The Wife of Noah and Canaan.
by Alexander Zephyr

Part Two in the Series:
Post-Flood Rehabilitation.           
by Alexander Zephyr


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The Wife of Noah and Canaan.

Part Two of:
Post-Flood Rehabilitation.
 by Alexander Zephyr

There are some interesting opinions of the Sages concerning the Noah’s wife. In the book Sefer Yasher (Hebrew for ‘Account of the Upright’) and in the Midrash Bereshit Rabba 23:3 says that Na’amah, the sister of Tubalcain (Genesis 4:22), was the wife of Noah. The Bible does not confirm that.
Nachmanides asked:
"Why mention a name, if we do not know who it is?"
The name Na’amah means ‘the pleasant one’, ‘fair and beautiful’. No wonder that the Greek and Arab writers later compare her beauty with Venus and Minerva. The Targum of Jonathan ben Uzziel portrays her as a composer of funeral songs and lamentations. Some scholars picture her as an upright and chaste woman; the others say that she was a source of all evil spirits in this World. There are speculations that Na’amah was the lover of Ham. She was with him in the ark during the time of the Flood and led him into adultery.

It is obvious that her name was mentioned not only on account of her personal charms. Every word and especially the mention of her name in Scripture has its purpose and significance.

While it is clear that Shem, Ham and Japheth, the sons of Noah, were spared because of the righteousness of their father and as direct descendants of his seed in the same manner as the daughters of Lot were saved at Sodom and Gomorrah; Na’amah, being from the family of Cain, and otherwise predestined to be destroyed by the Almighty, was saved from the Flood due to her own righteousness and merit. She became the second Mother of the Human race after Eve. This principle is very well confirmed by the Bible:

“As surely as I live, says the Sovereign LORD, even if Noah, Daniel, and Job were there, they would not be able to save their own sons or daughters. They alone would be saved by their righteousness” (Ezekiel 14:20).

Because Na’amah was from the seed of Cain, her name as the wife of Noah was not revealed in Scripture as were the names of Eve or Sarah, the wives of Adam and Abraham. But her redemption is the proof that not all the seed of Cain perished in the Flood. Believe it or not, we are the descendants of this woman whose name was mysteriously honored in Genesis 4:22. Nevertheless, this mixing of the bloodlines between the seeds of Seth and Cain was later on reflected in rebellion at the Tower of Babel; the evil sins of Sodom and Gomorrah; the sworn enmity among Ishmael and Isaac, Esau and Israel (here lies an explanation of the two different enemy-nations in the belly of Rebekah); and forceful Exiles of the Tribes of Israel to the lands of their enemies. Consequences of this ‘unholy’ union have been manifested in our ungodly, highly corrupted, unjust, and violently evil World.

Noah was five hundred years old, and before the devastating Flood he begat three sons: Shem, Ham, and Japheth, from whom all the earth was repopulated. It is worth mentioning that the all predecessors of Noah begat their children at the age of 65, 70, 80, 90 or so, way before the age of 500. The Sages explained that all the children of one hundred years and older would have perished in the Flood.

[Rabbinical tradition says that in the eyes of Heaven (as distinct from civil authorities) in some respects a person is not entirely culpable for sins committed before the age of twenty. A tradition says that prior to the Deluge, the cutting-off age was a hundred, ed.]

The sons of Noah were born shortly before the Flood (less than one hundred years). God made it this way to prevent tragedy and sadness for the righteous Noah who did not deserve such a punishment. It was not said of Noah that ‘he begat sons and daughters’ as it was said of everyone else in the genealogical line from Adam to Lamech, his father. The Scripture says that Noah had only three sons who became the progenitors of the whole Earth:

“These three were the sons of Noah, and from these the whole earth was populated” (Genesis 9:19; 10:32).

We confidently can regard Noah as the second (after Adam) father of the Mankind. There is no certainty who is the oldest son amongst three. When Scripture speaks of Noah’ sons, Shem is placed first in the list, then follow Ham and Japheth (Genesis 5:32; 9:18; 10:1). It would seem, that the oldest of the three here is Shem (Genesis 10:21). The youngest son of Noah would be Ham. (Genesis 9:24). When Scripture speaks of genealogy, the order of their names is drastically changed in reverse, placing Japheth at head of the list, as if he was the first born of Noah: Japheth, Ham and Shem (Genesis 10:2, 6, 21)

In an ancient Jewish work of the second century B.C., called the Book of Jubilees or the Lesser Genesis (Leptogenesis), more light is shed on the order of birth of these three main progenitors, descendants of Noah: Shem is the oldest; he was born in the year 1205 after the Creation. The second is Ham, born in 1209. The youngest is Japheth, born in 1211 (Book of Jubilees 4:33).


See Also:
Who Were the Sons of God? Two Opinions
by Alexander Zephyr.
List of Articles by Alexander Zephyr.

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