Noah’s Ark

The two stories of the Flood

One of the difficulties of the story of Noah and the flood is that the number of days of the flood do not add up. If one counts the dates of the flood starting on the 17th day of the second month and ending on the 17th day of the second month and the various dates in between, they do not correspond with the number of days between one date and the next. Moreover there is confusion between whether the animals went in ‘two by two’ or whether there were seven pairs (male and female) of the clean animals and one pair of the unclean animals. Similarly there is the problem of the raven and the dove. Why the two birds!

Richard Friedman, author of the book ‘Who wrote the Bible’ resolves some of these issues when he comes to the conclusion that the story of Noah is in fact an amalgam of two stories by different authors that have been blended together. And he makes a very clever of the segregation of the two stories in the following manner.

Splitting the story of Noah’s Ark

Story 1

Genesis 6

5. And the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually:

6. And the Lord repented that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart:

7. And the Lord said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the birds of the air; for I repent that I have made them:

8. And Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord:

Genesis 7

1. And the Lord said to Noah, Come you and all your house into the ark; for you have I seen righteous before me in this generation:

2. Of every clean beast you shall take to you seven pairs, the male and his female; and of beasts that are not clean one pair, the male and his female:

3. Of birds also of the air by seven pairs, the male and the female; to keep seed alive upon the face of all the earth:

4. For in another seven days I will cause it to rain upon the earth forty days and forty nights; and every living substance that I have made will I destroy from off the face of the earth:

5. And Noah did according to all that the Lord commanded him:

7. And Noah went in, and his sons, and his wife, and his sons' wives with him, into the ark, because of the waters of the flood:

10. And it came to pass after seven days, that the waters of the flood were upon the earth:

12. And the rain was upon the earth forty days and forty nights:

16…… and the Lord closed him in:

17. And the flood was forty days upon the earth; and the waters increased, and bore up the ark, and it was lifted up above the earth:

18. And the waters prevailed, and were increased greatly upon the earth; and the ark went upon the face of the waters:

19. And the waters prevailed exceedingly upon the earth; and all the high hills, that were under the whole heaven, were covered:

20. Fifteen cubits upward did the waters prevail; and the mountains were covered:

22. All in whose nostrils was the breath of life, of all that was in the dry land, died:

23. And every living substance was destroyed which was upon the face of the ground, both man, and cattle, and the creeping things, and the bird of the heaven; and they were destroyed from the earth; and Noah only remained alive, and those who were with him in the ark:

Genesis 8

2. …… and the rain from heaven was restrained:

3. And the waters returned from off the earth continually;:

6. And it came to pass at the end of forty days, that Noah opened the window of the ark which he had made:

8. Also he sent forth a dove from him, to see if the waters were abated from off the face of the ground:

9. But the dove found no rest for the sole of its foot, and she returned to him into the ark, for the waters were on the face of the whole earth; then he put forth his hand, and took her, and pulled her into the ark:

10. And he stayed yet other seven days; and again he sent forth the dove out of the ark:

11. And the dove came in to him in the evening; and, lo, in her mouth was an olive leaf plucked off; so Noah knew that the waters were abated from off the earth:

12. And he stayed yet other seven days; and sent forth the dove; which did not return back to him

13……and Noah removed the covering of the ark, and looked, and, behold, the face of the ground was dry:

20. And Noah built an altar to the Lord; and took of every clean beast, and of every clean bird, and offered burnt offerings on the altar:

21. And the Lord smelled the pleasing odor; and the Lord said in his heart, I will not again curse the ground any more for man's sake; for the imagination of man's heart is evil from his youth; nor will I again destroy every living thing, as I have done:

22. While the earth remains, seed time and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease:

Story 2

Genesis 6

9. These are the generations of Noah; Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God:

10. And Noah fathered three sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth:

11. The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence:

12. And God looked upon the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted its way upon the earth:

13. And God said to Noah, The end of all flesh has come before me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with them with the earth:

14. Make an ark of gopher wood; rooms shall you make in the ark, and shall pitch it inside and outside with pitch:

15. And this is the fashion by which you shall make it; The length of the ark shall be three hundred cubits, its breadth fifty cubits, and its height thirty cubits:

16. A window shall you make in the ark, and to a cubit shall you finish it above; and the door of the ark shall you set in its side; with lower, second, and third stories shall you make it:

17. And, behold, I, myself, bring a flood of waters upon the earth, to destroy all flesh, where there is the breath of life, from under heaven; and every thing that is in the earth shall die:

18. But with you will I establish my covenant; and you shall come into the ark, you, and your sons, and your wife, and your sons' wives with you:

19. And of every living thing of all flesh, two of every sort shall you bring into the ark, to keep them alive with you; they shall be male and female:

20. Of birds after their kind, and of cattle after their kind, of every creeping thing of the earth after its kind, two of every sort shall come to you, to keep them alive:

21. And take to you of all food that is eaten, and you shall gather it to you; and it shall be for food for you, and for them:

