Prologue to Genesis

The Unauthorized Version

Genesis 6

Now it happened that when the adam polluted the face of the land, daughters were born to them. The Sons of Elohim saw they were pleasing, so they acquired any woman that they chose. Then Yahweh said, “My winds shall not direct the adam forever. They are wandering flesh and their days shall be 120 years.

The giants walked the earth in those days – and later – when the Sons of Elohim raped the daughters of adam. Their children were the heroes of old.

Yahweh saw that the suffering of the adam was intense and regretted ever creating the adam from the adamah [earth]. Pain was carved into his heart, so Yahweh said, “I will wipe the adam from the face of the adamah – and not just the adam, but the cattle, the birds, and all the creeping things. Maybe then I can ease my regret.”

But Noah stood out for protection in the tear-streaked eye of Yahweh.

These are the generations of Noah, a man of justice with integrity, who walked with the Elohim.

Noah had three sons: Shem, Ham, and Japheth.

Now the land was decaying before the face of the Elohim and was full to the brim of violence, since all flesh had wandered into corruption.

Elohim said to Noah, “The end of all flesh is coming, for the face of the land is full of violence. All will be destroyed. Make yourself an ark with rooms from gofer wood and cover the inside and outside with tar. Make it 300 cubits, by 50 cubits, by 30 cubits. Include a roof with a window and finish it one cubit above the rest. Make lower, middle and upper decks, and put a door in the side. I am sending a great flood on the land to destroy all flesh that have the breath of life. Everything that is under the heavens, everything on the land, shall breath out their final time.”

“But I will make a covenant with you. You shall enter the ark; you, your sons, your wife, and your sons’ wives. And from all living flesh you shall bring two – a male and a female – in with you. Of birds, of cattle, and of every creeping thing; from their species bring two to live. And bring food that you can eat.”

So Noah did everything Elohim told him to do.

Translation notes

– I liked the Hebrew allusion of the ‘eye’ of Yahweh, with its semantic association to ‘fountain’. In the context of an incoming flood, that resonance seemed meaningful, so I reframed it in the light of Yahweh’s intense pain, as a ‘tear-streaked’ eye.

– The breath/spirit of Yahweh involves unclear Hebrew – does it refuse to ‘live with’, ‘struggle’, offer ‘justice’ to the adam? There are nautical allusions to the term, which resonate to me with the theme of the Noah story, as well as with Yahweh’s role as a storm god. I therefore make a connection between ‘the winds’ of Yahweh that won’t ‘direct’ the adam, and their ‘wandering’ flesh. This also picks up on the ‘wandering’ of Cain as does its relation to violence and the decay of the land.

– The Son’s of Elohim are clearly raping the daughters of adam. It seemed more appropriate to call a spade a spade.

– Most translations make the reason for the flood the wickedness or evil of the adam. I am not sure this is clear – and it seems to me that in the context of the story so far, ‘suffering’ is a better context for Yahweh’s pain.

– In this chapter ‘Elohim’ is not used as a proper name in the same way it was in Chapter 1, but is instead ‘ha’elohim’ which I have therefore translated ‘the Elohim’.

Prologue to Genesis

The Unauthorized Version