A Biblical Exegesis:

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vigilantly taxonomish
I've read about mythologies and noticed similarities. I've never read an actual comparison, no.

Well. I have learned something new today.
vigilantly taxonomish
I should really be aiming to do at least a chapter each day, or this will take years.

Genesis 8 opens with "The End of the Flood".

God has not forgotten Noah and the animals, and He causes a wind to blow and the waters to descend. The outlets of the water underneath the Earth are closed, as are the floodgates in the sky.

The water level takes 150 days to return to normal. On the seventeenth day of the seventh month, the boat comes to rest on a mountain in the Ararat range, and on the first of the tenth, the mountain tops become visible again.

After 40 days Noah releases a raven, which doesn't return, and doesn't land until the water is completely gone. In the meantime, Noah sends out a dove, which returns to the boat, finding no land. Seven days later Noah sends out the dove again, and this time it returns carrying a fresh olive leaf. Seven days later Noah sends out the dove for a third time, and this time it doesn't return.

On new year's day, when Noah is 601, the water levels have returned to normal, and by the 27th of the 2nd, the ground is completely dry. God tells Noah to exit the boat, taking his wife, his sons, his sons wives and all the animals with him, so that the animals may reproduce and spread back over the Earth once more. Noah does as God instructed.

Funny thing - this edition hasn't mentioned the word "ark" once. The boat is consistently a boat.

New heading. "Noah Offers a Sacrifice".

Noah builds an altar to the Lord (note that He's called the Lord again now; the term used to address Him seems to vary depending on the passage) and sacrifices one of every kind of ritually clean animal, burning them whole on the altar. Presumably this took quite a while. The aroma from the altar pleases the Lord, who says to Himself the following:

Never again will I put the earth under a curse because of what people do; I know that from the time they are young their thoughts are evil. Never again will I destroy all living things, as I have done this time. As long as the world exists, there will be a time for planting and a time for harvest. There will always be cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night.

Which seems to support Original Sin and argue against Childhood Innocence, incidentally.

1657 years since the Creation of Adam. End of chapter.

Now, I know how I would interpret that last passage; I'm also fairly certain that our Christian tropers will disagree.

Going purely by the Book of Genesis up to this point, it seems like the Lord's initial expectations of the human race were rather high, but they failed Him by not living up to them. It seems like the antediluvian humans - including the children, as the Lord just made fairly clear - were evil only in the sense that all humans are sinners, and the Lord appears to regret having wiped them out.

Of course, I may be reading too much into this, but that seemed like remorse to me. Of course, Christianity tells us it can't be, because the Christian God is infallible. But that was the impression I got from that.

One other thing that caught my attention - even though this precedes the chapters that lay down the laws, a distinction is made between clean and unclean animals, so evidently those laws already existed in some shape or form.
Azor Ahai
I think that the remorse reading does match the text. Although its a much later book, which might explain the viewpoint, but in the Book of Jonah, it's Jonah who really wants to smite everyone. G-d takes the view that the people of Niniveh are more confused than evil, and can be changed.

Also, maybe it's a different translation, but I think G-d promises never to destroy the world with a flood again, which may be Exact Words- it doesn't rule out other methods.

I'd assume the mention of diety laws is probably a later edition, but don't really have any evidence on that either way.
204 Tzetze23rd Jan 2010 09:41:33 AM from a converted church in Venice, Italy
ark (plural arks)

1. A large box with a flat lid.

Huh. Who knew?
vigilantly taxonomish
Hence the Ark of the Covenant.

Glad to see I'm not the only one who thinks God sounds remorseful there.

Edit: The KJV actually has God promising never to smite every living creature again. The Good News Bible makes no mention of the method; it seems fairly unambiguous to me that God isn't going to wipe out all life again, full stop.

edited 23rd Jan '10 9:54:29 AM by BobbyG

Taller than Zim
I do believe one of the theories is that the title God is using is a clue to the origin of the text. IE: Those who use "The LORD" are probably closer connected than those who use other terms.

It should be noted that the new swedish bible translation puts the bit where God decides not to smite man again a bit differently.

21Och Herren kände den blidkande lukten, och han sade till sig själv: "Aldrig mer skall min förbannelse drabba marken för människans skull, för att hon alltifrån ungdomen har ett ont uppsåt. Jag skall aldrig mer förgöra allt levande, så som jag nu har gjort.

"And the lord felt the pleasing smell, and he told himself: Never more shall I let my curse strike the ground for the sake of man, because of the fact that she from youth is filled with evil intent. I shall nevermore destroy all living things, the way I have just did."

I should note that referring to humanity in the feminine is a quirk of swedish, and not of the translation per se.

edited 23rd Jan '10 11:51:19 AM by Arilou

"No, the Singularity will not happen. Computation is hard." -Happy Ent
vigilantly taxonomish
I suppose "the way I just did" is the loophole, if there is one.

