GENESIS ch. 04 – 10


4:1 The man had relations with his wife Eve, and she conceived and bore Cain, saying, “I have produced a man with the help of the LORD.” 2 Next she bore his brother Abel. Abel became a keeper of flocks, and Cain a tiller of the soil.


3 In the course of time Cain brought an offering to the LORD from the fruit of the soil, 4 while Abel, for his part, brought one of the best firstlings of his flock. The LORD looked with favor on Abel and his offering, 5 but on Cain and his offering he did not. Cain greatly resented this and was crestfallen. 6 So the LORD said to Cain: “Why are you so resentful and crestfallen? 7 If you do well, you can hold up your head; but if not, sin is a demon lurking at the door: his urge is toward you, yet you can be his master.”


8 Cain said to his brother Abel, “Let us go out in the field.” When they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother Abel and killed him. 9 Then the LORD asked Cain, “Where is your brother Abel?” He answered, “I do not know. Am I my brother’s keeper?” 10 The LORD then said: “What have you done! Listen: your brother’s blood cries out to me from the soil! 11 Therefore you shall be banned from the soil that opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand. 12 If you till the soil, it shall no longer give you its produce. You shall become a restless wanderer on the earth.” 13 Cain said to the LORD: “My punishment is too great to bear. 14 Since you have now banished me from the soil, and I must avoid your presence and become a restless wanderer on the earth, anyone may kill me at sight.” 15 “Not so!” the LORD said to him. “If anyone kills Cain, Cain shall be avenged sevenfold.” So the LORD put a mark on Cain, lest anyone should kill him at sight.


16 Cain then left the LORD’S presence and settled in the land of Nod, east of Eden. 17 Cain had relations with his wife, and she conceived and bore Enoch. Cain also became the founder of a city, which he named after his son Enoch. 18 To Enoch was born Irad, and Irad became the father of Mehujael; Mehujael became the father of Methusael, and Methusael became the father of Lamech. 19 Lamech took two wives; the name of the first was Adah, and the name of the second Zillah. 20 Adah gave birth to Jabal, the ancestor of all who dwell in tents and keep cattle. 21 His brother’s name was Jubal; he was the ancestor of all who play the lyre and the pipe. 22 Zillah, on her part, gave birth to Tubalcain, the ancestor of all who forge instruments of bronze and iron. The sister of Tubalcain was Naamah. 23 Lamech said to his wives: “Adah and Zillah, hear my voice; wives of Lamech, listen to my utterance: I have killed a man for wounding me, a boy for bruising me. 24 If Cain is avenged sevenfold, then Lamech seventy-sevenfold.” 25 Adam again had relations with his wife, and she gave birth to a son whom she called Seth. “God has granted me more offspring in place of Abel,” she said, “because Cain slew him.” 26 To Seth, in turn, a son was born, and he named him Enosh. At that time men began to invoke the LORD by name.


5:1 This is the record of the descendants of Adam. When God created man, he made him in the likeness of God; 2 he created them male and female. When they were created, he blessed them and named them “man.” 3 Adam was one hundred and thirty years old when he begot a son in his likeness, after his image; and he named him Seth. 4 Adam lived eight hundred years after the birth of Seth, and he had other sons and daughters. 5 The whole lifetime of Adam was nine hundred and thirty years; then he died. 6 When Seth was one hundred and five years old, he became the father of Enosh. 7 Seth lived eight hundred and seven years after the birth of Enosh, and he had other sons and daughters. 8 The whole lifetime of Seth was nine hundred and twelve years; then he died. 9 When Enosh was ninety years old, he became the father of Kenan. 10 Enosh lived eight hundred and fifteen years after the birth of Kenan, and he had other sons and daughters. 11 The whole lifetime of Enosh was nine hundred and five years; then he died. 12 When Kenan was seventy years old, he became the father of Mahalalel. 13 Kenan lived eight hundred and forty years after the birth of Mahalalel, and he had other sons and daughters. 14 The whole lifetime of Kenan was nine hundred and ten years; then he died. 15 When Mahalalel was sixty-five years old, he became the father of Jared. 16 Mahalalel lived eight hundred and thirty years after the birth of Jared, and he had other sons and daughters. 17 The whole lifetime of Mahalalel was eight hundred and ninety-five years; then he died. 18 When Jared was one hundred and sixty-two years old, he became the father of Enoch. 19 Jared lived eight hundred years after the birth of Enoch, and he had other sons and daughters. 20 The whole lifetime of Jared was nine hundred and sixty-two years; then he died. 21 When Enoch was sixty-five years old, he became the father of Methuselah. 22 Enoch lived three hundred years after the birth of Methuselah, and he had other sons and daughters. 23 The whole lifetime of Enoch was three hundred and sixty-five years. 24 Then Enoch walked with God, and he was no longer here, for God took him. 25 When Methuselah was one hundred and eighty-seven years old, he became the father of Lamech. 26 Methuselah lived seven hundred and eighty-two years after the birth of Lamech, and he had other sons and daughters. 27 The whole lifetime of Methuselah was nine hundred and sixty-nine years; then he died. 28 When Lamech was one hundred and eighty-two years old, he begot a son 29 and named him Noah, saying, “Out of the very ground that the LORD has put under a curse, this one shall bring us relief from our work and the toil of our hands.” 30 Lamech lived five hundred and ninety-five years after the birth of Noah, and he had other sons and daughters. 31 The whole lifetime of Lamech was seven hundred and seventy-seven years; then he died. 32 When Noah was five hundred years old, he became the father of Shem, Ham, and Japheth.


