Interpretation, Significance, Application
Questions raised on the reading of sections of Wenham's and Fretheim's
Genesis 1 Back to Top
1. If Genesis opens the Torah ("law"), what does that tell us about the nature
of the Torah based on the contents of Genesis? Is the law to be
understood as all commandments? What other elements are important
to the Torah? (Wenham, 1:5)
2. How are Genesis 1:1-2 and Genesis 2:1-3 connected? (Wenham, 1:5)
3. Wenham notes the number 7 seems to be significant in Genesis 1-2:3 not
only in the day count but also "God" is mentioned 35 times, "earth"
-21 times, "and it was so" seven times, etc. How significant are these
statistics and what is their significance? (Wenham, 1:6)
4. Does the phrase "This is the story of" or "This is the account of" usually
begin or end a storyline (Gen. 2:4)? Where elsewhere is that phrase
found in Genesis and what is its significance as a literary feature?
5. What elements of structure do each of the days have in common?
What is the significance of that structure? [For example each day
begins with a divine announcement: "And God said"] (Wenham, 1:6)
6. Which days have a doubled divine announcement and a double approval
formula? What is the possible significance of that? (Wenham, 1:6)
7. What correspondences do you see between days 1 and 3; 2 and 4; and 3
and 6? How could you diagram these correspondences? What sense
do these correspondences leave with the reader (Gen. 1)?
8. How do the days of Genesis move between the "two poles" of the heaven
and earth? Where does the crossover take place? (Wenham, 1:7)
9. How is the seventh day set off from the other six days? How is it bonded
to the beginning 1:1-2? What is an inclusio and how is it used in
literature? (Wenham, 1:7)
10. What are the similarities and differences between the cosmology and
creation account in Genesis 1 and the Enuma Elish (Babylonian ca.
1100 BC) and the Epic of Atrahasis (
What are the similarities and differences with the Egyptian "Teaching
of King Merikare" (ca. 2200 B.C.)? (Wenham, 1:8f) (Gen. 1)
11. In what ways is Genesis 1 a polemic against the myths about the gods of
the Ancient Near East? For example: in ANE man is an afterthought
created to work and provide food for the gods; in Genesis 1 man is
the goal and God provides him food. (cf. Hasel; Wenham, 1:9)
12. How is the creation described and utilized elsewhere in Scripture (cf. Ps.
8, 136, 148; Prov. 8:22-3; Isa. 45:18; and Job 38)? How do the
accounts compare and contrast? How are the shaped by their
difference contexts? (Wenham, 1:10)
13. What is the relationship of Gen. 1:1, 1:2 and 1:3? Is 1:1 a subordinate
clause to the main clause in 1:2 or 1:3? Is 1:1 a title for 1:2-30? Is
1:1 the main clause describing the first action which is elaborated on
in 1:2-30? How do the different translations indicate how they
interpret the connection between 1:1 and 1:2 (cf. NIV/NASB/NLT
and the NEB/NRSV/TEV)? What difference do these different
approaches have on how the text is describing the creation of the
world? (Wenham, 1:11f)
14. Who is the only subject of the verb "create" (bara) in the Old
Testament? Does the fact that the word for create (bara) does not ever
state the material God made things out of prove creation ex nihilo (out
of nothing)? Cf. Ps 148:5; Prov. 8:22ff; Ps. 33:6. (Wenham, 1:14)
15. Why is the title Elohim for God used in Genesis 1 and not Yahweh
(LORD)? (Wenham, 1:15)
16. How does the God of Genesis 1 who acts and speaks differ from a more
abstract philosophically conceived God? (Wenham, 1:15)
17. How is God's relationship to the world founded and described in
Genesis 1? How is God's sovereignty demonstrated?
18. What major attribute of God is manifested in Genesis 1?
19. "Heaven and earth" is a merismus using two words to describe a totality.
What are some merismus phrases we use in English? (Wenham, 1:15)
20. Should Genesis 1:2 be taken as "The Spirit of God," "the breath of
God," "a divine wind" or "a mighty wind"? Compare which
translations support which reading (NIV/NRSV/New English
Bible/New American Bible/New
does it make? (Wenham, 1:16f)
21. How often does the phrase "And God said" occur in Genesis 1?
What is the significance of the phrase in relation to the creation
account? How is the speaking of things into being developed
elsewhere in Scripture (Ps. 33:6; Jn. 1:1ff) (Wenham 1:17f)
22. What does the approval formula "and God saw it was good" imply
about the person and character of God? (Wenham, 1:18) (Gen. 1)
23. What kinds of things did God "separate" in Genesis 1? What does
that process have to do with the ordering of the cosmos?
24. In God's subsequent word after creating, he either names something
or blesses it. What does that tell us about the character and work
of God in relation to what has already been created (Gen. 1)?
25. How long are the days of Genesis 1? How does what is described in
Genesis 1 fit with scientific discoveries on the origin and evolution of
the universe? Is the point of the author to give us a scientific
description of creation? What is the emphasis and direction the
original author is wanting to take his reader? What indications are
there in Gen. 1 itself as to the length of the days beyond the diverse
meanings of the word "day [yom]" itself?
26. Wenham says "The Bible-versus-science debate has, most regrettably,
sidetracked readers of Gen. 1. Instead of reading the chapter as the
triumphant affirmation of the power and wisdom of God and the
wonder of his creation, we have been too often bogged down in
attempting to squeeze Scripture into the mold of the latest scientific
hypothesis or distorting scientific facts to fit a particular
interpretation." Do you agree or disagree and why? (Wenham, 1:40)
26. How are the words used for the divine commands paralleled with the
fulfillments (Gen. 1)? What does that reinforce? (Wenham, 1:20)
27. The third day of creation was different in what way? Creative activity
often needs to be followed by what kind of activity? (Wenham, 1:20)
Chaos to cosmos involves what two types of activities (Gen. 1:14ff)?
28. How did the Hebrews view the watery depths and oceans (Gen. 1:20ff)?
29. What are the implications of God making things each after their kind
(Gen. 1)? What roles do ordering and separating play in the creation
account? What are the moral implications of things being made after
their own kind for modern biotech research on cloning and stem cell
research (cf. Lev. 19:19; Deut 22:9-11). How is the question a
complex one? (Wenham, 1:21)
30. Why was day four described in so much more detail that any of the
other days but day six (cf. ANE [Ancient Near East]) (Gen. 1:14ff)?
31. How do the functions of "divide", "rule" and "give light" pattern
themselves in Genesis 1:14-18? (Wenham, 1:22)
32. From a Canaanite mythology perspective, why would the creation of the
great sea creatures be mentioned using the word "create" (bara) for the
first time since 1:1 (cf. also Jer 51:34; Isa. 27:1; 51:9; Ps 74:13; Job
7:12)? (Wenham, 1:24)
33. Besides creating and ordering, God also blesses in Gen. 1. Where
does the notion of divine blessing show up in Genesis 1-12? In the
patriarchal narratives (Gen. 12-50) who are the primary blessers
there? (Wenham, 1:24) What role does the blessing of a father play
in modern culture? Who blesses today?
34. Why does God say "Let us" make man in the plural instead of "let me"
(Gen. 1:26)? [divine assembly, majesty, trinity, self-deliberation]
(Wenham, 1:27) (cf. Job 38:4,7; Lk 2:13f)
35. What is meant by the terms "image" and "likeness"? How are they
used elsewhere (Gen. 1:26)? (Wenham, 1:27) [distinct[natural/
supernatural faculties]; mental/spiritual qualities; physical
resemblance; representative; capacity to relate]. How does man being
made in God's image impact in our understanding of humankind in
post-modern culture in such realms as human rights, euthanasia,
cloning, the death penalty, love and war? What does this imply about
our interfacing with animals and with intelligent machines? What
implication does the image have in our relationship to God? Where
else in Scripture is the importance of God's image in humankind
36. When is the actual name "Adam" introduced in the different translations
(cf. KJV, NRSV, TEV and
determining when his name is first used? (Wenham, 1:32)
37. How is fruitfulness seen as a blessing throughout Genesis? How do
the genealogies and patriarchal blessing fit into that? How does the
idea of multiplying and being fruitful fit with the global population
explosion? Are we to be multiplying beyond our resources to
sustain life? At what point does the blessing become a curse?
38. What was Adam and Eve's initial relationship to the plant and animal
kingdoms (Gen. 1)? How does that change after the fall? How does
Noah's building a boat to preserve all the animals fit with modern
environmental concerns and human responsibilities? (Wenham, 1:33)
39. In the Mesopotamian myths, man was created to get food for the gods,
who supplies whom with food in Genesis 1? (Wenham, 1:33)
40. Why is Gen. 1:31 a bad place to break the chapter? Who originally
broke the text there? How do 1:1 and 2:2-3 fit together?
41. While the term "Sabbath" is not used in Gen. 1-2 where else does this
notion come up in the Pentateuchal materials? (Wenham, 1:36)
What does the Sabbath have to teach post-modern culture? How
should it be understood today? Does the New Testament negate
or diminish its relevance? What does it mean to declare something
"holy" in Scripture?
42. How is Genesis 1 a polemic against the polytheistic mythico-religious
worldview of the ancient Near East? What are the points of contact
and contrast? (Wenham, 1:37)
43. What does Genesis 1 tell us about the essential nature of God? How
is God's relationship with humankind initiated already in Genesis 1?
44. How does Genesis 1 appear in the apostles creed? (Wenham, 1:39)
45. How is Genesis 1-3 foundational to the construction of biblical world
views? Is the construction of biblical world views impacted as much
by Genesis 12-50
Genesis 2 Back to Top
46. What role does Gen. 2:4 play in the over all structure of the
book of Genesis (cf. 6:9; 10:1; 11:27; 37:2; 5:1; 25:12)?
How is that phrase translated by the different translations
47. Genesis 2-3 may be broken into the following seven subunits:
1) 2:5-17; 2) 2:18-25; 3) 3:1-5; 4) 3:6-8; 5) 3:9-13; 6) 3:14-21;
7) 3:22-24. Wenham suggests a palistrophic or mirror-image
style (1:51). How are units 1 & 7; 2 & 6; 3 & 5 connected?
How does unit 4 stand as the center? How would you diagram
that out? What does such a literary construction say about the unity
of the biblical text in contrast to a more fragmentary stitched together
48. What are the similarities and differences between the Genesis 2
account and the Sumerian flood story, Gilgamesh and Atrahasis epics?
Compare and contrast the Adapa myth. (Wenham, 1:52) What
symbols are shared between Genesis and the myths of the
ancient Near East?
49. How does Gen. 2-3 impact how one looks at culture and the roots
of the history of humankind? What roots are seen in those
chapters that flower in the records of history? How does Gen. 2-3
contrast with the world view of post-modernism or secular
50. How does Genesis 2-3 describe the human's connection to the land?
What does Adam's name mean and how does that play into a
paronomasia? Did God/Adam speak Hebrew in the naming of Adam
in Gen. 2? When did Hebrew as a language come into existence?
What role does dust/clay play in the rest of the Bible? How will that
land theme be developed in the rest of Genesis? Does this land theme
connect with modern environmental concerns? (Wenham, 1:58f)
51. What modern philosophical schools emphasize that man is mere
dust (Gen. 2)? (Wenham, 1:60) Which schools of thought emphasize
humans has having the divine breath?
52. What role does
53. What symbolic role do trees play in the ancient Near East and in
the rest of Genesis and Bible (cf. Gen. 2, Proverbs)? (Wenham, 1:62)
54. What is meant in Gen. 2 by "knowledge of good and evil"
[consequences of obeying/disobeying, moral discernment, sexual
knowledge, omniscience, human wisdom]. How does Ezek. 28 help
with a solution? (Wenham, 1:63f)
55. What symbolic role do rivers play in Scripture (cf. Gen. 2; Ezek. 47;
Rev. 22; Ps. 46:5)? What are the options for the Pishon and Gihon
rivers? How are the geographical descriptions of the rivers like a
How does the reference to Ashur by the
the antiquity of the biblical account (pre-1400 BC)? (Wenham, 1:65f)
56. In Gen. 2:18, God says man needs a "helper". How is that term used
elsewhere in Scripture? Is God himself ever called or viewed as
a helper? What does that statement show about God's concern about
human needs? Does the notion of "helper" mean woman was
under the authority of the man?
