When Israel was in Egypt the crowns of the Pharaohs had a serpent prominently displayed. So, as the representative of the seed of the serpent he battled with Israel, the seed of the woman. Via the individual seed of the woman (Moses) God crushes the head of the Egyptian serpent and drowns the seed of the Serpent in the Red Sea, just as the seed of the serpent intended to drown the seed of the women in the Nile when he gave instructions to the Hebrew Midwives. This drowning of the seed of the serpent is a recapitulation of God previously drowning the seed of the serpent in the flood.
Once delivered from Egypt Israel complained against God about many things including the lack of water, and so God provides water for them at Massah and Meribah (Ex. 17:1-7). God tells Moses,
“Behold, I will stand before you there on the rock at Horeb, and you shall strike the rock,and water shall come out of it, and the people will drink.” (vs. 6).
The Psalmist, later singing this event (Ps. 78:15-20), may be inspired to understand that the struck Rock was God Himself.
“They remembered that God was their Rock (78:35).
Paul may well see the Lord Christ as a Christophanic Rock that was struck so that all might drink,
“And did all drink the same spiritual drink for they drank of the spiritual Rock that followed them: and the Rock was Christ.”
It is not a stretch to find a picture here of God standing before the rock, Moses striking the Rock, and God / Christ being identified with the Rock out of whom / which flowed streams of living water so that God’s people might drink and live. God is struck, at His own instruction, by the rod so that His people might live.
Such a understanding provides light for later passages in the Gospels where the Lord Christ calls people to Himself in order that He might provide waters of living water wherein they will be satisfied (John 4:10-14, 7:37-39).
Finally, when being struck the Lord Christ’s side flows with blood unto His enemies and water unto His people. The water and blood throughout the Scripture being both judgment and life to both the righteous and the wicked.
Genesis should be read as a record of the ongoing battle of the two seeds.
In the covenantal structure that Genesis gives its readers, people are either the seed of the serpent, on the side of the Covenant head snake in the garden, or seed of the woman, on the side of the Covenant keeping God and trusting in His promises.
In this structure one finds the Snake’s people opposing God’s people,
Cain vs. Abel
Ishmael vs. Isaac
Esau vs. Jacob
Son’s of Israel vs. Joseph
In this structure one finds also a battle being done between collective entities. The covenant people of the Serpent vs. the covenant people of God.
Pharaoh and Egypt vs. Abraham and Sarah
Kings of the World (Sodom) vs. Abraham & his household, Lot, Melchizedek
Abimelech & Philistines vs. Abraham & his people
Abimelech & Philistines vs. Isaac & his people
The men of Schechem vs. Simeon, Levi, & Israel (Dinah)
Sons of Israel vs. Joseph
2 thoughts on “Biblical Theology Snippets”
This is great, Bret.
I am wondering, though, about the relationship between the sons of Israel and Joseph. Several elements make me question whether the antithesis of seed of the serpent and seed of the woman works as clearly.
How do you reconcile the seed coming through Judah while still identifying Judah with the sons of Israel who represent the seed of the serpent?
Judah is so interesting because he marries a foreign wife, but ends up fathering the line of promise; perhaps because he becomes repentant through the episode with Tamar (a member of the Covenant family?) and offers himself as a substitute for Benjamin in order to preserve the life of his father, Jacob/Israel?
Could Judah be a prefigurement of the redemption of Israel that Paul indicates in Romans 11? Is he, for a time, abandoned to the Serpent, but through the righteousness of the forsaken bride (Tamar/Church) is brought back into the Covenant?
I was thinking with the sons of Israel that it could be a case of “not all of Israel is of Israel” — Tares and Wheat kind of thing. Though we do find at the end that the Brothers are reconciled. BUT, regardless, at the moment where they were persecuting the representative seed they were, at the very least, doing the work of the seed of the serpent.
I would agree with your last paragraph as a good solution.
Good comments Joshua.