THE GREAT FLOOD AND NOAH'S ARK
Least popular of the books of Paradise Lost are the last two, where the angel Michael relates future events to Adam. Here Milton includes almost a complete summary of Genesis. After the preceding high drama, this lengthy section may seem anti-climactic. But Milton's mission was to show not only what precipitated man's fall, but also the consequences upon the world, both bad and good. The most famous and most effective of the stories incorporated here is that of Noah. In this story, Michael illustrates to Adam the tragic doom of a generation of his sinful offspring, but also inspires him with hope for a new beginning.

THE BIBLE: King James Version

Genesis VI

1 And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born unto them,
2 That the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose.
3 And the LORD said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years.
4 There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown.
5 And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.
6 And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart.
7 And the LORD said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them.
8 But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD.
9 These are the generations of Noah: Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God.
10 And Noah begat three sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth.
11 The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence.
12 And God looked upon the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth.
13 And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth.
14 Make thee an ark of gopher wood; rooms shalt thou make in the ark, and shalt pitch it within and without with pitch.
15 And this is the fashion which thou shalt make it of: The length of the ark shall be three hundred cubits, the breadth of it fifty cubits, and the height of it thirty cubits.
16 A window shalt thou make to the ark, and in a cubit shalt thou finish it above; and the door of the ark shalt thou set in the side thereof; with lower, second, and third stories shalt thou make it.
17 And, behold, I, even I, do bring a flood of waters upon the earth, to destroy all flesh, wherein is the breath of life, from under heaven; and every thing that is in the earth shall die.
18 But with thee will I establish my covenant; and thou shalt come into the ark, thou, and thy sons, and thy wife, and thy sons' wives with thee.
19 And of every living thing of all flesh, two of every sort shalt thou bring into the ark, to keep them alive with thee; they shall be male and female.
20 Of fowls after their kind, and of cattle after their kind, of every creeping thing of the earth after his kind, two of every sort shall come unto thee, to keep them alive.
21 And take thou unto thee of all food that is eaten, and thou shalt gather it to thee; and it shall be for food for thee, and for them.
22 Thus did Noah; according to all that God commanded him, so did he.

Genesis VII

1 And the LORD said unto Noah, Come thou and all thy house into the ark; for thee have I seen righteous before me in this generation.
2 Of every clean beast thou shalt take to thee by sevens, the male and his female: and of beasts that are not clean by two, the male and his female.
3 Of fowls also of the air by sevens, the male and the female; to keep seed alive upon the face of all the earth.
4 For yet seven days, and I will cause it to rain upon the earth forty days and forty nights; and every living substance that I have made will I destroy from off the face of the earth.
5 And Noah did according unto all that the LORD commanded him.
6 And Noah was six hundred years old when the flood of waters was upon the earth.
7 And Noah went in, and his sons, and his wife, and his sons' wives with him, into the ark, because of the waters of the flood.
8 Of clean beasts, and of beasts that are not clean, and of fowls, and of every thing that creepeth upon the earth,
9 There went in two and two unto Noah into the ark, the male and the female, as God had commanded Noah.
10 And it came to pass after seven days, that the waters of the flood were upon the earth.
11 In the six hundredth year of Noah's life, in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month, the same day were all the fountains of the great deep broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened.
12 And the rain was upon the earth forty days and forty nights.
13 In the selfsame day entered Noah, and Shem, and Ham, and Japheth, the sons of Noah, and Noah's wife, and the three wives of his sons with them, into the ark;
14 They, and every beast after his kind, and all the cattle after their kind, and every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind, and every fowl after his kind, every bird of every sort.
15 And they went in unto Noah into the ark, two and two of all flesh, wherein is the breath of life.
16 And they that went in, went in male and female of all flesh, as God had commanded him: and the LORD shut him in.
17 And the flood was forty days upon the earth; and the waters increased, and bare up the ark, and it was lift up above the earth.
18 And the waters prevailed, and were increased greatly upon the earth; and the ark went upon the face of the waters.
19 And the waters prevailed exceedingly upon the earth; and all the high hills, that were under the whole heaven, were covered.
20 Fifteen cubits upward did the waters prevail; and the mountains were covered.
21 And all flesh died that moved upon the earth, both of fowl, and of cattle, and of beast, and of every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth, and every man:
22 All in whose nostrils was the breath of life, of all that was in the dry land, died.
23 And every living substance was destroyed which was upon the face of the ground, both man, and cattle, and the creeping things, and the fowl of the heaven; and they were destroyed from the earth: and Noah only remained alive, and they that were with him in the ark.
24 And the waters prevailed upon the earth an hundred and fifty days.