Reminds me of the whole "as man lies with woman" argument.
208 Tangent12823rd Jan 2010 01:43:19 PM from Virginia , Relationship Status: Gonna take a lot to drag me away from you
@Tzetze: For the record, it is commonly thought that Noah's boat was in fact not much more than a big box; a fancy streamlined/rounded construction like you see in some picture books isn't really needed when the only goal is flotation.
Do you highlight everything looking for secret messages?
209 Tzetze23rd Jan 2010 01:49:43 PM from a converted church in Venice, Italy
Well, whatever works.

As for the "whoa the flood seems really bad now", I don't really care. It's as remote as the An Shi Rebellion.
Still in Genesis? I want Revelations already waaaaah

Otherwise, I'm impressed.
211 Justice424324th Jan 2010 11:11:46 AM from Portland, OR, USA , Relationship Status: Brony
Writer of horse words
Just wait until he has to start trudging through Numbers.
Justice is a joy to the godly, but it terrifies evildoers.Proverbs21:15
FimFiction account.
vigilantly taxonomish
Why thank you, mellon. I am looking forward to Revelations. It is the most metal book. At this rate, I estimate I shall reach it by the time I am 30.

Numbers... should I be worried?
213 Justice424324th Jan 2010 11:39:44 AM from Portland, OR, USA , Relationship Status: Brony
Writer of horse words
(Picks up copy of Bible, randomly picks a passage from Numbers)

The descendants of Gad by their clans were:
through Zephon, the Zephonite clan;
through Haggi, the Haggite clan;
through Shuni, the Shunite clan;
Numbers 26:15

Now imagine pages full of THAT.

Edit: I suggest skimming, honestly. I found it necessary to get through certain chapters.

edited 24th Jan '10 12:04:36 PM by Justice4243

Justice is a joy to the godly, but it terrifies evildoers.Proverbs21:15
FimFiction account.
vigilantly taxonomish
Oh, genealogies. I'll probably treat them the same way I treated Genesis 5: read them and pick out any points of interest, but not bother to analyse them in depth or list all the names and ages.
215 Kinkajou25th Jan 2010 06:58:40 AM from you're not your
One Man Army
(note that He's called the Lord again now; the term used to address Him seems to vary depending on the passage)

Obviously it means a change in source.
"Wait, it's IV. Of course they are. They'd make IV for Dreamcast." - Enlong, on yet another FFIV remake
Awww I missed world flood stuff. Just want to throw in that the Native Americans of the North Pacific coast also had a world flood myth.
Is this still happening?
If an offense come out of the truth, better it is that the offense come than that the truth be concealed.
vigilantly taxonomish
This is still happening, yes, and I'm sorry for neglecting it. I've been busy IRL.
vigilantly taxonomish
Genesis 9 begins with "God's Covenant with Noah".

God blesses Noah and their sons (no mention of their wives) and gives them a command similar to the one He gave to humankind in Genesis 1:29, to have many children so that their descendants may live all over Earth. He tells them that all the animals, birds and fish will fear them and be under their power. He gives them permission to eat animals as well as plants. It will be interesting to see if the human lifespans do get shorter after this. He does, however, prohibit them from eating meat with blood in it, and gives the reason that life is in the blood. Interesting insight into ancient Middle Eastern biology, there.

God goes on to say that any human or animal who takes a human life will be punished by death, because human beings were made like God. He specifically states that any human who commits murder will be killed by somebody else, which sounds like the start of a vicious cycle. I suppose that could be a statement in support of the death penalty for murder.

God then makes a covenant with every living being that has emerged from Noah's boat: He promises that never again will all living beings or the Earth be destroyed by a flood. He places His bow in the clouds: a rainbow. He then states that whenever He covers the sky with clouds and a rainbow appears He will remember His everlasting covenant with all living things.

A couple of notes: one, that again, it's always "by a flood". Two, again the God we are presented with does not appear to be completely omniscient; the use of the word "remember" makes it sound like the rainbow being there will remind Him not to flood the Earth. The wording is ambiguous enough that it doesn't necessarily mean anything of the sort, however. Could be the rainbow's just for the benefit of humanity.

The second half of this chapter is entitled "Noah and his Sons", and begins by telling us that Shem, Ham and Japheth, the three sons of Noah, are the ancestors of everyone on Earth, and that Ham is the father of Canaan.

Noah, a farmer, is the first man to plant a vineyard. He gets drunk on some of the wine from said vineyard, strips naked and falls asleep in his tent.

Ham walks in on Noah sleeping naked and goes to tell his brothers. Shem and Japeth take a robe and carry it backwards between them and use it to cover Noah, taking care to avert their eyes from their father.

Once Noah has sobered up and learned what his youngest son, Ham, has done, he curses Canaan, and praises the Lord, the God of Shem, and says, "May God cause Japheth to increase! May his descendants live with the people of Shem". He declares that Canaan shall be the slave of Shem and Japheth. Clearly Noah really didn't want to be seen naked, although this seems more than a little unfair on Ham's descendants.

