Day 2 With the Literary ESV


It’s only day two and it’s been a hassle to find a block of time to read today. Normally I would do my reading in the morning but I had breakfast with one of the men from church today and it was lots of fun.
Turning to the text it’s back to the epic. Jacob the deceiver is about to meet his estranged brother; but even that choice encounter can’t happen until the chosen son comes face to face with the Angel of the Lord in a wrestling match. Having survived his encounter with God the man named Israel meanders his way to the promised land and the story makes a monumental shift to his beloved son, Joseph who’s tragic but divinely ordained life capitalizes the balance of Genesis.

Exodus opens before us many years after the Israelites first went down to Egypt as a small group of 75, but now they have become hundreds of thousands. Reading the first twelve chapters of Exodus in one sitting (notwithstanding reading the last 1/2 of Genesis at the same time) is massive. We cover eighty years of Moses’ life but we do so in a brief time period in which the largest balance is given to the deliverance of Israel from cruel oppression.

The ESV Literary Study Bible’s notes during the last part of Genesis are almost more commentary rather than pointing out the literary characteristics of the book – this is largely a function of trying not to be overly repetitious though. I appreciate the brevity of the chapter introductions which give just enough information to help you frame what’s going on without beating you over the head with information.

What I haven’t mentioned yet are the rather extensive book introductions. Already I’ve read Genesis, Exodus and the comprehensive yet short introduction to the Psalms. Each chapter is broken down with a quick thematic overview and a chapter/outline breakdown which lines up the passage, content, theme and other elements of the book.
After that is a discussion of Genre in the book, inferred literary intentions, theological themes and a brief treatment of the individual book in the overall context of scripture. The list just presented comes at the beginning of Exodus. I’ve not read the prefaces to all the books yet but it should give you an idea for how comprehensive they’ve tried to make the introductions.
On top of the book introductions, each chapter has an introduction and sometimes mid-chapter we get another overview especially when the chapter contains more than one significant literary movement.