St. John Chrysostom delivered his Homilies on Genesis sometime between AD 385 and AD 388, while yet a priest at Antioch. In the homilies in this volume, the last of three, Chrysostom concludes his examination of the lives and virtues of the Old Testament patriarchs Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph as recounted in the last three chapters of Genesis.
Known for his eloquent preaching, Chrysostom delivered these final 22 homilies after Pentecost. His motive for examining the accounts of the lives of the patriarchs is to show how the just forebears of the Israelites, in a time when both the law and the Gospel were yet unpreached, were able to live Christian lives with only simple trust in God and the balanced, almost ingenuous manners of antiquity. His interest in the events and characters of Genesis is largely moral, even moralistic; he tends to see Scripture as hagiography. His style of commentary, although not really thorough exegesis, arises out of his deep conviction of the divine inspiration of Scripture—hence the habitual attention to detail, “not idly or to no purpose” being his frequent comment on the precision of the text.
As an exegete, Chrysostom may seem disappointing to those grounded in the methods of modern biblical scholarship, since he largely ignores any sense of Scripture other than the literal and is generally unaware of how to resolve difficulties and appreciate subtleties that a knowledge of the original text would provide. However, what lacks in scientific accuracy he more than compensates for with his earnest practice of pastoral care.
This final volume of the homilies includes a general index and an index of biblical citations, the latter indicating the rich scriptural diet Chrysostom’s congregation—who came daily for his homilies—enjoyed.
“It was not as if in ignorance that he put him to the test but that the people of the time and those from that time until now might be instructed in the same love as the patriarch’s and in showing obedience to the Lord’s commands.” (Page 15)
“Do you see the power of prayer, how it is even able to overcome nature? Let us all too imitate this man, and in the same fashion fall on our knees with spirit awakened, with mind set at rest; let us listen to Paul’s exhortation in the words, ‘lifting pure hands in prayer, free from rage and disputation.’20 On all occasions let us be concerned to rid ourselves of perturbation and keep our mind at peace, but especially at the time of prayer when we have need of great love from God. If, in fact, he sees us doing this in keeping with the laws laid down by him, he bestows on us immediately a generous share of gifts from himself.” (Pages 48–49)
“So, to reward you for such obedience, ‘ ‘I will bless you and truly make you numerous.’ ’ See the extent of the blessing, meaning, I will multiply your descendants. In other words, he who  was sacrificed in your intention will be responsible for expanding your descendants into a vast multitude, to be compared with the stars and the sands. ‘ ‘And all the nations will be blessed in your descendants in return for your obeying my voice.’ ’ Now, all this will happen to you on account of your great obedience.” (Page 24)
“Listening to this, however, let us learn the lesson never to neglect the gifts from God, nor forfeit important things for worthless trifles. I mean, why, tell me, should we be obsessed with a desire for money when the kingdom of heaven and those ineffable blessings are within our grasp, and why prefer to those that endure forever and ever others that are passing and scarcely last until evening?” (Page 53)
In the Logos edition, this work becomes enhanced by amazing functionality. Links to the patristic writings of the Early Church Fathers will bring you right to the source—to the very quote—allowing you to see instant context. Footnotes appear on mouseover, as well as references to Scripture and extra-biblical material in your library, and you can perform near-instant searches across these volumes, searching for references to keywords or Scripture passages.