Monday, January 24, 2011

Genesis Retold: Part Two

Read Part One.

Based on the New Revised Standard Version of the Holy Bible.

Chapter Four

The man had called himself Adam, or "Earth," because he was a man of the earth, and he called his wife Eve, or "Life," because she was going to give life to all of their offspring. Eve gave birth to two boys: Cain was a tiller of the ground and Abel was a keeper of sheep. While Abel managed to make a great offering of food to his family with his sheep, Cain's offerings were not as well regarded. Because of this, Cain became very angry with his brother.

Though Cain tried to reason within himself that he needed to take control of his anger, the anger overtook his reason and he said to his brother Abel, "Let us go out to the field." And when they were in the field, Cain rose up and killed his brother Abel. In his mind, Cain knew that people would wonder where Abel was, but Cain had an answer prepared: "I do not know. Am I my brother's keeper?"

But Cain's guilt overtook him; the guilt was so strong that Cain imagined he heard Abel's blood crying from the ground. Cain could no longer imagine himself tilling the same ground on which he killed his own brother, thinking that it might not even produce food for him, so he decided to leave home. But Cain was afraid that someone would kill him while he was wandering abroad, so he put a mark on himself to frighten others away. The mark suggested that whoever killed Cain would be avenged seven times over. So Cain left toward the east and settled in the land he called Nod, which meant "Wandering."

Cain found a wife among other groups of people and they had a son named Enoch. And Cain built a city, which he named after his son. Enoch had a son named Irad who had Mehujael who had Methushael who had Lamech.

Lamech had two wives, Adah and Zillah. Adah gave birth to Jabel, who taught his offspring to live in tents and raise livestock. She also gave birth to Jubal, who taught his offspring to play the lyre and the pipe. The other wife, Zillah, gave birth to Tubal-cain, who made all varieties of bronze and iron tools. Zillah also gave birth to a daughter, Naamah.

One day, Lamech told his wives, "I have killed a young man for striking and wounding me. If Cain is avenged seven times over, then I am to be avenged seventy times over."

Chapter Five

Meanwhile, Adam and Eve had a third son who she called Seth, which means "Appointed," because Eve had said, "Since Cain killed Abel, this child is appointed for me." Seth had a son named Enosh who had Kenan who had Mahalalel who had Jared who had Enoch (who died young) who had Methuselah who had Lamech who had Noah. Lamech felt that Noah would be of the generation of people who would find relief from years of working the unyielding ground, so he named him a name that meant "Relief." Noah also had sons: Shem, Ham, and Japheth.

Chapter Six

During this time, as the population of the earth increased, many felt that times had been different before. People seemed to live longer and men were like giants on the earth, heroes and warriors of renown, as if they had not been born of mere mortals. But then people began noticing that humankind was wicked, with their hearts fixed on violence continually. So when natural disasters occurred on the earth, many felt that it would be better if the disasters simply killed everything: people and animals and birds. But Noah was more optimistic.

Noah also was able to read and predict weather conditions, and he predicted the coming of a large flood. So Noah made a large wooden boat, complete with rooms spread out among three levels, covered inside and out with pitch. He made it as large as he could, so that he could fit himself, his sons, and their wives. He also wanted to save as many of his animals as he could, making sure to save both male and female. He even planned on rescuing birds. Noah stored food in the boat and was ready for the flood.

Chapter Seven

A little before the flood came, Noah and his family entered the ark, along with as many animals and birds as he could fit. On the day the flood came, it felt as if the fountains of the chaotic waters burst forth, as if there were windows in heaven that opened up. It rained for many days and flooded the area, as Noah had predicted. While many living creatures -- birds, domestic animals, wild animals, swarming creatures -- and many human beings died, Noah's boat floated on the water and he and his family and the animals he saved were protected against the flood.

Chapter Eight

After the flood subsided and the waters began to recede, Noah opened a window of the boat and found himself atop a large hill. To test how far the flood waters had gone down, Noah sent a raven out of the window, which could only go to and fro. Next he sent a dove, but the dove could not find a place to land, so it returned to the boat where Noah put out his hand and took it and brought it into the boat with him. The next day, he sent the dove again and the dove came back to him in the evening with a freshly-plucked olive leaf in his beak. So Noah knew that the waters were subsiding. When he sent out the dove again the next day, the dove did not return, so Noah and his family left the boat to find dry land.

Noah immediately made a fire, killed an animal, and cooked a feast of meat for his family, because they had been living off of stored food for several days. As he smelled the pleasing odor, Noah said to himself, "Although the human heart is evil from youth, no one deserves to die in a flood like this, and I hope this never happens again."

No comments: