Do you know what I saw? Wood!
Do you know what I he(a)rd? Sheep! Unknown
Genesis is a book of firsts. This has led some to surmise that the Great Flood in Noah’s day was the first time it had ever rained upon the earth. If this were true, then what was the purpose for the fleecy clouds that God created which meander through the heavens day in and day out and take on the appearance of sheep?
And what about the problem of being the first boat builder with no wood around because trees need moisture to grow? What does a boat float on, if that unknown something does not hitherto exist?
Placing aside for a moment the folly of ignorance that underlies such a mythical tale, let’s arrive at the point where Noah and the other seven members of his family find themselves situated on this very first boat with a great deal of water converging about them.
Noah remarks excitedly to his helpmate, “Today is my six-hundredth birthday!”
In a show of confidence a serenely tempered voice from beneath an opened umbrella, which could only belong to Mrs. Noah herself who is accustomed to life’s exigencies, asks, “How do you know, dear?”
Grinning sheepishly, Noah replies, “It has begun to rain!”
His wife already has a carefully prepared response for that one as well, “Did you check first with the calendar to be sure?”
Not wanting to be undone, Noah stammers, “Do you see these hands? Ten times sixty is six-hundred!”
Now it is the son’s turn to pose the question, “How old am I then?”
“You are ten times ten, one hundred, my son!”
This episode between Noah and his family members is meant to be humorous on my part. Here I have parodied Noah counting up the preceding years of his life to the flood on his hands in order to illustrate a problem encountered in the pre-historical accounting of the ancients.
In these genealogical lists there were typically ten individuals representing ten kings or dynasties. Each dynasty was given as one thousand years for a total of ten-thousand years. Nice, round numbers seem to be the norm in these lists. But in looking at the list of Noah’s ancestors each of their lifespans fall a bit short of the thousand years mark.
If Noah himself, the 10th generation from the creation, had died in the flood he would have been 400 years short of the thousand years. To add to the understated humor, God tells Noah at age 480 that he is reducing the human lifespan even further to the low number of 120 years for those now being born. Of course, this is related to the coming flood and its consequences to mankind. Despite this revelation Noah goes on to be 950, completing the list of 10, with all underage from the previous standard.
Examining the other writings of Moses, I find in the Exodus that the lifespan of man is only about 40 years, which would be taking into consideration a higher infant mortality and a shorter lifespan due to wars, diseases and hardships. If 40 years is the true maximum number of years of life expectancy for the ancients, then Noah has outlived this number by 15 times by age 600. Obviously, the truth is being stretched to impossible limits. There is no evidence that early man lived longer than us, or had better living conditions that extended one’s life beyond the ordinarily allocated three score and ten years that the Bible later says is the standard.
Here we encounter the crux of the problem. If Noah did not use his fingers for counting, then what calendar was being used in this age? How many days in a year did it contain? How many days were in a month? How many individual minutes and hours revolved around the clock within a single day?
If the numbers in the account of the Great Flood are found to be correct, then there were exactly 360 days in a year. This number is not based on a moon cycle of the lunar year, consisting of 354 days, or on a sun cycle of the solar year, being 365 days. Then where is this number coming from?
If the intuited shape of the earth is assumed to be a round object in space, just as the sun and the moon are seen to be from the earth, then the number of degrees is 360. Giving a day to each degree equals 360 days.
In relative terms, Shem is one-sixth the age of his father who is six times older than his son. Inside a circle the ratio of Noah’s age to his son’s would be 360 degrees to 60, with the circle representing the entire span of their lives.
Within this circle of life, there is a certain safeguard of knowledge. Time is never lost track of in going around in a circle, over and over again, which can be counted up and compared for exactness from year to year.
The keeping of Time (“Zeman” in Hebrew) had begun on the earth.
I’m speaking of mythological time here because there are actually 365.25 days in a year, and this number was known long before Moses. What Moses was doing is negating the five extra days of the Egyptian calendar that were used to celebrate the five gods that come after the calendar year of 360 days of 30 days per month and 10 days per week. Since there are no gods but the one God, so the five days dedicated to the gods are non-existent also. Another piece of sly humor used by Moses. The 360 day year is a metaphysical conceit. This is comic literature of an obdurant type!