6:1 When men began to multiply on earth and daughters were born to them, 2 the sons of heaven saw how beautiful the daughters of man were, and so they took for their wives as many of them as they chose. 3 Then the LORD said: “My spirit shall not remain in man forever, since he is but flesh. His days shall comprise one hundred and twenty years.” 4 At that time the Nephilim appeared on earth (as well as later), after the sons of heaven had intercourse with the daughters of man, who bore them sons. They were the heroes of old, the men of renown.


5 When the LORD saw how great was man’s wickedness on earth, and how no desire that his heart conceived was ever anything but evil, 6 he regretted that he had made man on the earth, and his heart was grieved. 7 So the LORD said: “I will wipe out from the earth the men whom I have created, and not only the men, but also the beasts and the creeping things and the birds of the air, for I am sorry that I made them.”


8 But Noah found favor with the LORD. 9 These are the descendants of Noah. Noah, a good man and blameless in that age, 10 for he walked with God, begot three sons: Shem, Ham, and Japheth. 11 In the eyes of God the earth was corrupt and full of lawlessness.


12 When God saw how corrupt the earth had become, since all mortals led depraved lives on earth, 13 he said to Noah: “I have decided to put an end to all mortals on earth; the earth is full of lawlessness because of them. So I will destroy them and all life on earth. 14 “Make yourself an ark of gopherwood, put various compartments in it, and cover it inside and out with pitch. 15 This is how you shall build it: the length of the ark shall be three hundred cubits, its width fifty cubits, and its height thirty cubits. 16 Make an opening for daylight in the ark, and finish the ark a cubit above it. Put an entrance in the side of the ark, which you shall make with bottom, second and third decks.


17 I, on my part, am about to bring the flood (waters) on the earth, to destroy everywhere all creatures in which there is the breath of life; everything on earth shall perish. 18 But with you I will establish my covenant; you and your sons, your wife and your sons’ wives, shall go into the ark. 19 Of all other living creatures you shall bring two into the ark, one male and one female, that you may keep them alive with you. 20 Of all kinds of birds, of all kinds of beasts, and of all kinds of creeping things, two of each shall come into the ark with you, to stay alive. 21 Moreover, you are to provide yourself with all the food that is to be eaten, and store it away, that it may serve as provisions for you and for them.” 22 This Noah did; he carried out all the commands that God gave him.


7:1 Then the LORD said to Noah: “Go into the ark, you and all your household, for you alone in this age have I found to be truly just. 2 Of every clean animal, take with you seven pairs, a male and its mate; and of the unclean animals, one pair, a male and its mate; 3 likewise, of every clean bird of the air, seven pairs, a male and a female, and of all the unclean birds, one pair, a male and a female. Thus you will keep their issue alive over all the earth.


4 Seven days from now I will bring rain down on the earth for forty days and forty nights, and so I will wipe out from the surface of the earth every moving creature that I have made.” 5 Noah did just as the LORD had commanded him. 6 Noah was six hundred years old when the flood waters came upon the earth. 7 Together with his sons, his wife, and his sons’ wives, Noah went into the ark because of the waters of the flood. 8 Of the clean animals and the unclean, of the birds, and of everything that creeps on the ground, 9 (two by two) male and female entered the ark with Noah, just as the LORD had commanded him.


