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I want to know who helped Noah build the ark?





Dear Josefa,

The Book of Jasher (a medieval text that repeats Jewish traditions that have built up over the years around the stories in the books of Moses) says it took Noah 5 years (5:34) to build the ark (although Noah had been warning the people for 120 years). Nothing is mentioned of any assistance at that time, although it does say he received miraculous intervention to prevent the wicked masses from rushing the ark. The animals who stayed behind surrounded the boat and preserved it from the disobedient (6:25). So it’s not unreasonable to assume Noah had some assistance in building the ark.

Given its parallels to the story of The Little Red Hen, I like to think that Noah’s sons assisted with much of the work. “Who will follow the Lord?” asks the toiling Noah. “Not I,” says the vile chorus. But when the rain starts to fall, Noah turns to his family and asks “who wants to ride on my boat?”. The chorus suddenly change their tune. “I will ride,” they sing, edging their way to the ark. But it is too late. The door is shut, the waters burst forth, and their souls are unsaved. Although not expressly stated, I don’t see how Noah’s sons can be preserved without hearkening to his voice (including lifting a hammer to help).





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