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The Genesis Prologue
living language is static, and this is true of Israel's language from Abraham until Israel's Babylonian Exile, which shows the influence of the ancient Akkadian and Egyptian languages, and later the Aramaic.
See: Akkadian–Hebrew
See: Egyptian–Hebrew
This language that we now know today as Hebrew really began with the Canaanite civilization of ancient Palestine. Here also lay the origin of the alphabet (as opposed to pictographs) whose spread via the Phoenician branch of the Canaanites through Greece to the Latin alphabet has become the dominant script in Europe, Africa, and the West today.
40-years with Jethro
writing did not begin with the beginning of human history and this is preciously evidenced in the 19 oral transmission mnemonic passages (sometimes referred to as a 'parallelismus membrorum') contained in our Genesis which long pre-date its written form. The mnemonic system ensured that no word was lost or left out of that particular record.
also pre-dates paper, beginning with clay tablets, progressing to Egyptian papyrus, to leather vellum; and eventually to paper when the Muslim Arabs learned the art of its manufacture from captured Chinese soldiers (July, 751AD/CE), and refined the process by adding starch to give a smoother surface than mulberry bark which leads to pens being used for writing rather than brushes.

Muslim Arab

Holy Scripture
Put Together
38-year postponement at Kadesh-Barnea in Israel's migration from Mount Sinai to their Promised Land, because of their distrust toward Him, was most probably the period in which Moses laid the written foundation of Holy Scripture. In this time, while the Twelve Tribes followed their grazing flocks and herds (until reassembled again by drought), the Tent of God apparently remained at Kadesh Barnea (spring of Mish-pat) in the Wilderness of Zin of northern Sinai, and it was almost certainly here then that our Genesis became the book we know it as today.
two previous distinct periods in Moses life, Egypt and Midian, each gave him a uniquely special preparation for this awesome task.

See: Moses' Depression
1. In his first 40-years, raised as a royal Egyptian, the Bible tells us that he was –
"...instructed in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and he was mighty in his words and deeds".
Acts 7:22
2. In his second 40-years, in the household of Jethro the godly priest of Midian (also a direct descendant of Abraham, Genesis 25:2), he became acquainted with much more than we are told, as is evidenced in Moses' personal attitude toward Jethro, and Jethro's later leading of Israel's leaders in worship and also his judicial restructuring of that nation's social order (Exodus 18:10-24).
40-years with Jethro
It is probably that it was in this second period which brought into Moses' hands some of the clay tablets reflected within the structure of the Genesis text itself.
That Moses himself also added to and edited the holy text which he had received is possibly shown in its concluding chapter (Genesis 50:10,11) where concerning the funeral of Jacob the "threshing floor of Atad" within Canaan (modern Hebron) is described as being "beyond Jordan" from the direction of the physical location of the writer at that time. If this was recorded by Moses rather than by Jethro, this direction could only be true if it was either while he was with his father-in-law in Midian, East of the Jordan, or more likely perhaps during the delayed last stage of Israel's migration, in which Moses' own journey eventually ends East of the Jordan.
Clay tablets
could not be folded or rolled and their weight laid a limit on their size, therefore it was customary in an extended record to show the connection of one tablet to the next by the word 'toledot' (תּולדה), usually translated as 'these are the generations of...'.
This word appears to indicate that the source material used by Moses, apart from direct inspiration, consisted of approximately twelve clay tablets –
Clay tablet example:
Amarna cuneiform letter (EA161) to Pharaoh in
Akkadian from Aziru (leader of Amurru/Amorites).
Amarna Tablet
(Kept today in the British Museum)
תולדות ('these are the generations of ...')
1.  the beginning 1:1 – 2:3
2.    of Sky and Land 2:4 – 4:26
3.   of Adam 5:1 – 6:8
4.   of Noah 6:9 – 9:29
5.   of the sons of Noah, Shem, Ham, and Japheth 10:1 – 10:31
6.   of families/clans of the sons of Noah 10:32 – 11:9
7.   of Shem 11:10 – 11:26
8.   of Terah 11:27 – 25:11
9.   of Ishmael 25:12 – 25:18
10.   of Isaac 25:19 – 35:29
11.   of Esau 36:1 – 37:1
12.   of Jacob 37:2 – 50:26
Clay tablet example:
The broken 'Flood Tablet' (Gilgamesh)
from the imperial library of Ashurbanipal
Gilgamesh Tablet
(Kept today in the British Museum)
However, the

