Round Two

December 29, 2011

Let’s hope I pick up the pace with updates. If I continue at this rate I won’t even finish Genesis.

God was putting the final touches on his covenant with Noah…

“’I set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth.’” (Gen.9.13)

I had no idea what God was talking about until I read the footnotes for this passage. Apparently the “bow” God talks of is actually a rainbow. Oxford goes one step further to explain that God didn’t just have the bow for show, but used it to shoot lightning bolts (I can only guess where he got that idea from). The rainbow, however, is old news. One of the first things God did was create light and now we’re supposed be amazed at his ability to refract it? I’m more surprised he decided to paint his bow it like it came from My Little Pony. Regardless of the reasoning I can now take comfort after every rain storm: “That sure was a lot of rain, but at least it’s not a giant flood.”

Finally we can say goodbye to God for a little bit while Noah moves on to raise his family. But, if saving the human race wasn’t enough for Noah, he sets out to top himself.

“Noah was the first tiller of the soil. He planted a vineyard; and he drank of the wine, and became drunk, and lay uncovered in his tent.” (Gen.9.20-21)

I’m glad Noah got his priorities straight. The first notable thing he does upon leaving the ark is to invent alcohol. Not only does he invent alcohol but he gets drunk off of it and invents streaking as well. Needless to say, Noah becomes the original bro. Granted, if I were Noah I’d probably be bummed at knowing I’d never do anything as epic as the ark again which might lead me to the drink. More likely though, Noah just kept rambling on at parties about how everyone should thank him and he can do anything he wants considering. I imagine he won all the can-you-top-this contests: “You raised some cattle? I built the ark.”

What does bug me about the excerpt above is the statement that Noah is the first tiller of the soil. Apparently the narrative has already forgotten about Cain. Remember:

“Now Abel was a keeper of sheep, and Cain a tiller of the ground.” (Gen.4.2)

I knew he was cursed but I didn’t think we would deny Cain’s existence completely. In all fairness, Noah is a tiller of soil while Cain a tiller of ground. Whereas I may consider them the same, it could be like the Eskimos and their snow; they have one hundred names for it because it’s different to them.

Now, it is important to note that before Noah started drinking he had some kids. Most notable of them were Shem, Ham, and Japheth. Whether or not the kids sparked the drinking, we may never know. We do know, however, that Ham was the first to stumble upon Noah naked in his tent.

“And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father, and told his two brothers outside.” (Gen.9.22)

Upon hearing the news of their drunk, naked father, Shem and Japheth take a blanket and cover Noah up. When Noah finally comes to, he curses Ham’s son Canaan and praises Shem and Japheth for their actions.

First off, Noah was probably still a little buzzed and didn’t really mean to condemn Canaan to be a “slave of slaves”. Secondly, none of the sons bothered to put their dad in the recovery position which means they’re all at fault. And finally Ham’s only crime was being concerned for his father. To further insult him, Shem and Japheth get praised for covering up their father despite the fact Adam and Eve were kicked out of Eden for covering themselves up. Even though Noah is doling out the judgment and not God, one would expect the same disposition towards nakedness as in the past.

So, with a new world to populate, Noah’s sons go about procreating in a way that would have made their pre-flood ancestors proud. The Bible captures a lot of names in the next few paragraphs so I have taken it upon myself to utilize my engineering studies to make an indented bill of materials to sort out the family confusion.

It is worth mentioning that Canaan’s legacy is collectively called the Canaanites. Also, the Bible informs us where the majority of these sons settle. For example, Japheth’s sons become the “coastland peoples” and Joktan’s territory “extend[s] from Mesha in the direction of Sephar to the hill country in the east.” (Gen.10.30)

Finally the Earth is repopulated and at this point God can sit back and effectively declare round two.