God makes Adam and Eve and everything

An EasyEnglish Bible Version and Commentary (2800 word vocabulary) on Genesis chapters 1-11

www.easyenglish.info

Marie Wetherill and Keith Simons

This commentary has been through Advanced Checking.

Words in boxes are from the Bible.

A word list at the end explains words with a *star by them.

 

About the Book of Genesis

We do not know who wrote the Book of Genesis. And we do not know when that person wrote the book. There is an ancient tradition that Moses was the author. Modern Bible students have many other ideas. But we can see that Genesis is a very old book. Even the oldest books in the Bible refer to it (for example, Exodus 3:15; Job 28:25-29).

The author was not merely collecting ancient stories. And he was not merely recording ancient history. In fact, Genesis is a very careful account, which teaches the main principles in the Bible. The author describes the nature of God. The author explains God’s plan for a perfect world. The author describes *sin and *sacrifice. He speaks about God’s promise to forgive. And, he speaks about God’s promise to send Jesus. The Bible teaches that the author was not merely setting out his own ideas. Instead, the author wrote by the Holy Spirit of God.

Chapter 1

v1 In the beginning, God created the skies and the earth. v2 The earth had no shape and it was empty. Everything was dark, and God’s Spirit moved gently over the waters.

v3 And God said, ‘Let there be light.’ And then there was light. v4 And God saw that the light was good. God separated light from darkness. v5 He named the light ‘day’ and he named the darkness ‘night’. There was evening and there was morning. That was the first day.

v6 And God said, ‘Let there be a *dome to divide the waters into two parts.’ v7 So then there was water above the *dome and there was water underneath it. It was exactly as God said. v8 God called the *dome ‘the sky’. And there was evening and there was morning. That was the second day.

v9 And God said, ‘Let the waters underneath the sky come together into one place. Let dry land appear.’ And it was so. v10 God called the dry land ‘earth’. And he called the waters that came together ‘seas’. And God saw that all those things were good. v11 And God said, ‘Let grass grow on the earth. Let plants grow there that have grain and seeds. And let trees grow there. They will be trees with fruits that have seeds. So then more grass and plants and trees will grow. Each one will be the same kind as the first one that it came from.’ And it was so. v12 Grass grew on the earth. Plants grew there that had grain and seeds. And trees grew there. They had fruits with seeds in them. Then more grass, plants and trees would grow like the first ones. And God saw that all those things were good. v13 And there was evening and there was morning. That was the third day.

v14 And God said, ‘Let there be lights in the sky in order to separate day from night. They will show clearly the seasons in the year. And they will show clearly when there must be special meetings. v15 And let them be lights in the *dome that is called the sky. They will be there to give light to earth.’ And it was so. v16 And God made two great lights. The larger light ruled the day, and the smaller light ruled the night. God made the stars too. v17 God put them in the sky in order to give light to the earth. v18 He put them there to rule over the day and night. He put them there to separate light from darkness. God saw that all those things were good. v19 And there was evening and there was morning. That was the fourth day.

v20 And God said, ‘Let very big groups of *creatures live everywhere in the waters. And let birds fly in the sky above the earth.’ v21 So God created large *creatures that live in the sea. And he created all the different *creatures that move everywhere in the seas. He also created all the birds that fly in the sky. God saw that all those things were good. v22 God *blessed them. And he said, ‘Have big families and grow in number. So then you will live everywhere in the seas. And you will fly everywhere in the skies.’ v23 There was evening and there was morning. That was the fifth day.

v24 And God said, ‘Let every kind of *creature grow upon the earth. That is, every kind that lives. That includes *cattle. It includes *creatures that crawl. And it includes all kinds of wild animals.’ And it was so. v25 God made all kinds of wild animals on the earth. He made all kinds of *cattle. And he made all kinds of *creatures that crawl. And God saw that all those things were good.

v26 Then God said, ‘Let us make people as an image that is like ourselves. Let people rule over the fish that are in the sea. Let them rule over the birds that fly in the air. Let them rule over the *cattle and wild animals on the earth. And let them rule over the *creatures that crawl.’

v27 So God created people so that they were like himself. He created people as his image. He created them as man and woman.

v28 God *blessed the people. And he said, ‘Have a large family and produce many *descendants. Live everywhere on the earth and rule over it. Rule over the fish that are in the sea. Rule over the birds that fly in the air. And rule over all *creatures that live on the earth.’

v29 God said, ‘Look! I have given to you every plant that has seeds. And I have given to you every tree that has seeds in its fruit. They are your food. v30 I have given all the green plants as food for the earth’s animals. They are also for the birds that fly in the air. And they are for every *creature that lives on the earth.’ And it was so.

v31 God saw everything that he had made. And it was really very good. There was evening and there was morning. That was the sixth day.

Chapter 1 describes how God created a perfect world. Everything that God made was perfect. God examined his own work. And he saw that it was good.

God made things that are both beautiful and complex. The body of an animal or man has a very complex structure. Even today, people cannot make machines that are so complex as an animal’s body.

But God did not merely make these things from nothing. He caused them to live. This is very wonderful.

God did not work by accident or chance. He had complete control over everything. We can see this because of his control over time. God created the sun so that it would appear at the right time each day. He created the seasons of the year. He arranged the movements of the moon and stars in the sky at night. These things do not happen by chance. They all happen at the right time because this is God’s plan.

God still has a perfect time for things to happen. Jesus was born at the right time (Matthew 1:17; Galatians 4:4). And Jesus will return at the right time (Matthew 24:36). God, our Father, has decided these things. And he still has a perfect plan (Ephesians 1:9-12).

God is perfect. God did not create the world so that there would be wars, cruelty or evil behaviour. He wanted men and women to be his friends. So, he gave them a perfect world. And he provided plants as their food. God was generous and kind. And God’s attitudes have never changed (Hebrews 13:8). But, as we shall see in chapter 3, men and women were not loyal to God. This is the reason for the troubles in this world. God never wanted people to suffer.

Notes on the verses

Verse 1 ‘In the beginning’. The *Hebrew word for ‘beginning’ here is also the *Hebrew title of this book. The usual English title, Genesis, is from a Greek word for ‘beginning’. (Greek is the language that the people in Greece speak. And the New Testament writers wrote in Greek.)

‘God’. God has always existed. And he will exist always. There has never been a time before God. And there will never be a time after God. The *Hebrew word here for God is ‘Elohim’, which is plural. But the *Hebrew word for ‘created’ means that only one person did it. This is because there is one God. The Bible says that he is God the Father, God the Son (Jesus), and the Holy Spirit. So Christians sometimes call him ‘the Trinity’ – in other words, ‘three in one’. God plans things and he speaks. But he is not an ordinary person like us. He is the only real God. This entire book called Genesis is about God. (Look at John 1:1-10.)

God ‘created’. The *Hebrew word here for ‘create’ means to make something from nothing. Only God makes something from nothing. The writer uses that word in verse 1, and he uses it in verses 21 and 27 also.

‘The skies and the earth’. That means everything. The writer reminds us about it in Genesis 2:1, 4.

Verse 2 The earth had ‘no shape’ and it was ‘empty’. Until God works, there is only confusion. There is no plan and so there is no system.

‘Everything was dark’. This is like a description or picture for us. It shows what it is like to live without God.

God’s Spirit ‘moved gently’ over the waters. Some birds can hover. It means that they are staying in the same place in the air. But still they are moving their wings. God’s Spirit also did this, like a bird that is looking after its young birds. That was because God cares about his *creation. And so he wants to protect it.

‘The waters’. We are not sure what that means. It might also mean dark gases. It might mean a ‘cloud that consists of darkness’. Or it might mean darkness and waters. The older English texts say ‘the face of the deep’, which means the surface of the sea.

Verse 3 ‘God said’. The words that God speaks are powerful. So when God ordered something to happen, that thing happened immediately.

Let there be ‘light’. We need light in order to live. And when we have light, we can see. We can see what God creates. Light is also like a description or picture for us. It shows what real life with God is like. And it shows what God’s *blessing is like. Also, what it is like when someone is good and holy. God made the light in order to show us his character. Darkness is also like a description or picture. It shows what *sin and death are like.

Verse 4 ‘Good’. Everything that God does is good. That includes every part of his work. It does not only mean the complete work.

Verse 5 ‘The first day’. We do not know how long a day was. The *Jews’ day started at sunset. And the first day consisted of evening and morning. So probably it was like our day. But in the Bible, the word ‘day’ can also mean something special that happens. It means that in the phrase: ‘the day of the *Lord’. It also means that in the phrase: ‘the day of judgement’. (Judgement means when God will punish people for their *sin.)

He ‘named’ the light. When a person gave a name to something, that action often had this special meaning. It meant that the person ruled over that thing.

Verse 8 ‘Sky’. Many Bibles say ‘*heaven’ here. But it does not mean the place where God and the *angels are.

Verse 11 ‘Plants’. These are the first things in *creation that are alive. They are the first things that grow.

Verse 14 ‘Lights’. God was forming the calendar. It included night and day. It included the moon’s movements. (That is, where it was at different times.) And it included the seasons in the year. In the *Old Testament, *religious festivals had to be at the right time each year. (Festivals are happy events that people organise because of some special reason.) Those special times in the year included the time when people harvested their crops.

The sun and moon are just parts of God’s *creation. They are not gods. The one real God rules over them. But some people used the names ‘sun’ and ‘moon’ as the names of false gods. So the writer does not use those names here, otherwise people might have been confused. People might have thought that he meant those false gods.

‘Special meetings’. The *Jews watched the sun’s and moon’s movements. From those, the *Jews worked out each year’s calendar. And from the calendar, they could see when special *religious meetings would be.

Verse 20 Very many ‘*creatures’. When God gives something, he often gives plenty of it. He is generous.

Verse 21 God ‘created’. This was a special phase in *creation. So here the writer uses the special word for ‘created’, as he did in verse 1.

Verse 22 ‘Have big families and grow in number.’ In many English Bibles, this is ‘be *fruitful and multiply’. God gives that command many times to people. It means much more than ‘have large families’. It also means ‘live at peace’. So then the families do not kill each other. They are able to farm and they can produce good harvests. It also means ‘live in a way that pleases God’. We read about that in the *New Testament too. In Galatians 5:22, the writer describes it as the ‘fruit that the Spirit produces’. That ‘fruit’ means good things that please God in our lives. God wanted his people to obey him. He promised that they would be peaceful then. They would not be ill, and they would get rich. That was very important when God’s people were very few. Today, God does not always make his people rich. When they can serve him, that is a reward in itself. And they will have a reward in *heaven too. Look at verse 28 below.

Verse 24 ‘*Creatures that crawl’. Some *creatures live both on land and in the sea. The writer may include those here. He may include insects too. And he may also include reptiles. (A reptile is an animal with hard skin and cold blood. One example is a snake.)

Verse 26 God created people to live in nature. Also, he created them to rule over nature. People are like animals in many ways. However, people are also different from animals. God made them special. God created people to be like himself. God said, ‘Let every kind of animal grow on the earth.’ But he specially ‘created’ people. People can love and they can think. They can know whether their behaviour is right or wrong. People wanted to know God and they wanted to obey him. God made people rulers over everything else that God had made. God said, ‘Let us make people’ because God consists of three persons. Those are the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. God is three persons in one God.