10 As soon as the seven days were over, the waters of the flood came upon the earth. 11 In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, on the seventeenth day of the month: it was on that day that All the fountains of the great abyss burst forth, and the floodgates of the sky were opened. 12 For forty days and forty nights heavy rain poured down on the earth. 13 On the precise day named, Noah and his sons Shem, Ham, and Japheth, and Noah’s wife, and the three wives of Noah’s sons had entered the ark, 14 together with every kind of wild beast, every kind of domestic animal, every kind of creeping thing of the earth, and every kind of bird. 15 Pairs of all creatures in which there was the breath of life entered the ark with Noah. 16 Those that entered were male and female, and of all species they came, as God had commanded Noah. Then the LORD shut him in.


17 The flood continued upon the earth for forty days. As the waters increased, they lifted the ark, so that it rose above the earth. 18 The swelling waters increased greatly, but the ark floated on the surface of the waters. 19 Higher and higher above the earth rose the waters, until all the highest mountains everywhere were submerged, 20 the crest rising fifteen cubits higher than the submerged mountains. 21 All creatures that stirred on earth perished: birds, cattle, wild animals, and all that swarmed on the earth, as well as all mankind. 22 Everything on dry land with the faintest breath of life in its nostrils died out. 23 The LORD wiped out every living thing on earth: man and cattle, the creeping things and the birds of the air; all were wiped out from the earth. Only Noah and those with him in the ark were left.


24 The waters maintained their crest over the earth for one hundred and fifty days, 8:1 and then God remembered Noah and all the animals, wild and tame, that were with him in the ark. So God made a wind sweep over the earth, and the waters began to subside. 2 The fountains of the abyss and the floodgates of the sky were closed, and the downpour from the sky was held back. 3 Gradually the waters receded from the earth.


At the end of one hundred and fifty days, the waters had so diminished 4 that, in the seventh month, on the seventeenth day of the month, the ark came to rest on the mountains of Ararat. 5 The waters continued to diminish until the tenth month, and on the first day of the tenth month the tops of the mountains appeared.


6 At the end of forty days Noah opened the hatch he had made in the ark, 7 and he sent out a raven, to see if the waters had lessened on the earth. It flew back and forth until the waters dried off from the earth. 8 Then he sent out a dove, to see if the waters had lessened on the earth. 9 But the dove could find no place to alight and perch, and it returned to him in the ark, for there was water all over the earth. Putting out his hand, he caught the dove and drew it back to him inside the ark.


10 He waited seven days more and again sent the dove out from the ark. 11 In the evening the dove came back to him, and there in its bill was a plucked-off olive leaf! So Noah knew that the waters had lessened on the earth. 12 He waited still another seven days and then released the dove once more; and this time it did not come back.


13 In the six hundred and first year of Noah’s life, in the first month, on the first day of the month, the water began to dry up on the earth. Noah then removed the covering of the ark and saw that the surface of the ground was drying up. 14 In the second month, on the twenty-seventh day of the month, the earth was dry. 15 Then God said to Noah: 16 “Go out of the ark, together with your wife and your sons and your sons’ wives. 17 Bring out with you every living thing that is with you– all bodily creatures, be they birds or animals or creeping things of the earth– and let them abound on the earth, breeding and multiplying on it.” 18 So Noah came out, together with his wife and his sons and his sons’ wives; 19 and all the animals, wild and tame, all the birds, and all the creeping creatures of the earth left the ark, one kind after another.


 20 Then Noah built an altar to the LORD, and choosing from every clean animal and every clean bird, he offered holocausts on the altar. 21 WHEN the LORD smelled the sweet odor, he said to himself: “Never again will I doom the earth because of man, since the desires of man’s heart are evil from the start; nor will I ever again strike down all living beings, as I have done. 22 As long as the earth lasts, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, Summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease.”