57. In Gen. 2:19 Adam names the animals? What role do names and
naming play in the stories in Genesis? (Wenham, 1:68)
58. What is learned about male/female relationships from the description of
Eve's being "built" in Gen. 2:21-25? How is repetition, poetic
parallelism and word play used in Adam's enthusiasm for his partner?
What other births have name word plays in Genesis? Why is poetry
used instead of straight narrative? How does the marriage relationship
restructure other closest of relationships? In what aspects does
"oneness" play itself out in the marriage relationship (physical,
mental, spiritual, emotional, kinship and economic, etc.)?
Genesis 3 Back to top
59. In Gen. 3:1 the serpent is said to be crafty or shrewd. How is this
term ambiguous? Is the serpent identified with Satan in Genesis 3?
What ancient Near Eastern imagery was brought up by snake
imagery? What role does a snake play in the Gilgamesh epic? In
Levitical terms was the snake viewed as an unclean or clean
animal (Lev. 11)? Does it initially contain any of the anti-God
imagery of Job 26:13 or Isa. 27:1? (Wenham, 1:72)
60. How were the serpent's words in Gen. 3:4f vindicated? What does that
tell us about the insidious nature of how evil moves? Does the
serpent/Satan speak the truth? What does the serpent's approach tell
us about the art of seduction? (Wenham, 73f)
61. How did Adam and Eve understand the notion of death in Gen. 3?
Was there plant and animal death while Adam and Eve were still in
the garden? Is it possible as Wright suggests that Adam/Eve would
have experienced death even if they had not eaten of the tree? What
do you think of that (Biblica 1996)? What are the different aspects of
death and how do they play out in the stories in Gen. 3-6 and
following? (Wenham, 1:74f)
62. What literary palistrophic (ABCDCBA) pattern is seen in description
of the seduction of Eve (Gen. 3:6-7)? How does 3:8-10 link back to
chapter 2? How are guilt and nakedness related in the story?
63. God in Gen. 3:8 is portrayed as walking in the garden. When elsewhere
is Scripture does God "walk"? How do walking, presence and
relationship intertwine? "Walking" is used for portraying what
types of activities? (Wenham, 1:76)
64. What role does God's question "Where are you?" play in the Gen. 3:9
narrative and elsewhere (cf. Gen. 4:9; Isa 33:18; 36:19; Ps 42:4, 11)?
How does it function with God's omniscience? What are different
ways rhetorical questions are used? (Wenham, 1:77) How is this
discovery motif continued in God's questioning of Adam (Gen. 3:11)?
65. How do Adam and Eve readily confess their sinful actions but try to
deny their culpability (Gen. 3:12ff)? How is that similar move made
in modern times? (Wenham, 1:89)
66. What role did cursing play in the ancient Near East and in the rest
of Scripture (Num. 22:6; Deut. 27:15ff) and in Genesis (cf. 3:14)?
(Wenham, 1:78) What was eating dust a symbol of (cf. Mic. 7:17;
67. Is the curse on the serpent (Gen. 3:15) an etiology on why women hate
snakes? Does the serpent stand for sin, death and the power of evil
so that the curse here is broader than a mere etiology referring to
the continual struggle between good and evil and humankind's
ultimate triumph? Does the serpent stand for Satan? How early
did that identification happen? How is this passage interpreted
in the New Testament (Rom. 16:20; Heb. 2:14; Rev. 12)?
Is there a fuller sense that develops later in the history of redemption?
Were Justin (ca. A.D. 160) and the early church fathers right in taking
this passage as the "Protoevangelium" (first gospel) in applying it
to Christ and Satan? (Wenham, 1:80f)
68. What is the "woman's desire for her husband" (Gen. 3:16)? Is female
subordination a part of the curse? Is her desire what subjects her
to exploitation? Is her desire a desire to dominate her husband? Is
the rule of the man part of the curse? Should the curse be accepted
or resisted? Does the verbal parallel with Gen. 4:7 help us understand
Gen. 3:16? What role does this verse play in the dialogue with
modern feminism? Does this verse tell us what roles of women were
effected by the curse? Is Vogels right when he says what kills the
relationship is the desire to possess, to keep, to hold, to dominate, or
to crush the other? How do each of these play out in male/female
relationships? (Biblica, 1996) (Wenham, 1:80f)
69. What play is made with "eating" in the curse of Adam (Gen. 3)? What
roles of the man were effected by the curse (food-producer)? Was
work a curse because of the fall (cf. 2:15)? How is the futility
of work a curse? How is such futility seen in our post-modern
culture? Was death part of the curse? Was there death before
the fall? How does Gen. 3:19 relate to Gen. 2:7? Where
elsewhere in Scripture is man's going to the dust seen? How
does the notion of death impact individuals and society (fear, grief,
hope, alientation, futility, etc.)? (Wenham, 1:83)
70. What play is seen in the naming of Eve right after Adam was cursed
(Gen. 3:22)? What does that reveal about how Adam looked at Eve
after the fall? (Wenham, 1:84)
71. How is God's provision of clothes another indication of God's tender
provision for human need (Gen. 3:21)? How does the idea of needing
clothing when approaching God come up in the tabernacle
descriptions both in the use of tunics and in covering one's
nakedness (vid. Exodus)? (Wenham, 1:84)
72. Could and did humans eat of the tree of life prior to being expelled from
the garden (Gen. 3:22ff)? Did the tree of life magically give life?
Cherubim guard the way to the tree of life. Where elsewhere in
Scripture are cherubim seen and what roles do they play in those
contexts (cf. Ex. 25:18ff; 26:31; 1 Kgs 6:29)? Was the flaming sword
the first laser sword? In what way did they die on the day they ate the
fruit? (Wenham, 1:85f)
73. How is that connection between sin and consequence seen elsewhere in
Scripture (esp. wisdom lit., covenants, Deut 28. and prophets)? How
is that connection denied and marginalized in post-modern culture on
an individual, societal and even political spheres? How did
Adam/Eve's sin impact the whole human race (Rom 5:12)? Where
does the Bible place the blame for pain, suffering and alienation and
how and in what directions do we try to shift that blame?
Genesis 4 Back to Top
74. What struggles are seen in Genesis between an older and young
brother in relation to divine favor or blessing (Gen. 4:3ff)? What
other battles of favored and unfavored sons takes place in Genesis
and elsewhere in the Old Testament? Where else in Genesis is the
"hostile brother" motif? (Wenham, 1:97f)
75. How does God use rhetorical questions with Cain (Gen. 4:9ff) and how
does that compare with how he used them in Gen. 3:9ff? What other
parallels are there between Gen. 3 with Adam and Eve and Gen. 4 the
Cain and Able story? What contrasts are seen in Gen. 3 and 4? What
is fratricide? (Wenham, 1:99f)
76. What euphemism occurs in Gen. 4:1? What other topics does the Bible
use euphemisms to talk about? How do we use them today?
77. How does Gen. 4:1-2 parallel Gen. 25:15-27? (Wenham, 1:102)
78. How does the meaning of Abel's name foreshadow what will
happen (Gen. 4:1; cf. Eccl. 1:2)? (Wenham, 1:102)
79. Why was Cain's offering rejected and Abel's accepted (Gen. 4:5)?
[shepherds/gardeners; animal/gain; inscrutable; faith [Heb 11:4];
choicest firstlings versus normal 2 Sam 24:24) (Wenham, 1:104)
80. What is God's relationship to blood in Gen. 4:10 and elsewhere in
Scripture (cf. Lev. 17:11)? Why do people cry out to God?
Who are some biblical examples of people that cried out to God
when facing death or the shedding of their blood? In what other
passages is there a personalization of blood in Scripture (Rev. 6:9f;
Lk. 18:7f; Isa. 5:7; Exod. 20:13; 1 Kgs. 21; Num. 35, etc.) (Wenham,
81. When it says the one hurting Cain would be punished sevenfold is
that a hyperbole? How and when are hyperbole's used? What
might the number seven mean in this text (Gen. 4:15)?
82. Who founded the first cities in the biblical text (Gen. 4:14, 17) and how
do cities arise in the ancient Near Eastern materials (cf. Adapa,
Eridu and the seven apkallus)? What is the point of Genesis linking
nomadism and urbanization, music and metalworking to Cain's
genealogy? How is Cain condemned to wander yet he is the first city
builder? How are cities viewed in the biblical narrative? How do
cities function in post-modern times? (Wenham, 1:110f)
83. How is Lamech like his father Cain? What father-son parallels in
character and activity are seen in Genesis? Does that fit modern
phenomena? Why/why not? (Wenham, 1:112)
84. In the song of Lamech how is Hebrew poetic parallelism seen between
the lines (Gen. 4)? Did Lamech know Hebrew and did he understand
Hebrew poetry? How was this poem written? What progression is seen
in the narrative between Adam, Cain and Lamech as sinners? How does
Cain's evil play out elsewhere in Scripture (Jude 11; 1 Jn 3:11ff)?
(Wenham, 1:114, 117)
85. Seth is born and named as a simple paronomasia (Gen. 4)? What is that
and how often does it occur in the naming of people and places in
Genesis and elsewhere? What do people's names mean today? Are
nick-names more accurate? (Wenham, 1:115)
86. How does the Sumerian flood story parallel the genealogies of
Cain (nomadism, city-building and institution of public worship; Gen.
4)? How does the Sumerian flood story parallel the long lives of the
people of Gen. 5? The last person in the Sumerian flood story
list as in Genesis is a survivor of the flood (Ziusudra/Noah).
What differences are there between the king lists and the genealogies
of Genesis (length of life [Sumerian 50x longer])? How does cultural
"progress" impact religious and moral categories? (Wenham, 1:124)
Genesis 5 Back to Top
87. Gen. 5:1 is the first mention of written sources standing behind the
Genesis account. Where else in Scripture does it talk about books
outside of the Scripture but yet existent during those times (Josh.
10:13; 2 Sam. 1:18 etc.)? How do such works fit with the notion of
Scripture being divinely inspired? (Wenham, 1:126)
88. How was Enoch special? How does Enoch relate to the extra-canonical
book of Enoch? How does Enoch fit with the ancient sage Utuabzu
"who ascended to heaven" (Cf. also Adapa, Aeneas, Heracles) (Wenham, 1:128)
89. Which other fathers besides Noah father 3 sons in Genesis?
90. How are the long life spans of the Genesis 5 genealogy explained?
How do the ages different between the Hebrew Masoretic text, the
Greek Septuagint and the Samaritan Pentateuch? For example, the
MT has the flood coming in 1656 after Adam, the Samaritan Pent.
1307 and the LXX in 2242. Which text tradition is right? (Wenham,
1:130-33; see Wenham's chart on p. 131 for the differences) How
does this all fit with the Sumerian king list which totals 241,200 years
instead of the 4004 BC of the biblical text? No matter how long they
lived what is the point?
Genesis 6 Back to Top
91. Who were the sons of the God that married the daughters of men (Gen.
6)? (Wenham, 1:137ff). See difficult questions. How does Scripture
view crossbreeding of kinds? (Wenham,
1:146f) (cf. Sir. 16:7;
14:6; Bar. 3:26ff; 2 Pet 2:4 to see how the ancients looked at this
92. How does the story of Noah compare and contrast to the Gilgamesh
and Atrahasis epic (Gen. 6)? (Wenham, 1:138)
93. Who were the Nephilim in Genesis 6:4 (cf. Num 13:33; Ezek.
32:20-28)? (Wenham, 1:143)
94. What kind of commentary is Gen. 6:5 on the character and nature
of humankind? What are the religious, political, sociological,
psychological and ethical implications of this verse? How does
this verse fit with Romans 1-3; Ps. 51; Jer. 17:9f? Is total depravity
an appropriate way to look at humankind? Is it the only way
important theological aspect of humanity? Is "total" a theologically
accurate modifier given that man was and is made in the image of
God (cf. Ps. 8)? What role does a healthy tension play in this
discussion? How does one balance these two important aspects or
ways of describing humankind found in Genesis? (Wenham, 1:144)
95. Gen. 6:6 says God repented or was sorry? Is it possible for God to
change his mind (cf. 1 Sam. 15:11; Jer. 18:10; Ex. 32:12, 14; 2 Sam
24:16; Amos 7:3, 6) without being capricious (Num. 23:19; 1 Sam.
