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Closing Words

At first glance, it looks like the Book of Genesis consists of two completely different parts that have little to do with each other:

once of the prehistory (1 – 11), which has as its theme the history of all mankind, then the fathers’ stories (12 – 59), which deals with the beginnings of the history of the people of Israel.

Only on closer examination one recognizes how closely both parts are related to each other: While the prehistory shows the ever-increasing alienation between God and man, the stories of the fathers tell of the abundant blessing for

Abraham, who unfolds more and more in the course of history with his promises of descendants and settledness. The great complex of the stories of the fathers is actually nothing else than the singularly failed blessing of Yahweh after the confusion of language.

Thus, the entire book of Genesis is also determined by the increase of sin, but then also by the increase of blessing.

Interspersed are the תולדות (toledoth: genealogies) beginning with Gen. 4 and 5 and then continuing in the fragments that have come down to us in chapters 10; 11; 22; 25; 36 and 46. Delitzsch allows himself the nice linguistic device of having the toledoth begin as early as Gen. 1, calling the creation stories the “toledoth of heaven and earth.”

With the last word of Genesis, “Egypt”, the bracket to the Exodus and the Sinai revelation is given at the same time.

Quite other obvious, but sometimes also hidden brackets exist in the New Testament. The prophecies to be interpreted messianically were discussed in each case at their place. Perhaps the most beautiful parenthesis between Genesis and NT: The beginning of the

John’s Gospel quotes with the Greek (engl.: in the beginning) nothing else than the first word of the Hebrew Bible בראשית (bereshit). Thus the evangelist John brings for the attentive reader, so to speak, the third version of the creation story. There, however, it is no longer about the light of the “lamps” (1, 14), but about the “true light” (Jn. 1, 9). Thus, finally, the promises of the Abrahamic blessing are ultimately fulfilled in Jesus Christ.