People as a ‘true image like ourselves’. People (the man and the woman) were the only parts of God’s *creation that were like God himself. God did not create anything else that was like himself.

Let people ‘rule’. God gave work to man. Also, God gave responsibility to him.

Verse 27 God ‘created’ people. Here the writer uses that special word again. God was kind to people. People are special to God.

Verse 29 In the beginning, it seems that people and animals did not eat meat. But later Abel (Adam’s son) looked after animals (Genesis 4:2). God did not tell people to kill animals for food until Genesis 9:2-3.

God gave the command that people should have families. He made plants and trees that have seeds. That was so that more plants and trees would grow for food. They would produce food for people and animals.

Verse 31 It was really ‘very good’. God is perfect. And everything that God made was perfect. It was exactly as he had planned.

Chapter 2

v1 So God had created the skies and the earth. And he had created the many *creatures in them. He had completed his *creation.

v2 By the seventh day, God had finished his *creation. He had finished that work that he had done. He rested on the seventh day. He rested from all the work that he had done. v3 So God *blessed the seventh day. He considered it different from the other days. He rested then from his work that he had done. He rested from his *creation. That was why he considered it different.

v4 This is the true story about how God created the earth and skies. v5 The *Lord God made the earth and the skies. There were no green plants on the earth, because the *Lord God had not yet sent rain to the earth. There were not yet any people, so nobody could work with the soil. v6 Then a mist came up from the earth, and the mist watered all the soil. v7 Then the *Lord God formed a man from dust that was on the earth. God breathed into the man’s nostrils (the holes in the nose). The breath that God breathed into him made the man live. So the man became a person, who was alive.

v8 The *Lord God planted a garden in Eden, in the east. God put the man that he had formed into that garden. v9 God made all the trees grow there that are pleasant to look at. And their fruit is good to eat. Also, in the middle of the garden, there were these two trees. There was the tree that makes people live. And there was the tree that makes people know right things and wrong things.

v10 A river flowed out of Eden and it watered the garden. The river divided there into four rivers. v11 The first river is called Pishon. It flows all through the region called Havilah. v12 There is good gold in Havilah. There is also bdellium (a kind of sticky stuff that smells good). And there is onyx (a valuable kind of stone). v13 The second river is called Gihon. It flows all through the region called Cush. v14 The third river is called the Tigris. It flows along the east side of Assyria. The fourth river is the Euphrates.

v15 The *Lord God took the man. And he put the man in the garden that was in Eden. God told the man to work with the soil in the garden. God told him to take care of the garden. v16 The *Lord God gave these orders to Adam. ‘You can eat from all the other trees in the garden. You can eat from them as much fruit as you want. v17 But you must not eat fruit from the tree that makes you know right things and wrong things. You will die on the day when you eat that fruit. That is why you must not eat it.’

v18 Then the *Lord God said, ‘It is not good for man to be alone. I will make a helper as a partner for him.’

v19 So the *Lord God had formed from dust all the animals on land. And he had formed all the birds that fly in the air. God brought the animals and birds to Adam. God wanted to see what names Adam would give to them. That was why he brought them to him. Whatever name Adam gave, that was the name for each *creature. v20 Adam gave names to all *cattle. He gave names to all the birds that fly in the air. And he gave names to all the wild animals on the earth. But none among them was a good helper that could be Adam’s partner. v21 So the *Lord God made Adam sleep deeply. While Adam slept, God took one rib out of Adam. (A rib is a bone in the top part of someone’s body.) Then God closed up the place where that bone had been. v22 The *Lord God made a woman from the rib (bone) that he had taken out of the man. Then God brought her to the man.

v23 Then the man said, ‘This, at last, is my bone and *flesh. I shall call her “woman”, because she came out of man.’ v24 Therefore a man leaves his father and mother and he joins his wife. Then the two people become one person.

v25 And the man and his wife were both naked. And they did not think that it was wrong.

Everything that God created was perfect. And everything was wonderful. But men and women had a special place in God’s plan. Firstly, God created a perfect world for the first man to live in. Then God prepared a special home for the man. This home was in a beautiful garden (or farm) that God had planted. God made the man (called Adam) from dust that was on the earth. Then God breathed his Spirit into the man, so that the man was alive (verse 7). Afterwards, God provided a wife (called Eve) for the man.

Notes on the verses

Verse 1 God completed his *creation. However, he is still working. He has not stopped. But it is different work. He now looks after all that he created.

Verse 2 God repeated that he finished his work. This means the work that he did in *creation. It must be very important for us to know this.

Verse 3 God made the seventh (7th) day special. God made us like himself. After we work for six (6) days, we need one different day. *Jews keep Saturday (the seventh day in the week) special, because of this verse. And it is also because of God’s command in Exodus 20:10. Christians keep Sunday (the first day in the week) special, because Jesus rose from death on the first day. It does not matter whether our special day is the first or seventh day in our week. It is important that we keep one day in a week different. We *worship God together on that day, if we can. We need to have a rest for one day each week to keep our bodies healthy. When we have God’s *blessings, we have duties as well. He has provided a day when we should rest. But we must make it special for God. This is like a description or picture for us. It shows to us something about Jesus. He was dying for us on the cross. That was his work. Then he said, ‘It is finished.’ He had finished that work. But now he lives in heaven to pray for us. God has promised a ‘rest’ for Christians in heaven. That rest will last always. But it does not mean that we shall do nothing there. We shall praise God and we shall serve him.

The garden in Eden, 2:4-25

Verse 4 This story seems similar to the one in chapter 1. This story in chapter 2, however, is the story about man. It is about how God made everything ready for man. The *Hebrew word for ‘true story’ means family or children. It refers back to the many *creatures in verse 1. It can mean past history. Or it can mean future history. Writers use that same word in other places in the Bible. And in those places it means future history.

Verse 7 God made the first man from dust. But God made him special. God breathed into him. God’s breath made the man alive. The same *Hebrew word for ‘breath’ means ‘spirit’ also. So God gave his Spirit to the man, so that his Spirit would live in the man. God also made the man able to breathe air. That was so that the man could live on the earth. Man’s spirit lives as well as his body. But that is not true for animals. God did not breathe his Spirit into animals. The writer says that God formed man. So, God made man as a potter forms a pot. (A potter makes pots skilfully from *clay.) That shows to us how clever God is. It shows to us that we must serve him. And we must obey him as our master. We must obey him because he created us.

Verse 8 Eden seems to be the name of a region.

Verse 12 Bdellium may be a particular kind of tree. The tree produces a sticky stuff (also called bdellium). People use that sticky stuff to make perfume. (Perfume is a liquid that smells nice.) Or the word might mean pearls. (Pearls are shiny white little balls of hard material. They are valuable. People use them to make things beautiful.) Onyx is a kind of valuable stone. We are not certain exactly what these two things are.

Verses 11-14. We do not know the Pishon River today. Nor do we know the Gihon River. However, it is important to know this. Eden was an actual place. This is all true. The rivers flowed out of the garden. They came to places outside it. And so they helped things to live there too. Water is very important in a hot area. Look at Ezekiel chapter 47.

Verse 15 God took care of Adam. And God took Adam to the garden that God had prepared for him. God gave work for Adam to do. Adam’s work was to look after the garden. A better word than ‘garden’ here might be ‘farm’ (like an African farm called a ‘shamba’). The garden was not just a pretty place with flowers and trees. But it was important for food also.

Verse 17 God gave Adam an important command. So Adam was responsible to God. As we shall see in chapter 3, Adam did not obey God’s command. In the garden, Adam had the freedom to be a friend of God. But Adam did not want this freedom. Instead, he wanted the freedom to do whatever things he wanted to do. He wanted to live his own life, without God’s friendship. So Adam chose to do evil things, although God had warned him about the results of such a decision.

‘You will die.’ Death was not part of God’s original plan for men and women. God wanted them to live always and to be his friends. But when men and women began to do evil things, the result was death. Their bodies did not die immediately. But their spirits were dead, because they were not still friends of God. And so they could not go to be with God in heaven when their bodies died.

Adam’s decision to do evil things causes death for everyone. But Christ brings life to everyone who trusts him (1 Corinthians 15:21). Our spirits become alive immediately when we trust Christ. We must confess our *sins to God and we must invite him into our lives. Then we become friends of God. And we shall have a place in heaven. Christ has defeated death, but our bodies still die (1 Corinthians 15:26). But when Christ returns, God will change us (1 Corinthians 15:51). Then Christians who have died will become alive again. And we shall always live with God.

Verse 20 God gave Adam control over everything in the garden. So, Adam chose the name for each animal and bird that was there.

God was very careful that Adam should have a good partner to be his wife.

Verse 21 God made Adam from the dust. But God made Eve from Adam’s own body. This is also like a description or picture of Christ and the church (all the real Christians everywhere). See Ephesians 5:31-32. The Bible also describes the church as ‘the bride of Christ’ and ‘the body of Christ’ (Ephesians 5:23-27). So the church is united with Christ. And the church serves Christ. But the church is also separate from Christ. Christ does not control Christians. Christians have the freedom to make their own decisions.

Verse 23 Adam was very pleased with the woman that God gave him.

Verse 24 Marriage is God’s plan for a man and a woman. Marriage should last for life. A man and his wife become a new family. They live together and they work together, under God’s rules.

Chapter 3

Adam and Eve do not obey God, 3:1-7

v1 Now the snake was the most clever among all the wild animals that the *Lord God had made. The snake said this to the woman: ‘Did God say that you can eat the fruit from all the trees in the garden?’

v2 This is how the woman answered the snake. ‘We can eat the fruit from the trees in the garden. v3 But God said, “You must not eat the fruit from a certain tree. That tree is in the middle of the garden. Do not even touch it, otherwise you will die.” ’

v4 But the snake replied to the woman, ‘You will not die. v5 But when you eat the fruit, your eyes will open. God knows that. You will be like God and you will know right things and wrong things.’

v6 So the woman saw that the fruit was good to eat. And she saw that it was lovely to look at. She also thought that it would make her wise. She then took some fruit and she ate it. She also gave some fruit to her husband and he ate it. v7 Then their eyes opened. They realised that they were naked. They sewed together leaves from a fig tree to cover themselves. (Figs are sweet fruit with many seeds.)

v8 The man and woman heard God walk in the garden in the cool evening. They hid away from God. They hid among the trees in the garden. v9 But the *Lord God called aloud to the man. God said, ‘Where are you?’

v10 The man said, ‘I heard you in the garden. And I was afraid, because I was naked. So I hid.’

v11 God said, ‘Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten the fruit that I told you not to eat?’

v12 The man replied, ‘You gave the woman to me so that she would be my partner. She gave the fruit to me and I ate.’

v13 Then the *Lord God said to the woman, ‘What have you done?’ The woman replied, ‘The snake tempted me and I ate.’

v14 The *Lord God said this to the snake: ‘Out of all the *cattle and wild animals, you are the animal that I *curse. You shall move on your stomach and you shall eat dust all your life. v15 I will make you and the woman enemies. Your *descendants and her *descendants will be enemies. The woman’s *descendant will badly hurt you, and you will hurt him a little.’

v16 God told the woman that she would have a lot of pain when she was *pregnant. And she would have a lot of pain when she had a baby. She would want her husband’s love, but he would rule over her.

v17 God told Adam, ‘You listened to what your wife said. You ate the fruit from the tree that I told you not to eat from. Now, because you have not obeyed me, the ground has a *curse. You will work hard all your life in order to get food from it.

v18 You will find thorns and thistles there. (Both are wild plants with sharp points along them.) You will eat wild plants.

v19 You will *sweat in order to grow food. That will happen until you die. And then people will bury you. I made you from the dust, and you will again be dust.’

v20 The man called his wife Eve. She would be the mother of all those that would live. That is why he gave her that name.

v21 And the *Lord God made clothes out of skin for Adam and Eve. They wore the clothes. v22 Then the *Lord God said, ‘Now, the man has become like us. He knows good things and evil things. Now, he might reach forward with his hand. Then he might pick fruit from the tree that makes people live. And then he might eat that fruit, and so he would live for always.’ v23 And so the *Lord God sent the man out of the garden that was in Eden. God sent him out for always. God had made the man out of the soil. And now God told him to work with the soil. v24 God forced the man to go out. Then God put *cherubim to guard the garden in Eden. They were at the east side of the garden. There was a sword with them and flames were coming from it. The sword moved in all directions to guard every way to the tree. That is, the tree that makes people live.

