originally published on Reading the Bible in 90 Days
Well, I finished Genesis today. I must say, it's rather enjoyable as one flow of a story.
I remember I used to always think that the geneologies were annoying and boring. However, when read as a part of the meta-narrative, they are an incedible literary technique and a great critique on the people presented. The geneologies serve as a very fluid way of travelling down time to the next major event. I also love how they show importance to the stories... the major characters are not left out - their decendents are always told. But sometimes, that's all that's told about a person... and that shows the storyteller's attitude toward that person.
However, what most stood out to me in the stories of Genesis is the importance of sex and keeping the lineage alive. God is opening and closing the wombs of the women all throughout the stories. Rebekah, Rachel, Tamar... concubines of Pharoh...
I love how in Genesis sex is treated with such high, powerful regard. God is intimately involved in their sexual relations. Even other nations understood the intimacy of sex, and begged for forgiveness when mistepping. Whole cities were destroyed for the rape of a sister. It seems almost that nothing was more sacred than a man's relations with a woman.
I wish there was still that respect for other people in today's world. Whenever someone wronged another, they would beg for forgiveness, on their knees, calling themselves "your servant." Nowadays, far to often, when we wrong someone we seek to justify it. Joseph accused his brothers of stealing his cup. Though they knew they didn't actually do it, the proof was there, so they admitted to it. They didn't understand what had happened, but they knew they had wronged this Egyptian ruler and they could only let him judge them. They put themselves at his mercy, instead of trying to cast blame.
All in all, I liked Genesis as a complete story. Watching this family of generations ebb and flow and try to do things right, all the while stumbling along making mistakes is simply beautiful. Getting these little vignettes of life from them... they are so raw and human. They are so brave and yet so scared. What I think I love the most about these stories is that there's nothing particularly special about them. They're just a traveling people, holding fast to a promise that God made them - and slipping from that grip just a little here and there.