God makes Everything

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

www.easyenglish.info

Alun Owen

This commentary has been through Advanced Theological Checking.

Words in boxes are from the Bible.

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

 

About Genesis

Many people think that Moses wrote Genesis. If he did, other people probably helped him. And if he did, he may have used some of the words of previous writers. The people who wrote Genesis wrote it in the ancient *Hebrew language. This language is like the modern *Hebrew language, which people speak in the country Israel today.

The word ‘Genesis’ means ‘beginning’. Chapter 1 tells us what God did in the beginning. There were no people until God made them. Therefore no people saw what God did in the beginning. Afterwards, God showed to people what he had done. And people wrote it in books. Peter, who lived at the same time as Jesus, tells us this. He is writing about the first part of the Bible (the Old Testament). He writes, ‘Men whom the Holy Spirit guided spoke words from God.’ (2 Peter 1:21) That is true for the whole Old Testament. Genesis is a part of the Old Testament. So we know that people wrote Genesis. But it is also true that the words of Genesis came from God.

In Genesis, God tells us about himself. He tells us how he deals with people. He also tells us about men and women. And he tells us that many people were very wicked. But some people trusted God and some people obeyed him.

In the first chapter of Genesis, God tells us how he made everything. This is not a scientific study. God does not speak only to scientists. He speaks to everyone. God shows to everyone what he has done. And he does this by words that everyone can understand. God has made it simple.

Chapter 1

God creates the earth

v1 In the beginning, God created the sky and the earth. v2 The earth had no shape. It was empty. The waters were dark. God’s spirit moved over the waters. v3 And God said, ‘Let there be light.’ And there was light. v4 God saw that the light was good. God separated light and darkness. v5 God called the light ‘day’ and he called the darkness ‘night’. And there was evening and there was morning. It was the first day.

Verse 1

‘The sky and the earth’ means everything. God made the sky and the earth out of nothing. Before he did that, only God existed.

‘To create’ means to make something that is completely new. This chapter uses the word ‘create’ in only 3 verses. In verse 1, God created the sky and the earth. In verse 21, he created the first animals. In verse 27, he created people.

Verses 3-4

God made light because it would be necessary later. Later, he made plants. Plants cannot grow if there is no light. Later, he made animals and men. They cannot see if there is no light.

Verse 5

The story that is in this chapter has 6 parts. This verse is the end of the first part. Each part is called a day. Some people think that God made everything in 6 ordinary days. But the *Hebrew word for ‘day’ occasionally means an age. Some people think that God made everything in 6 long periods of time.

‘And there was evening and there was morning.’ Some people think that this means an ordinary evening and an ordinary morning. If that is true, the 6 days must be 6 ordinary days. But perhaps it means, ‘One age ended and a new age began.’ And so, the 6 days may mean 6 ages.

v6 After that, God said, ‘Let there be a space in the middle of the waters. Let it divide the waters into two parts.’ v7 And God made a space. There were waters above the space and there were waters under the space. And it was so. v8 God called the space ‘sky’. And there was evening and there was morning. It was the second day.

Verses 7-8

The space is the sky or the atmosphere. The ‘waters above the space’ may be outer space. That is where the sun and the stars are. The ‘waters under the space’ are the seas.

v9 After that God said, ‘Let the waters that are under the sky come together into one place. Let dry land appear.’ And it was so. v10 God called the dry land ‘earth’. He called the waters that came together ‘seas’. And God saw that it was good.

v11 And God said, ‘Let the earth produce grass. Let it produce plants that have seeds. Let it produce trees that have fruit with seeds. Let them be many different kinds.’ And it was so. v12 The earth produced grass. It produced plants that have seeds. It produced trees that have fruit with seeds. They were many different kinds. And God saw that it was good. v13 And there was evening and there was morning. It was the third day.

Verse 11

The earth produced grass and plants and trees. But God controlled everything that happened.

v14 After that, God said, ‘Let there be lights in the sky. Let them separate day and night. They will mark seasons and days and years. v15 And let these lights in the sky give light to the earth.’ And it was so. v16 And God made the two great lights. The larger light ruled the day and the smaller light ruled the night. God made the stars too. v17 God put the lights in the sky so that they gave light to the earth. v18 He put them there so that they ruled over the day and over the night. He put them there so that they separated light and darkness. And God saw that it was good. v19 And there was evening and there was morning. It was the fourth day.

Verse 14

God had not yet made animals and people. Later, when he made them, they would need periods to be active and periods to rest. So God made the sun and the moon divide time into days and months and years.

God creates animals

v20 After that, God said, ‘Let the waters produce many living animals. And let birds fly in the sky above the earth.’ v21 So God created large animals in the sea. He created every animal that moves in the water. They were many different kinds. He also created every bird that has wings. And God saw that it was good. v22 God promised good things to them. He said, ‘Have large families. Increase so that you fill the seas and the skies.’ v23 And there was evening and there was morning. It was the fifth day.

Verses 20-21

God created animals. Animals were a new kind of living thing. They were quite different from plants. Animals have minds. Minds were a new kind of thing. Some of the animals lived in the sea. Some large animals lived in the sea. Some of the animals that God made were birds.

v24 After that, God said, ‘Let the earth produce living animals. Let them be many different kinds. Let the earth produce tame animals. Let it produce animals that crawl. Let it produce wild animals. Let them be many different kinds.’ And it was so. v25 And God made the wild animals on the earth. He made the tame animals. He made everything that crawls on the ground. They were many different kinds. And God saw that it was good.

God creates people

v26 Then God said, ‘Let us make people who are images of us. Let them be similar to us. Let them rule over the fish of the sea. Let them rule over the birds of the air. Let them rule over the animals. Let them rule over the whole earth. Let them rule over every crawling animal that crawls on the earth.’ v27 So God created people who were images of himself. He created them as images of God. He created man and woman. v28 God promised good things to them. He said, ‘Have large families. Increase so that you fill the earth. Rule over the earth. Rule over the fish in the sea. Rule over the birds that fly in the air. Rule over every living animal that moves on the earth.’

Verse 26

People are images of God. This does not mean that man’s body is like God. Man’s body is like an animal. But man’s spirit is like God. And so man can know God.

God said, ‘Let us make people.’ He did not say, ‘I will make people.’ Perhaps he said ‘us’ because he is 3 persons. He is the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. And he is also one God. But it is more likely that this is not the reason. The *Hebrew word that means ‘God’ is like a plural word. Perhaps that is why God called himself ‘we’.

Verse 27

God created people. To create means to make something that is completely new.

Verse 28

God told people to rule over the earth and the sea and the birds and the animals. Therefore, we are responsible for the whole earth. We must look after it and we must take care of it. That is part of our duty to God.

v29 God said, ‘Look. I have given to you every plant in the whole earth that produces seeds. I have given to you every tree that produces fruit with seeds. They are your food. v30 I have given all the green plants to the animals on the earth. I have given them to the birds that fly in the air. I have given them to the animals that crawl on the earth. I have given them to everything that is alive. The plants are their food.’ And it was so.

v31 God saw everything that he had made. It was truly very good. And there was evening and there was morning. It was the sixth day.

Verses 29-30

God gave plants to people as food. Later, God gave animals to people as food too. (See Genesis 9:3.)

Verse 31

Everything was truly very good. God himself said so. But after that time, evil things came into the world. The devil, who is called Satan, persuaded man and woman to do wrong things. (See Genesis 3:1-6.)

Chapter 2

God rests

v1 So the sky and the earth were complete. Everything that was in them was complete. v2 On the seventh day, God had finished his work that he had done. He rested on the seventh day, after all the work that he had done. v3 So God made the seventh day a special day. He made it special, because on that day he rested after his work. When he had created everything, he rested.

Verse 2

When God had created everything, he rested. That means that he did not create anything else. It does not mean that he did no more work. Genesis tells us that God did many more things.

Verse 3

Many people nowadays keep one day in each week special. Some keep the first day special, because Jesus Christ rose from death on the first day. Other people keep the seventh day in each week as a special day.