This chapter is a very important chapter because it helps us to understand the Bible’s message. Before the events in this chapter, the world was perfect. People had not *sinned. They obeyed God. And they were friends of God. Everything changed after the events in this chapter.

Satan (the devil) used a snake to test the first people (called Adam and Eve). Satan told them that they should not trust God’s words. And Satan encouraged them not to obey God.

The results of their action were terrible. They were afraid and they tried to hide from God. They could not continue their friendship with God.

But, even afterwards, God was kind to them. He killed an animal so that they could cover their bodies. And he made a promise to Eve that seems to refer to Jesus. *Sin has been a real problem for every person who has ever lived. Because of *sin, our world is not perfect. Because of *sin, we have many troubles. But Jesus came to free us from our *sins. When he died, he suffered the punishment for our *sins. We need to confess our *sins to God. And we need to invite God into our lives. Then we shall be friends of God.

Notes on the verses

Verse 1 God had made the snake. But *Satan was using it to do something against God’s command. The snake was able to talk to the woman. That shows that it was not an ordinary snake. There was only one tree whose fruit God had forbidden the woman to eat. But the snake made her want that fruit. The snake made her think that God was not speaking the truth. It made her think that God did not care about her and Adam.

Verse 3 The woman spoke as if God had given a very strict command. She said that God had ordered her and Adam, ‘Do not even touch it (the fruit).’ But God had not said that.

Verse 4 The snake then denied what God had said. The snake said, ‘You will not die.’

Verse 5 ‘Your eyes will open’. Writers in the Bible often say that. It does not mean that we cannot see things round us now. It means that we do not understand about God. The woman was greedy. She wanted the fruit and she wanted to be like God. However, God had made the woman like himself already. God had given power to her and her husband, so that they had power over everything else. The woman could have sent the snake away.

Verse 7 ‘Their eyes opened’. *Sin affects all parts of us. Adam and Eve were not actually blind before. But now they saw that they had done something wrong. In other words, they understood it with their mind. They ate the fruit with their bodies, because they were not obeying God with their mind. Then they felt ashamed because they were naked.

Adam and Eve suffer because they *sinned, 3:8-24

Verse 8 The writer described the garden very well. Before Adam and Eve ate that fruit, they had liked to meet God. But we can imagine how Adam and Eve then hid from God. However, people cannot really hide from God, although they may try!

Verse 12 Adam blamed his wife Eve. And Adam even blamed God, because God had given Eve to him!

Verse 13 Eve blamed the snake. People are afraid to say, ‘I did it. I *sinned.’

Verse 14 God punished the snake first.

Verse 15 Next, God punished *Satan, who had seemed to be like the snake. In the original *Hebrew text, God said that the woman’s ‘seed’ (*descendant) would ‘bruise *Satan’s head’. That means that Jesus would hurt *Satan badly. But *Satan’s ‘seed’ (*descendant) would only ‘hurt Jesus’ *heel’. In other words, he would annoy Jesus. But he would not hurt Jesus seriously. Here, the writer uses a different word. It means only ‘hurt in some way’. It does not have the special meaning ‘bruise’.

Verse 16 Next, God explained to the woman the results of her *sin. She would suffer pain. Even the happy time when she had a baby would cause pain. But a woman would still desire a husband and children. And, of course, in verse 15, God had promised that the woman would receive something good by her *descendant or child. Her *descendant would oppose the devil. Her *descendant would free people from the devil’s power, like someone who uses his foot to break a snake’s head. Jesus was the woman’s *descendant. And he did these things when he died for us (Galatians 4:4-5).

There is a special promise to women in 1 Timothy 2:15. This verse says, ‘God will save women during the birth of a child if they continue to trust him. He will do that if they continue to love him. He will do it if they are holy and modest.’

Verse 17 God explained to Adam the results of his *sin. Adam would have to work hard for his food.

Verse 18 The garden in Eden was a nice one, which God designed for Adam. But Adam would not continue to live in that kind of garden.

Verse 19 Adam would have to prepare his own garden.

Verse 20 Eve means ‘someone that gives life’.

Verse 21 In this verse, we see how God showed Adam to *sacrifice animals because of *sin. That was like a picture (or a special description). It showed what Jesus would suffer. People would kill Jesus too, like the animals. He, too, had to suffer because of people’s *sin.

Skin from an animal would protect people better than leaves protected them. (Look at verse 7.) Also, an animal’s skin was warmer than leaves.

Verse 22 Jesus suffered because of people’s *sin. So he knew what *sin was like. People had started to *sin. And *sin causes people to suffer. *Sin is very bad for people. So God did not want people to eat fruit from the tree that makes people live. That was because they would then always live in that bad state. So they would always continue to suffer terribly.

Verse 23 The *cherubim were God’s special servants that guarded *holy things and *holy places. Later, someone sewed a design onto the curtain that people put in the *Temple. In that design, there were pictures that showed *cherubim. When Jesus died, God tore that curtain into two pieces (Matthew 27:51). That action has a special meaning for us. It means that we can now come to God because of Jesus.

Chapter 4

v1 Then Adam lay with his wife Eve. Eve became *pregnant and she had a baby. She called him Cain. She said, ‘With the *Lord’s help, I have gained a man.’ v2 Later she had another baby, Cain’s brother Abel.

Now Abel looked after sheep and Cain worked with the soil. v3 After some time, Cain brought some fruit from his land. He brought it because he intended to offer the fruit to the *Lord. v4 But Abel brought some pieces of meat with fat. They were from some sheep in his *flock. Those sheep were born first, before the other sheep were born. The *Lord was pleased with Abel. And he was pleased with Abel’s *offering. v5 But he was not pleased with Cain. And he was not pleased with Cain’s *offering. So Cain was very angry. And his face showed that he had a lot of hate.

v6 Then the *Lord said to Cain, ‘Why are you so angry? Why does your face show a lot of hate? If you do the right thing, I will certainly accept you. v7 But if you do not do the right thing, *sin can come in. *Sin is like an animal that is waiting at your door. It has bent down low on the ground, so that it is ready to catch you. *Sin wants to overcome you, but you must rule over it.’

v8 Now Cain said to his brother Abel, ‘Let us go out to the field.’ While they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother Abel. He killed Abel.

v9 Then the *Lord said to Cain, ‘Where is your brother Abel?’ Cain replied, ‘I do not know. Should I be looking after him?’

v10 The *Lord said, ‘What have you done? Listen. Your brother’s blood cries out to me from the ground. v11 Now you have a *curse. And I am forcing you to go away from the land. You killed your brother and you made his blood fall to the ground. And the earth received his blood. v12 So when you work with the soil, it will not produce crops for you any longer. You will wander about on the earth and you will have no rest.’

v13 Cain said to the *Lord, ‘You are punishing me too severely. v14 Today you are forcing me to go away from the land. You are sending me away from you for always. I will wander about on the earth and I will have no rest. Anyone that finds me will kill me.’

v15 But the *Lord said to Cain, ‘For that reason, if anyone kills Cain, I will punish the killer 7 times.’ Then the *Lord put a mark on Cain. Therefore, if anyone found him, they would not kill him. v16 So Cain went away from God. And he lived in the region called Nod, which was east from Eden.

v17 Cain lay with his wife. She became *pregnant. And she had a baby, whom she called Enoch. Cain built a city. He called the city Enoch because of his son’s name. v18 Enoch was Irad’s father. Irad was Mehujael’s father. Mehujael was Methushael’s father. Methushael was Lamech’s father.

v19 Lamech had two wives. One wife was called Adah, and the other wife was called Zillah. v20 Zillah had a baby called Jabal. Jabal was the father of those that live in tents. They also look after *cattle. v21 Jabal’s brother was called Jubal. Jubal was the father of all those that play the *harp and *flute. v22 Zillah also had a son, Tubal-Cain. Tubal-Cain taught all those that worked with the metals called bronze and iron. Tubal-Cain’s sister was Naamah.

v23 Lamech said to his wives Adah and Zillah, ‘Listen to me. My wives, listen carefully. I have killed a man because I received an injury from him. He was a young man that hurt me. v24 If any person hurts Cain, God will punish that person 7 times. So if any person hurts me (Lamech), God will punish that person 77 times.’

v25 Adam lay with his wife again and she had a baby son. So she called him Seth. She said, ‘Cain killed Abel. But God has given to me another child instead of Abel.’ v26 Seth also had a son. He called his son Enosh. Then people began to call the *Lord’s name.

Adam and Eve had two sons, called Cain and Abel. God had promised in Genesis 3:15 that Eve’s *descendant would free people from the power of *sin. So perhaps Eve hoped that these *descendants would achieve this. If so, their lives would disappoint her. Cain, who was the first child ever to be born, became a murderer. And Abel, who tried to serve God, died at a very young age. Their lives show the effects of *sin.

The most important event in Cain’s and Abel’s lives happened when they decided to give a gift to God. After Adam and Eve *sinned, God killed an animal. Then, God used its skin as clothes, in order to cover Adam and Eve (Genesis 3:21). *Sin required a *sacrifice. Abel seemed to understand this principle. He realised that his own efforts could not please God. Something had to die. That is also why Jesus had to die for our *sins. Jesus is like the perfect *lamb of God (1 Peter 1:18-19). Nobody can please God by his or her own efforts. Instead, we must humbly confess our *sin to God. God forgives us because of Jesus.

But Cain did not realise that he needed to bring a *sacrifice. He chose some fruit as a gift to God. And Cain’s attitude was not humble. When God refused Cain’s gift, Cain was very angry. Cain did not try to find out his error. And he did not offer a *sacrifice. Instead, he felt very jealous. And that is why he killed Abel.

Cain’s *descendants were wicked people. They had many skills, but they refused to serve God. But Eve had another son. And his *descendants began to think about God again.

Notes on the verses

Cain and Abel, 4:1-16

Verse 1 Adam ‘lay with his wife’. In the *Hebrew, it is ‘Adam knew his wife.’ The *Hebrew name ‘Adam’ is the same as the *Hebrew word for ‘the man’. The *Hebrew name for ‘Eve’ means ‘alive’.

In *Hebrew, people’s names had meanings. So did places’ names. The writers often ‘played’ with words. In the same sentence, they often used two words that sounded nearly the same.

