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The King James Study Bible
King James Version
By Thomas Nelson Publishers
Thomas NelsonCopyright © 1988 Liberty University
All rights reserved.
Introduction to the OLD TESTAMENT
The Bible, from Genesis to Revelation, clearly reveals that God Himself is the ultimate source, supervisor, and sum of all history, and that the center and goal of history is found in Jesus Christ, God's Son (Col. 1:15–20). Thus the Bible, while in one sense being a library of sacred Scriptures, is one story, of which the Old Testament is the foundation for the New Testament revelation.
Although Jewish and Christian scholars have used somewhat different terminology in classifying the books of the Old Testament, the designations used in this study Bible are based on subject matter: Pentateuch (Genesis—Deuteronomy), Historical Books (Joshua—Esther), Poetical Books (Job—Song of Solomon, Lamentations), Major Prophets (Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel), and Minor Prophets (Hosea—Malachi).
Pentateuch. Jewish and Christian scholars alike have traditionally agreed that Moses was the original author of the Pentateuch (except for Deut. 34, which recounts the death of Moses). This belief is confirmed in both Testaments (Josh. 1:7, 8; John 1:17), and especially by Jesus Himself (Luke 24:27, 44). The Pentateuch is of crucial importance, for it records the origin of the universe and planet earth, the life of earth's early inhabitants, including the fall of man, and the growth of human civilization. Particular attention is centered on Israel, that nation through whom man's Redeemer would come: its selection (Gen.), redemption (Ex.), sanctification (Lev.), preservation (Num.), and covenant responsibilities (Deut.).
Historical Books. The historical books trace some one thousand years of Israelite history, from the fifteenth to the fifth century B.C. They may be conveniently considered under four periods.
I. The Pre-Monarchic Period (Josh. 1—1 Sam. 7)—from the entrance into Canaan, through the era of the Judges, until the selection of Saul as king.
II. The Era of the United Monarchy (1 Sam. 8—1 Kin. 11; cf. 1 Chr. 10—2 Chr. 9)—from the selection of Saul as king until the death of Solomon. Central focus is on the life of David, including the giving of the Davidic covenant.
III. The Era of the Divided Monarchy (1 Kin. 12—2 Kin. 25; cf. 2 Chr. 10—36)—from the death of Solomon until the fall of Jerusalem. Key features include: the division of the kingdom, the rise of the prophets, and the apostasy and fall of both the northern and southern kingdoms.
IV. The Era of the Exile and Return (Ezra, Neh., Esth.)—from the fall of Jerusalem until the end of the Old Testament era. Central focus is on events surrounding the exile and return of the Jews to the land.
Poetical Books. In a distinctive way the books of Hebrew poetry disclose the heart of the Old Testament saint. Written in a style that "rhymes" ideas, rather than sounds, over successive parallel lines, Hebrew poetry is filled with images and expressions of the believer's spiritual pilgrimage in the everyday world. They contain such literary features as: drama and story, lyric song and liturgical hymn, and lament and wise sayings. Their beauty and universal appeal have given instruction, challenge, and comfort to God's people of all ages.
Prophetic Books. The prophetic books contain the collected messages and writings of men uniquely called to act as God's spokesmen in the increasingly complex and changing world of international affairs from the eighth through the fifth centuries B.C. Their message was one of both condemnation and correction for Israel and the nation, and of comfort for God's people in the confident hope that centered in the growing expectation of Messiah's coming to usher in an age of everlasting blessedness. The Jewish Canon closed with the writing of Malachi (c. 420 B.C.).
The Old Testament is indeed an enduring book. Not only was it the Bible of Jesus and the apostles, but its unfolding account of God's saving work for mankind is integral to every part of the New Testament. As the foundational portion of God's inerrant revelation, its timeless messages will yet bring instruction and correction, and comfort and hope to all who will receive them (Ps. 119:105–112; 2 Tim. 3:16).
The First Book of Moses Called
Genesis is the book of beginnings. It records the beginning of time, life, sin, salvation, the human race, and the Hebrew nation. It begins with primeval history centered in four major events: the Creation, the Fall, the Flood, and the dispersion of the nations. Genesis then narrates the history of four great patriarchs: Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph.
The title, Genesis (Gr. "Beginning"), was applied to this book by the Septuagint. The Hebrew title (Bereshit) comes from the first word of the book in Hebrew ("In the beginning"). The book is divided by 10 units (toledot) under the rubric: "These are the generations of." Thus, some have suggested that Moses had access to the patriarchal records.
Authorship. With very few exceptions, until the eighteenth century, Jewish and Christian scholars alike believed that Moses wrote Genesis. His authorship is supported by the Samaritan Pentateuch, the Palestinian Talmud, the Apocrypha (cf. Ecclus. 45:4; 2 Macc. 7:30), the writings of Philo (Life of Moses 3:39), and Josephus (Antiquities of the Jews 4:8:45; Contra Apion 1.8).
