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.



Abraham is 100 years old. It has been twenty-five years since God first promised him an offspring, but he and Sarah have borne no children. Something has to give.

It does. The Lord is gracious, and Sarah becomes pregnant. At 100 years of age, Abraham becomes the father of Isaac. When Isaac is weaned, Abraham throws a great feast. This provides an occasion for Ishmael to mock Isaac, which infuriates Sarah. She insists that Abraham send Ishmael and his mother away. This is crushing to Abraham because Ishmael is also Abraham’s son, but only through Sarah’s handmaiden. God tells Abraham to send Ishmael away, and God will not only make sure he survives, but also become the start of a great nation.

Genesis 22 is one of the most crucial chapters in the Bible. It tells the story of God testing Abraham by commanding him to sacrifice his only son, Isaac, to God. Abraham obeys God, takes Isaac to Mount Moriah, places him on an altar. As he brings the knife to Isaac, his hand is stayed by an angel, and Isaac is saved. They spot a ram caught in a nearby thicket and sacrifice it instead.

That story raises a long list of questions. Did God really want Abraham to make a human sacrifice? How could Abraham have enough faith to sacrifice Isaac, when it was the son through whom God was going to fulfill so many promises? How could Isaac have enough faith in his father to willingly lay on the altar? How much does this story foreshadow the story of Jesus’ death on the cross?

Primary Scriptures:
Genesis 21-23
Story Summary:
Birth of Isaac; Ishmael sent away; Isaac becomes a sacrifice
Abraham’s birth is probably 2200 – 2000 BC