22. Thus did Noah; according to all that God commanded him, so did he:

Genesis 7

6. And Noah was six hundred years old when the flood of waters was upon the earth:

8. Of clean beasts, and of beasts that are not clean, and of birds, and of every thing that creeps upon the earth:

9. There went in two and two to Noah into the ark, the male and the female, as God had commanded Noah:

11. In the six hundredth year of Noah's life, in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month, the same day were all the fountains of the great deep broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened:

13. In the same day entered Noah, and Shem, and Ham, and Japheth, the sons of Noah, and Noah's wife, and the three wives of his sons with them, into the ark:

14. They, and every beast after its kind, and all the cattle after their kind, and every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth after its kind, and every bird after its kind, every bird of every sort:

15. And they went to Noah into the ark, two and two of all flesh, where there is the breath of life:

16. And those who went in, went in male and female of all flesh, as God had commanded him;

21. And all flesh died that moved upon the earth, both of bird, and of cattle, and of beast, and of every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth, and every man:

24. And the waters prevailed upon the earth a hundred and fifty days:

Genesis 8

1. And God remembered Noah, and every living thing, and all the cattle that was with him in the ark; and God made a wind to pass over the earth, and the waters subsided:

2. The fountains also of the deep and the windows of heaven were stopped,……..

3……..and after the end of the hundred and fifty days the waters were abated:

4. And the ark rested in the seventh month, on the seventeenth day of the month, upon the mountains of Ararat:

5. And the waters decreased continually until the tenth month; in the tenth month, on the first day of the month, were the tops of the mountains seen.

7. And he sent forth a raven, which went forth to and fro, until the waters were dried up from off the earth:

13. And it came to pass in the six hundredth and first year, in the first month, the first day of the month, the waters were dried up from off the earth;

14. And in the second month, on the twenty seventh day of the month, was the earth dried:

15. And God spoke to Noah, saying:

16. Go out from the ark, 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, of all flesh, both of bird, and of cattle, and of every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth; that they may breed abundantly in the earth, and be fruitful, and multiply upon the earth:

18. And Noah went out, and his sons, and his wife, and his sons' wives with and his wife, and his sons' wives with him:

19. Every beast, every creeping thing, and every bird, and whatever creeps upon the earth, after their kinds, went out of the ark:

This splitting of the story of Noah into two stories resolves the issue of the confusion of sending out two birds one a dove (story 1) and one a raven (story 2). It also resolves the problem of whether the animals went in ‘two by two’ (story 2) or whether there were seven pairs (male and female) of the clean animals and one pair of the unclean animals (story 1). It also resolves the number of days between the onset of the flood on the 17th of the second month and the date the waters begin to recede after 150 days on the 17th of the seventh month.

However a much ‘cleaner version’ appears the Dead Sea Scrolls written in the first half of the 1st century BCE in the Commentaries on Genesis in Scroll/parchment No. 4Q252-254a. It should be noted that this is the earliest implication of the use of Gematria in Hebrew Biblical texts. The essence of the text is as follows:

 

  • In the 480th year of Noah and God said my spirit shall not abide in man forever and their days shall be determined to 120 years;
  • 17th day of the 2nd month the Flood arrived in the 600th year of Noah;
  • It rained 40 days until 26th day of the 3rd month
  • Water prevailed 150 days until 14th day 7th month (Erev Succoth);
  • Waters abated and the ark came to rest on Arahat on 17th day 7th month;
  • The waters continued to abate until 1st day of 10th month and the tops of mountains appeared;
  • 10th day of the 11th month (40 days after seeing tops of mountains) Noah open the window of the Ark;
  • After 7 days he released a dove who found no resting place and return to the Ark;
  • After another 7 days sent her out again and came back with olive leaf (24th day of 11th month);
  • After another 7 days she didn’t come back at all: This was 1st day of the 12th month;
  • On 1st day of the 1st month at the end of 3 weeks after sending out the dove Noah opens the ark on dry land. This was 601 year of Noah’s life.
  • On the17th day 2nd month the earth was dry and Noah left the ark after 364 days.

As mentioned, this version is much ‘cleaner’ than that of the version that appears in the Bible. It is cleaner because (i) the dove and the raven are not intermixed; (ii) the number of days and the dates correspond one to the other and (iii) the dates fit neatly into gematrical theory, notably:

1. The commandment from God that man shall live only 120 years occurs when Noah is 480 years old and the Flood begins when Noah is 600 years old. This provides a 1:4 ratio between 120:480 (see hyperlink the mist, Adam and the two trees).

2. The date ‘17th’ of the month appears 3 times: at the beginning of the flood; in the middle of the flood when the flood waters begin to abate, and finally at the end of the flood when the earth is dry and Noah leaves the Ark. As noted in (See hyperlink seventeen) the number 17 is the gematrical value for ‘good’ meaning change, i.e. a process of destruction in order to create, change or make new in a positive sense;

3. The rains continue 40 days from 17th of the 2nd month until the 26th of the 3rd month where 26 corresponds to the gematrical value for God and would suggest/confirm that the flood was sent by God.

4. A significant difference between the two versions is that in the Dead Sea Scrolls version, Noah, his family and animals leave the Ark on the 17th of the 2nd month and in the Bible they leave the Ark on the 27th of the 2nd month, which suggests some “literary license’ in the Biblical text.

 

 
Sponsored Links
Who's Online
We have 35 guests online