This week we covered a lot of material from the first four chapters of Genesis. Because these chapters are so compact, I want to do a quick summary to highlight the main points that we covered. I also included a lexicon for those who want to keep track of the Hebrew words we’ve been learning.
In our initial post, The First Woman, we looked at how women were created, and questioned whether we should translate the word tsela as “rib,” or as “side.” We discussed how the Bible never again translates tsela as “rib,” and then envisioned the creation story anew with God using the human’s side to create the woman. We found a beautiful pattern of God splitting the human in half to create the woman, and then bringing the two back together again to form “one flesh.” We closed with the challenge to recognize the perfect balance that God craved for us all along, and to claim our identity as one flesh, made in the image of God.
The next post was Were We Ever Cursed? In it, we explored the temptation narrative in Genesis 3, and then looked closely at the punishments and curses God doles out at the end of the chapter. We found that God curses the snake and the ground, causing them to physically change. We also discovered that God punished, rather than cursed, the man and the woman. That encouraged us to embrace the knowledge that The Fall in Genesis 3 did not inhibit our relationship with God.
We used the next post, The Calling of Genesis 3, to explore what we are meant to do now with the punishments God gave to the man and the woman. We learned that rather than using the punishments to prescribe what the world should look like, the text actually shows God describing what the world will look like. That distinction allows us to embrace the knowledge that God still wants us to return to the balanced, perfect system that He created in Genesis 1 and 2, and gave us a kick in the pants to begin working toward that equality and peace.
The following post introduced Why Names Matter in the Bible. We learned the meaning of “Adam” and “Eve” and set the stage for how other names will impact the way we read the Bible.
I found myself in tears while writing Finding Eve Among Cain and Abel. We read the story of Cain and Abel from the perspective of Eve, who was booted from the land of Eden, but then had the blessing to celebrate the births of her sons. Over the course of the story, we watch her lose Abel at the hands of Cain, and then lose Cain entirely as well. We discussed grief and the amount of silent heartbreak she endured.
Lastly, we discussed yesterday The Silent Stories of Genesis 4, paying attention to the unnamed women who show up all over the Bible, and the men who have names, yet whose stories are never told. We discussed how we should honor the women who continually move the biblical story forward, and we closed considering those individuals in our lives who are not especially gregarious and outgoing, but whose quiet work has changed our lives and the way we see the world.
I told you it was a lot of material! This coming week we will begin with Genesis 5 and move on from there. I will do another recap next Monday as well. For those of you who want to track the Hebrew words we’ve learned, I included a list below. Thank you for your continued love and support!
Hebrew Words That Change How We Read The Bible:
ha adam = the human, found in Gen. 2, often mistranslated “the man”
ezer k’negdo = parallel/equal partner, used by God in Gen. 2:20 before creating the woman
tsela = side, found in Gen. 2, often mistranslated “rib”
ish = man, first used instead of ha adam after the creation of the woman in Gen. 2
ishah = woman, used to describe Eve before she receives her name in Gen. 3
arar = to curse, applied to the snake and the ground in Gen. 3
amar = to speak, used to communicate punishments in Gen. 3
teshukah = desire, used to describe what the woman will feel for the main in Gen. 3
chavah = life, also the name Eve
canah = possession, also the name Cain
hevel = breath, puff of air, vanity, also the name Abel