First, what is redundancy?
Merriam-webster.com defines redundancy as the quality or state of being redundant.
Okay, Merriam-webster.com, what is the definition of redundant?
Merriam-webster.com defines redundant as exceeding what is necessary or normal or characterized by or containing an excess, specifically: using more words than necessary.
Second, how do we define value?
Some options from Merriam-webster.com include:
- Relative worth, utility, or importance
- Something such as a principle or quality intrinsically valuable or desirable
So, when do we value redundancy?
As one continues down the list of viable options, we find redundant can also mean serving as a duplicate for preventing the failure of an entire system (such as a spacecraft) upon failure of a single component.
These are the generations of Isaac, Abraham’s son: Abraham fathered Isaac. (Gen 25:19 ESV)
How many redundancies do you find in the verse above?
List any reasons you think these redundancies exist in this verse.
Complete the following table.
|These are the generations of…|
|Verse||Generations of what or who?||This sections verses|
|These are the generations of the heavens and the earth when they were created, in the day that the LORD God made the earth and the heavens. (Gen 2:4 ESV)||The heavens and the earth||2:4-4:26|
|This is the book of the generations of Adam. When God created man, he made him in the likeness of God. (Gen 5:1 ESV)|
|These are the generations of Noah. Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his generation. Noah walked with God. (Gen 6:9 ESV)|
|These are the generations of the sons of Noah, Shem, Ham, and Japheth. Sons were born to them after the flood. (Gen 10:1 ESV)|
|These are the generations of Shem. When Shem was 100 years old, he fathered Arpachshad two years after the flood. (Gen 11:10 ESV)|
|Now these are the generations of Terah. Terah fathered Abram, Nahor, and Haran; and Haran fathered Lot. (Gen 11:27 ESV)|
|These are the generations of Ishmael, Abraham’s son, whom Hagar the Egyptian, Sarah’s servant, bore to Abraham. (Gen 25:12 ESV)|
|These are the generations of Isaac, Abraham’s son: Abraham fathered Isaac, (Gen 25:19 ESV)|
|These are the generations of Esau (that is, Edom). (Gen 36:1 ESV) These are the generations of Esau the father of the Edomites in the hill country of Seir. (Gen 36:9 ESV)|
|These are the generations of Jacob. Joseph, being seventeen years old, was pasturing the flock with his brothers. He was a boy with the sons of Bilhah and Zilpah, his father’s wives. And Joseph brought a bad report of them to their father. (Gen 37:2 ESV)|
What did God commission humans to be and do on earth according to Gen 1:1-2:25?
Although Adam and Eve got expelled from Eden in Gen 3, by Gen 12, God promises land and continuance of a specific bloodline through Abraham, a man deemed righteous because Abraham believed the Lord. (Gen 15:6)
How does the phrase “these are the generations of” aid in moving the narrative forward in Genesis?
Now for the other redundancy in today’s verse.
Compare several translations of our verse for today:
These are the generations of Isaac, Abraham’s son: Abraham fathered Isaac, (Gen 25:19 ESV)
And these are the generations of Isaac, Abraham’s son: Abraham begat Isaac: (Gen 25:19 KJV)
Now these are the records of the generations of Isaac, Abraham’s son: Abraham became the father of Isaac; (Gen 25:19 NAS)
This is the account of Isaac, the son of Abraham. Abraham became the father of Isaac. (Gen 25:19 NET)
This is the account of Abraham’s son, Isaac. Abraham became the father of Isaac. (Gen 25:19 NIV)
The above translations all keep the redundancy of the last phrase.
This is the only genealogy in scripture that mentions the birth of the head of the genealogical line.
Editors typically add a heading like “The Birth of Esau and Jacob”. They do this because most of the verses after this one focus on Esau and Jacob rather than Isaac.
Keeping in mind the theme of Genesis is about beginnings and generations, what is the significance of including the redundant phrase, “Abraham fathered Isaac,” after already stating Isaac is Abraham’s son?
What does this verse reinforce about Abraham?
How is Isaac’s identity confirmed in this verse?
Who is the proper focus of this verse? Abraham, Isaac, or God? Why?
Remember, redundant can mean serving as a duplicate for preventing the failure of an entire system (such as a spacecraft) upon failure of a single component.
Merriam-Webster.com also offers this important statement about redundancy:
“But redundancy doesn’t just occur in language. “Data redundancy” means keeping the same computer data in more than one place as a safety measure, and a backup system in an airplane may provide redundancy, again for the sake of safety.”
How does being reminded that Abraham was the father of Isaac after being told that Isaac is Abraham’s son serve as an example of “preventing the failure of an entire system”?
Do you feel like I am asking you to consider the same question worded differently each time? Why am I doing this? What is the value of this redundancy?
Personal Reflection Questions:
What have you been told about the details of your birth?
How do you feel about the details of your birth?
Is it important to know the details of your birth? Why or why not?
Do you know anyone who does not know the details of their birth? If so, do they wish they knew more? Why or why not?
How does God fulfilling His promises to Abraham and Isaac encourage you about your own identity?
What spiritual disciplines are you practicing daily (redundantly) that strengthen your faith?
I encourage you to take some time this week to pray through your family line, whether blood or adopted. Thank the Lord for each member of your family line, both before you and after you. (If you are without physical offspring like me, then pray for your spiritual offspring.)
If your faith needs a booster shot, I encourage you to choose a new spiritual discipline to incorporate into your daily routine. (Or valued redundancy!) Two excellent resources for ideas are:
- Spiritual Disciplines Handbook: Practices That Transform Us by Adele Ahlberg Calhoun
- The Celebration of Discipline: The Path to Spiritual Growth by Richard J. Foster.
A Psalm for giving thanks. Make a joyful noise to the LORD, all the earth! 2 Serve the LORD with gladness! Come into his presence with singing! 3 Know that the LORD, he is God! It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. 4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name! 5 For the LORD is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations. (Psa 100:1-5 ESV)