original form. 

and also after that. These words come in very awkwardly ; 
such parentheses arc unusual in classical Hebrew. Hence the 
clause is probably a note added by some one who wished to guard 
against the apparent contradiction of Num. xiii. 33. 

the mighty men . . . the men of renown. The heroes of 
ancient story, corresponding to the Greek demi-gods. Possibly 
the tradition of which these verses are a fragment proceeded to 
tell the story of these heroes. 



GENESIS 6. 5. J 



And the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great 5 

vi. 5 ix. 17. THE FLOOD. (A narrative in which J and P are 
combined.) 

Primitive Document (J). Priestly Document (P). 



vi. 5-8. The moral corruption 
of the world. Yahweh purposes 
to destroy it. Noah s righteous- 



vi. 9-13. Noah s righteous 
ness. The moral corruption of 
the world. God purposes to 
destroy it. 



vii. 1-5. Yahweh bids Noah 
gather into the ark his family, 
and two of each kind of unclean 
animal and seven of each kind 
of clean animal. Noah obeys. 



vi. 14-22. God bids Noah 
build an ark of certain dimen 
sions, and to gather into it his 
family and two of each kind of 
living creature ; and to store 
the ark with provisions. Noah 
obeys. 



vii. 7 (?). Noah and his family 
enter the ark. 

vii. 10. The Flood begins. 
12, i6 b , 17. Rain for forty 
days. Yahweh shuts Noah in. 



vii. 6-9, 13-16* \ Noah, his 
family, and the animals enter 
the ark. 

vii. ii. The Flood begins. 

vii. 24 *. The waters prevail 
for a hundred and fifty days. 



vii. 22, 23. All living creatures 
are drowned except those in 
the ark. 



vii. 18-21. The Flood in 
creases, and all living creatures 
are drowned, except those in 
the ark. 



viii. 2 b , 3% 6 a . At the end of 
the forty days (vii. 17) the Flood 
ceases to increase. 



viii. i, a a , 3 b -4. At the end of 
the 150 days (vii. 24), on the 
seventeenth day of the seventh 
month, the Flood ceases to 
increase, and the ark rests on 
the mountains of Ararat. 



viii. 6 b -g. Noah sends forth 
a raven which does not return ; 
[he waits seven days 2 ] and 
sends out a dove, which returns 
because the earth is still covered 
with water. 



viii. 5. The waters decrease 
till the first day of the tenth 
month, when the tops of the 
mountains are seen. 



1 These passages have been slightly displaced in order to facilitate 
the comparison of the two accounts. 

2 See note on this verse. 



136 



GENESIS 6. 5. J 



in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts 



Primitive Document (J). 


Priestly Document (P). 


viii. 10, it. After another 
seven days he sends out the 
dove again ; she returns with an 
olive leaf, and he knows that 
the waters have abated, 
viii. 12, is b . After another 
seven days he again sends out 
the dove; when she does not 
return he removes the covering 
of the ark and sees that the 
ground is dry. 


viii. 13 a. On the first day of 
the first month of the next year 
the waters had disappeared. 

viii. 14. On the twenty- 
seventh day of the second 
month the earth was dry. 

viii. 15-19. At God s bidding 
Noah leaves the ark with his 
family and the animals. 




ix. 1-7. God blesses Noah 
and his sons, and. permits them 
to eat animal food, but without 
the blood. God ordains the 
punishment of death for murder. 


viii. 20-22. Noah builds an 
altar and sacrifices to Yahweh, 
who promises that He will not 
again destroy all living beings, 
or interrupt the regular course 
of the seasons. 


ix. 8-17. God makes a cove- 
nantwithNoah and his descend 
ants that He will not again 
destroy all living beings by 
a Flood. He makes the rain 
bow the pledge of this covenant. 



(rt) Sources. Up to this point the editor has given us complete 
sections from either the Primitive or the Priestly Document ; but 
now he adopts a new method, and weaves together alternate 
paragraphs and sentences from these two documents into a con 
tinuous narrative 1 . Of the two stories of the Flood which have 
been thus combined, one connects with the other sections of the 
Priestly Document by its use of the Divine Name Elohim and 
other characteristic terms, by its chronology and its fondness for 
statistics generally, and by its reference to the making of man in 
the image of God 3 . The other version of the story connects with 
the Primitive Document by its use of the Divine Name Yahweh 
and other characteristic terms; by its anthropomorphism 
Yahweh shuts Noah in 3 and its picturesque details, for instance, 
the sending out of the raven and the dove. 

1 Cf. p. ii. 3 Gen. ix. 6. 3 Gen. vii. 16. 



GENESIS 6. 6. J 137 

of his heart was only evil continually. And it repented 6 

(6) Comparison of the two Narratives. A glance at the parallel 
columns of the analysis will show that the main lines of the two 
stories are the same. We have already seen that they illustrate 
the characteristic differences of the two documents. We may 
also note the following: in J, there are taken into the ark seven 
pairs of each kind of clean animals, and one pair of unclean ; in P, 
one pair of each 1 . In J, the Flood is caused by rain; in P, by 
a cosmic convulsion 2 . In J, the period from the announcement of 
the Flood to the departure from the ark is 7 + 40 + 3 x 7 = 68 days 3 ; 
in P, the Flood lasts for 365 days, i. e. a solar year*. In J, Noah 
offers a sacrifice ; in P, God makes a covenant with him. 

(c) The Babylonian Flood Story. The Babylonian, story of the 
Flood is known to us from Berosus and from cuneiform tablets ; 
and, as in the case of the Creation, the Biblical narrative is 
another version of the same story. Leaving details for the 
commentary, the general facts are as follows. The story in the 
tablets is an episode in the Babylonian epic of Izdudar. This hero 
visits his ancestor Tsitnapishtim in the abode of the gods, and asks 
him how he came thither. Tsitnapishtim relates the story of the 
Flood. In Berosus the hero of the Flood is the tenth Babylonian 
king Xisuthrus. In all three accounts the hero is divinely warned 
of the coming Flood, told to build a vessel, and to go into it with 
his family and the animals. He does so ; the Flood comes, and 
all not in the ark are drowned. The ship grounds on a mountain. 
Certain birds are sent out ; the hero leaves the ship, and offers 
sacrifice. Then in Berosus and the tablets the hero is taken to 
dwell with the gods. These two versions, especially that of the 
tablets, are polytheistic ; and the tablets describe the discussions 
and the dissensions of the various gods over the fate of man. 
Here, too, a pilot is an important character. To a large extent the 
details of each of the two Biblical stories of the Flood are to be 
found in the cuneiform account ; on some points both P and J 
agree with the tablets ; sometimes P agrees, and J ignores or 
differs ; and sometimes vice versa. As in the case of the Creation 
narrative, the Biblical accounts represent forms given to ancient 
Semitic tradition by a long course of transmission amongst the 
Israelites ; but on some points the resemblances are so close that 
it seems as if both 5 authors had revised the Israelite tradition with 
the help of information derived from Babylonian sources. 

Flood stories are found in the folklore of many ancient peoples, 

1 Gen. vii. 2, but cf. note on that verse, vi. 19. 

2 Gen. vii. n, 12, 17; cf. notes. 

3 Cf. notes on vii. 4, 10, 12, viii. 10, 12. 

* Cf. notes on vii. n, 24, viii. 3, 13 f. ! P and J. 



138 GENESIS 6. 7-1 r. JP 

the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it 

7 grieved him at his heart. And the LORD said, I will 
destroy man whom I have created from the face of the 
ground; both man, and beast, and creeping thing, and 
fowl of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made 

8 them. But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD. 

9 [P] These are the generations of Noah. Noah was a 
righteous man, and perfect in his generations : Noah 

10 walked with God. And Noah begat three sons, Shem, 

11 Ham, and Japheth. And the earth was corrupt before 

and may have originated in exceptionally disastrous inundations. 
At any rate, the form of the legends has been partly determined 
by men s experience of actual floods. Thus the Biblical narrative 
may have been originally a reminiscence of a terrible deluge in the 
plains of the Euphrates and the Tigris ; and the various versions 
of the story have been shaped by the circumstances of floods in 
Palestine and Babylonia. 

vi. 5-8. Primitive Document. The corruption of the ivoiid. 

5. the LOKD saw that the wickedness of man was great. 
The Babylonian account in no way emphasizes the idea that the 
Flood was sent because of the corruption of the race ; but it seems 
to imply that it was the punishment of sin. 

6. it repented the XiOSD. Another example of our author s 
speaking of Yahweh as one would of a man. The changes of 
God s dealings suggest to men changes in His purposes ; and the 
author records the impressions of God which Israelites in early 
times derived from their experience of life. 

7. destroy : blot out. 

8. found grace. Grace here carries with it none of the 
theological ideas connected with the word in the N. T. and in 
Christian theology. Found grace simply means found favour. 

vi. 9-13. The Priestly Document. The corruption of the world. 

9. the generations of Noah. The heading of a new section. 
Cf. ii. 4, v. i. 

righteous . . . perfect (marg., blameless ) . . . walked with 
God. The threefold description emphasizes Noah s goodness. 
Walked with God/ as Enoch (v. 24). The righteousness of the 
hero of the Flood is not emphasized in the Babylonian story, 
though it is referred to by Berosus. 

10. Repeats v. 32 b . 

11. corrupt before Qod, in His sight and judgement. 



GENESIS 6. 12-15. P 139 

God, and the earth was filled with violence. And God 12 
saw the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt ; for all flesh 
had corrupted his way upon the earth. 

And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is come 13 
before me ; for the earth is filled with violence through 
them ; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth. 
Make thee an ark of gopher wood ; rooms shalt thou 14 
make in the ark, and shalt pitch it within and without 
with pitch. And this is how thou shalt make it: the 15 
length of the ark three hundred cubits, the breadth of it 

12. all flesh had corrupted his way. All flesh may be all 
mankind, or, less probably, all living creatures. 

13. The end of all fiesh is come before me. God had 

determined to make an end of all flesh. 

In the tablets the Flood is caused by Bel, whilst another god, 
Ea, warns Tsitnapishtim of the coming catastrophe in a dream, 
and directs him to build a ship. 

vi. 14-22. Priestly Document. Directions about the ark. 

14. ark: Heb. iebah. The same word is used for the ark in 
which Moses was placed in the Nile ; tebah does not occur else 
where, the word for the sacred ark of the tabernacle and temple 



gopher wood. Gopher/ only found here, is a Hebrew 
word written in English letters. Its meaning is unknown ; various 
woods more or less suitable for shipbuilding have been suggested, 
e. g. cedar, fir ; also cypress (Greek, kuparissos), a word similar to 
gopher, and sometimes supposed to be derived from it. Perhaps 
the unfamiliar gopher is a scribe s error, due to the proximity of 
the similar word kopher for pitch. The resemblance of gopher to 
another Hebrew word gopfirith, brimstone, does not throw any 
light on the matter. 

rooms : Heb. nests ; i. e. places for the men and animals ; 
only in this sense here. This and other unusual and obscure 
expressions are probably derived from old versions of the story 
(cf. next note), and may sometimes be due to misunderstanding of 
obsolete or foreign words. 

pitch, or rather bitumen, a kind of mineral pitch. The 
word kopher only occurs in Hebrew in this verse, and is a 
reminiscence of the Babylonian story, where a quantity of bitumen 
(Jitt-np-ri} i s poured over the ship. 

15. length . . . three hundred cubits, . . . breadth . . . fifty 
cubits, . . . height . . . thirty cubits. The length of the cubit 



1 40 GENESIS 6. 16, 17. P 

16 fifty cubits, and the height of it thirty cubits. A light 
shalt thou make to the ark, and to a cubit shalt thou 
finish it upward ; and the door of the ark shalt thou set 
in the side thereof; with lower, second, and third stories 

1 7 shalt thou make it. And I, behold, I do bring the flood 

varied at different times and places from about 17^ in. to about 
2i in. or even more. It is not known what cubit is intended 
here. If we reckon the cubit at i-J ft., the dimensions are 450 x 75 
X45ft. The dimensions of the new White Star liner Arabic are 
600 x 65 x 44 ft., and of the new British battleship King Edward VII 
(16,350 tons) 425 x 78 x 43 ft. 4 ins. The corresponding passage in 
the tablets is a little obscure, but is read l as giving the height 
120 cubits, and the breadth 120 cubits. In Berosus the ship is 
5 stadia, about 3,030 ft., long, and 2 stadia, about 1,212 ft., broad. 

16. A light. The Hebrew word soliar is only found here, and 
its meaning is uncertain. The root has the sense of light in 
post-Biblical Hebrew. In the O. T. the dual form zohorayitn 
means noon-day, and zohar is sometimes translated light, i. e. 
window, or opening for light. The R. V. marg. rendering 
roof is suggested by the meaning of similar words in languages 
of the same group (Semitic) as Hebrew. In the Babylonian there 
is a window in the ship. 

to a cubit shalt thou finish it upward : R. V. marg., from 
above. This obscure clause fairly represents an unintelligible 
piece ^of Hebrew. Whether it is the Might or window or 
roof, of the ark is uncertain, nor is it clear how the cubit comes 
in. A window a cubit square would be absurd, but it might be 
a cubit high, or a cubit from the top of the ark. Perhaps the 
following 2 is as probable a view as any: Nothing prevents us 
from thinking of the opening for light, one cubit in size or in 
height, as running round the four sides, at the top, naturally 
interrupted by the beams or posts supporting the roof, which thus 
formed, so to speak, a continuous series of so/tar. 

17. flood. The Hebrew word mabbtd is only used of Noah s 
flood, and only occurs in Gen. ix-xi (in both documents) and 
in Psalm xxix. 10. The origin and etymology of tnabbul are 
unknown. 

the flood of waters upon the earth : better, the* flood, 
waters upon the earth. The flood because, when tlire story 
was told in ancient Israel, Noah s flood was a well-known theme ; 
waters upon the earth, an explanation by the late, Priestly 
author of an archaic word. 

1 Gunkel. 2 Dillmann on this ver rse. 



GENESIS 6. 18 7. i. PJ 141 

of waters upon the earth, to destroy all flesh, wherein is 
the breath of life, from under heaven ; every thing that 
is in the earth shall die. But I will establish my cove- 18 
nant with thee ; and thou shalt come into the ark, thou, 
and thy sons, and thy wife, and thy sons wives with thee. 
And of every living thing of all flesh, two of every sort 19 
shalt thou bring into the ark, to keep them alive with 
thee ; they shall be male and female. Of the fowl after 20 
their kind, and of the cattle after their kind, of every 
creeping thing of the ground after its kind, two of every 
sort shall come unto thee, to keep them alive. And take 21 
thou unto thee of all food that is eaten, and gather it to 
thee; and it shall be for food for thee, and for them. 
Thus did Noah; according to all that God commanded 22 
him, so did he. 

[ J] And the LORD said unto Noah, Come thou and all 7 

18. covenant. In such passages as these a covenant is not, as 
elsewhere, a compact between two parties, but a declarative act 
on the part of God, a divine constitution or ordinance with signs 
or pledges . 

19. two of every sort. In the Primitive Document there are 
to be seven, or seven pairs, of the clean animals, and two of the 
unclean, vii. 2. According to the Priestly writer the distinction 
between clean and unclean animals was part of the revelation 
made to Moses, and therefore could not be known to Noah. 

male and female. The Hebrew for this phrase is different in 
the two documents. 

22. In the tablets Tsitnapishtim takes into the ship not only 
his family and the animals, but also slaves and artisans. Details 
are given as to the provisions taken on board, and we are told 
that Tsitnapishtim took with him his silver and gold and the rest 
of his property. Naturally nothing is said of fishes in any of the 
accounts. 

vii. 1-5. Primitive Document. Directions as to the ark. 

1. Come . . . into the ark. The account given by this document 
of the building of the ark has been omitted, probably because it 
would have added nothing to vi. 15-22. 

1 Brown-Driver-Briggs, Hebrew Lexicon. 



142 GENESIS 7. 2, 3. J 

thy house into the ark ; for thee have I seen righteous be- 

2 fore me in this generation. Of every clean beast thou shalt 
take to thee seven and seven, the male and his female ; 
and of the beasts that are not clean two, the male and his 

3 female ; of the fowl also of the air, seven and seven, male 

2, 3. Cf. vi. 19, 20. 

2. clean . . . not clean. Lists of the clean and unclean animals 
are given in Lev. xi and Deut. xiv. 3-20. The clean are defined 
as the beasts that part the hoof, and are clovenfooted, and chew 
the cud, and the fishes that have fins and scales 1 . The other 
beasts and fishes are unclean. No criterion of cleanness is given 
for birds, but the unclean sorts mostly birds of prey are enumer 
ated. In Deut. xiv. 19 all winged creeping things are unclean, 
but in Lev. xi. 20-23 only winged creeping things that go on all 
fours are unclean, and various sorts of locusts are mentioned as 
clean and legitimate food. W. Robertson Smith y considered that 
the laws of uncleanness were survivals of an earlier form of faith 
and of society, and were parallel to the taboos which totemism 
lays on the use of sacred animals as food. 1 Probably, however, 
the laws as we find them in the Pentateuch have been partly 
shaped by considerations of what is healthy and seemly. Clean 
ness and uncleanness is not referred to in the tablets. 

Of every clean beast . . . seven and seven, the male and his 
female. This is variously interpreted to mean seven pairs r 
seven individuals. If seven individuals are meant the idea may 
be three pairs and a solitary male for sacrifice ; but seven may 
be used as the sacred number, cf. verse 9. 

3. fowl ... of the air : without distinction of clean and unclean, 
taking the text literally as it stands. Possibly the provision as to 
the beasts was meant to be taken for granted here also. The 
seven and seven cannot imply that only clean birds were taken, 
because the raven was unclean 3 . The LXX, however, inserts 
after female, and of the fowl that are not clean two and two, 
male and female. These words may very well have stood in the 
original Hebrew, and have been accidentally omitted through 
confusion between the two females. The scribe had written 
as far as theirs/ female, was interrupted, and on resuming saw 
that the last word he had written was female, and supposed it 
to have been the second female. Hence he began again at to 
keep seed, &c., thus omitting the words supplied by the LXX. 
This kind of error has led to many omissions in manuscripts of 

1 Lev. xi. 3, 9; Deut. xiv. 6, 9. 

2 Religion of the Semites, p. 448 f. 

3 Gen. viii. 7; Lev. xi. 15; Deut. xiv. 14. 



GENESIS 7. 4-10. JPJ 143 

and female : to keep seed alive upon the face of all the 
earth. For yet seven days, and I will cause it to rain 4 
upon the earth forty days and forty nights ; and every 
living thing that I have made will I destroy from off the 
face of the ground. And Noah did according unto all 5 
that the LORD commanded him. 

[P] And Noah was six hundred years old when the 6 

flood of waters was upon the earth. And Noah went in, 7 

and his sons, and his wife, and his sons wives with him, , 

into the ark, because of the waters of the flood. Of clean g 
beasts, and of beasts that are not clean, and of fowls, and 

of every thing that creepeth upon the ground, there went 9 
in two and two unto Noah into the ark, male and female, 

as God commanded Noah. [J] And it came to pass after 10 

the N. T., and is known by the technical term homoeoteleuton, 
or an omission due to similar endings. 

to keep seed alive : to provide for the continuance by propa 
gation of the various kinds of animals, &c. 

4. For yet seven days. In the tablets, Shamash, the sun-god, 
appoints a time, length not specified. 

I will cause it to rain. Cf. verse n. In the tablets also the 
Flood is caused by rain. 

forty days and forty nights. In the tablets the rain lasts 
six days and (six?) nights. 

destroy : Heb. blot out, as in vi. 7. 

vii. 6-9. Priestly Document. Noah, &c., go on board. 

6-9. There are additions in these verses that have beer, made 
by the editor, thus anticipating verses 13-17 ; see especially on 
verse 8. Verse 7 is perhaps partly J. 

6. Noah was six hundred years old. This statement fixes 
the date of the Flood in the Priestly system of chronology set 
forth in ch. v, xi, &c. Cf. p. 126. 

3, 9. Of clean beasts, and of beasts that are not clean, . . . 
there went in two and two. These words are not from the 
original Priestly writer, who held that the distinction between 
clean and unclean was unknown in the time of Noah, cf. verses 2 f. ; 
but from an editor or scribe who noticed the contradiction between 
vi. 19 f. and vii. 2 f . ; and inserted a note to make it quite clear 
that the view taken by vi. 19 f. was the correct one. 



144 GENESIS 7. ii-i 3 . JPJP 

the seven days, that the waters of the flood were upon 

11 the earth. [P] In the six hundredth year of Noah s life, 
in the second month, on the seventeenth day of the 
month, on the same day were all the fountains of the 
great deep broken up, and the windows of heaven were 

12 opened. [J] And the rain was upon the earth forty days 

13 and forty nights. [P] In the selfsame day entered Noah, 

vii. 10. Primitive Document. The Flood begins. 

10. the seven days. Cf. vii. 4. 

vii. ii. Priestly Document. The Flood begins. 

11. the six hundredth year of Noah s life . . . the second 
month . . . the seventeenth day. These exact chronological details 
are characteristic of the Priestly writer. He probably assumed that 
time was reckoned from the Creation, i. e. that the first day of 
Creation was the first day of the first month of the first year. In 
the same way he seems to take for granted that each year of Noah s 
life coincided with a calendar year, so that Noah was born on 
a New Year s Day. Otherwise we cannot get the exact definition 
of time which our author evidently intends to give us. 

second month. There are in the O. T. two modes of reckon 
ing, according to one of which the year began about April, and 
according to the other about October. It is doubtful which is 
intended here. If the year began in October the second month 
would be November, the beginning of the rainy season, and the 
150 days during which the Flood increased would about bring us 
to the end of the rainy season in March. If the year began in 
April the second month would be May, the season of the great 
inundations of the Babylonian plain. A late version of the 
Babylonian story makes the Flood begin at this time ; the tablets 
give no date. 

the seventeenth day : probably a date on which the rain 
or the inundation was supposed to begin. The late version referred 
to above makes the Flood begin on the fifteenth. Here and in 
viii. 4 the LXX has twenty-seventh, as the Hebrew has in 
viii. 14. 

were . . . the fountains of the great deep broken up. The 
great deep is the tehom of i. a. The Flood in this document is 
not caused by ordinary rain, but the work of the second day of 
Creation, by which the waters of the deep were separated from 
those of heaven, is undone ; and outside of the ark primaeval chaos 
is restored. Cf. Prov. viii. 28. 

windows of heaven. Cf. 2 Kings vii. a, 19; Mai. iii. 10. 
vii. 12. Primitive Document. Rain for forty days. Cf. verse 4. 



GENESIS 7. 14-20. PJ P 145 

and Shem, and Ham, and Japheth, the sons of Noah, and 
Noah s wife, and the three wives of his sons with them, 
into the ark ; they, and every beast after its kind, and all 14 
the cattle after their kind, and every creeping thing that 
creepeth upon the earth after its kind, and every fowl 
after its kind, every bird of every sort. And they went 15 
in unto Noah into the ark, two and two of all flesh 
wherein is the breath of life. And they that went in, 16 
went in male and female of all flesh, as God commanded 
him : [J] and the LORD shut him in. And the flood was 17 
forty days upon the earth ; and the waters increased, and 
bare up the ark, and it was lift up above the earth. 

[P] And the waters prevailed, and increased greatly is 
upon the earth ; and the ark went upon the face of the 
waters. And the waters prevailed exceedingly upon the 19 
earth; and all the high mountains that were under the 
whole heaven were covered. Fifteen cubits upward did 20 

vii. 13-16* . Priestly Document. Noah, d-c., enter the ark. 

These verses are the original account given by the Priestly 
writer of the entry into the ark ; they have been anticipated by 
verses 7-9, an insertion by an editor. 

14. Every bird of every sort : Heb. wing. These words 
are not found in the LXX, and may be an addition intended to 
explain the preceding every fowl ; or we might translate every 
bird, every winged creature, including insects. 

vii. i6 b2 , 17. Primitive Document. Noah shut in; the Flood 
increases, 

16. the LORD shut him in. Another anthropomorphic touch ; 
in the tablets Tsitnapishtim shuts the door. 

17. forty days : the same forty days as in verse 12. 
the waters increased, through the continuous rain. 

vii. i8-ai. Priestly Document. The devastation wrought by the 
Flood. 

18. prevailed here and in verses 19, 20, 24 describes the 
successive stages by which the Flood increased. 

2O. Fifteen cubits, &c. The previous verse states that all the 

1 As far as commanded him. 3 From and the LORD. 

L 



I 4 6 GENESIS 7. 21 8. i. PJP 

the waters prevail; and the mountains were covered. 

21 And all flesh died that moved upon the earth, both fowl, 
and cattle, and beast, and every creeping thing that 

22 creepeth upon the earth, and every man: [J] all in 
whose nostrils was the breath of the spirit of life, of all 

23 that was in the dry land, died. And every living thing 
was destroyed which was upon the face of the ground, 
both man, and cattle, and creeping thing, and fowl of the 
heaven ; and they were destroyed from the earth : and 
Noah only was left, and they that were with him in the 

24 ark. [P] And the waters prevailed upon the earth an 
hundred and fifty days. 

8 And God remembered Noah, and every living thing, 

high mountains were covered, so that this verse must mean that 
after the Flood reached the level of the tops of the highest moun 
tains the water continued to rise for fifteen cubits, and the 
mountains were covered to that extent. Cf. on viii. 3, 4. 

21. In the tablets Tsitnapishtim looks out when the storm 
ceases, and sees that all mankind have become mud. 

creeping 1 thing tliat creepeth : R.V. marg., swarming thing 
that swarmeth. 

vii. 22, 23. Primitive Document. The devastation wrought by the 
Flood. 

22. the breath of the spirit of life. Owing to some mistake 
in copying we have here a blending of two synonymous phrases, 
breath of life," as in ii. 7, vii. 15, and spirit of life. 

23. every living 1 thing 1 was destroyed: R.V. marg., he 
destroyed every living thing. 

destroyed : Heb. blotted out. 

vii. 24 viii. 2 . Priestly Document. Cessation of the Flood. 

24. an hundred and fifty days. Cf. viii. 3 b , 4*. 

1. God remembered Noah, &c. Perhaps rather thought of ; 
the phrase need not imply that God had forgotten Noah. Note 
that the animals are included in God s kindly thought. 

2 a . Cf. vii. n b . 

viii. 2 b , 3 a2 . Primitive Document. Cessation of the Flood. 

1 As far as were stopped. 

2 From and the rain to continually. 



GENESIS 8. 2-5. PJ P 147 

and all the cattle that were with him in the ark : and 
God made a wind to pass over the earth, and the waters 
assuaged ; the fountains also of the deep and the windows 2 
of heaven were stopped, [J] and the rain from heaven 
was restrained; and the waters returned from off the 3 
earth continually : [P] and after the end of an hundred 
and fifty days the waters decreased. And the ark rested 4 
in the seventh month, on the seventeenth day of the 
month, upon the mountains of Ararat. And the waters 5 

3. returned from off the earth continually : i. e. there was 
a continuous diminution in the amount and depth of the water. 

yiiv sVs 1 * Priestly Document. The drying up of the Flood. 

3. an hundred and fifty days. Cf. vii. 24. 

4. seventh month, . . . seventeenth day. Just five months 
after the beginning of the Flcod, the five months being the same 
period as the 150 days. It is not certain how the months are 
reckoned, whether (a) five of thirty days each ; or whether (Z>) 
150 is a round number for the 146 or 147 days in five lunar 
months ; or whether (c) the 150 days and the five months were 
taken originally from different sources, and represent slightly 
different views as to the length of the same period. 

Here and in vii. n the LXX has twenty-seventh day, as the 
Hebrew has in verse 14. 

rested . . . tipon the mountains. The idea seems lo be 
that the ark, which was thirty cubits high 2 , was immersed to 
half its depth, fifteen cubits ; and that at the moment when the 
Flood reached its highest level, fifteen cubits above Ihe summit 
of the highest mountain 3 , the ark was floating just above that 
summit, so that the very moment the water began to fall the ark 
grounded*. This interest in exact chronology is characteristic 
of the Priestly Document. 

Ararat 5 , roughly corresponds to Armenia, and is the distiict 
about Lake Van referred to in Assyrian inscriptions as Urartu. 
The particular peak is often identified with the highest mountain 
in or near Urartu, the ancient Massis, the modern Agvidagh, often 
known as Mount Ararat. The intention of the writer is evidently 

1 From and after the end. 
3 vi. 15. 3 vii. 20. 

1 Cf. Dillmann and Gunkel. 

5 Elsewhere in O. T. only: 2 Kings xix. 37; Isa. xxxvii. 38; 
Jer. li. 27. 

L 2 



148 GENESIS 8. 6, 7. PJ 

decreased continually until the tenth month : in the 
tenth month, on the first day of the month, were the 

6 tops of the mountains seen. [J] And it came to pass at 
the end of forty days, that Noah opened the window of 

7 the ark which he had m^de : and he sent forth a raven, 

to select the highest mountain, and, with the exception of Mount 
Elburz, Mount Massis was the highest with which he was likely 
to be acquainted. He may not have known exactly their relative 
heights ; and even if, as is sometimes asserted, Mount Massis was 
not in, but only near, Urartu, his knowledge of foreign geography 
would not bt very accurate. Mount Massis is 17,000 ft. high. 
There are obvious physical difficulties, which we need not discuss, 
as oar author was evidently quite unconscious of them. 

Ararat is also identified with Corduene l , a district on the 
left bank of the Upper Tigris. 

In the tablets the ship is stopped by the mountain Nisir, 
sometimes identified with Elburz, in Media, south of the Caspian, 
and even supposed to be indicated here by mountains of Ararat 2 . 
In that case Ararat would have a different meaning here to that 
which it bears in the rest of the O. T. 

5. tsntli month, . . . first day : about two months and a half 
after the ark grounded on Ararat. 

were the tops of the mountains seen. Apparently Ararat 
is thought of as towering to some height immensely above all 
other mountains. 

viii. 6-12. Primitive Document. The raven and the dove. 

In the tablets first a dove and then a swallow are sent out, 
both of these return because there is no resting place for them ; 
lastly a raven is sent out and does not return, whereupon the 
animals and men leave the ark. 

6. forty days : the period of the rain mentioned in vii. 12. 
window. The Hebrew word used here is the ordinary word 

for window, and is different from the original of light in the 
Priestly Document, vi. 16. 

7. Bsnt forth a raven: as in the case of the dove in the next 
verse, to see if the waters were abated. Probably the ark is 
thought of as stranded on the top of a mountain peak, with the 
window in the roof, so that Noah could see nothing but the sky. 

1 In the Targ-ums, or Jewish, and the Peshitto, or Christian, 
Aramaic translations of the O. T., both belonging- to the first three 
centuries of the Christian era. 

a Tiele and Kosters, ARARAT, Encyclopaedia Biblica* 



GENESIS 8. 8-13. JP 149 

and it went forth to and fro, until the waters were 
dried up from off the earth. And he sent forth a 8 
dove from him, to see if the waters were abated from 
off the face of the ground ; but the dove found no rest 9 
for the sole of her foot, and she returned unto him to the 
ark, for the waters were on the face of the whole earth : 
and he put forth his hand, and took her, and brought 
her in unto him into the ark. And he stayed yet other ro 
seven days ; and again he sent forth the dove out of the 
ark; and the dove came in to him at eventide; and, lo, n 
in her mouth an olive leaf pluckt off: so Noah knew that 
the waters were abated from off the earth. And he 12 
stayed yet other seven days ; and sent forth the dove ; 
and she returned not again unto him any more. [P] And 13 
it came to pass in the six hundred and first year, in the 

The raven was expected to bring back some token of the state of 
the ground, like the olive leaf of verse n. 

went ... to and fro : perching and feeding on the floating 
carrion. 

8. The mention of other seven days in verse 10 implies 
a previous seven days of waiting. Of these nothing is said in 
our present text ; but perhaps the copyists have accidentally 
omitted a statement that after sending out the raven Noah waited 
seven days before sending out the dove, as he waited seven days 
between the two sendings of the dove. Or the lost clause may 
have referred to a delay of seven days between the cessation of 
the rain and the sending out of the birds. Thus in the tablets the 
birds are sent forth on the seventh day after the stranding of the 
ark, but no further mention is made of intervals of time. 

10. Cf. above on verse 8. 

11. an olive leaf pluckt off: R. V. marg., a fresh olive leaf. 
Woah knew that the waters were abated. The olive tree 

does not grow at great heights, so that it was evident that the 
water had fallen very considerably from its highest level above 
the top of Ararat. We are told on the authority of classical 
naturalists that the olive tree puts forth green shoots under water. 

viii. i3 al . Priestly Document. The waters dry up. 

13. six hundred and first year, . . . first month, . . . first 



1 As far as the earth." 



150 GENESIS 8. 14-17. PJP 

first month, the first day of the month, the waters were 
dried up from off the earth : [ J] and Noah removed the 
covering of the ark, and looked, and, behold, the face of 
14 the ground was dried. [P] And in the second month, on 
the seven and twentieth day of the month, was the earth 
dry. 

15,16 And God spake unto Noah, saying, Go forth of the 

ark, thou, and thy wife, and thy sons, and thy sons 

17 wives with thee. Bring forth with thee every living 

thing that is with thee of all flesh, both fowl, and cattle, 

and every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth ; 

day. Two months after the tops of the mountains were seen, 
verse 5 ; cf. on verse 14. 

viii. i3 b 1 . Primitive Document. The waters dry up. 

the covering 1 . This was probably described in the Primitive 
account of the building of the ark, which the editor has omitted. 

viii. 14-19. Priestly Document. Noah, &c., leave the ark. 

14. second month., . . . seven and twentieth day : a month 
and twenty-six days after the waters were dried up from off the 
earth, verse 13. We are now told that the earth was dry. 
The Hebrew words for dried up and dry are different. The 
meaning of the writer seems to be that on New Year s Day (verse 
13) the water had disappeared, leaving behind it a mass of mud, 
which had dried into solid earth by the twenty-seventh day of the 
second month. 

Thus according to the LXX of vii. u, which dates the be 
ginning of the Flood on the twenty-seventh day of the second 
month of the previous year, the Flood occupied exactly a year. 
But according to the Hebrew it occupied a year and ten da3 s. 
This is sometimes explained by supposing that the year in the 
latter case was a lunar year, i. e. about 354 days, and that the 
extra ten days, making about 364 days, were intended to indicate 
that the period was a solar year. But it is possible that statistics 
representing different views of the duration of the Flood have 
been combined ; or that the original Priestly writer held one view 
and the editor another, and that the editor has corrected some 
statements and not others. Cf. on vii. n, and viii. 4. 

17. creeping thing that creepeth ... be fruitful, and 

1 From and Noah. 



GENESIS 8. 18-21. PJ 151 

that they may breed abundantly in the earth, and be 
fruitful, and multiply upon the earth. And Noah went 18 
forth, and his sons, and his wife, and his sons wives with 
him : every beast, every creeping thing, and every fowl, 19 
whatsoever moveth upon the earth, after their families, 
went forth out of the ark. [J] And Noah builded an 20 
altar unto the LORD ; and took of every clean beast, and 
of every clean fowl, and offered burnt offerings on the 
altar. And the LORD smelled the sweet savour; and the 21 

multiply : characteristic terms of the Priestly Document ; cf. i. 22, 
24 ff., 28. 

19. after their families : another characteristic phrase of this 
writer, commonly used of the clans of Israel, &c. For the 
animals this writer generally uses after their kind, vi. 20, &c., 
to express the same idea, i. e. that the pairs of each kind, and 
perhaps also larger groups of more or less similar animals, kept 
together. 

viii. 20-22. Primitive Document. Noah s sacrifice and Yalnveh s 
promise. 

20. Noah builded an altar . . . and offered burnt offering s 
on the altar. In this document the patriarchs constantly build 
altars and offer sacrifices ; but the Priestly writer records no altars 
or sacrifices before the time of Moses, because, according to his 
theory, they were first revealed to the Lawgiver. 

of every clean beast, &c. Cf. vii. 2 f. On the other hand, 
the Priestly writer s limitation of the number in every case to 
two rendered sacrifice impossible without preventing the propaga 
tion and therefore the continuance of the kind of animal sacrificed. 

burnt offering s : sacrifices in which the whole of the victims 
were consumed upon the altar, and thus offered to God, as dis 
tinguished from the more ordinary sacrifices of which only parts 
were burnt, and the rest eaten by the offerer and his friends. 
The burnt offering was thus a more emphatic expression of 
gratitude or form of supplication. In the tablets and other 
primitive Flood traditions the hero offers sacrifice after leaving 
his ark or ship. 

21. the LOUD smelled the sweet savour. The phrase is 
a survival of the crude primitive notion that the gods found 
a physical pleasure in the smell of the smoke of a burning 
sacrifice ; but the use of the phrase no more implies that the 
authors of Genesis held this belief than the fact that we call our 
sacrcd day Sunday implies that we worship the sun. 



152 GENESIS 8. 22 9. 2. JP 

LORD said in his heart, I will not again curse the ground 
any more for man s sake, for that the imagination of 
man s heart is evil from his youth ; neither will I again 
22 smite any more every thing living, as I have done. While 
the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and 
heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall 

9 not cease. [P] And God blessed Noah and his sons, and 
said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish 

2 the earth. And the fear of you and the dread of you 
shall be upon every beast of the earth, and upon every 

In the tablets Tsitnapishtim offers a sacrifice on the highest 
peak of the mountain ; the gods smell the pleasant odour, and 
flock round the offerer like flies. 

the LORD said in his heart, i. e. resolved. The tiafve/eof the 
ancient tradition is illustrated by the absence of any explanation 
of the way in which the thoughts of Yahweh became known to 
men. 

I will not again curse the ground. Cf. iii. 17, iv. 1 1, 12, and 
en ix. 15. On three successive occasions Yahweh had changed 
the state of the ground, i. e. the physical circumstances of human 
life, for the worse, in punishment of man s sin, but universal 
chastisement of the whole race will not be again inflicted. The 
idea seems to be in the writer s mind that the human life had 
already become so miserable and precarious that any further 
change for the worse could only mean the annihilation of the 
race. Cf. Isa. liv. 9. 

for man s sake, for that the imagination of man s heart 
is evil from his youth. The life-long depravity of man would 
still continue to provoke and justify God s wrath ; but He would 
forbear in spite of their sin. Yahweh had done all that He could 
by way of chastisement to educate man to a higher morality, and 
had failed ; now He holds His hand rather than destroy His 
creation altogether. The writer implies that the descendants of 
Noah will be no better than their predecessors fcf. vi. 5"), and 
proceeds to give a striking example of their depravity in the 
incident of Noah s drunkenness and its sequel. 

R. V. marg , for the imagination/ &c., expresses the same 
ideas rather more explicitly. 

22. The form of this verse is poetical in the Hebrew. 

ix. 1-17. Priestly Document. The Divine Blessing and Cove 
nant. 



GENESIS 9. 3-10. P 153 

fowl of the air ; with all wherewith the ground teemeth, 
and all the fishes of the sea, into your hand are they 
delivered. Every moving thing that liveth shall be food 3 
for you ; as the green herb have I given you all. But 4 
flesh with the life thereof, which is the blood thereof, 
shall ye not eat. And surely your blood, the blood of 5 
your lives, will I require ; at the hand of every beast will 
I require it : and at the hand of man, even at the hand 
of every man s brother, will I require the life of man. 
Whoso sheddeth man s blood, by man shall his blood be 6 
shed : for in the image of God made he man. And you, 7 
be ye fruitful, and multiply ; bring forth abundantly in 
the earth, and multiply therein. 

And God spake unto Noah, and to his sons with him, 8 
saying, And I, behold, I establish my covenant with ,)|ou, 9 
and with your seed after you ; and with every living 10 
creature that is with you, the fowl, the cattle, and every 

1-3. Closely parallel to i. 28, 29. 

3. Every moving tiling that liveth shall be food for yoxt. 
In i. 29 men were limited to vegetable food, now they are allowed 
to eat the flesh of animals. 

4. the life . . . the blood . . . shall ye not eat. Cf. Lev. 
xvii. ii. The loss of the blood of an animal was a most familiar 
and striking form of death ; the blood was regarded as the seat of 
life, and thus became its symbol. Moreover, the blood was part of 
God s share of the sacrifice, and in early times all slaying of cattle 
and sheep, &c. , for food took the form of a sacrifice. Hence the 
blood was forbidden to man, because it was a sacred thing re 
served for God. We see that the eating of blood was forbidden 
in ancient Israel from the incident in i Sam. xiv. 17-35* where 
Saul is told, Behold, the people sin against Yahweh, in that they 
cat with the blood. There is no parallel to ix. 1-7 in the Baby 
lonian versions of the Flood story. 

6. in the image of God. Cf. i. 27. 

9. covenant. Cf. vi. 18. 

10. and with every living creature. The text merely means 
that the covenant was a gracious declaration of God s beneficent 
purpose to animals as well as men ; there is no idea of any con 
scious relation of the animals to God. 



154 GENESIS 9. 11-15. P 

beast of the earth with you ; of all that go out of the ark, 

11 even every beast of the earth. And I will establish my 
covenant with you ; neither shall all flesh be cut off any 
more by the waters of the flood ; neither shall there any 

12 more be a flood to destroy the earth. And God said, 
This is the token of the covenant which I make between 
me and you and every living creature that is with you, 

13 for perpetual generations : I do set my bow in the cloud, 
and it shall be for a token of a covenant between me 

14 and the earth. And it shall come to pass, when I bring 
a cloud over the earth, that the bow shall be seen in 

15 the cloud, and I will remember my covenant, which is 

13. I do set : R. V. marg., I have set. There is no practical 
difference. 

my bow in the cloud: the rainbow; cf. Ezek. i. 28. The 
paragraph in the Babylonian story which corresponds in position 
to this episode of the rainbow does not seem to contain this 
feature. The Lady of the Gods, i. e. the goddess Ishtar, 
raises on high the great neck ornament 1 , not, however, to place 
it in the sky as a token of a covenant or Divine promise, but in 
order to emphasize an oath which she takes a . It is also stated 
that the phrase bow of the deluge is found in a hymn of the 
Sumerians, the people inhabiting the Euphrates valley before 
the Babylonians. In the Lithuanian deluge story the rainbow 
appears, to comfort the survivors a . The plain intention of the 
narrative is that the rainbow did not exist before the Deluge, and 
was created at this time. 

14. I will remember my covenant. Otherwise it seems God 
might have forgotten. This idea is more primitive than the theo 
logy of the Priestly writer, and is no doubt reproduced from 
some older version of the story, without reflection upon what is 
implied by the language used. In the tablets the oath of Ishtar, 
referred to in the previous note, is that she will never forget the 
days of the Flood. Then the other gods remonstrate with Bel for 

1 So Gunkel, Jensen, &c. Sayce has bo\v for great neck 
ornament, perhaps through the natural expectation of finding- a 
parallel to the Biblical narrative. 

8 See next note. 

3 Patrick, RAINBOW ; Hastings Dictionary of the Bible, 




GENESIS 9. 16-20. PJ 155 

between me and you and every living creature of all 
flesh ; and the waters shall no more become a flood to 
destroy all flesh. And the bow shall be in the cloud ; 16 
and I will look upon it, that I may remember the ever 
lasting covenant between God and every living creature 
of all flesh that is upon the earth. And God said unto 17 
Noah, This is the token of the covenant which I have 
established between me and all flesh that is upon the 
earth. 

[J] And the sons of Noah, that went forth of the ark, 18 
were Shem, and Ham, and Japheth : and Ham is the 
father of Canaan. These three were the sons of Noah : 19 
and of these was the whole earth overspread. 

And Noah began to be an husbandman, and planted 20 

causing the Flood, and suggest that in future individual sinners 
should be punished by wild beasts or famine. 

16, 17. An unnecessary repetition of 12, 14, 15, probably due 
to unskilful editing. 

ix. 18-27. T HE CUUSE OF CANAAN (J). 

ix. 18, 19. Noah and his family leave the ark and people the 
earth. 

ix. 20-24. Noah plants a vineyard and becomes drunk, and 
exposes himself. Ham observes him, but Shem and Japheth 
cover him without looking. 

ix. 25-27. Noah curses Canaan and blesses Japheth and Shem. 

Source. These verses are taken from the Primitive Document, 
but we cannot be certain that the story of Noah s planting the 
vine had any original connexion with the Flood. It is an account 
of a step in civilization parallel to that of the inventions of the 
sons of Lamech in iv. 19, 24, and, as in iv, the account ends with 
an oracular poem. This poem, however, does not seem to have 
belonged originally to the story ; in it the sons of Noah are 
Canaan, Japheth, and Shem, and not Shem, Ham, and Japheth, 
as elsewhere. The editor noticed this discrepancy and tried to 
remedy it, making Canaan the son of Ham, verses 18 and 22. 

2O. Hoah began to Too an husbandman, &c. As agriculture 
was the ordinary mode of life we should suppose that Noah 



156 GENESIS 9. 21-25. J 

21 a vineyard : and he drank of the wine, and was drunken ; 

22 and he was uncovered within his tent. And Ham, the 
father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father, and 

23 told his two brethren without. And Shem and Japheth 
took a garment, and laid it upon both their shoulders, 
and went backward, and covered the nakedness of their 
father ; and their faces were backward, and they saw not 

24 their father s nakedness. And Noah awoke from his 
wine, and knew what his youngest son had done unto 

25 him. And he said, 

Cursed be Canaan ; 

A servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren. 

always had been an husbandman. We should translate : And Noah 
the husbandman was the first to plant a vineyard. 

21. was drunken. Probably the writer did not mean to imply 
that Noah was to blame. Indeed, as he had never drunk wine 
before he could not know what its effect would be. 

24. his youngest son. The R. V. marg. younger is not 
a possible meaning where one of three is concerned. Elsewhere, 
both in the Primitive 1 and the Priestly 2 Document, Ham is the 
second son, an indication that this episode was not originally part 
of the Flood story. 

had done. In the story as it stands Ham does not seem to 
have done anything wrong. He had seen what he could not 
help seeing, and had told his brethren. Probably a portion of the 
story has been omitted. 

25. Cursed be Canaan. The explanation that the guilty 
Ham was the father of Canaan is not adequate. This short poem, 
the original meaning of which is considered below, cannot 
have been the original close of the story. The compiler of 
the Primitive Document may have felt that the filial conduct of 
Shem and Japheth would explain the blessings upon them ; and 
then did the best he could to explain the occurrence of Canaan 
instead of Ham. 

A servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren : 
rather a slave of slaves. The meaning is that the peoples denoted 
by Canaan should be politically subject to those denoted by 
Shem and Japheth. Before the Civil War in America this verse 
was freely used by clergymen and others in the Southern States 

1 Gen. ix. 18. 2 Gen. v. 32, vi. 10, &c. 



GENESIS 9. 26, 27. J 157 

And he said, 

Blessed be the LORD, the God of Shem ; 

And let Canaan be his servant. 

God enlarge Japheth, 

And let him dwell in the tents of Shem ; 

And let Canaan be his servant. 

to justify slavery, on the ground that the negroes were the de 
scendants of Ham a noteworthy example of the danger of a 
strained literalism in the interpretation of the Scripture. 

26. Blessed be the LORD, the God of Shem. We should 
expect the blessing to be on Shem himself, as in the next verse on 
Japheth. It has been suggested that the original reading was 
Blessed of Yahweh be Shem. 

26, 27. his servant : better, as R. V. marg., their servant. 

27. God: not Yahweh, because Yahweh is especially the God 
of Shem, and not of Japheth. 

enlarge Japheth. The Hebrew_> <7/>// Je-yepheth contains one 
of these plays upon words of which O. T. writers were fond. 
The phrase means, May God give the Japhethic peoples wide 
dominions. 

And let him (R. V. marg., he shall ) dwell in the tents 
of Shem. The him or he has been understood to mean God, 
i. e. Let Him give wide dominions to Japheth, but let Him 
dwell in the tents of Shem, i. e. Let Japheth enjoy political 
supremacy, but let Shem be pre-eminent for spiritual privi 
leges, but the primitive theology held that political and reli 
gious superiority went hand-in-hand. It is more probable that 
the him or he is Japheth ; but even so, the meaning of the 
clause is not clear. The word dwell l means dwell per 
manently. In Ps. Ixxviii. 55 Israel dwells in the tents of the 
enemies who have been driven out, and the passage here is often 
taken to mean that Japheth would dispossess Shem of a portion 
of its territory ; but such an idea seems out of place in a poem 
which is partly a blessing on Shem. Somewhat similar phrases 
are used in Ps. Ixxxiv. 10, cxx. 5 for dwelling in friendship with 
an ally. Hence it is sometimes said that Dwelling in the tents 
of Shem does not mean conquest, but points to the friendly rela 
tions that should exist between the Semitic and Japhethic races ; 
the latter participating in the honour paid the former, and sharing 
the religious privileges enjoyed by them V 

25-27. In considering this oracle we may regard it as an ancient 
poem on the relations of Canaan, Shem, and Japheth, which had 

1 Shakhcn. a Spurrell on this passage. 



i 5 8 GENESIS 9. 28 10. r. P 

28 [P] And Noah lived after the flood three hundred and 

29 fifty years. And all the days of Noah were nine hundred 
and fifty years : and he died. 

10 Now these are the generations of the sons of Noah, 

no original connexion either with the stories about Noah or the 
elaborate genealogies in chapter x, so that the meaning of the 
names is not determined either by the stories or the genealogies. 
Shem here is a title or name of Israel, otherwise no Israelite 
writer would state that Yahweh was the God of Shem, or 
specially connect Yahweh with Shem as distinguished from 
Japheth. Canaan is obviously the Canaanites whom Israel sub 
dued ; so far all is clear. It is difficult to recognize Japheth ; 
in x. 1-5 he is the ancestor of the peoples to the north and 
west of Israel, but this may be merely a late theory, quite un 
known to primitive tradition. Nor should we be helped in the 
interpretation of this passage by an identification with the Titan 
lapetus of Greek mythology, the son of Earth and Heaven, and 
the father of mankind. After Gen. x Japheth is never men 
tioned again except in passages of Chronicles borrowed from 
Genesis. If we were controlled by x. 1-5, it would be difficult to 
find a historical connexion for verse 27 before the Greek conquest 
of Syria in the fourth century B. c. ; or it might be barely possible 
to see in these lines an expression of the vague goodwill which 
people who hate their neighbours sometimes feel for far-off, un 
known strangers. But if, as seems probable, we may put aside x. 
1-5, we might understand Japheth to be the intruding Philistines, 
or the friendly Phoenicians, according to the interpretation we 
give to dwell in the tents. 

Or, again, the lines have the ring of an Israelite battle-cry, at 
a time when Israel was in the full tide of triumphant invasion of 
some Cauaanite territory; Japheth seems to be their ally. If 
we could, with an increasing number of scholars, identify the 
Habiri of the Amarna tablets with Israel, these Habiri invade the 
country in alliance with native and other princes ; and here, 
perhaps, with fuller knowledge we might find Japheth. 

ix. 28, 29. THE LAST DAYS OF NOAH (P). 

Source. This is the conclusion of the Priestly account of the 
Flood. In the Babylonian story the hero of the Flood, like 
Enoch, does not die, but is translated to live among the gods. 

x. THE DESCENT OF THE NATIONS FROM THE SONS OF NOAH 
(J and P). 

This chapter is compiled from the Primitive and the Priestly 
Documents. The editor has here, as elsewhere, taken the Priestly 



GENESIS 10. i. P 159 

Shem, Ham and Japheth : and unto them were sons born 
after the flood. 

Document as a framework, and inserted such portions of the 
Primitive Document as were neither mere repetitions nor glaring 
contradictions. The genealogical formula is merely a picturesque 
conventional fashion of expressing geographical and political 
relationships ; though the genealogies may have been understood 
literally by some readers. In the case of such a set of geogra 
phical statistics, a reader who thought he had further or more 
correct information would make additions or corrections in the 
margin, and some of these would afterwards be copied into the 
text. Hence we may expect to find here not only extracts from 
the original sources, and editorial matter, but also other addi 
tions and modifications. There seem to be some traces of these 
discernible in verses 18, 19, and 24 1 . 

Seeing that Shem and Japheth are never mentioned after this 
chapter except in i Chron. i, which is borrowed from here, there 
seems no evidence that the division of the peoples between Shem, 
Ham, and Japheth, or even into three sections, is part of primitive 
Israelite tradition. Reflection on the story of the Flood showed 
that all the peoples of the earth must have been descended from 
Shem, Ham, and Japheth ; and a division was accordingly made 
according to current theories of historical criticism. Shem 2 was 
specially connected by ancient tradition with Israel, and so the 
nations with whom Israel recognized any connexion were reckoned 
children of Shem. Similarly Ham was a name of Egypt, and the 
peoples which seemed to form a group with Egypt were the 
children of Ham. The other peoples were then obviously the 
children of Japhelh. Many of the names are obscure, and possibly 
some passages have been spoiled in course of copying ; but the 
general scheme seems to be roughly as follows. In the Priestly 
Document Shem occupies Western Asia, east of Palestine, 
including parts of Arabia; Ham occupies North-East Africa, 
Palestine, and perhaps parts of Arabia ; Japheth occupies Asia 
Minor and regions eastward and westward of Asia Minor. 

The scheme of the Primitive Document is not complete, parts 
having been omitted to make room for the corresponding sections 
of the other document. 

Obviously the chapter does not include all the nations of the 
earth, but only those with whom its authors were acquainted. 
Some of the peoples most closely connected with Israel, e. g. 
Edom, Moab, and Ammon, are omitted because they were sup 
posed to have originated at a later date than the nations enumerated 
in this chapter. 

1 See notes on these verses. * See notes on ix. 26 f . 



160 GENESIS 10. 2, 3. P 

2 The sons of Japheth ; Corner, and Magog, and Madai, 

3 and Javan, and Tubal, and Meshech, and Tiras. And 
the sons of Corner; Ashkenaz, and Riphath, and To- 

There is a marked resemblance between several of the 
groups of names in the Priestly Document and similar lists in 
Ezekiel. 

x. 1-7. Priestly Document. The Sons of Japhctli and the Sons 
of Hani. 

1. these are the generations. The heading of a new section 
of this document ; see on ii. 4. 

and unto them were sons born after the flood. Perhaps 
a fragment of the Primitive Document ; cf. verses ai, 25. 

2. Gomer: the Cimmerians of the Greek, the Gimirra of Assyrian 
inscriptions, an Aryan people of Southern Russia, who invaded 
Western Asia in the seventh century B. c., and occupied at different 
times various districts from Persia to Phrygia. Gomer is also 
mentioned in the parallel passage in i Chron. i. 5, 6, and appears in 
Kzek. xxxviii. 1-6 together with Meshech, Tubal, and the house 
of Togarmah as part of the army of Gog, of the land of Magog. 
See also on verses 3, 6. 

Magog 1 : not certainly identified!; from its proximity to Gomer 
(cf. previous note) it is probably one of the Cimmerian settlements 
in Asia Minor. Also mentioned i Chron. i. 5 ; in Ezck. xxxviii. 
2, xxxix. 6, Gog, of the land of Magog, sometimes interpreted 
to mean Gyges of Lydia, appears as the leader of the enemies of 
Israel. 

Madai: the Medes, also i Chron. i. 5. 

Javan : the lonians or Greeks, commonly spoken of under this 
name in the O. T. The Greeks were settled not only in Greece 
and the islands of the Levant, but along the coasts of Asia 
Minor. 

Tubal, and Meshech, who usually appear together, are iden 
tified with the Tibarenians and Moschians who occupied territory 
to the south-east of the Black Sea. Cf. above on Gomer. 

Tiras: often identified with a seafaring people known to the 
Egyptians as Ttti-usa, and to the Greeks as Tin-sent, who occupied 
some of the coasts and islands of the Aegaean. Others take it to be 
a form of Tarshish, verse 4. Tiras is only mentioned here and 
i Chron. i. 5. 

3. sons of Gomer : i. c. subdivisions of the people Gomer, or 
perhaps also peoples subject to Gomer, or both. 

Ashkenaz: probably a people occupying part of Armenia. 
It is mentioned in Jer. li. 27 in connexion with Ararat and 
Minni, elsewhere only i Chron. i. 6. 

Riphath : in i Chron. i. 6 Diphath ; not identified, but pro- 



GENESIS 10. 4-6. P 161 

garmah. And the sons of Javan ; Elishah, and Tarshish, 4 
Kittim, and Dodanim. Of these were the isles of the 5 
nations divided in their lands, every one after his 
tongue ; after their families, in their nations. 
And the sons of Ham ; Cush,and Mizraim,and Put, and 6 



bably a people or district of Asia Minor. The name only occurs 
in these two passages. 

Togarmah : probably a district of Armenia. In Ezek. xxvii. 
14 the house of Togarmah trade with Tyre with horses, war- 
horses, and mules, and in Ezek. xxxviii. 6 we read of the house 
of Togarmah, in the uttermost parts of the north, and all his 
hordes ; cf. above on Corner. Togarmah is only mentioned 
elsewhere in i Chron. i. 6. 

4. sons of Javan. The following four names need not all be 
actual Greek peoples, but simply peoples whom the Israelites 
classed geographically or politically with the Greeks. Similarly 
Frank in the East to-day means not merely French, but any 
Western European. 

Elishah : not identified, sometimes supposed to be Sicily and 
South Italy, where there were many Greek colonies ; and some 
times, less probably, Carthage. In Ezek. xxvii. 7 we read of 
blue and purple from the isles or coasts of Elishah. 

Tarshish : usually identified with Tartessus, a Phoenician 
colony in Southern Spain ; frequently mentioned in the O. T. 
as a great and distant trade resort reached by sea from 
Palestine, c. g. Jonah i. 3 from Joppa. 

Kittim : Cyprus, so frequently in the O. T. 

Dodanim should be corrected to Rodatrim, the form found in 
i Chron. i. 7 = Rhodes. In Ezek. xxvii. 15 the Septuagint has 
Rhodians for the Dedan of the Hebrew text ; otherwise they 
are not mentioned in the O. T. 

5. Of these : the four sons of Javan just enumerated. 
isles : R. V. marg. coastlands. 

every one after his tongue : the Priestly Document ignores 
the story of the confusion of tongues at the Tower of Babel. 

6. Ham : used in Ps. cv. 23, 27, &c., for Egypt. 

Cnsh : usually Ethiopia, and probably so here, but cf. on 
sons of Cush and on verse 8. 

Mizraim : Egypt as usually. 

Put : not certainly known ; often identified with the Punt of 
the Egyptian inscriptions, which may be the African coast of the 
Red Sea. Cush and Put appear in Jer. xlvi. 9, and in Ezek. xxx. 
5, amongst the warriors of Egypt, and in Ezek. xxxviii. 5 amongst 

M 



i6 2 GENESIS 10. 7, 8. PJ 

7 Canaan. And the sons of Cush ; Seba, and Havilah, 
and Sabtah, and Raamah, and Sabteca: and the sons 

8 of Raamah ; Sheba, and Dedan. [J] And Cush begat 

the auxiliaries of Gog. Put is amongst the auxiliaries of Egypt 
in Nahum iii. 9, and amongst those of Tyre in Ezek. xxvii. 10. 

7. the sons of Cush. Although some of the names in the 
following list cannot be certainly identified, it is clear that the 
territories mentioned here as dependent on Cush or Ethiopia 
belong to East Africa and South- West Arabia. These two districts 
have usually been closely connected. The view that Nimrod, 
verse 8, was a son of Cush is quite unconnected with the scheme 
of the Priestly Document, and refers to a different Cush. 

Seba : not certainly known, sometimes placed in or near 
Egypt, sometimes in South Arabia. Seba is connected with 
Egypt and Ethiopia in Isa. xliii. 3 and xlv. 14, and with Sheba in 
Ps. Ixxii. 10. 

Havilah: either in North-East Africa or in Arabia, cf. ii. n. 
In the Primitive Document, verse 29, Havilah, probably the same 
district or people, is reckoned among the descendants of Shem. 

Sabtah : unknown, doubtless in the neighbourhood of the 
other sons of Cush, only mentioned elsewhere i Chron. i. 9. 

Raamah. An inscription in the South- West of Arabia seems 
to place Raamah in that district. The name only occurs elsewhere 
i Chron. i. 9, and Ezek. xxvii. 22, the merchants of Sheba and 
Raamah. 

Sabteca, as for Sabtah above. 

Sheba, the important and famous state in Southern Arabia, 
whose people are often spoken of as the Sabaeans ; often 
mentioned in the O. T., e.g. the visit of the Queen of Sheba, 
i Kings x ; the merchants of Sheba/ Ezek. xxvii. 22, 23. 
Sheba and Dedan are coupled in Ezek. xxxviii. 13, as here. In 
the Primitive Document, verse 28, Sheba is reckoned among the 
descendants of Shem ; while yet another genealogy, of uncertain 
origin \ makes Sheba and Dedan a descendant of Abraham and 
Keturah. 

Dedan, a tribe of Southern Arabia, often referred to as 
traders -. Cf. above on Sheba. 

x. 8-19. Primitive Document. Nimrod and the early Babylo 
nian and Assyrian empires. The descendants of Mizraim and of 
Canaan. 

8. Gush begat Nimrod: a different Cush from that in the 

1 See on Gen. xxv. 3. 

a Isa. xxi. 13; Jer. xxv. 23, xlix. S; Ezek. xxv. 13, xxvii. 15, 20, 
xxxviii. 13. 



GENESIS 10. 9-u. J 163 

Nimrod : he began to be a mighty one in the earth. He 9 
was a mighty hunter before the LORD : wherefore it is said, 
Like Nimrod a mighty hunter before the LORD. And the 10 
beginning of his kingdom was Babel, and Erech, and 
Accad, and Calneh, in the land of Shinar. Out of that 1 1 

previous paragraph. This is not Ethiopia, but a district to the 
east of Babylonia, which was the original home of one of 
the early Babylonian dynasties. 

Nimrod : only elsewhere in the parallel passage i Chron. i. 10, 
and in Mic. v. 6, where the land of Nimrod is closely connected 
with Assyria. Nothing is known of Nimrod beyond what we are 
told here, neither are there strong reasons for identifying him 
with any personage of Babylonian or Assyrian history or mytho 
logy. There are many theories ; e. g. that Nimrod is the Babylo 
nian god Merodach ; or Gilgames, king of Erech, the hero of the 
epic of which the Flood is an episode; or one of the early 
Babylonian kings. 

he begun to be a mighty one : rather he was the first 
conqueror or great king. 

9. a mighty hunter. The Assyrian kings were enthusiastic 
hunters, and hunting scenes are often depicted on their monu 
ments. 

before the IiOSD. This is variously explained as a divinely 
great hunter ; a hunter in spite of, or in disregard of, the Lord ; 
or a hunter in heaven. The last theory supposes that Nimrod, 
like Orion, was a mythological character, who gave name to 
a constellation. The meaning of the phrase is not certainly 
known. 

10. the beginning of his kingdom was : i.e. at the beginning 
of his reign his kingdom consisted of Babel and the other towns 
mentioned in this verse ; afterwards he added the Assyrian towns 
mentioned in the next verse. It is not said that he founded or 
conquered Babel, &c. ; and the terms of this verse would be con 
sistent with his having in Babylonia succeeded to the throne 
previously occupied by a line of kings. 

Babel : see on xi. 9. 

Erech : on the Euphrates south of Babylon. 

Accad : not certainly identified. Accad was the name of 
Babylonia before its occupation by the Semitic Babylonians, but 
here Accad is apparently a city, and is sometimes supposed to be 
Agade, a Babylonian city whose exact site is not known. 

Calneh : not certainly identified, perhaps Nippur. 

the laud of Shinar : commonly identified with Babylonia. 

11. Out of that land. The historical representation that 

M 2 



1 64 GENESIS 10. 12-15. J 

land he went forth into Assyria, and builded Nineveh, 

12 and Rehoboth-Ir, and Calah, and Resen between 

13 Nineveh and Calah (the same is the great city). And 
Mizraim begat Ludim, and Anamim, and Lehabim, and 

14 Naphtuhim, and Pathrusim, and Casluhim (whence went 
forth the Philistines), and Caphtorim. 

15 And Canaan begat Zidon his firstborn, and Heth; 

Assyria was a colonj or offshoot of the early Babylonian empire 
is confirmed by the inscriptions. We have no actual account of 
the emigration, but all the evidence tends to show that Assyria 
was settled by emigrants from Babylonia at some date before 
B. c. 2300. 

he went forth into Assyria. The R. V. marg., went forth 
Asshur, is not a probable translation. 

Nineveh, on the Tigris, opposite the site of the modern 
Mosul. References to the city are found as early as B. c. 2800. 

Rehoboth-Ir : not identified. 

12. Calah, on the Tigris, twenty miles south of Nineveh, on 
the site of the modern Nintrud. 

Resen : the site cannot be more exactly fixed than it is by the 
statement here that it was between Nineveh and Calah. 

13, 14. Note that the descendants of Mizraim i^Egypt) are 
expressly given as peoples, Ludint, i.e. Ludites, &c. 

13. laidim : not identified, the name suggests Lydians, but even 
if understood of Lydian mercenaries Ludim here can hardly be 
Lydians. Lttd or Lttdim are connected with Ethiopia and Lybia 
in Jer. xlvi. 9 and Ezek. xxx. 5. In the Priestly Document, verse 
22, Lud is a descendant of Shem. 

Anamim: not identified, only elsewhere i Chron. i. n. 

Iiehabim, a corruption of Liibitn, Libyans. 

Naphtuhim: not identified, only elsewhere i Chron. i. n. 

14. Pathrusim, the people of Pathros, i. e. probably Upper 
Egypt. 

Casluhim: not identified, only elsewhere i Chron. i. 12. 

whence went forth the Philistines : Heb. Pelishtim. 
As the Philistines are said in Amos ix. 7 and Jer. xlvii. 4 to have 
come from Caphior, this clause should be placed after Capbtorim. 
It was probably a note in the margin, which has been introduced 
into the text in the wrong place. 

Caphtorim. The locality of Caphtor is not yet definitely 
fixed ; it lias been variously identified with a district in Egypt, 
with Phoenicia, Cyprus, Crete, and Cilicia. 

15. Zidon his firstborn. Zidon, as the ancient capital, stands 



GENESIS 10. 16-19. J l6 5 

and the Jebusite, and the Amorite, and the Girgashite; 16 
and the Hivite, and the Arkite, and the Sinite; and the 17,1$ 
Arvadite, and the Zemarite, and the Hamathite: and 
afterward were the families of the Canaanite spread 
abroad. And the border of the Canaanite was from 19 
Zidon, as thou goest toward Gerar, unto Gaza ; as thou 
goest toward Sodom and Gomorrah and Admah and 

here for the Phoenicians, the firstborn or most important branch 
of the inhabitants of Canaan. 

Heth, or the Hittites, a great people, at one time dominant 
in Asia Minor and Syria. Here the Heth, who is a son of 
Canaan and less important than Zidon, stands merely for the 
Hittite settlements in Canaan. The Hittites were not Semites, 
and belonged to an entirely different race from the Phoenicians. 

16. Jebusite: the inhabitants of Jerusalem and its district. 
Amorite: a term variously used, sometimes for the inhabitants 

of Canaan generally ; sometimes, e. g. in the Amarna tablets, for 
the inhabitants of Northern Palestine. 
Girgashite : not identified. 

17, 18. Hivite: inhabitants of the districts about Gibeon, 
Shechem, and Hermon. 

Arkite . . . Sinite . . . Arvadite . . . Zemarite : inhabitants 
of Arka, Sianu, Arvad, and Zemar, towns in Northern Phoenicia. 

Hamathite. Hamath was a city and state to the north of 
Palestine. 

afterward were the families of the Canaanite spread 
abroad. This must be read with the following verse, spread 
abroad so as to occupy the territory defined in the following 
verse. 

19. the border of the Canaanite. The border is traced from 
Zidon at the north-west of Canaan southward along the coast to 
Gerar (seexx. i) and Gaza in the south-west, then eastward across 
the desert south of Palestine to a group of cities at the south-east (?) 
of the Dead Sea. The eastern frontier is probably assumed to 
be the Dead Sea and the Jordan, and the northern frontier a line 
drawn eastward from Zidon. This territory does not include 
Arka, Sianu, Arvad and Zemar of verse 18. Probably verses 
15-19 have received late additions. 

Sodom and Gomorrah and Admah and Zeboiim. The 
same group of cities occur in Gen. xiv. 2 and Dcut. xxix. 23 ; in 
the latter passage all four are spoken of as overthrown by 
Yahvveh. In Gen. xix only Sodom and Gomorrah are named as 
overthrown. In Hosea xi. 8, on the other hand, only Admah 



166 GENESIS 10. 20-22. JPJP 

ao Zeboiim, unto Lasha. [P] These are the sons of Ham, 
after their families, after their tongues, in their lands, in 
their nations. 

a i [ J] And unto Shem, the father of all the children of Eber, 

the elder brother of Japheth, to him also were children 

22 born. [P] The sons of Shem; Elam, and Asshur, and 

and Zeboiim are so named. These cities were probably located 
at the south-east of the Dead Sea : cf. on xix. 

Iiaslia : not known, and not mentioned anywhere else. If we 
could read Laish or Lesham in Dan we should have the north 
east point, at which the northern and eastern borders of Canaan 
might meet, and the territory would then be exactly defined. The 
formulae, however, in the rest of the verse suggest that the writer 
would not have wrapped up all this information in two words, but 
would have been more explicit. Possibly a scribe jotted down 
unto Lesham in the margin as a point fixing the boundaries 
not specified ; and this phrase was copied into the text in a corrupt 
form. 

x. ao. Priestly Document. Conclusion of the genealogy of %J am. 

This lawyer-like accumulation of synonymous terms is charac 
teristic of this document. 

x. 21. Primitive Document. Beginning of the genealogy of 
Shew. 

the father of all the children of Eber. Special stress is 
laid upon the ancestry of Eber, because Eber was the ancestor of 
Israel, and from Eber was formed the name Hebrew by which the 
Israelites were known in relation to foreigners. Eber means 
beyond, and the Hebrews were so-called as living beyond the 
river, probably west of the Euphrates. Thus Eber is an epony 
mous ancestor. In early times Hebrews included other tribes 
besides Israel ; and if Habiri in the Amarna tablets means 
Hebrews it is in this larger sense. Later on Hebrew became 
synonymous with Israelite. According to verses 22, 24 Eber is 
the great-grandson of Shem. 

the elder brother of Japheth : inserted to prevent the reader 
thinking that Shem was the youngest, because he is mentioned 
last. The R. V. marg., the brother of Japheth the elder, is 
apparently meant to assert that Japheth was the elder an 
improbable translation. 

x. 22-24. Priestly Document. Beginning of the genealogy of 
Shem. 

22. Elam, east of Assyria. 



GENESIS 10. 33-30. PJ 167 

Arpachshad, and Lud, and Aram. And the sons of Aram ; 33 
Uz, and Hul, and Gether,and Mash. [J] And Arpachshad 34 
begat Shelah ; and Shelah begat Eber. And unto Eber 25 
were born two sons : the name of the one was Peleg ; 
for in his days was the earth divided ; and his brother s 
name was Joktan. And Joktan begat Almodad, and 26 
Sheleph, and Hazarmaveth, and Jerah; and Hadoram,and 27 
Uzal, and Diklah; and Obal, and Abimael, and Sheba; 28 
and Ophir, and Havilah, and Jobab : all these were the 29 
sons of Joktan. And their dwelling was from Mesha, 30 

Asshur : Assyria. 

Arpachshad : perhaps equivalent to the territory of Chesed, 
i. e. of the Chaldeans or Babylonians. Here Eber is descended 
from Arpachshad, and Abraham the Hebrew comes from Ur- 
Chasdim. 

Lnd: perhaps Lydia, cf. verse 13. 

Aram : Syria. 

23. Uz . . . Hul . . . Oether . . . Mash : districts of Syria 
whose exact locality is not certainly known. In xxii. 21 J, Uz is 
a son of Nahor. 

24-30. Primitive Document. Conclusion of the genealogy of 
Shim, 

24. Arpachshad begat Shelah. The Septuagint has begat 
Cainan, and Cainan begat Shelah. Nothing is known about 
Shelah. This verse is generally considered to be an addition by 
the editor. 

25. Peleg: unknown. 

in his days was the earth divided : i.e. the inhabitants 
separated into different nations, and divided the lands between 
them, perhaps a reference to the scattering of the peoples in xi. 
1-9. Joktan and his sons, verses 26-29, as far as they can be 
identified, seem for the most part to be tribes of South- West Arabia. 

28. Obal. In i Chron. i. 22, Ebal. 
Sheba. See verse 7. 

29. Ophir. The position of Ophir is the subject of much con 
troversy, e. g. it has recently been placed in South-East Africa, 
also on the Persian Gulf, and in India. 

Havilah. See verse 7. 

30. from Mesha, &c. This boundary line cannot be deter 
mined, because Mesha, Sephar, and the mountain of the east are 
none of them certainly known. Probably the territory indicated 
is part of Arabia. 



168 GENESIS 10. 31 11. 4 . JPJ 

as thou goest toward Sephar, the mountain of the east. 

31 [Pj These are the sons of Shem, after their families, 
after their tongues, in their lands, after their nations. 

32 These are the families of the sons of Noah, after their 
generations, in their nations : and of these were the 
nations divided in the earth after the flood. 

11 [ J] And the whole earth was of one language and of one 

2 speech. And it came to pass, as they journeyed east, 
that they found a plain in the land of Shinar ; and they 

3 dwelt there. And they said one to another, Go to, let 
us make brick, and burn them throughly. And they 

4 had brick for stone, and slime had they for mortar. And 

x. 31, 32. Priestly Document. Conclusion of the genealogy of 
Shent, and of the sons of Noah generally. 

xi. 1-9. THE TOWER OF BABEL (J). 

Mankind settle in Babylonia as a single community, 
speaking one language. They propose to build a city and 
a tower that they may keep together. But Yahweh, lest they 
should become too powerful, makes them speak different lan 
guages, so that they cannot understand one another, and scatters 
them over the face of the earth. Hence the city was called 
Confusion (Babel). 

Sources, &c. No Babylonian original has yet been found : but 
similar stories of one original language are cited from other 
folklore. The narrative reveals the profound impression made 
upon the Israelites by the vast extent, the culture, and the 
antiquity of Babylon. This story, we must remember, is at least 
as old as the early monarchy, say the time of Solomon. 

