Everyone knows that Genesis is a story of creation. Genesis 1 details God’s creation of the world; Genesis 2 and 3 discuss the creation of Adam, Eve, and Eden; chapters 6-9 record the destruction and recreation after the flood; and the rest of the book chronicles the beginnings of a chosen people that God establishes through Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. By the end of Genesis, Joseph and his brothers create a new generation of Hebrews in Egypt. But the biblical account of origins doesn’t end with Genesis. The creation story continues in Exodus, which begins by repeating the language that Genesis used to describe God’s primordial creative acts; according to Exodus, the escape from slavery in Egypt is a new creation story—not about the creation of the cosmos, but rather the creation of a new nation, Israel.

At the end of Genesis 1, God tells humanity, “Be fruitful (פרו; peru) and multiply (רבו; revu) and fill the land (מלאו את-הארץ; milu et-ha’aretz)” (Gen 1:28). Exodus shows that the Hebrews in Egypt fulfill God’s first command to human beings. After Joseph and his generation died, “The people of Israel were fruitful (פרו; paru) and multiplied (ירבו; yirbu)… and the land was filled (תמלא הארץ; timale ha’aretz) with them” (Exod 1:7). The beginning of Exodus repurposes the exact language of God’s command in Genesis to contextualize the account within the framework of Creation. At the outset of Exodus, the text goes out of its way to show the reader that whatever is about to unfold is to be seen through the lens of new creation

Yet, immediately after readers discover that Exodus will narrate a new creation, it becomes clear that something is wrong; the people of Israel have fulfilled part of the Genesis command in Egypt, but not all of it. Immediately after telling the first humans to be fruitful and multiply, God charges them to “subdue” (כבשׁ; kavash) the land and rule over it (Gen 1:28). However, the Israelites are unable to subdue the land of Egypt because as soon as they become fruitful and multiply, the Egyptians subdue the Hebrews as slaves (Exod 1:9-14). In this new creation story, if God’s people are going to be able to fulfill Genesis 1:28, God will need to liberate them from slavery and bring them to a new land in which they can flourish. This new land will be the land of Canaan, but in order to get the Israelites there, God must use the plagues to reverse the creation of Genesis so that Pharaoh will let the people go….

Click HERE to read about how the plagues reverse creation in our follow-up article.

BEGIN YOUR JOURNEY OF DISCOVERY

27 COMMENTS

  1. God commands this fruitfulness, but is it to all humanity or His Own chosen line? The children of darkness always usurp what is not theirs.
    • I was wondering similarly, Stravo. More specifically, is it to all humanity or is it to multiply His Own chosen people? In other words, for our day and time, spread the Gospel message and multiply the number of Christians. Obviously, there weren't Christians in Genesis, but was God commanding them to multiply worshippers of Jehovah God, the One True God, who is in reality, Jesus?

      + More answers (3)
    • It was to all mankind from the beginning. The children of darkness are always inherently spirited to usurp what is not theirs, but they do not always usurp what is not theirs. Whether one is truly following the authentic first century Christ Jesus or not, man still has free moral agency/choice, to choose His way.

      + More answers (1)
    • The Good News is to those who have ears to hear. The Father gives the elect to Christ. We are His sheep who know our Master's voice. Jn. 3:16 alone is cherry picking-- proof texting.
  2. A New Creation Story! GOD's Chosen Nation, Israel! GOD stepped in and HE subdued the Hebrews enemy. HE gets ALL the Glory! Looking forward to your continuance next week. I love the new layout! Thank you! :-)
  3. שלום אלי
    We are from Horeb the biblical Hebrew school in India your books and messages are so enlighten for our spiritual growth Hashem bless you
    יברכך יי וישמרך יאר יי פניו אליך ויחנך ישא יי פניו אליך וישם לך שלום אמן
  4. Only God/Jesus creates (bārā - Genesis 1 - John 1) not man, Only *He* is the subject of this verb, it is used only for *His* creating which only He can do (Gen 1:1, 1:27, Isa 40:26, 28, 45:8, 65:17, Psa 51:10, 89:12) thus it should be "Joseph and his brothers begat a new generation of Hebrews in Egypt." not 'creates', for again, only God/Jesus creates. Also, mankind is what is accurate, not 'humanity'.
  5. Genesis 1:1-2:4a, is a liturgical Babylonian exilic text, and the chaos already extant in v.2 represents the reality of exile - life at risk and in disorder. The effect of the liturgy is to create an alternative world of ordered life, made possible by Yahweh's powerful word and will. The Genesis text came after the Exodus experience and thus incorporated the language of the first set of levies who left Egypt.
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