The name ‘Cain’ means ‘produced’.

Verse 2 The name ‘Abel’ means ‘breath’, ‘with a short life’, or ‘without meaning’. Maybe this refers to Abel’s short life.

Verses 3-5 God wanted people to offer to him animals rather than fruit. Later, people *sacrificed animals to God. The animals’ death was like a description or picture for us. It shows us how Jesus would die. In that way, he would suffer the punishment for our *sins. Abel took trouble to give God the best gift that he could give. The first *lambs were usually the healthiest ones and they were usually the fattest ones.

But Cain’s gift was not the *sacrifice of an animal. He brought some fruit that he had produced on his farm. He thought that his own efforts were enough to please God.

God knew what Cain and Abel were thinking. God showed Cain that he did not accept Cain’s *offering. God showed Abel that he accepted Abel’s *lamb. But we do not know how God showed those facts to them.

Verse 7 The writer describes *sin as if it is a wild animal. That ‘animal’ was bending down low on the ground and it was waiting. It was ready to jump suddenly onto Cain. And then it would catch Cain and it would overcome him. In 1 Peter 5:8, Peter writes this: ‘The devil is your enemy. He is like a lion. A lion walks about and he makes a loud noise. He walks about because he is looking for someone to eat.’ God wanted Cain to do the right thing. Cain too could kill an animal as a *sacrifice to God. Then God would be pleased with Cain. But Cain refused to live in the way that God wanted him to live. Cain’s attitudes were still wrong.

Verse 8 An important *Hebrew text does not include the words, ‘Let us go out to the field.’ But many other *Hebrew texts have it. The story about Abel’s death is very brief. We realise how bad it was. Cain killed his own brother, Abel, because Abel was a good man. And, Cain killed him because Cain’s deeds were evil (1 John 3:12).

Verse 9 God had known where Adam and Eve were hiding. But God had asked where they were. Then they would be able to say that they were sorry. They should have been sorry because they had not obeyed God. Similarly, God asked Cain what he (Cain) had done. Then he could say that he was sorry. But Cain was not sorry and he lied. But God knows what we are really like. So we cannot lie to God.

Verses 10-14 God has made people in his image. It is very evil to kill another person. We must allow God to be the judge over people. Later, God told the *Israelites how to punish murderers. He gave exact rules to the *Israelites about that. The word ‘cries’ here is a very strong word in *Hebrew. It is like a man’s cry for food when he is starving. Or it is like a woman’s cry when someone is *raping her. Abel himself could not still cry aloud, because Cain had killed him. But now it was as if Abel’s blood was crying aloud instead of Abel. Blood means murder, which God hates. God hears his people’s desperate cries. Abel’s body had died. So God had not saved Abel from that. But God punished Cain because Cain had killed Abel.

Verses 15-16 ‘More than seven times’. We do not know what ‘seven times’ means here. Perhaps it just means ‘very much’. In the Bible, numbers often have special meanings. The number 7 means that something is complete.

We do not know what Cain’s mark was. The name ‘Cain’ is like the *Hebrew word for ‘shall receive punishment’. All Cain’s life, the mark reminded him about his *sin. And it reminded him also that God was still protecting him. By means of that mark, God warned other people not to hurt Cain.

We do not know how many people there were on earth. The family grew quickly.

‘Nod’ means that someone is ‘wandering’.

Cain’s family, 4:17-24

Verses 17-19 We do not know who Cain’s wife was. Adam and Eve may have had other children.

It is not clear whether Cain built a city. It is possible that his son Enoch built it. The word for ‘city’ might in fact mean a very small place.

Verses 20-22 Cain’s *descendants had great skills. But they opposed God. And Lamech himself was a very evil man.

Verse 23 Lamech was proud about his *sin. He had killed a young man (perhaps even a boy) because the boy had hurt him! In the *New Testament, Jesus told Peter how many times he (Peter) should forgive people. It was a very large number, ‘70 times 7’. Maybe Jesus was thinking about Lamech then.

Adam’s family from Adam to Noah, 4:25-5:32

Verse 25 ‘Seth’ means that someone had ‘given’ something. God had given Seth to Eve. In other words, Seth was born. God had not forgotten his promise. God had promised that someone from among Adam’s *descendants would save the earth’s people (Genesis 3:15).

Verse 26 People began to ‘call the *Lord’s name’. People began to think about God. That may mean that they prayed to him. It may mean that they talked about him. And they talked also about everything that he did. It may mean that they possibly called themselves ‘the *Lord’s people’.

This chapter is very important. Its writer tells us about people that really lived. That is why it is important. He tells us what some people were like at that time. These events really happened.

Chapter 5

v1 This is the account about Adam and his family. On the day when God created Adam, he made Adam like God. v2 God created man and woman. God *blessed them. He called them Adam on the day when he created them.

v3 When Adam had lived for 130 years, he became the father of a son. The son was like Adam himself. The son was like Adam’s own image. Adam called his son Seth. v4 After Seth was born, Adam lived for 800 more years. Adam had other sons and daughters. v5 His whole life lasted 930 years, and then he died.

v6 When Seth had lived for 105 years, he became Enosh’s father. v7 After Enosh was born, Seth lived for 807 more years. Seth had other sons and daughters. v8 His whole life lasted 912 years. Then he died.

v9 When Enosh had lived for 90 years, he became Kenan’s father. v10 After Kenan was born, Enosh lived for 815 more years. Enosh had other sons and daughters. v11 His whole life lasted 905 years. Then he died.

v12 When Kenan had lived for 70 years, he became Mahalalel’s father. v13 After Mahalalel was born, Kenan lived for 840 more years. Kenan had other sons and daughters. v14 His whole life lasted 910 years. Then he died.

v15 When Mahalalel had lived for 65 years, he became Jared’s father. v16 After Jared was born, Mahalalel lived for 830 more years. Mahalalel had other sons and daughters. v17 His whole life lasted 895 years. Then he died.

v18 When Jared had lived for 162 years, he became Enoch’s father. v19 After Enoch was born, Jared lived for 800 more years. Jared had other sons and daughters. v20 His whole life lasted 962 years, and then he died.

v21 When Enoch had lived for 65 years, he became Methuselah’s father. v22 After Methuselah was born, Enoch lived for 300 more years. Enoch was walking with God. He had other sons and daughters. v23 His whole life lasted 365 years. v24 Then Enoch walked with God and Enoch disappeared. God took him away.

v25 When Methuselah had lived for 187 years, he became Lamech’s father. v26 After Lamech was born, Methuselah lived for 782 more years. Methuselah had other sons and daughters. v27 His whole life lasted for 969 years, and then he died.

v28 When Lamech had lived for 182 years, he became the father of a son. v29 Lamech called his son Noah. He said, ‘We pray that this son will bring rest to us from this hard work. It is hard work to farm the ground because God has *cursed the ground.’ v30 After Noah was born, Lamech lived for 595 more years. Lamech had other sons and daughters. v31 His whole life lasted for 777 years, and then he died. v32 After Noah was 500 years old, he became the father of Shem, Ham and Japheth.

This chapter contrasts with Genesis 4:17-24. Chapter 4 contains a list of Cain’s *descendants. Cain’s *descendants had many skills, but they were very wicked. They became a very large family but they all died in the flood.

But Chapter 5 gives us a list of Adam’s *descendants by Seth. Among this large family were several people who really served God.

Especially, Enoch’s life interests us (verses 21-24). Enoch ‘walked with God’. This means that Enoch had a special relationship or friendship with God. In fact, his friendship was so special that God did not allow Enoch to die. Compare Elijah in 2 Kings 2:11-12.

Notes on the verses

Verse 1 The words in this verse show that it starts a new section in Genesis. (Look at Genesis 2:4; 6:9; 10:1.) It starts the account about Adam’s *descendants that came from his son Seth.

‘This is the account about Adam and his family.’ The *Hebrew text here actually means ‘the book about Adam’s family’.

Verses 3-32 It is possible that there are gaps in this account. A man in the list may have been the next person’s grandfather or *ancestor. He may not have been the actual father. However, it is likely that there are no gaps. That is because the writer gives exact ages. The earth might be a lot older than Genesis seems to show. Many people have that belief. However, scientists are not at all certain how old the earth is. It does not matter if days and years were a different length then. We know that God made the earth. And he made everything in it. If time was different then, it does not make God less wonderful. And it does not make man less wicked. We trust God.

At that time, people lived longer. Life was healthier. There were not so many illnesses.

Enoch (verse 18) and Lamech (verse 25) were also names of Cain’s *descendants.

In verse 22, Enoch ‘walked’ with God. The writer uses the same word here as when God was walking in Eden. You can read more about Enoch in Jude 14-15.

In verse 25, we read about ‘Methuselah’. We do not know what that name meant. Someone has said that it meant this: ‘When he dies, it will happen.’ (‘It’ here means the flood.) If so, Methuselah lived a long time because God gave extra time to wicked men. God gave them extra time so that they could change their behaviour. Also, the name may mean just ‘he dies’. That reminds us that we all die, even if we may live for a very long time.

In verse 29, Noah sounds like ‘rest’ in *Hebrew.

In verse 32, Noah’s sons were in fact born at different times.

Chapter 6

God allowed the people who lived before the flood to have long lives. He wanted them to have sufficient time to change their attitudes. He wanted them to pray to him and to trust him again. But most people did not use their long lives to turn to God. And they did not become better people as they became older. In fact, people were becoming even more evil.

So God decided that he would not allow people to live so long. And he decided to punish wicked people wherever they lived. In verse 7, God’s plan was to destroy everything that he had made. But God saw that there were a few good people among the vast numbers of evil people.

Especially, God saw Noah. Noah was unlike other people. Noah ‘walked with God’ (verse 9), like Enoch (Genesis 5:24) and like Adam before he *sinned. So God could not destroy the entire world. He always does the right things (Genesis 18:25). And he will always save the people who trust him (2 Peter 3:11-13).

So God made a plan. He would still punish and kill the wicked people. But he would save the earth and he would allow some animals to live. God would separate the people who obeyed him from evil people. And God would save the people who trusted him. Noah would build a large boat, called the *ark. And Noah would protect his family, and each type of animal, in the boat.

Everybody was very evil, 6:1-8

v1 Men had large families on earth and they had many sons and daughters. v2 Then the sons of God saw that the daughters of men were pretty. The sons of God chose some daughters and they married those daughters. v3 Then the *Lord said, ‘My Spirit shall not struggle with people for always because they are human. They shall live for 120 years.’

v4 The Nephilim (giant people) were on the earth at that time. They were also there afterwards. The sons of God lay with the daughters of men. And so the sons of God had children. Those children became the famous men that lived a long time ago. They were famous because they were very strong and brave.

v5 The *Lord saw that the people on the earth were very wicked. Man’s every thought was always evil. And so was every wish in his heart. v6 And the *Lord was sorry that He had made man on the earth. He was bitterly angry. v7 So the *Lord said, ‘I will completely take away man, whom I have created, from the earth. I will completely take away from the earth all people and animals. I will take away all birds that fly in the air. And I will take away all *creatures that crawl. I am sorry that I made them.’ v8 But the *Lord was pleased with Noah.

