Literature / Book of Genesis

"In the beginning..."

The first book of The Bible. In the Jewish tradition, it is the first book of the Torah and known as Bereshit ("In the beginning"; books of the Torah are known in Hebrew by their first word in that language). Literally everything begins here. From the story of how God created the world, the first peoples and finally the patriarchs of the Israelites.


Genesis contains the following tropes:

  • Adam and Eve Plot: The Trope Namer. God's instructions to the first people are: "Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it."
  • And Man Grew Proud: Then Man built a tower which would reach Heaven. Which is why language classes are needed in the present day.
  • Alcoholic Parent: After the flood, Noah plants a vineyard and gets so drunk he winds up passing out naked. His son Ham thinks this is hilarious and calls his brothers to come see. They respectfully cover him with a blanket instead, walking backwards so they won't have to see their dad naked. For this, Noah curses Ham's son Canaan to be a "servant of servants" of his relations. Why Canaan and not Ham himself? Nobody's quite sure, although it's pretty clear that the real point is justifying the Hebrews' enmity towards the Canaanites.note 
  • Apocalypse How: The Great Flood destroys all humanity and all land animals on the planet, except for what is saved on Noah's ark. Class 2 or 4, depending on whether any species were completely wiped out.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: When Joseph invites his brothers into his palace for a meal, they're afraid he will attack them, seize them as slaves, and... take their donkeys?
  • Beauty Equals Goodness: Played straight with the matriarchs Sarah, Rebecca and Rachel. Averted with the patriarchs with the exception of Joseph, whose physical beauty is mentioned.
  • Bed Trick:
    • Jacob's wedding. He had worked for Laban for seven years in order to get permission to marry Laban's daughter Rachel, but on the night of the wedding Laban swapped Rachel for her older sister Leah. Jacob didn't notice this until they were already married, so he had to work another seven years for permission to marry Rachel, the girl he actually loved.
    • Tamar, a widow of Judah's sons, was due a marriage to another man of the family under the rules of levirate marriage. When it seemed Judah was not going to go through with this Tamar disguised herself as a prostitute and met him on the road, taking his staff and sigil as payment. She conceived twins and, when Judah realized what had happened and she explained her reasons, he was shamed into admitting his mistakes and, while he didn't marry her, he did acknowledge the twins as his children and heirs.
  • Broke Your Arm Punching Out Cthulhu: Jacob may have pinned the Angel of the Lord, but he walks with a permanent limp afterward.
  • Bury Me Not on the Lone Prairie: Joseph makes the Israelites swear that they would take his body with them when they left Egypt. He was eventually reburied in Israel, meaning that they must have carried his coffin through the desert for forty years. This causes complications along the way, because the people carrying his coffin are therefore ritually impure and can't offer the Passover sacrifice. A "make-up" date for the sacrifice one month later is instituted due to this and other reasons, which means that complications as a result of a will are Older Than Feudalism.
  • But Liquor Is Quicker: Lot's daughters got his own father drunk to have sex with him. That showed how corrupt Sodom and Gomorrah had been, to the point that even the spared people had sexual immorality.
  • Cain and Abel: The actual Cain and Abel conflict, in which Abel is more favorable before God than his brother Cain and the latter kills the former out of envy.
  • Cassandra Truth: When Lot tells his family about God's plan to destroy their town, his soon-to-be sons-in-law laugh at him, thinking he's joking.
  • A Chat with Satan: In third chapter, the serpent, the most cunning of God's creation, convinces the first man and woman to eat from the one tree God order not to eat from by appealing to their desire for beauty, great wisdom, and to be god-like. Naturally, eating from the tree only manages to get the two expelled from Paradise and cursed with mortality and toil that will be passed to all their descendants. The serpent doesn't get away freely from this, as God reckons all the human descendants will have a bone to pick with him. Interestingly, the serpent is never identified as Satan in this book or in any other part of the Torah; it is only in Christian writings that the two are connected, specifically a Retcon in the Book of Revelation.
  • Claimed by the Supernatural: Cain is marked by God for murdering his younger brother, but the mark is not a punishment, it's meant as a warning to anyone who would harm Cain in his exile that Cain's murder would be avenged seven times over.
  • The Clan: The twelve tribes of Israel descended from Abraham and Isaac, who had their own clans. Abraham, Isaac and Jacob are the three patriarchs of the Hebrew people.
