Chapter And Verse

NB: Chapter and Verse is written in ‘real time’ with each addition composed close to the time of publication. With any long writing project, it is inevitable that earlier entries will be rewritten in the light of later thinking as the completed piece takes shape. Text in the images reflect the earliest version of any particular verse, while the written text to the right contain later revisions.

The Torah:


The Lord made all things good and in their place,
Then crafted humans to reflect His face.

He grew a garden, placed His humans there,
For them to walk in His abundant care.

But serpent’s lies of right and wrong took root;
God cast them out for taste of tempter’s fruit.

Then Cain, their son, led Abel to his death;
God’s worship started with the son of Seth;

And Enoch walked with God, then went away;
So Adam’s family grew, ‘til Noah’s day.

When God saw human hearts had fallen dark,
And He commanded Noah: ‘Build an Ark’.

The waters rose as rain began to pour,
God kept a righteous remnant to restore.

So when the dove brought signs of things which grew,
All in the ark walked out on Earth made new.

No sooner was the rainbow promise made,
Than human darkness was once more displayed.

Now, Noah’s sons were Japheth, Ham and Shem,
So Earth was filled by nations grown from them,

Their tongues were twisted for their tower plan;
And Abram’s father settled in Haran.

But God called Abram blessed and bade him go,
To settle in the land which He would show.

When Lot and Abram’s wealth became too great,
The time had come for them to separate.

But Sodom, where Lot went, fell to attack,
So Abram marched to bring his nephew back.

For faith, God counted Abram with the right,
And promised him more heirs than stars by night,

When Sarai thought her slave would do as well,
Poor Hagar bore, for Abram, Ishmael.

But Sarah would give Abraham his son,
And circumcision showed it would be done.

Three men arrived to purge the valley’s sin
Unless ten righteous people lived within:

Lot’s family fled, unmarked by Sodom’s fault,
But, looking back, his wife was turned to salt.

When Abraham said “Sarah’s not my wife,”
It almost cost Abimelek his life.

Then Isaac’s birth made Sarah laugh for joy,
But jealously she drove out Hagar’s boy.

With Isaac’s blood, God tested Abraham,
But stayed the knife, and saved him with a lamb.

When Sarah died, Ephron the Hittite gave
The field of Machpelah to be her grave.

They found Rebecca to be Isaac’s bride,
She brought him comfort when his parents died.

She bore him twins, who quarrelled as they grew,
And Esau sold his birthright for some stew.

As Isaac’s wealth increased, he had to strive
To find a well of peace where he could thrive.

Then Jacob fooled his father furrily,
And from his brother’s fury had to flee.

When Jacob slept, he dreamed of heaven’s stairs,
And knew God’s blessing would be with his heirs.

He laboured seven years for Rachel’s hand,
But could not see the swap which Laban planned.

His warring wives bore sons, while in the field
His striped-stick tricks increased his livestock’s yield.

He thought he had to steal away by stealth,
But Laban let him keep his hard-earned wealth.

When fearing that his brother might attack,
Nocturnal battles left him limping back,

When he saw Esau, he fell to the ground,
And wept at the fraternal love he found.

On learning Dinah’s rapist was Shechem,
Her brothers went to town and slaughtered them.

So Jacob moved, and met God at Bethel,
Who blessed him and renamed him ‘Israel’.

But God had not neglected Esau’s rights,
So he was father to the Edomites.

When Joseph’s brothers heard the things he said,
They sold him and pretended he was dead.

When Tamar bore the blame for bearing twins,
She showed her shame was born of Judah’s sins.

In Egypt, Joseph fled his master’s wife,
But found himself with thirty-years-to-life.

He told the Pharaoh’s servants of their dreams,
Believing patient faithfulness redeems:

So when the king was troubled in the night,
He saved the nation from its hungry plight.

His brothers hoped to end their hungry hour,
But did not recognise him wreathed in power.

When Joseph heard of how his father kept,
And saw his brother, he withdrew and wept.

But then, returning home, to their chagrin,
They found a stolen cup on Benjamin,

Their grief to think of losing him was shown,
Which Joseph saw, so let himself be known.

The family moved to Egypt, where they would
Grow into, as God said, their nationhood.

And all the while, the famine had not ceased,
But Pharoah’s wealth, by Joseph’s hand, increased.

When Israel’s time on Earth was almost done,
He blessed the head of Joseph’s younger son,

And when he’d blessed the twelve, he breathed his last,
They laid him with the fathers of the past.

Then Joseph’s brother’s fear began to build,
But he said all was done as God had willed.


The family grew, God’s word had been fulfilled,
But Pharaoh feared and had their children killed.

Though Moses was preserved, he feared and fled,
When temper flared, he’d struck another dead.

But God heard cries of Israel in her pain,
And called him back to Egypt once again.

And gave him signs so all who saw would know
That God Himself said “Let my people go!”

