Many Christians may not know Genesis is a book compiled from other books. It was generally thought this had to be impossible. Archaeology has shown us otherwise.
Genesis 5:1 states, "This is the book of the generations of Adam." Book is sêpher which according to Strong's means writing, scroll, evidence, book and register. The KJV translates Strong's H5612 in the following manner: book (138x), letter (29x), evidence (8x), bill (4x), learning (2x), register (1x), learned (with H3045) (1x), scroll (1x).
The next word we need to look at is generations. It is the Hebrew tôledâh, a family history. It is used thirteen times in Genesis to describe the writing of a family history or a history. It is used in Exodus, Numbers, Ruth and 1Chronicles to refer to the birth and genealogy or family history of a person or group of people.
The Nuzi Tablets have shown us this type of family record was highly prized and protected. The Tablets reveal the records were registered and many had been passed down from father to son for six generations at the time the tablet was inscribed. This explains why a person's death was added onto the end of his family history because the son would take up the writing of the history to record the death. Nuzi was an important administrative center in northern Iraq, and the 5,000 tablets date to around 1450 BC.
We can see this high regard for family records in the Bible. Without them we would not have the genealogies of Jesus in Matthew and Luke. Keeping these records were an integral part of Jewish society. Moses used the ancient sêpher tôledâh, the writings of family histories, to organize and write the book of Genesis.
Writing in Hebrew culture was long thought to be an impossibility until the Jews were taken to Babylon and "educated." Many still hold to this view despite the inscriptions documenting ancient Hebrew found in Egypt and the Levant dating to the time before Moses.These inscriptions have prompted Dr. Doug Petrovich to call Hebrew the world's oldest alphabet.
There are other books referred to in the Bible too.
Exodus 17:14 "And the LORD said unto Moses, Write this for a memorial in a book, [sêpher] and rehearse it in the ears of Joshua: for I will utterly put out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven."
Exodus 24:7 "And he took the book [sêpher] of the covenant, and read in the audience of the people: and they said, All that the LORD hath said will we do, and be obedient."
Exodus 32:32-33 "Yet now, if thou wilt forgive their sin—; and if not, blot me, I pray thee, out of thy book [sêpher] which thou hast written. And the LORD said unto Moses, Whosoever hath sinned against me, him will I blot out of my book [sêpher]."
Numbers 5:23 "And the priest shall write these curses in a book [sêpher], and he shall blot them out with the bitter water."
Numbers 21:14 "Wherefore it is said in the book [sêpher] of the wars of the LORD, What he did in the Red sea, and in the brooks of Arnon."
Joshua 10:13 "And the sun stood still, and the moon stayed, until the people had avenged themselves upon their enemies. Is not this written in the book [sêpher] of Jasher? So the sun stood still in the midst of heaven, and hasted not to go down about a whole day."
Jasher means righteous. The LITV calls it the Book of the Upright. It is mentioned again in 2Samuel 1:18. "...and he said to teach the sons of Judah The Song of the Bow. Behold, it is written in the Book [sêpher] of Jashar."
Joshua 18:9 "And the men went and passed through the land, and described it by cities into seven parts in a book [sêpher], and came again to Joshua to the host at Shiloh."
The kings of Israel had a book. The kings of Judah had a book. Apparently Enoch had a book. There are others the Bible mentions and it is interesting to think they were written, first inscribed and then in ink, deyô, as Jeremiah 36:18 states. "Then Baruch answered them, He pronounced all these words unto me with his mouth, and I wrote them with ink in the book."
If you would like to know more about ancient man and his writing, check out our book, NOAH. Currently the ebook is on sale for $2.99. We've also written a study guide for those who would like to use the book for homeschool or a small group study.
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