Sidor som bilder
PDF
ePub

25 And Methuselah lived an hundred and eighty and 26 seven years and begat Lamech. And Methuselah lived, after he begat Lamech, seven hundred and eighty and

was in former times regarded by the Hebrews as a punishment', whilst a long life was considered in the light of reward and favour. Even the Rabbins cannot attribute the early removal of Enoch to any other cause than that he had been of an inconstant and fickle disposition, and was inclined to evil. It was not until the age came for more reflection that an early death was first regarded as a euthanasia, or happy mode of departure from life3; and yet in this passage there is a reference to Enoch's years, which were few when compared with the length of life of the other patriarchs. The immortality of the soul is not alluded to here, which even the Rabbins and others have acknowledged. But the number of Enoch's years has a significant meaning: this number is the regular solar year of 365 days, observed in Babylon from the æra of Nabonassar (B.c. 747), and also found in the legend of the deluge: it is further worthy of notice, that Enoch was regarded in ancient times as the inventor of writing, and that on this account books have been attributed to him; he was also considered to have been the author of the Babylonian astrology. Hence it is possible that this part of the narrative may include a reference to the interesting fact, that the Babylonians calculated their year with the assistance of an Hindoo astrologist, or Ganaka (calculator) from Chanoge, as Enoch is also a descendant of Satya. Again, if Enoch appears here as a real person, there would be a similar coincidence in modern times; for in the fifth century algebra (the Kuttaka of the Aryabhatta) was introduced into Persia; and it was converted by authors into a Hindoo sage of the name of Katka or Kankeh. Moreover Stephanus Byzantinus (under the word Ikóvtov) and Suidas mention a Phry

1 Psalm xxxvii. 35.

3 Wisdom iv. 7, 10.

4 Eusebius, Præpar. Evang. ix. 17.

6 Katka, el Hindi hâkim.

2 Psalm xxi. 5; Job v. 26.

5 See chap. iv. 17.

See Dietz, Analecta Medic. p. 117.

27 two years, and begat sons and daughters. And all the days of Methuselah were nine hundred and sixty and nine years; then he died.

28 And Lamech lived an hundred and eighty and two 29 years, and begat a son; and he called his name Noah, for he said, This one will comfort us concerning our work and the toil of our hands, [because] of the ground which 30 Jehovah hath cursed. And Lamech lived, after he begat Noah, five hundred and ninety and five years, and 31 begat sons and daughters. And all the days of Lamech were seven hundred and seventy and seven years; then he died.

32 And Noah was five hundred years old; then he begat Shem, Ham and Japheth.

gian king who lived, before the flood of Deucalion, to the age of above 300 years, and who was taken up to heaven, apparently alluding to the Biblical narrative.

Verse 29.-Noach. The least forced meaning of this word is 'the sailor,' derived from the Latin no, and the Greek naus. It is explained by the Hebrew writer, according to an impossible derivation, to mean comforter,' from nacham (to comfort), in which word some have even imagined that they could trace the invention of wine. The etymology belongs to the Hebrew, and to the author of chapter ii. 3-4, which is evident, not only from the word Jehovah occurring in this verse, but also from the reference to the curse. upon the land'. Noah was said to bring comfort on account of this curse, because through him the human race was preserved, and with him a new epoch commenced. There is another reading of the last verse ("and Noah was 100 years old,"): but the verse itself was certainly an addition, the object of which was, by the frequent mention of Shem, Ham and Japheth 2, to lead the way to the genealogy of nations, and especially to that of the Hebrews.

1 See Gen. iii. 17.

2 See Introduction to Chapter X.

[ocr errors]

SECTION V.

CHAPTERS VI.-IX.

ACCOUNT OF NOAH AND THE FLOOD.

CRIME and violence became prevalent with the increase of the human race: the sons of God descended upon the earth, associated with the daughters of men, and created a powerful race of giants. Then God resolved to destroy the whole race by a flood, with the exception of the pious family of Noah. Noah received the command to build an ark, for himself and his family, and to enter into it, together with a pair of every kind of animals and with a stock of provisions. The flood came on, increasing until it rose above the highest mountains, and, during its continuance for five months, it destroyed every living thing. At length the waters subsided, and the ark rested upon the summit of a mountain.