The garden in Eden

v4 This is the story of the sky and the earth, which God had created. v5 When the *Lord God made the earth and the sky, no green plants were on the earth. No crops were growing. The *Lord God had not yet sent rain to the earth. Also, there were still no people and so nobody farmed the ground. v6 Then a mist rose out of the earth and it watered all the ground. v7 And the *Lord God made a man out of dust from the earth. He blew the breath of life into him. The man became a living person.

Verse 4

Chapter 1 told us the story about how God made everything. Chapter 2 tells us more details about how God made people. And it tells us about the garden that God made for his people.

Verse 5

The plants that man needed for his food were not growing. There were two reasons for this.

·     There was not enough water for them. But God could send that.

·     There was nobody to look after them. And man could do that.

So God sent water (in verse 6) and he put man in the garden (in verses 7-8). God’s work and man’s work were both necessary. In many things that we do, God’s work and man’s work are both necessary.

Verse 7

‘God made a man out of dust.’ So he made man’s body out of things that he had already made. ‘He blew the breath of life into him.’ This means that he made man alive. If an animal has breath, it is alive.

But the *Hebrew word that means ‘breath’ also means ‘spirit’. So this verse also means that God put man’s spirit into man’s body. Man is different from animals because he has a spirit. That is why man is like God. (See Genesis 1:26.)

v8 The *Lord God planted a garden in Eden. It was in the east. God put into the garden the man whom he had made. v9 God made trees to grow out of the ground. These trees were pleasant to look at and their fruit was good to eat. The tree of life was in the middle of the garden. There was also the tree that makes one able to distinguish good things and evil things.

v10 A river flowed out of Eden and it watered the garden. The river divided there into 4 rivers. v11 The first river is called Pishon. It flows through the region that is called Havilah. There is gold there v12 and that gold is good. There are also spice and onyx. v13 The second river is called Gihon. It flows through all the region that is called Cush. v14 The third river is called Tigris, which flows to the east of Assyria. The fourth river is called Euphrates.

v15 The *Lord God took the man and he put him in the garden in Eden. He told him to farm the garden and to look after it. v16 The *Lord God *commanded the man. He said, ‘Eat freely the fruit of all the other trees that are in the garden. v17 But do not eat the fruit of the tree that makes you able to distinguish good things and evil things. If you eat that fruit, you will certainly die.’

Verse 9

We do not know much about these two special trees. (See Genesis 3:22 and the comment.)

Verses 11-14

People used ‘spice’ to give more flavour to food. ‘Onyx’ is a special stone. We do not know where rivers Pishon and Gihon were. Rivers called Tigris and Euphrates flow through the country that today is Iraq.

Verse 17

We can be sure that God made this tree for a good purpose. Perhaps he intended that men and women should eat its fruit later, at the right time. But it certainly made Adam and Eve distinguish between good things and evil things. (See the comment to Genesis 3:22.)

 ‘If you eat that fruit, you will certainly die.’ The *Hebrew words say, ‘In the day when you eat it you shall die.’ But the real meaning of this is, ‘Certainly when you eat it you shall die.’ Adam and Eve did eat the fruit. (See Genesis 3:6.) They certainly did die, although they did not die immediately. However, ‘die’ might mean that their spirit would die then. Their body would die later.

God makes woman

v18 After that, the *Lord God said, ‘It is not good that man is alone. I will make a helper for him. His helper shall be suitable for him.’

v19 Now the *Lord God had made out of the ground every animal on the earth. He had made every bird that flies in the air. He brought them to the man so that the man would name them. Whatever name the man gave, that was the name of each living animal. v20 Adam gave names to all the tame animals. He gave names to all the birds that fly in the air. He gave names to all the wild animals. But none of them was a helper who was suitable for Adam.

v21 So the *Lord God made Adam sleep heavily. While Adam slept, God took a bone out of Adam’s body. Then he closed the place in his body. v22 The *Lord God changed the bone that he had taken from Adam. He made the bone become a woman. He brought her to Adam.

Verse 18

A ‘helper’ means a person who will work together with another person. It does not mean a servant or a slave. We know that because the word ‘helper’ can mean God. Exodus 18:4 says, ‘My father’s God was my helper.’ And the *Hebrew word for ‘helper’ is the same word.

Verse 19

God had told man to rule over all the animals. (See Genesis 1:28.) So God did not give names to the animals. God let man do that.

Verse 20

‘Adam’ is a *Hebrew word that means ‘a man’. It is also the name of the first man.

None of the animals was a suitable helper because they are not like man. God made man as an image of himself. Man is similar to God. Man has a spirit but animals do not have spirits. (See Genesis 1:26 and the comment.) Man rules over the animals and he looks after them. (See Genesis 1:28 and the comment.) And when man works with animals, they are his servants. So they are not the helpers that man needs.

Verse 21

The bone was a rib. A rib is a thin bone in the upper part of the body.

v23 Then Adam said,

          ‘This at last is my bone

                      and it is part of my body.

          I shall call her “woman”

                      because she came out of man.’

v24 Therefore a man leaves his father and his mother and he and his wife join. Then the two people become one body.

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

Verse 23

‘This is my bone’ means, ‘This was my bone until God changed it. And ‘it is part of my body’ means, ‘This was part of my body until God changed it.’

The *Hebrew word for ‘woman’ sounds like the word for ‘man’.

Verse 24

‘The two people become one body.’ From the beginning, God intended that a man should have only one wife. But after this time many men had several wives. And from the beginning, God intended that a man and his wife should stay together. But after this time some people divorced each other. (See Deuteronomy 24:1-4.) Jesus referred to this verse (Genesis 2:24) and he said that people should not divorce. (See Matthew 19:5-6, or read all of Matthew 19:3-9.)

Chapter 3

Adam and Eve do an evil thing

v1 The snake was the cleverest wild animal that the *Lord God had made. The snake said to the woman, ‘Is it true that God said, “Do not eat the fruit of any tree that is in the garden”?’ v2 The woman said to the snake, ‘We may eat the fruit of the trees in the garden. v3 But God said, “You must not eat the fruit of the tree that is in the middle of the garden. Do not even touch it. If you touch it then you will die.” ’ v4 But the snake said to the woman, ‘You will not die. v5 When you eat it, you will distinguish things clearly. God knows this. You will be like God and you will distinguish good things and evil things.’

Verse 1

An ordinary snake could not do what this snake did. The devil, who is called Satan, used the snake to speak to Eve. Genesis does not mention the devil, but other parts of the Bible mention him. (See Revelation 20:1-3.)

Verse 2

The woman started by saying what God did allow. God allowed Adam and Eve to eat almost all the fruit that was in the garden. (See Genesis 2:16.) The snake said only what God did not allow (in verse 1). There was only one tree that they must not touch. But the snake mentioned that one tree and he did not mention all the other trees.

The devil often works like that. He wants people to think about the things that they must not do. And he wants people to forget all the good things that God has given. We should thank God for all those good things. That will help us to remember them.

Verse 4

‘You will not die.’ It was true that they would not die immediately. But they would deserve to die. They would die unless God rescued them. And God had a plan to rescue them. God mentioned this plan in verse 15. See the comment on verse 15. Also see the comment on Genesis 2:17.

Verse 5

‘You will distinguish things clearly.’ This does not mean that they would see more clearly. It means that they would know the difference between good things and evil things.

v6 Then the woman saw that the fruit was good to eat. She saw that it was lovely to look at. She also thought that it would make her wise. So she took some of the fruit and she ate it. She also gave some of it to her husband and he ate it. v7 Then they distinguished things clearly. They realised that they were naked. So they sewed leaves together and they made clothes for themselves.

Verse 6

The woman decided what was good. She should not have done that. God decides what is good. And the woman’s decision was different from what God had said.

God accuses Adam and Eve

v8 In the evening, it was cool. Then the *Lord God walked in the garden. Adam and Eve heard him and they hid themselves away from him among the trees.

Verse 8

Adam and Eve knew that they had done a wrong thing. Their wrong deed separated them from God. They did not want to meet God. That is why they hid themselves. But they could not hide from God.