9:1 God blessed Noah and his sons and said to them: “Be fertile and multiply and fill the earth. 2 Dread fear of you shall come upon all the animals of the earth and all the birds of the air, upon all the creatures that move about on the ground and all the fishes of the sea; into your power they are delivered. 3 Every creature that is alive shall be yours to eat; I give them all to you as I did the green plants. 4 Only flesh with its lifeblood still in it you shall not eat. 5 For your own lifeblood, too, I will demand an accounting: from every animal I will demand it, and from man in regard to his fellow man I will demand an accounting for human life. 6 If anyone sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed; For in the image of God has man been made. 7 Be fertile, then, and multiply; abound on earth and subdue it.”


 8 God said to Noah and to his sons with him: 9 “See, I am now establishing my covenant with you and your descendants after you 10 and with every living creature that was with you: all the birds, and the various tame and wild animals that were with you and came out of the ark. 11 I will establish my covenant with you, that never again shall all bodily creatures be destroyed by the waters of a flood; there shall not be another flood to devastate the earth.” 12 God added: “This is the sign that I am giving for all ages to come, of the covenant between me and you and every living creature with you: 13 I set my bow in the clouds to serve as a sign of the covenant between me and the earth. 14 When I bring clouds over the earth, and the bow appears in the clouds, 15 I will recall the covenant I have made between me and you and all living beings, so that the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all mortal beings. 16 As the bow appears in the clouds, I will see it and recall the everlasting covenant that I have established between God and all living beings– all mortal creatures that are on earth.” 17 God told Noah: “This is the sign of the covenant I have established between me and all mortal creatures that are on earth.” 18


The sons of Noah who came out of the ark were Shem, Ham and Japheth. (Ham was the father of Canaan.) 19 These three were the sons of Noah, and from them the whole earth was peopled. 20 Now Noah, a man of the soil, was the first to plant a vineyard. 21 When he drank some of the wine, he became drunk and lay naked inside his tent. 22 Ham, the father of Canaan, saw his father’s nakedness, and he told his two brothers outside about it. 23 Shem and Japheth, however, took a robe, and holding it on their backs, they walked backward and covered their father’s nakedness; since their faces were turned the other way, they did not see their father’s nakedness. 24 When Noah woke up from his drunkenness and learned what his youngest son had done to him, 25 he said: “Cursed be Caanan! The lowest of slaves shall he be to his brothers.” 26 He also said: “Blessed be the LORD, the God of Shem! Let Canaan be his slave. 27 May God expand Japheth, so that he dwells among the tents of Shem; and let Canaan be his slave.” 28 Noah lived three hundred and fifty years after the flood. 29 The whole lifetime of Noah was nine hundred and fifty years; then he died.


10:1 These are the descendants of Noah’s sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth, to whom sons were born after the flood. 2 The descendants of Japheth: Gomer, Magog, Madai, Javan, Tubal, Meshech, and Tiras. 3 The descendants of Gomer: Ashkenaz, Riphath, and Togarmah. 4 The descendants of Javan: Elishah, Tarshish, the Kittim, and the Rodanim. 5 These are the descendants of Japheth, and from them sprang the maritime nations, in their respective lands– each with its own language– by their clans within their nations. 6 The descendants of Ham: Cush, Mizraim, Put, and Canaan. 7 The descendants of Cush: Seba, Havilah, Sabtah, Raamah, and Sabteca. The descendants of Raamah: Sheba and Dedan. 8 Cush became the father of Nimrod, who was the first potentate on earth. 9 He was a mighty hunter by the grace of the LORD; hence the saying, “Like Nimrod, a mighty hunter by the grace of the LORD.” 10 The chief cities of his kingdom were Babylon, Erech, and Accad, all of them in the land of Shinar. 11 From that land he went forth to Asshur, where he built Nineveh, Rehoboth-Ir, and Calah, 12 as well as Resen, between Nineveh and Calah, the latter being the principal city. 13 Mizraim became the father of the Ludim, the Anamim, the Lehabim, the Naphtuhim, 14 the Pathrusim, the Casluhim, and the Caphtorim from whom the Philistines sprang. 15 Canaan became the father of Sidon, his first-born, and of Heth; 16 also of the Jebusites, the Amorites, the Girgashites, 17 the Hivites, the Arkites, the Sinites, 18 the Arvadites, the Zemarites, and the Hamathites. Afterward, the clans of the Canaanites spread out, 19 so that the Canaanite borders extended from Sidon all the way to Gerar, near Gaza, and all the way to Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah and Zeboiim, near Lasha. 20 These are the descendants of Ham, according to their clans and languages, by their lands and nations. 21 To Shem also, Japheth’s oldest brother and the ancestor of all the children of Eber, sons were born. 22 The descendants of Shem: Elam, Asshur, Arpachshad, Lud, and Aram. 23 The descendants of Aram: Uz, Hul, Gether, and Mash. 24 Arpachshad became the father of Shelah, and Shelah became the father of Eber. 25 To Eber two sons were born: the name of the first was Peleg, for in his time the world was divided; and the name of his brother was Joktan. 26 30 Their settlements extended all the way to Sephar, the eastern hill country. 31 These are the descendants of Shem, according to their clans and languages by their lands and nations. 32 These are the groupings of Noah’s sons, according to their origins and by their nations. From these the other nations of the earth branched out after the flood.




