In this chapter we get another turning point in the story of Abram. Having presumably passed all of God’s tests, Abram gets a little bit added to his name, and little bit taken off of his — well, you’ll see.
Author’s Note: From this point forward, I will cite textual evidence by verse number only for convenience’s sake, since the book and chapter is already listed in the title. However, I will include both the chapter and verse if a post includes more than one chapter (like this one).
Chapter 13 wastes no time in telling us that, by the time he got out of Egypt, “Abram was very rich in cattle, in silver, and in gold” (13:2). Great, he really is a carpetbagger. Even so, Abram comes off pretty good in these chapters.
Though he continues to head south (13:3), Abram is metaphorically entering the Wild West, with wide open lands apparently ripe for the taking. But he soon learns, as The Notorious B.I.G. famously stated, “mo’ money, mo’ problems” —
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.
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?)
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.
This first chapter oversees the creation of many binaries—heaven and earth, light and darkness, morning and evening, moon and sun, etc. There is an overarching sense of progressive division—one becomes two. Even so, with the creation of division comes the creation of binaries, and we all know the problem with binaries. (They are sometimes arbitrary, and one side always ends up being the “better” one.)