  • Cliffhanger: Will the Israelites permanently settle in Egypt or go back to their homeland? They went to the latter the hard way.
  • Circumcision Angst:
    • Many men were left feeling sore the day Abraham applied the commanded custom.
    • Invoked by Simeon and Levi, who claim they will let Dinah marry the prince who raped her if every man from that village is circumcised. They agree, and for three days the village is defenseless, making it incredibly easy to take revenge.
  • Completely Unnecessary Translator: The translator in Joseph's story. While there were probably many people for whom the translator proved indispensable, one case where he wasn't needed at all was when Joseph's own brothers showed up. He used the service anyway, as a means of hiding his identity.
  • Continuity Snarl: The first and second chapters are mutually-exclusive versions of the same events. It only gets worse from there. Genesis 8:13 and 8:14 are actually the same statement (the date the world had dried) with different numbers. All of this is equally canon.
  • Cycle of Revenge:
    • Defied. After Cain kills Abel, he fears that others would come and kill him to avenge Abel, which would likely begin a cycle of murders. However, God put a mark on him to prevent anyone from murdering Cain.
    • Also defied when Esau decides to forgive Jacob instead of seeking revenge for having stolen his blessings.
    • Again defied one generation later, when Joseph understands that his brothers have come a long way since they sold him to slavery and decides to reconcile with them instead of punishing them.
  • Death by Childbirth: Rachel dies when she has Benjamin due to the pain of labor, something established in chapter three to be a result of the Fall of Man.
  • Death Faked for You: After the brothers sell Joseph to Egypt, they "explain" Joseph's sudden disappearance to their dad by dipping his robe in blood and making it look like he was attacked by wild animals.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Jacob wrestled an angel for an entire night (though many scholars believe Jacob was actually wrestling with God via theophany). The angel had to resort to cursing Jacob's hip in order to win, and Jacob still obtained a blessing (which remains in effect to this day) before he let the angel leave. To those of your who don't know, Jacob earned a nickname for that feat, which is literally translated as "Wrestles with God" ... The nickname is "Israel".
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Several, with some notable examples being:
    • Noah curses his son, Ham, for failing to avert his eyes when Noah was drunk and naked.
    • Jacob thinks his sons' reaction to the rape of Dinah is this. See Circumcision Angst (above) and Rape and Revenge (below).
    • Young Joseph may have been a bratty brother, what with his habit of telling tales against his older brothers and announcing his dreams of superiority, but trying to murder him and selling him off in response? That's a bit too far.
  • Don't Look Back: In the story of Sodom and Gomorrah, God warns Lot, his wife, and daughters to not look back as they flee the cities prior to the imminent destruction of the cities ("Escape for thy life; look not behind thee, neither stay thou in all the plain; escape to the mountain, lest thou be consumed" (Genesis 19:15-17)). Yet, Lot's wife does, and upon seeing the flaming ruins of Sodom and Gomorrah, is turned into a pillar of salt.
  • The End of the Beginning: The conclusion to the story of Joseph. On one hand, the family of the patriarchs is now re-united, which is a refreshing development after generations of Sibling Rivalry. On the other hand, the Israelites are settled in a foreign land, which is not the promised land. See Cliffhanger above. How long will this last?
  • Everything's Better with Rainbows: After the massive flood in Genesis, God promises not to drown all the creatures again and puts a rainbow in the sky as a symbol of his covenant with them.
  • The Exile: Adam and Eve are banished from the Garden of Eden as the final part of their punishment.
  • Fake Period Excuse: When Jacob and his wives flee Laban's home, Rachel steals her father's idols just before she and her husband's caravan leave. When her father catches up to Jacob and accuses him of stealing, Jacob lets him search his entire property, saying (not knowing who did it) that anyone who stole the idols will be put to death. Rachel keeps her father from finding them by sitting on top of the saddle where she hid them, while claiming she's on her period and thereby making anything she touches unclean. As a result, he never finds them.
  • False Rape Accusation: Potiphar's wife accuses Joseph of trying to rape her (when in fact it was the other way around).
  • Famous Ancestor: Chapter 10 is called "The Table of Nations" and it traces the lineage of many Middle Eastern peoples back to Noah's sons.
