Genesis Chapter 14
1 When Amraphel king of Shinar, Arioch king of Ellasar, Chedor-Laomer king of Elam, and Tidal king of the Goiim,
2 made war on Bera king of Sodom, Birsha king of Gomorrah, Shinab king of Admah, Shemeber king of Zeboiim, and the king of Bela (that is, Zoar),
3 all the latter joined forces in the Valley of Siddim (now the Salt Sea).
4 For twelve years they had been under the yoke of Chedor-Laomer, but in the thirteenth year they revolted.
5 In the fourteenth year Chedor-Laomer arrived and the kings who had allied themselves with him. They defeated the Rephaim at Ashteroth-Carnaim, the Zuzim at Ham, the Emim in the Plain of Kiriathaim,
6 the Horites in the mountainous district of Seir near El-Paran, which is on the edge of the desert.
7 Wheeling round, they came to the Spring of Judgement (that is, Kadesh); they conquered all the territory of the Amalekites and also the Amorites who lived in Hazazon-Tamar.
8 Then the kings of Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, Zeboiim and Bela (that is, Zoar) marched out and engaged them in the Valley of Siddim:
9 Chedor-Laomer king of Elam, Tidal king of the Goiim, Amraphel king of Shinar and Arioch king of Ellasar: four kings against five.
10 Now there were many bitumen wells in the Valley of Siddim, and in their flight the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah fell into them, while the rest fled into the hills.
11 The conquerors seized all the possessions of Sodom and Gomorrah, and all their provisions, and made off.
12 They also took Lot (the nephew of Abram) and his possessions and made off; he had been living at Sodom.
13 A survivor came to tell Abram, and Aner the Hebrew, who was living at the Oak of the Amorite Mamre, the brother of Eshcol; these were allies of Abram.
14 When Abram heard that his kinsman had been taken captive, he mustered his retainers born in his own household, numbering three hundred and eighteen, and gave chase as far as Dan.
15 He and his retainers deployed against them under cover of dark, defeated them and pursued them as far as Hobah, north of Damascus.
16 He recaptured all the goods as well as his kinsman Lot and his possessions, together with the women and people.
17 When Abram returned from defeating Chedor-Laomer and the kings who had been on his side, the king of Sodom came to meet him in the Valley of Shaveh (that is, the Valley of the King).
18 Melchizedek king of Salem brought bread and wine; he was a priest of God Most High.
19 He pronounced this blessing: Blessed be Abram by God Most High, Creator of heaven and earth. And blessed be God Most High for putting your enemies into your clutches.
20 And Abram gave him a tenth of everything.
21 The king of Sodom said to Abram, 'Give me the people and take the possessions for yourself.'
22 But Abram replied to the king of Sodom, 'I swear by God Most High, Creator of heaven and earth:
23 not one thread, not one sandal strap, will I take of what is yours, for you to be able to say, "I made Abram rich."
24 For myself, nothing -- except what the troops have used up, and the share due to the men who came with me, Eshcol, Aner and Mamre; let them take their share.'
Genesis Chapter 15
1 Some time later, the word of Yahweh came to Abram in a vision: Do not be afraid, Abram! I am your shield and shall give you a very great reward.
2 'Lord Yahweh,' Abram replied, 'what use are your gifts, as I am going on my way childless? . . .
3 Since you have given me no offspring,' Abram continued, 'a member of my household will be my heir.'
4 Then Yahweh's word came to him in reply, 'Such a one will not be your heir; no, your heir will be the issue of your own body.'
5 Then taking him outside, he said, 'Look up at the sky and count the stars if you can. Just so will your descendants be,' he told him.
6 Abram put his faith in Yahweh and this was reckoned to him as uprightness.
7 He then said to him, 'I am Yahweh who brought you out of Ur of the Chaldaeans to give you this country as your possession.'
8 'Lord Yahweh,' Abram replied, 'how can I know that I shall possess it?'
9 He said to him, 'Bring me a three-year-old heifer, a three-year-old she-goat, a three-year-old ram, a turtledove and a young pigeon.'
10 He brought him all these, split the animals down the middle and placed each half opposite the other; but the birds he did not divide.
11 And whenever birds of prey swooped down on the carcases, Abram drove them off.
12 Now, as the sun was on the point of setting, a trance fell on Abram, and a deep dark dread descended on him.
13 Then Yahweh said to Abram, 'Know this for certain, that your descendants will be exiles in a land not their own, and be enslaved and oppressed for four hundred years.
14 But I shall bring judgement on the nation that enslaves them and after this they will leave, with many possessions.
15 For your part, you will join your ancestors in peace; you will be buried at a happy old age.
16 In the fourth generation they will come back here, for until then the iniquity of the Amorites will not have reached its full extent.'
17 When the sun had set and it was dark, there appeared a smoking firepot and a flaming torch passing between the animals' pieces.