1. language . . . speech. Heb. lips . . . words. 

2. as they journeyed east. In chapters ii-iv Eden seems to 
be in the east, and Adam and Eve are driven from Eden east 
ward l ; so that those chapters seem to place mankind already 
cast of Babylon. If so, this section is an independent story. 
The R. V. marg., in the east, would be consistent with ii-iv. 

Shinar. Cf. x. 10. Babylonia is a vast plain. 

3. slime. R. V. marg. bitumen, equivalent to the pitch in 
vi. 14 which see\ though a different word is used here. Bitumen 

1 Gen. ii. S, iii. 24. 



GENESIS 11. 5-8. J 169 

they said, Go to, let us build us a city, and a tower, whose 
top may reach unto heaven, and let us make us a name ; 
lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole 
earth. And the LORD came down to see the city and the 5 
tower, which the children of men builded. And the 6 
LORD said, Behold, they are one people, and they have 
all one language ; and this is what they begin to do : and 
now nothing will be withholden from them, which they 
purpose to do. Go to, let us go down, and there con- 7 
found their language, that they may not understand one 
another s speech. So the LORD scattered them abroad s 
from thence upon the face of all the earth : and they left 



was largely used for mortar in Babylonian buildings, which were 
mostly of brick. 

4. a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven : a gigantic 
landmark, visible everywhere, so that men could not lose them 
selves, but might always find their way back to the great city 
which was to be the permanent home of mankind. Heaven to 
the primitive imagination was high above the earth, but not so 
high but that it might be reached in time. We are reminded of 
the classical story in which the Titans piled Mount Pelion on 
Mount Ossa to reach Olympus, the home of the gods ; but there 
is no idea here of men using the tower as a way up to heaven. 
It was merely a rallying point. The tower was suggested by the 
ruins of one of the immense temple towers or pyramids of 
Babylon, probably E-sagil, the great temple of Merodach. 

let us make us a name : a great and glorious reputation. 
These vast buildings would be a monument of the energy, genius, 
and resource of the builders. 

lest we be scattered. To the primitive mind the world 
beyond the familiar districts in which a community was settled 
seemed an inhospitable waste ; and men were anxious to keep 
the comfortable society of their neighbours and kinsfolk. 

5. The LORD came down to see : another touch of the primitive 
anthropomorphism which characterizes this document. 

6. nothing 1 will be withholden from them. In the same 
na ive spirit Yahweh is thought of as surprised at the achievements 
of mankind, and apprehensive lest the united race should be too 
powerful ; just as in iii. 22-24 Adam and Eve are driven out of 
Eden lest they should become immortal. 

7. let xis go down. For the us see on i. 36, 



170 GENESIS 11. 9, 10. JP 

9 off to build the city. Therefore was the name of it called 
Babel ; because the LORD did there confound the lan 
guage of all the earth : and from thence did the LORD 
scatter them abroad upon the face of all the earth. 

10 [P] These are the generations of Shem. Shemwasan 

8. they left off to build the city. Though not expressly 
stated, it is evidently implied that considerable progress had been 
made with the city and the tower, otherwise there would have 
been nothing for Yahweh to see to make Him apprehensive. 

9. Therefore was the name of it called Babel. The name 
Babel (Babylon) might easily seem to a Hebrew writer a contrac 
tion of Balbel, confusion, 1 from the root balal, to confound, just 
as the story might suggest to an English reader that Babel was 
derived from babble. The real etymology of Babel is not cer 
tainly known; it is often explained as Bab-tl, Gate of God. In 
one Babylonian version of the Creation story Babylon and other 
cities are among the first things created, and Merodach makes 
bricks to build a dwelling for the gods. It is noteworthy that 
although the primitive tradition grew up when Babylon was a 
splendid metropolis, and the centre of culture and religion for the 
ancient East, this great city is regarded as unfinished, a monument 
of the futility of human effort apart from Divine approval. 
Except Yahweh build the house, they labour in vain that 
build it V 

xi. 10-26. THE GENEALOGY FROM SHEM TO ABRAM (P). 

This section continues the chronological scheme of the Priestly 
Document. Here again the figures differ in the different au 
thorities (see Table opposite). 

Here, as in the genealogy in chapter v, the Septuagint usually 
adds roo years to the * Age at birth of Firstborn, but does not 
follow the method of ch. v in deducting this 100 years from the 
1 Rest of Life. The Samaritan Text, however, usually adds 100 
years to the Age at birth of Firstborn/ and deducts them from 
the Rest of Life. In chapter v we have ten generations, here only 
nine ; hence perhaps the insertion of Cainan by the Septuagint. 
The numbers for Cainan are repeated from those for Shelah. 
Adding together the figures in the two tables the interval from 
the Creation to the Birth of Abraham is 1,946 years according to 
the Massoretic Text, 2.247 years according to tnc Samaritan Text, 

1 Ps. cxxvii. i. 



GENESIS 13. 11-13. P 



171 



hundred years old, and begat Arpachshad two years after 
the flood : and Shem lived after he begat Arpachshad n 
five hundred years, and begat sons and daughters. 

And Arpachshad lived five and thirty years, and begat 12 
Shelah : and Arpachshad lived after he begat Shelah 13 



Shem 
Arpachshad . . . 
Cainan 
Shelah 


Massoretic 
Heb. Text. 


Heb. Text in 
Samaritan 
MSS. 


Septuagint. 


Age at 
birth 
of 
First- 
born. 


Rest 
of 
Life. 


Age at 
birth 
of 
First 
born. 


Rest 
of 
Life. 


Age at 
birth 
of 
First 
born. 


Rest 
of 
Life. 


IOO 

35 

3 
34 
3 
32 
30 
29 
70 


500 
403 

43 
43o 
209 
207 
200 
119 
J 35 


IOO 

135 

130 

J 34 
130 

132 
130 

79 
70 


500 
303 

303 
270 
109 

107 

IOO 

69 

75 


IOO 

135 
130 
130 

134 
130 
132 
130 

79 
70 


500 
430 
330 
330 
37 
209 
207 
200 
129 
135 


Ebcr . 


Peleg 


Reu 


Serug 
Nahor 
Terah 

Total 
From Flood to Birth 
of Abraham . . 


390 

200 




1040 
940 




1170 
1070 





3,332 years according to the Septuagint. Perhaps the Hebrew 
Text is the more accurate here. The numbers differ somewhat in 
different manuscripts of the Septuagint. 
1O. generations : see ii. 4. 
Shem : see ix. 26. 

Arpachshad : see x. 22, where Arpachshad is the third son of 
Shem. 

two years after the flood. According to v. 32, vii. 6 (both P) 
Shem was an hundred years old when the Flood began. The 
clause here is probably an addition by some one who overlooked 
the previous date and wished to make it clear that the birth did 
not happen till Shem had left the ark. 

12. Shelah: see x. 24. Before Shelah the Septuagint inserts 
Cainan, see above. 



172 GENESIS 11. 14-26. P 

four hundred and three years, and begat sons and 
daughters. 

14,15 And Shelah lived thirty years, and begat Eber: and 
Shelah lived after he begat Eber four hundred and three 
years, and begat sons and daughters. 

16 And Eber lived four and thirty years, and begat Peleg : 

17 and Eber lived after he begat Peleg four hundred and 
thirty years, and begat sons and daughters. 

18,19 And Peleg lived thirty years, and begat Reu : and 
Peleg lived after he begat Reu two hundred and nine 
years, and begat sons and daughters. 

20 And Reu lived two and thirty years, and begat Serug : 

21 and Reu lived after he begat Serug two hundred and 
seven years, and begat sons and daughters. 

^,23 And Serug lived thirty years, and begat Nahor : and 
Serug lived after he begat Nahor two hundred years, and 
begat sons and daughters. 

24 And Nahor lived nine and twenty years, and begat 

25 Terah : and Nahor lived after he begat Terah an 
hundred and nineteen years, and begat sons and 
daughters. 

26 And Terah lived seventy years, and begat Abram, 
Nahor, and Haran. 



14. Eber : see x. 24. 

16. Pelegf : see x. 25. 

18. Reu ) otherwise unknown, sometimes taken to be 

2O. Seray \ names of ancient Semitic deities. 

22. Nahor: perhaps originally the same as the Nahor who in 
verse 26 is the son of Terah. 

24. Terah : also sometimes taken as the name of a deity. 

26. Abram: probably understood by the priestly writer as 
Lofty (rani} Father (6), i. e. the great ancestor of Israel. The 
word is, however, a form of Abiram, The Father is the Lofty 
One, where both elements are divine titles. A corresponding 
name, Abn-raiim, is found in Babylonian and Assyrian. Many 
scholars hold that in Abram, at any rate, we meet with a real 



GENESIS 11. 27-29. PJ 173 

Now these are the generations of Terah. Terah be- 37 
gat Abram, Nahor, and Haran ; and Haran begat Lot. 
[ J] And Haran died in the presence of his father Terah 28 
in the land of his nativity, in Ur of the Chaldees. And 29 
Abram and Nahor took them wives : the name of 
Abram s wife was Sarai ; and the name of Nahor s wife, 



historical personage, and are not merely reading of the history 
of a people. For the form Abraham see on xvii. 5. 

Nahor. There is no clear evidence to show whether Nahor 
was originally the name of a place, a people, a deity, or an 
individual. Cf. verse 29. 

Haran. The initial letter (He) of this name in Hebrew is 
different from that (Hetlt) of the place Haran in verses 31, 32. 
Nevertheless it has been supposed that the one is a corruption of 
the other, and that this Haran is the place personified. Apart from 
this doubtful theory we are as uncertain about Haran as we are 
about Nahor. 

xi. 27-32. THE SONS OF TERAH (J and P). 

27. Priestly Document. Terah s Family. 

tot. As the father of Moab and Ammon, Lot would be 
originally a tribal name. Lotan, perhaps another form of the 
same name, occurs as a Horite clan in Gen. xxxvi. 20-29. Notice 
also the similarity of Hor and Haran *. See further on xix. 

28, 29. Primitive Document. The Death of Haran. The 
wives of Abram and Nahor. 

28. Ur of the Chaldees. Heb. Ur-Kasdim, cf. on x. 22. The 
Chaldees, Kaldu in the inscriptions, occupied a district to the south 
east of Babylonia proper. They had also settlements in Baby 
lonia, where the dynasty was more than once Chaldean, e. g. in 
the time of Nebuchadnezzar. Hence Chaldee came to be used 
for Babylonian, and so here. Ur is usually identified with 
Mughcir on the Euphrates, some distance east of its junction with 
the Tigris, and considerably south of Babylon. 

29. Sarai. Her father s name is not given, perhaps because 
a clause of the Primitive Document has been omitted. In xx. 12 
(E) a she is said to have been Abram s half-sister, a daughter of 
Terah. Sarai is perhaps an archaistic variation of the more 
usual Sarah - princess, cf. xvii. 15. Sarai and Nahor are said 
to be found as personal names in Babylonian inscriptions 3 . 



1 The initials, however, are different in Hebrew. 

8 Cf. p. 30. 3 Kittcl, Babylonian Excavations, Eng-. tr., p. 



174 GENESIS 11. 30-32- JP 

Milcah, the daughter of Haran, the father of Milcah, 

30 and the father of Iscah. And Sarai was barren ; she 

31 had no child. [P] And Terah took Abram his son, and 
Lot the son of Haran, his son s son, and Sarai his 
daughter in law, his son Abram s wife ; and they went 
forth with them from Ur of the Chaldees, to go into the 
land of Canaan ; and they came unto Haran, and dwelt 

32 there. And the days of Terah were two hundred and 
five years : and Terah died in Haran. 

Milcali, also referred to in xxii. 20, 23, xxiv. 15, 24, 47. The 
name also occurs for one of the daughters of Zelophehad, Num. 
xxvi. 33, &c. Milcah, = queen, was perhaps originally a 
divine title. Nahor marries his niece, i. e. according to some, 
two cognate tribes unite. 

Iscah : never mentioned elsewhere, and in the present form 
of the narrative there seems no reason why she should be intro 
duced here. Iscah has been supposed to be Sarai by another 
name, or to have married Lot. Here again the Primitive Docu 
ment no doubt furnished further information, which has been 
omitted by the editor ; unless we adopt a suggestion i that the 
father of Iscah is due to an accidental repetition of * the father of 
Sarai/ and the subsequent change of Sarai into Iscah. The 
etymology of Iscah is uncertain ; it has been explained as an 
Aramaic name = beautiful, good-looking, from a root sahi. 

xi. 31, 32. Priestly Document. Tenth and his family tiiigra/c 
front Ur to Haran, where Terah dies. 

31. they went forth: no reason is given. According to later 
legends they left Chaldea to avoid idolatry, e. g. Judith v. 6-9, 
This people are descended of the- Chaldeans : and they 
sojourned ... in Mesopotamia, because they were not minded 
to follow the gods of their fathers . . . and worshipped the God 
of heaven . . . and they fled into Mesopotamia. The germ of this 
account is found in Joshua xxiv. a. It has been suggested that 
the Hammurabi dynasty 2 introduced a lower form of religion into 
Babylonia, and that therefore Abram, the representative of an 
older and purer faith, migrated 3 . 

33. the days of Terah were two hundred and five years. 
At first sight we might suppose from the arrangement of the 



1 Ball, Sacred Books of the Old Testament. 
* See on ch. xiv. z Winckler, Abraham als Babylonier, p. 25. 



GENESIS 12. 1-3. J 175 

[J] Now the LORD said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy 12 
country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father s 
house, unto the land that I will shew thee : and I will 2 
make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and 
make thy name great ; and be thou a blessing : and 3 
I will bless them that bless thee, and him that curseth 

narrative that Abram left Haran after the death of Terah ; but 
Terah was seventy (verse 26) when Abram was born, and Abram 
was seventy-five (xii. 4, P), and therefore Terah 145, when 
Abram left Haran, so that Terah survived Abram s departure 
by sixty years. The Samaritan Text remedies this awkward 
arrangement by making Terah die at the age of 145, so that 
Abram waited till his father died before he left Haran. Some 
scholars believe the reading of the Samaritan Text to be the 
original. Possibly the awkward arrangement is due to lack of 
skill on the part of the editor. 

xii. 1-9. ABRAM MIGRATES FROM HARAN TO CANAAN (J and P). 

Without questioning the historical existence of Abram as an 
individual, we must yet think of this episode as not merely the 
travels of a childless couple and their nephew and servants, but 
the migration of nomad tribes which afterwards became Israel, 
Edom, Moab, Ammon, &c. Abram is not merely the husband of 
Sarai and the uncle of Lot, but the chief of those tribes. This is 
plainly intimated in xiv. 14, where he appears as the leader of 
318 fighting men, born in his house. If we accept these figures 
they would imply a following of at least 2,000 persons. 

xii. 1-4*. Primitive Document. Abram and Lot leave Haran 
at the bidding of Yahiveh. 

1. thy country. Haran, cf. xxiv. 4. 7, c. 

the land that I will shew thee. The land is not named, an 
additional test of the faith already severely tried by the command 
to leave home and kindred. By faith Abraham . . . went out. 
not knowing whither he went 1 . 

2. be thou a blessing : sometimes explained as thou shalt be 
an incarnate blessing, prosperity itself 2 ; otherwise as thy 
happiness shall be so celebrated as to be a proverb, many men 
will say, " mayest thou be as blessed as Abraham " ; cf. the good 
wishes of the people of Beth-lehem for Boaz and Ruth, Yahweh 
make the woman that is come into thine house like Rachel and 
like Leah, which two did build the house of Israel 3 , cf. on verse s b . 

1 Heb. xi. S. " So Holzinger. 3 Ruth iv. n. 



176 GENESIS 12. 4-6. JPJ 

thee will I curse : and in thee shall all the families of the 

4 earth be blessed. So Abram went, as the LORD had 
spoken unto him ; and Lot went with him : [P] and 
Abram was seventy and five years old when he departed 

5 out of Haran. And Abram took Sarai his wife, and Lot 
his brother s son, and all their substance that they had 
gathered, and the souls that they had gotten in Haran ; 
and they went forth to go into the land of Canaan ; and 

6 into the land of Canaan they came. [J] And Abram 
passed through the land unto the place of Shechem, unto 

3. in thee shall all the families of the earth be blessed. 
This promise is repeated to Abram, xviii. 18, and to Jacob, 
xxviii. 14. If we accept this translation the promise means that 
all nations shall be blessed through the Revelation given to Israel 
a promise fulfilled through the universality of the Christian 
religion. But in xxii. 18, addressed to Abram, and in xxvi. 4, 
to Isaac, the promise is given in the form, in thy seed shall all 
the nations of the earth bless themselves , a phrase equivalent 
to the second interpretation given to be thou a blessing in the 
note on the preceding verse. It is quite possible 3 that the promise 
here and in xviii. 18, xxviii. 14 should also be translated shall 
. . . bless themselves. 

xii. 4 b , 5. Priestly Document. Abram and Lot migrate front 
Haran to Canaan. 

4. seventy and five years old. See on xi. 32. 

5. souls: i.e. persons ; their households, slaves and other 
dependants. 

xii. 6-9. Primitive Document, Abram s wanderings in Canaan. 

6. 7. Yahweh appears to Abram at Shechem. and Abram 
builds an altar. 

8. Abram builds an altar near Beth-el. 

9. Abram journej s southward. 

6. Shechem : Nabhts in Central Palestine, between Mounts 
F.bal and Gerizim. The phrase place of Shechem has been 
understood to mean the place where Shechem afterwards stood, 
and so to imply that Shechem did not yet exist. But this is 

1 The verbal forms in Hebrew for be blessed in the first set of 
passages, and bless themselves in the second, are different ; Nipkal 
for the former, Hithpael for the latter. 

~ The Niphal may have a reflexive meaning- bless oneself. So 
Brown, Driver, and Briggs, Heb. Lex. 



GENESIS 12. 7, 8. J 177 

the oak of Moreh. And the Canaanite was then in the 
land. And the LORD appeared unto Abram, and said, 7 
Unto thy seed will I give this land : and there builded 
he an altar unto the LORD, who appeared unto him. 
And he removed from thence unto the mountain on the 8 
east of Beth-el, and pitched his tent, having Beth-el on 

improbable, place is used of an inhabited town, xxix. 22, &c., 
and it is more likely that place is used here, as in Jer. vii. 12, 
of a sanctuary. The Mount of Shechem (Sakama) seems to be 
mentioned in the notes of an Egyptian traveller of the time of 
Rameses II 1 , some centuries later. 

the oak: R. V. marg., - terebinth of Moreh. Moreh is 
probably soothsayer, and the oak of Moreh was one of those 
sacred trees so often mentioned by the O. T. in connexion with 
sanctuaries. This tree stood within the precincts of the sanctuary 
of Shechem, and its title Oak of the Soothsayer suggests that 
there was an oracle belonging to it. _ 

the Canaanite was then in the land. The simplest ex- /* 
planation of this clause is that it was written when the Canaanites l^ 
no longer occupied this district, i. e. long after the Conquest. x 

7. the LORD appeared unto Abram . . . and there builded t\ 
he an altar. No doubt the priests of the sanctuary at Shechem 
were in the habit of telling the story of the appearance of Yahweh 

to Abram under the sacred tree, and of the altar built by the 
patriarch. Abram may have been regarded as the founder of the 
sanctuary ; at any rate its claim to be a sacred place partly 
depended on its connexion with him. 

8. Beth-el- House of God, so called as being a sanctuary ; 
situated in Central Palestine, near the border line between 
Benjamin and Ephraim, at or near the site of the modern Beitin. 
According to xxviii. 19 (which see) Beth-el was originally called 
Luz, and received the name Beth-el from Jacob, so also xxxv. 7. 
Judges i 23 would rather suggest that Luz received the name 
Beth el after its capture by the tribe of Joseph. All these passages 
would imply that Beth-el was made a sanctuary by the Israelites 2 . 
No mention of Beth-el or Luz is cited from the inscriptions older 
than the settlement of Israel in Canaan. Beth-el is frequently 



1 The Travels of a Mohar, c. B. c. 1300. So Muller, Asien ttnd 
Europa, p. 394. 

3 It has, however, been suggested that Luz also meant sanctuary 
Winckler, ap. Beth-el (Cheyne), Encycl. Bibl. If so the change 
of name would indicate that an old Canaanite sanctuary was appro 
priated by the Israelites and adapted to the worship of Yahweh. 



178 GENESIS 12. g-n. J 

the west, and Ai on the east : and there he builded an 
altar unto the LORD, and called upon the name of the 
9 LORD. And Abram journeyed, going on still toward the 
South. 

10 And there was a famine in the land : and Abram went 
down into Egypt to sojourn there; for the famine was 

11 sore in the land. And it came to pass, when he was 

mentioned in the history and the prophets as an Israelite 
sanctuary ; it was the more important of the two temples at 
which Jeroboam placed his golden calves, and is spoken of in 
Amos vii. 13 as a royal temple. 

Ai : probably Haiyan, about two miles east of Beth-el, 
separated from it by a ravine. In Joshua viii. 9 Joshua places an 
ambush between Beth-el and Ai, westward of Ai. 

called upon the name of : worshipped. 

9. toward the South: i.e. the Ncgcb or southern district of 
Judah. 

xii. zo-xiii. a. ABRAM IN EGYPT (J). 

10. Owing to a famine Abram goes to Egypt. 

11-13. He arranges that Sarai should call herself his sister, 
lest the Egyptians should kill him in order to gain possession of 
her. 

14-16. On account of her beauty Sarai is taken into Pharaoh s 
harem, and Pharaoh bestows great gifts on Abram. 

i7-xiii. 2. Yahweh plagues Pharaoh and his court on account 
of Sarai, and Pharaoh sends Abram out of Egypt. 

Comparison with similar nan-atives. The same story in all its 
essential features is told of Abram, Sarah and Abimelcch, kim; 
of Gerar, in the Elohistic Document, xx, and of Isaac, Rcbekah,and 
Abimelech, king of Gerar, in the Primitive Document CJ) in xxvi. 
i-ir. The three passages are probably versions of the same 
story. The religious interest of the passage lies in the care 
which Yahweh takes of His people when they seem to be help 
less in a foreign land. There is nothing to show that the writer 
approved or admired Abram s deceit ; on the other hand, we may 
perhaps see some sign of disapproval in the fact that the 
patriarch s crooked policy involved him in difficulties from which 
he had to be rescued by special Divine intervention. 

1O. into Effypt, a great grain-producing country, and so a 
natural refuge in time of famine ; there would be corn in Egypt 
if anywhere. So Jacob sends to Egypt for corn in a time of 
famine. 



GENESIS 12. 12-16. J 179 

come near to enter into Egypt, that he said unto Sarai 
his wife, Behold now, I know that thou art a fair woman 
to look upon: and it shall come to pass, when the 12 
Egyptians shall see thee, that they shall say, This is his 
wife : and they will kill me, but they will save thee alive. 
Say, I pray thee, thou art my sister : that it may be well 13 
with me for thy. sake, and that my soul may live because 
of thee. And it came to pass, that, when Abram was 14 
come into Egypt, the Egyptians beheld the woman that 
she was very fair. And the princes of Pharaoh saw her, 15 
and praised her to Pharaoh : and the woman was taken 
into Pharaoh s house. And he entreated Abram well 16 
for her sake : and he had sheep, and oxen, and he- 
asses, and menservants, and maidservants, and she-asses, 



11. a fair woman. According to the Priestly Document, xvii. 
17, Sarai was 90 when Abram was 100 ; and Abraham was 75, 
xii. 4, when he left Haran ; so that at this time Sarai must have 
been at least 65. Many ingenious reasons have been devised 
why Sarai at 65 should have been so beautiful as to make Abram 
think that the Egyptians would kill him for her sake. The 
obvious explanation is that the statement about her age and this 
story come from different documents. 

13. my sister, cf. xi. 29, xx. 12. 

my soul may live. My soul is an emphatic way of 
saying I. 

15. Pharaoh, the usual title of the kings of Egypt in the 
Old Testament. It is commonly explained as representing the 
Egyptian title for the king per- o, Great house, palace, 1 
cf. Sublime Porte, for the Sultan of Turkey or his govern 
ment. 

16. entreated Abram well, e. g. gave him presents, such as 
are enumerated in the rest of the verse. 

menservants and maidservants, male and female slaves ; 
these are curiously placed between the he-asses and she asses. 
Perhaps the slaves are a later insertion, or the order of the words 
has been accidentally altered in copying. The absence of horses 
from this list is consistent with the fact that, as far as our present 
information goes, horses were not used in Egypt before B.C. 1800, 
and this chapter probably refers to an earlier period. On the 
other hand the mention of the camel seems to be an anachronism ; 

N 2 



i8o GENESIS 12. 17-20. J 

17 and camels. And the LORD plagued Pharaoh and his 
house with great plagues because of Sarai Abram s wife. 

1 8 And Pharaoh called Abram, and said, What is this that 
thou hast done unto me ? why didst thou not tell me 

i) that she was thy wife? Why saidst thou, She is my 

sister ? so that I took her to be my wife : now therefore 

20 behold thy wife, take her, and go thy way. And Pharaoh 

we are told 1 , The camel does not appear in any inscription or 
picture before the Greek period, centuries later, and even under 
Rameses III, also much later, the donkey is still expressly 
mentioned as the beast of burden of the desert V The omission 
of the horse is probably not due to any archaeological knowledge 
on the part of the author, but rather to the rarity of horses 
amongst the Israelites in early times. Possibly, however, the 
editor may have omitted horses ; Deut. xvii. 16 forbids the king 
to multiply horses from Egypt ; and it was not well that Abram 
should set the king a bad example. 

17. plagues: a foreshadowing of the Ten Plagues at the time 
of the Exodus. 

19. X took her to be my wife, i. e. one of the royal harem. 
There is nothing to indicate that the words are to be taken in 
any but their full sense. In the parallel narratives this feature 
is altered, and the story is told so that it is clear that neither 
Sarah nor Rebekah actually became the wife of a heathen 
king 3 . Erman 4 tells us that an ancient sacred [Egyptian] 
book, describing the life of the deceased Pharaoh in bliss, 
assures him . . . that in heaven he will at his pleasure take 
the wives away from their husbands." Theoretically, even in 
this life, according to ancient ideas, all the wives of his subjects 
were his ; we are further told that, Besides the chief royal 
consort, and other consorts, the Pharaoh possessed a harem 5 . 

go thy way: leave the country. Verse 20 and xiii. 2 
seem to imply that Abram was allowed to retain the presents he 
had received. 

1 Erman, Life in Ancient Egypt, Eng\ tr., p. 493. 

a A picture of the impression of a seal from Nubia, described as 
the only known Egyptian representation of a camel, is given in the 
Proceedings of the Society of Biblical Archaeology, xxiv. 309 ; but 
the note does not mention the period to which the seal is supposed to 
belong. 

3 Gen. xx. 6, xxvi. 8. 

* Life in Ancient Egypt, Eng. tr., p. 155. 

5 Erman, ibid., p. 73 f. 



GENESIS 13. i-7. JPJ 181 

gave men charge concerning him : and they brought him 
on the way, and his wife, and all that he had. 

And Abram went up out of Egypt, he, and his wife, 13 
and all that he had, and Lot with him, into the South. 
And Abram was very rich in cattle, in silver, and in gold. 2 
And he went on his journeys from the South even to 3 
Beth-el, unto the place where his tent had been at the 
beginning, between Beth-el and Ai ; unto the place of 4 
the altar, which he had made there at the first : and 
there Abram called on the name of the LORD. And Lot 5 
also, which went with Abram, had flocks, and herds, and 
tents. [P] And the land was not able to bear them, that 6 
they might dwell together : for their substance was great, 
so that they could not dwell together. [J] And there was 7 
a strife between the herdmen of Abram s cattle and the 

2O. charge concerning him . . . brought him on the way. 

Pharaoh instructed his officers to escort Abram safely out of Egypt, 
and the instructions were carried out. 

xiii. i. South : see xii. 9. 

xiii. 3-18. THE SEPARATION OF ABRAM AND LOT (J and P). This 
section is important, because it preserves a tradition that the 
Hebrew tribes, shortly after their arrival in Canaan, broke up into 
two groups. One of these (Abram) became nomads in Western 
Palestine, the other (Lot, Moab, Ammon) settled in cities in 
Eastern Palestine. 

xiii. 3-5. Primitive Document. Abram and Lot return to 
Beth-el. 

3. from the South even to Beth-si : retracing the route by 
which he had gone to Egypt, cf. xii. 8, 9. 

6. Priestly Document. Abram and Lot too rich in flocks and 
herds to live together. 

6. not able to bear them : i. e. to furnish water and pasture 
for their numerous flocks and herds. 

xiii. 7-1 1 a 1 . Primitive Document. The herdmen quarrel. 
Abram allows Lot to choose, and Lot takes the Plain of Jordan. 

7. strife between the herdmen : probably about the water, 



As far as journeyed east. 



182 GENESIS 13. 8-10. J 

herdmen of Lot s cattle : and the Canaanite and the 

8 Perizzite dwelled then in the land. And Abram said 
unto Lot, Let there be no strife, I pray thee, between 
me and thee, and between my herdmen and thy herd- 

9 men ; for we are brethren. Is not the whole land before 
thee ? separate thyself, I pray thee, from me : if thou 
wilt take the left hand, then I will go to the right ; or if 

10 thou take the right hand, then I will go to the left. And 
Lot lifted up his eyes, and beheld all the Plain of Jordan, 
that it was well watered every where, before the LORD 
destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, like the garden of the 

cf. verse 10 ; the quarrels of Isaac s herdmen with the men of 
Gerar about the wells, xxvi. 15 ff. ; and the way in which the 
shepherds drove the daughters of the priest of Midian from the 
wells, Exod. ii. 17. Wells are still a common subject of contention 
amongst Arab tribes. 

and the Canaanite and the Perizzite, &c. Cf. xii. 6. The 
presence of these settled inhabitants would increase the difficulty 
of providing for the cattle. The Perizzites arc sometimes 
regarded as the name of a tribe, apparently from this passage, 
dwelling about Beth-el, and perhaps belonging to the aboriginal 
population older than the Semitic Canaanites ; and sometimes as 
the inhabitants of the pcrasotli or open villages, as distinguished 
from the dwellers in towns. 

8. brethren : kinsfolk. 

9. Is not the whole land before thee ? Abram speaks from 
the point of view of the nomad the whole land refers only to 
the unoccupied country where they could pasture their cattle 
without interfering with the settled population. 

if thou wilt take the left hand, &c. As the demand for 
separation came from Abram, he offered Lot the choice of 
country, in accordance with the profuse but somewhat conven 
tional courtesy of the East. 

10. Plain, R. V. marg.. Circle of the Jordan. the plain into 
which the valley of the Jordan widens out at the north of the 
Dead Sea. 

well watered, &c. Perhaps the author dwells on the 
desirability of the district in order to emphasize the generosity 
of Abram and the grasping nature of Lot. Oriental etiquette 
does not cr mtenance a prompt acceptance of munificent offers in 
a literal se- -; 

Sodoi. "nd Gomorrah. Cf. x. 19. xix. 



GENESIS 13. 11-13. JPJ 183 

LORD, like the land of Egypt, as thou goest unto Zoar. 
So Lot chose him all the Plain of Jordan ; and Lot 1 1 
journeyed east : [P] and they separated themselves the 
one from the other. Abram dwelled in the land of 12 
Canaan, and Lot dwelled in the cities of the Plain, 
[J] and moved his tent as far as Sodom. Now the men 13 
of Sodom were wicked and sinners against the LORD 

the garden of the LORD : Eden. 
Egypt: always celebrated for its great fertility, 
as thou goest unto Zoar. Probably this clause came 
originally immediately after every where, the intervening words 
being editorial notes added afterwards. The clause would then 
mean as far as Zoar. Zoar is usualVy mentioned, as here, in 
connexion with Sodom and Gomorrah 1 . Zoar is usually located 
at the south-east end of the Dead Sea ; and, if this is correct, the 
author s idea seems to be that before the overthrow of Sodom and 
Gomorrah the Dead Sea did not exist, but that a well-watered 
plain extended over the whole area as far as this Zoar. In Deut. 
xxxiv. 3, Moses, surveying the Promised Land, is shown the Plain 
of the valley of Jericho . . . unto Zoar. The phrase suggests 
that Zoar was north of the Dead Sea, but it may be a reminiscence 
of our passage in its original form. 

Some texts of the Syriac Version read Zoan for Zoar. If this 
were correct, as thou goest to Zoan would qualify in the land 
of Egypt. Zoan or Tanis was an important Egyptian city in the 
Delta, on one of the branches of the Nile. 

xiii. nb, 12 a 2 . Priestly Document. Separation of Abram 
and Lot. 

xiii. i26 -i8. Primitive Document. The wickedness of the 
men of Sodom. Yahwetis promise to Abram; Abram settles at 
Mamre. For 14-17 see also on 18. 

13. the men of Sodom were wicked : a not unusual combina 
tion of material prosperity and moral corruption. So Agur 
prayed that he might not be given riches, Lest I be full, and 
deny thee, and say, Who is Yahweh * This verse prepares 
the way for the account of the overthrow of Sodom and Gomorrah 
in chapter xix. 

sinners against the IiORX) : not through idolatry or the 



1 -So Gen. xiv. 2, S, xix. 23-30, which see. Zoar is mentioned 
separate!} , Deut. xxxiv. 3, Isa. xv. 5. Jer. xlviii. 34. 

2 From and they separated to cities of the Plain. 

5 From and moved his tent. Prov. xxx. S, 9. 



184 GENESIS 13. 14-18. J 

14 exceedingly. And the LORD said u-<_o Abram, after that 
Lot was separated from him, Lift d./ now thine eyes, and 
look from the place where thou ;e. ., northward and south- 

15 ward and eastward and wes*mxd : for all the land which 
thou seest, to thee will I p . 3 it, w .nd to thy seed for ever. 

16 And I will make thy ? I d as the dust of the earth : so 
that if a man can number the dust of the earth, then 

17 shall thy seed also be numbered. Arise, walk through 
the land in the length of it and in the breadth of it ; for 

1 8 unto thee will I give it. And Abram moved his tent, 
and came and dwelt by the oaks of Mamre, which are in 
Hebron, and built there an altar unto the LORD. 

worship of other gods, but, as chapter xix shows, through gross 
immorality. Our author thinks of such sins, even when committed 
by Gentiles, as sins against Yahweh ; just as he speaks of Nimrod 
as a mighty hunter before Yahweh. Thus even in the Primitive 
Document Yahweh s activity and authority are not altogether 
limited to Israel. 

14. the LORD said unto Abram. Lot had taken an unfair 
advantage of Abram s generosity, and left him with the worst of 
the bargain. Yahweh chooses this moment to renew His promise. 

the place where thou art. See verse 3. 

15. all the laud which thou seest. Dean Stanley 1 described 
the view thus : To the east there rises in the foreground the 
jjg^ed range of the hills above Jericho ; in the distance the dark 
Vail of Moab ; between them lies the wide valley of the Jordan. 
. . . To the south and the west the view commanded the bleak 
hills of Juttaea, varied by the heights crowned with what were 
afterwards the cities of Benjamin, and overhanging what in a later 
day was to be J erusalem, and in the far distance the southern range 
on whose slope is Hebron. Northward are the hills which divide 
Judaea from the rj c h plains of Samaria. We must not, however, 
suppose that the aromise is to be limited to what could actually 
be seen from the neighbourhood of Beth-el, it was no doubt 
a poetic way of de scr ;bing the whole of the Promised Land. Cf. 
below. 

17. walk through tjj e laud: to survey it more closely and 

thoroughly, and pe r Nps also, in a fashion, to take possession of it. 

the oaks, R- V. arg. , terebinths of Mamre. Sacred trees 



GENESIS 14. i. ? 185 

And it came Co pass in the days of Amraphel king 14 



in the sanctuary which, 1 ocal tradition claimed to have been 
founded by Abram, see i.aLxii. 7. Josephus speaks of a large 
terebinth near Hebron as ^ as the world ; and the church 
historian Sozomen, c. A. D. 456; . vs that this terebinth was the 
scene of a yearly feast and feir 1 . ^ n "he exact position of Mamre is 
not known. g 

Hebron : in the highlands of Juda^ to the south of Jerusalem. 
The succeeding chapters a imply that Abram settled for some time 
at Mamre ; and nothing is said anywhere of his walking through 
the length and breadth of the land. Hence verses 14-17 are often 
regarded as a later insertion. 

xiv. THE RESCUE OF LOT. (Unknown Source.} 

1-12. Four kings from the East defeat the kings of Sodom and 
Gomorrah and their allies, spoil their cities, and carry Lot 
captive. 

13-16. Abram pursues and defeats the invaders, rescues Lot^ 
and recovers the plunder. 

ty. The king of Sodom meets Abram. 

18-20. Melchizedek, king of Salem, meets Abram, and blesses 
him. Abram pays him tithes. 

21-24. Abram refuses the offer of the king of Salem that he 
should retain the plunder he had recovered. 

(a) Archaeology. In this chapter we again come in contact with 
Babylonian records, not, as heretofore, with mythology, but with 
history. We may regard it as certain that Chedorlaomer and his 
allies 3 fyere actual historical personages ; that Elam at one period 
was the dominant power in the lands east of the Euphrates, as 
implied in verses 5, 9, and 17; and that, in the same period, the 
dominant power in those Eastern lands claimed and sometimes 
exercised a certain supremacy in Palestine, which was enforced 
occasionally by such warlike expeditions as the one described 
here. It is also not improbable that the four Eastern kings men 
tioned here were contemporaries, and that Elam was the domi 
nant power in their time. So far the inscriptions confirm this 
chapter, but no further. 

No inscription at present published mentions a joint expedition 
of these four Eastern kings against Palestine, or any expedition 
against Sodom, Gomorrah, and the allied towns, or indeed any 
expedition which can possibly be identified with the campaign 
described in this chapter. Nor does any inscription mention 
Abram, Lot, or Melchizedek. 

Hence archaeology by itself does not at present establish the 

1 Mamre, Encycl. Bibl. * Gen. xiv. 13, xviii. i. 

3 Cf. notes on the separate verses. 



i86 GENESIS 14. i. ? 

of Shinar, Arioch king of Ellasar, Chedorlaomer king of 

historicity of the whole chapter. It is true, as we have said, that 
certain kings mentioned here are shown to be historical per 
sonages ; but we cannot therefore conclude that the whole account 
is accurate history, any more than we can argue that Sir Walter 
Scott s Anne of Gcier stein is throughout a correct account of actual 
events because we know that Charles the Bold and Margaret of 
Anjou were real people. 

(b} Source. Critics are agreed that this chapter does not belong 
to any one of the main sources of the Pentateuch. In the 
Primitive, the Elohistic, and the Priestly Documents. Abram is a 
peaceful wanderer ; and in J and E he owes much of his wealth to 
the gifts of heathen kings, Pharaoh and Abimelech l ; here he is a 
mighty warrior who disdains the offers of the king of Sodom, lest 
he should say, I have made Abram rich. These documents show 
no trace of any acquaintance with this episode ; and our chapter 
has none of the characteristic ideas and language of the docu 
ments, only there are some of the terms of the Priestly Document, 
probably due to the final editor, who writes very much in the 
style of a Priestly author. 

Accordingly we must suppose that the Editor met with this 
chapter as a separate, independent narrative ; and inserted it here 
as its most suitable place. 

(c) Origin and Character of the Narrative. The archaeological 
evidence is not conclusive on these questions, but leaves ample 
room for differences of opinion, so that scholars hold widely 
divergent views on the subject. 

As Hebrew is not commonly used of Israelites by them 
selves, but only by foreigners, the application of this term to 
Abram 3 may indicate that the narrative was originally written 
by a non- Israelite. Accordingly it has been suggested that the 
narrative may be derived from some Canaanite record, possibly 
preserved in the archives of Jerusalem. Such a view would be 
a possible way of accounting for the details about Abram and 
Melchizedek, and would not be inconsistent with the presence 
of terms and details 3 which seem to belong to the latest period of 
Biblical Literature these may be due to an editor 4 . 

On the other hand, it is possible that the information about 
Hum. &c., was derived from Babylonian records during or after 
the exile, and combined with some traditions as to Abram and 
Melchizedek. Thus it has been suggested 5 that the chapter 
includes material from Babylonian, Israelite, and Canaanite 
sources. Scholars arc divided as to the historical value of the 

1 Gen. xii. i5, xx. i.j. - Verse 13. 

3 See for instance on %-crsc 14. * Cf. above. 5 Gunkel. 



GENESIS 14. 2 . ? 187 

/ 
Elam, and Tidal king of Goiim, that they made war with 2 

chapter. Some are inclined to accept it as substantially a record 
of facts : others find little or nothing historical beyond the names 
of the Four Kings ; while others occupy positions intermediate 
between these extremes. 

The section about Melchizedek. verses 18-20. is often regarded 
as a later addition. It interrupts the connexion ; verse 21 seems 
to be the immediate continuation of verse 17 ; cf. the notes on 
this section. 

1. Amraphel: usually identified with Hammurabi, a Baby 
lonian king known to us from the inscriptions. Numerous letters 
and inscriptions of Hammurabi have been discovered, including 
forty-six dispatches (inscribed tablets of baked clay) to a high 
official or tributary prince. Hammurabi, we are told 1 , is 
already known, from the date on a Babylonian contract, to have 
succeeded in defeating the Elamites in the course of his reign, 
and this fact would not be inconsistent with his having been 
Chedorlaomer s ally during the earlier part of his reign, to which 
period the narrative in Gen. xiv would, on this assumption, be 
referred. It is a little curious that in this list Amraphel is 
mentioned first, whereas in the rest of the chapter Chedorlaomer 
is either placed first or is the only name mentioned. Hammurabi 
is usually dated between B.C. 2300 and B.C. 2200, whereas the 
Biblical statements would fix the date of Abram about B.C. 1900. 
As, however, these chronological statements represent late theories 
and not ancient tradition, they are not a serious difficulty in the 
way of the identification of Amraphel and Hammurabi 2 . Cf. 
further on Chedorlaomer. 

Sliinar. See on x. 10. 

Ariocli king- of Ellasar : usually identified with Rim-sin or 
Eri-aku son of Kudur-mabug, a king of Larsa of Elamite descent, 
contemporary of Hammurabi. Names bearing some similarity to 
Arioch, Tidal, and Chedorlaomer have been found on a cuneiform 
tablet written not earlier than the fourth century B. c. 3 . i. e. about 
1800 years after the time of Hammurabi. This tablet may be 
a copy from older records. In Dan. ii. 15 we meet with a 
Babylonian courtier called Arioch. In Judith i. 6 an Arioch king 
of the Elymaeans appears in alliance with Nebuchadnezzar, 
who reigned over the Assyrians in Nineveh. 



1 I... W. Kinir, Letters and Inscriptions of Hammurabi, I. xxvii. 

- Neither the identification nor the date arc certain. Hommrl, 
for instance, sacrifices the Babylonian data to the Biblical, and places 
Hammurabi about B. c. 1900. Holzingcr makes him ;,li!l later, 
B. c. 1700-1650. 

= King, ibid. 



i88 GENESIS 14. a. ? 

Bera king of Sodom, and with Birsha king of Gomorrah, 

Ellasar : the Larsa of the inscriptions, the modern Senkereh, 
on the east bank of the Euphrates in Southern Babylonia, in the 
time before Hammurabi s victories over Elam, an Elamite de 
pendency, ruled by an Elamite dynasty. 

Ghedorlaomer. This name has not yet been found in the 
inscriptions, but it is composed of two elements, each of which is 
known from the inscriptions to be Elamite. Chedor - Kudur, 
which according to Sayce means servant, and occurs in the 
names of the Elamite kings, Kudur-tttabufc, and Kudur-nanhundi. 
Laomer (in the Septuagint Logomor} = Lagamar, an Elamite 
deity. It was at one time supposed that Kudur-lagamar could be 
read in one of Hammurabi s letters *, but this has been shown to 
be a mistake 2 . The late post-exilic tablet mentioned above under 
Arioch contains a name Ktt-kit-ku-tnal or Ku-ktt-ku-kit-mal, which 
might be read as Ku-dur-ku-mal or Ku-duy-ku-ku-ntal 3 , and has 
sometimes been supposed to be a form of Kudur- lagamar. The 
position of the question may be summed up thus, So far as the 
composition of the name is concerned, therefore, there is no 
reason why the inscriptions should not contain a reference to 
Chedorlaomer, king of Elam. Moreover. Elam at the period of 
the First Dynasty was the chief foe of Bab3 lonia. and, until 
finally defeated by Hammurabi, had for many years been the pre 
dominant power in Western Asia. The state of affairs at this 
period, therefore, may without difficulty be harmonized with the 
events described in Gen. xiv, and it would not be surprising if 
the name of Kudnr-Lagainar, or Chedorlaomer, should be found 
as that of a king of Elam in an inscription of the Old Babylonian 
period. Up to the present time, however, no such discovery has 
been made 4 . 

Elam. See on x. as. 

Tidal: Septuagint Thargol, not yet discovered in the in 
scriptions. In the late tablet mentioned in the previous notes there 
is a Tu-ud-hnl-a son of Gas . . . 5 , sometimes supposed to be Tidal. 
But as this name occurs in company with others that are historical, 
we may believe that this name also is that of an actual person, 
and may at any time be discovered in some ancient inscription. 

Ooiim may be read as a proper name, or, as in R. V. marg., 
a common noun, nations. It is probably a case where an un- 

1 So Scheil, Hommel, &c. 3 King, Letters, &c., I. xxvi. ff. 

8 King, ibid. I. liv. f. 

4 King, ibid. Ivi. Holzinger, however, as a consequence of the 
late date he assigns to Hammurabi, maintains that the situation 
implied in Gen. xiv cannot be reconciled with the history. 

5 The end of the word is illegible. 



GENESIS 14. 3-5. ? 189 

Shinab king of Admah, and Shemeber king of Zeboiim, 
and the king of Bela (the same is Zoar). All these joined 3 
together in the vale of Siddim (the same is the Salt Sea). 
Twelve years they served Chedorlaomer, and in the 4 
thirteenth year they rebelled. And in the fourteenth 5 
year came Chedorlaomer, and the kings that were with 

familiar foreign name has been given the form of a well-known 
native word ; as with us Boulogne Gate became Bull and Gate. 
Goiim is often identified with Gutium, Kurdistan, to the north of 
Babylonia. 

2. they made war with . . . king 1 of Sodom, &c. Verses 
4 and 5 tell us that these kings were tributary to Chedorlaomer 
lor twelve years, that then they rebelled, and Chedorlaomer 
assembled his allies or dependent princes and marched westward 
to subdue the rebels ; cf. Hezekiah and Sennacherib, Zedekiah 
and Nebuchadnezzar. No inscription mentioning these proceed 
ings of the Elamite king and his allies has yet been published ; 
but as Hammurabi claims to be king of Amurru, i.e. probably 
Syria and Palestine, we can easily believe that the Elamites, his 
predecessors in the supremacy of Western Asia, levied tribute 
from Syria, and had occasion to collect it by force of arms. 

Bera . . . Birsha . . . Shinab . . . Shemeber. None of 
these names are now extant anywhere else, but it is quite prob 
able that the author of this chapter found them in ancient 
records. 

Sodom, &c. For the five cities see on x. 19, xiii. 10. Bela, 
as a name of Zoar, only occurs here and in verse 8. The name of 
its king is omitted, perhaps we should read Bela, king of Zoar. 

3. All these joined together : i.e. the five kings, of Sodom, &.C., 
made the vale of Siddim their rendezvous. The very improbable 
R. V. marg. All these gathered themselves together against the 
vale of Siddim 1 would mean that Chedorlaomer and his allies 
united in order to attack the vale of Siddim. In either case this 
verse comes in very awkwardly, it anticipates verse 8, and may 
be a later addition. 

the vale of Siddim (the same is the Salt Sea). The vale 
of Siddim is only mentioned in this chapter. The author of this 
verse supposed that the district of Sodom, &c., which is called in 
this chapter the vale of Siddim, had been submerged by the 
waters of the Salt (Dead) Sea, cf. on chapter xix. 

4. Cf. 2 Kings xxiv. i, Jehoiakim became his servant three 
years ; then he turned and rebelled against him. 

served, paid tribute. 

5. in the fourteenth year came Chedorlaomer. Cf. a Kings 



J90 GENESIS 14. 5. > 

him, and smote the Rephaim in Ashteroth-karnaim, and 
the Zuzim in Ham, and the Emim in Shaveh-kiriathaim, 



xviii. 13, in the fourteenth year of king Hezekiah did Senna 
cherib . . . come up. The account of Chedorlaomer s campaign 
bears some general resemblance to that of Holofernes in Judith 
ii. 21-28. 

5, 6. Rephaim . . . Zuzim . . . Emim . . . Horltes. These 
tribes are referred to in Deut. ii. 10-12, 20, 21 as aboriginal in 
habitants of the territories afterwards held by Edom, Moab, and 
Ammon ; so that our narrative is consistent with Deuteronomy in 
placing these tribes in the land before the birth of Edom, Moab, 
and Ammon. The passages in Deuteronomy however are archaeo 
logical notes by an exilic or post-exilic writer, so that an author 
of that late period would have thought of the Rephaim, &c., as in 
habiting Eastern Palestine in the time of Abraham. The Zuzim 
are called in Deuteronomy Zamzummim. The Emim and the 
Zuzim or Zamzummim are only mentioned in these two passages ; 
the Horites are also referred to in Gen. xxxvi. 20-29, and may 
have been the original inhabitants of the cave-dwellings found at 
Petra and elsewhere in the mountains of Edom. 

Ashteroth-karnaim, only mentioned here, possibly the 
same as Aslitaroth, the capital of Og, king of Bashan ; and also 
the same as Carnaim or Camion in Amos and the Books of 
Maccabees *. Eusebius and Jerome mention two places in Bashan 
known in their time as Ashteroth-karnaim. There have been 
found in Bashan two sites Tell Aslitarah and Tell el Ash ari, one 
or other of which may be the city of the Rephaim. At any rate 
this place was in Bashan. The name signifies Ashtaroth or 
Astarte of the Two Horns ; the latter either referring to the 
form under which the goddess was represented, or to two hills on 
which the city was built. The name implies that the city 
possessed a famous sanctuary of Astarte. 

Ham. The Hebrew initial of this word is different from that 
of Ham, the son of Noah. This place is not mentioned elsewhere ; 
the name may be a corruption, hardly however of Ammon. 

Shaveh-kiriathaim, R. V. marg., the plain of Kiriathaim. 
Kiriathaim is the Two Towns ; there was a city of this name 
in Moab, north of the Arnon. said to have been built by the 
Reubenites *. 



1 Deut. !. 4, &c. 

3 In Amos vi. 13 we should probably read Karnaim where R. V. 
has horns. Cf. i Mace. v. 26, &c, ; 2 Mace. xii. 21. 
3 Num. xxxii. 37. 



GENESIS 14. 6-8. ? 191 

and the Horites in their mount Seir, unto El-paran, which 6 
is by the wilderness. And they returned, and came to 7 
En-mishpat (the same is Kadesh), and smote all the 
country of the Amalekites, and also the Amorites, that 
dwelt in Hazazon-tamar. And there went out the king 8 

6. in their mount Seir. This curious phrase is probably due 
to corruption of the text. We should either read in the moun 
tains of Seir with the Septuagint and other ancient versions, or 
in their mount Seir having been added as an explanatory 
note. Seir is the mountainous district to the south-east of the Dead 
Sea ; the name is often used to denote the whole territory of Edom. 

El-paran : also known as Elaih, the port at the northern 
extremity of the eastern horn of the Red Sea, the gulf of Akaba. 
the wilderness : between Canaan and Egypt. 

7. they returned : better turned. So far they had marched 
through Eastern Palestine from the north, almost due southwards 
to the southernmost point of what was afterwards the territory of 
Edom. Having reached the sea, they turned to the north-west. 

En-mishpat (the same is Kadesh). En-mishpat -- Well of 
Judgement, Kadesh = Sanctuary, and as there were many 
sanctuaries the name occurs in several different localities. This 
Kadesh is Kadesh-barnea on the south-east frontier of Judah. 
After leaving Sinai the Israelites made this place their head 
quarters for some time *. The double name given here indicates 
that Kadesh was a sanctuary whose priests or oracle were often 
referred to for the settlement of disputes. It is now identified 
with an Ain (Well of) Kadis in the Wady Kadis in the district 
to the south-east of Judah. 

country : R. V. marg. field of the Amalekites : a nomad 
people whose head quarters were usually the desert of Sinai. The 
Septuagint and Syriac versions have princes 2 instead of 
field V 

Amorites. See on x. 16. 

Hazazon-tamar. Tamar = pa\m. the meaning of Hazazon is 
uncertain. In 2 Chron. xx. a, the only other passage where this 
place is mentioned, Hazazon-tamar is said to be En-gedi, which is 
identified with Ain-gidi, about halfway down the western coast 
of the Dead Sea. In the neighbourhood of Ain-gidi there is a 
Wady Hasasa which may preserve the name Hazazon. Having 
reached this point Chedorlaomer and his allies were near the 
Vale of Siddim, whether the Vale was the site of the Salt Sea, as 
in verse 3, or some part of it, or in its immediate neighbourhood. 

1 Num. xiii, xxxiii ; Deut. i. 46. 2 Sare. 3 Sadeh. 



192 GENESIS 14. 9-14. ? 

of Sodom, and the king of Gomorrah, and the king 

of Admah, and the king of Zeboiim, and the king 

of Bela (the same is Zoar) ; and they set the battle 

9 in array against them in the vale of Siddim ; against 

Chedorlaomer king of Elam, and Tidal king of Goiim, 

and Amraphel king of Shinar, and Arioch king of Ella- 

iosar; four kings against the five. Now the vale of 

Siddim was full of slime pits ; and the kings of Sodom 

and Gomorrah fled, and they fell there, and they 

11 that remained fled to the mountain. And they took all 
the goods of Sodom and Gomorrah, and all their victuals, 

12 and went their way. And they took Lot, Abram s 
brother s son, who dwelt in Sodom, and his goods, and 

13 departed. And there came one that had escaped, and 
told Abram the Hebrew : now he dwelt by the oaks of 
Mamre the Amorite, brother of Eshcol, and brother of 

14 Aner ; and these were confederate with Abram. And 

10. Apparently some account of the battle has been omitted, 
slime, R. V. marg. bitumen pits. Cf. xi. 3. 

the kings of Sodom : cf. on verse 17. 
fell there : i. e. sank in the bitumen and were suffocated. 
they that remained : perhaps the other three conquered 
kings. 

11. they: i. e. Chedorlaomer and his allies. 

the goods of Sodom and Gomorrah. Here, again, it would 
seem that some mention of the capture of these cities has been 
omitted. This verse clearly implies that they were sacked. 

19. Lot, Abram s brother s son, who dwelt in Sodom. 
This explanation shows that the chapter was once an independent 
narrative. Both our documents have already told us that Lot 
was Abram s nephew, and that he had settled in Sodom. 
13. Abram the Hebrew. Cf. (c) on p. 186. 

oaks, R.V. marg. terebinths. 

Mamre. . . Eshcol, inxiii. 18 (which see) and xxiii. 17,19. &c. ; 
and in Num. xiii. 23, 24, &c., the names of places near Hebron. 

Aner : in i Chron. vi. 70 the name of a city in Manasseh. 
Similarly from the town Hebron the Priestly Document derives 
a person Hebron, the father of the Hebronites . If this chapter 

1 Num. iii. 19, 27, &c. 



GENESIS 14. 15. ? 193 

when Abram heard that his brother was taken captive, 
he led forth his trained men, born in his house, three 
hundred and eighteen, and pursued as far as Dan. And 
he divided himself against them by night, he and his 
servants, and smote them, and pursued them unto Hobah, 

is historical, Mamre, Eshcol, and Aner are probably due to 
a misunderstanding on the part of a late editor, and do not belong 
to the ancient tradition. We are not told that these allies did 
anything ; they only appear on the scene again, to claim their 
share of the spoil 1 . 

14. led forth. The meaning of the Hebrew word thus trans 
lated is uncertain, but the context requires some such expression. 
The Septuagint has mustered. 

trained men : the word only occurs here, and means literally 
dedicated. 

born in his house: i. e. slaves born in Abram s household 
and not bought ; such slaves have always been regarded as 
specially trustworthy. 

three hundred and eighteen. If we take the numerical 
values of the consonants 2 of the name Eliezer 3 , and add them 
together the sum is 318. It is difficult to believe that this is 
merely an accidental coincidence, or that the name Eliczcr was 
invented for Abram s servant because ils consonants gave this 
number. It is more likely that an ingenious and imaginative 
editor obtained the number from the consonants of Eliezer. 

Dan: in the extreme north of Palestine, south of Mount 
Hermon. As this town was called Laish till it was conquered by 
the Danites the name here is another trace of the work of a late 
editor. 

15. divided himself against them: i.e. divided his fol 
lowers into several bands, so that they might attack from different 
quarters, and so create the more confusion in the enemy, and give 
the impression of being a large force ; cf. the tactics of Gideon 5 . . 

servants : slaves. 

smote them, and pursued them. Some scholars cannot 
bring themselves to believe that a handful of armed slaves could 
rout a force of disciplined soldiers of the great military powers of 

1 In verse 24. 

2 In ancient Hebrew only the consonants were written, the vowels 
were added after the beginning- of the Christian Era. 

3 The only male servant of Abram who is mentioned by name 
(Gen. xv. 2). 

* Judges xviii. 29. " Judges vii. 

O 



194 GENESIS 14. 16-18. ? 

16 which is on the left hand of Damascus. And he brought 
back all the goods, and also brought again his brother 
Lot, and his goods, and the women also, and the people. 

17 And the king of Sodom went out to meet him, after his 
return from the slaughter of Chedorlaomer and the kings 
that were with him, at the vale of Shaveh (the same 

1 8 is the King s Vale). And Melchizedek king of Salem 

the East. But the discipline of these ancient soldiers was hardly 
on a level with that of a modern English or German regiment ; 
eastern armies have always been specially subject to panic ; and 
a night attack is peculiarly trying to the nerves. 

Hobah : not mentioned elsewhere in the Bible. The Amarna 
tablets speak of Damascus as in the land of Ubi ; and Hobah is 
sometimes identified with a site where there is now a spring called 
Hoba, about twenty hours north-west of Damascus on the road to 
Palmyra. 

left hand : i. e. as R. V. marg. north, so the south is ; the 
right hand ; the east, the front ; the west, behind. 

Damascus : an important political and commercial city from 
the earliest times known to history. It is mentioned in Egyptian 
inscriptions of the time of Thothmes III (sixteenth century B. c. ) 
and Ramcses II (twelfth century B. c.), and in the Amarna 
tablets. 

17. the kins of Sodom. According to verse 10 the king of 
Sodom had been killed ; but this verse may refer to his suc 
cessor. 

the vale of Shaveh (the same is the King s Vale" 1 . Shaveh 
= plain, cf. verse 5, but here it is a proper name. The vale of 
Shaveh is not mentioned elsewhere : but the King s Vale is 
mentioned in 2 Sam. xviii. 18 as the place where Absalom 
had set up a monument to himself. The site has not been 
identified ; but somewhere near Jerusalem would suit both 
passages. 

18. Melchizedek king- of Salem . . . priest of God Most 
High. Melchizedek is only mentioned here and in Ps. ex. 4 
and Heb. v-vii. Ps. ex is ascribed to David by its title, but 
is commonly regarded as of much later origin, and is often 
assigned to the period of the Maccabees. In Hebrews the phrase 
in the Psalm, a high-priest after the order of Melchizedek. is 
applied to Christ ; and so Melchizedek and all the details of this 
episode have been regarded as typical of Christ. The statements 
in Hebrews that Melchizedek was without father, without mother, 
without genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of 



GENESIS 14. 18. ? 195 

brought forth bread and wine : and he was priest of God 

life , merely mean that the Scriptures do not mention his ances 
tors, parents, birth, or death. In the same way Philo speaks 
of Sarah as without mother a , because her mother is not 
named. Thus the late Professor A. B. Davidson wrote of Mel- 
chizedek, He passes over the stage, a king, a priest, living. 
That sight of him is all that we ever get. This is what Scrip 
ture shows us. ... He is like a portrait, having always the 
same qualities, presenting always the same aspect, looking down 
on us always with the same eyes which turn and follow us, 
wherever we may stand always royal, always priestly, always 
living, always individual, and neither receiving nor imparting 
what he is, but being all in virtue of himself 3 . 

Melchizcdek is explained in Hebrews as king of righteous 
ness ; but if it is an .ancient Canaanite name, Mekhi- and prob 
ably -zedek are divine names or titles, thus Melek is righteous 
ness ; Zedek is king," or Melek is Zedek. There are traces 
of a Canaanite deity Sydyk, and the name Zedek mtlek has been 
found. In Joshua x. r, &c. , the king of Jerusalem is Adoni- 
zedek 4 , and Adon, Lord, is almost synonymous with Melek, 
king, and is also a well-known divine name or title. No 
mention of Melchizedek has yet been found in the inscriptions*. 

In Philo Melchiezedek represents the power of rational 
persuasion which offers to the soul food of gladness and joy, and 
so in some sense answers to the priestly Logos 6 . It does not 
seem that Melchizedek was used as a type of the Messiah by 
any of the earlier rabbinical writers. Speculation has sought to 
make up for the silence of Scripture by suggesting that the 
mysterious king of Salem was Shem, or an incarnation of God 
the Son, or of the Holy Spirit. 

The narrative in verses 18-20 T may very well be based 8 on 
an account of some ancient Canaanite priest-king, whose shrine 
was regarded with exceptional reverence. Those who hold that 
the whole narrative is unhistorical would take Melchizedek, 
king of righteousness, and king of Salem, king of peace, as 
symbolical titles, very much as they are used in Hebrews. 

Salem, Peace, probably intended for the name of a place, 

1 Heb. vii. 3. 3 Westcott on Heb. vii. 3. 

* Biblical and Literary Essays, p. iSS. 

4 In the Septuagint, and in Judges i. 5, &c. Adonibezek. 

J Unsuccessful attempts have been made to discover 1 is name, or 
parallels to the scriptural language used of him in the references to 
the King- of Jerusalem in the Amarna tablets. 

Westcott, Hebrews, 201. 7 Cf. (c) p. 187. 

8 See on verse 19. 

O 2 



196 GENESIS 14. in, 20. ? 

19 Most High. And he blessed him, and said, Blessed be 
Abram of God Most High, possessor of heaven and earth : 

20 and blessed be God Most High, which hath delivered 

cf. previous note ; usually identified with Jerusalem, which is called 
Urusalim in the Amarna tablets and Salern in Ps. Ixxvi. 2 ; and 
Jerusalem might very well be on the route of an army returning 
from the north of Damascus, and would not be very far from 
the site of Sodom and Gomorrah, so that the kings might ccme 
so far to meet Abram. Jerome, however, identified Salem with 
a place Salttntias, the modern Sheikh Salim in the Jordan 
valley, eight miles south of Scythopolis, about halfway between 
the Dead Sea and the Sea of Galilee. Salem has also been 
identified with various other sites in Palestine which now bear 
the name Salim. The derivation of the name Jerusalem is not 
certainly known. It very probably contains a divine name ; 
thus the Uru-salim of the Amarna tablets has been interpreted 
as the city of (the god) Salim. Of course the Canaanite 
(Jebusite) Jerusalem contained a temple or temples and priests ; 
but nothing outside this chapter has yet been discovered to 
show that any temple at Jerusalem possessed any exceptional 
importance before the times of David and Solomon. 

bread and wine : royal hospitality, regarded by the Jews as 
symbols of the shewbread and the drink-offering, or even of 
the Law ; and by Christian commentators as types of the elements 
of the Eucharist. 

priest. The kings of Tyre were sometimes priests, and 
the Maccabean high-priests were also kings of Judah. 

God Most High. Hebrew EL ELYON. El Elyon only 
occurs once * outside this chapter, but we find YafiiveJi Elyon a , 
and Elohim Elyon ", which may be corruptions of El Elyon. 
The simple Elyon occurs frequently as a divine name of the 
God of Israel, chiefly in the Psalms. Elyon is also common as an 
ordinary adjective = high. To post-exilic Jews the use of this 
divine name would indicate that Melchizedek was priest of the 
true God the Maccabees were called high-priests of God Most 
High. In an ancient Canaanite narrative El Elyon would be 
a title or name of the local deity Eiioun occurs as a divine name 
amongst the Phoenicians. Cf. verse 22. 
19. blessed: as priest. 

God Most High, possessor f R. V. marg. maker ) of heaven 
and earth. This description of El Elyon is most remarkable in 
the mouth of a Gentile like Mclchizcdck. It is true that there 
are stories of the Creation older than Hammurabi, but this 



Ps. Ixxviii. 35. 2 Ps. vii. 17, xlvii. 2. 3 Ps. Ivii. 2,. Ixxviii. 56. 






GENESIS 14. 21-23. ? 197 

thine enemies into thy hand. And he gave him a tenth 
of all. And the king of Sodom said .unto Abram, Give 2 i 
me the persons, and take the goods to thyself. And 22 
Abram said to the king of Sodom, I have lift up mine 
hand unto the LORD, God Most High, possessor of heaven 
and earth, that I will not take a thread nor a shoelatchet 23 

phrase implies that the Gentile priests of Jerusalem helieved 
in a creation of heaven and earth by one God, i. e. were rr.ono- 
theists. It was doubtless to avoid such a conclusion that some 
Jews held that Melchizedek was Shcm. The phrase maker 1 of 
heaven and earth is found in the Psalms 2 ; and the idea of crea 
tion by God alone is emphasized in II Isaiah 3 and other exilic find 
post-exilic literature. Possibly the clause possessor, &c., is 
a later addition. 

20. he gave him a tenth of all, probably as priest, so 
Heb. vii. 6. Abram thus acknowledged El Elyon as God. and 
Melchizedek as His priest. We shall see that the priests of the 
northern sanctuary of Beth-el could support Iheir claim to tithes on 
the precedent that Jacob promised to pay tithes to their temple 4 . 
But the narrative here would provide the priests of Jerusalem with 
a still earlier precedent for the payment of tithes at Jerusalem. The 
difficulty that would have arisen if it had been acknowledged that 
Melchizedek was a Gentile was probably evaded, as in later times, 
by identifying him with Shem or some other ancestor of David. 
It has been suggested 5 that Psalm ex refers to some Davidic king 
who claimed to be the successor of Melchizedek, just as the 
German, Austrian, and Russian Emperors call themselves Caesars, 
as if they were the successors of the Roman Emperors ; and as 
the Greek kings of Egypt styled themselves Pharaohs. The 
all of which a tenth was given may be the recovered booty or 
Abram s own property. Probably the latter, especially if 17-20 
is really a separate story. 

21. And the king of Sodom said. These words are the 
natural continuation of verse 17. 

the persons whom Abram might have retained or sold as 
slaves, or held to ransom. 

22. the Z.OKD, God Most High, &c. Expressly identifying 
El Elyon with Yahweh. The Samaritan text, however, has the 
Elohim El Elyon, and the Septuagint omits Lord. 

23. I will not take, &c. In xii. 16 Abram accepts gifts from 
Pharaoh under false pretences, and these seem to be spoken of 

1 A different term from that used here. 2 Ps. c:;xiv. 8, &c. 

3 Isa. xl. &c. * Gen. xxviii. 22. 5 Gunkel. 



198 GENESIS 14. 24 15. i. ?J(E) 

nor aught that is thine, lest thou shouldest say, I have 
34 made Abram rich : save only that which the young men 

have eaten, and the portion of the men which went with 

me ; Aner, Eshcol, and Mamre, let them take their 

portion. 
15 [J(E)J After these things the word of the LORD came 

as the source of Abram s wealth l ; in xx. 14-16 Abram accepts 
gifts from Abimelech. There is, however, a difference ; the 
4 goods which are here offered to Abram had originally been 
the property 3 of the men of Sodom and Gomorrah. 

24. save only that which, &c., R. V. marg. let there be 
nothing for me ; only that, &c. There is no important difference 
in meaning between the two renderings. The margin makes 
Abram s refusal more emphatic. The whole chapter brings out 
the noble qualities of Abram his prowess and courage, his 
generosity and magnanimity. 

Aner, Eshcol, &c. Cf. verse 13. The order of the names 
is reversed. 

xv. The Covenant with Abram. (A composite section of the 
work compiled from the Primitive (J) and the Elohistic (E) 
Documents 3 .) 

1-5. Yahweh in a vision promises to Abram a son and count 
less posterity. 

6. Abram believes, and his faith is reckoned to him for 
righteousness. 

7-1 r. Abram asks for a sign, and Yahweh bids him arrange 
the divided carcasses of animals according to the form of con 
cluding a covenant. 

12-16. Abram falls into a trance, and Yahweh announces to 
him the bondage in Egypt, the Exodus, and the conquest of 
Canaan. 

17-21. A smoking mrnace and a flaming torch pass between 
the halves of the carcasses ; and Yahweh covenants witli Abram 
to give to his seed the land from the borders of Egypt to the 
Euphrates. 

Sources. In this chapter it is generally held that we meet 
with certain traces of the Elohistic Document 4 . The chapter in 
the form in which we have it is mainly the work of the editor, 
who combined the Primitive and the Elohistic Documents, 
though some small portions may be even later. We shall point 

1 Gen. xiii. 2, but cf. xii. 5. * Verse 1 1. 

3 See pp. 9 ff., and cf . below (a) Sources. * Pp- 30 # 



GENESIS 15. 2. J(E) , 

unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram : I am 
thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward. And Abram a 
said, O Lord GOD, what wilt thou give me, seeing I go 
childless, and he that shall be possessor of my house is 

out in the notes elements supposed to be Elohistic, and others 
attributed to the editor who combined the two 1 ; but it is not 
possible to fix with certainty exactly which words belong to 
which source. 

1. The word of the I.ORD came: a common formula in the 
prophets, especially in Jeremiah, Jer. i. 2, &c. The Elohistic 
Document (E) 2 speaks of Abram as a prophet ; but would not 
speak of the Lord, Yahweh. 

in a vision. It is characteristic of E that revelations are 
made in visions or dreams. 

Fear not. A vision of God would cause terror. 

I am thy shield: a familiar idea in the Psalms 3 . 

and thy exceeding- great reward: R. V. marg. thy reward 
shall be exceeding great. The reward would be for what is 
referred to in these things. In the Primitive Document we 
have heard of Abram building altars to Yahweh and of his 
generosity to Lot. 

2. O ZiOrd GOD. Lord here is not the Divine name, Yah 
weh, hence it is not printed in capitals in the English version, 
but a translation of Adonay, lit. my lords, used as a 
divine name, like the plural Elohim. It was thus used in other 
Semitic religions, hence the familiar Adonis, a Greek form of 
the name of a Syrian deity. God is printed in capitals because 
it represents the Divine name YHWH, written in the Hebrew 
MSS. with the vowels of Elohim, as a direction to the reader 
to read Elohim, and not to attempt to pronounce YHWH. 
Hence we should translate O Lord Yahweh. The phrase, 
therefore, is different from the Yahweh Elohim of chapters ii, iii, 
which the English Version renders by LORD God V The phrase 
Adonay Yahweh is only found in the Pentateuch here and Deut. 
iii. 24, ix. 26, but is not uncommon elsewhere, especially in Amos 
and Esekiel. 

I go (R. V. marg. go hence ) childless. The meaning is 
that suggested by R. V. marg. I go hence, out of this life, 
childless. To the ancient Israelite the honour and prosperity 
of his children took the place which is filled for the modern 
Christian by anticipations of personal happiness in a future life. 

he that shall be possessor of my house, &c. : i. e. my heir. 

1 RJE. a Gen. xx. 7. 

3 Ps. iii. 3, &c. ; also Deut. xxxiii. 29. * Cf. on Gen. ii. 4. 



200 GENESIS 15. 3-9. J(E) 

3 Dammesek Eliezer ? And Abram said, Behold, to me 
thou hast given no seed : and, lo, one born in my house 

4 is mine heir. And, behold, the word of the LORD came 
unto him, saying, This man shall not be thine heir ; but 
he that shall come forth out of thine own bowels shall be 

5 thine heir. And he brought him forth abroad, and said, 
Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be 
able to tell them : and he said unto him, So shall thy 

6 seed be. And he believed in the LORD ; and he counted 

7 it to him for righteousness. And he said unto him, I am 
the LORD that brought thee out of Ur of the Chaldees, to 

8 give thee this land to inherit it. And he said, O Lord 

9 GOD, whereby shall I know that I shall inherit it ? And 
he said unto him, Take me an heifer of three years old, 
and a she-goat of three years old, and a ram of three 

Failing a son or other natural heir, a favourite slave sometimes 
inherited, the slave being- a member of the family and sharing 
in the religious rites of the family. 

But the Hebrew of the latter half of the verse, as it stands, is 
unintelligible, because it has been incorrectly copied. It is not 
possible now to discover exactly what was original!} written, 
but the Revised Version is probably a successful conjecture as 
to what the author must have meant. 

Dammesek Eliezer. Cf. the preceding note. The Syriac 
Version has Eliezer the Damascene. Eliczcr is only mentioned 
here, but cf. on xiv. 14. Eliezer and the closely similar Elcazar 
are the names of several persons in the Old Testament. 

D. tell the stars. Tell = count ; the vision was at ni^ht. 

G. He believsd in the LORD, , v ; c. This is St. Paul s chief 
proof-text 1 for his doctrine of justification by faith. If Abram 
was counted righteous justified because he believed, long before 
the Mosaic Law existed, the observance of that Law could not 
be necessary to justification. St. James* connects this text with 
the obedience of Abram as the indispensable condition of 
living faith. The Epistle, to the Hebrews connects Abram s 
faith with the departure from Haran and the offering up of 
Isaac. 

