Seven Keys to Understanding the Old Testament The Book of Exodus

GENESIS

The first book of our Bible, and the first book of our study is The First Book of Moses called Genesis.

Genesis is a Greek word meaning origin or beginning. In the book of Genesis we find an account of many beginnings, such as the creation of the earth, the placing of animals and man thereon, the introduction of sin, the revelation of the gospel to Adam, the beginning of tribes and races, the origin of various languages at Babel, and the beginning of the Abrahamic family leading to the establishment of the house of Israel. Joseph's role as a preserver of Israel is also given emphasis. The structure of the book of Genesis rests on several genealogies. Each new section begins "These are the generations," and there follows a genealogical list of certain portions of family history. Some major divisions of Genesis are: (1) Adam (chs. 1-3); (2) Noah (chs. 4-9); (3) Abraham. (a) The peopling of the whole earth by the descendants of Noah's sons and the diffusion of tongues at the tower of Babel (11:1-9). The history of two of these is then dropped and (b) the line of Shem only pursued (11:10-32) as far as Terah and Abram, where the genealogical table breaks off; (c) Abraham is now the chief figure (12:1-25:18); (4) Isaac. The account of his life (21:1-35:29) depicts him as a peacemaker and declares that from among the several sons of Abraham, the covenant was to be upon Isaac (Gen. 21:12; Rom. 9:7); (5) Jacob. After Isaac's death we have (a) the genealogy of Esau (ch. 36), who then drops out of the narrative, and (b) the history of the patriarchs till the death of Joseph (chs. 37-50).

God's relation to Israel holds the first place throughout in the writer's mind. The introductory chapters are a history of the world as a preparation for the history of the chosen seed. The object of the book is to teach religious history.

Genesis 1:1. Who Created the Earth?

While the record indicates that God created the heavens and the earth, there is additional information as to exactly who that was. The Prophet Joseph said:

"I shall comment on the very first Hebrew word in the Bible; I will make a comment on the very first sentence of the history of creation in the Bible -- Berosheit. I want to analyze the word. Baith -- in, by, through, and everything else. Rosh -- the head. Sheit -- grammatical termination. When the inspired man wrote it, he did not put the baith there. An old Jew without any authority added the word; he thought it too bad to begin to talk about the head! It read first, ‘The head one of the Gods brought forth the Gods.’ That is the true meaning of the words. Baurau signifies to bring forth. If you do not believe it, you do not believe the learned man of God. Learned men can teach you no more than what I have told you. Thus the head God brought forth the Gods in the grand council

. "... The head God called together the Gods and sat in grand council to bring forth the world. The grand councilors sat at the head in yonder heavens and contemplated the creation of the worlds which were created at the time." (Teachings, pp. 348-49.) The Abraham account of the Creation reflects this idea of the plurality of Gods (see Abraham 4). Although it was the council of the Gods.

Genesis 1:1. What Does the Word Create Mean?

The Hebrew word translated as "created" means "shaped, fashioned, created; always divine activity" (Genesis 1:1c). The Prophet Joseph Smith explained:

"You ask the learned doctors why they say the world was made out of nothing: and they will answer, ‘Doesn’t the Bible say He created the world?’ And they infer, from the word create, that it must have been made out of nothing. Now, the word create came from the word baurau which does not mean to create out of nothing; it means to organize; the same as a man would organize materials and build a ship. Hence, we infer that God had materials to organize the world out of chaos -- chaotic matter, which is element, and in which dwells all the glory. Element had an existence from the time he had. The pure principles of element are principles which can never be destroyed; they may be organized and reorganized, but not destroyed. They had no beginning, and can have no end." (Teachings, pp. 350–52.)

Genesis 1:3-2:3. What was the order of the Creation?

First day: Genesis 1:3-5

Second day: Genesis 1:6-8

Third day: Genesis 1:9-13

Fourth day: Genesis 1:14-19

Fifth day: Genesis 1:20-23

Sixth day: Genesis 1:24-27

Seventh day: Genesis 2:1-3

Genesis 1:21

The word whales used in this verse translates the Hebrew word tannanim, which comes from the verb meaning "to stretch" and means "the long-stretched ones." This word probably applied to other large sea animals or reptiles such as the dolphin, shark, and crocodile, besides the animal we actually call the whale. (See Keil and Delitzsch, Commentary, 1:1:60; Clarke, Bible Commentary, 1:37.)

Genesis 1:28. What Does "Replenish" Mean?

"It is true that the original meaning of the word replenish connotes something is being filled again that was once filled before: Re -- again, plenus -- full. Why the translators of the King James Version of the Bible used the word replenish may not be clearly known, but it is not the word used in other translations and is not the correct meaning of the Hebrew word from which the translation was originally taken. It is true that the Prophet Joseph Smith followed the King James Version in the use of this word, perhaps because it had obtained common usage among the English-speaking peoples. Replenish, however, is incorrectly used in the King James translation. The Hebrew verb is Mole [pronounced Mah-lay] ... meaning fill, to fill, or make full. This word Mole is the same word which is translated fill in Genesis 1:22, in the King James Bible, wherein reference is made to the fish, fowl, and beasts of the earth." (Smith, Answers to Gospel Questions, 1:208-9.)

Genesis 2:3. What does "God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it" mean?

Genesis 2:10-14. Where was the Garden of Eden?

Genesis 2:16-17. What trees did God put in the Garden?

Genesis 2:17. What did God say about “the tree of knowledge of good and evil”?

Genesis 2:18-20. Who and what did Adam give names to?

Genesis 2:21-23. Why was Adam’s “help meet” called woman?

Genesis 3:1. The Serpent Was More Subtle Than Any Other Beast of the Field

In the Genesis account the serpent speaks to Eve and tempts her to partake of the fruit. The account does not make it clear that it is Satan speaking through the serpent. Also, Satan is symbolized elsewhere by the image of a serpent (see Revelation 12:9).

Genesis 3:3. Adam and Eve Were Not Mortal in the Garden and Did Not Fully Comprehend Good and Evil

Adam’s status before the fall was:

1. He was not subject to death.

2. He was in the presence of God ...

3. He had no posterity.

4. He was without knowledge of good and evil.

He had knowledge, of course. He could speak. He could converse. There were many things he could be taught and was taught; but under the conditions in which he was living at that time it was impossible for him to visualize or understand the power of good and evil. He did not know what pain was. He did not know what sorrow was; and a thousand other things that have come to us in this life that Adam did not know in the Garden of Eden and could not understand and would not have known had he remained there. That was his status before the fall. (Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, 1:107-8.)

Genesis 3:4-5. Ye Shall Be As Gods

The devil in tempting Eve told a truth when he said unto her that when she should eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil they should become as Gods. He told the truth in telling that, but he accompanied it with a lie as he always does. He never tells the complete truth. He said that they should not die. The Father had said that they should die. The devil had to tell a lie in order to accomplish his purposes; but there was some truth in his statement. Their eyes were opened. They had a knowledge of good and evil just as the Gods have. They became as Gods; for that is one of the features, one of the peculiar attributes of those who attain unto that glory -- they understand the difference between good and evil. (Cannon, Gospel Truth, 1:16.)

Genesis 3:6. Why Did Adam and Eve Partake of the Fruit?

Eve was deceived by Satan and partook. Knowing that she would be driven out and separated from him, Adam then partook. Paul the Apostle wrote of the Fall, “And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression” (1 Timothy 2:14).

Genesis 3:6-7. The Transgression of Adam and Eve Did Not Involve an Offense against the Laws of Chastity and Virtue

Speaking of the transgression of Adam and Eve, Elder James E. Talmage said:

"I take this occasion to raise my voice against the false interpretation of scripture, which has been adopted by certain people, and is current in their minds, and is referred to in a hushed and half-secret way, that the fall of man consisted in some offense against the laws of chastity and of virtue. Such a doctrine is an abomination ... The human race is not born of fornication. These bodies that are given unto us are given in the way that God has provided ... "Our first parents were pure and noble, and when we pass behind the veil we shall perhaps learn something of their high estate." (Jesus the Christ, p. 30.)

Genesis 3:15. What Is the Meaning of the Curse Put on Satan?

Since Satan has no body and therefore can have no literal children, his seed are those who follow him, both the one-third he led away in the premortal existence and those who follow his enticements in mortality until they come under his power. The seed of the woman refers to Jesus Christ, who was the only mortal born of an earthly mother and a Heavenly Father.

President Joseph Fielding Smith referred to what the Apostle Paul wrote:

Near the close of his epistle to the Roman saints, he said: 'And the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.' [Romans 16:20.]

The 'God of peace,' who according to the scriptures is to bruise Satan, is Jesus Christ." (Answers to Gospel Questions, 1:3.)

Genesis 3:16. What Is the Significance of the Pronouncement upon Eve?

The Lord said to the woman: "... in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children." I wonder if those who translated the Bible might have used the term distress instead of sorrow. It would mean much the same, except I think there is great gladness in most Latter-day Saint homes when there is to be a child there. As He concludes this statement he says, "and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee." (Gen. 3:16.) I have a question about the word rule. It gives the wrong impression. I would prefer to use the word preside because that’s what he does. A righteous husband presides over his wife and family. (Spencer W. Kimball, "The Blessings and Responsibilities of Womanhood," Ensign, Mar. 1976, p. 72.)

Genesis 3:16-19. Were Adam and Eve “Punished” for Their Transgression?

Genesis 3:19. The Fall of Adam Introduced Two Kinds of Death into the World

Because of Adam’s transgression, a spiritual death -- banishment from the presence of the Lord -- as well as the temporal death, were pronounced upon him. The spiritual death came at the time of the fall and banishment; and the seeds of the temporal death were also sown at that same time; that is, a physical change came over Adam and Eve, who became mortal, and were thus subject to the ills of the flesh which resulted in their gradual decline to old age and finally the separation of the spirit from the body. (Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, 1:111; for further information on the principle that spiritual death also resulted from the Fall, see D&C 29:40-41; Alma 42:7.)