18 That day Yahweh made a covenant with Abram in these terms: 'To your descendants I give this country, from the River of Egypt to the Great River, the River Euphrates,
19 the Kenites, the Kenizzites, the Kadmonites,
20 the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Rephaim,
21 the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Girgashites, and the Jebusites.'
Job Chapter 3
1 In the end it was Job who broke the silence and cursed the day of his birth.
2 This is what he said:
3 Perish the day on which I was born and the night that told of a boy conceived.
4 May that day be darkness, may God on high have no thought for it, may no light shine on it.
5 May murk and shadow dark as death claim it for their own, clouds hang over it, eclipse swoop down on it.
6 See! Let obscurity seize on it, from the days of the year let it be excluded, into the reckoning of the months not find its way.
7 And may that night be sterile, devoid of any cries of joy!
8 Let it be cursed by those who curse certain days and are ready to rouse Leviathan.
9 Dark be the stars of its morning, let it wait in vain for light and never see the opening eyes of dawn.
10 Since it would not shut the doors of the womb on me to hide sorrow from my eyes.
11 Why was I not still-born, or why did I not perish as I left the womb?
12 Why were there knees to receive me, breasts for me to suck?
13 Now I should be lying in peace, wrapped in a restful slumber,
14 with the kings and high viziers of earth who have built their dwellings in desolate places,
15 or with princes who have quantities of gold and silver cramming their tombs;
16 or, put away like an abortive child, I should not have existed, like little ones that never see the light.
17 Down there, the wicked bustle no more, there the weary rest.
18 Prisoners, all left in peace, hear no more the shouts of the oppressor.
19 High and low are there together, and the slave is free of his master.
20 Why give light to a man of grief? Why give life to those bitter of heart,
21 who long for a death that never comes, and hunt for it more than for buried treasure?
22 They would be glad to see the grave-mound and shout with joy if they reached the tomb.
23 Why give light to one who does not see his way, whom God shuts in all alone?
24 My only food is sighs, and my groans pour out like water.
25 Whatever I fear comes true, whatever I dread befalls me.
26 For me, there is no calm, no peace; my torments banish rest.
Job Chapter 4
1 Eliphaz of Teman spoke next. He said:
2 If we say something to you, will you bear with us? Who in any case could refrain from speaking now?
3 You have schooled many others, giving strength to feeble hands;
4 your words supported any who wavered and strengthened every failing knee.
5 And now your turn has come, and you lose patience, at the first touch on yourself you are overwhelmed!
6 Does not your piety give you confidence, and your integrity of life give you hope?
7 Can you recall anyone guiltless that perished? Where then have the honest been wiped out?
8 I speak from experience: those who plough iniquity and sow disaster, reap just that.
9 Under the breath of God, they perish: a blast of his anger, and they are destroyed;
10 the lion's roars, his savage growls, like the fangs of a lion cub, are broken off.
11 The lion dies for lack of prey and the lioness's whelps are dispersed.
12 I have received a secret revelation, a whisper has come to my ears;
13 by night when dreams confuse the mind and slumber lies heavy on everyone,
14 a shiver of horror ran through me and filled all my bones with fright.
15 A breath slid over my face, the hairs of my body bristled.
16 Someone stood there -- I did not know his face, but the form stayed there before my eyes. Silence -- then I heard a voice,
17 'Can a mortal seem upright to God, would anybody seem pure in the presence of his Maker?
18 God cannot rely even on his own servants, even with his angels he finds fault.
19 What then of those who live in houses of clay, who are founded on dust?
20 They are crushed as easily as a moth, between morning and evening they are ground to powder. They vanish for ever, with no one to bring them back.
21 Their tent-peg is snatched from them, and they die devoid of wisdom.'
Proverbs Chapter 1 [8-19]
8 Listen, my child, to your father’s instruction, do not reject your mother’s teaching:
9 they will be a crown of grace for your head, a circlet for your neck.
14 throw in your lot with us: one purse between us all.’
Thoughts and Reflection
In these passages we see the start of the covenant with Abram from God. Abram gets three-year-old ram, heifer, she-goat, turtledove and pigeon. In accordance to the traditions of the ancient world, he splits the animals in two (less the birds), making a pathway between them. In the tradition, you would walk through the pathway. Interesting to note that God himself passed through the sacrifice but Abram did not. God promised that he would have a family, land and the whole world will be blessed through him. Abram didn’t pass through the covenant.
As I read these passages, I can understand Abram’s hesitation on the covenant. This is a big deal to 1) make a covenant 2) let alone it be with God himself. I find it reassuring that God himself would pass through the covenant. This shows his sincerity and love for all of us…his people.
Have you ever been faced with large decisions that would alter your life before?
About This Project
For the year 2022, I decided that my New Year’s Resolution was to read the whole Bible following the Bible in the Year plan presented by Fr. Mike Schmitz. It is a big and bold undertaking. You can follow along by subscribing. Feel free to look at previous day’s post and comment. It’s something we can all learn from together!