Genesis VIII

1 And God remembered Noah, and every living thing, and all the cattle that was with him in the ark: and God made a wind to pass over the earth, and the waters asswaged;
2 The fountains also of the deep and the windows of heaven were stopped, and the rain from heaven was restrained;
3 And the waters returned from off the earth continually: and after the end of the hundred and fifty days the waters were abated.
4 And the ark rested in the seventh month, on the seventeenth day of the month, upon the mountains of Ararat.
5 And the waters decreased continually until the tenth month: in the tenth month, on the first day of the month, were the tops of the mountains seen.
6 And it came to pass at the end of forty days, that Noah opened the window of the ark which he had made:
7 And he sent forth a raven, which went forth to and fro, until the waters were dried up from off the earth.
8 Also he sent forth a dove from him, to see if the waters were abated from off the face of the ground;
9 But the dove found no rest for the sole of her foot, and she returned unto him into the ark, for the waters were on the face of the whole earth: then he put forth his hand, and took her, and pulled her in unto him into the ark.
10 And he stayed yet other seven days; and again he sent forth the dove out of the ark;
11 And the dove came in to him in the evening; and, lo, in her mouth was an olive leaf pluckt off: so Noah knew that the waters were abated from off the earth.
12 And he stayed yet other seven days; and sent forth the dove; which returned not again unto him any more.
13 And it came to pass in the six hundredth and first year, 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.
14 And in the second month, on the seven and twentieth day of the month, was the earth dried.
15 And God spake unto Noah, saying,
16 Go forth of the ark, thou, and thy wife, and thy sons, and thy sons' wives with thee.
17 Bring forth with thee every living thing that is with thee, of all flesh, both of fowl, and of cattle, and of every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth; that they may breed abundantly in the earth, and be fruitful, and multiply upon the earth.
18 And Noah went forth, and his sons, and his wife, and his sons' wives with him:
19 Every beast, every creeping thing, and every fowl, and whatsoever creepeth upon the earth, after their kinds, went forth out of the ark.
20 And Noah builded an altar unto the LORD; and took of every clean beast, and of every clean fowl, and offered burnt offerings on the altar.
21 And the LORD smelled a sweet savour; and the LORD said in his heart, I will not again curse the ground any more for man's sake; for the imagination of man's heart is evil from his youth; neither will I again smite any more every thing living, as I have done.
22 While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease.

Genesis IX

1 And God blessed Noah and his sons, and said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth.
2 And the fear of you and the dread of you shall be upon every beast of the earth, and upon every fowl of the air, upon all that moveth upon the earth, and upon all the fishes of the sea; into your hand are they delivered.
3 Every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you; even as the green herb have I given you all things.
4 But flesh with the life thereof, which is the blood thereof, shall ye not eat.
5 And surely your blood of your lives will I require; at the hand of every beast will I require it, and at the hand of man; at the hand of every man's brother will I require the life of man.
6 Whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man.
7 And you, be ye fruitful, and multiply; bring forth abundantly in the earth, and multiply therein.
8 And God spake unto Noah, and to his sons with him, saying,
9 And I, behold, I establish my covenant with you, and with your seed after you;
10 And with every living creature that is with you, of the fowl, of the cattle, and of every beast of the earth with you; from all that go out of the ark, to every beast of the earth.
11 And I will establish my covenant with you, neither shall all flesh be cut off any more by the waters of a flood; neither shall there any more be a flood to destroy the earth.
12 And God said, This is the token of the covenant which I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for perpetual generations:
13 I do set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of a covenant between me and the earth.
14 And it shall come to pass, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the bow shall be seen in the cloud:
15 And I will remember my covenant, which is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and the waters shall no more become a flood to destroy all flesh.
16 And the bow shall be in the cloud; and I will look upon it, that I may remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is upon the earth.
17 And God said unto Noah, This is the token of the covenant, which I have established between me and all flesh that is upon the earth.

THE BIBLE: Contemporary English Version

Genesis VI

The LORD Will Send a Flood

1-2 More and more people were born, until finally they spread all over the earth. Some of their daughters were so beautiful that supernatural beings came down and married the ones they wanted. 3 Then the LORD said, "I won't let my life-giving breath remain in anyone forever. No one will live for more than one hundred twenty years."

4 The children of the supernatural beings who had married these women became famous heroes and warriors. They were called Nephilim and lived on the earth at that time and even later.

5 The LORD saw how bad the people on earth were and that everything they thought and planned was evil. 6 He was very sorry that he had made them, 7 and he said, "I'll destroy every living creature on earth! I'll wipe out people, animals, birds, and reptiles. I'm sorry I ever made them."

8 But the LORD was pleased with Noah, 9 and this is the story about him. Noah was the only person who lived right and obeyed God. 10 He had three sons: Shem, Ham, and Japheth.

11-12 God knew that everyone was terribly cruel and violent. 13 So he told Noah: Cruelty and violence have spread everywhere. Now I'm going to destroy the whole earth and all its people. 14 Get some good lumber and build a boat. Put rooms in it and cover it with tar inside and out. 15 Make it four hundred fifty feet long, seventy-five feet wide, and forty-five feet high. 16 Build a roof on the boat and leave a space of about eighteen inches between the roof and the sides. Make the boat three stories high and put a door on one side.

17 I'm going to send a flood that will destroy everything that breathes! Nothing will be left alive. 18 But I solemnly promise that you, your wife, your sons, and your daughters-in-law will be kept safe in the boat.