  • Fatal Flaw: Every person in the Book holds on to some characteristic that damages their relationship with God and makes clear that none of these humans, despite being made in God's image, are divine. Flaws include:
    • Adam's ignorance.
    • Eve's greed.
    • Cain's anger.
    • Noah's drunkenness.
    • Abraham & Sarah's need for a child.
    • Rebekah's need to make God's prophecies come true.
    • Esau's hunger.
    • Jacob's deceit.
    • Joseph's pride.
  • First Girl Wins: Adam and Eve. Although according to Fanon, Eve was actually the second girl. A few sources even have her third.
  • Flaming Sword: There is a flaming, whirling (in some translations) sword placed at the entrance to the Garden of Eden to prevent Adam and Eve from getting back in.
  • Food as Bribe: Jacob was able to get his brother Esau to sell his birthright for a bowl of stew.
  • Forbidden Fruit: God gives free reign to the first two humans over everything in the paradisal Garden of Eden, except for one tree, because eating of its fruits will cause them to die. Unfortunately, a wily serpent manages to tempt the two into eating the fruit out of their desire to be god-like, leading them to be expelled from the Garden and introduce humanity to pain and death. The exact species of fruit wasn't mentioned. Much like Four is Death, it's portrayed as an apple because the Latin word for apple, malus, also means "evil".
    Genesis 2:16-17 : And the LORD God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of
  • Forgiveness:
    • A minor instance of this is when Jacob and Esau reconcile after their struggle for the family inheritance.
    • Arguably the forgiveness story in the Genesis is that of Joseph and his brothers. The brothers, green with envy, sold Joseph into slavery and convinced their father his favorite son was dead. The brothers assume they'll never see Joseph again, but when they come to Egypt to beg for food, it turns out the Pharaoh's most trusted advisor is a grown-up Joseph. The brothers immediately fear for their lives, but instead of taking vengeance, Joseph not only spares his brothers, but invites them to come live in luxury in Egypt. And the Jews never had to deal with slavery again!!!!!
  • Foreshadowing:
    • Noah cursed Canaan right after the flood, and the descendants of Canaan would come to be great enemies of God's chosen people, the Jews.
    • The fact that Esau and Jacob struggle with each other while still in their mother's womb is a sign of their Sibling Rivalry in the future and the conflict between the tribes descended of them.
    • Joseph's dreams that his brothers and parents will bow down before him signals his future role as the saviour of the entire clan.
    • The order in which Perez and Zerah are born.
    • The blessings given by each patriarch to their sons/grandsons foreshadow the prominence that their respective tribes will gain.
  • Girl in a Box: According to para-text legend, Abraham placed Sarah in a box so the Egyptians wouldn't kill him to take her (because of her beauty).
  • Giving Them the Strip: This is how Joseph struggles free from Potiphar's wife after she tries to seduce him forcefully. It does make it difficult for him to explain why (a) she is claiming that he tried to rape her and (b) she has his clothes to prove it.
  • Good Is Not Soft: In Genesis 12:3, God says to Abraham that He will bless those who bless him and curse those who curse him.
  • Guile Hero: This seems to be something of a family trait for Abraham and his descendants.
    • Abraham tries to deceive the Egyptians about his relationship with Sarah, which leads to an Idiot Ball and a What the Hell, Hero? response from the Egyptians. Pattern repeat by his successor Isaac.
    • Rebecca is the MasterMind behind securing the greater blessing for her favourite son, Jacob.
    • Jacob thoroughly deserves his reputation as "The Deceiver" with respect to his treatment of Esau and Laban, the latter being a Manipulative Bastard himself.
    • Rachel (who is Rebecca's niece and Laban's daughter and therefore shares some of the same guileful gene pool as Jacob) outsmarts her father and successfully removes his household idols.
    • Joseph, being the son of Jacob and Rachel, tops the list by successfully carrying out an elaborate Xanatos Gambit to reunite the family (see below), and also saves an entire nation from a famine in the process.
  • Half-Human Hybrid: Nephilim are the offspring of "sons of God" who took human women as wives. They're described as "heroes of old" and may have corresponded to a common Old World belief that there used to be men who were nearly giants. Either way, the Nephilim still are not excepted from obedience to God despite their semi-divine nature.
  • Hero of Another Story:
    • Ishmael, Abraham's son with his Egyptian slave Hagar, becomes the ancestor of a numerous progeny, the so-called Ishmaelites, which include most Semitic tribes other than Israel.