Genesis 3:24. Why were Cherubim and the Flaming Sword placed at the east of the garden of Eden?

Genesis 4:3. What did Cain offer to the Lord?

Genesis 4:4. What did Abel offer to the Lord?

The Prophet Joseph Smith explained why Cain’s offering was not acceptable:

"By faith in this atonement or plan of redemption, Abel offered to God a sacrifice that was accepted, which was the firstlings of the flock. Cain offered of the fruit of the ground, and was not accepted, because he could not do it in faith, he could have no faith, or could not exercise faith contrary to the plan of heaven. It must be shedding the blood of the Only Begotten to atone for man; for this was the plan of redemption; and without the shedding of blood was no remission; and as the sacrifice was instituted for a type, by which man was to discern the great Sacrifice which God had prepared; to offer a sacrifice contrary to that, no faith could be exercised, because redemption was not purchased in that way, nor the power of atonement instituted after that order; consequently Cain could have no faith; and whatsoever is not of faith, is sin. But Abel offered an acceptable sacrifice, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God Himself testifying of his gifts. Certainly, the shedding of the blood of a beast could be beneficial to no man, except it was done in imitation, or as a type, or explanation of what was to be offered through the gift of God Himself; and this performance done with an eye looking forward in faith on the power of that great Sacrifice for a remission of sins." (Teachings, p. 58)

Genesis 4:5. How did Cain respond when the Lord did not accept his offering?

Genesis 4:9. What did Cain say when the Lord asked about Abel?

Sometimes this scripture is cited as evidence that each individual has a responsibility to love and care for his fellow men. Without question that responsibility is taught in the scriptures, but is that what Cain’s question really implies? The Hebrew word which is translated as “keeper” is shomer and means "a guard or custodian." Thus, with typical Satanic deceitfulness, Cain’s question twisted a true principle. No man has the right to be a keeper of his brethren in the sense of becoming their guard or custodian (except as assigned by civil law to guard criminals or in the case of parents and young children). And yet, for Cain to imply that he should have no concern for his fellowman, especially his literal brother, is to deny all gospel principles of love and concern for others.

Genesis 4:11-14. How was Cain punished for killing Abel?

Genesis 4:25. What did Eve say of Seth?

Genesis 5:2. What name did God give to Adam and Eve when they were created? (See also Genesis 5:2a)

Genesis 5:5. How old was Adam when he died?

Genesis 5:8. How old was Seth when he died?

Genesis 5:11. How old was Enos when he died?

Genesis 5:14. How old was Cainan when he died?

Genesis 5:17. How old was Mahalaleel when he died?

Genesis 5:20. How old was Jared when he died?

Genesis 5:21. Who was the son of Enoch?

Genesis 5:22-24. What Do We Know about Enoch?

"Four generations and some five hundred years later, according to Adam’s book of remembrance, Enoch, of Seth’s line, was called to become a great prophet-missionary-reformer. His ministry was needed, for the followers of the line and cult of Cain had become numerous, and violence was rampant already in the fifth generation after Cain (Moses 5:28–31, 47–57). Unto those who had become sensual and devilish Enoch preached repentance. The sons of God, distinguished from the 'sons of men,' were obliged to segregate themselves in a new home called 'Cainan' after their forefather, the son of Enos. (Do not confuse this Cainan with the wicked people of Canaan of Moses 7:6-10).

"Against the evils of the time, which he was called to combat (Moses 6:27-29), Enoch was successful; he was able to build up a righteous culture called 'Zion,' meaning, 'the pure in heart.' (Moses 7:18 ff.) The teachings of Enoch cover some seven major categories and embrace some information found nowhere else in scripture. He dealt with (1) the fall of man and its results; (2) the nature of salvation and the means of achieving it; (3) sin, as seen in the evils of his times, in contrast to the righteousness of the godly who were his followers; (4) the cause, purpose, and effects of the anticipated flood of Noah; (5) the scope of Satan’s triumph and the resultant sorrows of God; (6) the first advent of the Messiah; (7) the second advent of the Messiah and his peaceful, millennial reign. The details of his Gospel concepts are worth careful study and attention. Mention of this great man is also found in the New Testament (Jude 14, 15; Hebrews 11:5) and in the Doctrine and Covenants." (Rasmussen, Introduction to the Old Testament, 1:24-25.)

Genesis 5:23. How long did Enoch live?

Genesis 5:24. What happened to Enoch? (See also v. 24a; Bible Dictionary, p. 665, s.v. “Enoch”)

Genesis 5:26. What is the name of the son of Methuselah?

Genesis 5:27. How old was Methuselah when he died?

Genesis 5:21, 27. Did Methuselah Die in the Flood?

A careful examination of the record of the patriarchs in this section of Genesis shows that Methuselah died in the year of the Flood. Some have wondered why he was not taken on the ark with Noah and have concluded that he may have been wicked. The book of Moses, however, shows that the lineage given in this part of the record traces the righteous patriarchal line (see Moses 6:23), and Methuselah was in that line. Moses 8:3 records that Methuselah was not taken with the city of Enoch so that the line could be continued. Also, Methuselah prophesied that through his own seed would spring all nations of the earth (through the righteous Noah). Clearly, he too was righteous. Then is added this sentence: "And he took glory unto himself" (Moses 8:3). Once his work was done he may have been translated too, for during the nearly seven hundred years from the time the city of Enoch was translated until the time of the Flood the righteous Saints were translated and joined Enoch’s people (see Moses 7:27; see also McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, p. 804).

Although most scholars believe Methuselah’s name means “man of the javelin” or “man of the spear,” one scholar wrote the following interpretation that, if correct, would make Methuselah’s name a prophetic one:

"Methuselah lived till the very year in which the flood came, of which his name is supposed to have been prophetical ... methu, 'he dieth,' and shalach, 'he sendeth out'; as if God had designed to teach men that as soon as Methuselah died the flood should be sent forth to drown an ungodly world. If this were then so understood, even the name of this patriarch contained in it a gracious warning." (Clarke, Bible Commentary, 1:68.)

Genesis 5:30. Who was Noah’s father?

Genesis 6:1-2, 21. What Is Meant by the "Sons of God" and the "Daughters of Men"?

Moses 8:13-16 further clarifies what is meant here and why this intermarriage is condemned. Commenting on the same verses, Elder Joseph Fielding Smith wrote:

"Because the daughters of Noah married the sons of men contrary to the teachings of the Lord, his anger was kindled, and this offense was one cause that brought to pass the universal flood. You will see that the condition appears reversed in the Book of Moses. It was the daughters of the sons of God who were marrying the sons of men, which was displeasing unto the Lord. The fact was, as we see it revealed, that the daughters who had been born, evidently under the covenant, and were the daughters of the sons of God, that is to say of those who held the priesthood, were transgressing the commandment of the Lord and were marrying out of the Church. Thus they were cutting themselves off from the blessings of the priesthood contrary to the teachings of Noah and the will of God." (Answers to Gospel Questions, 1:136-37.) President Spencer W. Kimball warned Latter-day Saints today of the dangers of marrying outside of the covenant:

"Paul told the Corinthians, 'Be ye not unequally yoked together ...' Perhaps Paul wanted them to see that religious differences are fundamental differences. Religious differences imply wider areas of conflict. Church loyalties and family loyalties clash. Children’s lives are often frustrated. The nonmember may be equally brilliant, well trained and attractive, and he or she may have the most pleasing personality, but without a common faith, trouble lies ahead for the marriage. There are some exceptions but the rule is a harsh and unhappy one. "There is no bias nor prejudice in this doctrine. It is a matter of following a certain program to reach a definite goal." (Miracle of Forgiveness, p. 240.)

Genesis 6:3. What Is the Significance of the Promise of 120 Years?

Many scholars, who have only Genesis to study, believe that this statement prophesied the shortened life expectancy that would take place after the Flood. In the book of Moses, however, it is clear that the 120 years referred to the time when Noah would preach repentance and try to save the world before the Flood was sent (see Moses 8:17). This period would be the time referred to by Peter as the time when “the longsuffering of God waited” (1 Peter 3:20). Because the people rejected the principles and ordinances of the gospel, preached to them by Noah, they were destroyed in the Flood. The Lord gave them more than adequate time to repent.

Genesis 6:6-7. How Could the Lord, Being Perfect, Repent?

The Prophet Joseph Smith stated: “I believe the Bible as it read when it came from the pen of the original writers. Ignorant translators, careless transcribers, or designing and corrupt priests have committed many errors. As it read [Genesis 6:6], ‘It repented the Lord that he had made man on the earth’; also [Numbers 23:19], ‘God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the Son of man, that he should repent’; which I do not believe. But it ought to read, ‘It repented Noah that God made man.’” (Teachings, p. 327.)

Genesis 6:9. The Man Noah

“The Lord revealed to the Prophet Joseph Smith many things in relation to the ancient prophets and the keys which they held. In a discourse on the Priesthood July 2, 1839, the Prophet made known what the Lord had revealed to him in relation to the missions of the ancient prophets and seers. In the course of his remarks he said this:

“‘... Noah, who is Gabriel; he stands next in authority to Adam in the Priesthood; he was called of God to this office, and was the father of all living in his day, and to him was given the dominion. These men held keys first on earth, and then in heaven ...’ [Smith, Teachings, pp. 157-58.]

“Luke reveals the coming of the angel Gabriel to Zacharias to inform him that his wife would bear a son. He also appeared to Mary and announced the birth of our Lord and Savior.

“Gabriel then is Noah according to this revelation.” (Smith, Answers to Gospel Questions, 3:138-41.)

"Noah, who built the ark, was one of God's greatest servants, chosen before he was born as were others of the prophets. He was no eccentric, as many have supposed. Neither was he a mythical figure created only in legend. Noah was real ...

"Let no one downgrade the life and mission of this great prophet. Noah was so near perfect in his day that he literally walked and talked with God ...

"Few men in any age were as great as Noah. In many respects he was like Adam, the first man. Both had served as ministering angels in the presence of God even after their mortal experience. Adam was Michael, the archangel, but Noah was Gabriel, one of those nearest to God. Of all the hosts of heaven, he was chosen to open the Christian era by announcing to Mary that she would become the mother of the Savior, Jesus Christ. He even designated the name by which the Redeemer should be known here on earth, saying He would be the Son of God ...

“... The Lord decreed that [the earth would be cleansed] by water, a worldwide deluge. Therefore, from among his premortal spirit children, God chose another great individual -- His third in line, Gabriel -- to resume the propagation of mankind following the flood.” (Mark E. Petersen, Noah and the Flood [1982], 1-4.)

Genesis 6:10

The typical way of referring to Noah’s sons is in the order given in Genesis, that is, Shem, Ham, and Japheth. The book of Moses, however, records that Japheth was the first one of the three sons born, Shem the second, and Ham the last (see Moses 8:12).

Genesis 6:14-16. What Was the Ark Like?

“The ark: the Hebrew word means ‘box’ or ‘chest.’ It is used elsewhere only for the watertight ‘basket’ in which the baby Moses floated on the Nile -- an interesting parallel.

“The ark is vast, designed to float, not sail -- and there were no launching problems! An 18-inch cubit gives the measurements as 450 x 76 x 45 feet or 137 x 23 x 14 metres.” (Alexander and Alexander, eds., Eerdmans’ Handbook to the Bible, p. 132.)

Genesis 7:19. How Could the Flood Cover the Entire Earth, Including Mountains? What Was the Significance of This Immersion?

“I would like to know by what known law the immersion of the globe could be accomplished. It is explained here in a few words: ‘The windows of heaven were opened’ that is, the waters that exist throughout the space surrounding the earth from whence come these clouds from which the rain descends. That was one cause. Another cause was ‘the fountains of the great deep were broken up’ -- that is something beyond the oceans, something outside of the seas, some reservoirs of which we have no knowledge, were made to contribute to this event, and the waters were let loose by the hand and by the power of God; for God said He would bring a flood upon the earth and He brought it, but He had to let loose the fountains of the great deep, and pour out the waters from there, and when the flood commenced to subside, we are told ‘that the fountains also of the deep and the windows of heaven were stopped, and the rain from heaven was restrained, and the waters returned from off the earth.’ Where did they go to? From whence they came. Now, I will show you something else on the back of that. Some people talk very philosophically about tidal waves coming along. But the question is -- How could you get a tidal wave out of the Pacific ocean, say, to cover the Sierra Nevadas? But the Bible does not tell us it was a tidal wave. It simply tells that ‘all the high hills that were under the whole heaven were covered. Fifteen cubits [about 25 feet] upwards did the waters prevail; and the mountains were covered.’ That is, the earth was immersed. It was a period of baptism.” (John Taylor, in Journal of Discourses, 26:74-75.)

Orson Pratt declared:

“The first ordinance instituted for the cleansing of the earth, was that of immersion in water; it was buried in the liquid element, and all things sinful upon the face of the earth were washed away. As it came forth from the ocean floor, like the new-born child, it was innocent; it rose to newness of life. It was its second birth from the womb of mighty waters -- a new world issuing from the ruins of the old, clothed with all the innocence of this first creation.” (In Smith, Answers to Gospel Questions, 4:20.)

“The earth, in its present condition and situation, is not a fit habitation for the sanctified; but it abides the law of its creation, has been baptized with water, will be baptized by fire and the Holy Ghost, and by-and-by will be prepared for the faithful to dwell upon” (Brigham Young, in Smith, Answers to Gospel Questions, 4:20).

Genesis 8:4. Where Did Noah Land When the Ark Came to Rest?

Genesis 8:20. What did Noah build “unto the Lord”?

See also Genesis 9:1. What did the Lord say to Noah and his sons in verse 1?

Genesis 9:2-6. What Is the Law of God Regarding the Shedding of Blood?

The Rainbow as a Token of the Covenant

The following sources shed additional light on the rainbow and the covenant it is meant to signify. “And I will establish my covenant with you, which I made unto Enoch, concerning the remnants of your posterity.

“And God made a covenant with Noah, and said, This shall be the token of the covenant I make between me and you, and for every living creature with you, for perpetual generations;

“I will set my bow in the cloud; and it shall be for a token of a covenant between me and the earth. “And it shall come to pass, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the bow shall be seen in the cloud; and I will remember my covenant, which I have made between me and you, for every living creature of all flesh. And the waters shall no more become a flood to destroy all flesh.

“And the bow shall be in the cloud; and I will look upon it, that I may remember the everlasting covenant, which I made unto thy father Enoch; that when men should keep all my commandments, Zion should again come on the earth, the city of Enoch which I have caught up unto myself.

“And this is mine everlasting covenant, that when thy posterity shall embrace the truth, and look upward, then shall Zion look downward, and all the heavens shall shake with gladness, and the earth shall tremble with joy;

“And the general assembly of the church of the first-born shall come down out of heaven, and possess the earth, and shall have place until the end come. And this is mine everlasting covenant, which I made with thy father Enoch.

“And the bow shall be in the cloud, and I will establish my covenant unto thee, which I have made between me and thee, for every living creature of all flesh that shall be upon the earth.

“And God said unto Noah, This is the token of the covenant which I have established between me and thee; for all flesh that shall be upon the earth.” (JST, Genesis 9:17-25.)

“The Lord hath set the bow in the cloud for a sign that while it shall be seen, seed time and harvest, summer and winter shall not fail; but when it shall disappear, woe to that generation, for behold the end cometh quickly” (Smith, Teachings, p. 305).

“I have asked of the Lord concerning His coming; and while asking the Lord, He gave a sign and said, ‘In the days of Noah I set a bow in the heavens as a sign and token that in any year that the bow should be seen the Lord would not come; but there should be seed time and harvest during that year: but whenever you see the bow withdrawn, it shall be a token that there shall be famine, pestilence, and great distress among the nations, and that the coming of the Messiah is not far distant’” (Smith, Teachings, pp. 340-41).

Genesis 9:20-27. Why Did Noah Curse Canaan in This Event When He Was Not Even Present?

The account of Noah’s “nakedness” and the role his sons played in the event is a puzzling one, especially the part in which Noah awakens and pronounces a curse upon Canaan, the son of Ham (see Genesis 10:6), who does not even seem to be present at the time.

Genesis 10:8-9. What Sort of Man Was the Founder of Babylon?

One scholar said the following of Nimrod: “Though the words are not definite, it is very likely he was a very bad man. His name Nimrod comes from ... marad, he rebelled; and the Targum [ancient Jewish translations or paraphrases of the scriptures], on 1 Chron. i. 10, says: Nimrod began to be a mighty man in sin, a murderer of innocent men, and a rebel before the Lord. The Jerusalem Targum says: ‘He was mighty in hunting (or in prey) and in sin before God, for he was a hunter of the children of men in their languages; and he said unto them, Depart from the religion of Shem, and cleave to the institutes of Nimrod.’ The Targum of Jonathan ben Uzziel says: ‘From the foundation of the world none was ever found like Nimrod, powerful in hunting, and in warlike giant. The word ... tsayid, which we render hunter, signifies prey; and is applied in the Scriptures to the hunting of men by persecution, oppression, and tyranny. Hence it is likely that Nimrod, having acquired power, used it in tyranny and oppression; and by rapine and violence founded that domination which was the first distinguished by the name of a kingdom on the face of the earth.” (Clarke, Bible Commentary, 1:86.)

Genesis 10:9. Who was the “mighty hunter before the Lord”?

Genesis 10:25. Was the Earth Divided in the Days of Peleg?

Genesis 11:1-9. The Tower of Babel

In addition to providing an explanation for the numerous languages now found on the earth, this account of the tower of Babel shows how quickly man forgot the lessons of the Flood and turned again from the Lord.

Genesis 11:10-26. Which of Noah’s three sons was Abram (later Abraham) descended from?

This chronology of the patriarchs teaches several things. For example, Shem lived long enough that he was contemporary with the next ten generations. In other words, he was still alive when Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob were born. This circumstance is one of the reasons why some have wondered if Shem was also Melchizedek.

Many scholars believe that Eber’s name was used to designate his descendants, called the Hebrews, just as Shem’s descendants were called Shemites (Semite peoples), and Canaan’s descendants were called the Canaanites.

Genesis 11:31 makes it appear that Terah directed his entire family to leave Ur and go to Canaan by way of Haran.

Genesis 12:1-4

Abraham, while living in Haran, received a call to leave his country and family and go southwest to a new land. He then departed from Haran and went to Canaan. Earlier, the Lord had called Abraham from Ur, which is near the mouth of the Euphrates, and led him northwesterly to Haran. Thus, Abraham was directed by the Lord to move twice in these early years. The Lord continued to lead him from place to place.

Genesis 12:5

Given here is evidence that Abraham was a preacher and a gatherer of souls wherever he went.

Genesis 12:10. Why did Abram go to Egypt?

Genesis 12:17. Why did the Lord send great plagues to Pharaoh and his house?

Genesis 12:10-20. Why Did Abraham Call Sarah His Sister?

The idea that Abraham, the great man of righteousness, deceived Pharaoh in order to protect his own life has troubled many students of the Old Testament. That his life was in danger because of Sarah’s beauty seems quite clear. It seems peculiar, but whereas the Egyptian pharaohs had a strong aversion to committing adultery with another man’s wife, they had no qualms about murdering the man to free his spouse for remarriage.

Genesis 12:18-20. What did Pharaoh do?

Genesis 13:6-7. Why were Abram and Lot unable to dwell together?

Genesis 13:8-9. How did Abram solve the problem?

Genesis 13:10-11. Where did Lot go to live? Why?

Genesis 13:13. Why did God judge the men of Sodom to be wicked?

Genesis 13:14-17. How Can Abraham’s Seed Have the Land "Forever"?

"the meek ... shall inherit the earth" (Matthew 5:5). Thus, Abraham’s seed (the faithful) will have the earth throughout all eternity as well as during mortality.

Genesis 13:14-15. What did the Lord say to Abram after Lot had left?

Genesis 13:17-18. Where did Abram settle?

Genesis 14:1-7

In this listing of conquests by the alliance of five kings, it must be remembered that anciently the most typical political entity was a small city-state wherein the king presided over one major city and the surrounding area. This territory was sometimes expanded, but kings in those days did not rule over large countries or kingdoms. Sodom had a king, Gomorrah a king, and so on.

Genesis 14:1-11. Who and what did the kings take from Sodom and Gomorrah?

Genesis 14:12-16. Who and what did Abram bring back?

Genesis 14:18. Who Was Melchizedek? What did Melchizedek, king of Salem, do when Abram returned?

His position in the priestly hierarchy of God’s earthly kingdom was like unto that of Abraham (Heb. 7:4-10), his contemporary whom he blessed (Gen. 14:18-20; Heb. 7:1), and upon whom he conferred the priesthood.

In ancient Jewish traditions Melchizedek is often thought to be Shem, the son of Noah. Melchizedek is a title meaning “king of righteousness,” even though it is also used as a proper name. A modern writer examined the question of whether Shem and Melchizedek could be the same person and concluded that, while we cannot say for sure, the possibility is clearly there.

Genesis 14:20. To whom did Abram pay his tithing?

Genesis 14:21-24. Why did Abram refuse to accept the goods offered by the king of Sodom?

Genesis 15:1:3. What did Abram desire from the Lord?

Genesis 15:4-5. What did the Lord show Abram?

Genesis 15:13-16. What did Abram learn about his descendants?

Genesis 16:1-3. Why did Sarai give Hagar to Abram?

According to the custom of the time, Sarah’s giving her handmaid, Hagar, to be a wife to Abraham was an expected and logical act (see Clarke, Bible Commentary, 1:109-11).

Genesis 16:4. Why was Sarai despised by Hagar?

Genesis 16:5. What did Sarai say to Abram?

Genesis 16:6. Why did Hagar leave?

Genesis 16:7-10. What did the angel of the Lord say to Hagar?

Genesis 16:11-12. What does the name Ishmael mean?

The Hebrew word Ishmael literally means, “God hears” (v. 11a). In verse 12 he is called a “wild man,” or in Hebrew, a "wild ass," which metaphor implies one who loves freedom. This metaphor could be a prophetic description of the nomadic life of the descendants of Ishmael (see v. 12a).

Genesis 17:2-14. What was to be the sign of the covenant? (See also Genesis 17:13a)

The word circumcision comes from the Latin words meaning "to cut around." It was instituted by revelation as a sign or token that one was of the covenant seed of Abraham. In many places the Lord speaks of true circumcision as being the circumcision of the heart. The heart that is "circumcised" is one that loves God and is obedient to the Spirit. The "uncircumcised in heart" are wicked, proud, and rebellious (Ezekiel 44:7; see also Deuteronomy 10:16; 30:6; Jeremiah 4:4; Ezekiel 44:7; Acts 7:51; Romans 2:25–29; Colossians 2:11).

Genesis 17:5. Why was Abram’s name changed to Abraham?

Genesis 17:6-7. What two things did the Lord covenant to do for Abraham and his seed?

Genesis 17:15. What does the name Sarah mean?

Genesis 17:16. How was Sarah to be blessed?

Genesis 17:17. How did Abraham respond to Sarah’s blessing?

Genesis 17:18-21. With whom would God establish his covenant?

The birthright was given to Isaac, the first son of the first wife, rather than to Ishmael, who was the first son of Abraham and Hagar and was about fourteen years older than Isaac. The Lord made it clear that in accordance with the original promise Abraham’s son by Sarah would bear the covenant responsibility. Yet, Ishmael, through his twelve sons, was also to be the father of a great nation.

Genesis 17:23. When were Abraham and all the males of his house circumcised?

Genesis 18:1-2. Who visited with Abraham?

Genesis 18:9-10. What message did they deliver to Abraham and Sarah?

Genesis 18:11-12. How did Sarah react when she heard the news that she was to conceive and bear a son?

Genesis 18:19. "He Will Command His Children ... and They Shall Keep the Way of the Lord"

This verse records one of the keys to Abraham’s righteousness. Not only did he keep the commandments but he taught his household to do so too. Of this fact President Kimball said:

"Abraham’s desire to do God’s will in all things led him to preside over his family in righteousness. Despite all his other responsibilities, he knew that if he failed to teach and exemplify the gospel to his children he would have failed to fulfill the most important stewardship he had received." ("The Example of Abraham," Ensign, June 1975, p. 5.)

Genesis 18:22-33. How many righteous people were to be found to save Sodom from destruction?

Genesis 19:1. How many angels went to Sodom?

Genesis 19:3. What did Lot do for them?

Genesis 19:4-5. Why did the men of Sodom go to Lot’s house?

Genesis 19:4-11. Why Did Lot Offer His Daughters to the Wicked Sodomites?

Many scholars have tried to justify Lot’s shocking offer of his daughters as substitutes for the men on the basis of the strict laws of hospitality and protection that prevailed in the ancient Middle East.

Genesis 19:11. Why were the men unable to break down Lot’s door?

Genesis 19:13. What Was the Wickedness of Sodom and Gomorrah?

In the Genesis account it is clear that the people of these two cities had become extremely immoral, engaging in homosexuality and other abuses. But the prophet Ezekiel gave greater insight when he said, "Behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom, pride, fulness of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy. And they were haughty, and committed abomination before me: therefore I took them away as I saw good" (Ezekiel 16:49-50). James said that pure religion was to "visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep [oneself] unspotted from the world" (James 1:27). Sodom and Gomorrah not only had partaken of the filthiness of sexual immorality but had rejected their fellow men in need.

Genesis 19:13. Why had the Lord sent the three angels to Sodom?

Genesis 19:14. How was Lot’s warning to leave received by his sons-in-law?

Genesis 19:23-25. How were Sodom and Gomorrah destroyed?

Genesis 19:26. Why did Lot’s wife become a pillar of salt?

The account of Lot’s wife being turned into a pillar of salt has puzzled many commentators. Was this event a literal thing, or was it figurative? There are two indications in the scriptures that the phrase "looked back" was an idiomatic way of saying "she turned back" or "returned to Sodom." When warning the disciples of the destruction which was going to come upon Jerusalem, the Savior warned them to flee without delay, not even going into the house to get their possessions. Jesus said, "And he that is in the field, let him likewise not return back. Remember Lot’s wife" (Luke 17:31–32; emphasis added). He then admonished them that he who seeks to save his life will lose it, and he who loses his life will find it.

Genesis 19:30-38. The Sin of Lot’s Daughters

The account of the incestuous seduction of Lot by his two daughters is a shocking one but one which, again, illustrates that the Old Testament records the evils of the people as well as their righteousness. There is no way to justify the wickedness of what the two daughters did, although it may be better understood when it is considered that the daughters may have thought that the whole world had been destroyed in the holocaust that befell Sodom and Gomorrah and that Lot was the only source of children left to them. Moses may have included this account in the record because it shows the beginnings of the Moabites and the Ammonites, two peoples that would play an important role in the history of the people of Israel.

Genesis 20:2. What did Abraham say of Sarah?

Abraham could validly state that Sarah was his sister. In the Bible the Hebrew words brother and sister are often used for other blood relatives (see Genesis 14:14, in which Lot, Abraham’s nephew, is called “his brother”). Because Abraham and Haran, Sarah’s father, were brothers, Sarah was Abraham’s niece and thus could be called sister. The accompanying pedigree chart shows this relationship.

Another ancient custom that might shed light on the relationship permitted a woman to be adopted as a man’s sister upon their marriage to give her greater legal and social status (see Encyclopaedia Judaica, s.v. “Sarah,” 14:866).

Genesis 20:3-18. Why did God not destroy Abimelech?

Genesis 20:12. How was Sarah Abraham’s sister?

Genesis 20:18. How did God punish the house of Abimelech? Why?

Genesis 21:4. What did Abraham do when Isaac was eight days old?

Genesis 21:9-11. Why did Sarah ask Abraham to cast out Hagar and Ishmael?

Genesis 21:12-13. How was Abraham comforted?

Genesis 21:14. What did Abraham do early in the morning?

Genesis 21:15-20. How were Hagar and Ishmael saved in the wilderness? Why?

Genesis 21:21. From what land did Hagar obtain a wife for Ishmael?

Genesis 21:22-26. What covenant did Abraham make with Abimelech?

Genesis 21:27-34. Why did Abraham give Abimelech seven ewe lambs?

Genesis 22:1. Why did the Lord visit Abraham?

The word translated as "tempt" in the King James Version comes from the Hebrew word nissah, which means "to test, try, or prove." The test given to Abraham had two aspects. First, he was asked to give up something very precious to him. To kill one’s child would be horrible enough but to kill the child that had come after decades of fruitless waiting, the child promised by holy men sent from God, the child in whom the covenant was to be fulfilled, must have been a test beyond comprehension. The willingness of Abraham to give up something as dear as Isaac sharply contrasts with the reluctance of the rich young ruler who asked the Savior what he must do to be saved. When told he should sell all of his possessions and follow the Master, "he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions" (Matthew 19:22).

