Divine control? (Genesis 16:2)

It’s been a decade, but Abram and Sarai still have no child. In their culture, this was a source of great shame: without an heir, their name would die out. They had no future, so God must have been displeased with them. That’s how they (and others in their time) interpreted their childlessness. When someone had a child, God had given them a child; when someone could not have a child, God had thwarted them. Either way, it was understood as an act of God. That’s how Sarai described her situation: “YHWH has kept me from having children” (16:2).

What are we to make of Sarai’s statement?

Continue reading “Divine control? (Genesis 16:2)”

Covenant with Abram (Genesis 15:7-21)

Abram has persistent questions. How can he know that YHWH will establish Abram’s descendants as his nation in this land when Abram will be long dead before this ever happens? YHWH responds by offering to commit himself to Abram with a covenant: Continue reading “Covenant with Abram (Genesis 15:7-21)”

Faith as righteousness (Genesis 15:6)

Genesis 15:6 (ESV)
And he believed the Lord, and he counted it to him as righteousness.

This verse is quoted in Romans 4, Galatians 3:6, and James 2:23. If you’re familiar with how the NT uses it, you may find it difficult to see how the verse functions in its original setting. Continue reading “Faith as righteousness (Genesis 15:6)”

Who was Melchizedek? (Genesis 14:17-20)

Melchizedek has always fascinated readers and fuelled the imagination of heretics and secret societies. As long ago as the second century, Theodotus of Byzantium venerated him above Christ. Even before Jesus’ time, some of the Qumran texts treated him as an angelic figure. So who was Melchizedek? Continue reading “Who was Melchizedek? (Genesis 14:17-20)”