15:29)? If God can't change his mind what does that imply about
prayer? Is God's thinking fossilized and static or dynamic and
creative? Is Gen. 6:6 a mere anthropomorphism? Is this theological
point the point of the Gen. 6:6 passage? Why do certain theological
systems have trouble with this verse and dismiss it or explain it away?
What is the significance of saying that God had regrets and sorrow?
How does God experience sorrow and what is its connection/
disconnection with human sorrow? Are there tears in heaven?
(Wenham, 1:144; Fretheim, 395)
96. Does the following structure of B. W. Anderson for the flood story
Transitional intro (6:9-10)
1) Violence in creation (6:11-12)
2) First divine speech: resolve to destroy (6:13-22)
3) Second divine speech: "enter ark" (7:1-10)
4) Beginning the flood (7:11-16)
5) The rising flood (7:17-24)
6) God remembers Noah
How would you finish the structure coming back out?
Use a palistrophic method (ABCBA) (Wenham, 1:156)
97. Is there any historical or scientific evidence to corroborate the flood
story (Gen. 6)?
98. How is Noah's relationship with God described (Gen. 6:9f)?
What does the phrase "walk with God" mean and where have we
seen that before? (Fretheim, 390)
99. In Genesis 6:11-22, how is the corruption of the land described?
What is the connection between human morality and the inanimate
physical world? Does human evil transcend the boundaries of
humankind (e.g. animals)? (Fretheim, 390)
100. How has the word "hamas" which is used to describe the violence on
the earth (Gen. 6:11) come into modern parlance? What was the
extent of violence and how does that impact the extent of the flood?
101. How do the dimensions of the biblical ark compare to the dimensions
of the ark in the Gilgamesh epic (Gen. 6:15f)? How were the
constructions of the ark similar or dissimilar? (Fretheim, 391)
102. How does the promise of the covenant in Gen. 6:18 help Noah in the
face of the pending situation? (Fretheim, 391)
103. When God announces the destruction of the Israelites to Moses,
how does he regularly respond? How does that differ with Noah's
response (Gen. 6)? How do both of their responses embrace
obedience? (Fretheim, 391)
104. How do you harmonize the description of taking animals two by two in
Gen. 6:19f and the taking of seven of clean animals in Gen. 7:2f?
How would Noah have known which animals were clean and unclean
without the book of Leviticus which specifies these categories? Does
clean/unclean refer to the sacrificial or dietary laws? (Fretheim, 391)
Genesis 7 Back to Top
105. How do Gen. 7:4 and 10 work together? What point does that make
about God's word and promise?
106. In the chronology of the flood, how does the following pattern play
out in the narrative of Genesis 7:4-8:12: 7, 40, 150, 40, 7? What
does such a pattern imply about God's control of the flood chaos?
How does the time limit of the flood contrast with the lack of spatial
limit of the flood highlighting God's grace? (Fretheim, 392)
Genesis 8 Back to Top
107. How is God's remembering the turning point in the flood narrative
(Gen. 8:1)? How is his remembering connected to the anticipated
covenant? What does it mean for God to remember? (Fretheim, 392)
108. The divine wind reverses the chaotic flood (Gen. 8:1) which is
reminiscent of the divine wind in what part of Gen. 1?
109. How does the order in which the birds are sent out of the ark compare
with the other ancient Near Eastern sources (Gilgamesh et al.)?
110. How is God's reception of Noah's sacrifice in Genesis 8:21 different
than the gods reception of the post-flood sacrifice in the Gilgamesh
epic? (Fretheim, 393). What does that say about the differences
between the nature of sacrifice in
111. How is one to view the relationship of Genesis 1-9 to the ancient
Near Eastern epics? Is it appropriate to see Genesis as a polemic
against other religions or is it better to
significant historical and even theological understandings from
cultures outside of
borrowed much of its thinking about beginnings. To what extent is
this true and not true? (Fretheim, 395)
112. When in Gen. 8:21 God reverses the curse does this apply just to
no more floods, no additional curses on the ground or does it
reflect back on the Gen. 3 curse on the ground saying that that curse
would be mitigated? How is Noah's relationship with God mediated
through God's new relationship with creation? (Freitheim, 393)
113. How are the words of Gen. 6:5 and 8:21 similar? How do these two
similar passages play a totally different role in the narrative? Did the
flood change the interior nature of humankind? What did change?
How is the evil inclination of humankind seen on an individual and
societal level today? What attempts are made to downplay, igrnore or
escape this type of evaluation on a personal and societal level?
114. What does 8:22 mean in relation to the cosmos/chaos struggle?
The embracing of chaos functioned in at least two ways in the
story so far, now the bounds of chaos are being limited which may
allow what to flourish given the context of Gen. 8:21ff? Was the
water of the flood a punishing agent or a cleansing agent? How did
the water uncreate the creation? How does the "recreation" post-flood
differ from the original creation thereby avoiding a future Gen. 6:6f
type re-evaluation? What elements of continuity are there between the
original creation and the post-flood re-creation? How is it [are we]
the same yet different? (Fretheim, 394)
Genesis 9 Back to Top
115. How does the notion of the remnant play a role in God's dealing with
humankind in the flood? How does the flood balance judgment and
grace? What role does the flood story and flood imagery play in the
descriptions of future judgments of God following periods of human
moral chaos (Mat 24:37ff; Isa. 24:27)? How does the flood fit into
apocalyptic modes of thinking (2 Pet 3:6f)?
116. Fretheim says the "flood should never be used as a type or illustration
of divine judgment. The flood has a unique character, frozen in place
by the divine promise never to do this again." Is this an adequate way
of looking at the flood's message to later generations or politically
corrected to suit the modern palate? What nuances is Fretheim
overlooking? How does Fretheim's approach fit with a post-modern
view of God and contrast with the biblical descriptions of God?
117. How are the images of God developed in the flood story (Gen. 6-9)?
(God of sorrow/regret, judge but doesn't want to, destroyer/savior,
justice/mercy, fixed character/open to new ways of doing things;
setting up moral paradigms/promises never to do it again, beginning/
beginning again ... etc.) How does the flood story recharacterize
God's relationship with the world? The "tortured relation between a
grieved God and a resistant world" results ultimately in real changes
in which side(s) of the relationship? Does human evil cause God to
limit himself and his responses (cf. Philp. 2)? What does such a
response say about the essential nature of God? (Fretheim, 396)
118. God says no more floods to restrain evil? What means will he employ
to restrain evil and guide the way back to
be responsible for the restraining of evil? (Fretheim, 396)
119. What are the ecological implications of the flood (Gen. 9)? How are
human and animal lives and destinies connected? (Fretheim, 396)?
120. Where elsewhere in Scripture is God's deliverance through watery
dangers seen (Gen. 9)? (cf. Ex. 14f; Jonah, Mk 4:35ff; Rev. 12:15,
etc.) (Fretheim, 397)
121. In Genesis 9, how do the roles of God as blesser and God as promiser
merge? Is Noah a new Adam? How are things very different post-
flood? How was the relationship between man and animals changed?
Does Gen. 9 support the death penalty? How does the promissory
nature of the covenant engender hope, expectation, assurance and
comfort? (Fretheim, 398f).
122. Does the bow come into existence in Gen. 9 or is it that its significance
and meaning change? How is this sign of the covenant different than
most that would follow (cf. Ex. 12:13; Jer. 31:35f)? Who does this
sign remind? If God gives himself such "reminders" what does that
say about our need for concrete signs that enrich our existence tying
us to the past, present and future? How was the bow viewed in the
ancient Near East (Ps. 7:12f; 18:14; 144:6; Hab. 3:9ff)? How does
God transform that meaning from war to peace, hope and restraint in
the midst of judgment? Is God's remembering a merely mental
activity? How does God permanently restrain his power in light of
human evil at this point? (Fretheim, 399f, 402)
123. Fretheim objects to the saying "God gave Noah the rainbow sign --no
more water--the fire next time" (Gen. 9; cf. 2 Pet. 3:17) saying such a
perspective violates the text. Is his perspective valid given the
statement in 2 Peter? How is one to think about the possibility of
future judgments of this magnitude and God's promise given here?
124. What are the ecological implications of the promise of Gen. 9 and
the bow? What are God's promises to the non-human part of his
creation? (Fretheim, 401)
125. What was Ham's illicit act in Gen.
9:18ff? Why is
cursed? Why does Noah call Ham his youngest when apparently he is
the second born son? Is there a connection between the curse on
Joshua? (Fretheim, 404)
126. Does the slavery curse of Noah have anything to do with the
enslavement of Africans (Gen. 9)? Why is that totally illegitimate?
How does the OT and NT relate to the institution of slavery? How
does the terminology of slavery come to play as part of the religion of
Scripture? (Fretheim, 405)
127. How does Noah's nakedness tie back to Gen. 3? What is one of the
roles and responsibilities in relation to covering his father's
nakedness (Gen. 9)? How was nakedness viewed elsewhere in
Scripture? (Fretheim, 405)
128. How are the sons and the resultant curse/blessings from Noah
typological, ethnological and etiological to what follows
(Gen. 9:18ff)? What is the connection between an individual and his
family or group? How is this corporate way of looking at things
outside the orbit of our American individual-centric worldview?
129. How does Noah's taking of the divine blessing (grapes) actually be
used to become an evil (Gen. 9)? How are God's blessings and
promises used in evil ways? (Fretheim, 403)
Genesis 10 Back to Top
130. The Genesis 10 genealogy is the fourth toledot "this is the account of"
section which gives eponymous information where the father of a
nation is sited. Which of these father-nations connections are
corroborated historically? Can ch. 10 be seen as a gradual fulfillment
of the "be fruitful and multiply" commission (Gen. 1:28; 9:1,7)? (Fretheim, 408)
Genesis 11 Back to Top
131. How is the relationship of ch. 11 (
which already mention the division of languages (10:5, 20, 31) and
the spreading out (10:5, 32) and scattering (9:19; 10:18) as well as
chronological, interwoven or is ch. 11 a flashback? (Fretheim, 410)
132. What other times of history does the centralization, building and
scattering motifs of Gen. 11's
Are there apocalyptic parallels? How does centralization and
unification of humankind interface with the worship of God?
In what ways does evil manifest itself beyond the individual level
when such centralization and homogenization occurs culturally?
How does corporate, national or social sin function? Can such
centralization and homogenization also effect the worlds of
philosophical and theological systems? Is there one
monolithic/monobrick-ic Christian worldview?
133. How is such centralization and unity synched with John Lenon's song
"Imagine"? What is the dark sides to unity or for that matter
diversity? What are their ideal aspects? What happens when one
looses the tension and dialogue between them? How is unity a
complex reality as Brueggeman says? (Fretheim, 413).
134. Why was the tower built with bricks instead of stones? Why did
Mesopotamian ziggurats not use stone
construction and religious function? What contrasts are there?
What is the connection between building a building and making a
name for oneself? What divine plans does the centralization stand in
opposition to? (Fretheim, 411f)
135. How do the words and fears of the inhabitants
judgment (Gen. 11:4, 9)? (Fretheim, 412)
136. Gen. 11:5 says God "came down" to see what they were doing with the
tower. What is the significance of that? What does that imply about
where heaven is? What does "coming down" symbolize? What do
you think of Fretheim's definition "Heaven is that place within the
created world where God's presence remains uncontested." Is it
possible heaven is in the "here" similar to what is seen in the movie
the Matrix where two realities exist side by side and intertwined?
What are the implications? What does "
137. Gen. 11 has the story and family of Abraham, the chosen, embedded in
the community of the world and not in isolation. What does that
imply? (Fretheim, 416)
Genesis 12 Back to Top
138. Genesis may be broken into two histories: primeval and patriarchal at
Genesis 12. How are these two sections connected? How does
Abraham's family play a role in reclaiming creation from chaos (God's
promissory relationship, partial fulfillments, blessings/curses, faith,
obedience and hope responses to the promise; the significance of
hang time between the promise and fulfillment; roles of sons,
brothers, and land? (Fretheim, 417ff).
