remembered Noah — The fountains also of the deep and the windows of heaven were
stopped, and the rain from heaven was restrained. And the ark rested…upon the
mountains of Ararat"
For us, Russians, it is so delightful to pause on these
lines, in which for the first time on the pages of the Bible is mentioned the
area, which further on was destined to be a part of the Russian state.
This is an important in other aspects region.
Here, further on appeared the powerful state, which the Bible calls the land of
Ararat (4 Kings 19:37, Ex. 7:38, Jer. 51:27), and contemporary science — the
state of Urartu. This state did a great service to mankind in the field of
culture: here for the first time in the 11-12th centuries BC was
discovered the way of receiving iron out of ore, and there began the Iron Age,
the mass production of the objects, made of iron. [Till that time mankind used only rare
meteorite, chemically more or less clean iron, and for the ancient Babylonians
and Egyptians iron was more precious than gold].
The state of Urartu fulfilled another, more
spiritual service. With the appearance and wide expansion of the militant
Assyrian kingdom, Urartu took the strongest blows of the Assyrians onto itself,
and it turned out to be the only one from the adjacent to Assyria states, which
did not submit to the cruel conquerors. During the number of ages Urartu fought
with Assyria, through that diverting attention and powers of this predatory
state onto itself and with that saving other nations from the terrible Assyrian
slavery. Does not it remind us of that role, which many-many centuries later
played our Russia, saving the Christian world from the Asiatic conquerors?
Thus, we can say, and it will be well-founded,
that the Ararat land is blessed.
"And it came to pass at the end of forty
days, that Noah opened the window of the ark… Also he sent forth a dove from
him… But the dove found no rest for the sole of her foot… And he stayed yet
other seven days; and again he sent forth the dove out of the ark; And the dove
came in to him in the evening; and, lo, in her mouth was an olive leaf plucked
off: so Noah knew that the waters were abated from off the earth."
Since that time the image of a dove with an olive
leaf in the mouth became the symbol of the Divine goodness and peace with God.
We may guess that the Holy Spirit, appearing at
the Baptism of the Lord Jesus Christ "as a dove," by that reminded
people about the hour of the Divine mercy after the Flood. Alike, outwardly
differently, but inwardly similarly, in both the cases the Lord "drowns
the sin in water" and in both the events appears a dove.
And we feel as a very painful blasphemy that
nowadays this holy symbol became the symbol of the disgusting caricature of
peace, the symbol of mendacious propaganda of the enemies of God.
"In the first month, the first day of the
month, the waters were dried up from off the earth: and Noah removed the
covering of the ark, and looked, and, behold, the face of the ground was dry…
And Noah builded an altar unto the LORD; and offered burnt offerings on the
On the blessed land of Ararat this first offering
of mankind was brought for God, after the punishing anger there arrived an hour
of mercy and Divine blessing.
It is interested to compare this short description
of the Bible of the offering of Noah after the Flood with the description,
which is though the closest to the Biblical, but still is a heathen narration
about the same event in the Babylonian myth.
Babylonian Noah — Utnapishtim tells: [The modern semantologists bring both the
names to one: Napishtim and Noepishtim, which means "The savior of
Life," Noah-Noe is simply "a savior"]:
"When the seventh
day came, I took the dove out and set him free, the dove flew away, flew in
circles, there was no land, and he came back… I took a craw out and set him
free, the craw flew and saw the water to dry. He ate, cawed and did not come
back. I went into the four winds, and made an offering, I burnt the incense on
the pick of a mountain. I set seven and seven censers and put under them reed,
cedar branches and brushwood. The gods felt the odor; they felt the
sweet-smell, the gods as flies gathered above the altar… "
We would not pause on the repulsive image of gods,
as flies, gathering above the altar. We understand that the Babylonians did not
imagine their gods as flies, as we do not imagine the Holy Spirit as a dove.
These are the images. But what an attractive image it is, and how repulsive it
In the very description of the offering of
Utnapishtim our attention is drawn by the difference with the Biblical story.
How many unnecessary details we see in the Babylonian story. They do not exist
in the Biblical narration. Maybe, historically it was that way, bas Utnapishtim
tells: he put the reed, cedar branches and brushwood. But all these details do
not serve to the aim of the Bible to foster human souls. Due to this example we
can see how under the guidance of the Holy Spirit the hand of Moses,
reproducing the history of mankind, cleansed the ancient legends, eliminating
from them everything secondary and superfluous. When it is necessary, even for
the limited translation of a story, the Bible can give in its narrative the
smallest details, as for example, further on, while describing the rules of the
Old Testament offering.
Out of this example it is clearly seen what we
mean when we say that in the Bible it is not allowed to search anything, not
concerning its aims: neither natural-scientific, nor geographical or ethnographical
details, if they are superfluous.
In the same example of two, in their natural
origin close narrations (let us remember that Abraham, an antecedent of Moses
and the whole Chosen nation, originated from Ur of the Chaldees, i.e. Babylon)
we see the difference between the narration, which passed through the crucible
of the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, and the narration, which is purely
human, i.e. physical. We clearly see their similarity and difference.
"And the LORD said in his heart, I will
not again curse the ground any more for man's sake… While the earth remaineth,
seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and
night shall not cease."
Footnote: The City of Ur (contemporary Muge Yir),
judging on the remaining in it inscriptions, was a port, which led vast sea
trade, but, by the way, noe this city is located more than in 70 km from the
shore of the Persian Gulf. In the same time, it is known that Tiger and
Euphrates flow into the gulf through separate river-beds, and now they join it
through one common bed, artificially formed upon the soft, silty soil through
stratification. The process of stratification goes for one English mile in 66
years, because of what the country evidently expands thanks to the Persian
Gulf. If Egypt, on the expression of Herodotus, is the gift of the Nile, then
Babylon is the similar gift of Tiger and Euphrates. On the fat, silty soil rich
vegetation was developed, what made Babylon a synonym of amazing fruitfulness
in antiquity. Herodotus, describing this country, considers it necessary to
remark, that he refrains from such a depiction of its fruitfulness from the
misgiving to arise distrust in a reader. A date palm-tree gave the
inexhaustible supply of national provisions.
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