If we do a wrong thing, our wrong deed separates us from God. Then we need God to forgive us. We need to ask him to forgive us. He will forgive us because Jesus has taken the blame for our wrong deeds.

v9 But the *Lord God called to Adam. He said to him, ‘Where are you?’ v10 Adam said, ‘I heard you as you walked in the garden. I was afraid because I was naked. Therefore I hid myself.’ v11 God said, ‘Nobody told you that you were naked! Have you eaten the fruit that I *commanded you not to eat?’ v12 Adam replied, ‘You gave the woman to me as a companion. She gave the fruit of the tree to me and I ate it.’ v13 Then the *Lord God said to the woman, ‘What have you done?’ The woman replied, ‘The snake tempted me and I ate.’

Verse 9

‘Where are you?’ God knew where they were. But God said this because he wanted them to speak to him.

Verse 10

Adam did not say, ‘I have eaten the fruit of the tree that you forbade us to eat.’ And he did not say, ‘I am sorry.’ If we do a wrong thing, we should tell God. We should tell him that we have done it. He knows already, but we should tell him. And we should tell him that we are sorry.

Verse 11

‘Have you eaten the fruit?’ God knew that they had eaten it. He knows everything that we do. But he wanted Adam and Eve to tell him what they had done. That is why he asked these questions.

Verse 12

Adam did not want to confess what he had done. So he did not say, ‘Yes’. Instead, he tried to blame God. He said, ‘You gave to me the woman who tempted me.’

Verse 13

‘What have you done?’ God knew what she had done. But he wanted her to confess. And he wanted her to say that she was sorry. She did confess what she had done. She tried to blame the snake. She did not say that she was sorry.

v14 The *Lord God said to the snake,

          ‘Because you have done this,

                      I will separate you from all tame animals and from all wild animals.

          You shall move on your stomach

                      and you shall eat dust for your whole life.

v15    I will make you and the woman enemies.

                      Your *descendants and her *descendants will be enemies.

          One *descendant of the woman will hurt your head

                      and you will hurt his foot.’

Verse 14

The words ‘you shall eat dust’ mean that the snake will always have its head low in the dust. And everything that it eats will have dust on it.

Verse 15

This verse seems to say that snakes would hurt people. And it seems to say that people would kill snakes. Perhaps it means that. But, if it means that, it has a more important meaning too.

The devil was using the snake. (See the comment on verse 1.) So the first half of this verse means that people and the devil would be enemies.

In the second half of the verse, God says that a man will hurt the devil’s head. A hurt of the head means a hurt that will cause death. And he says that the devil will hurt the man’s foot. A hurt of the foot means a hurt that will not cause death. So the devil would cause damage but he would lose the fight. This has happened in many ways at many times.

Jesus Christ was a *descendant of Eve. And when Jesus died, the devil made him suffer great injury and pain. We might say, ‘The devil hurt his foot.’ But Jesus won the fight against the devil. So we might say, ‘Jesus hurt the devil’s head.’ And God promised that, when he spoke to Adam and Eve. That is a part of what God meant.

Man and woman turned themselves away from God. But God had a plan to bring men and women back to himself. It was God’s plan that Jesus would come into the world. And God made a promise about this to Adam and Eve. But he did not explain it clearly at that time. He explained it more clearly afterwards.

v16 God said to the woman,

          ‘You will have much pain when you have children.

                      You will have pain when your children are born.

          You will desire your husband’s love, but he will rule over you.’

v17 And God said to Adam,

          ‘You listened to the words that your wife said.

                      I *commanded you not to eat the fruit of that tree, but you ate it.

          Therefore, the ground will produce little because of you.

                      You will work hard for your whole life in order to eat.

v18    When you eat the products of the earth,

                      the ground will produce thorns and thistles for you.

v19    By hard labour you will eat your food until you die.

                      Then you will return to the ground.

          I made you out of the dust on the ground.

                      You are dust and you will become dust again.’

Verse 17

God intended to give good things to people. He intended to show to people how they could live well on the earth. But Adam and Eve did not obey God. They did what he had told them not to do. That spoiled God’s plans. Therefore, people would not have all the good things from God. They would not have plenty to eat. And they would have to work very hard.

Verse 18

‘Thorns’ and ‘thistles’ are two kinds of plant. They have sharp points. One cannot eat them.

Verse 19

‘I made you out of the dust on the ground.’ God made man’s body out of the things that he had already made. But he created man’s spirit out of nothing. (See Genesis 2:7 and the comment.)

Adam and Eve leave the garden

v20 Adam’s wife was the mother of everyone who is alive. Therefore, Adam called her Eve. v21 And the *Lord God made clothes out of skins for Adam and Eve. Adam and Eve wore them. v22 Then the *Lord God said, ‘The man has become like us. He distinguishes good things and evil things. Now he might reach out his hand and he might pick the fruit from the tree of life. He might eat it. Then he would live for ever.’ v23 And so the *Lord God sent Adam out of the garden that was in Eden. He sent him out to farm the ground. God had made Adam out of that ground. v24 God made Adam go out. God put the cherubim at the east of the garden in Eden. The cherubim had a sword. It was a flame, which turned in every direction. They guarded the way to the tree of life.

Verses 20-21

Adam and Eve had turned themselves away from God. What they had done spoiled God’s plans. But it did not change God’s *command. God had said, ‘Have large families. Increase so that you fill the earth.’ (See Genesis 1:28.) So Eve was still the mother of everyone who would be born after this time. And God provided clothes for them so that they could continue their lives.

The name ‘Eve’ is like the word that means ‘alive’.

Verse 22

When Adam and Eve had eaten the fruit, they knew something. They knew that that they had not obeyed God. They knew that this deed had separated them from God. They knew that their deed was evil. So they could distinguish good things and evil things. And the tree was truly ‘the tree that makes you distinguish good things and evil things’.

Verse 24

Cherubim are servants of God who live in heaven. They are greater than the *angels.

Chapter 4

Cain kills Abel

v1 Adam had sex with his wife Eve and she became *pregnant. Her son Cain was born. She said, ‘I have gained a man by the *Lord’s help.’ v2 Later, Cain’s brother Abel was born. Abel looked after sheep and Cain worked on the soil.

v3 After a long time, Cain brought an *offering to the *Lord. It was some of the products of the earth. v4 And Abel brought pieces of meat with fat. They were from his young sheep that were born before the other sheep. Abel and his *offering pleased the *Lord. v5 But Cain and his *offering did not please him. So Cain was very angry and his face was sad. v6 The *Lord said to Cain, ‘You should not be angry and your face should not be sad. v7 If you do well, I will accept you. If you do not do well, you could soon do an evil deed. The devil wants you, but you must overcome him.’

Verse 1

Eve said, ‘By the *Lord’s help’. So Adam and Eve still knew God. And God still helped them. But they did not meet God as they had done in the garden.

Verse 5

We do not know why Cain’s *offering did not please God. These are two possible reasons.

·     Perhaps the reason was that Cain did not offer an animal. Later, people killed sheep or cows as *offerings to God. These *offerings were important because they were signs of Christ’s death. Christ died as an *offering to God.

·     But, if that was a reason, there was probably another reason too. God saw that Abel trusted him. (See Hebrews 11:4.) And God saw that Cain had evil thoughts in his mind. (See 1 John 3:12.) We cannot serve God if we have evil things in our minds.

Verses 6-7

Cain was angry. That was an evil thing, but God did not accuse him. Instead, God offered to accept Cain. So when we do wrong things, God does not accuse us. Instead, he asks us to come back to him. If we do that, he accepts us.

v8 Cain said to Abel his brother, ‘Let us go out to the field.’ While they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother Abel. He killed him. v9 Then the *Lord said to Cain, ‘Where is Abel your brother?’ Cain replied, ‘I do not know. I am not my brother’s keeper.’ v10 And the *Lord said, ‘You have done a very evil deed. I can see your brother’s blood on the ground. v11 So I cause evil things for you. I make you go out from the earth. That is the earth where your brother’s blood remains. v12 Now, when you farm the soil, it will not produce its crops for you. You will run away from people and you will wander on the earth.’

Verse 8

Adam and Eve had not obeyed God. (See Genesis 3:6.) That was the first evil deed. Then Cain did another evil deed. After that, evil things spread through the earth.

Verse 9

‘Where is Abel your brother?’ God knew what Cain had done. He knew that Abel was dead. But God wanted Cain to speak to him about it.