139. What role do the doublings play in bonding and developing the
Abraham narrative (Genealogies: 12/25; Endangering of Sarah
16/21; Birth of Isaac 18/21; Abimelech 20/21; Test stories 12/22;
Land stories 13/23)? (Fretheim, 420) Does doubling imply what
critics suggest the JEPD theory which uses doubling as evidence of
multiple authorship sources with bad editorial seaming?
140. What disruptions in Abraham's family precede the divine call in
Gen. 12:1? (Fretheim, 422)
141. Is Abram's call exclusive election restricting God's focus to one family
rather than the world or as Fretheim says "initially exculsive move for
the sake of a maximally inclusive end" i.e. "Election serves mission"?
142. What role do altars, trees and stones play in the patriarchal narratives
in terms of worship and marking special points of contact between
God and the patriarchs (Gen. 12)? (Fretheim, 424)
143. How is the theme of blessing developed in the patriarchal narratives
(Gen. 12)? How are the patriarchs mediators of God's blessings on all
the families of the world? How does the notion of blessing work with
the promise as central ideas spun through the Abrahamic narrative?
How does the "already" but "not yet" aspect of promise/fulfillment
play itself out in the patriarchal narratives? What roles will "blocks"
and "waits" [not yets] to the promise have in the narrative?
144. How does Abraham's pilgrimage and journey become a paradigm for
the pilgrimage and journey of all believers (Gen. 12)? How is the
Christian life seen as journey different from the Christian life
reckoned as states or levels of theological knowing? (Fretheim, 426)
145. How is the Abrahamic story universalized and transformed by the
New Testament writers (Gen. 12)? (vid. Dr. Wilson's, Our Father
Abraham) (Cf. Rom 4, Gal. 3-4; Heb. 11). (Fretheim, 420)
146. How are the three stories of wife-as-sister similar and different
(Gen. 12, 20; 26)?
147. Whenever there was a famine in
naturally go? Besides Abraham in Gen. 12:10, where are some
other examples of this "flight to
148. Does pharaoh consummate the marriage with Sarah (Fretheim says:
yes) (Gen. 12)? How does this story contrast with the same story with
Abimelech? Where else in Scripture do we see a murder is arranged
so the wife can be taken? Does that ever happen today? Abraham
becomes rich at the expense of his family? How does this move
function in our culture? How does God deliver Sarah? When will we
see other plagues on
cowardly, lacking integrity and self-serving? Is he to be
sympathized with as valuing life above honor and trapped in a bad
situation rescued by God? Does gender effect one's interpretation
here? What is the overall point of the story? Is everything the
patriarch did to be seen as prescriptive or is it often descriptive--just
telling what he did without moralizing whether it was right or wrong?
How does one tell what is morally normative and what is merely
149. What parallels may be seen between Abraham's
and the Exodus account of the nation [famine, ruse, riches, conflict
with Pharaoh, plagues, etc.] How are the story patterns different?
What is the link between the person and prefiguring the nation? Why
is Sarah voiceless? Who does Pharaoh blame? (Fretheim, 429)
150. What roles do famines play in the biblical narratives (Gen. 12)? What
are their causes, solutions and transforming impact on the people
within their orbit? How is it Abram is in the promised land and there
is a famine? When there are famines in the promised land how does
Abraham scramble? How do we? What types of things today function
as famines did back then? (Fretheim, 430)
Genesis 13 Back to Top
151. How is the story of Gen. 13 bracketed by itinerary accounts (13:1,18)?
How is 13:1 a hinge verse? (Fretheim, 432)
152. How does the quarrel in and over the promised land give way to
promise development in Gen. 13? What implications does this
narrative provide for the land and Abram's prosperity? Where else are
quarreling over land and wells seen in the Genesis narrative? How
does this story fit with the "strife among brothers" motif that is found
promise into jeopardy? (Fretheim, 432f, 435)
153. How do God's blessings create difficulties sometimes? (Gen. 13
Abram's prosperity and
154. How does
What factors effect Lots choice of the land by
Why is the land of
there any going back to
choices and destinies? (Fretheim, 434)
155. How is ecological disaster related to wickedness linking the creation
accounts (Gen. 3, 6) with this theme
about Lot and
Genesis 14 Back to Top
156. How does the story of Abram's rescue of
like the judges would later (Gen. 14)? How does this military story
not fit with many of the other stories about Abraham? How is
Abraham's military alliance with the inhabitants of the land very
different that the conquest relationship to the Canaanites with Joshua?
How does ch. 14 link Abraham to a more universal context of being a
blessing to the nations? Abram as deliverer a new role for him?
157. Abraham is identified as a Hebrew in Gen. 14:13. What did that
designation mean at this time? If Abram had 318 servants born in his
house, how large was his household at this time? How is Dan
mentioned here when the city of
of Judges (18:29 before that called Laish) over at least 500 years
later? (Fretheim, 438; Wenham, 1:314)
158. How does Abram's response to the King of Sodom (Gen. 14) contrast
with his response to Melchizedek? How are these two king's agendas
different? Should a deliverer enrich himself from those who have
been delivered? What characteristics in Abram does this show?
159. Where is Melchizedek found elsewhere in Scripture (Ps. 110:4 and
Hebrews 5-7)? Where is Melchizedek from? Is that significant?
What do priests do that Melchizedek does here Abram? Does Abram
recognize Melchizedek as serving the same God? How does
Melchizedek's blessing tie into Abram's being blessed in the
covenantal sense? (Fretheim, 439, 442)
160. How would Gen. 14 fit with David's later
capital and centering
the line of priests in the davidic dynasty (2 Sam. 8:17)? It is derived
from the same root as Melchizedek. Does the Abram story prefigure
and echo later Israelite history? (Fretheim, 439)
Genesis 15 Back to Top
161. What similar pattern is seen in Gen. 15:1-6 and 7-21? (Fretheim, 444)
162. The word of the LORD comes to Abram in a vision. How is that like
what happens with the prophets (Gen. 15:1f)? What elements are
common in a theophany? (Fretheim, 444)
163. How did people come to know God in the Old Testament? What role
did faith play (Gen. 15:6f)? What is the nature and object of Abram's
faith at this point in the narrative? How does God's promise enable
Abram's faith? Were people saved by works in the OT? In what
context is Abraham's faith manifest? What role do his questions play
in relation to his faith? How do our questions and faith interplay?
164. God identifies himself as the God that
brought Abram out of
15). How is that similar to how he will identify himself later to the
Israelites? How does this fit God as "God of the journey" as opposed
"God of the fixed state"? How does the role of exile and sojournering fit believers
of all ages? (Fretheim, 445)
165. In what ways does God use rite and ritual in Gen. 15? Is Abraham
familiar with those forms? What is the meaning of the rite of
the divided animal in terms of the promise/covenant? How does God
use cultrual patterns to communicate and establish religious meaning?
Does this rite fit the pattern of Jer 34:18ff of self-imprecation? Can
God self-imprecate? (Fretheim, 446, 449)
166. How does the reference to the sins of the Amorites help explain the
delay between the promise and the fulfillment (Gen. 15:13ff)?
What does that 400 delay say about the connection of sin and
judgment or act and consequence? (Fretheim, 449)
168. Fretheim sees Gen. 12-15 as paralleling
Abraham paralleling the covenant with David? Is that parallel
legitimate? Where does it fit and where does it break down?
169. Does God give rewards based on behavior? Is God impacted and
responsive to human activity? Does what Abram does matter?
Genesis 16 Back to Top
170. With God's promise of a seed and Sarai being barren, how does Sarai
move to a solution to resolve the difficulty (Gen. 16)? How does
Sarai interpret her barrenness theologically (Gen. 16:2) and how is
that dangerous? Does she really know what God is doing in regard
to her barrenness? When do we interpret our history theologically in
ways that may lead into bigger difficulties? Is Sarah right in trying to
help fulfill the divine promise or should she just have waited with no
effort? How do you interpret God's involvement in your life? Have
you ever participated with God in an activity resolving a crisis?
171. Since the practice of having a child from a handmaid was common
practice in the ancient Near East, is Fretheim correct what he assesses
Abram's family as "a highly dysfunctional family system"? How and
on what basis is such a judgment made? Does the dysfunction come
afterwards with the jealousy and harsh reaction of Sarah toward Hagar
(Gen. 16)? Is it possible even that might be a healthy response? Is
jealousy always bad? Does a particular problem allow one to imply a
whole system is dysfunctional? Can one quickly render judgment on
a whole family system based on the record of a few incidents? Is it
not arrogant to apply modern standards without allowing for cultural
differences? (Fretheim, 451f)
172. How does God's focus stay on Hagar after the birth of Ishmael
(Gen. 16)? Does God try to right Abram's wrongs? Why would he do
that? How does Hagar manifest her faith in God in the name of
her son and place name Lahai-Roi? Where does Hagar the Egyptian
encounter God? Does Hagar receive God's promise too? Where will
God? (Fretheim, 452, 454)
173. How do oppressed people identify with Hagar? (Fretheim, 452, 454)
Fretheim says no, is that correct? How does this discussion play into
the Arab-Israeli conflict? (Fretheim, 455)
175. While the Protestant tradition emphasizes listening to a speaking God,
whom they respond. How are these two traditions to be balanced?
What are the legitimate and illegitimate factors of each? How does
word and sight different in the Protestant and Catholic traditions?
Genesis 17 Back to Top
176. How is the covenant as described in Gen. 17 similar and different
from chapter 15? What development is seen? (Fretheim, 457)
177. How does Gen. 17 fit a theophanic narrative style (divine appearance,
self-identification, word to the recipient, response of the recipient)?
178. What is the significance of Abram's name change to Abraham
(Gen. 17)? What is the significance of Sarai's name change to Sarah?
What role does name changing or naming play in the biblical
narrative of places, divine names and human names? What new name
of his own does God reveal in Gen. 17? Should God's name "God
Almighty" better be understood as "God of the mountains" as
Fretheim suggests? (Fretheim, 459)
179. How is circumcision (Gen. 17) as a sign of the covenant, different
from the rainbow as a sign of the covenant (Gen. 9)? Was
circumcision practised outside of
If it was practiced in other contexts what is God doing with it here?
What signs bond communities together? What does circumcision of
the heart come to mean (Jer. 4:4; 9:25)? What are the links between
circumcision and baptism (Col. 2:11ff)? Does circumcision allow for
outsider participation in the community? (Fretheim, 459f)
180. What is the meaning of Abraham's laughter (Gen. 17)? How does
laughter fit with the birth of Isaac? (Fretheim, 459)
181. Does the word "everlasting" mean that the covenant is unconditional
(Gen. 17) or is conditionality a pre-understanding built into the
covenant structure? (Fretheim, 460f)
Genesis 18 Back to Top
182. Where else in Scripture are the themes of hospitality to a divine
stranger messengers and birth announcement seen (Gen. 18; cf. 2 Kgs
4)? What are the components that demonstrate Abraham's
hospitality? What does the reader know about the identity of the
visitors that Abraham does not (cf. Heb. 13:2; Mat 25:43)?
How does that further heighten Abraham's response to them? How
will Abraham's hospitality be contrasted with the reception the divine
messengers get at
American culture with its isolation between individuals and even
having to warn children about strangers? (Fretheim, 462f)
183. How is the question in Gen. 18:13 to be understood (rebuke, critical
exploratory, focusing, opening the conversation)? Sarah's
incredulousness at the divine announcement of a child is paralleled by
the response of what other women when a similar announcement was
made? How do women struggle for children in their relationship with
God in Scripture? (Fretheim, 463f)
184. How is Sarah's laughter to be understood (Gen. 18)? What role does
questioning the divine play in faith development? Is it ever wrong?
Is it ever right? Do Abraham, Moses, David, and Jeremiah ever
question God? Was Sarah's response improper? What about when
Abraham laughed? Is it possible the two laughters were different in
terms of their motivation and meaning? (Fretheim, 465)
185. How does the response "Is there anything to hard for the LORD?"
(Gen. 18:14) fit here and in your life? How does one's response to
this question shape one's worldview and how one journeys? What
does this question state about God? In what ways do questions
function beyond a simple request for information? How does God
and his promise function as an agent of hope to those beyond hope?
