Family Tree

Today’s posting is about the beginnings of Noah, who was the great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great grandson of Adam. Because little is known of these forefathers of Noah, except Adam, one concludes that they didn’t do much, except beget, which they did a lot of. However, they all lived a lot longer than we do today, and begot at much older ages than we do today, even Hugh Hefner.

For instance, Adam was one-hundred-and-thirty when he begot Seth. One might expect that Adam would die soon after. But no, he went on to live another eight-hundred years, and begot further sons and daughters. Adam finally died when nine-hundred-and-thirty. At first sight, this was remarkable. But, when compared to his descendants, it wasn’t really.

Consider Adam’s son, Seth, who was one hundred-and-five when he begot Enosh. Seth lived another eight-hundred-and-seven years, and begot further sons and daughters. Seth died when nine-hundred-and-twelve years. This wasn’t quite the nine-hundred-and-thirty years that his father, Adam, had lived. But still.

Seth’s son, Enosh, was ninety when he begot Kenan. After that, Seth lived another eight-hundred-and-fifteen years, and begot other sons and daughters. When Seth had reached nine-hundred-and-five, he died.

This was more or less the pattern of the lives of the descendants who followed Seth. However, an exception of sorts was Enoch – not the Enoch who was the son of Cain – but another descendant called Enoch.

This Enoch, after begetting Methuselah at sixty-five, walked with God for three hundred years, all the while begetting other sons and daughters during rest stops. When Enoch was three-hundred-and-sixty-five he disappeared and was never seen again. His friends said worriedly, “Where’s Enoch, where’s Enoch?” It appears that Enoch’s walking companion, God, had taken Enoch away to who knows where.

Noah was destined for a life of unremitting hard work, for, when he was born, his father, Lamech, said, “This boy will bring us relief from our work, and from the hard labour that has come upon us because of the Lord’s curse upon the ground.” Despite having to work so hard, Noah still had energy left to beget, at the age of five-hundred, Shem, Ham, and Japheth.

The longevity of Adam and his descendants can only be the envy of those today, who, wishing to live to be really old, eat only food and vitamins from health-food stores, and go bike-riding and jog. What was it about Adam and his descendants that they could live so long? There is a clue, because God said, “My life-giving spirit shall not remain in man for ever; he for his part is mortal flesh: he shall live for a hundred and twenty years.”

God, then, was doing something deliberate to enable Adam and his descendants to live eight-hundred to nine-hundred years. But, even after deciding to stop doing whatever He was doing, God still expected men to live to one hundred-and-twenty – an age which even those who eat stuff from health food stores and bike-ride and jog, don’t really expect to reach.

Having said that men would live to be one-hundred-and-twenty, God had a mood-change after suddenly seeing the evil that men had done on earth. He concluding they weren’t likely to change, and said, “This race of men whom I have created, I will wipe them off the face of the earth – man and beast, reptiles and birds. I’m sorry I ever made them.” God’s mood-change was so huge, it bespoke bi-polarity.

However, when first God saw Noah, He knew that Noah had something special, that he was a cut above the average corrupt and violent man. So God was determined to spare Noah what He was planning for Mankind.

Source: Genesis 5

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One Response to Family Tree

  1. Transferred Comments says:

    dafna said…

    rainbows christopher, don’t forget the rainbows after the flood. weren’t they a promise and a sign of regret?

    why do the men get to do all the begetting? what about sarah who was so old when she was told that she would beget a son that she laughed heartily – thus naming her son Isaac or Yitzhak which means “to laugh”.

    thanks for this fun retelling. it made me laugh.
    10:09 PM, February 28, 2011

    dafna said…

    oh, and someone correct me on this – before the flood man was not allowed to eat the flesh of animals? maybe this is why they lived so long?

    i’m not a vegetarian, btw.
    10:14 PM, February 28, 2011

    jenny said…

    Hey, dafna:

    Christopher is really writing a midrash, no? 🙂
    5:58 AM, March 01, 2011

    dafana said…

    most certainly worthy of midrash status, christopher!
    6:33 PM, March 01, 2011

    Christopher said…

    Dafna and Jenny – Not being of the Hebraic persuasion I didn’t know what “midrash” meant.

    At first sight it indicated a skin irritation, but I couldn’t see what this had to do with what I’d been writing about.

    Having now searched Google, I’m enlightened.

    “Midras” seems much like “exegesis”, which, happily, I had known the meaning of, so didn’t have to look it up in Google.

    On Google, I learned of the *”midrash”* that, “…..While it is always governed by the wording of the text, it allows for the reader to project his or her inner struggle into the text. This allows for some very powerful and moving interpretations which, to the ordinary user of language, seem to have very little connection with the text…….”

