7. The Flood of Noah (§59)

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7. The Flood of Noah (§59)

59. The Biblical account of the Flood or Inundation is the record of a series of climatic changes with catastrophic consequences which overwhelmed the oldest human civilizations and terminated in the middle of the third millennium BC in the days of the prophet Noah. It has been misunderstood in the past because of loose reading of the Biblical text and misdating both of the pre-diluvian civilization described in Genesis and of the post-diluvian dynasties of ancient Mesopotamia and Egypt discovered by archaeologists. Critics have gone so far as to deny that any such event happened. This investigation will demonstrate how the Biblical account matches precisely the factual evidence (as opposed to the evolutionist interpretations of the evidence) revealed in recent years concerning the early history of the human race and how it elucidates humanity’s response to the drastic changes in climate which molded that history.

Hebrew Text (Ben Chayyim 1524-1525)

English Translation
with Explanatory Notes

The Hebrew text has been supplied so that readers familiar with Hebrew can check the correctness of the translation on the right.

This translation brings out important phases of the Biblical text which have been mistranslated or simply ignored in the past. These sections are linked to notes located at the end of the translation. The notes deal mainly with the nature and extent of the Inundation. If you are viewing online, click the link to read the explanatory note then press your Back button to return to the text.

Genesis 6: “9 This is the history of Noah and his line: Noah, a righteous man, was faultless in all phases of his life. Noah continually communed with God. 10 Now Noah engendered three sons, Shem, Ham and Japheth. 11 The earth by this time had been reduced to a state of ruin by the punitive action of God. [Note 1] Also the earth was pervaded by violence. 12 As God looked at the earth, He saw that the ruin it had suffered had come about because all material life had ruined its own appointed path of progress on earth. 13 Then God spoke to Noah and said, ‘The end of all material life is approaching, through My punitive action, [Note 2] because the earth is pervaded by violence wherever their influence is felt, and I am bringing ruin both upon them and upon the earth, as you can see. 14 Construct for yourself a container of wood impregnated with resin. You must construct the container with multiple decks, and coat it inside and

out with resin. 15 You must construct it with the following dimensions: the length of the container must be three hundred forearms, its breadth fifty forearms, and its height thirty forearms. 16 You must construct a skylight for the container and allocate a measure of one extra forearm on the top for that purpose. The door of the container you must locate in its side. You must construct it with a lower, a second and a third deck. 17 Now I Myself, as you can see, am allowing the water of the Inundation to sweep over the earth, in order to bring ruin upon all material life in which is a living spirit, so that all trace of them disappears from under the sky. Every creature on the earth will become extinct. [Note 3] 18 But I shall establish My Covenant with you. You shall embark on the container, you, your sons, your wife and your sons’ wives with you. 19 You must select specimens from amongst all living creatures, from all material life, two of each you must bring with you into the container to ensure their continued existence alongside you; they must be a male and a female. 20 Specimens of winged creatures of each type, animal specimens of each type, specimens of the creatures that move on the ground of each type, two of each will come to you to ensure their continued existence. 21 And you yourself must pick eatable items of the various kinds commonly used for food and store them with you to provide provender both for you and for them.’ 22 Noah went on to carry out all the instructions God had given him with complete fidelity. Genesis 7: 1 Then God said to Noah, ‘You and your household must now embark onto the container, because you have I observed to be a righteous man, by My definition, in this generation. 2 You shall pick specimens of every purebred animal, seven pairs of them, males and their mates, [Note 4] and specimens of every animal which is not purebred, a single pair, a male and its mate, 3 as well as specimens of every creature that flies in the atmosphere, seven pairs of them, males and females, in order to ensure the continued existence of the germ of life over the surface of the whole earth. 4 This is necessary because in another seven days I am going to cause it to rain on the earth for forty days and forty nights and I shall wipe out all that still exists of that which I made from off the surface of the ground.5 Noah went on to carry out