This talk is by Msgr. David LeSeur.


We are partners with God in completing creation.  There are times though, when we fail miserably.


What images come to mind when we hear these words????:  environment, ecological awareness, global warming, whales, ozone layer, weather patterns, smog, acid rain, rain forest, recycling, pollution, toxic waste, thermal inversion, earth day, industrial waste.  CREATION.  All is connected to everything else.


Ecology = “house” , environment, habitat, surroundings.  It has to do with our relationship with the world in which we live, its condition.  The condition of our earthly house today is cause for concern.


Genesis 4 – 10 reflect the consequences / the results of the events of Gen. 1-3.  The relationship between God, humans, and creation has been damaged.  Cain/Abel, Noah and Flood,  in particular.


But the earth was corrupt in the view of God and full of lawlessness.  When God saw how corrupt the earth had become, since all mortals had corrupted their ways on earth, God said to Noah: I see that the end of all mortals has come, for the earth is full of lawlessness because of them.  So I am going to destroy them with the earth.   Genesis 6:11-13.


I will wipe out from the earth the human beings I have created, and not only the human beings, people, but also the animals and crawling things and birds of the air, for I regret that I made them.  But Noah found favor with the LORD.  Gen 6:7-8


Things had gone downhill pretty quickly.  There are natural processes in our ecology that handle decay and death.  In the “Ecology” of Genesis there is a pattern of creation and de-creation, life and death


From Genesis to  Revelation:

  • God is a God of creation
  • A  God of life, a God of light
  • A God of love and goodness, grace and fidelity, order and being, A God of salvation


But human creation chose infidelity, darkness and death.  Genesis shows that despite the consequences of their sin, God remains faithful to them and acts to lift them up again.  God is a God of salvation.


God repeatedly saves what is lost.  The flood is not the last word, renewal is.


Never again will I curse the ground because of human beings, since the desires of the human heart are evil from youth; nor will I ever again strike down every living being, as I have done.  Genesis 8:21


In chapter 9 God makes a covenant with Noah, with the sign of the rainbow in the clouds.  “Be fertile, then, and multiply; abound on the earth and subdue it.”   Gen 9:7


There are those who stand out as in right relationship with God: Noah, Abraham and Sarah, Mary, Jesus



“I have acquired a man from Yahweh”  Acquire is ‘qana’ (with a long ‘a’) which sounds something like ‘qayin’.  a ‘popular’ etymology.  Westermann p. 283 notes a tradition that identifies Cain as the ancestor of the Kenites – a people who lived in the desert to the south of Judah.

Hamilton p. 222: “Earlier commentators were fond of suggesting that in its original form this biblical story served as an illustration of the clash in ancient civilization between two conflicting life-styles, one agricultural and the other pastoral or nomadic, with the deity preferring the latter.  Two problems militate against this identification of the original form of the Cain-Abel story.  First, clashes in ancient times were not between agricultural and pastoral peoples, but between urban agricultural societies (with their livestock) and steppe nomads (with their livestock).  Second, how could this suggestion ever fit the contours of the narrative, for in it the husbandman (Cain) is driven to nomadism, but only to end up as the founder of culture and of the first city?”

Others suggest a conflict story between those who had arable land and those who did not?

What did Cain say to Abel???  There are no words in the Hebrew text, translations often supply something to be readable.  “Let us go out into the field” isn’t there.  The Jewish text has: “Cain now thought about his brother Abel…   Then, when they were in the field, Cain turned on his brother Abel and killed him.”