Verse 11

Cain deserved to die, but God did not kill Cain. Instead, he sent Cain away so that Cain would not kill anyone else. And God protected Cain so that nobody else would kill Cain. (See verse 15.) So Cain might think about the evil deed that he had done. He might be truly sorry and God would forgive him.

v13 Cain said to the *Lord, ‘My punishment is too severe. v14 Today you send me away from this country. I will not be able to see your face. I will run away from people and I will wander on the earth. Anyone who finds me will kill me.’ v15 Then the *Lord said to Cain, ‘No. If anyone kills Cain, I will punish that person 7 times more severely.’ And the *Lord put a mark on Cain. So anyone who met Cain would see the mark. And he would not kill Cain. v16 Then Cain went away from the *Lord. He lived in the region that is called Nod. It is east of Eden.

Verse 13

Cain was not sorry. He thought about himself. He did not think about Abel, whom he had killed. But God still protected Cain because he might be truly sorry later.

Verse 14

This verse tells us that there were other people on the earth in addition to Adam, Eve and Cain. Adam and Eve had other children. (See Genesis 5:4.) One child of Adam and Eve became Cain’s wife. (See verse 17.)

Verse 16

‘Cain went away from the *Lord.’ God is everywhere. God was in Nod. So Cain did not escape from God when he went to Nod. But Cain left God out of his life. That is what this verse means. If we give honour to God, he is with us everywhere. But if we do evil deeds, we can turn ourselves away from God.

Cain’s family

v17 Cain had sex with his wife and she became *pregnant. Her son Enoch was born. Cain built a city. He called the city Enoch because of his son’s name. v18 Enoch was the father of Irad. Irad was the father of Mehujael. Mehujael was the father of Methushael. Methushael was the father of Lamech. v19 Lamech had 2 wives. One was called Adah and the other wife was called Zillah. v20 Adah had a son who was called Jabal. Jabal’s family lived in tents and they looked after cows. v21 Jabal’s brother was called Jubal. Jubal was the father of all those who make music by harps and flutes. v22 Zillah had a son who was called Tubal-cain. Tubal-cain made tools out of copper and iron. Tubal-cain’s sister was Naamah.

Verse 17

Cain certainly had many other sons and daughters before he built the city. He built the city after he had lived in Nod for many years.

Verses 17-18

This Enoch is not the same person as the Enoch that Genesis 5:18-24 mentions. And this Lamech is not the same person as the Lamech that Genesis 5:25-31 mentions.

Verses 18-22

We do not know whether this list of names is complete. Perhaps it leaves out some names. The word ‘son’ in the Bible sometimes means ‘grandson’ and it sometimes means ‘*descendant’. (For example, Jesus was called ‘David’s son’. But there were many fathers and sons between king David and Jesus.)

Verse 19

God had said, ‘A man and his wife join. Then the two people become one body.’ (See Genesis 2:24.) So God intended that a man should have only one wife. Lamech was the first man to have more than one wife. After this time, Abraham had an extra wife. (See Genesis 16:1-2.) And Jacob married both Leah and Rachel in addition to 2 extra wives. (See Genesis 29:21-30.) God did not say in Genesis that to marry more than one wife was wrong. But it caused much trouble.

Verse 21

Harps and flutes are musical instruments. A harp has many strings. It produces sound when somebody touches the strings. A flute is a tube with holes. It produces sound when somebody blows air across one hole.

Lamech speaks proudly

v23 Lamech said to his wives,

          ‘Adah and Zillah, hear my voice.

                      My wives, listen to the words that I say.

          I kill a man if he hurts me.

                      I kill a boy if he strikes me.

v24    If any person kills Cain, God will punish that person 7 times more severely.

                      But when a person hurts me, Lamech, I punish him 77 times more severely.’

Verse 24

Lamech repeated what God had said about Cain. (See verse 15.) But Lamech said that he punished more severely than God does. He meant that he was stronger than God is. Lamech was proud of this. But God did not punish him immediately.

Seth is born

v25 Adam had sex with his wife again. Her son was born and she called him Seth. She said, ‘God has given me another child instead of Abel, whom Cain killed.’ v26 Seth also had a son. He called him Enosh. At that time men began to pray to the *Lord.

Verse 25

‘Seth’ means ‘given’.

Verse 26

‘Men began to pray to the *Lord.’ When Adam and Eve were in the garden, they talked with God. Then their evil deed separated them from God. Cain turned away from God and so he did not pray. Abel might have prayed, but he was dead. But Seth and Enosh and other people prayed. People again talked with God.

Chapter 5

Adam’s family

v1 These are Adam’s *descendants. When God created man, he made man similar to God. v2 He created them as man and woman. He promised good things to them. He called them ‘Man’ when he created them.

Verse 1

When Genesis describes two families, it first describes the less important one. And after that, it describes the more important one. So it describes the family of Adam’s son, Cain, in Genesis 4:17-22. And in this chapter, it describes the family of Adam’s other son, Seth. Cain was older than Seth. But Cain was less important because he was not sorry for his evil deeds.

This chapter describes God’s work and man’s work. God’s work was to create man. (See verses 1-2.) Man’s work was to increase so as to fill the earth. That was God’s *command. (See Genesis 1:28.)

v3 Adam lived for 130 years and then he became the father of a son. His son was similar to himself. His son was an image of himself. Adam called his son Seth. v4 After Seth’s birth, Adam lived for 800 years. He was the father of other sons and daughters. v5 Adam’s life was 930 years and then he died.

v6 Seth lived for 105 years and then he became the father of Enosh. v7 After Enosh’s birth, Seth lived for 807 years. He was the father of other sons and daughters. v8 Seth’s life was 912 years and then he died.

v9 Enosh lived for 90 years and then he became the father of Kenan. v10 After Kenan’s birth, Enosh lived for 815 years. He was the father of other sons and daughters. v11 Enosh’s life was 905 years and then he died.

v12 Kenan lived for 70 years and then he became the father of Mahalalel. v13 After Mahalalel’s birth, Kenan lived for 840 years. He was the father of other sons and daughters. v14 Kenan’s life was 910 years and then he died.

v15 Mahalalel lived for 65 years and then he became the father of Jared. v16 After Jared’s birth, Mahalalel lived for 830 years. He was the father of other sons and daughters. v17 Mahalalel’s life was 895 years and then he died.

v18 Jared lived for 162 years and then he became the father of Enoch. v19 After Enoch’s birth, Jared lived for 800 years. He was the father of other sons and daughters. v20 Jared’s life was 962 years and then he died.

v21 Enoch lived for 65 years and then he became the father of Methuselah. v22 After Methuselah’s birth, Enoch walked with God for 300 years. He was the father of other sons and daughters. v23 Enoch’s life was 365 years. v24 Enoch walked with God. Then he was no more, because God took him.

v25 Methuselah lived for 187 years and then he became the father of Lamech. v26 After Lamech’s birth, Methuselah lived for 782 years. He was the father of other sons and daughters. v27 Methuselah’s life was 969 years and then he died.

v28 Lamech lived for 182 years and then he became the father of a son. v29 Lamech called his son Noah. He said, ‘The *Lord has made the ground produce little. But this son shall bring rest to us after our labour. He will bring rest to us after the hard work of our hands.’ v30 After Noah’s birth, Lamech lived for 595 years. He was the father of other sons and daughters. v31 Lamech’s life was 777 years and then he died. v32 Noah lived for 500 years and then he became the father of Shem, Ham and Japheth.

Verses 3-32

We do not know whether this list of names is complete. Perhaps it leaves out some names. For example, verse 6 may mean, ‘Seth lived for 105 years and then he became a father. And one *descendant of Seth was Enosh.’ And other verses may have a similar meaning. (See the comment on Genesis 4:18-22.)

Genesis tells us that ancient people had very long lives. They were much longer than modern people’s lives.

Verse 24

Enoch did not die. Instead, God took him into heaven. (See Hebrews 11:5.) The Bible tells us about one other person who did not die. That was Elijah. God took Elijah into heaven. (See 2 Kings 2:1, 11.)

Verse 28

This Lamech is not the same person as the Lamech that Genesis 4:23-24 mentions.

