August 11, 2015

Noah and an ark of reeds

I DON’T RECALL having heard anything said about plants on Noah’s Ark. Animals, yes, two of every kind, but no flowers or trees or vegetables. Noah certainly had sufficient meat on board for a circumnavigation but he would have found it hard going without barley for his beer and rice for his breakfast crispies.

I like to think of him as one of the first yachtsmen in the business, but perhaps he was more like Thor Heyerdahl than Joshua Slocum, because, contrary to what most of us were taught in Sunday school, Noah didn’t build his ark of wood. At least, not according to The Oxford Companion to Ships and the Sea he didn’t.

The OxCom says that the ark, in which Noah and his family escaped the deluge with all the animals, was probably not built of wood because there simply wasn’t enough wood in the entire Tigris-Euphrates region to build it of timber.

You will recall, of course, that the ark measured 300 cubits in length by 50 in beam and 30 in height. In terms of Egyptian royal cubits of about 21 inches each, that translates to a vessel measuring 521 feet long by 87 feet wide by 52 feet high. More of a ship than a boat, actually.

This has led researchers to assume that the ark was therefore built, according to the local traditional fashion, of papyrus reeds, roughly in the shape of a tea tray, with a little local wood used in the domestic quarters, cowsheds, pigsties, and so on. It sounds an awful lot like a larger version of Heyerdahl’s Kon Tiki raft.

Of course, one has to ponder how a 500-foot-long vessel constructed of reeds would hold together in any kind of seaway, but it is not for us to wonder why. Noah had faith, which is apparently as useful as a good solid wooden keel, and is not to be questioned.

Today’s Thought
God’s revelation to Adam didn’t instruct Noah how to build the ark.
— Ezra Taft Benson

A little girl had just finished her first week of school.
'I'm just wasting my time,' she said to her mother. 'I can't read, I can't write, and they won't let me talk!'

1 comment:

Washington & Main said...

Of course the real question about Noah's Ark is... what did it rate on PHRF?