Now that the creationists are demanding equal time for "Bible science" in the schools, particularly the "science" in Genesis, maybe we'll have to discuss such legends as the story of Noah's ark with all the seriousness they deserve.
"Don't ask me what it's for. The Lord told me to construct an arc."
The Bible tells us that Noah's ark was made of "gopher wood." Scholars aren't quite sure what kind of wood that was. Some suspect it is a mistranslation. Actually the truth is easy to guess. As the storm clouds were gathering, Noah and his sons were behind schedule in felling logs for its construction. Noah had to keep exhorting them, "Go 'fer wood!, Go 'fer wood!"
As the animals were being loaded onto the ark, Noah was heard to complain, "Now I herd everything." The animals boarded in pairs, since the singles' cruise hadn't been invented yet.
There wasn't much entertainment on this cruise. Noah couldn't even play cards, for an elephant was standing on the deck. He'd brought along some books to read, but the ark was so crowded that he had to read between the lions.
Noah had to be constantly alert to keep the animals from eating each other. He dared not say, "Let us pray," within hearing of the carnivores.
This story illustrates a problem common today. Noah spent 40 days and nights looking for a parking place, and then had to settle for one way in the boondocks.
When land was finally sighted, everyone was elated. The frogs were hoppy and the pigs went hog-wild. Naturally all of the occupants of the ark were eager to disembark, which raises the stupid question of who got off the boat first. You might suppose it was Noah, but that's not the case. The Bible clearly says: "Noah came forth..."
As the animals left the ark, Noah told them to go forth and multiply. After some while, Noah happened upon two snakes sunning themselves. "Why aren't you multiplying?" Noah asked. The snakes replied, "We can't, we're adders."
So Noah and his sons went into the nearby forest and felled some trees. They made a platform of logs onto which they placed the snakes. You see, even adders can multiply on a log table.
The story of Noah's ark has inspired much speculation, some of which might be described as ark-ane. The ark supposedly contained quite a few animals. While Gen 7:19 says "two of every sort," Gen 7:3 says that fourteen of each of the "clean" beasts were taken (seven pairs, male and female, of all beasts that are ritually clean...) Either way, that's a lot of animals to care for and feed, and also a lot of manure to shovel. [You have to, too, if you take this story seriously.] Remember, there were only eight humans aboard. Since Noah was 600 years old at the time of this trip (Gen 7:11) one wonders how much of the work he could do. His sons were about 100 years old, according to Gen 5:32. So who did all of the necessary work? Divine intervention might have been required. Ark-angels, perhaps?
Anyway, after the ordeal, it's no wonder that Noah went forth and got drunk (Gen 9:21.)
People sometimes like to pose trivia questions about the bible, such as "According to the bible, who was the first financier?" Answer: Noah, because he floated an entire company when the world was in a state of liquidation. [Pharoah's daughter was a close second, being the first person to draw a prophet from the banks of the nile.]
In the same category is the question: "Where is tennis mentioned in the bible?" Answer: "When Moses served in Phahroah's court."
This document was compiled from original obscure sources by Donald E. Simanek, who also drew the arc cartoon.Return to Donald Simanek's page.