Genesis 22:2. What did the Lord require of Abraham?

Genesis 22:3-9. What did Abraham do "early in the morning"?

Genesis 22:10-14. What happened as Abraham was about to kill Isaac?

Genesis 22:15-19. How was Abraham blessed? Why?

Genesis 23:1-4. What did Abraham desire of the sons of Heth?

Genesis 23:5-6. What was their reply?

Genesis 23:7-20. How was the ownership of the field and cave "made sure unto Abraham"? (Genesis 23:20)

Genesis 24:3. What oath did the servant swear to Abraham?

Genesis 24:12-14. What did the servant request of God?

Genesis 24:15. What happened before the servant had finished speaking?

Genesis 24:24. How was Rebekah’s grandfather related to Abraham?

Genesis 24:32. What did Laban do for Abraham’s servants?

Genesis 24:50-51. What did Laban and Bethuel say to the servant?

Genesis 24:57-58. What did Rebekah’s family say to her before she left?

Genesis 24:67. How did Isaac feel toward Rebekah?

Genesis 25:5. To whom did Abraham give all that he had?

Genesis 25:6. What did Abraham give to his other sons?

Genesis 25:7. How old was Abraham when he died?

Genesis 25:8. What Does It Mean When the Record Says Abraham "Was Gathered to His People"?

The early patriarchs had a clear knowledge of gospel principles taught to them from Adam down to Abraham. The phrase "gathered to his people" is one more evidence of their gospel knowledge. Two Bible scholars commented on the significance of that phrase: “This expression ... denotes the reunion in Sheol with friends who have gone before, and therefore presupposes faith in the personal continuance of a man after death, as a presentiment which the promises of God had exalted in the case of the patriarchs into a firm assurance of faith [see Hebrews 11:13]” (Keil and Delitzsch, Commentary, 1:1:263). Sheol is the Hebrew word for the world of spirits where one goes when one dies, the equivalent of the spirit world. The Hebrews had not only a concept of life after death but also a correct concept of the intermediate place between death and the Resurrection.

Genesis 25:9-10. Who buried Abraham?

Genesis 25:16. The Twelve Tribes of Ishmael

The twelve tribes who eventually descended from Jacob are much discussed, but it should be remembered that another twelve tribes also came from Ishmael.

Genesis 25:21. "Because She Was Barren"

The brevity of the historical account in Genesis tends to compress the time it covers. The simple statement about Rebekah’s barrenness is more poignant when one remembers the great value people placed on childbearing in those times and that Isaac and Rebekah went childless for twenty years (see vv. 20, 26).

Genesis 25:22-23. Why did the children struggle in Rebekah’s womb?

Genesis 25:27-28. Why did Isaac love Esau?

In contrast to Esau, who is described as a "cunning hunter," Jacob is called a "plain man" (v. 27). The Hebrew word used there means "whole, complete, or perfect," so it is a very positive adjective.

The loved of verse 28 is used in the sense of "favored" or "preferred." Thus, Isaac favored Esau and Rebekah favored Jacob.

Genesis 25:29-34. Why did Esau sell his birthright to Isaac for the pottage?

Genesis 25:30

Edom means “red.” The Edomites (descendants of Esau) played a significant role in the Old Testament, usually as antagonists to the Israelites. They inhabited the territory in and about Mount Seir between the Dead Sea and the Red Sea (see Genesis 36). Esau’s descendants today are also found among the Arab nations.

Genesis 25:32

This rationalization seems to reflect more scorn than hunger. Jacob would almost certainly have succored Esau freely if his life were in jeopardy. The point of this account seems to be primarily to show how little value Esau placed on the birthright. His immediate bodily needs were more important to him than the rights of the covenant. Additional evidence of this attitude is Esau’s marriages to Canaanite women, which broke the covenant line (see Genesis 26:34-35).

The birthright itself should have been a treasured thing. Elder Bruce R. McConkie wrote:

"It appears that anciently under the Patriarchal Order certain special blessings, rights, powers, and privileges -- collectively called the birthright -- passed from the father to his firstborn son (Gen. 43:33). In later ages special blessings and prerogatives have been poured out upon all the worthy descendants of some who gained special blessings and birthrights anciently. Justification for this system, in large part, lies in the pre-existent preparation and training of those born in the lines destined to inherit preferential endowments."

In the patriarchal order this birthright was passed from father to son, who was often, but not always, the eldest son. Righteousness was a more important factor than being the firstborn.

Genesis 25:32

This rationalization seems to reflect more scorn than hunger. Jacob would almost certainly have succored Esau freely if his life were in jeopardy. The point of this account seems to be primarily to show how little value Esau placed on the birthright. His immediate bodily needs were more important to him than the rights of the covenant. Additional evidence of this attitude is Esau’s marriages to Canaanite women, which broke the covenant line (see Genesis 26:34-35).

The birthright itself should have been a treasured thing. Elder Bruce R. McConkie wrote:

"It appears that anciently under the Patriarchal Order certain special blessings, rights, powers, and privileges -- collectively called the birthright -- passed from the father to his firstborn son (Gen. 43:33). In later ages special blessings and prerogatives have been poured out upon all the worthy descendants of some who gained special blessings and birthrights anciently. Justification for this system, in large part, lies in the pre-existent preparation and training of those born in the lines destined to inherit preferential endowments."

In the patriarchal order this birthright was passed from father to son, who was often, but not always, the eldest son. Righteousness was a more important factor than being the firstborn.

Genesis 26:1-2. What did the Lord say to Isaac?

Genesis 26:7. Why did Isaac say Rebekah was his sister?

Genesis 26:11. What did Abimelech tell his people about Isaac and Rebekah?

Genesis 26:12-15. How did Isaac become great?

Genesis 26:16. What did Abimelech say to Isaac? Why?

Genesis 26:17-23. What did Isaac do?

Genesis 26:26-29. Why did Abimelech visit Isaac?

Genesis 27:1-4. What did Isaac request of Esau?

Genesis 27:5-10. What did Rebekah say to Jacob?

Genesis 27:28-29. What blessing did Jacob receive from Isaac?

The story of how Jacob obtained the birthright blessing from Isaac with the help of his mother is a troubling one in many respects. Typically, commentators come to one of two conclusions: either they emphasize Esau’s unworthiness for the birthright and therefore justify the deception, or else they criticize Jacob’s shrewd and crafty nature.

A more complete knowledge of gospel principles, however, may pose some additional problems. Can a person deceive a patriarch and get a blessing that belongs to someone else? Was Jacob a deceitful and crafty man? Was Isaac blindly favorable to certain children? Can one be dishonest and still get a valid patriarchal blessing?

Genesis 27:36. What does the name Jacob mean?

Genesis 27:39-40. What blessing did Esau receive from Isaac?

"Esau was also blessed -- with the bounties of the earth, and with the potential to cast off the yoke of oppression; but like most of us he valued what he had lost after it was gone and rued the day he had traded the birthright off to Jacob. He bitterly resolved to get revenge by fratricide when he saw the blessing of transmittal of the birthright actually confirmed upon the head of him to whom he had bartered the right to it. The alert and resourceful Rebekah averted a double tragedy (loss of both sons -- one by murder and one by execution, as the law of Genesis 9:6 would require) by proposing to Isaac that they send Jacob away to find a proper wife in her home land. Thus she would remove him from harm proposed by Esau until feelings could cool. The proposition that he be sent for a proper wife apparently was approved immediately by Isaac, for doubtless he saw that it was true, as Rebekah said, that their life’s mission would be frustrated if Jacob married as Esau had." (Rasmussen, Introduction to the Old Testament, 1:47.)

Genesis 27:41. How did Esau feel toward Jacob?

Genesis 27:42-46. Where did Rebekah send Jacob?

Genesis 28:1-4. What charge and blessing were given to Jacob by Isaac?

Genesis 28:5. Where did Isaac send Jacob?

Genesis 28:10-19. What did the Lord tell Jacob in his dreams?

President Marion G. Romney explained why this vision of heaven was shown in the form of a ladder and why the name of the place where it happened was called Bethel:

“When Jacob traveled from Beersheba toward Haran, he had a dream in which he saw himself on the earth at the foot of a ladder that reached to heaven where the Lord stood above it. He beheld angels ascending and descending thereon, and Jacob realized that the covenants he made with the Lord there were the rungs on the ladder that he himself would have to climb in order to obtain the promised blessings -- blessings that would entitle him to enter heaven and associate with the Lord.

“Because he had met the Lord and entered into covenants with him there, Jacob considered the site so sacred that he named the place Bethel, a contraction of Beth-Elohim, which means literally ‘the House of the Lord.’ He said of it: ‘... this is none other but the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.’ (Gen. 28:17.)

“Jacob not only passed through the gate of heaven, but by living up to every covenant he also went all the way in. Of him and his forebears Abraham and Isaac, the Lord has said: ‘... because they did none other things than that which they were commanded, they have entered into their exaltation, according to the promises, and sit upon thrones, and are not angels but are gods.’ (D&C 132:37.).” (“Temples -- The Gates to Heaven,” Ensign, Mar. 1971, p. 16.)

Genesis 28:20-22. What vow did Jacob make to the Lord?

Genesis 29:1-9. Whom did Jacob meet at the well?

Genesis 29:12. How Were Jacob and His Wives Related?

Abraham married Sarah, who was his niece; Isaac married Rebekah, who was his first cousin once removed; and Jacob married Leah and Rachel, who were his first cousins.

Genesis 29:13-14. How was Jacob received by Laban?

Genesis 29:17. Leah was "Tender Eyed"

The Hebrew word translated as "tender" means "soft, delicate, or lovely." The fact that this trait is emphasized for Leah, while Rachel is described as "beautiful and well-favoured," that is, beautiful in every respect, seems to suggest that Leah’s eyes were her most attractive feature.

