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Bible Commentaries

F.B. Meyer's 'Through the Bible' Commentary


- Genesis

by Frederick Brotherton Meyer

Outline of Genesis

The Beginnings of the Race and of the Chosen Family

I. God and the Race, Genesis 1-11

1. The Beginnings of the World and of Man, Genesis 1:1-2:25

2. The Beginning and Spread of Evil, Genesis 3:1-6:7

3. The Judgment and Renewal of the Earth, Genesis 6:8-11:26

II. God and the Chosen Family, Genesis 12-50

1. The History of Abraham and His S on Isaac, Genesis 11:27-25:11

(The Line of Ishmael, Hagar’s Son),Genesis 25:12-18; Genesis 25:12-18

2. The History of Isaac and Jacob , Genesis 25:19-35:29

(The Line of Esau, Who Sold His Birthright), Gen 3:1-24 6:1-37:1

3. The History of Jacob’s Sons, Joseph and His Brothers, Genesis 37:2-36 ; Genesis 38:1-30 ; Genesis 39:1-23 ; Genesis 40:1-23 ; Genesis 41:1-57 ; Genesis 42:1-38 ; Genesis 43:1-34 ; Genesis 44:1-34 ; Genesis 45:1-28 ; Genesis 46:1-34 ; Genesis 47:1-31 ; Genesis 48:1-22 ; Genesis 49:1-33 ; Genesis 50:1-26

(1) Joseph Sold into Egypt , Genesis 37:1-36

(Judah’s Sin),Genesis 38:1-30; Genesis 38:1-30

(2) Joseph’s Servitude in Egypt , Genesis 39-41

(3) The Journeys of Joseph’s Brothers to Egypt, Genesis 42-45

(4) Jacob Goes to Egypt. He and Joseph Die There , Genesis 46-50


The name is the Greek word for “beginning,” and was selected by the translators of the Hebrew Scriptures into Greek. This version was known as the Septuagint (frequently indicated by LXX), because it was said the translators numbered seventy men. It was made for the Jews of “the Dispersion” dwelling in Egypt and elsewhere, who had become unfamiliar with the language of their fathers.

The word “generations” indicates the successive divisions of the book and the gradual concentration of the divine purpose in one special line of ancestry, leading to the development of the knowledge of Jehovah through Israel. Notice this word in Genesis 2:4 ; Genesis 5:1 ; Genesis 6:9 ; Genesis 10:1 ; Genesis 11:10 ; Genesis 11:27 ; Genesis 25:12 ; Genesis 25:19 ; Genesis 36:1 ; Genesis 37:2 . Each of these verses introduces a new section, in which is traced the “generations,” or issue, of the person it names. Ishmael and Esau are side-lines from which the history promptly returns to the line of promise through Isaac and Jacob.

Genesis is the first of the five books of Moses, known as the Pentateuch and also called “the Law.” See Luke 24:44 ; Matthew 22:40 ; John 10:34 . The unanimous testimony of the New Testament is to ascribe the authorship to Moses. See Matthew 19:8 ; Mark 12:26 ; Luke 16:31 ; John 5:46 . But he doubtless incorporated sacred traditions handed down from the patriarchs, and there are traces of an editor’s hand-probably Ezra’s.

e-Sword Note: The following material was presented at the end of Genesis in the printed edition

Review Questions on Genesis


( a ) Into what two principal parts is the book of Genesis naturally divided?

( b ) Mention the three great events in the first part.

( c ) Name the four principal characters whose lives are recorded in the second part.


( d ) What is the meaning of the word Genesis and whence do we get it?

( e ) What word, mentioned ten times in Genesis, in each case marks the beginning of a new section of the book?

( f ) What reason have we for ascribing the authorship of the book to Moses?

Genesis 1-19

Each question applies to the paragraph of corresponding number in the Comments .

1 . What does the word “beginning” in the first verse of the Bible suggest?

2 . What were the great successive steps in creation?

3 . What does the created universe reveal regarding its Creator?

4 . What was true of man’s first home?

5 . How did God provide for man’s happiness and his development?

6 . What are the effects of man’s fall? How counteracted?

7 . What was the real difference between Cain and Abel?

8 . How did evil first spread?

9 . What name breaks the death-roll ofGenesis 5:1-32; Genesis 5:1-32 and why?

10 . What made evil spread so widely?

11 . What did God plan for Noah and why?

12 . Tell the story of the flood.

13 . How did Noah start life afresh?

14 . What covenant did God make with him? How was its token appropriate?

15 . What did Noah’s drunkenness show regarding him? Regarding his sons?

16 . What does the Tower of Babel show about human nature? What bearing has it on the varieties of human speech?

17 . Who was the real leader in the movement toward Canaan, Terah or Abram?

18 . What promises led Abram onward?

