OTS Session 3: Genesis Ch. 12 - 50

OTS Session 3: Genesis Ch. 12 - 50

Dear Class,

Finally, I did what I promised! Below are the notes from class. I pasted them into the body of the post, but the formatting is a bit messed up and I really didn’t feel like correcting it line by line. So, instead I also put a link to a PDF of the notes below.

Notes from this week


God’s Sovereignty in calling and leading his people.

-    It is in despite of their sin, not solely a reaction to their good deeds. 

-    He honors the faithful, but also works in spite of our faithlessness



God interacts with His people through covenants. Understanding biblical covenants is key to understanding how the entire bible is telling the story of redemption.


Chapters 12-50– 4 Key People 

A.     Abraham (ch. 12–24)                     

Verses: 12:1-3 

-       Who is the actor in these verses? God

-       What is the first action that Abraham takes? 

oV.4 Obeying in response to God’s Calling and promises.  

-       What is inherently special about Abraham that lead to God’s calling?  

oThe background that we have hints that he was an idolater.  He came from a land of idolatry.

oAbraham’s father and grandfather were idolaters (Josh. 24:2-3 – Which is a recommitment to the covenant)

-       God calls Abram (Abraham) out (you will see this theme played out over and over again in God’s calling of his people.  It parallels the idea of holiness and sanctification.)

-       His people and his land were idolatrous.  

-       First talk of the promised land.   

Gen 13-14: Lot Separates, Abraham Rescues Lot

a)     Melchizedek 

i)      He is a Priest King.  Melchizedek and Jesus are the only figures in history to claim the offices of priest (of Yahweh) and king.  

(1)   Usually, kings were forbidden from performing priestly duties (1 Sam 13)

(2)   David performs some priestly acts in 2 Sam 6, but does not hold the office of priest.

ii)     Name means “King of Righteousness” 

iii)   King of Salem likely short for Jerusalem. Salem also means “Peace” 

iv)    Also mention in

(1)   Psalm 110:1-7 - a passage promising the Messiah.  The figure in this passage is an eternal priest according to the Order of Melchizedek.

(2)   Hebrews 5:6, 10 – Christ is expressly identified as the subject of Psalm 110 and show to be an eternal priest under the priesthood of Melchizedek (as opposed to the Aaronic Priesthood)

(3)   Hebrews 6:20 – 7:21

v)     Two Main Theories

(1)   An individual human who served as prefiguration or type of Christ

(a)    7:3 “like the Son of God” argues for him being a type of Christ but not actually Christ.  

(b)   Jesus being in the Order of Melchizedek seems to indicate they are two different figures.

(2)   A Christophany (a pre-incarnate appearance of Christ on earth) e.g. Garden of Eden, Angel of the Lord in the burning bush, Angel Jacob wrestled with, “Angel of the Lord”, fourth figure in the fiery furnace.  

(a)    No lineage, “without beginning of days or end of life”

(b)  King of Peace and King of Righteousness are descriptors that more appropriately apply to Christ rather than any other human.


Gen 15: Covenant with Abraham.  


1)    Covenants are not just promises.  

2)     Covenant denotes a relationship.  

i)  Ancient covenants often were a great king adopting a people he had liberated from oppression

ii)Covenant is a present experience rather than merely a future hope.

iii)   It is a word that has been confirmed rather than a word that seeks fulfillment. 

(1)   This does not bar future fulfillment, but emphasizes that the benefits of covenants are immediately seen (even if not in full)


3)    Types of Covenants: 

a)    Suzerain Vassal Covenant 

i)  Covenant of Works

ii)Aspects of this type of covenant.

iii)   Preamble-  identifying the one who made the treaty

iv)    Historical Prologue– providing the historical justification of all that followed.

v)Stipulations –  What was expected of the vassal.

vi)    Sanctions –what would happen if vassal failed to keep stipulations

(1)   Exilewere often part of the sanctions

(2)   If the Vassalmaintained the stipulations, the Suzerainwas obligated to guard his vassals

vii)  Often there was a cutting ceremony: animals were slaughtered as a symbol of what will happen to the vassal if they are to fail to keep the stipulations.  It is a sign that the breaking of the covenant requires the shedding of blood. 

viii)Deposit of the Treaty– tablets recording the treaty kept by both sides in their sacred temples.

ix)    Periodic Public Readingsso that the new generations understood the obligations.

x)TheSuzerainnever took an oath himself.  


b)    Royal (or Land) Grant Covenant

i)  Covenant of Grace

ii)Suzerain grants land or benefit to a vassal without any Stipulations


Adapted from “Introducing Covenant Theology” – Michael Horton


4)    Gen 15 starts out as what many scholars recognize as a classic Royal Grant Covenant (v. 1)

5)     When Abraham asks how the promise will endure without an heir (his inability to reap the benefits of the covenant) the covenant expands.  

