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Author Topic: Genesis; The Road To The Top
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Gen 6:1-2

†. Gen 6:1-2 . . Now it came about, when men began to multiply on the face of the land, and daughters were born to them, that the sons of God saw that the daughters of men were good; and they took wives for themselves, whomever they chose.

The Hebrew word for "good" in that passage is towb (tobe) which is the very same word that Genesis utilizes to evaluate God's handiwork in creation; e.g. Light (Gen 1:4) Land and Seas (Gen 1:10) Vegetation (Gen 1:12) Sun, Moon, and Stars (Gen 1:18) Birds and Aquatic Life (Gen 1:21) Beasts and Bugs (Gen 1:25) and the finished product. (Gen 1:31)

Towb is one of those ambiguous Hebrew words that can be utilized as either a noun or an adjective in a wide variety of applications. It can indicate morality, it can indicate a tasty meal, it can indicate a job well done, it can indicate a nice man, it can indicate a pretty dress, it can indicate a shapely woman and/or a handsome man, and it can indicate an expert musician and/or a really groovy song like Lady Gaga's "Bad Romance"

In my judicious estimation, when God's handiwork turned out "good" towb indicates that the cosmos-- and all of its forms of life, matter, and energy --came out just the way God wanted it to; perfectly suited to the purposes He had in mind when He designed everything. But in this case; I think it's pretty safe to assume towb indicates a woman's looks.

NOTE: Ambiguous Hebrew words like towb serve to illustrate why it's virtually impossible to translate Hebrew into English with 100% verbatim precision. No linguist in his right mind would dare to say that English versions of the Hebrew Old Testament are perfect word-for-word renditions of the original manuscripts-- no; they can't even be certified perfect word-for-word renditions of the available manuscripts let alone the originals.

The precise identity of the "sons of God" has been debated. Some say they were the sons of the aristocracy of that day who married attractive women from among the commoners. Others say they were renegade spirit creatures who cohabited with humans to produce a hybrid strain of hominid freaks. Others say they were believing men who threw caution to the wind and built themselves harems of irreverent women instead of marrying believing women of like faith; viz: the men married infidels-- implying that "daughters of men" were women who didn't fear the Bible's God. (e.g. Gen 26:34-35)

Intermarriage between men of faith and infidel women is as old a practice as adultery; and a proven tactic for watering down, compromising, and even extinguishing Bible beliefs and practices (e.g. Num 31:7-16). The people of God are strictly, unequivocally, and clearly forbidden to marry outside their faith. (Deut 7:1-4, 2Cor 6:14-18)

In a mixed relationship-- one a believer and the other an infidel --the believer will be forced to compromise their convictions in order to keep the relationship going. Compromise in the area of spiritual values is not a good thing for God's people. It's not only bad for the conscience, but will quickly ruin a believer's relationship with their Lord. (1John 1:6)

Most people want love, romance, companionship, and a family of their own. According to Gen 1:27-28, and Gen 2:21-24, those things are Divine blessings, they're perfectly normal and nothing to be ashamed of; nor is there anything intrinsically naughty or sinful about them. But a believer has to be self controlled, and not permit their base nature to make them lose their heads and ruin their chances for happiness.

Adult dating is where it starts. And adult dating isn't harmless. It leads to other things, and it leads into commitments and promises that are not easily reneged. The end result of adult dating is ultimately marriage and children (quite possibly illegitimate children). Whose spiritual philosophy will prevail in the marriage? Whose spiritual philosophy will be taught to the children? The believer's or the infidel's? And ultimately, who will get the children's souls-- God, or the Serpent?

Some couples try to accommodate each other's beliefs by teaching their children the concepts of both religions. For example, a marriage between a Buddhist and a Christian. The children are given a choice between the Bible and the Four Noble Truths; and between Christ and Siddhartha Gautama, and between resurrection and reincarnation. That may seem like a good idea, but it only creates confusion in the minds of the children. Why are mom and dad not in agreement? Whose religion is right? Can both be right? Does it mean that one religion is just as good as the next?

Wives can be very effective in influencing an otherwise pious man to compromise his convictions (e.g. Gen 3:6). All too often, in a mixed marriage, the mother's religion will be taught to her children because husbands, as a rule, put a higher priority on sex and peace in the home than religion, so they won't risk alienating mama by forcing the issue.

The sons of God in Noah's day-- whose wives were chosen based solely upon sex appeal sans any spiritual prudence whatsoever --all perished in the Flood right along with their infidel wives and children. Not a one of them had the good sense to go aboard the ark with Noah.

It's never wise for believers to marry outside their faith. A good example is Solomon. He got off to a good start but down the road accumulated a harem of foreign women who led him into idolatry; which subsequently caused The Lord to engineer rebellion in the kingdom. (1Kgs 11 & 12)


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Gen 6:3-4

†. Gen 6:3a . . And Yhvh said: My Spirit shall not strive with man forever

Some translations have "abide" instead of strive. But the Hebrew word is diyn (deen) which means: to rule; by implication: to judge (as umpire); also to strive (as at law). It can also mean to plead the cause of; or to contend in argument.

So. How did "My Spirit" accomplish this striving with man? In person Himself? No; just like He always has: via a holy man.

"Noah, a preacher of righteousness" (2Pet 2:5)

According to 1Pet 3:18-20, the Spirit of Christ and My Spirit are one and the same spirit. In point of fact; according to 1Pet 1:10-11, all the Old Testament preachers (a..k.a. prophets) were motivated by the Spirit of Christ. (cf. Rom 8:9 and 1Cor 6:19 where the Spirit of Christ and The Spirit are again seen as one and the same spirit)

Anyway, point being: there does come a time when God's patience runs out. Not because He can't take it anymore, but because when human beings become too decadent and too incorrigible, then any more reasoning with them would be like throwing good money after bad; and risky too.

"Do not give what is sacred to dogs, and do not throw your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces." (Matt 7:6)

It's sad but true: there are people out there so devoid of spiritual values that they're practically feral.

Contrary to the mushy, sob-sister brand of Christianity going around like swine flu, there is a time when forgiveness is not only impractical, but it's also unreasonable. Hell is populated with people who will never, ever be forgiven. They crossed a line and now there's no going back; ever. God no longer has any interest in their welfare. They are forgotten and ignored; and can expect neither pity nor sympathy from God ever again.

†. Gen 6:3b . . for they are only flesh.

The problem with flesh is it's brevity. Because people eventually die, God has a limited amount of time to work with them before they pass on.

†. Gen 6:3c . . yet his days shall be one hundred and twenty years.

Some feel that God set the limits of human longevity in that verse. But people still continued to live long lives for a great number of years afterwards. Even Abraham, who lived many, many years after the Flood, didn't die till he was 175 years old. It's far more reasonable to conclude that God was announcing a deadline; viz: they had 120 years left to get ready to meet their maker. But you think that alarmed anybody? Heck no. They went right on; business as usual.

"And as it was in the days of Noah, so it will be also in the days of the Son of Man: They ate, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all." (Luke 17:26-27)

The time of God's patience is sometimes long; but never unlimited; viz: reprieves are not pardons-- though God bear a great while, He never bears forever.

†. Gen 6:4 . .There were giants on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of men, and they bore children to them. Those were the mighty men who were of old, men of renown.

The Hebrew word for "giants" in that passage is nephiyl (nef-eel') or nephil (nef-eel') and I have no clue why the KJV's scholars translated it giants because it doesn't mean that at all. For one thing; it's an ambiguous word with more than one meaning. It can indicate someone who cuts, knocks, or brings things down, or a killer; and/or bullies and tyrants.

Now; granted that some bullies are big guys; but not all tyrants are big guys. Take for example Kim Jong-Un of North Korea, He isn't especially imposing but Mr. Jong Il sure knows how to exercise power excessively and brutally.

In other words: nephiyl doesn't necessarily indicate a special race of people; but simply people whose ambition is to dominate others; even if they have to completely destroy their culture and kill them all off to do it; viz: nephiyl personalities are not good followers nor are they very good team players. It can be accurately said of nephiyl personalities that they would rather rule in hell than serve in heaven. In other words: if they can't conquer God, then they would just as soon have nothing to do with Him.

Historical examples of nephiyl types would be men like Genghis Khan of Mongolia, and Alexander the Great of Greece; Napoleon of France, Chandragupta Maurya of India, shogun Minamoto no Yoritomo of Japan, conquistador Hernando Cortes of Spain, Timur: founder of the Timurid dynasty, and Zahir-ud din Muhammad Babur: founder of the Mughal dynasty that ruled the Indian subcontinent for over three centuries.

Q: If all the nephiyl types drowned in the Flood; then how did their characteristics manage to resurface down the road?

A: Well; from whence did nephiyl types originate in the first place? Same place every other personality type originated: from Adam's genes; viz: since Noah and his wife, and his sons and their wives, were Adam's descendants, then nephiyl characteristics survived the Flood by riding it out in the DNA of the people aboard the ark.


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Gen 6:5-7

†. Gen 6:5 . . And the Lord saw that the evil of man was great in the earth, and every imagination of his heart was only evil all the time.

Man's descent into depravity didn't catch his creator by surprise. After all; not only can God see the future but He can also manipulate it; so He was well aware even before Gen 1:1 that the people He was about to create were destined from day-one for a global deluge.

Also, when God inspected His handiwork at Gen 1:31, He evaluated it not just good, but "very" good. So as far as He was concerned; everything was going smoothly and according to plan-- nothing was broken, and nothing was maladjusted.

†. Gen 6:6 . . And the Lord regretted that He had made man upon the earth, and He became grieved in His heart.

I seriously doubt that the regret and grief that God felt was somehow related to His thinking that creating human life was a big mistake. It's difficult to discern from the language and grammar of the text; but it's far more likely that the regret God felt in Gen 6:6 was directly related to what He was about to do next: the destruction of a major portion of the life that He himself put on earth.

In other words; the destruction of life is not something God enjoys as if He were an outdoor guy who kills fish and wildlife for sport with no more sensitivity than a kid blasting aliens in a video game. Man's creator knew the day was coming when He would have to do what He was about to do next, and clearly wasn't looking forward to it.

But to be quite forthright; it seems insane to me that God would go forward with plans to create life on earth knowing in advance that He would one day be destroying so much of it. Where's the logic in that? I just don't get it; but then, no surprise there.

The human mind is organic-- produced by a three-pound lump of flabby organic tissue; and not even all three of those pounds are utilized for cognitive processes. 60% of the human brain's mass is fat. All considered: the human mind is practically that of an insect in comparison to the mind of the inventor who created human life.

†. Gen 6:7 . . And the Lord said: I will blot out man, whom I created, from upon the face of the earth, from man to cattle to creeping thing, to the fowl of the heavens, for I regret that I made them.

The destruction of earth's birds and beasts was unavoidable; they became collateral damage in God's war against the sinful antediluvians.

The Hebrew word for "blot" is from machah (maw-khaw') which means: to stroke or rub; by implication, to erase; also to smooth (as if with oil), i.e. grease or make fat; also to touch, i.e. reach to.

God intended to not only remove the antediluvians from the face of the earth, but also to scrub off all of their works too so that when He was done, it would be very difficult, if not impossible, to even be able to tell the antediluvians were ever here at all.

It's always been a mystery to me why paleo-anthropologists have managed to find so few fossilized remains of pre-historic human beings.

In 1992, Tim White of the University of California at Berkeley, discovered the fossilized skeletons of human-like creatures in Ethiopia's Afar Rift who lived 4.4 million years ago but those are not the remains of h.sapiens; but rather, of beasts that resemble h.sapiens. To my knowledge; no truly human remains have been found from that era.

While mysterious; that lack of remains isn't exclusive. Take for instance the Passenger Pigeon; a bird that at one time numbered an estimated four to five billion individuals; which is a number equal in quantity to the current year-round population of all North American birds combined. Yet an archeological search for the pigeon's bones left behind by people who ate the bird for food, through all pre-Columbian times, has thus far yielded very few remains; at only two sites.

But my point is: where are the remains of the antediluvians? They're gone; lock, stock, and barrel-- no metal implements from Tubal-Cain's blacksmith shop, no musical instruments from Jubal's work shop, no dwellings, no footprints, no bones, no pottery, no cave art, not even any geological evidence of a world-wide deluge: nothing. It's like they were never here.

God moved against the antediluvians like a relentless newspaper editor deleting superfluous words and sentences so skillfully that the reader cannot even tell those superfluous words and sentences ever existed in the original copy.

Why would God do that? I would hazard to guess that His purpose in doing so was to prevent people from believing too easily that the Flood actually happened.

The funny thing about the Bible is that portions of it are just as effective at driving people away from God as they are at attracting them. No doubt it is God's wishes that everybody believe the Bible; but at the same time it seems He's thwarted His own wishes by taking steps to ensure that a substantial number of people don't. For example:

"Moses summoned all Israel and said to them: You have seen all that The Lord did before your eyes in the land of Egypt to Pharaoh and all his servants and all his land; the great trials which your eyes have seen, those great signs and wonders. Yet to this day The Lord has not given you a heart to know, nor eyes to see, nor ears to hear." (Deut 29:2-4)

"No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him." (Matt 11:27)

"A natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned." (1Cor 2:14)


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Gen 6:8-10

†. Gen 6:8 . . But Noah found favor with The Lord.

The word for "favor" is from chen (khane) and means: graciousness. Translators sometimes render chen as grace. But the important thing is that The Lord didn't find chen with Noah. No, just the opposite-- Noah found chen with The Lord.

Webster's defines graciousness as: kind, courteous, inclined to good will, generous, charitable, merciful, altruistic, compassionate, thoughtful, cordial, affable, genial, sociable, cheerful, warm, sensitive, considerate, and tactful.

Those are all good qualities, and the very things you would expect to see in someone you loved and trusted-- like your spouse or a very close friend.

†. Gen 6:9a . .This is the line of Noah.-- Noah was a righteous man;

The Hebrew word for "righteous" is tsaddiyq (tsad-deek') which means: just.

Webster's provides several definitions of "just", but perhaps the ones best suited for our purpose are: conscientious, honest, honorable, right, scrupulous, true, dependable, reliable, tried, trustworthy, dispassionate, equal, equitable, impartial, nondiscriminatory, objective, unbiased, uncolored, and unprejudiced. So then, Noah was not only religious to his fingertips; but he was a pretty decent guy to boot.

The kind of righteousness spoken of in Gen 6:9a is a personal kind of righteousness. There's also a spiritual righteousness, but I don't think that's in view here. The emphasis is upon Noah as a man rather than a believer; though according to Heb 11:7 he was that too.

†. Gen 6:9b . . he was blameless in his era; Noah walked with God.

Is that verse saying Noah was flawless? No; perfection in the Bible means something altogether different than what you'd expect. The Hebrew word for "blameless" is tamiym (taw-meem') which just simply means entire; in other words; no pieces missing and everything in working order; indicating that Noah was not only a man of faith, but also a man who put his faith into practice.

The most incredible thing about Noah was his degree of piety in a world gone mad with evil. He was actually a nobody in his day; eclipsed by the nephiyl types. They got all the press, the publicity, and the notoriety while God's man went marginalized and largely ignored. Yet he persisted; and continued pounding a pulpit right up to the end.

†. Gen 6:10 . . Noah begot three sons: Shem, Ham, and Japheth.

Were those the only kids Noah had? And no daughters? I seriously doubt it. Noah was six hundred when the flood began. It is unlikely that a healthy, hard working, robust man would live that long without engendering a much larger family than three; especially in those days without birth control. But these three boys are the only ones that count now because they're going on the ark with their dad.


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Gen 6:11-14c

†. Gen 6:11a . .The earth became corrupt before God;

The word for "earth" is 'erets (eh'-rets) which technically refers to the planet (Gen 1:1).

I think we're going to see that the planet wasn't corrupt due to itself going bad, rather, the activities of its human inhabitants.

The word for "corrupt" is shachath (shaw-khath') which means: to decay, decompose, and/or disintegrate; viz: to become decadent.

The perspective "before God" indicates the Almighty's own personal estimation. No doubt the antediluvians disagreed with God's evaluation of their spiritual condition just like people today disagree with His evaluation. And again, this disparity of evaluations has its roots all the way back in the garden when humans became their own Gods; discerning right and wrong from within a humanistic system of values instead of their creator's.

†. Gen 6:11b . . the earth was filled with lawlessness.

Crime is pretty much inevitable in a world of sinful beings sans cops and courts. Nobody was accountable for a single thing in those days. The only rules that may have existed were those among clans or in towns. But those rules wouldn't be universal. Rules like that would be different from clan to clan and from town to town. And primitive clans are known to war with each other on a regular basis like the Native Americans did here in America's early years.

I just hope I don't live to see the day when some sort of nationwide disaster, like a nuclear holocaust, occurs in America. Nobody will be safe. Electrical power will be out, the banks won't be open, ATM machines won't work, and everyone will be so desperate to survive.

Roving gangs of thugs will prowl the rubble looking to scavenge and to steal anything not nailed down or protected by guards. Law enforcement and medical services will be so overwhelmed that dialing 911 will be no more productive than writing a letter to Santa Claus; that is, if telephones even work. If hurricanes Katrina and Sandy taught us anything in New Orleans and Manhattan, it's that large-scale disasters produce large-scale anarchy and chaos.

The criminal element has neither honor nor sympathy for its victims. After the September 29, 2009 tsunami subsided in Samoa, residents returned to neighborhoods only to find that their homes had been looted.

According to the 2016 World Almanac, in the year 2013, there were a total of 1,163,146 violent crimes committed in the USA . The number of property crimes totaled 8,632,512. Those totals exclude crimes like arson, perjury, forgery, insider trading, contempt of court, bail jumping, internet hacking, traffic violations, J-walking, trespassing, animal abuse, feeding parking meters, cheating on taxes; et al.

And to think the USA and its territories are a society of law abiding citizens. Just think what it must have been like in Noah's day with no law enforcement whatsoever to control crime. All I can say is; if something really bad should ever happen here in the USA, you'd better own deadly weapons like swords and guns plus lots of pepper and/or bear spray because neither your life nor your possessions will be safe after dark.

†. Gen 6:12-13a . . God saw how corrupt the earth had become, for all the people on earth had corrupted their ways. So God said to Noah: I am going to put an end to all people, for the earth is filled with violence because of them.

Some people would probably like to translate some of that verse like this: "for the earth is filled with violence through God." But Genesis doesn't say it was filled with violence through God; no, God said it was filled with violence through them.

†. Gen 6:13b . . I am about to destroy them with the earth.

Here is set a precedent of God forewarning His own when He is about to execute a disastrous event upon the earth. The Passover was another such example. God forewarned Moses, and Moses' people, of the imminent annihilation of all the firstborn of Man and Beast in Egypt; which would also impact Moses and his people if they didn't do exactly as God said and paint the blood of a lamb on their door jambs (Ex 11:1-13).

And our man Noah, super-duper righteous man that he was, would have drowned right along with the rest of the antediluvians had he neglected to construct an ark. When God gives a warning, it is best to respond accordingly.

"A prudent man sees danger and takes refuge, but the simple keep going and suffer for it." (Pro 22:3)

†. Gen 6:14a . . Make yourself an ark

The Hebrew word for ark is tebah (tay-baw') and just simply indicates, not a ship, but a nondescript box. The only other place tebah is used again in the Old Testament is of the little watertight container Moses' mom constructed to hide her little boy from Pharaoh's assassins. (Ex 2:1-10)

†. Gen 6:14b . . of gopher wood;

Nobody really knows for sure exactly what kind of trees Noah used to make the ark. The word for "gopher" has nothing to do with little subterranean rodents. It's a transliteration of the Hebrew word gopher (go'-fer) which only suggests a kind of tree suitable for building structures out of wood. Some think it was cypress because the wood of those trees is so resinous that it resists rotting even after prolonged submersion in water. Others think it may have been cedar or spruce; which are good too.

Unfortunately, this is the one and only occurrence of gopher in the entire Old Testament so there's no other passages that might help identify a specific kind of tree.

†. Gen 6:14c . . make it an ark with compartments,

The word for "compartments" is from qen (kane) which means: a nest (as fixed), sometimes including the nestlings; figuratively, a chamber or dwelling. The construction of nests (and stalls) indicates the animals weren't just herded or jammed together like the crowds attending an outdoor Metallica rock concert. They were neatly stowed aboard in their own areas and apparently made to feel quite comfortable.


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Gen 6:14d-15a

†. Gen 6:14d . . and cover it inside and out with pitch.

The word for "pitch" is kopher (ko'-fer) which means: a cover. It can also mean a village (as covered in); and also bitumen (as used for coating) and the henna plant (as used for dye).

Kopher is a common word in the Old testament for "atonement" which is like pitch as a coating, or a covering, which not only serves the purpose of a sealing compound like the stuff people apply to weatherproof their patio decks, but also a concealment coating like paint and/or tar and feathers.

NOTE: Old Testament atonements, while gaining offenders a pardon, do nothing to exonerate them; viz: atonements don't expunge their history, i.e. their offenses stay on the books like a rap sheet, and available to God as a means of evaluating peoples' character. This is pretty serious because according to Rev 20:11-15, those books are going to be opened for examination to determine whether people qualify for a pass to heaven. (God has figured out a way to expunge people's records so that they can be legally adjudged innocent, but it's not within the scope of a study in Genesis.)

Anyway; coating the ark with bitumen not only served to waterproof it; but also preserved the wood for future uses after the Flood subsided and Noah no longer had need of a titanic water craft.

NOTE: Bitumen is a naturally-occurring kind of asphalt formed from the remains of ancient, microscopic algae (diatoms) and other once-living things. In order for bitumen to be available in Noah's day, the organisms from whence it was formed had to have existed on the earth several thousands of years before him. In point of fact, I read somewhere that the biomass that gave us fossil fuels existed even before the dinosaurs. That's really going back a ways.

†. Gen 6:15a . .This is how you shall make it:

What if Noah had some ideas of his own? Would that have been alright? No; when God says "you shall" and/or "you shall not" then that's the law.

Some object that since paper and writing were not yet invented in Noah's day, then God couldn't possible have provided him with plans for the ark. But any pictograph, even one on a clay tablet or a rock face, qualifies as a drawing. That objection infers that God was illiterate until Man learned to read. (chuckle) I guess it just never occurs to them that holy men like Noah were far more advanced than your average cave-dwelling hominid.

Other skeptics object that a wooden vessel the size of Noah's ark couldn't be built because the timbers required for its structural strength would have been so massive that Noah would never have managed to assemble its pieces and parts.

But ancient craftsmen were far more ingenious than most people living today realize. For example, nobody yet has really figured out how the Egyptians built the pyramids nor how the people of Easter Island cut, carved, and moved all those big stone heads around. And the Egyptians aren't the only ones to mystify us. There are ancient stone structures around the world that seem impossible to be erected by human hands prior to the age of heavy industrial machinery; but nevertheless, there they are.

And not to forget that Noah's God was in the project. Since that's the case, it's not unreasonable to assume God also provided Noah the tools necessary to complete the task He assigned; and very, very possibly chipped in to help out with the construction too. When people fail to factor in God, they invariably end up mystified. To this day scientists are baffled about the origin of the cosmos, with all of its life, matter, and energy, because they refuse to factor God into their thinking.

How did Noah cut the logs that went into constructing the ark? Well; according to the Bible, Cain's people were proficient with metals. If nothing else; it's probably pretty certain that Noah had at least a metal hammer and an axe; maybe several metal hammers and axes; and quite possibly saws too.