the instructions the LORD had given him with complete fidelity. 6 Now Noah was six hundred years old and the Inundation had already caused surface-water to sweep over the earth. 7 Then Noah and his sons and his sons’ wives along with him embarked on the container to escape the water of the Inundation. 8 Specimens of purebred animals, and specimens of animals which are not purebred, specimens of winged creatures and of every creature which moves on the ground, 9 two of each came to Noah onto the container, male and female, just as God had instructed Noah. 10 It was another seven days before water of the Inundation swept over the earth. 11 In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, on the seventeenth day of the month, on that same day, all the supply-sources of the great deep were broken up and the forces in the atmosphere which previously had a restraining effect gave way, 12 with the result that heavy rain poured down on the earth for forty days and forty nights continuously. 13 In the course of that same day Noah and Shem, Ham and Japheth, the sons of Noah, Noah’s wife and his sons’ wives alongside them, embarked onto the container, 14 they and every animal of each kind, every creature of each kind, and every moving creature which moves on the ground of each kind, and every flying creature of each kind, every bird, every creature with wings; 15 they came to Noah onto the container, in pairs, specimens out of the total range of material life in which is a living spirit. 16 Those that came came as male and female specimens out of the total range of material life, precisely as God had instructed him. Then the LORD closed the door behind him. 17 Now the Inundation swept over the earth for forty days and the volume of water increased till it lifted the container up and it rode high over the earth. 18 Then the flow of water gathered strength and its volume increased greatly as it spread over the earth and the container traversed the surface of the water. 19 The flow of water now gathered more and more strength as it spread over the earth and all the high mountains under heaven, wherever they were located, were capped. 20 The flow of water gathered strength till it reached a height of twenty-five forearms, and the mountains were capped. [Note 5] 21 Then all material life which moves over the

surface of the earth became extinct, flying creatures, beasts, animals, everything which moves over the surface of the earth and every man. 22 Everyone with a living spirit in his nostrils out of the totality of life on the dry land died: 23 that which still existed, everything on the surface of the ground, was wiped out thereafter in consequence of the event, including man and beast, moving creature, and creature which flies through the atmosphere; then they were wiped off the earth; and only Noah and whatever was with him on the container survived. [Note 6] 24 The flow of water over the earth continued to gather strength for a period of one hundred and fifty days. Genesis 8: 1 Then God turned His attention on Noah and on every animal and every beast which were with him in the container and God caused a wind to pass over the earth and the water began to dry up. 2 The supply-sources of the great deep and the forces in the atmosphere which had been released were now restrained: the rain pouring down from the atmosphere ceased. 3 The water swept back off the surface of the earth, swirling and churning as it went. The water started to retreat at the end of one hundred and fifty days. 4 Then the container grounded in the seventh month, on the seventeenth day of the month, on the mountains of Ararat. 5 The water continued to diminish and retreat till the tenth month. In the tenth month, on the first of the month, the peaks of the mountains became visible once more. 6 As events unfolded, when forty days had passed, Noah opened the window of the container which he had constructed, 7 and sent out a raven; this wandered here and there and back and forth until the water had dried up completely from the earth. 8 He also sent out a dove from where he was to see whether the water had gone down measurably off the surface of the ground. 9 But the dove found no perch for her claw and so came back to him in the container. 10 He waited another seven days and sent out the dove again from the container. 11 This time the dove came back to him in the evening and he could see an olive leaf which she had plucked off in her beak. Then Noah realized that the water had gone down measurably off the earth. 12 He waited another seven days and sent out the dove but this time she did not come back to him again. 13 As

events unfolded, in the six hundred and first year, in the first month, on the first day of the month, the water dried up off the earth. Noah then removed the cover of the container and looked out to find the surface of the ground was dry. 14 By the second month, and the seventeenth day of the month, the earth was completely dry.

15 Then God said to Noah, 16 ‘Go out from the container, you and your wife, and your sons and your sons’ wives with you. 17 Bring out with you every living thing that is with you, specimens out of the whole range of material life, flying creatures and animals and every moving thing that moves on the earth, that they may swarm abundantly on the earth, and be fruitful and multiply on the earth.’ 18 So Noah went out, and his sons and his wife and his sons’ wives with him. 19 Every beast also, every moving thing, and every flying creature, everything that moves on the earth, went forth by families out of the container. 20 Then Noah built an altar to the LORD, and took specimens of every purebred animal and of every purebred flying creature, and offered burnt offerings on the altar. 21 When the LORD smelled the pleasing odor, the LORD said in His heart,‘I will never again curse the ground because of man, for the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth; neither will I ever again destroy the whole range of living creatures as I have done. 22 While the earth remains, seed-time and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, shall not cease.’ [Note 7] Genesis 9: 1 Then God blessed Noah and his sons, and said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth. 2 The fear of you and the dread of you shall be on every animal of the earth, and on every creature which flies through the atmosphere, on everything that moves on the ground and all the fish of the sea; into your hand they are delivered. 3 Every moving thing that has life shall be food for you; and as I gave you the green plants, I give you everything. 4 Only you shall not eat material life by which you will incur guilt for the loss of its life, its blood-guilt. 5 For your blood-guilt, for the loss of your life, I will require a reckoning; of every beast I will require it, and of man, of one another, I will require the loss of the life of man. 6 Whoever sheds the blood of man,

