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LDS Old Testament Notes 06: Noah

LDS Old Testament Notes 06: Noah

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Published by Mike Parker
All Old Testament notes: http://www.scribd.com/collections/4343354
Class website: http://bit.ly/ldsarc
Slideshow for these notes: http://www.scribd.com/doc/180845833
All Old Testament notes: http://www.scribd.com/collections/4343354
Class website: http://bit.ly/ldsarc
Slideshow for these notes: http://www.scribd.com/doc/180845833

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© 2013, Mike Parker http://bit.ly/ldsarc For personal use only. Not a Church publication.
Old Testament Week 6: Noah (Moses 8; Genesis 6
11)
1)
 
[SLIDE 2]
 The story in
this week‘s lesson is
one of the most famous in the Bible. a)
 
 Ancient legends of a catastrophic deluge are widespread:
Stories of a great flood sent in primeval times to destroy mankind are so common to many peoples in different parts of the world between whom no kind of historical contact seems possible that the theme seems almost to be a universal feature of the human imagination.
1
 
i)
 
[SLIDE 3]
 In the Mesopotamian world the flood myth appears in Sumerian and  Akkadian legends, and the Babylonian Epic of Gilgamesh (c. 2000
B
.
C
.), all of which predate the Genesis account.
2
 (1)
 
In these accounts the gods destroy the entire world with a flood, and everyone dies except for one man, his family, and the animals they brought aboard a ship  which they made.
3
 (2)
 
The similarities are so close in some details, that it has been alleged that the  biblical story is based on the Mesopotamian legends. (3)
 
[SLIDE 4]
 However, the Genesis account differs from the others in one important aspect: Its view of God and man. (a)
 
In the Mesopotamian legends, the gods are capricious and selfish, and destroy man because he is too numerous and poses a threat to their authority. The man who builds the boat is treated as a hero who single-handedly saves humanity from extinction with his courage and skill.
4
 (b)
 
In the Biblical account, God encourages mankind to multiply, but is appalled  by human sin. He commands Noah to build the ark, sparing him and his righteous family. Obedience to God, not human courage, is what Genesis celebrates.
2)
 
[SLIDE 5]
 Our story is a continuation of the one from lessons 4 and 5: The world was totally given over to wickedness, with the exception of a handful of righteous people. a)
 
 As we discussed in week 4, Cain‘s posterity was wicked, and
practiced secret combinations (Moses 5:51; cf. 7:22).
5
  b)
 
Seth‘s posterity (except for the people of Enoch) were also wicked, so the Lord promised
Enoch he would destroy them with a flood (
Moses 7:33
34
). i)
 
This raises a moral issue:
Is God angry enough at man that he‘s willing to commit
genocide?
1
 
R. N. Whybray, ―Genesis,‖ in
The Oxford Bible Commentary
, John Barton and John Muddiman, eds. (New York: Oxford University Press, 2001), 46.
2
 The oldest known copy of the Akkadian epic of Atrahasis is dated to the reign of Ammi-Saduqa (1646
1626
B
.
C
.).
3
 For a comparison of six Ancient Near East flood myths, see
http://www.noahs-ark-flood.com/parallels.htm
 
4
, In the 18th century
B
.
C
. Akkadian epic, the protagonist
‘s name, Atra
-
Hasis, means ―exceedingly wise.‖
 
5
 As noted in the handout from week 4 (
http://bit.ly/ldsarcot04h
)
, the comment in Moses 7:22 that ―the seed of Cain were  black‖ doesn‘t necessary apply to skin color. Rather, it seems to emphasize the comment in 5:51 that ―their works were in the dark.‖
 
 
Hurricane Utah Adult Religion Class Old Testament: Noah Week 6, Page 2 © 2013, Mike Parker http://bit.ly/ldsarc For personal use only. Not a Church publication.
(1)
 
[SLIDE 6]
 Hugh Nibley answered that question with a close reading of the scriptures:
In giving us a much fuller account than the Bible of how the Flood came about, the book of Enoch [i.e., the Enoch material in the Book of Moses] settles the moral issue with several telling parts:
1. God’s reluctance to send the Flood and his great sorrow at the event.
 2. The peculiar brand of wickedness that made the Flood mandatory. 3. The frank challenge of the wicked to have God do his worst. 4. The happy and beneficial side of the event
it did have a happy outcome.
6
 