"And Zillah she too bore Tubal-cain, who sharpened all tools that cut copper and iron" (Gen 4:2 courtesy of Chabad.org)

How did Noah join the logs and other wooden pieces that went into constructing the ark? Well; you know, a good cabinet maker can assemble a very nice armoire without using nuts and bolts by the strategic use of dowels and clever joinery like grooves, rabbets, dovetails, mortises, and tenons.

Others object that a wooden vessel the size of the ark would never hold up on the open sea without steel reinforcement; especially when the super storm of Gen 8:1 began blowing to mop up the water. But again; those objectors typically fail to factor in God's involvement in the Flood. You really think He left the only surviving humans and the only surviving beasts on the whole planet to the mercy of the elements? No; with God's oversight, even a house of cards would have survived the Flood had He wished it to.


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Gen 6:15b-16a

†. Gen 6:15b . . the length of the ark shall be three hundred cubits, its width fifty cubits, and its height thirty cubits.

There was a cubit among the Babylonians, and one in Egypt too. But there seems to have existed double standards in both countries. Because of that, there exists no undisputed example of the cubit that remains to the present time; so the length of the cubit has been variously estimated.

One of the ancient cubits was the length of a man's forearm, from the elbow to the tip of the middle finger, as is implied from the derivation of the word in Hebrew and from the Latin cubitum. It seems to be referred to also in Deut 3:11 as "after the cubit of a man." But that's too vague, and unsuitable for a scientific standard because not all men's arms are exactly alike.

The Babylonians employed two different cubits: the so-called royal cubit and the common cubit. From the remains of buildings in Assyria and Babylonia, the royal cubit is made out to be about 20.6 inches. A cubit of similar length was used in Egypt. This was probably the cubit mentioned by Ezk 40:5 and possibly that of Solomon's temple as "cubits after the first measure" (2 Chr 3:3)

The commercial cubit was shorter, and has been variously estimated at between 16 and 18 inches or more, but the evidence of the Siloam inscription and of the tombs in Palestine seems to indicate 17.6 inches as the average length. This was the cubit of six palms, while the longer one was of seven (Ezk 40:5). The cubit mentioned in Judges 3:16 is from a different word, the Hebrew gomedh, and was probably shorter.

The cubit of Noah's day remains a total mystery. We have no way of knowing exactly how long it was. Maybe Noah and his boys passed on their antediluvian knowledge of weights and measures to the post-flood world and it stayed pretty close to the original standards over the years; but it's impossible to know for sure.

If we use an 18-inch cubit as a close approximation, then the ark would have been in the neighborhood of 450' long x 75' wide x 45' high. The ark's beam was 30 feet wider than its height, so should have proved very stable, and difficult to capsize even in rough seas-- especially since it had a flat bottom, which was good too for the purpose intended.

Nothing fancy. Since the ark didn't have to navigate; then it didn't require a means of propulsion nor was there any practical use for a bow, or a stern, or a wheel house, a rudder, sails, engine room, anchor, windlasses, or masts-- not even a handrail around the main deck. Since the ark didn't have to cut through the water like a schooner, then it didn't need tapered undersides. All the ark really had to do was float. It was really nothing in the world but a barge: and a very crude barge at that. Really little more than a very large watertight crate.

Compared to modern ships, 450 feet is not all that big. Oil tankers are around 1,500, and the Nimitz aircraft carrier is about 1,092 feet. The distance from home plate to the center field fence in major league baseball, averages 400 feet or better. So the ark would just about fit into Yankee stadium. The main playing area of a football field is 300 feet. Add 26 more for the end zones, and the total is 326; which is still 124 feet short of the ark's length but at least gives some idea of its scale.

†. Gen 6:16a . . Make an opening for daylight in the ark, and terminate it within a cubit of the top.

The ark was probably capped with a steeply sloped roof so the immense volumes of water falling from the sky during the rain stage of the Flood wouldn't impinge it perpendicularly; but rather strike a glancing blow; and the eves were likely quite considerable so water running off the roof wouldn't find its way to the window. Whether or not the window was shuttered isn't stated, but was very likely a practical consideration. The first forty days of the Flood were extremely inclement; and later on down at the end of the voyage there was a howling wind to reckon with.

The dimensions of the window aren't stated, and it's design is a bit of a mystery because later we'll see that Noah was apparently unable to look out and see for himself whether the ground was dry. It could have been as wide as six feet and extended the full length and width of the ark-- all the way around it; who really knows. The only requirement was that it be adequate for light; but undoubtedly served for ventilation too. With all that respiration going on in there, Noah's air supply would become foul in very short order.


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Gen 6:16b-17

†. Gen 6:16b . . Put the entrance to the ark in its side; make it with bottom, second, and third decks.

A hatch in the hull was practical. Its cover could be let down as a boarding ramp.

The very bottom of a ship is normally not counted as a deck. The lowest deck is usually somewhat above the bottom and separated from it by a void called the double bottom. That way if the actual bottom is pierced, the ship won't sink because the void is sealed.

Whether or not Noah's craft had a double bottom is unknown; but likely it had at least a bilge because the lowest deck needs to be above the bottom a bit so the passengers and crew don't have to slosh around down there in the lower parts of the ship where fetid water and other unsavory liquids typically collect.

The spaces between decks were fairly tall. If we divide 45 by 3 we get roughly 15 feet apiece not counting a bilge, nor the thickness of the deck planks and their beams. Fifteen feet can accommodate pretty tall animals; and provide enough room for the birds to exercise now and then too.

An ark 450 feet by 75 feet, with three decks would have provided 101,250 square feet of living space. If Noah were resourceful, he might have installed shelves and cabinets on the hull and the bulkheads, plus more on the overheads, and the underside of the ark's roof for even more storage/living space. thus he would have taken advantage of not just the ark's square feet; but also its cubic feet.

Critics insist there wasn't enough space aboard for all the various creatures in Noah's day, but they fail to take into account a few facts. For one, nobody really knows how long the cubit of Noah's day was and, most importantly, nobody really knows how many species of life existed in his day.

By the time h.sapiens appeared on this old earth of ours, some colossal mass extinctions had already taken place; and on top of that, the species that exist on earth in our day, may not have existed in Noah's day, but instead what we are seeing in our day is the result of millennia of somatic mutations and adaptations.

Larger creatures could have shared their spaces with smaller creatures, even permitting the ones smaller than themselves to climb up and rest on their backs. Life finds a way.

They say there are seven wonders of the ancient world, but that is not quite accurate. There's actually eight if we include Noah's ark. Sure, building a giant floating barn like Noah's would be child's play for a modern shipyard like Northrop Grumman Newport News; but in his day, it had to be quite a feat.

†. Gen 6:17 . . For My part, I am about to bring the Flood-- waters upon the earth-- to destroy all flesh under the sky in which there is breath of life; everything on earth shall perish.

Some think the Flood was merely a local event rather than a global deluge. But that is not the way Genesis describes it. The author quotes God saying; to destroy "all flesh under the sky" and: "everything on earth" shall perish.

If the Flood were to be local, then it would only be necessary for Noah and his family and the animals to simply migrate to a different region rather than go to all the trouble of building an ark. No. The idea of localized flooding is totally unacceptable because "the sky" is everywhere.

Ironically, and perhaps even humorously, many of the people arguing for a localized Flood are convinced it's a myth anyway so I have no clue where they see the point of arguing its extent.

The word for "waters" is from mayim (mah'-yim) which is a plural noun that can be used either in a plural sense as here in Gen 6:17, or in a singular sense as in Gen 21:14.

Were the waters of the Flood fresh or salt? It doesn't matter, since the one who created the physical requirements of all life is easily able to adapt it to suit His purposes. But the sea's saltiness isn't static; it's increasing all the time, and always has. Which means that if you were to go back in time, the sea was a lot less salty in Noah's day than it is today; ergo: aquatic life's adjustment to dilution back in his day wouldn't have been as extreme as aquatic life's adjustment would be in our day.


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Gen 6:18-20

†. Gen 6:18 . . But I will establish My covenant with you, and you shall enter the ark, with your sons, your wife, and your sons' wives.

Biblical covenants are legally-binding contracts; and may include stipulations for all parties involved; and then again may stipulate responsibilities for only one of them with the other simply being along for the benefit; sort of like an irrevocable trust. Covenants may, or may not, include penalties for breach of contract; and sometimes those penalties are very severe; e.g. Lev 26:3-38, Deut 27:15-26, and Deut 28:1-69.

†. Gen 6:19-20 . . And of all that lives, of all flesh, you shall take two of each into the ark to keep alive with you; they shall be male and female. From birds of every kind, cattle of every kind, every kind of creeping thing on earth, two of each shall come to you to stay alive.

Apparently one pair of each kind was a minimum; I mean; Noah took four pairs of humans aboard; and he was later given updated instructions to take seven pairs of some species.

Fortunately Noah didn't have to go on safari to round up his passengers. The Bible says two of each "shall come to you." which implies of course that species who failed to come got left behind and went extinct in the Flood.

There was plenty of time for them to make it because Noah was 120 years building the ark and getting it ready. Since the animals selected were cooperative and docile, then the smaller beasties could hitch rides on the larger ones and thus save themselves some steps.

A man named Dave Kunst walked across today's world in just a little over 4 years from June 1970 to October 1974. Kunst walked a total of 14,450 miles, crossing four continents and thirteen countries, wearing out 21 pair of shoes, and walking more than 20 million steps. That was an odd thing to do, but does prove it can be done in a relatively short time; so 120 years was plenty enough for all the critters to make it on over to Noah's place in time for the Folly's maiden voyage.

If the ark were to launch in 2017, critters would have been on the move towards it since 1897-- six years before the Wright Brothers historical flight, and fifteen years before the Titanic foundered --and probably reproduced many times along the way since there are not all that many species that live to see 120 years of age.

But how did they cross oceans? In the past that was doubtless a thorny theological problem. But with today's knowledge of the geological science of plate tectonics, the answer is as simple as two plus two. Scientists now know that continental land masses can be shifted, and in point of fact the dry parts brought so close together as to form one single super continent.

Scientists also know about magma hot spots and pressure points that can raise and lower the earth's crust like a service elevator. Subduction no doubt played a role by pushing sea beds up above sea level and made to form land bridges; thus expediting migration.

This idea is by no means novel. For example: in 2014, a 9,000 year-old stone structure used to capture caribou was discovered 120 feet below the surface of Lake Huron; and is the most complex structure of its kind in the Great Lakes region.

The structure consists of two parallel lanes of stones leading to a cul-de-sac. Within the lanes are three circular hunting blinds where prehistoric hunters hid while taking aim at caribou. The structure's size and design suggest that hunting was probably a group effort, with one group driving caribou down the lanes towards the blinds while another group waited to attack.

The site-- discovered by using sonar technology on the Alpena-Amberley Ridge, 35 miles southeast of Alpena Michigan --was once a dry land corridor connecting northeastern Michigan to southern Ontario.

Actually the Earth's mantle is one continuous (albeit fractured) mass anyway, although its profile is so irregular that dry land sticks up above sea level at various high spots; which is a good thing because if the mantle were smooth, the world would be quite flooded all the time. In point of fact, if the Earth's mantle were perfectly smooth, like a billiard ball, there's enough water present even today to cover the land to a depth of 9,000 feet of water. That would be equivalent to a global ocean approximately 1.7 miles deep.

Normal geological processes take thousands of years to accomplish, but when you factor in the creator's participation in the Flood event, it's no problem at all for the supreme being who has absolute power over not just the earth's geological processes; but all the rest of nature's processes too.

What about dinosaurs? Did they go aboard with Noah too? No; too late. Paleontologists are pretty sure the Jurassic era was over and gone by means of a mysterious mass extinction event several millennia before the entrance of human life on the earth; which, in my layman's opinion, is pretty good proof that the six "days" of creation were quite a bit greater in length than 24 hours apiece.


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Gen 6:21-22

†. Gen 6:21-22 . . For your part, take of everything that is eaten and store it away, to serve as food for you and for them. Noah did so; just as God commanded him, so he did.

Noah was every supervisor's dream. He did just what he was told and all with nary an argument; nor a single protest.

God didn't specify precisely how much food to load aboard. He only instructed him to store things that are edible; but not their quantity. Nobody can be sure whether or not Noah knew just how long the Flood was going to last. If he didn't, then of course he would have no idea how much food he needed to bring along.

It began to rain on the 17th day of the second month of the 600th year of Noah's life. The Earth was dry on the 27th day of the second month of his 601st year. So, reckoning time according to prophetic months of 30 days each, and not counting the final day, Noah's crew and passengers were aboard the ark for a total of 370 days; which is roughly 5 days over a solar year, and 10 days over a prophetic year.

So what about the carnivorous animals that came aboard with Noah-- the lions and tigers and hawks and eagles and meerkats and alligators and crocodiles? Carnivores can be domesticated when the situation calls for it. Take for example Daniel in the den of lions. None tried to eat him. And according to Isa 11:6-9 and Isa 65:25, there's a day coming when the nature of carnivores will be changed to that of herbivores.

Some have proposed that the animals hibernated so they wouldn't have to be fed very often nor require much room for exercise nor would they generate much manure to clean up. That's actually a very plausible explanation. For example: arctic ground squirrels can lower their body temperature below freezing and avoid serious head injuries while hibernating for as long seven months. Why the little guys don't freeze to death is a mystery.

Others have proposed that Noah didn't actually load an entire year's supply of food aboard the ark. Just a minimum amount that God then miraculously sustained. That too is a very plausible explanation.

For example: there are incidents in the Bible where small amounts of food stuffs were miraculously extended. One example is 1Kgs 17:8-16 where a tiny bit of flour and oil nourished Elijah and a widow woman, and her son, for a good many days during a time of prolonged drought.

Another incident is at 2Kgs 4:1-7 where a certain widow's husband died and left her deeply in debt. God extended her last pot of oil sufficiently to sell off enough to retire her debts, thereby saving her two sons from slavery.

At 1Kgs 19:5-9, when Elijah was running away from that horrible Jezebel, he was fatigued and napping under a bush when a messenger of God woke him up to eat a single biscuit and drink some water. Elijah survived on the nourishment of that measly little snack for the next forty days.

I'm not insisting that God sustained everyone aboard the ark via hibernation and/or like He did Elijah and the widows. But in the light of nature's examples, and the Bible's examples, it isn't unreasonable to believe that's exactly what happened. Many details remain a mystery and apparently God didn't feel it was important for everybody to know how He and Noah did it. Well; that's His decision and I respect it; but I still wish Genesis told us more.

Another logistics problem was feeding everybody when the Flood was over. What would they eat then? Well, that was no problem. The olive leaf that a dove had in her beak at Gen 8:10-11 indicates that earth's flora was spared mass extinction by the Flood.

The Hebrew word for "plucked-off" at Gen 8:10-11is from taraph (taw-rawf') which means: recently torn off; in other words: the dove didn't pick up an old dead leaf lying around on the ground; no, it was fresh-cut and green right off the tree. But didn't God predict the mass extinction of all life on earth? Yes; He did; but the prediction was limited to creatures within whom was the breath of life. (Gen 6:17)


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Gen 7:1-9

†. Gen 7:1 . .Yhvh then said to Noah: Go into the ark, you and your whole family, because I have found you righteous in this generation.

Noah is sometimes criticized for not utilizing more of the ark's cargo space to take human life aboard instead of animals. But it wasn't for Noah to say. Passage aboard the ark was by invitation only; and to qualify for an invitation, the passengers had to be righteous. Well; only Noah was righteous, so he alone was invited to come aboard with his family.

The antediluvians weren't left on their own to figure out what's righteous and what's not righteous. According to 2Pet 2:5, Noah was a preacher; and he wasn't the only one at it. Prior to him, Enoch pounded a pulpit. (Jude 1:1)

So then, the people who died in the Flood had no one to blame for missing the boat but themselves. Had they listened to the preaching and changed their ways; the Flood wouldn't have been necessary to begin with.

†. Gen 7:2-3 . . Of every clean animal you shall take seven pairs, males and their mates, and of every animal that is not clean, two, a male and its mate; of the birds of the sky also, seven pairs, male and female, to keep seed alive upon all the earth.

Official specifications for identifying clean, and unclean animals, are located at Lev 11:1-46, and Deut 14:3-20. Those specs were written many, many centuries after Noah; so precisely which animals he regarded as clean in his day, and which not clean is impossible to tell. But I think we can safely assume that "clean" animals were those designated for ceremonial purposes rather than for diet since God had not yet given man the green light to eat meat.

In some cases a creature's intrinsic nature seems a factor. For example vultures and bats are obvious choices for the unclean category. But how is a cow any more sanitary than a bunny? Or a locust any more sanitary than a swan?

The specific species that Noah took aboard were limited to the ones that God said in 6:20 "shall come to you". Any, and all, species that failed to come to Noah, went extinct in the Flood. He didn't go out and hunt them down, nor take them by force against their will. No; they had to show up on their own, or be left behind; and I have a sneaking suspicion that many were.

†. Gen 7:4 . . For in seven days' time I will make it rain upon the earth, forty days and forty nights, and I will blot out from the earth all existence that I created.

The expression "all existence" is from yequwm (yek-oom') which means: standing (extant) i.e. a living thing. Yequwm appears in only three verses of the entire Old Testament. Two of them are here in chapter 7, and the other one is in Deut 11:6.

God's prediction didn't include vegetation; because when the Flood ended, at least one olive tree was still standing. So "all existence" only meant creatures; in particular those that live on land and need air to survive; like birds, bugs, and beasts; whether subterranean or on the surface. (Gen 7:21-23)

The seven-day deadline hung over the world's head like a sword of Damocles; and the Flood was now imminent. But a final warning was issued probably just in case somebody might change their mind about going along with Noah. Compare this moment of silence to the one at Rev 8:1 just prior to sounding the seven trumpets.

†. Gen 7:5 . . And Noah did just as the Lord commanded him.

Not many people can say, with all honesty and a good conscience, that they do "just as" the Lord commands. It is a very unusual person who is careful to comply with God's will to the letter. (cf. John 8:29)

†. Gen 7:6a . . Noah was six hundred years old

Years of life in Noah's day were expressed in what's known as prophetic years; which consist of twelve equal months of thirty days each. So in astronomical time; Noah was but 591.8 years old.

Noah died at 950. So the Flood came at roughly 63 percent of the way through his life. According to the US Department of Health, an average American born in 2013 can expect to live to about age 78. Using that as a point of reference, Noah would have been roughly the equivalent of 49 years old when the Flood started.

†. Gen 7:6b . . when the Flood came, waters upon the earth.

The word for Flood is from mabbuwl (mab-bool') which means: a deluge. There's another word for "flood" in the Old Testament, but the Hebrew is different. Mabbuwl appears twelve times in Genesis regarding Noah's worldwide cataclysm. The only other place in the entire Old Testament where that word is shows up again is Ps 29:10; and even there it relates to Noah.

†. Gen 7:7-9 . . Noah, with his sons, his wife, and his sons' wives, went into the ark because of the waters of the Flood. Of the clean animals, of the animals that are not clean, of the birds, and of everything that creeps on the ground, two of each, male and female, came to Noah into the ark, as God had commanded Noah.

Again it's mentioned that the animals came to Noah rather than he and his sons going on safari to get them.

It was right about there that I would have become very nervous had I lived next door to the Noahs. Up till then, he probably seemed like an ordinary crack pot-- a nice enough guy, but kind of kooky. I mean: who builds a great big barge on dry land? But when all those birds and animals showed up out at his place, and started boarding Noah's Folly all by themselves, in neither chaos nor confusion, and without Noah and his boys having to herd them in-- that was definitely cause for alarm.

It's true that wildlife at that time was not yet afraid of humans; and it was probably a very common sight to see them mingling with people all over the place-- maybe even assisting Noah to construct the ark --but not on such a scale as this. People had to wonder why all those bugs, and beasties, and birdies were migrating out there to Noah's spread. What's that all about? Did they maybe think to themselves that old fool might know something after all?

Well; maybe they did; but according to Jesus they didn't really take Noah seriously but went about the business of their daily lives as usual. (Matt 24:38-39)


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Gen 7:10-16a

†. Gen 7:10 . . And on the seventh day the waters of the Flood came upon the earth.

Back in verse 4, God gave Noah seven days to get moved into the ark. The water came right on time, just exactly when God said it would. God's word carries different force in different circumstances. Sometimes He makes predictions, sometimes He makes promises, and sometimes He even makes threats.

Threats are often negotiable; sort of like an "or else". Like when Jonah went to Ninevah and walked around town heralding in the streets that within forty days they would be overthrown. When the people changed their ways, God backed off.

But a prediction isn't negotiable; nor is it open to discussion. When God makes a prediction, you can make bank on it because He's seen the future. The Flood was predicted. He said it was coming in seven days; and sure enough it showed up.

NOTE: The apostle John saw the Great White Throne event depicted at Rev 20:10-15. That event is now inevitable because John's vision is a revelation; viz: a glimpse into not just one possible future; but the future.

†. Gen 7:11a . . In the six hundredth year of Noah's life, in the second month, on the seventeenth day of the month,

The Flood isn't dated according to a calendar; but rather, relative to Noah's life. In other words: let's say that Noah was born in the month of July. Had that been the case; then the second month of his life would have been August. More about this later.

†. Gen 7:11b . . on this day, all the springs of the great deep were split, and the windows of the heavens opened up.

The word for "deep" is from tehowm (teh-home') which indicates an abyss (as a surging mass of water) especially the deep (the main sea or the subterranean water-supply). Tehowm occurred very early on in the Bible's texts at Gen 1:1-2.

The difference is that this deep is the great deep. The word for "great" is from rab (rab) which means abundant (in quantity, size, age, number, rank, quality), so that this particular deep could be thought of as bottomless; viz: an abysmal source of water beyond human imagination.

The atmosphere alone holds about 2,900 cubic miles of water at any given time; with the balance of Earth's 340 million cubic miles of water stored in oceans, rivers, lakes, ice caps, glaciers, permafrost, and the ground. Relatively little ground water is stored in subterranean voids. Most of it is soaked in tiny pores and cracks in soil and rocks. Almost all ground water resides within five to ten miles of the surface. Water below that depth is chemically bound in the rocks and minerals and not readily accessible; but can be released as a result of geologic processes such as volcanism. But for the Flood, water above and beyond the earth's indigenous sources was necessary.

There's an abundance of water out in the cosmos. In an article I found on the internet dated July 22, 2011; astronomers have discovered the largest and oldest mass of water ever detected in the universe-- a gigantic cloud harboring 140 trillion times more water than all of Earth's oceans combined. Well; I'm pretty sure that's a sufficient quantity of water to inundate the earth to the depth required by the Flood.

†. Gen 7:12 . . (The rain fell on the earth forty days and forty nights.)

†. Gen 7:13-16a . .That same day Noah and Noah's sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth, went into the ark, with Noah's wife and the three wives of his sons-- they and all beasts of every kind, all cattle of every kind, all creatures of every kind that creep on the earth, and all birds of every kind, every bird, every winged thing.

. . .They came to Noah into the ark, two each of all flesh in which there was breath of life. Thus they that entered comprised male and female of all flesh, as God had commanded him.

Again it's reiterated that the critters "came" to Noah; he didn't have to go on safari to round them up; and then they entered the ark on their own without Noah and his boys having to herd them in. That is really remarkable. It's like those critters somehow knew that there was something terrible brewing and Noah's ark was the only safe haven.

That's another example where a "day" can be longer than twenty-four hours; in fact, the day here in Gen 7:13-16 is a whole week plus forty more days and nights. Thus from the time of God's invitation to come into the ark, and up until it stopped raining, was a day period consisting of 47 calendar days.


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Gen 7:16b-24

†. Gen 7:16b . . And the Lord shut him in.

