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p. 30



   WHEN Noah was five hundred years old, he took a wife from the daughters of Seth; and there were born to him three sons, Shem, Ham and Japhet. And God saw Noah's uprightness and integrity, while all men were corrupted and polluted by lasciviousness5; and He determined to remove the human race from this broad earth, and made this known to the blessed Noah, and commanded him to make an ark for the saving of himself, his sons, and the rest of the animals. Noah constructed this ark during the space of one hundred years, and he made it in three stories6, all with boards and projecting ledges. Each board p. 31 was a cubit long and a span broad. The length of the ark was three hundred cubits, its width fifty cubits, and its height thirty cubits. Noah made it of box wood, though some say of teak wood; and he pitched it within and without. At the end of the six hundredth year, God commanded Noah, with his wife, his sons and his daughters-in-law--eight souls--to go into the ark1, and to take in with him seven couples of every clean animal and fowl, and one couple of every unclean animal, a male and a female. And he took bread and water in with him according to his need: not an abundant supply, lest they might be annoyed by the smell of the faeces, but they got food just sufficient to preserve their lives. God forewarned the blessed Noah of what he was about to do seven days beforehand, in case the people might remember their sins and offer the sacrifice of repentance. But those rebels mocked at him scoffingly, and thrust out their unclean lips at the sound of the saw and the adze. After seven days God commanded Noah to shut the door of the ark, and to plaster it over with bitumen2. And the fountains of the deeps were broken up from beneath, and a torrent of rain (fell) from above, for forty days and forty nights, without cessation, until the waters rose fifteen cubits above the highest mountains in the world. And the waters bore up the ark, which travelled over them from east to west and from north to south, and so inscribed the figure of the cross upon the world; and it passed over the ocean, and came to this broad earth3. So the rain was stayed, and the winds blew, and the waters remained upon the earth without diminishing one hundred and fifty days, besides those forty days; which, from the time that Noah entered the ark and the flood began until the waters began to diminish, make in all one hundred and ninety days, which are six months p. 32 and ten days--even until the twentieth day of the latter Teshrî. The waters began to diminish from the latter Teshrî to the tenth month, on the first day of which the tops of the mountains appeared, but until the time when the earth was dry, and the dove found rest for the sole of her foot, was one hundred days. The ark rested upon the top of mount Kardô1. In the tenth month, which is Shet2, Noah opened the door of the ark, and sent a raven to bring him news of the earth. And it went and found dead bodies, and it alighted upon them and returned not. For this reason people have made a proverb about Noah's raven. Again he sent forth a dove, but it found not a place whereon to alight, and returned to the ark. After seven days he sent forth another dove, and it returned to him in the evening carrying an olive leaf in its bill; and Noah knew that the waters had subsided. Noah remained in the ark a full year, and he came forth from it and offered up an offering of clean animals; and God accepted his offering and promised him that He would never again bring a flood upon the face of the earth, nor again destroy beasts and men by a flood; and He gave him (as) a token the bow in the clouds, and from that day the bow has appeared in the clouds; and He commanded him to slay and eat the flesh of beasts and birds after he had poured out their blood. The number of people who came forth from the ark was eight souls, and they built the town of Themânôn3 after the name of the eight souls, and it is to-day the seat of a bishopric in the province of Sûbâ4. Noah planted a vineyard, and drank of its wine; and one day when he slumbered, and was sunk in the deep sleep of drunkenness, his nakedness was uncovered within his tent. When Ham his son saw him, he laughed at him and despised him, and told his brethren Shem and p. 33 Japhet. But Shem and Japhet took a cloak upon their shoulders, and walked backwards with their faces turned away, and threw the cloak over their father and covered him, and then they looked upon him. When Noah awoke and knew what had been done to him by the two sets of his sons, he cursed Canaan the son of Ham and said, 'Thou shalt be a servant to thy brethren;' but he blessed Shem and Japhet. The reason why he cursed Canaan, who was not as yet born nor had sinned, was because Ham had been saved with him in the ark from the waters of the flood, and had with his father received the divine blessing; and also because the arts of sin--I mean music and dancing and all other hateful things--were about to be revived by his posterity, for the art of music proceeded from the seed of Canaan1. After the flood a son was born to Noah, and he called his name Jônatôn2; and he provided him with gifts and sent him to the fire of the sun, to the east. Noah lived after the flood three hundred and fifty years; the sum of his years was nine hundred and fifty years; and he saw eighteen generations and families before and after it. He died on the fourth day of the week, on the second of Nîsân, at the second hour of the day; his son Shem embalmed him, and his sons buried him, and mourned over him forty days.



p. 30

3 Chap. xxi in the Oxford MS.

4 See Gen. vi-viii.

5 For a description of the manners of the people at the time of Tubal-cain, see Bezold, Die Schatzhöhle, pp. 14, 15; Brit. Mus. Add. 25,875, fol. 12.

6 Gen. vi. 16. 'The lower one for the beasts and cattle, the middle for the feathered fowl, and in the upper shalt thou and the children of thy house be. And make in it reservoirs for water, and garners for food. And make thee a gong (nâkûs) of teak wood uneaten by worms; its height shall be three cubits, and its breadth one and a half; and a hammer of the same. Thou shaltst strike it three times a day: once in the morning that the workmen may be gathered together for the work of the ark, once in the middle of the day for their food, and once at sunset that they may leave off.' Bezold, Die Schatzhöhle, p. 17; Brit. Mus. Add. 25,875, fol. 14 a, col. 2.

p. 31

1 'Set thou Adam's body in the middle of the ark . . . . . . Thou and thy sons shalt be in the eastern part of the ark, and thy wife and thy sons' wives shall be in the western part.' Bezold, Die Schatzhöhle, p. 19; Brit. Mus. Add. 25,875, fol. 15 b, col. 1.

2 'Noah went into the ark at eventide on Friday the 17th of the blessed month Îyâr.' Bezold, Die Schatzhöhle, p. 21; Brit. Mus. Add. 25,875, fol. 17 a, col. 1.

3 'The angel of the Lord stood upon the outside of the ark to act as pilot.' Bezold, Die Schatzhöhle, p. 23; Brit. Mus. Add. 25,875, fol. 17 b, col. 2.

p. 32

1 על טורי קרדו = על הרי אררט, Targûm Onkelos, Gen. viii. 4, i.e. the Jabal al-Jûdi of the Arabs, on the left bank of the Tigris, over against Jazîrat Ibn `Omar.

2 'The tenth month is Kânûn, but I saw Shet written in the copy which I copied.' This is evidently the gloss of a careful scribe, which has crept into the text.

3 See Hoffmann, Auszüge aus syrzschen Akten persischer Märtyrer, p. 174.

4 Sûbâ = Nisîbis, from a false identification of the latter with the biblical צוֹבָה {Hebrew: CÔBhâÂ}.

p. 33

1 'Why, since the whole sin belonged to Ham, was Canaan cursed except that, when the boy grew up and came to years of discretion, Satan entered into him and became a teacher of sin to him? and he renewed the work of the house of Cain the murderer.' Bezold, Die Schatzhöhle, p. 25; Brit. Mus. Add. 25,875, fol. 19 a, col. 2.

2 See Bezold, Die Schatzhöhle, p. 33, and note no. 115, p. 78.