Genesis 29:15-18. What did Jacob ask of Laban for wages?

Genesis 29:23-26. Why did Laban give Leah to Jacob?

Here is given the first glimpse of Laban’s crafty nature. After promising Rachel to Jacob for seven years of service, Laban sent Leah to Jacob’s tent to consummate the marriage. The modern reader may find it hard to believe that Jacob did not discover the switch until it was morning; however, the following possibilities could explain the success of Laban’s ruse. As sisters, Rachel and Leah may have been quite similar in height, weight, and general appearance. Second, the women of Haran sometimes veiled themselves (see Genesis 24:65). Third, Laban was a shepherd. If he was a typical shepherd of ancient times, he dwelt in tents instead of in permanent dwellings. The inside of a tent at night can be very dark. And finally, knowing what the reaction of Jacob would be if he discovered the substitution early, Laban may have told Leah to speak as little as possible so as not to give the deception away before it was too late to change it.

Though Laban demanded another seven years for Rachel’s hand, he allowed Jacob to marry her once the seven days of wedding feasts for Leah were finished and to fulfill his indebtedness after the marriage. The gift of the handmaidens to each daughter made the servants the direct property of each wife, not of Jacob. Thus, later, when the handmaids had children, the children were viewed legally as the children of Rachel and Leah.

Genesis 29:27-30. How many years did Jacob work for Rachel?

Genesis 29:31. Did Jacob "Hate" Leah?

The Hebrew word sahnay does not mean "hate" as the term is used today, but rather conveys the idea of "loving less." A better translation would be, "when the Lord saw that Leah was loved less or was not as favored," he opened her womb.

Genesis 29:32-35. What did the Lord do for Leah? Why?

The scriptures in this chapter indicate that each child born to Jacob was given a name which reflected the feelings of his parents. There was a tremendous competitive spirit between the wives. Being able to bear a male child for their husband was a great honor. Rachel apparently was very sad that she did not have a child until later in her life. When she finally bore a son the name she gave him indicated her feeling for him and the hope she had in the future.

Genesis 30:1. Why did Rachel envy Leah?

Genesis 30:3. Whom did Rachel give to Jacob? Why?

Genesis 30:14-16. What are mandrakes?

Although Bible scholars are not sure exactly what plant is meant by the word mandrake, the significance of this plant to Rachel and Leah is clear. "The Hebrew name denotes love fruit. The fruit had a pleasant taste and odor, and was supposed to ensure conception." In other words, the mandrakes were thought to enhance a woman’s fertility and ability to have children. Knowledge of this belief helps explain the interchange between Rachel and Leah.

Genesis 30:22-24. Who was the first son of Rachel?

MotherNameMeaningReason for Name
LeahReubenSee a sonJoy for having a son (see Genesis 29:32)
LeahSimeonHearingBecause the Lord heard that she was hated (see Genesis 29:33)
LeahLeviJoined"This time will my husband be joined unto me (Genesis 29:34)
LeahJudahPraise"Now I will praise the Lord (Genesis 29:35)
BilhahDanJudging"God hath judged me" (Genesis 30:6)
BilhahNaphtaliWrestling"With great wrestlings have I wrestled with my sister" (Genesis 30:8)
ZilpahGadTroop"Leah said, A troop cometh" (Genesis 30:11)
ZilpahAsherMy happiness"Leah said, Happy am I" (Genesis 30:13)
LeahIssacharA rewardGod hath given me my reward (Genesis 30:18)
LeahZebulunDwelling"Now will my husband dwell with me" (Genesis 30:20)
RachelJosephAdding"The Lord shall add to me another son" (Genesis 30:24)
RachelBenjaminSon of my right hand"You are the son of my right hand" (Genesis 35:18)

Genesis 30:27. Why did Laban want Jacob to stay?

Genesis 30:31-33. What agreement did Jacob and Laban make?

Genesis 30:37-43. How did Jacob increase his flocks?

Jacob’s peeling of branches and placing them before the animals so that when they conceived they would bear multicolored offspring seems to be a reflection of a common superstition that the conception of offspring is influenced by what the mother experiences or sees at the time of conception. Nothing is known by modern science to explain any relationship between what Jacob did and what happened in the hereditary patterns of the animals. Perhaps something is missing from the text. Perhaps the Lord was just taking advantage of the virility of crossbred animals. Divine intervention certainly played a part. In any event, Jacob’s herds grew and the Lord blessed him. Also, Jacob’s separation of the flocks (v. 40) follows principles of good animal husbandry and would have increased the likelihood of having multi-colored animals.

Genesis 31:3. What did the Lord instruct Jacob to do?

Genesis 31:4

It is significant to note that Jacob counseled with his wives on the important move he was contemplating. Often modern scholars claim that woman in the Old Testament were of low status and were treated as property by their husbands. But this example, and others like it, show that such was not the case.

Genesis 31:4-12. How had God blessed Jacob for his loyalty to Laban?

Genesis 31:7

Jacob’s comment that Laban changed his wages ten times cannot be documented in the record -- that is, ten times cannot be counted. But the nature of Laban makes it not unlikely that once Jacob began to prosper, Laban kept changing the terms of their agreement. Nevertheless, the Lord continued to bless Jacob temporally.

Genesis 31:14-16. What did Leah and Rachel say to Jacob?

Genesis 31:19. What had Rachel stolen?

Genesis 31:19. What Were the Images of Laban?

There is much debate among scholars about what the images were that were stolen by Rachel and what they represented. The Hebrew word which is sometimes used for small images of false gods is teraphim. Some translators render the word as "household gods." Was Laban an idolator? If so, why did Jacob go all the way back to Haran to find a wife if they were idolators like the Canaanites? Others believe they were astrological devices used for telling the future. But this suggestion raises the same question. One scholar theorized that these images were somehow tied in with the legal rights of inheritance (see Guthrie, New Bible Commentary, p. 104). If this theory is correct, the possessor of the teraphim had the right to inherit the father’s property. This circumstance would explain why Rachel stole the images, since her father had "stolen" her inheritance (see Genesis 31:14-16). It would also explain Laban’s extreme agitation over their loss and Jacob’s severe penalty offered against the guilty party (see Genesis 31:31).

Genesis 31:26-30. What did Laban say to Jacob when they met?

Genesis 31:44-53. What covenant did Jacob and Laban make with each other?

Genesis 32:1. Who met Jacob when he returned home?

Genesis 32:4-5. What message did Jacob send to Esau?

Genesis 32:7-8. What did Jacob do because he was “greatly afraid”? (Genesis 32:7)

Genesis 32:13-23. Why did Jacob send his gifts as he did?

Genesis 32:24-32. The Wrestling of Jacob -- What Was It?

Most scholars believe Jacob wrestled with an angel, but President Joseph Fielding Smith explained why this explanation could not be true:

"Who wrestled with Jacob on Mount Peniel? The scriptures say it was a man. The Bible interpreters say it was an angel. More than likely it was a messenger sent to Jacob to give him the blessing. To think he wrestled and held an angel who couldn't get away, is out of the question. The term angel as used in the scriptures, at times, refers to messengers who are sent with some important instruction. Later in this chapter when Jacob said he had beheld the Lord, that did not have reference to his wrestling." (Doctrines of Salvation, 1:17.)

Genesis 32:27-28. Why was Jacob’s name changed to Israel? (See also v. 28b)

Genesis 32:30. Why did Jacob call the name of the place Peniel? (See also v. 30a)

Genesis 33:1-2

Some have criticized Jacob’s arrangement of the camp because it appears that he is putting the handmaids and their children in the most dangerous position. It would be a natural thing, however, in the Middle East for a clan leader to show off his family and possessions in such a way that the best and most highly favored is saved until last (see Clarke, Bible Commentary, 1:205).

Genesis 33:4. How did Esau greet Jacob?

Genesis 33:10. Why did Jacob want Esau to keep his gifts?

Genesis 33:13. Why did Jacob choose not to go with Esau to Sier?

Genesis 33:17. What did Jacob do in Succoth?

Genesis 34:2. What did Shechem do when he saw Dinah?

The Hebrew word that is translated "took" in the phrase "he took her" can mean "to take away, sometimes with violence and force; to take possession, to capture, to seize upon" (Wilson, Old Testament Word Studies, s.v. “take,” p. 435). Commenting on the phrase that Shechem "spake kindly unto the damsel" (Genesis 34:3), one scholar said it means:

"Literally, he spake to the heart of the damsel -- endeavoured to gain her affections, and to reconcile her to her disgrace. It appears sufficiently evident from this and the preceding verse that there had been no consent on the part of Dinah, that the whole was an act of violence, and that she was now detained by force in the house of Shechem. Here she was found when Simeon and Levi sacked the city, verse 26." (Clarke, Bible Commentary, 1:207.)

The outrage of Simeon and Levi was justified, but to deceitfully set up a whole town for slaughter on the pretext of bringing them into the covenant was an evil and wicked thing. Jacob’s blessings on these two sons just prior to his death (see Genesis 49:5-7) show that neither he nor the Lord condoned this act.

Genesis 34:14-17. Upon what condition did the sons of Jacob consent to giving Dinah to Shechem?

Genesis 34:25-29. What did Simeon and Levi do?

Genesis 34:30-31. What was Jacob’s response to their actions?

Genesis 35:1. What did God tell Jacob to do?

Genesis 35:2-3. What did Jacob say to all his household?

Genesis 35:3. Why did the neighboring cities not pursue Jacob?

Genesis 35:5. What did God say to Jacob?

Genesis 35:7. What did Jacob build in El-beth-el, and why?

Genesis 35:8. Where was Rebekah's nurse buried?

Genesis 35:9. Where did God appear unto Jacob?

Genesis 35:10. What name did God give to Jacob, and why?

Genesis 35:11-13. What blessing did God give to Jacob?