Verse 2 We do not know who the ‘sons of God’ were. Some people think that the ‘sons of God’ were *angels or spirits. But another explanation is that they were *descendants of Seth. If that is the meaning, then the ‘daughters of men’ would be *descendants of Cain.

We do know this. The ‘sons of God’ were choosing wives for the wrong reason. They chose women that were pretty. But they needed to choose women that were good.

God’s people often have to behave in a different way from other people. This is because God’s people belong to God. Seth’s *descendants knew how to please God. They understood *sacrifice. They knew how to be friends of God. So they should not have associated with evil people.

Verse 3 My Spirit shall not ‘struggle with man’. The *Hebrew words here may have two different meanings. They can also mean ‘continue to stay in man’. However, we learn the same thing from both meanings. When God’s Spirit is in us, he struggles with our natural character. Our natural character is *sinful. We have it because we are human. ‘Do not upset God’s Holy Spirit’ (Ephesians 4:30).

‘120 years’. That may mean:

(1) that man would live only about 120 years instead of many hundred years; or

(2) that God would send the flood after 120 years.

But we learn the same thing from it anyway. God’s patience with man will end and God will bring judgement to all people. (‘Judgement’ means that he will bring punishment to those that have done wrong things. But God has provided ways to escape. God provided a way so that those people in the *ark could escape. Later, he gave Jesus to us. Because of Jesus, we can escape from God’s punishment.

Verse 4 ‘Nephilim’. They were giant people, who probably lived in an evil way.

Verse 5 The *Lord saw that there was nothing good in people. Even in their hearts, or minds, he could not find anything good.

Verse 6 God ‘was sorry’. But God did not wish that he had not made the earth. God loves people very much. But he is also *holy and he is completely fair. He was very sad to see how evil people had become. Their behaviour upset him deeply.

Verse 7 *Sin does not hurt only the person who *sins. At that time, it hurt the whole earth.

Verse 8 People were very evil. But Noah pleased God. And so, God made a special plan to save Noah.

God warns Noah, 6:9-22

v9 These are Noah’s *descendants. Noah was a good man. Among the people that were alive then, he was without blame. Noah walked with God. v10 Noah had three sons called Shem, Ham and Japheth.

v11 Now God considered the earth as bad. All the people on the earth attacked each other often. v12 God looked at the earth. And he saw that it was very bad. All people lived in an evil way on the earth. v13 And God said to Noah, ‘I have decided to kill all people. The people who are on the earth attack each other often. Look! I will kill man. And I will destroy the earth too. v14 Make an *ark for yourself. Make it out of gopher wood (a certain kind of wood.) Make rooms in the *ark. Cover it with pitch (sticky black stuff) inside and outside. v15 This is how you must make it. It must be 300 *cubits long, 50 *cubits wide and 30 *cubits high. v16 Make a roof for the *ark. Finish the *ark so that it ends 1 *cubit from the top. So then there will be a window for light. Put a door in the side of the *ark. Make three decks. There must be lower, middle and upper decks. v17 I will flood the earth with water. I will kill all *creatures that live under the skies. Every *creature that lives will die. Everything on the earth will die. v18 I will make a *covenant with you. And I will do what I have promised you. You will enter the *ark with your sons. Your wife and your sons’ wives will also be with you. v19 Take each kind of *creature that lives. Take two from among each kind. Take them into the *ark with you and keep them alive. Take one male and one female from among each kind. v20 Take two from among every sort and keep them alive. Take two from among every kind of bird. Take two from among every kind of animal. And take every kind of *creature that crawls. Take two from among every kind. v21 Take every sort of food to eat. Take it with you and store it. That will be food for you. And it will be food for the birds, animals and *creatures.’

v22 Noah did that. He did everything exactly as God ordered him.

Verse 9 Noah was not perfect. He was ‘*righteous’. That means that he really tried to obey God. A *righteous person is someone who loves God. Such a person cares about other people too. A *righteous person lives in this way even if he would suffer as a result. Because of these attitudes, Noah was different from everyone else who lived at that time.

Verse 11 God saw that people had done many wrong things. In that way, they spoilt their own lives. They refused to do the things that please God. And they chose to live wicked lives. So God would kill them.

Verse 14 ‘*Ark’. The *Hebrew word for ‘*ark’ here is the same one that the writer uses for Moses’ basket. (Look at Exodus 2:3, 5.) But that word does not appear anywhere else in the Bible. The *ark’s shape was more like a building than a boat. Noah did not make the *ark to sail regularly on the seas. It had a special purpose, and its shape was ideal for that purpose.

‘Gopher wood’. We are not sure what the word ‘gopher’ means. So we do not know exactly what that wood was.

‘Pitch’ is a sticky black stuff. It would help to protect the wood from water. The *Hebrew words for ‘pitch’ and ‘cover’ are similar to each other. Later, when Jesus died for us, he ‘covered’ our *sins by means of his death.

‘Inside and outside’. That may mean ‘completely’.

Make ‘rooms’ in the *ark. Here, where we have the word ‘rooms’, the original *Hebrew text has ‘nests’. Some people have said that its meaning might be this. There are tall grasses called reeds, which grow in shallow water. Many birds use these to make their nests. So it might mean that also Noah should use these plants, to make the *ark.

Noah lived many miles from the sea. He did not know how to build boats. Nobody had ever built a boat like this. People probably laughed at him. But God told him what to do.

Verse 15 A *cubit is a measurement that people used then. It is equal to 18 inches (about 45 centimetres).

Verse 18 I will make a ‘*covenant’ with you. In *Hebrew, that is the same word as for ‘testament’. (A testament is a text that a person writes. It shows who must receive that person’s property after the person’s death.) *Covenants were serious agreements between two people (or two nations). Each person (or nation) had to promise to do certain things. God promised to save Noah. But God would only do that if Noah went into the *ark.

Verse 22 Noah had to do a lot of difficult things. He did them all because God told him to.

Chapter 7

God saves Noah from the flood, 7:1-24

v1 Then the *Lord said to Noah, ‘Go into the *ark and take all your family with you. I have seen that you alone are good among those that are living now. v2 Take 7 pairs of all *clean animals with you. So there will be seven males and their mates. Take one male and one female from each kind of *unclean animal. v3 Take seven pairs (male and female) of every bird that flies in the air. So then you will keep each kind of bird alive on the earth. v4 After 7 days, I will send rain upon the earth. It will rain for 40 days and 40 nights. I will completely take away from the earth every *creature that is alive. I will take away from the earth’s surface all those that I have made.’

v5 And Noah did everything that the *Lord had ordered him to do.

v6 Noah was 600 years old when the flood came. That was when the waters came upon the earth. v7 Noah went into the *ark. He took with him his sons, his wife and his sons’ wives. They entered the *ark in order to escape the waters of the flood. v8 Also, there were pairs of *clean animals and there were pairs of *unclean animals. There were pairs of birds. And there were pairs of everything that crawls on the ground. v9 They all went into the *ark with Noah. They went in order as pairs, male and female. It was exactly as God had given the command to Noah. v10 After 7 days, the waters of the flood came upon the earth.

v11 It was the 600th year in Noah’s life. It was the 2nd month in that year. And it was the 17th day in that month. Then all the water rushed up from the seas, which were great and deep. And rain poured down from the skies. v12 It rained for 40 days and 40 nights.

v13 On that same day, Noah entered the *ark. He took with him his three sons, called Shem, Ham and Japheth. He took also his wife and his sons’ three wives. v14 There was every kind of wild animal and there was every kind of *cattle. There was every kind of thing that crawls on the earth. And there was every sort of bird. They all entered the *ark too. v15 They went into the *ark with Noah. There were pairs of all *creatures that have life in them. v16 All those were male and female *creatures from all the kinds that were living. And they went into the *ark, as God had given the command to Noah. And then the *Lord shut Noah in.

v17 The flood continued for 40 days on the earth. The waters got higher. They rose high above the earth and the *ark floated upon them. v18 The waters rose and they increased greatly on the earth. But the *ark floated on top of the waters. v19 A very huge amount of water came upon the earth. So then all the high mountains under the whole sky were under the water. v20 A very huge amount of water came over the mountains. So then the mountains were under 15 *cubits of water. v21 All *creatures that were living before died. All that had moved upon the earth died. That included birds, *cattle and wild animals. It included all *creatures that moved in large groups on the earth. And it included every person. v22 Everything on dry land died. They had all had breath in their nostrils (holes in the nose). That is, breath that had made them live. But they died. v23 God completely took away from the earth every *creature that was alive. That means everything that was on the surface of the ground. It included people and animals. It included *creatures that crawl. And it included birds. God took them away completely from the earth. Only a few people remained. Noah remained. And those with him in the *ark remained.

v24 And the waters flooded the earth for 150 days.

God saved Noah and his family because Noah was *righteous. But the flood killed all the wicked people. This reminds us that God will be the judge of everyone. But God is not like a human judge. We cannot impress God by our efforts. And it does not matter whether we are rich or poor. But he will save us if, like Noah, we please him. We shall please him if we are *righteous. We do not become *righteous by our own efforts. We can only become *righteous because of what Jesus did for us. Jesus died to save us from the punishment for our *sins. So we must confess our *sins to God. And we must invite him into our lives.

God also rescued animals of all types. He arranged that they would come to Noah. The flood did not begin until they were all safely in the *ark.

This chapter does not mention the reaction of the people before they died in the flood. 2 Peter 2:5 shows that Noah warned them. But Jesus said that they were just carrying on their usual behaviour (Matthew 24:37-39). One day, they were eating and drinking. And they were merry. But then the flood came and God punished them. Jesus added that people will act in the same way before his return. They will continue their evil lives. But then Jesus will return. When he returns, he will be their judge. Jesus’ return gives hope to everyone who trusts him. But it will be a terrible event for everyone who opposes him.

Notes on the verses

Verse 1 The writer often reminds us that God gave commands to Noah. Also, the writer tells us that Noah obeyed God. Noah was good. (In other words, he was *righteous.) That does not mean that he was perfect. It means that he believed God. And it means that Noah obeyed God.

Verse 2 ‘Clean animals’. God gave strict rules about which animals people could *sacrifice. And he was strict about which animals they could eat. Those animals were called ‘clean animals’. But there were other animals that people must not *sacrifice. And they should not eat these animals. These animals were called ‘*unclean animals’.

Verse 4 ‘40 days and 40 nights’. That sometimes means just a long time. Here, however, it may mean the exact time. The writer gives many other exact details.

Verse 9 ‘Male and female’. Noah kept the animals as pairs. Everything was in order.

Verse 11 Water came from both the seas and the sky. In *Hebrew, the writer says that the windows in the sky opened. It was something more than normal rain.

Verse 16 The *Lord shut Noah in. The *Lord sometimes punishes, but he can also save people.

Verse 20 The waters of the flood were so very deep that they covered everything on the earth. Nothing stayed above the water except the *ark. And only those who were inside the *ark stayed alive after the flood.