The Lord not only shut him in, but sealed him in too. The hatch to hull mating surfaces had to be waterproofed with bitumen the same as all the rest of the hull.

The Hebrew word for "shut" actually means to shut up; like as when a corral gate is closed to pen livestock and/or the door of a jail cell is locked to confine a convict. In other words, Noah was locked inside the ark by a door that could be opened only from the outside. That's interesting. It means that once the ark's door was sealed, Noah became a prisoner; and were he, or anybody else inside, to change their mind about going, it was too late.

†. Gen 7:17-18 . .The Flood continued forty days on the earth, and the waters increased and lifted the ark so that it rose above the earth. The waters swelled and increased greatly upon the earth, and the ark drifted upon the waters.

That was no week-end sailing trip. The ark drifted; viz: it was completely at the mercy and the whims of the elements. It had no means for steering, no navigational equipment, and no means of propulsion; it floated about like flotsam.

†. Gen 7:19-20 . .When the waters had swelled much more upon the earth, all the highest mountains everywhere under the sky were covered. Fifteen cubits higher did the waters swell, as the mountains were covered.

Is it possible that the Flood was local rather than global? Well; the problem is: the waters breeched the highest mountains by 22½ feet. So then, if perchance Noah lived in a geographic basin, the waters would have overflowed the mountains surrounding him and kept on going.

But the water would start spilling past Noah's area long before it breeched the tops of the highest mountains surrounding him because mountain ranges aren't shaped smooth, level, and even like the rim of a domestic bath tub. No; they're very irregular and consist of high points and low points; viz: peaks, valleys, canyons, saddles, and passes.

Thus mountain ranges make poor bath tubs because you would lose water through the low points before it even had a chance to fill to the peaks. In point of fact, were the sides of your bathtub shaped like a mountain range; you could never fill it. And in trying to; just end up with water all over the floor.

Fifteen cubits may not seem like a lot of water but when you consider the diameter of the Earth, that is an enormous amount. If cubits were 18 inches in Noah's day, that would be about 22½ feet above the highest mountains that existed on Earth at that time. How high were the highest mountains in Noah's day? Nobody really knows. But just supposing the tallest at that time was about equal to California's Mount Laguna east of San Diego; viz: 5,738 feet above sea level-- about 1.1 miles. Adding 22½ feet to that comes out to approximately 5,761 feet.

The amount of rain it would take to accumulate that much water in only forty days would be something like six feet of depth per hour.

To put that in perspective: the lobby of the Empire State Building in New York city is approximately 47 feet above sea level. At 6 feet per hour, the lobby would be under water in less than eight hours. The whole building, lightening rod and all; would be under water in just a little over ten days. The new One World Trade Center would be gone in about thirteen.

NOTE: Skeptics sometimes argue that the heat created by kinetic energy created by 6 feet of rainfall per hour would exceed the boiling point by hundreds of degrees, and so it would not only boil the oceans; but also Noah's boat.

Whether their allegation is true or not makes no difference seeing as how one of the creator's names in the book of Genesis is derived from the Hebrew word Shadday; which means: all powerful; viz: having more power than all of the life, matter, and energy in the entire cosmos combined. In other words; there is nothing that God created that He cannot manipulate; including the laws of physics; for example:

In the book of Daniel; three Jewish guys named Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego were sentenced to be executed by roasting to death in a pit that was fired so extra hot that the guards who threw the guys into it were slain by its radiant heat. What happened to the three guys? Nothing: they were unscathed; and in point of fact, not even their clothing caught fire, nor even smelled like it had been in a fire.

In the book of Exodus; Moses encountered a bush aflame while tending his father-in-law's sheep. Though the bush was blazing, the fire had no effect on it.

Skeptics are alike in that they're typically reluctant to factor God into miraculous events.

†. Gen 7:21-23a . . And all flesh that stirred on earth perished-- birds, cattle, beasts, and all the things that swarmed upon the earth, and all mankind. All in whose nostrils was the merest breath of life, all that was on dry land, died.

. . . All existence on earth was blotted out-- man, cattle, creeping things, and birds of the sky; they were blotted out from the earth. Only Noah was left, and those with him in the ark.

All "existence on earth" was limited to fauna life on land. Apparently flora life and aqua life were spared.

†. Gen 7:24 . . And the waters prevailed on the earth one hundred and fifty days.

One of Webster's definitions of "prevail" is: to triumph. In other words; the Flood won and humanity lost. Man can dam rivers; he can divert streams, he can build sea walls, dikes, and channels, he can drain swamps and wetlands; but every one of those kinds of hydraulic engineering feats would have failed to control the Flood.


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Gen 8:1-4

†. Gen 8:1a . . God remembered Noah and all the beasts and all the cattle that were with him in the ark,

Does that mean God forgot all about the ark's passengers until He realized why there was a string tied around His finger? (chuckle) No; it reaffirms that they were always on God's mind. He isn't forgetful. God doesn't need reminding.

But what about Noah's sisters and brothers, and/or his aunts and uncles? Did God think of them too? No. Noah's kin, except those aboard the ark; were all wiped out in the Flood. He and Mrs. Noah may have had other children too; and grand children. If so, then those also perished: and their family pets too right along with them.

Out ahead, at the final judgment, many of us are going to have to watch as our own kin are condemned to eternal suffering; and thrown alive, wild eyed, shrieking, yelping, bellowing, and bawling like little children into the impoundment of flaming sulfur depicted at Rev 20:11-15 and Rev 21:8. We might even be called up as witnesses to testify in the prosecution's case against them. That will be an awful ordeal.

†. Gen 8:1b-3a . . and God caused a wind to blow across the earth, and the waters subsided. The fountains of the deep and the floodgates of the sky were stopped up, and the rain from the sky was held back; the waters then receded steadily from the earth.

The Old Testament Hebrew word that the editors of the NIV translated "receded" is shuwb (shoob) an ambiguous word that can mean draw back, return to the beginning, or simply diminish. The very same word is used in the NIV's translation of Gen 3:19 thusly:

"By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return."

In that example; shuwb indicates that Adam went right back where he came from; viz: the dust.

According to Gen 7:11 the waters of the Flood came from the springs of the great deep and from heaven. So then, I take shuwb to mean that the waters went right back to heaven and the great deep as the Flood dried up so that the waters didn't drain off, they were pulled off; which is a good thing because had the waters drained off, they would have caused quite a bit of erosion; but actually, there was nowhere for them to drain; they had to be removed.

Gen 8:1-3 strongly suggests that the Flood's waters were removed by the process of evaporation. But there's just no way that much water got absorbed by the earth's atmosphere or it would still be here. No, I'm convinced those waters were pulled back out into space from whence they came in the first place. How were they pulled back out in space? Well; if I could explain how God got the Flood's waters off the planet with wind power; then I would be able to explain how Jesus levitated off the ground in Acts 1:9. People think walking on water is amazing? Try walking on air.

†. Gen 8:3b-4 . . At the end of one hundred and fifty days the waters diminished, so that in the seventh month, on the seventeenth day of the month, the ark came to rest on the mountains of Ararat.

The Hebrew word for "Ararat" is from 'Ararat (ar-aw-rat') which appears three more times in the Bible: one at 2Kgs 19:36-37, one at Isa 37:36-38, and one at Jer 51:27. Ararat is always the country of Armenia: never a specific mountain by the same name.

The Hebrew word for "mountains" in Gen 8:4 is haareey which is the plural of har (har). It doesn't always mean a prominent land mass like Everest or McKinley; especially when it's plural. Har can also mean a range of hills or highlands; like the region of Israel where Miriam's cousin Elizabeth lived.

"At that time Mary got ready and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea, where she entered Zechariah's home and greeted Elizabeth." (Luke 1:39-40)

In California, where I lived as a kid, the local elevation 35 miles east of San Diego, in the town of Alpine, was about 2,000 feet above sea level. There were plenty of meadows with pasture and good soil. In fact much of it was very good ranchland and quite a few people in that area raised horses and cows. We ourselves kept about five hundred chickens, and a few goats and calves. We lived in the mountains of San Diego; but we didn't live up on top of one of its mountains like Viejas, Lyon's, or Cuyamaca.

The ark contained the only surviving souls of man and animal on the entire planet. Does it really make good sense to strand them up on a mountain peak where they might risk death and injury descending it?

When my wife and I visited the San Diego zoo together back in the early 1980's, we noticed that the Giraffes' area had no fence around it. The tour guide told us the Giraffes' enclosure doesn't need a fence because their area is up on a plateau 3 feet high. The Giraffes don't try to escape because they're afraid of heights. There's just no way Giraffes could've climbed down off of Turkey's Mount Ararat. It's way too steep and rugged. Those poor timid creatures would've been stranded up there and died; and so would hippos, elephants, and flightless birds like penguins.


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Gen 8:5-9

†. Gen 8:5 . .The waters went on diminishing until the tenth month; in the tenth month, on the first of the month, the tops of the mountains became visible.

Gravity assists rain to fall. But to get the Flood's waters off the planet required overcoming gravity enough to get it up off the planet. The mechanical nature of that wind would be an interesting study. Was it a global hurricane, or was it more like a global tornado, or a combination of both: one for evaporation, and one for sucking it all out into the void? Well, whatever; it must have howled and roared like the sound of a thousand World Trade Centers collapsing at once.

†. Gen 8:6-7a . . At the end of forty days, Noah opened the window of the ark that he had made and sent out the raven;

Although the Raven is listed in Israel's covenanted law as an unclean bird, sometimes it's an excellent choice for assisting in a divine task; for example 1Kgs 17:1-6.

The word for "Raven" is 'oreb (o-rabe') which is not a specific species of bird, but a whole family of birds now classified as Corvids; which includes Crows, Jackdaws, Jays, Magpies, Nutcrackers, and Rooks.

Ravens are classified in ornithology as song birds; although Crows don't seem to carry much of a tune. They're intelligent, sociable, and highly adaptable. Although they don't usually trust Man, they have been known to associate with him in remarkable ways.

One morning I was out in front weeding the yard when some crows down the street were raising a serious ruckus and dive-bombing back and forth across the street. One of them flew to where I was weeding and landed on a streetlight above me and cawed its fool head off; the meanwhile fluttering its wings and leaning forward and rocking as it cawed. Then it flew back and rejoined the others. Then another one, a really big barrel-chested crow, came and landed on our roof. It too cawed like mad (only louder).

Then it occurred to me they might be trying to get my attention. So I walked down to where the others were, and there in a driveway was a fledgling Crow who couldn't fly well enough to get back up in the trees from whence it fell; and a big cat was harassing it. So I brought the young Crow home and put it up on a limb in our backyard and pretty soon the others heard its cries and came to take care of it. We had to assist the fledgling back up to his limb a few more times after it soared down to the food and water we put out for its friends; but eventually its wings became strong enough to do it alone.

BTW: That event took place quite a few years ago and as time went by, young crows began little by little making our backyard their playground and today, it isn't unusual to see twenty or so of all ages walking around out there like chickens in a barnyard helping themselves to the peanuts we put out for squirrels, and pecking cracked corn and sunflower chips out of the bird feeders.

†. Gen 8:7b . . it went to and fro until the waters had dried up from the earth.

Ravens will eat just about anything, including carrion; and there was probably plenty of that floating around out there. With all the dead stuff to feast on, the raven could spend the whole day out on its own. However, no tree tops were above the water yet and crows need to get off the ground at night so it probably returned to the ark in the evening to roost. The very fact of its return was evidence to Noah that the waters were still pretty deep out there.

†. Gen 8:8-9 . .Then he sent out the dove to see whether the waters had decreased from the surface of the ground. But the dove could not find a resting place for its foot, and returned to him to the ark, for there was water over all the earth. So putting out his hand, he took it into the ark with him.

The word for "Dove" is from yownah (yo-naw') which is a general term for either a Dove or a Pigeon. Pigeons are well known for their homing instincts. So why didn't the Pigeon roost up on the roof of the ark instead of letting Noah take it inside? Well . . a Pigeon's nature is different than a Raven's. The big guys are somewhat independent, but Pigeons readily take to human care. That's probably why they are so much more common in cities than Crows; where people can feed them popcorn and bread crumbs.

Pigeons and Doves don't eat carrion; but prefer to forage on the ground for seeds. But bare ground was inaccessible at this point in time. The yownah no doubt became very hungry; and certainly knew Mr. Noah had plenty of grain on board with him back at the ark. Pigeons also prefer a roof over their heads; like docks and wharfs, and bridges and roadway overpasses. It almost seems they were actually made to live in coops; and what better coop than the ark?


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Gen 8:10-12

†. Gen 8:10-11 . . He waited another seven days, and again sent out the dove from the ark. The dove came back to him toward evening, and there in its bill was a plucked-off olive leaf! Then Noah knew that the waters had decreased on the earth.

The word for "plucked-off" is from taraph (taw-rawf') which means: recently torn off; viz: fresh. A taraph leaf is alive; which of course the skeptics are only too happy to point out is impossible seeing as how olive trees cannot survive under water very long before they die. But wasn't the Flood itself impossible? (sigh) Some people are just naturally miracle-challenged; what can I say?

It is just unbelievable that any trees survived. Even ordinary flooding is very destructive.

Just southeast of Mount Ste. Helens is an area called the Lahar. It was a totally denuded region caused, not by the volcano's blast, but by water that poured down from the mountain's side when glacier and snow pack melted during the eruption in 1980. In the water's path, whole pine trees were uprooted and swept away, like hot-waxing a woman's legs; leaving nothing but bare skin.

However, the Flood wasn't a rush of water, but rather a pounding of water. But even so the pounding would have been relatively brief, at least in the low lands. As the water began to rise, its increasing depth would cushion the impact of the rest that fell.

Old-world olives prefer a Mediterranean climate, which is probably why olives do so well in southern California. Anyway, that olive leaf is pretty good empirical evidence that the ark did not come to rest on Turkey's Mt. Ararat. It's seriously doubtful any kind of trees have ever grown up on that mountain; which is a snow-capped dormant volcano consisting of two peaks : Lesser Ararat @ 12,782 feet, and Greater Ararat @ 16,854 feet.

High mountains like Ararat have what's called a timberline; which is an elevation beyond which no trees grow. The elevation of Mt. Hood's timberline here in Oregon is right around 6,000 feet.

†. Gen 8:12 . . He waited still another seven days and sent the dove forth; and it did not return to him any more.

Apparently the dove finally found some dry, bare ground to forage for seeds, and minute gravel for its craw.

Why didn't Noah just look out the window and see for himself? Well; the structural location of the ark's window is a bit a mystery. For one thing, it wasn't cut into the sides like the windows in an airplane, rather, it was located up on top.

The horizontal dimension of the window is unknown, but its vertical dimension is known to be only a cubit; roughly 18 inches.

Imagine a structure on top of the ark similar to the windowed portion of the cab of a large pick-up truck; for example a Ford 350. If a structure like that were situated in the middle of the top of the ark, whose top deck dimensions were 450 feet by 75 feet, the angle of Noah's view would be pretty much limited to the portion of sky that he could see above the horizon.


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Gen 8:13-14

†. Gen 8:13-14 . . In the six hundred and first year, in the first month, on the first of the month, the waters began to dry from the earth; and when Noah removed the covering of the ark, he saw that the surface of the ground was drying. And in the second month, on the twenty-seventh day of the month, the earth was dry.

Calculating the duration of the Flood is not only an interesting exercise but also an opportunity to get the hang of prophetic time keeping.

It began to rain on the 17th day of the second month of the 600th year of Noah's life. The Earth was dry on the 27th day of the second month of his 601st year. So, reckoning time according to prophetic months of 30 days each, and not counting the final day, Noah's crew was aboard the ark for a total of 370 days; which is roughly 5 days over a solar year, and 10 days over a prophetic year.

Where did I get a prophetic month?

The Flood began on the seventeenth day of the second month of Noah's life, and it rained for forty days. Then the rain stopped so the water could begin draining off and leave the ark aground. A period of exactly five months went by. Those five months are recorded as exactly 150 days. If we were to try and use the months of the Jewish calendar, the number of days would not add up to 150. Here's why.

The months of the Jewish calendar supposedly equivalent to the months of the Flood are:

lyar . . . . . . . . 29 days
Sivan . . . . . . . 30 days
Tammuz . . . . 29 days
Av . . . . . . . . . 30 days
Elul . . . . . . . . 29 days
Tishri . . . . . . . 30 days

Using the Jewish calendar, it would begin raining on the 17th of lyar, thus flooding a total of 13 days during that month. Following would be 30 in Sivan, 29 in Tammuz, 30 in Av, 29 in Elul, and lastly 16 in Tishri. We can't count the 17th of Tishri because the ark would have gone aground on that day. The total number of days from the beginning of the Flood until the day the ark went aground, would have been, according to the Jewish calendar, 147; which is three days short of 150.

However, we can safely ignore the Jewish calendar, and just reckon the elapsed time relative to Noah's birthday. The 150 days then average out to five months of 30 days apiece. That doesn't really cause any problems because a dating method of that nature is not intended to mark off the actual passage of astronomical time in a calendar year; only the days of time elapsed during an important event such as the Flood.

So; here in Genesis, very early in the Bible, a precedent is set for specifying the length of a special kind of year: the prophetic year. Since the months in a year of this type are of thirty days apiece, then twelve such months add up to 360 days; which is 5¼ days less than a calendar year.

The prophetic year is sort of like a baker's dozen. Though a baker's dozen is not a dozen of twelve; it is nonetheless a dozen in its own right. As long as students of the Bible are aware of the existence of such a thing as a prophetic year, they won't be tripped up when they run across it in prophecy, such as Daniel's prediction regarding the time of Messiah's official arrival on the world scene (a.k.a. Palm Sunday). Here's another, yet future.

"And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days." (Rev 12:6)

"And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent." (Rev 12:14)

Those two passages speak of a 3½ year period of exactly 1,260 days. Well, 3½ solar years is 1,274+ days; which is almost 15 days too many. But if we reckon those 3½ years as prophetic years of 360 days each, then it comes out perfectly to 1,260 days.


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Gen 8:15-19

†. Gen 8:15-17 . . God spoke to Noah, saying: Come out of the ark, together with your wife, your sons, and your sons' wives. Bring out with you every living thing of all flesh that is with you : birds, animals, and everything that creeps on earth; and let them swarm on the earth and be fertile and increase on earth.

†. Gen 8:18-19 . . So Noah came out, together with his sons, his wife, and his sons' wives. Every animal, every creeping thing, and every bird, everything that stirs on earth came out of the ark by families.

The word for "families" is from mishpachah (mish-paw-khaw') and means: a circle of relatives; figuratively, a class (of persons), a species (of animals) or sort (of things); by extension: a tribe or people.

Verse 19 strongly suggests that already in Noah's day living things were ranked by type because they came out of the ark according to their species. How they were ranked is uncertain. It may have been according to intelligence, and then again, maybe by usefulness to Man. Some might put the primates first because they are so smart; but I would put a higher value on beasts of burden, and any other creature that best serves Man's domestic needs; I mean, chimps are cute but what were they really good for in Noah's day?

It must have been a stirring sight. Everyone soaking up the sun, stretching their legs, and feeling brisk and cheerful. Like astronauts back from a long, tedious space mission; they were all so happy to be home at last.

No doubt the rats and mice probably were content to remain in the ark where it was nice and cozy, and I bet they eventually moved in with the Noahs after their new home was built.

Many of the smaller creatures, like non winged insects and moles and centipedes, can't really travel very fast so it must have taken them a pretty long time to multiply and spread out; unless they found a way to hitch a ride aboard the larger animals.

The big guys would take a considerable amount of time to get back up to numbers. The gestation period of a meadow mouse is about 21 days and they can have anywhere from four to six babies at a time. At the extreme are the African elephants. Their gestation is about 660 days. So they don't multiply very fast. White rhinoceros take 480 days, cows 284, giraffes 457, zebras 365, moose 240, hippos 238, gorillas 258, and camels 406. Most of the domestic birds-- turkeys, pigeons, geese, ducks, and chickens --all incubate within a month or less.

Critters with the longest gestations usually have the fewest number of babies in a litter-- typically only one; and two at the most. Since many of the clean type animals are of the larger species, and therefore would take longer to multiply, it was wise to take along seven pairs of those.

So; how did all the various species end up in their respective environs-- e.g. arctic, rain forests, deserts, and tropical islands? Nobody really knows, but we can take an educated guess.

According to an article in the October 2011 issue of National Geographic, around 56 million years ago, the Atlantic Ocean had not fully opened up and it was possible for animals to migrate from Asia through Europe and across Greenland to North America. They wouldn't have encountered a speck of ice because the earth was quite a bit warmer than today.

We suggested previously that with the knowledge we have today of the science of plate tectonics, it isn't unreasonable to assume that God simply crunched all the dry land together in order to facilitate migrations to the ark, and left the land that way until the Flood was over and it was time for the animals to go back where they came from.

Sometimes when I contemplate the earth's crust consisting of solid stone like granite, schist, and gneiss; its seems impossible to me that any force could crunch it; but in the hands of the earth's creator, what's solid to me is little more than modeling clay to its maker.

As the planet's topography underwent continual alteration by enormous geological forces, resulting in a variety of global climatic conditions, many species became isolated and underwent some interesting adaptations and mutations in order to become the highly specialized creatures that we find living around the world today.

Classical evolution per se, is, I believe, a spurious fantasy because it discounts intelligent design and an outside source of all life. But Bible students have to allow for a least a degree of genetic and somatic adaptations and mutations or Genesis won't make any sense at all. It is just too unreasonable to assume that the incredible variety of life existing in our world today all existed during Noah's too.

After all, every known variety of Man existing today came from just eight people. If those eight are responsible for producing all the different kinds of human beings in our world today, then why couldn't the creatures aboard the ark have been the foundation for all the varieties of non human life?

So; what happened to the ark? Well; according to the dimensions given at Gen 6:15, the ark was shaped like what the beautiful minds call a right rectangular prism; which is nothing in the world but the shape of a common shoe box. So most of the lumber and logs used in its construction would've been nice and straight; which is perfect for putting together houses, fences, barns, corrals, stables, gates, hog troughs, mangers, and outhouses.

I think it's safe to assume that Noah and his kin gradually dismantled the ark over time and used the wood for many other purposes, including fires. Nobody cooked or heated their homes or their bath and laundry water using refined fossil fuels and/or electricity and steam in those days, so everybody needed to keep on hand a pretty fair-sized wood pile for their daily needs.

There was probably plenty of driftwood left behind by the Flood, but most of that would be water-soaked at first. But according to Gen 6:14 the ark's lumber was treated. So underneath the pitch it was still in pretty good shape and should have been preserved for many years to come.


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Gen 8:20-21c

†. Gen 8:20a . .Then Noah built an altar to the Lord

This is the very first mention of an altar in the Bible. I don't really know if anyone else constructed one before this. Abel and some of the others may have, but it's very difficult to be certain. At any rate, Noah's altar was dedicated to Yhvh rather than to one of the heathen deities people worshipped prior to the Flood-- according to Rom 1:22-23 there were many.

†. Gen 8:20 . . and, taking of every clean animal and of every clean bird, he offered burnt offerings on the altar.

This is the very first mention of the burnt offering. The Hebrew word is 'olah (o-law') which means: a step (or collectively, stairs, as ascending); or a holocaust (as going up in smoke).

The burnt offering was the very first sacrifice of any kind involving worship in the new world; and it set the tone for Yhvh's future association with mankind in the years to come. How Noah knew about the 'olah can only be attributed to revelation. But what's odd about the 'olah is that the word itself doesn't show up in Scripture again until the Akedah scene in the 22nd chapter. (the Akedah is the traditional title of Abraham's offering of his son Isaac)

Although 'olah can indicate a step (or collectively, stairs, as ascending); it's improper to construct an altar with stairs (Ex 20:24-26) so that the ziggurats that man eventually constructed were of course offensive to God not just because ritual murders were conducted on them but also because they were essentially stairways to heaven.