Verse 32

This does not mean that Shem, Ham and Japheth were born at the same time. This verse probably means, ‘Noah lived for 500 years and then he became the father of Shem. And in the next few years he became the father of Ham and of Japheth.’

Chapter 6

People are very wicked

v1 At that time, men began to increase on the earth. Many daughters were born for them. v2 Then the sons of God saw that the daughters of men were beautiful. They chose some of them and they married them. v3 Then the *Lord said, ‘My spirit shall not always remain with men, because they are human. They shall live for 120 years.’

v4 There were giant people on the earth in those days and also afterwards. The sons of God had sex with the daughters of men. Children were born for them. These children became the strong men who lived in old times. They were famous men.

Verse 2

We do not know who ‘the sons of God’ were. Some people suggest that they were *angels. Those people think that 2 Peter 2:4 tells us this. But perhaps the ‘sons of God’ were *descendants of Seth who married *descendants of Cain.

Verse 3

Two different meanings of this verse are possible.

·     Some people think that God made people’s lives shorter. People’s lives had been much longer than this. (See for example Genesis 5:27.) Instead of that, people’s lives after this time would be 120 years or less.

·     A different meaning of this verse is possible. God said that he would wait for 120 years. During those 120 years, people would continue to live. And during those 120 years, God would look at people. He would decide whether any people were good. If he found any good people, he would save them. He decided to save Noah and his family. (See verse 8.) But everyone else died in the flood. Compare this with the story that Jesus told about crops and bad plants. (See Matthew 13:24-30.) The farmer did not remove the bad plants, because good crops were among them. He waited until the harvest. God does not remove evil things immediately when good things are among them. He waits until the right time. So he waited for 120 years and he did not remove evil men immediately. He waited until the right time. In that way, he could save Noah and his family.

v5 The *Lord saw the men who were on the earth. He saw that they were very wicked. He saw that men always thought in evil ways. And he saw that men always desired evil things. v6 And the *Lord was sorry that he had made men on the earth. He was extremely sad. v7 So the *Lord said, ‘I will kill men, whom I have created. I will remove them from the earth. I will kill men and animals and birds. I will kill all that crawl on the ground. I am sorry that I made them.’ v8 But Noah pleased the *Lord.

Verse 5

God made people who were images of himself. So people were like God. God is good. So people were good. God can do anything. So people could choose what they would do. And people chose to do things that God had forbidden. That was the beginning of the evil things that men did. After that, men became more wicked.

Verses 6-7

God was extremely sad. God is a judge. He removes things that are evil. But he loves everything that he has made. Especially, he loves people. He is very sad when he has to kill people.

God decides to save Noah

v9 This is the story of Noah. Noah was a good man. There was no blame on him, among all those who were alive at that time. Noah walked with God. v10 Noah had 3 sons. Their names were Shem, Ham and Japheth.

v11 The earth was evil in God’s sight. All the people who were on the earth often attacked each other. v12 God looked at the earth. And he saw that it was evil. All the people who were on the earth lived in an evil way.

v13 And God said to Noah, ‘I have decided to kill all people. People who are on the earth attack each other. I will kill men and I will destroy the earth too. v14 Make an *ark out of gopher wood for yourself. Make rooms in the *ark. Cover the *ark with bitumen. Cover both the inside of it and the outside of it. v15 This is how you must make it. Its length must be 150 metres. Its width must be 25 metres. Its height must be 15 metres. v16 Make a roof for the *ark. Finish the roof to half a metre at the top. Make a door in the side of the *ark. Make a lower deck, a middle deck and an upper deck.’

Verse 9

‘There was no blame on him.’ This does not mean that Noah was perfect. He had certainly done things that were wrong. But he was a good man. And God had forgiven any wrong things that Noah had done.

Verses 11-12

When God made everything, it was very good. (See Genesis 1:31.) But when Noah lived, everything was evil. This change started when Adam and Eve did not obey God. (See Genesis 3:17-19.) The effect of their deed spread to everything.

Verse 14

The *ark was a very big box that floated on water. It was like a ship. We do not know what kind of wood ‘gopher wood’ was. Bitumen is a black substance that people find in the ground. People put it on cracks in ships so that the ships do not leak.

Verse 15

The *ark had to be big so that there was room for many animals and for their food. Noah must have taken many years to build such a large thing. And he must have trusted God completely. Otherwise, he would not carry out such a big task.

Verse 16

‘Finish the roof to half a metre at the top.’ We do not know what this means. Perhaps it means, ‘Make a gap at the top. The width of the gap must be half a metre.’ The gap would let air blow into the *ark. And it would let light come into the *ark.

v17 And God continued, ‘I will bring a flood of water on the earth. It will kill all animals that breathe under the sky. All that lives will die. Everything that is on the earth will die. v18 But I will make a firm agreement with you. You will enter the *ark with your sons. You will take your wife and your sons’ wives. v19 Take pairs of every kind of living animal. Take them into the *ark so as to keep them alive with you. Each pair shall be one male and one female. v20 Take pairs of every kind of bird. Take pairs of every kind of animal. Take pairs of everything that crawls. Keep them all alive. v21 Take with you every sort of food that you can eat. Store it. It shall be food for you and for the animals.’

v22 Noah did this. He did everything that God *commanded him.

Verse 19

God told Noah to take pairs of animals. Each pair was a male and a female. God did not tell Noah at this time how many pairs he should take. Later, God explained more details to Noah. Then he told Noah to take 7 pairs of some kinds of animals. (See Genesis 7:2.)

Chapter 7

God tells Noah what he should do

v1 Then the *Lord said to Noah, ‘Go into the *ark and take all your family with you. I have seen you as a good person among those who are alive now. v2 Take with you 7 pairs of each kind of clean animal. Take males and females. Take one male and one female of each kind of animal that is not clean. v3 Take 7 pairs of the birds, males and females. So you will keep birds of every kind alive on the earth. v4 In 7 days, I will send rain on the earth. It will rain for 40 days and 40 nights. I will kill every living animal that is on the earth. I will kill all those that I have made.’

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

Verse 1

God chose Noah from among the people who were alive at that time. God chose Noah so that Noah could live a good life with God.

Verse 2

‘Clean’ animals were ones that people ate. For example, people ate the meat of sheep and cows. So sheep and cows were ‘clean’ animals. There were some animals that people did not eat. So they were not ‘clean’ animals.

Many years later, God gave to Moses a list of ‘clean’ animals and ‘unclean’ (not clean) animals. (See Leviticus 11:1-47.) In Noah’s time, people already called some animals ‘clean’. But Genesis does not use the word ‘unclean’.

So Noah took pairs of every kind of animal. But he took more of the ‘clean’ animals. He took 7 pairs of the ‘clean’ animals.

The flood begins

v6 Noah had lived for 600 years when the flood came on the earth. v7 Noah went into the *ark in order to escape from the water. He took his sons with him. And he took his wife and his sons’ wives. v8 He took pairs of clean animals. And he took pairs of animals that were not clean. He took pairs of birds. He took pairs of everything that crawls on the ground. v9 They were male and female. They went into the *ark with Noah. This was exactly as God *commanded. v10 After 7 days, the flood came. The water of the flood came on the earth.

v11 When Noah had lived for 600 years, the water came. In month 2, on day 17, the water came. The water rose up from the deep seas and heavy rain fell from the sky. v12 And it rained on the earth for 40 days and 40 nights.

v13 On the same day, Noah entered the *ark. His 3 sons, Shem, Ham and Japheth, also went in. Noah’s wife went in with Noah. And his 3 sons’ wives went in also. v14 Clean animals of every kind went in. Animals of every kind that were not clean went in. Animals of all kinds that crawl on the ground went in. Birds of every sort went in. v15 They went into the *ark with Noah. They were pairs of every kind that breathes. v16 Males and females of all living animals went in as God had *commanded Noah. And the *Lord shut him in.

Verse 7

‘Noah went into the *ark in order to escape.’ Noah and his family were safe because they were in the *ark. They had done what God told them to do.

We shall be safe if we are ‘in Christ’. We must trust Christ, as God tells us to do. So the *ark helps us to know about Christ.