1 Rom. iv. 3 ; Gal. iii. 6. 2 Jas. ii. 23. 3 Heb. xi. S, 17. 



GENESIS 15. 10-13. J(E) 201 

years old, and a turtledove, and a young pigeon. And 10 
he took him all these, and divided them in the midst, 
and laid each half over against the other : but the birds 
divided he not. And the birds of prey came down upon n 
the carcases, and Abram drove them away. And when 12 
the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram ; 
and, lo, an horror of great darkness fell upon him. And 13 
he said unto Abram, Know of a surety that thy seed 
shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall 
serve them ; and they shall afflict them four hundred 

1O. divided them in the midst, &c. This and the subsequent 
proceedings in this chapter are the ritual by which a covenant 
was concluded. So in Jer. xxxiv. 18 we read of a covenant made 
before Yahweh when they cut the calf in twain and passed 
between the parts thereof. We read that when the Macedonian 
arni3 in Asia mutinied after the death of Alexander the mutiny 
was put an end to by an agreement, and that, to ratify this, 
the contracting parties passed between the two halves of the 
carcass of a dog. The meaning of the ritual may be illustrated 
from the siory of the Horatii and Curiatii. When the compact for 
their combat was being made the herald prayed that if Rome 
were false to the treaty Jupiter might smite Rome as the herald 
smote the pig, only more violently, in proportion to his greater 
power 1 . 

The animals enumerated are all such as could be offered in 
sacrifice. 

12. when tlie sun was going down. It was already night in 
verses i and f,, and there is nothing to suggest that a day has 
intervened. This is another indication that the chapter has been 
compiled from two independent narratives, one of which (prob 
ably Ej referred to the vision and the countless stars, and the 
other (probably J) to the setting sun in this verse. 

a deep sleep : a supernatural trance. The Hebrew word is 
the same as that used for the deep sleep into which Adam was 
cast before his rib was shaped into Eve. 

an horror of great darkness: a premonition of the coming 
manifestation of Yahweh. 

13, 14. A prediction of the bondage in Egypt and the 
Exodus. 

four hxindred years : obviously a round number, probably 

1 Li-vy, i. 24, ap. Holzinger. 



202 GENESIS 15. 14-17. J(E) 

14 years ; and also that nation, whom they shall serve, will 
I judge : and afterward shall they come out with great 

15 substance. But thou shalt go to thy fathers in peace; 

16 thou shalt be buried in a good old age. And in the 
fourth generation they shall come hither again : for the 

1 7 iniquity of the Amorite is not yet full. And it came to 
pass, that, when the sun went down, and it was dark, 
behold a smoking furnace, and a flaming torch that 

derived from ancient tradition. In Exod. xii. 40 the period is 
given as 430 years ; but the Septuagint alters the verse so as 
to make the 430 years the period from the arrival of Abram in 
Canaan to the Exodus ; and this view seems to have been very 
widely held amongst the Jews in New Testament times. Besides 
the Septuagint it is found in the Samaritan Pentateuch, in one 
passage of josephus 1 , and in Gal. iii. 17. 

14. -with great substance, possibly a reference to the 
spoiling of the Egyptians, Exod. xii. 35. 36. 

15. go to tliy fathers in peace cannot mean here be 
buried with thy fathers, for the fathers were buried at Haran 
and Ur. The phrase may be merely conventional ; or may 
refer to Abram joining his fathers in Sheol, the abode of the 
dead, where, according to the ideas of ancient Israel, the dead 
still existed in a dim, ghostlike half-life. 

a good old age : 165 years, xxv. 7. 

16. fourth generation: about 120 years, inconsistent with 
the 400 years of verse 13 ; another trace of compilation from 
independent narratives. 

tlie Amorite : the Elohistic Document (E\ of which (.his 
verse is a fragment, uses Amorite as a general term for the 
inhabitants of Canaan. 

1?. a smoking furnace and a naming torch. Yahwch passes 
between the halves of the divided carcasses, and His presence is 
indicated by a lurid appearance of mingled smoke and fire ; cf. 
Exod. xix. 18. Mount Sinai was altogether on smoke, because 
Yahweh descended upon it in fire : and the smoke thereof 
ascended as the smoke of a furnace ; xxiv. 17, the appearance of 
the glory of Yahweh was like devouring fire ; Ps. xviii. 8 : 
There went up a smoke out of his nostrils, 
And fire out of his mouth devoured. 

1 Elsewhere he follows the Hebrew text of Exod. xii. 40 ; Acts 
vii. 6 follows Genesis. 



GENESIS 15. is-ai. J(E) 203 

passed between these pieces. In that day the LORD 18 
made a covenant with Abram, saying, Unto thy seed 
have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the 
great river, the river Euphrates : the Kenite, and the 19 
Kenizzite, and the Kadmonite, and the Hittite, and the 20 
Perizzite, and the Rephaim, and the Amorite, and the 21 
Canaanite, and the Girgashite, and the Jebusite. 

18. the XiOKB made a covenant: lYahweh, by thus con 
descending to observe the ritual by which men ratified covenants, 
declared in the most emphatic way that He had entered into 
a solemn compact with Abram. The narrative, as so often in J, 
is anthropomorphic in form. The Hebrew translated made 
a covenant is literally cut a covenant, in reference to the 
ritual. 

tho river of Egypt must mean here what is commonly 
called the brook of Egypt," the Wady el Arish, the boundary 
between Egypt and the desert south of Palestine. 

19-21. This list is probably an insertion of a Deuteronomic 
editor 1 ; it is unusually full ten names and yet, for the most 
part, it is confined to the peoples of Western Palestine, and omits 
those dwelling between the Jordan and the Euphrates. Cf. x. 
15, 16. 

19. Kenite: originally a nomad tribe of the south of Palestine, 
first allied with and afterwards absorbed in Israel. Probably in 
one tradition Cain, Qayin, was the eponymous ancestor of the 
Kenites, Qeynt. 

Kenizzite: in xxxvi. u, &c., Kenaz is a clan of Edom ; in 
Joshua xv. 17 the ancestor of Caleb and Othniel ; i. e. Kenaz is an 
Israelite clan. Either Kenaz was a clan of Southern Palestine, 
some families of which were absorbed in Edom, and some in 
Israel ; or it was an Edomite clan, afterwards absorbed in Israel. 

Kadmonite : the men of the East ; only here ; but the bn!>- 
Kcdan, the children of the East, appear in Judges vi. 3 as allies 
of Midian and Amalek. In a very obscure passage. Ezck. xxv. 
3-1 r, they appear, as it seems, as enemies of Edom, Ammon, 
and Moab. Probably the Kadmonites were inhabitants of the 
eastern desert, cf. Kedemah, xxv. 15. 
SO. Hittite : see on Helh, x. 15. 

Ferizzite : see xiii. 7. 

Rephaim : see xiv. 5. 

21. Amorite . . . Canaanite . . . Girgashite . . . Jebnsite. 
See x. 15-20. 

1 See p. 13. 



204 GENESIS 16. 1-3 PJP 

16 [P] Now Sarai Abram s wife bare him no children : 
[J] and she had an handmaid, an Egyptian, whose name 

2 was Hagar. And Sarai said unto Abram, Behold now, 
the LORD hath restrained me from bearing ; go in, I pray 
thee, unto my handmaid ; it may be that I shall obtain 
children by her. And Abram hearkened to the voice 

3 of Sarai. [P] And Sarai Abram s wife took Hagar the 
Egyptian, her handmaid, after Abram had dwelt ten 

xvi. THE FLIGHT OF HAGAR. (Compiled from P and J. Cf. on 
chapter xxi.) 

i a . Priestly Document. Sarai childless. 

i b, 2. Primitive Document. Sarai, being childless, induces 
Abram to take Hagar as a concubine. 

1. an Egyptian whose name was Hagar. Hagar is the 
eponymous ancestress of the Hagrites or Hagarenes -, who are 
coupled in Ps. Ixxxiii with Edom, Moab, and Ishmael. The 
Hagarenes were a nomad Arab tribe, wandering in the deserts 
east of Jordan at the time wh^n the later O. T. writers were 
acquainted with them. The statement that Hagar was an 
Egyptian would imply that this tribe, and possibly also Ishmael, 
originated in, or, at any rate, migrated at some time from Egypt. 
It is stated, however, that there was an Arabian state, occupying 
portions of Northern Arabia and Syria, called Mncr. The 
Hebrew word translated Egyptian is Micrith and it is sug 
gested 3 that this word means here woman of Mucr. It is more 
natural to connect the Arabian tribes of Hagar and Ishmael with 
a district of Arabia than with Egypt. 

2. The LORD hath restrained me. The O. T. recognizes the 
hand of God in all the events of nature and history, and does 
not limit the Divine activity to special providences. 

go in ... unto my handmaid. Any female slave might be 
the concubine of her master ; but slaves owned by a wife could 
only become concubines by her permission. 

I shall obtain children by her. Hebrew: be buildcd by 
her. Childlessness was a sore disgrace to an Israelite woman, 
and the suggested expedient would technically mitigate the shame. 

3. Priestly Document. Sarai induces Abram to take Hngcir as 
a concubine. 

1 As far as children. 

a Ps. Ixxxiii. 6; i Chron. v. 10, 19, 20, xxvii. 31 ; Baruch, iii. 23. 

3 Winckler, quoted with approval by Gunkel. 



GENESIS 16. 4-7. PJ 205 

years in the land of Canaan, and gave her to Abram her 
husband to be his wife. [J] And he went in unto Hagar, 4 
and she conceived : and when she saw that she had con 
ceived, her mistress was despised in her eyes. And Sarai 5 
said unto Abram, My wrong be upon thee : I gave my 
handmaid into thy bosom ; and when she saw that she 
had conceived, I was despised in her eyes : the LORD 
judge between me and thee. But Abram said unto 6 
Sarai, Behold, thy maid is in thy hand ; do to her that 
which is good in thine eyes. And Sarai dealt hardly 
with her, and she fled from her face. And the angel of the 7 
LORD found her by a fountain of water in the wilderness, by 

4-8. Primitive Document. Hagar conceives, and despises Sarai. 
Sarai complains to Abram, and chastises Hagar, who flees to the 
wilderness, where an angel appears to her. 

5. My wrong be upon thee : i. e. thou art responsible for the 
wrong done to me, and ought to suffer for it. Sarai blames her 
husband for the consequences of what she herself had asked him 
to do, a phenomenon not unknown in monogamous households. 
The special features of the case, however, illustrate the draw 
backs of polygamy. 

6. do to her that which is good in thine eyes. As Hagar 
was Sarai s slave she was at the mercy of her mistress, and 
Abram could hardly interfere between them. 

dealt hardly with her: Hebrew, humbled her, probably 
a euphemism for corporal chastisement, cf. Exodus xxi. 20 ; 
according to Dillmann, however, Sarai humbled Hagar by her 
harsh manner and the imposition of hard work. 

7. the angel of the LCH.D. The term angel, lit. messenger, 
occurs here for the first time. These messengers often appear 
in the form of men 1 ; Nothing is said as to the origin of these 
beings, and attention is directed to their functions rather than 
their nature. . . . The Angel of Yahweh ... is at one time 
identified with Yahweh, and at another distinguished from Him * 
. . . and is, therefore, almost rather a theophany or divine mani 
festation than a messenger 3 . 

1 Gen. xviii. 2, xix. i. 

" Cf. verse 13 and Judges vi. n, 12, 20, 21 with 14, 16, 23, and xiii. 
15-21 with 22, 23. 
3 W. H. Bennett, Theology of the Old Testament, pp. 107 f. 



2o6 GENESIS 16. 8-i.>. JRJ 

8 the fountain in the way to Shur. And he said, Hagar, Sarai s 
handmaid, whence earnest thou ? and whither goest thou ? 
And she said, I flee from the face of my mistress Sarai. 

9 [R] And the angel of the LORD said unto her, Return to thy 
jo mistress, and submit thyself under her hands. And the 

angel of the LORD said unto her, I will greatly multiply 
thy seed, that it shall not be numbered for multitude. 

11 [J] And the angel of the LORD said unto her, Behold, 
thou art with child, and shalt bear a son ; and thou shalt 
call his name Ishmael, because the LORD hath heard thy 

12 affliction. And he shall be as a wild-ass among men ; 
his hand shall be against every man, and every man s 
hand against him ; and he shall dwell in the presence of 

Shur: the wilderness between Egypt and Palestine, 
perhaps named after the shor or wall, the frontier fortifications 
of Egypt. Whether Hagar was an Egyptian or a Mu.rite she 
was on her way home. 

9, 10. Editorial Addition. The angel bids Hagar re/tint to her 
mistress, and promises tier a numerous posterity. Originally the 
primitive fj) sections of this chapter narrated the final flight of 
Hagar ; we are never told that Hagar went back. Verse 15, in 
which Hagar is found with Abram, belongs to P, which ignores 
the Flight. See below. Ch. xxi. 5-21 is the alternative account 
of the Flight of Hagar given by the Elohistic Document, which 
placed the event at a later stage of the histo^, see on xxi. 
Notice that each of the three verses 9, 10, n begins with the 
angel of Yahweh said, though neither any reply of Hagar s, nor 
anything else, interrupts the angel s words. 

11-14. Primitive Document. The angel foretells tlie lirth and 
niode of life of Ishmael. On account of the Theophany, Hagar 
names the well zuhere the angel found her Bcer-lcthai-roi. 

11. Ishmael, because the LOSX> hath heard. Ishmael means 
God heareth : Ishmael is the eponymous ancestor of a large 
number of Arabian tribes. 

affliction: lit. humbling, the same root as the dealt 
hardly in verse 6. 

12. This verse is a vivid description of the life of the nomad 
Arabs, even in the present day. 

in the presence of all his brethren: R. V. marg. over 
against expresses the meaning more forcibly. His attitude 
would always be one of independent self-assertion, or even 



GENESIS 16. 13, 14. J 207 

all his brethren. And she called the name of the LORD 13 
that spake unto her, Thou art a God that seeth : for 
she said, Have I even here looked after him that seeth 
me ? Wherefore the well was called Beer-lahai-roi ; 14 

defiance. The other R. V. marg. to the east of is less likely ; 
Ishmael was south-east rather than east of the other Abrahamic 
tribes. 

brethren : kinsfolk. Ishmael s brothers in the strict 
sense were Isaac and Abram s sons by Keturah, xxv. 1-4. 

13. the ZiORD that spake unto her : note that the angel of 
Yahweh is here spoken of as Yahweh, cf. on verse 7. 

Thon art a God that seeth, &c. R. V. marg.. Thou God 
seest me ; the Hebrew for a God that seeth is El-roi, which is 
apparently intended to mean God of seeing. The Hebrew of 
this clause and of the rest of the verse is unintelligible as it 
stands. This clause can hardly be the original form of the 
Divine name, which was probably El-roi or El-lahai-roi, i. e. the 
well and the deity were once named ai ter a place Lahai-roi, cf. 
below. But the story, as J told it, probably gave the name El-roi, 
God of Vision or seeing, i. e. Whom one may see and live. 

Have I even here looked after him that seeth me ? unin 
telligible. A slight emendation 1 gives, Have I even seen God 
and survived ? The author must have written words intended to 
convey some such meaning. That a man should be suffered to 
see God and live was a mark of especial favour ; thus Manoah said 
to his wife, We shall surely die, because we have seen God 2 . 

14. Beer-lahai-roi. R. V. marg. i. e. The well of the living 
one who seeth me, a meaning which does not suit the context. 
By a slight alteration we get the more suitable reading, Well of 
living (i. e. continuing to live) after seeing (God), which gives 
a sense obviously required by the previous verse. 

In the story of Samson => we have a place called Lehi (jaw 
bone) ; probably the lahai here was originally lehi, and rot an 
obsolete word, the name of some animal, perhaps an antelope. 
A hill might be called Lehi-roi, Jawbone of the antelope, from 
its shape ; hence the name of the neighbouring well, Beer-lehi-rm, 
and of the tutelary spirit of the well, El-lehi-roi. So in xxxv. 8 
we have El-beth-el. Naturally the author of the Primitive Docu- 

1 Thus: 

Heb. Text Hgm him r ythy hry r y 

Emendation Hgm h lhym r ythy w hy 

so Ball, Genesis, in Sacred Books of the Old Testament. 

3 Judges xiii. 22 : cf. Gen. xxxii. 30 ; Kx. iii. 5, xix. 21, xxiv. 10, 1 1, 
xxxiii. 20; i Sam. vi. 19. 3 Judges xv. 17-20. 



2o8 GENESIS 16. 151?. 2. J P 

15 behold, it is between Kadesh and Bered. [P] And Hagar 
bare Abram a son : and Abram called the name of his 

16 son, which Hagar bare, Ishmael. And Abram was four 
score and six years old, when Hagar bare Ishmael to 
Abram. 

17 And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the 
LORD appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am God 

2 Almighty; walk before me, and be thou perfect. And 

ment gives a more religious interpretation to the name and con 
nects it with the incidents in the story of Hagar. Beer-lahai-roi 
was a sacred well, no doubt with a sanctuary attached. Its 
position is defined as between Kadesh and Bered, i. e. in the 
wilderness to the south of Palestine. For Kadesh see on xiv. 7 ; 
Bered is not mentioned anywhere else, and its position is not 
known. Beer-lahai-roi is sometimes identified with A:n Mmvcileh, 
twelve miles to the west of Kadesh. 

15, 16. Priestly Document. When Abram is ciglity-six Hagar 
bears a son, whom Abram names Ishmael. 

15. Abram called ths name of his son. The father names 
the child, cf. iv. i, 17, 25 ; v. 3. 

xvii. GOD S COVENANT OF CIRCUMCISION WITH ABRAM. (Priestly 
Document) l . 

1-14. El-Shaddai appears to Abram ; changes his name to 
Abraham ; covenants to make him the ancestor of many nations 
and to give Canaan to his descendants ; and ordains circumcision 
as the sign of the covenant. 

15-22. God changes Sarai s name to Sarah, and promises 
that she shall have a son. Ishmael shall have a blessing of his 
own ; but God s covenant is with Isaac, the son to be born to 
Sarah. 

23-27. Abraham and all his household are circumcised. 

1. the IiOJ&D, i. e. Yahweh. The presence of this name in the 
Priestly Document is doubtless due to an editor, or to the care 
lessness of a copyist. 

God Almighty. Heb. El-Shaddai ; in Exod. vi. 3 the 
Priestly Document (P) tells us that God was not known to the 
patriarchs as Yahweh, but as El-Shaddai. Accordingly P often 
uses El-Shaddai as a divine name in Genesis 2 . The name is 
most common in Job, where it occurs thirty-one times. Outside 
of Genesis, however, we have simply Shaddai. Most of the 

1 See on verse i. a Gen. xxviii. 3, xxxv. 1 1, xliii. 14, xlviii. 3. 



GENESIS 17. 3-8. P 209 

I will make my covenant between me and thee. and will 
multiply thee exceedingly. And Ab ram fell on his face : 3 
and God talked with him, saying, As for me, behold, my 4 
covenant is with thee, and thou shalt be the father of 
a multitude of nations. Neither shall thy name any 5 
more be called Abram, but thy name shall be Abraham ; 
for the father of a multitude of nations have I made thee. 
And I will make thee exceeding fruitful, and I will make 6 
nations of thee, and kings shall come out of thee. And 7 
I will establish my covenant between me and thee and 
thy seed after thee throughout their generations for an 
everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee and to thy 
seed after thee. And I will give unto thee, and to thy $ 

occurrences are in exilic or post-exilic literature ; the only certain 
exceptions being xlix. 25, in the Blessing of Jacob, and Numbers 
xxiv. 4, 16, in the oracles of Balaam. 

In some passages the Septuagint renders Shaddai by the 
Almighty. The derivation and meaning of the word are un 
known ; it has been variously explained as the Destroyer, the 
Exalted, He Who is sufficient, &c., &c. 
walk before me. See v. 22. 

and foe thou perfect : rather, so shalt thou be perfect. 
4 Perfect may be equivalent to our blameless, i. e. of high 
character and upright conduct, and not absolutely free from sin 
in such a phrase as a man of blameless life. Others explain it, 
that thou mayest escape reproach or punishment. 

Z. covenant: cf. vi. 18 and ch. xv. Here, however, Elohim 
does not observe anthropomorphic ritual ; and the covenant is 
not a compact between Him and Abraham, but a spontaneous 
declaration of the Divine will. 

4. a multitude of nations : the Arab tribes descended from 
Ishmacl, and from Abram s sons by Keturah, Edom (Esau), and 
Israel. 

5. Abram . . . Abraham. The change of name is a sign of 
the covenant, a token that the patriarch enters on a new period 
of his life, in which he is to enjoy higher privileges. For Abram 
see on xi. 26. There is no certain explanation of the form 
Abraham ; probably it is only another way of spelling Abram. 
The text indeed explains Abraham as meaning the father, ab, 
of a multitude, hawoH, of nations : but this is impossible as an 
etymology it docs not account for the R. 



210 GENESIS 17.9-15. P 

seed after thce, the land of thy sojournings, all the land 

of Canaan, for an everlasting possession ; and I will be 

9 their God. And God said unto Abraham, And as for 

thee, thou shalt keep my covenant, thou, and thy seed 

10 after thee throughout their generations. This is my 
covenant, which ye shall keep, between me and you and 
thy seed after thee ; every male among you shall be 

11 circumcised. And ye shall be circumcised in the flesh 
of your foreskin ; and it shall be a token of a covenant 

12 betwixt me and you. And he that is eight days old shall 
be circumcised among you, every male throughout your 
generations, he that is born in the house, or bought with 

13 money of any stranger, which is not of thy seed. He 
that is born in thy house, and he that is bought with thy 
money, must needs be circumcised : and my covenant 

14 shall be in your flesh for an everlasting covenant. And 
the uncircumcised male who is not circumcised in the 
flesh of his foreskin, that soul shall be cut off from his 
people ; he hath broken my covenant. 

15 And God said unto Abraham, As for Sarai thy wife, 
thou shalt not call her name Sarai, but Sarah shall her 

1O. circumcised. Circumcision is a ver> widespread custom. 
It was practised in the ancient East not only by Israel, but also 
by the Egyptians, the Arabs, Edom, Ammon, and Moab, and by 
all the peoples of Canaan except the Philistines. It was, as the 
Biblical narrative implies, a ritual tribal mark. 

12. he that is born ... or bought. Slaves were considered 
to belong to the family, and shared the family sacra, or religious 
rites, duties, and privileges. 

14. that soul shall be cut off from his people. It is not 
certain whether this phrase denotes capital punishment or 
ecclesiastical excommunication probably accompanied by banish 
ment. 

15. Sarai , . . Sarah. Sarah means princess. For Sarai 
see on xi. 29, and for the change of name, on verse 5. Sarah is 
thus honoured as the mother of the ancestor of the Chosen 
People. 



GENESIS 17. 16-25. P 211 

name be. And I will bless her, and moreover I will give 16 
thee a son of her : yea, I will bless her, and she shall be 
a mother of nations ; kings of peoples shall be of her. 
Then Abraham fell upon his face, and laughed, and said 17 
in his heart, Shall a child be born unto him that is an 
hundred years old ? and shall Sarah, that is ninety years 
old, bear? And Abraham said unto God, Oh that 18 
Ishmael might live before thee ! And God said, Nay, 19 
but Sarah thy wife shall bear thee a son ; and thou shalt 
call his name Isaac : and I will establish my covenant 
with him for an everlasting covenant for his seed after 
him. And as for Ishmael, I have heard thee : behold, 20 
I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will 
multiply him exceedingly ; twelve princes shall he beget, 
and I will make him a great nation. But my covenant 21 
will I establish with Isaac, which Sarah shall bear unto 
thee at this set time in the next year. And he left off 2 2 
talking with him, and God went up from Abraham. 
And Abraham took Ishmael his son, and all that were 23 
born in his house, and all that were bought with his 
money, every male among the men of Abraham s house, 
and circumcised the flesh of their foreskin in the selfsame 
day, as God had said unto him. And Abraham was 24 
ninety years old and nine, when he was circumcised in 
the flesh of his foreskin. And Ishmael his son was 25 
thirteen years old, when he was circumcised in the flesh 

17. and laughed : tuay-yif/iaq, the first of many instances 
where the writers play upon the name of Isaac (yif/tay}. 

19. Isaac : he who laughs, the laugher, cf. above. Possibly 
Isaak is a contraction of Yichaq-el, l El laughs. Isaac has been 
regarded by some as the name of a deity, afterwards perhaps 
transferred to the tribes which worshipped him. 

20. twelve princes. As Israel had twelve tribes. These 
princes or tribes are enumerated in xxv. 13-16. 

21. at this set time in the next year : i. c. a year hence. 

P 2 



212 GENESIS 17. 2618. r. PJ 

26 of his foreskin. In the selfsame day was Abraham 

27 circumcised, and Ishmael his son. And all the men of 
his house, those born in the house, and those bought 
with money of the stranger, were circumcised with him. 

18 [Jj And the LORD appeared unto him by the oaks of 
Mamre, as he sat in the tent door in the heat of the day ; 

2 and he lift up his eyes and looked, and, lo, three men 
stood over against him : and when he saw them, he ran 
to meet them from the tent door, and bowed himself to 

3 the earth, and said, My lord, if now I have found favour 
in thy sight, pass not away, I pray thee, from thy servant : 

4 let now a little water be fetched, and wash your feet, and 

5 rest yourselves under the tree : and I will fetch a morsel 
of bread, and comfort ye your heart ; after that ye shall 

xviii. 1-15. THE PREDICTION OF THE BIRTH OF ISAAC. (Primi 
tive Document.) 

1-8. Three men visit Abraham and are entertained by him. 

9-15. They announce that Sarah shall bear a son. Sarah 
laughs, and is rebuked by Yahweh. 

1. Tha ZjOBD appeared unto him: i. e. Yahweh was one of 
the three men in verse 2, cf. verses 13 ff. It is not quite clear 
at what point Abraham discovered that he was in the presence of 
Yahweh; perhaps when his Visitor showed that He could read 
the thoughts of Sarah, verse 13. The deference shown by 
the patriarch in verses 2 f. was the ordinary courtesy of 
Oriental hospitality towards a distinguished guest. 

the oaks of Mamre : where Abraham was sojourning ac 
cording to this document, see xiii. 18. 

2. stood over against him : expecting an offer of hospitality. 

3. My lord l : the one of three who seemed to be the chief, 
i.e. Yahweh, whom, however. Abraham does not recognize as 
such. The margin, O Lord 5 , follows the vowels added by the 
Massoretic editors ", and implies that Abraham did recognize 
Yahweh at this point. 

4. the tree: cf. verse r. 

5. a morsel of bread : courteous depreciation of the generous 
hospitality which was to be shown. 

1 Adoni. 3 Adonay. 3 See p. 44. 



GENESIS 18. 6-ia. J 213 

pass on : forasmuch as ye are come to your servant. 
And they said, So do, as thou hast said. And Abraham 6 
hastened into the tent unto Sarah, and said, Make ready 
quickly three measures of fine meal, knead it, and make 
cakes. And Abraham ran unto the herd, and fetched 7 
a calf tender and good, and gave it unto the servant ; 
and he hasted to dress it. And he took butter, and 8 
milk, and the calf which he had dressed, and set it before 
them ; and he stood by them under the tree, and they 
did eat. And they said unto him, Where is Sarah thy 9 
wife ? And he said, Behold, in the tent. And he said, 10 
I will certainly return unto thee when the season cometh 
round ; and, lo, Sarah thy wife shall have a son. And 
Sarah heard in the tent door, which was behind him. 
Now Abraham and Sarah were old, and well stricken in i r 
age ; it had ceased to be with Sarah after the manner of 
women. And Sarah laughed within herself, saying, u 
After I am waxed old shall I have pleasure, my lord 



forasmuch as : R. V. marg. for therefore. 

6. measures : the measure, or scah, was the third part of the 
ephah, and was equal to about a peck and a half. 

fine meal. The two Hebrew words l thus translated are 
names of two different kinds of meal. Probably the second was 
ndded as a correction of the first. The soktli, or finer kind of 
flour, was prescribed by the Priestly Document 2 for use in 
offerings to Yahweh ; hence its introduction here by some late 
editor. 

3. butter 3 : rather soured milk, a very common food amongst 
the Arabs. 

1O. when the season cometh round : Heb. liveth or 
reviveth ; probably a year hence, as in xvii. 21. 

12. Sarah laughed : a foreshadowing of the name Isaac, as 
in xvii. 17 (which see), where Abraham laughs. Here the laughter 
is emphasized by being made the subject of a discussion. 



Qemah, soleth. 2 Lev. ii 2, &r. 

3 Hem ah. 



214 GENESIS 18. r 3 -i6. J 

13 being old also? And the LORD said unto Abraham, 
Wherefore did Sarah laugh, saying, Shall I of a surety 

14 bear a child, which am old ? Is any thing too hard for 
the LORD ? At the set time I will return unto thee, when 
the season cometh round, and Sarah shall have a son. 

15 Then Sarah denied, saying, I laughed not ; for she was 
afraid. And he said, Nay ; but thou didst laugh. 

1 6 And the men rose up from thence, and looked toward 

13. the LOUD said. These words identify the chief of the 
three men with Yahweh. 

14. too hard. R. V. marg. wonderful. 

At the set time, &c. Cf. xvii. 21. xviii. 10. 

15. Sarah denied. Cf. xii. 12 f., 18 f. 

xviii. 16 xix. 38. THE DESTRUCTION OF SODOM AND GOMORRAH. 
(Primitive Document, except xiii. 29 = ?.) 

Primitive Document. 

xviii. 16-22. Yahweh announces to Abraham the coming 
destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. 

2 3~33- Abraham intercedes for Sodom, Yahweh promises that 
the city shall be spared if ten righteous men can be found in it. 

xix. 1-3. The two angels come to Sodom and are lodged by 
Lot. 

4 -ir. The men of the city desire to abuse the angels, and arc 
miraculously hindered. 

12-14. At the bidding of the angels Lot invites his sons-in-law 
to accompany him out of Sodom. They scoff. 

15-23. Lot and his family escape to Zoar. 

24, 25. Yahweh destroys the cities of the plain with fire and 
brimstone. 

26. Lot s wife looks behind her, and is turned into a pillar of 
salt. 

27, 28. Abraham 9ees the smoke of the burning cities. 

Priestly Document. 

29. God destroys the cities of the plain, but spares Lot for 
Abraham s sake. 

Primitive Document. 

30-38. The origin of Moab and Ammon. 

Origin. &c., of the Story of LU. No trace of this story lias yet 
been found in the inscriptions ; it may be a local narrative which 
originated in the conviction that the awful desolation of the Dead 



GENESIS 18. 17, 1 8. J 215 

Sodom : and Abraham went with them to bring them on 
the way. And the LORD said, Shall I hide from Abraham 1 7 
that which I do ; seeing that Abraham shall surely become 18 
a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the 

Sea and its shores must have been caused by a Divine visitation, 
some terrible judgement for sin. The form of the catastrophe, 
the raining of fire and brimstone, may have been suggested by 
conflagrations of the bitumen which is found in the neighbour 
hood. It has been supposed that tl:e Dead Sea was formed as a 
result of this catastrophe ; but the geology of the district shows 
that the sea is much older than any period to which the narrative 
could refer. The shallow southern end of the sea may have once 
been dry land ; but it seems clear that the cities of the plain must 
have been at the northern end they could be seen from Hebron, 
xix. 27, 28. The overthrow of Sodom and Gomorrah is con 
stantly cited in the Bible as the typical instance of Divine judge 
ment. Hos. xi. 8 compared with Gen. x. 19 and Deut. xxix. 23 
suggests that there was an alternative form of the story in which 
the cities overthrown were Admah and Zeboim, see on x. 19. 
The account of Lot s hospitality and its consequences may be 
a case of ascribing to a historical character an experience some 
what familiar in ordinary life ; there is a very similar story of 
a Levite and his concubine in Judges xix. It has been pointed 
out that this passage is similar to a well-known Greek legend * : 
Zeus and Hermes were wandering in Phrygia in human form (like 
the three men ), and for some time sought hospitality in vain, 
till at last they were hospitably received by an aged peasant 
named Philemon and his wife Baucis. The gods rewarded their 
hosts by changing their cottage into a splendid temple, and sent 
floods which drowned their churlish neighbours. 

A late echo of the story of Lot has been met with in Persia. 
The great Persian desert is called Dasht-i-lut, or, more correctly, 
Lut. We are told that, as regards the term Lut, in the great 
desert the guides point out one or more Shahr-i-Lut, or Cities of 
Lot, which are in reality freaks of nature ! They explain that the 
Almighty destroyed them by fire from heaven, as was the case 
wiih the cities above which now roll the waters of the Dead 
Sea 2 . 

16. Sodom : see above. 

17 1O and 22 6-33 a, from but Abraham stood yet ... to 
left communing with. Abraham, are sometimes regarded as later 



1 As told, for instance, in Ovid s Metamorphoses, viii. 611-724. 
* Ten Thousand Miles in Persia, by Major P. M. Sykes, p. 32. 

* 



2i6 GENESIS 18. 19-23. J 

19 earth shall be blessed in him? For I have known him, 
to the end that he may command his children and his 
household after him, that they may keep the way of the 
LORD, to do justice and judgement ; to the end that the 
LORD may bring upon Abraham that which he hath 

ao spoken of him. And the LORD said, Because the cry of 
Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is 

ai very grievous; I will go down now, and see whether 
they have done altogether according to the cry of it, 

32 which is come unto me; and if not, I will know. And 
the men turned from thence, and went toward Sodom : 

33 but Abraham stood yet before the LORD. And Abraham 

additions to the original story. If so xix. in, And the two 
angels came to Sodom at even, will also be an insertion. 

18. shall be blessed in him. Cf. xii. 3. 

19. X have known hint : known, approved, and chosen, 
recognized, cf. Amos iii. 2. 

to the end that the LORD may bring 1 upon Abraham that 
Which he hath spoken : an illustration of the principle that many 
of the predictions recorded in the Old Testament were not absolute, 
but depended on the conduct of those to whom they referred. 
Cf. Jonah iii. 1-4, 10. 

20. because . . . because: R. V. marg. verily . . . verily. 
the cry of Sodom, &c. The cities are personified, and 

thought of as crying to God to punish the sins of their inhabitants. 
For Gomorrah see above. 

their sin : illustrated in xix. 

21. I will gfo down now, and see : anthropomorphic lan 
guage after the style of this document. 

22. But Abraham stood yet before the LOUD. The men, 
according to the usage in the previous part of the narrative, 
should be the three men including Yahweh. There is no intima 
tion that Yahweh had separated from his companions, cf. on 17- 
19. If, however, we take the story as it stands, we gather that at 
this point Yahweh separated Himself from the two men, who 
went on to Sodom by themselves. According to an ancient 
Rabbinical authority, the Tikkttn Sopheriiit, or Corrections of the 
Scribes, this clause was originally but Yahweh stood yet before 
Abraham, and was altered to the present text because of the 
double sense of "stood before," whicli also means "stand at the 
service of." But it is not evidence of another reading, but only of 



GENESIS 18. 24-28. J 217 

drew near, and said, Wilt thou consume the righteous 
with the wicked ? Peradventure there be fifty righteous 24 
within the city : wilt thou consume and not spare the 
place for the fifty rightepus that are therein ? That be 25 
far from thee to do after this manner, to slay the righteous 
with the wicked, that so the righteous should be as the 
wicked ; that be far from thee : shall not the Judge of 
all the earth do right? And the LORD said, If I find in 26 
Sodom fifty righteous within the city, then I will spare 
all the place for their sake. And Abraham answered 27 
and said, Behold now, I have taken upon me to speak 
unto the Lord, which am but dust and ashes : peradven- 28 
ture there shall lack five of the fifty righteous : wilt thou 
destroy all the city for lack of five ? And he said, I will 

the offence which the Rabbinical writers took at the represen 
tation of a man detaining God instead of God detaining the man .* 

23. Wilt thou consume the righteous with the wicked? 
The older Israelite theology held that a man s fortunes were 
always exactly proportioned to his conduct, so that if a man 
suffered it was a clear proof that he had sinned. With the 
growth of sympathy, the development of the moral sense, and 
the enlarging of experience, it became more and more impos 
sible to hold this doctrine, and later books, e. g. Ezek. xviii. Job, 
Ps. Ixxiii, are much perplexed by the problem of the sufferings 
of the incident. If the intercession of Abraham is a later addition, 
it is probably meant to draw from the incident the moral that 
God s judgements carefully distinguish between the innocent and 
the guilty. It is clearly implied that the only righteous persons 
in Sodom were Lot and his family, and these were saved. The 
author does not seem to recognize the innocence of young children 
as the Book of Jonah does, where God gives as a special reason for 
his mercy to Nineveh that there were therein more than sixscore 
thousand persons that cannot discern between their right hand 
and their left hand ; and also much cattle. 

27. the Iiord: possibly my lord, as in verse 3; but more 
probably a divine name, the Adonay, which the vowel points of 
the Massoretic text direct us to read instead of Yahweh, cf. on 
ii. 4. 

1 Dillmann- 



218 GENESIS 18. 29 19. 3. J 

29 not destroy it, if I find there forty and five. And he 
spake unto him yet again, and said, Peradventure there 
shall be forty found there. And he said, I will not do it 

30 for the forty s sake. And he said, Oh let not the Lord 
be angry, and I will speak : peradventure there shall 
thirty be found there. And he said, I will not do it, if 

31 I find thirty there. And he said, Behold now, I have 
taken upon me to speak unto the Lord : peradventure 
there shall be twenty found there. And he said, I will 

32 not destroy it for the twenty s sake. And he said, Oh 
let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak yet but this 
once : peradventure ten shall be found there. And he 

33 said, I will not destroy it for the ten s sake. And the 
LORD went his way, as soon as he had left communing 
with Abraham : and Abraham returned unto his place. 

19 And the two angels came to Sodom at even ; and Lot 
sat in the gate of Sodom : and Lot saw them, and rose 
up to meet them ; and he bowed himself with his face to 

2 the earth ; and he said, Behold now, my lords, turn 
aside, I pray you, into your servant s house, and tarry all 
night, and wash your feet, and ye shall rise up early, and 
go on your way. And they said, Nay ; but we will abide 

3 in the street all night. And he urged them greatly ; and 
they turned in unto him, and entered into his house ; and 
he made them a feast, and did bake unleavened bread, 

33. his placo : Mamre near Hebron, sec verse i. 

xix. 1. and tha two angels : cf. xviii. 22, or perhaps read 
the men instead of the two angels. 

tlie gate: the public meeting-place in an eastern city, where 
strangers would expect to meet with a host. Lot s behaviour is 
simply the hospitality which an honourable sheikh would offer to 
distinguished guests. The sin of Sodom was aggravated by its 
gross violation of the rights of the guest, which were most sacred. 

2. wo will abide in the street : a mere form cf courtesy. 

3. unleavened : because made in haste. 



GENESIS 19. 4-14. J 219 

and they did eat. But before they lay down, the men 4 
of the city, even the men of Sodom, compassed the 
house round, both young and old, all the people from 
every quarter ; and they called unto Lot, and said unto 5 
him, Where are the men which came in to thee this night ? 
bring them out unto us, that we may know them. And 6 
Lot went out unto them to the door, and shut the door 
after him. And he said, I pray you, my brethren, do not 7 
so wickedly. Behold now, I have two daughters which 8 
have not known man ; let me, I pray you, bring them 
out unto you, and do ye to them as is good in your eyes : 
only unto these men do nothing ; forasmuch as they are 
come under the shadow of my roof. And they said, 9 
Stand back. And they said, This one fellow came in to 
sojourn, and he will needs be a judge : now will we deal 
worse with thee, than with them. And they pressed sore 
upon the man, even Lot, and drew near to break the door. 
But the men put forth their hand, and brought Lot into 10 
the house to them, and shut to the door. And they n 
smote the men that were at the door of the house with 
blindness, both small and great : so that they wearied 
themselves to find the door. And the men said unto Lot, 12 
Hast thou here any besides ? son in law, and thy sons, and 
thy daughters, and whomsoever thou hast in the city; 
bring them out of the place : for we will destroy this place, 13 
because the cry of them is waxen great before the LORD; 
and the LORD hath sent us to destroy it. And Lot went 14 
out, and spake unto his sons in law, which married his 

4. all the people from every quarter : perhaps intended to 
be taken literally there were none righteous, cf. xviii. 32. 

8. forasmuch: R.V. marg. for therefore. 

14. his sons in law, which married his daughters : 
better as R. V. marg. which were to marry. The narrative 
clearly implies that Lot s daughters were still living at home. 



220 GENESIS 19. 15-19. J 

daughters, and said, Up, get you out of this place; for 
the LORD will destroy the city. But he seemed unto his 

15 sons in law as one that mocked. And when the morning 
arose, then the angels hastened Lot, saying, Arise, take 
thy wife, and thy two daughters which are here ; lest thou 

1 6 be consumed in the iniquity of the city. But he lingered; 
and the men laid hold upon his hand, and upon the 
hand of his wife, and upon the hand of his two daughters ; 
the LORD being merciful unto him : and they brought 

17 him forth, and set him without the city. And it came to 
pass, when they had brought them forth abroad, that he 
said, Escape for thy life; look not behind thee, neither 
stay thou in all the Plain ; escape to the mountain, lest 

18 thou be consumed. And Lot said unto them, Oh, not 

19 so, my lord : behold now, thy servant hath found grace 
in thy sight, and thou hast magnified thy mercy, which 
thou hast shewed unto me in saving my life ; and I can 
not escape to the mountain, lest evil overtake me, and 



15. lest thou b9 consumed. It is implied that Yahweh 
had fixed a time beyond which the destruction of Sodom cotilj 
not be postponed ; probably sunrise next morning ; cf. verse 23. 
Unless Lot could be got out of the city before then he would 
perish. 

iniquity. R. V. marg. punishment. 

16. the LORD: perhaps implying that Yahweh was still with 
the men, cf. on 17-19, and 22. 

17. look not behind thee. Mortals may not look with 
impunity either upon Yahweh or upon His special judgements. 
Cf. on ii. 21, xv. 12, xvi. 13. 

the mountain : probably the highlands to the east of the 
Dead Sea. 

18. my lord: R. V. marg. O Lord. 

19. grace: favour. 

lest evil (R. V. marg. the evil") overtake me. If the catas 
trophe happened before he reached the refuge appointed for him, 
he would share the common ruin ; the mountain was distant, 
and he might not get there in time. Could not Yaluvch appoint 
him a nearer refuge ? 



GENESIS 19. 20-26. J 221 

I die : behold now, this city is near to flee unto, and it 20 
is a little one : Oh, let me escape thither, (is it not a 
little one ?) and my soul shall live. And he said unto 2 1 
him, See, I have accepted thee concerning this thing 
also, that I will not overthrow the city of which thou hast 
spoken. Haste thee, escape thither; for I cannot do 22 
any thing till thou be come thither. Therefore the name 
of the city was called Zoar. The sun was risen upon the 23 
earth when Lot came unto Zoar. Then the LORD rained 24 
upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire 
from the LORD out of heaven ; and he overthrew those 25 
cities, and all the Plain, and all the inhabitants of the 
cities, and that which grew upon the ground. But his 26 
wife looked back from behind him, and she became a 

2O. a little one. This city (see on verse 22) was to have 
perished with the other cities of the Plain, but Lot prays that it 
may be spared, to afford him a refuge it is only a small con 
cession. 

my soul : a misleading translation, the Hebrew (lit. my 
life ) simply means an emphatic I, or we might render, that 
my life may be spared. 

22. I cannot do any tiling- till thou be come thither. For 
a while the destroying angel stays his hand that Lot may escape 
but only for a while ; Lot would not have lingered indefinitely 
with impunity, cf. verse 15. 

Therefore the name of the city was called Zoar : i. e. 
little, cf. verse 20, and for the site of the city xiii. 10 and xiv. 8. 
24. See above, p. 214. Origin, &c. 

23. His wife looked back, &c. Cf. verse 17. Similarly in 
the Greek legend Orpheus visited Hades to bring his wife Eury- 
dicc back to the upper world. He obtained permission to do so 
on condition that he did not look round until he had left Hades. 
He violated the condition, and Eurydice had to remain. 

she became a pillar of salt. Josephus 1 and the Book of 
Wisdom a speak of this pillar as still existing ; and recently, at any 
rate, there was still standing 3 , on the hill of Usdum, at the south- 



1 Antiquities, I. xi. 4. 2 V/isdoin, x. 7. 

3 Lynch, Expedition to the Jordan and Dead Sea, p. 307, ap. 
Dillmann. 



222 GENESIS 19. 27,28. J 

37 pillar of salt. And Abraham gat up early in the morning 

28 to the place where he had stood before the LORD : and 

he looked toward Sodom and Gomorrah, and toward all 

the land of the Plain, and beheld, and, lo, the smoke of 

the land went up as the smoke of a furnace. 

west end of the Dead Sea, a high round pillar of crystalline salt 
about forty feet high. This may bo the pillar referred to by 
Josephus and Wisdom, and perhaps that which tradition had in 
view from the outset. If so, however, it would somewhat mili 
tate against the theory that the cities of the plain were at the 
northern end of the Dead Sea. According lo Dillmann, the 
legend originated in the existence of some pillar of rock-salt. 
According to Luke xvii. 28-32, our Lord cited the story of Lot as 
an illustration of the suddenness of the coming of the kingdom of 
God ; and concluded, let him that is in the field likewise not 
return back. Remember Lot s wife. This paragraph is not 
found in the parallel passages in Matthew and Mark, and may not 
have been part of our Lord s discourse. In any case, this casual 
reference must not be taken as an authoritative declaration by 
Christ that the turning of Lot s wife into a pillar of salt was 
an actual historical event. Dr. Plummer writes, Note that 
Christ says, " Remember," not Behold." Nothing that is in 
existence is appealed to, but only what has been told-. 

27. gat up early : a single word in the Hebrew ; the transla 
tion is misleading. Etymologically the word has nothing to do 
with early. In one way the rendering is correct, because in 
hot countries people get up at what we should consider an early 
hour in order to do tlicir work before the heat becomes intoler 
able. But the English Version gives the impression of unusually 
earty/ and this is wrong. With very few exceptions whenever 
we read of any one getting up, we are told according to the 
English Version that he got up early. Perhaps got up and 
dressed, though prosaic, would be a more exact rendering 3 . 

to the place, &c. Cf. xviii. 22. All the narrative indicates 
as to this place is that it was on the way from Hebron to Sodom, 
i. e. west of Hebron. 

28. the smoke of the land went up. This feature of the 
narrative may have been suggested by the fact that, owing to the 
rapid evaporation of the dense water, a mist continually hangs 
over the Dead Sea. 



1 Master of University College, Durham, in his Luke in the Inter 
national Critical Commentary. 

The italics are Dr. Plummcr s. - Furst, Concordance. 



GENESIS 19. : 9 , 30. PJ 223 

[P] And it came to pass, when God destroyed the cities 29 
of the Plain, that God remembered Abraham, and sent Lot 
out of the midst of the overthrow, when he overthrew the 
cities in the which Lot dwelt. 

[J] And Lot went up out of Zoar, and dwelt in the 30 
mountain, and his two daughters with him ; for he feared 

29. Priestly Document. Observe the use of the Divine name 
God, 1 Etohini. One motive for the abbreviation of the story was 
the desire to omit the revolting details given in the other docu 
ment. This verse, as it stood originally in the Priestly Document, 
connected xiii. 12, the separation of Abraham and Lot, and xvi. 
i a, the introduction to the Priestly account of the birth of Isaac. 

30-36. Primitive Document. The origin ofMcab and Ammon. 
Whatever may be the character of the preceding narrative, this 
section, at any rate, is tribal history in the form of a story 
about individuals a result of criticism which lessens its painful 
character. It indicates a traditional belief in the kinship of Moab 
and Ammon to Israel, as descendants of Lot the nephew of 
Abraham. This view of the relation of the tribes is partially 
confirmed by the fact that the language of Moab, as we find it on 
the Moabitc stone, is practically Hebrew ; and that the relation of 
Chemosh to Moab is very similar to that of Yahweh to Israel. 

The form of the names Moab and Arnmon would suggest some 
such story to Israelite ears ; and it has been supposed that the 
narrative is a mere deduction from a mistaken etj mology, inter 
preted in the light of the constant feud between Israel on the 
one hand and Moab and Ammon on the other. But, making 
every allowance for the virulence of family quarrels and for the 
Oriental habit of insulting the ancestors of one s enemies, it is 
strange that the Israelite historian phould, in the same breath, 
assert that Moab and Ammon were his kinsfolk and brand them 
with the shame of an incestuous origin. Some alternative view 
may be possible. For instance , the story may have originated 
with Moab and Ammon, and have been intended to claim a con 
nexion with the heroic figures of Lot and Abraham. Possibly 
the original story narrated the extinction of all the human race 
except Lot and his daughters ; and their conduct was regarded as 
an act of heroism which averted the utter ruin of the human race. 
Cf. the birth of Sinfiotli in Sigurd the Volsung (Morris). 

30. he feared to dwell in Soar : lest after all Yahweh should 
repent of having spared the city, and destroy it. 

1 The following- view is substantially Gunkel s. 



224 GENESIS 19. 31-38. J 

to dwell in Zoar : and he dwelt in a cave, he and his two 

31 daughters. And the firstborn said unto the younger, Our 
father is old, and there is not a man in the earth to come 

32 in unto us after the manner of all the earth : come, let us 
make our father drink wine, and we will lie with him, that 

33 we may preserve seed of our father. And they made 
their father drink wine that night : and the firstborn went 
in, and lay with her father ; and he knew not when she 

34 lay down, nor when she arose. And it came to pass on 
the morrow, that the firstborn said unto the younger, Be 
hold, I lay yesternight with my father : let us make him 
drink wine this night also ; and go thou in, and lie with 

35 him, that we may preserve seed of our father. And 
they made their father drink wine that night also : and 
the younger arose, and lay with him ; and he knew not 

36 when she lay down, nor when she arose. Thus were 
both the daughters of Lot with child by their father. 

37 And the firstborn bare a son, and called his name Moab : 
the same is the father of the Moabites unto this day. 

38 And the younger, she also bare a son, and called his 

a cave: perhaps rather ; thc cave, probably some cave 
connected with Lot either by its name or by some tradition. 
31. Oux father ia old : so that there was no time to be lost. 

there is not a man in the earth : either expressing her 
belief that Zoar had now been destroyed and that now all man 
kind had perished ; or referring to their isolation ; or indicating 
that the story in its original form was an alternative and parallel 
to that of the Flood the catastrophe had involved the whole race 
except Lot and his daughters. 

37. Moab. The Scptuagint adds after Moab saying, 
" From my father," i. e. in Hebrew mfabht t a popular et3 ino- 
logy of the name, which has also been explained as seed of 
a father ; or as from yabh, to wish for ; and meaning the 
desirable land ; or again as from an Arabic root wa aba, to be 
affected with shame or anger. whirh is very improbable. Moab 
is mentioned on a monument of Kamescs II. c. B. c. 1300. The 
territory of Moab lay along the east of the Dead bca and 
northwards. 



GENESIS 19. 3820. i. JE 225 

name Ben-ammi : the same is the father of the children 
of Ammon unto this day. 

[E] And Abraham journeyed from thence toward the 20 

38. Ben-ammi : i. e. according to the familiar use of l ammi in 
Hebrew, son of my race. The Septuagint has * called his name 
Amman, the son of my race. Ammi, however, in proper names 
is now usually explained either in its Arabic meaning of paternal 
uncle or kinsman, 1 or as a Divine name or title ; but Ammon is 
not necessarily derived from ^Ammi. The people are sometimes 
spoken of as Ammonites, sometimes, as here, . bend Ammon, 
children of Ammon. The territory of Ammon is said to have 
been originally east of the Jordan, and north of Moab, Judges xi. 
12-29 5 but, at any rate after the Israelite conquest of Palestine, 
Ammon occupied the country to the east of Reuben and Gad. 
A word in the Amarna * tablets, which is apparently the name of 
a Babylonian deity, has been rendered Ammon 2 . 

xx. ABRAHAM AT GERAR. (Elohistic Document, E, except the 
last verse, 18, which is an editorial note, R.) 

1. Abraham comes to Gerar. 

2. He gives out that Sarah is his sister, and the king, Abime- 
lech, takes her into his harem. 

3-7. God tells the king that she is a married woman, and bids 
him restore her to her husband. 

8. Abimelech tells the story to his household. 

9, 10. He remonstrates with Abraham. 

11-13. Abraham explains that he was afraid of being ill-treated 
on account of Sarah ; moreover she was bis half-sister. 

14-16. Abimelech compensates Abraham. 

17 [i8=R], In response to Abraham s prayer God relieves 
the king s harem of the sterility (which Yahweh had inflicted on 
them on account of Sarah). 

Source, &c. This is the first complete narrative from the 
Elohistic Document, E ; it is not the beginning of that work 3 , but 
the earlier portions have for the most part been omitted, either 
because they were virtual repetitions of the parallel sections of 
the Primitive Document, or because they were not consistent with 
the religious ideas of the editors. Other versions of the same 
story are found in xii. 10-20. xxvi. i-u, passages in J, which 
see. The more advanced character of this version is shown from 
the fact that the writer provides an apology for Abraham s deceit 

1 About B.C. 1400; seep. 71. " Winckler. 

3 Cf. on chapter xv. 



226 GENESIS 20. 2-5. E 

land of the South, and dwelt between Kadesh and Shur ; 

2 and he sojourned in Gerar. And Abraham said of Sarah 
his wife, She is my sister : and Abimelech king of Gerar 

3 sent, and took Sarah. But God came to Abimelech in 
a dream of the night, and said to him, Behold, thou art 
but a dead man, because of the woman which thou hast 

4 taken ; for she is a man s wife. Now Abimelech had 
not come near her : and he said, Lord, wilt thou slay 

5 even a righteous nation ? Said he not himself unto me, 
She is my sister ? and she, even she herself said, He is 

Sarah really was his sister as well as his wife ; and that the 
religious character of the patriarch is emphasized he is a prophet 
Notice that the writer speaks of God, not Yahweh. 

1. from thence. During the previous narrative Abraham has 
been near Hebron, xviii. i ; * thence may refer to Hebron, and 
the words may be an insertion of an editor to connect this chapter 
with what precedes. If, however, they are taken from E, they 
refer to a lost passage, and we do not know what place is indicated 
by thence. 

South. See xii. 9. 

Kadesh. See xiv. 7. 

Shur. See xvi. 7. 

Gerar (cf. x. 19), is probably about five miles south of Gaza ; 
but, as this position does not suit the description between 
Kadesh and Shur, it has been supposed that either there was 
another Gerar in the south (Negeb\ or that the clause, and dwelt 
between Kadesh and Shur, does not belong to E. In the 
Hebrew there seems to be a play upon words in the last clause, 
wayyagor (and he sojourned) in Gerar 

2. She is my sister : so xii. 13, 19, xxvi. 7. 

Abimelech : king of Gerar, so xxvi. i. Abimelech = Melech 
is father, Melech being the Divine name or title, represented in 
E. V. by Moloch. 

took Sarah : into his harem. 

3. in a dream. It is a characteristic of this document that 
revelations are often made in dreams. 

4. had not come near her : another softening of the older 
story ; cf. xii. 19, also xxvi. 9. 

a righteous nation : implying that the people would suffer 
for the error of Abimelech, as Israel was punished for the sin of 
Achan. Righteous here means simply innocent of any 
intention to do wrong in this particular case. 



GENESIS 20. 6-12. E 227 

my brother : in the integrity of my heart and the inno- 
cency of my hands have I done this. And God said 6 
unto him in the dream, Yea, I know that in the integrity 
of thy heart thou hast done this, and I also withheld thee 
from sinning against me : therefore suffered I thee not 
to touch her. Now therefore restore the man s wife ; for 7 
he is a prophet, and he shall pray for thee, and thou 
shalt live : and if thou restore her not, know thou that 
thou shalt surely die, thou, and all that are thine. And 8 
Abimelech rose early in the morning, and called all his 
servants, and told all these things in their ears : and the 
men were sore afraid. Then Abimelech called Abraham, 9 
and said unto him, What hast thou done unto us ? and 
wherein have I sinned against thee, that thou hast brought 
on me and on my kingdom a great sin ? thou hast done 
deeds unto me that ought not to be done. And Abimelech 10 
said unto Abraham, What sawest thou, that thou hast 
done this thing ? And Abraham said, Because I thought, 1 1 
Surely the fear of God is not in this place ; and they will 
slay me for my wife s sake. And moreover she is indeed 12 

I. a prophet: and therefore specially under Divine protection. 
This is the first mention of a prophet in the Bible, and the only 
place where Abraham is called a prophet. The prophet is one 
who declares God s will to men ; but here there is no question 
of any such declaration, the only religious function exercised by 
Abraham is that of intercession. The Elohistic Document was 
probably compiled under the influence of the prophets, who 
claimed Abraham as the founder of their order. 

8. rose early. See xix. 27. 

1O. What sawest thou: commonly interpreted, What was 
your object ? but an alteration in the position of a single letter 
would give What didst thou fear * ? 

II. the fear of God is not in this place. An early testi 
mony to the moral influence of religion. 

for my wife s sake. Murder would be regarded as less of 

1 Yr> Th instead of R yTh. 
Q 2 



228 GENESIS 20. 13-16. E 

my sister, the daughter of my father, but not the daughter 

13 of my mother ; and she became my wife : and it came to 
pass, when God caused me to wander from my father s 
house, that I said unto her, This is thy kindness which 
thou shalt shew unto me ; at every place whither we shall 

14 come, say of me, He is my brother. And Abimelech 
took sheep and oxen, and menservants and women- 
servants, and gave them unto Abraham, and restored 

15 him Sarah his wife. And Abimelech said, Behold, my 

1 6 land is before thee : dwell where it pleaseth thee. And 
unto Sarah he said, Behold, I have given thy brother 
a thousand pieces of silver : behold, it is for thee a cover- 

a crime than adultery ; or the motive for killing the husband 
might be merely to be quit of interference or remonstrance. 

12. she is indeed my sister, &c. A half-truth which Abime 
lech treats with the scorn it deserved, verse 16. Marriage with 
a half-sister is forbidden Deut. xxvii. 22, Lev. xviii. 9, ri, xx. 17, 
but the incident of Amnon and Tamar, a Sam. xiii. 13, implies 
that such a union was not impossible in the time of David, for 
Tamar, Amnon s half-sister, suggests that David might consent 
to their marriage. Such unions were legal amongst the Egyp 
tians and other ancient peoples. Probably, however, this sisterly 
relationship of Sarah to Abraham is simply a theory by which 
the Elohist relieves the patriarch of the guilt of a direct lie. 

13. God caused me to wander: implying that in E also 
Abraham left his home in obedience to a Divine command. 

I said unto her, &c. Cf. xii. 11-13. 

14. menservants and womenservants : male and female 
slaves. Cf. xii. 16. 

15. dwell where it pleaseth thee. Pharaoh, on the contrary, 
turned Abraham out. 

16. I have #iven : rather I give, or am giving ; the words 
accompanied the act, and did not describe a previous act. 

thy brother : ironical ; otherwise explained as an accept 
ance of the truth of Abraham s statement. As Abraham and 
Sarah continued to live in the country as husband and wife the 
use of the word brother cannot have been meant to conceal the 
fact that Sarah was a married woman. 

a thousand pieces of silver : i. e. shekels, a very consider 
able sum of money. The shekel contained about as much silver 
as our half-crown, but its purchasing power or real value was 



GENESIS 20. 17, 18. ER 229 

ing of the eyes to all that are with thee ; and in respect 
of all thou art righted: And Abraham prayed unto God : 1 7 
and God healed Abimelech, and his wife, and his maid 
servants ; and they bare children. [R] For the LORD had 18 
fast closed up all the wombs of the house of Abimelech, 
because of Sarah Abraham s wife. 

very much greater. For instance, thirty shekels was the price 
of a slave 1 . In the southern states of America before the aboli 
tion of slavery 800 dollars or 160 was not an uncommon price 
for an adult male slave, so that 1000 shekels might very roughly be 
equivalent to about 5,000 of our money. 

it is for thee a covering 1 of the eyes : i. e. so that Sarah 
no longer sees or takes account of the wrong done her; a poetic 
expression for compensation. So in Job ix. 24 we read of the 
faces of the judges being covered, i. e. so that they did not see 
what was just. But in the Arabian Nights* a merchant speaks of 
money lent him to enable him to give alms to the poor, and thus 
establish his credit as that wherewith he hath veiled my face 
before the poor. This suggests that there is a figurative reference 
to the veiling of women ; unveiled in public they were dis 
honoured ; this compensation restored, as it were, her veil to 
Sarah ; purged her of the disgrace of her recent experience. 
The eyes covered are less probably explained by some as those 
of the spectators. The R.V. He is, &c., does not make good sense. 

in respect of all (R. V. marg. before all men ) thou art 
righted: i. e. her character was completely vindicated, according 
to the etiquette of the times. This may have been the meaning 
of the original, but the Hebrew as we now have it is unintelligible. 
The ancient versions vary from it, and from each other, and do 
not improve matters. The Septuagint has the very suggestive 
rendering speak truth in all things, a rendering most creditable 
to the moral susceptibility of the translators, but hardly an exact 
equivalent of anything likely to have been written by the 
Elohist. 

17. God healed Abimelech, &c. : we have not been told of 
any disease of the king, unless it is implied in thou shall live, 
cf. verse 7. 

they bare children. The disease caused sterility. 

18. (R, i. e. an editorial note.) An editor noticed the omission 
just mentioned 8 , and supplied the obvious explanation. Note 

1 Exod. xxi. 32. 

2 Lane, 1889, iii. 630, ch. xxx, the Story of Maaroof. 

3 First note on verse 1 7. 



230 GENESIS 21. i-6. JPJPE 

21 [ J] And the LORD visited Sarah as he had said, [P] and 

2 the LORD did unto Sarah as he had spoken. [Jj And Sarah 
conceived, and bare Abraham a son in his old age, [P] at 

3 the set time of which God had spoken to him. And 
Abraham called the name of his son that was born unto 

4 him, whom Sarah bare to him, Isaac. And Abraham 
circumcised his son Isaac when he was eight days old, as 

5 God had commanded him. And Abraham was an 
hundred years old, when his son Isaac was born unto him. 

6 [E] And Sarah said, God hath made me to laugh ; every 

the use of Yahweh instead of the God of the main narra 
tive. 

xxi. 1-7. THE BIRTH OF ISAAC. 

i a l , 2 a a , 7 (J). By the special intervention of Yahweh Sarah 
bears a son to Abraham in his old age ; she speaks of the 
marvellousness of the event. 

i b\ 2b 4 -s, (P). By the special intervention of God 5 Sarah 
bears a son to Abraham when he is one hundred years old. 
Abraham calls his name Isaac, and circumcizes him. 

6. (E) Sarah plays on the name of Isaac. 

1 a. (J) as he had said. See xviii. 10, J. 

Ib. (P) the LORD: i. e. Yahweh. If this clause is rightly 
derived from the Priestly Document, God must have stood here 
originally, and Yahweh is due to an alteration by the editor. 

2 b. (P) at the set time. See xvii. ai, P. 

3. (P) Abraham called the name. The father gives the 
name, a characteristic of this document, cf. xvi. 15, P. 

Isaac. See xvii. 18, P. 

4. (P) circumcised . . . as God had commanded him. See 
xvii. 10, P. 

6. (E) This is a fragment of the Elohistic account of the birth 
of Isaac, the rest having been omitted by an editor to avoid 
repetition. It is apparently part of a statement that Sarah named 
her son Isaac (i. e. Laughter ) because God hath made me to 
laugh, &c. In this document the mother usually gives the name, 
cf. xxx. 17 ff., E. 

laugh . . . laugh : because it was so surprising that a child 
should be born to two old people. This document also must have 

1 To said. " To old age. 3 From And Yahweh did. 
4 From at the set time. 5 See note on this verse. 



GENESIS 21. 7,8. EJE 231 

one that heareth will laugh with me. [ J] And she said, 7 
Who would have said unto Abraham, that Sarah should 
give children suck ? for I have borne him a son in his 
old age. 

[E] And the child grew, and was weaned : and Abraham 8 
made a great feast on the day that Isaac was weaned. 

referred to the age of Abraham and Sarah in some passage not 
included in our Genesis. 

xxi. 8-21. THE DISMISSAL OF HAGAR AND HER SON (E). 

8-10. At a feast made on the occasion of the weaning of 
Isaac Sarah is stricken with jealousy of Hagar and her son, and 
demands her dismissal. 

11-13. Abraham is reluctant, but God bids him hearken to 
Sarah, and promises that Hagar s son shall become a nation. 

14-16. Hagar and her son are sent away into the wilderness, 
and wander till their water is spent and the child is on the point 
of dying of thirst. 

17-19. God shows Hagar a well, and renews His promise. 

20-21. The child grows up, becomes an archer, lives in the 
wilderness of Paran, and marries an Egyptian wife. 

Source, &c. This is the Elohistic narrative parallel to the 
account in the Primitive Document in xvi. 4-8, 11-14. The 
differences in the two stories enabled the editor by adding xvi. 9, 
10 to the primitive account to treat this section as a sequel to xvi. 
Note that the name of Hagar s son is not given in this narrative. 
The notes on verses 14-17 will point out that in this story 
Hagar s son is quite a baby, but according to the Priestly writer 
Abraham was eighty-six when Ishmael was born, and one 
hundred when Isaac was born , so that at this time, after the 
weaning of Isaac 2 , Ishmael must have been about sixteen. If 
we had to take Genesis as a continuous narrative there would 
be a contradiction, but all difficulty disappears when we realize 
that the statements as to the age of the patriarch belong to 
a different story. 

8. was weaned. In the East it is not usual to wean infants 
till they are from a year to two years old 3 , or even older. 

a great feast. The weaning, like our christening, was the 
occasion of a social gathering. According to modern travellers* 
this is still the case in the East. 



1 Gen. xvi. 16, xxi. 5. 2 Verse 8, see note. 

3 Lane, Manners and Customs of the Modern Egyptians^ 1805 
ed-, p. 69. * Dillmann. 



232 GENESIS 21.9-14. E 

9 And Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, which 

jo she had borne unto Abraham, mocking. Wherefore she 

said unto Abraham, Cast out this bondwoman and her 

son : for the son of this bondwoman shall not be heir 

11 with my son, even with Isaac. And the thing was very 

12 grievous in Abraham s sight on account of his son. And 
God said unto Abraham, Let it not be grievous in thy 
sight because of the lad, and because of thy bondwoman ; 
in all that Sarah saith unto thee, hearken unto her voice; 

13 for in Isaac shall thy seed be called. And also of the 
son of the bondwoman will I make a nation, because he 

14 is thy seed. And Abraham rose up early in the morning, 
and took bread and a bottle of water, and gave it unto 
Hagar, putting it on her shoulder, and the child, and 

9. mocking : a mistaken translation, it should be simply 
sporting. Sarah s jealousy was awakened by Hagar s son 
behaving as if he was on the same footing as Isaac ; or even, 
being the elder, on a higher footing. So the mediaeval Rabbini 
cal commentator Aben Ezra simply says that Sarah was jealous 
because Hagar s son was the elder. The translation mocking 
is due to a desire to find an excuse for Sarah, and perhaps also 
to the influence of Jewish traditions, which represent Hagar s son 
as quarrelling with Isaac about the birthright, and trying to shoot 
him. 

10. bondwoman : female slave. 

heir with my son. The children of the wife would as 
a rule have an advantage over those of a concubine ; but the dis 
tinction between the two was not always clearly defined, and the 
child of a concubine might share in the inheritance, or even if, 
like Hagar s son, the eldest receive the chief share as the first 
born. 

14. bottle : i. e. as R. V. marg. skin. 

gave it unto Hagar, putting it on her shoulder, and the 
child. The awkward style of the English faithfully reproduces a 
piece of bad Hebrew, which cannot be what the Elohist originally 
wrote, but is due to an attempt of some copyist or editor to do 
away with the discrepancy which has been pointed out above l 
between the Elohistic and the Priestly Documents. The sense 

1 Page 231. 



GENESIS 21. 15-17. E 233 

sent her away: and she departed, and wandered in the 
wilderness of Beer-sheba. And the water in the bottle 15 
was spent, and she cast the child under one of the 
shrubs. And she went, and sat her down over against 16 
him a good way off, as it were a bowshot : for she said, 
Let me not look upon the death of the child. And she 
sat over against him, and lift up her voice, and wept. 
And God heard the voice of the lad ; and the angel of 1 7 

of the original is doubtless given by the Septuagint : he took 
bread and a skin of water, and gave them to Hagar, and he also 
placed the child upon her shoulder ; i. e. Hagar s son was still 
a mere baby. This is also implied in verses 15-17. The word 
child used here for Ishmael is the same l as that used for Isaac 
in verse 8. In verse 17 the word is changed, as the E. V. lad a 
indicates. 

Beer-sheba : the modern Bir-es-Seba in the extreme south of 
Palestine, on the border between the arable land and the wilder 
ness. The phrase from Dan to Beer-sheba shows that the latter 
was regarded as the southernmost place of any importance in 
the land. Beer-sheba is one of the towns in the territory of 
Judah assigned to the Simeonites in Joshua xix. 2 ; it remained 
a sanctuary of importance to late times, and seems to have been 
specially connected with the northern kingdom 3 . The name 
might be read in Hebrew somewhat loosely as well of the oath, 
but is properly well of seven, possibly of seven gods, though 
it would be natural to think that the name might be a corruption 
of one denoting the seven wells. There is a group of three or 
more wells at Bir-es-Seba. Cf. verses 22-24, and xxvi. 33. 

15. she cast the child : evidently therefore quite young, and 
not a lad of sixteen ; cf. on verse 14. 

16. lift up her voice, and wept. Instead of this we should 
probably read with the Septuagint : and the child lifted up its 
voice and wept, of which the beginning of the next verse is the 
natural sequel. This feature of the narrative again suits a young 
child. 

17. the lad: cf. on verse 14, an elastic term, sometimes used 
like our boy" for a servant ; used in xxxvii. 2, E of Joseph at the 
age of seventeen, but also in Exod. ii. 6 of Moses at the age of 
three months, and therefore consistent with the explanation 
given to child in verse 14, &c. 

1 Heb. Yeled. - Heb. Na ar, see note on 17. 

3 Amos v. 5, viii. 14. 



234 GENESIS 21. 18-22. E 

God called to Hagar out of heaven, and said unto her, 
What aileth thee, Hagar ? fear not ; for God hath heard 

18 the voice of the lad where he is. Arise, lift up the lad, 
and hold him in thine hand ; for I will make him a great 

19 nation. And God opened her eyes, and she saw a well 
of water ; and she went, and filled the bottle with water, 

ao and gave the lad drink. And God was with the lad, and 
he grew; and he dwelt in the wilderness, and became an 

21 archer. And he dwelt in the wilderness of Paran : and 
his mother took him a wife out of the land of Egypt. 

22 And it came to pass at that time, that Abimelech and 

the angel of God : practically a manifestation of God in His 
working; the passage uses God and angel of God indifferently. 
Cf. on angel of Yahweh, xvi. 7. 

20. became an archer. R. V. marg. became, as he grew up, 
an archer. The Ishmaelites were noted archers. 

21. wilderness of Faran : west of Edom. 

a wife out of the land of Egypt : i. e. from her own country, 
verse 9 ; cf. note on xvi. i. 

xxi. 22-34. ABRAHAM AND ABIMELECH (JE) 1 . 

22-24. (E). Abraham consents to make a covenant with 
Abimelech. 

25, 26. (J). In reply to a complaint of Abraham as to a well 
seized by the Philistines, Abimelech declares his ignorance of 
the matter. 

27. (E). They make a covenant. 

28-30. (J). Abraham, in token that the well is his, gives seven 
lambs to Abimelech. 

31. (E). The well is called Beer-sheba ( well of oath ), because 
they swore to observe the covenant. 

3 2 ~34- (JEX The covenant is made. Abraham plants a sacred 
tree at Beer-sheba in honour of Yahweh. Abraham continues to 
sojourn in the land of the Philistines. 

Sources, &c. Two narratives are interwoven here, each of 
which told, in the first place, how Abimelech and Abraham made 
a covenant ; and, in the second, gave an etymology of Bcer-sheba. 
The Elohistic Document merely tells how the oath necessary to 
a covenant was the origin of the name. The Primitive Document, 
giving a more accurate etymology, connects the name with seven 

1 See p. 52. 



GENESIS 21. 23-29. EJEJ 235 

Phicol the captain of his host spake unto Abraham, say 
ing, God is with thee in all that thou doest: now there- 23 
fore swear unto me here by God that thou wilt not deal 
falsely with me, nor with my son, nor with my son s son : 
but according to the kindness that I have done unto 
thee, thou shalt do unto me, and to the land wherein 
thou hast sojourned. And Abraham said, I will swear. 24 
[J] And Abraham reproved Abimelech because of the 25 
well of water, which Abimelech s servants had violently 
taken away. And Abimelech said, I know not who hath 26 
done this thing : neither didst thou tell me, neither yet 
heard I of it, but to-day. [E] And Abraham took sheep 27 
and oxen, and gave them unto Abimelech; and they 
two made a covenant. [J] And Abraham set seven ewe 28 
lambs of the flock by themselves. And Abimelech said 29 

lambs given in token of Abraham s right. Both stories assert 
the claim of the sanctuary of Beer-sheba to have been founded by 
Abraham. Probably the parallel account in chapter xxvi, J, 
(which see) is the oldest version 1 . 

22. (E). Atoimelech. See xx. 2. 

Phicol, also mentioned xxvi. 26. No probable explanation 
of the name has yet been suggested. 

captain of his host : commander-in-chief ; perhaps the 
most important official of a royal court in those days, e. g. Abner 
under Saul, i Sam. xiv. 50, Joab under David, 2 Sam. xxiv. 2. 

23. (E). nor with my son, nor with my son s son. R. V. 
marg. my offspring, nor with my posterity. Neither of these 
renderings is accurate ; the Hebrew 2 is a compound expression 
consisting of two synonyms denoting not two distinct ideas, but 
one idea emphasized and made comprehensive, like our neither 
kith nor kin ; translate nor any of my kindred. 1 

kindness : gifts and permission to remain in the land, xx. 14-16. 

27. (E). covenant. See on vi. 18. 

28. (J). seven ewe lamtos : evidently preparing the way for 
an explanation of Beer-sheba as well of seven, see on verse 14 ; 
this has been omitted by the editor in favour of the alternative 
derivation given in verse 31. 

1 On the presence in the Primitive Document (J) of older and 
more recent material, see p. 22. 2 Nin -aoaneked, cf. p. 84. 