After the lapse of a year [from the commencement of the flood], the waters were quite dried up from off the earth, and Noah was commanded to people it afresh. He was also directed by the Deity to partake of animal food, except that he was not allowed to eat the blood of animals, as the blood is the seat of the soul, and least of all was he to shed the blood of man, which brought after it the revenge of blood.

Lastly, at the conclusion of this beautiful description, God made a covenant with Noah, that he would not again

[ocr errors]

destroy the earth; and he set the rainbow in the heavens, to confirm his covenant with man, and as a sign of peace.

Such is the simple succession of ideas in this narrative, which is finished in the graphic style of a painter, commencing with an introduction1 and title2, and terminating with an account of Noah's age3. Unfortunately however it is so frequently interrupted by the blending of the Hebrew compiler's own ideas, that the grandeur of the poem is lost in repetition, amplification, and contradiction; and thus difficulties occur to the attentive reader of the original. Hence in Henke's New Magazine1 it is plainly stated that, unless we wilfully shut our eyes, we must admit that two wholly different fragments have been interwoven in this composition: indeed we are led to this conclusion by observing that the two appellations of the Deity, Elohim and Jehovah, occur in separate parts of the narrative. Various critics, at the head of whom stand Astrük and Eichhorn (to whose opinion even Jahn assented), have attempted to distinguish the narratives according to the occurrence of these two appellations: and if we adopt this simple criterion, and collect together those portions alone in which the name of Elohim is applied to the Deity5, the narrative becomes quite complete in itself; but on the other hand, if the verses in which the name of Jehovah occurs remain in their place, ideas are introduced [in these additional verses] which greatly lower the simple dignity of the Elohim narrative. This latter has only in view the actions of men regarded as violent giants; whereas, according to the additions, the disposition and impulse of men, and

1 Gen. vi. 1.

4 Vol. iv. p. 550.

2 Gen. vi. 9.

3 Gen. ix. 28, 29.

5 Gen. vi. 9-22; vii. 11 to viii. 19; ix. 1-17.

all their thoughts and desires, are evil'. According to the earlier narrative, a pair of every kind of animal are appointed to enter the ark; and the language, which agrees throughout with the first cosmogony, is here so precise as to require no further specification. The later writer adds the mention of clean and unclean animals, and states that, of the clean animals, seven pairs were selected3. Again, according to the earlier narrative, God announces his intention to bring on a flood; and this is amply sufficient, as Noah enters the ark on the same day; whereas the later account states, deliberately and very unpoetically, that Jehovah allows a week to elapse5. The earlier document has already said everything, and Noah does what Elohim had commanded him (vi. 22), which the additional portion repeats, when Noah does what Jehovah had commanded him. According to the principal narrative, Noah goes out of the ark and God blesses him, adding the promise that he will not again destroy the earth; in the episode the same promise is given, but the circumstances are narrated in a perfectly Hebraic spirit9: Noah brings an offering of clean animals; Jehovah, who had been grieved in his heart 10, "smells a sweet savour," and resolves not to curse the earth again, manifestly referring to the previous curse pronounced on the earth, and which had been described by the same [Jehovistic] author11. The agriculture of the East 12 is probably alluded to by the Hebrew compiler, who also expresses his antipathy to the

11

1 Gen. vi. 5; viii. 21.

3 Gen. vii. 2.

5 Gen. vii.

7 Gen. vii. 1-5.

9 Gen. viii. 20-22.

11 Gen. iii. 17.

2 Shenaïm mikkol (two of every kind), vi. 19.

4 Gen. vi. 17.

6 Gen. vi. 18.

8 Gen. viii. 18; ix. 1-15.

10 Gen. vi. 6.

12 Gen. ix. 20.

« FöregåendeFortsätt »