Starting with the chapter 10 of Genesis we read the genealogies of the descendants of Noah. These may seem tedious and meaningless but they’re there for a reason. These genealogies show us that the stories of the patriarchs are not some mythology set in a foggy past, but set in real places with real people. Noah and his sons are not created characters that only exist to serve the narrative that the writer of Genesis is trying to construct. They really existed and that is one of the reasons the writer traces their lineage.
Then in chapter 11 we see the famous, or better yet the infamous, story of the Tower of Babel. The main takeaway from this story is the prideful nature of the builders and how they planned to build a tower to heaven to “make a name for ourselves” and yet ironically they are only remembered as pompous and unnamed characters in the morality tale of Babel. Their attempt to make a name for themselves is foiled, but at the end of this chapter we are introduced to one of my favorite characters in the Old Testament, a man who would have a name made for him by God and made the father of the nation that brought forth the messiah. The humility and faithfulness of Abraham is a sharp contrast with the pompous pride of the builders of the Tower of Babel.
Psalm 5 is another of King David’s beautiful songs of trust in God. He pleads for protection from his enemies, but always reminds himself and us, that God will be with him no matter what.
In the 5th chapter of Mathew we cover a lot of territory, but probably the most well known parts of the Gospels is the beginning of this chapter. The sermon on the mount is significant in many ways and it is the first of five discourses given by Jesus in the Gospel of Mathew. It’s said that because Mathew’s intended audience was Jewish converts to Christianity, he strictures these five discourses to reflect the five Books of Moses contained in the beginning of the Old Testament. Many times in Mathew’s gospel he sets scenes that remind us of Moses, and this is most likely to show Jesus is the one prophesied in Deuteronomy as the one greater than Moses.
At the beginning of this chapter Jesus brings the disciples up the mountain to deliver the new law as He regularly says “you have heard it said… but I say to you.” This elevation of the law contrasts with Moses coming down the mountain to deliver the old law at Mount Sinai.
“The mountain signifies the higher precepts of righteousness, for the precepts given to Israel were lower. God gave lesser laws to those requiring the bonds of fear, but higher laws to those ready to be set free by love.
The higher precepts are for the kingdom of heaven, just as the lower precepts were for a kingdom on earth.”
-St. Augustine, On the Sermon on the Mount