During the nineteenth century, higher critics began to question—then deny—the Mosaic authorship of Genesis and of the entire Pentateuch, preferring the Documentary Hypothesis (or Developmental Theory). Using the initials J, E, D, and P to identify four different alleged source documents, this theory suggests that the Pentateuch is a composite of several documents. The J document was attributed to the author who preferred the name Jehovah and was assigned an arbitrary date of about 850 B.C. The E document prefers the name Elohim for God and was dated at around 750 B.C. The D document was identified with much of Deuteronomy and was dated at around 620 B.C. The P document was identified with a priestly writer in the postexilic period nearly one thousand years after the time of Moses.
But there is no valid reason to reject Mosaic authorship of the Pentateuch, with the exception of the record of his death in Deuteronomy 34. The Pentateuch itself attests Mosaic authorship (cf. Ex. 17:14; 24:4; 34:27; Num. 33:1, 2; Deut. 31:9), and Old Testament references outside the Pentateuch abound (cf. Josh. 1:7, 8; 8:31, 32; 1 Kin. 2:3; 2 Kin. 14:6; 21:8; see also Ezra 6:18; Neh. 13:1; Dan. 9:11–13; Mai. 4:4). New Testament references to Mosaic authorship are not lacking either (Matt. 19:8; Mark 12:26; John 1:45; 5:46, 47; Acts 3:22; Rom. 10:5). Jesus Himself clearly stated that Moses was the author of the Pentateuch (Luke 24:27, 44). What can be inclusively said of the Pentateuch can particularly be said of Genesis.
Date. Moses' life extended 120 years (Deut. 34:7). The first 40 years (1525–1485 B. C.) he spent as Pharaoh's son, learning the wisdom of the Egyptians (Acts 7:22). He spent the next 40 years (1485–1445 B.C.) in the desert of Midian as a shepherd (Ex. 2:15; Acts 7:30). The final 40 years (1445–1405 B.C.) he spent wandering in the Sinai wilderness with the children of Israel (Deut. 8:2). He very likely wrote all of the books of the Pentateuch after his call to lead the people out of Egypt, as recounted in Exodus 3. This would have been in his last 40 years of life, during the wilderness wanderings.
Genesis is the foundational book to the rest of the Bible. Its important theological themes include the doctrines of God, Creation, man, sin, and salvation. It teaches the importance of substitutionary atonement and of faith in God's revelation of Himself to mankind. It also records the first messianic prophecies of the Bible predicting that the Redeemer would be born of the seed of a woman (3:15) through the line of Seth (4:25); a son of Shem (9:27); the offspring of Abraham (12:3), Isaac (21:12), and Jacob (25:23); and from the tribe of Judah (49:10).
Genesis covers more time than any other book in the Bible. It opens with the words: "In the beginning God created" (1:1), and it ends with "in a coffin in Egypt" (50:26). Thus it covers the whole plight of man, who was created in God's image to live forever, but because of sin became destined for the grave. The book leaves the reader anxiously anticipating the redemptive intervention of God.
In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
2 And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.
First day: light
3 And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.
4 And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.
5 And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.
Second day: firmament
6 And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.
7 And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so.
8 And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day.
Third day: seas, land, and vegetation
9 And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so.
10 And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called he Seas: and God saw that it was good.
11 And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so.
12 And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind: and God saw that it was good.
13 And the evening and the morning were the third day.
Fourth day: heavenly bodies
14 And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years:
15 And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so.
16 And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also.
17 And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth,
18 And to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness: and God saw that it was good.
19 And the evening and the morning were the fourth day.
Fifth day: animal life of sea and air
20 And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and 2 fowl that may fly above the earth in the 3 open firmament of heaven.
21 And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters 2 brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was good.
22 And God blessed them, saying, Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let fowl multiply in the earth.
23 And the evening and the morning were the fifth day.
Sixth day: (1) animal life of earth
24 And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so.
25 And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good.
Sixth day: (2) man
26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.
27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
28 And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.
Provision of food
29 And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb 1 bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.
30 And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so.
31 And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.
The Seventh Day
Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them.
2 And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made.
3 And God "blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.
4 These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens,
5 And every "plant of the field before it was in the earth, and every herb of the field before it grew: for the LORD God had not caused it to rain upon the earth, and there was not a man to till the ground.
6 But there went up a mist from the earth, and watered the whole face of the ground.
7 And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.
The Garden of Eden
8 And the Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed.
9 And out of the ground made the Lord God to grow "every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil.
10 And a river went out of Eden to water the garden; and from thence it was parted, and became into four heads.
11 The name of the first is Pison: that is it which compasseth the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold;
12 And the gold of that land is good: there is bdellium and the onyx stone.
13 And the name of the second river is Gihon: the same is it that compasseth the whole land of Ethiopia.
14 And the name of the third river is Hiddekel: that is it which goeth toward the east of Assyria. And the fourth river is Euphrates.
15 And the Lord God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.
16 And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat:
17 But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.
18 And the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a 'help meet for him.
Excerpted from The King James Study Bible by Thomas Nelson Publishers. Copyright © 1988 Liberty University. Excerpted by permission of Thomas Nelson.
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