Killing and burning on such a scale as Noah's can be taken as a ritual intended to dedicate the post Flood world to God; sort of like the quantity of Solomon's sacrifices that he offered to dedicate the new Temple. (1Kgs 8:62-64)

†. Gen 8:21a . .The Lord smelled a pleasant odor,

Anyone who has ever been in the kitchen when something is burning on the stove knows that overcooked meat does not give off a pleasant odor. A scented candle smells a whole lot better. But the chemical odor of the burnt offering really has little to do with it. The expression "a pleasant odor" is a biblical colloquialism that means just the opposite of something that's objectionable; for example: "I hate that woman's opinions about men. They stink."

†. Gen 8:21b . .Then the Lord said in His heart: I will never again curse the ground for man's sake,

True, Yhvh never again cursed the ground; but neither did He lift the original curse that was pronounced in the third chapter. The first curse remains, but at least God hasn't put additional burdens on the soil. According to Rev 22:3, the first curse is slated to be removed once and for all.

†. Gen 8:21c . . although the imagination of man's heart is evil from his youth;

Albert Einstein once remarked: "Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results."

Had God encumbered the ground with additional curses He would have been entirely justified in doing so because the Flood did nothing to rectify the intrinsically evil condition of the post-Eden human heart. However, God is a sensible person not easily given to futility.


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Gen 8:21d-22

†. Gen 8:21d . . nor will I ever again destroy every living being, as I have done.

All the living things in this case refers to that which survives by means of the breath of life. (Gen 6:17, Gen 7:22)

The promise is qualified by the phrase "as I have done"

So Gen 8:21 doesn't mean God will never again destroy all the living, nor that He will never again destroy the Earth-- only that He won't repeat the method He employed the first time. (Gen 9:11)

In point of fact, next time, it's by fire rather than water.

"The day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.

. . . Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness; looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?" (2Pet 3:10-12)

NOTE: The blackball temperature produced by a thermo-nuclear device is something like 180,000,000 degrees Fahrenheit. Just imagine if God were to turn the atomic structure of the entire universe into one great big self-destructing thermo-nuclear device. The noise, and the heat, generated by such a detonation would be beyond one's comprehension.

†. Gen 8:22 . . So long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night shall not cease.

The promise of Gen 8:22 was prefaced by "so long as the earth endures." Well; the Earth is definitely not permanent. It is in fact running out of time. But until the Day Of The Lord, everything will proceed as normal; which can be dangerous because people are easily lulled by the routine of status quo and fail to look far enough ahead and get ready for the future. (cf. Luke 21:33-36)


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Gen 9:1-3

†. Gen 9:1 . . God blessed Noah and his sons, and said to them: Be fertile and increase, and fill the earth.

Divine blessings should never be construed as laws, rules and/or commands. They're typically expressions of good will and/or empowerment. God included Noah in the blessing so that he and his wife could have more children if they wanted; but there's no record of any additional progeny.

The blessing God bestowed upon Noah's family is the very same blessing bestowed upon the Adams in the very beginning. Here in chapter nine is the beginning of a new generation. This new generation-- springing from Shem, Ham, and Japheth --has continued for a good many years and won't end until everything Christ predicted in Matt 24:1-44 comes to pass.

The word for "fill" is from male' (maw-lay') and as-used in Gen 1:22, Gen 1:26-28, and Gen 6:11-13 doesn't strictly mean refill or replenish. It just means to fill or to be full of; and can apply to a bucket that's never been used as well as to a bucket that's just been emptied; or to a bucket that's half empty (or half full, depending upon one's outlook).

Here in chapter nine, male' is indicative of a pioneering family that would start afresh under different circumstances than those of the antediluvian world. The Noahs were essentially a transition team, bringing human life from the old world to the current one. The new conditions effecting Shem, Ham, and Japheth's generation include a change in Man's diet, his alienation from the animal world, and the introduction of criminal justice.

†. Gen 9:2a . .The fear and the dread of you shall be upon all the beasts of the earth and upon all the birds of the sky-- everything with which the earth is astir --and upon all the fish of the sea;

In the beginning, the animal world was willingly subordinate to Man's sovereignty. But no longer. I don't know how He did it, but God instigated anarchy in the animal world so that now all is in chaos; and most, if not all, species do not respect Man as their ruler; no, they view Man as a predatory beast whose existence is a threat to their own,

But the animal world isn't so mistrusting of Man that it cannot overcome its fears enough to co-exist with him; even to the point of utilizing humans for nourishment; as Timothy Treadwell and his girlfriend Amie Huguenard discovered firsthand in 2003 when they were devoured by a Grizzly bear.

†. Gen 9:2b . . they are given into your hand.

On the surface, this doesn't appear to be a new turn of events since Man was put fully in charge of the animal kingdom right from the gun (Gen 1:26-28). However; I believe the phrase "given into your hand" indicates that nature would no longer be passive and submissive; but that Man would have to conquer nature if he wished it to bring it under his control.

†. Gen 9:3 . . Every creature that lives shall be yours to eat; as with the green grasses, I give you all these.

Man doesn't have to eat every living thing if he doesn't want to-- it's optional; since Gen 9:1-3 is clearly a blessing rather than a commandment.

Apparently the inclusion of meat in Man's diet after the Flood was intended primarily as a source of natural supplements to make up for the human body's gradually lessening ability to manufacture all it's own essential vitamins; much the same reason that modern vegans resort to synthetic supplements in order to avoid contracting deficiency diseases.

According to an article in the Dec 10, 2013 Science section of the New York Times, scientists believe that the early human body was able to manufacture all of its own essential vitamins; but over time gradually lost the ability to manufacture all but K and D.

That seems plausible to me seeing as how Noah lived to be 950 years old, but by the time of Abraham, the human life span had decreased considerably to 175; which the Bible describes as a ripe old age (Gen 25:7-8). Well, Noah at 175 was about equivalent to Abraham at 32; so the human body was obviously a whole lot stronger back in Noah's day than it was in Abraham's.

Incidentally, the Hebrew words for "green grasses" includes tender young shoots rather than only the adult plants. An excellent example of a shoot is asparagus. We typically only harvest the spears because the adult plant is not only a hideous bush, but it's not even tasty.

NOTE: Bible students are often curious about the disparity between what was right and wrong for Noah and what was right and wrong for Moses since the laws of God are supposedly absolutes in any era. But God-given diets are what's known as "dispensational" which means they're in effect for only a specific era, and oftentimes only for a specific people. For example: it's wrong for Moses' people to eat vultures, pigs, and/or lobsters, octopus, and clams; while for Christ's people, it makes no difference.

Dispensations are an important aspect of Man's association with God; and failure to discern them can sometimes lead to unnecessary confusion in peoples' minds.


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Gen 9:4

†. Gen 9:4 . .You must not, however, eat flesh with its life-blood in it.

That restriction is against life-blood; so then blood that cannot support life-- dead blood --is exempt.

Life-blood, is actually blood that's alive; blood that hasn't begun to spoil; viz: it's still fresh enough for a transfusion and contains enough active ingredients to carry oxygen and heal wounds.

Ancient Jews understood that verse to mean it is unlawful to eat meat that isn't dead; viz: it isn't merely uncooked; it's still viable-- fresh enough for a successful graft.

T. But flesh which is torn of the living beast, what time the life is in it, or that torn from a slaughtered animal before all the breath has gone forth, you shall not eat. (Targum Jonathan)

The way I see it: Man isn't forbidden to dine upon raw meat; only that it absolutely has to be dead with no chance of recovery. Same with blood. This law is the very first law God laid down in the new world after the Flood. It has never been repealed, and remains among the list of primary laws imposed upon Christians.

"It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us not to burden you with anything beyond the following requirements: You are to abstain from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals and from sexual immorality. You will do well to avoid these things. Fare well." (Acts 15:28-29)

A strangled animal still has all of its blood in it. The animal might be brain dead, and its heart may have stopped beating, but its flesh will remain alive for some time by reason of the viable blood still in its veins. Recent changes to CPR procedures include no longer giving victims mouth-to-mouth respiration for the first few minutes because the blood in a victim's system still contains useful oxygen that can save their life merely by pumping the chest as before.

Noah's Law #1 forbids Man to eat living flesh and living blood; and Christians are no exception. Because of the danger of pathogens, it was quite possibly necessary to add this limitation to the grant of liberty to eat meat, lest, instead of nourishing his body by it, Man should inadvertently destroy himself; and in this day and age of E.coli 0157:H7, 0104:H4, and salmonella; adequately cooking meat can be considered a form of self defense.

The prohibition against eating living flesh and blood is neither Jewish, nor is it Christian. It's universal; because God enacted that law long before there were any Jews or Christians. All human beings are under its jurisdiction. Man can eat all the raw meat he wants; and he can eat blood too; but he has absolutely no permission to eat either blood or meat that's still alive.

The animal world isn't so fussy. They routinely devour their prey alive all the time. Hopefully no one reading this will ever stoop that low. The very best way to assure that meat and its blood are dead is to cook it-- thoroughly; and double check it with a meat thermometer.

At issue with the prohibition against eating blood are the feelings of some that modern slaughter houses don't always kill animals properly. Many use a device called a captured-bolt to stun the animals and then workers slit the animals' throats while they're unconscious. Sometimes the bolt kills an animal instead of knocking it out and then all that the slaughter house has to work with is gravity because the animal's heart isn't pumping to assist. So there are those who feel no one should eat common meat because you can't guarantee the animal's blood was properly drained.

Exactly what the definition of "properly drained" is I don't know because it's impossible to drain every last drop of blood out of meat no matter how you might go about it; so the prohibition against eating blood has got to be interpreted from a practical perspective rather than from a purist's perspective.

There are cultures that poke holes in cows' necks in order to drink blood straight out of the animal utilizing its own blood pressure like a tap to fill their cups. Other cultures cut open the thorax of animals freshly taken in hunting in order to take blood-soaked bites of the animal's heart. Those examples are probably about as close to vampirism as one can get without actually joining Edward Cullen's family and undergoing the conversion process.


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Gen 9:5-6

†. Gen 9:5 . . But for your own life-blood I will require a reckoning: I will require it of every beast; of man, too, will I require a reckoning for human life, of every man for that of his fellow man!

Noah's Law #2 mandates capital punishment; viz: eye-for-an-eye retribution for the unjustified killing of a human being. This law is also a universal law and applies to every family of Man and Beast that descends from the ark; no exceptions.

God requires an investigation into the death of a human being whenever it is caused by another human being or by a member of the animal kingdom. If the killing cannot be justified, the perpetrator has to be executed at the hands of human beings: no exceptions.

†. Gen 9:6a . .Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed;

The death penalty here in Gen 9:6 is mandatory only for murder; which Webster's defines as: the crime of unlawfully killing a person; especially with malice aforethought. The key word in that definition is "unlawfully"

Capital punishment for murder isn't optional. The word "shall" indicates an edict: and anybody who thinks they're in step with God while actively opposing the death penalty has another think coming.

Q: Don't you think it's better to lock all murderers away for life rather than risk taking the lives of those who are innocent?

A: It is never better to disobey God. The first couple did, and you see what that got them.

Disobedience is on a scale with dark arts and the worship of Shiva and Vishnu.

"Has the Lord as much delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of divination, and insubordination is as iniquity and idolatry. (1Sam 15:22-23)

In war, commanders expect a percentage of casualties by human error and/or friendly fire; and those kinds of casualties are usually factored in as acceptable losses. But it isn't wise to turn off a war off just because somebody might get hurt by friendly fire. Accidents happen; even under ideal conditions.

It's the same with the war on crime. Just because a percentage of innocent people get executed for something they didn't do, is no excuse to get in bed with the Devil and oppose God's edicts as per Gen 9:5-6.

America's justice system, although far from perfect, has a pretty good batting average. The overwhelming majority of people dead from executions fully deserved what they got. Only a tiny percentage are victims of error; and those percentages should always be considered acceptable losses in any legitimate endeavor to protect domestic tranquility.

†. Gen 9:6b . . For in His image did God make man.

Interesting. So then; indiscriminate killing wasn't banned because it's immoral, but rather, because it demeans the honor and dignity of God. Apparently, were humanity lacking His image, people could go on safari and stalk each other like game animals and mount human heads as trophies of the hunt.

"People can tame all kinds of animals and birds and reptiles and fish, but no one can tame the tongue. It is an uncontrollable evil, full of deadly poison. Sometimes it praises our Lord and Father, and sometimes it breaks out into curses against those who have been made in the image of God." (Jas 3:7-9)

James criticized the cursing of humans not because it's immoral, but because it demeans the honor and dignity of God.

The image of God lends humanity a measure of divinity that it wouldn't have otherwise.

"You made him a little lower than the angels; you crowned him with glory and honor and put everything under his feet." (Heb 2:7-8)

Without that measure of divinity, humanity would just be another among many air-breathing species.

Refusal to pursue the death penalty for murder denigrates the sanctity of Almighty God. So don't ever let anyone tell you capital punishment for murder is wrong. No; capital punishment for murder isn't wrong; au contraire, capital punishment for murder is divine.


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Gen 9:7-19

†. Gen 9:7 . . Be fertile, then, and increase; abound on the earth and increase on it.

The idea conveyed here is that Man was not supposed to unite and stay in one place, but to scatter, diversify, and establish communities all over the globe.

†. Gen 9:8-10 . . And God said to Noah and to his sons with him: I now establish My covenant with you and your offspring to come, and with every living thing that is with you-- birds, cattle, and every wild beast as well --all that have come out of the ark, every living thing on earth.

Noah's covenant is an especially interesting covenant because it was made with both Man and Beast: all living things wherein is the breath of life.

Are people today Noah's offspring that were to come? Yes they are. So we should pay attention to what God told Noah and his sons. "My covenant" applies to everyone; and all the critters too. In fact, all living beings in the post-Flood world are under the jurisdiction of the covenant God made with Noah and his family.

†. Gen 9:11 . . I will maintain My covenant with you: never again shall all flesh be cut off by the waters of a flood, and never again shall there be a flood to destroy the earth.

Noah needed to hear that so he wouldn't get jumpy the next time it started to rain really hard in his neighborhood. There is still flooding going on in the world, but certainly not on the same scale as the Flood.

†. Gen 9:12-17 . . God further said: This is the sign that I set for the covenant between Me and you, and every living creature with you, for all ages to come. I have set My bow in the clouds, and it shall serve as a sign of the covenant between Me and the earth.

. . .When I bring clouds over the earth, and the bow appears in the clouds, I will remember My covenant between Me and you and every living creature among all flesh, so that the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh.

. . .When the bow is in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures, all flesh that is on earth. That, God said to Noah, shall be the sign of the covenant that I have established between Me and all flesh that is on earth.

Some people say Noah had never seen a rainbow before because they don't believe it ever rained in the antediluvian world. But even if it didn't rain, rainbows aren't restricted to rainy weather. They can be seen in water falls, fog, and even in icy air. Since the antediluvian world got some of its irrigation from mists, there's a pretty good chance Noah had seen at least one rainbow by the time he was six hundred years old.

Noah's covenant is still in force; as evidenced by the significant presence of rainbows in prophetic visions. (e.g. Ezek 1:27-28, Rev 10:1-4)

Next time you see a rainbow, think of ol' grandpa Noah and think of God's promise-- to Noah, to his progeny, to all peoples on this side of the Flood, and to every creature --that the Earth will never again be destroyed by water. And remember capital punishment for murder, and remember that the animal world is accountable for taking human life.

And when you jeopardize your innocent children's future by risking their exposure to E.coli 0157:H7 and/or 0157:H4 by feeding them a fast food hamburger made with chicken-poop-fed, over-crowded, antibiotic-treated, up-to-their-knees in manure, industrially produced beef; or by risking their exposure to salmonella by feeding them a tasty dish of under-cooked, salmonella-infected Teriyaki chicken made from mass-produced, genetically-altered, antibiotic-fed, overcrowded, factory-farmed broilers; remember it was God's blessing that gave your world the green light to eat flesh so that beginning in the last half of the 20th century, everyone from thenceforth could dine on tainted meat.

†. Gen 9:18 . .The sons of Noah who came out of the ark were Shem, Ham, and Japheth-- Ham being the father of Canaan.

Whoever wrote this section of Genesis, wrote it long after the Flood because the Canaanites didn't exist in Noah's day; nor would they exist at all until many, many years later.

†. Gen 9:19 . .These three were the sons of Noah, and from these the whole world branched out.

It's remarkable that every ethnic, every tribe, every color, and every language, is rooted in just those three men. Every existing human being is alive today from the gene pool of Noah's boys and their wives-- Caucasian, Negro, Mongol, Asian, Semite, Aleut, Indians of the Americas, Pacific Islander; and even the Pigmies. Everybody is related to one of those three boys, and also related to each other in Noah.

Whenever there is war, it is truly brother against brother. The phrase "fellow man" is not just a feel-good, slap on the back acceptance of someone you might normally feel superior to or despise beyond reason; no, it's an expression that identifies human beings you are verily-- though possibly quite distantly --related to.

All the physical characteristics of the different nations and various tribes, must, therefore, have been present in the genetic constitutions of just those three men and three women. Somehow, by the regular mechanisms of genetics-- variation, adaptation, mutation, and recombination --all the various groups of nations and tribes developed from that meager post-Flood human beginning.

But what about Mr. and Mrs. Noah? Didn't they have any more children? After all, Noah still had about three hundred years left to go in his life. Well . . if the Noah's did have any more children, they must have been all girls because the writer said the world was populated by only those three brothers.

So if indeed there were Noah girls, they had to find husbands from among their cousins. Those early post-Flood conditions fostered very close intermarriages; but it was harmless in those days because the human genome was still yet relatively young, strong, and uncontaminated.


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Gen 9:20-21a

†. Gen 9:20a . . Noah, a tiller of the soil,

There was a time when a large percentage of Americans grew their own food, but it's come to the point when some kids don't even know that where their food comes from.

For example; as a young graduate student, Steven L. Hopp, co-author of Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, lived in an urban neighborhood where his little backyard vegetable garden was a howling curiosity to the boys who ran wild in the alley. One day, as Steven pulled a nice long fresh carrot out of the ground, one of the boys asked him how it got in there.

So after explaining some fundamentals of farming, Steven asked the boy if he could think of another vegetable that grows in the ground. After consulting with his posse, the boy responded: spaghetti?

Later in life, Steven's wife used to take her children's friends out back to the family garden to warm them up to the idea of eating vegetables; but the strategy sometimes backfired. They'd back away slowly saying: Oh maaaaan! those things touched dirt! Ewwww!

Accustomed to shopping with their moms in a well-lit, shiny supermarket stocked with pre-washed, pre-sorted, neatly piled vegetables, the kids were brought up to believe that all dirt is 100% unsanitary; and really, how could you blame them when every advertisement they see on television for sanitizers, cleansers, and detergents always portray dirt as bad?

It's not just kids who are uninformed about agriculture. When author Barbara Kingsolver once submitted some material to an editor, the editor nixed the part in the story about pineapples growing out of the ground. The editor insisted they grew on trees.

In another incident, one of Barbara's friends expressed amazement when told that peas, potatoes, and spinach were "up" in Barbara's garden. The friend wanted to know how potatoes could be "up" since to their knowledge potatoes grew down in the ground rather on the surface. The friend was seriously taken aback to discover that potato plants have stems and leaves.

†. Gen 9:20b . . was the first to plant a vineyard.

Was Noah the first ever to plant a vineyard? I strongly suspect verse 20 means that he was just the first one to raise grapes in the new world; not the first ever in all of human history.

†. Gen 9:21a . . He drank of the wine and became drunk,

How often did Noah drink and pass out? I ask because the wrath of God isn't upon drinkers per se; but upon heavy drinkers.

"Woe to those who rise early in the morning to run after their drinks, who stay up late at night till they are inflamed with wine. They have harps and lyres at their banquets, tambourines and flutes and wine, but they have no regard for Yhvh's deeds, no respect for the work of His hands." (Isa 5:11-12)

I'm unaware of any woe to those who've had too much to drink. No; it's the people who subsist on alcohol that get the bad marks; for example:

"It happened, as she continued praying before Yhvh, that Eli watched her mouth. Now Hannah spoke in her heart; only her lips moved, but her voice was not heard. Therefore Eli thought she was drunk. So Eli said to her; How long will you be drunk? Put your wine away from you!" (1Sam 1:12-14)

Eli suspected that Hannah was a wino; which is very different than just getting hammered now and then. In other words: I seriously doubt that Noah was a candidate for AA. He was just a guy who let his wine sneak up on him.

I once knew a girl in high school with such a low tolerance for alcohol that just one can of ordinary beer made her start acting silly. She was by nobody's definition either a wino or an alcoholic; just a regular girl who liked to have fun on Friday night with the other kids.

"Joseph took servings to them from before him, but Benjamin's serving was five times as much as any of theirs. So they drank and were merry with him." (Gen 43:34)

The Hebrew word for "merry" in that verse is from shakar (shaw-kar') which means to become tipsy; viz: to satiate with a stimulating drink. It might surprise some people that God gave Man grapes for that very purpose.

"You make the grass grow for the cattle, and herbage for man's labor that he may get food out of the earth-- wine that cheers the hearts of men" (Ps 104:14-15)

Some folk object that the Bible doesn't say Joseph and his brothers drank wine at that meal. Well; if those with that objection can come up with another beverage in the book of Genesis besides wine that had enough wallop to make Joseph and his brothers tipsy; I might be persuaded.

NOTE: Noah's episode with the wine didn't disqualify him from becoming one of three most righteous men in the Old Testament. God still placed him right up there alongside Job and Daniel at Ezek 14:12-20.

So apparently some people's idea of a righteous man is not same as God's idea of a righteous man. The focus in this incident isn't upon Noah's conduct anyway; it's upon his son Ham's.


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Gen 9:22b-25a

†. Gen 9:22b . . and told his two brothers outside.

Ham wasn't just a little kid who stumbled into his parents' bedroom. He was a grown man, married, and quite possibly by this time his son Canaan was already born. Catching his dad naked was probably an innocent enough accident; but Ham couldn't let it go. No, he just had to broadcast it and make sport of his dad. Good grief, you'd think he would at least pull the covers so no one else would see his dad in that condition.

Ham didn't seem to respect his dad very much. It's a very black-hearted demon's seed who takes pleasure in opportunities to mock their parents. I wonder if that's what Ham felt as he gazed down at his dad. Did it actually make him feel good to see the old gentleman wallowing in disgrace?

So although the Flood wiped out sinful people, it didn't wipe out sin did it? No, sin survived, and stowed away aboard the ark within the very family of Noah; the most righteous man on Earth; before the Flood and after the Flood. (cf. Ezk 14:13-20)

†. Gen 9:23 . . But Shem and Japheth took a cloth, placed it against both their backs and, walking backward, they covered their father's nakedness; their faces were turned the other way, so that they did not see their father's nakedness.

Good lads! Those two men respected their dad and did the right thing by him. It's only too clear that Ham despised his father. You know, when you love people, you won't demean them, nor ridicule them, nor wish them disgrace, nor do anything at all that might tarnish their reputation. Love reveals itself by always looking out for the best interests of others.

Ham's act is seen even more reprehensible when juxtaposed with the Flood. Noah's ark saved Ham's bacon, and this is how his son repaid the favor? When Noah got off the ark, he reciprocated God's kindness with gratitude and burnt offerings. Ham reciprocated his father's kindness with mockery and public disgrace. There are those among the Serpent's seed, as were Cain and Ham, who hate good simply for the very good's sake; viz: good disgusts them.