Chapter 8

People begin to live on the earth again, 8:1-22

v1 But God remembered Noah. And God remembered all the wild animals and *cattle that were with Noah. They were with Noah in the *ark. And God made a wind blow over the earth. And the waters went down. v2 God stopped the waters that were rushing up from the seas. He stopped the waters that were pouring down from the sky. He stopped the rain. v3 All the time, the waters were going down. After 150 days, the waters had gone down. v4 On the 17th day in the 7th month, the *ark rested. It rested on the mountains called Ararat. v5 The waters were still going down until the 10th month. Then Noah could see the tops of the mountains. That was on the 1st day in the 10th month.

v6 After 40 days, Noah opened the window. That is, the window of the *ark that he had made. v7 He sent out a raven (a fairly large black bird). The raven continued to fly about until later, when the waters had gone. It flew about until the earth was dry. v8 Then Noah sent out a *dove. Noah needed to know whether the waters had gone down. He needed to know whether the earth was dry. v9 However, the *dove did not find any dry place to settle on. It came back to the *ark because the waters still covered all the earth. Noah put out his hand and he brought the *dove back into the *ark. v10 Noah waited for 7 more days and then again he sent out the *dove from the *ark. v11 The *dove came back to Noah in the evening. It had a fresh leaf in its mouth. It had picked the leaf from an *olive tree. Then Noah knew that the waters had gone down from the earth. v12 Then he waited for 7 more days and he sent the *dove out again. The *dove did not come back again.

v13 In Noah’s 601st year, the waters had dried off the earth. That was on the 1st day in the 1st month. Noah took the cover off the *ark and he looked. Look! The ground’s surface was dry. v14 On the 27th day in the 2nd month, the earth was completely dry.

v15 Then God said to Noah, v16 ’Go out of the *ark. I say that to you and your wife. And I say it to your sons and your sons’ wives. v17 Take with you all the *creatures that live. Take all the kinds of *creatures that are with you. Take the birds and animals. And take every *creature that crawls on the earth. Then they will have large families and those will give birth to very many young *creatures. So then they will live everywhere on the earth.’

v18 So Noah went out, with his sons, his wife and his sons’ wives. v19 Every animal went out. Every *creature that crawls went out. And every bird went out. Everything that moves on the earth went out. They all went out as families from the *ark.

v20 Then Noah built an *altar for the *Lord’s honour. Noah took some animals out of every kind of *clean animal. He took some birds out of every kind of *clean bird. And he offered *sacrifices that he burned on the *altar. v21 When the *Lord smelled the smell, the *Lord was pleased. And the *Lord said in himself, ‘I will never again *curse the ground because of people. People are evil even when they are young. People want bad things and they think bad things. I punished every *creature that lived. But I will never again do that, as I did then.

v22 While the earth exists, these things will not stop. People will sow and they will harvest. It will be cold and hot. There will be summer and winter. There will be day and night. It will always be so.’

This is a beautiful chapter. The terrible flood had destroyed the world that Noah knew. And Noah’s *ark (boat) was floating on the water. Noah might have been afraid. But this is not a story of despair. It is a story of hope. God had not forgotten the *ark and its inhabitants. God remembered Noah. And Noah trusted God.

At last, the rain stopped. And slowly, the level of the water went down. First, Noah felt that the *ark’s movement stopped. After some time, Noah could see the tops of the mountains. The mountains seemed bare, without any plants. But then plants started to grow again. It was as if God was creating a new world.

Each week, Noah carefully recorded the progress of the waters. He sent out birds so that he would know the situation. At last, God told Noah to leave the *ark. God would be kind to Noah and his family. And God would be kind to the animals and birds that left the *ark. They were few in number. But their numbers would increase.

Noah was grateful to God. Although there were only a few animals, Noah gave some animals as *sacrifices to God.

Noah wanted to please God, like Abel in Genesis 4:4. And God was pleased with Noah. God knew that people were still *sinful (Genesis 8:21). God’s plan was that Jesus would die in order to forgive their *sins. But God made a promise to Noah. God promised to protect the earth. He will make sure that seasons and days continue. And this promise lasts until the end of the world.

Notes on the verses

Verse 1 ‘Remembered Noah’ means ‘took care of Noah’. Many things in this story remind us about God’s *creation. Before God created the earth, God’s Spirit moved gently over the water. And here God made a wind blow over the water. In *Hebrew, the same word means both ‘spirit’ and ‘wind’. In *creation, God had gathered waters together above the earth. He had gathered waters together in the seas. And here, after the flood, God collected water together again.

Verse 3 The writer of this story tells us the days when things happened. He tells us how long things took. He often tells us that the water was going down. That reminds us that there was a lot of water. It was a very big flood.

Verse 5 The waters were going down all the time. But at first, Noah could not see this. Noah was only able to see this after several weeks passed. God does things to help us. But he is often doing them for a long time before we know it.

Verse 7 A raven is a fairly large black bird. It can fly for a long time before it gets tired. One raven went out and it did not come back. We believe that the first raven lived outside until its companion came out later.

Ravens eat meat from dead animals. Many animals died in the flood. So, there was plenty of food for the raven.

Verse 8 Noah probably waited seven days before he sent out the *dove. He did wait 7 more days before he sent it out again. The writer says that in verse 10.

Unlike ravens, *doves do not eat meat from dead animals. *Doves need plants. So we can see that the plants had not yet grown.

Verse 9 In the original *Hebrew story, some words sound like the name ‘Noah’. Those are the words for ‘*dove’ and ‘place to rest’. Noah had so many *creatures to look after. But even so, he still cared about the *dove.

Verse 10 Noah may have considered the 7th day in a week as special. There is some evidence for that. He sent the birds out at certain times. The interval between those times was 7 days. An *olive tree has a special meaning. If something is ‘like an *olive tree’, that thing is beautiful and *fruitful. We can read in the Bible that Israel will be ‘like an *olive tree’ (Hosea 14:6).

It seems that this *olive tree did not die during the flood. And now it was growing again.

Verse 14 The earth had to be dry enough for all the *creatures to live there. Noah had to make sure that it was dry enough.

Verse 17 When God created everything, he also gave this command. He said that *creatures should have large families. And they should grow in number. It was very necessary at that time, when only a few *creatures were living on the earth. And when God created people, he said the same thing to them. But today the situation is different. God allows some people to have large families. But this is not God’s plan for everyone. Today, very many people live on the earth.

Verse 20 The writer does not tell us that Noah built *altars before the flood. And he does not tell us that Noah *sacrificed animals then. But Noah had probably done those things already. He did them immediately after he came out from the *ark. He knew which animals he should *sacrifice to please the *Lord. In other religions, too, there are stories about a flood. Some things in those stories are the same as they are in Genesis. But the important things are very different. We can read these things in Genesis only. There is one God, who has power over everything. He is good and he is a fair judge. And he loves people. Noah, the man that stayed alive after the flood, was a good man. He obeyed God. Only the writer of the Book of Genesis tells us about those things.

Verse 21 It seemed like a new world. But people were still evil. Everybody does evil things. Only God can forgive us, because of Jesus. See Romans 3:23-24.

Verse 22 God gave a wonderful promise. Because Noah obeyed God, God changed the world.

Chapter 9

v1 And God *blessed Noah and his sons. And God said this to them. ‘Have very many children and *descendants. And live everywhere on the earth. v2 Every *creature that lives will be afraid of you. That includes every animal on the earth. It includes every bird that flies in the air. It includes all *creatures that crawl on the ground. And it includes the fish in the sea. I have given everything to you. v3 Every thing that lives shall be food for you. That is, every thing that also moves. I gave the green plants to you for food. Now I give everything to you.’

v4 However, you must not eat meat that still has its life in it. That is, it still has its blood in it. v5 When somebody kills someone, there must be punishment. Someone will kill any animal that kills a person. Someone will kill any person that kills another person. Every person that kills his brother will die.

v6 If someone kills a person, then people should kill the killer. That is because God made man like himself.

v7 And I say this to you. Have large families and have many *descendants. Spread over the earth and live everywhere on it.

v8 Then God said this to Noah. And God said it to Noah’s sons, who were with Noah. v9 ’Look! I am *confirming my *covenant with you. And it is also a *covenant with your *descendants, who will live after you. v10 And it is a *covenant with every *creature that is with you. That is, every *creature that lives on the earth. That includes birds, *cattle and wild animals. It includes everything that came out of the *ark. v11 I am *confirming my *covenant with you. Never again will I send the waters of a flood to completely destroy everything. I will never again kill all that is alive. Never again will I send a flood to destroy the earth.’

v12 And God said, ‘This is the thing that will especially remind you about the *covenant. I have made that *covenant between me and you. And it is also between me and every *creature with you. That is, every *creature that lives. The *covenant will be for always. v13 I put my rainbow in the cloud. The rainbow shall be something that especially reminds you about the *covenant. That is, the *covenant between me and the earth. v14 I will bring clouds over the earth and the rainbow will appear in the clouds. v15 Then I will remember my *covenant, which is between me and you. And it is between me and every *creature from all kinds. That is, every *creature that lives. Never again will I send enough water to kill all *creatures. v16 When the rainbow is in the clouds, I will look at it. I will remember the *covenant that I, God, have made with every *creature. That means every *creature that lives upon earth, from all kinds. That *covenant will last for always.’

v17 God said to Noah, ‘This thing will especially remind you about the *covenant. I have made that *covenant between me and all *creatures. That is, all *creatures that live on the earth.’

v18 Noah’s sons, who went out from the *ark, were Shem, Ham and Japheth. Ham was Canaan’s father. v19 Those three were Noah’s sons. Those sons’ *descendants spread all over the earth.

v20 Noah was a man that worked on the land. He was the first person that made a vineyard (a garden where *grapes grow). v21 Noah drank some *wine and he became *drunk. He lay in his tent and he was naked. v22 Ham saw his naked father Noah. (Ham was Canaan’s father.) Ham went outside and he told his two brothers about it. v23 Then Shem and Japheth took a *cloak. And they laid it upon the shoulders of them both. They walked *backward and they covered their naked father with the *cloak. They turned their faces away so that they did not see their naked father.

v24 Later Noah woke and he was not *drunk any longer. Then he discovered what his youngest son had done. v25 So he said, ‘Canaan has a *curse. He will be his brother’s slave. He will have a lower position than any other slave.’ v26 Noah also said, ‘Let people *bless the *Lord, who is Shem’s God. Let Canaan be Shem’s slave. v27 Let God make Japheth increase. Let Japheth live in Shem’s tents. Let Canaan be Japheth’s slave.’

v28 Noah lived 350 more years after the flood. v29 His whole life lasted for 950 years. Then he died.

God is perfect. But people often do wrong things.

God’s *covenant (agreement) with Noah reminds us about the wrong things that we do. It is not like God’s words to the first people in Genesis 1:28-30. God spoke those words before people *sinned. And he only promised good things then.

But God made the *covenant with Noah after people had *sinned. This *covenant promised many good things to people. But God also warned people in the *covenant. He spoke about murder. He warned people that they would be responsible for their evil behaviour. And he warned them that God would punish them for their evil deeds.

People would be evil. But God is kind. He promised never again to flood the whole world. And he used the rainbow to remind people about this promise.

Noah was a great servant of God. And Noah was a *righteous man. But Noah was not perfect. He did something that was very wrong. He drank too much wine. His son, called Ham, saw him. And Ham gossiped. This was terrible behaviour. He did not respect his father, although his father was a great servant of God. When Noah awoke, he spoke words about the future of his three sons. Noah spoke these words by the Holy Spirit, because Noah was a servant of God. Ham’s family would suffer because of Ham’s *sin. But Noah *blessed his other sons.