(2)
 
[SLIDE 7]
 The Joseph Smith Translation portrays God, and even nature itself, as mourning and weeping at the great sinfulness of mankind (Moses 7:28, 37, 40, 45). (3)
 
The depiction of the scene is so grim that Enoch himself begins to weep, but the
Lord tells him, ―
Lift up your heart, and be glad; and look 
,‖ after which Enoch sees
a vision of the earth repopulated from his righteous descendant, Noah (
Moses 7:44
45
). (4)
 
Enoch pleaded with the Lord, and the Lord delayed the Flood to give humanity another chance (
Moses 7:50
52
). (5)
 
In the JST, God didn‘t
unleash
 nature; he
held it back
 as long as he could. c)
 
Noah was born four years after Enoch, his great-grandfather, was translated.
7
 
3)
 
[SLIDE 8]
 Noah the prophet. a)
 
Noah‘s name
(Hebrew:
נ
/
nh
)
means ―comfort‖
8
 
and ―rest.‖
9
  b)
 
Noah received the priesthood and preached repentance (
Moses 8:19
20
). i)
 
This account is not in Genesis. There is no evidence from Genesis
alone
 that Noah attempted to persuade others to repent and save themselves from destruction. c)
 
Like his great-
grandfather, ―he walked with God‖ (Genesis 6:9), as did his sons, Shem,
Ham, and Japheth (Moses 8:27).
10
 
6
 Nibley,
 Enoch the Prophet 
 (Salt Lake City: FARMS and Deseret Book, 1988), 4
5 (
).
7
 Methuselah was born was Enoch was 65 years old (Genesis 5:21; Genesis 5:21). Lamech was born when Methuselah was 187 (Genesis 5:25; Moses 8:5); Enoch was 252 (65+187). Noah was born when Lamech was 182 (Genesis 5:28; Moses 8:8); Enoch would have been 434 (65+187+182), but he was translated at age 430 (Moses 8:1).
8
 The Hebrew folk etymology attributed to his father, Lamech (Genesis 5:29; Moses 8:9), is
םהנ
 
(
nhm
), ―to provide comfort.‖ This alludes to God‘s permission in the Garden of Eden to eat of the trees (Genesis 2:16) and the subsequent curse
upon Adam that he would eat only in sorrow and by toil (Genesis 3:17
19), the implication being that man was to only eat things grown from the ground. However, after the Flood, God gave Noah permission to use animals as food (Genesis 9:3),  which brought respite (or
comfort 
) from
the curse. Joseph E. Jensen, ―Noah,‖ in
 Eerdmans Dictionary of the Bible
, David Noel Freedman, ed. (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2000), 968.
9
 Hebrew
הונ
 (
nwh
), ―to cause to rest,‖ is reflected in several passages in the Flood story: ―
the ark rested
‖ (Genesis 8:4),
the dove found no rest
‖ (8:9), ―
the L
ORD
smelled a sweet savour
[restful aroma]‖ (8:21).
 
10
 
The order of Noah‘s sons is given as
 Shem
,
 Ham
, and
 Japheth
 in all Old Testament passages (Genesis 5:32; 6:10; 7:13; 9:18; 10:1; 1 Chronicles 1:4) as well as in Moses 8:27. However, Moses 8:12 indicates that their birth order was
 Japheth
,
 Shem
, and
 Ham
.
 