Verses 8, 14

For ‘clean’ animals, see the comment on verse 2.

v17 The flood continued on the earth for 40 days. The water became deeper and it lifted the *ark. The *ark rose high above the earth. v18 The water became deeper on the earth. The *ark floated on the top of the water. v19 The water was so deep on the earth that it covered all the high mountains under the whole sky. v20 The water covered the mountains so that they were under 7 metres of water. v21 All living animals that moved on the earth died. All birds died. All clean animals died. All animals that were not clean died. All the many animals on the earth died. And every man died. v22 Everything that was alive on the dry land died. v23 God killed every living animal that was on the surface of the ground. He killed people and animals. He killed everything that crawls. He killed the birds. God removed them from the earth. Only Noah and those who were with him in the *ark were left. v24 And the water covered the earth for 150 days.

Verse 21

Many years later, Jesus Christ used this event to teach people. It tells us about the end of the world. (See Matthew 24:37-39.) Before the flood, people lived in an ordinary way. They ate and they drank. They married wives. They did not know that the flood would come. Then the flood came and it killed them. Jesus said that the end of the world will be like that. People who do not know God will live in an ordinary way. They will eat and they will drink. They will marry wives. They will not know that Jesus will come back again. And what happens then will be like the flood. But anybody who continues to trust God will be safe. (See Matthew 24:13.)

For ‘clean’ animals, see the comment on verse 2.

Chapter 8

The flood ends

v1 But God remembered Noah. And God remembered all the animals that were with Noah in the *ark. And God made a wind blow over the earth. Then the water decreased. v2 God stopped the water so that it did not rise up from the deep places. He stopped the rain so that it did not come down from the sky. v3 The water continued to move off the earth. After 150 days, the water had gone. v4 In month 7, on day 17, the *ark stopped on mount Ararat. v5 The water continued to decrease until month 10. On the first day of month 10, Noah saw the mountain tops.

Verse 1

‘God remembered Noah.’ This does not mean that God forgot Noah until this time. It means that at this time God acted to help Noah.

Verse 4

‘Mount Ararat’ means the mountains that are in the east part of the modern country Turkey.

v6 After 40 days, Noah opened the window of the *ark, which he had made. v7 He sent out a raven (a bird). The raven flew about until the water disappeared from the earth. v8 And Noah sent out a dove (a different kind of bird). Noah needed to know whether the water had disappeared from the earth. v9 But the dove found no place to land. It returned to the *ark, because the water still covered all the earth. Noah reached out his hand to the dove and he brought the dove back into the *ark.

v10 Noah waited for 7 days. Then he again sent out the dove from the *ark. v11 The dove came back to Noah in the evening. It had in its mouth a fresh leaf, which it had picked from a tree. Then Noah knew that the water had disappeared from the earth. v12 He again waited for 7 days. Then he sent out the dove. It did not return again.

Verse 7

A raven is a black bird that can live on mountains. It can eat dead animals. There were dead animals on the mountains. So the raven found enough food and it did not return to the *ark.

Verses 8-9

A dove is a bird that likes to live in valleys. The dove returned because the water still covered the valleys.

Verse 11

The kind of tree was an ‘olive’ tree. Nowadays people use a picture of a dove that carries a leaf of an olive tree. It is a sign that means ‘peace’.

v13 When Noah had lived for 601 years, the water disappeared from the earth. On the first day of the first month, it disappeared. Noah took off the cover of the *ark. He looked out. He saw that there was no water on the ground. v14 In month 2, on day 27, the earth was dry.

v15 Then God said to Noah, v16 ‘Go out of the *ark. Take your wife with you. Take your sons and your sons’ wives. v17 Bring out with you all living animals that are with you. Bring out the birds and the animals. Bring out every animal that crawls on the earth. Then they will have large families. They will increase so that they will fill the earth.’

v18 So Noah went out. His sons went with him. And Noah’s wife and his sons’ wives went with them. v19 Every animal went out of the *ark. Every crawling animal and every bird went out. Everything that moves on the earth went out from the *ark. Each family went out together.

v20 Then Noah built an *altar for the *Lord. He took one of every kind of clean animal. He took one of every kind of clean bird. He burned them on the *altar. They were an *offering to the *Lord. v21 When the *Lord smelled the smell, he was pleased. And the *Lord said in his heart, ‘I will never again make the ground produce little. Although men are evil, I will not do that. Every thought and wish in men’s hearts is always evil. This is so even when they are young. I will never again kill every living animal as I have done. v22 While the earth remains, people will sow seeds. And they will gather crops. There will be cold and there will be heat. There will be summer and there will be winter. There will be day and there will be night. These things will never end.’

Verse 20

An *altar was a pile of stones like a table. Noah made a fire on the *altar and he burned the animals. They were a gift to God. Many ancient people burned animals. They were *offerings to God.

The animals died as a sign that Christ would die on the cross. Nowadays, we put our trust in Christ, who saves us. God’s ancient people did not know about Christ. So God told them to kill animals as *offerings. Each animal that they killed was a sign of Christ.

For ‘clean’ see the comment on Genesis 7:2.

Verse 21

Before the flood, all people were evil except for Noah and his family. (See Genesis 6:12.) God killed the evil people. But God knew that people would still be evil. Good people and bad people will live together while the earth remains.

‘I will never again make the ground produce little.’ God had done this in the time of Adam and Eve. (See Genesis 3:17.) He decided that he would not do it again.

Chapter 9

God makes an agreement with Noah

v1 And God promised good things to Noah and to his sons. He said to them, ‘Have large families. Increase so that you fill the earth. v2 Every animal that is on the earth will be afraid of you. Every bird that flies in the air will be afraid of you. All animals that crawl will be afraid of you. All the fish in the sea will be afraid of you. I have given them all to you. v3 All that moves and lives shall be food for you. I gave the green plants to you as food. Now I give everything to you. v4 But you must not eat meat while it is alive. You must not eat it while the blood is in it. v5 If you spill blood, I will require a punishment. Every animal or man who kills a person must die. If anyone kills his brother, he must die. v6 If anyone kills a man, a man shall kill him. This is because God made men as images of himself. v7 And you must have large families and you must increase. Have many children and fill the earth.’

Verses 4-5

God began to teach men that blood is especially important. Later, he taught this to men in other ways. (See Exodus 12:7, 13.) Blood is especially important because it is a sign of Jesus’ death. Jesus died so that he could remove our blame. When he died, he gave his blood for us. Jesus has saved those who trust him. Jesus’ blood is a sign that he has saved them.

Verse 6

People are very important to God. He said clearly that no-one may kill a person. And God explained an extra reason for this. People are images of God. (See Genesis 1:26.) Therefore, if one kills a person, that is an attack on God.

‘If anyone kills a man, a man shall kill him.’ So people would kill a killer. God did not say that it was wrong. But we may want to know whether it is right nowadays. For that, we must study also what other parts of the Bible say. We must not decide that from this verse only.

v8 Then God said to Noah and to his sons, v9 ‘Look. I make my firm agreement with you. I make it with your family who will come after you. v10 I make it with every animal that is with you. I make it with the birds. I make it with the clean animals that are on the earth. I make it with the animals that are not clean. I make it with everything that came out of the *ark. v11 I make my firm agreement with you. Never in the future will I kill all that is alive by a flood. Never in the future will a flood destroy the earth.’

Verse 10

For ‘clean’ animals see the comment on Genesis 7:2.

Verse 11

An agreement is different from a promise. God made promises to people and he also made agreements with people. He made this firm agreement with Noah. And later he made a firm agreement with Abraham. (See Genesis 15:18.)

When two people agree with each other, there is an agreement. Both people must agree. But God is the God who can do anything. He can do what he wants to do. And he can do it when people do not agree. But he chose to meet Noah as one person meets another person. As two people may make an agreement, so God and Noah made an agreement.

