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Old Testament Notes


            Noah, a righteous man of ancient Israel, had three sons Shem, Ham, and Japheth. God, outraged with immoral behavior of humans, made a decision to get rid of them. But among the sinners there was "a righteous man, blameless in his generation" (Gen. 6:9). So He ordered Noah to build an ark and take on it the family and seven pairs of ritually cleaned animals, a pair of each unclean animal, and seven pairs of each type of bird. After that the great Flood started, which went on for 150 days and annihilated the sinful progeny of Adam and Eve. Then He stopped the rains. It took another 150 days for the water level to drop low enough to let the ark to rest on the mountain of Ararat. Another 40 days Noah 's family did not leave the ark, testing the situation: first they sent out a dove, which returned because it did not find a dry place to land; a week later the dove returned with a fresh olive leaf in its beak, which indicated that land started to dry; another week passed and that time the dove did not return, because "the face of the ground was dry" (Genesis 8-13). The survivors left the ark and Noah built an altar and prayed, and offered sacrifices of clean animals to God.
See: Bosch Noah's Ark on Mount Ararat.
Feodor Bruni Flood.
Michelangelo The Sacrifice of Noah. The Flood.
Millais The Return of the Dove to the Ark.
Nicolas Poussin Winter. The Deluge.
Paolo Uccello. The Deluge.
Another episode with Noah, which is also used in fine art, takes place after the Flood. Noah discovered the process of making wine, and once got drunk and fell fast asleep. He lay naked in his tent when his son Ham saw him and invited other brothers to laugh. More respectful Shem and Japheth walked backward into their father's tent and covered him with a cloth.  In punishment for the insult to himself Noah cursed his son Ham with the words: "A slave of slaves shall he be to his brothers" (Genesis 9:25).
See: Giovanni Bellini. Drunken Noah.
Michelangelo The Drunkenness of Noah.

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