Genesis 35:14-15. What did Jacob do to honor God?

Genesis 35:16-20. What happened to Rachel when Benjamin was born?

Genesis 35:21-22. Reuben Loses the Birthright

The inclusion of the brief account of Reuben’s immorality in the historical account may seem unusual, but it explains why Reuben, the firstborn of Leah, forfeited the birthright. Since Rachel was the second wife, her firstborn would then by right inherit the forfeited blessing. Joseph thus was the next legal heir in line, even though he was the eleventh son born (1 Chronicles 5:1–3 specifically ties Reuben’s loss of the birthright to his transgression and shows how it went to Joseph). The firstborn sons of the handmaids, Bilhah and Zilpah, would not be considered since they were the property of their mistresses and their children were also technically considered Rachel’s and Leah’s property.

Genesis 35:23-26. Who were the sons of Jacob?

Genesis 35:27-29. How old was Isaac when he died? Who buried him?

Genesis 36:1. Whose descendants are listed in Genesis 36?

Genesis 36:1, 8. What does the name Edom mean?

Genesis 36:8. Where did Esau live?

Genesis 36:9. Who was Esau the father of?

Genesis 36:15. The term "dukes" means "tribal chiefs."

Genesis 37:2. How old was Joseph?

Genesis 37:3. Who did Israel love more than all his other children? What did Israel make for him?

There is some question as to what Joseph's coat actually was. The Hebrew word denotes "a long coat with sleeves ... i.e. an upper coat reaching to the wrists and ankles, such as noblemen and kings' daughters wore" (Keil and Delitzsch, Commentary, 1:1:335; note also 2 Samuel 13:18, which says that the daughters of King David wore similar coats). The coat may have been of different colors, but its significance seems to have been far more than its brightness and beauty. One noted scholar suggested that it was "a tunic reaching to the palms of the hands and soles of the feet; the long tunic with sleeves worn by young men and maidens of the better class; in the case of Joseph, supposed by Bush ... to have been the badge of the birthright which has been forfeited by Reuben and transferred to Joseph" (Wilson, Old Testament Word Studies, s.v. "colour," p. 82).

If indeed this coat signaled that Joseph held the birthright, which may have been in question among the brothers because there were four firstborn sons in Jacob’s family, this fact would explain the intense hostility and jealousy the coat provoked among the other sons of Jacob. The following brothers could easily have thought that they should have had the birthright.

Reuben. He was the firstborn of all the sons. Although he had lost the right, he may not have accepted that fact.

Simeon. Since he was the second son of Leah and next in line following Reuben, he could have assumed the birthright would come to him after Reuben lost his right to it.

Judah. He could have argued that not only Reuben had lost the right, but so had Simeon and Levi, through the massacre of the Shechemites (see Genesis 34). The disqualification of these sons would make him the rightful legal heir.

Dan. Because his mother, Bilhah, was considered Rachel’s property, he could argue that he was Rachel’s firstborn, not Joseph, and therefore should have received the birthright when Reuben lost it.

Gad. He was the firstborn son of Zilpah and therefore could easily have thought he should have taken the birthright after Reuben forfeited it. Joseph's dreams (see Genesis 37:5-11), which clearly signified future leadership, only added to the resentment among the brothers.

Genesis 37:5-9. What did Joseph dream? How did his brothers feel about him?

Genesis 37:21. Who counseled his brothers not to kill Joseph?

Genesis 37:23-28. How was Joseph taken to Egypt?

Genesis 37:28. How much was Joseph's brothers paid?

The price received for Joseph, twenty pieces of silver, is the same price specified later in the Mosaic law for a slave between the ages of five and twenty (see Leviticus 27:5). Typically, the price for a slave was thirty pieces of silver (see Exodus 21:32).

Genesis 37:31-34. What did Joseph’s brothers tell Jacob?

Genesis 37:36. Who was Potiphar? (See also v. 36c, d)

The Hebrew phrase which is translated as "captain of the guards" literally means "chief of the butchers or slaughterers." From this meaning some scholars have thought that he was the chief cook or steward in the house of the pharaoh, but other scholars believe that butcher or slaughterer is used in the sense of executioner, and thus Potiphar was the "commanding officer of the royal body-guard, who executed the capital sentences ordered by the king" (Keil and Delitzsch, Commentary, 1:1:338). Either way, Potiphar was an important man, but the latter position especially would give him great power and status in Egypt.

Genesis 38:1-5. Who did Judah marry, and what were the names of his children?

Genesis 38:6. Who was Tamar?

Genesis 38:7. Why did the Lord slay Er, Judah’s firstborn?

Genesis 38:12-26. Why did Tamar play the harlot?

Genesis 27-30. What were the names of Tamar's sons?

Genesis 39:3. What did Potiphar notice about Joseph?

Genesis 39:5. Why did the Lord bless Potiphar?

Genesis 39:6. What kind of person was Joseph?

Genesis 39:9. What Were Joseph's Reasons for Refusing Potiphar's Wife?

Joseph's answer to the advances of Potiphar's wife shows his great personal righteousness. King Benjamin taught the Nephites that "when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God" (Mosiah 2:17). If that principle were to be stated negatively, it would read, "When ye are exploiting or sinning against your fellow beings, you are only sinning against God." Joseph understood this principle perfectly and answered Potiphar's wife by pointing out that it would be a terrible thing to take advantage of his master in this way. He took the next logical step when he added, "How then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?" (Genesis 39:9).

Genesis 39:11-13. What did Joseph do?

Genesis 39:17-20. What did she tell Potiphar when he returned?

Because Potiphar had great power with the pharaoh and perhaps was even head of the royal executioners, it is remarkable that Joseph was only put into prison and not executed. A slave accused of attempting to rape his master's wife would seem to have deserved the most severe punishment, and yet Joseph was only imprisoned. Could it be that Potiphar, knowing of Joseph’s character and his wife’s character, suspected the truth and, although he felt compelled to take action, chose comparatively lenient punishment? Whatever the case, the hand of the Lord certainly preserved Joseph from what would otherwise have been almost certain death.

Genesis 39:21-23. How did the Lord bless Joseph in prison?

The spiritual greatness of Joseph is a remarkable thing. How many people have become bitter over some real or imagined slight, or blamed the Lord for some personal tragedy? In the very midst of being faithful and holding true to that which is right, Joseph was falsely accused and thrown into prison. How easy it would have been for him to give up, to say, "What’s the use of trying to serve God? All He does is punish me." But there was not a trace of bitterness, no blaming the Lord. Joseph just continued being righteous and faithful. Unselfishly he offered to interpret the dreams of his two fellow prisoners, telling them that the knowledge came from God (see Genesis 40:8). He still trusted in the Lord, although he must have felt doomed to spend his life in prison. If any person had cause for discouragement and bitterness, it was Joseph, but he never faltered in his faith. Truly, Joseph is a model to be emulated.

Genesis 40:1. Why were Pharaoh’s butler and baker in prison?

Genesis 40:12-13. What was the interpretation of the butler’s dream?

Genesis 40:14-15. What did Joseph ask of the butler after interpreting his dream?

Genesis 40:18-19. What was the interpretation of the baker’s dream?

Genesis 41:1. How Long Was Joseph in Prison?

Joseph was in prison for two years after he interpreted the dreams of the chief butler and baker (see Genesis 41:1). He was sold into slavery when he was about seventeen (see Genesis 37:2), and he was thirty years of age when he became vice-regent to the pharaoh (see Genesis 41:46). Altogether he served thirteen years with Potiphar and in prison. The record does not tell how long he served Potiphar before his imprisonment, but that he worked his way up to be the overseer of the prison implies some period of time before the butler and baker joined him. So it is likely that Joseph was in prison at least three years and possibly much longer.

Genesis 41:1-7. What did Pharaoh dream?

Genesis 41:8. Whom did Pharaoh call to interpret his dreams?

Many assume that the dreams of pharaoh were beyond the scope of Egypt’s wise men and yet, in some ways, it is remarkable that these magicians could not have come up with some kind of logical explanation using their own well-known symbolism. "Being troubled about this double dream, Pharaoh sent the next morning for all the scribes and wise men of Egypt, to have it interpreted ... [The magicians were] men of the priestly caste, who occupied themselves with the sacred arts and sciences of the Egyptians, the hieroglyphic writings, astrology, the interpretation of dreams, the foretelling of events, magic, and conjuring, and who were regarded as the possessors of secret arts ... and the wise men of the nation. But not one of these could interpret it, although the clue to the interpretation was to be found in the religious symbols of Egypt. For the cow was the symbol of Isis, the goddess of the all-sustaining earth, and in the hieroglyphics it represented the earth, agriculture, and food; and the Nile, by its overflowing, was the source of the fertility of the land. But however simple the explanation of the fat and lean cows ascending out of the Nile appears to be, it is 'the fate of the wisdom of this world, that where it suffices it is compelled to be silent. For it belongs to the government of God to close the lips of the eloquent, and take away the understanding of the aged (Job 12:20).'" (Keil and Delitzsch, Commentary, 1:1:349.)

Genesis 41:9-13. Why did Pharaoh call for Joseph?

Genesis 41:16. Whom did Joseph say would provide the interpretation?

Genesis 41:25-32. What was the interpretation of Pharaoh’s dream?

Genesis 41:33-36. What did Joseph counsel Pharaoh to do?

Genesis 41:37-40. Why did Pharaoh appoint Joseph to be over his house?

Genesis 41:41-45. How much power did Joseph have?

Genesis 41:50-52. What were the names of Joseph’s two sons?

Genesis 41:53-57. How far did the famine spread?

Genesis 42:1-2. Why did Jacob send his sons to Egypt?

Genesis 42:4. Why did Benjamin not go to Egypt?

Genesis 42:8. What did Joseph do so his brothers would not recognize him?