186. How does Gen. 18:16ff narrate the inside of the mind of God? What
does it say about Abraham's relationship with God? What reasons
does God give for letting Abraham into the discussion? Does Abraham,
the father of nations, need to be aware of the national handling of issues
of justice and injustice? (Fretheim, 468)
187. When does the issue of the righteous being destroyed with the wicked
come up in
188. Does Gen. 18:19 indicate that the promises are conditional? How are
the promises and righteousness are transmitted?
189. God describes the situation to Abraham as a judicial inquiry into
the state of
knowing actually depend on the inquiry to find out as the text
says? What types of theologies have trouble with or down play
such human-like statements by the divine? How does one tell when
the biblical text actually is telling us something about how the divine
mind works or not? In what ways is this dialogue with the divine
almost like two friends discussing an important decision? Do both
sides contribute or is it predetermined and one sided? How do
Abraham's questions reveal the nature of the relationship? If God is
just playing with Abraham, does the story and relationship have any
integrity? Is there a pedagogical situation behind this (cf. 18:19)?
190. Abraham seems to be bartering for 50 righteous in the city. But if
there are none righteous (Rom. 3) then what is the sense of this
dialogue? Are there indeed some righteous in the city? What is
meant here by the term "righteous"? Are there many facets of
righteousness or is it that simply there are none righteous and that's it?
191. What is the nature and function of Abraham's question "Will not the
judge of all the earth do right (mishpat)?" Isn't that a good question
seeing God said Abraham would have to teach his own family
what was right and just (18:19)? (Fretheim, 469)
192. The reward-punishment, act-consequence or simple retribution
formulas are shown not to be adequate for accounting for reality since
their judgment may not come because of the presence of the righteous.
When are such delays seen in history and how do the godly respond
(cf. wisdom literature and lament Psalms; prophets)? In this world
how are the destiny of the righteous and wicked often tied together
(Gen. 18)? Does this passage show the need for a "critical mass" of
righteous people as Fretheim suggests? (Fretheim, 469f)
Genesis 19 Back to Top
193. How are the stories of Abraham's meeting of the divine visitors in Gen.
18 similar and different with
194. Is inhospitality the real issue of why
certain post-modern communities are pushing (Gen. 19)? If
inhospitality is the issue of righteousness/unrighteousness here then
brutally and abusively lacking? Why are modern interpreters so
hesitant and apologetic of linking Gen. 19 with the issue of
homosexuality? How has politically correct talk impacted and
restricted proper biblical interpretation and limited free speech and
free inquiry? How is homosexuality viewed in both the OT and NT?
Is it just a cultural thing or a significant transcendent moral issues
involved? Are there other sins that are also attached to the men of
195. How do ecological disasters mediate God's
(Gen. 19)? How are human behavior and ecological results linked?
Does human sin impact the cosmos? Is this issue ever raised in
environmental discussions? Does God cause environmental damage
in his judgments? What does that tell us? (Fretheim, 475, 477)
196. In Gen. 19:27ff, what did Abraham find out about the nature of
intercession? Is a person always able to successfully intercede with
God? Did God
not, in fact, spare
although he did not say it directly? (Fretheim, 475)
197. How is there irony in the story of
19:30ff)? How does it illustrate the old proverb "you reap what you
what the daughters of
(cf. Gen. 38:26)? What ethnological features does the story have
OT and ultimately into whose genealogy? How does that give hope
that even out of abuse good may come without excusing what
was done? (Fretheim, 475f)
198. What is the issue of theodicy and how does it play into Abraham's
discussion with God over the fate of
do we see this theme in Scripture? Is the solution a simple pietistic
leap of faith? (Fretheim, 477)
199. How does the corporate nature of sin and punishment come into play in
the story of
play into recent discussions about terrorism and nations that support
terrorism? Children are killed in wars how does this factor into
things? Do innocents ever suffer because of the wickedness of others?
When has that happened personally/nationally? Why are ten
righteous in the city enough to spare it but one not? How does one
recognize the situation when there are too few righteous to turn the
situation? (Fretheim, 478)
Genesis 20 Back to Top
200. What are the similarities and differences between the three wife-as-
sister narratives (Gen. 12, 20, 26)? Is it true that Abraham has
learned nothing in Gen. 20 as Fretheim says or, is the story to looked
at in a different way indicating that we as interpreters have learned
nothing from Gen. 12 and are perhaps missing something?
How are wives and sisters categorized separately in most cultures?
(Kunin, Journ of Prog Judaism, 1994) (Fretheim, 481)
201. How is Abimelech's question in 20:4 similar to Abraham's in Gen.
18:25? How have the roles been turned? (Fretheim, 482)
202. Why if Abimelech's intentions were not evil do consequences flow
into his kingdom (Gen. 20:17)? Do consequences follow from evil
acts regardless of intentions or are intentions always determinative?
203. In Gen. 20:7, God calls Abraham a prophet, how does Abraham's role
as intercessor fit into the role of the prophet? How effectual are
Abraham's prayers? Does God act according to the prayers of his
people or only according to his own plans and purposes?
204. How does this outsider, Abimelech, lead Abraham to a confession of
his own faults (Gen. 20)? How is Abraham's confession mixed with
bogus justifications? Have you ever seen confession and justification
mixed? How are some of Abraham's lines of justification ironic?
205. How is Abraham failing to be a blessing to the nations? Is he not
the catalyst for a curse to Abimelech? (Fretheim, 482f)
206. In the Abimelech story how is God seen as interacting with those
outside the orbit of Abraham and
Should people of faith listen to outsiders? (Fretheim, 483)
207. Does God hold people back from sinning (Gen. 20)? If he does, why
not everyone? Who is responsible for sinning then? Does Abimlech's
response play into the equation in any way? When a sin is forgiven
does that wipe out all consequences for that sin? Do consequences
have a life of their own sometimes beyond the reach of forgiveness?
A drunk kills someone and if forgiven, is the person (consequences of
the sin) brought back? What does that say about the nature and
relationship of forgiveness and consequences? (Fretheim, 484)
Genesis 21 Back to Top
208. How is Isaac's name transformed in Gen. 21 as compared to the
initial situation (Gen. 17:21)? What are the different types and
meanings of laughter? In what sense is Gen. 21 and the birth of Isaac,
the climax of the Abraham story and the fulfillment of God's promise?
209. In what sense do we see God's involvement in the birth of children
today (Gen. 21)? (Fretheim, 486) Do parents also impact that process
(genetics, aids babies, etc.)?
210. How is the Hagar story in Gen. 21:8ff similar and dissimilar to Gen.
16? Ishmael mocks/laughs at Isaac which upsets Sarah. How is
that a play on words? Why does God side with Sarah who seems
overly harsh and oppressive against Abraham who is more moderate?
Does God always side with the oppressed? (Fretheim, 488)
211. How does Hagar and Ishmael's wandering in the wilderness parallel
meet up again in the narrative (vid. Gen. 25)? (Fretheim, 489)
212. How does Gen. 21 with the loss of Ishmael set up Abraham's
experience of the sacrifice of Isaac in Gen. 22?
213. Fretheim quotes Phyllis Trible in regard to Hagar: "Most especially,
all sorts of rejected women find their stories in her. She is the faithful
maid exploited, the black woman used by the male and abused by the
female of the ruling class, the surrogate mother, the resident alien
without legal recourse, the other woman, ... the pregnant young
woman alone, the expelled wife, the divorced mother with child, the
shopping bag lady carrying bread and water, the homeless woman, ...
the welfare mother, and the self-effacing female whose own identity
shrinks in service to others." Fretheim asks: How does the Christian
community respond to these Hagars of our world? Why is this an
important reader response to the text of Gen. 21? Are such readings
valid? (Fretheim, 490)
214. How does Paul pick up on the Hagar/Sarah story (Gen. 21; Gal.
4:21ff)? (Fretheim, 490)
215. How does the Abimelech story bind the stories of Abraham and Isaac
together (Gen. 21:22ff; 26:33)? Why is the site of
significant and what is its meaning? How do Abraham and Isaac
relate to inhabitants of the land? How are they a blessing to them?
Does Abraham make covenants with the inhabitants of the land?
How will that means of operation work or not work in the time when
Joshua enters the land? Is Abraham a peacemaker? (Frethiem, 492)
216. How can Abimelech be a Philistine when the Philistines were to have
other ways of solving this difficulty? (Fretheim, 492)
Genesis 22 Back to Top
217. How is the Akedah, story of Abraham offering Isaac (Gen. 22), similar
to the requirement
God would have on the firstborn of
22:29) and his providing a redemption for the firstborn (Ex. 13:13;
34:20) (Fretheim, 494)
218. How is the testing of Abraham in Gen. 22 heightened by its
juxtaposition with Gen. 21 and the loss of Ishmael?
219. What connections may be drawn between the call of Abram in Gen.
12:1-4 and his test in Genesis 22? (Fretheim, 495)
220. What is Abraham's response when God tells him to offer up Isaac
(Gen. 22)? Why are there no objections as in the
(Gen. 18:23ff) or any emotional response as there were for Ishmael
(21:11)? (Fretheim, 495)
221. How does the Gen. 22 testing of Abraham structure itself around the
statements "your son, your only son" and "Here am I"?
222. What is significant about Abraham's offering Isaac on the mountain
called Moriah? How does the narrative highlight that place?
223. How is Abraham's faith manifested in the story of the sacrifice of
Isaac (Gen. 22)? How is it seen elsewhere in Scripture (Heb.
11:17ff)? How are faith and trust linked here? How does Isaac's
relationship with his father mirror Abraham's trust of God? What
does Isaac's question illicit in the story? Promise/fulfillment is a
big motif in the Abrahamic narrative. How does Abraham handle
the fulfillment in relationship to his trust of God? Can divine
fulfillments be problems for faith as the tendency will be to grab
the fulfillment rather than continue to trust God? When have you
wrestled with that? (Fretheim, 495f)
224. Is the test of Abraham a game for God? In what senses is the powerful
statement "Now I know that you fear God..." (Gen. 22:12) challenging
to our static or flat view of God's omniscience? Fretheim says the
story was not to teach Abraham not to be attached to Isaac or to trust
God more or learn some lesson but to confirm a fact that Abraham
does fear God. How does shifting the focus away from the test being
pedagogical make it more difficult on our preconceived notions of
God? Who actually learns in the story? What does the text itself say?
225. Is God a detached observer of the story of the sacrifice of Isaac (Gen.
22)? How would this story bond God and Abraham together as
friends--Abraham being called the friend of God? When would God
himself see such a sacrifice of an only son on Moriah? Is God
showing Abraham his own greatest struggle? (Fretheim, 497)
226. How does the sacrifice of Isaac shake Abraham's view of God as
promiser and fulfiller? How does it break the notions of God being
predictable, comfortable and fitting into certain norms of expected
behavior and logically prescribed theological boxes? (Fretheim, 498)
227. While Fretheim sees the story of the sacrifice of Isaac as a metaphor
taking it further does he miss a major insight? How is this story a
metaphor of something even greater than
228. Abraham concludes the narrative of the sacrificing of Isaac by
announcing the place name "The LORD will provide." What is it
that Abraham was seeing as being provided by God (Gen. 22:14)?
229. What do you think of Alice Miller's statements that the Gen. 22
sacrifice of Isaac may have contributed to an atmosphere of child
abuse? Is this valid? Is Isaac dehumanized and made into an object?
What do you think of her approach to this story from a post-modern
perspective where victimization, abuse and oppression seem to be the
only lenses life and story can be viewed through? Do such
perspectives help enlighten the text or violate it at points? Are all
interpretative perspectives valid? What criterion can be used to sort
out which ones are valid and which are not? (Fretheim, 499)
230. Does the unconditionality of the covenant make faith irrelevant (cf.
Gen. 22)? What happens to faith when the promise is fulfilled (a son
is born)? How does the testing of Abraham answer this question?
