Genesis & Job

An ancient African proverb imparts wisdom about tackling huge projects: “How does one person eat a whole elephant? One bite at a time.” The Genesis & Job Series is the first bite of Eyewitness Bible Series in tackling the Old Testament.

The most casual reader soon recognizes the majority of the writings of the Old Testament have to do with the history of the Israelites (also known as Hebrews or Jews). Embedded in the Old Testament is a wealth of knowledge about God and his character, books of poetry and proverbs, and a host of prophecies.

In Bibles used by most Protestant Christians, the Old Testament consists of 39 writings, called books. The Eyewitness Bible Series groups these books into three different series:

  • Genesis & Job: Genesis describes the creation of Earth, gives the history of all mankind, and describes a brief history of the Israelite nation from its beginning until it moves to Egypt. All of Genesis is saturated with knowledge about God, his power, and his relationship with mankind. Job is a story of an ancient man, his struggles, and his dealings with God. Although nothing is absolutely clear concerning the time period of his life, it seems as if Job lived in the time before the Israelite nation existed.
  • Promised Land: Covers the time period from the Israelites being slaves in Egypt, their exodus to Canaan, and the conquering of Canaan. This series includes the Old Testament books of Exodus to Judges.
  • Prophets and Kings: Covers the time period from the first prophet and king until the last prophet. It describes the initial occupation of Canaan, the destruction of the Northern Kingdom, the exile of the Southern kingdom, and the return to Judah. With the exception of Job, this includes the Old Testament books of Ruthto Malachi.


Substitute Love

The story of Joseph is one that stresses God’s foreknowledge and control. God knew about the time of plenty and the time of famine before they happened. God knew how to make Joseph’s slavery contribute to the redemption of his country and family. God knew how long the Hebrews would be in Egypt and he knew how they were going to leave.

God knew the family of Israel, located in Canaan, would have to go to Egypt to get grain if they were to avoid starvation. You can imagine God smiling when he thought about the surprises awaiting the ten brothers when they arrived.

The Bible says the brothers did not recognize Joseph. That is probably a bit of an understatement. Granted, it had been about twenty years since they had seen him, but that is only part of it. Joseph was probably wearing heavy makeup, had his hair in the Egyptian style, and wearing elaborate Egyptian clothes and a headdress. He looked like an Egyptian, talked like and Egyptian, and probably even walked like an Egyptian. Besides, they probably thought Joseph was dead.

In Joseph’s interactions with his brothers, it is hard not to perceive that he punished them for their past actions, almost to point of being a little sadistic. He toyed with them, and with their father, over a pretty long period of time. When he finally revealed himself to his brothers, he made sure to give God the credit for all that had happened. In a little foreshadowing of Jesus, Joseph tells them that God sent him to save their lives by a great deliverance.

Primary Scriptures:
Genesis 42-50
Story Summary:
Joseph’s brothers go to Egypt twice; all Israelites move to Egypt
Egypt, Canaan
Joseph’s birth is probably 1900-1700 BC