Notes on the verses

God makes a *covenant with Noah, 9:1-17

Verse 1Have very many children and *descendants.’ God said that also when he made people in the beginning. And he said the same words in *Hebrew when he made *creatures. Those words mean ‘have large families’. But they also mean ‘be useful’ and ‘be helpful’. They mean, ‘Be other people’s servant. Do not expect other people to serve you.’

Verse 2 Here, God seems to give to people more power over the *creatures. That is, more power than he gave earlier to Adam and Eve.

Verse 3 Here, God permits people to eat meat as well as vegetables and fruit.

Verse 4 God did not allow people to kill other people. If they did kill other people, they would be punished. He did not allow people to eat meat with blood in it. In that way, he reminded them that life is important. Life is ‘*holy’. God has made us like an image of himself. So we must not kill other people.

Verses 5-7 God’s punishment was fair. If there was a murder, people should kill the murderer only. In many places, families might fight each other because somebody had murdered someone from the other family. And they might kill each other because of that. Such a situation might continue for a very long time. But God did not say that that should happen.

Verses 8-11 God had made an agreement (*covenant) with Noah before the flood. He told Noah about it again here, because it was very important. God included all *creatures in the agreement. People must take care of God’s earth and God’s *creatures.

Verses 12-17 This does not mean that there were no rainbows before. But rainbows now have a new meaning. God’s agreement was with all the people and animals in the entire world. And the rainbow was a sign of that agreement.

Noah and his son do something wrong, 9:18-29

Verse 20 ‘A man that worked on the land’. Noah was the master of the earth. After the flood, he became a farmer. He grew grapes (small, sweet fruit) that he made into *wine.

Verse 21 The writer does not hide from us the fact that Noah was not perfect. When he was naked like that, he was not giving honour to God. We can read in the Bible that *wine can be pleasant (Psalm 104:15). But we can see here that too much *wine is not good.

Verse 22 People should respect their parents. Ham should have covered his father. Then Ham should have said nothing. But he gossiped to his brothers. It is not certain whether Ham’s son Canaan *sinned too. It was Canaan that suffered as a result. God would later promise to bring his people (Shem’s *descendants) to a new country that was also called Canaan. The *Canaanites, the people that would live there first, would be Canaan’s *descendants. And they would be very wicked. Some people think that Ham did not just look at his father. They think that Ham did something worse than that. Some people think that he had some sort of sex with his father. But it is not necessary to think that. Ham did not respect his father, and in that way Ham *sinned.

Verse 23 Shem and Japheth respected their father. They were careful to look away from him as they covered him. A ‘cloak’ was a large piece of warm cloth. People wore it on top of other clothes during the day. And they used it as a blanket at night.

Verses 24-25 Noah spoke about the future of his sons by the power of the Holy Spirit. So, this was not just Noah’s idea. This was a message from God. We do not know when Ham’s *descendants became his two brothers’ slaves. But we do know that Canaan’s *descendants became very evil. In fact, they were so evil that God gave their land to Abraham’s *descendants. And God helped Abraham’s *descendants to overcome Canaan’s *descendants. (See the Book of Joshua.)

Verse 26 One would expect Noah to say ‘I *bless Shem, the *Lord’s man.’ It is not usual to ‘*bless the *Lord of a person’. But it might mean that Shem was the son that God *blessed in particular. And Noah was *blessing God especially because he (God) was Shem’s God. Shem’s *descendants were the people that God chose specially for himself. Abraham and his *descendants (Israel) were among Shem’s *descendants.

Verse 27 Let God ‘make Japheth increase’. The *Hebrew word for ‘Let him make bigger’ sounds like the name Japheth. It does not mean that Japheth would get fat! It means ‘Let Japheth’s *descendants increase in number and let them be more powerful.’ It is not clear what Noah was praying. Maybe he prayed that God would ‘live in Shem’s tents’. Or maybe he prayed that Japheth would live in them. God did actually ‘live in the tents’ of Shem’s *descendants (Israel). That was because God chose that nation for himself. But this seems to be a peculiar *blessing for Japheth. Probably Noah was saying that Japheth would live in Shem’s tents. But we cannot discover when this happened. Many people have suggested different times. This is one possible meaning. People that were not *Jews would live together with *Jews. That would happen by means of what Jesus did. (See Ephesians 2:11-19.) Noah repeated his words about Canaan again. That showed how important they were.

Verses 28-29 Noah lived a long life. God would not allow people in the future to live such long lives.

Chapter 10

v1 Noah’s sons were Shem, Ham and Japheth. This is their families’ history. They had sons after the flood.

v2 Japheth’s sons were Gomer, Magog, Madai, Javan, Tubal, Meshech and Tiras. v3 Gomer’s sons were Ashkenaz, Riphath and Togarmah. v4 Javan’s sons were Elishah, Tarshish, the people called Kittim and the people called Dodanim. v5 The nations spread along the coasts from those families. Each nation got its own language.

v6 Ham’s sons were Cush, Egypt, Put and Canaan. v7 Cush’s sons were Seba, Havilah, Sabtah, Raamah and Sabteca. Raamah’s sons were Sheba and Dedan.

v8 Cush was also Nimrod’s father. Nimrod began to be a powerful man on the earth. v9 He was a powerful hunter. The *Lord could see what Nimrod was doing. Therefore people often say, ‘like Nimrod, who is a powerful hunter. The *Lord can see what Nimrod is doing.’ v10 The beginning of Nimrod’s *kingdom consisted of Babel, Erech and Accad. Those are all in the country called Shinar. v11 From Shinar, Nimrod went into Assyria. He built Nineveh, Rehoboth-Ir, Calah and Resen. v12 Resen is between Nineveh and Calah. That is the great city.

v13 Egypt was the father of Ludim, Anamim, Lehabim, Naphtuhim, v14 Pathrusim, Casluhim, and Caphtorim. The *Philistines came from Casluhim’s family.

v15 Canaan was the father of Sidon, his oldest son. Canaan was also the father of Heth. v16 He was also the father of the people called Jebusites, *Amorites, Girgashites, v17 Hivites, Arkites, Sinites, v18 Arvadites, Zemarites and Hamathites.

Later the families that came from Canaan scattered. v19 And the country of those people spread from Sidon up to Gerar. It spread as far as Gaza. And it spread towards Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah and Zeboiim, as far as Lasha.

v20 Those are Ham’s sons in their families, languages, countries and nations.

v21 Shem also had children. Shem was Japheth’s older brother. Shem was the *ancestor of all Eber’s children.

v22 Shem’s sons were Elam, Asshur, Arpachshad, Lud and Aram. v23 Aram’s sons were Uz, Hul, Gether and Mash. v24 Arpachshad was the father of Shelah, and Shelah was the father of Eber. v25 Eber had two sons. One son was called Peleg because the earth became divided during his life. Peleg’s brother was called Joktan. v26 Joktan was the father of Almodad, Sheleph, Hazarmaveth, Jerah, v27 Hadoram, Uzal, Diklah, v28 Obal, Abimael, Sheba, v29 Ophir, Havilah and Jobab. All those were Joktan’s sons.

v30 They lived in a country that spread from Mesha toward Sephar. It spread to the hilly country in the east. v31 Those are Shem’s sons in their families, languages, countries and nations.

v32 Those are the *descendants of Noah’s sons. The *descendants are in their families and they are in their nations. From those people, the nations scattered over the earth. That happened after the flood.

A new part of Genesis starts here. People’s life on the earth was starting again after the flood.

The actual names are not very important to us. But they do show that this account is true. These people were real. They actually lived. The account shows how quickly new families were born. And it shows how quickly they grew up. Some names here are probably places’ names rather than people’s names. People did not stay close together. They moved to new places and they became many nations.

In this list here, we read that Japheth had 7 sons and 7 grandsons. Cush’s sons and grandsons together were 7 in total. (That does not include Cush’s other son Nimrod, whom the writer talks about separately.) The writer mentions 70 nations as *descendants of Noah’s sons. People often used the number 70 to mean a large number. And 7 was a ‘special’ number too.

Japheth’s family, 10:2-5

The writer begins with Japheth’s sons and grandsons. Their names show us that their families moved north, towards Europe. And they moved round the sea called the Mediterranean.

Ham’s family, 10:6-20

Ham’s family moved towards the south and into North Africa. Canaan was the original name of the country that became Israel. So Canaan’s *descendants are important to the history in the Bible. But Ham’s *descendants lived across a much larger area.

Nimrod’s *descendants were especially powerful. Babylon would become the greatest city in the world for a short time. And Nineveh was also a very powerful city.

Verse 12 mentions ‘the great city’. It is not clear whether that means Nineveh or Calah. It seems as if it is Calah. But in the Book of Jonah, Nineveh is called a ‘great city’.

Shem’s family, 10:21-32

Shem’s family comes last in this chapter, although his name comes first in verse 1. We do not know why that is so. Perhaps it is because the Book of Genesis continues with the story of Shem’s *descendants.

Many of Shem’s *descendants moved east. But this list also contains the names of places that are elsewhere.

Chapter 11

The *tower in Babel shows that people are proud, 11:1-4

v1 All the people on the earth had one language and they had one set of words. v2 When people moved to the east, they found a plain in the country called Shinar. And they stayed there.

v3 These people said to each other, ‘Come! Let us make bricks. And let us bake them hard.’ So they used bricks as stones to build with. And they used bitumen (black stuff from the ground) in order to stick the bricks together. v4 Then they said, ‘Come! Let us build a city for ourselves. Let us build a tower (tall, narrow building) with its top in the sky. We will make ourselves great. Then we shall not scatter over all the earth.’

v5 Then the *Lord came down to see the city. And he came to see the *tower that the people were building. v6 The *Lord said, ‘Look! They are all one group of people. They all have the same language. This is only the beginning of what the people will do. They will be able to do everything that they plan to do. Nothing is impossible. v7 Come! Let us go down. We will mix up the people’s language. Then they will not be able to understand each other.’

v8 Then the *Lord scattered them from there over all the earth. And they stopped building the city. v9 So the city was called Babel because there, God mixed up the language of all the people on the earth. From there, God scattered them over all the earth.

v10 This is the history of Shem’s family. When Shem was 100 years old, he became Arpachshad’s father. That was two years after the flood. v11 After Arpachshad was born, Shem lived for 500 more years. Shem had other sons and daughters. v12 When Arpachshad had lived for 35 years, he became Shelah’s father. v13 After Shelah was born, Arpachshad lived for 430 more years. Arpachshad had other sons and daughters. v14 When Shelah had lived for 30 years, he became Eber’s father. v15 After Eber was born, Shelah lived for 430 more years. Shelah had other sons and daughters.

v16 When Eber had lived for 34 years, he became Peleg’s father. v17 Then Eber lived for 430 more years and he had other sons and daughters.

v18 When Peleg had lived for 30 years, he became Reu’s father. v19 Then Peleg lived for 209 more years and he had other sons and daughters.

v20 When Reu had lived for 32 years, he became Serug’s father. v21 Then Reu lived for 207 more years and he had other sons and daughters.

v22 When Serug had lived for 30 years, he became Nahor’s father. v23 Then Serug lived for 200 more years and he had other sons and daughters.

v24 When Nahor had lived for 29 years, he became Terah’s father. v25 Then Nahor lived for 119 more years and he had other sons and daughters.

v26 After Terah had lived for 70 years, he became Abram’s, Nahor’s and Haran’s father.

v27 This is the history of Terah’s family. Terah was the father of Abram, Nahor and Haran. Haran was Lot’s father. v28 Haran died in the city called Ur. That was in the country where the people called Chaldeans lived. It was the country where Haran was born. Haran’s father Terah was still alive. v29 Abram and Nahor both married. Abram’s wife was called Sarai and Nahor’s wife was called Milcah. Milcah was Haran’s daughter. Haran was both Milcah’s and Iscah’s father. v30 Sarai was *barren. That means that she had no children.

v31 Terah took his son Abram, his grandson Lot (Haran’s son), and his son’s (Abram’s) wife Sarai. Together they went out from Ur, where the people called Chaldeans lived. They planned to go to the country called Canaan. But when they came to the city called Haran, they settled there.

v32 Terah’s whole life lasted 205 years. He died in Haran.