Genesis 23 Back to Top
231. An inclusio is a way of binding a story together by having the start and
finish be similar. How does Gen. 23 use an inclusio to bond this story
into an unit? (Fretheim, 503)
232. Abraham buys the
empire centering in
we work with that difficulty historically? (Cf. Gen. 10:15; 28:1; Jdg
1:10 etc.) (Fretheim, 503)
233. How is the bartering for the cave in Gen. 23 different than what we
would have expected? Is Ephron's effort to "give" the cave and field
to Abraham an act of generosity? How is the purchase of the cave of
Machpelah to be seen in light of the promise of the land? Is it a
fulfillment? How does the cave play itself out in the burials of later
patriarchs? (Fretheim, 504)
Genesis 24 Back to Top
234. How does the story about Isaac and Rebekah fit the traditional: man
meets woman at well and marries her motif (Gen. 24)? Where
elsewhere in Scripture is such a story seen? What twists does this
story add? Is it possible the test (watering the camels) was not for
divination or a character-test but as Schein suggests a fabrication
divine omen of approval so that the marriage proposal would be
accepted? (Tradition, 1997) (Fretheim, 509)
235. In the story of Isaac meeting Rebekah why does the text twice mention
Isaac is not to return to
236. How does the story of Rebekah guard her right of refusal? How does
that show that human response counts in Genesis not just the angel
going before the servant? Does what humans do matter in the biblical
account? Do they have actual choices? Do those choices actually
shape the future? How do human choices participate with divine
purposes? Does the notion of divine providence necessitate a
determined future? How does the story of the finding of Rebekah
highlight divine providence? Have you ever experienced the
movements of divine providence in recognizable ways? How does
God work in the ordinary events of everyday life? (Fretheim, 510).
237. In Gen. 24, what role does the servant's rehearsals play in furthering
the story? How is the retelling of the same story re-shaped by the
context in which it is told? Does this provide us a pattern with how
the biblical story should be retold in a post-modern context? How is
the term "master" used and then shifted toward the end of the story?
238. What was the servant's prayer life like in Gen. 24 as he seeks a wife
for Isaac? (Fretheim, 513)
239. From the story of Isaac marrying Rebekah, what is learned about the
nature of conjugal love (Gen. 24)? (Fretheim, 513)
Genesis 25 Back to Top
240. How is the situation with Keturah and Abraham somewhat of a
surprise in the narrative (Gen. 25)? Who will the Midianites become
in the Exodus account (cf. Ex. 2-3)? (Gen. 25) (Fretheim, 515)
241. What does "being gathered to his people" (Gen. 25) refer to (grave,
post-burial practices, view of the afterlife, etc.)? How do the
genealogies in Gen. 25 function to show Abraham as the father of
many nations? Does the promise extend beyond the boundaries of
242. How is the story of Jacob/Israel the story of every contemporary
Israelite (Gen. 25-36)? As a founding father of the nation how does
the narrative not white-wash personal and familial problems? How
does that argue for the document's historicity? (Fretheim, 516)
243. How does the divine blessing make its way into and out of the episodes
of Jacob's life (parents, brothers, in fields, animals, children, and even
those he works for)? (Fretheim, 517)
244. How does God speak in the stories of Jacob (Gen. 25-36; command,
promise, name, advise, etc.)? How do these speeches shape and direct
the flow of the Jacob stories? (Fretheim, 517)
245. How does the region of conflict shift from the Abrahamic conflict
between parents over barrenness and childbearing and the Jacob
stories where the conflict centers on sibling rivalry? (Gen. 25-36)
246. Fretheim labels Jacob's family conflict as indicative of a dysfunctional
family, do you agree? Fretheim and post-modern interpreters seem
quick to judge using psycho/sociological labels are they as quick to
evaluate based on moral categories especially when applied to modern
situations? Why is that ironic? (Gen. 25-36) (Fretheim, 518)
247. Fretheim thinks the Jacob stories "should not be seen as the
actualization of a predetermined fate.'" Do you agree or disagree with
that statement and why? Is the choice and either/or choice or could it
be a both/and? What problems arise when one side or the other of this
tension is dismissed? (Fretheim, 518)
248. How does the Jacob-Esau birth narrative set the stage for later familial
conflicts? (Gen. 25:19ff) (Fretheim, 520)
249. How does prayer impact the birth of Jacob-Esau (Gen. 25)? How does
God react differently to the prayer of Isaac and the prayer of
Rebekah? How is the story of Rebekah's barrenness similar and
different than Sarah's? (Fretheim, 520f)
250. How are the rights of the primogeniture shuffled in the birth of Jacob
and Esau? How are the names of Jacob and Esau/Seir/Edom plays on
word meanings? (Fretheim, 521)
251. How does the conflict at the birth of Jacob and Esau foreshadow the
conflict between the two nations Israel/Edom? How is the conflict
characterization of the differences in demeanor and interests typical of
parents observations of their children (Gen. 25:27f)? What other birth
narratives in Scripture hint of an individual's future destiny? (Fretheim, 521)
252. What is the birthright (Gen. 25:29ff)? How do Jacob and Esau value
the birthright differently? How do those values shape the future?
How do Jacob and Esau look at the present and the future differently?
253. Does the divine word concerning Jacob and Esau's destinies determine
everything in the story and negate human involvement and choices?
Does Rebekah think so? Is it wrong to help participate in fulfilling
the divine promises or is it better to stand back and just let God do it?
Is this second method docetic (Gen. 25:19ff)? Did the divine
announcement of blessing on Jacob predispose Rebekah in his favor?
What about Isaac? Are God's choices grounded in human character
and behavior? (Fretheim, 523)
254. Was Jacob right to force Esau to sell his birthright because he lacked
food? Is it right to say Esau valued food while Jacob valued spiritual
things like the birthright? Must one be careful not to use election as a
means of exclusion and for exalting oneself over others?
Genesis 26 Back to Top
255. Why does God not allow Isaac to go to
Abraham had (Gen. 26)? What does that say about divine direction
for each individual situations versus universal rules that blanket and
generalize to fit all similar situations? How does one discern the
normative and universal with the historically unique and particular?
256. In the three incidents of wife-she's-my-sister stories (Gen. 12, 20; 26)
what kinds of concerns follow those stories? (Fretheim, 527)
257. How is Isaac's return to
Fretheim says? What are its major elements that are found in other
divine encounter stories (Gen.
26)? How will
center of worship later in
258. What is the relationship of obedience to the promise (Gen. 26)? Does
Isaac receive the promise because he is obedient or because his father
was obedient? Did Abraham originally receive the promise because
of his obedience? Is it possible for a community to receive the
benefits of a promise based on the obedience of a former generation?
How is the promise transmitted intergenerationally? Have you ever
seen something like that happen in our times? (Fretheim, 529)
259. What does God's statement regarding Abraham's keeping of "my
commands, my decrees and my laws" mean (Gen. 26:5)? How does
that relate to the laws given at Sinai? Does the law actually not begin
at Sinai but begin development at the moment of creation, flood and
onwards as Fretheim has suggested? (Fretheim, 529f)
260. How do Abimelech and outsiders announce the fulfillment of divine
promises in Gen. 26?
Genesis 27 Back to Top
261. What roles do the senses play in the story of the deception of Isaac in
Gen. 27 (seeing, touching, smelling, tasting, hearing)? How does
Isaac use his available senses to test his suspicions and confirm
truth? Which senses does he trust the most? Does Isaac ever address
the deceptive Jacob as "Esau"? (Fretheim, 535f)
262. How do the birthright and blessing differ (Gen. 27)? How is the father
as "blesser" one role of the father that is needed in modern times?
How may fathers shape the future of their children? Did a father have
more than one blessing? Could he bless multiple children? Where is
the blessing of each child seen in Genesis? (Fretheim, 534)
263. How does the blessing in Gen. 28:1ff function with the blessing Isaac
gives Jacob in 27:27ff? (Fretheim, 537)
264. Is the story of Jacob's deception of Isaac (Gen. 27) to be understood as
a cheating deceiver chosen by God in spite of his character which
gives hope to all, that God's election is not based on character? Is
such a negative view of Jacob and large theological implications
warranted? How should Jacob's and Rebekah's actions be evaluated
(concern for the divine promise, dislike of Esau, self-interest)?
Does Isaac's vulnerability count for anything? Why does one never
hear of the victimization and abuse of fathers? Does the divine
promise make it okay? How do the consequences tell on Jacob?
265. Is a blessing able to be retracted? Does the blessing, like a curse, once
spoken have a life of its own as the power of the word takes over?
Does the communal meal ritual lock the blessing in? How does
blessing shape history in Genesis and today? (Gen. 27)
266. Does Jacob's being blessed result in a trouble-free life (Gen. 27)?
Genesis 28 Back to Top
267. How do the two
268. As Jacob leaves his family fleeing from Esau how and when does
God meet him (Gen. 28)? Does God often meet people at their
moments of vulnerability? (Fretheim, 541)
269. How does Jacob's meeting of God at this place change the meaning
of the place,
of that place? How does the divine encounter transform the normal
into the religious? How will
you been to
adolescent encounter with God for themselves rather than tacitly
acquiescing to the religion of their family? How is religion
communicated transgenerationally today? (Fretheim, 541)
270. Is it Jacob's ladder or a stairway or ramp connecting heaven
and earth that Jacob sees (Gen. 28)? How is the structure similar
to the ziggurats of
gods at the top and the structure which was considered a microcosm
of the world with the priests approaching the gods at the top? How is
the biblical story different? Do the angels communicate with Jacob or
does God speak directly? Does the stairway indicate the connection
of heaven and earth as not remote and distant or open and present?
271. How does the situation at
birthright (Gen. 28)? What concrete and external markers does
Jacob use to establish his divine encounter at
visual and tactile play in the religious experience here? After an
intense religious experience is it appropriate to mark that experience
with public external markers or rituals? How important is place in
worship? Does John 4:21 negate the significance of place?
272. How does Jacob own his religion at
understand Bruggemann's statement "the world is a place
of such meetings"? How would such dreams be viewed today? What
kinds of shapes does that experience take today? (Fretheim, 543)
273. How do the themes of transcendence, presence and access converge
in the story of Jacob at
274. How does Jacob's vow function in relation to God's promises (Gen.
28)? Is Jacob himself now making a promise and will have to
become a promise keeper? How does that smack against his normal
character as seen in Genesis so far? (Fretheim, 544)
Genesis 29 Back to Top
275. In the novella or short story of Gen. 29-31 how can the episodes of
this narrative be seen as an ABCBC chiastic structure? What lies
at the heart of this narrative (births)? (Fretheim, 552)
276. How is Jacob's meeting of Rachel at the well resulting in marriage
similar to other such well/meeting/marriage stories (Gen. 29)? What
role do stones play in the Jacob narrative? What is the significance of
Jacob rolling the stone away from the mouth of the well? (Fretheim,
277. What role does love play in the story of Jacob and Rachel? How do
the complications further highlight the love between them (Gen. 29)?
278. How does irony play into the situation with Jacob, Laban and
Leah? How does the right of the firstborn haunt Jacob in his
marriage? How does the trickster being tricked illustrate the
lex talionis (eye for eye) principle (Gen. 29)? (Fretheim, 553)
Genesis 30 Back to Top
279. How does Leah's story make itself known in the narrative? Who does
God side with in the Rachel/Leah competition? How does God side
with the oppressed? Does the story of Jacob with two/four wives
provide an argument in favor of polygamy? How does one move
from descriptive narrative to normative and prescriptive types of
principles (Gen. 30)? (Fretheim, 553)
280. How do the meanings of the names of Jacob's sons and daughter play
into and further develop the storyline of the narrative (Gen. 30)?
How is the role of God recognized in the birth of the children? How
is God a responder to human need in these birth announcements?