God often meets us as one person meets another person. Abraham was called ‘God’s friend’. (See James 2:23.) God used to speak to Moses as a man speaks to his friend. (See Exodus 33:11.) And Jesus said, ‘Whoever obeys God is my brother or my sister or my mother.’ (See Matthew 12:50.) We must obey God. But God meets us as if we were his friends or his relatives.

v12 And God said, ‘This is the sign of the firm agreement that I have made between me and you. I have also made it between me and every animal that is with you. This firm agreement will last for all ages. v13 I put my rainbow in the cloud. It shall be a sign of the firm agreement that is between me and the earth. v14 When I bring clouds over the earth, the rainbow will appear in the clouds. v15 Then I will remember my firm agreement, which is between me and you and every animal of all kinds. The water will never in the future become a flood so as to kill all animals. v16 When the rainbow is in the clouds, I will look at it. And I will remember the firm agreement that will last for all ages. That is the firm agreement that is between me and all living animals of all kinds.’

v17 God said to Noah, ‘This is the sign of the firm agreement that I have made. It is a firm agreement between me and all living animals that are on the earth.’

Verse 13

This may not mean that God put his rainbow in the cloud for the first time. Perhaps there had been rainbows before and Noah had seen them. But before this time the rainbow was not a sign. God told Noah that the rainbow would be a sign of his firm agreement with all people and animals. It was a firm agreement that God would not again destroy all people and animals by a flood.

Noah and his sons

v18 Noah’s sons who went out from the *ark were Shem, Ham and Japheth. Ham was the father of Canaan. v19 These three were Noah’s sons. The families of these sons became the inhabitants of the whole earth.

v20 Noah began to farm. He planted vines and he made wine. v21 He drank too much wine and therefore he slept. Then he lay in his tent and he was naked. v22 Ham, who was Canaan’s father, saw his naked father Noah. He went out of the tent. Then he told his two brothers what he had seen. v23 Then Shem and Japheth took a coat and they laid it on their shoulders. They backed into the tent. Then they covered their naked father with the coat. They turned their faces away. Therefore, they did not see their father while he was naked. v24 Noah woke from the effect of the wine. Then he knew what his youngest son had done to him.

Verse 18

‘Canaan’ in this chapter is a person’s name. After this, *Canaan is also the name of a country.

Verse 20

A vine is a kind of plant. People make wine out of the fruits of vines.

Verse 24

‘Then he knew what his youngest son had done to him.’ But Noah’s youngest son was Japheth. And what Japheth did was not wrong. And verse 25 shows us that Canaan had done something wrong. So ‘his youngest son’ may mean Noah’s grandson, Canaan. The *Hebrew word for ‘son’ also means ‘grandson’. And so the word ‘son’ in the Bible sometimes means ‘grandson’. (For example, Jesus was called ‘David’s son’. But there were many fathers and sons between David and Jesus.) But we do not know what Canaan did to Noah.

v25 Noah said,

          ‘God shall bring evil things to Canaan.

                      Canaan shall be his brothers’ servant.’

v26 Noah also said,

          ‘Praise the *Lord, who is Shem’s God.

                      Canaan shall be his servant.

v27    Let God make Japheth’s family be large.

                      Let Japheth live in Shem’s tents.

                      Let Canaan be Japheth’s servant.’

v28 After the flood, Noah lived for 350 years. v29 Noah’s life was 950 years and then he died.

Chapter 10

Noah’s family

v1 These are the *descendants of Noah’s sons. Noah’s sons were Shem, Ham and Japheth. After the flood, they became the fathers of sons.

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, Kittim and Dodanim. v5 The people who live along the coast spread from these families. These are Japheth’s sons. Each family lived in its own country. And each family spoke its own language.

Verse 2

Genesis tells us the less important families first. After that, it tells us the more important ones. Shem’s family is the most important because Shem was the oldest son. So Genesis tells us the family of the youngest son, Japheth, first. Then it tells us the family of Ham. When it has done that, it tells us the more important family of Shem.

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 became the father of Nimrod. Nimrod was the first strong man on the earth. v9 He was a great hunter by the *Lord’s strength. Therefore people say, ‘Like Nimrod, who is a great hunter by the *Lord’s strength.’ v10 Nimrod was the king of Babel, Erech and Accad. All these cities are in the country that is called Shinar. v11 From Shinar Nimrod went into Assyria. He built Nineveh, Rehoboth-Ir, Calah and Resen. v12 Resen is a great city and it is between Nineveh and Calah. v13 Egypt became the father of Ludim, Anamim, Lehabim, Naphtuhim, v14 Pathrusim, Casluhim and Caphtorim. The *Philistines were Casluhim’s *descendants.

v15 Canaan became the father of Sidon and Heth. Sidon was Canaan’s oldest son. v16 Canaan was also the father of the Jebusites, the Amorites, the Girgashites, v17 the Hivites, the Arkites, the Sinites, v18 the Arvadites, the Zemarites and the Hamathites. Later the *Canaanite families scattered. v19 And the *Canaanites’ land stretched from Sidon to Gaza. (Gaza is on the way to Gerar.) It also stretched to Lasha. (Lasha is on the way to Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah and Zeboiim.) v20 These are Ham’s sons in their families. Each family lived in its own country. And each family spoke its own language.

Verse 6

‘Egypt’ and ‘Canaan’ in this chapter are people’s names. After this chapter, they are names of countries.

Verses 16-18

Jebusites, Amorites, Girgashites, Hivites, Arkites, Sinites, Arvadites, Zemarites and Hamathites were *tribes that were *descendants of Canaan.

v21 Shem also was the father of children. Shem was the father of all the children of Eber. He was Japheth’s older brother. v22 Shem’s sons were Elam, Asshur, Arpachshad, Lud and Aram. v23 Aram’s sons were Uz, Hul, Gether and Mash. v24 Arpachshad became the father of Shelah. Shelah became the father of Eber. v25 For Eber, two sons were born. One was called Peleg, because the earth divided during his life. Peleg’s brother was called Joktan. v26–29 Joktan became the father of Almodad, Sheleph, Hazarmaveth, Jerah, Hadoram, Uzal, Diklah, Obal, Abimael, Sheba, Ophir, Havilah and Jobab. All these were Joktan’s sons. v30 Their country stretched to Mesha. (Mesha is on the way to Sephar.) And it stretched to the hill country that is in the east. v31 These are Shem’s sons with their languages, their countries and their nations.

v32 These are the families of Noah’s sons. These are their families and their nations. From these people the nations spread over the earth after the flood.

Verse 25

‘Peleg’ means ‘division’.

‘The earth was divided.’ We do not know what that means.

Chapter 11

The tall building at Babel

v1 All the people who were on the earth had one language. They all had one set of words. v2 And men travelled from the east into the country that is called Shinar. There they found a plain and they lived in it. v3 And they said to each other, ‘Let us make bricks. Let us burn them well.’ They used bricks instead of stones. And they used bitumen between the bricks in order to join them.

Verse 1

This verse tells us that all people spoke one language. But chapter 10 tells us that people spoke many languages. (See Genesis 10:5, 20, 31.) And chapter 10 is before chapter 11. There are two possible explanations for this.

·     Genesis usually tells us things in the order that they happened. But sometimes it does not do this. Perhaps this verse tells us about an earlier time.

·     Perhaps people spoke different languages. But there was also one language that they all understood. So they all had one language in addition to their own languages. That is often true nowadays. For example, some people speak English in addition to their own language. And if they meet people with a different language, they speak English. And so they understand each other.

Verse 3

The people made bricks out of clay. Clay is a kind of soil. If clay is wet, one can form it into bricks. Sometimes people let the sun dry the bricks so that they become hard. Then they use the bricks to make buildings. But these people burned their bricks. That means that they dried them by a fire. When the bricks became very hot, they became very hard and strong. So after the bricks cooled, people could make very tall buildings.

Bitumen is a black substance that people find in the ground. People also use it in ships. They put it on cracks in ships so that the ships do not leak. Noah put bitumen on the *ark. (See Genesis 6:14.)

v4 Then they said, ‘Let us build a city for ourselves. Let us build a very tall building. Its top will reach heaven. We will make ourselves famous. And we will not scatter over the whole surface of the earth.’ v5 So the men built the city and the tall building. The *Lord came down from heaven in order to see the city and the building.

v6 And the *Lord said, ‘Look! They are one nation. They have one language. This is only the beginning of the things that they will do. Whatever they propose to do, they will be able to do it. v7 Let us go down to the earth. We will confuse their language so that they will not understand each other’s words.’