All the people spoke the same language because they were all Noah’s *descendants. And they wanted to live together. They were proud. They wanted to be more powerful. So they built a great city.

But God had not told people to live together. He told them to move across the world (Genesis 9:1) so that the whole world would have inhabitants. So the people were not obeying God’s commands. In fact, they were trying to oppose God.

God did not allow them to continue the construction of that city. He confused their languages and he ended their unity. They could not talk with each other. So they had to move to different places.

The chapter continues with the story of Shem’s family. People’s lives began to be shorter now. At last, the writer mentions Abram. Abram was different from other people because Abram believed God. This fact may not seem important when we have discussed the history of the whole world. But, for the writer of the Book of Genesis, this fact was vital. The Book of Genesis always concentrates on the lives of people who please God. Already, we have read about Abel, Enoch and Noah. And Abram would join the list of men who pleased God. Their lives had a vast effect on the relationship between people and God. God said that all the people in the world would receive a *blessing by means of Abram (Genesis 12:3).

Notes on the verses

Verse 2 People moved ‘to the east’. Or that may mean ‘in the east’. Earlier, the *Lord sent Cain away. And then Cain too went towards the east.

Verse 3 ‘Bitumen’ is a black stuff that people get from the ground. At that time, people started to use it like cement. They stuck bricks together with it. Today, people use it as a surface for roads.

Verse 4 The people did not ask what the *Lord wanted. They wanted to build for themselves. They were not building this city in order to bring honour to God. They wanted to be famous themselves.

God makes new languages and he scatters people, 11:5-9

Verse 5 The *Lord showed how great he is. People thought that they could reach up to the sky. They thought that God was in the sky. But God came down to the earth to see their *tower. When we compare the *tower with God, it was very small. And it was not very important, because God is so great. It is God who makes people great. We cannot make ourselves great in God’s opinion. People think that they are great and powerful. But God is in control. He confused their language and he scattered them. So, he stopped the people before they could become more evil. He stopped them before they could make more trouble.

The writer has told the story about the *tower in Babel in very easy language. He uses many words that sound like other words. Some parts of God’s reply sound very like the people’s speech. But God’s reply means something very different. After Adam and Eve had *sinned, they could not talk with God as easily as before. Now, people could not talk to each other easily.

Verse 9 ‘Babel’ means ‘confused’.

Shem’s family (Abram’s *ancestors), 11:10-32

Verses 10-26 ‘The history of Shem’s family’. People’s exact ages here are not clear, but that is not very important. This history of Shem’s family may not be complete. Some people may be grandsons rather than sons. Again, it is important to see that this is a story about real people. We can compare it with the account about Adam’s family. (Look at Genesis chapter 5.) We can see that the people in Shem’s family were younger when they had children. And they did not live as long. In Genesis 6:3, God said that he would place a limit on the length of people’s lives.

In verse 26, Abram, Nahor and Haran were born at different times.

Here, the story about Abram begins. Abram was the father of the family that God chose specially. Abram’s brother was called Haran. And also the place where Terah stayed to live was called Haran.

Genesis 11:27 to 12:9 These verses are very important. They show how God was making his plan happen for people. He chose Abram’s family as his special family. Then he chose the nation of the *Jews. Then he did something special for all nations. God was a friend to Abram. And God made special promises to Abram and his family. Here we also read about the country that the *Lord promised to Abram.

Verse 27 Haran was probably Terah’s oldest son. It seems that Abram was looking after Lot.

Verse 29 Sarai was Abram’s half-sister (Genesis 20:12). In other words, Sarai and Abram had the same father (Terah), but Sarai’s mother was not Abram’s mother. Later, God forbade men to marry a half-sister. Nahor married his brother’s daughter. God never forbade that.

Verse 30 At that time, if a woman had no children, she was very sad. And sometimes people thought that the woman should be ashamed because of that. God sometimes made women be without children because they had *sinned (Genesis 20:18). However, there are also several women like Sarai, Hannah and Elizabeth in the Bible. They did not have any children for a long time, but God *blessed them.

Verse 32 Abram probably left Haran many years before Terah died. Terah was not a part of God’s plan for Abram and his *descendants. For that reason, the writer tells us that Terah died in Haran.

Word List

altar ~ a table that people made out of stone or metal. People burned gifts to God (*sacrifices) on it.

Amorites ~ a group of people that lived in the country called Canaan.

ancestor ~ a relative that lived a long time ago. A person’s parents are *descendants of such a relative.

angels ~ God’s servants from *heaven, who sometimes bring God’s messages to people.

ark ~ the big boat that Noah built; or a box that someone has made out of wood.

backward ~ when people go in the direction where their back is; the opposite direction to forward.

barren ~ a description of a married woman who has no children.

bless ~ to give someone a *blessing; or to be kind to someone; or to do good things for someone; or to promise good things to someone.

blessing ~ a good thing that God does for us; or when we ask God to help a person; or when we ask God to do something good in that person. In the Book of Genesis, blessings were often a type of *prophecy.

Canaanites ~ people that were living in Canaan, the country that God had promised to the *Israelites. The Canaanites were already living in that country before the *Israelites went there.

cattle ~ animals that people look after in order to get milk or meat from them. They include cows.

cherubim ~ special *angels that live with God in *heaven.

clay ~ a kind of earth. When it is dry, it is heavy and firm. When it is wet, it is stiff but also fairly soft.

clean ~ a clean animal was an animal that God allowed the *Jews to eat.

cloak ~ a large piece of warm cloth. People wore it on top of other clothes. And they used it as a blanket at night.

confirm ~ say something again so that people will certainly believe it.

covenant ~ an agreement between two or more people, in which they all have responsibilities; such an agreement between God and a person (or people).

creation ~ when God made the world; and when he made everything that exists; everything that God has made.

creatures ~ many things that live are creatures. They include all animals, insects and things that crawl. They do not include people, trees, plants or things similar to plants. God made all creatures.

cubit ~ a measurement that people used to measure length. It is equal to 18 inches (about 45 centimetres).

curse ~ say that something bad will happen to a person or thing by God’s (or a false god’s) power; when someone curses a person or thing; what someone says when they curse a person or thing. In the Book of Genesis, the word ‘curse’ often means a *prophecy about future troubles.

descendant ~ a child, grandchild, and so on; a person in your family who lives after you are dead.

dome ~ a roof with a round top. Here, it means a very big roof over the whole earth.

dove ~ a kind of bird. People consider it a gentle bird.

drunk ~ a description of a person who has had too much alcohol. Such a person cannot think clearly. And that person does not behave in a sensible manner.

flesh ~ the soft material that covers a person’s bones.

flock ~ a large group of such animals as sheep.

flute ~ something like a tube that has holes in it. People blow into it in order to make music.

fruitful ~ fruitful land produces a lot of good crops. When a thing is fruitful, it produces many good results. When people are fruitful, they have many children.

grape ~ a small, sweet fruit that people make a drink (*wine) from.

harp ~ something very large with very many strings. People pull the strings gently in order to make music.

heaven ~ the place that is God’s home.

Hebrew ~ the language that the *Jews spoke; someone from the nation that spoke the Hebrew language. The writer wrote Genesis in the Hebrew language.

heel ~ the back part of the foot.

holy ~ what God is like; completely good, with nothing bad in it; separate from *sin; perfect and clean; when something belongs to God.

Israelite ~ a person from the nation called Israel; a *descendant of Jacob, who was also called Israel.

Jew ~ a person that was born from Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and their children. People also use it to mean a person from the nation called Israel.

kingdom ~ a place or country that a king rules over. (God is the greatest king. He is over all other kings. We are expecting his kingdom to come.)

lamb ~ a very young sheep.

lord ~ a man that has complete authority over someone or something.

Lord ~ a special name for God. Sometimes it is the *Hebrew word YHWH. YHWH means that God is always God. Elsewhere, it is the *Hebrew word ADONAI, which means ‘my master’. People used these words to give honour to God.

New Testament ~ the second part of the Bible, which the writers wrote after Jesus went back to *heaven.

offering ~ a gift to please God.

Old Testament ~ the first part of the Bible, which the writers wrote before Jesus came; the *holy things that the writers wrote before Christ’s birth.

olive ~ a small fruit from which people make oil in order to cook food; the tree that this fruit comes from.

Philistines ~ a nation of people that lived in Canaan or near Canaan.

praise ~ to say how great somebody is; words to express how great someone is.

pregnant ~ when a lady is expecting to have a baby.

prophecy ~ messages that God wants to tell or teach to people, often about future events.

rape ~ when a man forces a woman to have sex with him although she does not want to.

religious ~ when people do something in order to *worship God.

righteous ~ very good (only God is really righteous). God says that the people that love him are righteous. And those people obey him. Such people do whatever God wants them to do.

sacrifice ~ when someone puts an animal on an *altar in order to offer the animal to God; to give something valuable for someone or for God; to die for someone or for God.

Satan ~ the devil. He is God’s enemy.

sin ~ to do bad things against God or other people; a bad thing that a person does against God or other people; when a person does a bad thing.

sinful ~ evil and wrong.

sweat ~ to have water that comes out of the skin. That can happen when someone is working hard with his or her body. Or it can happen when the weather is hot.

temple ~ a building where people *worship God or a false god and they *praise him there.

tower ~ a tall, narrow building.

unclean ~ an unclean animal was an animal that God did not allow the *Jews to eat.

wine ~ a drink that contains alcohol. People make it from small, sweet fruit called grapes. People can use it as medicine.

worship ~ to show very great honour to God; to show that we respect him very much; to *praise God and to serve him; to tell God that we love him very much.

Book List

John Calvin ~ Commentary on Genesis ~ Eerdmans

Rev. Stephen Dray ~ Genesis – Lecture notes (unpublished)

Victor P. Hamilton ~ The Book of Genesis (2 volumes) ~ New International Commentary on the Old Testament ~ Eerdmans

Matthew Henry ~ Commentary on the Whole Bible ~ Marshall Morgan and Scott

Rev. Derek Kidner ~ Genesis ~ Tyndale

C. H. Spurgeon ~ Treasury of the Old Testament ~ Marshall Morgan and Scott

Gordon J. Wenham ~ Genesis (2 volumes) ~ Word Biblical Commentary ~ Word

Bibles ~ RSV, NIV, International Children’s Bible, Bible for the Deaf

 

© 2006, Wycliffe Associates (UK)

This publication is written in EasyEnglish Level B (2800 words).

August 2006

Visit our website: www.easyenglish.info