How does the conflict between Rachel/Leah parallel other familiar
conflicts (Sarah/Hagar, Jacob/Esau) and prefigure others
(Joseph/brothers)? (Fretheim, 554f)
281. How does the story of the mandrakes highlight the conflictedness of
Jacob's family life (Gen. 30)? How does the bartering for a night with
Jacob reveal how Jacob's wives view him? (Fretheim, 555)
282. What ancient belief does Jacob's breeding sheep with striped rods
in front of them reveal? How is Jacob's plan of breeding the strong
ones similar to genetic engineering (Gen. 30)? (Fretheim, 556)
Genesis 31 Back to Top
283. How do Rachel and Leah see their leaving of their father Laban?
(Gen. 31) How are dreams used by God to protect his chosen from
those who are outside? Where else does a similar protective dream
happen in Genesis? (Fretheim, 557)
284. How does Rachel's stealing and hiding the family gods show her
victory over her father's abuse (Gen. 31)? What does the "Fear of
Isaac" divine epithet mean in this context? How does the Mizpah
benediction play into Laban's overstated role as father? (Fretheim, 557)
285. How was the covenant between Jacob and Laban made? What
symbols and rituals occur (Gen. 31)? (Fretheim, 558)
286. How did the family marriages change after Jacob's return from
and home (Gen. 31)? (Fretheim, 558)
287. What does the depth of intrafamily conflict and deception suggest
about the historicity and preservation of the biblical text (Gen. 31)?
How are the patriarchs portrayed? (Fretheim, 558)
288. What role does humor play in the Genesis narrative (cf. Gen. 31:33ff)?
289. How do the main characters in the Laban/Jacob cycle respond to the
voice of God (Gen. 30f)? (Fretheim, 559)
290. How do women play the role as mediators of divine blessing in the
Jacob stories? How do the women voice their dissent to the men
that had dominated their lives (Gen. 29ff)? How is their faith
voiced in the birth of their children? (Fretheim, 559)
291. How does the family conflict and deception in the Jacob stories
provide encouragement on how God works in conflicted situations
today (Gen. 29ff)? Does God only use perfect people? How does
blessing function with failure? (Fretheim, 559)
292. How can the stories of Jacob leaving Laban be paralleled with Moses
leading the people out of
striking? How are the two events different? (Fretheim, 560)
293. How do the roles of oppressor and oppressed oscillate throughout
the Jacob cycles (Gen. 29ff)? (Fretheim, 560)
Genesis 32 Back to Top
294. What two facings or encounters dominate Gen. 32-33? How is the
word "face" significant in a couple contexts in Gen. 32? Do God's
commands and promises lessen the need for divine encounter?
295. How does Jacob use master/servant language in his encountering of
Esau (Gen. 32-33)? Does that indicate Jacob is reversing his
reception of the blessing earlier? (Fretheim, 563)
296. How is Jacob's prayer (Gen. 32:9-12) like a Psalm of lament (1)
invocation; 2) recollection of God's command, 3) confession of
unworthiness, 4) request for deliverance and 5) claiming of divine
promises? (Fretheim, 563)
297. How does Jacob's divine encounter interrupt the flow of Gen. 32-33?
How do divine encounters mark the beginning, middle and end of
Jacob's journey? How are the divine encounters similar and unique?
How is Jacob changed by each encounter? (Fretheim, 563, 565)
298. How is Jacob's encounter with God at Peniel in Gen. 32 mirrored by
his encounter with Esau in Gen. 33 (face, struggling, etc)? What
echoes between the two texts can be heard? How does God use the
nature of anticipated difficulty itself in the process of answering
Jacob's prayer? (Fretheim, 565, 573f exc!)
299. What did Jacob's wrestling with God indicate about the human side
of the encounter? Does Jacob have power with God? How can Jacob
see God's face and live (cf. Ex. 33:20; Num. 12:8; Jud. 13:22)? What
is the significance of Jacob's name change in this divine wrestling
narrative? What does Jacob's name change imply about God? How is
Jacob's encounter with God precisely at the point of vulnerability?
How does God bind himself to Jacob at that point? How is an
embodied God identified with man in the Gen. 32 encounter?
300. What is behind Jacob's request for God's name? How is that similar to
Moses' request in Exod. 3? How does God respond to Jacob's
question? What does that say of God's name/character? How does
one hang onto God? (Fretheim, 566)
301. How does the dietary rule reinforce and transmit the encounter to
succeeding generations? How is religious memory inculcated into
the Israelite religion? Was Jacob's struggle only internal? Was God
just playing games with Jacob or was there an actual struggle (what
does the text say?)? (Fretheim, 567)
302. How are the stories of Abraham's testing (Gen. 22) and Jacob's
wrestling (Gen. 32) similar? How do such stories show the means
spiritual formation? Was Jacob profoundly changed in his character
after the wrestling? What does this say about God's active
engagement with us? How does God engage our struggles?
Genesis 33 Back to Top
303. What verbal and non-verbal indications are there that when Jacob
meets Esau he takes the servant role (Gen. 33)? What does Esau's
response reveal about Esau's reception of Jacob? (Fretheim, 572)
304. How is one to view Jacob's saying he cannot travel back to Seir
with Esau? Does Jacob revert to deception with his reconciled
brother once again or is something else going on? Are Jacob and
Esau truly reconciled after their meeting? (Fretheim, 573)
305. How will relationship between
Edomites, fare over the years (cf. Obadiah, Ps. 137; etc.)? How is
the reconciliation of brothers possible? (Fretheim, 573)
Genesis 34 Back to Top
306. How does the story of the rape of Dinah connect with the themes
of Genesis (family conflict, marriage to outsiders, circumcision,
deception, etc. Gen. 34)? How are the Canaanites presented in this
story? What other stories focus on Shechem? In the NT what
happpens near Shechem (Jn. 4)? (Fretheim, 576)
307. How does the narrative portray Shechem in a positive light in the
midst of the violent story (Gen. 34)? How are outsiders portrayed?
How did Shechem's offer have Dinah's best interest at heart? How
do the relationships between fathers fit with the roles between
sons? How does Shechem's offer go beyond the situation with
Dinah? Had Shechem's offer been taken would that have changed
things in redemptive history later on? Does Shechem's behavior
fit the scientifically documented behavior of a rapist (not lust but
anger and power) is it possible this narrative is not about rape but
about pre-marital sex as Gruber has suggested? (Beth Mikra, 1999)
308. How do Jacob's sons use deception and religion to take vengeance
(Gen. 34)? How is the meaning of circumcision distorted? How is
religion used today to destroy outsiders? (Fretheim, 577)
309. When and how does "overkill" vengeance take place in societies and
how does lex talionis (eye for eye) mitigate that (Gen. 34)? If
someone you loved was raped how would you respond? How does
violence beget violence in modern times? Is violence ever a justified
response? (Fretheim, 578f)
310. How does Dinah suffer both rape from an outsider and violation from
her own brothers (Gen. 34)? How has she, as a victim, been silenced?
311. How does the story of the rape of Dinah fit with the promise to be
a blessing to the nations (Gen. 34)? Is this another failure of the
chosen family? (Fretheim, 580)
Genesis 35 Back to Top
312. How are the stories of Jacob's return journey and Abraham's journey
313. How is Jacob's return to
(Gen. 35)? Why do they give him the rings in their ears? What does
Jacob's family putting away their gods imply about the content of
their religion and commitment to God? How does Brueggeman's
statement "The new community is found by renunciation, renaming,
reclothing, and finally, receiving a promise" manifest itself in Gen. 35
and Jacob's return to
314. How do all the previous theophanies converge in Jacob's return to
in Jacob's encounter at
315. Reuben sleeps with his father's concubine (Gen. 35). How is that a
political move that is seen elsewhere in Scripture (2 Sam. 3, 12, 16)?
How does that effect Reuben's firstborn status later (Gen. 49)?
Genesis 36 Back to Top
316. How does the Edomite king list fit with the time of Moses (Gen. 36)?
Does it go beyond that time? How does the Edomite genealogy
tribe to nation?
Why is it significant in the historiography of
that it contains such a large section narrating the history of non-
chosen peoples? What is the connection of the Horites to Seir and
later history? (Fretheim, 590)
Genesis 37 Back to Top
317. How does the narrative of Gen. 37-50 differ from the stories of Gen.
12-36? What elements from a "wisdom literature" perspective may
be seen in the Joseph stories? How are the earlier stories more
focused on geographical movements and the Joseph stories more
around personal and royal settings? How does Gen. 37-50 move from
the individual to the nation of
into national history? (Fretheim, 592f)
318. How does Gen. 37-50 provide the setting for the book of Exodus?
How is Pharaoh portrayed in Gen. 37-50 in contrast to Exodus 1-
15)? (Fretheim, 592f)
319. How does God work out his purposes in Gen. 37-50 behind the scenes
How is that different than how God was portrayed in Gen. 12-36?
How do God's communicational methods shift from Gen. 12-36 to
37-50? (Fretheim, 594)
320. How is the beginning of the Joseph story similar to the beginning of
the Jacob story (inept father, parental deception, chosen/not chosen,
sibling rivalry) (Gen. 37)? (Fretheim, 598)
321. Where did Joseph's coat of many colors go to in the KJV/NIV (Gen.
37)? How do the following play out in Jacob's family system:
young/old; concealed realms of discourse, rivalry, betrayal, selected
gifts, shunning, conflict, violence, social hierarchy? (Fretheim, 598)
322. How does the scene change to Shechem/Dothan allow the brothers
to operate outside the father's realm of control and protection
(Gen. 37)? (Fretheim, 599)
323. Does the brothers selling Joseph to the Midianites and then the
mention of the Ishmaelites mean there were two traditions seamed
together into a single narrative by a later editor (Gen. 37)? What other
explanations can be given? (Fretheim, 599)
324. How does Jacob grieve for Joseph? What is the function of these
externalized symbols of grief? How do people grieve today
(Gen. 37)? Why do Christians feel so uncomfortable with grieving?
325. How does our psychoanalytic view of dreams today differ from the
way they understood dreams in those days? What role does dreams
play in the Joseph narrative? What function did dreams play in that
society? Why would God use dreams to communicate? (Fretheim,
326. How does the Joseph narrative balance divine providence and human
actions? How does the narrative stay out of a one-sided divine
determinism and also a purely humanistic perspective? (Fretheim,
Genesis 38 Back to Top
327. How does the Judah/Tamar story (Gen. 38) break into the Joseph
narrative? How do the common themes of non-recognition
of someone known, deception, reversal, and
play out in the two stories? (Fretheim, 604)
328. Why did Onan refuse to have children for his brother? What Genesis
motif does that refusal continue? What role does the outsider
Canaanite play in the story? (Gen. 38) How are Onan's and Judah's
responses to Tamar similar? What is heroic about Tamar's plan to
fulfill the law outside the law? Why did Tamar take such risks?
329. What would
(Gen. 38)? How do people get someone's identity today (vid. movie
The Net)? How
330. How does the birth of Perez and Zerah echo another birth in
Genesis (Gen. 38)? How does this story focus on the plight of women
in the Ancient Near East? How did women respond in such
situations? (Fretheim, 606)
331. What role does Tamar play in the birth of Christ (Mat. 1)? Why
is this divine irony? How does God use "outsiders" to accomplish his
purposes of election? (Fretheim, 606)
Genesis 39 Back to Top
332. How does Joseph see his relationship to Potiphar's wife? How do
power and sexuality interface in the conflict (Gen. 39)? How does
Joseph see the relationship between this sexual act and his relationship
with Potiphar and moreover his relationship to God? How does this
situation with Potiphar's wife fit with the admonitions of wisdom in
Prov. 5 and 7? How is Joseph a model of handling one's conflicted
sexuality today? (Fretheim, 610f)
333. How does God appear in this narrative (Gen. 39)? How do the
Egyptians perceive God's presence with Joseph? On what basis do the
Egyptians make theological statements? How does God's presence
assert itself in situations of human abandonment? How is Joseph
fulfilling the promise of being a blessing to the nations? (Fretheim,
334. What other modern stories and movies have the innocent victim,
outcast without power or prestige through great struggle becoming a
person of position and power (Gen. 39; hint: Cinderella)? Why do
such stories intrigue us? How does the story of Joseph fit with many
of the situations and themes of David's life? Why does Fretheim
relate many of the Genesis stories as echoed in David's life?
Genesis 40 Back to Top
335. How does Joseph bring God into the picture when in prison with
the two officials of Pharaoh (Gen. 40)? How did God use these two
Egyptian officials to help resolve the problem Joseph, his chosen one,
336. How do the 3 dual dream sequences tie the Joseph narrative together?
How are dreams connected to the future? Does that still happen?
