September 8, 2020
In Genesis 1:1–2:3 we see a general account of all creation. Here in Genesis 2:4–25 we have a topical account of creation as it relates to mankind. As Dyer and Merrill explain, “If the former account of creation can be labelled the ‘cosmic account,’ this should be considered the ‘anthropological account,’ because humankind, not the heavens and the earth, is now central”[i] God through an act of grace provides for Adam the source and the means for the entire human race. God’s design is ordered and is perfect. Man and woman, Adam and Eve, are in Paradise.
Please read Genesis 2:4-25
[i] Kenneth O. Gangel and Stephen J. Bramer, Holman Bible Commentary, p. 26.
[ii] Sidney Greidanus, Preaching Christ from Genesis, (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2007), 15-17.
Functions of the Tôlĕdôt Structure The tôlĕdôt structure fulfills several functions in Genesis. First, from Israel’s later perspective as a nation, the “genealogies display the existing relationship between kinship groups by tracing their lineage back to a common ancestor.”
Second, the linear genealogies of Genesis 5:1–31 and 11:10–26 (each ten generations) serve to link one narrative to another. They “establish continuity over stretches of time without narrative.”38
Third, the genealogies, some individually and as a whole, mark the process of the narrowing of God’s channel of redemption. The first tôlĕdôt, of heaven and earth, begins universally and ends with Seth, with whom God will continue the seed of the woman. The second tôlĕdôt, of Adam, narrows the field from many people who are destroyed in the flood, to Seth’s descendant Noah, whom God selects to survive the devastation. The third tôlĕdôt begins with Noah and his three sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth, but ends with the blessing of Shem. Although the fourth tôlĕdôt is of Shem, Ham, and Japheth, the fifth narrows the line of the seed of the woman down to Shem. The sixth tôlĕdôt begins with Terah and his three sons, Abram, Nahor, and Haran, but focuses on Abram as the recipient of God’s covenant promises. Abraham has two sons, Ishmael and Isaac, but Isaac is God’s chosen instrument. The seventh tôlĕdôt about Ishmael’s [p. 17] descendants is brief in order to put the full weight on Isaac’s descendants in the eighth tôlĕdôt. Isaac also has two sons, Esau and Jacob, and again, the author spends little time on Esau’s descendants in the ninth tôlĕdôt, in order to concentrate on Jacob’s descendant, Joseph, in the final tôlĕdôt.
Finally, and most importantly, the genealogies reveal the sovereignty and the grace of God as he provides for the continuation of the line of the seed of the woman with a view to re-establishing his good kingdom on earth.