Hurricane Utah Adult Religion Class Old Testament: Noah Week 6, Page 3 © 2013, Mike Parker http://bit.ly/ldsarc For personal use only. Not a Church publication.
4)
 
The final straw. a)
 
[SLIDE 9]
 
―Sons
 
of God‖ and ―daughters of men‖ (
Genesis 6:1
4
). i)
 
This ancient story 
 which is explained in greater detail in 1 Enoch 6
7
concerns fallen angels and mortal women.
11
 (1)
 
 According to Jewish legend, these divine beings came to earth and took mortal  wives, and their resulting offspring were the
 Nephilim
 (Hebrew:
םיליפנ
)
, or ―fallen ones,‖ who were giants.
12
 ii)
 
Moses 8:13
18
 
takes a different approach, identifying the ―sons of God‖ as the righteous sons of Noah, whose daughters married the unrighteous ―sons of men.‖
 (1)
 
 And yet the Nephilim (―giants‖) also appear in the Joseph Smith Translation
(Moses 7:15; 8:18), only without explanation of their origins. iii)
 
It may be that the Genesis account is corrupted, and the JST is a restoration of the original account. However, considering the important extrabiblical sources that discuss this episode, it seems more likely that Genesis 6 and Moses 8 are two separate accounts from separate sources. iv)
 
 Whatever the situation was, it was the final straw: Mankind was totally given over to  wickedness, and the Flood was now inevitable. The Lord gave humans 120 more  years before promising to destroy them (Genesis 6:3).
13
  b)
 
It repented the L
ORD
 that he had made man on the earth
‖ (
Genesis 6:5
7
). i)
 
 Repented 
 does not mean God sought forgiveness for sinning; it means he was
sorry
.
14
 He regretted that that he had made men, because it brought him so much pain.
15
 ii)
 
The JST softens the impact of the verse by transferring the sense of sorrow and regret to Noah (Moses 8:25).
11
 The Hebrew phrase translated
sons of God
‖—or, literally, ―sons of the gods‖ (
bene ha-
’  
elohim
)
 occurs only here (Genesis 6:2, 4) and in Job 1:6; 2:1; 38:7. In each occurrence, the reference is to heavenly beings, part of the divine council. 1
Enoch 6:2 calls them ―angels, the sons of the heavens‖
 (
http://archive.org/stream/thebookofenoch00unknuoft#page/62
). 1 Enoch 6:7 even
names the ringleaders. The ―sons of God‖ in Genesis 6:2 are distinct from humankind (KJV ―men‖) in 6:1.
 For background on 1 Enoch, see notes to week 5, pages 1
3 (
http://bit.ly/ldsarcot05n
).
12
 1 Enoch 7:2 says the Nephilim were 3,000 cubits (approximately 2,000 feet) high. The Nephilim only appear in one other Old Testament passage: In Numbers 13:32
33 the spies sent into Canaan returned with a report that the land contained
giants [
nephilim
], the sons of Anak, which come of the giants [
nephilim
]: and we were in our own sight as grasshoppers
.‖ The
Nephilim also appear in several apocryphal books, including the Wisdom of Solomon 14:6; Sirach 16:7; Baruch 3:26; 3 Maccabees 2:4; and Jubilees 5:2.
13
 
The phrase ―yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years‖ (Genesis 6:3) could be interpreted to mean that human
life expectancy would be 120 from this point on, but (with the exception of Moses) the scriptural narrative following this passage does not support that interpretation.
14
 The Hebrew
ם ני
(
naw-kham' 
)
means God ―was grieved,‖ or ―was sorry.‖ In certain contexts it
can
mean ―relented‖ or ―repented,‖ but that is not the best application in Genesis 6:5–
7. See
R. B. Chisholm, ―Does God ‗Change His Mind‘?‖
 Bibliotheca Sacra
 152 (Oct
Dec 1995), 387
99 (
https://sites.google.com/site/hwsarc/home/ot/week06/BSac152_Chisholm_GodChangeMind.pdf 
).
15
 The Old Testament presents God as willing to change his mind about his course of action, depending on human reaction to his commands. A few examples include: The Lord intended to destroy Israel because of its wickedness, but Moses convinced him not to do it (Exodus 32:9
14).The Lord promised to destroy Israel like a swarm of locusts or a shower of fire, but Amos pleaded with him, and the Lord rescinded the destruction (Amos 7:1
6). The Lord told Jonah that he was going to destroy Nineveh, but after the Ninevites repented, he changed his mind (Jonah 3:1
10). I discuss t
he idea that God‘s foreknowledge is
limited in my notes to Doctrine and Covenants lesson 19, pages 7
10 (
http://bit.ly/ldsarcdc19
).

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