†. Gen 9:24-25a . .When Noah woke up from his wine and learned what his youngest son had done to him, he said: Cursed be Canaan;

I'd imagine that Canaan objected very strongly upon hearing a curse pronounced upon himself when it was not him but his dad who embarrassed grandpa. What did Canaan do to deserve a curse? Not a thing. Then why did Noah curse Ham's son instead of cursing Ham? The answer to that is located in the passage below:

"Yhvh, Yhvh: a God compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in kindness and faithfulness; extending kindness to the thousandth generation— forgiving iniquity, transgression, and sin; yet He does not remit all punishment; but visits the iniquity of parents upon children and children's children unto the third and fourth generation." (Ex 34:6-7)

Parents' progeny aren't imputed guilt for their parents' conduct, but they do sometimes become collateral damage when God goes after the parents. For example the Flood. No doubt quite a few innocent children drowned in that event due to their parents' wickedness. The same happened to the children in Sodom and Gomorrah. And during Moses' face-off with Pharaoh, God moved against everything that pertained to the man; including, but not limited to, his economy, his land, his livestock, his citizens, his citizens' children, and his own children. It's a very disturbing biblical fact of life that sometimes God gets back at the parents by going after things that pertain to them.

For example; God took the life of David's innocent little baby boy to get back at his father for committing the capital crimes of premeditated murder and adultery.

Another example is located in the 16th chapter of Numbers where not just the rebels were punished; but their entire families and all their belongings were swallowed by a fissure that God opened in the ground beneath their feet.

A close call is recorded in the book of Jonah. Had not the adults in Ninevah changed their ways, something like 120,000 little children would have perished; not to mention all the cattle. According to Jonah 4:11, taking out children and dumb animals is not something that God enjoys. But there is a mysterious element to absolute justice that apparently compels Him to do it.

The antediluvian's case, Ham's case, Sodom and Gomorrah's case, David's case, Pharaoh's case, Korah's case, and Ninevah's case lead me to suspect that God's chosen people caught up in the Holocaust weren't caught up as retribution for their own sins; but rather; as retribution for the sins of past generations; which also tells me that the status of God's chosen people isn't something to be proud of; but rather; something to be afraid of because moths that fly too close to the flame risk getting their wings burned seeing as how the covenant's God doesn't practice favoritism.

"You only have I chosen among all the families of the earth; therefore, I will punish you for all your iniquities." (Amos 3:2)

In other words: among the various human communities on earth; Yhvh's people have the least excuse for their impieties due to their privileged association with God and their ready access to the knowledge of His will.


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Gen 9:22b-25a

†. Gen 9:25b . . the lowest of slaves shall he be to his brothers.

That's a very derogatory remark, and more likely a colloquialism rather than a literal prediction; sort of like the one God made regarding the Serpent; that it would crawl on its belly and eat dirt; viz: henceforth be regarded the lowest sort of filth imaginable. Well, that was Noah's prediction regarding Canaan; and it came true. The people of the land of Canaan became so abhorrent that God, in Deut 7:1-5 and Deut 18:9-14, commanded Yhvh's people to drive them out, to exterminate them, to reject their religions, and to avoid assimilation.

†. Gen 9:26a . . And he said: Blessed be Yhvh, the god of Shem;

Yhvh (The Lord) is said to be Shem's god. But Yhvh is not said to be the god of either Ham or Japheth. Shem is the only one of the three brothers of whom it is said "Yhvh, the god of" perhaps implying that the Bible's God didn't become Shem's god just because the family he was born into worshipped that particular god, rather because Shem personally chose the Bible's God to be his god. A lot of adults are in a religion simply because that's the one they grew up with.

†. Gen 9:26b . . let Canaan be a slave to them.

The pronoun "them" would refer to the peoples that would descend from Shem.

†. Gen 9:27a . . May God enlarge Japheth,

That seems more a prayer than a prediction. Japheth is generally regarded as the father of several Gentile nations, most particularly the Romans and the Greeks, who became mighty world powers. Japheth seemed like an okay kind of guy who at least had a sense of propriety. People like him; even though maybe not particularly God-fearing, will listen to reason, and can often be persuaded to do the right thing. He proved at least that much when he assisted brother Shem to cover their dad's exposure in a discreet way. It is so cool to see someone wishing good for non-Jews so early in human history.

†. Gen 9:27b . . and let him dwell in the tents of Shem;

That doesn't necessarily mean Shem's people and Japheth's people would mingle and assimilate. The expression "dwell in the tents of" is a colloquialism sometimes used to denote compliance or conformity. Here's an example of just the opposite of what we might call dwelling in the tents of Shem.

"Better one day in Your courts than a thousand [anywhere else]; I would rather stand at the threshold of God's house than dwell in the tents of the wicked." (Ps 84:11)

The "tents of the wicked" regards a life style that has no place in it for the Bible's God and doesn't allow His spirit an influence in one's personal life. The remainder of that Psalm is dedicated to the kind of people of whom we could say: dwell in the tents of Shem.

"For The Lord God is sun and shield; The Lord bestows grace and glory; He does not withhold His bounty from those who live without blame. O Lord of hosts, happy is the man who trusts in You." (Ps 84:12-13)

People who live in the tents of the wicked, and walk where the wicked walk; sure don't walk where Shem walks. Not all of Japheth's people would dwell in the tents of Shem of course. But the idea is that Japheth's people weren't totally a bad apple like Canaan's. Many of them would become God-fearing, moral, scrupulous, and upright-- though not all of course; but at least Japheth's progeny wouldn't prove 100% incorrigible.

†. Gen 9:27c . . and let Canaan be a slave to them.

Not all of Ham's descendants would become subservient to the people of Shem and Japheth. Only those in Canaan's line.

†. Gen 9:28-29 . . Noah lived after the Flood 350 years. And all the days of Noah came to 950 years; then he died.

Another righteous man bites the dust. Noah lived twenty more years than Adam, but nineteen less than Methuselah-- no doubt a great role model and a tremendous influence upon the minds of all his grandchildren. He surely must have had a huge brood of them in the new world by the time his 350 post-Flood years ended.

Guys like Noah prove a point. Just because someone is righteous is no reason to think that they shouldn't have to die. The human body has its limits. No matter how righteous somebody is, their body will eventually give out.


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Gen 10:1-32

†. Gen 10:1 . .These are the lines of Shem, Ham, and Japheth, the sons of Noah: sons were born to them after the Flood.

Chapter ten is a tiresome list of genealogies that some have found interesting enough to devote entire books; generating a catalogue of nations connecting Noah's descendants to the ancient civilizations and even today's. But I'm going to comment upon only a few salient features.

†. Gen 10:5 . .These are the descendants of Japheth by their lands-- each with its language-- their clans and their nations.

Diverse languages didn't appear right away. First came the tower of Babel. It was after that when people's languages became what we might call "foreign".

†. Gen 10:8-9 . . Cush was the father of Nimrod, who grew to be a mighty warrior on the earth. He was a mighty hunter before The Lord; that is why it is said: Like Nimrod, a mighty hunter before The Lord. The first centers of his kingdom were Babylon, Erech, Akkad and Calneh, in Shinar.

At first, mankind was scattered out in individual clans, and leadership was pretty much restricted to local patriarchal Dons and Sheiks.

But Nimrod wasn't content with local rule. He was resolved not only to be head and shoulders above his neighbors-- not only to be eminent among them but to lord it over them.

The same spirit that actuated the mighty men and the men of renown prior to the Flood, (by reason of whom the Flood came) now revived in Nimrod. There are some in whom ambition, achievement, and affectation of dominion seem to be bred in the bone. Nothing short of hell itself will humble and break the proud, domineering spirits of men such as those.

Nimrod is interesting. He's a Nephilistic personage with humble beginnings: first as a professional hunter; probably supplying meat to frontier towns and selling pelts at trading posts. That was likely Nimrod's career path up until his exploits became famous and he began to realize it was far more profitable to go into politics.

Lots of great men, some good and some bad, had humble beginnings-- Abraham Lincoln, King David, and even Hitler. Timely circumstances, and fortuitous events, catapulted those blokes up to very high levels of control over their fellow men.

A contemporary case in point is past US President Barak Hussein Obama: a man who had little to no chance of winning a US Senate seat had it not been for his shoo-in opponent's indiscretions.

From thence, the voting public's disgust with the Republican party, coupled with their infatuation with the color of Mr. Obama's skin (he's not really Black, he's mulatto), practically assured his election to America's highest federal office. He was but a junior senator with like zero executive experience; yet there he was flying around the world in Air Force One.

To this very day Nimrod is still known as the outdoorsman who would be king. He was such a famous icon of that day that his example became descriptive of others who worked their way to the top like he did-- men of vision, daring, energy, strong personal ambition, and dogged perseverance.

The common personality trait, among such men, is their strong desire not just to govern, but to quite dominate people. There are those for whom it isn't enough to win; no, it isn't enough for people like that to win: everyone else has to lose. They don't want 50% market share, nor even 90% no, they're content with nothing less than 100%

Actually, Nimrod was one of the great men of history, though so little is written about him. He was one of the first statesmen to successfully create a sort of European Union; and it was such a solid alliance that only divine intervention could bring it down.

†. Gen 10:21a . . Sons were also born to Shem, ancestor of all the descendants of Eber

Descendants of Eber (most notably Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob) became known as Eberites: a.k.a. Hebrews.

†. Gen 10:32 . .These are the families of the sons of Noah, after their generations, in their nations: and by these were the nations divided in the earth after the Flood

What I find very interesting about the nations divided in the earth is their diversity of progress. When Europeans came to the continental US, they found indigenous peoples who were, from all appearances, perpetual cave men. They never had an iron age. Heck, no metal age at all; except maybe copper here and there.

Long, long after the Neanderthals and the Cro-Magnons evolved into Egyptians, Romans, Greeks, Spaniards, and Portuguese; the American Indian was still using stone tools, living in rudimentary shelters, and walking everywhere he went. His greatest obstacle to travel was distance because they had no horses. It was like they were a people whom time forgot.


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Gen 11:1-3

†. Gen 11:1 . . Everyone on earth had the same language and the same words.

The Hebrew word for "language" is from saphah (saw-faw') which means: the lip. The one for "words" is from dabar (daw-baw') which means: a word (as spoken or written)

Spoken languages are a combination of words and lips; viz: vocabulary and pronunciation; viz: accent. It's one thing to know the words of a language, but it is quite another to speak them with the correct pronunciation. In that day, everyone used the same words and spoke them with the very same accent.

†. Gen 11:2 . . And as they migrated from the east, they came upon a valley in the land of Shinar and settled there.

The name "Shinar" was of course given later because these early migrations were to lands heretofore uninhabited. According to Gen 10:10, Shinar became Nimrod's turf.

The amount of time elapsed between Noah's bender and this migration isn't stated in the Bible-- plus; there's really no way to tell which part of the world was "the east" in the author's day.

Here in the USA, the Great Continental Divide is an east/west determinant. Funny thing is, if you're located in Phoenix Arizona, then Billings Montana is to your continental east even though geographically, it's almost directly north; so when you see directions like "east" and/or "west" in the Bible, it's probably best to NOT think compass directions.

For example in the case of the Magi of Matt 2:1. As best as we can tell, their city was somewhere east of the meridian that runs north/south through the Jordan River Valley but that kind of an east is continental rather than geographical so there's really no telling where they came from.

This particular migration was "from" the east; which means pioneers from among Noah's progeny, whose numbers at this point are totally unknown, went out west looking for greener pastures. Although the region of Shinar has not yet been precisely pinpointed, we can take a relatively educated guess at it.

"In the third year of the reign of King Jehoiakim of Judah, King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon came to Jerusalem and laid siege to it. The Lord delivered King Jehoiakim of Judah into his power, together with some of the vessels of the House of God, and he brought them to the land of Shinar to the house of his god; he deposited the vessels in the treasury of his god." (Dan 1:1-2)

The "Shinar" of Daniel's day is apparently the region where ancient Babylon was located. Babylon's location today is marked by a broad area of ruins just east of the Euphrates River, approximately 90 km (56 mi) south of Baghdad, Iraq. It's part of an area commonly known as the Fertile Crescent; a very large region arching across the northern part of the Syrian Desert and extending from the Nile Valley to the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. In the early post-Flood years, this region was very lush. But today much of it is arid wasteland.

†. Gen 11:3a . .They said to one another: Come, let us make bricks and burn them hard. (Brick served them as stone).

Brick are blocks of clay or other ceramic used for construction and decorative facing. Bricks may be dried in the sun but are more usually baked in a kiln. They cost relatively little, resist dampness and heat, and can actually last longer than some kinds of stone.

Brick was the chief building material of ancient Mesopotamia and Palestine. The inhabitants of Jericho in Palestine were building with brick about 9,000 years ago (7,000 bc). That's about 5,000 years before Abraham's day.

Sumerian and Babylonian builders constructed ziggurats, palaces, and city walls of sun-dried brick and covered them with more durable kiln-baked, often brilliantly glazed brick, arranged in decorative pictorial friezes. Later the Persians and the Chinese built in brick, for example, the Great Wall of China. The Romans built large structures such as baths, amphitheaters, and aqueducts in brick, which they often covered with marble facing.

†. Gen 11:3b . . and bitumen served them as mortar.

According to Webster's, bitumen is any of various mixtures of hydrocarbons (as tar) often together with their nonmetallic derivatives that occur naturally or are obtained as residues after heat-refining natural substances (e.g. petroleum).

The stuff can be deadly if one isn't careful because once your feet become stuck, they are very difficult to extract; as the museum at the La Brea tar pits in Los Angeles attests. But it's a handy building material too. Noah sealed the ark with a bituminous material, and Moses owes his life to it. (Ex 2:1-10)


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Gen 11:4-5

†. Gen 11:4 . . And they said: Come, let us build us a city, and a tower with its top in the sky, to make a name for ourselves; else we shall be scattered all over the world.

Magnificent cities have a way of attracting tourism, commerce, and industry. People want to come and visit, and to live there. Politically, their scheme made good sense. More people equals more prosperity; resulting in more power and control over the region-- and of course the larger their tax base the more city services they could provide citizens; including an effective civil defense program.

There's nothing really intrinsically wrong in building a large beautiful city. But in their case, it wasn't the right time for it. God wanted the post-Flooders to move out and populate the entire globe, rather than accumulate in one local region.

Towers served a variety of purposes in the ancient world. Some were used as look-outs, others were used as tombs, and yet others were used as bloody altars for human sacrifices.

The purpose intended for the tower of Gen 11:4 isn't stated but guessing from the wording, I'd say it was intended to be a grand monument; sort of like the 630 foot stainless steel Gateway Arch in Ste. Louis Missouri, or a magnificent minaret like the 239-foot Qutab Minar in Delhi India. Something like that would certainly go a long ways towards getting the Shinarians the renown they sought.

But their wish that the tower's top be in the sky suggests their primary motive was to use its facade to display a variety of gods popular in that day. There's towers like that right now that in the city of Madurai in the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu, located on the banks of River Vaigai.

The towers are literally festooned with hundreds of gods. So if your favorite god is up there somewhere, there's no need for you to leave town and go on a pilgrimage elsewhere to worship. People love their religion. So if you give them the liberty and the means to practice it; they'll love you forever. Tolerance is good politics. If only Islamic fundamentalists understood this.

†. Gen 11:5 . .Yhvh came down to look at the city and tower that man had built,

That verse presents an interesting theological problem. Wouldn't it make better sense by saying Yhvh looked down, instead of saying the Yhvh "came" down? Why bother to come down? Doesn't the Bible's God see all and know all? Isn't God omniscient? Can't He see everything from right where He is?

Yes, the Bible's God can do that alright; but a certain celestial being in the Old Testament scriptures-- often labeled Yhvh --is never God in person. It's a divine agent who goes by the name of God, stands in for God, speaks for God, speaks as God, reports to God, and takes care of God's business in this world of ours; for example:

"I am sending an angel before you to guard you on the way and to bring you to the place that I have made ready. Pay heed to him and obey him. Do not defy him, for he will not pardon your offenses, since My Name is in him; but if you obey him and do all that I say, I will be an enemy to your enemies and a foe to your foes." (Ex 23:20-22)

The name of that angel is his master's name, and actually, the words Moses heard spoken at Ex 23:20-22 were spoken by that heaven-sent messenger on behalf of his master. That mysterious being is not only an enigma; but also quite frightful as anyone who's studied its activities in the books of Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy can attest. In other words: wherever the name Yhvh appears in the texts of those books; it's that mysterious angel.

"Then went up Moses, and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel: and they saw the God of Israel: and there was under His feet as it were a paved work of a sapphire stone, and as it were the body of heaven in his clearness. And upon the nobles of the children of Israel He laid not his hand: also they saw God, and did eat and drink." (Ex 24:9-11)

Did they really see the actual God? No.

"He said: thou canst not see my face: for there shall no man see Me, and live." (Ex 33:20)

"You have neither heard His voice at any time, nor seen His form." (John 5:37)

What Moses and his entourage saw was the mysterious celestial messenger whose name is his master's.


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Gen 11:6-25

†. Gen 11:6 . . and Yhvh said: If, as one people with one language for all, this is how they have begun to act, then nothing that they may propose to do will be out of their reach.

I don't think Yhvh objected to the people's unity per se. I mean, after all; it's Christ's wish that his church be unified (John 17:1-26, 1Cor 1:10). I think what He objected to was the direction that humanity's unity was taking; and it was no doubt similar to the direction depicted below.

"Why do the nations conspire and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth take their stand and the rulers gather together against Yhvh and against His anointed. Let us break their chains-- they say --and throw off their fetters." (Ps 2:1-3)

To whom was Yhvh speaking when He spoke those words? Well; there's been a lot of theory and speculation in that regard. Apparently Yhvh has associates and companions; which we might label courtiers and/or bureaucrats. They're the competent behind-the scenes "gophers" that keep government business running smoothly. I think that God rather enjoys delegating a great deal of His business to trusted underlings rather than doing it all Himself.

†. Gen 11:7 . . Let us, then, go down and confound their speech there, so that they shall not understand one another's speech.

"let us" is the language of Gen 1:26 when God created man. Exactly who accompanied Yhvh on this mission isn't stated; but it's difficult to imagine Him traveling solo without an entourage of some sort. (cf. Gen 28:12 and Matt 25:31)

†. Gen 11:8 . .Thus the Lord scattered them from there over the face of the whole earth; and they stopped building the city.

The language barrier was only a temporary delay because later on the city of Babylon was eventually built. But at this point in time, the world had no choice. It was just impossible to continue. Incidentally; the entire world has never again been unified in a singular endeavor like it was on that tower.

†. Gen 11:9 . .That is why it was called Babel, because there the Lord confounded the speech of the whole earth; and from there the Lord scattered them over the face of the whole earth.

In time, men did branch out and colonize the whole planet. But barely anything is said in the Bible about the world in the years between Babel and Abraham. On the pages of scripture, it seems but a brief interlude, but in reality, it's truly a millenniums-wide quantum leap when taking into consideration the ice ages and regions that today are now deserts (Sahara; et al) which were once pluvial with abundant water resources and arable soil able to support developing civilizations.

Relative to the grand scale of time; Abraham was practically a modern man though he lived something like 4,000 years ago. But 4,000 years is merely a tick-tock on the earth's geological clock that's been ticking for something like 4.5 billion years. If we let 4.5 billion years represent 24 hours, then 4,000 years is about equal to 8/100th second.

According to the January 2015 issue of National Geographic Magazine, human artifacts as old as 100,000 years have been discovered in a cave located on the southern tip of Africa: geologically, that many years is barely 2 seconds.

†. Gen 11:10a . .This is the line of Shem.

Well; that's pretty much about it for the other brothers. From now on, the Bible will direct its focus mainly upon Shem's line. But not all. Just specific ones that are connected to Abraham's covenant; and ultimately to Messiah.

Noah was a pretty simple kind of guy. He probably tore apart the ark for its wood and built a home, and barns, and whittled fence posts and split rails to corral his livestock. The rest of the ark's lumber he could distribute to his sons and grandchildren for their own ranches after setting aside enough firewood for many years to come.

He more than likely stayed pretty close to where the ark went aground and remained behind when the others migrated out west. After all, if Noah could raise food right where he was, plus his grapes, then why move away? He'd seen it all anyway and lived the adventure of a lifetime.

†. Gen 11:10b . . Shem was 100 years old when he begot Arpachshad, two years after the Flood.

That would make Shem about 97 years old when the flood began.

†. Gen 11:11 . . After the birth of Arpachshad, Shem lived 500 years and begot sons and daughters.

Each of the patriarchs probably had at least as many daughters as well as sons even though girls' names are rarely listed in the record.

†. Gen 11:12-25 . .When Arpachshad had lived 35 years, he begot Shelah. After the birth of Shelah, Arpachshad lived 403 years and begot sons and daughters . .When Nahor had lived 29 years, he begot Terah. After the birth of Terah, Nahor lived 119 years and begot sons and daughters.

Included in the genealogy of Gen 11:12-25 was a man named Eber. His name carries on to this day in a people well known as Hebrews; for the Old Testament word for Hebrew is 'Ibriy (ib-ree'); which means an Eberite; viz: a descendant of Eber.

Prior, it was common for people to live nine hundred years. But at this point in the Bible, the human life span is beginning to shrink rapidly.

Noah lived 950 years (about the same as his antediluvian forebears), but Shem lived only 600. It became even worse by the time of Nahor; who only lived to 148. Today, even the healthiest among us begins to decline as early as our mid thirties; with an average life expectancy of not even 80. This problem has baffled scientists for years and no one seems to know yet just why our body cells age and deteriorate so fast. Whoever solves that problem will get very rich from it, that's for sure.

NOTE: Love will endure forever, but speaking in unknown languages will all disappear (1 Cor 13:8)

God introduced tongues during the Tower Of Babel incident to break up world unification. Apparently it was God's judgment that world unification in those days was not a good thing. Well; the language barrier remains in place today; so I'm assuming that world unification in our day is still not a good thing.

In other words: today's world is an imperfect world. But according to 2Pet 3:1-13 and the 21st chapter of Revelation, a new world order is on its way; a perfect world that can be trusted with unification so there will be no need for a control measure to thwart global rebellions against God and all that He stands for.


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Gen 11:26-29

†. Gen 11:26-27 . .When Terah had lived 70 years, he begot Abram, Nahor, and Haran. Now this is the line of Terah: Terah begot Abram, Nahor, and Haran; and Haran begot Lot.

By the time of Terah, Shem's line had slipped away and no longer worshipped Yhvh in spite of their solid spiritual heritage.

"Then Joshua said to all the people: Thus said the Lord, the God of Israel; "In olden times, your forefathers-- Terah, father of Abraham and father of Nahor --lived beyond the Euphrates and worshiped other gods." (Josh 24:2-3)

Because their dad worshipped other gods, the two brothers, Abram and Nahor, grew up as idolaters until Noah's god stepped in and broke the chain: appearing to Abram, and instructing him to leave his relatives, and get out of Ur.

One has to wonder what happened with Terah. His grandfathers Shem and Noah actually came off the ark and saw the Flood for themselves but that was waaaaay back when. Time has a way of turning history into legend, and anon, into myths and folklore.

NOTE: One of the problems associated with the credibility of the Flood is finding evidence for it; and a significant portion of that problem is related to the Flood's duration. The actual downpour lasted a mere forty days; and the standing water was gone within a year; which just isn't enough time. It takes water millennia to erode permanent features in the earth's lithosphere.

