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After the Flood.


"And God 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 altar."

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 is there.

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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