by man shall his blood be shed; for God made man in His own image. 7 Now as for you, be fruitful and multiply, swarm over the earth and multiply in it.’

8 Then God said to Noah and to his sons with him, 9 ‘As you can see, I establish my covenant with you and your descendants after you, 10 and with every living creature that is with you, the winged creatures, the beasts, and every animal of the earth with you, as many of all animals of the earth as came out of the container. 11 I establish my covenant with you, that never again shall the whole range of material life be eradicated by the waters of an inundation, and never again shall there be an inundation to ruin the earth.’ 12 And God said, ‘This is the sign of the covenant which I make between Me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all future generations: 13 I set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between Me and the earth. 14 When I bring clouds over the earth and the bow is seen in the clouds, 15 I will call to mind My covenant which is between Me and you and every living creature which goes to make up the whole range of material life; and the water shall never again turn into an inundation which has the effect of destroying the whole range of material life. 16 When the bow is in the clouds, I will look on it and call to mind the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature which goes to make up the whole range of material life on earth.’ 17 God said to Noah, ‘This is the sign of the covenant which I have established between Me and all material life on the earth.’ 18 The sons of Noah who went out from the container were Shem, Ham, and Japheth. Ham himself was the father of Canaan. 19 These three were the sons of Noah; and from these the whole earth was peopled by dispersion.”

Note 1 (Genesis 6. 11) This same phrase is used in Exodus (8. 24) to describe the destruction suffered by Egypt in the form of a plague sent by God: Egypt was “destroyed before the flies,” according to the literal translation, as the whole earth here was also “destroyed before God,” i.e. “reduced to a state of ruin by the punitive action of God.” It must be noted this “destruction” was already wreaked on the earth BEFORE the Flood or Inundation of Noah’s time. Verse 11 refers to the ANTEDILUVIAN DESTRUCTION, the Destruction Before Noah’s Flood. The nature and immediate cause of that destruction is shown in Note 3. However, it was ultimately caused, as verse 12 says, by God’s own creatures. The word “material life,” literally “flesh,” is used in verse 12 to describe the perpetrators because the human race was no longer pure: it had become mixed with animal genes. “Material life” included sub-human elements (serpent seed) who had played a major part in the corruption of the antediluvian world, and the violence springing from it. Genetic tinkering, then as now, brought God’s judgment down on humanity. Note seven pairs of each “purebred” animal were preserved later on Noah’s container (see Note 4), but two only of those that were not purebred (Genesis 7. 2f.), showing cross-breeding had affected animal life in a negative manner in the antediluvian era. Progress brought destruction when the path of progress ordained by God was set aside, and man went his own way. This also has obvious bearing on the situation in our own day: Global Warming caused by man (mainly serpent seed) is threatening destruction of the entire ecosystem.

Note 2 (Genesis 6. 13) God shows Noah the result of the destruction caused by the antediluvians would be, if no action was taken, the complete eradication of all life on the planet. Great damage had already been done, now emergency measures were necessary.

Note 3 (Genesis 6. 13) God makes clear the “ruin” wreaked on “material life” which was already a fact was caused by the “Inundation.” This, then, was a present reality before the particular Inundation in which Noah was saved in the container. It is a fact that in the era leading up to 2500 BC (uncalibrated radiocarbon date, the era of Noah) in the Atlantic climatic phase, the progressive melting of the ice-sheets came to a crisis, with coastlines being gradually or sometimes more suddenly inundated. One such catastrophic inundation was the one which caused the formation of the Black Sea, some considerable period before Noah’s time. God reveals here to Noah the continuation of the Inundation phenomenon will lead to the extinction of all species, through the drastic effects of climate change if by nothing else, so a final catastrophic event is about to occur which will have the effect of stabilizing the climate, and the livestock preserved in Noah’s container will be specially preserved by God from extinction.

