Friday, August 8, 2014
Question about Noah’s Wife
[Question: In light of the Noah movie that just came out, a couple of questions has been asked me that I don't have a satisfactory answer for. In earlier studies, it was suggested that Tulbal-cain's sister, Na'amah was Noah's wife. I find that their father was La'mech and their Mother was Zil'lah. Noah's father was also La'mech. Gen. 6:4-29. Do you think that it was the same La'mech and that Noah married his 1/2 sister? I can't scripturally tie Noah and Na'amah together as husband and wife. I would appreciate your opinion.]
The Noah movie has focused a lot of interest on the biblical account & caused some good questions to be raised. Rabbi Jeffrey Leynor & I were just discussing the Noah account yesterday.
A key factor in dealing with ancient writings is to remember that less than 10% of the population was literate and very few of those who were literate could afford to own a scroll. Scrolls were found in temples, where they were read and discussed by scribes who were the most educated class of society. Scribes wrote for scribes, not the public.
Scribes used a number of linguistic devices to highlight points they wanted to make. For example, if you're reading any section of the Hebrew Bible and notice a word that comes up a lot, count the number of times. The sevenfold or the tenfold repetition of a word is called a “leitwort” -- a recurring word that becomes thematic. By paying close attention to these words we find a meaning of the text revealed or clarified or made more emphatic. This is probably the strongest of all techniques for making a meaning available without articulating it explicitly.
In the genealogies of Adam’s surviving sons – Cain & Seth – there are two men named “Enoch” and two named “Lamech.” The only thing Cain’s Enoch is credited with is being a link in a chain between the first murderer Cain and the second murderer Lamech. Seth’s Enoch is credited with being the first man to “walk with God” and the second man to “walk with God.” Cain’s descendants were men who valued RA (evil) and Seth’s descendants were men who valued TOV (good).
Embedded in the contextual environment that began in the Garden in Eden and ended with the Great Flood is the account of “Fallen Ones.” The message of this account was destroyed by translators that translated the Hebrew word NEPhILIM as “giants” instead of “fallen ones.” This is a key component of the account that revealed the primary thing that led to the state of affairs that resulted in Yahweh destroying all of the rest of humanity and save Noah.
The account of the NEPhILIM is about three tribes – Cain’s descendants, Cain’s wife’s descendants and Seth’s descendants. The act that began the process that would lead to the end of the final generation that would drown in the Flood was the intermarriage of the males of Seth’s tribe with the females of the other two tribes who were very good looking. (This is a repeat of the lesson in the Garden where Eve saw how the forbidden fruit was a delight to her eyes.) From this point until the end, HAMAS increases (Hebrew word HAMAS means “causeless violence and outrage” [obviously applies to a current situation too]).
When the account gets to the last generation the focus is on two members of the tribes of Cain and Seth – Naamah & Noah. The message is that Noah didn’t intermarry with the other tribe. His eyes were focused on Yahweh and His commandments and he walked with Yahweh.
Another key point that was made in the Garden story -- which has been lost because of mistranslations and religious traditions – is that when Adam ate the forbidden fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of TOV (good) and RA (evil), according to Yahweh, Adam became like it and would produce fruit like that tree. He did – Seth (TOV) & Cain (RA).
In declaring the punishment of Eve, Yahweh said that her offspring would crush the head of the serpent’s offspring, another play on the theme of the serpent’s offspring being (RA) and her offspring (TOV). Noah did it.
Noah’s wife is mentioned five times in the flood story (Gen. 6:18, 7:7, 7:13, 8:16, 8:18), but her name is never revealed.
Some of the rabbis used the midrash to link Naamah to being the wife of Noah through to solve a “structural flaw in Genesis” as well as a “theological problem” – see http://www.biu.ac.il/JH/Parasha/eng/noah/enoach1.html .
Jeffrey and I used our linguistic method to draw the conclusions above. Well, these are the thoughts off the top of my head. Hope they help.