Does this similar and dissimilar to psychoanalytic dream
interpretation techniques in any way [future/history, etc.]? Besides
God, what are other sources of dreams cited in the Bible (Eccl. 5:7;
Deut. 13; Jer. 23)?(Fretheim, 614f)
337. How does the description of "having one's head lifted" play in the
two dreams of the Pharaoh's officials and also in the normal role
in those coming into Pharaoh's court (Gen. 40)?
338. How does the time element play in the dreams of the officials and then
later with Joseph having to wait of two years to be remembered?
What does waiting do when a person is in an oppressed situation?
What impact can such waiting have on one's faith development?
339. How does Joseph verbalize his own perception of his situation for the
cupbearer in prison (Gen. 40)? While God is with Joseph does Joseph
still need and seek human help? How is Joseph's lament like the latter
Genesis 41 Back to Top
340. How does the change of scene in Gen. 41 foreshadow Joseph's own
shift of situation? What other stories follow the pattern of a person
of low status solving a difficult problem and being moved to high
status? Why is the prison to palace motif so strong? How does the
human act of remembering turn the story? (Fretheim, 620)
341. How does Pharaoh perceive dreams that he is troubled by them (Gen.
41)? How do the literal and allegorical elements of Pharaoh's dream
blend into the interpretation? How does Joseph go beyond a mere
interpretation of the dream to a solution? How does that help his
situation? While the dreams reveal God's future plans how does
Joseph's plan show the impact of human response? How do humans
help shape the given future (7 years famine, etc.)? What is God's
connection to Pharaoh in the narrative? (Fretheim, 621)
342. What role does the changing of clothes play in Gen. 41? What were
the symbols of status in Egypt? (Fretheim, 622). Is Joseph's marrying
an Egyptian wife viewed negatively in the text? How is Joseph's
marrying an Egyptian to be contrasted with conquest commands not to
marry foreigners? How is the openness and tolerance here contrasted
with conquest intolerance of the inhabitants of the land? Why the
343. How do the names of Joseph's children reflect his life story (Gen. 41)?
How is forgetfulness of the past a freeing gift from God sometimes?
344. How are prophetic and wisdom traditions blended into the Joseph
story (Gen. 41)? What characteristics does Joseph manifest?
345. How is God shown to work in economic and governmental spheres
How does Joseph, the chosen one, become a blessing to other nations?
What attracts the "outsiders" to contact with God's chosen (cf. Deut.
4:6)? (Fretheim, 623)
346. Is Joseph's use of power seen as his brothers
in Gen. 41 to be viewed positively or negatively? (Fretheim, 627)
Genesis 42 Back to Top
347. Where have we seen the meeting of estranged brothers before (Gen.
42)? How is Joseph meeting very different than previous "meetings"?
How does Joseph's brothers' language and non-verbal responses to
him fulfill Joseph's earlier dreams? (Fretheim, 628)
348. How does Joseph tease their common story out of his brothers so
healing can begin (Gen. 42)? Why would they claim in their
defense of not being spies that they are the sons of one man? How
does that defense open up the story? (Fretheim, 628)
349. What does Joseph's harassment bring out in his brothers (Gen.
42)? How does their confession of guilt connect several stories
together? Why would Joseph's brothers connect their present
plight with what they did to Joseph (sowing/reaping)?
How does Reuben's "I told you so" speech further the narrative?
How does Joseph's response manifest his heart toward his guilt-
laden brothers? (Fretheim, 628)
350. What things in the brothers' trip to
helplessness in them (Gen. 42)? (Fretheim, 629)
351. Why did Joseph test his brothers (revenge, facade for the Egyptians,
determine if they had changed, preserve his family alive, or desire to
see Benjamin, etc.)(Gen. 42)? What does Joseph's weeping indicate
about his motives? (Fretheim, 630)
352. The second journey of Joseph's brothers to
as a "doubling journey" which suggests to them multiple sources
poorly seamed together by an editor (Gen. 42). What do you think
about such doubling in Genesis? (Fretheim, 633)
353. When there is a famine in
go to get food and help (Gen. 42)? Why? (Fretheim, 633)
Genesis 43 Back to Top
raises the issue of them being viewed as "honest men" (Gen. 43).
How does that play into the greater storyline? (Fretheim, 633f)
355. Why is so much of the story in Gen. 43 mediated through the steward
rather than Joseph facing his brothers directly after Benjamin is
brought? What theological statements does the steward make?
356. How does Joseph work the revelation of his identity in peek-a-boo
fashion (Gen. 43)? Why does he not reveal himself sooner?
Genesis 44 Back to Top
357. Joseph's silver cup was said to be used for divination. Does Joseph
practice divination or is this a ruse (Gen. 44)? (Fretheim, 639)
358. How do the brothers' cries of innocence parallel Joseph's own?
How do the brothers defend Benjamin in a way they had not with
Joseph (Gen. 44)? How does
Benjamin show the brothers have moved to a different level of
relationship with younger, favored brothers? Is the brothers' concern
at this point for Benjamin or for the suffering of their father (or their
own culpability before their father)?
359. How do good and evil play between Gen. 44:5f and Gen. 50:20?
What is God's role in uncovering guilt (44:16)? How does Joseph
participate in that unmasking? (Fretheim, 640)
Genesis 45 Back to Top
360. Gen. 45 is parallel to Gen. 50:15-21. How does that later passage
show that the reconciliation with Joseph's brothers was not completed
in Gen. 45? How does the "father" (Jacob) play differently in these
two passages? Is the issue of accountability and penalty ever
addressed earlier? How does the guilt/penalty issue pop up in Gen.
50? In Gen. 45 whenever Joseph refers to God as subject/actor who is
the object? How does the master/servant language still show itself in
Gen. 45? (Fretheim, 643)
361. How does Joseph identify himself to his brothers (Gen. 45)?
362. In Gen. 45:3ff, how is the past reinterpreted in light of the present?
How does that work in your developing understanding of your own
journey from then to now? How are past pains and crises given new
light with the new contexts that come over time? How does God
work in famines? By giving a divine perspective how does that free
his brothers from expressing sorrow, regret, guilt, shame and
confession of what they did? Is the reconciliation full without those
components of repentance? If the selling of Joseph was God's plan
are the brothers culpable? What is the relation of the divine and
human intentions in these stories (cf. 50:20)? How do the divine
and human participate together to form one story? (Fretheim, 644)
Genesis 46 Back to Top
363. What is Pharaoh's response to Joseph's family (Gen. 45)? What good
qualities does Pharaoh manifest as a ruler? (Fretheim, 645)
364. How is Gen. 46:1ff a return to a format more similar to Gen. 12-35
than the chs. 37-45? What does it mean to say Gen. 46 is more
episodic and itinerary driven? What role does
365. How does Joseph shed his official role when he greets his father (Gen.
46)? Jacob reunites with Joseph alive and Jacob now says he can die.
What things prepare a person for the acceptance of the coming of
death? (Fretheim, 653)
Genesis 47 Back to Top
366. How does Jacob's life illustrate Fretheim's point that being a recipient
of God's blessing does not mean a trouble-free life (Gen. 47)? How
does that play out today? How does the shape of Jacob's journey
converge with the goals of God's promises? (Fretheim, 653)
367. How does Joseph become a means of blessing for Pharaoh (Gen. 47)?
How does Jacob's blessing of Pharaoh
fit into the promise of
being a blessing to the nations? How is the shift from family to
nation/people beginning to take shape? (Fretheim, 654)
368. How does Joseph's enslaving of the Egyptian people foreshadow the
369. How do the stories of exclusion in Gen. 37-38 find their reversal in
the uniting of the family in Gen. 48-50? How are Judah (major tribe
in the south) and Joseph's sons (Ephraim/Manasseh--major tribes in
the north) highlighted? What are the indicators of the movement from
family to tribe (Fretheim, 656)
370. Why did Jacob make such a big deal over being
(Gen. 47)? How is the oath/covenant procedure used in Jacob's
getting his sons to promise to return his body to Machpelah?
Genesis 48 Back to Top
371. What is going on with Ephraim and Manasseh, Joseph's two sons and
Jacob (Gen. 48)? How were adoptions done in the Ancient Near
East? Why would Jacob want to adopt Joseph's sons?
372. What is ironic about Jacob's crossing his hands and blessing Ephraim
as the firstborn (Gen. 48)? How does the history of Ephraim show its
becoming a dominant tribe in the northern kingdom of
Functionally with Levi receiving no land inheritance the inclusion of
Ephraim and Manasseh returns the tribal number to what? Who
gets a double portion in the inheritance rituals? (Fretheim, 660)
373. What is the father's role of being a blesser (Gen. 48)? Does it still
function that way today? How does Jacob's blessing converge with
God's blessing? Are deathbed statements from a father valued today?
374. The phrase translated "ridge of land" (Gen. 48:22) plays on the term
"shekem" which also plays on the place "Shechem". How does this
play make its way from the history of the patriarchs into the future
of Ephraim (Gen. 33:18ff; Josh. 24:32, etc.)? (Fretheim, 660)
375. How does this description of blessing show a way of thinking of
the movements of history in terms of "underlying family structures"
rather than as simple events (Gen. 48)? (Fretheim, 661; cf.
376. What images does Jacob use for describing the God-human interaction
in Gen. 48:15f? How does this blessing draw together the themes
of the book of Genesis? (Fretheim, 661)
Genesis 49 Back to Top
377. What parallels can be drawn between Gen. 49 and Deut. 33?
378. Gen. 49 is an ancient poem. What poetic elements are seen in it?
How is imagery used, poetic features of parallelism, aphorisms and
oracular pronouncements? (Fretheim, 664)
379. An inclusio caps the beginning and end of a literary unit. What
inclusio is used to draw Gen. 48-49 as a unit (Cf. Gedn. 47:28;
49:33)? (Fretheim, 664)
380. How do the future and history interact in the poem of Jacob's last
does Gen. 49 show
corrected telling of history in a "warts and all" approach? How does
Jacob move from an understanding of his son's character to a
determination of their future? How do character and future connect?
How is this description of the future not apocalyptic?
(Fretheim, 665, 667)
381. How does the future of Levi and Simeon differ (Gen. 49:5ff; Cf. Deut.
33)? (Fretheim, 665)
382. Who has the longest sections in the Jacob last words poem? How is
Do the statements made to
they merely a reference to a monarchy situation? (Fretheim, 665)
383. How do many of Jacob's last words fit with the tribal settlement of
each tribe (vid. Joshua/Judges)? How are the blessings on Joseph
linked to the patriarchal blessings? (Fretheim, 665)
384. How do the last words of Jacob pull much of the book of Genesis
together? (Fretheim, 667)
385. What metaphors of plants and animals are used (Gen. 49)? How are
the connections between animals and human character manifest (cf.
Prov. 6:6; 30:18ff)? (Fretheim, 667)
Genesis 50 Back to Top
386. How does Jacob's mummification fit an Egyptian setting? What do we
learn about ancient burial practices from Gen. 50? How are the
Egyptians portrayed in this burial scene? Will this relationship with
the Egyptians dramatically change in Exodus? Which is to be the
norm for how outside nations are to be treated by the Israelites
Genesis or Exodus? (Fretheim, 669f)
387. After a parent die how do the relationships between siblings have to be
renegotiated (Gen. 50; vid. Ted Williams' death)? How do the
brothers play off their father's request? How does the brothers'
"servant" language reflect their fears? How does guilt linger even
after forgiveness? How is reconciliation shaped? How does Joseph
allay their fears? How does Joseph's speech transcend their guilt and
give them a new perspective on their own personal and shared
histories? (Fretheim, 671)
388. What does Gen. 50 show us about how God works in a world full of
evil? How does God's goodness link Gen. 50 and Gen. 1 and show
God's overarching creational purposes?
389. Does Gen. 50:20 indicate a plan of God that is worked solely by itself
or does it participate and interact with the plans of humans? Are
humans automatons or active agents involved in shaping the future?
How does Gen. 50:20 parallel Rom. 8:28f? (Fretheim, 672)
390. How does the story of Joseph show the moral order of things? How
do time and events stream that order in the direction of God's
persistent purposes? (Fretheim, 673)
391. How does the epilogue (Gen. 50:22ff) link to the next book and stage