And on top of that, once the rain stopped, the Flood's waters were essentially static like a lake or a swimming pool. In order to cause erosion of any significance, water has to move; as a river or a stream, or as waves along the sea shore; not stand still.

When I was a kid, the presence of sea shells and fossils way up on the sides and tops of mountains was thought to be evidence of the Flood, but now we know that they got up there by tectonic forces rather than by the Flood.

You know it hasn't been all that long ago that people began putting some faith in continental drift. It's been barely a century since German meteorologist Alfred Wegner proposed that Earth's dry land had once been a single continent then gradually began separating. He was soundly mocked and dismissed by his contemporary scientific community.

Not anymore they don't. Now pretty near all the geological scientists are in agreement that the earth's prominent mountain ranges were produced by the grinding, colliding, buckling, and subduction of massive sections of the earth's crust.

†. Gen 11:28 . . Haran died in the lifetime of his father Terah, in his native land, Ur of the Chaldeans.

The Grim Reaper cares not for the age of its victims, whether young or whether old. Haran died before his dad. Many a parent has buried their children before they even had a chance to live.

You know, anybody can die; it's not all that difficult; and people don't have to be old nor do they have to be especially intelligent. Even the young, the inexperienced, and the stupid do it all the time.

"For the wise man, like the fool, will not be long remembered: in days to come both will be forgotten. Like the fool, the wise man too must die." (Ecc 2:16)

"For the time of mischance comes to all. And a man cannot even know his time. As fishes are enmeshed in a fatal net, and as birds are trapped in a snare, so men are caught at the time of calamity, when it comes upon them without warning." (Ecc 9:10-12)

"Your fathers, where are they? and the prophets: do they live for ever?" (Zch 1:5)

†. Gen 11:29 . . Abram and Nahor took to themselves wives, the name of Abram's wife being Sarai and that of Nahor's wife Milcah, the daughter of Haran, the father of Milcah and Iscah.

Nahor married a niece; the daughter of his brother Haran. And Abram, according to Gen 20:12, married a half sister; the daughter of his father Terah. Such close marriages were later forbidden in Israel's covenanted law.

But as Genesis has shown all along, at this early date close marriages were neither forbidden nor particularly dangerous from a genetic point of view, and so were not uncommon. Adam's family married among themselves; and so did Noah's. They really had no choice about it. There just weren't any other people available for spouses at the time.

Close inbreeding was neither a sin nor a problem in those days. But it sure is now. You wouldn't dare engender children with a sister or a brother or a niece nowadays. The risk of birth defects is just too high. It's notable that as longevity decreased, so did the margin of safety in marrying relatives. The quality of the human body was seriously deteriorating.


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Gen 11:30-31

†. Gen 11:30 . . Now Sarai was barren, she had no child.

This is the very first recorded incident of a human reproductive malfunction. Other than the reduction in longevity; the human body seems to have been running on all eight cylinders up to this point. But who was the problem; was it Abram or Sarai? It was Sarai because Abram later engendered a child by one of Sarai's servant girls.

One of the first horrors the human family witnessed was Abel's death. No one had ever seen a human being dead before. And now this. A woman who couldn't conceive. It must have been stunning and unbelievable. All the women in history up to this point were cranking out babies like rabbits and mice.

But this was double bad for Sarai. Not only could she not have a family of her own, but you know how the tabloids feed on unusual events. Well . . this was one for the books. Sarai, in her day, was a true freak of nature. Everyone would point at her and whisper in hushed tones: Look! There she is! That's the one we saw on 20/20.

She must have felt terribly inferior, and you can just imagine what that did to her self esteem too. Sarai was a gorgeous piece of work, but her womb had no more life in it than a stack of 8x11 Xerox paper.

I'm a man; so how can I possibly understand Sarai's personal grief? Only another barren woman can understand what Sarai must have felt. There are women who don't care about children. But Sarai doesn't strike me as one of those. And even if she didn't care for children, it would have still been a comfort in her mind to know that at least she could have some if she wanted to.

"There are three things that are never satisfied, yea, four things say not; "It is enough" -- the grave; the barren womb, the earth that is not filled with water; and the fire." (Pro 30:15-16)

†. Gen 11:31a . .Terah took his son Abram, his grandson Lot the son of Haran, and his daughter-in-law Sarai, the wife of his son Abram, and they set out together from Ur of the Chaldeans for the land of Canaan;

Ur's ruins are located approximately midway between the modern city of Baghdad Iraq, and the head of the Persian Gulf, south of the Euphrates River, on the edge of the Al Hajarah Desert. The site of Ur is known today as Tall al Muqayyar.

In antiquity, the Euphrates River flowed near the city walls; and thus Ur was favorably located for the development of commerce and for attaining political dominance. The biblical name "Ur of the Chaldees" refers to the Chaldeans, who settled in the area about 900 BC. By the 4th century BC, the city was practically forgotten, possibly as a result of a shift in the course of the Euphrates River.

Water played an important role in the location of ancient civilizations. The Sahara desert, for example, was once a pluvial region with lakes. When geological forces caused the loss of rainfall and surface water, the Sahara became the dry waste it's famed for today and consequently its inhabitants had to relocate.

Ur was enclosed by oval walls thirty feet high, which protected not only the city, but two harbors as well. Sir Leonard Woolley discovered that the inhabitants benefited from well-planned streets, and houses with high standards of sanitation. They appear to have been constructed to remain cool in the hot summers and some may have been two-storied. House walls adjoined the streets. Homes featured an inner courtyard onto which their rooms faced; just like Judah's home in the Charleton Heston movie Ben Hur.

†. Gen 11:31b . . but when they had come as far as Haran, they settled there.

According to Gen 12:1, God took an interest in Abram while he was in Ur, before he left with Terah to travel to Haran. After sharing his vision with Terah, the dad quite possibly became interested in a new life himself, having recently lost a son. The land where he then lived held bad memories and, probably not wanting to lose touch with any more of his family if Abram were to move away, he suggested that they all travel together; which is a perfectly good idea considering the dangers they were likely to encounter en route.

But the dad didn't have the heart for it really. The old gentleman decided to settle in Haran instead of going all the way to Canaan like the original plan called for.

From Ur, Canaan is dead west and just about the same distance as Haran. But instead of going directly to Canaan, they went north, following the trade routes. I think I would have too. Terah's family was a lot safer going from town to town along the fertile crescent. It would take longer to get to Canaan, but they would be in better shape upon arrival.

There are some who like to keep their foot on the gas and push on through when they travel. But that is very tiring. It's far better to stop often, eat, and rest before moving on. The towns along the northern route could provide them with needed supplies for the journey too.

But Haran (modern Charran or Haraan) is too far out of the way really. It's clear up in Urfa Turkey on the trade route to Ninevah. Terah could have turned south a lot sooner and gone on down to Canaan via Damascus. But I think that by then, he'd lost interest in Canaan and decided that Haran was the place for him. And Abram, probably not wanting to leave his dad alone there, stayed on too.


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Gen 11:32

†. Gen 11:32 . .The days of Terah came to 205 years; and Terah died in Haran.

Terah lived a relatively long life for his day. His son Abram only lived to 175.

But I sometimes wonder if Terah didn't cut his life short by staying in Haran. Did he forget about God's call to Abram to go to Canaan?

Actually, Terah didn't worship Noah's god, rather, other gods; pagan gods. So it's only natural that he wouldn't take Yhvh's call seriously. Noah's god wanted Abram to live down in Canaan. But because of his dad, Abram didn't go there. How sad that parents can actually be a hindrance to their children associating with God whole heartedly.

My own dad was a very bad influence upon my spiritual life. It wasn't until after I moved out, and he passed away, that my association with God really took off and went somewhere. He used to get so upset with me for taking the Bible too seriously; even blaming it for keeping me from getting ahead in life. And he constantly pressured me to marry women who were of a different religion than my own.


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Gen 12:1-3a

†. Gen 12:1. .The Lord said to Abram: Go forth from your native land and from your father's house to the land that I will show you.

Stephen said Abram was still living in Ur, and hadn't moved up to Haran yet when God called him to leave his kin (Acts 7:2-3). There's no record of any interaction with God all the while that Abram lived in Haran. Yhvh was silent, and waiting for Abram to get with the program and do as He said-- leave his kin and head on out to a country of God's choosing. When he finally departed, Abram was not yet informed of his precise destination. (Heb 11:8)

The Lord made several promises to Abram at this time.

†. Gen 12:2a . . I will make of you a great nation,

Greatness is arbitrary. Some say numbers best represent greatness, while others feel that accomplishments, prosperity, health, and contributions to mankind define greatness. In that last aspect; no other nation on earth has contributed more to the benefit of mankind than the people of Israel. It is through them that sinful men of all nations may obtain a full ransom from the wrath of God. Israel is also destined to become the seat of world power, economic prosperity, and the center for religious studies.

†. Gen 12:2b . . And I will bless you;

Abram became a very wealthy man; with enough male servants to field a respectable army. He also enjoyed long life and good health; and the admiration of his neighbors.

†. Gen 12:2c . . I will make your name great,

Nobody is more famous than Abram. Even people who never heard of George Washington, Alexander the Great, Napoleon, or Genghis Khan, know about Abram. He is connected to the three most prominent religions in the world: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. And his name is always held in the very highest regard. Abram isn't known for nefarious deeds nor bloody conquests. He is known as the friend of God, and as a role model for all decent God-fearing people everywhere all over the world.

†. Gen 12:2d . . And you shall be a blessing.

There are some people that the world is well rid of like conceited entertainers, neighbors from hell, thin skinned defensive people with raging tempers, habitual liars, cry babies, people who falsify information, sully reputations, ruthless businessmen, con and scam artists, unscrupulous lawyers, crooked cops and dishonest politicians, insurance frauds, Wall Street sociopaths, managers on a power trip, hackers, and the like.

But Abram was none of those. He was a very gracious, honorable man; the kind of guy you would thank God for. But most of all, Abram is the progenitor of Messiah-- the savior of the world.

"A record of the genealogy of Jesus Christ the son of David, the son of Abraham" (Matt 1:1)

Messiah is the one who makes it possible for sinners to escape the judgment of God. You can't be a better blessing than that.

"Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life. For God so cared for the world that he donated His one and only son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His son into the world to condemn the world, but to rescue the world through him." (John 3:14-17)

NOTE: The reference to Moses' serpent is located at Num 21:4-9

Just as Moses' people were spared certain death by doing no more nor less than looking to Moses' serpent; so believers today are spared certain death in the reservoir of brimstone depicted at Rev 20:11-15 by doing no more nor less than looking to Christ's crucifixion.

†. Gen 12:3a . . I will bless those who bless you, and curse him that curses you;

That curse works both ways; viz: it prevents God from cursing Abram. This is very important because were God to curse Abram, for any reason, any at all; He would have to level a curse right back at Himself.

God as much as granted Abram immunity from any, and all, of the curses listed at Ex 34:6-7, Lev 26:3-38, Deut 27:15-26, and Deut 28:1 69 that God is obligated to slam Yhvh's people with for breaching the covenant that they agreed upon with God as per Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy.

Modern Judaism insists that Deut 29:14-15 retroactively binds Abraham to the covenant. But Deut 5:2-3 clearly exempts him.


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Gen 12:3b-6

†. Gen 12:3b . . And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.

The Hebrew word translated "in you" is a bit ambiguous. It can also mean "through you" and/or "by means of you".

Abram eventually found out that the above prediction concerned a great grandson of his.

"Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day, and he saw it and was glad." (John 8:56-57)

The "blessing" in focus is no doubt the one below.

"For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world should be spared through Him. (John 3:16-17)

"And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world." (1 John 2:2)

†. Gen 12:4a . . Abram went forth as the Lord had commanded him,

Although Abram didn't "went forth" exactly when God told him to; he finally did; and that's what counts. Jonah didn't "went forth" when he was told to go either, but God prepared a large fish to persuade him to stop fooling around and get a move on; and he finally complied.

†. Gen 12:4b . . and Lot went with him.

That was an err on Abram's part. He was told to leave his native land and to leave his father's house. He wasn't supposed to take any relatives along with him: and Lot wasn't a child; he was a grown man capable of operating a ranch on his own so it's not like Abram would have abandoned Lot an orphan.

†. Gen 12:4c . . Abram was seventy-five years old when he left Haran.

That hardly seems like a sensible age to reinvent one's self and begin a new life; but Abram was relatively young yet in his own day, and still had 100 years of life left to go.

To give a perspective on just how long 100 years is: from today in 2017; it would be only three years after the sinking of the Titanic, one before the end of WW1, six years before Poncho Villa's demise, and two years till the ratification of the 18th Amendment-- horse and buggy were common in New York City, and Annie Oakley and Wyatt Earp were still alive.

I was born in 1944. The average life expectancy of a man born that year was roughly 62. Abram lived to the ripe old age of 175 (Gen 25:7-8). So, at the time of his migration to Canaan, Abram was about the equivalent of a 26 year-old man born in 1944.

Abram's wife Sarai was nine years younger than he (cf. Gen 17:1 and Gen 17:17). So she was around 66 when they migrated to Canaan. However; Sarai didn't live as long as her husband. She passed away at the age of 127 (Gen 23:1).

The average life expectancy of a woman born in 1944 was about 67 years. So, at the time of their migration to Canaan, Sarai was about the equivalent of a 35 year-old woman born in 1944. Had she lived as long as her husband, then Sarai would have been the equivalent of a 25 year-old woman born in 1944. Precisely why Sarai's life was cut short is unknown.

†. Gen 12:5 . . Abram took his wife Sarai and his brother's son Lot, and all the wealth that they had amassed, and the persons that they had acquired in Haran; and they set out for the land of Canaan; and they arrived there.

I'm pretty sure Sarai anticipated this move. Abram had probably been talking about it ever since God appeared to him in Ur so I seriously doubt it disrupted her life like a bolt out of the blue.

From Haran (Haraan Turkey) it's well over 400 miles south to the West Bank in Palestine. You can imagine the difficulty of making such a trip what with no automobiles, no trains, no buses, no taxi cabs, no airplanes, no paved-surface highways, and no graded roads. It was all trails and dirt paths; and all on foot, or on the back of an animal, or in a cart pulled by an animal.

People traveled like that for millennia before powered conveyances were invented and became widespread. Practically all modern means of travel were invented in the 20th century AD.

In only just the last 120 years or so of Man's existence has there been airplanes and horseless carriages. Man went from the Wright Brothers to the moon in just sixty-six years.

The previous thousands of years before Karl Benz's production of gasoline-powered motorwagens; people were very slow moving, and travel was arduous, inconvenient, and totally earth-bound. In those days, a pioneer's greatest obstacle to migration was distance.

It's significant that Abram wasn't required to dispose of his worldly goods in order to follow God. Abram later became an exceedingly rich man and God never once asked him to give it all away.

Riches are bad only if they have such a hold upon a person that they must compromise their integrity to hang on to it. For that person, it's better to be poor. But it would be wrong to impose poverty upon everyone because not everyone is consumed with survival, avarice, and greed.

†. Gen 12:6 . . Abram traveled through the land as far as the site of the great tree of Moreh at Shechem. At that time the Canaanites were in the land.

The Canaanites were Canaan's descendants-- Noah's bad-apple grandson.

The Canaanites probably didn't have complete control of the land at this time, merely a presence, same as Abram. But they were definitely in progress of getting control. By the time Joshua invaded, roughly four hundred years later, Canaan's clan was pretty well rooted in Palestine.

Abram's welfare wasn't improved by coming out west to Canaan. His home town Ur was a modern city with decent accommodations. But out on the frontier, it was rugged. Palestine in that day was no Utopia. It was more like the conditions which faced our own early day American pioneers and settlers. There were communities scattered here and there, but for the most part, it was wild, wooly, and untamed.

Abram, now paying attention to God, is going where he's told and moving in all the right directions. The next two moves are preceded by altars; upon which, we can safely assume, were offered the traditional Noah-style burnt offering. Altar sites were hot-spots; viz: locations for making wireless contact with God; sort of like what the Temple at Jerusalem became in later years.


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Gen 12:7-9

†. Gen 12:7a . .The Lord appeared to Abram

Exactly how or in what form God appeared to Abram isn't said. God's appearances aren't always visual. Sometimes an appearance is merely an audible voice; or a dream, an angel, a burning bush, a breeze, a column of smoke, or even an eerie glow.

†. Gen 12:7b . . and said: I will assign this land to your heirs.

This is the very first instance of a Divine promise made to Abram regarding ownership of Palestine; and it probably bounced right off his skull like a sonar ping. But later on, God will repeat that promise again and again until it finally sinks in. Repetition is, after all, a proven learning aid.

†. Gen 12:7c-8 . . And he built an altar there to the Lord who had appeared to him. From there he moved on to the hill country east of Bethel and pitched his tent, with Bethel on the west and Ai on the east; and he built there an altar to the Lord and invoked the Lord by name.

Eusebius Onomasticon, placed Bethel twelve Roman miles north from Jerusalem, on the road to Neapolis. The site today is represented by the modern town of Beitin, a village which stands on a knoll east of the road to Nablus; roughly 2½ miles northeast of Ramallah El-Bira.

Ai hasn't really been pinpointed yet but is identified either with the modern Haiyan, just south of the village Deir Dibwan or with a mound, El-Tell, to the north.

This is only the second time in Scripture where it's said human beings called upon God by a name. The first was Gen 4:26. What name might Abram have used to invoke God? The name Yhvh was well known by this time, and Abram addressed God by it on numerous occasions (e.g. Gen 13:4, 14:22, 15:8, 21:33, and 24:3).

God's demeanor towards Abram was sometimes that of an officer in wartime who doesn't tell his troops in advance the location of their next bivouac. Instead he orders them to march in a certain direction, only later telling them when to stop and set up camp. So Abram went in the direction he was commanded to go; not really knowing his destination or the why. For the time being, Abram didn't need to know the why-- he only needed to know which way.

Free now from the harmful influence of his dad's pagan idolatry, Abram revived the religion of his sacred ancestors and began calling upon God the same way they did; and he got his travel orders that way too. Each time he worshipped at the altars, God told him what to do, where to go next; and sometimes even shared some personal data along with His big plans for Abram's future.

Abram was doing pretty much what Adam did in the garden; meeting with God in the cool of the day; so to speak. Only Abram did it differently because he was a sinful being, whereas, in the beginning, Adam wasn't; so he didn't need an altar, at first.

†. Gen 12:9 . .Then Abram journeyed by stages toward the Negev.

"Negev" is from negeb (neh'-gheb) and means: to be parched; the south (from its drought); specifically, the Negev or southern district of Judah; occasionally Egypt (as south to Palestine). The Negev is generally considered as beginning south of Dhahiriya; which is right in between Hevron and Be'ér Sheva; and as stretching south in a series of rolling hills until the actual wilderness begins, a distance of perhaps 70 miles.

To the east, the Negev is bounded by the Dead Sea and the Arabah, and to the west the boundaries are generally Egypt and the Mediterranean Sea. It's a land of scanty springs and sparse rainfall. The character of its soil is a transition from the fertility of Canaan to the wilderness of the desert-- essentially a pastoral land, where grazing is plentiful in the early months and where camels and goats can survive, even through the long summer drought.

Today, as through most periods of history, the Negev is a land for the nomad rather than the settled inhabitant, although abundant ruins in many spots testify to better physical conditions at some periods. The east and west directions of the valleys, the general dryness, and the character of the inhabitants, have always made it a more or less isolated region without thoroughfare.

The great routes passed along the coast to the west or up the Arabah to the east. Against all who would lead an army up from the south, this southern frontier of Judah presented a tough obstacle in the old days. The Negev is slated for a make-over when the Jews return to their homeland.

"The desert and the parched land will be glad; the wilderness will rejoice and blossom. Like the crocus, it will burst into bloom; it will rejoice greatly and shout for joy. The glory of Lebanon will be given to it, the splendor of Carmel and Sharon; they will see the glory of The Lord, the excellency of our God." (Isa 35:1-2)

"Water will gush forth in the wilderness and streams in the desert. The burning sand will become a pool, the thirsty ground bubbling springs. In the haunts where jackals once lay, grass and reeds and papyrus will grow." (Isa 35:6-7)

Lebanon's glory of old was timber; especially cedars (1Kng 4:33). Sharon was known for its flowers (Song 2:1) and Carmel for its orchards (Isa 33:9). How God will get timber, flowers, and orchards to flourish in the Negev should be interesting.


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Gen 12:10-13

†. Gen 12:10 . .There was a famine in the land, and Abram went down to Egypt to sojourn there, for the famine was severe in the land.

Famines were usually the result of things like low humidity, lack of rain, and/or plagues of insects and plant diseases.

Abram fully intended to return to Canaan just as soon as the famine ended. The move to Egypt was a temporary expedient, rather than the result of irrational panic. Famine might seem to some as an excuse for Abram to return to Haran. But Abram wasn't retreating. His destiny did not lie in Haran. It lay in Palestine-- period! --no going back.

I've heard more than one commentator say that Abram was out of God's will when he left Canaan and moved to Egypt. It is really impossible to know that for sure. Compare Gen 46:2-4 where God instructed Jacob to migrate to Egypt during a severe famine.

So, I'm inclined to give Abram the benefit of the doubt. Back at Shechem, Abram began the practice of erecting altars and calling on grandpa Noah's god. Each time he moved, he built a new altar. And each time he did that, God gave him new travel orders. Since the text doesn't suggest otherwise; it should be okay to assume Abram went down to Egypt under the very same divine guidance as the other places he moved to.

†. Gen 12:11 . . As he was about to enter Egypt, he said to his wife Sarai: I know what a beautiful woman you are.

Abram was about nine years older than Sarai; so she was over 66 years-old when this event occurred because according to Gen 12:4, Abram was seventy-five when they left Haran. Sarai was amazing. Even at 66+ years she drew admiring glances.

Abram's acknowledgement of Sarai's beauty appears to have been somewhat out of the ordinary; but that's no surprise. After a number of years of marriage, it isn't uncommon for men to take their wives for granted; and to stop taking notice of them after a while.

†. Gen 12:12 . . If the Egyptians see you, and think "She is his wife" they will kill me and let you live.

Egypt had an active presence up in and around Canaan prior to Abram's day and perhaps the conduct of their frontier consulates was somewhat less than honorable at times. So of course the people of Canaan would quite naturally assume all Egyptians were pigs just like many people today assume that all Muslims are vicious because of the Muslim terrorists who flew airplanes into the World Trade Center.

†. Gen 12:13 . . I beseech you; say that you are my sister, that it may go well with me because of you, and that I may remain alive thanks to you.

Abram didn't have to entreat Sarai to go along with his scheme. According to Gen 18:12 and 1Pet 3:6, she regarded her husband's position above her own.

This scene is useful for exemplifying the gracious nature of this amazing man of God. Though he was a king in his own home, Abram wasn't a callous despot like Kim Jong Un and/or Robert Mugabe who care little for either the feelings or the welfare of their citizens.

Abram was shrewd. He was not only concerned about saving his skin, but also about taking advantage of his being Sarai's kin; and actually that part of it did work out pretty well. However, I would have to scold him on this point because his conduct reveals a lack of confidence in God's promises back in Gen 12:2-3 and Gen 12:7.

He has to be kept alive to engender heirs so God can make good on His promise to give them the land of Canaan. No one could kill Abram at this point; not even a Pharaoh, king of Egypt. Not even The Almighty God Himself could kill Abram at this point because it was too late for that.

God passed His word back at Shechem that he would make of Abram a great nation and He can't go back on it without seriously compromising His own integrity. Some people might be inclined to call that a character weakness; but to those of us relying upon God to honor His word, His integrity is the very basis of our confidence. God's promises-- especially His unconditional promises --are not only human-proof; but God-proof too.


