I’m confused by the apparent compilation of records in Genesis


I have been reading your material in Genesis and find your conclusions intriguing on the book being a collection of inspired records that Moses made under the direction of the Holy Spirit.  I am creating material for my daily Genesis podcast, so I want to ensure that I'm accurately portraying this part of your material.  Why are there two different stories of creation in Genesis?  I'm trying to understand this, so please correct me if I'm wrong:

Gen. 1:1 – Gen. 2:4 (beg.): God's record
Gen. 2:4 (end) – Gen. 5:1 (beg.): Adam's record
Gen. 5:1 (end) – Gen. 6:9 (beg.): Noah's record
Gen. 6:9 (end) – Gen. 10:1 (beg.): Shem, Ham, and Japheth's record
Gen. 10:1 (end) – Gen. 11:10 (beg.): Shem's record
Gen. 11:10 (end) – Gen. 11:27 (beg.): Terah's record

If this is true, what you're saying is that when Gen. 5:1 says: "This is the book of the generations of Adam", that the verse is actually referring to Gen. 2:4 (end) – Gen. 4:28.  Am I correct in this?

From there is where I get confused.  Following the pattern, then Ishmael's record would be from Gen. 11:27 (end) – Gen. 25:12 (beg.).  This doesn't make sense (at least to me).  On the website it says (contained within Isaac's account).  Are you saying that it is actually Isaac's account that goes from Gen. 11:27 – Gen. 25:19, and contained within it is Ishmael's account?  This would make sense to me, but I just want to ensure that I'm interpreting your material correctly.  The same then would be true of Esau's record being contained within Jacob's record then, from Gen. 25:19 (end) – Gen. 37:2 (beg.), right?  That would leave the rest of the book to be the records of the children of Israel (Ex. 1:1), with this likely being Joseph.  This is the first time I've considered this, so any more clarity that you can provide on the issue would be appreciated.

Thanks again for your hard work, I get a lot out of visiting the La Vista church's website: some great material there.


I originally found this idea mentioned in The Genesis Record by Henry Morris and the more I've examined it, I believe it to be correct. When the text of Genesis was originally divided into verses, it is apparent that the person doing so saw "These are the records of ..." as in the introduction to the next section. However, this causes problems. For instance, if Genesis 5:1-6:8 were Adam's records, then he recorded his own death and the births and deaths of people after he lived. If the verses are divided and the first half is seen as a signature line to the section preceding it, then all these problems disappear.

As you noted, there are three exceptions that could be explained as one recorder inserting the records of another person into his own records. These inserted records, because they are in the middle of another record, are marked where they start instead of where they end, so there would be less confusion. The inserted records break the overall pattern, but they appear to do so by following a fixed pattern of their own.

Ishmael's record would go from Genesis 25:12-16 and occur right at the end of Isaac's record which had gone from Genesis 11:27b-Genesis 25:19a. Isaac would have learned of Ishmael's descendants when they meet at Abraham's funeral (Genesis 25:9). After including Ishmael's lineage, Isaac notes the death of his brother and the fact that Ishmael and his descendants continued to defy all his relatives, just as God had prophesied.

Esau's records also appear near the end of his brother Jacob's record, going from Genesis 36:1-43. It is actually two records. The first covers Esau's immediate family and why they moved to Edom (Genesis 36:1-8). The second is a detailed genealogy of Esau's family in Edom (Genesis 36:9-43). Notice that the second record repeats some of the information already mentioned in the first record. This could indicate that there was a time gap between the two records. Perhaps the first record was received when Jacob and Esau met after Jacob's return to Canaan (Genesis 33:1-17). Then it is at Isaac's funeral (Genesis 35:29) that Jacob would have received Esau's second record. Jacob's overall record goes from Genesis 25:19b to Genesis 37:2a.

The final section of Genesis from Genesis 37:2b to Genesis 50:26 was a compilation by the sons of Israel. Most were likely Joseph's records, but there are also sections that Joseph would not be privy to, such as what happened to Judah's family (Genesis 38) since he was a slave in Egypt at the time. Joseph could not have recorded the final section of Genesis 50:22-26 since it deals with his death, but it could have been written by one of the other brothers or Joseph's sons.

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