Note that our minds (drawings and paintings) and tradition have given us a lot of details that aren’t in the text.  The text does not mention an altar, does not say that it was burned.  Westermann muses on p. 296 about this but comes to no big conclusion.

Why did God choose to accept Abel’s (flocks) sacrifice and not Cain’s (from the soil)?  Possible explanations as outlined by Hamilton p. 224:

  • what grows spontaneously is more pure than what has to be cultivated.
  • Cain’s was not the “first-fruits” while Abel’s was
  • farmers are rooted in one spot, nomads encounter God in the wider world.
  • Cain was “cheap”
  • a modern scholar (Saul Levin) – God liked the smell better.  (Who doesn’t like bacon?)
  • The rabbis see this as a test – God was simply testing Cain, for his own benefit.

Pirke Avot “Who is strong?  The man who controls his urges.”

Westermann p. 296/297 notes that theologically this was used in Reformed churches in the development of ideas such as predestination for some / damnation for the rest solely based on God’s choice

Westermann p. 297: “The point of departure is equality; both have the means of subsistence in the division of labor.  Both recognize the giver in their gifts and therefore both are linked with the power which is the source of blessing.  Now inequality enters in; it has its origin in the regard of God.  Blessing or its absence depends on the regard of God.  It is a misunderstanding of the real meaning to look for the reason for the inequality of God’s regard.  The narrator wants to say that in the last analysis there is something inexplicable in the origin of this inequality.  It does not consist in application, in attitude or in any circumstance that one can control.  When such inequality between equals arises, it rests on a decision that is beyond human manipulation.  The reason why God regards Abel’s sacrifice and not Cain’s must remain without explanation.  And the narrator wants to make clear that this is one of the decisive motifs for conflict wherever there are brothers.”

Hamilton p. 230: The word used for “kill” is the word that means deliberate murder (harag).  Another word is used in the commandment “thou shalt not kill” which includes manslaughter as well as murder in its sense.

Reno p. 106: “What began as wrongful eating is now murder.  In the wake of the murder, Cain behaves like Adam and Eve in the garden.  When asked by the LORD, “where is Abel your brother?” he imagines that he can hide his actions from God.  Cain answers “I do not know; am I my brother’s keeper?” (4:9).  Punishment is forthcoming, and the direction of humanity’s expulsion from the garden is reiterated: “Cain went away from the presence of the LORD” (4:16).   …   The order of transgression and expulsion in Gen. 3 is not simply recapitulated.

Because the fall is a trajectory and not a singular event, it is intensified.  Obedience to the lie has a dark future, a future of death.”   lie – you shall not die, you shall be like God.

Westermann p. 286: “J is not describing a conflict between brothers in 4:2-16 but the final result of it.  Every murder, J is saying, is really the murder of a brother.”

Westermann p. 304: “”Am I my brother’s keeper?”  There is a subtlety in Cain’s retort that can only be grasped from the whole context of the J work.  Gen. 37-50 of the patriarchal history deals with fraternal responsibility.  What is said here is: surely a brother should not normally be the keeper of his brothers.  However, a situation can arise where a brother must be his brother’s keeper and where he is responsible for his brother’s fate.  Gen 37 portrays such a situation.”

“His blood cries out to me.”  Westermann p. 305 considers this one of the most important sentences in the whole of the bible.

The mark of Cain?  some seal of divine blessing, perhaps the first letter of the divine name? (Reno, p. 109).  It is not clear from the text – could also be a sign such as a thunderclap that would protect him when endangered.  Another explanation of perhaps a tribal tattoo of the Kenites?

Westermann p. 313: “…both mean that Cain remains under the condemnation of God (i.e., under the curse pronounced over him), and that no one may intervene in carrying it out.  The mark therefore designates Cain as the one who stands under God’s curse and protects him as such, i.e., protects him against the intervention of anyone else.”


Our own sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation.  (being signed…)

  • on Aaron the priest Exodus 28: 36-38

You shall also make a plate of pure gold and engrave on it, as on a seal engraving, “Sacred to the LORD.” This plate is to be tied over the turban with a violet ribbon in such a way that it rests on the front of the turban, over Aaron’s forehead. Since Aaron bears whatever guilt the Israelites may incur in consecrating any of their sacred gifts, this plate must always be over his forehead, so that they may find favor with the LORD.


