Another Hebrew Flood Story
20 February, 2008
El, the High God, was upset. He was strolling along with Noah, a most virtuous man, and saw that the world had become corrupted. It wasn’t clear what has caused this corruption but nonetheless El decided to destroy all of the living things since it had worked so well for some of the other Gods. He did have a thing for the unblemished Noah though, and thought he would spare this mortal. El gave Noah detailed instructions on how to build the Ark, how many cubits in length it should be (300), what wood to make it out of (gopher wood), how many people to bring (himself, his wife, his sons and their wives), how many animals to bring (two of each, male and female), how much food to bring (enough for everyone for an unspecified time), how many bathrooms to have (none, like the starship Enterprise), how much to charge at the breakfast bar (50 shekels, it’s a seller’s market), what colour to paint it (light blue) and how much to pay the contractors who did all the work (it didn’t matter, they’d all be dead soon enough).
All the animals and birds came, two by two, into the Ark. Seven days later El split open the fountains of the Deep, and opened the doors in the sky, and the waters flooded in. For forty days and forty nights it rained, and the waters grew strong. All the people and animals and birds died in the flood. After a hundred and fifty days El wondered why it was so quiet and suddenly remembered his favourite Noah. El ate some fibrous nourishment and then passed a wind over the Earth so that the waters decreased. He closed the fountains of the Deep and the trapdoors in the sky. Five months after the start of the destruction the Ark came to rest on the mountains of Ararat. The water kept receding, and three months later the tops of the mountains appeared. Noah let a raven go and it went back and forth until the water dried up. Nevermore would the raven return to Noah. Finally, a year after the start of the flood, the Earth was again dry and El told Noah to leave the Ark, since Noah couldn’t do anything without El’s say so, even though he knew it was safe from the whole raven incident a few months before.
The bewildered animals, birds and humans stepped out onto this newly devastated world and gave thanks to El for not killing every living thing. El said to Noah, “Be fruitful and multiply. I give you dominion over all living things, you can eat what you want as long as you don’t eat the blood. Oh, and if any human kills any other human then they shall be put to death since they killed something in my image. Let’s see, what else…”
“Oh mighty El, ” inquired Noah, “how can we be sure that you wont try to kill us all again with another flood? Or if you don’t, what about another of the Gods, because I’ve heard a lot of stories about how this sort of thing keeps happening.”
“Tell you what little favoured mortal, I shall establish a covenant with you and with all the creatures of the earth. I will put my rainbow in the clouds and whenever I, or anyone else, tries to flood the world we shall see the rainbow, and it will remind us of you and your campy ways. Thus we shall never again try to flood the world. It’s useful to have little reminders like that I find.”
And so the might El, king of all the Gods, finally managed to stop everyone from trying to flood the entire Earth.
Based on the P account contained in Genesis