    In the midrashes I will offer, I will bear in mind the inner struggles you are undergoing as you read what I write. However, I hope my interpretations, however powerful and moving they may be, will have more connection with the texts than the “very little connection” which a midrash apparently allows!!
    11:41 PM, March 01, 2011

    potsoc said…

    500 yers ago, man, you would have been burned at the stake as an heretic. But I love it, you should have been a humorist…maybe you were?
    10:10 AM, March 02, 2011

    dafna said…

    yes, christopher,

    thank you so much for the humor!
    12:11 PM, March 02, 2011

    Manius said…

    Your style of writing is so elegant and humorous, Christopher.

    This midrash – it’s an example – is so full of begetting it made me laugh.

    Dafna: I wonder how Phil could imply such begetting excluded the other half of humankind.

    The longevity of Adam etc. etc. can only be the envy of those today, who … eat only food and vitamins from health-food stores, and go bike-riding and jog.

    Humanity – need I remind you – will soon live much longer due to leaps in genetics. Our generation won’t be alive enough as to enjoy such lengthening. Not that I care, but we can always read useless *stuff like that*.

    God of course knew about genetics and a lot more but decided His ‘life-giving spirit’ not to be given to man for ever.

    It’s because we were /are BAD, always BAD? I personally feel uneasy to be reminded so often the truth but one never knows, it might us do good.

    God’s mood-change … so huge one wonders if He was bi-polar.

    Ah ah ah ah, that made me laugh even more.

    Ciao Christopher,

    MoR
    12:43 PM, March 02, 2011

    Richard said…

    I have a question, Christopher.

    In Genesis Chapter 6 verse 4 of the King James Version of 1611 it says:

    … when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men …

    Much the same must have been said in the 1881-1885 and 1901 revisions, for the 1946 – 1952 revision says:

    … when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men …

    But by 1970 the translators of the New English Bible saw fit to write:

    … when the sons of gods had intercourse with the daughters of men…

    Now, I’m very confused. Am I supposed to believe there was one God in those days or many gods?
    4:58 PM, March 02, 2011

    Christopher said…

    An acute observation of yours. It shows that, unlike me, you miss nothing. No wonder you were a lawyer!!

    I can only think that why the New English Bible refers to “the sons of the gods” rather than “the sons of God”, was because it was largely based on the Septuagint, which was the Greek Old Testament. The Greeks were polytheistic, hence polytheistic nomenclature may have crept into the New English Bible.

    I’m just guessing because I know nothing of theology, and am not otherwise a biblical scholar. Therefore you might better pose your most interesting question to your local vicar, the next time you see him, to see what he says.
    5:57 PM, March 02, 2011

    dafna said…

    christopher,

    true christopher, it boils down to etymology and translation, more than theology. i think that’s richard’s point.

    as a word lover, like me, you should check out the link i left on history of the world part #3.

    i am so looking forward to part #5, that i will hit the subscribe button.

    MoR – funny, very funny – takes two to beget or begot! now get away form the blogs and be amongst the “breeders”. 🙂
    6:44 PM, March 02, 2011

    Christopher said…

    Paul – “…..500 years ago……you would have been burned at the stake as an heretic……”

    Very possibly, if the tone of the first paragraph of the preface to the Old Testament of the King James Bible is anything to go by:

    GREAT and manifold were the blessings, most dread Sovereign, which Almighty God, the Father of all mercies, bestowed upon us the people of England, when first he sent Your Majesty’s Royal Person to rule and reign over us. For whereas it was the expectation of many, who wished not well unto our Sion, that upon the setting of that bright Occidental Star, Queen ELIZABETH of most happy memory, some thick and palpable clouds of darkness would so have overshadowed this Land, that men should have been in doubt which way they were to walk; and that it should hardly be known, who was to direct the unsettled State; the appearance of your Majesty, as the Sun in his strength, instantly dispelled those supposed and surmised mists, and gave unto all that were well affected exceeding cause of comfort; especially when we beheld the Government established in Your Highness, and Your hopeful Seed, by an undoubted Title, and this also accompanied with peace and tranquillity at home and abroad.

    This shows an obsequiousness to established power equalled only today by North Koreans to their Dear Leader. Such a society would not have tolerated any contumaciousness or unorthodoxy upon the most extreme physical punishment, not to say, death.
    7:01 PM, March 02, 2011

    Christopher said…

    Manius – “……Humanity – need I remind you – will soon live much longer due to leaps in genetics……”

    Already this is beginning to result in people having to postpone their retirement because pension funds are not funded to deal with such large numbers of old Baby Boomers. This isn’t nice for the majority of people who hate their jobs and can’t wait to retire.

