The nations prepare for war against Babylon (Jer 51:27-51:28)

“Raise a standard

In the land!

Blow the trumpet

Among the nations!

Prepare the nations

For war

Against her!

Summon

Against her

The kingdoms,

Of Ararat,

Of Minni,

Of Ashkenaz!

Appoint a marshal

Against her!

Bring up horses

Like bristling locusts!

Prepare the nations

For war

Against her!

The kings

Of the Medes,

With their governors,

Their deputies,

With every land

Under their dominion

Shall come!”

Yahweh via Jeremiah wants to call various nations to fight against Babylon. The standard and the trumpet of war should sound to prepare nations to attack her. In particular 3 countries are named. Ararat was considered the place where Noah’s ark landed in Genesis, chapter 8. The assumption is that this mountain was in southern Turkey, what today is in Kurdish land, near the Russian and Iranian borders. Minni may be a reference to the Mannaeans who lived in what is now northwestern Iran or Armenia. Ashkenaz was a son of Noah and a land around Asia Minor near Armenia. Jewish people from the Rhineland area were called Ashkenazi, and this term was later adapted for all eastern European Jews. These countries would have joined with the Persians to attack Babylon. They would have so many horses that they would seem like swarms of locusts. Joining them would be the kings of Medes with all their officials and deputies, plus all the people from the land that they dominated. These were the ancient Persian people in what is now northwestern Iran. There was no specific mention of the Persians here.

The flood (Gen 7:10-7:24)

“And after seven days the waters of the flood came on the earth. In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, on the seventeenth day of the month, on that day all the fountains of the great deep burst forth and the windows of the heavens were opened.  The rain fell upon the earth forty days and forty nights.  On the very same day Noah and his sons, Shem and Ham and Japheth, and Noah’s wife and the three wives of his sons with them entered the ark, they and every animal of every kind, and all the domestic animals of every kind, and every creeping thing that creeps on the earth, and every bird of every kind, every bird, every winged creature.  They went into the ark with Noah, two and two of all flesh in which there was the breath of life.  And those that entered, male and female of all flesh, went in as God had commanded him. And Yahweh shut him in.”

On the 17th day of the second month the mythic flood began as the fountains burst with rain for forty days and nights. This was a crowded ship even though there is no indication of any children of the three sons.  The heavens opened with rain.

 “The flood continued forty days on the earth.  The waters increased, and bore up the ark, and it rose high above the earth.  The waters swelled and increased greatly on the earth.  The ark floated on the face of the waters. The waters swelled so mightily upon the earth that all the high mountains under the whole heaven were covered.  The waters swelled above the mountains, covering them fifteen cubits deep.  And all flesh died that moved on the earth, birds, domestic animals, wild animals, all swarming creatures that swarm on the earth, and all human beings.  Everything on dry land in whose nostrils was the breath of life died.  He blotted out every living thing that was on the face of the ground, human beings and animals and creeping things and birds of the air.  They were blotted out from the earth. Only Noah was left, and those that were with him in the ark.  And the waters swelled on the earth for one hundred and fifty days.”

God destroyed all these humans and all breathing animals because they were evil, something that becomes a metaphor of things to come. During the forty days, the ark floated over the mountains.  Everything not in the ark died.  Only those on the ark with Noah were saved.  The waters continued to swell for 150 days, after the 40 day deluge.

Preparations for the flood (Gen 6:13-7:9)

“And God said to Noah, ‘I have determined to make an end of all flesh.  The earth is filled with violence because of them.  Now I am going to destroy them along with the earth.  Make yourself an ark of cypress wood. Make rooms in the ark, and cover it inside and out with pitch.  This is how you are to make it: the length of the ark three hundred cubits, its width fifty cubits, and its height thirty cubits.  Make a roof for the ark, and finish it to a cubit above. Put the door of the ark in its side.  Make it with lower, second, and third decks.’”

Noah was told how to make a big triple deck ark of cypress with pitch all over it, 450 feet long (300 cubits), 75 feet wide (50 cubits) , and 45 feet high (30 cubits).  By today’s standards, it was a small river cruise ship.

“’For my part, I am going to bring a flood of waters on the earth, to destroy from under heaven all flesh in which is the breath of life.  Everything that is on the earth shall die.  But I will establish my covenant with you.  And you shall come into the ark, you, your sons, your wife, and your sons’ wives with you.  And of every living thing of all flesh, you shall bring two of every kind into the ark, to keep them alive with you.  They shall be male and female.  Of the birds according to their kinds, and of the animals according to their kinds, of every creeping thing of the ground according to its kind, two of every kind shall come in to you, to keep them alive.  Also take with you every kind of food that is eaten, and store it up.  It shall serve as food for you and for them.’  Noah did this.  He did all that God commanded him.”

God said that he was going to send a big flood and destroy everything except for whatever would be in this ark.  Everything on the earth would die. Now there would be a new covenant with Noah and his three sons and their families. Yahweh told Noah to get two of every living thing, a male and female, birds, animals, and creeping things, and put them into the ark.  The division of living things is always the same, domestic and wild animals, birds, and creeping things.  This ‘creeping things’ seems strange but appears over and over again.  There was no word about fish since they could survive in the water.  Noah also took food and did as the God asked him to do.

“Then Yahweh said to Noah, ‘Go into the ark, you and your entire household, for I have seen that you alone are righteous before me in this generation.  Take with you seven pairs of all clean animals, the male and its mate.  Take with you a pair of the animals that are not clean, the male and its mate.  Take with you seven pairs of the birds of the air also, male and female, to keep their kind alive on the face of all the earth.  For in seven days I will send rain on the earth for forty days and forty nights.  Every living thing that I have made I will blot out from the face of the ground.’  And Noah did all that Yahweh had commanded him.”

God told Noah to take seven pairs of all clean animals, instead of just one pair of the other unclean animals.  In fact, this is the priestly tradition story with the emphasis on clean and unclean animals that was never mentioned until here. Of course the clean and unclean animals are part of the later Mosaic Law.  In seven days God said that the forty day rain would begin.

“Noah was six hundred years old when the flood of waters came on the earth.  And Noah and his sons and his wife and his sons’ wives went into the ark, to escape the waters of the flood.  Of clean animals, and of animals that are not clean, and of birds, and of everything that creeps on the ground, two and two, male and female, went into the ark with Noah, as God had commanded Noah.” 

So in seven days, Noah, the 600 year old, got the families of his three sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth, and all the animals, birds, and creeping things into the ark as God had told him to do.