19-20 Bring into the boat with you a male and a female of every kind of animal and bird, as well as a male and a female of every reptile. I don't want them to be destroyed. 21 Store up enough food both for yourself and for them.

22 Noah did everything the LORD told him to do.

Genesis VII

The Flood

The LORD told Noah: 1 Take your whole family with you into the boat, because you are the only one on this earth who pleases me. 2 Take seven pairs of every kind of animal that can be used for sacrifice and one pair of all others. 3 Also take seven pairs of every kind of bird with you. Do this so there will always be animals and birds on the earth. 4 Seven days from now I will send rain that will last for forty days and nights, and I will destroy all other living creatures I have made.

5-7 Noah was six hundred years old when he went into the boat to escape the flood, and he did everything the LORD had told him to do. His wife, his sons, and his daughters-in-law all went inside with him. 8-9 He obeyed God and took a male and a female of each kind of animal and bird into the boat with him. 10 Seven days later a flood began to cover the earth.

11-12 Noah was six hundred years old when the water under the earth started gushing out everywhere. The sky opened like windows, and rain poured down for forty days and nights. All this began on the seventeenth day of the second month of the year. 13 On that day Noah and his wife went into the boat with their three sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth, and their wives. 14 They took along every kind of animal, tame and wild, including the birds. 15 Noah took a male and a female of every living creature with him, 16 just as God had told him to do. And when they were all in the boat, God closed the door.

17-18 For forty days the rain poured down without stopping. And the water became deeper and deeper, until the boat started floating high above the ground. 19-20 Finally, the mighty flood was so deep that even the highest mountain peaks were almost twenty-five feet below the surface of the water. 21 Not a bird, animal, reptile, or human was left alive anywhere on earth. 22-23 The LORD destroyed everything that breathed. Nothing was left alive except Noah and the others in the boat. 24 A hundred fifty days later, the water started going down.

Genesis VIII

The Water Goes Down

1 God did not forget about Noah and the animals with him in the boat. So God made a wind blow, and the water started going down. 2 God stopped up the places where the water had been gushing out from under the earth. He also closed up the sky, and the rain stopped. 3 For one hundred fifty days the water slowly went down. 4 Then on the seventeenth day of the seventh month of the year, the boat came to rest somewhere in the Ararat mountains. 5 The water kept going down, and the mountain tops could be seen on the first day of the tenth month.

6-7 Forty days later Noah opened a window to send out a raven, but it kept flying around until the water had dried up. 8 Noah wanted to find out if the water had gone down, and he sent out a dove. 9 Deep water was still everywhere, and the dove could not find a place to land. So it flew back to the boat. Noah held out his hand and helped it back in.

10 Seven days later Noah sent the dove out again. 11 It returned in the evening, holding in its beak a green leaf from an olive tree. Noah knew that the water was finally going down. 12 He waited seven more days before sending the dove out again, and this time it did not return.

13 Noah was now six hundred one years old. And by the first day of that year, almost all the water had gone away. Noah made an opening in the roof of the boat and saw that the ground was getting dry. 14 By the twenty-seventh day of the second month, the earth was completely dry.

15 God said to Noah, 16 "You, your wife, your sons, and your daughters-in-law may now leave the boat. 17 Let out the birds, animals, and reptiles, so they can mate and live all over the earth." 18 After Noah and his family had gone out of the boat, 19 the living creatures left in groups of their own kind.

The LORD'S Promise for the Earth

20 Noah built an altar where he could offer sacrifices to the LORD. Then he offered on the altar one of each kind of animal and bird that could be used for a sacrifice. 21 The smell of the burning offering pleased God, and he said:

Never again will I punish the earth for the sinful things its people do. All of them have evil thoughts from the time they are young, but I will never destroy everything that breathes, as I did this time.

22 As long as the earth remains, there will be planting and harvest, cold and heat; winter and summer, day and night.

Genesis IX

God's Promise to Noah

1 God said to Noah and his sons:

I am giving you my blessing. Have a lot of children and grandchildren, so people will live everywhere on this earth. 2 All animals, birds, reptiles, and fish will be afraid of you. I have placed them under your control, 3 and I have given them to you for food. From now on, you may eat them, as well as the green plants that you have always eaten. 4 But life is in the blood, and you must not eat any meat that still has blood in it. 5-6 I created humans to be like me, and I will punish any animal or person that takes a human life. If an animal kills someone, that animal must die. And if a person takes the life of another, that person must be put to death.

7 I want you and your descendants to have many children, so people will live everywhere on earth.

8 Again, God said to Noah and his sons:

9 I am going to make a solemn promise to you and to everyone who will live after you. 10 This includes the birds and the animals that came out of the boat. 11 I promise every living creature that the earth and those living on it will never again be destroyed by a flood.

12-13 The rainbow that I have put in the sky will be my sign to you and to every living creature on earth. It will remind you that I will keep this promise forever. 14 When I send clouds over the earth, and a rainbow appears in the sky, 15 I will remember my promise to you and to all other living creatures. Never again will I let floodwaters destroy all life. 16 When I see the rainbow in the sky, I will always remember the promise that I have made to every living creature. 17 The rainbow will be the sign of that solemn promise.




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