    Assume a population that lives on average to 125, which some are predicting for the future. People would have to work until 100. This would be hell for most.

    To live to 125 is OK only if you’re rich.
    7:14 PM, March 02, 2011

    Christopher said…

    Dafna – “….you should check out the link i left on history of the world part #3……”

    I just have. Michelangelo certainly did take literalism to an extreme.
    7:26 PM, March 02, 2011

    Richard said…

    AHA, Christopher! I see you are after free legal advice like everyone else.

    In Law of Property Act 1925 – section 60, I think, which undoubtedly applies to the NEB – the singular includes the plural and vice versa. So I remain confused.

    I read now in the Introduction to the NEB – “… in 70AD…the Massoretic text….incorporated…many errors…” So, I repeat, just what is it you are asking me to believe?

    Besides, and I have had to make this point elsewhere before, what has all this got to do with insects?
    1:46 AM, March 03, 2011

    Manius said…

    Yes, Richard being a lawyer has a pointed eye for words. I hope this will not be considered a silly show-off but having 15 Bibles perhaps this is an opportunity to have some talk about them (family and friends being all terribly bored by such stuff).

    I can confirm what you two say except that the Greek Septuagint (I have a Zondervan, 1980) says ‘the sons of the God’ (οἱ υἱοὶ τοῦ θεοῦ), not ‘of the gods’. Same with the neo-Greek version (no wonder since the orthodox consider the Septuagint sacred), with the Catholic version, with Luther’s (die kinder Gottes) and the Vulgata by St. Jerome, (‘filii Dei’, and not deorum).

    In the New English Bible (1970), strangely enough, it is ‘the sons of the gods’. In its preface I read that a completely new translation was made – the Authorized Version being “already archaic when it was made” – starting from the original languages (!?), which is very confusing since it might refer not only to the various versions in classical Hebrew but also to ancient translations (many in Greek, Latin etc.) that could refer to older Hebrew versions now lost.

    The problem is we cannot access Hebrew texts. If Dafna or Jenny can’t either we will never know why the Churches of England, Scotland, and the Methodist, Baptist etc. chose ‘the sons of the gods’.

    It makes some sense in any case. Maybe God was angry with men not only because they liked girls very much, but also because they were polytheistic. Hence the punishment.

    MoR
    11:12 AM, March 03, 2011

    Christopher said…

    Richard, MoR – It is indeed odd that it is only the New English Bible – aimed at churches in Britain – that says “the sons of the gods”.

    I noted in the introduction to the NEB, that its final form was the result of group decision-making, therefore Groupthink, which, for reasons of human psychology too lengthy to go into here, does come up with some strange decisions.

    The decision to go with “the sons of the gods” may simply have been one such example.
    11:48 AM, March 03, 2011

    potsoc said…

    Well you know what JFK said about committees:”Twelve men doing badly what one man could have done well”.
    12:52 PM, March 03, 2011

    Manius said…

    Paul, Paul …. 🙂
    12:58 PM, March 03, 2011

    Manius said…

    Well said in any case Paul.
    1:01 PM, March 03, 2011

    Richard said…

    Mind you – if it is true that we are all descended from Adam and Eve, there would have been a lot of in-breeding for this problem family.

    So do you think fresh blood might have been brought in from somewhere else?
    1:58 PM, March 03, 2011

    potsoc said…

    Of course Richard, are you not acquainted with the Raëlians?
    4:39 PM, March 03, 2011

    Richard said…

    Well, now. I always wondered about my next-door neighbours.
    4:30 AM, March 04, 2011

    Christopher said…

    Raëlianism sounds like my kind of church.
    10:09 AM, March 04, 2011

    dafna said…

    my comment disappeared. gentlemen your clue to the mistranslations of the word Elohim can be found in the link to Raëlism: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raëlism

    click on the word Elohim.

    as for the rest of richard’s quote, our now modern word for “sex”, has some similar roots in the hebrew which led to the various “came unto” v.s “had intercourse” – i would have to ask someone who regularly reads the torah :0 (not me…)
    2:20 PM, March 04, 2011

    Christopher said…

    The Elohim could easily have been extra-terrestrials from an advanced planetary civilisation who manipulated the genes of apes, so they could impregnate them and form hybrids (humans).

    It’s as good an explanation as any, on why our brains are so far advanced than those of the other animals, and why many other things about us (too many to list here) are so different from those of the other animals.

    Any first-time visitor to earth wouldn’t help but immediately think that we humans don’t quite belong here.
    11:57 AM, March 05, 2011

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