But Pharaoh would not heed the prophet's call,
And brought down greater hardships on them all.

And in their hardship they could not believe,
The blessing Moses told them they'd receive.

The Pharaoh's heart was hard, he made them stay,
The river filled with blood and death's decay,

And then came plagues of frogs and lice and flies,
Which Pharaoh turned away with freedom-lies;

The livestock perished, then came boils and hail,
But Moses’ words were still to no avail,

And even locust’s ruin and darkness’ reign,
Could not make Pharaoh ease the people's pain.

So God decreed there would be one plague more,
More terrible than all which came before:

The blood of lambs kept Israelites from woe,
And finally, the Pharaoh let them go.

At God's command, they consecrated all
Their firstborns, so in future they'd recall.

In cloud and fire God led them through the sea,
Where Egypt’s might was conquered utterly.

The women danced for joy, while Moses sang
In wilderness their praise for freedom rang.

And when they grumbled, God showed might and care:
He fed them with the bread of heaven there,

He gave them water from the barren land,
And victory by Moses’ upstretched hand,

When Moses’ leader-burden was too great,
Wise counsel taught him how to delegate.

And so, to mountain's foot the people came,
Where God would meet with them in holy flame.

The Lord said, “I am God who set you free,
So learn to love each other, and love me.”

Then with these words and with six hundred more,
God made His pact and gave His holy law.

He said that where there's debt it must be paid,
And kindness to the poor and lost displayed,

He said to keep their holy days and rest,
And promised them a land where they'd be blessed.

So Moses told the people all he’d heard,
And consecrated them to keep the word.

Then God commanded offerings to mark
Their promise and His presence with an ark,

He taught them how to build a sacred space,
With mercy’s ark in the most holy place,

An altar where they'd come to be made right,
And seven lamps to shine eternal light.

He ordered Aaron’s sons be robed as priests,
To tend the presence, altar, light and feasts,

Ordained by sacrifice for seven days,
They gave themselves to service of His praise.

He bade that they be numbered every one,
And ransom paid from each for what He'd done.

So God poured out the spirit of His skill,
To do all this according to His will.

But Moses, hearing this, was so delayed,
The people made an idol, bowed and prayed,

And for their stiff-necked straying from His law,
God said he'd not go with them as before.

Then Moses begged forgiveness from the Lord
And covenant they'd broken He restored.

So all then gladly offered all they could,
Of fabric, spices, silver, gold and wood,

And those God blessed with skill to do so bent
Their talents to the tabernacle tent,

And made the table, ark, and stand to hold
The seven lamps, and covered them with gold.

They made the altar for forgiveness sought,
Enclosed the holy space with outer court,

And made the garments for the priests to wear,
And all was blessed by Moses in a prayer.

God’s presence in the tabernacle meant,
That He was leading them each place they went.


Then God called Moses from inside the tent,
And from the Lord on high, His law was sent:

He taught them how and why and what to do,
To sacrifice the best of all they grew,

He taught them how to offer peace, and that
They must not eat of either blood or fat;

He taught them sacrifices they could bring,
For sins of individuals or the king,

If they'd not spoken of injustice seen,
They'd made rash oaths, or they'd become unclean;

He taught them how their guilt might be atoned,
As they restored things taken but not owned;

All this He taught them so they could restore,
Their covenant and keep God’s holy law.

Then Aaron and his sons as priests were brought,
To tend the sacrifice as they'd been taught,

They consecrated them for seven days,
The sacrifice consumed by holy blaze,

But two who worshipped as had not been meant,
Were likewise burned by fire from the tent.

God taught the people how to tell between,
The animals which were unclean or clean;

He taught them how when women bore a child
To make them to his presence reconciled;

He taught them how to spot a leprosy,
And how to keep their clothes infection-free,

And what to do when wellness was restored,
So they could be made clean before the Lord;

He taught them how to clean when they had bled,
To wash themselves, their cookware, clothes and bed;

He taught them how the nation could atone,
And of the goat who'd bear their sin alone;

He taught them what to do with beasts they killed,
Ensuring righteousness could be fulfilled;

He taught them what their standards ought to be
So they'd maintain their sexual purity.

So God commanded goodness from above:
To act with justice, kindness, and with love,

So that His people might be set apart
And by their cleanness, show their saviour's heart.

He taught the priests the things to do and be,
That they might tend Him in His sanctuary;

He taught the sort of creatures they could bring,
So they could make a lawful offering;

He taught them they should rest on seventh days,
And of the annual feasts to fast and praise;

He taught for every hurt you must atone
In kind: an eye for eye and bone for bone.

He taught them one in fifty years should be,
A year of freedom and of jubilee.

He promised if they kept the laws he taught,
He'd bless them in their peace and when they fought,

He taught them how to weigh each offered mite.
He taught them all His law from mountain height.