    • Whereas Genesis 37 - 50 focuses mainly on Joseph, Chapter 38 shows Judah with his own story to tell. It's Judah's descendants who go on to become the most important.
  • Hope Spot: After learning that God plans to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah for their wickedness, Abraham is able to bargain God down to sparing them if there are at least ten righteous men there for the sake of Lot and his family. It isn't enough.
  • How We Got Here: Tradition holds that the narrator is Moses, and that Genesis was written during the Exodus to record Israel's history leading up to that time.
  • Implausible Deniability: Cain is enough of a moron to think he can murder his brother and then lie about it to an omniscient, omnipotent God.
  • Incest Is Relative:
    • Lot and his daughters.
    • Abraham's wife, Sarah, is later revealed to be also his half-sister. This is used as an excuse on multiple occasions to pretend Sarah is just "his sister" so certain powerful men won't kill Abraham to get her. (It only ends in trouble both times.)
    • Some attempts to answer the question "where did Cain get his wife?" allude to this possibility.
  • Improvised Clothes: The fig leaves Adam and Eve make into loincloths when they eat the fruit and realize they're naked and feel ashamed for it.
  • I Never Said It Was Poison: When questioned as to why he was hiding in the Garden, Adam responds that it was because he was ashamed of his nudity. God then responds, "Who told you that you were naked?! You have eaten, then, of the tree that I have commanded you not to eat from."
  • Innocent Fanservice Girl: Well, couple. Adam and Eve are naked when they're first created, but they have no concept of "naked," and are unashamed. It's only after they eat the fruit that they become aware of their nudity, and start to feel... well, naked.
  • Jaywalking Will Ruin Your Life: The first two people decide to have a bit of fruit, resulting in the fall of man and eternal punishment.
  • Jews Love to Argue: Abraham, the mortal half of the Jewish covenant, makes the trope by haggling with God Himself in a bid to spare Sodom and Gomorrah for Lot's sake.
  • "Just So" Story:
    • The story of the Fall explains that, as a consequence, snakes lost their legs and have to crawl on their stomachs, men have to till the soil to produce food, women have pain in childbirth and corpses decompose.
    • The explanation given by the Tower of Babel story for all the world's different languages and dialects: God disrupted their communication so they wouldn't understand one another.
    • The Flood gives the origin of rainbows as a sign of God's promise not to drown the earth again.
  • Law of Inverse Fertility: Sarah is infertile for most of her adult life, while her maidservant gets pregnant by sleeping with Abraham once. Rebekah does eventually conceive, but not without divine intervention... and it almost kills her. Leah pumps out six sons and a daughter, while her sister Rachel struggles to conceive, only to be killed by the second time.
  • Long Lived: Everyone before The Great Flood. Adam lived to 930; Methuselah lived to 969. Post-flood, Shem lived to 602.
  • Mandatory Motherhood:
    • Onan was killed by God for refusing to have a child with Tamar, his dead brother's wife, as per the laws of levirate marriage (in short, he was required to marry his brother's wife and their first son would be his brother's, to continue on his brother's family line). Of course, he told her he would (thus avoiding public shaming and being cast out of his family) and then performed coitus interruptus to prevent it (i.e. probably in the course of having sex with her regularly nonetheless), so he was arguably sort of an Asshole Victim.
    • The reason Sarah, Rachel, and Leah give concubines to their husbands as a means to have children when they get slammed by the Law of Inverse Fertility: this was, in fact, commanded under the Code of Hammurabi, which was the law of the land at that point. (Marriage back then was seen as a way to strengthen sociopolitical alliances, increase socioeconomic status, and carry on one's lineage; love and companionship came later.)
  • Manly Tears: Joseph is mentioned to be crying at several points during the Xanatos Gambit involving his brothers. When he reveals his identity to them, he cries so hard that the guards outside can hear him and report the incident to the Pharaoh. However, the narrative does not portray these events as weakness on his part.
  • Marry Them All: Jacob works for Laban seven years to marry his beloved Rachel. When the ceremony rolls around, he finds he's married to Leah, her older sister, instead. Laban's solution: you have to work another seven years to get the other girl, too. Not only that, but both women bring their handmaids into it, too: Rachel because she's barren (for a while), and Leah because, well, she's the less favored wife and has to keep up. So Jacob winds up having four "wives" and a total of 13 children.