Not relevant!
rabbinic twelve-fold division of Genesis for synagogue use today does not carry this significance –
1.  Bereshith      4.  Wayyera      7.  Wayyetsë      10.  Mikkets
2.  Noach      5.  Chayyë Sarah      8.  Wayyishlach      11.  Wayyiggash
3.  Lech Lecha      6.  Toledoth      9.  Wayyesheb      12.  Wayyechi
is based instead only on reading-length and not on the above textual basis, and so it has no correlation with the evidence for the original pre-Mosaic literary form of our Genesis.

This Rabbinic division
has no relevance to
the original structure
of the text and is
purely liturgical.
Why 'twelve'?
Because the ancients believed that the division of the agricultural year into twelve moons or months represented the sovereign rule or government of the Most High.
was for this reason alone that this same number was used by God when He promised Abraham concerning his son Ishmael
"He shall father twelve princes, and I will make him into a great nation."
Genesis 17:20.
We tend today
to associate that number with Israel because of Jacob's twelve sons, but before Israel existed the ancient Egyptians divided their day into twelve parts and the night into twelve parts, for this reason, from which we today get our twenty-four-hour day.
Hammurabi of ancient Babylon
published his laws
as twelve-tables, and
the earliest constitution
of the Roman Republic
was called
the Twelve Tables.
Much later,
when Jacob's twelve sons were part of the picture of Israel, after Levi's cruelty at Shechem (which disinherited his share in the Promised Land) and Joseph's exceptional faithfulness, this social significance of 'twelve' resulted in Joseph becoming two tribes in order to maintain the number twelve as representing God's protective sovereign government/management.
The Egyptian
use of papyrus, made from the pith of its river reed, would have enabled Moses to bring these twelve tablets together into what we know today as the single book of Genesis,
which then gives us the essential background to Israel's 430-years in Egypt
and its founding event of the Exodus and Sinai Covenant under Moses' leadership.
is probably at Kadesh Barnea during the 38-year delay (in addition to the two-years since their departure from Egypt) in Israel's migration (because, in their unbelief after hearing of what they would have to face in invading Canaan, they had reproached God to Moses as jepardising the welfare of their children, Numbers 14:3-45) that Moses did this work, as also to expand the Book of the Covenant that he had written at Sinai (Exodus 24:7) into what we know today as the book of Exodus.
reconstructed Genesis text in these following web pages has employed all possible sources of the original language, including the vocabulary of ancient associated languages (Akkadian as in Genesis 6:3; and ancient Egyptian as in Genesis 41:40), and also in the earlier documentary evidence for the original Hebrew text as reflected in its pre-Christian Jewish Septuagint translation.
Care has also been taken as far as possible to fully translate idiomatic statements rather than simply transliterate them as is often done, such as the literal "son of his old age" statement about Joseph (Genesis 37:3) which really simply means 'a wise son' and does not reflect on Jacob's age at the time of his birth in any way at all.
It needs
to be born in mind that modern Hebrew is derived from medieval Mishnaic Hebrew (of the Talmud) and so is significantly different from the much early Biblical Hebrew (derived from Canaanite) in some aspects of its grammatical structure.
To this end Professor William Chomsky's work in his book 'Hebrew: The Eternal Language' (1969) has been of great value.

How Do We Know? Understanding the Bible The First Tablet

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