  • the tefillin for all Jews  Deut. 11:18-20

Therefore, take these words of mine into your heart and soul. Bind them on your arm as a sign, and let them be as a pendant on your forehead. Teach them to your children, speaking of them when you are at home and when you are away, when you lie down and when you get up, and write them on the doorposts of your houses and on your gates, so that, as long as the heavens are above the earth, you and your children may live on in the land which the LORD swore to your ancestors he would give them.


  • a mark for the righteous in times of apostasy  Ezekiel 9:4

“and the LORD said to him:  Pass through the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and mark an X on the foreheads of those who grieve and lament over all the abominations practiced within it.”


  • carried on in Book of Revelation 7:3, 20:4, 22:4, 14:1

7:3  “Do not damage the land or the sea or the trees until we put the seal on the foreheads of the servants of our God.”

Westermann p. 309: “What is the meaning and function of this whole?  The narrative of Cain contains the cry of the blood of the victim and the lament of the murderer condemned for life.  The cry and the lament are part of human existence; they are a defensive reaction to life threatened.  Just as in v. 10 the blood of the one murdered does not cry in the void, so too the defensive lament of the murderer is heard.  The person as a creature, and not matter what one’s situation, remains within earshot of the creator; that is the meaning of the cry and the lament.”

Lamech passage:  Reno p. 109: “Time does not stand still in Genesis.  Instead, what is latent comes to the fore; the seed of the future develops to maturity.  Where Adam and Eve eat, Cain murders.  Where Cain murders and then pleads with God for mercy, Lamech murders and then boasts of his deadly anger: “I have slain a man for wounding me, a young man for striking me’ (4:23).”

Hamilton p. 241: “Lamech’s song speaks not of something that he has already done, but of something that under duress he would not hesitate to do.”  Lamech is confident in his own strength and self – he doesn’t need God or God’s protection.


“sons of heaven” in our text /  “the divine beings” in the Jewish text.  Refer to the ‘heavenly court’ or angels.  A strange story – Sarna p. 45 says the most strange in all the bible.  “Legends about intercourse between gods and mortal women and between goddesses and men, resulting in the generation of demigods, are widespread and familiar ingredients of pagan mythology.  …  In light of these and other references, such as Ezekiel 32:27, it is quite likely that the main function of the present highly condensed version of the original story is to combat polytheistic mythology.”  the result here is long-lived mortals, not a new level of gods.  God alone is God.

Ezekiel 32:27

They do not rest with the warriors

who fell in ancient times,

who went down to Sheol fully armed.

Their swords were placed under their heads

and their shields laid over their bones;

For there was terror of these warriors

in the land of the living.


Isaiah 14:12

How you have fallen from the heavens,

O Morning Star, son of the dawn!

How you have been cut down to the earth,

you who conquered nations!

Perhaps all reference an ancient story of fallen angels – not itself in the Bible!!


God decides to blot out all of creation.  Sarna p. 47: “This is an anthropomorphism, or the ascription to God of human emotions, a frequent feature of the biblical narrative.  The need for such usage arises from the inherent tension between god’s transcendence and His immanence.  On the one hand, He is conceived to be wholly outside of nature, omniscient and omnipotent, sovereign over time and space, and not subject to change.  On the other hand, He is also immanent in the world, not withdrawn from it, a personal God who is actively involved in the lives of His creatures, approachable by them and responsive to their needs.”

Sarna p. 48 The land of Israel not the source of the flood tradition – not in character with the area.  However – Mesopotamia, with Tigris and Euphrates IS.  Google the Babylonian Gilgamesh epic.  There is archeological evidence of an extraordinarily devastating flood in the region around 2900BC. (Abraham around 2,000 BC, Moses around 1,200 B.C.)

Williams p. 51: “In two other flood stories from the ancient Near East, the reasons given for the coming of the flood are instructive.  In the Sumerian account, the gods send the flood to wipe out humanity because the humans are too loud at night and the gods cannot sleep!  In the later Babylonian story, the gods decide to destroy humanity because the humans are becoming too self-sufficient, too big for their britches.  How different is our Genesis story!”

only in the Genesis accounts from old is it just one family that survives.  Genesis is intent on passing down a core tradition – we are one human family under one God.  It is unique in its emphasis on the cause being moral turpitude and on the positive moral qualities of Noah.  It is unique in that God desires this good man and his family to survive the flood.

this story is a mix of at least two earlier traditions (J and P)  in one Noah takes a pair of each animal, in the other 7 pairs of the clean animals and 1 of the unclean (not yet defined!).  Alter p. 42 suggests that clean / unclean represent ‘fitness for sacrificial use’.