236 GENESIS 21. 30 22. i. JEJEE 

unto Abraham, What mean these seven ewe lambs which 

30 thou hast set by themselves ? And he said, These seven 
ewe lambs shall thou take of my hand, that it may be a 

31 witness unto me, that I have digged this well. [E] Where 
fore he called that place Beer-sheba ; because there they 

32 sware both of them. [JE] So they made a covenant at 
Beer-sheba : and Abimelech rose up, and Phicol the 
captain of his host, and they returned into the land of 

33 the Philistines. And Abraham planted a tamarisk tree 
in Beer-sheba, and called there on the name of the LORD, 

34 the Everlasting God. And Abraham sojourned in the 
land of the Philistines many days. 

22 [E] And it came to pass after these things, that God did 

31. (E\ Beer-sheba, . . . because . . . they sware : cf. 

verses 14 and 25, and xxvi. 33. 

xxii. 1-19. THE OFFERING OF ISAAC. (E, with the exception 
of editorial correction in n, and the editorial addition of 14-18.) 

1-2. To prove Abraham God bids him offer Isaac as a burnt- 
offering on a certain mountain. 

3-10. Abraham takes Isaac to the place, builds an altar, and 
binds his son on it as the victim. 

11-13. A voice from heaven bids him spare his son, and 
declares that God is satisfied with his willingness to obey. 
Abraham offers a stray ram in place of Isaac. 

[14-18. (R). Abraham calls the place Yahweh will provide. 
The voice from heaven renews the promise to Abraham.] 

19. Abraham and Isaac return to Beer-sheba. 

Sources, &c. The narrative as it stands sets forth the willing 
ness of Abraham to make the most painful sacrifice to God ; and 
his faith that the Divine mercy will somehow manifest itself at 
the last, God \vill provide himself the lamb for the burnt 
offering. Even as it is written in Hebrews 1 , By faith Abraham, 
being tried, offered up Isaac : yea, he that had gladly received the 
promises was offering up his only begotten son ; even he of 
whom it was said, In Isaac shall thy seed be called : accounting 
that God is able to raise up, even from the dead ; from whence 
he did also in a parable receive him back. 

1 Chapter xi. 17-19. 



GENESIS 22. 2. E 237 

prove Abraham, and said unto him, Abraham ; and he 
said, Here am I. And he said, Take now thy son, thine 2 
only son, whom thou lovest, even Isaac, and get thee 
into the land of Moriah ; and offer him there for a burnt 

But in the original form of the story the trial, triumph, and 
reward of Abraham s loyalty were only secondary features. 
They were intended of course to receive careful attention from 
the reader, but the main purpose of the narrative was something 
different. Abraham s willingness to offer his child as a sacrifice 
to his God was by no means unique ; such sacrifices were a 
familiar form of religious worship amongst the neighbours of 
Israel, especially in extreme distress or under the influence of 
some outburst of fanaticism. Thus when the king of Moab was 
sore pressed by Jehoshaphat and his allies, as a last desperate 
resource he took his eldest son that should have reigned in his 
stead, and offered him for a burnt offering upon the wall V Such 
sacrifices were not unknown in Israel, Jephthah offered up his 
daughter 2 ; of Ahaz, king of Judah, who reigned about the time 
when the Elohistic Document was compiled, or somewhat earlier, 
we read : He walked in the way of the kings of Israel, yea, 
and made his son to pass through the fire, according to the 
abominations of the heathen V The king, of course, would set 
the fashion in such matters. Thus when the Elohistic Document 
was published the most striking feature in the story was the 
voice from heaven which forbade Abraham to sacrifice Isaac. 
It was an authoritative declaration that God did not require men 
to slay their children in His honour ; He was satisfied with the 
willingness to obey Him to the uttermost. Hence the narrative, 
together with other passages to the same effect, sets forth one of 
the points in which O. T. revelation raised the religion of Israel 
above the level of the cults of its heathen neighbours. 

The interest shown in the etymology of Yahweh-jireh 4 sug 
gests that the story was connected with a sanctuary & , probably 
Yeruel rather than Yahweh-jireh 6 . We may suppose that this 
story was preserved at the sanctuary ; that in ancient times 
children had been sacrificed there ; and that the tradition explains 
why rams had been substituted for children. We do not know 
where this sanctuary was 7 . 

2. the land of Moriah: lit. the land of the Moriah. The 
Moriah is only mentioned elsewhere once, in 2 Chron. iii. I, 
Solomon began to build the house of Yahweh at Jerusalem in 

1 2 King-s iii. 27. 2 Judges xi. 39. 3 2 Kings xvi. 3. 

* Verses 9 and 14. 5 So Gunkel. 

6 See notes on verses 9 and 14. 7 See note on Moriah, verse 2. 



238 GENESIS 22. 3, 4. E 

offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee 

3 of. And Abraham rose early in the morning, and saddled 
his ass, and took two of his young men with him, and 
Isaac his son ; and he clave the wood for the burnt offer 
ing, and rose up, and went unto the place of which God 

4 had told him. On the third day Abraham lifted up his 

the hill of the Moriah, where Yahweh appeared unto David. 
Josephus in his account of our incident also identifies the 
mountain with the temple hill, and this seems also to have been 
the view held by the editor who added verse 14. But it is 
doubtful whether the evidence really shows that the temple hill 
was called the Moriah, nor would it suit the conditions of the 
narrative. There is nothing here to suggest that the sacrifice 
was offered in the immediate neighbourhood of an important city, 
such as we know Jerusalem to have been at this time. Moreover, 
it is quite probable that Moriah was not the original word in 
either place ; and that no such name existed in ancient Israel. 
Instead of Moriah the Septuagint has lofty in our passage 
and Amorite in Chronicles the Vulgate and some other versions 
have vision here, but Moriah in Chronicles; and the Syriac 
seems to have read Amorite here. The rest of the narrative 
suggests that some word was read which could mean vision 1 . 
Some scholars would read the land of Moreh 2 ; others the 
land of the Amorites. Note too that here it is not the hill of the 
Moriah, as in Chronicles, but one of the mountains in the land 
of the Moriah. Thus we are quite uncertain as to the position 
of the mountain referred to in the original narrative ; the three 
days journey implied in verse 4 (see note") is a little indefinite ; 
and nothing, apart from the land of the Moriah, is said about 
the direction of the journey. As, however, the story was no 
doubt connected with an Israelite sanctuary, Abraham and 
Isaac seem to have journeyed northward to some place in the 
territories which afterwards belonged to the northern kingdom. 

The derivation of the name Moriah is uncertain, but both 
here and in Chronicles the writers seem to connect either Moriah 
or some word which it has replaced with the Hebrew verb to 
see ;1 , which is used in verse 8 in the sense of provide. 

3. rose early in the morning. See on xix. 27. 
place. See on xii. 6. 

4. the third day. As they started at dawn on the first day, 
and were clearly already on their third day s journey when they 

1 See on verses 8 and 14. 2 See on xii. 6. 

3 R H, cf. on verse 14. 



GENESIS 22. 5-8. E 239 

eyes, and saw the place afar off. And Abraham said 5 
unto his young men, Abide ye here with the ass, and 
I and the lad will go yonder ; and we will worship, and 
come again to you. And Abraham took the wood of the 6 
burnt offering, and laid it upon Isaac his son; and he 
took in his hand the fire and the knife ; and they went 
both of them together. And Isaac spake unto Abraham 7 
his father, and said, My father : and he said, Here am I, 
my son. And he said, Behold, the fire and the wood : 
but where is the lamb for a burnt offering ? And Abra- 8 
ham said, God will provide himself the lamb for a burnt 

saw the place afar off, 1 it would be three days journey from 
Beer-sheba. The distance traversed in three days would vary with 
circumstances ; it has been reckoned 1 that the journey from 
Beer-sheba to Jerusalem would take seventeen hours or rather 
more. 

afar off. As Isaac carried the wood for the burnt-offering 
from this point to the place of sacrifice, the latter cannot have 
been very far off, or at any great elevation. 

6. we will . . . come again. This need not be taken as 
false, Abraham still cherishes some faint hope. 

6. the wood of the burnt offering 1 . It is implied that 
though there was a thicket, verse 13. near the place of sacrifice 
no suitable wood could easily be obtained there. 

the fire. We are nowhere expressly told how the ancient 
Israelites kindled a fire ; nor is it said here whence or how 
Abraham obtained this fire. When Judas Maccabaeus restored 
the sacrificial ritual at the Temple, we read that fire was pro 
cured by firing stones and taking fire out of them 2 , possibly, 
as R. V., by striking stones together. At any rate kindling a fire 
would be difficult and tedious, hence the patriarch takes with 
him glowing embers. It was sometimes part of the ritual that 
an altar fire should be kindled in some definite way two sons 
of Aaron were slain for offering strange fire 3 possibly in 
bringing fire with him Abraham was observing some ceremonial 
custom. 

7. where is the lamb. The accessories of the sacrifice had 
all been carefully provided, so that the apparent absence of 
any victim was all the more striking. 

8. God will provide himself: lit. see for himself, as we 

1 See Dillmann. 2 2 Mace. x. 3. 3 Lev. x. i. 



240 GENESIS 22. 9-14. ER 

offering, my son : so they went both of them together. 

9 And they came to the place which God had told him of ; 

and Abraham built the altar there, and laid the wood in 

order, and bound Isaac his son, and laid him on the 

10 altar, upon the wood. And Abraham stretched forth his 

11 hand, and took the knife to slay his son. And the angel 
of the LORD called unto him out of heaven, and said, 

i a Abraham, Abraham : and he said, Here am I. And he 
said, Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou 
any thing unto him : for now I know that thou fearest 
God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only 

13 son, from me. And Abraham lifted up his eyes, and 
looked, and behold, behind him a ram caught in the 
thicket by his horns : and Abraham went and took the 
ram, and offered him up for a burnt offering in the stead 

14 of his son. [R] And Abraham called the name of that 
place Jehovah-jireh : as it is said to this day, In the 

speak of seeing to or looking after anything l . Here, as in 
verse 5, we may discern the faith of the patriarch inspiring him 
with desperate hope even in his extremity. 

9. the place which God had told him of. No name is 
given, because the place received its name from this event. 

11. the angel of the LORD called to him out of heaven. 
Cf. xxi. 17. The Elohistic writer had God ; and Lord (Yahweh) 
is due to the editor who inserted verses 14-18. 

13. behind him a ram. Samaritan Text, Septuagint, and 
many other versions one ram (instead of the four words). 

14. (R). Jehovah-jireh: lit. Yahweh will see. Verse 8 sug 
gests the interpretation Yahweh will provide, a meaning which 
according to R. V. is also given by the latter part of this verse, 
in the mount of the LORD it shall be provided. R. V. marg., 
however, renders in the mount of the Lord it shall be seen ; 
a slight alteration of the vowels would give us in the mount 
Yahweh appears, i. e. reveals himself; or another similar change 
would give in the mount Yahweh provides, which would suit 
verse 8 and the previous part of this verse. There are two other 

1 Cf. on verse 14. 



GENESIS 22. 15-19. RE 241 

mount of the LORD it shall be provided. And the angel 15 
of the LORD called unto Abraham a second time out of 
heaven, and said, By myself have I sworn, saith the 16 
LORD, because thou hast done this thing, and hast not 
withheld thy son, thine only son : that in blessing I will 17 
bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as 
the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon 
the sea shore ; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his 
enemies ; and in thy seed shall all the nations of the 18 
earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice. 
[E] So Abraham returned unto his young men, and they 19 

names of altars compounded with Yahweh. We are told * that, 
after the defeat of Amalek, Moses built an altar, and called the 
name of it Yahweh-nissi, i.e. Yahweh is my banner ; and 
that Gideon 3 built an altar and called it Yahweh-shalom, i. e. 
Yahweh is peace. 1 

The editor who inserted these verses no doubt intended 
Yahweh-yireh 3 to be the equivalent of the Moriah of verse 2, 
which also might be derived from R H (the root of yireh} and 
Yahweh 4 . Thus Ahaziah, king of Judah, is also called Jehoahaz. 
If the rendering the mount of the Lord were correct it would 
mean in Mosaic times Mount Sinai; but this could hardly be 
intended here ; it would rather be the temple hill as in 2 Chron. 
iii. i ; but the name given in the story as told by the Elohistic 
writer would not contain Yahweh ; it might be El-yir l eh, or more 
probably Yeruel. 

16. By myself have I sworn. Cf. Exod. xxxii. 13. 

saith the LORD. This is a peculiarly emphatic and solemn 
formula 5 , Oracle of Yahweh, commonly used in the prophets to 
introduce a Divine utterance. In the Pentateuch it only occurs 
once elsewhere, Num. xiv. 28, P. 

17. in blessingr, &c. : the sixth blessing of Abraham, cf. xii. 
2, J ; xiii. 14, J ; xv, J and E ; xvii, P ; xviii. 18, J. 

18. be blessed: R.V. marg. bless themselves, cf. xii. 3. 

1 Exod. xvii. 15, E, which after Exod. iii often uses the Divine name 
Yahweh. 

* Judges vi. 24, J ?. 

3 A more accurate transliteration than/zVe/z. 

* Cf. on verse 14. 5 Ne um Yahtueh. 

R 



242 GENESIS 22. 20-23. EJ 

rose up and went together to Beer-sheba ; and Abraham 
dwelt at Beer-sheba. 

20 [J] And it came to pass after these things, that it was 
told Abraham, saying, Behold, Milcah, she also hath borne 

21 children unto thy brother Nahor; Uz his firstborn, and 
23 Buz his brother, and Kemuel the father of Aram; and 

Chesed, and Hazo, and Pildash, and Jidlaph, and 
23 Bethuel. And Bethuel begat Rebekah : these eight did 

19. Beer-sheba. Cf. xxi. 33. 

xxii. 20-24. ABRAHAM S KINSFOLK (J). 

Abraham receives news as to the family of his brother Nahor, 
showing that Rebekah is the daughter of Bethuel, the son of 
Nahor and Milcah. 

Sources, &c. The genealogy, as usual, represents the relations 
of tribes ; but individual names may have been added. 

20. And it came to pass after these thing s. Probably this 
clause was added by an editor to connect this paragraph with 
what precedes, so that these things refers to the offering of 
Isaac. The previous section of J (so far as it is preserved in 
Genesis) is the birth of Isaac, xxi. 1-7, parts. 

Milcah . . . Nahor. Cf. xi. 29. 

21. Uz. In x. 23, P (which see), Uz is a son of Aram. 

Buz : mentioned in Jer. xxv. 23 with the Arabian districts or 
tribes Dedan and Thema. In Job xxxii. 2, Elihu comes from Buz. 
Hence Buz belonged to Arabia Pctraea. Esarhaddon s inscrip 
tions mention Hazu andBasu in North Arabia ; cf., however, Hazo 
in verse 22. 

Xemuel the father of Aram. The territory of Kemuel and 
the derivation of the name are unknown. Note the similarity of 
form to Bethuel. In x. 22, P, Aram is the son of Shem. 

22. Chesed : only here, but the name would naturally be the 
collective term for the Kasdimor Chaldaeans, cf. Arphaxad. x. 22 ; 
Ur of the Chaldees, xi. 28. It has, however, been suggested that 
Chesed here does not stand for the Chaldaeans of Babylonia, but 
for a kindred tribe of Northern Syria. 

Hazo . . . Fildash . . . Jidlaph: only here, cf. on verse 
21, derivation unknown ; individual names similar to Pildash are 
cited from Aramaic and Arabic. 

Bethuel: cf. Kemuel in verse 21, also figures in the 
account of the marriage of Isaac, xxiv, J ; xxv. 20, P; and of the 
exile of Jacob, xxviii. 2, 5. P, but is not mentioned elsewhere. No 



GENESIS 22. 24 23. i. J P 243 

Milcah bear to Nahor, Abraham s brother. And his 24 
concubine, whose name was Reumah, she also bare 
Tebah, and Gaham, and Tahash, and Maacah. 

[P] And the life of Sarah was an hundred and seven and 23 

mention of any tribe of this name has yet been found ; but 
a Simeonite town Bethuel is referred to in i Chron. iv. 30, Bethul 
in Joshua xix. 4, and Beth-el (i.e. House of God) in i Sam. xxx. 37. 

23. Rebekali frequently appears in Genesis as the wife of Isaac 
and mother of Jacob, and is referred to in Rom. ix. 10, not else 
where in the Bible. No reference to any place or tribe of this 
name is cited. According to Driver 1 , Rebekah is an Arabic word 
meaning a loop for tying kids or lambs. 

these eight. Add the four mentioned in verse 24 and we 
get twelve sons of Nahor, cf. the twelve tribes of Israel, and 
the twelve Apostles. 

24. concubine : a secondary wife of inferior status. The rela 
tion between a man and his concubine was quite legitimate, cf. on 
xxi. 10. 

X&etimah . . . Tebah . . . Gaham . . . Tahash : mentioned 
only here in the Bible, and not identified at present with any 
known places or tribes, unless we read Tebah for Betah, a Syrian 
town, in 2 Sam. viii. 8. Reumah may be connected with re ern, 
wild-ox. Tahash means porpoise. 

Maacah : a district near Hermon. often mentioned in the 
O. T. 

xxiii. DEATH AND BURIAL OF SARAH (P). 

i, 2. Sarah dies at Hebron, at the age of 127. 

3-18. Abraham buys the cave and field of Machpelah near 
Hebron for a buryingplace for 400 shekels from Ephron the 
Hittite. 

19. He buries Sarah there. 

20. The field and cave remain his property. 

Sources, &c. This chapter comes to us from a very late 
authority, the post-exilic Priestty writer ; but, no doubt, in his 
time the Cave of Machpelah was a holy place, and the traditional 
grave of the patriarchs. The statements of Josephus and of 
travellers from his time to the present day indicate that a building, 
now used as or represented by a Mohammedan mosque, has 
been shown throughout that period as covering the cave-tomb of 
the patriarchs. The mosque is at the south-end of Hebron, and 



Hastings Dictionary of the Bible. 
R 2 



244 GENESIS 23. 2-4. P 

twenty years : these were the years of the life of Sarah. 

2 And Sarah died in Kiriath-arba (the same is Hebron), 
in the land of Canaan : and Abraham came to mourn for 

3 Sarah, and to weep for her. And Abraham rose up 
from before his dead, and spake unto the children of 

4 Heth, saying, I am a stranger and a sojourner with you : 

covers a double cave, which is generally identified with the 
Priestly writer s Cave of Machpelah. The cave has been seen, 
but not thoroughly examined, by distinguished European travel 
lers, e. g. the king, when Prince of Wales, in the last forty years. 
The fullest mediaeval account of it is that of the Jewish traveller, 
Benjamin ofTudela (c. 1163), who tells us that with a burning 
candle in his hand the visitor descends into the first cave which is 
empty, traverses a second in the same state, and at last reaches 
a third, which contains six sepulchres, those of Abraham, Isaac, 
and Jacob, and of Sarah, Rebekah, and Leah, one opposite the 
other 1 . 

It is impossible to say how much older the tradition of Mach 
pelah was than the times of the Priestly writer, or what may 
have been its historical basis. In early times Machpelah must 
have been not only a tomb but also a sanctuary for sacrifice and 
worship. It may have been so old that Israelites and Canaanites 
quarrelled as to who should possess it, just as to-day the nations 
of Christendom quarrel as to the Holy Sepulchre. If so, the 
statements as to the purchase of the field by Abraham would 
support the Israelite claim ". The interest of the Priestly writer 
would rather be to show that Machpelah was merely a tomb and 
not a sanctuary a ; and probably also to illustrate the legal 
formulae for the purchase of land. According to the Priestly 
writer, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob were also buried here 3 . 
Machpelah is only mentioned in the Priestly Document. Sarah 
is referred to in the N. T. ; but in the O. T. she is only mentioned 
in Genesis and in Isa. li. 2. 

2. Kiriath-arba : City of Four, according to Judges i. 10 
the more ancient name of Hebron. In Joshua xv. 13 Arba is 
made the name of a man. 

3. children of Heth : Hittites, see on xv. 20, used by P as 
a general term for the Canaanites. 

4. stranger and a sojourner: a compound phrase, cf. on xxi. 
23, characteristic of P. 

1 Sir C. Warren, MACHPELAH, in Hastings Dictionary of the 
Bible, which see for the whole subject. 

" So Gunkel. 3 Gen. xxv. 9, xxxv. 29, 1. 13. 



GENESIS 23. 5-11. P 245 

give me a possession of a buryingplace with you, that 
I may bury my dead out of my sight. And the children 5 
of Heth answered Abraham, saying unto him, Hear us, 6 
my lord : thou art a mighty prince among us : in the 
choice of our sepulchres bury thy dead ; none of us shall 
withhold from thee his sepulchre, but that thou mayest 
bury thy dead. And Abraham rose up, and bowed him- 7 
self to the people of the land, even to the children of 
Heth. And he communed with them, saying, If it be 8 
your mind that I should bury my dead out of my sight, 
hear me, and intreat for me to Ephron the son of Zohar, 
that he may give me the cave of Machpelah, which he 9 
hath, which is in the end of his field ; for the full price 
let him give it to me in the midst of you for a possession 
of a buryingplace. Now Ephron was sitting in the midst 10 
of the children of Heth : and Ephron the Hittite 
answered Abraham in the audience of the children of 
Heth, even of all that went in at the gate of his city, 
saying, Nay, my lord, hear me : the field give I thee, and n 
the cave that is therein, I give it thee ; in the presence of 

6. a mighty prince : lit. a. prince of God. 

in the choice of our sepulchres. Abraham, however, 
declines to bury Sarah in a Hittite grave, and purchases a grave, 
verses 9 ff. Herein, no doubt, he is set forth as an example ; the 
post-exilic Jews attached great importance to the burial of the 
dead, e. g. Tobit i. 18. 

9. Machpelah: rather the Machpelah, the name apparently 
means double, and is so rendered by the Septuagint ; the reference 
may be to the double cave, see above ; and the district, verses 17, 
19, may have been named after the cave. 

9. in the midst of ... 1O. in the audience of: i. e. the 
purchase was a public legal transaction before the notables of the 
city, who were witnesses to it. 

10. all that went in at the gate : the inhabitants of the city. 

11. the field give I thee : a mere piece of conventional polite 
ness, which, with the elaborate courtesy of the whole proceedings, 
is still part of the ordinary method of bargaining in the East. 



246 GENESIS 23. 12-17. P 

the sons of my people give I it thee : bury thy dead, 
ra And Abraham bowed himself down before the people of 

13 the land. And he spake unto Ephron in the audience 
of the people of the land, saying, But if thou wilt, I pray 
thee, hear me : I will give the price of the field ; take it 

14 of me, and I will bury my dead there. And Ephron 

15 answered Abraham, saying unto him, My lord, hearken 
unto me : a piece of land worth four hundred shekels of 
silver, what is that betwixt me and thee ? bury therefore 

16 thy dead. And Abraham hearkened unto Ephron; and 
Abraham weighed to Ephron the silver, which he had 
named in the audience of the children of Heth, four 
hundred shekels of silver, current money with the mer- 

17 chant. So the field of Ephron, which was in Machpelah, 
which was before Mamre, the field, and the cave which 
was therein, and all the trees that were in the field, that 

15. four hundred shekels of silver: a very substantial sum, 
the price of a dozen slaves, perhaps equivalent in purchasing 
power to from .1,000 to .2,000 in our time, cf. on xx. 16. In 
the code of the Babylonian king Hammurabi, c. B. c. 2300, the 
supposed contemporary of Abraham *, the wages of a working man 
for a year are fixed at six or eight shekels. 

16. weighed: i.e. the payment was reckoned at so much 
weight of silver, not so many coins. 

current money with the merchant. This would denote to 
modern ears coins which were accepted as legal tender. If this 
is the meaning it would be an indication of the date of the docu 
ment, as coins are said to have been introduced into Asia by 
Darius, B.C. 522 485. But the literal rendering is silver passing 
for the merchant, and may refer to the qualitj of the silver, or 
the kind of shekel, e. g. the ordinary shekel of commerce as 
distinguished from the sacred shekel 2 . 

17. 18 read like a quotation from a legal document, and are 
perhaps the correct legal phrases used of such a transaction. In 
buying land in Arabia it is still customary for the seller to state 
that he sells all trees, stones, &c.. on the land 3 . 

1 See on Gen. xiv. i . * So Holzing-er. 

* Fonder, With the Arabs in Tent and Town, pp. 219 f. 



GENESIS 23. 18 24. i. PJ 247 

were in all the border thereof round about, were made 
sure unto Abraham for a possession in the presence of 18 
the children of Heth, before all that went in at the gate 
of his city. And after this, Abraham buried Sarah his 19 
wife in the cave of the field of Machpelah before Mamre 
(the same is Hebron), in the land of Canaan. And the 20 
field, and the cave that is therein, were made sure unto 
Abraham for a possession of a buryingplace by the chil 
dren of Heth. 

[J] And Abraham was old, and well stricken in age : and 24 

xxiv. REBEKAH is BROUGHT FROM HARAN TO MARRY ISAAC (J). 

1-9. Abraham bids his servant fetch a wife for Isaac from his 
kinsfolk, the family of Nahor. 

10-21. The servant journeys to the city of Nahor ; at the well 
where he halts he meets Rebekah, who is divinely indicated as 
the future wife of Isaac. 

22-33. The servant is hospitably entertained by Laban, 
Rebekah s brother. 

34-49. The servant tells the story of his mission, and of his 
meeting with Rebekah, and asks her in marriage for Isaac. 

50-53. Laban and Bethuel, Rebekah s father, consent ; and 
the servant presents gifts to them and to Rebekah. 

54-61. Rebekah s mother and Laban seek to delay her depar 
ture, but, at her own wish, she sets out at once for Canaan. 

62-67. She arrives in Canaan and meets Isaac, who marries 
her. 

Sources, &c. The bringing of Rebekah to Isaac may be a pic 
turesque way of describing the incorporation of Aramaic clans 
in Israel ; but the narrative is much more than this, it is a graphic 
story of the fortunes of individuals. The various features repro 
duce well-known experiences of the nomads of the desert ; the 
seeking of a wife from some distant but kindred tribe ; the trust 
reposed in a favourite slave ; the meeting of travellers, as in the 
case of Jacob and Moses, with the women at the well ; and 
the negotiations that led up to a betrothal. In a few graphic 
touches these familiar scenes of ancient days are lived over again 
before our eyes. Throughout there is manifest a simple faith 
in the continual presence and activity of a benevolent Divine 
Providence. 

The reader will note the many features common to this story 
and that of Jacob and Rachel. 



248 GENESIS 24. 2-10. J 

2 the LORD had blessed Abraham in all things. And Abra 
ham said unto his servant, the elder of his house, that 
ruled over all that he had, Put, I pray thee, thy hand under 

3 my thigh : and I will make thee swear by the LORD, the 
God of heaven and the God of the earth, that thou shalt 
not take a wife for my son of the daughters of the 

4 Canaanites, among whom I dwell : but thou shalt go 
unto my country, and to my kindred, and take a wife for 

5 my son Isaac. And the servant said unto him, Perad- 
venture the woman will not be willing to follow me unto 
this land : must I needs bring thy son again unto the 

6 land from whence thou earnest ? And Abraham said 
unto him, Beware thou that thou bring not my son 

7 thither again. The LORD, the God of heaven, that took 
me from my father s house, and from the land of my 
nativity, and that spake unto me, and that sware unto me, 
saying, Unto thy seed will I give this land ; he shall send 
his angel before thee, and thou shalt take a wife for my 

8 son from thence. And if the woman be not willing to 
follow thee, then thou shalt be clear from this my oath ; 

9 only thou shalt not bring my son thither again. And 
the servant put his hand under the thigh of Abraham his 

10 master, and sware to him concerning this matter. And 
the servant took ten camels, of the camels of his master, 

2. his servant: corresponding to the Eliezer of xv. 2, E. 

thy hand tinder my thigh : a form giving greater solemnity 
to the oath, cf. xlvii. 29, J. 

3. the God of heaven and the God of the earth. The phrase 
shows that at the time when the final edition * of this document 
was compiled Yahweh was not regarded as a mere tribal deity. 

the daughters of the Canaanites. Cf. xxviii. i, P. 

4. my country . . . my kindred: Haran . . . the family of 
his brother Nahor. 

1 See p. 23. 



GENESIS 24. 11-15. J 249 

and departed ; having all goodly things of his master s in 
his hand : and he arose, and went to Mesopotamia, unto 
the city of Nahor. And he made the camels to kneel n 
down without the city by the well of water at the time of 
evening, the time that women go out to draw water. 
And he said, O LORD, the God of my master Abraham, 12 
send me, I pray thee, good speed this day, and shew 
kindness unto my master Abraham. Behold, I stand by 13 
the fountain of water ; and the daughters of the men of 
the city come out to draw water : and let it come to pass, 14 
that the damsel to whom I shall say, Let down thy 
pitcher, I pray thee, that I may drink ; and she shall say, 
Drink, and I will give thy camels drink also : let the 
same be she that thou hast appointed for thy servant 
Isaac ; and thereby shall I know that thou hast shewed 
kindness unto my master. And it came to pass, before 15 
he had done speaking, that, behold, Rebekah came out, 
who was born to Bethuel the son of Milcah, the wife of 

10. having all goodly things of his master s in his hand : 
i.e. taking with him valuable gifts from Abraham for the pro 
spective bride and her family, cf. verses 22 and 53. 

Mesopotamia : i.e. the district between the rivers (Euphrates 
and Tigris), 1 is the Greek name of the northern portion of the 
district between these two rivers ; this is not strictly the equiva 
lent of the original Hebrew Aram-naharaim, R. V. marg. 
Aram [Syria] of the two rivers ; or more accurately the 
river district of Syria, i. e. the Syrian lands on both banks of 
the Upper Euphrates. 

city of Nahor : Haran, see xi. 31. 

11. to kneel down :^ the usual attitude for camels when 
resting. 

13. fountain: rather spring, from which the water could be 
taken to a drinking-trough, see verse 20. 

15. Bethuel the son of Milcah, the wife of Kahor. 
Attention is called to the fact that Bethuel descended from the 
Chosen Family by both parents, cf. xi. 29. 

Bethuel. See xxii. 22. From the absence of any reference 
to Bethuel except in verse 50, and the mention of the mother, 



250 GENESIS 24. 16-27. J 

Nahor, Abraham s brother, with her pitcher upon her 

16 shoulder. And the damsel was very fair to look upon, 
a virgin, neither had any man known her : and she went 
down to the fountain, and filled her pitcher, and came 

17 up. And the servant ran to meet her, and said, Give 
me to drink, I pray thee, a little water of thy pitcher. 

18 And she said, Drink, my lord : and she hasted, and let 
down her pitcher upon her hand, and gave him drink. 

19 And when she had done giving him drink, she said, I will 
/ draw for thy camels also, until they have done drinking. 

20 And she hasted, and emptied her pitcher into the trough, 
and ran again unto the well to draw, and drew for all his 

21 camels. And the man looked stedfastly on her; holding 
his peace, to know whether the LORD had made his 

22 journey prosperous or not. And it came to pass, as the 
camels had done drinking, that the man took a golden 
ring of half a shekel weight, and two bracelets for her 

23 hands of ten shekels weight of gold ; and said, Whose 
daughter art thou ? tell me, I pray thee. Is there room 

34 in thy father s house for us to lodge in ? And she said 
unto him, I am the daughter of Bethuel the son of Milcah, 

25 which she bare unto Nahor. She said moreover unto 
him, We have both straw and provender enough, and 

26 room to lodge in. And the man bowed his head, and 

27 worshipped the LORD. And he said, Blessed be the 



verses 28, 55, and the brother Lnban as the family authorities, 
verse 59, it is supposed that Bethuel was dead, and that her 
mother or the mother s name should be read in verse 50 instead 
of Bethuel. 

13. my lord : practically equivalent to Sir. 

2O. trough: a drinking-trough for cr.ttle, such as is still 
found in Syria and Arabia at wells and springs. 

22. ring : nose-ring. 

shekel. See xx. 16 : see verse 47. 



GENESIS 24. 28-31. J 251 

LORD, the God of my master Abraham, who hath not 
forsaken his mercy and his truth tOAvard my master : as 
for me, the LORD hath led me in the way to the house 
of my master s brethren. And the damsel ran, and told 28 
her mother s house according to these words. And 29 
Rebekah had a brother, and his name was Laban : and 
Laban ran out unto the man, unto the fountain. And it 3 
came to pass, when he saw the ring, and the bracelets 
upon his sister s hands, and when he heard the words of 
Rebekah his sister, saying, Thus spake the man unto me ; 
that he came unto the man ; and, behold, he stood by 
the camels at the fountain. And he said, Come in, thou 31 

27. his mercy and his truth 1 : rather, as a literal translation, 
his lovingkindness and his faithfulness ; or, in more idiomatic 
English, his faithful lovingkindness. The pair of coupled words 
form a compound expression. 

the house of my master s brethren : implying that he 
had not known that the place he had reached was the home 
of Nahor till he learnt the fact from Rebekah s words. 

28. her mother s house. See on verse 15. The phrase has 
also, but less probably, been explained of the harem, or women s 
appartments. 

according to these words : rather what had happened V 

29. Laban : mentioned here for the first time ; the derivation 
and original reference of the name are not certainly known. 
There is no place or tribe which can be identified with Laban 
the Laban in Deut. i. i can have no connexion with Haran. 
The name is usually connected with the root LBN, white. and 
variously explained. Thus Hebrew has a word Icbciiah, brick, 
and Laban has been identified with an Assyrian god of brickwork ; 
and, again, the Hebrew for moon is lebanah, and Haran was 
a seat of the worship of the moon-god, with whom, therefore, 
Laban is sometimes identified. There is no trace of either idea in 
Genesis, but ; Laban the Syrian 3 and his dealings with Jacob are 
typical of the Syrians and their relations with Israel. 

SO. -rohen he saw the ring 1 : a sarcastic hint at the avarice of 
Laban and the people whom he represents. 

1 Hasdo iva amitto. 2 Kautzsch. 

" Gen. xxv. 20, P. 



252 GENESIS 24. 32-38. J 

blessed of the LORD ; wherefore standest thou without ? 
for I have prepared the house, and room for the camels. 
3* And the man came into the house, and he ungirded the 
camels ; and he gave straw and provender for the camels, 
and water to wash his feet and the men s feet that were 

33 with him. And there was set meat before him to eat : 
but he said, I will not eat, until I have told mine errand. 

34 And he said, Speak on. And he said, I am Abraham s 

35 servant. And the LORD hath blessed my master greatly; 
and he is become great : and he hath given him flocks 
and herds, and silver and gold, and menservants and 

36 maidservants, and camels and asses. And Sarah my 
master s wife bare a son to my master when she was old : 

37 and unto him hath he given all that he hath. And my 
master made me swear, saying, Thou shalt not take a wife 
for my son of the daughters of the Canaanites, in whose 

38 land I dwell : but thou shalt go unto my father s house, 



31. blessed of the LORD. The family of Nahor, Abraham s 
kinsfolk, worship Yahweh ( the Lord ) ; and it is chiefly on 
this ground that Abraham and Isaac seek to marry their sons 
to women of this house. It is certainly not the intention of 
the writer to suggest that the Syrians of his time worshipped 
Yahweh. 

32. he ungirded ... he gave: probably Abraham s servant 
ungirded, and certainly Laban gave. 

34. I am Abraham s servant. Laban has not asked his 
visitor s name, and now for the first time learns who he is. 
This is according to Arab etiquette. The host does not ask his 
guest s name, at any rate till the latter has eaten of his food, 
lest there should prove to be a blood-feud between them or their 
tribes. After the guest has eaten with his host he is safe. 

36. unto him hath he given all that he hath. See xxv. 
5, J, which is sometimes supposed to have stood originally after 
the first verse of this chapter. 

37-48. These verses are mostly a recapitulation in the first 
person of what has already been related in the third person in 
the earlier part of the chapter. Often the words used are the 
same, allowing for the change of persons. 



GENESIS 24. 39-49- J 253 

and to my kindred, and take a wife for my son. And 39 
I said unto my master, Peradventure the woman will not 
follow me. And he said unto me, The LORD, before 40 
whom I walk, will send his angel with thee, and prosper 
thy way ; and thou shalt take a wife for my son of my 
kindred, and of my father s house : then shalt thou be 41 
clear from my oath, when thou comest to my kindred ; 
and if they give her not to thee, thou shalt be clear from 
my oath. And I came this day unto the fountain, and 42 
said, O LORD, the God of my master Abraham, if now 
thou do prosper my way which I go : behold, I stand by 43 
the fountain of water ; and let it come to pass, that the 
maiden which cometh forth to draw, to whom I shall say, 
Give me, I pray thee, a little water of thy pitcher to 
drink ; and she shall say to me, Both drink thou, and 44 
I will also draw for thy camels : let the same be the 
woman whom the LORD hath appointed for my master s 
son. And before I had done speaking in mine heart, 45 
behold, Rebekah came forth with her pitcher on her 
shoulder; and she went down unto the fountain, and 
drew : and I said unto her, Let me drink, I pray thee. 
And she made haste, and let down her pitcher from her 46 
shoulder, and said, Drink, and I will give thy camels 
drink also : so I drank, and she made the camels drink 
also. And I asked her, and said, Whose daughter art 47 
thou ? And she said, The daughter of Bethuel, Nahor s 
son, whom Milcah bare unto him : and I put the ring 
upon her nose, and the bracelets upon her hands. And 48 
I bowed my head, and worshipped the LORD, and blessed 
the LORD, the God of my master Abraham, which had 
led me in the right way to take my master s brother s 
daughter for his son. And now if ye will deal kindly and 49 
truly with my master, tell me : and if not, tell me ; that 



254 GENESIS 24. 50-55. J 

50 I may turn to the right hand, or to the left. Then Laban 
and Bethuel answered and said, The thing proceedeth 
from the LORD: we cannot speak unto thee bad or good. 

51 Behold, Rebekah is before thee, take her, and go, and let 
her be thy master s son s wife, as the LORD hath spoken. 

53 And it came to pass, that, when Abraham s servant heard 
their words, he bowed himself down to the earth unto 

53 the LORD. And the servant brought forth jewels of 
silver, and jewels of gold, and raiment, and gave them 
to Rebekah : he gave also to her brother and to her 

54 mother precious things. And they did eat and drink, he 
and the men that were with him, and tarried all night ; 
and they rose up in the morning, and he said, Send me 

55 away unto my master. And her brother and her mother 
said, Let the damsel abide with us a few days, at the 

49. turn to tlxe right hand, or to the left : i. e. know what 
to do. 

50. Bethuel. See verse 15. 

The thing proceedeth from the LORD : because of the sign 
that had been given to Abraham s servant, verses 12-19, 42-46. 
speak unto thee bad or good. Say yes or no. 

51. take her, and go. Rcbekah s consent is taken for granted ; 
the marriage, as in the East to-day, is negotiated between the 
friends of the betrothed couple. 

53- mother. See verse 15. 

precious things. The price of the bride paid to her 
family; cf. Exod. xxii. 16, he shall pay a price 1 for her to be 
his wife. 

55. a few days, at the least t3n : rather, to use a colloquial 
phrase, ten days or so. The Samaritan text has a (few) days 
or a month ; the Syriac a. month ; the Si-ptuagint about ten 
days. It was certainly startling that Rebckah s family should be 
asked to let her leave them at once, that very morning, fora distant 
land with a man whom none of them had ever seen till the 
previous evening, to marry a cousin whom they had never seen ; 

1 The Hebrew word is mohar, a technical term for the price 
a bridegroom pays for his bride to her family. Naturally there is 
no English equivalent of this word; the A. V. endow her and the 
R. V. pay a dowry for her are alike misleading. 



GENESIS 24. 56-63. J 255 

least ten ; after that she shall go. And he said unto 56 
them, Hinder me not, seeing the LORD hath prospered 
my way ; send me away that I may go to my master. 
And they said, We will call the damsel, and inquire at 57 
her mouth. And they called Rebekah, and said unto her, 58 
Wilt thou go with this man ? And she said, I will go. 
And they sent away Rebekah their sister, and her nurse, 59 
and Abraham s servant, and his men. And they blessed 60 
Rebekah, and said unto her, Our sister, be thou the mother 
of thousands of ten thousands, and let thy seed possess 
the gate of those which hate them. And Rebekah arose, 61 
and her damsels, and they rode upon the camels, and 
followed the man : and the servant took Rebekah, and 
went his way. And Isaac came from the way of Beer- 62 
lahai-roi ; for he dwelt in the land of the South. And 63 
Isaac went out to meditate in the field at the eventide: 

especially as it was not very likely that they would ever see 
her again ; and, as it turned out. they never did see her. 

56. Hinder me not. It is probably implied, cf. verse i, that 
Abraham was failing when the servant left him, and that the 
servant was anxious to bring the bride back while his master 
was still living. 

58. I will go. In this ready consent we may see the hand 
of Yahweh. 

59. their sister. Again, cf. verse 15, no reference to the 
father, the brother is treated as the head of the family; their 
is used because the author refers to the joint action of Laban 
and the mother ; he uses the loose phrase ; their sister * to avoid 
the cumbrous expression his sister and her daughter ; the 
term sister shows that the relationship to Laban was more 
important than that to the mother. 

her nurse. In xxxv. 8. E, her name is given as Deborah. 
SO. possess the gate. See xxii. 17. 

61. the camels. See verse 10. 

62. from the way of Beer-lahai-roi : Septuagint, through 
the wilderness to B. For Beer-lahai-roi, see xvi. 14. Cf. on 
the next verse. 

63. Isaac went out to meditate. We should have expected 
to hear of the servant s return to Abraham to report the success of 



256 GENESIS 24. 64-66. J 

and he lifted up his eyes, and saw, and, behold, there 

64 were camels coming. And Rebekah lifted up her eyes, 

65 and when she saw Isaac, she lighted off the camel. And 
she said unto the servant, What man is this that walketh 
in the field to meet us ? And the servant said, It is my 
master: and she took her veil, and covered herself. 

66 And the servant told Isaac all the things that he had 

his mission. The absence of any such statement suggests that 
the Primitive Document contained an account of the death of 
Abraham between verses 61 and 62, and that this was omitted 
by the editor to make room for the Priestly narrative of the 
patriarch s end in xxv. 7 ff. Hence we may conclude that in 
this story, as originally told, Abraham died while his servant was 
away, so that naturally Rebekah was brought to Isaac. This 
view would lead us to accept the Septuagint of the previous verse 
(which see), and to understand that Isaac removed to Beer-lahai- 
roi in consequence of his father s death. Cf. verse 65. 

meditate 1 . The rendering is uncertain ; meditate does not 
make good sense ; pray is hardly better ; mourn might be 
suitable if we could make it refer to an omitted account of his 
father s death. The Syriac version has walk 2 . 

field : open country. 

eventide : cool of the day. 

64. lighted off the camel. The next verse shows that 
Rebekah did not know that the stranger was Isaac ; but his dress 
and appearance would show that he was a person of importance 
a sheikh and she may have supposed that it was her future 
husband. Hence she alighted that she might veil herself and show 
him all due respect. 

65. my master : implying that Abraham was dead. cf. on 
verse 63. 

covered herself: after the usual Eastern etiquette. Isaac, of 
course, not being yet her husband, was on the same footing as 
other men. Thus Lane 3 : The bridegroom can scarcely ever 
obtain even a surreptitious glance at the features of his bride until 
he finds her in his absolute possession, unless she belong to the 
lower classes of society, in which case it is easy enough for him 
to see her face. 

1 Suah. 

2 Apparently reading 1 shut. 

3 Manners and Customs of the Modern Egyptians, 1895 ed., 
p. 172. 



GENESIS 24. 67 25. 2. J 257 

done. And Isaac brought her into his mother Sarah s 67 
tent, and took Rebekah, and she became his wife ; and 
he loved her : and Isaac was comforted after his mother s 
death. 

And Abraham took another wife, and her name was 25 
Keturah. And she bare him Zimran, and Jokshan, and 2 

67. his mother Sarah s tent. The bad grammar of the He 
brew as it now stands shows that the words his mother Sarah 
are an editorial addition ; we should read into the tent. At the 
same time the addition is quite in accordance with Eastern custom, 
a sheikh s wife may have a tent or tents for herself and her 
women and children, as in the case of Rachel and Leah l ; and 
though Sarah had been dead some time her tent would still 
remain, and might be spoken of as hers. 

he loved her : a fact which could not be taken for granted 
under the circumstances. 

his mother s death. We should probably read his father s 
death ; Sarah seems to have died some time before ; and the word 
mother s here will be an alteration by the editor who omitted 
the Primitive account of the death of Abraham, and placed that 
event somewhat later, cf. on verse 63. 

xxv. 1-4. ABRAHAM S CHILDREN BY KETURAH. 

(A late addition to, or misplaced section of, the Primitive Docu 
ment.) 

Abraham takes a second wife, Keturah, and by her becomes 
the ancestor of numerous Arab tribes. 

Sources, &c. In considering xxiv. 63 we have seen that pro 
bably the Primitive Document narrated the death of Abraham in 
connexion with the marriage of Isaac. Hence these verses will 
either be a later addition, or else they have been inserted in the 
wrong place by an editor. They indicate the kinship between 
Israel and certain Arab tribes. 

1. Keturah: bound or incense, only mentioned here and 
in i Chron. i. 32 f., borrowed from this passage. In Chronicles 
Keturah is called a concubine because the chronicler is anxious 
that Sarah, the mother of Isaac the ancestor of Israel, should be 
regarded as the only legitimate wife of Abraham. An Arab tribe, 
Katura, residing near Mecca, is mentioned by Arab writers. 

2. Zimran : only here and I Chron. i. 32, unless the same as 
the Zimri, mentioned Jer. xxv. 25 in connexion with Arabia. 
The name is derived from zemer, a chamois, perhaps the totem 
of the tribe 2 . 

1 Gen. xxxi. 33. 

2 Cf. Jacobs, Stitdies in Biblical Archaeology, p. 96. 

* S 



25 8 GENESIS 25. 3, 4- J 

3 Medan, and Midian, and Ishbak, and Shuah. And 
Jokshan begat Sheba, and Dedan. And the sons of 
Dedan were Asshurim, and Letushim, and Leummim. 

4 And the sons of Midian ; Ephah, and Epher, and 
Hanoch, and Abida, and Eldaah. All these were the 

Jokshan : only here and i Chron. i. 32 ; derivation of name 
and habitat of tribe unknown, but latter doubtless in Arabia. 

Medan: only here and i Chron. i. 32; probably not a real 
name, but due to the accidental repetition of Midian in copying. 
In xxxvii. 36 Medanites is written for the Midianites of 
xxxvii. 28. 

Blidian : a nomad tribe frequently mentioned in the O. T. , 
and found sometimes east and sometimes south of Palestine. 

Ishbak : only here and i Chron. i. 32 ; derivation of name 
uncertain, sometimes identified with a tribe of North Syria, 
Yasbuk, mentioned in Assyrian inscriptions. 

Shuah : only here, i Chron. i. 32, and Job ii. n, &c., where 
Bildad the Shuhite is no doubt intended to belong to this tribe ; 
derivation of name uncertain, sometimes identified with a tribe 
west of Euphrates near Carchemish, Sttahu, mentioned in 
Assyrian inscriptions. 

3. Sheba, and Dedan. See x. 7. 

the sons of Dedan. There is no parallel to this clause in 
Chronicles ; the form of the names plurals Asshurites, &c. is 
different from that of the others, so that the clause may have been 
added to Genesis after Chronicles was written, c. B. c. 300. 

Asshurim: i.e. Asshurites, see on x. n, but cf. also verse 
18. 

Latushim, and Leummim : i. e. Lctushites and Leum- 
mites, only here, derivation of names and habitat of tribes un 
known. Somewhat similar names are cited from Arabian 
inscriptions. Leummim is usually a common noun peoples. 
The names have been taken to denote trades. The Septuagint 
adds two other sons of Dedan, Raguel and Nabdeel. 

4. Ephah : only here, i Chron. i. 33, and Isa. Ix. 6, the 
dromedaries of Midian and Ephah 1 ; derivation of name uncertain, 
sometimes identified with an Arab tribe Ayappa, mentioned in 
the Assyrian inscriptions. 

Epher : only here and i Chron. i. 33 ; derivation and habitat 
uncertain ; possibly not a real name but due to an accidental 
repetition of Ephah in copying ; cf. on Mcdan in verse 2. 

Hanoch. The Hebrew name is the same as that rendered 
Enoch in iv. 17 (which see) and elsewhere. This tribe is only 
mentioned here and i Chron. i. 33, and its habitat is unknown. 



GENESIS 25. 5-". JP 259 

children of Keturah. And Abraham gave all that he 5 
had unto Isaac. But unto the sons of the concubines, 6 
which Abraham had, Abraham gave gifts ; and he sent 
them away from Isaac his son, while he yet lived, east 
ward, unto the east country. [P] And these are the 7 
days of the years of Abraham s life which he lived, an 
hundred threescore and fifteen years. And Abraham 8 
gave up the ghost, and died in a good old age, an old 
man, and full of years ; and was gathered to his people. 
And Isaac and Ishmael his sons buried him in the cave 9 
of Machpelah, in the field of Ephron the son of Zohar 
the Hittite, which is before Mamre ; the field which 10 
Abraham purchased of the children of Heth : there was 
Abraham buried, and Sarah his wife. And it came to u 

Abida, and Eldaah : only here and i Chron. i. 33 ; deriva 
tion and habitat uncertain. 

xxv. 5-1 1. DEATH AND BURIAL OF ABRAHAM. 

(Chiefly the Priestly Document, cf. analysis below.) 

5, 6. (J) Abraham gives Isaac his property, after having sent 
away the sons of the concubines with gifts. 

7-1 1 a 1 . (P) Abraham dies and is buried by Isaac and Ishmael 
in the cave of Machpelah. 

n 6 2 . (J) Isaac settles at Beer-lahai-roi. 

5. See on xxiv. 36, 63. 

6. This verse is often regarded as an explanatory note added 
by an editor. If it belongs to the original story it may have 
been given (see references on verse 5) at an earlier point. 

concubines. See on xxii. 24, the reference probably is to 
Hagar and Keturah, which is not quite consistent with verse i. 

8. was gathered to bis people: i.e. buried in the family 
grave at Machpelah, though the family at present was only 
represented there by Sarah. Such a use would imply a com 
plete severance from his ancestor, and the constitution of Abraham 
into a new people. The phrase, however, may be used in a mere 
conventional sense for died ; it is often supposed to refer to 
the gathering of kinsfolk in one place in Sheol, the Hebrew 
Hades or home of the dead. 

9. Machpelah.. See on xxiii. 19. 

1 As far as his son. 2 From and Isaac. 

S 2 



260 GENESIS 25. 12-15. PJP 

pass after the death of Abraham, that God blessed Isaac 
his son ; [ J] and Isaac dwelt by Beer-lahai-roi. 

12 [P] Now these are the generations of Ishmael, Abra 
ham s son, whom Hagar the Egyptian, Sarah s handmaid, 

13 bare unto Abraham : and these are the names of the 
sons of Ishmael, by their names, according to their 
generations : the firstborn of Ishmael, Nebaioth ; and 

14 Kedar, and Adbeel, and Mibsam, and Mishma, and 

15 Dumah, and Massa; Hadad, and Tema, Jetur, Naphish, 

11. blessed Isaac: i.e. the special blessing of the chosen 
family was transmitted through Isaac and not through Ishmael. 

xxv. 13-17. THE DESCENDANTS OF ISHMAEL (P). 
Ishmael s family, his death and burial. 

12. generations. See ii. 4. 

13-16 a. This list of Ishmael s sons also occurs in i Chron. 
i. 29 ff. The following names are only found in these two 
passages, and in the case of those marked with an asterisk, the 
derivation of the name and the habitat of the tribe are unknown, 
except that all are no doubt Arab tribes. *Adbeel, *Massa, 
Kedemah (eastern). 

13. Webaioth. Only elsewhere xxviii. 9, xxxvi. 3 ; i Chron. 
i. 29 ; Isa. Ix. 7 ; an important people of Northern Arabia, known 
in later times as Nabataeans. 

Kedar. An important Arab tribe often mentioned in the 
O. T. and in the Assyrian inscriptions. Its exact habitat is 
unknown. 

Adbeel. Perhaps the Arabian tribe Idibi il mentioned in 
an Assyrian inscription with Tema, Sheba, and Ephah. 

Mibsam = sweet odour, and 

14. Mishma: also clans of Simeon in i Chron. iv. 25 ; apparently 
these two clans were sometimes reckoned to Simeon, and some 
times to the Bedouin south of Palestine. If so they must have 
belonged to that district. 

Human-- silence (?) It is doubtful whether this Dumah is 
the same as that of Isa. xxi. n, or as that of Joshua xv. 52. 
Some manuscripts of the Septuagint have Idonma both here and 
in Chronicles. Dumah maybe a corruption of Edom, the Dumah of 
Isaiah is connected with Seir (another name for the territory of 
Edom\ 

IB. Hadad : the name of the supreme god of Syria, also of 
various Edomite kings or princes, xxxvi. 35, 39 R. V. marg., 



GENESIS 25. 1 6-i8. PJP 261 

and Kedemah : these are the sons of Ishmael, and these 16 
are their names, by their villages, and by their encamp 
ments ; twelve princes according to their nations. And 1 7 
these are the years of the life of Ishmael, an hundred 
and thirty and seven years : and he gave up the ghost 
and died ; and was gathered unto his people. [ J] And 18 
they dwelt from Havilah unto Shur that is before Egypt, 
as thou goest toward Assyria : he abode in the presence 
of all his brethren. 

t Kings xi. 14. Here, so A. V. and elsewhere, Hadar is read 
by some authorities instead of Hadad, r and d being almost 
identical in the square Hebrew of the MSS. and printed 
editions. 

Tema = southern, mentioned in Isa. xxi. 13 f., Jer. xxv. 
23 in connexion with Dedan, and in Job vi. 19 in connexion 
with Sheba ; perhaps the modern Teima in Northern Arabia. 

Jetur, Naphish : mentioned with Nodab in i Chron. 
v. 19 as Hagrite tribes, whose territory, apparently afterwards 
part of the Israelite dominion east of Jordan, was conquered and 
occupied by Reuben, Gad, and Eastern Manasseh. Jetur is often 
identified with the Ituraeans. 

16. villages 1 . . . encampments 2 . It is not certain whether 
both the Hebrew words refer to movable camps, or whether 
the former means permanent villages. 

twelve : like the tribes of Israel and the sons of Nahor, 
xxii. 20 ff. 

nations 3 : a technical term for a tribe or clan. 

17. gathered unto his people. See verse 8. 

xxv. 18. THE TERRITORY OF ISHMAEL (?). 

Sources, &c. This very obscure verse is meant by the editor to 
refer to the Ishmaelites, so that it probably did refer to them in 
the source from which he took it. The beginning of the verse 
is generally ascribed to J, and sometimes supposed to be the con 
clusion of J s account of Hagar and Ishmael, xvi. 1-14. From 
Havilah (see on ii. n) to Shur (see on xvi. 7) may mean from 
North- East Arabia to the borders of Egypt. 

The second part of the verse, as thou goest toward Assyria, 
&c., &c., is commonly regarded as made up of later additions. 

as thou goest toward Assyria suggests that the territory 
extended north-east towards the Euphrates, unless Asshur 

1 hafer. * Tirah. 3 Ummah, 



262 GENESIS 25. 19-22. PJ 

19 [P] And these are the generations of Isaac, Abraham s 

20 son : Abraham begat Isaac : and Isaac was forty years 
old when he took Rebekah, the daughter of Bethuel the 
Syrian of Paddan-aram, the sister of Laban the Syrian, 

2 1 to be his wife. [ J] And Isaac intreated the LORD for 
his wife, because she was barren : and the LORD was 

22 intreated of him, and Rebekah his wife conceived. And 
the children struggled together within her ; and she said, 

(Assyria) here and xxv. 3 is a territory between Egypt and 
Palestine. 

abode (R.V. marg. settled Hebrew fell ) in the presence 
of (R. V. marg. over against ) all his brethren, cf. xvi. 12. 

xxv. 19, 20. THE MARRIAGE OF ISAAC (P). 

20. Syrian. Hebrew Aramaean. see on x. 22 ; in J, xxii. 22, 
Bethuel is a son of Nahor and related to Abraham ; but according 
to P Abraham and Nahor are connected by a long descent, x. 
22, xi, with Arpachshad, the brother of Aram. 

Paddan-aram : only in the Priestly portions of Genesis ; in J, 
xxiv. 10, the city of Nahor is in Aram-naharaim. There is no 
certain explanation of Paddan ; according to one theory it 
represents an Assyrian word for field. According to Hos. xii. 
12 Jacob fled into the field l of Aram. 

xxv. 21-26. BIRTH OF JACOB AND ESAU. 

(Primitive Document, except s6A = P.) 

sr-23. The barren Rebekah conceives through Isaac s prayers. 
Distressed at the symptoms of her pregnancy she obtains an 
oracle from Yahweh. 

24 260*. She bears twins, first the red, hairy Esau, then 
Jacob. 

26 b 3 . (P) At this time Isaac was seventy. 

Sources, &c. This narrative expresses a belief in the close 
relationship of Israel and Edom. The oracle in verse 23 was 
doubtless a popular proverbial poem current long before the 
Primitive Document was compiled. Probably in the original 
story ch. xxvi, which narrates incidents at Gerar and docs not 
refer to Jacob and Esau, stood before this section. 

22. children : implying twins. 



Sadch. z As far as Jacob. 3 From and Isaac. 



GENESIS 25. 23-26. J 263 

If it be so, wherefore do I live ? And she went to 
inquire of the LORD. And the LORD said unto her, 23 

Two nations are in thy womb, 

And two peoples shall be separated even from thy 
bowels : 

And the one people shall be stronger than the other 
people ; 

And the elder shall serve the younger. 
And when her days to be delivered were fulfilled, behold, 24 
there were twins in her womb. And the first came forth 25 
red, all over like an hairy garment ; and they called his 
name Esau. And after that came forth his brother, and 26 

If it be so, wherefore do I live ? perhaps meaning that the 
pain was too great to bear ; the R. V. marg. wherefore am 1 thus, 
i. e. pregnant, might suggest a fear of miscarriage. The words 
are practically unintelligible. 

went to inquire of the LOKD : i. e. consulted the oracle at 
some sanctuary of Yahweh. 

23. the elder shall serve the younger. In this line popular 
tradition preserves the recollection of a time when Edom (Esau), 
the elder, was superior to Israel (Jacob). Edom was a settled, 
organized monarchy while Israel was still a loose group of nomad 
tribes; but David conquered Edom 1 , and then the elder 
(Edom) served the younger (Israel). This dependence of 
Edom on Israel or Judah continued with intervals perhaps as 
late as the reign of Uzziah. This short poem may have originated 
in the exaltation of the Israelites at David s conquests. 

25. red (R. V. marg. ruddy ), all over like an hairy garment; 
and they called his name Esau. We should expect to find in 
these words a derivation of the name Esau, but none is given ; 
there doubtless was one in the original story, but it has been 
replaced by the editor by two etymologies connected with other 
names of Esau ; red, admoni, would explain Edom \ and 
hair, se ai , would explain Seir. 

they called : i.e. people called, in idiomatic English his 
name was called. They must be understood as indefinite. 

Esau. No probable explanation of this name has yet been 
suggested. 

1 2 Sam. viii. 14. 2 Cf. verse 30. 



264 GENESIS 25. 27, 28. JPJ 

his hand had hold on Esau s heel ; and his name was 
called Jacob : [P] and Isaac was threescore years old when 

27 she bare them. [J] And the boys grew : and Esau was 
a cunning hunter, a man of the field ; and Jacob was a 

28 plain man, dwelling in tents. Now Isaac loved Esau, 

26. heel ; and his name was called Jacob : R. V. marg. 
That is, One that takes by the heel or supplants. Heel = aqeb ; 
Jacob = Ya aqob, cf. Hos. xii. 3. In Gen. xxvii. 36, J, the 
name is explained as supplanter. Jacob is commonly regarded 
now as a contraction for Jacob-el, which is variously explained 
God follows, &c. The Babylonian equivalents of both Jacob 
and Jacob-el are said to occur in Babylonian documents of the 
time of Hammurabi 1 . Jacob, like Israel, is also used as the name 
of the people, and Jacob is sometimes regarded as an eponymous 
ancestor, i. e. both name and individual are supposed to have 
originated from the people. But neither Jacob nor Jacob-el looks 
like a tribal name 2 ; and Jacob may be a corruption of an older 
form of the name ; or Jacob (-el) may have been the name of an 
ancient tribal hero, and stories concerning this hero may have 
been combined with other narratives giving tribal history in the 
form of stories of the life of Israel, the eponymous ancestor of the 
nation. 

xxv. 27-34. ESAU SELLS HIS BIRTHRIGHT (J). 

27, 28. Esau becomes a hunter, Jacob a dweller in tents ; 
Esau is his father s and Jacob his mother s favourite. 

29-34. Esau comes in hungry from hunting, and sells his 
birthright to Jacob for bread and lentil pottage. 

Sources, &c. Scholars are divided ns to whether this section 
belongs to E or J, and the ascription to J must only be taken as 
probable, not as certain. This narrative, like the oracle in the 
previous section, explains why it was legitimate for Israel to be the 
superior and suzerain of Edom, although Edomwas the older state. 

27. cunning: skilful. 

man of the field : a description of the hunter, who spends his 
time in the field, i. c. the open country. 

a plain man. For plain R. V. marg. offers the alternatives 
of quiet 1 or harmless. the Hebrew meaning literally perfect. 
No doubt the author (an Israelite) implies the same kind of con 
trast between Esau and Jacob ns that expressed by Bohemian 
and respectable. 

dwelling in tents : a nomad herdsman, cf. iv. 20. 

23. Cf. xxvii. 4 ff. 



1 See p. iC, and on xiv. i. 3 Cf. Cheyne, EncycL Bibl. 



GENESIS 25. 29-34. J 265 

because he did eat of his venison : and Rebekah loved 
Jacob. And Jacob sod pottage : and Esau came in 29 
from the field, and he was faint : and Esau said to Jacob, 30 
Feed me, I pray thee, with that same red pottage ; for I 
am faint : therefore was his name called Edom. And 3 r 
Jacob said, Sell me this day thy birthright. And Esau 32 
said, Behold, I am at the point to die : and what profit 
shall the birthright do to me ? And Jacob said, Swear 33 
to me this day ; and he sware unto him : and he sold 
his birthright unto Jacob. And Jacob gave Esau bread 34 
and pottage of lentils ; and he did eat and drink, and 

29. sod pottage : was boiling soup. 

30. that same red pottage : literally, the red ! this red ! A 
fair equivalent in colloquial English would be, some of that red 
stuff! that red stuff there ! 

JEdom. The Hebrew for red is Adorn. The name is some 
times derived from the red cliffs of Edom, sometimes supposed to 
be merely another form of Adam, man, and sometimes to be the 
name of a deity 1 . In xiv. 6 the Horites are placed in Mount 
Seir (Edom) presumably before the Edomites ; but it is not clear 
how far this view can be pushed or to what exact date the Edomite 
occupation of Mount Seir can be traced back 3 . But we may pro 
bably conclude from a variety of evidence that the Edomites were 
settled in their territory before the Israelites conquered Canaan. 
31 and 33. this day: R. V. marg. first of all. 

31. birthright. According to Israelite law and custom in the 
time of the monarchy the eldest son was the head of the family, 
and had the largest share of the property, Deut. xxi. 15-17. It is 
remarkable, however, that the inheritance of the promise in 
the chosen family is constantly traced through youngest or 
younger sons, thus Abraham, Isaac, Jacob. Further, Joseph is 
almost, and perhaps in the original story quite, the youngest son of 
Jacob. David and Solomon are also youngest sons. It has been 
supposed that these facts indicate a state of society in which 
succession went by junior-right, i. e. the youngest, not the eldest 
son, inherited, a custom found in various communities at different 
periods 3 . 

1 Cf. Obcd-Edom and Obadiah. 

2 The deductions which may be drawn from Egyptian and Assyrian 
so irces are still matters of controversy. 

3 Cf. Jacobs, Biblical Archaeology, pp. 46 ff. 



266 GENESIS 26. r. JR 

rose up, and went his way : so Esau despised his birth 
right. 
26 [R] And there was a famine in the land, beside the first 

34. despised his birthright : and so showed himself unworthy 
of it. 

xxvi. 1-33. ISAAC AT GERAR. 

1-5. (R) On account of a famine Isaac, forbidden by Yahweh 
to go to Egypt, sojourns at Gerar ; and Yahweh renews to him 
the promise given to Abraham. 

6-1 1. (J) Isaac sojourns at Gerar, and represents that Rebekah 
is his sister; the king, Abimelech, discovers the deceit. 

12-14. (J) Isaac grows corn, and becomes rich, so that his 
wealth excites the envy of the Philistines. 

J 5-33- (J) Isaac and his herdsmen dispute with the Philistines 
for the possession of certain wells. The dispute is settled by 
a covenant, and on the day of the covenant (by oath) a well is 
found by Isaac s servants and named the Well of the Oath 
Beer-sheba. 

Sources, &c. This section belongs in the main 1 to the Primitive 
Document, J. It consists chiefly of new editions of narratives 
which we have already met with elsewhere : (a) The Patriarch s 
Wife and the Harem of a Gentile King ; (b) The Patriarch, the King 
of Gerar, and the Wells. 

(a) The Patriarch s Wife and the Harem of a Gentile King. This 
story has alreadj been told of Sarah and Pharaoh ; and of Sarah 
and Abimelech of Gerar 2 . In this account, however, the experience 
of the patriarch s wife is less painful than in the other two, she is 
not actually taken into the harem. This feature perhaps marks 
a late version of the story; or it maybe due to the fact that the 
story is told of Isaac. The Hebrew for Isaac was sporting is 
Yifhaq mccahcq, the Sporter sporting or the Laugher laughing. 1 

(b) The Patriarch, the King of Gerar, and the Wells. This story 
has already been told 3 more briefly of Abraham. In both versions 
we have Abimelech and Phicol, the scene is laid at Bcer-shcl.a, 
and *j n c dispute is ended by a covenant, which gives name to Becr- 
she? . pl 

Tic- >fditor was conscious of the resemblances between this and 
previous sections, and makes various additions to explain that, 
in his opinion, these stories are sequels to, and not repetitions 
of, those which he has previously narrated. 

The various incidents, such as the dangers which even married 

1 Cf . below. 

2 Gen. xii. 10-20 (J), and xx (E), see notes on these passages. 

3 Gen. xxi. 22-34, which see. 



GENESIS 26. 2-8. R J 267 

famine that was in the days of Abraham. And Isaac 
went unto Abimelech king of the Philistines unto Gcrar. 
And the LORD appeared unto him, and said, Go not a 
down into Egypt ; dwell in the land which I shall tell 
thee of : sojourn in this land, and I will be with thee, and 3 
will bless thee; for unto thee, and unto thy seed, I will 
give all these lands, and I will establish the oath which I 
sware unto Abraham thy father ; and I will multiply thy 4 
seed as the stars of heaven, and will give unto thy seed 
all these lands ; and in thy seed shall all the nations of 
the earth be blessed ; because that Abraham obeyed my 5 
voice, and kept my charge, my commandments, my 
statutes, and my laws. [J] And Isaac dwelt in Gerar : and 6, 7 
the men of the place asked him of his wife ; and he said, 
She is my sister : for he feared to say, My wife ; lest, 
said he, the men of the place should kill me for Rebekah : 
because she was fair to look upon. And it came to 8 
pass, when he had been there a long time, that Abime- 

women ran amongst strangers, and the expedients to which they 
had resort ; the disputes about the wells, and the covenants by 
which they were ended, were familiar features of the ancient life, 
which were naturally reproduced in the stories told of tribal 
heroes. 

1. a famine : as in xii. 10. 

beside the first famine that was in the days of Abra 
ham: probably an addition of the editor, cf. above. 

Abimelech . . . Gerar. See xx. 2. 

Philistines. See xxi. 32. The mention of the Philistines 
is an anachronism, as they did not settle in Palestine till after the 
Exodus. 

2-5. These verses are largely a repetition of the blessings to 
Abraham, xii. 2, 3, 7, xv. 5, xvii. 7, xxii. 17, and are probably an 
addition of the editor, with the exception of And Yahweh 
appeared unto him, and said . . . "Sojourn in this land, and I will 
be with thee, and will bless thee." 
7. my sister. Cf. xii. 13, 19, xx. 5. 

should kill me. Cf. xii. 12, xx. n. 

fair to look upon. Cf. xii. n. 



268 GENESIS 26. 9-14. J 

lech king of the Philistines looked out at a window, and 
saw, and, behold, Isaac was sporting with Rebekah his 
9 wife. And Abimelech called Isaac, and said, Behold, of 
a surety she is thy wife : and how saidst thou, She is my 
sister ? And Isaac said unto him, Because I said, Lest 

10 I die for her. And Abimelech said, What is this thou 
hast done unto us? one of the people might lightly have 
lien with thy wife, and thou shouldest have brought guilti- 

11 ness upon us. And Abimelech charged all the people, 
saying, He that toucheth this man or his wife shall 

1 2 surely be put to death. And Isaac sowed in that land, 
and found in the same year an hundredfold : and the 

13 LORD blessed him. And the man waxed great, and 

14 grew more and more until he became very great : and he 
had possessions of flocks, and possessions of herds, and 
a great household : and the Philistines envied him. 

8. Isaac was sporting 1 . See above. 

9. Lest I die for her. Cf. xx. IT. 

10. What is this, c. Cf. xii. 18, xx. 10. 

guiltiness. The guilt would have arisen from the fact 
that Rebekah was a married woman ; and according to the 
ideas of the time the ignorance of the offender would not have 
excused him. 

12. Isaac sowed. Seed, seed time, and harvest have been 
mentioned before 1 , but there has been no reference to any 
actual sowing. Perhaps we have here a trace of a story in 
which the cultivation of grain was first instituted by Isaac. But 
this can hardly be the meaning of the statement in its present 
context. It may be connected with the long time (verse 8) of 
Isaac s sojourning there, and with Yahweh s making room (verse 
22 s ) for him in the land ; and suggests the idea that the Israelites 
before the Exodus were not always nomads, but that some of 
them, at any rate, settled down and became cultivators of the soil. 
In this and many other of the patriarchal narratives it is 
implied that Israel had rights to the soil of Canaan, acquired 
before the captivity in Egypt. 

an hundredfold : an exceptional, but not an unparalleled, re 
turn, cf. Mark iv. 8, thirtyfold and sixtyfold and a hundredfold. 

1 Gen. i. ii (P), viii. 22. (J). 



GENESIS 2G. 15-24. J 269 

Now all the wells which his father s servants had digged 15 
in the days of Abraham his father, the Philistines had 
stopped them, and filled them with earth. And 16 
Abimelech said unto Isaac, Go from us; for thou art 
much mightier than we. And Isaac departed thence, 17 
and encamped in the valley of Gerar, and dwelt there. 
And Isaac digged again the wells of water, which they 18 
had digged in the days of Abraham his father ; for the 
Philistines had stopped them after the death of Abraham : 
and he called their names after the names by which his 
father had called them. And Isaac s servants digged in 19 
the valley, and found there a well of springing water. 
And the herdmen of Gerar strove with Isaac s herdmen, 20 
saying, The water is ours : and he called the name of the 
well Esek; because they contended with him. And 21 
they digged another well, and they strove for that also : 
and he called the name of it Sitnah. And he removed 22 
from thence, and digged another well ; and for that they 
strove not : and he called the name of it Rehoboth ; and 
he said, For now the LORD hath made room for us, and 
we shall be fruitful in the land. And he went up from 23 
thence to Beer-sheba. And the LORD appeared unto 24 
him the same night, and said, I am the God of Abraham 

15, 18. These verses are commonly regarded as additions by 
the editor, who wished to distinguish this narrative from xxi. 

19. springing: R.V. marg. living. 

8O. the herdmen . . . strove. Cf. xxi. 25. 

Esek : the Hebrew for contention ; the site is unknown, 
only mentioned here. 

21. Sitnah: the Hebrew for enmity ; a modern Shuinct is 
mentioned near the Rehoboth of verse 22, only mentioned 
here. 

22. Rehoboth: the Hebrew for broad places, often identified 
with a modern Ruhebe some distance south of Beer-sheba. This 
Rehoboth is only mentioned here. 

23. Beer-sheba. See on xxi. 14, 3 T 33- 



270 GENESIS 26. 25-33. J 

thy father : fear not, for I am with thee, and will bless 
thee, and multiply thy seed for my servant Abraham s 

25 sake. And he builded an altar there, and called upon 
the name of the LORD, and pitched his tent there : and 

26 there Isaac s servants digged a well. Then Abimelech 
went to him from Gerar, and Ahuzzath his friend, and 

27 Phicol the captain of his host. And Isaac said unto 
them, Wherefore are ye come unto me, seeing ye hate 

28 me, and have sent me away from you ? And they said, 
We saw plainly that the LORD was with thee : and we 
said, Let there now be an oath betwixt us, even betwixt 

29 us and thee, and let us make a covenant with thee ; that 
thou wilt do us no hurt, as we have not touched thee, 
and as we have done unto thee nothing but good, and 
have sent thee away in peace : thou art now the blessed 

30 of the LORD. And he made them a feast, and they did 

31 eat and drink. And they rose up betimes in the morn 
ing, and sware one to another: and Isaac sent them 

32 away, and they departed from him in peace. And it 
came to pass the same day, that Isaac s servants came, 
and told him concerning the well which they had digged, 

33 and said unto him, We have found water. And he called 
it Shibah : therefore the name of the city is Beer-sheba 
unto this day. 



26. Ahuzzath = possession, 1 only here. In Goliath we hath 
another Philistine name in at/i. 

his friend. Friend was a technical terra for an official of 
a royal court ; cf. i Chron. xxvii. 33, Hushai the Archite was 
the king s friend. Our information does not enable us to define 
the precise duties of this official, but we may think of him as 
a secretary of state. 

Phicol. See xxi. 22. 

28. Let there now be an oath. Cf. xxi. 23. 

31. sware. Cf. xxi. 31. 

33. Shibah = oath, cf. xxi. 31. 



GENESIS 26. 34 27. i. PJE 271 

[P] And when Esau was forty years old he took to 34 
wife Judith the daughter of Beeri the Hittite, and Base- 
math the daughter of Elon the Hittite : and they were a 35 
grief of mind unto Isaac and to Rebekah. 