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Gen 12:14-20

†. Gen 12:14 . .When Abram entered Egypt, the Egyptians saw how very beautiful the woman was.

When men talk about a woman's beauty, they're not talking about the sterling character of a woman like Ruth; no, they're talking about the woman's physical attributes. (cf. Gen 6:1-2)

How did the Egyptians see Sarai was a looker? Well, the dress code for women in her day was nothing like the totally unflattering burqas that Islam imposes upon women in the Mid East.

Depicted in a wall painting in the tomb of an Egyptian nobleman named Khnum-hotpe, at Beni-Hasen on the Nile river, dating from about 1900 BC, is a Semitic troupe passing customs to enter Egypt. The women are wearing form-fitting, highly colored, sleeveless wrap-around dresses whose hems stop at mid calf. Their décolletage swoops from the left shoulder to just under the opposite armpit, leaving that side's shoulder completely bare.

Their hair-- fastened by a thin white ribbon around the forehead and covered with neither a shawl, nor a scarf, nor a hijab --falls loosely over bosoms and shoulders, and there's stylish little curls just in front of the ears. Adorning their feet are dark brown, half-length boots. In attire like that, a woman filled out in all the right places would be very easy to notice.

†. Gen 12:15a . . Pharaoh's courtiers saw her and praised her to Pharaoh,

Webster's has a couple of definitions for "courtiers". They are people in attendance at a royal court; and they are also people who practice flattery. Apparently Pharaoh's toadies kept their eyes out for appealing women to add to their sovereign's harem; and thus gain for themselves his favor and approval.

Their sighting of Sarai wasn't just happenstance. Entry into Egypt in those days was tightly controlled and the only way in was past specified check points. At one time in Egypt's past, there existed a long chain of forts, watchtowers, and strong points designed to watch over immigration and possible invasions by the Sand People from the east. The "wall" stretched north and south across the desert approximately along the same path as today's Suez Canal. Each check point was manned by armed soldiers accompanied by officials of the Egyptian government; sort of like the customs agents and border patrols of the modern world today.

†. Gen 12:15b . . and the woman was taken into Pharaoh's palace.

Not good. A woman in the harems of that day would never have a home of her own nor freedom to travel. Never would she be allowed to pursue romance nor to associate with her friends and relatives ever again.

†. Gen 12:16 . . And because of her, it went well with Abram; he acquired sheep, oxen, jack donkeys, male and female slaves, jenny donkeys, and camels.

Life is much better when you're connected. Because of Sarai, Abram was a bit of a celebrity and thus treated very well.

So Abram is getting rich. After all, his sister is in the White House. You think anyone is going to cheat him or make him pay full price for goods and services? No way. If anything, people were more than willing to give him lots of expensive gifts and deep discounts, hoping to remain in Pharaoh's good graces by doing so.

But what's going on in Pharaoh's boudoir at night? There is just no way Abram could block that out of his mind. If only he had believed God's promise, Sarai's honor wouldn't be in such immediate danger of compromise. Abram could have swaggered into Egypt totally fearless of Pharaoh and his country; and kept his wife within her own camp, safe and snug among her own people.

†. Gen 12:17 . . But the Lord afflicted Pharaoh and his household with mighty plagues on account of Sarai, the wife of Abram.

I, for one, don't blame Pharaoh for any of that. It was totally Abram's fault. Pharaoh and his courtiers were duped into thinking Sarai was available. How could they have known she was spoken for?

Our hero didn't tell the Egyptians about his adventures with The Lord. All he could think about was how to survive and stay alive. ¡Error! If he had instead been a faithful witness for God, rather than looking out for his own skin, I think things would have gone much better for Abram and Sarai down there in Egypt.

But now they will be forcibly deported; in shame and disgrace. So, instead of being a positive influence for their god, they became a very bad one. God's people are supposed to believe in their god, and reflect that confidence to others; and at the very least they ought to be honest. And God's people should never be reluctant to tell others about their religion even if those others appear to be pagan heathens.

†. Gen 12:18-20 . . Pharaoh sent for Abram and said: What is this you have done to me! Why did you not tell me that she was your wife? Why did you say "She is my sister" so that I took her as my wife? Now, here is your wife; take her and begone! And Pharaoh put men in charge of him, and they sent him off with his wife and all that he possessed.

One can scarcely blame Mr. Pharaoh for blowing his top. Nobody likes to be duped, especially monarchs.

Just exactly how Pharaoh found out that Sarai was Abram's wife is not said. Probably the very same way King Abimelech discovered the truth about her in a later incident. Here's how that will go when we get there later on. (Gen 20:1-7)

From a totally humanistic point of view, it would appear that God is terribly unfair. I mean, after all, Pharaoh and Abimelech couldn't possibly have known that Sarai was married, especially when both she and her husband were telling people otherwise. But these incidents are valuable to reveal that sin is just a wee bit more complicated than Man's inadequate little sense of right and wrong is able to fully comprehend.

Well anyway; as the texts says: Abram acquired female slaves during this brief stopover in Egypt; and quite possibly one of their names was-- you guessed it --Ms. Hagar: the mother of Ishmael, the father of the Arab world; from whence ultimately came Muhammad and the religion of Islam. Just goes to show that chaos theory may not be 100% right, but it isn't 100% wrong either.


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Gen 13:1-9

†. Gen 13:1-2 . . From Egypt, Abram went up into the Negeb, with his wife and all that he possessed, together with Lot. Now Abram was very rich in cattle, silver, and gold.

The word for "rich" is from kabad (kaw-bad') which means: to be heavy, i.e. in either a bad sense (burdensome, severe, dull) or in a good sense (numerous, rich, honorable); causatively, to make weighty (in the same two senses); viz: which is why, I guess, we call the rich "loaded"

So the rich are not only wealthy, but weighted down too. It was a piece of cake for Abram to pull up stakes and move around wherever God wanted before he got so wealthy. Now it will be an undertaking especially without power tools and mechanized conveyances.

NOTE: Though it's not stated, I think it's probably pretty safe to assume that Lot enjoyed the very same privileged status in Egypt that his uncle Abram did due to their mutual relationship to Sarai; so that Lot came up out of Egypt a very prosperous cattle baron.

†. Gen 13:3-7a . . And he proceeded by stages from the Negeb as far as Bethel, to the place where his tent had been formerly, between Bethel and Ai, the site of the altar that he had built there at first; and there Abram invoked the Lord by name.

. . . Lot, who went with Abram, also had flocks and herds and tents, so that the land could not support them staying together; for their possessions were so great that they could not remain together. And there was quarreling between the herdsmen of Abram's cattle and those of Lot's cattle.

Grazing land can support only so many head of cattle per acre, and the land was just recently recovering from a famine. Lot's drovers were squabbling with Abram's over available grass; and probably the available water too. If those men had barbed wire in that day, I'm sure they would have strung it. Then the shootin' would have really started up!

†. Gen 13:7b . .The Canaanites and Perizzites were then dwelling in the land.

How do you suppose Abram's and Lot's squabbling looked to the pagans? When God's people can't get along, outsiders become disgusted with them and they sure won't be influenced for God in a good way when Yhvh's people are fighting amongst themselves like that.

Years ago, when I was a young welder just starting out on my own, I rented a small room in a daylight basement from a man who was the senior pastor of a medium-sized Seventh Day Adventist church in the Portland Oregon area. He and his wife radiated the luster of polished spirituality whenever I spoke with them out in the yard, but in my location under the floor of the house, I could overhear their bitter quarrels upstairs behind closed doors. Was I favorably inclined to attend his church? No.

†. Gen 13:8-9a . . Abram said to Lot: Let there be no strife between you and me, between my herdsmen and yours, for we are kinsmen. Is not the whole land before you?

Palestine was still pretty much a wild frontier in the 20th century BC. Actually very little of it was private property. And what with no Bureau of Land Management, the land out west from Ur was pretty much up for grabs to anyone who had the moxie to take it. Abram and Lot remind me very much of early day American pioneers and cattle barons.

†. Gen 13:9b . . Let us separate.

It wasn't an easy thing for Abram to be firm with his kin, and it was a weakness in his spiritual life from day-one. He and Sarai were supposed to leave their kin and come to Canaan alone. He wasn't supposed to take along a nephew. But Abram just couldn't leave Lot behind. So now he and Lot are separating with bad blood between them. And Lot's future is very uncertain down in that God-less country away from his uncle Abram's patronage.

†. Gen 13:9c . . if you go north, I will go south; and if you go south, I will go north.

Even though there was some bad blood now between Abram and Lot, the old boy remained a gracious man. Being the senior of the two, Abram could have claimed first dibs on the land. But he waived the privileges of rank, and gave his nephew the choice. But, in point of fact, Abram made Lot a promise that he could in no way guarantee to honor; because it was God who ultimately dictated where Abram was to dwell in the land.


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Gen 13:10-11

†. Gen 13:10 . . Lot looked about him and saw how well watered was the whole plain of the Jordan, all of it-- this was before the Lord had destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah --all the way to Zoar, like the garden of the Lord, like the land of Egypt.

The Jordan Valley slopes southward like a ramp from an altitude of roughly 685 feet below sea level at the Sea of Galilee to an elevation of 1,384 feet below sea level at the Dead Sea. Water was Lot's primary concern and there was plenty of it down there in that valley 4,000 years ago. Along with overflow from the Sea of Galilee, was an abundance of wadis and streams draining into the Jordan Valley from the highlands.

In its heyday, the Jordan poured about 1.3 billion cubic feet of water per year into the Dead Sea. Today-- due to dams, diversions, and pumping --only about 2 or 3 percent of those ancient billions reach the sea. In the last century alone, the Sea's level declined 80 feet in just the sixty years between 1939 and 1999.

In Abram's day, the Jordan Valley in the region between the Dead Sea and the Sea of Galilee was well watered, fertile, and very appealing to a cattle baron like Lot. It had some pretty good jungles too: home to lots of fierce lions at one time.

NOTE: The Israel of today is just a dried up husk of its former environmental glory. For example: Israel's lions, now extinct, once inhabited forests (Jer 5:6) mountain caves (Nahum 2:12) and the Jordan Valley (Jer 49:19). Israel's bears (2Kgs 2:24) were eradicated in the early 20th century. The closest kin to the bears that once roamed wild there are the Syrian brown bears kept in the Biblical Zoo in Jerusalem.

What the world sees today in Palestine little resembles the land of milk and honey into which Joshua brought Yhvh's people some 3,500 years ago; and there's their own breaches of the covenant to thank for it.

"Even all nations shall say: Wherefore hath the Lord done thus unto this land? what meaneth the heat of this great anger?

. . .Then men shall say: Because they have forsaken the covenant of the Lord God of their fathers, which He made with them when He brought them forth out of the land of Egypt: for they went and served other gods, and worshipped them, gods whom they knew not, and whom He had not given unto them: and the anger of the Lord was kindled against this land, to bring upon it all the curses that are written in this book" (Deut 29:24-27)

A menu of the curses is on public display at Lev 26:3-38, Deut 27:15-26, and Deut 28:1-69.

†. Gen 13:11a . . So Lot chose for himself the whole plain of the Jordan, and Lot journeyed eastward.

Today a descent down to Jericho from Bethel (modern Beitin) would be close to a 4,000 foot drop in elevation. Whooee! That'll sure make your ears pop!

†. Gen 13:11b . .Thus they parted from each other;

To me, it would have made better horse sense in a foreign land to consolidate their holdings-- sort of an Abraham & Lot Inc. --instead of maintaining two separate independent enterprises. But I guess Lot had ambitions and wanted to be his own man.

Either Lot had more mettle than uncle Abram; or was just downright reckless because he had the moxie to go off on his own into a totally strange region with absolutely no assurance that God would travel with him.

Explorers like Columbus, Cortez, Balboa, and Magellan have that kind of nerve: they're strong and confident. But I don't think Abram ever was like that. I seriously doubt he would have left Haran at all had not God called him to it. I believe it was only the assurance of divine patronage that gave Abram the courage to travel far from home in that day.


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Gen 13:12-13

†. Gen 13:12a . . Abram remained in the land of Canaan, while Lot settled in the cities of the Plain,

Cities in that day didn't in any way resemble the huge sprawling metropolises of the present. We would no doubt regard them as little more than fortified hamlets. Some of the cities of the plain were Sodom, Admah, Zeboiim, Gomorrah, and Bela; which is Zoar. Jericho was in existence then too and no doubt a major population center in that region.

†. Gen 13:12b . . pitching his tents near Sodom.

Logistically that was a pretty sensible arrangement. By living amongst those cities, Lot had a ready market for his livestock; and a source of goods and services he could use out on the ranch. There was something special about Sodom that magnetized him though because he eventually moved his family into town.

I think Mrs. Lot may have had a little something to do with that. Not too many women enjoy rough-country living out in the middle of nowhere. Most prefer being near the conveniences of neighbors, shopping, and services.

†. Gen 13:13 . . Now the inhabitants of Sodom were very wicked sinners against the Lord.

The precise location of ancient Sodom is uncertain. Some feel it was sited at the south end of the Dead Sea; but it's difficult to know for sure. According to Gen 14:1-3, the communities of Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, Zeboiim, and Zoar were situated in an area of the Jordan Valley the Bible labels "the vale of Siddim; which is the salt sea". Meaning of course that it was the salt sea when somebody wrote that section but wasn't always inundated in the ancient past.

The Hebrew word for Siddim means flats; viz: a flood plain; for example river valleys; which are of course subject to seasonal flooding. Personally, if it were me; I would have emplaced my community at the north end of the vale rather than south since the north end was the better location for a ready supply of fresh water from the Jordan River for homes and farming.

The author's choice of words is curious. The flatlanders weren't just sinners; they were "very wicked" sinners; and not just very wicked sinners, but very wicked sinners "against" the Lord; which suggests outright insolence, impudence, and defiance; viz: standing up to God and asserting one's independence.

NOTE: Everything in Genesis occurred quite a few years prior to the institution of the Ten Commandments so God couldn't prosecute the vale's people for breaking any one specific law as per the covenant that Yhvh' people agreed upon with God in Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. He actually came down on them for pretty much the same reason He came down on the antediluvians: for ignoring Him.

"And Yhvh said: My Spirit shall not strive with man forever (Gen 6:3a)

"And this is the condemnation: light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil." (John 3:19)

John 3:19 is pretty much a blanket indictment that God can use any time He wishes to justify coming down on people.

How could the people of the vale be adjudged defiant if they had no clue God disapproved their lifestyle? Well; it's interesting that we today tend to count only published men like Isaiah and Jeremiah as prophets. But God has had numbers of prophets out and about in the ancient world whose names we've never heard of.

For example: at 1Kgs 19:14, Elijah complained that he was one man alone standing for God in Israel; but unknown to him, Obadiah had hidden a hundred prophets in a cave. (1Kgs 18:4 and 18:13)

Abram is listed as a prophet (Gen 20:7). And in point to fact, God has had prophets out and about ever since Abel (Luke 11:50-51). But the most notable prophet in the days of Sodom and Gomorrah was a priest named Melchizedek. (Gen 14:18-20. According to Mal 2:7, priests aren't just for rituals; but also for teaching.

Malachi labels priests Yhvh's "messengers" which is from the very same Hebrew word for angels; which tells me we should never assume that the word "angel" eo ipso indicates a celestial emissary. It could just as easily be a human agent on a divine mission.


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Gen 13:14-17

†. Gen 13:14-15 . . And the Lord said to Abram, after Lot had parted from him: Raise your eyes and look out from where you are, to the north and south, to the east and west, for I give all the land that you see to you and your offspring forever.

Oh the irony of it! If Lot went off only to the Jordan Valley to stake a claim for his own progeny, then he didn't go far enough away because from Abram's vantage he could see eastward clear across the Jordan valley and over into Moab (the Hashemite kingdom of Jordan) and far past the five cities of the Plain. So Abram, and his progeny, were promised eternal ownership of not only the highlands of Canaan, but in addition, also the whole Jordan Valley where Lot moved-- and beyond.

†. Gen 13:16 . . I will make your offspring as the dust of the earth, so that if one can count the dust of the earth, then your offspring too can be counted.

I just hope Abram remembers what God said the next time he feels inclined to fib in order to save his skin. Will he never catch on that he cannot die until God makes good on the promises regarding his progeny?

Abram's biological progeny descend not only from Isaac, but also from Ishmael and the other boys too. But his progeny shouldn't be construed to be exactly equal to the number of bits of dust that make up the earth's soil. The expression is a common Old Testament colloquialism for very large quantities (e.g. Gen 41:49, Josh 11:4, Judg 7:12, 1Sam 13:5, 2Sam 17:11, 1Kgs 4:29, Job 29:18, Ps 78:27; et al).

The meaning is that they would simply become too numerous to count. Later God will liken the number of Abram's offspring to the sand at the beach. Same thing there too-- not the precise number of grains, but a number so great that any attempt to count them would be futile; and the stars too.

Abram lived somewhere in the neighborhood of the 20th century BC; roughly five hundred years after completion of the Pyramid of Khafre at Giza. So Abram lived about 4,000 years ago. Millions and millions of Abram's kin have lived and died since then. And it's not over yet, not by a long sea mile.

NOTE: Not only were civilizations in Egypt great at this time, but elsewhere too; for example the ancient city of Harappa that was once located in the Indus River Valley of northwest India: a site now located in Pakistan. Harappa was a fairly large city of something like 23,500 people; and still in its heyday during the time of Abram. And the Maya, famous for their apocalyptic calendar; were blooming in and around what is now the Yucatán Peninsula. By the time of Abram, people had really spread out from the tower of Babel; and world development was happening by leaps and bounds.

In Messiah's future millennial kingdom, Abram's people will multiply exceedingly because they will all enjoy very long life spans and engender large families. The Bible says that a man of 100 years age in Israel will be regarded as a mere child in that era. (Isa 65:20)

Abram's offspring truly cannot be tallied; not now or ever. Only The Almighty could ever get the number right because all the souls belonging to Abram, among both the dead and the living, have become so numerous.

†. Gen 13:17 . . Up, walk about the land, through its length and its breadth, for I give it to you.

It's notable that God said: I give it to you. The land was Abram's possession right then and there and no one can ever take it away from him. Not even Almighty God can take it away from Abram now because once The Lord gives His word, He is bound to it like a ball and chain (Rom 11:28-29). That should be a comfort to Yhvh's people, throughout all the ages, that once God gives His word on something, He has to make good on it.

"May your steadfast love reach me, O Lord, your deliverance, as you have promised. I shall have an answer for those who taunt me, for I have put my trust in your word." (Ps 119:41-42)

Although Abram lacked sovereign control over his real estate at the time, it was his possession nevertheless.


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Gen 13:18

†. Gen 13:18a . . And Abram moved his tent, and came to dwell at the terebinths of Mamre, which are in Hebron;

Hebron (Hevron) itself is today a city of over 70,000 people located about 20 miles south of Jerusalem at an elevation of 3,050 feet above sea level. Hebron is sacred in Jewish history; but a very dangerous place to live today what with all the Palestinian troubles going on in Israel.

The word for "terebinths" is 'elown (ay-lone') which means: an oak, or other strong tree. Oaks, especially the very old large ones, were important meeting places. Near where I live in Oregon, there's a site called Five Oaks, named after the five oak trees that once thrived there. In pre white man days, local native Americans met at those trees for pow-wows.

Mamre, an Amorite named up ahead in Gen 14:24, was one of Abram's allies. The oaks of Mamre were apparently named after him; who some believe was a local sheik or a chieftain.

In Abram's day; Canaan was thinly populated. It was in fact a land of no law and no order. The inhabitants lived in a state of constant readiness. The widely scattered townships were veritable islands in the middle of nowhere; and vulnerable to daring attacks by the desert nomads. Suddenly, and when least expected, those predatory nomads sprang upon unwary people with indiscriminate butchery, carrying off cattle and crops. It was probably for that very reason that Abram was allied with Mamre.

†. Gen 13:18b . . and he built an altar there to the Lord.

Abram's altars testify to the fact that his worship wasn't restricted to a special location. Later; Israel's covenanted law would do that very thing; but Abram wasn't under its jurisdiction so he was at liberty to sacrifice wherever it pleased him. This is an important Bible axiom; viz: law cannot be broken where it doesn't exist. (Rom 4:15, Rom 5:13, Gal 3:17)

NOTE: It was in the interests of trade that Egypt, in 3000 BC, was the first great power to stretch out its tentacles towards Canaan. A hard diorite tablet, listing the details of a ship's cargo of timber for Pharaoh Snefru, is stored in the museum at Palermo. Its date is 2700 BC. Dense woods covered the slopes of Lebanon then. The excellent wood from its cedars and meru (a kind of conifer) were just what the Pharaohs needed for their elaborate building schemes.

Five hundred years prior to Abram's day, there was already a flourishing import and export trade on the Canaanite coast. Egypt exchanged gold and spices from Nubia, copper and turquoise from the mines at Sinai, and linen and ivory for silver from Taurus, leather goods from Byblos, and painted vases from Crete. In the great Phoenician dye works, well to do Egyptians had their robes dyed purple. For their society women, they bought lapis-lazuli blue-- eyelids dyed blue were all the rage --and stibium, a cosmetic which was highly prized by the ladies for touching up their eyelashes.

The coastal communities of Canaan presented a picture of cosmopolitan life which was busy, prosperous, and even luxurious; but just a few miles inland lay a world of glaring contrast. Bedouin attacks, insurrections, and feuds between towns were common.

A much more profitable enterprise than pillaging villages in malicious and barbaric fashion, was to hold them hostage; kind of like the plight of the villagers in the movie: The Magnificent Seven. To avoid being murdered and ravaged, the villagers gave the lion's share of their Gross National Product to the bullies. It was just that sort of scenario that resulted in the capture of the cities of the Plain while Lot was living down there among them.

Aside: though I would not care to live in Abram's day; I can't help but envy some of his advantages. There was no light pollution, no air pollution, no water pollution, no soil pollution, and no aquifer pollution. All his fruits and vegetables, all of them, were 100% organic.

Nobody fattened pigs, sheep, fowl, and cows with genetically modified grains-- overcrowded and standing ankle deep in their own droppings --in an intrinsically unsanitary concentrated animal feeding operation; so there was no E.coli 0157:H7 to fear. All livestock was grass-fed outdoors on open pasture lands, which produces a medically, and nutritionally, superior grade of meat compared to grain. The cattle themselves were healthier too and had no need of antibiotics to keep them from getting sick in nasty, dirty feed lots.

NOTE: Most kinds of cattle are herbivores, i.e. they are not designed to subsist on grain. If they are fed too much grain for too long a time, cattle develop digestive and intestinal problems; possibly even death. However, seeing as how grain fattens cattle faster than roughage, grain is the preferred fodder in feed lots where cows are on their final steps to the slaughter.


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Gen 14:1-3

†. Gen 14:1 . . Now, when King Amraphel of Shinar, King Arioch of Ellasar, King Chedorlaomer of Elam, and King Tidal of nations.

Shinar was the whole of Babylonia; Ellasar was the leading tribe in its southern part; and Elam was the original kingdom of Persia.

The Hebrew word for "nations" is gowy (go'-ee) a word wielded by some Jews as a racial epithet to indicate non-Jewish peoples. But gowy isn't really all that specific. The people of Israel are called gowy at Gen 18:18, and Jacob, the father of the twelve tribes, is called a gowy at Gen 25:23. Gowy really just simply indicates a massing; e.g. a herd of animals and/or a horde of locusts; which when extended, indicates a particular people; e.g. Iroquois, Maya, Inuit, Chinese, Pacific Islanders, Japanese, and/or Arabs, et al.