Verse 4

What the people did was evil. It is not evil to build a city. But they tried to show that they were important. They did not give honour to God. And they thought that they were more important than God.

Verse 7

God said, ‘Let us go.’ He did not say, ‘I will go.’ Perhaps he said ‘us’ because he is 3 persons. He is the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. And he is also one God. But it is more likely that this is not the reason. The *Hebrew word that means ‘God’ is like a plural word. Perhaps that is why God called himself ‘we’. (See Genesis 1:26 and the comment.)

We do not know how God confused their language. It is possible that people spoke different languages. But they all spoke one language in addition to their own languages. (See verse 1 and comment.) So perhaps when God confused their language he made them forget that one language. Therefore, they could not understand each other.

v8 So the *Lord made the people stop building the city. He made them scatter from there. And they scattered over the whole surface of the earth. v9 Therefore it was called Babel, because there the *Lord confused the language of all the earth. And the *Lord scattered them over the whole surface of the earth.

Verse 9

The people called the city ‘Babel’. That could mean ‘the gate to God’. The people thought that its top would reach heaven. (See verse 4.) But ‘Babel’ also means ‘confusion’.

So the people did not have the things that they wanted. They wanted a city where they could live together. But God made them scatter. They wanted a tall building. But they did not complete it. And they wanted to show that they were important. But their plans failed because their plans were different from God’s plans.

Shem’s family

v10 These are Shem’s *descendants. When Shem was 100 years of age, he became the father of Arpachshad. That was 2 years after the end of the flood. v11 After Arpachshad’s birth, Shem lived for 500 years. He was the father of other sons and daughters.

v12 Arpachshad lived for 35 years and then he became the father of Shelah. v13 After Shelah’s birth, Arpachshad lived for 403 years. He was the father of other sons and daughters.

v14 Shelah lived for 30 years and then he became the father of Eber. v15 After Eber’s birth, Shelah lived for 403 years. He was the father of other sons and daughters.

v16 Eber lived for 34 years and then he became the father of Peleg. v17 After Peleg’s birth, Eber lived for 430 years. He was the father of other sons and daughters.

v18 Peleg lived for 30 years and then he became the father of Reu. v19 After Reu’s birth, Peleg lived for 209 years. He was the father of other sons and daughters.

v20 Reu lived for 32 years and then he became the father of Serug. v21 After Serug’s birth, Reu lived for 207 years. He was the father of other sons and daughters.

v22 Serug lived for 30 years and then he became the father of Nahor. v23 After Nahor’s birth, Serug lived for 200 years. He was the father of other sons and daughters.

v24 Nahor lived for 29 years and then he became the father of Terah. v25 After Terah’s birth, Nahor lived for 119 years. He was the father of other sons and daughters.

v26 Terah lived for 70 years and then he became the father of Abram, Nahor and Haran.

v27 These are the *descendants of Terah. Terah was the father of Abram, Nahor and Haran. Haran was the father of Lot. v28 Haran died in the country where he was born. He died in Ur, which is a city in Chaldea. He died while his father Terah was still alive. v29 And Abram and Nahor married wives. Abram’s wife was called Sarai. Nahor’s wife was called Milcah. Milcah was the daughter of Haran, who was the father of Milcah and of Iscah. v30 And Sarai had no child.

Verses 28-29

Nahor’s brother Haran died. After that, Nahor married Haran’s daughter Milcah. So Nahor married his niece. In those times, a man would marry his niece if her father had died.

Terah and Abram leave Ur

v31 Terah went away from Ur, which was a city in Chaldea. He took his son Abram. He took his grandson Lot, who was Haran’s son. He took Sarai, who was the wife of his son Abram. They set out together to go into the country that is called *Canaan. But when they arrived at Haran, they stopped there. v32 Terah lived for 205 years and he died in Haran.

Verse 31

We do not know where Ur was. A city in east Mesopotamia was called Ur. (Mesopotamia is the country that is between the river Tigris and the river Euphrates. Nowadays it is mostly in the countries Iraq and Syria.) That city Ur is about 1000 kilometres (600 miles) from Haran. Many people think that Abram was born there. But that city Ur would not be called ‘a city in Chaldea’. It is in east Mesopotamia, but the Chaldea was in the west part of Mesopotamia. And Abram called the west of Mesopotamia ‘my country’. That seems to mean that he was born in the west of Mesopotamia. (See Genesis 24:4.) So it is more likely that Abram’s city Ur was near to Haran. Perhaps it is the same as Urfa. That is 30 kilometres (20 miles) to the north of Haran.

‘They set out together to go into the country that is called *Canaan.’ They probably did not know that they would go to *Canaan. This is probably a short way to say, ‘They set out together on a journey. And the journey ended in the country that is called *Canaan.’ That is likely for this reason. In Genesis 12:1, God says to Abram, ‘Go to the country that I will show to you.’ So Abram probably did not know what country that was. He did not know until God showed him.

We do not know why Terah and Abram left Ur. Perhaps God told them to do so.

‘Haran’ was the name of a man. He was a brother of Abram. (See verse 27.) And ‘Haran’ was also the name of a city. It was the city where Terah and his family stayed.

Word List

altar ~ a table where one burned an animal as an *offering to God. An altar is usually several large stones that form a pile.

angel ~ a servant of God who brings messages from heaven. The *Hebrew word that means ‘angel’ also means ‘*messenger’.

ark ~ an ark is a box. The ark in Genesis was a very big box that floated on water like a ship.

Canaan ~ the country where the *Canaanites lived. (See *Canaanites.) It is approximately the same land as the modern country Israel together with the land of the Palestinians.

Canaanites ~ Canaan’s *descendants. Canaan was a grandson of Noah. (See Genesis 9:18.) The word Canaanites included Amorites and Hivites and other nations. (See Genesis 10:16-17.) It sometimes also included other people who lived in the country *Canaan. These people were not *descendants of Canaan.

command ~ to tell people (or a person) that they must do something; to say to people (or to a person) something that they must obey; to control by means of commands. A command is an order that one must obey.

descendants ~ children and grandchildren and later members of the family.

Hebrew ~ the Hebrew people were Abraham and his *descendants. The ancient Hebrew language is the original language of Genesis. It is also the original language of most of the Old Testament (the first part of the Bible). This language is like the modern Hebrew language, which people speak in the country Israel today.

Lord ~ a lord is a person who has authority. ‘The Lord’ means God. It is a translation of God’s name. The *Hebrews wrote God’s name as YHWH. We may write it as Yahweh.

messenger ~ someone who brings a message.

offering ~ a gift to God. An offering may be an animal. People killed the animal and burned it on an *altar.

Philistines ~ people who lived on the coast of the country that is called *Canaan. In the times of Genesis, few Philistines lived in *Canaan. And they were peaceful people. Very many years after that, many more Philistines arrived. They were not peaceful. The modern name ‘Palestine’ comes from the name ‘Philistine’.

pregnant ~ a woman is pregnant when she has a baby in her.

tribe ~ a large group of people who are relatives of each other. Judah’s *descendants were called ‘the tribe of Judah’. In a similar way, each of the 12 sons of Israel became a tribe. But Joseph’s *descendants were not called ‘the tribe of Joseph’. They were the tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh. Ephraim and Manasseh were Joseph’s sons.

Book List

G. Ch. Aalders ~ A Short Introduction to the Pentateuch ~ Tyndale Press

V. P. Hamilton ~ The Book of Genesis (NICOT) ~ Eerdmans

E. F. Kevan ~ ‘Genesis’, The New Bible Commentary ~ IVF (1953)

G. T. Manley ~ The New Bible Handbook ~ IVF

M. Salisbury (editor) ~ Skills for Translating and Exegeting the Primary Scriptures (STEPS) ~ SIL (CD-ROM)

J. A. Thompson ~ The Bible and Archaeology ~ Paternoster

G. J. Wenham ~ ‘Genesis’, New Bible Commentary 21st Century Edition ~ IVP

Chambers Concise Dictionary

Oxford Bible Atlas ~ Third edition

Logos Bible Computer Software 1.6

Strong’s Enhanced Lexicon

Bibles ~ KJV, NIV, REB, RSV, TEV

 

© 1997-2004, Wycliffe Associates (UK)

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

November 2004

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