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Fifteen ells from above did the waters rise [over the earth], so that the mountains were covered. 21 Then all flesh died, that moveth upon the earth, of birds, and of cattle, and of beasts and of every creeping thing 22 that moveth upon the earth, and all men; all in whose nostrils [was] the breath of the spirit of life, all that was 23 upon the dry land, died. Thus did (Jehovah) destroy every living being upon the surface of the earth, from man to the cattle, to the creeping things and to the birds of the heaven; and they were destroyed from the earth, so that only Noah remained, and whatever was 24 with him in the ark. And the waters prevailed upon the earth a hundred and fifty days.
wise so correct, could only have been misled for an instant on this point by his eagerness to restore the unity of Genesis.
Verse 20.—The meaning is, that the waters, measured from their surface downward, stood fifteen ells above the highest mountains'.
Verse 23. Instead of vayimach (destroyed), the old editions of Plantin, Buxtorf and Van der Hoogt read the niphal vayimmach, came to be destroyed,' ('eth is as in chap. iv. 18). The ancient versions however have given the active (destroy), and we may safely supply Jehovah, as the verse is obviously an addition of the compiler. So little is any climax (as Rosenmüller imagines) here to be remarked, that the sentence appears much more like a weak echo of the forcible métu, 'died,' in verse 22, conveyed in expressions peculiar to the compiler, such as machah, 'blot out,' 'destroy,' occurring in vi. 7; vii. 4., with yěk'um, 'being,' in vii. 4. Astruk ascribes this 23rd verse to a separate fragment; Vater regards it with suspicion; Eichhorn attributes it to the original document containing the name Jehovah,-Ilgen, to the second Elohistic writer, thus referring it to the same document with Eichhorn; Schumann also considers it as separate, and supplies the word Jehovah.
1 Verse 19. Gesenius, Lehrgeb. der Hebr. Sprache, p. 691.
1 Then God remembered Noah and all the animals and all the cattle which were with him in the ark, and God made a wind to pass over the earth, and the waters 2 subsided. And the fountains of the deep and the win
dows of heaven were closed, and the flood of rain from 3 heaven ceased; and the waters ran off from the earth continually, and went down after a hundred and fifty days.
4 And in the seventh month, on the seventeenth day of
CHAPTER VIII., verse 3.—With respect to the words which here indicate the gradual and continued decrease of the flood, Yashubu halok vashob (decreased and went down), see Gesenius' Lehrgeb. (Gram.) p. 779, and Ewald's Krit. Gram. p. 564.
Verse 4.-The plural expression, "upon the mountains of Ararat," would alone have sufficiently shown that no single or special mountain was here alluded to; but a poetical imagination, following its natural bent, has been desirous to point out the particular summit. Without doubt the narrator had in his mind the idea of a mountain-top, rising high above others (verse 5); but Ararat is the name of a country, which cannot itself be determined with certainty, since it is mentioned without any account of its precise position or boundaries. In Isaiah1 the sons of Sennacherib are said to fly from Nineveh into the land of Ararat, and Jeremiah2 summons the kingdoms of Ararat, Meni, and Ashkenaz against Babylon; the two countries here mentioned with it are however unknown, and have been supposed to refer to Armenia only on the authority of the Alexandrian writers and their contemporaries, whom the ecclesiastical authors have followed3.
1 Isaiah xxxvii. 38. Compare 2 Kings xix. 37. 2 Jerem. li. 27.
3 See note on chap. x. ver. 3.
the month, the ark rested upon the mountains of Ararat. 5 And the waters decreased continually until the tenth
This use of the name leads to the belief, that the period when their view of the situation of Ararat was adopted was very much later than the time of the Prophets, and subsequent to the composition of the poetical myth under consideration. Again, if we admit the credibility of an old tradition, which refers the locality of Ararat to the extended range of the Caucasus in the north of Mesopotamia (which is in accordance with the current opinion, and also agrees with the remains of the Chaldee-Assyrian legend in Berosus and Abydenus 1), we have still to seek, among the numerous peaks of so long a range, for the particular summit which is here intended; and the opinions of many writers are widely different from each other on this subject.