  • Matzo Fever: Potiphar's wife really likes Joseph and is upfront and aggressive about it.
  • Meaningful Echo: The phrase "Am I in the place of God?" is first uttered by Jacob out of frustration, when Rachel says she must have a child by him or she will die. One generation later, their son, Joseph, uses almost exactly the same phrase but under happier circumstances, while reassuring his brothers that he has forgiven them and that they have nothing to fear from him.
  • Meaningful Rename:
    • Abram and Sarai are renamed Abraham and Sarah by divine advice.
    • Jacob becomes Israel after wrestling with an angel.
  • Men Act, Women Are: The men are described in terms of their attributes. The women are typically described in terms of beauty.
  • Misplaced Retribution: After Ham laughes at the sight of his father Noah naked. When the latter wakes up, he curses Ham's son Canaan.
  • Mystical Plague: A couple of the Plagues of Egypt in The Bible fit: the plague of pestilence (which only affected livestock) and the plague of boils (skin disease).
  • Nephilim: The first of the Bible's two mentions of them, born of mortal women and the "sons of God." (They are angels, according to extra-canonical texts.)
  • Never My Fault: Adam and Eve. God confronts Adam and Eve with the eating from the Tree Of Knowledge. Adam blames Eve (and God for creating her in the first place), and Eve blames the serpent.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Congratulations Joseph, thanks to the economic policies you put in place to take advantage of your prophetic dreams, a future Pharoah has enslaved virtually the entire known world including your own people. Good one.
  • No Doubt The Years Have Changed Me: Joseph's brothers are unable to recognize him after twenty years of separation. It's not surprising, considering that they last saw him as the Annoying Younger Sibling whom they sold to slavery, and now he's the Vizier of Egypt and Pharaoh's Number Two.
  • Once Upon a Time: In the beginning...
  • Opposite-Sex Clone: God took Adam's rib and cloned Eve from it.
  • Our Ancestors Are Superheroes: The first humans are depicted as living for anywhere from 300 to 900 years, even the ones who didn't have god-given superpowers. There is implication that humans were originally created immortal with natural abilities that could be considered superhuman but greatly diminished after the Fall and have been further declining over time, healthcare and technology notwithstanding.
  • Our Giants Are Bigger: Nephilim were generally translated as "giants" in older translations of the book, including the Latin Vulgate and the King James Bible. This was consistent with a belief in unusually large men that was common in societies at the time, but it also serves to show that even these beings that tower over ordinary men are only creations and subjects of the Lord.
  • Out-of-Character Moment: A perceived one, anyway. When God reveals His plan to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah, which would destroy the wicked and the just alike, Abraham claims such ruthlessness is very much unlike God. In the following discussion, God revealed that He would spare the cities if there were at least 10 believers there (there weren't).
  • Pals with Jesus:
    • Several characters are on speaking terms with God, but Enoch is probably one of the few who can claim to be a friend.
    Enoch walked faithfully with God; then he was no more, because God took him away.
    • Abraham and God seem pretty friendly as well.
  • Parental Favoritism: A recurring theme, one that sets the stage for much of the drama.
    • Cain murdered his brother Abel because God, the Father of creation, accepted the latter's offering and rejected the former's.
    • The conflict between Esau and Jacob stems from the fact that Isaac favoured Esau and planned to cheat Jacob of his inheritance (Jacob had at this point bought Esau's birthright, and even though his methods were unscrupulous, the first-born right should now belong to Jacob and not Esau), while Rebeccah favoured Jacob and conspired to trick the visually impaired Isaac to give the blessing to Jacob-disguised-as-Esau.
    • Then there's Isaac, who was born to Abraham and Sarah very late, and after Sarah (in despair at a total lack of children) had told Abraham to have a child by her maid Hagar. Once Isaac was born, Ishmael did something that made Sarah upset, and she (with God's backing) told Abraham to send Ishmael and Hagar away.
    • Joseph's brothers sold him into slavery because Jacob obviously treat him better than the rest of his sons.
    • Jacob also favours Benjamin to the point that he is willing to let another son, Simeon, rot in an Egyptian prison and let the rest of the clan starve to avoid having to part with Benjamin.
