|Vol. 14 No. 8 August 2012||
You Do Err
Not Knowing the Scriptures
Louis Rushmore, Editor
Genesis 8:20. The very first thing Noah did after he and his family and his animals landed in the neck-deep mud and slime of the year’s Deluge was to build an altar and offer up a thanksgiving sacrifice to the loving God. It is recorded that Noah took one each “of every clean beast and of every clean fowl, and offered burnt offerings on the altar” to Yahweh there in the mud. As there were only two of these different kinds of animals and fowls (“the male and his female”) in the ark, and Noah killed and burnt in sacrifice one (whether male or female) of each kind, how the species was ever afterwards replenished on the earth.
On one occasion during His earthly ministry, Jesus responded to the critics of His day by saying, “Jesus answered and said unto them, Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God” (Matthew 22:29 KJV). Anyone remotely familiar with the Bible is abundantly aware that the inquirer above demonstrates by his question a definite lack of knowledge of the Scriptures. In addition, the assumptions (i.e., “neck-deep mud and slime”) contained in the question are not in evidence, and they are prejudicial, too.
First, Noah, his family and the floating zoo remained on the ark for 150 days after the rain stopped, and during which time the flood waters were receding. “The fountains also of the deep and the windows of heaven were stopped, and the rain from heaven was restrained; And the waters returned from off the earth continually: and after the end of the hundred and fifty days the waters were abated” (Genesis 8:2-3). Secondly, the ark came to rest atop one of the tallest mountain ranges in the world (i.e., the two highest peaks are 12,782 feet and 16,854 feet high). “And the ark rested in the seventh month, on the seventeenth day of the month, upon the mountains of Ararat” (Genesis 8:4). How Noah waited inside the ark until the waters were gone from off the earth before leaving it is described in Genesis 8:5-12; Noah stepped forth from the ark on to dry land (Genesis 8:13-14). The criticism that the survivors of the worldwide deluge “landed in the neck-deep mud and slime” is without basis – they exited the ark in a mountain after the waters had gone down.
How many of each kind of animals were on the ark? Look again! Genesis 6:19 specifies that animals were to be boarded on the ark by pairs or by twos. However, the details as to the number of ceremonially clean and unclean creatures that were to board the ark are found in Genesis 7:2-3, “Of every clean beast thou shalt take to thee by sevens, the male and his female: and of beasts that are not clean by two, the male and his female. Of fowls also of the air by sevens, the male and the female; to keep seed alive upon the face of all the earth.” Fourteen pairs of each kind of clean animal, two pairs of each kind of unclean animal and seven pairs of each kind of bird were loaded on to Noah’s ark. Obviously, then, the querist is mistaken about Noah putting animals on the short and terminal list of endangered (soon to be extinct) species by offering some of them as sacrifices upon leaving the ark.
Louis Rushmore, Editor
Genesis 5: (1) A mystery of the ages in connection with the Flood is how Noah’s venerable grandfather Methuselah survived the universal cataclysm which destroyed all life except the Noah menage and menagerie in the ark. Methuselah did not die until a year or more after the Flood – fourteen years after according to the Septuagint. It is recorded that Methuselah was 187 years old when his son Lamech was born (Gen. 5: 25), and he lived for 787 years afterwards, dying at the ripe age of 969 years (5: 26, 27). Lamech was 182 years old when his son Noah was born (5: 28, 29). When the Flood began, Noah was in his six hundredth year, or, to be exact, he was 599 years, one month, and seventeen days old (v2: 11 ); and Noah lived for 350 years after the Flood, and was 950 years old when he died (9: 28, 29 ). Methuselah was alive when the Flood began and when it ended, if the Bible record is true: 1. From the birth of Lamech to the beginning of the Flood was (182 plus 599) 781 years; and from the birth of Lamech to the end of the Flood was 782 years. If Methuselah lived after he begat Lamech 782 years he survived the Flood. Or, again: (2) From the birth of Methuselah to the beginning of the Flood was (187 plus 182 plus 599 years) 968 years; the Flood ended a year later, when Methuselah was 969, and he died at that good old age. Or again: 3. From the birth of Methuselah to the death of Noah was (187 plus 182 plus 950 years) 1319 years. As Noah died 350 years after the Flood, from the birth of Methuselah to the end of the Flood was (1319 minus 350 years) 969 years, the age of Methuselah at his death, after the Flood. Doubt: As Noah shut his own aged grandfather out of the ark, where and how Methuselah spent that watery last year of his advanced old age.
The key to the question and subsequently to the answer of the query above lies with mention in the question, “according to the Septuagint.” Specifically, the charge is that “Methuselah did not die until a year or more after the Flood – fourteen years after according to the Septuagint.”
Our English Old Testament portion of our Bibles was translated from the Hebrew rather than from the Greek. Of four possible texts from which the Old Testament could have been translated into English – the Hebrew Masoretic, the Greek Septuagint (Alexandrinus), the Greek Septuagint (Vaticanus) or the Samaritan, the Old Testament was translated from Hebrew. (See the Wikipedia.) The Greek Septuagint and Samaritan texts are themselves translations from the Hebrew. Rather than appealing to translations for the purpose of translating the Bible into English, English Bible translations are usually made from the original languages (i.e., Hebrew for the Old Testament and Greek for the New Testament). Resorting to a translation that stands between the original language and the destination language for translating into English can result in less accuracy of the English translation.
In addition, of the four texts cited above, only the Septuagint (Vaticanus) places the death of Methuselah after the flood of Noah’s day – and that by 14 years after the deluge. Each of the other three texts, including the alternate reading of the Septuagint, place the death of Methuselah either before the flood or in the year of the flood. The Masoretic text from which the Old Testament in our English language Bibles was translated places the death of Methuselah in the year of the flood.
It is a dishonest tactic often to which Bible critics resort to disregard translations that do not pose the purported problem and to not disclose that they are doing so. Not only must Christians give an answer to those who inquire about one’s Christian faith (1 Peter 3:15), but frequently the children of God must also defend the faith against attacks upon it (Philippians 1:7, 17).
Wikipedia. 2 Aug 2012. <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Methuselah>.