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We are told that "the fourth year of Solomon's reign over Israel" was the same as "the four hundred and eightieth year after the Israelites had come out of Egypt" (1Ki 6:1). 966 b.c., the latter -- and thus the date of the exodus -- was c.1446 (assuming that the 480 in 1Ki 6:1 is to be taken literally; see Introduction to Judges: Background).reflect a great deal of what we know from other sources about ancient Mesopotamian life and culture.Creation, genealogies, destructive floods, geography and mapmaking, construction techniques, migrations of peoples, sale and purchase of land, legal customs and procedures, sheepherding and cattle-raising -- all these subjects and many others were matters of vital concern to the peoples of Mesopotamia during this time.The presumed documents, allegedly dating from the tenth to the fifth centuries b.c., are called J (for Jahweh/Yahweh, the personal OT name for God), E (for Elohim, a generic name for God), D (for Deuteronomic) and P (for Priestly).Each of these documents is claimed to have its own characteristics and its own theology, which often contradicts that of the other documents.They were also of interest to the individuals, families and tribes of whom we read in the first 38 chapters of Genesis.
The Nuzi tablets, though a few centuries later than the patriarchal period, shed light on patriarchal customs, which tended to survive virtually intact for many centuries.
Genesis speaks of beginnings -- of the heavens and the earth, of light and darkness, of seas and skies, of land and vegetation, of sun and moon and stars, of sea and air and land animals, of human beings (made in God's own image, the climax of his creative activity), of marriage and family, of society and civilization, of sin and redemption. A key word in Genesis is "account," which also serves to divide the book into its ten major parts (see Literary Features and Literary Outline) and which includes such concepts as birth, genealogy and history.
The book of Genesis is foundational to the understanding of the rest of the Bible.
The English title, Genesis, is Greek in origin and comes from the word which appears in the pre-Christian Greek translation (Septuagint) of 2:4; 5:1.
Depending on its context, the word can mean "birth," "genealogy," or "history of origin." In both its Hebrew and Greek forms, then, the traditional title of Genesis appropriately describes its contents, since it is primarily a book of beginnings.
Although these patriarchs settled in Canaan, their original homeland was Mesopotamia.