Noah lives for 350 years after the flood, before dying aged 950 (2006 years after the creation of Adam). End of chapter.
vigilantly taxonomish
Hey y'all. Remember me? I don't know if anyone's still interested, but I'm reading on at last, so I figured I may an as well give you guys an update. ^_^;

Genesis 10: "The Descendants of Noah's Sons". Oh goody, one of these chapters.

There's little analysis to be done here. We are informed that all the peoples of the world are descended from Noah's sons. Each of their sons shares his name with the people he fathers. I'm not going to bother listing them all, because it's all there in plain English if you like lists. If you're wondering who the cursed sons of Canaan are, they're the people of Sidon, the people of Heth (the Hittites, who may or may not be the same as the historical people identified by the same name), the Jebusites (not a typo or a reference to The Simpsons), the Amorites (amirite?), the Girgashites, the Hivites, the Arkites, the Sinites, the Arvadites, the Zemarites and the Hamathites. Sodom and Gomorrah are either within or on the edge of Canaanite borders.

Given the locations named, it seems that Japheth son's loosely correspond to Europe, Ham's sons correspond loosely to Africa, and Shem's sons are the Hebrews.

Also of note here is Nimrod, son of Cush, son of Ham. Nimrod was the world's first great conqueror, and with the Lord's help he was also a great hunter.

Onward, then, to Genesis 11, which opens with "The Tower of Babylon".

So, at this point, the people of the Earth, being all descended from the same three dudes, all speak the same language. They settle in a plain in the East called Babylonia, where they bake bricks and stick them together with tar to build a city. In an effort to make a name for themselves and avoid being scattered all over the Earth, they build a tower which reaches the sky.

The Lord comes down (again, insightful into the nature of the Lord here) and sees the city and the tower. He observes that these people speak one language and have built all this, and says that they will soon be able to do anything they want. So the Lord descends (once again, either referring to Himself in the plural or accompanied by others - angels, perhaps) and scatters the people all over the Earth and mixes up their language so that they will not be able to understand one another, halting the construction of the city, which becomes known as Babylon, Hebrew for "mixed up".

I'm a little puzzled as to the Lord's motive here. Is He worried that humans will grow too powerful? Is He punishing them for growing too proud? Is this actually some convoluted way of helping humanity to progress?

I'm going to see if the KJV sheds some light on this.

Aha. First thing I notice is that in this edition the tower is called Babel, not Babylon, which is the term I am more familiar with, now that I think about it.

So in the KJV, this is what the Lord says:

Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do.
7Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another's speech.

Not really any more enlightening. From the phrasing, it seems a reasonable assumption that He is preventing them from becoming overly powerful, but whether the concern is that they are becoming too powerful in the service of mankind (as opposed to God), thus committing the sin of pride, or whether they are becoming powerful enough to actually defy God, is unclear.

The rest of this chapter consists mainly of genealogies, which I won't bore you with. Notably these guys are still living to well over the age of 120, which contradicts Genesis 6, although their ages are gradually decreasing. The section headed "The Descendants of Shem" in the Good News edition starts with Shem's son Arpachshad, and ends with the 70-year-old Terah fathering Abram, Nahor and Haran.

In the following section, headed "The Descendants of Terah", Haran fathers Lot, Iscah and Milcah, before dying in the city of Ur, in Babylonia, and is outlived by Terah. Abram marries Sarai and Nahor marries Milcah (yes, that's his niece). Sarai is unable to bear children.

Terah, Abram, Sarai and Lot leave Ur and move to Canaan, ominously enough. They settle in a place named Haran. It doesn't say whether they named it after the man, or whether it was the other way around, or what; Wikipedia suggests that perhaps it is the same place as Harran, the ancient Turkish city. Terah dies aged 205, 2083 years after the Creation of Adam. End chapter.
221 Tzetze26th Feb 2010 03:30:37 PM from a converted church in Venice, Italy
wooooo Paraphrase of Shem

Babel's an interesting metaphor. I learned about it from Snow Crash, though. ^_^;
vigilantly taxonomish
The Paraphrase of Shem looks... bizarre.

I've not read Snow Crash, although the story of the Tower of Babel is a very familiar one. What was their interpretation?
223 Tzetze26th Feb 2010 04:07:19 PM from a converted church in Venice, Italy
I always heard that it was that they were building the tower so that they could be godlike, so that's pride.

Oh, whoops, "their", well uh basically that the language before Babel was the perfect in-built human language, but with the rise of consciousness it didn't work any more. I think. It's been a while.

edited 26th Feb '10 4:08:05 PM by Tzetze

Taller than Zim
the Jebusites

If I remember correctly these are the peoples who originally founded Jerusalem. (which is dedicated to their god, Salim)
"No, the Singularity will not happen. Computation is hard." -Happy Ent
225 Tzetze26th Feb 2010 06:32:19 PM from a converted church in Venice, Italy
Doesn't that get talked about later?

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