Bible As Literature Genesis & Exodus Reading Response Discussions

This assignment is reflective of a ‘close reading of a literary passage’ please refer to guidelines in “Documents” – “Bible as Literature: Close Reading of a literary passage to guide your response. We will discuss this extensively in class as well. This is NOT an essay – your focus is on each word/phrase and interpretation of the text.

Chose one question from the Genesis selections and one question from the Exodus selections. 12 pt. fonts 1-2 typewritten pages, double spaced for response. Thus, one page for each question.


1) In Genesis 24:15-19, Rebekah waters the camels of Abraham’s servant; in 29:11-13 Jacob water’s Rachel’s flock. What does this difference in the parallel scene signify? (Think about Jacob’s relationship with his mother). Before forming your response read from 24:14 to set the story up.

2) What is the significance of Rachel’s stealing Laban’s household gods? (Gen. 31:19 and 31:33-35). * Read the annotation at the bottom p 41 in Oxford Study Bible)

3) Violence is a recurring literary theme in Genesis. How do we analyze the from the ‘text in context’ perspective in the last two verses of Genesis 34 (the rape of Dinah) and Jacob’s orders, and the actions of his sons? Does Jacob come across as a coward?

4) Why is Genesis 38 (the story of Tamar) inserted in the Joseph story?


1) Why does Moses kill the Egyptian in Exodus 2:12? In what ways is this example of the conciseness of Biblical narrative? What parts of the story do you “fill in?”

2) God reveals his name to Moses in Exodus 3 (story of the Burning Bush) as “I AM WHO I AM.” What do you make of this choice of name?

3) God becomes angry at Moses for his reluctance to serve as His spokesperson (4.14). In what ways, however, does Moses’ reluctance characterize him positively? What happens in Ex. 8.20?

4) Read the “bridegroom of blood” section (4.24-26). Why does God try to kill Moses? How does Zipporah rescue him? What is the significance of the passage?

5) Why is it significant that Moses and Aaron are Levites? What is the reason for the genealogy of 6.14-25, and why is it placed where it is?