© Jeff Stacey | Last updated: 10 March 2019
CHART 4A: GOD IN GRACE “ESTABLISHED HIS EVERLASTING COVENANT” WITH ABRAHAM AND HIS DESCENDANTS ISAAC AND JACOB (ISRAEL) AS HIS CHOSEN PEOPLE
[GENESIS 11:27 – 50:26]
4A(intro)1 The information about God and the history so far: Charts 1A to 3B(JOB)
The previous seven charts are based on a detailed analysis of GEN 1:1 – 11:26 and the Book of Job. The information about God and the history for the first three Eras are summarized in the relevant Introductions [1B(intro)1, 2A(intro)1, 2B(intro)1, 3A(intro)1, 3B(intro)1 and 3B(JOB)(intro)1].
After the FLOOD God stated that the hearts of all people were still completely inclined to do evil Gen 8:21c. The Earth soon became corrupted again by their sin. Even Noah himself got drunk and acted shamefully! [3B28(a)]. His son Ham and the men of Babel also sinned blatantly [3B30].
Yet God in grace and true to His Covenantal promises, did not destroy all these rebellious people Gen 8:21b. Instead He provided for their ongoing existence Gen 8:22. But He confused their speech and scattered them over the Earth Gen 11:9. This was to restrict their potential for greater evil as they developed into communities and nations [3B31(b)].
4A(intro)2 Chart 4A
Chart 4A is derived from a much larger amount of biblical data than the previous Charts. It is based on GEN 11:27 – 50:26, a total of more than 39 chapters of the Bible.
The whole of this material is used for both Charts 4A and 4B. Key information about God occurs throughout these extended narratives. For Chart 4A the most significant passages are the direct statements by God.
Again I would urge you to read these chapters at least once before doing the Chart, to get familiar with what they say. Then as you work your way through the detailed explanations, browse many of the biblical verse references just to keep your thinking close to the text.
4A(intro)3 God’s continuing strategy
After the FLOOD God had established through Noah His everlasting Covenant with the whole Earth, all its people and creatures Gen 9:8-9,10,11. He declared that Earth would be a stable environment for their ongoing existence Gen 8:22.
The initial focus was on the development of particular clans and nations with their various territories and languages Gen 10:1-32, 11:10-26. Noah’s son Shem had five sons who are named Gen 10:22 but no details of the descendants of three of them are recorded. Only the four sons of Shem’s fifth son Aram are named Gen 10:23.
Yet descendants of his third son Arphaxad are traced in detail through seven generations down to Terah and Abram Gen 10:24-29, 11:10-26. This indicated that God had singled out the clans of Arphaxad for His special attention. The descendants of Eber Gen 10:21,24-29 were particularly significant. His name was the origin of the name “Hebrew”.
God was continuing the principle of sovereignly choosing specific people and focusing upon the developing communities of their descendants [3B27(c)]. He did this even though they proved to be far from perfect. Yet it was a key part of His strategy to accomplish His primary purpose.
As the epic drama continued, the Bible’s spotlight suddenly turned to shine upon Abram and his descendants.1 What emerged was that God was now going to develop His strategy by beginning with this particular family line. He made a number of vast permanent commitments to them Gen 12:1-2,3,7a and would then make Himself more fully known TO and THROUGH them than He had done previously.
4A(intro)4 Abraham and his descendants
Era 4 began with the birth of Abraham Gen 11:26-27 and the record of Era 4 ends with the death of Joseph in Egypt Gen 50:22-23,24,25-26. Yet Era 5 did not really begin until the time of Moses in Egypt.2
The genealogical and chronological data indicate that Era 4 spanned a period of 640 years from the birth of Abram, as follows:
|EVENTS||BIBLE REFS||ELAPSED TIME (YEARS)|
|Isaac was born when Abraham was aged 100||Gen 21:5||100|
|The twins Esau and Jacob were born when Isaac was aged 60||Gen 25:26||60|
|Jacob was 130 when he and his whole family arrived in Egypt||Gen 46:26, 47:1,7-9||130|
|God had told Abraham that the Hebrews would be enslaved in Egypt for 400 years Gen 15:13. It is not known how long it was after the Hebrews arrived in Egypt that they began to be enslaved there Ex 1:6-7,8-9,10-11. |
The total time that they actually lived in Egypt was 430 years. Then they left and the Exodus began. This may imply that the initial period they lived in Egypt before becoming enslaved was only 30 years.
The exodus began shortly after Moses was 80 years old. Since Era 4 ends at Moses’ birth, it was when the Hebrews had lived 350 years in Egypt.
|TOTAL YEARS FROM THE BIRTH OF ABRAHAM TO THE BIRTH OF MOSES||640|
4A(intro)5 Some controversial issues
Again there are a number of controversial questions raised by these chapters, such as:-
# Could Abraham’s 318 “trained men” have defeated the armies of four kings who had recently defeated five other kings’ armies? Gen 14:1-16
# Could Lot’s wife really have become “a pillar of salt”? Gen 19:26
# Would God really have commanded Abraham to kill his son Isaac? Gen 22:2
# Could Jacob’s method of using striped tree branches at the flocks’ drinking troughs have caused them to produce streaked and speckled offspring? Gen 30:31-43
# How could Jacob have wrestled with God? Gen 32:24-30
As previously stated, I recognise that these are by no means insignificant or uninteresting issues. But I have deliberately avoided letting them become distractions from focusing on what is emphasized by the biblical text itself.
1. God’s call to Abram Gen 12:1 came before He renamed him Abraham Gen 17:5. Similarly God renamed Sarai as Sarah Gen 17:15. But for simplicity, the names Abraham and Sarah are used throughout these explanatory notes.(Return to reading).
2. About four centuries passed between the arrival of Joseph and all his father’s family in Egypt Ex 1:1-4,5-6 and Moses’ birth Ex 2:1-2,8-9,10, 12:40-41. No history is recorded in the Bible for this period, other than that the Israelites multiplied greatly in Egypt Ex 1:7. The whole epic of Moses, the Exodus and the Sinai Covenant was a new Era (see Charts 5A and 5B). Although the events in Ex 1:7-22 occurred before the birth of Moses, they have been included in Era 5 because they are primarily recorded to give the background to Moses’ birth and later life. (Return to reading).