[JE] And it came to pass, that when Isaac was old, 27 

xxvi. 34, 35. ESAU S WIVES (P). 

Esau grieves his parents by marrying two Hittite women. 
Sotirces, &c. This section may point to the connexion of Edom 
with its Canaanite 1 neighbours. Its interest for the Priestly writer 
and his post-exilic readers lay in the implied condemnation of 
intermarriage with Canaanites. Cf. xxxvi. 2, 3. 

34. Judith. : only here in our O. T. , but the name was bor 
rowed for the heroine of the Book of Judith. But as Judith = 
Jewess the name here must be a corruption of some other if the 
section has any historical basis ; or indeed one would think in 
any case. 

Beeri =* belonging to the well, also the name of the father 
of the prop het Hosea. 

Hittite. See on xv. 20, xxiii. 3. 

JBasemath. In xxxvi. 2, 3 (which see), usually regarded as 
a late addition to the Priestly Document and therefore not by the 
same author as this verse, we have a list of Esau s wives which 
cannot be reconciled with this passage. There, too, Esau marries 
a daughter of Elon the Hittite, but her name is Adah \ he also 
marries a Basemath ; but she is a daughter of Ishmael ; whereas 
in a third passage, xxviii. 9, P, an obvious sequel to this verse, 
Esau marries a daughter of Ishmael, but her name is Mahalatli. 
The confusion is doubtless due to the carelessness of writers and 
scribes as to names which were nothing but names. The name 
probably => fragrance ; it was also borne by a daughter of 
Solomon, i Kings iv. 15. 

Elon : perhaps originally the name of a place connected with 
the words for oak 1 or terebinth, Elon, Elah, &c., only here 
and xxxvi. 2 ; but the same name is found for a clan of Zebulun, 
xlvi. 14. and one of the Judges 3 . 

35. grief of mind. R. V. marg. Heb. bitterness of spirit. 

xxvii. 1-45. JACOB AND REBEKAH DEFRAUD ESAU OF HIS 
FATHER S BLESSING, JACOB S FLIGHT. 

(A narrative compiled by piecing together alternate clauses, &c. , 

1 See on xxiii. 3. a Judges xii. n. 



272 GENESIS 27. 2. JE 

and his eyes were dim, so that he could not see, he 

called Esau his elder son, and said unto him, My son : 

a and he said unto him, Here am I. And he said, Behold 

from two accounts, one found in J and the other in E, i. e. a nar 
rative which ma} be indicated by the symbol JE.) 

1-4. Isaac, being old and blind, asks Esau to get venison, and 
make savoury meat, that he may give him his last blessing. 

5-17. Rebekah overhears, and dresses Jacob up in Esau s 
clothes, and puts skins on his hands and neck, that he may per 
sonate Esau. She sends Jacob to Isaac with savoury meat made 
from kids flesh, that he may obtain the blessing. 

18-29. Jacob goes in, succeeds in removing his father s doubts, 
and receives the blessing : he is to inhabit a fertile land, and rule 
over his brethren. 

30-40. As soon as Jacob has gone out Esau comes with his 
savoury meat, and discovers the fraud. In response to his en 
treaties his father also gives him an ambiguous blessing, which 
partly sounds like that given to Jacob, but may mean that Esau 
shall inhabit a sterile land. He shall be a freebooter, and become 
subject to Jacob, but shall ultimately assert his independence. 

Sources, &c. Most scholars are agreed that this section was 
compiled by combining passages from the Primitive and the Elo- 
histic Documents. Thus Yahweh appears in verses 7, 20, 27, and 
God in verse 28. It is supposed, too, that the savoury meat 
belongs to one narrative and the venison to another ; the 
goodly raiment to one and the skins of the kids to another ; 
and in other ways various passages are perhaps better under 
stood as a combination of two parallel accounts than as a single 
consecutive narrative, e.g. ii=E and said unto him, &c., and 
2 = J ; 20 = J, and 21-23 = E. But there is so little agreement as 
to the exact verses which belong to each document that it has 
been thought better not to attempt to distinguish them in the text. 

Here again, as in the oracle to Rebekah and the sale of the 
birthright 1 , the section is partly national history in the form of 
a personal narrative. It reflects the suzerainty of Israel -, the 
successful revolt of Edom 3 , and the mutual enmity 4 . Here 
again also the Jewish reader would find a legal justification for 
the preference of the younger brother. Probably the original 
narratives used by J and E felt no moral difficulty as to the trick 
played by Jacob and Rebekah, but rather sympathized with it, 
and enjoyed its cleverness ; it was on a level with the patriarchal 
habit of describing a wife as a sister. But in Genesis as we have 



1 Gen. xxv. 21-34. * Verses 29, 40. 3 Verse 40. * Verse 41. 



GENESIS 27. 3-11. JE 273 

now, I am old, I know not the day of my death. Now 3 
therefore take, I pray thee, thy weapons, thy quiver and 
thy bow, and go out to the field, and take me venison ; 
and make me savoury meat, such as I love, and bring it 4 
to me, that I may eat ; that my soul may bless thee 
before I die. And Rebekah heard when Isaac spake to 5 
Esau his son. And Esau went to the field to hunt for 
venison, and to bring it. And Rebekah spake unto 6 
Jacob her son, saying, Behold, I heard thy father speak 
unto Esau thy brother, saying, Bring me venison, and 7 
make me savoury meat, that I may eat, and bless thee 
before the LORD before my death. Now therefore, my 8 
son, obey my voice according to that which I command 
thee. Go now to the flock, and fetch me from thence 9 
two good kids of the goats ; and I will make them 
savoury meat for thy father, such as he loveth : and thou 10 
shalt bring it to thy father, that he may eat, so that he 
may bless thee before his death. And Jacob said to n 

it the trick is the source of much distress to its authors, and we 
have a right to draw obvious moral lessons from the narrative. 

This section, again, is not merely history in the form of personal 
narrative ; the numerous graphic details must be drawn from the 
experience of individuals l . 

2. I know not the day of my death: i.e. I may die at any 
time. 

4. my soul : rather, an emphatic I, with my whole heart 
and soul. 

7. before the XiORD. The phrase usually implies that the 
action takes place at a sanctuary; and it is sometimes supposed 
that the reference here is to an image of Yahweh. A nomad 
sheikh, however, might have some private shrine without an 
image ; or the phrase may merely mean as a solemn religious 
act, calling upon Yahweh to witness and confirm the blessing. 

1O. may bless thee : instead of Esau. Rebekah may have 
thought that the promise made to her, xxv. 23, and the sale of the 
birthright, xxv. 33, gave Jacob a right to the blessing ; that Isaac 

1 For the poems 27-29, 39, 40 s>ee pp. 276 f. 
T 



274 GENESIS 27. 12-19. JE 

Rebekah his mother, Behold, Esau my brother is a hairy 

12 man, and I am a smooth man. My father peradventure 
will feel me, and I shall seem to him as a deceiver ; and 

13 I shall bring a curse upon me, and not a blessing. And 
his mother said unto him, Upon me be thy curse, my 

14 son : only obey my voice, and go fetch me them. And 
he went, and fetched, and brought them to his mother : 
and his mother made savoury meat, such as his father 

15 loved. And Rebekah took the goodly raiment of Esau 
her elder son, which were with her in the house, and put 

1 6 them upon Jacob her younger son : and she put the 
skins of the kids of the goats upon his hands, and upon 

17 the smooth of his neck : and she gave the savoury meat 
and the bread, which she had prepared, into the hand of 

18 her son Jacob. And he came unto his father, and said, 
My father : and he said, Here am I ; who art thou, my 

19 son ? And Jacob said unto his father, I am Esau thy 
firstborn ; I have done according as thou badest me : 

was acting wrongly; and that she was justified in using any 
means to ensure a righteous end : as if God could not carry out 
His purposes without the aid of human fraud. 

12. My father peradventure will feel me. Jacob shows no 
moral repugnance, but is afraid of being found out. 

13. thy curse : i. e. the curse which thy father may pronounce 
against thec. 

15. goodly raiment: festal attire, or. as we should say, 
Sunday clothes. 

which were with her in the house. So that in the older 
Etory Esau was not yet married * a point which the editor over 
looked when he inserted the Priestly section, xxvi. 34 f., 
concerning Esau s wives before this chapter. 

18. Here am I : equivalent to our Yes, with which any one 
answers when addressed. 

%vho art thou. The old man is not only too blind to sec 
which son it is, but does not at once recognize the voice. 

1 So Holzinger. 



GENESIS 27. 20-26. JE 275 

arise, I pray thee, sit and eat of my venison, that thy 
soul may bless me. And Isaac said unto his son, How 20 
is it that thou hast found it so quickly, my son ? And 
he said, Because the LORD thy God sent me good speed. 
And Isaac said unto Jacob, Come near, I pray thee, that 2 r 
I may feel thee, my son, whether thou be my very son 
Esau or not. And Jacob went near unto Isaac his 22 
father ; and he felt him, and said, The voice is Jacob s 
voice, but the hands are the hands of Esau. And he 23 
discerned him not, because his hands were hairy, as his 
brother Esau s hands : so he blessed him. And he said, 24 
Art thou my very son Esau ? And he said, I am. And 25 
he said, Bring it near to me, and I will eat of my son s 
venison, that my soul may bless thee. And he brought 
it near to him, and he did eat : and he brought him 
wine, and he drank. And his father Isaac said unto 26 

20. found it so quickly. The tricksters had been obliged to 
run the risk of exciting suspicion by undue promptness in order 
to anticipate the return of Esau. The meanness of the trick is 
perhaps a little mitigated by its audacity ; Jacob was bound to be 
found out and exposed at once ; but according to primitive ideas 
the blessing was irrevocable when once it had been given, no 
matter how it had been obtained. 

the XiORD thy God. This may not be merely a blasphemous 
lie ; possibly Jacob persuaded himself that his mother s ingenious 
device was an inspiration. Worse acts have been done on 
religious pretexts by professedly religious people. 

21. whether thou he my very son. It seems quite possible 
to take this as the continuation of what precedes. The short con 
versation has made Isaac aware that the voice is Jacob s voice. 
But 21-23 are generally regarded as being from another story; in 
20, J, Isaac s suspicions are roused by the promptness with which 
he is supplied with his game ; in 21-23, E, it is the voice which 
makes him think it may be the wrong son. 

23. hairy : the hair of the kids skins. 

so he blessed him : out of place, and anticipating verses 
26-29. 

24. Art thou my very son Esau : the natural sequel to verse 
20. 

T 2 



276 GENESIS 27. 27-33- JE 

a; him, Come near now, and kiss me, my son. And he 
came near, and kissed him : and he smelled the smell of 
his raiment, and blessed him, and said, 

See, the smell of my son 

Is as the smell of a field which the LORD hath blessed : 

28 And God give thee of the dew of heaven, 
And of the fatness of the earth, 

And plenty of corn and wine : 

29 Let peoples serve thee, 

And nations bow down to thee : 

Be lord over thy brethren, 

And let thy mother s sons bow down to thee : 

Cursed be every one that curseth thee, 

And blessed be every one that blesseth thee. 

30 And it came to pass, as soon as Isaac had made an end 
of blessing Jacob, and Jacob was yet scarce gone out from 
the presence of Isaac his father, that Esau his brother 

31 came in from his hunting. And he also made savoury 
meat, and brought it unto his father ; and he said unto 
his father, Let my father arise, and eat of his son s 

32 venison, that thy soul may bless me. And Isaac his 
father said unto him, Who art thou ? And he said, I am 

33 thy son, thy firstborn, Esau. And Isaac trembled very 

xxvii. 27 -29 l . This poem has nothing to do with the personal 
history of Jacob, but is wholly concerned with the fortunes of 
Israel, the nation, at a time when it was in possession of the 
Promised Land, 

the fatness of the earth, 
And plenty of corn and wine," 
and had extended its authority over its neighbours, 

Be lord over thy brethren. 

In other words, the poem reflects the prosperous days of David 
and Solomon. Brethren stands for kinsfolk, or even neighbours. 
28. God: a trace of the Elohistic Document. 

1 Cf. p. 20. 



GENESIS 27. 34-39. JE 277 

exceedingly, and said, Who then is he that hath taken 
venison, and brought it me, and I have eaten of all 
before thou earnest, and have blessed him ? yea, and he 
shall be blessed. When Esau heard the words of his 34 
father, he cried with an exceeding great and bitter cry, 
and said unto his father, Bless me, even me also, O my 
father. And he said, Thy brother came with guile, and 35 
hath taken away thy blessing. And he said, Is not he 36 
rightly named Jacob ? for he hath supplanted me these 
two times : he took away my birthright ; and, behold, 
now he hath taken away my blessing. And he said, Hast 
thou not reserved a blessing for me ? And Isaac answered 2 7 
and said unto Esau, Behold, I have made him thy lord, 
and all his brethren have I given to him for servants ; and 
with corn and wine have I sustained him : and what 
then shall I do for thee, my son? And Esau said unto 38 
his father, Hast thou but one blessing, my father ? bless 
me, even me also, O my father. And Esau lifted up his 
voice, and wept. And Isaac his father answered and 39 
said unto him, 

33. yea, and lie shall be blessed. The mere utterance of the 
blessing, even when obtained by false pretences, is final. 

36. Jacob. See xxv. 26. 

my birthright . . . my blessing 1 . The Hebrew words are 
similar in foimbekomf/it .. .birkathi and suggest a play upon 
words. They are practically identical in meaning 1 , and the 
blessing was an important element in the birthright, being the 
rite, as it were, by which the birthright was bestowed. Originally, 
no doubt, the story of the lentil pottage and this narrative were 
alternative explanations of the way in which the younger brother 
obtained the birthright ; and our verse is not part of this narrative 
in its oldest form, but the addition of an editor. 

xxvii. 39, 40. This poem 2 , also, has nothing to do with the 
experiences of the individual Esau, but describes the fortunes of 
the nation, Edom : its territory, its warlike habits, its temporary 
subjection to Israel, and, finally, its successful assertion of inde- 

1 So Gunkel. a Cf. on 27-29, and p. 20. 



278 GENESIS 27. 40-44. JE 

Behold, of the fatness of the earth shall be thy 

dwelling, 
And of the dew of heaven from above; 

40 And by thy sword shalt thou live, and thou shalt serve 

thy brother; 

And it shall come to pass when thou shalt break loose, 
That thou shalt shake his yoke from off thy neck. 

41 And Esau hated Jacob because of the blessing wherewith 
his father blessed him : and Esau said in his heart, The 
days of mourning for my father are at hand ; then will I 

42 slay my brother Jacob. And the words of Esau her 
elder son were told to Rebekah ; and she sent and called 
Jacob her younger son, and said unto him, Behold, thy 
brother Esau, as touching thee, doth comfort himself, 

43 purposing to kill thee. Now therefore, my son, obey my 
voice ; and arise, flee thou to Laban my brother to Haran ; 

44 and tarry with him a few days, until thy brother s fury turn 

pendence. The last event can hardly be earlier than the time of 
Jehoshaphat; so that this poem is probably later than verses 27-29. 

39. of the R. V. marg. ( away from ) fatness of the earth 
... of the R. V. marg. ( away from ) dew of heaven. The 
Hebrew phrases here are the same as those rendered of the dew 
of heaven ... of the fatness of the earth in verse 28. As the 
alternatives offered by R. V. and R. V. marg. show, the phrases 
are ambiguous ; but we should probably render away from in 
39. We do not, however, gather from the accounts of travellers 
that there can have been any very striking contrast between 
Israel and Edom in respect of fertility. 

40. by thy sword shalt thon live : after the manner of the 
modern Bedouin, by raiding less warlike peoples, plundering 
caravans, or levying blackmail to allow them to pass in peace and 
protect them from other banditti. 

thou shalt shake his yoke from off thy neck. Revolts of 
Edom are mentioned in the reigns of Solomon, apparently un 
successful, i Kings xi. 14-22, Jehoram of Judah, 2 Kings viii. 20- 
22, and finally Ahaz, 2 Kings xvi. 6, where we should read with 
R. V. marg. the Edomites came to Elath and dwelt there, unto 
this day. 

44. until thy brother s fury turn away. 45. until thy 



GENESIS 27. 45 28. 2. JEP 279 

away ; until thy brother s anger turn away from thee, and 45 
he forget that which thou hast done to him : then I will 
send, and fetch thee from thence : why should I be 
bereaved of you both in one day ? 

[Pj And Rebekah said to Isaac, I am weary of my life 46 
because of the daughters of Heth : if Jacob take a wife 
of the daughters of Heth, such as these, of the daughters 
of the land, what good shall my life do me ? And Isaac 28 
called Jacob, and blessed him, and charged him, and 
said unto him, Thou shalt not take a wife of the daugh 
ters of Canaan. Arise, go to Paddan-aram, to the house 2 
of Bethuel thy mother s father; and take thee a wife 
from thence of the daughters of Laban thy mother s 

brother s anger turn away. This repetition suggests that, of 
these two clauses, one is taken from one source, and the other 
from another. 

45. be bereaved of you both. This is commonly explained as 
meaning that if Esau killed Jacob, Rebekah would lose both her 
two sons on the same day, because Esau would be slain by Jacob s 
kinsfolk, who would avenge him after the manner of the Bedouin. 
It seems, however, also possible that both stands for Isaac and 
Jacob. Esau proposed to kill Jacob as soon as the days of mourn 
ing began, verse 41, not waiting till they were ended. As soon as 
the breath was out of Isaac s body Esau would kill Jacob, and 
father and son would both die on one day. The story does not 
show that Rebekah felt any special affection for Esau. 

xxvii. 46. REBEKAH ON THE MARRIAGE OF JACOB. 

A fragment of a Priestly account of Jacob s visit to Haran, 
which rejects the discreditable reasons given in the rest of this 
chapter in favour of a more satisfactory explanation of his journey 
thither. Cf. on xxvi. 34. 

xxviii. 1-9. JACOB SENT TO PADDAN-ARAM TO MARRY A KINS 
WOMAN. ESAU TAKES ANOTHER WIFE, AN IsHMAELlTE (P *). 

2. Paddan-aram. See on xxv. 20. 

Bethuel thy mother s father . . . Laban thy mother s 
brother. According to the Priestly Document, see on xxv. 20, 
there was no close relationship between Bethuel and Isaac. 

1 Cf. on xxvii. 46. 



28o GENESIS 28. 3-10. PJE 

3 brother. And God Almighty bless thee, and make thee 
fruitful, and multiply thee, that thou mayest be a 

4 company of peoples ; and give thee the blessing of 
Abraham, to thee, and to thy seed with thee ; that thou 
mayest inherit the land of thy sojoumings, which God 

5 gave unto Abraham. And Isaac sent away Jacob : and 
he went to Paddan-aram unto Laban, son of Bethuel the 
Syrian, the brother of Rebekah, Jacob s and Esau s 

6 mother. Now Esau saw that Isaac had blessed Jacob 
and sent him away to Paddan-aram, to take him a wife 
from thence; and that as he blessed him he gave him 
a charge, saying, Thou shalt not take a wife of the 

7 daughters of Canaan ; and that Jacob obeyed his father 

8 and his mother, and was gone to Paddan-aram : and 
Esau saw that the daughters of Canaan pleased not Isaac 

9 his father ; and Esau went unto Ishmael, and took unto 
the wives, which he had Mahalath the daughter of 
Ishmael Abraham s son, the sister of Nebaioth, to be 
his wife. 

10 [JE] And Jacob went out from Beer-sheba, and went 

3. God Almighty : Heb. El Sliaddai. See on xvii. r. 

bless thee. Here the blessing is given ; n a natural, straight 
forward, legitimate way, in terms similar to the previous blessings 
on Abraham and Isaac. 

9. Mahalath. Cf. on xxvi. 34 and xxxvi. 3. In 2 Chron. xi. 18 
Rehoboam marries a Mahalath, the daughter of David s son 
Jerimoth. The name docs not occur elsewhere. 
Webaioth. See on xxv. 13. 

xxviii. 10-22. JACOU AT BETH-EL (JE). 

xxviii. 10. Jacob leaves Beer-sheba for Ilarnn. 

xxviii. 11-15. Resting for the night he dreams of a ladder from 
earth to heaven, with angels going up and down it. Yahweh 
appears and blesses him. 

xxviii. 16- 22. He awakes, and consecrates the stone he had 



GENESIS 28. 11-13. JE 281 

toward Haran. And he lighted upon a certain place, and n 
tarried there all night, because the sun was set ; and he 
took one of the stones of the place, and put it under his 
head, and lay down in that place to sleep. And he 12 
dreamed, and behold a ladder set up on the earth, and 
the top of it reached to heaven : and behold the angels 
of God ascending and descending on it. And, behold, 13 

used for a pillow as a sacred pillar ; he calls the place Beth-el, 
House of God ; and promises that if Yahweh will bring him safe 
home again he will pay tithes. 

Sources, &c. Here, as in xxvii. 1-45, there are traces of both 
the Elohistic and Primitive Documents, e.g. God in verses 12, 
20, Yahweh in verses 13, 16, 21 ; but the exact division between 
the two cannot be certainly determined, and it has been thought 
best not to indicate it in the text. 

No doubt this narrative was preserved at the great Israelite 
sanctuary of Beth-el, for whose priests the most important lesson 
of the chapter was their right to receive tithes from Jacob s 
descendants. The patriarch s example was recorded as a precedent 
binding on the nation that traced its descent to him. But for us 
the story has deeper spiritual lessons, that have appealed through 
out the ages to men s hearts and consciences. The picture of the 
vision of God and heaven coming to the lonely wanderer in his 
dreams has constantly suggested the nearness and the reality of 
the Divine Presence. 

The reader may notice that neither in the words of Jacob nor 
in the Divine utterance is there any reference to the fact that 
Jacob s flight was due to the gross deceit he had recently practised. 
Perhaps this story of Jacob s dream was originally independent 
of the preceding narratives. 

11. a certain place : Heb. the place, perhaps the sanctuary, 
cf. xii. 6. 

one of the stones of the place: perhaps the place is 
thought of a circle of sacred stones, one of which Jacob takes for 
his pillow. It is implied that the patriarch did not know that the 
place on which he had lighted was holy ; this is revealed to him 
by the vision, verse 17. 

12. a ladder. It has been supposed that the dream was 
suggested by the appearance of the hill of Beth-el, which is some 
thing like a huge flight of steps. The holy place affords an 
opportunity of communication between earth and heaven ; it is the 
gate of heaven, verse 17. 

13. Cf. xii. 7, xv. 7. 



282 GENESIS 28. 14-1 s. JE 

the LORD stood above it, and said, I am the LORD, the 
God of Abraham thy father, and the God of Isaac : the 
land whereon thou liest, to thee will I give it, and to thy 

14 seed ; and thy seed shall be as the dust of the earth, and 
thou shalt spread abroad to the west, and to the east, 
and to the north, and to the south : and in thee and in 
thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed. 

15 And, behold, I am with thee, and will keep thee whither 
soever thou goest, and will bring thee again into this 
land; for I will not leave thee, until I have done that 

16 which I have spoken to thee of. And Jacob awaked out 
of his sleep, and he said, Surely the LORD is in this place; 

3 7 and I knew it not. And he was afraid, and said, How 
dreadful is this place ! this is none other but the house 

is of God, and this is the gate of heaven. And Jacob rose 
up early in the morning, and took the stone that he had 
put under his head, and set it up for a pillar, and poured 

abova it: R. V. marg. beside him. 
14. Cf. xiii. 14-17, xii. 3. 

spread abroad : R. V. marg. break forth. 

16. the LORD is in this place. 

17. this is none other but the house of God. These two 
equivalent clauses are recognitions that the place was a sanctuary; 
the former comes from J, Yahweh, the latter from E, God. 

18. set it up for a pillar. The pillar (niacfclxi] or sacred 
stone was part of the apparatus of a sanctuary in early times both 
in Israel and elsewhere, and was a relic of an earlier time when 
the stone itself was the sanctuary, or even the object of worship, 
the abode of the deity. The worship of sacred stones was 
a common feature in many primitive religions. Even here it is on 
the stone that Jacob pours out his libation of oil, verse 18 ; and it 
is the stone which is to be God s house (verse 20). According to 
early tradition two sacred stones were preserved in the Ark. At 
Mecca, in the central sanctuary of Islam, the most venerable 
object is a sacred black stone. 

Until towards the close of the Jewish monarchy these sacred 
nia^ebas were regarded as perfectly legitimate ; thus Moses 
erects an altar and twelve mdfftbas at Sinai, Exod. xxiv. 4, E ; and 
Joshua sets up a great stone in the sanctuary of Yahweh r.t 



GENESIS 28. 19-22. JE 283 

oil upon the top of it. And he called the name of that 19 
place Beth-el : but the name of the city was Luz at the 
first. And Jacob vowed a vow, saying, If God will be 20 
with me, and will keep me in this way that I go, and will 
give me bread to eat, and raiment to put on, so that 21 
I come again to my father s house in peace, then shall 
the LORD be my God, and this stone, which I have 22 
set up for a pillar, shall be God s house : and of all 

Shechem, and says of it, This stone shall be a witness against 
us ; for it hath heard all the words of Yahweh which he spake 
unto us, Joshua xxiv. 27, E. 

19. Beth-el (i. e. the house of God ) . . . Lwz. See on xii. 8, 
and cf. xxxv. 9-15. 

20. If God will be with me : i. e. if God will keep the promise 
made in the vision, verses 13-15. 

81. so that X come again to my father s house in peace. It 
is implied that this condition was fulfilled ; hence, if we are to 
treat this section as continuous with xxvii. 1-45 we must take 
father s house in a loose sense for Canaan. We should gather 
from xxvii. 41 that Isaac died long before Jacob returned. In 
xxxiii. 18 we read that Jacob came in peace 1 to the city of 
Shechem ; but perhaps we have here another indication that this 
story was not originally the continuation of that concerning the 
blessing obtained by fraud. 

The statements that Jacob left Paddan-aram to go to Isaac, 
xxxi. 18, and that he came to Isaac at Mamre, xxxv. 27, belong to 
the Priestly Document. 

then shall the LORD be my God : sometimes regarded as 
a later addition, but it is simpler to render with R. V. marg. and 
[if] Yahweh will be my God, then this stone. 

22. this stone . . . shall be God s house : sometimes explained 
as meaning that Jacob would build a temple there in xxxv. 7, E, 
he builds an altar at Beth-el or that the stone should be the foun 
dation of the temple. But no doubt in the original it meant that 
the stone was the seat of a supernatural presence or influence, 
and would be reverenced as such. At the same time it is certain 
that the actual compilers of the Pentateuch held no such belief, 
and probably they did not so understand the words, but read and 
copied them as a loose and figurative expression, to be interpreted 
as has been suggested at the beginning of this note. 



1 But R.V. marg 1 . to Shalem for in peace. 



284 GENESIS 29. i. JEE 

that thou shall give me I will surely give the tenth 
unto thee. 

[E] Then Jacob went on his journey, and came to the 

I will surely give the tenth unto thee. There is a childlike 
simplicity about the wording of this vow, read as part of the 
personal history of Jacob ; to give back to God a tenth of what 
God gave him would have been an excellent bargain for the 
patriarch. But the verses are really written from the point of 
view of the priests of the sanctuary at Beth-el ; and mean that the 
pious Israelite ought to devote a tenth of his income to the mainten 
ance of that sanctuary and its priesthood. Perhaps the priests 
thought of Jacob as devoting a tenth of his property to building 
the original sanctuary, and providing it with lands which would 
serve as an endowment. We do not read of Jacob fulfilling this 
part of his vow. Cf. xiv. 20. 

xxix, xxx. JACOB S SOJOURN AT HAKAN. (Compiled from J, 
E, and P.) 

xxix. i. (E) Jacob journeys to the land of the Children of the 
East. 

xxix. 2-14. CJ) Jacob reaches Haran, meets -Rachel at the well, 
and is hospitably received by Laban. 

xxix. 15-23. (JE) Jacob serves Laban seven years for Rachel, 
but is given Leah instead. 

xxix. 24. (P) Laban gives Zilpah to Leah. 

xxix. 25-28 l . (JE) Laban proposes that Jacob shall serve 
another seven years for Rachel. 

xxix. 28 b, 29. (P) Laban gives Rachel to Jacob, and Bilhah 
to Rachel. 

xxix. 30. (JE) Jacob serves another seven j ears for Rachel. 

xxix. 31-35. (J) Leah bears Reuben, Simeon, Lcvi, and Judah. 

xxx. 1-3. (JE) Rachel gives her maid Bilhah to Jacob. 

xxx. 4rt a . (P) Rachel gives her maid Bilhah to Jacob. 

xxx. 46 3 -8. (JE) Bilhah bears Dan and Naphtali. 

xxx. 9-13. (JE) Leah gives Zilpah to Jacob ; Zilpah bears Gad 
and Ashcr. 

xxx. 14-20. (JE) Reuben finds mandrakes, Leah purchases 
with them Jacob s society, and bears Issachar and Zebulun. 

xxx. 21, as a*. (P) Leah bears Dinah, God remembers Rachel. 

1 As far as her week. As far as to wife. 

3 From and Jacob." * As far as Rachel. 



GENESIS 29. 2. EJ 285 

land of the children of the east. [ J] And he looked, and * 
behold a well in the field, and, lo, three flocks of sheep 

xxx. 22 b -24. (JE) Rachel bears Joseph. 

xxx. 25-43. (JE) Jacob wishes to return to Canaan, but agrees 
to continue to serve Laban for a portion of the increase of the 
flock. By various devices Jacob arranges that his share of this 
increase shall be the more valuable. 

Sources, &c. This section shows the usual signs of compila 
tion from different documents, e.g. Yahweh in xxix. 31-35, &c., 
God in xxx. 17-23. Certain clauses are commonly ascribed to the 
Priestly Document, but The decomposition of the combined 
stories of J and E is sometimes matter of the utmost difficulty, as 
the texture is often extremely closely knit, even where it is 
practically certain that two sources have been united . . . the 
justification of [any particular analysis] sometimes depends on 
considerations which must be differently estimated by different 
students 2 . Hence in this section, for the most part, only the 
combined story is given. 

The reader will notice the similarity between the story of Jacob 
and Rachel at the well, xxix. 1-14, and the stories of Eliezer and 
Rebekah, xxiv. 1-32, and Moses and the daughters of Jcthro, 
Exod. ii. 15-21. 

In these chapters, as in the poems in xxvii, we are reading not 
of individuals but of tribes. It is, of course, possible that there 
were individuals, Jacob, Rachel, Joseph, &c. after whom tribes 
were named, just as towns, territories, states, and religious de 
nominations have been named after individuals, e. g. Constantinople 
after Constantine, the state and the territory of Washington in 
the United States, Bolivia after Bolivar, Christians after Christ. 
None of these, however, are very exact parallels. Again, portions 
of the narratives are not tribal history, but accounts of personal 
experiences which may very well have happened to individuals, 
Jacob, &c. But most of the names of the twelve patriarchs only 
occur in history as names of tribes, and it is commonly held that 
they were originally names of tribes, and that the twelve patri 
archs, for the most part at any rate, are eponymous ancestors 8 . 

Thus then this section, like ch. x, is mostly held to be tribal 
history, describing the relations of tribes, blended no doubt with 
familiar personal experiences. But after the lapse of millenniums 
history, written after this fashion, becomes an enigma which is 
very difficult to solve. The following exposition therefore must 
simply be regarded as a specimen of several possible alternative 

1 From and God. - Oxford Hexateuch. 

a See notes on the several names. 



286 GENESIS 29. 3 . J 

lying there by it ; for out of that well they watered the 

flocks : and the stone upon the well s mouth was great. 

3 And thither were all the flocks gathered : and they rolled 

the stone from the well s mouth, and watered the sheep, 

interpretations ; an example of the kind of information which these 
chapters were intended to give. 

The meaning of the section, therefore, is sometimes supposed to 
have been somewhat as follows : Jacob is an Arab tribe wandering 
in Canaan ; through a quarrel with Edom, Jacob migrated to the 
neighbourhood of Haran, and formed a federation with the 
Aramaean clans of Rachel, Bilhah, Leah, and Zilpah. The fusion 
of Rachel and Jacob was so close as to constitute a new tribe 
Joseph *, the name Jacob being transferred to the federation. 
The other federated clans in time became divided up into new 
clans, or in some instances fresh clans joined the federation, and 
were reckoned as sub-clans of one of the four main groups. Thus, 
to use the genealogical language, Leah had six sons, Reuben, 
Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, and Zebulun, i. e. the great sub 
division of the alliance known as Leah came to comprise these 
clans; and so Zilpah had two sons, Gad and Asher ; Bilhah had 
two sons, Dan and Naphtali. The term concubine applied to 
Bilhah and Zilpah implies that these tribes and their subdivisions 
were at first less influential members of the federation, or perhaps 
only loosely connected with it. The history dealt with in these 
chapters refers partly to the period before the conquest of Canaan 
and partly to the conquest itself, and the subsequent settlement 
in the Promised Land. If, however, Bilhah is a form of the name 
of the Horite clan Billian, the tribe was originally Horite, or 
perhaps partly Horite and partly Edomite, and became absorbed 
in Israel. Cf. xxxvi. 5, 27. 

But whatever tribal history may be involved in these chapters 
is now set in the framework of a personal story. Probably long 
before the Pentateuch was completed the Jews read it as such ; 
and we may follow their example, and enjoy the graphic narrative, 
profit by its teaching, and learn something of the manners and 
ideas of ancient Israel. Cf. also note on the twelve tribes 
on xxxv. 22-26. 

1. went on his journey: i.e. continued his journey, Heb. 
lifted up his feet. 

the land of the children of the east: i.e. the land east and 
north-east of Palestine. In P, Jacob s destination is Paddan-aram, 
xxviii. 5, in J, Haran, xxviii. 10. 

1 See note on Joseph. 



. GENESIS 29. 4-13. J 287 

and put the stone again upon the well s mouth in its 
place. And Jacob said unto them, My brethren, whence 4 
be ye ? And they said, Of Haran are we. And he said 5 
unto them, Know ye Laban the son of Nahor ? And they 
said, We know him. And he said unto them, Is it well 6 
with him ? And they said, It is well : and, behold, 
Rachel his daughter cometh with the sheep. And he 7 
said, Lo, it is yet high day, neither is it time that the 
cattle should be gathered together : water ye the sheep, 
and go and feed them. And they said, We cannot, until 8 
all the flocks be gathered together, and they roll the stone 
from the well s mouth ; then we water the sheep. While 9 
he yet spake with them, Rachel came with her father s 
sheep ; for she kept them. And it came to pass, when 10 
Jacob saw Rachel the daughter of Laban his mother s 
brother, and the sheep of Laban his mother s brother, 
that Jacob went near, and rolled the stone from the 
well s mouth, and watered the flock of Laban his mother s 
brother. And Jacob kissed Rachel, and lifted up his n 
voice, and wept. And Jacob told Rachel that he was 12 
her father s brother, and that he was Rebekah s son : and 
she ran and told her father. And it came to pass, when 13 
Laban heard the tidings of Jacob his sister s son, that he 
ran to meet him, and embraced him, and kissed him, 
and brought him to his house. And he told Laban all 

5. Iiaban tho son of Nahor. According to the genealogies 
Laban was the grandson of Nahor ; son here = descendant. 

6. Rachel = ewe. It has been suggested that an ewe was 
originally the totem of the Rachel tribe. Rachel was perhaps 
the name of an Aramaean tribe which became absorbed in Israel ; 
the story of course thinks of an individual, cf. above. 

7. go and feed them: so that Jacob might have a private 
interview with Rachel. 

11. lifted up his voice, and wept : i. c. cried aloud, after the 
demonstrative fashion of the Oriental. 
13. ran to meet him. Cf. xxiv. 29* 



288 GENESIS 29. 14-25. JJEPJE 

14 these things. [JE] And Laban said to him, Surely thou 
art my bone and my flesh. And he abode with him the 

15 space of a month. And Laban said unto Jacob, Because 
thou art my brother, shouldest thou therefore serve me 

16 for nought ? tell me, what shall thy wages be ? And La- 
ban had two daughters : the name of the elder was Leah, 

17 and the name of the younger was Rachel. And Leah s 
eyes were tender; but Rachel was beautiful and well 

1 8 favoured. And Jacob loved Rachel ; and he said, I will 
serve thee seven years for Rachel thy younger daughter. 

19 And Laban said, It is better that I give her to thee, than 
that I should give her to another man : abide with me. 

20 And Jacob served seven years for Rachel ; and they 
seemed unto him but a few days, for the love he had to 

21 her. And Jacob said unto Laban, Give me my wife, for 

22 my days are fulfilled, that I may go in unto her. And 
Laban gathered together all the men of the place, and 

23 made a feast. And it came to pass in the evening, that 
he took Leah his daughter, and brought her to him; and 

24 he went in unto her. [Pj And Laban gave Zilpah his 
handmaid unto his daughter Leah for an handmaid. 

25 [ JE] And it came to pass in the morning that, behold, it 

16. Leah: sometimes explained as meaning wild-cow, which 
animal is then regarded as the totem of the Leah tribe ; others 
connect Leah with a similar Assyrian word meaning lady ; 
cf. above, p. 287. 

17. tender: i.e. weak, without brightness or brilliancy of 
lustre 1 . 

18. seven years for Bachel : as the equivalent of the tnohar 
or price paid for a wife. 

23. lie took Leah . . . and brought her to him. The bride 
would be veiled, it was dark, and it was the evening of a great 
feast, so that Jacob did not find out the deception till the morning. 

24. (P) Zilpah. Origin and meaning of name unknown, cf. 
above, p. 287. 

1 Dillmann. 



GENESIS 29. 26-J2. JEPJEJ 289 

was Leah : and he said to Laban, What is this thou hast 
done unto me? did not I serve with thee for Rachel? 
wherefore then hast thou beguiled me ? And Laban said, 26 
It is not so done in our place, to give the younger before 
the firstborn. Fulfil the week of this one, and we will 27 
give thee the other also for the service which thou shalt 
serve with me yet seven other years. And Jacob did so, 28 
and fulfilled her week : [P] and he gave him Rachel his 
daughter to wife. And Laban gave to Rachel his 29 
daughter Bilhah his handmaid to be her handmaid. 
[JE] And he went in also unto Rachel, and he loved 30 
also Rachel more than Leah, and served with him yet 
seven other years. 

[J] And the LORD saw that Leah was hated, and he 31 
opened her womb : but Rachel was barren. And Leah 32 
conceived, and bare a son, and she called his name 
Reuben : for she said, Because the LORD hath looked 

26. Mention is made ot a similar custom in India and elsewhere. 

27. Fulfil the week, &c. At the end of a week specially devoted 
to Leah, Jacob married Rachel, and paid for her by seven more 
years work for Laban. 

29. (P) Bilhah. Meaning and origin ot name unknown, cf. 
above, p. 285. 

32. Reuben. The Primitive Document explains this name as 
meaning hath looked upon my affliction, ra ah b^onyi, an im 
possible etymology. Perhaps in the second half of the verse, my 
husband will love me, we have a corruption of the Elohistic 
etymology; will love me ye ehabani. Josephus, Antiquities, 
I. xix. 7, states that the word meant, It had happened to her ac 
cording to the compassion of God, i. c. El. The spelling and vowels 
of the Hebrew text suggest the meaning re u ben, behold a son. 
But Josephus, the Syriac, and some other versions give the name 
as Roubelos or Rubil. The origin of the name in either form is 
unknown, and the number of theories is in proportion to the lack 
of information. The Reubel form has been explained as seen or 
cared for by Bel, and again as equivalent to the Arabic ri bat, 
well". 

Reuben as the firstborn must have been an important tribe in 



2 9 o GENESIS 29. 33-35. J 

upon my affliction; for now my husband will love me. 

33 And she conceived again, and bare a son; and said, 
Because the LORD hath heard that I am hated, he hath 
therefore given me this son also : and she called his name 

34 Simeon. And she conceived again, and bare a son ; and 
said, Now this time will my husband be joined unto me, 
because I have borne him three sons : therefore was his 

35 name called Levi. And she conceived again, and bare 

early times ; Num. xvi, JE, may be a reminiscence of an attempt 
of Reuben as premier tribe to assert its claims against Moses. 
At the Conquest Reuben is located between the Jabbok and the 
Arnon, in the midst of the territory of Gad ; and is found there 
in the time of Deborah, Judges v. 15, 16. After this the tribe 
seems to have suffered some great disaster, and practically dis 
appears from history. Cf. on xxx. 14, xxxv. 22, xlix. sf 1 . 

33. Simeon. The name Shimon suggested the Hebrew verb 
shama, heard, hence the etymology, because tha LOSD hath 
heard. There is novery probable explanation of the name, it issome- 
times connected with the Arabic sain, a hybrid between a hyaena 
and a wolf, a view which receives some support from the possibility 
that Reuben should be read as Reubel and interpreted as Wolf. 
The position of the tribe in the genealogy shows that it was im 
portant in early times, and this would be illustrated by references 
in Egyptian and cuneiform authorities, if we could be sure that 
the names cited were equivalent to Simeon. The cities of Simeon 
were in the territory of Judah, as those of Reuben were in the 
territory of Gad ; and Simeon too suffered some reverse soon 
after the Conquest, after which it practically disappeared from 
history, cf. on xxxiv, xlix. 5-7. 

34. Levi. The name suggested the Hebrew verb lavah, joined, 
hence the etymology, Now . . . will my husband be joined 
unto me. Levi, however, is strictly the term for a member of a 
tribe, Levite ; or, if taken collectively, for the members, Levites. 
It is commonly regarded as the adjective corresponding to Leah, 
so that Levi would mean a member of the Leah tribe. If so we 
may suppose that the Leah tribe became several tribes, partly by 
subdivision, parly by the iiK-r|>ora(ion of now members; and 
that a section of the original tribe simply retained the oM name 
in its gentilic or adjectival form, and called themselves par excellence 

1 See the Author s articles on Reuben in Dr. Hastings Bible 
Dictionary. 



GENESIS 30. i-6. JJEPJE 291 

a son : and she said, This time will I praise the LORD.: 
therefore she called his name Judah ; and she left bearing. 

[JE] And when Rachel saw that she bare Jacob no 30 
children, Rachel envied her sister; and she said unto 
Jacob, Give me children, or else I die. And Jacob s 2 
anger was kindled against Rachel : and he said, Am I in 
God s stead, who hath withheld from thee the fruit of the 
womb? And she said, Behold my maid Bilhah, go in 3 
unto her; that she may bear upon my knees, and I also 
may obtain children by her. [P] And she gave him 4 
Bilhah her handmaid to wife : [ JE] and Jacob went in 
unto her. And Bilhah conceived, and bare Jacob a son. 5 
And Rachel said, God hath judged me, and hath also 6 

; the Levites. There are parallel cases where two forms of a 
proper name come to have different meanings, for instance, 
Frank is only a corruption of French, but Frank in the East 
stands for Europeans generally, of whom the French are only 
one section. If so the Levites originally were the most powerful 
and distinguished of the Leah tribes, but they also suffered a great 
disaster in early times, and Levite later on means first a priest, 
and then an assistant to the priests. It is not certain what is the 
historical connexion, if any, between the secular tribe Levi and 
the sacerdotal Levites, cf. xxxiv, xlix. 5-7. 

35. Judah. The Hebrew name Yelmdah suggested the verb 
hodah, i praised, hence the etymology, I will praise the LORD. 
The real origin of the name and the early history of the tribe is un 
certain. It is not referred to in the Song of Deborah ; but appears 
elsewhere in Judges l in the south of Palestine. Cf. on xxxviii. 

xxx. 3. bear upon my knees, a symbolic act by which Rachel 
adopts Bilhah s children as her own so that she may obtain 
children by her, Heb. be builded by her ; so in 1. 23 Joseph s 
great-grandchildren, the children of Manasseh s son Machir, were 
born upon Joseph s knees, a special recognition of their legi 
timacy 2 . It is suggested that children were born upon the knees 
of the father in recognition of legitimacy, cf. Job iii. 12, Why 
did the knees receive me ? 3 

1 i, x. 9, xv-xxi. a Cf . note on this verse. 

3 Stade ap. Holzinger. 

U 2 



292 GENESIS 30. 7-13. JE 

heard my voice, and hath given me a son : therefore 

7 called she his name Dan. And Bilhah Rachel s hand 
maid conceived again, and bare Jacob a second son. 

8 And Rachel said, With mighty wrestlings have I wrestled 
with my sister, and have prevailed : and she called his 

9 name Naphtali. When Leah saw that she had left 
bearing, she took Zilpah her handmaid, and gave her to 

10 Jacob to wife. And Zilpah Leah s handmaid bare Jacob 

11 a son. And Leah said, Fortunate! and she called his 

12 name Gad. And Zilpah Leah s handmaid bare Jacob a 

13 second son. And Leah said, Happy am I ! for the 



6. Dan, a name which might be read as a Hebrew verb, he 
judged, hence the etymology, God hath judged me. Dan is often 
supposed to have been originally the name of a deity, a view also 
held with regard to Gad and Asher. The connexion of Dan and 
Naphtali, through Bilhah, with Rachel, groups Dan with Joseph. 
The tribe is found partly to the west of Ephraim, and partly in 
the extreme north. Cf. on Dinah, xxx. 21. 

8. Naphtali. The name suggested the Hebrew verb niphtal, 
he wrestled, hence the etymology, with mighty wrestlings 
(Heb. wrestlings of God ) have I wrestled. The origin of the 
name is unknown. Naphtali is prominent in the Song of 
Deborah, Judges v. 18. Cf. above on Dan. See also Ps. Ixviii. 27. 

11. Gad, R.V. marg. that is, Fortune, hence the etymology, 
Leah said, Fortunate I R.V. marg. With Fortune. "But Gad 
occurs in Isa. Ixv. u as the name of a deity, also in the names 
Baal-gad \ and Migdal-gad - . Gad was a well-known Syrian deity, 
the god of fortune. The margin of the Hebrew text gives the 
alternative reading. Gad comes. The statement that Gad and 
Asher were sons of Zilpah, Leah s handmaid, implies an early 
connexion of the two tribes with each other, and also a connexion 
between them and the Leah tribes. Since Gad and Asher were 
widely separated in the final settlement of the twelve tribes in 
Canaan, this connexion and the tradition concerning it must date 
back to the early days of the Conquest, or perhaps even to the 
nomad life of the tribes before the Conquest. Gad settled east of 
Jordan, and was for some time a powerful tribe. The Gadites 
are mentioned in the inscription of Mesha, king of Moab, the 
contemporary of Ahab, where nothing is said of Reuben. 

1 Joshua xi. 17. 2 Joshua xv. 37. 



GENESIS 30. 14, 15- JE 293 

daughters will call me happy : and she called his name 
Asher. And Reuben went in the days of wheat harvest, 14 
and found mandrakes in the field, and brought them 
unto his mother Leah. Then Rachel said to Leah, 
Give me, I pray thee, of thy son s mandrakes. And she 15 
said unto her, Is it a small matter that thou hast taken 

13. Asher. The name suggested the Hebrew verb to call 
happy ; hence the etymology, Happy am X I for the daughters 
will call me happy. The Hebrew for Happy am I ! is more 
literally With my happiness, which resembles both in sense 
and construction the exclamation as to Asher s brother Gad. 
Asher has been supposed to be a god of good fortune like Gad ; 
and the similarity of name might suggest a connexion with the 
Assyrian god Asshur ; but any such connexion is improbable. 
A name Aseru, which may be equivalent to Asher, is found in 
Western Galilee in Egyptian inscriptions of the time of Ramesea 
II and earlier. In many popular handbooks Rameses II is 
given as the Pharaoh of the Oppression. If Asent is Asher 
either Rameses II is not the Pharaoh of the Oppression, and the 
Oppression and the Exodus must be placed much earlier ; or 
Asher was the ancient name of a district in Canaan, and after 
the Conquest this ancient local name was adopted by an Israelite 
tribe ; or the tribe of Asher was not involved in the Oppression 
and the Exodus, but was permanently settled in Canaan at an 
earlier date. Asher is mentioned in the Song of Deborah, 
Judges v. 17, but plays no part, as a separate tribe, in the later 
history. Cf. the previous note on Gad. 

14. Reuben . . . found mandrakes, R. V. marg. loveapples. 
The mandrake or loveapple had a yellow fruit, about the size 
and shape of a plum, and was supposed to promote conception. 
Mandrakes have always been credited with magic properties. 
Probably in the original form of the story Rachel conceived 
through the help of the mandrakes ; but this seemed to the more 
enlightened editors of later days a piece of heathen superstition. 
Hence it was omitted, and there is no sequel to Rachel s ac 
quisition of the mandrakes, as far as she is concerned. We read 
instead in verse 22 the more seemly statement of the Elohist, 
God opened her womb. Reuben probably appears in this 
incident because he was the eldest son ; but it is noteworthy that 
the original for mandrakes is dudtfim, and from the Mesha 
inscription x we learn that the Gadites worshipped a deity Dudah ; 
and the Reubenite cities lay in the midst of the territory of Gad. 



1 See above, the note on Gad. 



294 GENESIS 30. i6-4i. JEP 

away my husband? and wouldest thou take away my 
son s mandrakes also? And Rachel said, Therefore he 

16 shall lie with thee to-night for thy son s mandrakes. And 
Jacob came from the field in the evening, and Leah went 
out to meet him, and said, Thou must come in unto me ; 
for I have surely hired thee with my son s mandrakes. 

17 And he lay with her that night. And God hearkened 
unto Leah, and she conceived, and bare Jacob a fifth 

18 son. And Leah said, God hath given me my hire, 
because I gave my handmaid to my husband : and she 

19 called his name Issachar. And Leah conceived again, 

20 and bare a sixth son to Jacob. And Leah said, God 
hath endowed me with a good dowry; now will my 
husband dwell with me, because I have borne him six 

21 sons: and she called his name Zebulun. [P] And 

18. Issachar. The name suggested the Hebrew word sac/tar, 
hire. Hence the etymology, God hath given me my hire. The 
name to a Hebrew reader might seem to mean Man of hire, or 
There is hire. The actual meaning and origin of the name are 
quite uncertain. The statement that Issachar and Zebulun were 
brothers corresponds to the fact that their territories were 
conterminous. As sons of Leah they were understood to be 
connected in ancient times with the other Leah tribes. Issachar 
and Zebulun took a leading part in the defeat of Sisera 1 ; these 
two do not afterwards appear in history as separate tribes - . 

19. Zebulun. In this verse the editor has set side by side two 
explanations of the name, doubtless one from each of his two 
sources J and E. The first, which uses the Divine name, God. 
will be from E. God hath-endowed-me ^ZBDNy) with a good 
dowry (ZBD). The dowry will be her six sons. The root 
ZBD is an element in many Hebrew names Zabad. Zahttd, Zcbudah, 
Znbdi, &c. This explanation suggests that in E the name was 
Zeburfun. The other explanation, which doubtless comes from J, is 
now will my husband dwell with me ; will . . . dwell with me 
translates yZBLNy. from the root ZBL, sometimes, as in E.V. here, 
taken to mean dwell, but more often rendered honour. This 
root is probably found in Baalzebul, God of Ekron 3 , of which 

1 See the Song- of Deborah, Judges v. 14-18. 

2 Cf. however Fs. l.xviii. 27. :: 2 Kings i. 



GENESIS 30. 32-2.}. PJE 295 

afterwards she bare a daughter, and called her name 
Dinah. And God remembered Rachel, [JE] and God 22 
hearkened to her, and opened her womb. And she con- 23 
ceived, and bare a son : and said, God hath taken away 
my reproach : and she called his name Joseph, saying, 24 
The LORD add to me another son. 

Baalzebub and Beelzebub are corruptions. If so Baal-zebul 
would mean Lord of the High House or Temple, a title 
which might very well be borne by other deities beside the God 
of Ekron, and possibly Zebulun may be connected with some such 
divine name. Zebulun, in this case, would originally be the name 
of the district, and would only be assumed by the tribe after its 
settlement in Canaan. Note that Zebulun is the latest born of 
the sons of Leah, i.e. possibly the last member added to the 
confederation of Leah tribes. Cf. on Issachar. 

31. We have followed some recent critics in giving this verse 
to P, but there is considerable difference of opinion on this head, 
others assign it to J and E. Even if it comes in its present form 
from P it doubtless rests on some older source. In P the father 
usually gives the name. But this verse, in which the child is 
a daughter and the name is left without any explanation, hardly 
belongs to the same sources as those from which the births of the 
sons are taken. It may be an editorial addition suggested by 
xxxiv (which see). 

Dinah: doubtless an ancient tribe of Israel, which disappeared 
early in the history; the similarity of Dan and Dinah suggests 
some connexion between the two. As Dan is a son of Bilhah, 
Rachel s handmaid, and Dinah is a daughter of Leah, it is possible 
that the tribe divided itself into two sections in early times, one 
of which associated itself with Bilhah and the other with the 
Leah, especially with Simeon and Levi, as we gather from xxxiv 
(which see). Cf. on Dan, xxx. 6. 

22. Cf. on verse 14. 

23. hath taken away my reproach : i. e. the reproach of being 
a childless woman, far greater in the ancient East than it is with 
us. Cf. the account in i Sam. i. 6 of Peninnah s insolent nagging 
of her childless co- wife Hannah : Her rival, Pcninnah, provoked 
her, Hannah, sore, for to make her fret, because Yahweh had shut 
up her womb. 

24. Joseph. Here again the editor has set side by side two 
explanations of the name, one in the previous verse, from E, with 
the Divine name God, God hath-taken-away ( aSaPh) my 
reproach; a second in this verse, from J, with the Divine name 
Yahweh, Yahweh add (YoSePh) to me another son. Forms 



296 GENESIS 30. 25-30. JE 

35 And it came to pass, when Rachel had borne Joseph, 
that Jacob said unto Laban, Send me away, that I may 

26 go unto mine own place, and to my country. Give me 
my wives and my children for whom I have served thee, 
and let me go : for thou knowest my service wherewith 

27 I have served thee. And Laban said unto him, If now 
I have found favour in thine eyes, tarry : for I have 
divined that the LORD hath blessed me for thy sake. 

28 And he said, Appoint me thy wages, and I will give it. 

29 And he said unto him, Thou knowest how I have served 

30 thee, and how thy cattle hath fared with me. For it was 
little which thou hadst before I came, and it hath in 
creased unto a multitude; and the LORD hath blessed 

which have been read as Joseph-el have been found (a) as the 
name of a place in Palestine in an Egyptian inscription of 
Thothmes III (about sixteenth century B. c.), and (b) as the name 
of a person in cuneiform inscriptions. Hence Joseph may be 
a contraction of Joseph-el, perhaps = El (God) will add. Cf. on 
Jacob, xxv. 26. 

Joseph seems at one time to have been the name of the group 
of Northern Tribes, or even of the whole people. If so it ranks 
with Jacob and Israel rather than with the rest of the Twelve 
Patriarchs l . At the same time the stories told later on of Joseph 
cannot merely relate to the tribe, but must, in part at any rate, 
refer to an individual. 

25. when Rachel had borne Joseph. The narrative implies 
that Jacob had now completed the seven years he had promised 
to serve for Rachel. According to the previous narrative Leah 
had in the interval borne seven - children, and had had an interval 
of barrenness, xxix. 35, xxx. 9, 16. 

27. divined: ascertained by magic divination, like Joseph 
xliv. 5, 15. 

hath blessed me for thy sake. It is implied that Laban s 
flocks and herds had multiplied with exceptional rapidity under 
Jacob s care, so verse 29 f. ; this has not been stated before as 
the story now stands, but perhaps some reference to it has been 
omitted by an editor. 

30. increased, Heb. broken forth. 

1 Cf. above, p. 285, and see also on chapter xxxvii ff. 
" Verses 20, 21, or possibly six, see note on verso 21. 



GENESIS 30. 31, 32. JE 297 

thee whithersoever I turned: and now when shall I 
provide for mine own house also? And he said, What 31 
shall I give thee ? And Jacob said, Thou shalt not give 
me aught : if thou wilt do this thing for me, I will again 
feed thy flock and keep it. I will pass through all thy 32 
flock to-day, removing from thence every speckled and 
spotted one, and every black one among the sheep, and 



whithersoever X turned : Heb. at my foot, in opposition to 
before I came, so we might render as a consequence of my 
coming 11 . 

31. if thou wilt do this thing for me. In this bargaining we 
have the second stage of the attempts of Jacob and Laban to 
outwit one another. In the first bout, in the matter of Rachel 
and Leah, Laban had won, now it is Jacob s turn. As Laban 
stands for the Syrians, we have here a parallel to the long 
struggle between Israel and the Syrians of Damascus in the days 
of the Divided Monarchy. 

32. speckled and spotted . . . and black . . . sheep . . . 
spotted and speckled . . . goats. Verses 31-43 are very difficult 
as they stand. In verse 31 Jacob says, Thou shalt not give me 
aught, 1 but in verse 32 he proposes to remove the spotted and 
speckled from Laban s flock and transfer them, as it seems, to his 
own ; so, apparently, also in verse 35. But, again, in verse 40 the 
ringstraked and the black are still in Laban s flocks. Again, the 
description of Jacob s share differs in verses 32 f. and 35; and in 
xxxi. 7 f. there are said to have been ten different bargains, one of 
which gave the speckled and another the ringstraked to Jacob. In 
fact the story as it now stands is in hopeless confusion as to its 
details ; partly, of course, because it has been made up from two 
or more sources ; partly, no doubt, through editorial omissions, 
additions, and other alterations ; and partly, probably, through 
mistakes in copying. 

There seem to have been two versions of the bargain, one gave 
Jacob the animals that were speckled, &c., and their offspring ; 
the other simply gave him the offspring that were speckled, &c. 
It is not possible now to disentangle the two accounts with any 
certainty ; but the main idea is clear. The speckled and spotted 
animals and the black sheep are the less common, of which there 
would be few, and in asking for them Jacob seems to be asking 
for a trifling reward, which, however, he converts into a very 
large one, by his own craftiness according to verses 37-43, by 



1 Cf . Ball s Genesis in Sacred Books of the Old Testament, 



298 GENESIS 30. 33-37. JE 

the spotted and speckled among the goats : and of such 

33 shall be my hire. So shall my righteousness answer for 
me hereafter, when thou shalt come concerning rriy hire 
that is before thee : every one that is not speckled and 
spotted among the goats, and black among the sheep, 

34 that if found with me shall be counted stolen. And 
Laban said, Behold, I would it might be according to 

?5 thy word. And he removed that day the he-goats that 
were ringstraked and spotted, and all the she-goats that 
were speckled and spotted, every one that had white in 
it, and all the black ones among the sheep, and gave 

36 them into the hand of his sons ; and he set three days 
journey betwixt himself and Jacob : and Jacob fed the 

37 rest of Laban s flocks. And Jacob took him rods of 
fresh poplar, and of the almond and of the plane tree ; 

_i- , . 

the blessing of God according to xxxi. 7-11. Probably Jacob 
would not have seen any inconsistency between the two state 
ments. 

33. So shall my righteousness answer for me, &c. The 
wording of the English faithfully reproduces the obscurity of the 
original. The general sense, however, is obvious. According 
to this arrangement Jacob s innocence or guilt would be manifest. 
He was to have the animals coloured in one way, Laban those 
coloured in another ; if Jacob had any of the wrong colour it 
would be plain that he had broken the agreement. The frank 
expression of the mutual suspicion of the brothers-in-law is very 
striking. 

34. I would it might toe, &c. A courteous assent; this contest 
of sharp wits is conducted according to the forms of polite 
etiquette. 

35. rings-braked, striped. The word does not seem to occur 
elsewhere 1 in English literature 2 . 

every one that had white in it, i. e. only a small proportion. 

37. poplar, R. V. marg. storax tree. The storax is the 

Styrax officinalis, a showy shrub covered with a profusion of 

1 i. e. outside the Authorised and Revised Versions, and quotations 
and references to these versions. 

2 Hastings Bible Dictionarv. 



GENESIS 30.38-42. JE 299 

and peeled white strakes in them, and made the white 
appear which was in the rods. And he set the rods 38 
which he had peeled over against the flocks in the 
gutters in the watering troughs where the flocks came to 
drink; and they conceived when they came to drink. 
And the flocks conceived before the rods, and the flocks 39 
brought forth ringstraked, speckled, and spotted. And 40 
Jacob separated the lambs, and set the faces of the 
flocks toward the ringstraked and all the black in the 
flock of Laban ; and he put his own droves apart, and 
put them not unto Laban s flock. And it came to pass, 41 
whensoever the stronger of the flock did conceive, that 
Jacob laid the rods before the eyes of the flock in the 
gutters, that they might conceive among the rods ; but 42 

white flowers which exudes a gum used for incense and 
medicinal purposes 1 . 
strakes, stripes. 

37-39. Jacob prepared rods which presented the appearance 
of the colouring and marking of the animals which were to belong 
to him. These he set before the ewes at the moment of con 
ception. The impression of the image of this colouring on the 
minds of the ewes is supposed to have caused them to bring forth 
offspring coloured in the same fashion, cf. verse 40. 

38. in the gratters in the watering troughs, gutters and 
watering troughs have the same meaning in the original, and 
one of the two words should be omitted. 

40. set the faces of the flocks, &c. This sentence is in 
consistent with verse 35 f.. according to which Laban had already 
removed the animals with exceptional colouring three days 
journey from the flocks tended by Jacob. We have therefore 
here a fragment of an account alternative to that in verses 35-38. 
In this second form of the narrative Jacob impresses the imagina 
tion of the ewes by the sight of animals coloured as he wished 
their offspring to be. Perhaps in verse 38 the two synonymous 
clauses in the gutters, in the watering troughs are taken from 
the two sources. 

41, 42. Jacob does not always use his device for getting lambs 
and kids which would belong to him. Obviously if all the lambs 



Encycl. Biblica. 



300 GENESIS 30. 4331. 5- JE 

when the flock were feeble, he put them not in : so the 

43 feebler were Laban s, and the stronger Jacob s. And 

the man increased exceedingly, and had large flocks, and 

maidservants and menservants, and camels and asses. 

31 And he heard the words of Laban s sons, saying, 

Jacob hath taken away all that was our father s ; and of 

that which was our father s hath he gotten all this glory. 

a And Jacob beheld the countenance of Laban, and, 

3 behold, it was not toward him as beforetime. And the 
LORD said unto Jacob, Return unto the land of thy 
fathers, and to thy kindred; and I will be with thee. 

4 And Jacob sent and called Rachel and Leah to the field 

5 unto his flock, and said unto them, I see your father s 

arid kids had been coloured to suit Jacob, Laban s suspicions 
would have been aroused. 

xxxi. i xxxii. a. JACOB S RETURN TO CANAAN. (An Elohistic 
narrative with additions.) 

xxx. 1-18 a l , (mostly E). Jacob proposes to return to Canaan, 
Rachel and Leah consent. 

xxxi. i&b", (P) Jacob leaves Paddan-aram to return to Isaac. 

xxxi. 19-42 (mostly E). Jacob flees, Laban pursues and 
overtakes him. Rachel having stolen the family teraphim, Laban 
charges Jacob with the theft, and searches his tents. Rachel 
succeeds in hiding them. Jacob upbraids Laban. 

xxxi. 43-50 (mostly J). Jacob and Laban make a covenant at 
Gilead. 

xxxi. 51-55 (E). Jacob and Laban make a covenant. 

xxxii. i, 2 (E). Jacob continues his journey and meets angels at 
Mahanaim. 

Sources, &c. Cf. on xxix, xxx, of which this is a continuation. 
Here the main narrative is from the Elohistic Document, witness 
the frequent occurrence of God. but a verse has been inserted 
from P, and clauses from J. The latter show that J had a very 
similar story to E. 

1. glory, R. V. marg. -wealth. 

9. it was not toward him, &c., not so friendly as it used to be. 

1 As far as cattle. From and all his substance. 



GENESIS 31. 6-13. JE 301 

countenance, that it is not toward me as beforetime; 
but the God of my father hath been with me. And ye 6 
know that with all my power I have served your father. 
And your father hath deceived me, and changed my 7 
wages ten times ; but God suffered him not to hurt me. 
It he said thus, The speckled shall be thy wages ; then 8 
all the flock bare speckled : and if he said thus, The ring- 
straked shall be thy wages ; then bare all the flock ring- 
straked. Thus God hath taken away the cattle of your 9 
father, and given them to me. And it came to pass at 10 
the time that the flock conceived, that I lifted up mine 
eyes, and saw in a dream, and, behold, the he-goats which 
leaped upon the flock were ringstraked, speckled, and 
grisled. And the angel of God said unto me in the n 
dream, Jacob: and I said, Here am I. And he said, ia 
Lift up now thine eyes, and see, all the he-goats which 
leap upon the flock are ringstraked, speckled, and 
grisled : for I have seen all that Laban doeth unto thee. 
I am the God of Beth-el, where thou anointedst a pillar, 13 
where thou vowedst a vow unto me : now arise, get thee 
out from this land, and return unto the land of thy 



7. ten times. Perhaps the original story has been abbreviated. 
Jacob s indignation at Laban s deceit is the classic example of the 
way in which men denounce in others the vices which they them 
selves practice. 

9. God hath taken away, cf. above, p. 298. 

10. I ... saw in a dream. Jacob s speech refers mostly to 
matters not hitherto mentioned. Perhaps there were references 
to them in the original E, which have been omitted by one of the 
editors. One can hardly suppose that the Elohist intended us 
to understand that the statements as to Laban s deceit and this 
dream were pious frauds on the part of Jacob ; though the 
incidents connected with the Blessing show that Jacob was quite 
capable of such mendacity. 

12. grlsled, i. c. grey, the Hebrew word means spotted. 

13. Cf. xxvni. 13 flf. 



302 GENESIS 31. 14-20. JEPJE 

14 nativity. And Rachel and Leah answered and said unto 
him, Is there yet any portion or inheritance for us in 

15 our father s house? Are we not counted of him strangers? 
for he hath sold us, and hath also quite devoured our 

16 money. For all the riches which God hath taken away 
from our father, that is ours and our children s: now 

17 then, whatsoever God hath said unto thee, do. Then 
Jacob rose up, and set his sons and his wives upon the 

18 camels; and he carried away all his cattle, [P] and all 
his substance which he had gathered, the cattle of his 
getting, which he had gathered in Paddan-aram, for 
to go to Isaac his father unto the land of Canaan. 

19 [JE] Now Laban was gone to shear his sheep: and 

20 Rachel stole the teraphim that were her father s. And 
Jacob stole away unawares to Laban the Syrian, in that 
-. 

15. our money, lit. the price paid for us. 

18. (P) to Isaac his father, according to the other documents 
Isaac must have been dead, cf. on xxviii. 21. 

19. teraphim, spoken of as my gods verse 30. thy gods* 
verse 32. The exact character of these teraphim or tcraphs is 
not certain. They were some sort of religious symbols, according 
to many scholars domestic idols, more or less roughly in human 
form. In i Sam. xix. 15, 16, when David flees from his house, 
Michal puts the teraphim in his bed, and makes it up to look like 
a human figure. In Hosea iii. 4 the teraphim are reckoned as 
part of the legitimate apparatus of religion. There were teraphim 
in Micah s sanctuary and that at Dan 1 . In i Sam. xv. 23 it is 
implied that teraphim were a wicked superstition. This passage 
in Samuel is sometimes ascribed to the Elohist, to whom the 
references to the teraphim here belong. The meaning of our 
story here is that the teraphim were not a legitimate Israelite 
institution, but a superstition imported from Syria. This idea is 
further worked out in other Klohisiie passages. In xxxv. 2-4 
Jacob makes his household bury the strange gods they have, a 
clear ivfciviii c to this pa.s.sage, and in Joshua xxiv. 15, 23 JoL-hua 
addresses similar admonitions to the Israelites. 

20. stole away unawares : R. V. marg. Heb. stole the heart 

1 Judges xvii. f. 



GENESIS 31. 21-25. JE 303 

he told him not that he fled. So he fled with all that 21 
he had ; and he rose up, and passed over the River, and 
set his face toward the mountain of Gilead. 

And it was told Laban on the third day that Jacob 22 
was fled. And he took his brethren with him, and 23 
pursued after him seven days journey ; and he overtook 
him in the mountain of Gilead. And God came to 24 
Laban the Syrian in a dream of the night, and said unto 
him, Take heed to thyself that thou speak not to Jacob 
either good or bad. And Laban came up with Jacob. 25 
Now Jacob had pitched his tent in the mountain : and 

of; but the word translated heart is also used for mind, 
intelligence ; we might translate outwitted. 

21. the River : Euphrates. 

Gilead: a term used in various senses for the whole or 
part of the Israelite territory east of Jordan, especially for the 
district assigned to Gad ; and for some particular place, mountain, 
or city of that region. Here a particular place seems referred to, 
since verses 46-55 explain why the name Gilead was given to a 
certain heap or monument. See on verses 47, 48. 

22. the third day . . . 23. seven days journey. This implies 
that Jacob, travelling with all that he had (verse ai), after he 
had increased exceedingly, and acquired large flocks, male and 
female slaves, camels, and asses (xxx. 43), made the journey in 
less than ten days. As the distance from Haran to Gilead as the 
crow flies is about 300 miles, this feat is said to be impossible 1 . 
It is possible, as has been suggested, that the author of these 
verses, the Elohist, placed Laban s home somewhere nearer to 
Gilead. 

24. Cf. xx. 3. 

speak not . . . either good or bad: an emphatic way of 
forbidding Laban to do or say anything, the assumption being that 
Laban s intention was to harm Jacob. To Laban such conduct 
would have seemed good righteous retribution. The LXX 
has speak no evil. This is, of course, the practical meaning. 

25. the mountain. We should naturally suppose that the 
mountain of Gilead, the only one in the context, is intended. 
But the form of the verse suggests a difference between the 
mountain* where Jacob pitched and the mountain of Gilead 

1 Dillmann, Gunkel, Holzinger. 



304 GENESIS 31. 26-33. JE 

Laban with his brethren pitched in the mountain of 

26 Gilead. And Laban said to Jacob, What hast thou 
done, that thou hast stolen away unawares to me, and 
carried away my daughters as captives of the sword? 

27 Wherefore didst thou flee secretly, and steal away from 
me ; and didst not tell me, that I might have sent thee 
away with mirth and with songs, with tabret and with 

28 harp ; and hast not suffered me to kiss my sons and my 

29 daughters ? now hast thou done foolishly. It is in the 
power of my hand to do you hurt : but the God of your 
father spake unto me yesternight, saying, Take heed to 
thyself that thou speak not to Jacob either good or bad. 

30 And now, though thou wouldest needs be gone, because 
thou sore longedst after thy father s house, yet wherefore 

31 hast thou stolen my gods? And Jacob answered and 
said to Laban, Because I was afraid : for I said, Lest 
thou shouldest take thy daughters from me by force. 

33 With whomsoever thou findest thy gods, he shall not 
live : before our brethren discern thou what is thine with 
me, and take it to thee. For Jacob knew not that 

33 Rachel had stolen them. And Laban went into Jacob s 
tent, and into Leah s tent, and into the tent of the two 
maidservants; but he found them not. And he went 



occupied by Laban. If so, we cannot identify Jacob s mountain. 
But, probably, Jacob s mountain is Gilead, and the awkward 
form of the verse is due to the use of two sources. 
39. in the power of my hand : i. c. in my power. 

30. my ffods . . . 32. thy gods. Cf. on verse 19. 

31. The answer to verses 26-28. 

33. the two maidservants. Bilhnli and Zilpah, Jacob s 
concubines. The end of the verse implies that Laban went 
straight out of Leah s tent into Rachel s, so that we should alter 
the order of the clauses and read. Laban went into Jacob s tent. 
and into the tent of the two female slaves, and into Leah s tent. 
He went to Jacob s tent first, because the women s quarters, the 
harem, would only be entered in a case of necessity ; he went 



GENESIS 31. 34-40. JE 305 

out of Leah s tent, and entered into Rachel s tent. Now 34 
Rachel had taken the teraphim, and put them in the 
camel s furniture, and sat upon them. And Laban felt 
about all the tent, but found them not. And she said 35 
to her father, Let not my lord be angry that I cannot 
rise up before thee ; for the manner of women is upon 
me. And he searched, but found not the teraphim. 
And Jacob was wroth, and chode with Laban : and 36 
Jacob answered and said to Laban, What is my trespass ? 
what is my sin, that thou hast hotly pursued after me ? 
Whereas thou hast felt about all my stuff, what hast thou 37 
found of all thy household stuff? Set it here before my 
brethren and thy brethren, that they may judge betwixt 
us two. This twenty years have I been with thee ; thy 38 
ewes and thy she-goats have not cast their young, and 
the rams of thy flocks have I not eaten. That which was 39 
torn of beasts I brought not unto thee ; I bare the loss 
of it ; of my hand didst thou require it, whether stolen 
by day or stolen by night. Thus I was ; in the day the 40 

next to the concubines tent, because, if he had found the teraphim 
there, the wives would have been spared the annoyance of the 
search. For a similar reason he went last into the tent of the 
favourite wife, Rachel. 

34. in the camel s furniture. The word 1 translated fur 
niture only occurs here. The LXX renders it saddle, but it is 
commonly explained as a palanquin 2 , which would be big enough 
to hide fairly large articles. 

39. In the ancient Israelite code 3 commonly called the Book 
of the Covenant, and believed to have been included by the 
Elohist in his work, it is provided 4 that if an animal in charge of 
a herdsman was torn in pieces, the herdsman should produce the 
mangled remains, and should not be liable to make good the loss. 
Hence, according to our verse, Jacob had done more for Laban 
than the law required. 

40. in the day the drought . . . the frost by night. In hot 

1 Kar. 2 Spurrell &c. 3 Exod. xx. 22 xxiii. 

4 Exod. xxii. 10-13. 



306 GENESIS 31. 41-47. JE 

drought consumed me, and the frost by night ; and my 

41 sleep fled from mine eyes. These twenty years have I 
been in thy house ; I served thee fourteen years for thy 
two daughters, and six years for thy flock : and thou hast 

42 changed my wages ten times. Except the God of my 
father, the God of Abraham, and the Fear of Isaac, had 
been with me, surely now hadst thou sent me away 
empty. God hath seen mine affliction and the labour of 

-13 my hands, and rebuked thee yesternight. And Laban 
answered and said unto Jacob, The daughters are my 
daughters, and the children are my children, and the 
flocks are my flocks, and all that thou seest is mine: 
and what can I do this day unto these my daughters, or 

44 unto their children which they have borne ? And now 
come, let us make a covenant, I and thou ; and let it be 

45 for a witness between me and thee. And Jacob took a 

46 stone, and set it up for a pillar. And Jacob said unto 
his brethren, Gather stones ; and they took stones, and 
made an heap: and they did eat there by the heap. 