Most of the older critics refer to the Carduchian mountains in Kurdistan, but no definite summit is thus particularized; St. Jerome points out the heights of the Taurus; the Persians have preserved from their own mythology the Elboruz, which had been cleft by the keel of the ark, and Josephus appears to allude to it in the proper name Baris; the Koran names the mountain Djudi in Kurdistan 2; Joseph Ben Gorion places the summit more towards the north, among the Scythians and Alans; a Sibylline verse3 gives up this country altogether, and brings the locality southwards towards Phrygia; and the Samaritans have actually supposed the ark to have landed in Ceylon (at Serandip). We are also informed by an Arabic traveller of the fourteenth century, Ibn Batuta, how and when the Samaritans arrived at this belief; he visited in Ceylon the footsteps of Buddha (whom he considers to have been Adam,) and the landing-place of the ark: but he was also the first to give us this information, and, like other Mahommedans, he has taken on himself to misplace the sacred antiquities and localities of the Hebrews1. All such speculations
1 Josephus, Archæol. 1. 3. 6. Eusebius, Præp. Ev. ix. 12.
2 Sur. 11, 46.
4 See Lee, Travels of Ibn Batuta, p. 185.
3 In Bochart, Phaleg. p. 14.
month; on the first day of the tenth month the tops of the mountains appeared.
6 And it came to pass after forty days, that Noah opened
furnish us with a convincing proof how the ancient poem abounds in fictions.
At the present day, according both to Jews and Mahommedans, to whom travellers yield a ready assent, the locality here described is referred to a very fine mountain-top, which is hence called Ararat, or Mountain of Noah, (Gùh Ndah′), and is situated some miles to the east of Erivan1. This mountain however was formerly called Bacis2, nor is it known when it first received the name of Ararat. It has two summits, the highest of which rises 16,200 feet above the level of the sea; it is also covered with eternal snow and constantly enveloped in clouds; and the effect of the daylight, both at sunrise and sunset, as well as of moonlight, upon this enormous pyramid, gives to it a beautiful and grand appearance3. All attempts to ascend it had failed, until Parrot succeeded in 1829; and on every side snow and masses of rock had been detached by the raging mountain-torrents. Ker Porter
1 See the engraving in Morier, Journey to Persia, ii. 306.
2 Nicol. Damasc. Fragm. p. 122, Orelli.
3 See Ker Porter, in Bertuch, Biblioth. der Reisen (Library of Travels), xxxv. 147, 177, 216; and the extracts from Morier in Rosenmüller's Handbuch der hebr. Alterthumskünde (Handbook of Hebrew Antiquities), i. 1, p. 268, &c.
[Dr. Parrot describes the summit of the Armenian Mount Ararat to be formed of "eternal ice, without rock or stone to interrupt its continuity;" it presented (he observes) a gently vaulted surface, of about 200 paces in circuit, which at the margin sloped off precipitously on every side; Dr. Parrot and his party were extremely fatigued with their rapid descent from the top, running down by the aid of deep steps, which they had previously cut in the snow to enable them to ascend the mountain. (See Parrot's Journey to Ararat, pp. 149 and 178.) He reached the summit of this Mont Blanc of Armenia on the 9th of October, 1829, and he states its elevation to be 17,210 feet in perpendicular height, or more than three miles and a quarter above the sea. "From the summit downwards, for nearly two-thirds of a mile perpendicular, or nearly three miles in an oblique direction," says Parrot, "the mountain is covered with a crown of eternal snow and ice."]
7 the window of the ark which he had made, and sent forth the raven, which flew to and fro until the waters 8 were dried up from off the earth. After that he sent forth the dove from him, to see if the waters were 9 abated from off the earth; but the dove found no resting-place for her foot and returned to him to the ark,
says: "These inaccessible mountains have never been trodden by the foot of man since the days of Noah, and perhaps not even then"; for he ima ines that the ark remained fixed between the peaks. Such descriptions and admissions should suffice to remove at once all idea of historical reality with respect to the mountains mentioned in the text. It was however very natural for romantic legends of this kind to be associated in every nation with the highest mountain within the limits of their horizon; as in the case of India, the Hindoo poem of the deluge points to the Himâlaya; and by analogy, with respect to the Hebrews, we are not at all restricted to Armenia, in interpreting the original text. After the flood, in chapter xi. ver. 2, the human race comes from the east, and they journey on towards Mesopotamia; hence perhaps the land of Ararat may be explained by Aryâvarta, which is the holy land in the north to the Hindoos, and which would have been the ancient Aria to the nations on the western side of the Indus.
Verse 7.-The article in ha-oréb, (the raven,) although not remarkable in speaking of animals, here deserves attention; for Noah has only one raven, just as ha-yonah, (the dove,) is mentioned in verse 8, without any idea of there being seven pairs of these birds. There is no allusion here to the Arabic notion that the raven is a bird of ill-omen, and that its sight is so clear as to enable it to espy dead bodies; the dove is a messenger of peace, flying far, but without forgetting to return to her nest, and so on. The raven flies here and there, without resting; and the narrator does not say that it was received back into the ark, whence the Septuagint may have inferred that this bird did not return to the