  • Parental Incest:
    • Lot and his daughters in Genesis 19:30-38. Though, technically, that was rape ... by the daughters.
    • The youngest son of Noah, Ham, is cursed for having "seen his father's nakedness". Some biblical commentators felt that such a crime doesn't deserve such a punishment, and therefore this must have been a euphemism for molestation or even full sexual relations.
  • Perpetual Storm: The Great Flood was caused a storm which lasted for 40 days, followed by 150 days of flooding and 220 days of drying out.
  • Person of Mass Construction: God is an exaggerated example of this. He created light, the heavens, the stars, the lands, the animals, and humanity all in only six days.
  • Polyamory: Several named characters are said to have more than one wives.
    • Cain's descendant Lamech is the first recorded polygamy, having two wives — Adah and Zillah.
    • Abraham is legally married to Sarah, but also have 2 named concubines, Hagar and Keturah.
    • Jacob has two wives (Leah and Rachel) and two concubines (Bilhah and Zilpah).
  • Please Spare Him, My Liege!: Because it is Lost in Translation, most people don't realize that God of all people does this at one point. When Abraham is about to sacrifice his son Isaac, God implores him to let him go and sacrifice a ram instead. In Hebrew, there are two ways to formulate a negative sentence: One of them is the so-called Prohibitive, the other the Vetitive. The former is used when a person talks down to somebody, i.e. is in a superior position. The latter is used when somebody tries to persuade their superior. With one sole other exception every other negative sentence of God in the Tanakh is formulated as a Prohibitive (for example, the Ten Commandments are formulated in a way that makes it very clear that anybody who violates them will suffer a Fate Worse Than Death), but when God asks (not orders, but asks) Abraham to put down the dagger, it feels the same way as a soldier talking to his commanding officer...
  • Priest King: Salem in Canaan had priest-king Melchizedek, noted for giving food and blessing to Abraham and Sarah. He is also noted for acknowledging the Abrahamic God, although it's not entirely clear whether Melchizedek was a true monotheist or merely worshipped God as the chief deity of a larger pantheon.
  • Psychic Dreams for Everyone: In Joseph's story, Joseph, the Pharaoh, the pharaoh's baker and the pharaoh's chief butler all have prophetic dreams. It's stated that God is sending those dreams, hence why Joseph (who is favored by God) is able to interpret them.
  • Rape and Revenge:
    • Jacob's daughter is raped by a Canaanite prince, and two brothers of hers destroy every man in the prince's village for it. (Jacob was not impressed.)
    • In the book of Genesis, Dinah's brothers kill Shechem (and all the men in his village) after he "lay with her by force," or "subdued her," or "violated her." Their father was not impressed.
  • Revenge Before Reason:
    • Cain was marked to prevent anyone from murdering him in revenge for his murder of Abel.
    • Jacob's sons Simeon and Levi killed an entire clan in order to avenge the rape of their younger sister. This costs them their right to claim the first-born inheritance after Reuben forfeited his, and Jacob's greatest blessing goes to the fourth son Judah.
  • Replacement Goldfish:
    • Seth who was born after Abel's death. Eventually all humans share him as an ancestor though Noah.
    • Benjamin becomes one for Jacob after Joseph's disappearance.
  • Rule of Three:
    • God appears to Abram with two of his agents.
    • Noah has three sons, who are the ancestors of all people that live after the Flood.
  • Sacred Hospitality:
    • As far as Lot is concerned, the safety of his guests is more important to him than that of his own daughters (fortunately for them, his guests intervened).
    • Abraham is shown displaying extraordinary hospitality towards three "strangers" (who turn out to be God and two angels coming to promise Abraham a son and to discuss the issue of Sodom and Gomorrah).
  • Sadly Mythtaken: The Forbidden Fruit is not actually mentioned as being an apple, as opposed to what the average Joe would expect. (Indeed, apples are not native to the Fertile Crescent, and would most likely have been unfamiliar to the original writers/storytellers.) That was a Visual Pun that came about when the story was translated into Latin, because the words for "evil" and "apple" are similar.
  • Secret Test of Character: Abraham is told to sacrifice his son in order to prove his faith.
  • Sensitive Guy and Manly Man: Jacob is the Sensitive Guy who tends to sheep while Esau is the Manly Man who hunts for his food.