47 And Laban called it Jegar-sahadutha : but Jacob called 

countries excessive heat in the day may be followed by severe cold 
at night. 

42. the Tear of Isaac. Cf. verse 53 and Isa. viii. 13. The 
phrase means the God whom Isaac worshipped, and is a further 
description of the God of Abraham. The Fear of Isaac may 
have been the special title of the deity worshipped at Mizpah or 
Gilead. 

44. covenant. See on vi. 18. 

let it be for a witness. A covenant would not be a witness. 
A slight difficulty in the Hebrew construction suggests that some 
words have fallen out after thou, perhaps and let us make 
aheap, or erect a pillar. 1 

45. Cf. on xxviii. 18, E. 

46. an heap : evidently the sanctuary at Gilead or Mizpah 
included a sacred stone-heap, a feature of some primitive cults, 
seldom however mentioned among the Israelites, cf. verses 47, 48. 

47. Jegur-sahadutha . . . Galeed. The former, used by Laban 
the Aramaean, is the Aramaic phrase, and the latter, used by Jacob 



GENESIS 31. 48, 49. JE 307 

it Galeed. And Laban said, This heap is witness be- 48 
tween me and thee this day. Therefore was the name 
of it called Galeed : and Mizpah, for he said, The LORD 49 

the Hebrew, the Hebrew phrase for Heap of Witness. In the 
ancient manuscripts only consonants were written, and Galeed 
and Gilead were identical. This verse therefore shows that 
there was a stone-heap, or sanctuary with such heap, called Gilead ; 
that this name was explained as gal ed, Heap of Witness ; and 
the origin of the name and the sanctuary were ascribed to Jacob 
and Laban. This story would probably be preserved at the 
sanctuary. In Joshua xxii. 34 we are told that when the eastern 
tribes returned to Gilead after the conquest of Canaan they 
erected an altar and called the altar Ed 1 (i. e. "Witness") ; for, 
said they, it is a witness between us that Yahweh is God. In 
this verse of Joshua we probably have another etymology of Gilead, 
and another account of the origin of a sanctuary with a stone-heap, 
here regarded as an ancient altar. But the two passages can 
hardly refer to the same heap. Verse 52 indicates that the 
Genesis Galeed was on the border between the territory of Israel 
and of Syria ; the Joshua Galeed was close to the Jordan 3 . 
Heaps, of course, were common, and such a title as Heap of 
Witness might be given to more than one. But Gilead, as the 
name of a district, would probably have nothing to do with Heap 
of Witness ; its etymology is uncertain, but it is often connected 
with a similar Arabic word, meaning hard, rough, because of the 
uneven surface of Gilead. The highest portion of the hills of 
Southern Gilead is still called Mount Gilead, and possibly the 
highest peak, Mount Osha, of this Mount Gilead is the Galeed of 
Gtnesis. 

48. This second naming of the heap points to a second source. 

49. Uizpah: i.e. the Watch-tower. This third naming of the 
heap points to a third source, or to a note added by some editor 
or copyist, or to a mistake made in copying. In verse 45 Jacob 
set up a pillar, macfeba. Mizpah was written ntifpa. The 
Samaritan-Hebrew text 3 here reads macfeba for mifpa. If the 
explanation in this verse referred to macccba it would be quite as 
appropriate as the explanation of Reuben in xxix. 32. The site 
of Mizpah is unknown, but in Judges xi. n there is a sanctuary 
at Mizpah in Gilead. 

The LORD watch, c. : i. e. when we are separated, and 

1 Ed is omitted in most Hebrew MSS., but is supplied by the 
Revisers from some Hebrew MSS., and the Syriac. The original 
reading may have been Galeed. 

2 Joshua xxii. 10. s See p. 42. 

X 2 



3o8 GENESIS 31. 50-54. JEE 

watch between me and thee, when we are absent one 

50 from another. If thou shalt afflict my daughters, and 
if thou shalt take wives beside my daughters, no man 
is with us ; see, God is witness betwixt me and thee. 

51 [E] And Laban said to Jacob, Behold this heap, and 
behold the pillar, which I have set betwixt me and thee. 

52 This heap be witness, and the pillar be witness, that I 
will not pass over this heap to thee, and that thou shalt 
not pass over this heap and this pillar unto me, for harm. 

53 The God of Abraham, and the God of Nahor, the God 
of their father, judge betwixt us. And Jacob sware by 

54 the Fear of his father Isaac. And Jacob offered a sacri- 

cannot watch each other, especially when I (Laban) cannot see 
that you (Jacob) do not ill-treat my daughters, may Yahweh keep 
His eye upon you. The verse is an expression of mutual distrust, 
and is singularly unsuitable for an inscription of the so-called 
Mizpah-rings, which are used as tokens by separated friends and 
lovers. 

absent : Heb. hidden. 

52. This verse indicates that this narrative was attached to 
a boundary-cairn, probably connected with a sanctuary, on the 
border line between the territory of Israel (Jacob) and Syria 
(Laban). But our knowledge of the history is not sufficient to 
enable us to locate it. 

53. the God of their father, judgfe. This translation would 
be required by the Samaritan-Hebrew l text, and many of the 
versions, and is perhaps a possible rendering of the Massoretic- 
Hebrew 1 text. It expresses the idea found elsewhere in Gcncnis, 
and certainly that of the final editor, that the families of Abraham 
and Nahor were connected by the common worship of the same 
deity who was also the God of their father Terah. But the literal 
rendering of the Massoretic- Hebrew text is that of R. V. marjr. 
the gods . . . judge. Moreover, the LXX and some Hebrew 
MSS. omit the phrase the God of their father. If we adopt this 
reading, the natural rendering is The God of Abraham and the 
God of Nahor judge (plural}, i. e. the God of Abraham was not, 
in the primitive story, identical with the God of Nahor. 

Pear. See verse 42. 

54. A repetition of 466, from a different source. 

1 See p. 42. 



GENESIS 31. 5532. 3. EJ 309 

fice in the mountain, and called his brethren to eat 
bread : and they did eat bread, and tarried all night in 
the mountain. And early in the morning Laban rose 55 
up, and kissed his sons and his daughters, and blessed 
them : and Laban departed, and returned unto his place. 
And Jacob went on his way, and the angels of God met 32 
him. And Jacob said when he saw them, This is God s 2 
host : and he called the name of that place Mahanaim. 

[ J] And Jacob sent messengers before him to Esau his 3 

xxxii. i, 2 (E). The vision at Mahanaim. This vision of angels 
seen by Jacob as he re-enters the Promised Land is usually 
compared to the similar vision seen at Beth-el just after he had 
left home ; and the vision is interpreted as a pledge of Divine 
protection in view of the coming meeting with Esau. But there 
is nothing of this in the paragraph itself; there is the barest 
statement, and an etymology. Probably these two verses are 
a fragment of a longer story, and the rest has been omitted as 
unedifying. It has been suggested 1 that the complete story told 
of a conflict between Jacob and the angels, similar to his 
wrestling in xxxii. 24. The messengers of Elohim, angels of 
God, might, in the earliest form of the story, be supernatural 
beings who had nothing to do with the God of Israel 3 . 

2. God s host or camp, mahanch Elohim, is a natural 
etymology of Mahanaim ; another, equally natural, derivation is 
given in verse 10, where Jacob says he has become two com 
panies (mahanoth} ; the form of Mahanaim is the dual, and it 
might be read as two camps or companies. The name, 
however, is not generally held to be a real dual, but may be the 
word camp, mahaneh, modified for use as a proper name, cf. 
Chester from the Latin castra, camp. Mahanaim was perhaps 
the most important Israelite city east of the Jordan : it was the 
capital of Ish-bosheth ; and also the head quarters of David during 
the revolt of Absalom. Its site has not been certainly determined, 
but it must have lain north of the Jnbbok. We gather that there 
was an important sanctuary at Mahanaim, from which this story 
was derived. 

xxxii. 3 xxxiii. 17. JACOB S MEETING WITH ESAU (J 3 ). 
xxxii. 3-7 a 4 . Negotiations between Jacob and Esau. 

1 Gunkel. a Cf. on vi. 2. 

3 With fragments of other sources, see below. 
1 As far as was distressed. 



310 GENESIS 32.4,5. J 

4 brother unto the land of Seir, the field of Edom. And 
he commanded them, saying, Thus shall ye say unto my 
lord Esau; Thus saith thy servant Jacob, I have so- 

5 journed with Laban, and stayed until now : and I have 
oxen, and asses and flocks, and menservants and maid 
servants : and I have sent to tell my lord, that I may 

xxxii. 76 1 -i2. (Perhaps later addition if 13 6-21 belongs to /.) 
Jacob takes precautions against the anger of Esau, and prays for 
the help of Yahweh. 

xxxii. 13 a 2 . He encamps for the night. 

xxxii. 13 b 3 -ai. (Perhaps E if 7 6-12 belongs toj.*} Jacob takes 
precautions against the anger of Esau, and spends the night at 
Mahanaim 4 . 

xxxii. 22-32. Jacob crosses the Jabbok, and wrestles with a 
supernatural being at Peniel. His name is changed to Israel. 

xxxiii. 1-17. Meeting and reconciliation of Jacob and Esau. 
They separate, Jacob goes to Succoth and Esau to Mount Seir. 

Sources, &c. The main story seems to be taken from the Primi 
tive Document ; but there are repetitions which indicate the 
presence of fragments of the Elohistic Document and of editorial 
additions. These are so difficult to identify with certainty that 
we have not tried to point them out in the margin of the text, but 
have made some reference to them in the preceding analysis and 
the following notes. Perhaps E had a meeting at Mahanaim pre 
ceded by a struggle with the angels : J. at Peniel, preceded by 
the struggle with the ; man. 

In this story also we have a combination of the political relations 
of Israel and Edom, their alternating wars and alliances, with 
typical narratives 5 , and perhaps reminiscences of the personal 
experiences of an individual Jacob . The connexion of Mahanaim 
or Peniel with the reconciliation suggests that these sanctuaries 
were used by both Edom and Israel ; but the distance from Edom 
is a difficulty. 

3. Seir. See xiv. 6. The double description the land of Seir, 
the field of Edom indicates the combination of two sources, a 
phrase from each. Note that Esau or Edom is already settled in 
a land * ? led after him long before there is a land of Israel, i. e. 
the tribe Edom had a settled home before Israel conquered Canaan. 

1 From and he divided. - As far as that nijjht. 

3 From and took. See note on verse 21. 

5 See p. 48. 6 See also on xxxii. 28. 



GENESIS 32. 6-n. J 311 

find grace in thy sight. And the messengers returned to 6 
Jacob, saying, We came to thy brother Esau, and more 
over he cometh to meet thee, and four hundred men 
with him. Then Jacob was greatly afraid and was 7 
distressed : and he divided the people that was with him, 
and the flocks, and the herds, and the camels, into two 
companies; and he said, If Esau come to the one 8 
company, and smite it, then the company which is left 
shall escape. And Jacob said, O God of my father 9 
Abraham, and God of my father Isaac, O LORD, which 
saidst unto me, Return unto thy country, and to thy 
kindred, and I will do thee good : I am not worthy of 10 
the least of all the mercies, and of all the truth, which 
thou hast shewed unto thy servant; for with my staff 
I passed over this Jordan ; and now I am become two 
companies. Deliver me, I pray thee, from the hand of n 
my brother, from the hand of Esau : for I fear him, lest 

5. find grace in thy sight : i. e. conciliate thee, win thy favour. 
76-13a. These verses are parallel to 136-21 ; each of the two 
paragraphs describes Jacob s preparations for the meeting with 
Esau. Moreover, the lodging at night appears in 130. and 21. 
It is often supposed that 76-13^ comes from J and 136-21 from 
E ; but according to others 76-12 is a later addition, and 136-21 
is from J, and 130 is from E. 

9. Cf. xxxi. 3. 

do thee good : give thee prosperity. 

10. I am not worthy of the least of all : R. V. marg. Heb. I 
run less than all. 

mercies: rather, tokens of love and favour. 

truth : rather, faithfulness. 

two companies : Heb. two tnahanoth, hosts or camps, 
so in verses 7 and 8. Apparently an etymology of Mahanaim, 
cf. on verse 2. A difficulty arises from this Jordan, which, like 
verse 22, suggests the immediate neighbourhood of the river, 
perhaps the special ford crossed by Jacob when fleeing from home. 
But other references to Mahanaim seem to show that it was some 
considerable distance east of the Jordan. On the other hand 
Mahanaim seems mentioned in verse 21 (which see). Perhaps E 
placed the episode at Mahanaim and J at Peniel. 



3i2 GENESIS 32. 12-21. J 

he come and smite me, the mother with the children. 

12 And thou saidst, I will surely do thee good, and make 
thy seed as the sand of the sea, which cannot be 

13 numbered for multitude. And he lodged there that 
night ; and took of that which he had with him a present 

14 for Esau his brother ; two hundred she-goats and twenty 

15 he-goats, two hundred ewes and twenty rams, thirty 
milch camels and their colts, forty kine and ten bulls, 

1 6 twenty she-asses and ten foals. And he delivered them 
into the hand of his servants, every drove by itself ; and 
said unto his servants, Pass over before me, and put 

17 a space betwixt drove and drove. And he commanded 
the foremost, saying, When Esau my brother meeteth 
thee, and asketh thee, saying, Whose art thou ? and 
whither goest thou ? and whose are these before thee ? 

1 8 then thou shalt say, T/uy be thy servant Jacob s ; it is 
a present sent unto my lord Esau : and, behold, he also 

19 is behind us. And he commanded also the second, and 
the third, and all that followed the droves, saying, On 
this manner shall ye speak unto Esau, when ye find him ; 

20 and ye shall say, Moreover, behold, thy servant Jacob is 
behind us. For he said, I will appease him with the 
present that goeth before me, and afterward I will see 

21 his face; peradventure he will accept me. So the 
present passed over before him : and he himself lodged 
that night in the company. 



11. the mother with the children : cf. Hos. x. 14. 

12. Cf. xiii. 16, xxii. 17. 

13. Cf. above and verse 21. 

14. Note the absence of horses. The horse docs not seem to 
have been known in Egypt before about B. c. 1600 ; and was 
not perhaps common amongst the Israelites before the time of 
Solomon. 

21. iii the company: Hob. in the mahaneli, camp or 
host. 



GENESIS 32. 22-24. J 313 

And he rose up that night, and took his two wives, and 22 
his two handmaids, and his eleven children, and passed 
over the ford of Jabbok. And he took them, and sent 23 
them over the stream, and sent over that he had. And 24 
Jacob was left alone ; and there wrestled a man with him 

It is proposed 1 to read here Mahanaim (MHNM) for mahaneh 
(MHNH). The final M and H are sometimes confused. 

22. his eleven children. According to xxix, xxx Jacob had 
at this time eleven sons and one daughter. The word 2 translated 
children mean strictly male children, but would naturally be 
used for children generally. In any case Dinah 3 is ignored, 
another indication that the reference to her did not belong to the 
older form of the narrative. 

Jabbok, the Nahr-ez-Zerka, a tributary running into the 
Jordan, about halfway between the Dead Sea and the Sea of 
Galilee. Mahanaim is sometimes placed on its banks, sometimes 
a few miles to the north. 

xxxii. 24-32. Jacob s wrestling. Often regarded as compounded 
from J and E, but perhaps almost wholly J, cf. above and verses 
28, 30. But the form and meaning of the original story are un 
certain, because probably even the author of the Primitive Docu 
ment found in it features which he omitted or altered because 
they were unsatisfactory ; and later editors may have made 
further changes. Probably in the original the man was the 
deity, Elohim or El, worshipped at Peniel ; this deity was distinct 
from Yahweh ; and, in the original story, Jacob compelled him 
to utter his name. It was often a point of magic to compel the spirit 
who had been conjured up to reveal his name. Jacob also won 
a blessing by force from this deity, i. e. the sanctuary at Peniel 
became a place where Israelites might worship and be blessed. 
The narrative may be a reminiscence of the conquest of the 
district by the Israelites, which would involve the subjection of 
the deity of Peniel by the God of Israel, and the appropriation of 
the sanctuary to the use of the Israelites. The halting upon the 
thigh was no doubt* a feature of a ritual dance at this sanctu 
ary, the origin of which was explained by our narrative. This 
story would be preserved in the sanctuary at Peniel. The story 
of the wrestling by night with the unknown supernatural being is 
one of Rcmbrandtcsque grandeur *. 

Probably, however, the editor who completed the Pentateuch, 
and inserted this story in its final form, intended the man to be 
understood as a representative of the God of Israel, and interpreted 

1 Ball. 2 Yeladhaiv. 3 Cf. xxx. 21. 4 Gunkel. 



314 GENESIS 32. 25-28. J 

25 until the breaking of the day. And when he saw that he 
prevailed not against him, he touched the hollow of his 
thigh ; and the hollow of Jacob s thigh was strained, as 

26 he wrestled with him. And he said, Let me go, for the 
day breaketh. And he said, I will not let thee go, 

27 except thou bless me. And he said unto him, What is 

28 thy name? And he said, Jacob. And he said, Thy 
name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel : for 
thou hast striven with God and with men, and hast 

the wrestling as a symbol of wrestling with God in prayer ; and 
the Christian Church has always used the narrative in this sense. 

24. there wrestled a man. In the original story Jacob, alone 
in the darkness, is assaulted by a man V an unearthly being 
in human form, who seeks to slay him 2 . Later interpretation 
changed this grim scene to a figure of a night spent in agonizing 
prayer. Wrestled, "* yJabeq, is an etymology of Jabbok (yabboq}. 
Man, see above. 

25. lie touched the hollow of his thigh. It is suggested 3 that 
in the original story it may have been Jacob who played this trick, 
after his fashion, on his opponent. 

26. he said, Let me go, for the day breabeth. The man, 
like the spirits in tales of magic, cannot remain after the dawn. 
The advantage is with Jacob, which favours the view mentioned 
in the previous verse. 

28. Israel: usually explained as God striveth, and sometimes 
regarded as the battle-cry of the nation. The other explanation 
in R. V. marg., He who striveth with God, is the etymology 
implied in the latter part of the verse, but is not likely to have 
been the original meaning of the name. Other explanations are 
God persists and El s warrior. Another interesting theory is 
that Israel is a contraction for Ys/i Rahcl, the men of Rachel/ 
i. e. the Rachelites or tribe of Rachel 4 . According to this view 
Rachel, as the leading tribe of the confederation, ultimately gave 
its name to the whole. The change of name at this point probably 
corresponds to the enlargement of the confederation by the 
addition to the original Jacob of the Aramaean tribe of Rachel, 
and perhaps of other tribes, Leah, A-c. A name believed to be 
Israel occurs on a monument of Mercnptah II, c. B.C. !L 8o, 
apparently as the name of a people conquered by him in Palestine. 
thou hast striven (R. V. marg. had power ) with God and 

1 Cf. above. 2 Cf. Exod. iv. .34 ; Num. xxii. 33. 

3 Holzinger. * Cf. p. 285. 



GENESIS 32. 29 33. 3. J 315 

prevailed. And Jacob asked him, and said, Tell me, 29 
I pray thee, thy name. And he said, Wherefore is it 
that thou dost ask after my name ? And he blessed him 
there. And Jacob called the name of the place Peniel : 30 
for, said he, I have seen God face to face, and my life is 
preserved. And the sun rose upon him as he passed 31 
over Penuel, and he halted upon his thigh. Therefore 32 
the children of Israel eat not the sinew of the hip which 
is upon the hollow of the thigh, unto this day : because 
he touched the hollow of Jacob s thigh in the sinew of 
the hip. 

And Jacob lifted up his eyes, and looked, and, behold, 83 
Esau came, and with him four hundred men. And he 
divided the children unto Leah, and unto Rachel, and 
unto the two handmaids. And he put the handmaids 2 
and their children foremost, and Leah and her children 
after, and Rachel and Joseph hindermost. And he him- 3 
self passed over before them, and bowed himself to the 



with men, and hast prevailed. R. V. marg. , the LXX, and 
Vulgate have thou hast had power with God, and thou shalt pre 
vail against men. This wrestling is referred to in Hos. xii. 3, 4, 
In his manhood he had power with God : yea, he had power 
over the angel and prevailed. 

30. Peniel : understood, according to the following etymology, 
as face of God. The alternative form Penuel in the next verse 
is probably the more accurate. The name would suggest a place 
where God reveals Himself, and was no doubt the name of an 
ancient sanctuary. The site is uncertain. For this verse see also 
xvi. 13. 

32. eat not the sinew of the hip: usually explained as the 
ncrvits ischidiacus, but according to others 1 the imtsculus glutacus. 
This custom is not mentioned anywhere else in the O. T. ; and a 
reference in the Mishna 2 is clearly dependent on this passage. 

xxxiii. 2. Rachel and Joseph hindermost: the favourites in 
the safest place. 

3. bowed himself to the ground seven times. Many of the 

1 i;. . Gunkel. - About A. D. 200. 



316 GENESIS 33. 4-13. J 

ground seven times, until he came near to his brother. 

4 And Esau ran to meet him, and embraced him, and fell 

5 on his neck, and kissed him : and they wept. And he 
lifted up his eyes, and saw the women and the children ; 
and said, Who are these with thee ? And he said, The 
children which God hath graciously given thy servant. 

6 Then the handmaids came near, they and their children, 

7 and they bowed themselves. And Leah also and her 
children came near, and bowed themselves : and after 
came Joseph near and Rachel, and they bowed them- 

8 selves. And he said, What meanest thou by all this 
company which I met ? And he said, To find grace in 

9 the sight of my lord. And Esau said, I have enough ; 
10 my brother, let that thou hast be thine. And Jacob 

said, Nay, I pray thee, if now I have found grace in thy 
sight, then receive my present at my hand : forasmuch as 
I have seen thy face, as one seeth the face of God, and 
r i thou wast pleased with me. Take, I pray thee, my gift 
that is brought to thee ; because God hath dealt graciously 
with me, and because I have enough. And he urged 

12 him, and he took it. And he said, Let us take our 

13 journey, and let us go, and I will go before thee. And 

letters in the Amarna tablets 1 from subject princes and Egyptian 
officials in Palestine to the King of Egypt begin with At the feet 
of my lord, seven times and seven times I fall. 

8-11. Another example of the elaborate courtesy, in external 
form, of Oriental bargaining, cf. xxiii. 8-16. 

10. forasmuch as X liave seen thy face : R. V. marg. * for there 
fore have I seen. 

as one seeth the face of God: another allusion to Peniel. see 
xxxii. 30. In the Amarna tablets the Palestinian princes address 
Pharaoh as my lord, my god, my sun 2 . God in 5, lof. is 
probably a trace of E. 

11. gift: Heb. < blessing. 
enough : Heb. ( all. 

1 Seep. 7i,and Winckler strans.p. joj.&c. 2 Winckli-r. p. I:M.&C. 



GENESIS 33. 14-18. JR 317 

he said unto him, My lord knoweth that the children are 
tender, and that the flocks and herds with me give suck : 
and if they overdrive them one day, all the flocks will 
die. Let my lord, I pray thee, pass over before his 14 
servant : and I will lead on softly, according to the pace 
of the cattle that is before me and according to the pace 
of the children, until I come unto my lord unto Seir. 
And Esau said, Let me now leave with thee some of the 15 
folk that are with me. And he said, What needeth it ? 
let me find grace in the sight of my lord. So Esau 16 
returned that day on his way unto Seir. And Jacob 17 
journeyed to Succoth, and built him an house, and made 
booths for his cattle : therefore the name of the place is 
called Succoth. 

[R] And Jacob came in peace to the city of Shechem, 18 

14-17. The reconciliation, after all, is only half-hearted, at 
any rate on Jacob s part. The conclusion shows that he is full of 
anxious mistrust of Esau, and eager to get away from him on any 
pretext. He promises to follow him to Seir, but makes off in 
quite another direction, first to Succoth and then to Shechem. 

Succoth : booths ; east of the Jordan and south of the 
Jabbok, the exact site unknown. 

xxxiii. 18 xxxiv. 31. DINAH AT SHECHEM (R). 

xxxiii. 18-20. Jacob comes to Shechem, buys land, and builds 
an altar. 

xxxiv. 1-24. Dinah is seduced by Shechem, who afterwards 
obtains her from Jacob as his wife. A treaty for trade and inter 
marriage is concluded between Israel and Shechem, on condition 
that the Shechemites should be circumcised. They fulfil this 
condition. 

xxxiv. 25-31. Simeon and Levi take advantage of the prostra 
tion of the Shechemites through their circumcision to massacre 
them and to rescue Dinah. Jacob rebukes his sons. 

Sources, &c. This section is based on an ancient story 
contained in J or E or in both, but it has been so extensively 
altered by a late post-exilic editor that it was not worth while to 
try and divide the whole of it up amongst the original sources. 



3i8 GENESIS 33. 18. R 

which is in the land of Canaan, when he came from 

The probable origin of various fragments will be mentioned in 
the notes. 

The original story was a piece of tribal annals told in the form 
of personal history. Its general meaning was as follows : 
A treaty existed between the Israelites and the men of Shechem. 
The story of Abimelech l seems to imply this situation, note its 
reference 2 to the Temple of Baal-berith, the Lord of the Cove 
nant. Probably in consequence of this treaty the Israelite clan 
Dinah settled in Shechem or its territory, and was oppressed by 
the Shechemites a parallel to the history of Israel in Egypt. 
Simeon and Levi were closely connected with Dinah as children 
of Leah, branches of the Leah tribe. Provoked by the sufferings 
of their kinsfolk, they set at nought the obligations of the treaty, 
surprised Shechem by a treacherous stratagem, sacked the city, 
and massacred the inhabitants. 

This act was solemnly disavowed by the rest of Israel, and the 
offending tribes were placed under a ban, witness the curse upon 
Simeon and Levi in the Blessing of Jacob *. 

The sequel, which is no longer told in the revised edition of 
the story, was that Simeon and Levi, thus abandoned to the fury 
of the Canaanites, suffered some great disaster which annihilated 
them as independent tribes ; so that the remnants of Simeon sought 
refuge in Judah, and the Levitical refugees were scattered among 
the tribes. This episode probably belongs to the early stages of 
the conquest of Canaan. 

The late editor has, no doubt, done his best to tone down the 
objectionable features of the original story a fact which we should 
be better able to appreciate if we had that story as it was told, 
say in the time of David. The revised story seems directed 
against marriage with Gentiles. 

We may quote a curious parallel to this story from modern 
times. One year when the Annezy Arabs passed by with their 
cattle they pitched by the Kheybar valleys, as in a place of much 
water. An Annezy maiden entered Kheybar to see the daughters 
of the town : and there a young man was wounded for her love, 
who enticed the gazing damsel ... he was the Sheykh Okilla s 
son! The poor young woman went home weeping; and she 
was a Sheykh s daughter. This felony was presently reported 
in the nomads encampment! and, " It was not to be borne that 
a virgin should suffer violence I" said all the Beduw. 

The Annezy Sheykhs sent to require satisfaction from the 
Sheykh of Kheybar ; who answered them shortly that the Annezy 



1 Judges ix. 2 Judges ix. 4. 

3 Gen. xlix. 5-7 (which see), cf. xxxiv. 30. 



GENESIS 33. 19 34. 4. R 319 

Paddan-aram ; and encamped before the city. And he 19 
bought the parcel of ground, where he had spread his 
tent, at the hand of the children of Hamor, Shechem s 
father, for an hundred pieces of money. And he erected 20 
there an altar, and called it El-elohe-Israel. 

And Dinah the daughter of Leah, which she bare unto 34 
Jacob, went out to see the daughters of the land. And 2 
Shechem the son of Hamor the Hivite, the prince of the 
land, saw her ; and he took her, and lay with her, and 
humbled her. And his soul clave unto Dinah the 3 
daughter of Jacob, and he loved the damsel, and spake 
kindly unto the damsel. And Shechem spake unto his 4 

should no more water there. On the morrow the town Sheykh, 
Okilla, rode to the nomads encampment, with a few horsemen, 
and defied them. The Beduw set furiously upon them ; and 
Okilla fell, and there were slain many of his people. The Beduw 
now overran all ; they conquered the villages, and bound them 
selves by oath not to give their daughters to the people of 
Kheybar for ever V 

IS. came in peace to the city of Shechem : perhaps a refer 
ence to a treaty between Israel and Shechem, R. V. marg. came 
to Shalem, a city of Shechem, a less probable rendering. 

when he came from Paddan-aram : a fragment of P or an 
addition of R. 

19. he bought the parcel of ground : cf. xlviii. 22. 

pieces of money: translates a Hebrew word, Kesitah, only 
found here, Joshua xxiv. 32, and Job xlii. n, and of unknown 
meaning. The LXX and Vulgate render it lamb. 

20. erected there an altar. Judges, as we have seen, mentions 
a Temple of Baal-berith at Shechem, and Yahweh was worshipped 
in early times under the title Baal ; an Israelite sanctuary at 
Shechem is mentioned in Joshua xxiv. 26, E. 

El-elohe-Israel : 1, the God of Israel. 
1. Dinah. See xxx. 21. 
Z. Hivite. See x. 17. 
3. his soul clave unto Dinah : he fell in love with her. 

spake kindly : Heb. to the heart of, i. e. made love to her. 

1 C. M. Doughty, Arabia Deserta, II. 114. One or two explana 
tory words have been inserted, and English words have been substi 
tuted for Arab terms used by C. M. D. 



320 GENESIS 34. 5-17. R 

5 father Hamor, saying, Get me this damsel to wife. Now 
Jacob heard that he had defiled Dinah his daughter ; 
and his sons were with his cattle in the field : and Jacob 

6 held his peace until they came. And Hamor the father 
of Shechem went out unto Jacob to commune with him. 

7 And the sons of Jacob came in from the field when they 
heard it : and the men were grieved, and they were very 
wroth, because he had wrought folly in Israel in lying 
with Jacob s daughter ; which thing ought not to be done. 

8 And Hamor communed with them, saying, The soul of 
my son Shechem longeth for your daughter : I pray you 

9 give her unto him to wife. And make ye marriages with 
us, give your daughters unto us, and take our daughters 

10 unto you. And ye shall dwell with us : and the land 
shall be before you ; dwell and trade ye therein, and get 

11 you possessions therein. And Shechem said unto her 
father and unto her brethren, Let me find grace in your 

12 eyes, and what ye shall say unto me I will give. Ask me 
never so much dowry and gift, and I will give according 
as ye shall say unto me : but give me the damsel to wife. 

13 And the sons of Jacob answered Shechem and Hamor 
his father with guile, and spake, because he had defiled 

14 Dinah their sister, and said unto them, We cannot do 
this thing, to give our sister to one that is uncircumcised ; 

15 for that were a reproach unto us : only on this condition 
will we consent unto you : if ye will be as we be, that 

1 6 every male of you be circumcised ; then will we give our 
daughters unto you, and we will take your daughters to 
us, and we will dwell with you. and we will become one 

17 people. But if ye will not hearken unto us, to be 
circumcised ; then will we take our daughter, and we will 

5. the field : the open country at some distance from the city. 
12. dowry and gift. Cf. xxiv. 53. 



GENESIS 34. 18-29. R 321 

begone. And their words pleased Hamor, and Shechem 18 
Hamor s son. And the young man deferred not to do 19 
the thing, because he had delight in Jacob s daughter: 
and he was honoured above all the house of his father. 
And Hamor and Shechem his son came unto the gate of 20 
their city, and communed with the men of their city, 
saying, These men are peaceable with us ; therefore let 2 r 
them dwell in the land, and trade therein ; for, behold, 
the land is large enough for them ; let us take their 
daughters to us for wives, and let us give them our 
daughters. Only on this condition will the men consent 22 
unto us to dwell with us, to become one people, if every 
male among us be circumcised, as they are circumcised. 
Shall not their cattle and their substance and all their 23 
beasts be ours ? only let us consent unto them, and they 
will dwell with us. And unto Hamor and unto Shechem 24 
his son hearkened all that went out of the gate of his 
city ; and every male was circumcised, all that went out 
of the gate of his city. And it came to pass on the 25 
third day, when they were sore, that two of the sons of 
Jacob, Simeon and Levi, Dinah s brethren, took each 
man his sword, and came upon the city unawares, and 
slew all the males. And they slew Hamor and Shechem 26 
his son with the edge of the sword, and took Dinah out 
of Shechem s house, and went forth. The sons of Jacob 27 
came upon the slain, and spoiled the city, because they 
had defiled their sister. They took their flocks and their 28 
herds and their asses, and that which was in the city, and 
that which was in the field ; and all their wealth, and all 29 
their little ones and their wives, took they captive and 

2O. the gate of their city : the usual place of public meeting. 
25. Cf. Joshua v. 8. 
unawares : R. V. marg. < boldly. 



322 GENESIS 34. 3 o 35. 2. RE 

30 spoiled, even all that was in the house. And Jacob said 
to Simeon and Levi, Ye have troubled me, to make me 
to stink among the inhabitants of the land, among the 
Canaanites and the Perizzites : and, I being few in 
number, they will gather themselves together against me 
and smite me ; and I shall be destroyed, I and my house. 

31 And they said, Should he deal with our sister as with an 
harlot ? 

35 [E] And God said unto Jacob, Arise, go up to Beth-el, 
and dwell there : and make there an altar unto God, who 
appeared unto thee when thou Reddest from the face of 
a Esau thy brother. Then Jacob said unto his household, 
and to all that were with him, Put away the strange gods 
that are among you, and purify yourselves, and change 

xxxv. JACOB RETURNS TO HIS FATHER ; DEATH AND BURIAL or 
ISAAC. (Compiled from J, E, and P.) 

xxxv. 1-5, 6 b , 7, 8, 14. (E) At God s bidding Jacob goes to 
Beth-el, having first buried the idols of his household at Shechem. 
He builds an altar at Beth-el and sets up a pillar there. Deborah, 
Rebekah s nurse, dies. 

xxxv. 6% 9-13, 15. (P) Jacob goes to Luz ; God blesses him 
there, and changes his name to Israel. He names the place Beth-el. 

xxxv. 16-22 a 1 . (JE) Rachel dies on the way from Beth-el to 
Beth-lehem, after giving birth to Benjamin. Reuben sins with 
Bilhah. 

xxxv. 22 b "-29. (P) Jacob s twelve sons. He comes to Isaac at 
Hebron. Isaac dies, and Esau and Jacob bury him. 

Sources, &c. See the separate paragraphs and verses. 

xxxv. 1-5. (E) Jacob fulfils his voiv at Betlt-d. These and the 
connected verses are the completion of the story of the founding 
of the sanctuary at Beth-el. 

2. the strange gods that are among yon: including the 
teraphim that Rachel had stolen from her father, see xxxi. 19. 

purify yourselves : perform ablutions and other ritual acts, 
Including the changing of garments, cf. Exod. xix. 10. 

1 As far as heard of it. * From Now the sons. 



GENESIS 35. 3-8. EPE 323 

your garments : and let us arise, and go up to Beth-el ; 3 
and I will make there an altar unto God, who answered 
me in the day of my distress, and was with me in the 
way which I went And they gave unto Jacob all the 4 
strange gods which were in their hand, and the rings 
which were in their ears ; and Jacob hid them under the 
oak which was by Shechem. And they journeyed : and 5 
a great terror was upon the cities that were round about 
them, and they did not pursue after the sons of Jacob. 
[P] So Jacob came to Luz, which is in the land of 6 
Canaan (the same is Beth-el), [E] he and all the people 
that were with him. And he built there an altar, and 7 
called the place El-beth-el : because there God was re 
vealed unto him, when he fled from the face of his 
brother. And Deborah Rebekah s nurse died, and she 8 
was buried below Beth-el under the oak : and the name 
of it was called Allon-bacuth. 

4. ring s : probably regarded as having magic powers, cf. the 
charms worn on watch-chains. 

under the oak : R. V. marg. terebinth, i. e. in the sanctuary, 
so Joshua xxiv. 26. 

5. a great terror : Heb. a terror of God. 

6. (P) Luz. See xxviii. 19. 

8. (E ) Deborah: bee. Rebekah s nurse is mentioned without 
a name in xxiv. 59. The chronological notes would make her 
about 150 at this time; but the verse is an isolated fragment which 
has no relation to the chronology. This Deborah is buried under 
the oak at Beth-el, doubtless a sacred tree in the sanctuary, like 
that at Shechem in verse 4. In Judges iv. 4 the other Deborah 
has her official seat under a palm-tree near Beth-el. Apparently 
there was a sacred tree or trees at the sanctuary at Beth-el called 
the tree of Deborah, and some traditions connected it with the 
prophetess and others with the nurse. The word used here for 
oak 2 may perhaps be regarded as a generic term for trees. 

Allon-bacuth: that is the oak of weeping, apparently called 
oak of Tabor in i Sam. x. 3, where, however, Tabor is 
probably a misreading for Deborah. 

1 Sometimes given to J. a All on 

Y 2 



324 GENESIS 35, 9-16. PEPJE 

9 [P] And God appeared unto Jacob again, when he 

10 came from Paddan-aram, and blessed him. And God 
said unto him, Thy name is Jacob : thy name shall not 
be called any more Jacob, but Israel shall be thy name : 

11 and he called his name Israel. And God said unto him, 
I am God Almighty : be fruitful and multiply ; a nation 
and a company of nations shall be of thee, and kings 

12 shall come out of thy loins; and the land which I gave 
unto Abraham and Isaac, to thee I will give it, and to 

13 thy seed after thee will I give the land. And God went 
up from him in the place where he spake with him. [E] 

14 And Jacob set up a pillar in the place where he spake 
with him, a pillar of stone :: and he poured out a drink 

15 offering thereon, and poured oil thereon. [P] And 
Jacob called the name of the place where God spake 

1 6 with him, Beth-el. [JE] And they journeyed from Beth 
el ; and there was still some way to come to Ephrath : 

xxxv. 9-13. (P) The Priestly account of the names Israel and 
Beth-el. This account, was originally intended to supersede those 
of the older documents. Beth-el is simply a place where God 
appears. There is no recognition of the altar, the pillar, or the 
tithes. In giving the new name Israel the story of the midnight 
wrestling is suppressed. 

11. Cf. xvii. 1-8. 

14. (E) Cf. xxviii. 18. 

xxxv. 16-20. (JE) Birth of Benjamin and Death of Rachel. It 
is not certain to which of the two earlier documents this story 
belongs. It was evidently connected with a monument, originally 
perhaps part of a sanctuary, called the Pillar ; the monument may 
have been, like the Galeed cairn in xxxi. 52, a boundary stone, 
marking the southern boundary of the tribe of Rachel. The 
story is generally regarded as a piece of tribal history. The 
birth of Benjamin takes place in what was later on the territory 
of the tribe of Benjamin, and this birth is really the formation 
of the tribe. The meaning of the statement that Rachel died 
when Benjamin was born is that the formation of the new tribe 
Benjamin broke up the old tribe Rachel. 

16. Ephrath. See verse 19. . The careful definition of the 



GENESIS 35, 17-20. JE 325 

and Rachel travailed, and she had hard labour. And it 17 
came to pass, when she was in hard labour, that the mid 
wife said unto her, Fear not; for now thou shalt have 
another son. .And it came to pass, as her soul was in 18 
departing (for she died), that she called his name Ben- 
oni : but his father called him Benjamin. And Rachel 19 
died, and was buried in the way to Ephrath (the same is 
Beth-lehem). And Jacob set up a pillar upon her grave : 20 
the same is the. Pillar of Rachel s grave unto this day. 

position is intended to make it clear that the event took place in 
the territory of Benjamin. Beth-lehem was in Judah. 

18. Ben-oni, i.e. The son of my sorrow. Benjamin, i.e. 
The son of the right hand. Ben-oni was probably an old tribal 
name ; we find Onan l as the name of a clan oi Judah in about the 
same district, and there was a Benjamite city Ono 2 . Professor 
Sayce connects Oni with the sacred city On in Egypt, and 
supposes that it is a trace of the worship of an Egyptian deity. 
Beth-el, according to him, was originally Beth-on, cf. the Biblical 
name Beth-aven 3 . Benjamin means southern, the right 
hand being the south in Hebrew ; the district is called in i Sam. 
ix. 4, &c. the land Yemini, i. e. the southern land, just as 
Southern Arabia is called the Yemen. So the term in i Sam. ix. r, 
&c. for Benjamite is ish Yemini, Southerner. The name of the 
tribe therefore is formed from the name of the district which it 
occupied ; and both the tribe and the name arose after the settle 
ment in Canaan. As Benjamin is the youngest son of Jacob, it 
was the latest formed of the tribes ; and as the son of Rachel and 
brother of Joseph, it broke off from Rachel or Joseph ; and 
its name originally signified that it was the southern branch of the 
larger tribe. 

19. Beth-lehem: about five miles south of Jerusalem. The 
name would be read by a Jew as house of bread ; but lehem 
is often supposed to be the name of a god Lahmu, mentioned in 
Assyrian inscriptions. 

20. the Pillar of Rachel s grave. Cf. xxviii. 18 and also 
above, p. 31. The name of pillar, nta^eba, suggests that it was 
at one time a sacred pillar connected with a sanctuary. If the 
sanctuary were suppressed in the reforms of Josiah, the pillar 
might remain as a monument, and be regarded as a memorial 

1 Gen. xxxviii. 4. " Ezra ii. 33. 



Gen. xxxviii. 4. * Ezr; 

Religions of Ancient Egypt, &c., p. 87. 



326 GENESIS 35. 21-26. JEP 

a i And Israel journeyed, and spread his tent beyond the 

22 tower of Eder. And it came to pass, while Israel dwelt 
in that land, that Reuben went and lay with Bilhah his 
father s concubine : and Israel heard of it. 

23 [P] Now the sons of Jacob were twelve : the sons of 
Leah ; Reuben, Jacob s firstborn, and Simeon, and Levi, 

24 and Judah, and Issachar, and Zebulun : the sons of 

25 Rachel ; Joseph and Benjamin : and the sons of Bilhah, 

26 Rachel s handmaid ; Dan and Naphtali : and the sons of 

stone to Rachel. In i Sam. x. a we read of Rachel s tomb, in 
the border of Benjamin ; and in Jer. xxxi. 15, A voice is heard 
in Ramah . . . Rachel weeping for her children." Ramah lay 
between Beth-el and Beth-lehem. 

xxxv. 21, 22. Perhaps J. Reuben s sin with Bilhah. This inci 
dent is sometimes regarded as a figurative description of the low 
sexual morality prevailing in the tribe of Reuben ; but on this 
view it is not clear how Bilhah comes in. More probably we 
have an obscure reference to some political misdoing of the tribe 
of Reuben in connexion with the Bilhah (Dan and Naphtali) tribe 
which provoked the resentment of the rest of Israel. Cf. the 
curse on Reuben in the Blessing of Jacob, xlix. 3, 4. 

21. the tower of Eder : i. e. the tower of the flock. The site 
is unknown. 

xxxv. 22 b -26 (P). The Twelve Patriarchs. There are many 
lists of the tribes, which are usually arranged so as to give twelve. 
The chief exception is the Song of Deborah. This number is 
obtained in various ways, usually by omitting Levi. Twelve 
seems to have been a sacred number, perhaps because it was the 
product of three and four 1 . The sons of Nahor and the tribes of 
Ishmael * were also twelve. The twelve tribes of Israel have been 
connected, very improbabty, with the twelve signs of the Zodiac. 
The tribes are arranged in O. T. lists in twenty different orders 3 , 
usually the grouping is more or less according to the mothers, and 
Reuben comes first, less often Judah is first. In Ezek. xlviii. 
we have a quasi-geographical order, and Dan (the northern Dan) 
comes first. 

24, 26 (P). Benjamin . . . these . . . were born ... In 
Paddan-aram : an express contradiction of verses 16-18, JE. 

1 Encycl. BibL a Gen. xvii. 20, xxii. 20-24, xxv. 16. 

3 See the author s article TRIBE in Hastings Bible Diet. 



GENESIS 35. 2786. a. P 3=7 

Zilpah, Leah s handmaid j Gad and Asher : these are the 
sons of Jacob, which were born to him in Paddan-aram. 
And Jacob came unto Isaac his father to Mamre, to 27 
Kiriath-arba (the same is Hebron), where Abraham and 
Isaac sojourned. And the days of Isaac were an 28 
hundred and fourscore years. And Isaac gave up the 29 
ghost, and died, and was gathered unto his people, old 
and full of days : and Esau and Jacob his sons buried him. 

Now these are the generations of Esau (the same is 36 
Edom). Esau took his wives of the daughters of Ca- a 
naan; Adah the daughter of Elon the Hittite, and 
Oholibamah the daughter of Anah, the daughter of 

xxxv. 27-29 (P). Death and Burial of Isaac. Cf. xxvii. 41. 

xxxvi. THE DESCENDANTS OF ESAU. (Compiled from P and J 
with numerous editorial additions.) 

xxxvi. 1-5. (P) Esau s wives and children. 

xxxvi. 6-8. (P) Esau migrates to Mount Seir. 

xxxvi. 9-14. (P) Genealogy of Esau s sons. 

xxxvi. 15-19. (P) The dukes of Edom. 

xxxvi. 20-28. (P) Genealogy of the Horites. 

xxxvi. 29, 30. (P) The dukes of the Horites. 

xxxvi. 31-39. (J) The kings of Edom. 

xxxvi. 40-43. (P) The < dukes of Edom. 

Sources, &c. The final editor, and probably some of his 
predecessors, have made many explanatory additions ; and the 
material we have marked as P is not all consistent, and can only 
come partly from the Priestly Document, the rest being from other 
late post-Exilic sources. It is probable, however, that P, &c. 
here had older authorities behind them. The chapter is tribal 
history in the form of genealogies. It suggests that many clans 
of Edom ultimately were absorbed in Israel. 

An abstract of this chapter is given in i Chron. i. 34~54- 

N.B. Where no reference is given to other occurrences of 
a name in this chapter it is only found here. Also where nothing 
is said on any name, or its derivation, its meaning, or the location of 
tribe denoted by it, is not given, there is no information sufficiently 
certain to be worth giving. 

2. Adah, &c. Cf. iv. 23, xxvi. 34. 
Ofcolibamah, &c. : tent of the high place, only in this 



328 GENESIS 36. 3-11. P 

3 Zibeon the Hivite ; and Basemath Ishmael s daughter, 

4 sister of Nebaioth. And Adah bare to Esau Eliphaz ; 

5 and Basemath bare Reuel ; and Oholibamah bare Jeush, 
and Jalam, and Korah : these are the sons of Esau, which 

6 were born unto him in the land of Canaan. And Esau 
took his wives, and his sons, and his daughters, and all 
the souls of his house, and his cattle, and all his beasts, 
and all his possessions, which he had gathered in the 
land of Canaan; and went into a land away from his 

7 brother Jacob. For their substance was too great for 
them to dwell together ; and the land of their sojournings 

8 could not bear them because of their cattle. And Esau 

9 dwelt in mount Seir : Esau is Edom. And these are 
the generations of Esau the father of the Edomites in 

10 mount Seir : these are the names of Esau s sons ; Eliphaz 
the son of Adah the wife of Esau, Reuel the son of 

11 Basemath the wife of Esau. And the sons of Eliphaz 
were Teman, Omar, Zepho, and Gatam, and Kenaz. 

chapter and in a parallel passage i Chron. i. 52. Cf. the 
symbolic names Oholah and Oholibah in Ezek. xxiii. 4, &c. In 
verse 41 Oholibamah is a duke. 

Anah : only in this chapter and i Chron. i. 38-41. In 
verse 24, which see, and in some authorities here Anah is a son 
of Zibeon ; in verse 20 Anah is brother of Zibeon. Cf. x. 7. 

Zibeon the Kivite : rather as in verse 20 the Horite ; only 
here and i Chron. ; in verse 29 he is a duke. Zibeon = hyaena. 

3. Basemath, &c. See xxvi. 34, xxviii. 9. 

4. Eliphaz : only in this chapter and i Chron., except as the 
name of a character in Job. 

Reuel: only in this chapter and i Chron. ; but elsewhere as 
the name of persons, amongst them the father-in-law of Moses. 

5. Jeush . . . Jalam . . . Korah : dukes in verse 18 ; all three 
occur here and i Chron. Also i Chron. vii. 10 Jeush is a clan of 
Benjamin, and i Chron. ii. 43 Korah is a clan of Caleb. These clans 
may have been originally Edomite, and then have become absorbed 
in Israel, or may have been divided between Israel and Edom. 

11. Teman: south, 1 yet commonly placed in the north-east 

of Edom ; in verse 42 a duke ; frequently mentioned in the O.T. 

Omar, Zepho, and Gatam : only in this chapter and i Chron. ; 



GENESIS 36. 12-18. P 329 

And Timna was concubine to Eliphaz Esau s son; and 12 
she bare to Eliphaz Amalek : these are the sons of Adah 
Esau s wife. And these are the sons of Reuel; Nahath, 13 
and Zerah, Shammah, and Mizzah : these were the sons 
of Basemath Esau s wife. And these were the sons of 14 
Oholibamah the daughter of Anah, the daughter of 
Zibeon, Esau s wife : and she bare to Esau Jeush, and 
Jalam, and Korah. These are the dukes of the sons of 15 
Esau : the sons of Eliphaz the firstborn of Esau ; duke 
Teman, duke Omar, duke Zepho, duke Kenaz, duke 16 
Korah, duke Gatam, duke Amalek : these are the dukes 
that came of Eliphaz in the land of Edom ; these are 
the sons of Adah. And these are the sons of Reuel 17 
Esau s son ; duke Nahath, duke Zerah, duke Shammah, 
duke Mizzah : these are the dukes that came of Reuel in 
the land of Edom; these are the sons of Basemath 
Esau s wife. And these are the sons of Oholibamah 18 
Esau s wife; duke Jeush, duke Jalam, duke Korah t 

dukes in verses 15 and 16. Zepho is Zephi in Chron., or 
according to LXX Zophar, which is probably the original form, 
cf. Zophar in Job. 

Kenaz : a duke in 42, cf. on the Kenizzites, xv. 19. 

12. Timna: in verse 22 and i Chron. i. 39 a daughter of Seir 
the Horite ; in verse 40 and i Chron. i. 51 a duke of Edom; 
in i Chron. i. 36 a son of Eliphaz ; apparently a clan sometimes 
reckoned Edomite and sometimes Horite. 

Amalek : a tribe whose main seat was in the Sinaitic desert ; 
frequently mentioned in O. T. 

13. Nahath . . . Zerah . . . Shammah . . . Kizzah : dukes 
in verse 17. Zerah is the father of one of the kings of Edom in 
verse 33, the name of a clan of Judah in xxxviii. 30, and of a clan 
of Simeon in Num. xxvi. 13 (cf. verse 5). Otherwise these 
names only occur in this chapter and i Chron. i. 37, except as the 
names of individuals not connected with Edom. 

15. dukes: R. V. marg. chiefs, 15-19, the lists of these 
dukes is the same as the list of sons and grandsons in 11-14 
(which see). Duke in A. V. meant simply chief. Verses 1 1-14 
are probably an alternative version of 15-19. 



330 GENESIS 36. 19-23. P 

these are the dukes that came of Oholibamah the 

19 daughter of Anah, Esau s wife. These are the sons of 
Esau, and these are their dukes : the same is Edom. 

20 These are the sons of Seir the Horite, the inhabitants 
of the land ; Lotan and Shobal and Zibeon and Anah, 

ai and Dishon and Ezer and Dishan : these are the dukes 
that came of the Horites, the children of Seir in the land 

22 of Edom. And the children of Lotan were Hori and 

23 Hemam ; and Lotan s sister was Timna. And these are 
the children of Shobal ; Alvan and Manahath and Ebal, 

xxxvi. 20-30. The Horite Clans. Horite clans of course remained 
in Edom after the Edomites settled in the country and became the 
ruling race. Verses 29, 30 repeat verses 20, ar. 

20. Seir the Horite. See xiv. 6. The district Seir in this 
passage becomes the eponymous ancestor of the Horites, the 
oldest known inhabitants of the land. 

Lotan : a duke in verse 29, only in this chapter and i Chron. ; 
perhaps another form of Lot. 

Shobal: a duke in verse 29, here and i Chron., also a clan 
of Caleb or Judah, i Chron. ii. 50, iv. i, &c. Cf. verse 5. 

Zibeon and Anah. See verse 2. 

21. Dishon and Ezer and Dishan: only in this chapter and 
i Chron. Dishon and Dishan are probably accidental repetitions 
of the same name, which may mean mountain-goat. In verse 25 
Dishon is the grandson of Seir. 

22. Hori: rather the Horites, used in verses 20, 30 for the 
whole tribe ; here for the first family of the first clan. Cf. the use 
of two equivalent names Angles and English for a single tribe and 
for a group of tribes. 

Hemam : in i Chron. * Homam. 
Tirana. See verse 12. 

23. Alvan . . . Manahath . . . Ebal . . . Shepho . . . Onara 1 . 
Alvan and Shepho only here and i Chron. i. 40 in the forms Alian 
and Shephi. Alvan is another form of the Alvah of verse 40. 
Manahath is also a clan and city of Judah, r Chron. ii. 52, 54, 
viii. 6, cf. verse 5. Ebal, which has no connexion with 
Mount Ebal, occurs as the son of Joktan, i Chron. i. 22, in the 
parallel Gen. x. 28 Obal (which seeX Onam, also a Jerahmeclite 
clan of Judah, i Chron. ii. 26, perhaps a form of Onan, the son of 
Judah, Gen. xxxviii. 4, &c. 

1 See N. B. p. 327. 



GENESIS 36. 24-30. P 331 

Shepho and Onam. And these are the children of 24 
Zibeon; Aiah and Anah: this is Anah who found the 
hot springs in the wilderness, as he fed the asses of 
Zibeon his father. And these are the children of Anah ; 25 
Dishon and Oholibamah the daughter of Anah. And 26 
these are the children of Dishon ; Hemdan and Eshban 
and Ithran and Cheran. These are the children of Ezer ; 27 
Bilhan and Zaavan and Akan. These are the children of 28 
Dishan ; Uz and Aran. These are the dukes that came 29 
of the Horites ; duke Lotan, duke Shobal, duke Zibeon, 
duke Anah, duke Dishon, duke Ezer, duke Dishan : 30 
these are the dukes that came of the Horites, according 
to their dukes in the land of Seir. 

24. Aiah. = falcon, here and i Chron. i. 40 j the name of the 
father of Rizpah, a Sam. iii. 7, &c. 

Anah who found the hot spring s, &c. This fragment in 
the form of personal anecdote is a curious interruption of the 
list of names ; similar fragments are found amongst the genealogies 
at the beginning of Chronicles. It is doubtless a remnant of some 
ancient tradition ; but unfortunately is no longer intelligible, for 
which reason, perhaps, it is omitted in Chronicles. The meaning 
of the word translated hot springs, A. V. mules, 1 is unknown. 
The wording reminds us of Exod. iii. i and i Sam. ix. 1-3. 

25, 26. Dishon (Dishan). See verse 21. 

25. Oholibamah. See verse 5. 

26. Hemdan . . . Eshban . . . Ithran . . . Cheran: here and 
i Chron. i. 41. Hemdan as Hamran in Chronicles. Ithran also 
i Chron. vii. 37 as a clan of Asher, cf. verse 5. Hemdan may = 
desirable, and Yithran eminent. 

27. Bilhan . . . Zaavan . . . Akan : here and i Chron. i. 42. 
Bilhan also occurs as a clan of Benjamin, with a son Jeush, 
i Chron. vii. 10 ; the name is sometimes supposed to be a form of 
Bilhah, see verse 5 and xxix. 29. Akan is Jaakan in Chronicles, 
and in Deut. x. 6 we read the Israelites journeyed from the 
Wells of the Bene-Jaakan to Moserah : there Aaron died ; in the 
parallel Num. xxxiii. 31 there is simply Bene-Jaakan. 

28. Uz . . . Aran. For Uz see x. 23 ; Aran, here and i Chron. 
i. 42. Some MSS. and versions have Aram, see x. 22. Aran 
is perhaps the same as Oren, a Jerahmeelite clan of Judah, 
i Chron. ii. 25, cf. verse 5. 

29. 3O = 20, 21. 



332 GENESIS 36. 31-35. J 

31 [J] And these are the kings that reigned in the land of 
Edom, before there reigned any king over the children 

32 of Israel. And Bela the son of Beor reigned in Edom ; 

33 and the name of his city was Dinhabah. And Bela died, 
and Jobab the son of Zerah of Bozrah reigned in his 

34 stead. And Jobab died, and Husham of the land of the 

35 Temanites reigned in his stead. And Husham died, and 
Hadad the son of Bedad, who smote Midian in the field 
of Moab, reigned in his stead : and the name of his city 



xxxvi. 31-39. The Kings of Edom (J). These kings are commonly 
regarded as individuals ; as each of them has a different capital, 
and no one is the son of his predecessor, they probably corre 
sponded to the judges in Israel, and were really chiefs of clans, 
rather than kings of the whole nation. 

31. before there reigned any king- over the children of 
Israal. An indication that this verse, at any rate, was written 
after the time of Saul. The Hebrew, however, should perhaps be 
rendered before any king belonging to the Israelites reigned 
[over Edom], i. e. before the time of David, 2 Sam. viii. 14 ; cf. 
i Kings xxii. 47. 

32. Bela the son of Beor : sometimes identified with Balaam 
the son of Beor. We read of a city, Bela, Gen. xiv. 2, and of 
Benjamite and Reubenite clans bearing the name, xlvi. ai, 
i Chron. v. 8. 

Dinhabah 1 : here and i Chron. i. 43. 

33. Jobab the son of Zerah of Bozrah : Jobab, cf. x. 29, 
Joshua xi. i, perhaps a form of Job. Zerah, see verse 13. 
Bozrah, one of the most important cities of Edom, perhaps the 
modern el-Euseireh some distance north of Petra, in the district 
south-east of the Dead Sea. 

34. Husham : here and i Chron. i. 45 f. 
Temanites. See verse n. 

35. Hadad the son of Bedad, who smote Midian, &c. Hadad 
is the name of a Canaanite and Syrian storm-god. An Edomite 
prince Hadad appears in the reign of Solomon, r Kings xi. 14, 
Ben-hadad, Ha.dad-ezer, &c. are also names of Syrian princes. 
Cf. verse 39, and xxv. 15. Bedad is perhaps a contraction of 
Ben-hadad. Midian, see xxv. 2. Nothing else is known of 
this war. 

J See N. B. p. 327. 



GENESIS 86.36-40. JP 333 

was Avith. And Hadad died, and Samlah of Masrekah 36 
reigned in his stead. And Samlah died, and Shaul of 37 
Rehoboth by the River reigned in his stead. And Shaul 38 
died, and Baal-hanan the son of Achbor reigned in 
his stead. And Baal-hanan the son of Achbor died, 39 
and Hadar reigned in his stead: and the name of his 
city was Pau ; and his wife s name was Mehetabel, 
the daughter of Hatred, the daughter of Me-zahab. 
[P] And these are the names of the dukes that came of 40 

Avith : here and i Chron. The LXX has Gittaim, a Sam. iv. 3. 

38. Samlah of Masrekah: here and i Ghron. Some MSS. of 
the LXX read Saltnah, a form of Solomon. Masrekah may mean 
place of choice vines. 

37. Shaul of Rehoboth by the River. The name is identical 
in Hebrew with that of the Israelite king Saul. It is also the 
name of clans of Simeon and Levi, xlvi. 10, i Chron. vi. 24. 
For Rehoboth see xxvi. 22 ; it has nothing to do with the 
Assyrian city in x. n. The river is probably the river of Egypt, 
the Wady el Arish, running from the north of the Sinaitic Peninsula 
into the Mediterranean between Pelusium and Gaza. 

39. Baal-hanan the son of Achbor : here and i Chron. Baal- 
hanan ( = Baal is gracious, a synonym of Hannibal) is also the 
name of an official of David, i Chron. xxvii. 28. Achbor ( = mouse) 
also the name of certain Israelites, 2 Kings xxii. 12, Jer. xxvi. 22. 

Hadar : we should probably read Hadad with i Chron. i. 50 
and other authorities. Instead of his father s name, we have the 
name and genealogy of his wife, perhaps because he succeeded in 
right of his wife 1 ; or this verse may have come originally from 
a source other than that used in the preceding. 

Pau : i Chron. i. 50 Pai ; we should probably read with 
LXX Peor, the name of a mountain and city to the north-west of 
the Dead Sea. 

Mehetabel = God confers benefits, here and i Chron., also 
the name of a man Neh. vi. 10. 

Matred: here and i Chron. 

Me-zahab: here and i Chron. The name as now written 
would read as the Hebrew for Waters of Gold. Cf. however 
Di-zahab, Deut. i. i. Both are probably corruptions of some 
foreign name. 

xxxvi. 40-43. The dukes of Esau. For the most part a 
selection of names from previous lists, a third version of 10-14. 

1 Gunkel. 



334 GENESIS 36. 41 37. r. P 

Esau, according to their families, after their places, by 
their names ; duke Timnah, duke Alvah, duke Jetheth ; 

41,42 duke Oholibamah, duke Elah, duke Pinon ; duke Kenaz, 
43 duke Teman, duke Mibzar ; duke Magdiel, duke Iram : 
these be the dukes of Edom, according to their habita 
tions in the land of their possession. This is Esau the 
father of the Edomites. 

37 And Jacob dwelt in the land of his father s sojournings, 

40. Timnah. See verse xa. 
Alvah. See Alvan, verse 23. 

Jetheth. Here and i Chron. i. 51. Some MSS. of LXX 
read Jether, the name of clans of Judah and Asher, i Chron. ii. 32, 
iv. 17, vii. 38. 

41. Oholibamah. See verse a. 

Blah: here and i Chron. i. 52, a common Israelite name: 
in i Chron. iv. 15 the name of a clan of Caleb (Judah). 

Pinon : here and i Chron., perhaps the name of a place, cf. 
Punon, Num. xxxiii. 42. 

42. Kenaz . . . Teman. See verses 15, 16. 

43. Mibzar : perhaps = fortress, here and i Chron. ; probably 
the name of a place. 

Magfdiel . . . Iram : here and i Chron. 

xxxvii ; xxxix 1. THE STORY OF JOSEPH. 

The general outline of this story is often interpreted as tribal 
history. The tribe Joseph is supposed to have quarrelled with 
the other tribes, and to have taken refuge in Egypt. Thither, 
later on, the other tribes followed, and there was a reconciliation. 
But the whole of this detailed story cannot be tribal history. 
Prof. Cheyne 1 holds the following view : There are five distinct 
elements in our present Joseph-story : (i) the transformed 
tradition of a sojourn of the tribe of Joseph in Egypt ; (a) the 
tradition, true in essential, of a Hebrew vizier under Khu-en-aten 2 ; 
(3) the story of Joseph and Potiphar s wife, &c. (an imaginative 
appendage) ; (4) the narrative (not historical) connecting the 
changed agrarian law of Egypt with Khu-en-atens vizier ; (5) the 
narrative (also unhistorical) of the sojourn of the other "sons" of 
Israel in Egypt. Prof. Cheyne, following Winckler, seems inclined 
to identify the Hebrew vizier with an Egyptian official Yanhamu 
mentioned in the Amarna Tablets. On the other hand, the 

1 Encycl. Bibl. 

8 Amenophis IV, of the Amarna Tablets, c. B.C. 1400. 



GENESIS 37. 2. P J 



335 



in the land of Canaan. These are the generations of a 
Jacob. Joseph, being seventeen years old, [Jj was 

author 1 of the latest important commentary on Genesis considers 
that the chapters on Joseph consist of a number of legends, mostly 
from Egyptian and other foreign sources, set in a framework of 
tribal history. 

The character of Joseph is described in much greater detail 
than that of the other patriarchs, and special stress is laid on its 
moral features ; e. g. his chastity and his affection for Jacob and 
Benjamin. 

The story of Daniel is partly based on that of Joseph. Daniel 
also is a captive in a foreign land, and becomes vizier by inter 
preting the king s dream. 

xxxvii. JOSEPH SOLD INTO EGYPT (JE 2 ). 

xxxvii. i. (P) Jacob settles in Canaan. 

xxxvii. 2 a*. (P) The heading of the Priestly account of Jacob s 
family. 



2& 4 -4. Joseph tells tales of 
his brethren ; he is his father s 
favourite, and his father gives 
him a princely robe. 

His brethren hate him. 

12, 13 a 5 . Israel sends him 
to his brothers at Shechem. 

14 b 8 . He comes to Shechem. 

18. They conspire to kill him. 



21. Judah 9 saves his life. 



5-11. Joseph dreams that he 
will be chief amongst his 
brethren, and even over his 
parents. 

His brethren envy him. 

13 b 6 , 14 a 7 . His father sends 
him to his brothers. 

15-17. He finds them at 
Dothan. 

19, 20. They propose to kill 
the dreamer, throw the body 
into a pit, and say that he has 
been eaten by a wild beast. 

22-25 a K Reuben persuades 
them to put him in the pit alive, 
intending to take him out and 
send him home. They take off 
the princely robe, and put him 
in the pit. 



1 Gunkel. a Mostly. 

4 From was feeding. 
6 From and he said. 
8 From So he sent. 
10 As far as eat bread. 



3 As far as seventeen years old. 
5 As far as unto them. 
7 As far as again. 
9 See note on this verse. 



336 



GENESIS 37. 2. J 



feeding the flock with his brethren ; and he was a lad 
with the sons of Bilhah, and with the sons of Zilpah, his 



25 6-27 \ 28 b 3 . The brothers, 
by Judah s advice, sell Joseph 
to the Ishmaelites. 



320*. The brothers send the 
robe [to Israel]. 

33 b 7 . Who concludes that 
Joseph is torn in pieces. 

35. His father mourns for him. 



E 

28 a 3 . Midianite traders take 
Joseph out of the pit. 

28 c. They take him to Egypt 
(cf. xxxix.) (J). 

29, 30. Reuben finds the pit 
empty. 

31. The brothers stain the 
robe with goat s blood. 

326 6 -33 6 . They bring the 
robe to their father, who con 
cludes that Joseph has been 
eaten by a wild beast. 



34. Jacob mourns for him. 

36. The Midianites sell Joseph 
to Potiphar. 

Sources, &c. The above analysis, in its leading features, is very 
generally adopted ; there cannot of course be certainty as to all 
the details. The table of the analysis will help the reader to 
recognize the many repetitions. The characteristics of J are that 
the father is called Israel ; Joseph incurs his brothers resentment 
by telling tales ; they meet at Shechem ; Judah * befriends him ; 
the brethren sell him to Ishmaelites. In E the father is called 
Jacob ; Joseph incurs his brothers resentment by his dreams of 
pre-eminence ; they meet at Dothan ; Reuben befriends him ; 
his brethren put him in a pit, from which he is taken by Midianites. 
The princely robe seems to be a feature of both documents. 

The friendship with Judah or Reuben might be explained as 
tribal alliances, the favouritism as an early pre-eminence of the 
tribe of Joseph. Cf. above, p. 334. 

3. the generations of Jacob, the heading of a new section of P. 

the sons of Bilhah . . . the sons of Zilpah . . . the evil 

report of them. Bilhah and Zilpah the two concubines. Quarrels 



1 From and they lifted up. 

3 As far as pit. 

8 From and they brought. 

7 From Joseph. 



" From and sold, to silver. 
4 As far as colours. 
" As far as * devoured him." 
8 Cf. note on verse 21. 



GENESIS 37. 3-9- J E 337 

father s wives : and Joseph brought the evil report of 
them unto their father. Now Israel loved Joseph more 3 
than all his children, because he was the son of his old 
age : and he made him a coat of many colours. And 4 
his brethren saw that their father loved him more than 
all his brethren; and they hated him, and could not 
speak peaceably unto him. [E] And Joseph dreamed a 5 
dream, and he told it to his brethren : and they hated 
him yet the more. And he said unto them, Hear, I pray 6 
you, this dream which I have dreamed : for, behold, we 7 
were binding sheaves in the field, and, lo, my sheaf 
arose, and also stood upright ; and, behold, your sheaves 
came round about, and made obeisance to my sheaf. 
And his brethren said to him, Shalt thou indeed reign 8 
over us ? or shalt thou indeed have dominion over us ? 
And they hated him yet the more for his dreams, and 
for his words. And he dreamed yet another dream, and 9 
told it to his brethren, and said, Behold, I have dreamed 
yet a dream; and, behold, the sun and the moon and 

would often arise between the children of a favourite wife and the 
children of wives of inferior status, cf. the cases of Ishmael and 
Jephthah. There is no further separate reference to these sons. 
The evil report would be the report of their evil doings. If 
this had to be interpreted as tribal history, it might be understood 
of some controversy. 

3. tlie son of his old age : the latest born except Benjamin. 
Chapter xxx. 25 does not suggest that Joseph was much younger 
than his brethren. Probably before the Joseph story was taken 
up by J and E it was independent of the accounts of the births of 
the Patriarchs. 

a coat of many colours: a mistranslation adopted from the 
LXX ; the correct rendering is that of R. V. marg., a long garment 
with sleeves, such as that worn by persons of distinction, e. g. 
Tamar the daughter of David l . 

9. sun . . . moon . . . eleven stars : father . . . mother . . . 
eleven brothers, as in the next verse. Joseph s own mother, 
Rachel, was dead according to xxxv. 19, but cf. on verse 3. 

1 2 Sam. xiii. 18, 19. 
Z 



338 GENESIS 37. ro-20. EJEJEJE 

10 eleven stars made obeisance to me. And he told it to 
his father, and to his brethren ; and his father rebuked 
him, and said unto him, What is this dream that thou 
hast dreamed ? Shall I and thy mother and thy brethren 
indeed come to bow down ourselves to thee to the 

11 earth? And his brethren envied him; but his father 

12 kept the saying in mind. [J] And his brethren went 

13 to feed their father s flock in Shechem. And Israel said 
unto Joseph, Do not thy brethren feed the flock in 
Shechem ? come, and I will send thee unto them. [E] 

14 And he said to him, Here am I. And he said to him, 
Go now, see whether it be well with thy brethren, and 
well with the flock ; and bring me word again. [ J] So 
he sent him out of the vale of Hebron, and he came to 

15 Shechem. [E] And a certain man found him, and, 
behold, he was wandering in the field : and the man 

1 6 asked him, saying, What seekest thou? And he said, I 
seek my brethren : tell me, I pray thee, where they are 

17 feeding the flock. And the man said, They are departed 
hence : for I heard them say, Let us go to Dothan. 
And Joseph went after his brethren, and found them in 

1 8 Dothan. And they saw him afar off, [J] and before he 
came near unto them, they conspired against him to slay 

19 him. [E] And they said one to another, Behold, this 

20 dreamer cometh. Come now therefore, and let us slay 
him, and cast him into one of the pits, and we will say, 

15. a certain man: possibly in the original story an appearance 
of a deity 1 ; cf. xviii. i, xxxii. 24. 

17. Dothan. A hill a few miles north of Shechem still bears this 
name ; perhaps one version of this story was told at a sanctuary 
at Dothan, the other at Shechem. 

19. dreamer: quite the right English equivalent of the Hebrew 
phrase master of dreams. 

1 Holzinger. 



GENESIS 37. 11-37. EJEJ 339 

An evil beast hath devoured him : and we shall see what 
will become of his dreams. [J] And Reuben heard it, 21 
and delivered him out of their hand; and said, Let us 
not take his life. [E] And Reuben said unto them, 22 
Shed no blood ; cast him into this pit that is in the 
wilderness, but lay no hand upon him: that he might 
deliver him out of their hand, to restore him to his father. 
And it came to pa^s, when Joseph was come unto his 23 
brethren, that they stript Joseph of his coat, the coat of 
many colours that was on him ; and they took him, and 24 
cast him into the pit : and the pit was empty, there was 
no water in it. And they sat down to eat bread : [J] and 25 
they lifted up their eyes and looked, and, behold, a 
travelling company of Ishmaelites came from Gilead, 
with their camels bearing spicery and balm and myrrh, 
going to carry it down to Egypt. And Judah said unto 26 
his brethren, What profit is it if we slay our brother and 
conceal his blood? Come, and let us sell him to the 27 

21. Retiben. It seems probable, in view of the rest of the 
analysis, that in this passage as it stood in J the friendly brother 
was Judah, and that Reuben has been substituted for Judah in 
this verse by a copyist or editor. 

22. Shed no blood. A superstitious casuistry felt that to leave 
a man to starve to death was a less heinous crime than to cut 
his throat. 

24. pit : an empty cistern. 

25. travelling 1 company : caravan. 

from Gilead. The caravan route from Gilead to Egypt passed 
by Dothan. 

spicery: R. V. marg., gum tragacanth, or storax. Traga- 
canth is the resinous gum of the Astragalus gumnriferi. For 
storax see on xxx. 37. 

balm: R.V. marg., mastic. 1 The mastic is a tree yielding 
a kind of resin. 

myrrh: R.V. marg., Madanum. Ladanum is a resinous 
exudation of a low shrub of the order Cistinae V 

26. and conceal his blood, i. e. even if we are not found out. 

1 Encycl. Biblica. 2 Ur. Hastings Bible Diet, 

Z 2 



340 GENESIS 37. 28-35. JEJEJEJEJ 

Ishmaelites, and let not our hand be upon him ; for he 
is our brother, our flesh. And his brethren hearkened 

28 unto him. [E] And there passed by Midianites, mer 
chantmen ; and they drew and lifted up Joseph out of 
the pit, [J] and sold Joseph to the Ishmaelites for twenty 
pieces of silver. [E] And they brought Joseph into 

29 Egypt. And Reuben returned unto the pit ; and, be 
hold, Joseph was not in the pit ; and he rent his clothes. 

30 And he returned unto his brethren, and said, The child 

31 is not; and I, whither shall I go? And they took 
Joseph s coat, and killed a he-goat, and dipped the coat 

32 in the blood ; [J] and they sent the coat of many 
colours, [E] and they brought it to their father; and 
said, This have we found : know now whether it be thy 

33 son s coat or not. And he knew it, and said, It is my 
son s coat ; an evil beast hath devoured him ; [ J] Joseph 

34 is without doubt torn in pieces. [Ej And Jacob rent his 
garments, and put sackcloth upon his loins, and mQurned 

35 for his*son many days. 1 [J] And all his sons and all his 
daughters rose up to comfort him ; but he refused to be 

comforted ; and he said, For I will go down to the grave 

Possibly there is the further idea that if the blood were covered it 
would not cry to heaven, and the murderers would enjoy absolute 
impunity: cf. iv. 10, n ; Job xvi. 18. 