Note 4 (Genesis 7. 2) This was before God instituted the Mosaic law of ritual purity, so the Hebrew word tahor applied to animals in Noah’s days should not be translated “clean.” It has another meaning, viz. “purebred,” literally “unmixed” (Gesenius-Tregelles s.v. [b] “unmixed”). That is the meaning here, the mixing of bloodlines being the specific cause of the corruption of the antediluvian world and of the judgment pronounced by God upon that corruption. Hence “purebred” animals were preserved in greater numbers and “purebred” animals alone were sacrificed by Noah after the Flood.

Note 5 (Genesis 7. 20) In Noah’s Inundation the old world was destroyed by water. Water has different forms: liquid and solid. Ice and snow is water in solid form. Job 9. 30 refers to “snow water,” lit. “water of snow.” The extent of the Inundation in the form of liquid water is not specified, but it coincided with a covering, as stated here, FIRST of the “high mountains,” THEN, SECONDARILY, of the “mountains,” which shows a progressive covering of the mountains FROM ABOVE, from high to less than high. This therefore was a covering of the mountains by water in solid form, i.e. by ice and snow, which first capped the higher and colder mountains, then the lower and warmer ones. The Inundation reached a height of “twenty-five forearms” and this, certainly was insufficient to cover mountains with liquid water. The combination of a melting of the ice-sheets, causing the Inundation of low-lying areas, and of a sudden freezing, causing the capping of mountains with ice and snow, was a fatal combination which resulted in the total eradication of all land life-forms apart from those specially preserved by God on Noah’s container. Noah’s container was not only a means to float over the liquid water, but also a protection against the freezing cold of the solid water.

Note 6 (Genesis 7. 22-23) Verse 22 states all material life which moved over the surface of the earth became extinct as a result of this Inundation. Verse 23 gives a breakdown of the three phases or stages in which that happened. First, all humans (having the “neshamah” in their nostrils) on the “dry ground” died off. The same Hebrew word for “dry ground” is used in Exodus (14. 21) of the ground not covered with water when the children of Israel went through the Red Sea. Here, therefore, it means similarly ground not covered by liquid water. Humans otherwise not affected by the inundation of low-lying areas, still died off (it is not stated how long this process took), as a result of the effects of the catastrophe. Certainly a major part would have been played by the effects of the solid water (ice and snow) as detailed in the preceding note. Then, after that (the Hebrew grammatical structure indicates the next event followed some time after the first) all land life was “wiped out.” The word “wiped out” is more active than the word “died off,” and suggests some specific affliction caused by the Inundation and its climatic effects. Then, again in a third phase, the land life was wiped “off the earth.” This indicates not only a disappearance of land-life from the ground, as in the second phase, but from anywhere on earth, e.g. where they might have survived on floating rafts of vegetation or otherwise in the seas or oceans. Only that which was preserved on the container was empowered to survive the effects of the catastrophe, and from those specimens all present-day land-life forms descend.

Note 7 (Genesis 8. 21-22) God promises, not that the earth will never experience inundations of the coastal regions again, but that no such inundation will occur as the one in Noah’s time, in which the totality of land-life was destroyed, and the earth was “ruined” (Genesis 9. 11). The next complete ruination of the earth will be, as also foretold in prophecy, by fire. Note God says regular seasons would from henceforth, after Noah’s Inundation, be the pattern. It is a fact, that after around 2500 BC (uncalibrated radiocarbon date), i.e. from Noah’s time on, the present-day climate, with regular seasonal variations, has been the norm. The progressive melting of the ice-sheets (the “Inundation” phase as the Bible rightly calls it) which was characteristic of the preceding era (Atlantic climatic phase and earlier), is a thing of the past. The nature of the atmosphere, too, has altered. This can be deduced from the mention for the first time in the Bible of a rainbow in the sky (Genesis 9. 12-17), instituted by God as a sign to Noah and his sons, and also from the mention of rain itself, which is never noticed in the antediluvian era, but only here, during the Inundation of Noah’s time. The era of glaciers and ice-sheets, which came to a complete end at this point in time, was cold and arid (though increasingly, towards the end, less cold and less arid), since the moisture was trapped in the ice-sheets.

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