Archive | March, 2014


28 Mar


As told in extra-biblical writings


This coming Friday the story of Noah hits the big screen with a big cast-Russell Crowe (Noah), Anthony Hopkins (Methusaleh), Jennifer Connelly (Naameh), Emma Watson (Ila).  Having seen only trailers and read some reviews (which are mixed), commenting on the film is near impossible.  Nevertheless, the following I hope will help in deciphering some of the liberties I’m told exist in the retelling of the Flood narrative.  Although the film is framed by the Biblical account, it appears to be painted with a good dose of imagination, inaccuracy, and lots of Jewish mythology.  My hope is that Noah will serve as an entry point into discussion of what is revealed in Scripture—and the implications of the story to life in the 21st century.  I have listed my sources on the reverse—and as always, I urge you to read the material rather than just take my word.  Blessings.


We are not the first people attempting to grasp what took place in the antediluvian (pre-flood) world.  Even today there are ‘debates’ over the Biblical text and how we are to interpret them.  For instance, who are the Nephilim?  Some believe they are the offspring of the unnatural union between angels and women.  These angels, or Watchers, were originally sent to earth during the time of Jared, to help teach men various tasks and how to do what is just and good.  However, their desire for the daughters of men leads to their corruption.  They instead taught occult practices, sorcery, astrology, and ‘secrets of heaven.’  The Nephilim, akin to the giants of Greek mythology, stand five hundred feet tall and have insatiable appetites.  Eventually they consume all that the land can produce, and so begin to devour mankind and each other.  These giants too are said to have dreams and visions of their destruction by flood.

Others see the Nephilim as the offspring of two family lines—the Cainite line (descended from Cain and therefore ungodly), and the Sethite line (descended from Seth, and therefore godly).  As the ungodly mixed with the godly mankind became more and more corrupt and evil.  In just seven generations the Sethites’ zeal for righteousness turns to an equally zealous nature of ungodliness.  God, seeing the hopelessness of things, calls the archangels together and gives them instructions on how to deal with the Watchers and their offspring.

The Watchers, two hundred strong, are led by Semyaz (or Semyaza, Shemhaza), who urges them to join him in taking women for themselves.  One of his chiefs is Azazel, is also mentioned in Lev 16:8 as the scapegoat.  Azazel was culpable in teaching mankind the art of war, and the making of instruments of war—as well as makeup.  Other Watchers teach metallurgy, magical medicines, incantations, etc.  Raphael, one of the archangels was charged with Azazel’s capture and binding.  Other archangels are: Suru’el, Raguel, Michael, Gabriel, Saraqael, Uriel, Rufael, Zutu’el and Phanuel.  Of these, it is Michael, Surafel and Gabriel who upon witnessing the horror that earth has become, report back to the Most High.

The flood was not unexpected to those of mankind who were willing to listen.  God had revealed much to Enoch, who tried to warn both men and the Watchers, what would happen in the future should they continued in the way of unrighteousness.  Enoch would even intercede on behalf of Watchers.  Later, another angel was dispatched to Lamech, the father of Noah, warning him of an impending deluge.

At first, all was not well between Lamech and Noah.   The physical appearance of Noah at his birth born was so much unlike any other child, Lamech was certain that Noah was the product of his wife being impregnated by a Watcher or Nephilim.  Unsure of what to do, Lamech pleads with his father, Methuselah, to go to Enoch and seek advice.  Enoch tells Methuselah that there is a deluge coming, and that Noah and his family will be spared.  He also recalls a dream in which the sky is falling and the earth swallowed up in a great abyss.  Years later, Noah also seeks out Enoch, at which time terrible turbulences take place on earth.  Noah is told of his destiny, and when he returns home to his wife Emzara, angels have begun to work with wood from which the ark will be built.

Noah would attempt to tell others what he knew and would warn them of the dire consequences of unrighteousness.  When responses became more violent Noah grew concerned for the safety of his family, and so moved away from others.

According to Josephus, even Adam foresaw the coming apocalypse that would come as each successive generation of Seth became more corrupt than the one before.  Eve, who would die six days after Adam, instructed her family to record all that they had been told one two tablets—one of clay (to withstand fire) and one of stone (to withstand water).  Many years later a son of Arphaxad would, upon building a city, discover rocks upon which the Watchers too had recorded their teachings, and so corruption again began to spread.

After the flood Ham is displeased with Noah when he hears of the curse on his son, Canaan.  Ham and his family depart from Noah and build a city, which moves Japheth to envy.  He too then leaves.  Later the three sons gather and in Noah’s presence draw lots to divide the world.  Shem gets middle earth (neither hot nor cold – and not to be confused with The Hobbit), Japheth gets the north (cold), and Ham the south (hot).  Canaan however, covets a place in middle earth, and despite the displeasure of the brothers, settles in a land not his.

The above is by no means an exhaustive look at the story told in extra-biblical sources.  My hope and prayer is that Noah will cause others to investigate the Bible story, and through this hear God’s heart.  If you see the movie, do so with an open mind.  And, might I suggest, open your Bible before and after to compare what God has said through His Word.



The Life of Adam and Eve

The Book of Jubilees

The Book of the Secrets of Enoch

The Genesis Apocryphon

The Book of Giants

1 Enoch