28. twenty pieces of silver, i. e. shekels. See on xx. 16. In 
Lev. xxvii. 5 a youth between five and twenty consecrated to 
Yahweh may be redeemed by the payment of twenty shekels. 

30. child 1 : better lad. See on xxi. 14. 

35. his daughters. Hitherto the only daughter mentioned has 
been Dinah. 

the grave: rather, as R. V. marg., Sheol, the name of the 
abode of the dead, answering to the Greek Hades, Acts ii. 27. 
In Sheol the dead were thought of as still conscious, but living 
a feeble, shadowy, ghostlike life ; see the descriptions of Sheol, 
Isa. xiv. 4-23; Ezek. xxxii. 17-32. 

1 Yeled. 



GENESIS 37. 3688. r. J E J 341 

to my son mourning. And his father wept for him. 
[E] And the Midianites sold him into Egypt unto 36 
Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh s, the captain of the 
guard. 

[J] And it came to pass at that time, that Judah went 38 

36. Midianites. The Hebrew has Medanites/ which must be 
as R. V. takes it, an alternative spelling of Midianites. 

Potiphar : LXX, Petephres, probably the same as the 
Potiphera (LXX, Petephres ) of xli. 45, &c. ; the latter would be 
an exact reproduction of an Egyptian name P dyp R , meaning He 
whom the Sun-god (Ra) gave. The name is said not to occur in 
Egyptian inscriptions earlier than B.C. 950, about the time of 
Solomon, but to be common in later times. In J Potiphar, under 
the name of Potiphera, is Joseph s father-in-law, see on xli. 45. 

officer: strictly eunuch, but if Potiphar was married 1 the 
word is used here in its wider sense of court official. 

captain of the guard : R. V. marg., Heb. chief of the execn- 
tioners. The executioners might also be the bodyguard, and 
so naturally the keepers of the guard-house or prison 2 . But the 
translation usually accepted is chief of the butchers, cf. the chief 
butler and chief baker of xl. i. It might be the title of the 
superintendent of the royal kitchen. 

xxxviii. THE STORY OF TAMAR (J). 

xxxviii. 1-5. Judah marries a Canaanite woman, who bears 
him three sons, Er, Onan, and Shelah. 

xxxviii. 6, 7. Er marries Tamar ; Yahweh slays him because 
he was wicked. 

xxxviii. 8-10. According to the Levirate law, Onan marries 
Tamar, but when he fails in his duty to her Yahweh slays him. 

xxxviii. 11-30. When Tamar perceived that the Levirate law 
was not to be carried out by marrying her to Shelah, she arranges 
by a stratagem that she shall bear a child to Judah ; she bears 
twins, Perez and Zerah. 

Sources, &c. This chapter is generally regarded as tribal history, 
elaborated by the skill of the historian in the form of popular 
tradition. The birth of sons to Judah by a Canaanite woman 
means that the tribe of Judah absorbed Canaanite (? Edomitc) 
clans, a fact established by other evidence 3 . The clans at first 

1 xxxix. i, 7, but see notes on these verses. * xl. 3. 

9 Judges i. 16, &c. 



342 GENESIS 38. 2-5. J 

down from his brethren, and turned in to a certain 

2 Adullamite, whose name was Hirah. And Judah saw 
there a daughter of a certain Canaanite whose name was 

3 Shua ; and he took her, and went in unto her. And 
she conceived, and bare a son ; and he called his name 

4 Er. And she conceived again, and bare a son ; and she 

5 called his name Onan. And she yet again bare a son, 

prominent, Er and Onan, were thus partly or wholly Canaanite ; 
and in the judgement of later times were wicked/ and 
were destroyed in some disaster. The tribe was restored to its 
full strength by the formation of two new clans, Perez and Zerah, 
partly formed from the remnants of Er and Onan ; or, as the story 
puts it, born from the wife of Er. 

Such narratives as these are the natural result of the adoption 
of the genealogy as a form of stating tribal relationships. A genea 
logy implies marriage and birth, so that any special features in 
the relationship of tribes would be set forth by means of the figure 
of marriage and birth in exceptional circumstances. The period 
of history referred to is probably that of the Judges. 

1. Judah went down from his brethren. In the earlier part 
of the period of the Judges Judah was separated from the northern 
tribes. In Judges i. 1-20 Judah and Simeon act independently, 
and Judah is not mentioned in the Song of Deborah. 

Adullamite. Adullam is now generally placed to the north 
west of Hebron. 

Kirah : only mentioned in this chapter, perhaps the name 
of a tribe. Note that Hirah was a man, not a woman, see 
verses 20, 21. 

2. Canaanite: a general term in J for the non-Israelite in 
habitants of Palestine. 

Shua: in i Chron. ii. 3 Bath-shua ; not found elsewhere. 
An almost identical name occurs i Chron. vii. 32 for a clan of 
Asher. The Shuah of xxv. 2 is a different word. In i Chron. iii. 5 
Bath-shua is given as the equivalent of Bath-sheba, the mother of 
Solomon. The use of shua to form names, Elishua, &c., suggests 
that it may have been originally the name of a deity. A tribe is 
probably intended. 

3. and he called: rather, with Samaritan-Hebrew text, &c., 
and she. 

Er. In i Chron. iv. 21 a son or division of Shelah, i. e. Er, 
once the leading clan, became merged in Shelah. The name 
Er also occurs in the genealogy of Joseph, Luke iii. 28. 

4. Onan: perhaps the same as Onam mentioned in xxxvi. 23 



GENESIS 38. 6-n. J 343 

and called his name Shelah : and he was at Chezib, when 
she bare him. And Judah took a wife for Er his first- 6 
born, and her name was Tamar. And Er, Judah s 7 
firstborn, was wicked in the sight of the LORD ; and the 
LORD slew him. And Judah said unto Onan, Go in 8 
unto thy brother s wife, and perform the duty of an 
husband s brother unto her, and raise up seed to thy 
brother. And Onan knew that the seed should not be 9 
his ; and it came to pass, when he went in unto his 
brother s wife, that he spilled it on the ground, lest he 
should give seed to his brother. And the thing which 10 
he did was evil in the sight of the LCRD : and he slew 
him also. Then said Judah to Tamar his daughter in n 
law, Remain a widow in thy fathers house, till Shelah 
my son be grown up : for he said, Lest he also die, like 
his brethren. And Tamar went and dwelt in her father s 

as a Horite clan; in i Chron. ii. 26 as a clan of Jerahmeel (Judah); 
cf. on xxxvi. 5. 

5. Shelali : a name very similar to Shiloh, but it does not seem 
likely that Judah ever held Shiloh (cf., however, xlix. 10). In 

1 Chron. iv. 21-23 there is a hopelessly obscure account of the 
clans of Shelah, in which the name Jashubi-lehem may perhaps 
indicate that this clan held Beth-lehem. 

Chezib : site uncertain, probably the Cozeba mentioned 
in i Chron. iv. 22 as one of the cities of Shelah. 

6. Tamar = date-palm, also the name of a daughter of David, 

2 Sam. xiii. i ; and of a daughter of Absalom, 2 Sam. xiv. 27 ; and 
of a city in Judah, Ezek. xlvii. 19. Tamar may be the name 
of a clan, but it is quite probable that it is the corruption of some 
less familiar name *. 

8. perform the duty of an husband s brother, i. e. marry the 
deceased brother s wife, Deut. xxv. 5 ; cf. Ruth iii, iv. 

11. test he also die. Cf. Tobit iii. 8, where marriage with 
Sarah proved fatal to seven husbands in succession. 

1 So Cheyne, JUDAH, Encycl. Biblica. We cannot, however, 
follow Cheyne in thinking that there are sufficient grounds for 
supposing that the original name was Jerahmeel. 



344 GENESIS 38. 12-19. J 

12 house. And in process of time Shua s daughter, the 
wife of Judah, died; and Judah was comforted, and 
went up unto his sheepshearers to Timnah, he and his 

13 friend Hirah the Adullamite. And it was told Tamar, 
saying, Behold, thy father in law goeth up to Timnah to 

14 shear his sheep. And she put off from her the garments 
of her widowhood, and covered herself with her veil, and 
wrapped herself, and sat in the gate of Enaim, which is 
by the way to Timnah; for she saw that Shelah was 
grown up, and she was not given unto him to wife. 

15 When Judah saw her, he thought her to be an harlot ; 

16 for she had covered her face. And he turned unto her 
by the way, and said, Go to, I pray thee, let me come in 
unto thee : for he knew not that she was his daughter in 
law. And she said, What wilt thou give me, that thou 

17 mayest come in unto me? And he said, I will send thee 
a kid of the goats from the flock. And she said, Wilt 

18 thou give me a pledge, till thou send it? And he said, 
What pledge shall I give thee ? And she said, Thy signet 
and thy cord, and thy staff that is in thine hand. And 
he gave them to her, and came in unto her, and she 

19 conceived by him. And she arose, and went away, and 

12. the wife of Judah. died : a feature introduced to make 
Judah s subsequent conduct less offensive. 

Timnah. There are three or more Timnahs in the O.T., 
probably represented by the various Tibnes in modern Palestine. 
This one may have been on the northern frontier of Judah. 

14. covered herself with her veil, and wrapped herself: 
probably = assumed the recognized dress of a prostitute ; cf. 
verse 15. 

Enaim: Wells, probably the Enam of Joshua xv. 34 ; site 
unknown. 

18. signet . . . cord . . i staff: objects personal to their owner ; 
the possession of these by Tamar would show that she had had 
relations with Judah. The cord was probably the cord by which 
the signet-ring was hung round the neck ; the staff would be 
carved or jewelled in some characteristic fashion. 



GENESIS 38. 20-26. J 345 

put off her veil from her, and put on the garments of her 
widowhood. And Judah sent the kid of the goats by 30 
the hand of his friend the Adullamite, to receive the 
pledge from the woman s hand: but he found her not. 
Then he asked the men of her place, saying, Where is 21 
the harlot, that was at Enaim by the way side? And 
they said, There hath been no harlot here. And he 22 
returned to Judah, and said, I have not found her ; and 
also the men of the place said, There hath been no 
harlot here. And Judah said, Let her take it to her, 23 
lest we be put to shame : behold, I sent this kid, and 
thou hast not found her. And it came to pass about 24 
three months after, that it was told Judah, saying, Tamar 
thy daughter in law hath played the harlot ; and more 
over, behold, she is with child by whoredom. And 
Judah said, Bring her forth, and let her be burnt. 
When she was brought forth, she sent to her father in 35 
law, saying, By the man, whose these are, am I with 
child: and she said, Discern, I pray thee, whose are 
these, the signet, and the cords, and the staff. And 26 
Judah acknowledged them, and said, She is more right- 

21. harlot 1 : R.V. marg., Heb. kcdeshah [lit. a holy woman ], 
that is, a woman dedicated to impure heathen worship. See 
Deut. xxiii. 17, Hos. iv. 14. Such women were attached to 
many sanctuaries, especially to those of Istar in Babylonia and 
Astarte in Syria. The sacrifice of chastity, as the greatest 
sacrifice a woman could make, was supposed to be an act of 
special devotion to the goddess. Cf. on xix. 30-38. 

24. Judah said ... let her be burnt. As his daughter-in-law 
she was under his authority. Technically, cf. verse n, she was 
betrothed to Shelah, and a breach of the betrothal was almost as 
heinous as a breach of a marriage. Burning alive is mentioned in 
Lev. xxi. 9 as the punishment of a woman of priestly family in 
such cases ; ordinary women were to be stoned, Lev. xxi. 10. 
Here we have an older usage. 

1 A different word from that used in verse 15. 



346 GENESIS 38. 3739. i. J 

eous than I ; forasmuch as I gave her not to Shelah my 

27 son. And he knew her again no more. And it came 
to pass in the time of her travail, that, behold, twins 

28 were in her womb. And it came to pass, when she 
travailed, that one put out a hand : and the midwife 
took and bound upon his hand a scarlet thread, saying, 

29 This came out first. And it came to pass, as he drew 
back his hand, that, behold, his brother came out : and 
she said, Wherefore hast thou made a breach for thyself? 

30 therefore his name was called Perez. And afterward 
came out his brother, that had the scarlet thread upon 
his hand : and his name was called Zerah. 

39 And Joseph was brought down to Egypt ; and 

27-30. Apparently the story of the birth of Jacob and Esau 
in another form and with different names ; cf. xxv. 24-26. 

28. a scarlet thread. Either the name of the son was origin 
ally different from Zerah, and was similar to the words for 
scarlet thread ; or scarlet thread would suggest some word 
similar to Zerah. 

29. Wherefore hast thon made a breach? (R.V. marg., How 
hast thou made a breach! a breach be upon thee! ) . . . Perez, 
i. e. Breach. The Bene Perez are mentioned, Neh. xi. 6, as living 
at Jerusalem after the Return. The birth of Perez is referred to 
in Ruth iv. 12 ; and according to Ruth iv. 18, Matt. i. 3 (cf. 
Luke iii. 33), Perez was an ancestor of David and therefore of our 
Lord. Perez was originally a clan-name, and occurs as an element 
in Baal-perazim, and Perez-uzza. The meaning of the name, and 
perhaps also its original form, are unknown. 

30. Zerah: perhaps a corruption of czrah, aboriginal. Accord 
ing to Joshua vii. i, Achan was of the clan Zerah. There is 
a reference to the Bene Zerah in Neh. xi. 24. Zerah was also the 
name of clans of Edom, xxxvi. 13, and Simeon, Num. xxvi. 13 ; 
see on Gen. xxxvi. 5. 

The meaning of this story seems to be, as in the case of Ephraim 
and Manasseh Gen. xlviii, that the leadership rested at one time 
with Perez, and at another with Zerah. 

xxxix. JOSEPH AND HIS MASTER S WIFE (J) 1 . 

xxxix. r-6. The Ishmaelites sell Joseph to an Egyptian*, 
whom he serves with success and acceptance. 

1 Cf . below, Sources, &c. a Cf . on verse i . 



GENESIS 39. 2. R J 347 

[R] Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh s, the captain of the 
guard, [J] an Egyptian, bought him of the hand of the 
Ishmaelites, which had brought him down thither. And 2 

xxxix. 7-20. His master s wife tempts him, and on his refusal 
accuses him of an attempted outrage. He is cast into prison. 

xxxix. 21-23. He wins the favour of the governor of the 
prison, and is made head-warder. 

Sources, &c. This chapter is almost entirely from J ; a few 
phrases seem to have been introduced from E s account of 
Joseph s experiences with Potiphar ; but these are not important 
enough to be indicated. The phrase in verse i, Potiphar, an 
officer of Pharaoh s, the captain of the guard, is an insertion of 
the editor from E, xxxvii. 36, necessitated by the attempt to 
combine the J and E stories into a single consecutive narrative. 

This chapter is a version ofan Egyptian tale, The Two Brothers, 
connected with an Israelite tribal hero. This tale runs somewhat 
as follows 1 : There were two brothers, the elder Anup, the 
younger Bata, who were much attached to each other. Bata 
managed Anup s affairs with great success. One day when they 
were ploughing together Bata came to the house for some seed, 
leaving Anup in the field. Anup s wife tempted Bata without 
success ; and when Anup came home in the evening his wife told 
him that Bata had outraged her. Anup rushed out to kill Bata, 
who, however, is protected by Re, the Sun-god ; and at last 
convinces Anup of his innocence, whereupon Anup goes home 
and kills his wife. 

There is more of the tale in the Egyptian story, but it has 
nothing to do with the Joseph-narrative except perhaps in its 
conclusion. Bata has many surprising adventures, after the 
manner of a fairy-tale, and at last becomes king of Egypt. 

This story is said to belong to the period of the nineteenth 
dynasty of Egyptian kings, from about B.C. 1327 ; the dynasty 
to which belong Rameses II and Menephtah, sometimes supposed 
to be the Pharaohs of the Oppression and the Exodus. 

Famines are not uncommon features of the annals of Egypt; 
and several are recorded in history ; more than once in the 
Egyptian inscriptions a high official boasts of his services in 
preserving the people from starvation through famine. No one 
of the famines mentioned in history can be identified as that 
referred to in this narrative. 

1. Potiphar . . . guard, inserted by the editor from xxxvii. 
36, E. In J Joseph s owner is nameless, see verses 2, 3, 7, &c. 

1 An abstract of the tale as given in Erman, Life in Ancient 
Egypt, Eng. trans., p. 378 f. 



348 GENESIS 39. 3-11. J 

the LORD was with Joseph, and he was a prosperous 
man ; and he was in the house of his master the 

3 Egyptian. And his master saw that the LORD was with 
him, and that the LORD made all that he did to prosper 

4 in his hand. And Joseph found grace in his sight, and 
he ministered unto him : and he made him overseer 
over his house, and all that he had he put into his hand. 

5 And it came to pass from the time that he made him 
overseer in his house, and over all that he had, that the 
LORD blessed the Egyptian s house for Joseph s sake ; 
and the blessing of the LORD was upon all that he had, 

6 in the house and in the field. And he left all that he 
had in Joseph s hand ; and he knew not aught that was 
with him, save the bread which he did eat. And Joseph 

7 was comely, and well favoured. And it came to pass 
after these things, that his master s wife cast her eyes 

8 upon Joseph ; and she said, Lie with me. But he 
refused, and said unto his master s wife, Behold, my 
master knoweth not what is with me in the house, and 

9 he hath put all that he hath into my hand ; there is 
none greater in this house than I ; neither hath he kept 
back any thing from me but thee, because thou art his 
wife : how then can I do this great wickedness, and sin 

10 against God ? And it came to pass, as she spake to 
Joseph day by day, that he hearkened not unto her, to 

11 lie by her, or to be with her. And it came to pass 
about this time, that he went into the house to do his 

6. he knew not anght that was with him : R. V. marg., with 
him he knew not. Cf. verse 23. 

8. knoweth not what is with me in the house: R. V. marg., 
knoweth not with me what is, &c. 

0. there is none greater : R. V. marg., he is not. 

God: not Yahweh, because Joseph is speaking to one who 
was not an Israelite. 



GENESIS 39. 12-23. J 349 

work ; and there was none of the men of the house 
there within. And she caught him by his garment, 12 
saying, Lie with me: and he left his garment in her 
hand, and fled, and got him out. And it came to pass, 13 
when she saw that he had left his garment in her hand, 
and was fled forth, that she called unto the men of her 14 
house, and spake unto them, saying, See, he hath 
brought in an Hebrew unto us to mock us ; he came in 
unto me to lie with me, and I cried with a loud voice : 
and it came to pass, when he heard that I lifted up my 15 
voice and cried, that he left his garment by me, and fled, 
and got him out. And she laid up his garment by her, 16 
until his master came home. And she spake unto him 17 
according to these words, saying, The Hebrew servant, 
which thou hast brought unto us, came in unto me to 
mock me : and it came to pass, as I lifted up my voice 18 
and cried, that he left his garment by me, and fled out. 
And it came to pass, when his master heard the words 19 
of his wife, which she spake unto him, saying, After this 
manner did thy servant to me; that his wrath was 
kindled. And Joseph s master took him, and put him 20 
into the prison, the place where the king s prisoners 
were bound : and he was there in the prison. But the 2 1 
LORD was with Joseph, and shewed kindness unto him, 
and gave him favour in the sight of the keeper of the 
prison. And the keeper of the prison committed to 32 
Joseph s hand all the prisoners that were in the prison ; 
and whatsoever they did there, he was the doer of it. 
The keeper of the prison looked not to any thing that 23 
was under his hand, because the LORD was with him; 
and that which he did, the LORD made it to prosper. 

14. Hebrew. Cf. on xiv. 13. 
17. to mock me : a euphemism. 



350 GENESIS 40. 1-3. ER 

40 [E] And it came to pass after these things, that the 
butler of the king of Egypt and his baker offended their 

2 lord the king of Egypt. And Pharaoh was wroth against 
his two officers, against the chief of the butlers, and 

3 against the chief of the bakers. And he put them in 
ward in the house of the captain of the guard, [R] into 

xl. THE CHIEF BUTLER AND THE CHIEF BAKER (E). 

xl. 1-4. Pharaoh s chief butler and chief baker are placed in 
the custody of the l captain of the guard/ who charges Joseph with 
them. 

xl. 5-19. The two prisoners dream dreams, which Joseph 
interprets to mean that the chief butler will be released and 
restored to office, and that the chief baker will be hanged. 
Joseph asks the chief butler to intercede for him. 

xl. 20-23. The dreams come true, but the chief butler forgets 
Joseph. 

Sources, &c. This is the continuation of the story in the 
Elohistic document, in which Joseph is sold to the captain of 
the guard. It has nothing to do with the previous chapter, the 
scene is not a prison into the prison, the place where Joseph 
was bound, in verse 3, and the second part of verse 15, and here 
also, &c., are editorial additions but his master s house, verses 3 
and 7. The custodian of Pharaoh s officers is not the keeper 
of the prison of xxxix. 21-23, but the captain of the guard ; 
and there is no reference to the charge on which Joseph was 
imprisoned in xxxix. 20. Moreover it is the Elohistic Document 
which is specially interested in dreams, and has already, xxxvii. 
5-11, 19, 20, described Joseph as a dreamer. 

1. butler . . . baker. The superintendents of the royal cellar 
and the royal bakehouse were high officials of the Egyptian 
court, Lord High Butler and Lord High Baker. 

2. officers: lit. eunuchs ; see on xxxvii. 36. 

3. in the house of the captain of the guard. Cf. on 
xxxvii. 36. If we accept the rendering captain of the guard, 
we should suppose that this official had charge of state prisoners, 
but if, as seems more likely, we should translate superintendent 
of the royal kitchen, Lord High Cook, this official would be 
the superior of the Lord High Butler and the Lord High 
Baker ; and in this capacity would be charged with their 
custody. State prisoners of high rank have often been placed 
in custody in the charge of nobles or important officials. 



GENESIS 40. 4-i2. RERE 351 

the prison, the place where Joseph was bound. [E] And 4 
the captain of the guard charged Joseph with them, and 
he ministered unto them : and they continued a season 
in ward. And they dreamed a dream both of them, each 5 
man his dream, in one night, each man according to the 
interpretation of his dream, the butler and the baker of 
the king of Egypt, [R] which were bound in the prison. 
[E] And Joseph came in unto them in the morning, and 6 
saw them, and, behold, they were sad. And he asked 7 
Pharaoh s officers that were with him in ward in his 
master s house, saying, Wherefore look ye so sadly to 
day? And they said unto him, We have dreamed 8 
a dream, and there is none that can interpret it. And 
Joseph said unto them, Do not interpretations belong 
to God ? tell it me, I pray you. And the chief butler 9 
told his dream to Joseph, and said to him, In my dream, 
behold, a vine was before me ; and in the vine were 10 
three branches : and it was as though it budded, and its 
blossoms shot forth ; and the clusters thereof brought 
forth ripe grapes : and Pharaoh s cup was in my hand ; 1 1 
and I took the grapes, and pressed them into Pharaoh s 
cup, and I gave the cup into Pharaoh s hand. And ia 

3 b (R). into the prison, &c., an addition of the editor, to 
make this chapter read as the continuation of the previous one ; 
cf. on 15 b . 

5. which were bound in the prison : (R) ; cf. previous note. 

7. with him in ward : in his charge. 

1O, 11. In his dream the chief butler sees the whole process 
of wine-making pass before his eyes in a few seconds. The buds 
appear upon the vine branches, they unfold into blossoms, and 
ripen into grapes. He gathers them ; presses them forthwith 
into Pharaoh s cup ; they become wine ; and, as the royal cup 
bearer, he serves the wine to Pharaoh. The ordinary interpreta 
tion is that the king drank the fresh grape-juice ; but as the butler 
sees the natural process of the growth of the grapes take place 
with dream-like swiftness, so probably it is taken for granted that 
the juice became wine in similar fashion. 



352 GENESIS 40. 13-18. ERE 

Joseph said unto him, This is the interpretation of it: 

13 the three branches are three days ; within yet three days 
shall Pharaoh lift up thine head, and restore thee unto 
thine office : and thou shalt give Pharaoh s cup into his 
hand, after the former manner when thou wast his butler. 

14 But have me in thy remembrance when it shall be well 
with thee, and shew kindness, I pray thee, unto me, and 
make mention of me unto Pharaoh, and bring me out of 

15 this house : for indeed I was stolen away out of the land 
of the Hebrews : [R] and here also have I done nothing 

1 6 that they should put me into the dungeon. [E] When 
the chief baker saw that the interpretation was good, he 
said unto Joseph, I also was in my dream, and, behold, 

17 three baskets of white bread were on my head : and in the 
uppermost basket there was of all manner of bakemeats 
for Pharaoh ; and the birds did eat them out of the 

1 3 basket upon my head. And Joseph answered and said, 
This is the interpretation thereof : the three baskets are 

15 b (R). and here also . . . dungeon: an addition of the 
editor ; cf. 3 b and 5 b . 

16. three baskets of white bread. The meaning of the word 
translated white bread is uncertain. The Syriac and LXX 
understand it as some kind of baker s goods. A second-century 
Greek translator x renders the phrase baskets of palm-branches ; 
and the rendering wickerwork baskets has also been proposed. 
The all manner of bakemeats of the next verse simply means 
all kinds of baker s goods, pastry, cakes, bread, &c., and does 
not necessarily imply any flesh food. But even so this account 
of the contents of the top basket points to some such rendering 
here as wickerwork ; all kinds of baker s goods in the top 
basket does not seem consistent with white bread in all three. 

17. the uppermost basket, &c. Cf. previous note. Probably 
the two lower baskets were empty, so that when the birds had 
eaten the contents of the top basket there was nothing left, and 
the chief baker could not perform his official functions. With 
the helplessness so common in dreams, he cannot frighten the 
birds away. 

in * Symmachus. 



GENESIS 40. ao-41. i. E 353 

three days; within yet three days shall Pharaoh lift up 
thy head from off thee, and shall hang thee on a tree ; 
and the birds shall eat thy flesh from off thee. And it 20 
came to pass the third day, which was Pharaoh s birthday, 
that he made a feast unto all his servants : and he lifted 
up the head of the chief butler and the head of the chief 
baker among his servants. And he restored the chief 
butler unto his butlership again; and he gave the cup 21 
into Pharaoh s hand : but he hanged the chief baker : as 22 
Joseph had interpreted to them. Yet did not the chief 23 
butler remember Joseph, but forgat him. 

And it came to pass at the end of two full years, that 41 
Pharaoh dreamed : and, behold, he stood by the river. 

19. shall . . . lift up thy head from off thee, and shall hang 
thee on a tree. He would be beheaded, and his corpse exposed. 

the birds shall eat thy flesh, as they had eaten the contents 
of the top basket. 

20. Pharaoh s birthday ... he made a feast. Cf. Herod s 
birthday feast, Mark vi. 21, and our Birthday Honours. 

lifted up the head: had him brought up from the house of 
the captain of the guard into the royal presence. 
23. Cf. Eccles. ix. 13-16. 

xli. JOSEPH AT PHARAOH S COURT. (Mainly from E, 
with passages inserted from J and P.) 

xli. 1-32 (E) l . Pharaoh has a dream which his magicians cannot 
interpret ; the chief butler mentions Joseph, who is sent for, and 
interprets the dream as a prophecy of famine. 

xli - 33-37 (JE). Joseph advises the appointment of an official 
to provide for the famine. Pharaoh accepts the advice. 

xli. 38-40 (E). Joseph is appointed to this office. 

xli. 41-45 (J). Joseph is appointed to this office, and married to 
the daughter of Poti-phera the priest of On. 

xli. 46 (P). Joseph, aged thirty, is appointed Pharaoh s vizier. 

xli. 47-49 (JE). Joseph gathers corn in seven years of plenty. 

1 Except 14, and they brought him . . . dungeon, R or J. There 
aio probably other phrases from J or R in 1-32; they are not suffi 
ciently certain or important to be indicated. 

A a 



354 GENESIS 41. 2-4. E 

2 And, behold, there came up out of the river seven kine, 
well favoured and fatfleshed ; and they fed in the reed- 

3 grass. And, behold, seven other kine came up after 
them out of the river, ill favoured and leanfleshed ; and 
stood by the other kine upon the brink of the river. 

4 And the ill favoured and leanfleshed kine did eat up the 

xli. 50-52 (E) l . Joseph has two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim. 

xn - 53-57 (JE)> Joseph feeds the people during the seven years 
of famine. 

Sources. &c. It is generally agreed that J as well as E had an 
account of Joseph s promotion and of the famine ; the portions 
belonging to J are for the most part included in those given above 
to JE or J, but they cannot be certainly identified ; even those 
marked J are only ascribed to that source with some hesitation 3 . 
On the other hand there may be fragments of J in the sections 
marked E. It would seem to follow that J had an account of the 
interpretation of Pharaoh s dream, but this is not certain. If it 
were so, probably the royal officials in J were cast into the same 
prison as Joseph, and the story went on very much as in E. It is 
possible, however, that the occasion of Joseph s release and 
promotion were quite different in J, and have been omitted for 
some reason perhaps because they were not edifying ; or perhaps 
because it was impossible to weave them and the E account into 
anything like a single consistent story. For the reasons why 
verse 46 is ascribed to P, see the note on that verse. 

1. Pharaoh. Probably neither the author of the original story 
nor any of the editors of the Pentateuch identified this Pharaoh 
with any particular king of Egypt. Many theories on the subject 
have been current at various times. It was once usual to place 
Joseph s viziership during the period of the Hyksos, or Shepherd 
Kings, leaders of a Semitic people who were dominant in Egypt 
perhaps about B.C. 1800-1600. It was supposed that the Semitic 
origin of the dynasty would account for the favour shown to the 
Semite Joseph and his kindred. Prof. Cheyne has proposed 
Khu-en-Atcn, Amcnophis IV, c. 1400, the monotheistic reformer, 
to whom many of the Amarna Tablets were addressed, as the 
Pharaoh of Joseph. 

2. river: R. V. marg., Heb. Yeoi; that is, the Nile. 
reed-grass: the word in the Hebrew, W<w, is an Egyptian 

word. 

1 Kxcept 5o b , from which Asenath, an addition of an editor. 
* See especially on verse 45. 



GENESIS 41. 5-12. E 355 

seven well favoured and fat kine. So Pharaoh awoke. 
And he slept and dreamed a second time : and, behold, 5 
seven ears of corn came up upon one stalk, rank and 
good. And, behold, seven ears, thin and blasted with 6 
the east wind, sprung up after them. And the thin ears 7 
swallowed up the seven rank and full ears. And Pharaoh 
awoke, and, behold, it was a dream. And it came to 8 
pass in the morning that his spirit was troubled ; and he 
sent and called for all the magicians of Egypt, and all 
the wise men thereof : and Pharaoh told them his dream ; 
but there was none that could interpret them unto 
Pharaoh. Then spake the chief butler unto Pharaoh, 9 
saying, I do remember my faults this day : Pharaoh was 10 
wroth with his servants, and put me in ward in the house 
of the captain of the guard, me and the chief baker : and n 
we dreamed a dream in one night, I and he ; we dreamed 
each man according to the interpretation of his dream. 
And there was with us there a young man, an Hebrew, 12 
servant to the captain of the guard ; and we told him, 
and he interpreted to us our dreams; to each man 

5, 1. rank : R. V. marg., Heb. fat. 

6. east wind. The withering force of the east wind in Palestine 
is referred to in Ezek. xvii. 10, &c. ; in Egypt the south-east wind 
has a similar effect. 

8. Cf. Dan. ii. 1-12, iv. 4-7. 

the magicians (R. V. marg. , sacred scribes ) . . . the wise 
men. The word magicians (hartumim) is only found (a) of 
Egyptians, here and in Exod. vii-x, and (6) in Daniel, where its 
use is due to imitation of the story of Joseph. There is no evidence 
that it is an Egyptian word ; it is probably derived from the 
Hebrew Jicret, a stylus used for writing on wax-tablets ; and so 
denotes, as R. V. marg. scribes, and especially scribes who studied 
and copied books of magic. Wise men, like our wizard or 
wise woman, means here wise in magic. Magicians were 
a professional class ; and magic played a great part in the life 
of Egypt and Western Asia, as it has done in all periods and 
nations, and does even with us to-day. 

9. I do remember : R. V. marg., will make mention of. 

A a 2 



356 GENESIS 41. 13-20. ERE 

13 according to his dream he did interpret. And it came 
to pass, as he interpreted to us, so it was : me he restored 

14 unto mine office, and him he hanged. Then Pharaoh 
sent and called Joseph, [R] and they brought him hastily 
out of the dungeon : [E] and he shaved himself, and 

15 changed his raiment, and came in unto Pharaoh. And 
Pharaoh said unto Joseph, 1 have dreamed a dream, and 
there is none that can interpret it : and I have heard say 
of thee, that when thou hearest a dream thou canst 

1 6 interpret it. And Joseph answered Pharaoh, saying, It 
is not in me : God shall give Pharaoh an answer of peace. 

17 And Pharaoh spake unto Joseph, In my dream, behold, 

1 8 I stood upon the brink of the river: and, behold, there 
came up out of the river seven kine, fatfleshed and well 

19 favoured ; and they fed in the reed-grass : and, behold, 
seven other kine came up after them, poor and very ill 
favoured and leanfleshed, such as I never saw in all the 

20 land of Egypt for badness : and the lean and ill favoured 

13. me he restored . . . Him he hanged : R. V. marg., I was 
restored . . . and he was hanged. 

14. they brought him hastily out of the dungeon. Either R 
or a fragment of J ; in the main (E) narrative Joseph is in the 
house of the captain of the guard. 

shaved himself. It is not certain whether the shaving refers 
to the head or the chin. It is often supposed that the Egyptians 
shaved the head and wore wigs; but, on the other hand, it is stated 
that they simply kept the hair very short under the wigs ; and 
that the shaving of the head was confined to the priests of the 
New Empire, B.C. 1530 onwards. But it was the custom at all 
times in Egypt to shave the hair of the face ; on great occasions 
the nobles often wore artificial beards ; these are the beards seen 
in the pictures on the monuments. Doubtless Joseph shaved his 
face. If any one prefers to believe that the shaving refers to the 
head, we might translate got himself shaved. 

16. It is not in me: God, iS.r. It is doubtful whether the 
Massoretic-Hebrew text as it stands can give this translation. 
The LXX has, An answer cannot be given without God, 
which would not commit Joseph to promising to interpret the 
dream. 



GENESIS 41. 21-32. E 357 

kine did eat up the first seven fat kine : and when they 21 
had eaten them up, it could not be known that they had 
eaten them ; but they were still ill favoured, as at the 
beginning. So I awoke. And I saw in my dream, and, 22 
behold, seven ears came up upon one stalk, full and good : 
and, behold, seven ears, withered, thin, and blasted with 23 
the east wind, sprung up after them : and the thin ears 24 
swallowed up the seven good ears : and I told it unto 
the magicians ; but there was none that could declare it to 
me. And Joseph said unto Pharaoh, The dream of Pha- 25 
raoh is one : what God is about to do he hath declared 
unto Pharaoh. The seven good kine are seven years ; and 26 
the seven good ears are seven years : the dream is one. 
And the seven lean and ill favoured kine that came up after 27 
them are seven years, and also the seven empty ears blasted 
with the east wind ; they sbajl be seven years of famine. 
That is the thing which I spake unto Pharaoh : what 28 
God is about to do he hath shewed unto Pharaoh. Be- 29 
hold, there come seven years of great plenty throughout 
all the land of Egypt : and there shall arise after them 30 
seven years of famine ; and all the plenty shall be forgot 
ten in the land of Egypt ; and the famine shall consume 
the land ; and the plenty shall not be known in the land 31 
by reason of that famine which followeth ; for it shall be 
very grievous. And for that the dream was doubled 32 
unto Pharaoh twice, it is because the thing is established 



23. withered. The word 1 so translated is an Aramaic word 
which is not found elsewhere in the O. T. It is omitted by the 
LXX and Syriac versions ; a comparison with verse 6 shows that 
it is a corruption of the word 2 for springing up. 

25. The dream of Pharaoh is one : the two dreams have the 
same meaning. 

Ceurmoth. 2 Comehoth. 



35 GENESIS 41. 33-42. EJEEJ 

by God, and God will shortly bring it to pass. [JE] 

33 Now therefore let Pharaoh look out a man discreet and 

34 wise, and set him over the land of Egypt. Let Pharaoh 
do this, and let him appoint overseers over the land, and 
take up the fifth part of the land of Egypt in the seven 

35 plenteous years. And let them gather all the food of 
these good years that come, and lay up corn under the 
hand of Pharaoh for food in the cities, and let them keep 

36 it. And the food shall be for a store to the land against 
the seven years of famine, which shall be in the land of 
Egypt; that the land perish not through the famine. 

37 And the thing was good in the eyes of Pharaoh, and in 

38 the eyes of all his servants. [E] And Pharaoh said unto 
his servants, Can we find such a one as this, a man in 

39 whom the spirit of God is ? And Pharaoh said unto 
Joseph, Forasmuch as God hath shewed thee all this, 

40 there is none so discreet and wise as thou : thou shalt be 
over my house, and according unto thy word shall all my 
people be ruled : only in the throne will I be greater 

41 than thou. [J] And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, See, I 

42 have set thee over all the land of Egypt. And Pharaoh 
took off his signet ring from his hand, and put it upon 

34. let him . . . take up the fifth part of the land : i. e. of the 

produce of the land, a double tithe : cf. xlvii. 24-27. In verse 48 
Joseph gathers up all the food. a piece of rhetoric which must 
come from another source. 

38. in whom the spirit of God is. Imitated in Dan. iv. 8, 9. 18, 
of Daniel the master of the magicians. 

4O. my house : my court, my government. 

be ruled: R. V. marg., order themselves, or, do homage. 
This sudden elevation of an obscure individual is quite in keeping 
with the customs of oriental despotisms, especially in popular 
stories. The slave or the wandering stranger of to-daj may be 
the vizier or even the sultan of to-morrow. Indeed, such incidents 
are found in the folklore of all peoples. Cf. the case of David. 

42. took off his signet rinf . . . and put it upon Joseph s 
hand: a token that Joseph was the representative of the king. 



GENESIS 41. 43-46. JP 359 

Joseph s hand, and arrayed him in vestures of fine linen, 
and put a gold chain about his neck ; and he made him 43 
to ride in the second chariot which he had; and they 
cried before him, Bow the knee : and he set him over all 
the land of Egypt. And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, I am 44 
Pharaoh, and without thee shall no man lift up his hand 
op-iris -foot in all the land of Egypt. And Pharaoh called 45 
Joseph s name Zaphenath-paneah ; and he gave him to 
wife Asenath the daughter of Poti-phera priest of On. 
And-Joseph- went out over the land of Egypt. [Pj And 46 

Pharaoh gave him, as it were, an unlimited power of attorney ; 
cf. on xxxviii. 18. 

fine linen: R. V. marg., cotton, byssus. 

gold chain about his neck. The Egyptian kings are often 
depicted giving golden neck-ornaments to favoured officials. 
43. the second chariot : second best. 

Bow the knee: R. V. marg., Abrech, probably an Egyptian 
word, similar in sound to the Hebrew word meaning " to kneel." 
It has been suggested that the word was borrowed from the 
Assyrian-Babylonian abarakku, the title of a high official ; and 
the theory is supported by reference to the close and frequent 
intercourse between Egypt and Babylonia, shown by the Amarna 
Tablets and other records. For the present, however, the meaning 
of the term Abrech in this passage must be considered altogether 
uncertain. Under these circumstances, of course, the theories 
are innumerable. 

45. Zaphenath-paneah. In Joseph s new position as an 
Egyptian official he would naturally receive an Egyptian name. 
Egyptologists are not agreed as to the meaning of the name. In 
former times it was explained as Saviour of the World, or 
Revealer of Secrets. Modern explanations are Ruler of the 
Nome (district) Place of Life, i. e. the Nome Sethroides, God 
speaks and lives, &c., &c. 

Asenath : probably Devotee of Nath, the goddess of war. 

Poti-phera. See on Potiphar, xxxvii. 36. 

On: Heliopolis, on the (E.) edge of the Delta, but outside 
the Delta proper, not far below the forking of the Nile 1 , the 
great seat of the worship of the sun-god ; and, to use a modern 
term, the leading Egyptian University for sacred learning. 

1 Hastings Bible Dictionary. 



360 GENESIS 41. 47, 48. PJE 

Joseph was thirty years old when he stood before 
Pharaoh king of Egypt. And Joseph went out from 
the presence of Pharaoh, and went throughout all the 

47 land of Egypt. [JE] And in the seven plenteous years 

48 the earth brought forth by handfuls. And he gathered 
up all the food of the seven years which were in the land 
of Egypt, and laid up the food in the cities : the food of 



46 (P). Joseph was thirty years old. The fact that 46 b 
repeats 45 b shows that they belong to two different sources ; 
and the statement as to Joseph s age suggests the Priestly 
Document, which must have mentioned Joseph in Egypt ; cf. 
xxxvii. 2. But these statements as to the age of Joseph are not 
consistent with the main narrative, according to which Benjamin, 
when his brothers went to Egypt to buy corn, was a lad 1 , 
and a child of his old age, a little one V Now, according to 
xxxvii. a, Joseph was seventeen when he was sold into Egypt ; 
so that, according to this verse, thirteen years had elapsed since 
that time. The seven years of plenty and some portion of the 
years of famine intervened before the brethren came to buy 
corn ; so that at the time when Benjamin is spoken of as a little 
one Joseph had been more than twenty years in Egypt. 
Benjamin was born, according to the early tradition 3 . some time 
before Joseph was sold into Egypt ; or, according to the Priest^- 
Document 4 , before Jacob left Paddan-aram. Hence, if we try 
to combine xxxvii. 2 and the present verse with the rest of the 
story, Benjamin was twenty-three or twenty-four, a full-grown 
man, when he was spoken of as a little one. 

48. all the food : a rhetorical hyperbole ; cf. verse 34. 

laid np the food in the cities. The Egyptian monuments 
preserve many pictures of the granaries, of the reception and 
storing of the corn, and of its registration by the scribes or 
clerks. The superintendent of the granaries was one of the 
most important members of an Egyptian government ; far more 
so than a modern Minister of Agriculture, because the kings had 
great estates, the taxes were largely collected in corn, and the 
government kept great stocks in their granaries. The super 
intendent of the granaries annually in solemn audience pre 
sented the king with a report of the harvests ; and if it was 
satisfactory, His Majesty would show special honour to his 



1 xliii. 8, na ar ; cf. xxi. 17. * xliv. 20. 3 JE, xxxv. iS. 

4 xxxv. 23, 26. 



GENESIS 41. 49-55- JEEREJE 36, 

the field, which was round about every city, laid he up in 
the same. And Joseph laid up corn as the sand of the 49 
sea, very much, until he left numbering ; for it was with 
out number. [E] And unto Joseph were born two sons 50 
before the year of famine came, [R] which Asenath the 
daughter of Poti-phera priest of On bare unto him. [E] 
And Joseph called the name of the firstborn Manasseh : 51 
For, said he, God hath made me forget all my toil, and 
all my father s house. And the name of the second 52 
called he Ephraim : For God hath made me fruitful in 
the land of my affliction. [JE] And the seven years of 53 
plenty, that was in the land of Egypt, came to an end. 
And the seven years of famine began to come, according 54 
as Joseph had said : and there was famine in all lands ; 
but in all the land of Egypt there was bread. And when 55 
all the land of Egypt was famished, the people cried to 
Pharaoh for bread : and Pharaoh said unto all the 

faithful servant, and in the presence of the monarch he would 
be anointed and decked with necklets of great value 1 . 

49. left numbering 1 . Usually the exact amount of the corn 
was carefully registered ; cf. previous note. 

xli. 51, 52. These verses, explained as tribal history, mean 
that the more ancient tribe of Joseph afterwards became, by 
division or otherwise, the tribes known in history as Ephraim 
and Manasseh. Manasseh as the firstborn is the tribe originally 
the more important. Cf. on xlviii. 

51. Manasseh (R. V. marg., That is, Making to forget ) . * . 
God hath made me forget. There is no satisfactory explanation 
of the real origin of the name. 

52. Ephraim: (R. V. marg., ; From a Hebrew word [PRH] 
signifying " to be fruitful." ) For God hath made me fruitful, 
i.e. given me sons. The meaning fruitful is often accepted, 
and regarded as the name of the district of Central Palestine. If 
so, the tribe of Ephraim was the portion of Joseph occupying that 
district, from which it took its name. If so, the tribe of Ephraim 
was formed after the conquest of Canaan ; cf. on xlix. 22. 

1 Erman, Life in Ancient Egypt) Eng. trans., p. 108 ; cf. 
pp. 122, 433. 



362 GENESIS 41. 5642. 5. JE 

Egyptians, Go unto Joseph ; what he saith to you, do. 

56 And the famine was over all the face of the earth : and 
Joseph opened all the storehouses, and sold unto the 
Egyptians ; and the famine was sore in the land of 

57 Egypt. And all countries came into Egypt to Joseph for 
to buy corn ; because the famine was sore in all the earth. 

42 Now Jacob saw that there was corn in Egypt, and Jacob 
said unto his sons, Why do ye look one upon another ? 

2 And he said, Behold, I have heard that there is corn in 
Egypt : get you down thither, and buy for us from thence ; 

3 that we may live, and not die. And Joseph s ten 

4 brethren went down to buy corn from Egypt. But 
Benjamin, Joseph s brother, Jacob sent not with his 
brethren ; for he said, Lest peradventure mischief befall 

5 him. And the sons of Israel came to buy among those 
that came : for the famine was in the land of Canaan. 

xlii. THE FIRST MEETING OF JOSEPH AND HIS BRETHREN (JE). 

xlii. 1-7 (JE). The brethren come to Joseph to buy corn. 

xlii. 8-26 (E). Joseph treats them as spies, cross-questions 
them, and elicits the fact that they have a younger brother. He 
lets them go and take corn for their families on condition that 
they bring their younger brother to him. He keeps Simeon as a 
hostage. 

xlii. 27, 28 * J (J). On the way home one of them finds his money 
in his sack. 

xlii. 28 b2 ~37 (E). They arrive at home, tell Jacob what has 
happened, and find their money in their sacks ; he refuses to send 
Benjamin. 

xlii. 38 (J). He [Israel] refuses to send his son [Benjamin], 

Sources, &c. The main narrative is still from the Elohistic 
Document; note the prominence of Reuben, verses 22, 37. as in 
xxxvii. 21, 22. Only fragments of J s story are preserved, but 
judging from ch. xliii (J), the J version of this portion of the 
narrative was very similar to that of E. 

1. saw: heard. 

5. Israel. The name probably marks the presence of a 
fragment of J ; cf. p. 22. 

1 As far as another. - From saying. 



GENESIS 42. 6-i2. JEE 363 

And Joseph was the governor over the land ; he it was 6 
that sold to all the people of the land : and Joseph s 
brethren came, and bowed down themselves to him with 
their faces to the earth. And Joseph saw his brethren, 7 
and he knew them, but made himself strange unto them, 
and spake roughly with them ; and he said unto them, 
Whence come ye? And they said, From the land of 
Canaan to buy food. [E] And Joseph knew his brethren, 8 
but they knew not him. And Joseph remembered the 9 
dreams which he dreamed of them, and said unto them, 
Ye are spies ; to see the nakedness of the land ye are 
come. And they said unto him, Nay, my lord, but to 10 
buy food are thy servants come. We are all one man s 1 1 
sons ; we are true men, thy servants are no spies. And 1 2 
he said unto them, Nay, but to see the nakedness of the 

6. governor. The word used here, shallit (from the same 
root as sultan^, is rare in Hebrew, and chiefly found in late 
post-Exilic literature. It is probably a mere coincidence that 
Josephus gives Salatio as the name of the first of the Hyksos 1 
kings. 

9. to see the nakedness of the land. Egypt continually 
suffered from the raids of the Bedouin on its desert frontier. 
It was not an unnatural suspicion that this group of tribesmen, 
like the spies whom Moses sent into Canaan, had come to find 
out how they and their kinsfolk might make a successful incursion 
into the border provinces. Joseph felt that the distress he was 
causing his brethren was a just punishment for their behaviour 
to him. This charge, moreover, gave him an opportunity of 
learning about his family, and of sending for Benjamin. The 
question is often asked Why did not Joseph communicate 
with his kinsfolk before? He had now been a great official for 
more than seven years 2 . Such conduct, however, is often 
recorded ; the successful emigrant does not write home for 
many years, and yet if a chance opportunity comes, he is 
found to be full of interest and affection for the old home. 
Moreover, if Joseph had written or sent to Jacob, it would have 
spoiled the story. 

1 See p. 354. xli. 48. 



364 GENESIS 42. 13-;:. E 

13 land ye are come. And they said, We thy servants are 
twelve brethren, the sons of one man in the land of 
Canaan ; and, behold, the youngest is this day with our 

14 father, and one is not. And Joseph said unto them, 
That is it that I spake unto you, saying, Ye are spies : 

15 hereby ye shall be proved : by the life of Pharaoh ye 
shall not go forth hence, except your youngest brother 

16 come hither. Send one of you, and let him fetch your 
brother, and ye shall be bound, that your words may be 
proved, whether there be truth in you : or else by the 

1 7 life of Pharaoh surely ye are spies. And he put them all 

18 together into ward three days. And Joseph said unto 
them the third day, This do, and live ; for I fear God : 

19 if ye be true men, let one of your brethren be bound in 
your prison house ; but go ye, carry corn for the famine 

20 of your houses : and bring your youngest brother unto 
me ; so shall your words be verified, and ye shall not die. 

21 And they did so. And they said one to another, We 
are verily guilty concerning our brother, in that we saw 
the distress of his soul, when he besought us, and we 
would not hear ; therefore is this distress come upon us. 

22 And Reuben answered them, saying, Spake I not unto 
you, saying, Do not sin against the child ; and ye would 
not hear? therefore also, behold, his blood is required. 

15. hereby ye shall be proved. If they had been spies they 
would probably have trumped up some false tale as to who and 
what they were. 

by the life of Pharaoh. The kings of Egypt were reckoned 
as ods even in their lifetime ; it was natural therefore to swear 
by them. 

17. He gave them a taste of what he had suffered. 

20. And they did so. These words make no sense where they 
stand ; they are perhaps a fragment which has got into the wrong 
place ; cf. 25 b . 

21. his soul. See on xii. 13. 

22. Cf. xxxvii. 22. 



GENESIS 42. 23-31. EJE 365 

And they knew not that Joseph understood them ; for 23 
there was an interpreter between them. And he turned 24 
himself about from them, and wept; and he returned 
to them, and spake to them, and took Simeon from 
among them, and bound him before their eyes. Then 25 
Joseph commanded to fill their vessels with corn, and to 
restore every man s money into his sack, and to give 
them provision for the way : and thus was it done unto 
them. And they laded their asses with their corn, and 26 
departed thence. [J] And as one of them opened his 37 
sack to give his ass provender in the lodging place, he 
espied his money ; and, behold, it was in the mouth of 
his sack. And he said unto his brethren, My money is 28 
restored ; and, lo, it is even in my sack : and their 
heart failed them, and they turned trembling one to 
another, [E] saying, What is this that God hath done 
unto us ? And they came unto Jacob their father unto 29 
the land of Canaan, and told him all that had befallen 
them ; saying, The man, the lord of the land, spake 30 
roughly with us, and took us for spies of the country. 
And we said unto him, We are true men; we are no 31 



24. Simeon: the second brother, the most important after 
Reuben the firstborn. Reuben is probably spared on account 
of his friendly behaviour to Joseph, made known to Joseph by 
the conversation he has just overheard. 

25. sack. It is one of the indications that this narrative is 
compiled from two sources that the word for sack here (say) 
is different from that used (amtahatK) in 27 b , 28. In 27 a , however, 
sag is used probably through an alteration of an editor or copyist. 

27 (J). the lodging place : perhaps merely camping-ground ; 
or else a caravanserai, or enclosure with rooms for travellers 
and lairs for beasts. 

28 (J). their heart failed them. In view of Joseph s 
harshness they would naturally place the worst interpretation 
on the return of the money. In E the money is not found till 
they get home. 



366 GENESIS 42. 3 3 43. 2. EJ 

32 spies : we be twelve brethren, sons of our father; one is 
not, and the youngest is this day with our father in the 

33 land of Canaan. And the man, the lord of the land, 
said unto us, Hereby shall I know that ye are true men- 
leave one of your brethren with me, and take corn for 

34 the famine of your houses, and go your way : and bring 
your youngest brother unto me : then shall I know that 
ye are no spies, but that ye are true men : so will I 
deliver you your brother, and ye shall traffick in the land".. 

35 And it came to pass as they emptied their sacks, that, 
behold, every man s bundle of money was in his sack : 
and when they and their father saw their bundles of 

36 money, they were afraid. And Jacob their father said 
unto them, Me have ye bereaved of my children : Joseph 
is not, and Simeon is not, and ye will take Benjamin 

37 away : all these things are against me. And Reuben 
spake unto his father, saying, Slay my two sons, if I bring 
him not to thee : deliver him into my hand, and I will 

38 bring him to thee again. [J] And he said, My son shall 
not go down with you ; for his brother is dead, and he 
only is left : if mischief befall him by the way in the 
which ye go, then shall ye bring down my gray hairs with 
sorrow to the grave. 

43 And the famine was sore in the land. And it came to 

35 (E). sack: saq as in verse 25, which see, and cf. 28. 
36. against: R.V. marg., upon. 
38. the grave. See on xxxvii. 35. 

xliii. THE BRETHREN GO TO EGYPT A SECOND TIME (J ). 

xliii. 1-13 (J\ Judah induces Israel to let them go down 
again and take Benjamin. 

xliii. 14 (E ). [Jacob s] prayer that his sons may be spared. 
1 Chiefly. 



GENESIS 43. 3-9. J 367 

pass, when they had eaten up the corn which they had 
brought out of Egypt, their father said unto them, Go 
again, buy us a little food. And Judah spake unto him, 3 
saying, The man did solemnly protest unto us, saying, 
Ye shall not see my face, except your brother be with you. 
If thou wilt send our brother with us, we will go down 4 
and buy thee food : but if thou wilt not send him, we 5 
will not go down : for the man said unto us, Ye shall not 
see my face, except your brother be with you. And 6 
Israel said, Wherefore dealt ye so ill with me, as to tell 
the man whether ye had yet a brother ? And they said, 7 
The man asked straitly concerning ourselves, and con 
cerning our kindred, saying, Is your father yet alive? 
have ye another brother ? and we told him according to 
the tenor of these words : could we in any wise know 
that he would say, Bring your brother down ? And % 
Judah said unto Israel his father, Send the lad with me, 
and we will arise and go ; that we may live, and not die, 
both we, and thou, and also our little ones. I will be 9 

xliii. 15-24 a 1 (J). They go to Egypt, and explain to Joseph s 
steward about the money in their sacks. 

xliii. 24 b2 (E). Simeon is released. 

xliii. 25-34 (J). Joseph interviews them. He is overcome 
with emotion at seeing Benjamin. He feasts his brethren. 

Sources, &c. The chapter is mainly J, but apparently E had 
a very similar narrative. If the view is accepted that the name 
Benjamin arose after the conquest of Canaan, we must suppose- 
that the name Benjamin here has replaced another possibly 
somewhat similar name. If the story originally dealt with a 
Joseph and his younger brother, the younger brother would 
necessarily become Benjamin, when the Joseph was identified 
with the ancestor of the tribe. 

3. Judah. Here, as in the previous (J) section of this 
narrative, Judah is the prominent figure ; cf. xxxvii. 26. 



As far as money. * From * And he brought. 



368 GENESIS 43. 10-18. JEJ 

surety for him ; of my hand shalt thou require him : if 
I bring him not unto thee, and set him before thee, then 

10 let me bear the blame for ever : for except we had 
lingered, surely we had now returned a second time. 

11 And their father Israel said unto them, If it be so now, 
do this; take of the choice fruits of the land in your 
vessels, and carry down the man a present, a little balm, 
and a little honey, spicery and myrrh, nuts, and almonds : 

1 2 and take double money in your hand ; and the money 
that was returned in the mouth of your sacks carry again 

13 in your hand ; peradventure it was an oversight: take 
also your brother, and arise, go again unto the man : [E] 

14 and God Almighty give you mercy before the man, that 
he may release unto you your other brother and Ben 
jamin. And if I be bereaved of my children, I am 
bereaved. 

15 [J] And the men took that present, and they took 
double money in their hand, and Benjamin ; and rose 
up, and went down to Egypt, and stood before Joseph. 

16 And when Joseph saw Benjamin with them, he said to 
the steward of his house, Bring the men into the house, 
and slay, and make ready ; for the men shall dine with 

1 7 me at noon. And the man did as Joseph bade ; and 

18 the man brought the men into Joseph s house. And the 
men were afraid, because they were brought into Joseph s 
house; and they said, Because of the money that was 
returned in our sacks at the first time are we brought in ; 

9. then let me bear the blame for ever: R. V. marg., Hcb. 
I shall have sinned against thee for over. 

11. balm . . . spicery . . . myrrh. See on xxxvii. 25. 
nuts : R. V. marg., That is, pistachio intts. 

14 (E). Almighty : Sliaddai (see on xvii. iX As Shaddai is not 
used by cither J or E, the phrase El Shaddai has been substituted 
by an editor or copyist for Elohim, or perhaps El. 



GENESIS 43. 19-29. JEJ 369 

that he may seek occasion against us, and fall upon us, 
and take us for bondmen, and our asses. And they 19 
came near to the steward of Joseph s house, and they 
spake unto him at the door of the house, and said, Oh 20 
my lord, we came indeed down at the first time to buy 
food : and it came to pass, when we came to the lodging 21 
place, that we opened our sacks, and, behold, every man s 
money was in the mouth of his sack, our money in full 
weight : and we have brought it again in our hand. 
And other money have we brought dowa in our hand to 22 
buy food : we know not who put our money in our sacks. 
And he said, Peace be to you, fear not : your God, 23 
and the God of your father, hath given you treasure in 
your sacks : I had your money. [E] And he brought 
Simeon out unto them. [J] And the man brought the 24 
men into Joseph s house, and gave them water, and they 
washed their feet ; and he gave their asses provender. 
And they made ready the present against Joseph came 25 
at noon : for they heard that they should eat bread there. 
And when Joseph came home, they brought him the 26 
present which was in their hand into the house, and 
bowed down themselves to him to the earth. And he 27 
asked them of their welfare, and said, Is your father well, 
the old man of whom ye spake ? Is he yet alive ? And 28 
they said, Thy servant our father is well, he is yet alive. 
And they bowed the head, and made obeisance. And 29 
he lifted up his eyes, and saw Benjamin his brother, his 
mother s son, and said, Is this your youngest brother, of 
whom ye spake unto me ? And he said, God be gracious 

18. seek occasion against us. R. V. marg., Heb. roll 
himself upon us. 

take its for bondmen. According to the ancient Israelite 
law, Exod. xxii. af., the thief who could not make sufficient 
compensation was to be sold as a slave. 

Bb 



370 GENESIS 43. 3044. i. J 

30 unto thee, my son. And Joseph made haste ; for his 
bowels did yearn upon his brother : and he sought where 
to weep; and he entered into his chamber, and wept 

31 there. And he washed his face, and came out; and he 

32 refrained himself, and said, Set on bread. And they set 
on for him by himself, and for them by themselves, and 
for the Egyptians, which did eat with him, by themselves : 
because the Egyptians might not eat bread with the 
Hebrews ; for that is an abomination unto the Egyptians. 

33 And they sat before him, the firstborn according to his 
birthright, and the youngest according to his youth : and 

34 the men marvelled one with another. And he took and 
sent messes unto them from before him : but Benjamin s 
mess was five times so much as any of theirs. And they 
drank, and were merry with him. 

44 And he commanded the steward of his house, saying, 

32. the Egyptians might not eat bread with the Hebrews. 

In later times the Jews would not eat with foreigners, on account 
of the laws as to ceremonial cleanness and uncleanness ; and 
there is evidence that similar customs existed amongst the 
Egyptians. 

33. the firstborn according 1 to his birthright, &c. : i.e. 
Joseph had them arranged in order of seniority. 

34. he took and sent messes : R. V. marg., messes were 
taken. Mess = dish or portion. 

fiv times so much : a mark of distinction. Obviously 
Joseph neither expected Benjamin to eat five times too much, 
nor did he provide the other brothers with too little. 
were merry: R.V. marg., Heb. drank largely. 

xliv, xlv. THE RECONCILIATION OF JOSEPH AND HIS BRETHREN 
(JE). 

xliv. (J.) At Joseph s bidding his steward hides a silver cup 
in Benjamin s sack. The brethren start home, are overtaken, and 
their sacks searched. Joseph proposes to keep Benjamin as a 
slave, and release the rest. Judah offers himself as a substitute. 

xlv. (JE.) Joseph makes himself known to his brethren. At 
Pharaoh s command he sends them to fetch Jacob and their 
families. They return and tell Jacob. 

Sources, &c. The interchange of the names Jacob and Israel, 



GENESIS 44. 2-10. J 371 

Fill the men s sacks with food, as much as they can 
carry, and put every man s money in his sack s mouth. 
And put my cup, the silver cup, in the sack s mouth of 2 
the youngest, and his corn money. And he did accord 
ing to the word that Joseph had spoken. As soon as 3 
the morning was light, the men were sent away, they 
and their asses. And when they were gone out of the 4 
city, and were not yet far off, Joseph said unto his 
steward, Up, follow after the men ; and when thou dost 
overtake them, say unto them, Wherefore have ye re 
warded evil for good? Is not this it in which my lord 5 
drinketh, and whereby he indeed divineth? ye have 
done evil in so doing. And he overtook them, and he 6 
spake unto them these words. And they said unto him, 7 
Wherefore speaketh my lord such words as these ? God 
forbid that thy servants should do such a thing. Behold, 8 
the money, which we found in our sacks mouths, we 
brought again unto thee out of the land of Canaan : how 
then should we steal out of thy lord s house silver or 
gold ? With whomsoever of thy servants it be found, let 9 
him die, and we also will be my lord s bondmen. And 10 

and other features, show that ch. xlv is combined from the two 
sources ; but there is no general agreement as to the details of 
the narrative. It is difficult to reconcile Joseph s intense love 
for Benjamin with the cruel expedient of making him appear 
guilty of theft, and threatening him with slavery or even death. 
Apparently the narrator has in some measure sacrificed the 
character of his hero to the dramatic necessities of the story. 

4. the city. There is nothing to show which city is meant. 
good : the feasting and the generous provision of corn, verse i. 

5. whereby he ... divineth. The narrator does not himself say 
that Joseph divined by means of a cup, but he passes over the state 
ment without comment; cf. also verse 15 and p. 296. Divination by 
means of a cup was a branch of ancient magic, and consisted in throw 
ing fragments of gold and silver into a cup, and drawing conclusions 
from the arrangement into which they fell. We might compare 
telling fortunes by means of tea-leaves or coffee-grounds in a cup. 

B b 2 



372 GENESIS 44. 11-20. J 

he said, Now also let it be according unto your words : 
he with whom it is found shall be my bondman ; and ye 

11 shall be blameless. Then they hasted, and took down 
every man his sack to the ground, and opened every 

12 man his sack. And he searched, and began at the 
eldest, and left at the youngest : and the cup was found 

13 in Benjamin s sack. Then they rent their clothes, and 

14 laded every man his ass, and returned to the city. And 
Judah and his brethren came to Joseph s house ; and he 
was yet there : and they fell before him on the ground. 

15 And Joseph said unto them, What deed is this that ye 
have done ? know ye not that such a man as I can in- 

16 deed divine? And Judah said, What shall we say unto 
my lord ? what shall we speak ? or how shall we clear 
ourselves ? God hath found out the iniquity of thy ser 
vants : behold, we are my lord s bondmen, both we, and 

17 he also in whose hand the cup is found. And he said, 
God forbid that I should do so : the man in whose hand 
the cup is found, he shall be my bondman ; but as for 
you, get you up in peace unto your father. 

1 8 Then Judah came near unto him, and said, Oh my 
lord, let thy servant, I pray thee, speak a word in my 
lord s ears, and let not thine anger burn against thy 

19 servant : for thou art even as Pharaoh. My lord asked 

20 his servants, saying, Have yea father, or a brother? And 
we said unto my lord, We have a father, an old man, 
and a child of his old age, a little one ; and his brother 

16. God hath found out the iniquity, &c. : i.e. the theft of 
the cup of which Judah supposes Benjamin guilty. According to 
primitive ideas, the sin of one member involved the whole family; 
cf. the case of Achan. God because a Gentile is addressed. 

17. There seems a suggestion here that Joseph thought of 
keeping his favourite brother with him, without making himself 
known to the rest of his family. 



GENESIS 44. 21-32. J 373 

is dead, and he alone is left of his mother, and his father 
loveth him. And thou saidst unto thy servants, Bring 2: 
him down unto me, that I may set mine eyes upon him. 
And we said unto my lord, The lad cannot leave his 22 
father : for if he should leave his father, his father would 
die. And thou saidst unto thy servants, Except your 23 
youngest brother come down with you, ye shall see my 
face no more. And it came to pass when we came up 24 
unto thy servant my father, we told him the words of my 
lord. And our father said, Go again, buy us a little 25 
food. And we said, We cannot go down : if our 26 
youngest brother be with us, then will we go down : for 
we may not see the man s face, except our youngest 
brother be with us. And thy servant my father said 27 
unto us, Ye know that my wife bare me two sons : and 28 
the one went out from me, and I said, Surely he is torn 
in pieces ; and I have not seen him since : and if ye 29 
take this one also from me, and mischief befall him, ye 
shall bring down my gray hairs with sorrow to the grave. 
Now therefore when I come to thy servant my father, 30 
and the lad be not with us ; seeing that his life is bound 
up in the lad s life ; it shall come to pass, when he seeth 31 
that the lad is not with us, that he will die : and thy 
servants shall bring down the gray hairs of thy servant 
our father with sorrow to the grave. For thy servant 32 



2O. his brother is dead. A most dramatic touch ; the brother 
whose death was announced with such certainty was the man to 
whom these words were addressed. Judah had no positive evi 
dence that Joseph was dead, but assumed that he could not be 
alive because nothing had been heard of him for so long. 

29. sorrow: R. V. marg., Heb. evil. 
grave. See on xxxvii. 35. 

30. his life is bound up in the lad s life : a far better render 
ing than R. V. marg., ; his soul is knit with the lad s soul. Cf. 
i Sam. xviii. i. 



374 GENESIS 44. 33 45. 7. JJE 

became surety for the lad unto my father, saying, If 
I bring him not unto thee, then shall I bear the blame 

33 to my father for ever. Now therefore, let thy servant, 
I pray thee, abide instead of the lad a bondman to my 

34 lord ; and let the lad go up with his brethren. For how 
shall I go up to my father, and the lad be not with me ? 
lest I see the evil that shall come on my father. 

45 [JE] Then Joseph could not refrain himself before all 
them that stood by him ; and he cried, Cause every man 
to go out from me. And there stood no man with him, 
while Joseph made himself known unto his brethren. 

2 And he wept aloud : and the Egyptians heard, and the 

3 house of Pharaoh heard. And Joseph said unto his 
brethren, I am Joseph; doth my father yet live? And 
his brethren could not answer him ; for they were trou- 

4 bled at his presence. And Joseph said unto his brethren, 
Come near to me, I pray you. And they came near. 

And he said, I am Joseph your brother, whom ye sold 

5\into Egypt. And now be not grieved, nor angry with 

yourselves, that ye sold me hither : for God did send me 

6 before you to preserve life. For these two years hath 
the famine been in the land : and there are yet five 
years, in the which there shall be neither plowing nor 

7 harvest. And God sent me before you to preserve you 
a remnant in the earth, and to save you alive by a great 

2. wept aloud: R. V. marg., Hob. gave forth hia voice in 
weeping. 

tlie Ejryptians heard will come from J, cf. xliii. 32 ; the 
parallel phrase, the houss of Pharaoh heard, from E. The 
Egyptians will be the Egyptian members of Joseph s household. 
The statement that the house of Pharaoh heard does not fit in 
here, and no doubt stood originally in a different context. 
7. to preserve you a remnant : rather, that you might remain. 

by a great deliverance : R. V. marg., to be a great company 
that escape. 



GENESIS 45. 8-1?. JE 375 

deliverance. So now it was not you that sent me hither, 8 
but God: and he hath made me a father to Pharaoh, 
and lord of all his house, and ruler over all the land of 
Egypt. Haste ye, and go up to my father, and say unto 9 
him, Thus saith thy son Joseph, God hath made me lord 
of all Egypt : come down unto me, tarry not : and thou 10 
shalt dwell in the land of Goshen, and thou shalt be near 
unto me, thou, and thy children, and thy children s chil 
dren, and thy flocks, and thy herds, and all that thou 
hast: and there will I nourish thee; for there are yet n 
five years of famine; lest thou come to poverty, thou, 
and thy household, and all that thou hast. And, behold, ia 
your eyes see, and the eyes of my brother Benjamin, that 
it is my mouth that speaketh unto you. And ye shall 13 
tell my father of all my glory in Egypt, and of all that ye 
have seen ; and ye shall haste and bring down my father 
hither. And he fell upon his brother Benjamin s neck, 14 
and wept; and Benjamin wept upon his neck. And Tie 15 
kissed all his brethren, and wept upon them : and after 
that his brethren talked with him. 

And the fame thereof was heard in Pharaoh s house, 16 
saying, Joseph s brethren are come: and it pleased Pha 
raoh well, and his servants. And Pharaoh said unto 17 
Joseph, Say unto thy brethren, This do ye; lade your 



8. a father to Pharaoh. If this is figurative, we may com 
pare the words of the king of Israel to the dying prophet, My 
father, 3 Kings xiii. 14 ; and the phrase applied by Artaxerxes to 
Haman, who . . . is a second father unto us, Rest of Esth. 
xiii. 6, R. V. But, according to some, a father to Pharaoh is an 
Egyptian title of a high official. 

1O. Goshen: the district east of the Delta. Goshen may be the 
equivalent of the Egyptian Kesn, which is found for part of this 
district, or for one of its cities. The LXX has here the land of 
Gesem in Arabia, where, however, Arabia is probably the name 
of a district in Egypt. 



376 GENESIS 45. 18-26. JE 

1 8 beasts, and go, get you unto the land of Canaan; and 
take your father and your households, and come unto 
me : and I will give you the good of the land of Egypt, 

if) and ye shall eat the fat of the land. Now thou art com 
manded, this do ye ; take you wagons out of the land of 
Egypt for your little ones, and for your wives, and bring 

20 your father, and come. Also regard not your stuff; for 

3i the good of all the land of Egypt is yours. And the 
sons of Israel did so : and Joseph gave them wagons, 
according to the commandment of Pharaoh, and gave 

22 them provision for the way. To all of them he gave 
each man changes of raiment ; but to Benjamin he gave 
three hundred pieces of silver, and five changes of rai- 

23 ment. And to his father he sent after this manner ; ten 
asses laden with the good things of Egypt, and ten she- 
asses laden with corn and bread and victual for his father 

24 by the way. So he sent his brethren away, and they 
departed : and he said unto them, See that ye fall not out 

25 by the way. And they went up out of Egypt, and came 

26 into the land of Canaan unto Jacob their father. And 
they told him, saying, Joseph is yet alive, and he is ruler 
over all the land of Egypt. And his heart fainted, for 

19. Now thou art commanded, this do ye. The change from 
thou to ye is awkward. Probably now thou art commanded 
concludes Pharaoh s instructions to Joseph ; while * This do ye, 
&c., is Joseph s charge to his brethren. 

wagons : ngalah. The Egyptians had a wagon ( agolfe) drawn 
by oxen ; and on the Assyrian monuments we see captive women 
and children carried in a kind of wagon. 

20. stuff: property other than Hocks and lu-rds. 
good : wealth. 

22. three hundred pieces of silver : i. e. shekels, the price of 
ten slaves ; cf. on xx. 16. 

23. the good things of Egypt. Probably rich clothing, jewels, 
ivory, &c., &c. 

26. fainted: // /. < went cold. 



GENESIS 45. 27 46. 5. JE 377 

he believed them not. And they told him all the words 27 
of Joseph, which he had said unto them : and when he 
saw the wagons which Joseph had sent to carry him, the 
spirit of Jacob their father revived : and Israel said, It is 28 
enough ; Joseph my son is yet alive : I will go and see 
him before I die. 

And Israel took his journey with all that he had, and 46 
came to Beer-sheba, and offered sacrifices unto the God 
of his father Isaac. And God spake unto Israel in the 2 
visions of the night, and said, Jacob, Jacob. And he 
said, Here am I. And he said, I am God, the God of 3 
thy father: fear not to go down into Egypt; for I will 
there make of thee a great nation : I will go down with 4 
thee into Egypt; and I will also surely bring thee up 
again : and Joseph shall put his hand upon thine eyes. 
And Jacob rose up from Beer-sheba : and the sons of 5 
Israel carried Jacob their father, and their little ones, 
and their wives, in the wagons which Pharaoh had sent 

xlvi. 1-7. THE MIGRATION OF ISRAEL TO EGYPT. (Compiled 
from J, E, and P.) 

xlvi. 1-4. Jacob sacrifices at Beer-sheba to the God of Isaac, 
who appears to him and renews the Promise. 

xlvi. 5. Jacob and his family continue their journey, 
xlvi. 6, 7 (P). Jacob and his family go down to Egypt. 

1. Israel . . . with all that he had. Israel points to J ; 
with all that he had seems inconsistent with xlv. 20, which 
may be E. 

Beer-sheba. As far as our information goes, Jacob was living 
near Hebron, xxxvii. 14 ; and Beer sheba was on the way from 
Hebron to Egypt. 

the God of his father Isaac. Cf. xxxi. 53 ; Isaac was 
specially connected with Beer-sheba. 