  • Sex Equals Love: The phrase about why a man is expected to leave his parents and "cling to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh." Incidentally, it's one of the very few times in the entire Bible that this trope is played straight.
  • Sibling Rivalry: A running theme in the Genesis. It begins with Cain and Abel, continues through Jacob and Esau and even ventures into the domain of The Glorious War of Sisterly Rivalry with Rachel and Leah. Joseph's relationship and his brothers headed down the same track, until Joseph broke with the trend and forgave his brothers, thereby reuniting the family.
  • Signature Item Clue:
    • Potiphar's wife gets hold of Joseph's cloak as he runs away from her. She later produces the cloak to support her claim that he tried to rape her.
    • Joseph's brothers distress his coat to use as a visual aid in their story that he died.
    • Tamar takes Judah's staff and cloak as tribute for payment when she is disguised as a prostitute, so that she can later produce them as evidence that he's the father of her baby.
  • Something Completely Different: The story of Judah's involvement with Tamar is told right in the middle of the Joseph narrative, which carries on afterwards as if nothing happened.
  • Taken for Granite: Lot's wife turned into a pillar of salt when she turned back to look at the burning Sodom.
  • Tempting Fate: The civilization at Babel.
    ..."Come, let us build ourselves a city, and a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves; otherwise we shall be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth." The LORD came down to see the city and the tower, which mortals had built. And the LORD said, "Look, they are one people, and they have all one language; and this is only the beginning of what they will o; nothing that they propose to do now will be impossible for them. Come, let us go down, and confused their language there, so that they will not understand one another's speech."
  • They Called Me Mad!: Averted. Unlike in every adaptation, there is no mention of townspeople mocking Noah for building a boat in the middle of a desert nor a scene where said taunters are swept away by the flood.
  • The Underworld: All characters expect to "go down to Sheol" after death. The words "go down" suggests that Sheol is conceived of as a somewhat depressing afterlife, and there's apparently no difference in the fate of good and bad people. The concept of "Sheol" changes over the course of the Old Testament to resemble the modern Christian concept of "Heaven" more closely.
  • Vice City: Sodom and Gomorrah are so terrible that Lot struggles to find a single good man in it, and the people of the towns immediately try to rape two angels that visit the cities. For all of this, God destroys the towns.
  • What the Hell, Hero?:
    • God to Adam and Eve, when he finds out they had eaten the Forbidden Fruit.
    • Pharaoh to Abram, when he learns that the woman he's taken to his harem is actually Abram's wife and not just his sister, as he'd claimed.
    • Abimelech to Isaac, when the latter tries to play the same trick on the Philistines in relation to his wife Rebecca.
    • Esau to Jacob (although not face-to-face), for deceitfully taking the blessing their father had meant for Esau.
    • Jacob to a 17-year-old Joseph, for going around telling everyone about his dream that his brothers and parents will all bow down before him.
    • Jacob to his other sons when they lay siege to a larger and more powerful city-state to avenge the rape of their little sister, because he's worried that other tribes and nations around them will begin a Cycle of Revenge.
  • Where the Hell Is Springfield?: Nobody can agree on where the Garden of Eden is supposed to have been located except "somewhere in the Middle East"note , as two of the rivers named as its borders have no modern equivalent.
  • Who Wants to Live Forever?: Adam and Eve are banished from Eden, in part, so that they won't be able to eat from the Tree of Life, causing them to live forever with the curses they received for eating from the Tree of Knowledge.
  • Wounded Gazelle Gambit: Potiphar's wife uses the garment that Joseph left behind while giving her the strip as evidence that he tried to rape her.
  • Xanatos Gambit: Carried out by Joseph when he demands that the brothers give up Benjamin to be his slave and themselves return to Canaan safely. That way, he ensures that either he gets to keep Benjamin with him (if his brothers treat Benjamin like a dispensable family member, as they treated Joseph years ago), or his brothers show a sufficient Character Arc by refusing to leave Benjamin in Egypt, in which case he reconciles with all of them and brings his entire clan over to Egypt. Luckily for the Israelites, the latter plan eventuates.
  • You Can't Go Home Again:
    • The Garden of Eden is forever closed for Adam and Eve and their descendants after they have been expelled from it.
    • Jacob never saw his parents again after stealing Esau's inheritance.

Alternative Title(s): Genesis

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Literature/BookOfGenesis?from=Main.BookOfGenesis