Chapter 10 is mostly just another montage “family tree” chapter, listing the sons of the sons of the sons, etc. So because of its brevity, I decided to have a bit of fun. There’s a whole bushel of interesting names here, some of which I’ve highlighted below. I’m not making any of these up.
The post-flood reset of the Earth, as I discussed before, is heavy on allusions to the first time God created humans. This time, God seems to give humans more responsibility for their own actions, though he does impart a few rules. I’m imagining God like the parent of a reluctant teenager: “Okay, this is Earth 2.0, and I’m not starting over again. I’ll still intervene, but you all have to step up and take more responsibility around here.” We’ll see how well that works out.
Author’s Note: I decided to combine these chapters because they are part of the same story, and otherwise Chapter 7’s post would have been very short.
Perhaps not coincidentally, Genesis 7 shows the first indications of the importance of the number seven. The “clean beasts” and “fowls” are brought into the ark “by sevens,” as instructed by God, and it was “after seven days” that the floodwaters came upon the earth (7:8-10).
The number seven, of course, is already significant because that’s how many days it took for God to create the earth plus one day of rest. This motif of a single number is a classic literary technique, and I’m sure it’s why seven has been and still is an important number in Western culture. (Harry Potter, anyone?)
Remember earlier when I said that, since God promised a harsher punishment for Adam and Eve than he actually delivered, “the child’s respect for the parent’s word of law could erode”? Well, apparently that happened.
So Seth, Eve’s son who essentially replaced Abel, seems to be the true inheritor of Adam’s legacy. Seth is first described as “in his [Adam’s] own likeness, in his image.” This, of course, parallels Adam’s relationship to God, making Seth the most God-like of Adam’s sons. This cyclical relationship—and the whole chapter—reinforces the theme of lineage and paternalism, and that passing on one’s likeness is of critical importance. Otherwise, you break the seemingly-infinite chain that eventually leads back to God. So yeah, it’s not just a cliché: according to the Bible, we are all literally children of God (if you go back far enough).
This chapter includes another classic story: Cain and Abel. Cain’s story not only parallels his own parents’ casting out of Eden, but begins the solidification of God’s teachings, besides “do what I say or else.” At the same time, though, this chapter introduces how God’s teachings could be manipulated to serve one’s own selfish interests—a warning, perhaps.
Author’s Note: After writing what is now Part One, I still had more to say. However, it looked pretty “tied up,” so I decided to break my own rule of one post per chapter. (It may not be the last time, but I’ll try to do it sparingly.)
So I’m only three chapters in and I’m already mad at this book. That didn’t take long.
As one of the most famous chapters in the Bible—Adam and Eve eat fruit from tree of knowledge and get cast out of Eden—I know I have more biases and prior knowledge here than other chapters. But in looking closely at the text itself, rather than a fable-ized version, I found both surprises and interesting parallels.