It had been twenty-two years since the sons of Jacob had last seen Joseph -- thirteen years of slavery and prison for Joseph, seven years of plenty, and two years of famine (see Genesis 45:11) -- before Jacob’s family was forced to go to Egypt for grain. Joseph was a teenager when his family had last seen him. Now he was a mature, middle-aged man. And, even if Joseph still looked very much as he did when he was younger, who would believe that a brother who was sold as a slave to a caravan of Arabians would have become the second most powerful man in Egypt?

Genesis 42:15-16. What did Joseph require of his brothers to prove themselves?

Genesis 42:21-22. Why were Joseph’s brothers afraid?

Over twenty years had passed since his brothers had sold Joseph into slavery, and yet they still felt tremendously guilty about what they had done.

Genesis 42:38. Why did Jacob want Benjamin not to go to Egypt?

Genesis 43:1-2. Upon what conditions would Jacob’s sons return to Egypt?

Genesis 43:11-13. What did Jacob instruct his sons to take with them?

By demanding that Benjamin be brought back to Egypt (see Genesis 42:15), Joseph allowed his brothers to show whether or not they truly were sorry for what they had done to him so many years before. Would they now show the same lack of concern for Benjamin? It is significant that Judah, who suggested that Joseph be sold (see Genesis 37:26–27), became the one who was willing to become "the surety" for Benjamin. There does seem to be evidence of sincere repentance on the brothers' part, and Joseph's stratagem allowed them to demonstrate this repentance. When the pressure was on, Judah’s change of heart was shown to be complete (see Genesis 44:33)

Genesis 43:17. Where did Joseph have his brothers taken when they returned?

Genesis 43:28. "And They Bowed Down Their Heads, and Made Obeisance"

The phraseology in this verse is the same as that used in Genesis 37:7, 9. It had taken over two decades, but the Lord’s revelations were now fulfilled.

Genesis 43:30. Why did Joseph go to his chambers?

Genesis 43:31-34. Why did Joseph refrain from eating bread with his brothers?

Several Egyptian deities were represented by cattle, especially female cattle. Since the Hebrews were herdsmen who slaughtered and ate cattle, regardless of sex, this practice would have been viewed by the Egyptians as a terrible abomination. Whatever the reason, Joseph seemed to respect the custom of Egyptians and Hebrews eating separately. (See Keil and Delitzsch, Commentary, 1:1:362; Clarke, Bible Commentary, 1:245; cf. Genesis 43:34)

Genesis 44:1-2. What did Joseph command the steward to put in the food sacks?

Genesis 44:12-13. Why were Joseph’s brothers taken back to him?

Genesis 44:18-34. What did Judah say to Joseph?

Genesis 45:1-4. How did Joseph make himself known to his brothers?

Genesis 45:3. Why were his brothers unable to answer him?

Genesis 45:4-8. Joseph -- A Type of Christ

This touching scene, in which Joseph finally revealed himself to his brothers, demonstrates the Christlike nature of his character. He forgave without bitterness, extended love when undeserved, and saw the Lord’s hand in all that happened. But his similarities to Christ go much deeper. As has been said, all things from the beginning of the world were given to typify, or symbolize, Christ. It has already been shown how Abraham was a type of the Father and Isaac a type of Jesus when Abraham was commanded to offer Isaac in sacrifice. This act was "a similitude of God and his Only Begotten Son."

Elder Bruce R. McConkie taught that all prophets are types of Christ: "A prophet is one who has the testimony of Jesus, who knows by the revelations of the Holy Ghost to his soul that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. In addition to this divine knowledge, many of them lived in special situations or did particular things that singled them out as types and patterns and shadows of that which was to be in the life of him who is our Lord." (The Promised Messiah, p. 448.)

Likewise, the life and mission of Joseph typifies the life and mission of Jesus. Consider the following:

1. Joseph was the favored son of his father; so was Jesus (see Genesis 37:3; Matthew 3:17).

2. Joseph was rejected by his brothers, the Israelites, as was Jesus (see Genesis 37:4; John 1:11; Isaiah 53:3).

3. Joseph was sold by his brothers into the hands of the Gentiles, just as Jesus was (see Genesis 37:25–27; Matthew 20:19).

4. Judah, the head of the tribe of Judah, proposed the sale of Joseph. Certain leaders of the Jews in Jesus’ day turned Jesus over to the Romans. Judas (the Greek spelling of Judah) was the one who actually sold Jesus. (See Genesis 37:26; Matthew 27:3.)

5. Joseph was sold for twenty pieces of silver, the price of a slave his age. Christ was sold for thirty pieces of silver, the price of a slave His age. (See Genesis 37:28; Matthew 27:3; Exodus 21:32; Leviticus 27:5.)

6. In their very attempt to destroy Joseph, his brothers actually set up the conditions that would bring about their eventual temporal salvation -- that is, Joseph, by virtue of being sold, would become their deliverer. Jesus, by His being given into the hands of the Gentiles, was crucified and completed the atoning sacrifice, becoming the Deliverer for all mankind.

7. Joseph began his mission of preparing salvation for Israel at age thirty, just as Jesus began His ministry of preparing salvation for the world at age thirty (see Genesis 41:46; Luke 3:23).

8. When Joseph was finally raised to his exalted position in Egypt, all bowed the knee to him. All will eventually bow the knee to Jesus. (See Genesis 41:43)

9. Joseph provided bread for Israel and saved them from death, all without cost. Jesus, the Bread of Life, did the same for all men. (See Genesis 42:35; John 6:48–57)

Genesis 45:5-12. How did Joseph comfort his brothers?

Genesis 45:9-15. What did Joseph instruct his brothers to say to Jacob?

Genesis 45:16. How was the arrival of Joseph’s brothers received by Pharaoh?

Genesis 45:17-20. What did Pharaoh instruct Joseph to do?

Genesis 45:25-28. How did Jacob receive the news that Joseph was alive?

Genesis 46:1-7. How did Jacob learn the will of the Lord concerning his move to Egypt?

Genesis 46:27. How many people of Jacob's house came to Egypt? (See also Exodus 1:5)

Genesis 46:29. How did Joseph receive his father?

Genesis 46:31-34. How did Joseph plan to keep his family separated from the Egyptians?

Genesis 47:3-4. What did Joseph's brothers say to Pharaoh?

Genesis 47:5-6. What did Pharaoh say to Joseph?

Genesis 47:9. Were Jacob’s Days "Few and Evil"?

In comparison with Abraham, who lived 175 years, and Isaac, who lived to be 180, Jacob’s 130 years to this point could be described as smaller or "few." The word which is translated as "evil" actually means "sorrowful" or "full of toil and trouble." Remembering Jacob’s flight to Haran to escape Esau’s wrath, his years of labor for Laban, his wives and their contentions, his pilgrimage in the land of Canaan, the death of Rachel, and his years of sorrowing for the loss of Joseph contributes to a better understanding of why he would say his days were full of trouble and toil.

Genesis 47:10. What did Jacob do for Pharaoh?

Genesis 47:11. Where did Joseph settle his family?

Genesis 47:14. What did Joseph buy for Pharaoh?

Genesis 47:24. How much of Egyptians' increase was to be given to Pharaoh?

Genesis 47:29-31. What did Joseph promise Jacob he would do?

Genesis 48:15-16. What blessing did Jacob give to Joseph?

Genesis 48:17-20. What blessing did Jacob give Ephraim and Manasseh?

Genesis 48:21-22. What did Jacob say to Joseph before he died?

Genesis 48:22. How Did Jacob Give to Joseph "One Portion" More Than to His Brothers?

"Joseph, son of Jacob, because of his faithfulness and integrity to the purposes of the Lord, was rewarded with the birthright in Israel. It was the custom in early times to bestow upon the firstborn son special privileges and blessings, and these were looked upon as belonging to him by right of birth. Reuben, the first of Jacob’s sons, lost the birthright through transgression, and it was bestowed upon Joseph, who was the most worthy of all the sons of Jacob [1 Chronicles 5:1-2].

"When Jacob blessed Joseph, he gave him a double portion, or an inheritance among his brethren in Palestine and also the blessing of the land of Zion -- 'the utmost bound of the everlasting hills.' He also blessed him with the blessings of heaven above, of the deep which lieth under, and of posterity [Genesis 49:22-26]. Jacob also blessed the two sons of Joseph with the blessings of their father, which they inherited, and he placed Ephraim, the younger, before Manasseh, the elder, and by inspiration of the Lord conferred upon Ephraim the birthright in Israel." (Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, 3:250-51.)

Genesis 49:1-2. Whom did Jacob bless before his death?

Genesis 49:10. How long was Judah to bear rule of the twelve tribes?

Genesis 49:22-24. Who were Joseph's branches that would "run over the wall"? (V. 22.)

"There are several things to be understood in the prophecy. First, he should become a multitude of nations. We understand what this means. In the second place, his branches should run over the wall. Now what does this mean? The Lord in ancient times had a meaning for everything. It means that his tribe should become so numerous that they would take up more room than one small inheritance in Canaan, that they would spread out and go to some land at a great distance ...

"Joseph’s peculiar blessing, which I have just read to you, was that he should enjoy possessions above Jacob’s progenitors to the utmost bounds of the everlasting hills. This would seem to indicate a very distant land from Palestine." (Orson Pratt, in Journal of Discourses, 14:9.)

Genesis 49:25-26. How will Christ bless Joseph?

Genesis 50:1-3. How long did it take to embalm Jacob?

Genesis 50:4-5. What did Joseph ask of Pharaoh?

Genesis 50:7-9. Who went with Joseph to bury Jacob?

Genesis 50:19-21. What did Joseph say to his brothers about being sold into Egypt?

Genesis 50:24. What did Joseph prophesy about Moses?

Genesis 50:26. What did the children of Israel do with Joseph's body after he died?


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