4. bring thee up again. Thee ; is the nation, Israel, not the 
individual patriarch. 

put his hand upon thine eyes. Joseph would close his eyes 
when he died. 



378 GENESIS 46. 6-io. JEP 

6 to carry him. [P] And they took their cattle, and their 
goods, which they had gotten in the land of Canaan, and 

7 came into Egypt, Jacob, and all his seed with him : his 
sons, and his sons sons with him, his daughters, and his 
sons daughters, and all his seed brought he with him into 
Egypt. 

8 And these are the names of the children of Israel, 
which came into Egypt, Jacob and his sons: Reuben, 

9 Jacob s firstborn. And the sons of Reuben ; Hanoch, 
10 and Pallu, and Hezron, and Carmi. And the sons of 

7. daughters. Cf. xxxvii. 35. 

xlvi. 8-27. THE CLANS OF ISRAEL (P). 

A. Leah. xlvi. 8, 9, Reuben ; 10, Simeon ; n, Levi ; 12, Judah ; 
13, Issachar ; 14, Zebulun ; 15, Dinah. 

B. Zilpah. xlvi. 16, Gad ; 17, Asher. 

C. Rachel, xlvi. 20, Joseph; 21, Benjamin. 

D. Bilhah. xlvi. 23, Dan ; 24. Naphtali. 

Sources. &c. This section is commonly regarded as a late 
addition to P. For the Twelve Tribes see on xxxv. 22 ff. This 
passage also occurs (o) in a somewhat expanded form as 
Num. xxvi. 1-51, Levi being omitted ; and (6) in a still more 
expanded form as i Chron. ii-viii. The Genesis passage may be 
an abstract of the chapters of Chronicles. The sons of the 
various patriarchs are the subdivisions or clans of the tribes. The 
lists of this passage as given in the LXX differ in some respects 
from the Hebrew. 

Unless anything is stated to the contrary, it may be understood 
that the clan-names given here occur also in the Numbers and 
Chronicles passages and nowhere else. Where nothing is said 
as to the derivation of a name, or the habitat of a clan, there is no 
certain information on the subject. 

xlvi. 9-11. These verses also occur as Exod. vi. 14-16. 
9. Reuben. 

Hanoch. See on xxv. 4. 

Hezron = enclosure ; in verse 12 a clan of Judah (Perez) ; 
cf. on xxxvi. 5. The clan is probably named after the city Hezron, 
in the south of Judah, Joshua xv. 3, 25. 

Carmi: perhaps the inhabitants of a town Cerem = vineyard. 
In the LXX of Joshua xv. 59 there is a town Cerem in Judah, 
and in Nch. iii. 14, and Jer. vi. i, a town Bcth-haccerem in 
Jiuhih. Possibly a town Ccrcm was occupied at one time by 



GENESIS 46. 11-13. P 379 

Simeon; Jemuel, and Jamin, and Ohad, and Jachin, 
and Zohar, and Shaul the son of a Canaanitish woman. 
And the sons of Levi; Gershon, Kohath, and Merari. n 
And the sons of Judah ; Er, and Onan, and Shelah, and 1 2 
Perez, and Zerah : but Er and Onan died in the land of 
Canaan. And the sons of Perez were Hezron and 
Hamul. And the sons of Issachar; Tola, and Puvah, 13 

Judah, and at another by Reuben. Cf. above on Hezron. These 
and other names in i are gentilic, Carmites, &c. 

10. Simeon. 

Jemuel: in Num. xxvi. 12, i Chron. iv. 24, Nemuel ; in 
Num. xxvi. 9 Nemuel is a clan of Reuben. 

Jamin = right hand or southern ; cf. on Benjamin, xxxv. 
18. As the Simeonite cities lay in the extreme south of Palestine, 
Jamin is a suitable name for a division of Simeon. In i Chron. ii. 
27 Jamin is a division of the Judahite clan Hezron, cf. on xxxvi. 
5 ; and in Neh. viii. 7 the name of a priest. 

Ohad : omitted in Numbers and Chronicles ; probably an 
accidental repetition of the following Zohar. 

Jachin : perhaps a contraction of Jehoiachin or Jeconiah = 
Yahweh establishes ; also the name of one of the pillars in 
Solomon s temple ; and of a priest, and of a priestly family after 
the Captivity. The corresponding name in i Chron. iv. 24 is 
; Jarib. 

Zohar: in Num. xxvi. 13, i Chron. iv. 24, Zerah. See on 
xxiii. 8, xxxvi. 17. 

Shanl the son of a Canaanitish woman. Cf. on xxxvi. 37, 
an intimation that one of the clans of Simeon contained Canaanite 
elements. 

11. sons of Levi. These clans are frequently mentioned. 
Gershon : in i Chron. vi. 16 Gershom ; probably identical 

with Gershom the son of Moses, Exod. ii. 22 ; i. e. the priestly 
family of Gershom originally traced its descent to Moses ; but later 
on the family were reckoned, not as priests, but as Levites, and 
were styled a family of Levi. 

12. Jndah. See on xxxviii. 
Hezron. " See on verse 9. 

Hamul : perhaps identical with Hamuel, a division of the 
Simeonite clan Shaul, i Chron. iv. 26 ; see on Gen. xxxvi. 5. 

13. Zssachar. 

Tola = crimson worm. Probably the judge Tola, the son 
of Puah, of the tribe of Issachar, Judges x. i, is a personification 
of this clan. Cf. next note. 

Puvah: in i Chron. vii, i Puah, perhaps a plant from which 



380 GENESIS 46. 14-17. P 

14 and lob, and Shimron. And the sons of Zebulun ; 

15 Sered, and Elon, and Jahleel. These are the sons of 
Leah, which she bare unto Jacob in Paddan-aram, with 
his daughter Dinah : all the souls of his sons and his 

1 6 daughters were thirty and three. And the sons of Gad ; 
Ziphion, and Haggi, Shuni, and Ezbon, Eri, and Arodi, 

17 and Areli. And the sons of Asher; Imnah, and Ishvah, 
and Ishvi, and Beriah, and Serah their sister : and the 



a red dye was obtained. Puah the father of Tola, Judges x. i, is 
probably a personification of this clan. Cf. previous note. 
lob: in i Chron. vii. i, Num. xxvi. 24, Jashub. 
Shimron: in Joshua xix. 15 a town in Zebulun; cf. on 
Hezron, verse 9. 

14. Zebulun. There is no enumeration of the sons of 
Zebulun in i Chron. ii-viii. 

Elon. Cf. xxvi. 34. The judge Elon the Zebulonite, Judges xii. 
n, may be a personification of this clan. There was a town Elon 
in Dan, Joshua xix. 43. 

15. thirty and three. The names of the sons, grandsons, and 
great-grandsons in verses 9-14 amount to thirty-four, perhaps 
Dinah in verse 12 is an addition. According to verse 8 the 
names are those of persons ( which came into Egypt ; but, as 
verse 12 tells us, Er and Onan died in the land of Canaan. 
Perhaps we should omit Er and Onan, and include Jacob and 
Dirtih. 

16. the sons of Gad in i Chron. v. 11-17 are quite different 
from those enumerated here. 

Ziphion: in Num. xxvi. 15 Zephon, northern, probably 
identical with the Gadite city Zaphon. Joshua xiii. 27. Cf. also 
Baal-zephon, Exod. xiv. 2, and Zepho, Gen. xxxvi. n. 

Haggi the festive, i.e. born on a feast-day ; but perhaps 
a contraction of Haggiah = Yahweh is my feast, a division of 
the Levite clan Merari. 

Eztoon : in Num. xxvi. 16 Ozni ; in i Chron. vii. 7 Ezbon 
is a division of the clan Bt-la of Benjamin ; cf. on xxxvi. 5. 

Eri: probably identical with Iri, a division of the clan Bela, 
I Chron. vii. 7 ; cf. previous note. 

Arodi: i.e. Arodite ; in Num. xxvi. 17 Arod. 

17. Asher. 

Ishvi : omitted in Numbers ; it is probably an accidental 
repetition of Ishvah. 

Beriah ; in i Chron. vii. 23 a clan of Ephraim ; in i Chron. viii. 



GENESIS 46. 18-24. P 381 

sons of Beriah; Heber, and Malchiel. These are the 18 
sons of Zilpah, which Laban gave to Leah his daughter, 
and these she bare unto Jacob, even sixteen souls. The 19 
sons of Rachel Jacob s wife; Joseph and Benjamin. 
And unto Joseph in the land of Egypt were born Man- 20 
asseh and Ephraim, which Asenath the daughter of Poti- 
phera priest of On bare unto him. And the sons of 21 
Benjamin ; Bela, and Becher, and Ashbel, Gera, and 
Naaman, Ehi, and Rosh, Muppim, and Huppim, and 
Ard. These are the sons of Rachel, which were born to 22 
Jacob: all the souls were fourteen. And the sons of 2 3 
Dan ; Hushim. And the sons of Naphtali ; Jahzeel, 24 

13, 16 of Benjamin ; in i Chron. xxiii. 10, n of Levi ; cf. on 
xxxvi. 5. 

Serah. The Hebrew consonants are different from those in 
Sarah, the wife of Abraham. 

Heber = ally ; in i Chronl iv. 18 a clan of Judah, and in 
i Chron. viii. 17 of Benjamin. The Heber of the A. V. of 

1 Chron. v. 13, viii. 22 is spelt differently in the Hebrew ; the latter 
is the same name as the Eber of Gen. x. ai, and is the origin of 
our word Hebrew. 7 

Malchiel = God is King. 

20. Joseph. See on xli. 50 ff. 

21. Benjamin. 

Becher =-- first-born or camel. 

Ashbel: perhaps a corruption of Ishbaal, Man of Baal ; 
cf. 2 Sam. xx. i. 

Gera: perhaps connected with ger, resident alien. In 
the corrupt and obscure passage i Chron. viii. 1-8, the name 
occurs three times, twice for sons of Bela. Cf. Judges iii. 15 ; 

2 Sam. xvi. 5. 

XTaaman = pleasant ; cf. Naamah, Naomi, and 2 Kings v. i. 

Ehi : in Num. xxvi. 38 Ahiram ; perhaps the same as Ehud, 
i Chron. vii. 10, viii. 6. 

Rosh = head : not in Numbers or Chronicles. 

BCtippim: in Num. xxvi. 39 Shephupham ; in i Chron. vii. 
12 Shuppim. 

Huppim : in Num. xxvi. 39 Hupham. 

Ard : in i Chron. viii. 3 Addar. 
23. Dan. 

Hushim: in Num. xxvi. 42 Shuham. In i Chron. vii. 12, 



382 GENESIS 46. 25-28. PJ 

25 and Guni, and Jezer, and Shillem. These are the sons 
of Bilhah, which Laban gave unto Rachel his daughter, 
and these she bare unto Jacob : all the souls were seven. 

26 All the souls that came with Jacob into Egypt, which 
came out of his loins, besides Jacob s sons wives, all the 

27 souls were threescore and six; and the sons of Joseph, 
which were born to him in Egypt, were two souls : all 
the souls of the house of Jacob, which came into Egypt, 
were threescore and ten. 

28 [J] And he sent Judah before him unto Joseph, to 

viii. 8 a clan of Benjamin. There is no list of the sons of Dan 
in i Chron. ii-viii. 

24. ITaphtali. 

Jahzeel - God divides ; in i Chron. vii. 13 Jahziel. 
Guni: in i Chron. v. 15 a clan of Gad. 
Shillem: in i Chron. vii. 13 Shallum. 

26. the souls that came with Jacob: R. V. marg., souls 
belonging to Jacob that came. 

26, 27. threescore and six . . . threescore and ten. If we add 
the figures in verses 15. 18. 22, 25, \ve get 33+16+14 + 7 = 70. 
No doubt this was the original number, and the names were selected 
to make seventy as a sacred number. But probably we should add 
Jacob, and omit Dinah. Then the sons of Leah are thirty-two, 
double the sons of the handmaid Zilpah. sixteen ; and the sons 
of Rachel, fourteen, double the sons of the handmaid Bilhah, 
seven *. The sixty-six is a correction of an editor who omitted 
Er and Onan. because they never came to Egypt, and Ephraim and 
Manasseh, because they were born in Egypt. The LXX of verse 
27, followed by Acts vii. 14, has seventy-five, a number obtained 
by adding three grandsons and two great-grandsons of Joseph in 
verse 20. 

xlvi. 28-xlvii. 12. ISRAEL IN GOSHEN (J and P). 

xlvi. 28-xlvii. 4, 6 b2 (J\ Joseph meets Israel ; he introduces 
five of the brethren to Pharaoh ; they obtain from the king per 
mission to settle in Goshen, and the superintendentship of the 
royal cattle. 

xlvii. 5. 6 as 7-1 1 (P). [Jacob and his sons come to Joseph in 



1 So Dillmann. - From in the land of Goshen. 

3 As far as brethren to dwell. 



GENESIS 46. 29-34. J 383 

shew the way before him unto Goshen ; and they came 
into the land of Goshen. And Joseph made ready his 29 
chariot, and went up to meet Israel his father, to Goshen; 
and he presented himself unto him, and fell on his neck, 
and wept on his neck a good while. And Israel said 30 
unto Joseph, Now let me die, since I have seen thy face, 
that thou art yet alive. And Joseph said unto his breth- 31 
ren, and unto his father s house, I will go up, and tell 
Pharaoh, and will say unto him, My brethren, and my 
father s house, which were in the land of Canaan, are 
come unto me ; and the men are shepherds, for they 32 
have been keepers of cattle; and they have brought 
their flocks, and their herds, and all that they have. 
And it shall come to pass, wh en Pharaoh shall call you, 33 
and shall say, What is your occupation ? that ye shall 34 
say, Thy servants have been keepers of cattle from our 
youth even until now, both we, and our fathers : that ye 
may dwell in the land of Goshen ; for every shepherd is 
an abomination unto the Egyptians. 

Egypt 1 .] Joseph introduces Jacob to Pharaoh. Jacob, at the 
age of 130, blesses Pharaoh. Joseph settles Jacob and his family 
in the land of Rameses. 

28. to shew the way before him unto Goshen. This English 
phrase is presumably intended to mean to go before him, and 
show him the way, &c. ; but the Hebrew can hardly mean this. 
The text is probably corrupt. The LXX has to meet him at J 
Heroonpolis in 3 the land of Rameses. Heroonpolis was perhaps 
got by reading the Hebrew word rendered show the way, horoth, 
as a proper name. Heroonpolis is Pithom to the east of Goshen. 
With this reading the verse would mean that Israel sent Judah to 
arrange that Joseph should meet him. The Samaritan-Hebrew 
text and the Syriac version have a reading *, to appear before 
him, which would give a similar sense. 

32. cattle 5 : a comprehensive term including oxen, sheep, 
goats, &c. 

34. every shepherd is an abomination unto the Egyptians. 

1 See notes on xlvii. 5 ff. 2 Kath . 3 Eis. 

4 Hcra oth for horoth, 5 Miqneh. 



384 GENESIS 47. 1-5. J P 

47 Then Joseph went in and told Pharaoh, and said, My 
father and my brethren, and their flocks, and their herds, 
and all that they have, are come out of the land of Ca 
naan; and, behold, they are in the land of Goshen. 

2 And from among his brethren he took five men, and 

3 presented them unto Pharaoh. And Pharaoh said unto 
his brethren, What is your occupation? And they said 
unto Pharaoh, Thy servants are shepherds, both we, and 

4 our fathers. And they said unto Pharaoh, To sojourn 
in the land are we come ; for there is no pasture for thy 
servants flocks; for the famine is sore in the land of 
Canaan : now therefore, we pray thee, let thy servants 

5 dwell in the land of Goshen. [P] And Pharaoh spake 
unto Joseph, saying, Thy father and thy brethren are 

Erman l writes : In the marshy districts the cattle were kept by 
men who were scarcely regarded by the true Egyptian as his 
equals. The manner in which the sculptors of the Old Empire 
designated the marshmen shows that they considered them rather 
as pariahs. Such a man might be indispensable as a good herds 
man . . . but he was all too dirty. The story probably indicates 
that Joseph made this arrangement in order that his family might 
not be absorbed by the Eg\ ptians, but might maintain their 
distinct nationality, and be ready hereafter to fulfil their Divine 
mission. 

xlvii. 4. no pasture : owing to the drought which had caused 
the famine. 

5 (P). And Pharaofc spake tmto Joseph. The LXX reads - : 
1 And Jacob and his sons came into Egypt to Joseph ; and 
Pharaoh king of Egypt heard of it. And Pharaoh said unto 
Joseph, &c. This must have been the original text, which 
obviously arose by combining two documents. One of the copyists 
of the Hebrew text noticed the inconsistency of the sentence with 
what preceded, and omitted it 

1 Life in Ancient Egypt, Fng-. trans., p. 439. 

8 The LXX also has 6 b preceded by And Pharaoh said unto 
Joseph, immediately after verse 4, thus keeping all the P material 
together; no doubt this was the original arrangement. 



GENESIS 47. 6-ic. 1 P J P 385 

come unto thee : the land of Egypt is before thee ; in 6 
the best of the land make thy father and thy brethren to 
dwell ; [ J] in the land of Goshen let them dwell : and 
if thou knowest any able men among them, then make 
them rulers over my cattle. [Pj And Joseph brought in 7 
Jacob his father, and set him before Pharaoh : and 
Jacob blessed Pharaoh. And Pharaoh said unto Jacob, 8 
How many are the days of the years of thy life? And 9 
Jacob said unto Pharaoh, The days of the years of my 
pilgrimage are an hundred and thirty years : few and 
evil have been the days of the years of my life, and they 
have not attained unto the days of the years of the life 
of my fathers in the days of their pilgrimage. And 10 

The LXX therefore of verses 4-6 runs as follows, the words in 
brackets being found only in the LXX l : 

4 (J). And they said unto Pharaoh, To sojourn in the land are 
we come ; for there is no pasture for thy servants flocks ; for the 
famine is sore in the land of Canaan : now therefore, we pray 
thee, let thy servants dwell in the land of Goshen. [And Pharaoh 
said unto Joseph] 6 b . In the land of Goshen let them dwell : and 
if thou knowest any able men among them, then make them rulers 
over my cattle. 

(P) [And Jacob and his sons came into Egypt to Joseph. And 
Pharaoh the king of Egypt heard.] 5. And Pharaoh spake unto 
Joseph, saying, Thy father and thy brethren are come unto thee : 
6 a . the land of Egypt is before thee ; in the best of the land make 
thy father and thy brethren to dwell. 

6 b (J). able men : R. V. marg., men of activity. 

rulers over my cattle. The superintendents of the royal 
herds were important officials. 

9 (Pj. pilgrimage: R. V. marg., sojournings. 

few: only 130. Isaac lived to be 180, xxxv. 28 (P) ; and 
Abraham to be 175, xxv. 7 (P) ; the patriarchs of ch. xi (P) longer 
periods ; and the antediluvians of ch. v (P) still longer, the climax 
being reached in the 969 years of Methuselah. 

evil. The word recalls his exile ; his strife with Laban, and i 
with Esau ; his suffering through the misdoings of Reuben, I 
Simeon, and Levi ; and, last and worst of all, his supposed bereave- J 
ment of Joseph. 

1 Cf. Oxford Hexateuch. 

c c 



386 GENESIS 47. 11-15. PJ 

Jacob blessed Pharaoh, and went out from the presence 
it of Pharaoh. And Joseph placed his father and his 
brethren, and gave them a possession in the land of 
Egypt, in the best of the land, in the land of Rameses, 
ia as Pharaoh had commanded. [J] And Joseph nour 
ished his father, and his brethren, and all his father s 
household, with bread, according to their families. 

13 And there was no bread in all the land ; for the 
famine was very sore, so that the land of Egypt and the 

14 land of Canaan fainted by reason of the famine. And 
Joseph gathered up all the money that was found in the 
land of Egypt, and in the land of Canaan, for the corn 
which they bought : and Joseph brought the money into 

15 Pharaoh s house. And when the money was all spent 
in the land of Egypt, and in the land of Canaan, all the 
Egyptians came unto Joseph, and said, Give us bread : 
for why should we die in thy presence? for our money 

11 (P). the land of Rameses : only here and in the LXX of 
xlvi. 28. This land is no doubt the district of the city of 
Rameses, Exod. i. n. The situation of Rameses is not certainly 
known, but it is often placed a little to the west of Tell-el-Kebii; 
i. e. in Goshen. 

12 (J). according 1 to their families: R. V. marg., according 
to the number of their little ones. 

xlvii. 13-26. THE FAMINE IN EGYPT (J). 

xlvii. 13, 14. Joseph receives all the Egyptians money for corn. 

xlvii. 15-17. He takes all their cattle, &c., for corn. 

xlvii. 18-22. He takes them and their land for corn ; except the 
priests and their land. 

xlvii. 23-26. He makes a law that a fifth of the produce of the 
land should go to Pharaoh. The priests are exempted. 

15. when the money was all spent. Under ordinary circum 
stances the money or silver would have been largely paid out 
again by the government in pensions, wages, purchase of goods, &c. 
The story does not tell us why this did not happen. 

all the Egyptians. We are not told what happene.i in the 
land of Canaan. 



GENESIS 47. 16-19. J 37 

faileth. And Joseph said, Give your cattle; and I will 16 
give you for your cattle, if money fail. And they i; 
brought their cattle unto Joseph : and Joseph gave them 
bread in exchange for the horses, and for the flocks, and 
for the herds, and for the asses : and he fed them with 
bread in exchange for all their cattle for that year. And 18 
when that year was ended, they came unto him the 
second year, and said unto him, We will not hide from 
my lord, how that our money is all spent ; and the herds 
of cattle are my lord s ; there is nought left in the sight 
of my lord, but our bodies, and our lands : wherefore 1 9 
should we die before thine eyes, both we and our land ? 
buy us and our land for bread, and we and our land will 
be servants unto Pharaoh : and give us seed, that we 
may live, and not die, and that the land be not desolate. 

17. horses. There is at present no strong evidence that horses 
were known in Egypt before the eighteenth dynasty , which began 
about B.C. 1530. By sacrificing the chronological statements of 
the O. T. it might be possible to date Joseph after this time. 

flocks, and for the herds: R. V. marg., Heb. cattle of the 
flocks, and for the cattle of the herds. 

fed them: R. V. marg., Heb. led them as a shepherd. 
Apparently, too, Joseph s stores enabled him to feed all the cattle 
as well. 

19. seed. Cf. verse 23, here is seed for you, and ye shall sow 
the land. These words imply that this transaction took place in 
the last year of the famine, so that the people could sow, and 
expect a return. It can hardly be meant that Joseph sold the 
people seed at a most exorbitant price, when he knew it would be 
useless. Moreover, by this time everybody would know about 
Pharaoh s dreams and their interpretation. In xlv. n two years 
of famine had elapsed. Apparently the people had money and 
stores enough to keep them five years, they lived a year on the 
price of the cattle, and another year on that of the land, c. But 
the story must not be pressed in these details. In any case 
Joseph drove a hard bargain with the starving people ; he took 
them and their land for a year s food and seed for the next sowing. 

1 Erman, Life in Ancient Egypt, Eng. trans., p. 490. 
CC 2 



3 8S GENESIS 47. 20-24. J 

20 So Joseph bought all the land of Egypt for Pharaoh ; 
for the Egyptians sold every man his field, because the 
famine was sore upon them: and the land became 

21 Pharaoh s. And as for the people, he removed them 
to the cities from one end of the border of Egypt even 

22 to the other end thereof. Only the land of the priests 
bought he not : for the priests had a portion from Pha 
raoh, and did eat their portion which Pharaoh gave them; 

23 wherefore they sold not their land. Then Joseph said 
unto the people, Behold, I have bought you this day 
and your land for Pharaoh : lo, here is seed for you, and 

24 ye shall sow the land. And it shall come to pass at the 

, . 

2O, 21. the land became Pharaoh s. And as for the people, 
he removed them to the cities. R. V. marg. according to Samar- 
[itan-Hebrew text 1 , Sept. and Vulg., "he made bondmen [i.e. 
slaves] of them. According to the theory of many eastern States, 
e. g. ancient Persia, both the land and the inhabitants were the 
property of the sovereign. After the Norman Conquest the land 
of England was in theory the property of the king. No doubt 
our author in this passage gives a fairly accurate account of the 
tenure of land in Egypt in his time. We learn from the monu- 
/ments that a very large proportion of the land in Egypt was held 
I either by the king or by the priests ; but there does not seem as 
I yet to be any conclusive confirmation of the whole of the state 
ments in this chapter as to tenure of land. The monuments 
do not confirm the statement that this tenure originated with 
Joseph. 

In verse 21 the reading of the Samaritan text and the versions 
is no dout.j^correct. R. V. text would imply that Joseph placed 
the people . > the cities for convenience in feeding them ; but, if 
so, how could they use their seed ? 

22. the land of the priest*. The priests, we learn from the 
monuments, had vast estates, like the monasteries and clergy in 
the Middle Ages ; and these estates certainly remained the pro 
perty of the priests. 

the priests had a portion from Pharaoh: an exceptional 
provision for the time of famine. The Egyptian kings often made 
gifts of corn, &c., to the temples ; but it was not a regular custom 
lor the king to provide the priests with food. 

23. Cf. verse IQ. 



GENESIS 47. 25-30. JPJ 389 

ingatherings, that ye shall give a fifth unto Pharaoh, and 
four parts shall be your own, for seed of the field, and 
for your food, and for them of your households, and for 
food for your little ones. And they said, Thou hast 25 
saved our lives : let us find grace in the sight of my lord, 
and we will be Pharaoh s servants. And Joseph made it 26 
a statute concerning the land of Egypt unto this day, 
that Pharaoh should have the fifth ; only the land of the 
priests alone became not Pharaoh s. And Israel dwelt 27 
in the land of Egypt, in the land of Goshen; [P] and 
they gat them possessions therein, and were fruitful, and 
multiplied exceedingly. 

And Jacob lived in the land of Egypt seventeen years: 28 
so the days of Jacob, the years of his life, were an hun 
dred forty and seven years. [J] And the time drew near 29 
that Israel must die : And he called his son Joseph, and 
said unto him, If now I have found grace in thy sight, 
put, I pray thee, thy hand under my thigh, and deal 
kindly and truly with me ; bury me not, I pray thee, in 
Egypt : but when I sleep with my fathers, thou shall 3 

94. a fifth unto Pharaoh. Erman : The greater pati of the 
harvests which the peasant-serfs reaped from the treasury lands, 
as well as the material woven or spun by their wives, belonged of 
course to the State, and was collected mercilessly. 

xlvii. 37 31. ISRAEL S LAST DAYS (P and J). 

xlvii. 27" (J). Israel dwells in Egypt. 

xlvii. a6 b:i , 28 (P). Jacob s family prosper in Egypt. He 
attains the age of 147. 

xlvii. 29-31 (J). Jacob makes Joseph promise to bury him in 
Canaan. 

29. thy hand under my thigh. See on xxiv. 2. 
their burying-place. Cf. xxxv. 20. 



1 Life in Ancient Egypt, Eng. trans., p. 122 ; italics are our own. 

2 As far as Goshen. * From and they gat. 



390 GENESIS 47. 31 48. 5. J JE P 

carry me out of Egypt, and bury me in their burying- 
31 place. And he said, I will do as thou hast said. And 
he said, Swear unto me : and he sware unto him. And 
Israel bowed himself upon the bed s head. 

48 [JE] And it came to pass after these things, that one 
said to Joseph, Behold, thy father is sick : and he took 

2 with him his two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim. And 
one told Jacob, and said, Behold, thy son Joseph cometh 
unto thee : and Israel strengthened himself, and sat 

3 upon the bed. [P] And Jacob said unto Joseph, God 
Almighty appeared unto me at Luz in the land of Canaan, 

4 and blessed me, and said unto me, Behold, I will make 
thee fruitful, and multiply thee, and I will make of thee 
a company of peoples ; and will give this land to thy 

5 seed after thee for an everlasting possession. And now 

31. Irael bowed himself upon the bed s head: rather, Israel 
worshipped, gave Yahweh thanks for Joseph s promise, sup 
porting himself) on the head. or pillow, of the bed. It has 
been suggested that in the original form of the story there was an 
imace at the head of the bed, which Jacob worshipped. The 
LXX, by giving the Hebrew consonants different vowels, gets 
his staff instead of bed. 

xlviii. THE BLESSING OF EPHRAIM AND MANASSEH (JE and P). 

xlviii. i, 2 (JE;. Joseph takes his sons to his father. 

xlviii. 3-6 (P). Jacob adopts Ephraim and Manasseh. 

xlviii. 7-22 (JE). Israel-Jacob adopts Ephraim and Manasseh, 
and blesses them ; but gives the chief blessing to Ephraim, the 
younger son. 

Sources, &c. This chapter is a piece of tribal history l . 
Ephraim and Manasseh. though originally only divisions of a tribe, 
ultimately attained to the status of full tribes. In older times 
Manasseh, in more recent times Ephraim, was pre-eminent. The 
blessing of Jacob the Patriarch represents the solemn approval of 
these arrangements by the people of Israel. 

3. Ood Almighty : R. V. marg., Hcb. El Shaddai. 1 See on xvii. r. 
Xiiiz. See on xxxv. 6. 

1 Sec p. 47. 



GENESIS 48. 6-13. PJE 391 

thy two sons, which were born unto thee in the land of 
Egypt before I came unto thee into Egypt, are mine; 
Ephraim and Manasseh, even as Reuben and Simeon, 
shall be mine. And thy issue, which thou begettest 6 
after them, shall be thine ; they shall be called after the 
name of their brethren in their inheritance. [JE] And 7 
as for me, when I came from Paddan, Rachel died by 
me in the land of Canaan in the way, when there was 
still some way to come unto Ephrath : and I buried her 
there in the way to Ephrath (the same is Beth-lehem). 
And Israel beheld Joseph s sons, and said, Who are 8 
these? And Joseph said unto his father, They are my 9 
sons, whom God hath given me here. And he said, 
Bring them, I pray thee, unto me, and I will bless them. 
Now the eyes of Israel were dim for age, so that he could 10 
not see. And he brought them near unto him ; and he 
kissed them, and embraced them. And Israel said unto n 
Joseph, I had not thought to see thy face : and, lo, God 
hath let me see thy seed also. And Joseph brought 12 
them out from between his knees ; and he bowed him 
self with his face to the earth. And Joseph took them 13 
both, Ephraim in his right hand toward Israel s left 
hand, and Manasseh in his left hand toward Israel s 

5. Reuben and Simeon : the two eldest sons. 

6. thy issue, which thou begettest (R. V. marg., hast begot 
ten ) after them. No other children of Joseph are mentioned. The 
verse, however, served to bar the claim of any clan not of Eph 
raim or Manasseh to belong to Joseph. 

shall be called after the name of their brethren : reckoned 
as of one of the tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh. 

7. Cf. xxxv. 19 (J). 

by me : R. V. marg. , to my sorrow. 

8. Wlio are these? Cf. verse 10. 
1O. Cf. Isaac, xxvii. i. 

12. brought them exit from between his knees: rather, took 
them from his (Jacob s knees ; they are thought of as children. 

13. Manasseh . . . toward Israel s rig-ht hand : that Israel 



392 GENESIS 48. 14-19. JE 

14 right hand, and brought them near unto him. And 
Israel stretched out his right hand, and laid it upon 
Ephraim s head, who was the younger, and his left hand 
upon Manasseh s head, guiding his hands wittingly ; for 

15 Manasseh was the firstborn. And he blessed Joseph, 
and said, The God before whom my fathers Abraham 
and Isaac did walk, the God which hath fed me all my 

1 6 life long unto this day, the angel which hath redeemed 
me from all evil, bless the lads; and let my name be 
named on them, and the name of my fathers Abraham 
and Isaac ; and let them grow into a multitude in the 

17 midst of the earth. And when Joseph saw that his 
father laid his right hand upon the head of Ephraim, it 
displeased him : and he held up his father s hand, to 
remove it from Ephraim s head unto Manasseh s head. 

1 8 And Joseph said unto his father, Not so, my father : for 
this is the firstborn ; put thy right hand upon his head. 

19 And his father refused, and said, I know //, my son, I 
know it: he also shall become a people, and he also 
shall be great : howbeit his younger brother shall be 
greater than he, and his seed shall become a multitude 



might lay his right hand on Manasseh s head. This laying on 
of hands would be part of the ritual of blessing ; as it was of 
sacrifices, &c., &c. The right hand, as the more capable, was the 
symbol of pre-eminence. 

14. Cf. above, Sources, &c. Jacob, like his father Isaac, 
blesses the younger more than the elder; but Jacob does so witting 
ly, whether that be expressly stated here or no ; cf. verse 19. 

guiding his hands wittingly: R. V. ir.arg., crossing his 
hands. 

16. angel: i. e. the angel of God or of Yalr.veh ; cf. xvi. 7, xxi. 
17- 

let my name be named on them : i. e. let them be reckoned 
as my sons. 

19. Cf. Sources, &c. 

multitude: R.V. marg., Heb. fulness. 




GENESIS 48. 2049. i. JE J 393 

of nations. And he blessed them that day, saying, In 20 
thee shall Israel bless, saying, God make thee as 
Ephraim and as Manasseh : and he set Ephraim before 
Manasseh. And Israel said unto Joseph, Behold, I die: 21 
but God shall be with you, and bring you again unto the 
land of your fathers. Moreover I have given to thee 22 
one portion above thy brethren, which I took out of the 
hand of the Amorite with my sword and with my bow. 

[J] And Jacob called unto his sons, and said : Gather 49 

20. In (R. V. marg., By ) thee. 

21. bring 1 you again: you, i.e. the people of Israel. 

22. one portion (R. V. marg., mountain slope. Heb. shcchcm, 
shoulder ) above thy brethren. 

which Z took out of the hand of the Amorite with my 
sword and with my bow. This verse implies a conquest of 
Shechem by united Israel, and a special gift of the city to the 
tribe of Joseph. Verses at, 22 are commonly given to E ; as are 
also the statements in xxxiii. 19 that Jacob came in peace to 
Shechem and bought land there ; and portions of the story -in 
ch. xxxiv that Simeon and Levi sacked Shechem, and that Jacob 
had to flee from the vengeance of the Canaanites. These traditions 
cannot be reconciled ; but E may have combined stories whose 
inconsistency was disguised by their form as individual biography ; 
or some one else may have added a paragraph in which, after the 
fashion of some patriotic historians, a disaster became a triumph. 

xlix. 1-27. THE BLESSING OF JACOB. 

(An Ancient Lyric.") 

xlix. i, 2. Introductory. 

The Sons of Leah. 

xlix. 3, 4. Reuben (I). 

xlix. 5-7. Simeon and Levi (II, III). 

xlix. 8-12. Judah (IV). 

xlix. 13. Zebulun (V). 

xlix. 14, 15. Issachar (VI). 

A Son of Bilhah. 

xlix. 16-18. Dan (VII). 

The Sons of Zilpah. 

xlix. 19. Gad (VIII). 

xlix. 20. Asher (IX). 



394 GENESIS 49. 2-4. J 

yourselves together, that I may tell you that which shall 
befall you in the latter days. 
5 Assemble yourselves, and hear, ye sons of Jacob ; 

And hearken unto Israel your father. 
5 Reuben, thou art my firstborn, my might, and the 

beginning of my strength ; 
The excellency of dignity, and the excellency of 

power. 

i. Unstable as water, thou shall not have the 
excellency ; 

A Son of Bilhah. 
xlix. 21. Naphtali (X). 

The Sons of Rachel. 
xlix. 23 26. Joseph (XI). 
xlix. 27. Benjamin (XII). 

Sources, &c. We have placed J in the margin against this 
poem, because it is fairly probable that the compiler of the 
Primitive Document included it in his work ; but it is not im 
possible that it was not a part of cither the Primitive or the 
Elohistic Document, but was inserted in the Twofold Document 
by the editor who combined J and E. Before the ; Blessing was 
incorporated in one of these works, it may have existed as an 
entirely separate document, or may have been included in a collec 
tion of poems. Probably the Blessing as we have it is a revised 
edition of an earlier form. 

This poem again has nothing: 1 to do with the careers of 
individuals, but deals with the fortunes of the tribes. The dnte has 
been fixed as early as the time of David, but as both Judah and 
Joseph are referred to as royal tribes, the Blessing, in its present 
form at any rate, can hardly be earlier than the Division of the 
Monarchy, 

3. Reuben, . . . my firstborn. See on xxix. 32. 
beginning 1 : rather, as R. V. marj;., firstfruits, synonymous 

with firstborn. 

The excellency of dignity, and the excellency of power : 
first in rank and authority, as firstborn. 

4. See on xxxv. 22 ; cf. Judges v. 16. 
Unstable: R. V. marg., Bubbling over. 

1 Cf., however, notes on verses 3-7. 




GENESIS 49. 5, 6. J 395 

Because thou wentest up to thy father s bed : 
Then defiledst thou it : he went up to my couch. 

Simeon and Levi are brethren ; 
Weapons of violence are their swords. 

my soul, come not thou into their council ; 
Unto their assembly, my glory, be not thou united ; 
For in their anger they slew a man, 

tiiou shalt not have (R.V. marg., have not thou ) the 
excellency : i. e. Reuben should not actually enjoy the pre-eminence 
due to him as firstborn. As the reference is really to the tribe, 
we might interpret thus : in early times Reuben was the premier 
tribe, but owing to some unfriendly or treacherous act in connexion 
with the Bilhah tribe (Dan-Naphtali), Reuben became estranged 
from the rest of Israel, and through its isolation suffered reverses 
which reduced the tribe to mere refugees in Gad. In the Song of 
Deborah, Reuben and Dan hold back from the general levy of 
Israel against Sisera, in which Naphtali takes a prominent part 1 . 
In a later series of oracles on the tribes, The Blessing of Moses, 
probably compiled towards the close of the Northern Kingdom, 
Reuben is at its last gasp : 

Let Reuben live, and not die ; 
Yet let his men be few V 

he went up to my couch. \Ve should probably read, on the 
authority of the LXX, thou wentest up. Some think that this 
verse refers in some way to the lax sexual morality of the 
Reubenites. 

5, 6. Simeon and Levi. See on xxix. 33, 34, and xxxiv. 

brethren : sons of Leah, sections of Leah, but so much was 
true of Reuben, Judah, &c., so that brethren here must be 
used in a special sense, close allies or alike in character and 
conduct. 

5. swords: R.V. marg.. compacts ; the Hebrew word only 
occurs here, and its meaning is quite uncertain. 

6. O my soul, come not thou : an emphatic way of saying, let 
me not come. 

council: R.V. marg., secret. 

my glory, be not thou: an emphatic way of saying, let me 
not be. 

they slew a man : better, as R. V. marg., men, i. e. in the 
massacre at Shechem, xxxiv. 26 (which see). 

1 Jtidg-es v. 1 6-1 8. * Deut. xxxiii. 6. 

3 Mekherothehem. 



396 GENESIS 49. 7-9. J 

And in their selfwill they houghed an ox. 
Cursed be their anger, for it was fierce ; 
And their wrath, for it was cruel : 
I will divide them in Jacob, 
And scatter them in Israel. 

Judah, thee shall thy brethren praise : 
Thy hand shall be on the neck of thine enemies ; 
Thy father s sons shall bow down before thee. 
Judah is a lion s whelp ; 
From the prey, my son, thou art gone up : 
He stooped down, he couched as a lion, 
And as a lioness ; who shall rouse him up ? 



tliey houghed an ox : R. V. marg., oxen/ An incident in 
the sack of Shechem. Joshua vi. 21 tells us that the Israelites 
killed all the animals in Jericho ; and Joshua xi. 6, 9 tells us 
that Joshua houghed the horses taken from Jabin, king of 
Hazor. 

?. Cursed be their anther: a formal disavowal of the conduct 
of the two tribes ; cf. xxxiv. 30, Jacob said to Simeon and Levi, 
Ye have troubled me, to make me to stink among the inhabitants 
of the land. 

I will divide thani. In historical times the Simeonites are 
refugees in Judah, as the Reubenites in Gad ; and the Levites are 
scattered throughout Israel. Probably the sack of Shechem was 
so terribly avenged by the Canaanites that Simeon and Levi could 
no longer hold their own as separate tribes. Their guilt seems to 
have consisted in the violation of a covenant between Israel and 
Shechem ; cf. on xxxiv. Note that there is no suggestion here that 
Levi has any priestly character. 
8-12. Judah. Cf. xxix. 35. 

8. shall . . . praise : Heb. yodu, a popular etymology of Judah. 
Thy hand shall be on the neck of thine enemies : probably 

a reference to the conquests of David. 

Thy father s sons shall bow down before thee. This line 
seems to indicate that the section on Judah originated under the 
Judahite kings of united Israel, David and Solomon. The section 
on Joseph ^ which see) may have originated in another period. 

9. a lion s whelp, &c., figures for the warlike power of Judah. 
art gfone up : in safety to his den, where no one dares disturb 

him. 







GENESIS 49. 10, n. J 397 

The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, 10 

Nor the ruler s staff from between his feet, 

Until Shiloh come ; 

And unto him shall the obedience of the peoples be. 

Binding his foal unto the vine, u 

And his ass s colt unto the choice vine ; 

10. The sceptre shall not depart from Judah. The obedience 
of the peoples in the last clause shows that this verse contem 
plates the world-wide rule of a Jewish king, i. e. it is Messianic. 

ths ruler s staff . . . between his feet. Assyrian and other 
kings are depicted sitting with a staff of office, one end of which 
is between their feet. 

TTatil Shiloh come. The Hebrew represented by these 
words is unintelligible. If we take R.V. text, Until Shiloh 
come, and unto him, c., Shiloh must be a person, and in this 
sense it has been understood as a title of the Messiah 1 , perhaps 
his son u , or his own one a ; or as a name equivalent to 
Solomon. Can Shiloh be a corruption of Shelah ? Cf. xxxviii. 
The actual rendering of the LXX is, Until that which is his 
shall come, &c., which is as unintelligible as the Hebrew, but 
is sometimes understood as a veiled reference to the Messiah. 
The Syriac is more explicit, Until he Cometh to whom it belongs, 
which also might be a veiled reference. The R. V. marg., Till 
he come to Shiloh, having the obedience, is also unintelligible. 
It would imply that Shiloh was a place, and that the coming 
to Shiloh was a crisis which terminated the supremacy of Judah 
and the existence of its dynasty. By torturing the language 
we might connect this with the final establishment of Judah in 
its territory at the time when the ark was settled at Shiloh. 
But none of these interpretations are probable. 

This verse is often regarded as a later addition ; it interrupts 
the natural connexion between verses 9 and n. Moreover, verses 
n, 12 do not suit a Messianic king. 

xlix. 11, is. These verses describe the wealth of the territory 
of Judah in fertile vineyards and well-stocked, well-watered 
pastures. 

11. Binding his foal unto the vine: because the vines were 
so abundant. 

1 Targum of Onkelos, second century Aramaic translation. 

2 So some Rabbinical commentators of the Middle Ages, Kimchi, &c. 
(Encycl. Biblica, SHILOH, to which this note is largely indebted). 

3 Reading shello, which seems indicated by the LXX. 



398 GENESIS 49. 12-14. J 

He hath washed his garments in wine, 
And his vesture in the blood of grapes : 

12 His eyes shall be red with wine, 
And his teeth white with milk. 

13 Zebulun shall dwell at the haven of the sea : 
And he shall be for an haven of ships ; 

And his border shall be upon Zidon. 

14 Issachar is a strong ass, 

18. Ma teeth white with milk : probably by a very natural, 
but false, analogy, the abundant white milk is thought of as 
making the teeth white ; cf. the line, Who drives fat oxen should 
himself be fat. 

13. Zebulun. This verse describes the position of the territory 
of the tribe as on the sea-coast ; but according to Joshua xix. 
10-16 Asher lay along the Mediterranean, and Naphtali along 
the Sea of Galilee, and the territory of Zebulun did not touch the 
sea. In Judges v. 17 Asher is at the haven of the sea ; but in 
Deut. xxxiii. 18, 19 Zebulun and Issachar are coupled together, 
and it is said of them : 

For they shall suck the abundance of the seas, 

And the hidden treasures of the sand. 

Apparently at one time Zebulun had territory on the coast, or 
bordering on the land of the maritime Phoenicians ; but we 
cannot be certain when. Cf. xxix. 20. 

haven . . . haven : R. V. marg., beach . . . beach. 
upon Zidon: R. V. marg., by Zidon. 

14. Xssachar. Cf. xxx. 18 ; lit. ass of bone. 

a strong 1 ass. The Israelites did not think oi the ass as a 
foolish and absurd animal ; on the contrary, nobles rode on 
asses on state occasions ; in Zech. ix. 9 the Messiah comes 
riding upon an ass. The ; strong ass, the patient, unwarlike 
beast of burden, is a figure for a tribe which preferred peace, 
and comfort, and plenty to independence at the cost of the risk 
and loss of war. In Judges v. 15, however, Issachar is a patriotic 
warrior tribe ; again the two poems refer to different periods, 
and we are inclined to think that the Blessing of Jacob is the later. 
The prosperity of Issachar is also insisted on in Dcut. xxxiii. 19. 
Instead of strong ass a very slight alteration would give ass of 
foreigners, an allusion to the tributary state of Issachar. 

1 Kven in Prov. xxvi. 3 the ass is coupled with the horse as well as 
with the fool. 



GENESIS 49. 15-17. J 399 

Couching down between the sheepfolds : 

And he saw a resting place that it was good, 15 

And the land that it was pleasant ; 

And he bowed his shoulder to bear, 

And became a servant under taskwork. 

Dan shall judge his people, 16 

As one of the tribes of Israel. 

Dan shall be a serpent in the way, 17 

An adder in the path, 
That biteth the horse s heels, 



sheepfolds. The Hebrew word l only occurs here, and 
in the Song of Deborah 8 , which, according to the R. V., says of 
Reuben, Why satest thou among the sheepfolds ? The meaning 
of the word is uncertain, and the rendering dung-heaps has also 
been proposed 3 . 

15. a resting- place : R. V. marg., rest. 

pleasant: the fertile plain of Esdraelon lay partly in the 
territory of Issachar. 

a servant under taskwork. In i Kings v. 13 Solomon 
raises a levy of Israelites to work on the building of the temple. 
Levy in Kings and taskwork here translate the same Hebrew 
word*. -Servant under taskwork denotes subjection to the 
Canaanites or Phoenicians involving the corvee or tribute of unpaid 
labour, or some other form of tribute. In Judges i. 28, 35, which 
is one of the older portions of the Primitive Document, certain 
Israelite tribes put the Canaanites and Amorites to taskwork, 
or render them tributary. 

16. Dan. Cf. xxx. 6. 

judge : suggested by the fact that Dan as a Hebrew common 
noun would mean judge. 

As one of the tribes of Israel. Dan had great difficulty in 
obtaining a settlement and maintaining itself as a separate tribe. 
Hence it is thought of as fortunate in being a tribe at all. From 
the position of these verses in the list it seems that the Northern 
Dan is meant. 

17. adder: A. V. marg., arrowsnake, R. V. marg., horned 
snake, 1 i. e. the cerastes. 

biteth the horse s heels : a figure for the stratagems of 
guerilla warfare ; the tribe was too weak for open attack. 

Mishpethayim. Judges v. 16. 

3 Moore, Judges. * Mas. 



400 GENESIS 49. 18-22. J 

So that his rider falleth backward. 

1 8 I have waited for thy salvation, O LORD. 

19 Gad, a troop shall press upon him : 
But he shall press upon their heel. 

20 Out of Asher his bread shall be fat, 
And he shall yield royal dainties. 

ai Naphtali is a hind let loose : 

He giveth goodly words. 
22 Joseph is a fruitful bough, 

18. X have waited for thy salvation. Perhaps anotherreference 
to the precarious position of the tribe ; or perhaps a pious ejaculation 
written by some reader on the margin of his manuscript, and 
afterwards copied into the text. 

19. Gad. Cf. xxx. n. 

a troop shall press . . . But he shall press : an elaborate 
play upon the name Gad ; the Hebrew is (gad} gedudycgiideiimi. 
yagud. The troop is a raiding band ; we might render, The 
raiders shall raid him . . . but he shall raid. Gad was neighbour 
to the Bedouin of the desert, and suffered at their hands, and re 
taliated. 

20. Ashar. Cf. xxx. 13. The position of Asher after Gad 
seems a reminiscence of the old connexion between the two as 
sons of Zilpah ; they were not neighbours in later times. 

Out of Asher : an awkward expression ; it is better to read 
simply Asher, with the LXX, &c. 

his bread shall be fat: a reference to the fertility of the ter 
ritory. Deut. xxxiii. 24 speaks of Asher dipping his foot in oil. 

21. XTaphtali: the neighbour of Asher ; cf. xxx. 8. 

a hind let loose: 
He jyiveth goodly words. 

The hind let loose would be a figure for the freedom and 
energy of the tribe. It is, of course, the tribe and not the hind 
that giveth goodly words. The latter might refer to eloquence. 
But this R. V. rendering is probably wrong; a slieht alteration of 
the reading would give a version suggested by the LXX, a slender 
terebinth, putting forth goodly shoots. another figure for pros 
perity, or perhaps a reference to the long, narrow shape of the 
territory of the tribe. 

22 26. Joseph. The length of this blessing, and its terms, 
point to a special interest in Joseph, and probably to the origin of 
this section of the poem in the Northern Kingdom after the 
Division of the Monarchy. If so, it is later than the section on 



GENESIS 49. 23, 24. J 401 

A fruitful bough by a fountain ; 

His branches run over the wall. 

The archers have sorely grieved him, 

And shot at him, and persecuted him : 

But his bow abode in strength, 

And the arms of his hands were made strong, 

By the hands of the Mighty One of Jacob, 

(From thence is the shepherd, the stone of Israel,) 



Judah l . It may be based on some earlier couplets on the tribe. 
This blessing of Joseph has much in common with the corre 
sponding section of the blessing of Moses - . In the Song of 
Deborah we read of Ephraim and Machir instead of Joseph. 

22. a fruitful bough (Heb. the son of a fruitful tree ) . . . Ms 
branches (Heb. daughters ), &c. These are familiar figures for 
prosperity, fertility, and a large, increasing population. The 
Hebrew word represented by fruitful (treeV />ora//z,mayhavebeen 
suggested by Ephraim, the principal division of Joseph, or by 
Ephrathite, the adjective formed from Ephraim. It is doubtful, 
however, whether we have the verse in its original form. 

23. 24. These verses describe the success of Joseph in defend 
ing itself against an aggressive enemy. Possibly Joseph here is 
the Northern Kingdom, and the enemy the Syrians of Damascus, 
with whom the kings of Israel waged almost constant wars from 
about B. c. 900. Or Joseph may be the separate tribe, and the 
reference may be to the period of the Judges, and to events which 
can no longer be identified. 

24. strong : R. V. marg., active. 

the Mighty One of Jacob : a Divine title, Isaiah i. 24, &c. ; 
sometimes translated as the Bull of Jacob, and connected with 
the calf at Beth-el, the great sanctuary of the Northern Kingdom ; 
but the Hebrew word* need not mean bull. 

From thence is the shepherd, (R. V. marg., From thence, 
from the shepherd, or, as otherwise read, By the name of the 
shepherd ) the stone of Israel. None of these renderings make 
sense; R.V. text would seem to mean that the shepherd, i.e. 
the ruler, of Israel came from Joseph ; but this does not give the 
parallelism with the previous verse required by the structure of 
the poem. The renderings in R.V. marg. are more satisfactory 
in this respect, they also might be understood to express the 
idea that deliverance came from God ; but the parallelism is not 

1 See on verses 8-12. a See notes on verses 25, 26. 

Abhir. 

Dd 



402 GENESIS 49. 25, 26. J 

25 Even by the God of thy father, who shall help thee, 
And by the Almighty, who shall bless thee, 

With blessings of heaven above, 

Blessings of the deep that coucheth beneath, 

Blessings of the breasts, and of the womb. 

26 The blessings of thy father 

Have prevailed above the blessings of my progenitors 
Unto the utmost bound of the everlasting hills : 

sufficiently close, and the construction is awkward. The render 
ing from the name is found in two 1 ancient versions, and is 
obtained by a slight change in the vowels. Others propose to 
translate, By the name of the shepherd of the stone of Israel, 
i. e. of the stone set up by Israel (Jacob N at Beth-el 2 . The phrase 
would thus mean, By the name of the God of Beth-el . Shep 
herd is a Divine title in Ps. xxiii. i. The Lord is my shepherd ; 
Ixxx. i, The Shepherd of Israel, &c. The title stone 4 of 
Israel for God only occurs here, but is parallel to rock 5 . It is 
doubtful what was the original form of this line ; but, like the 
preceding, it must have expressed the idea that the deliverance of 
Joseph came from God. 

25. the God of thy father: Jacob(Israel),afavouriteDivinetitle : 
cf. Exod. iii. 15, Yahweh, the God of your fathers, the God of 
Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob ; Gen.xxvi.24, &c. 

the Almighty : Shaddai, See on xvii. i. 

blessings of heaven above : in Deut. xxxiii. 13, precious 
things of heaven. 

the deep that coucheth bsneath : so also Deut. xxxiii. 13. 
The deep is the tehow of i. 2, that corresponds to Tiamat the 
dragon of the abyss ; and the language is a reminiscence of this 
personification. 

26. The blessings of thy father 

Have prevailed above the blessings of my progenitors 
Unto the utmost bound of the everlasting hills. 
This rendering is nonsense, and is not even a literal translation 
of the Hebrew text as it stands. A very slight alteration enables 
us to read with the LXX mountains of eternity, instead of my 
progenitors, unto, so that with another slight change we get 
R. V. marg : 

. . . above the blessings of the ancient mountains, 
the desire (or, desirable things) of the everlasting hills. 

1 Syriac and Targum of Onlcelos. - xxviii. 18-22, xxxv. 14. 

3 So Uillmann. * Ebhen, Cur, Ps. xviii. 31, &c. 



GENESIS 49. 27-29. JP 403 

They shall be on the head of Joseph, 

And on the crown of the head of him that was 

separate from his brethren. 

Benjamin is a wolf that ravineth : 27 

In the morning he shall devour the prey, 
And at even he shall divide the spoil. 

[Pj All these are the twelve tribes of Israel : and this is 28 
it that their father spake unto them and blessed them ; 
every one according to his blessing he blessed them. 
And he charged them, and said unto them, I am to be 29 

Cf. Dcut. xxxiii. 15 : 

And for the chief things of the ancient mountains, 
And for the precious things of the everlasting hills. 

that was separate from his brethren. The words from 
on the head of Joseph to the end of the verse are also found in 
Deut. xxxiii. 16. The R. V. text, separate from his brethren, 
suggests the experience of Joseph in Egypt; but the words do 
not do justice to the original. The Hebrew word rendered 
separate is nasir, which usually means Nazirite, so the word 
here is interpreted consecrated, devoted, as chief or champion ; 
so R. V. marg., prince among his brethren. As the cognate 
noun nezer means crown, nasir has even been understood as 
crowned, which would at once give the sense of prince, or 
king. In Lam. iv. 7, R. V. text translates nasir noble, but 
gives Nazirite in the margin. The reference here may be to 
the Northern Kingdom, or to Joseph s leadership of the northern 
tribes in the period of the judges. 
27. Benjamin. Cf. xxxv. 18. 

wolf, &c. : referring to the warlike character of the tribe. 

xlix. 28 1. 14. DEATH AND BURIAL OF JACOB (J, E, and P). 

xlix. 28-33*, cl (P)- Jacob dies, after charging his sons to bury 
him at Machpelah. 

xlix. 33 bl , 1. i-n, 14 (J). Jacob dies. Joseph mourns him; 
has him embalmed ; and buries him in Eastern Palestine. 

1. 12, 13 (P). Jacob s sons bury him at Machpelah. 

23. A note on the previous poem by an editor. 

29, 3O. Cf. xlvii. 29-31, xxiii. 19. 

1 33 b = he gathered up ... bed." 
D d 2 



404 GENESIS 49. 3 o 50. 3 . PJPJ 

gathered unto my people : bury me with my fathers in 

30 the cave that is in the field of Ephron the Hittite, in the 
cave that is in the field of Machpelah, which is before 
Mamre, in the land of Canaan, which Abraham bought 
with the field from Ephron the Hittite for a possession of 

31 a buryingplace : there they buried Abraham and Sarah 
his wife ; there they buried Isaac and Rebekah his wife ; 

32 and there I buried Leah : the field and the cave that is 
therein, which was purchased from the children of Heth. 

33 And when Jacob made an end of charging his sons, 
[J] he gathered up his feet into the bed, [P] and 
yielded up the ghost, and was gathered unto his people. 

50 [J] And Joseph fell upon his father s face, and wept 

2 upon him, and kissed him. And Joseph commanded his 
servants the physicians to embalm his father : and the 

3 physicians embalmed Israel. And forty days were 
fulfilled for him ; for so are fulfilled the days of embalm 
ing : and the Egyptians wept for him threescore and ten 
days. 

31. It is not stated elsewhere that Isaac, Rebekah, and Leah 
were buried at Machpelah. 

32. The construction is awkward, probably some mistake has 
been made in copying the text ; we might perhaps read. the field. 
&c., were purchased l ; or else regard the verse as an editorial 
addition. 

33 b (J). gathered up his feet: i. e. lay down ; he had been 
sitting up. 

33 c (P). and yielded up the ghost. The Hebrew is a single 
word, simply expired. 

1. 2. the physicians embalmed Israel: i. c. made the corpse 
into a mummy. The embahners were a professional class ; there 
were also professional doctors, often priests. We read of doctors 
attached to the royal household, so that Joseph would have his 
physicians. It is doubtful whether it was according to Egyptian 
usage for household physicians to embalm. 

3. forty days . . . embalming. Similar statements are made 

1 Ball. 



GENESIS 50. 4-10. J 405 

And when the days of weeping for him were past, 4 
Joseph spake unto the house of Pharaoh, saying, If now 
I have found grace in your eyes, speak, I pray you, in 
the ears of Pharaoh, saying, My father made me swear, 5 
saying, Lo, I die : in my grave which I have digged for 
me in the land of Canaan, there shalt thou bury me. 
Now therefore let me go up, I pray thee, and bury my 
father, and I will come again. And Pharaoh said, Go 6 
up, and bury thy father, according as he made thee swear. 
And Joseph went up to bury his father : and with him 7 
went up all the servants of Pharaoh, the elders of his 
house, and all the elders of the land of Egypt, and all 8 
the house of Joseph, and his brethren, and his father s 
house : only their little ones, and their flocks, and their 
herds, they left in the land of Goshen. And there went 9 
up with him both chariots and horsemen : and it was a 
very great company. And they came to the threshing- 10 
floor of Atad, which is beyond Jordan, and there they 

by Greek writers. Maspero speaks of remains of a dead man 
plunged into the bath of liquid natron, in which they must soak 
for seventy days 1 ; but gives no authority. 

threescore and ten days, including the period of embalming. 
In Israel the period was sometimes thirty days 3 ; but the em 
balming and other funeral ceremonies of the Egyptians required 
a longer period. 

5. have digged: R. V. marg., less probably, bought. 
7-9. The Egyptian tombs depict magnificent funeral processions 
of kings and great officials. 

1O. the threshing-floor of Atad : or Goren-atad, the thresh 
ing-floor of the Thornbush ; the site is unknown, and the name 
found nowhere else. 

beyond Jordan : east of Jordan. It is not clear that Goren- 
atad is the place of burial. It has been suggested that Joseph 
halted to make lamentation, i. e. have a second funeral service, as 
soon as he reached the borders of the Promised Land; but it is more 
natural to think that the final ceremony was performed in the 

1 Ancient Egypt, &c., p. 126. 

2 Num. xx. 29, Aaron; Deut. xxxiv. 8, Moses. 



406 GENESIS 50. 11-14. JPJ 

lamented with a very great and sore lamentation : and he 

11 made a mourning for his father seven days. And when 
the inhabitants of the land, the Canaanites, saw the 
mourning in the floor of Atad, they said, This is a griev 
ous mourning to the Egyptians : wherefore the name of 
it was called Abel-mizraim, which is beyond Jordan. [P] 

12 And his sons did unto him according as he commanded 

13 them : for his sons carried him into the land of Canaan, 
and buried him in the cave of the field of Machpelah, 
which Abraham bought with the field, for a possession of 
a buryingplace, of Ephron the Hittite, before Mamre. 

14 [J] And Joseph returned into Egypt, he, and his 
brethren, and all that went up with him to bury his 

neighbourhood of the tomb. If so, this verse, J, preserves 
a different tradition from that given in verse 13, P. It is doubtful, 
however, whether J regarded Eastern Palestine as Canaan. 
Possibly beyond Jordan in verses 10 and n is an addition by 
an editor, who sought to avoid all appearance of inconsistency 
with verse 13, by suggesting that this was a place of mourning 
quite distinct from the tomb. There is no other trace of any tra 
dition that Jacob was buried east of the Jordan. 

seven days : the ordinary period of lamentation in Israel *. 

11. mourning: R. V. marg., < Heb. cbel." 1 

Abel-mizraim = the meadow of Egypt, or more probably, 
of the Egyptians. 

13 (P). Cf. xlix. 29-31 (P). 

1. 15-26. THE LAST DAYS OF JOSEPH (E). 

1. 15-21. Joseph promises to continue his kindness to his 
brethren. 

1. 22-26. Joseph adopts Machir, the son of Manasseh. Joseph 
dies at the age of no (? P\ and is embalmed, having made the 
Israelites promise to take his remains with them to Canaan. 

Sources, &.c. According to some critics, there are fragments of 
J embedded in this section ; and the statements as to Joseph s age 
are from P. 

1 i Sam. xxxi. 13 (Saul and Jonathan). 



GENESIS 50. 15-23. J E 407 

father, after he had buried his father. [E] And when 15 
Joseph s brethren saw that their father was dead, they 
said, It may be that Joseph will hate us, and will fully 
requite us all the evil which we did unto him. And 16 
they sent a message unto Joseph, saying, Thy father did 
command before he died, saying, So shall ye say unto 17 
Joseph, Forgive, I pray thee now, the transgression of 
thy brethren, and their sin, for that they did unto thee 
evil : and now, we pray thee, forgive the transgression of 
the servants of the God of thy father. And Joseph wept 
when they spake unto him. And his brethren also went 18 
and fell down before his face ; and they said, Behold, we 
be thy servants. And Joseph said unto them, Fear not : 19 
for am I in the place of God ? And as for you, ye meant ao 
evil against me ; but God meant it for good, to bring to 
pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive. Now 21 
therefore fear ye not : I will nourish you, and your little 
ones. And he comforted them, and spake kindly unto 
them. 

And Joseph dwelt in Egypt, he, and his father s house : 22 
and Joseph lived an hundred and ten years. And 23 
Joseph saw Ephraim s children of the third generation : 
the children also of Machir the son of Manasseh were 

21. kindly : R. V. marg., Heb. to their heart. 

22. 26. an hundred and ten years. Analogy would suggest 
that this statement is from P, but the Elohistic Document, which 
was specially interested in Joseph, may have stated his age. 

23. the children . . . of Machir . . . were born upon Joseph s 
knees : i. e. Joseph adopted them. In the Song of Deborah/ 
Judges v. 14, Machir appears as a tribe instead of Manasseh. What 
with Jacob s adoption of Joseph s sons, and Joseph s adoption of 
his own great-grandchildren, the situation is a little complicated. 
Moreover, the accepted Hebrew text means strictly Ephraim s 
descendants as far as great-great-grandchildren/ i. e. of Joseph, 
but the Samaritan-Hebrew text and most Versions have of the 
third generation, as R. V. Again, the Samaritan-Hebrew text 



408 GENESIS 50. 24-26. E 

24 born upon Joseph s knees. And Joseph said unto his 
brethren, I die : but God will surely visit you, and bring 
you up out of this land unto the land which he sware to 

25 Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob. And Joseph took an 
oath of the children of Israel, saying, God will surely 
visit you, and ye shall carry up my bones from hence. 

26 So Joseph died, being an hundred and ten years old : 
and they embalmed him, and he was put in a coffin in 
Egypt. 

has in the days of, instead of on the knees of; and this is 
accepted by many scholars. 

25. Cf. Exod. xiii. 19 ; Joshua xxiv. 32. 

26. Cf. verses 2, 3. 

APPENDIX. 
THEORY OF THE MOSAIC AUTHORSHIP or THE PENTATEUCH. 

The theory that Moses wrote the whole, or even almost the 
whole, of the Pentateuch as it now stands in the extant MSS. of 
the Hebrew text is untenable, because there is no evidence worth 
considering in its favour, and overwhelming evidence against it. 
The Bible never states that Moses wrote the whole of the 
Pentateuch ; and certainly our Lord never staked His authority on 
any such statement 1 . On the face of it, a book which describes 
the death of Moses was not intended to be received as written by 
Moses. On the other hand, the denial that Moses wrote the 
account of his own death implies no disrespect to the authority of 
our Lord ; and we are equally at liberty to assert that there are 
other portions of the Pentateuch which were not written by Moses. 

1 See the present writer s articles on this subject in the Expositor, 
1902, The New Testament and Jewish Literature. 



INDEX 



[The Numerals refer to tlie Pages. ] 



A( = P), 37, 4 i(LXXMS.). 

Abel, 115. 

Abimelech, 226 

Abraham, 3 ff., 49, 209. 

Abram, 172. 

Accad, 163. 

Almighty, 208. 

Amalekites, 191. 

Amarna Tablets, 17, 71. 

Ammon, 9, 225. 

Amorite, 165. 

Amraphel, 17 f., 49, 187. 

Anachronisms, Specimens of, 

i77ff., 182, 193, 267. 
Analysis, 45. 

Tables of, 52 ff. 
Angels, 133. 309. 
Angel of Yah well, 205. 
Anthropomorphism, 22, 100 ff. 
Ararat, 147. 

Arioch, 187. 
Assyria, 8, 162 ff. 

B ( = E),32, 41 (LXX MS.;. 
Babel, Babylon. 8, 170. 
Babylonian Sources, 16. 

Account of the Creation, 67. 
Flood, 135. 

Baethgen, 122 f. 
Beer-sheba, 20, 233. 
Berosus, 67. 
Bcth-el, 4, 20, 177, 281. 
Blessing of Noah, 20, 156 f. 

Isaac, 20, 2760". 

Jacob, 20, 393 ff. 

Blood, 153. 
Blood-revenge, 119. 
Book of Jashar, 21. 
Origins, 37. 



Book of the Four Covenants, 37. 
Wars of Yahweh, ai. 

C( = J), 24. 

Cain, 114. 

Came to pass that, 115. 

Canaan, 156. 

Chapters, 44. 

Chedorlaomer, 188. 

Cherubim, 113. 

Children, Sacrifice of, 31, 237. 

Christ, Preparation for. 7,24.35. 

Chronology, 35 f., 126 f.. 136, 

144. 

Circumcision, 210. 
Clean and Unclean Foods, 142. 
Composition of Genesis, 9. 
Concubines, 232, 243. 
Contents of Documents, 55. 
Cosmology, Semitic, 49, 66 ff. 

Illustration of, 66. 
Coupled Synon3 ms, 84, 118, 

235- 

Covenants, 141, 201, 210. 
Creation, 4 f., iof., 18, 35, 67. 
Cubit, 139!. 
Cush, 161 f. 

D, 10, 13. 
Damascius, 68. 
Davidson, 195. 
Davis, 63. 
Delitzsch, Fried., 19. 

Franz, 63. 
Deuteronomy, 10, 13. 
Dillmann, 63. 

Divine Names, 22, 31, 36, 45, 

90 ff., 197, 208. 
Divination, 371. 



4io 



GENESIS 



Doughty, 319. 
Dreams, 31. 
Driver, 88. 

E (Elohistic Document), 10, 

T 3, 30, 5 2 - 
Early Rising, 222. 
Eden, 94. 

Edom, 4, 9, 263 ff., 277 ff. 
Egypt, 8, 161. 
Egyptian Sources, 19. 

Versions, 41. 

Views of Creation, 72. 
Elohim, 36, 45, 92. 
Elohist, 37. 

Elohistic Document, see E. 
Elyonj 197. 
Enoch, 130. 
Erman, 72, 180, 347. 
Esau, 263. 
Etymologies, 22. 
Eve, in. 

Fall, 4, 102. 

Flood, 4, ii, i3, 135. 

Genealogies, 37, 124. 
Generations, 37, 88. 
Genesis, Analysis, 45. 

Composition, 9. 

Historical Circumstances, 7. 

Interpretation, 47. 

Message, 3. 

Sources, 16. 

Transmission of Text, 40. 

xiv, 49, 185. 
German Emperor, 19. 
Gilead, 20, 306. 
God, see Elohim. 

Doctrine of, 4, 22 ff.. 31. 

in History, 4. 

Fellowship with, 6, 24. 

Names of, see Divine Names. 
Goshen, 375. 

Grave, see Sheol. 
Gntitdschrift, 37. 
Gunk el, 63. 



Hagar, 5, 204. 
Ham, 132, 156 ff. 
Hammurabi, 17 f., 49, 187. 
Hebrew, 186. 
Hebron, 20, 185. 
Hexateuch, 9. 

Oxford, 63. 
Historical Element, 48 ff. 
History, Ordinary, 47, 49. 

Religious meaning, 5. 

Tribal, 4^, 49. 

Typical, 48. 
Horses, 386 f. 
Hyksos, 354. 

Incarnation, see Christ. 
Inconsistent Statements, Speci 
mens of, 10,23 1,27 1,336, 360. 
Interpretation, 47. 
Isaac, 20, 211. 
Ishmael, 4, 206. 
Israel, 4, 314. 

J (Jehovistic or Primitive 
Document), 10, 22, 52. 

Characteristics, 22. 

Names and Symbols, 24. 

Contents, 24. 

JE (Twofold Document), 13,52. 

Jacob, 3 ff., 20, 49. 

Jacobs, 265. 

Japheth, 132. 156 ff. 

Jastrow, 88. 

Jehovah, see Yahweh. 

Jensen, 63. 

Jerusalem, 20. 

Joseph, 3, 19, 49, 295, 334. 

Joshua, 21. 

Josiah, 13, 23. 

Kingdom, 9. 
Kittel, 173. 

Laban, 251. 
Lamech, 20, 132. 
Latin Versions, 4 1 ff. 



INDEX 



411 



Law, 9, 15. 

Leah, 288. 

Literature, 63. 

Longevity of Patriarchs, 128. 

Lot. 173. 

LXX, see Septuagint. 

Lyrics, 20. 

Maffebas, see Sacred Pillars. 
Mamre, 20, 184. 
Marriage, 101. 

Massoretic Hebrew Text, 44. 
Melchizedek, 194. 
Mesopotamia, 249. 
Message of Genesis, 3. 
Messianic Passages, 109, 397. 
Methuselah, 131. 
Midian. 258. 
Moab, 9, 224. 
Moriah, 237. 

Mosaic Authorship of Penta 
teuch, Theory of, 15 f., 408. 
Moses, 31. 
Most High, 197. 
Mourning, 405 f. 
Miiller, 177. 
Muff, 304. 

Names of God, see Divine 
Names. 

Etymology of, see Etymo 
logies. 

Nimrod, 163. 
Noah, 20. 132. 
Nomads, 8, 21. 

Ophir, 167. 

P (Priestly Document), 10, 13, 
34, 52. 

Characteristics, 34. 

Contents, 37. 

Names and Symbols, 37. 
Paddan-aram, 262. 
Paradise, 95. 
Paronomasia, 22. 
Patriarchs, 4, 289 ff. . 326. 



Pentateuch, 9. 

Division of, 13. 

Persia, 18. 

Pharaoh, 179. 

Philistines, 267. 

Pillars, see Sacred Pillars. 

Place, 176. 

Plummer, 222. 

Polygamy, 121. 

Potiphar, 341. 

Priestly Document (or Code\ 

see P. 

Primitive Document, see J. 
Primogeniture, 232, 265. 
Prophet, 227. 
Prophetic Documents, 24, 32. 



Q( = 



37- 



R (Editorial Additions or Com 

pilations), 52. 
Rachel, 287. 
Rainbow, 134. 
Rebekah, 243. 
Repetitions, 10, 135. 
Revelation, 5. 

Progressive, 7, 35. 

and Science, 72. 

Sabbath, 88. 

Sacred Pillarsor Stones, 31, 282. 

Trees, 22 f., 103, 177. 
Wells, 207, 233. 

Sacrifice, 115. 

of Children, 31. 
Samaritan-Hebrew Text of 

Pentateuch, 42. 
Sanchoniathon, 68. 
Sanctuaries, Stones from, 19 fi. 
Sarah, Sarai, 173, 210. 
Satan, see Serpent. 
Sayce, 72, 96. 

Science, Revelation, &c., 72. 
Septuagint, 41. 
Serpent, 103 f. 
Shaddai, 208. 
Shechem, 20, 176. 



412 



GENESIS 



Shekel, 228, 246. 

Shem, 132, 156 f. 

Sheol, 340. 

Shiloh (! Shelah), 397. 

Smith, W. Robertson, 95, 101, 

142. 

Sodom, 215. 
Sons of God, 5, 133. 
Soul (self), 179. 
Spurrell, 63, 157. 
Sykes, 215. 
Symbols, Table of, 52. 
Synonyms, 84. 
Syria, 8. 
Syriac Version, 41. 

Targum, 397. 

Teraphim, 302. 

Text, 40. 

Threefold Document, 13. 

Tidal, 188. 

Tithes, 197, 281. 

Title, 44. 



Torah, 9. 
Totems, 287 ff. 
Traditions, 6f., 12, 36, 45 f. 
Transmission of Genesis, 40. 
Trees, Sacred, 22 f., 103. 
Twelve (number), 211, 243,326. 
Twofold Document, see JE. 
Typical Narratives, 48. 

Unclean Food, 142. 
Ur of the Chaldees, 173. 

Verses, 44. 
Versions, 40 f. 
Vulgate, 44. 

Wells, Sacred, 207. 233. 
Westcott, 195. 
Winckler, 174. 
World of Ancient Israel, 7. 

Yahweh, 19, 22 ff., 31, 36, 45, 
90 ff. 



OXFORD: HORACE HART 
PKIXTKR TO THE UNIVERSITY