19 . Why was the journey to Egypt a false step on Abram’s part? Why did God protect him in spite of his deceit?

20 . Why was it best for Abram to separate from Lot?

21 . Into what trouble did selfish Lot soon fall?

22 . What traits did Abram show in the capture of the marauding kings?

23 . Explain the meaning of Abram’s vision. Why did God so highly value his faith?

24 . How did Ishmael get his name?

25 . Explain the change in Abram’s name. What new sign marked the renewal of God’s covenant with him?

26 . Explain the name that was to be given to the son of promise.

27 . What was the purpose of the visit of the heavenly messengers to Abraham?

28 . What did Abraham’s intercession accomplish?

29 . What was the purpose of the angels’ visit to Sodom?

30 . What effect had “evil communications” upon Lot and his family?

31 . What lesson should we learn when we “remember Lot’s wife”?

Genesis 20-34

Each question applies to the paragraph of corresponding number in the Comments.

32 . How can we account for Abraham’s repeated act of deceit?

33 . How was Abraham’s faith at length rewarded?

34 . Why was it necessary that Hagar and Ishmael should be sent away?

35 . Explain how Beersheba got its name.

36 . What made Abraham’s faith in offering Isaac remarkable?

37 . How did God provide a substitute?

38 . When and why did Abraham make a purchase of land?

39 . Explain Abraham’s way of seeking a bride for his son Isaac.

40 . What may we learn from the way in which Abraham’s servant executed his trust?

41 . How did the servant exalt his master and his master’s God?

42 . How did Rebekah show herself a suitable bride for Isaac?

43 . Of what was Abraham “full,” as well as of years?

44 . How did Esau betray his character in parting with his birthright? How did Jacob show his in bargaining for it?

45 . What sin of his father did Isaac weakly repeat?

46 . What wells did Isaac dig and what may we learn from them?

47 . How was the aged patriarch deceived in his own house-hold?

48 . How did the spoken lie follow the acted one?

49 . Why must we condemn Esau even while we pity him?

50 . Why did Rebekah have to part with her favorite son?

51 . How did God meet Jacob on the threshold of his new career?

52 . How did Jacob find and win the wife of his love?

53 . How was the cheater cheated?

54 . Mention Jacob’s sons and tell how each received his name.

55 . In what shrewd but unworthy way did Jacob get the better of Laban?

56 . In leaving Haran how did Jacob do the right thing in the wrong way?

57 . How was he protected from Laban’s pursuit and charge?

58 . What were the purpose and spirit of the parting covenant between Laban and Jacob?

59 . How did Jacob prepare for his meeting with Esau?

60 . How did God meet Jacob at Jabbok and with what result?

61 . What promise did Jacob make to Esau? Why did he fail to keep it?

62 . What was the result of Jacob’s mistake in settling in Shechem?

63 . Was the treachery of Simeon and Levi justifiable?

64 . How did Jacob return to God in returning to Bethel?

Genesis 35-50

Each question applies to the paragraph of corresponding number in the Comments .

65 . What experiences of sorrow and joy marked Jacob’s resettling in southern Canaan?

66 . What were Jacob’s mistakes in his early treatment of Joseph?

67 . How did Joseph’s treatment by his brothers typify men’s treatment of Christ?

68 . How was God’s providence shown in Joseph’s deliverance and sale into Egypt?

69 . What enabled Joseph to resist the sharp temptation in Potiphar’s house?

70 . How did his imprisonment result in good?

71 . What enabled him to interpret the dreams of his fellow-prisoners?

72 . What finally opened the prison-doors for him?

73 . What traits of character did he show when he appeared before Pharaoh?

74 . How did his actions when exalted show that the Spirit of God was in him?

75 . What was the purpose of Joseph’s severity toward his brothers?

76 . Why did he insist that Benjamin be brought to Egypt?

77 . Why was their money returned in their grain-sacks?

78 . How did kindness replace severity on their second visit to Egypt?

79 . What was the effect of placing Joseph’s cup in Benjamin’s sack?

80 . How did the trying situation call forth a noble plea from Judah?

81 . How did Joseph show the very spirit of Christ in his treatment of his brothers?

82 . How was the good news carried to the old father?

83 . How was Jacob assured that God was directing his journey to Egypt?

84 . What did Jacob and his household receive in Egypt? What did he have to give to Pharaoh?

85 . How did Joseph serve Pharaoh and save the nation alive?

86 . How did Jacob show his faith as his departure drew near?

87 . What did he foretell in adopting Joseph’s sons?

88 . What did he prophesy regarding his descendants-especially of Judah’s line?

89 . And of Joseph’s?

90 . What was Jacob’s last wish?

91 . How was it carried out?

92 . What better memorial has Joseph than a great tomb or pyramid in Egypt?