Sarna p. 49 – Noah becomes a second Adam (Paul – Christ is the new Adam)

The ark (Hebrew – tevah) is used only here and for a description of the vessel that saved the baby Moses.  (Sarna p. 52).  “The term suggests a boxlike craft made to float on the water but without rudder or sail or any other navigational aid.  It does not use the services of a crew.  The use of tevah is intended to emphasize that the fate of the occupants is to be determined solely by the will of God and not to be attributed to the skill of man.  by contrast, the hero of the Mesopotamian stories builds a regular ship and employs boatmen to navigate it.”

humankind is still vegetarian at this point.


Chapter 7

Ezekiel 14:13-14, 19-20, 18:20 reflect the issues of a later age, using Noah and his family.  Sarna notes p. 54: “It is not clear whether Noah’s family is saved solely through his merit or whether they were individually righteous as well.”

Son of man, if a land sins against me by breaking faith, and I stretch out my hand against it, breaking its staff of bread and setting famine loose upon it, cutting off from it human being and beast alike— even if these three were in it, Noah, Daniel, and Job, they could only save themselves by their righteousness—oracle of the Lord GOD.

Or if I send plague into this land, pouring out upon it my bloody wrath, cutting off from it human being and beast alike, even if Noah, Daniel, and Job were in it, as I live—oracle of the Lord GOD—they could save neither son nor daughter; they would save only themselves by their righteousness.

Only the one who sins shall die. The son shall not be charged with the guilt of his father, nor shall the father be charged with the guilt of his son. Justice belongs to the just, and wickedness to the wicked.

40 days of rain – to purge the earth of sin.  Not unlike 40 days in the desert or 40 years in the desert for the Israelites.

Sarna p. 54: 600 was a basic unit of time in the Mesopotamian tradition

Noah took the dove into his hand to look for clay on its feet.

Sarna p. 58: “Come out of the ark, together with your wife ….”  Our sense is simply come out together.  The rabbinic tradition finds significance in it – on the ark the sexes were separated, there was no sex and no procreation for the duration.

Unlike the gods of pagan traditions – the LORD does NOT eat the sacrificial offerings.          Alter p. 48: “…the gods are thought to be dependent on the food men provide them through the sacrifices, and they swoop down on the post-diluvium offering ‘like flies.’”


Chapter 9

in renewing the earth humans are given the flesh of animals to eat – provided all blood is drained from it first.

God’s ‘bow’ is placed in the heavens (keshet).  He is ‘hanging up his weapons’.

7 laws given to Noah (apply to all Gentiles) Sarna p. 377:

  1. no idolatry
  2. no blasphemy
  3. no bloodshed
  4. no incest or adultery
  5. no robbery
  6. establish courts of law
  7. don’t eat flesh cut from a living animal

In theory the death penalty is appropriate for murderers.  However, the rabbis sought to use every means possible to avoid this penalty.  A rabbinic court that permitted the execution of even 1 person each 7 years of its rule was considered barbaric.

Noah plants a vineyard and cultivates it.  On drinking the product he becomes drunk in his tent and his nakedness exposed.  Sarna p. 65: “This makes Ham’s behavior all the more contemptible.  Although the cultivation of the vine implies a settled, nonnomadic community, Noah and his sons still reside in tents.  the transition from nomadism to sedentary life is indicated.”

Sarna p. 66: “Ham compounded his lack of modesty and filial respect by leaving his father uncovered and by shamelessly bruiting about what he had seen.  On the other hand, the verbs of verse 24  and the severity of Noah’s reaction suggest that the Torah has suppressed the sordid details of some repugnant act.  Rabbinic sources are divided on whether Ham castrated his father or committed sodomy.  The former interpretation might be supported by the fact that Noah has no children after the Flood.”

Alter p. 53: “’to see the nakedness of’ frequently means ‘to copulate with’”   In stories soon to come in Genesis the Canaanites are associated with rape and sexual deviancy




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