6)     Takes on aspects of Suzerain Vassal treaty but with a twist.

a)     Preamble – v.7

b)     Prologue and stipulations skipped. Why? The covenant is not reliant upon history or the vassals actions

c)     Sanctions – V. 9 -12, 17


7)    It is important to note that the record of this covenant starts with v. 6 (read).  

a)     Romans 4:1-3, 9-12, 16-17

b)     Galatians 6:6-9

8)    The Abrahamic Covenant and even more clearly its furtherance in Davidic Covenant are based upon the promised Messiah.  

a)    This provides the connection to the coming Mosaic covenant (Suzerain Vassal) and Jesus the Messiah:

i)      He is the only one who fulfills the stipulations perfectly

ii)     He takes upon himself the sanctions by shedding the blood required by the breaking of the stipulations. 


Review: Covenant seen in Gen. 1:28-29; 2:15 & Gen 3:15 (protoevangelion)


Sacrifice of Isaac (Gen 22:1-18).

ReadGen.22:1-2, 7-8, 9-14

-       Hebrews 11:17-19 – “Abraham reasoned that God could raise the dead”

-       Mount Moriah (2 Chron 3:1) this is the mountain where the temple was built.

o  What was done in the temple? Regular sacrifices temporarily atoning for the sins of the people. 

-       Angel of the Lord (likely another Christophany)

-       What took place outside of the city in the shadow of this mountain?  The sacrifice of the perfect sacrificial lamb.  

o   It was outside the city because he was cursed and he had to be killed outside the city.  Galations 3:13-14

-       The act that simultaneously fulfilled the Old and inaugurated the New Covenant, satisfying both the stipulations and the sanctions of the Old and ushering in the full promises of the New.

-       We have a reiteration of the promise of blessing to the nations:

o  22:8 “…in your offspring shall all the nations of the earth be blessed”

§  this initial promise came one chapter after humanity was separated and nations were created in Babel.


Jacob and Esau

25: 21-23 “The older will serve the younger”

-       v. 29-34 Jacob despised his birthright

-       Ch. 27 Jacob tricks Isaac into giving him his blessing.

o   Is this why God’s people came through the line of Jacob rather than Esau? 

o  God sovereignly planned this out from the beginning. It is the continued fulfillment of the covenant initiated with Abraham.


-       Romans 9:1-16 “Jacob I have loved, Esau I have hated” (Quote from Mal 1:1-3)

o  Romans 9:8 Abraham’s offspring are not “children of the flesh” but “children of the promise” 

o   It is first God’s sovereign choice.

o  The choice is made prior to their ability to choose right or wrong.

o   It is done in fulfillment of the Abrahamic Covenant.



CH 28:10-18 “Jacob’s Ladder” God reiterates his Covenant. 

-       John 1:51 He identifies himself as the fulfillment of Jacob’s vision

-       John 14:6 He is the “Way the truth and the life” no one can come to the father but through him.  Jesus is both the messenger (the angels in the vision) and the stairway itself.


Genesis 34 Dinah and Shechemites

-       What do we do with this passage?  

-       Is the Bible condoning the actions of the Israel’s sons? No, this is narrative and therefore descriptive rather than prescriptive.


Gen 35:11 (reiterated in 48:4) Reflection of the covenant foreshadow of the Gentile nations.

-       See note on v. 35:11-12

-       Is 66:18, 20-23


C.     Joseph (ch. 37–50)


Ch. 37 – 

-       Joseph is having dreams about his older brothers bowing down to him.  

o  Echoes of Jacob and Esau, the older serving the younger.

-       Due to Jealousy they plot to kill him but end up selling him to slavery.

o  Interesting side note, sold to Midianites to go into slavery. Moses fled to Midian and married a Midianite.  Midianites had a tertiary role in both going to and leaving Egypt.


Ch. 39, 40 Potiphar’s house and prison.

-       We see Joseph’s perseverance in righteousness despite the bad things happening.

-       V. 39:2 the Lord was with Joseph and he prospered.  How is it that 18 verses later he is in prison? 

-       V. 39:21-23. “the LORD was with Joseph”

-       Ch. 40 He interprets the Cupbearer and Baker’s dreams. 

o  V. 23 “he forgot him” 

o  Did the Lord forget him?

-       Skip back to Gen 15:12-16

-       This is all part of God’s covenantal plan.  Down to Joseph being sold into slavery and thrown into jail.

-       Joseph himself confirms this:


45:4-8 It was God who brought him down there.


47:27 “They (Israelites) were fruitful and increased greatly in number”


Ch 50:15-21. “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done.”  


God’s sovereignty is compatible with man’s will. They intended evil and freely made choices in pursuit of evil. Yet, we have seen God’s plan for Joseph has ties all the way back to Adam and Eve with the first promise of the New covenant (the Covenant of Grace)  to be inaugurated by the Messiah, by the one who would crush the head of Satan.  


God’s Sovereignty in the preservation of His people is not reactionary.