1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Noah
NOAH (ni, rest; Septuagint, New Testament, Philo, Josephus, No'5e, Nriixos, Nobeos: Vulg. Noé). According to Gen. V.-x. the tenth patriarch in direct descent from Adam, counting Adam as the first; the son of Lamech; the father of Shem, Ham and Japheth; and the builder of the Ark, in which he and his family, &c. &c., were saved from a. universal flood (see DELUGE). After the flood subsided God made a. covenant with Noah permitting the use of animal food, on condition that the flesh is not eaten with the blood; and forbidding homicide (ix. 1-7, cf. i. 29 f., both P.). Noah was the first to cultivate the vine and to experience the consequences of over-indulgence in its products, an occasion which called forth the filial respect of two of his sons and the irreverence of the third. Through his sons he became the ancestor of the whole human race. The name is mentioned in the genealogy in 1 Chron. i. 4; the “waters of Noah” occur in Isaiah liv. 9; and Noah is mentioned with Daniel and Job as an ancient worthy in Ezek. xiv. 14, zo. The story is referred to in the New Testament in Matt. xxiv. 37 f.; Luke iii. 36, xvii. 26 f.; Heb. xi. 7; 1 Pet. iii. 20; 2 Pet. 5. The name Noah is explained in Gen. V. 29 as connected with the root nhm “comfort,” but this is etymologically impossible. As a Hebrew word it might connect with miah, “ rest ”; and the Septuagint has, “he will give us rest,” instead of “he will comfort us”; and this is sometimes accepted as the original reading.
As the tenth patriarch Noah corresponds to the tenth prehistoric Babylonian king, Xisuthros in Berossus, Ut-napistim or Atrahasis in the cuneiform tablets, the hero of the Babylonian flood story.
Gen. ix. 20-27 is a distinct episode, and has no necessary connexion with the narrative of the Deluge. Probably, as Gunkel, Dillmann and others suggest, it came originally from a cycle of stories different from that which contained the account of the Flood. There are some apparent inconsistencies. Noah is called “ the husbandman.” The proper rendering of verse 20 is “and Noah, the husbandman, was the first to plant a. vineyard,” the E.V.: “And Noah began to be an husbandman, and he planted a vineyard,” is incorrect. It seems, therefore, that in the original context Noah had been described as “the husbandman,” a title in no way suggested by Gen. vi. 9-ix. 19. Moreover, even after making allowance for lack of experience as to the effect of the new product, drunkenness and exposure hardly tally with the statement that “Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God,” vi. 9. This indeed comes from the late Priestly Code; but we are also told in the earlier story that “ Noah found favour in the eyes of the Lord, ” vi. 8. The name also occurs in the Bible (nigi, Nové., N oa) for the daughter of Zelophehad, of the tribe of Manasseh. Zelophehad having only daughters, the case is made the occasion of laying down the law that where there are no sons daughters inherit, but must marry within their own tribe (Num. xxvi. 33, xxvii. 1, xxxvi. II; ]osh. xvii. 3, all Priestly Code).