Mr. Tidal was probably the chief of a large confederacy consisting of mongrel, multi racial people; possibly a tribal area in northeastern Babylonia. America is a perfect example of Tidal's confederacy because it's a melting pot of assimilation, intermarriage, and diverse races, cultures, languages, and nationalities. The only true Americans in America are its indigenous peoples. Everybody else is either an immigrant or the posterity of an immigrant.

At one time, Amraphel was thought to be Hammurabi; the great king of Babylon. But it's now widely agreed that Hammurabi didn't arrive on the scene until many years later. The other kings remain a mystery too, having not yet been archaeologically identified.

†. Gen 14:2 . . made war on King Bera of Sodom, King Birsha of Gomorrah, King Shinab of Admah, King Shemeber of Zeboiim, and the king of Bela, which is Zoar,

None of these men were "kings" in the fashion that we today think of royalty. They were more like mayors, sheiks, or chieftains. And they didn't actually have extensive realms; nor very much jurisdiction beyond the very community each one dominated.

Canaanite cities weren't really serious municipalities; but rather more like fortified hamlets-- much like the strategic villages in Viet Nam; except that just about all Canaanite towns were enclosed within stone walls made of rough boulders about six feet in diameter. Archaeologists call this type of wall a Cyclops wall. The boulder walls were usually combined with an escarpment and reinforced with earthen revetments.

Canaanite towns doubled as forts; places of refuge in time of danger, whether from sudden attack by nomadic bands or from civil wars among the Canaanites themselves. Towering perimeter walls invariably enclosed small areas, not much bigger than Ste. Peter's Square in Rome. Each of these town-forts had a water supply, but weren't really suitable for housing large populations in permanent homes.

Inside the walls lived only the chieftain, the aristocracy, wealthy merchants, and even sometimes Egyptian representatives. The rest of the inhabitants of the township-- the ranchers and farmers, the vassals and the servants and the serfs-- lived outside the walls; often in tents or simple mud hogans or wattle huts. Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob all lived in tents; viz: pavilions.

In Tell el-Hesi, probably Eglon, the town proper was just over an acre. In Tell es-Safi, formerly Gath, it was twelve acres. In Tell el-Zakariyah, formerly Megiddo, the same amount. Gezer, on the road from Jerusalem to Jaffa, occupied just over twenty acres. Even in the more built up area of Jericho, the inner fortified wall, the Acropolis proper, enclosed a space of little more than five acres; yet Jericho was an important city and one of the strongest fortresses in the country.

So the five cities of the Plain were nothing to brag about-- well, maybe in their day they might have been notable enough amongst their contemporaries.

†. Gen 14:3 . . all the latter joined forces at the Valley of Siddim, now the Salt Sea.

In its early history; the valley was home to the Sedom Lagoon. In those days, water from the Red Sea was able to ebb in and out of the lagoon because the region hasn't always been land-locked like it is today. At one time the earth's crust south of the valley was lower; allowing the Jordan River an outlet; but over time, tectonic forces altered the region resulting in the river, and the lagoon, losing access to the waters of the Mediterranean.


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Gen 14:4a

†. Gen 14:4a . .Twelve years they served Chedorlaomer,

Apparently El Ched was the instigator behind the extortion scheme holding Sodom and its neighbors economically hostage. The other kings who came along with him to Canaan were just reinforcements to back his play. You have to wonder how The Ched ever found the Valley of Siddim in the first place and what in the world motivated him to travel so far from home.

Ched's home turf, Elam, is a well-known tract, partly mountainous, whose western boundary, starting on the northeast side of the Persian Gulf, practically followed the course of the lower Tigris. It was bounded on the north by Media, on the east by Persia and on the west by Babylonia. The Assyro-Babylonians called the tract Elamtu, expressed ideographically by the Sumerian characters for Nimma or Numma, which seems to have been its name in that language. As Numma, or Elam, apparently mean height, or the like, these names were probably applied to it on account of its mountainous nature.

Another name by which it was known in early times was Ashshan-- or Anshan --or Anzan, (Anzhan) --one of its ancient cities. The great capital of the tract, however, was Susa (Shushan), whence its Greek name of Susiana, interchanging with Elymais, from the semitic Elam. Shushan is famous for its stories of Esther and Nehemiah.

The modern-day city of Ahvaz Iran is a pretty good locator for the region of Elam. If you have a map handy you can readily see just how far The Ched traveled to reach the Jordan Valley. Even if he came straight over by helicopter, it's at least 780 miles.

It's amazing the distances that conquerors traveled on foot and the backs of animals in ancient times. Hannibal crossed the Pyrenees and the Alps, with elephants no less, to attack northern Italy. But even just getting to the far sides of those mountain ranges from Carthage was itself an arduous journey sans mechanical conveyances It's no surprise then that the Second Punic War lasted nigh unto seventeen years.

In the past; it took armies a long time just to get to the battlefields before they even did any fighting. Invaders from China thought nothing of skirting the Himalayas and entering India via the Khyber Pass in order to conduct campaigns in the Ganges River Valley. I really have to wonder sometimes how commanders kept their armies from becoming discouraged by all that travel and by all that time away from home.

That situation actually befell Alexander the Great. After eight years and 17,000 miles, his weary army refused to campaign anymore in India and mutinied at the Hyphasis River (today's Beas). Abandoning his ambition to conquer lands and peoples more distant to the east of Greece than any man before him, including his father Philip, the young commander had no choice but to turn back.


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Gen 14:4b-12

†. Gen 14:4b . . and in the thirteenth year they rebelled.

El Ched wouldn't get wind of that right away of course. There was no email, no radio, no sat-com, no land line, no snail mail, no cells, nor television, nor telegraph, nor aircraft, nor motorized conveyances in that day so it would take some time for an overland caravan to return and tell him how the federation of five towns in the Valley refused to cough up their payments.

Meanwhile the local sheiks had some time to prepare themselves for attack while The Ched organized an expeditionary force.

†. Gen 14:5-7 . . In the fourteenth year Chedorlaomer and the kings who were with him came and defeated the Rephaim at Ashteroth-karnaim, the Zuzim at Ham, the Emim at Shaveh-kiriathaim, and the Horites in their hill country of Seir as far as El-paran, which is by the wilderness.

. . . On their way back they came to En-mishpat, which is Kadesh, and subdued all the territory of the Amalekites, and also the Amorites who dwelt in Hazazon-tamar.

Ched took no chances that any nearby clans would come to the aid of the Valley people. So before launching his attack against the Federation, he first subdued everyone in the region roundabout who might be sympathetic to their cause. The Ched was a very shrewd commander.

Dr.Nelson Glueck, a leading Palestine archaeologist, has this to say about El Ched's conquest:

"A punitive expedition developed into an orgy of annihilation. I found that every village in their path had been plundered and left in ruins, and the countryside laid waste. The population had been wiped out or led away into captivity. For hundreds of years thereafter, the entire area was like an abandoned cemetery, hideously unkempt, with all its monuments shattered and strewn in pieces on the ground."

The invasion first crushed all the sheiks north, east, and then west of the Dead Sea before it reached the communities of Siddim, against whom the invasion had been mounted in the first place. The purpose was no doubt to eliminate the possibility of an attack from the rear while Ched was occupied fighting the Federation.

Dr.Glueck identifies Ashtaroth Karnaim, where The Ched encountered the Rephaim, as two adjacent cities in southern Syria, Tell Ashtarah and Sheikh Sa'ad, which was called Carnaim in New Testament times. The name Ashtarah comes from the name of the Greek moon goddess Astarte , equivalent to the Babylonian god Ishtar and the Canaanite goddess of sensual love Ashtaroth, whose worship was one of the sources of gross immorality among the Canaanites.

After defeating the Rephaim, Ched smashed the Horites in Mount Seir-- a mountainous region somewhat to the southeast of the Dead Sea --Esau's future turf. Then he went to El-Paran, in the southern wilderness, and then returned to Kadesh, on the western side of the Dead Sea where he crushed the people in a region that would later belong to the Amelekites. He also defeated a contingent of the Amorites, who were very probably the dominant tribe in Canaan at that time.

Some identify Hazazon-tamar as En-Gedi. If this identification is correct, then Hazazon may be Wady Husasah, northwest of 'Ain Jidy.

Another suggestion, which certainly seems very likely true, is that Hazazon-tamar is the Thamara of Eusebius, Onomasticon (85:3; 210:86), the Thamaro, of Ptol. xvi. 3. The ruin Kurnub, 20 miles west-southwest of the south end of the Dead Sea-- on the road from Hebron to Elath-- is supposed to mark this site. My maps aren't too detailed in that area but Karnub seems to be in a region triangulated by Dimona, Arad, and Be'er Sheva.

Anyway, after thus neutralizing all who might stand in his way, Ched's confederated army then turned its full attention to the five communities in the Plain. And woe and behold, Abram's nephew Lot was right smack in the middle of it all.

†. Gen 14:8-9 . .Then the king of Sodom, the king of Gomorrah, the king of Admah, the king of Zeboiim, and the king of Bela, which is Zoar, went forth and engaged them in battle in the Valley of Siddim: King Chedorlaomer of Elam, King Tidal of Goiim, King Amraphel of Shinar, and King Arioch of Ellasar-- four kings against those five.

That was probably a wise move. If each town had remained behind its own walls, defending against El Ched individually on its own, he could have conquered them very easily one at a time. By combining their forces, and meeting him in the open, they stood a much better chance. But valley dwellers were no match for a seasoned expeditionary force. The men from Babylonia were battle-honed veterans.

†. Gen 14:10 . .The Valley of Siddim was full of slime pits. The kings of Sodom and Gomorrah fled and fell into them while the rest fled to a mountain.

The Hebrew word translated "slime pits" is be'er (be-ayr') which is everywhere but maybe three places translated "well" as in water wells and/or cisterns. Some Bibles translate it "bitumen pit" but bitumen and slime are interpretations rather than translations. The pits apparently were natural features in the valley; viz: random sink holes.

NOTE: The level of the Dead Sea dropped a record five feet in 2012; and in the years between 1939 and 1999 it dropped eighty feet. The Sea's shrinkage has been a major problem for decades, with it's shoreline retreating as much as a mile in some spots. The process destabilizes the ground surrounding it, causing massive sink holes that have actually devoured whole villages.

The Hebrew word for "fell" is very ambiguous and could just as easily be translated "got down". Compare Gen 17:3 where Abraham fell on his face. In other words: the chieftains of Sodom and Gomorrah jumped down into some of those naturally-occurring pits like Army fox holes for cover and concealment.

†. Gen 14:11-12 . . The invaders seized all the wealth of Sodom and Gomorrah and all their provisions, and went their way. They also took Lot, the son of Abram's brother, and his possessions, and departed; for he had settled in Sodom.

Talk about riches to rags! Lot went from a prosperous cattle baron to a slave in sixty minutes (so to speak).

The word for "provisions" is 'okel (o'-kel) which means: food. Victuals were an important spoil of war in those days when supply lines were totally nonexistent. There were no heavy-drops from cargo planes, nor helicopters to ferry in MRE's, medicine, FNG's, ammo, potable water, and things of that nature. When El Ched's army needed re-supply, they had to take it from their vanquished-- ergo: they were highly motivated; because if they wanted to eat, then they had to fight; and they had to win.


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Gen 14:13-15a

†. Gen 14:13a . . A refugee brought the news to Abram

It was a trek from Sodom to Abram's camp. He was way up in Mamre; and a goodly portion of it uphill-- very uphill. At any rate, news of Sodom's overthrow meant that Lot was captured; or maybe even dead. One way or the other, Abram had to find out if his nephew was still alive-- kind of like John Wayne looking for his two nieces in The Searchers.

†. Gen 14:13b . . the Hebrew,

This is very first appearance of the word "Hebrew", which is 'Ibriy (ib-ree') and means: an Eberite; viz: a descendant of Eber. It can also mean "the other side" which implies that Abram may have been known as one who came from the other side of the Euphrates river-- sort of like Mexican, Central, and South American immigrants who cross the Rio Grande from Mexico into Texas. But more likely he was called Eberite because of his family's lineage. Eber was first mentioned back in Gen 10:21.

NOTE: Hebrews weren't Jews in Abram's day; no they were Gentiles. It was Abram's eventual progeny who became Jews-- specifically people genetically and/or religiously associated with Judah: Jacob's fourth son: patriarch of the Messianic tribe (Gen 49:8-12, Heb 7:14).

The word for "Jew" is Yehuwdiy (yeh-hoo-dee') which means Judah-ite; and doesn't appear in the Bible until 2Kgs 16:6; many, many years after the Exodus.

†. Gen 14:13c . . who was dwelling at the terebinths of Mamre the Amorite, kinsman of Eshkol and Aner, these being Abram's allies.

Abram had become a shrewd sheik. The best way to survive on the frontier is to team up-- especially with someone that all the others know and fear. That way most everyone will leave you alone because they don't want to deal with your friends. The terebinths (oaks) belonged to Mamre, a well known Amorite in that region. His kin, Eshkol and Aner, were Abram's friends too.

That tactic pays off in many of America's penal systems too. First thing a new inmate has to do is join a gang or otherwise he'll be prey for all of them.

†. Gen 14:14a . .When Abram heard that his kinsman had been taken captive, he mustered his retainers, born into his household, numbering three hundred and eighteen,

The word for "retainers" is chaniyk (kaw-neek') which means: initiated; i.e. practiced. This is the one and only place in the entire Old Testament where chaniyk is located so it's difficult to know precisely what Genesis means by it; but seeing as how the retainers' origin is mentioned, chaniyk probably refers to their unusual degree of loyalty (cf. John 10:30). In other words: it's my guess those men comprised Abram's personal body guards; viz: his retinue-- a sort of ancient Secret Service.

Abram was their sheik by birth, rather than by conscription. So these particular men weren't mercenaries; but rather more like his very own sons. They were men of deep gratitude for their master's providence; and every one of them, to a man, were more than willing to die for him.

Though Abram was by nature a man of peace, he was prepared to fight in the event it became necessary. In the wild untamed land of Palestine 4,000+ years ago, men without mettle didn't survive very long. And even today, it's still true that a strong man armed, keeps his goods. (cf. Luke 11:21)

They numbered 318. If we assume that each one was married, then the number of persons doubles to 736. If each man had at least one child, then the number triples to 954. A plausible scenario is that Sheik Abram's camp was a community of at least 1,000 people-- a fair sized town. When this man broke camp, it was a serious caravan.

†. Gen 14:14b . . and went in pursuit as far as Dan.

At this early date, there was neither a region, nor a town, in Canaan colonized and named after Jacob's son Dan. There wasn't even one in Moses' day. It wasn't until Joshua 19:40-48 that Dan's tribe received their portion of Canaan. So Dan's name could very well be a later editorial insertion.

It's unthinkable that Abram would leave his camp and his wife, and all the women and children unprotected while he and his warriors traveled miles from home. So it's reasonable to expect that some of his Amorite allies remained behind to reinforce Abram's camp while he was out of town.

†. Gen 14:15a . . At night, he and his servants deployed against them and defeated them;

Not too shabby for a former city slicker. Abram, no doubt coached by Mamre, employed excellent Bedouin guerrilla tactics against a well-armed, seasoned foe of superior numbers. After his scouts located The Ched's caravan, Abram dogged him, waiting for an opportunity to attack in circumstances to his advantage. When the time came, he did it under cover of darkness, rather than in daylight; and came at them from more than one direction, which would help to create confusion, chaos, and panic amidst Ched's army.

El Ched's men were probably laid back, stuffed full of stolen food and sleepy with booze; and proud of themselves for their victories; totally unsuspecting anyone remaining in Canaan would have the moxie to take them on. Having no flares, nor Claymores, nor barbed wire, mines, nor flashlights, night vision capability, nor motion detectors, or early warning systems of any kind; Ched's forces were easily surprised and routed.


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Gen 15b-17

†. Gen 14:15b . . and he pursued them as far as Hobah,

Unfortunately this is the only place in the entire Old Testament where Hobah is mentioned; and archaeologists have had no luck so far in discovering its exact location.

†. Gen 14:15c . .which is north of Damascus.

Many, many years later, in 1918, the Hejaz Arab Army led by T.E Laurence (Laurence of Arabia) would fight the Turks in this very region and drive them out of Damascus.

Ol' Abram sure didn't want those guys to forget Canaan none too soon. It wasn't enough to beat them at Dan; no, he ran them all the way out of the country. The survivors of the invading army no doubt straggled back to their homelands as best they could, amazed at this sudden, unexpected humiliating end to what had been up till then a mighty wave of victory and conquest.

No mention of this battle has ever yet been found on any of the Babylonian or Elamite inscriptions-- which is understandable. Ancient kings were accustomed to boast only about their victories since defeat usually left them dead or in slavery.

†. Gen 14:16 . . He brought back all the possessions; he also brought back his kinsman Lot and his possessions, and the women and the rest of the people.

If Abram had left the Federation's people in enemy hands and rescued only his nephew, no one would have faulted him for it. They were, after all, total strangers and had nothing in common with either Abram or Abram's religion; being "very wicked sinners against the Lord." But that would have been a terribly ignoble show of charity; not to mention downright politically stupid in a land where you needed all the friends you could get.

It's easy to imagine the tremendous amount of respect this campaign won for Abram in the eyes of all the Canaanites. He was a great sheik in that land, no doubt about it now. Abram beat a Babylonian army.

That was an impressive accomplishment; and a testimony to his cunning, his dependability, and to his courage under fire. Everyone in Canaan knew now that Abram wasn't a man to be trifled with. He's a perfect example of the old proverb: Walk softly, and carry a big stick. Abram was no bully, yet didn't allow others to bully him. Now if only he would quit lying to people about his relationship to Sarai.

NOTE: US President Theodore Roosevelt is famous for his comment about walking softly, but the way he went about obtaining the Panama Canal zone was not what I would call "soft".

†. Gen 14:17 . .When he returned from defeating Chedorlaomer and the kings with him, the king of Sodom came out to meet him in the Valley of Shaveh, which is the Valley of the King.

The location of the Shaveh Valley is a total mystery; this being the only place in the entire Old Testament where it's mentioned. "Shaveh" is a transliteration of Shaveh (shaw-vay') which means: plain or level or equal.

Some feel that the Shaveh Valley was some sort of neutral zone, like a Geneva Switzerland; where rival sheiks could meet and talk turkey without fear of reprisal or assassination. The Valley of the King is thought to be a special location where kingships were publicly bestowed upon individuals-- which, if true, would imply that Abram may have been offered an opportunity to rule a portion of Canaan.

It's not unusual for victorious military commanders to be politically popular. General Dwight D. Eisenhower, the USA's 34th president, was one of those; and so was the great Shawnee chieftain Tecumseh. (had the British not reneged on their commitment to support Tecumseh's hard-won coalition of eastern tribes, the United States east of the Mississippi river might be half its size today)


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Gen 14:18

†. Gen 14:18a . . And King Melchizedek of Salem brought out bread and wine;

Melchizedek's name is Malkiy-Tsedeq (mal-kee-tseh'-dek) which means: king of right or possibly just simply righteous king; in contrast to the wickedness which was the stock in trade of Bera, king of Sodom. I tend to think that King Mel was a widely-accepted circuit judge in that region; a sort of one-man Supreme Court in his day like Samuel was in his.

"Salem"-- an early name of Jerusalem --is from Shalem (shaw-lame') which means: peaceful.

Some make a big deal out of the bread and wine; relating it to the elements of the Christian Eucharist. However, the word for "bread" is lechem (lekh'-em) which isn't strictly limited to bakery products. It just means food (for man or beast), especially bread, or grain (for making it).

A good example of the ambiguity of lechem is the feast that Joseph ordered prepared for his brothers. (Gen 43:25-31)

The "bread" Joseph ordered wasn't a basket of Focaccia al rosmarino; it was a whole banquet. In contrast, the bread that the Lord broke at his last passover was the koiné Greek word artos (ar'-tos) which always, and every time; specifically indicates nothing else but bakery products.

There's really nothing especially symbolic about the wine either; it was a common dinner beverage introduced to the post Flood world by none other than grampa Noah. (Gen 9:20-21)

Mel's catering service probably brought enough food and drink for Abram's entire detachment. They certainly deserved to be feted for their efforts, not just the old boy himself. Mel's feast was a celebration; no doubt instigated by Mel, but participated in by the whole region as a gesture of deep gratitude to Abram and his men for ridding Canaan of that awful Ched person. In other words: I think that what we're looking at here is a fiesta.

The wine that Mel brought to this event was capable of making everybody quite drunk if they imbibed an amount beyond their tolerance. The word is yayin (yah'-yin) which means: to effervesce; wine (as fermented); by implication, intoxication. It's the very same word used of the beverage that hammered gramps in chapter nine.

Mel was not only a political figure in that region; but a religious figure as well.

†. Gen 14:18b . . he was a priest of God Most High.

"Most High" is a brand new superlative for God at this point in Genesis. It's 'elyown (el-yone') which means: an elevation, i.e. lofty. As a title it means: the Supreme, or the Very Highest.

We might have thought that Abram's camp comprised the only God-fearing people in all of Canaan. But surprise of surprises. There was another man in the land who was a God-fearing sheik just like Abram. But Mel went one better. This man was not just a sheik, but also a priest of the Supreme God; and he holds the honor of being the very first official priest of God in the entire Bible; many years before Aaron.

Abram was a great sheik, and a great man of God; and although he did the part of a priest for his clan-- as did Job, Noah, and others-- he was never really an official priest nor was he ever really a true king. So Mel easily outranked Abram. (cf. Heb 7:4-7)

True priests are mediators between God and Man; and in that capacity, have the authority and the wherewithal to effect a reconciliation between the two whenever there's a breakdown in diplomatic relations. Priests also have a knowledge of God; which they have a sacred duty to dispense to their constituents. (Mal 2:7)

The Bible is completely silent about Mel's origin. It doesn't list his genealogy; no, not even so much as his mother and father; which is very unusual because Aaronic priests have to prove their lineage before being permitted to take office. So that, in reality, a priest like Mel doesn't have to be related to Aaron, nor does he even have to be particularly Jewish; nor any other specific ethnic for that matter. He just has to be a human being.

However, humanness doesn't eo ipso qualify someone for the office of Melchizedekian priest because it's an appointment rather than a career track. (Heb 5:4-6)

Mel was definitely a Gentile because Abram (himself also a Gentile, from the region of Iraq) had yet to engender Isaac; the father of Jacob, who was to become the progenitor of the twelve tribes of the people of Israel; viz: the Jews. So; though Christ was a Jew, a number of his ancestors weren't.

NOTE: The most important thing to note about Mel is that he was a priest prior to the institution of Israel's covenanted law. Therefore, since Bible law isn't retroactive-- viz: doesn't have ex post facto jurisdiction (Deut 5:2-4, Gal 3:17) --then Mel's constituents weren't obligated to comply with the Commandments; ergo: the Commandments cannot be used to prosecute them in heaven's court of law (cf. Rom 4:15, Rom 5:13).

This rather outstanding advantage carries over to Christ's constituents too because the Lord's priesthood is patterned after Mel's. (Ps 110:4, Heb 5:4-6)

Another thing to note about Mel's priesthood is that according to the letter to Hebrews; it's a high-priest priesthood; which means that only one man at a time can hold the office.

That right there totally invalidates Mormonism's order of Melchizedek. It also invalidates Mormonism's Aaronic order too because Aaron's is also a high-priest priesthood. In other words: the high priest's priesthood doesn't consist of a panel of priests like the nine justices comprising the US Supreme Court. No, the high-priest's priesthood is a one-man show.


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