Story Three

THE GREAT SHIP THAT SAVED EIGHT PEOPLE
AFTER Ā́ bĕl was slain, and his brother Cāin had gone into another land, again God gave a child to Ad́ ăm and Ēve. This child they named Sĕth; and other sons and daughters were given to them, for Ad́ ăm and Ēve lived many years. But at last they died, as God had said that they must die, because they had eaten of the tree that God had forbidden them to eat.
By the time that Ad́ ăm died, there were many people on the earth; for the children of Ăd́ ăm and Ēve had many other children; and when these grew up, they also had children; and these too had children. And in those early times people lived much longer than they do now. Very few people now live to be a hundred years old; but in those days, when the earth was new, men often lived to be eight hundred or even nine hundred years old. So after a time that part of the earth where Ad́ăm's sons lived began to be full of people.
It is sad to tell that as time went on more and more of these people became wicked, and fewer and fewer of them grew up to become good men and women. ‘All the people lived near together, and few went away to other lands; so it came to pass that even the children of good men and women learned to be bad, like the people around them.
And as God looked down on the world that he had made, he saw how wicked the men in it had become, and that every thought and every act of man was evil and only evil continually.
But while most of the people in the world were very wicked, there were some good people also, though they were very few. The best of all the men who lived at that time was a man whose name was Ḗ nŏch. He was not the son of Cain, but another Ḗ nŏch, who came from the family of Sĕth, the son of Ăd́ ăm who was born after' the death of Ā́ bĕl. While so many around Ḗ nŏch were doing evil, this man did only what was right. He walked with God, and God walked with him and talked with him. And at last, when Ḗ nŏch was three hundred and sixty-five years old, God took him away from the earth to heaven. He did not die, as all the people have died since Ad́ ăm disobeyed God, but "he was not, for God took him."; This means that Ḗ nŏch was taken up from earth without dying.
Ḗ nŏch left a son whose name was Mē-thṳ́ se-lah. We do not know anything about Mē-thṳ́ se-lah, except that he lived to be nine hundred and sixty-nine years old, which was longer than the life of any other man who ever lived. But at last, Mē-thṳ-se-lah died like all his people, except his father Ḗ nŏch. By the time that Mē-thṳ-se-lah died, the world was very wicked. And God looked down on the earth, and said:
"I will take away all men from the earth that I have made; because the men of the world are evil, and evil continually.”
But even in those bad times, God saw one good man. His, name was Nṓ ah. Nṓ ah tried to do right in the sight of God. As Ḗ nŏch had walked with God, so Nṓ ah walked with God, and talked with him. And Nṓ ah, had three sons: their names were Shĕm and Hăm and Jā́ pheth.
God said to Nṓ ah, "The time has come when all the men and women on the earth are to be destroyed. Everyone must die, because they are all wicked. But you and your family shall be saved, because you alone are trying to do right.”
Then God told Nṓ ah how he might save his life and the lives of his sons. He was to build a very large boat, as large as the largest ships that are made in our time; very long and very wide and very deep; with a roof over it; and made like a long wide house in three stories but so built that it would float on the water. Such a ship as this was called "an ark." God told Nṓ ah to build this ark, and to have it ready for the time when he would need it.
"For," said God to Nṓ ah, "I am going to bring a great flood of water on the earth, to cover all the land and to drown all the people on the earth. And as the animals on the earth will be drowned with the people, you must make the ark large enough to hold a pair of each kind of animals, and several pairs of some animals that are needed by men, like sheep and goats and oxen; so that there will be animals as well as men to live upon the earth after the flood has passed away. And you must take in the ark food for yourself and your family, and for all the animals with you, enough food to last for a year, while the flood shall stay on the earth,”
And Nṓ ah did what God told him to do, although it must have seemed very strange to all the people around, to build this great ark where there was no water for it to sail upon. And it was a long time, even a hundred and twenty years, that Nṓ ah and his sons were at work building the ark, while the wicked people around wondered, and no doubt laughed at Nṓ ah for building a great ship where there was no sea. At last the ark was finished, and stood like a great house on the land. There was a door on one side, and a window on the roof, to let in the light. Then God said to Nṓ ah, "Come into the ark, you and your wife, and your three sons, and their wives with them; for the flood of waters will come very soon. And take with you animals of all kinds, and birds, and things that creep; seven pairs of those that will be needed by men, and one pair of all the rest; so that all kinds of animals may be kept alive upon the earth."
So Nṓ ah and, his wife, and his three sons, Shĕm, Hăm, and Jā́ pheth, with their wives, went into the ark. And God brought to the door of the ark the animals, and the birds, and the creeping things of all kinds; and they went into the ark, and Nṓ ah and his sons put them in their places, and brought in food for them all. And then the door of the ark was shut, so that no more people and no more animals could come in.
In a few days the rain began to fall, as it had never rained before. It seemed as though the heavens were opened to pour great floods upon the earth. The streams filled, and the rivers rose, higher and higher, and the ark began to float on the water. The people left their houses and ran up to the hills, but soon the hills were covered, and all the people on them were drowned.
Some had climbed up to the tops of higher mountains, but the water rose higher and higher, until even the mountains were covered and all the people, wicked as they had been, were drowned in the great sea that now rolled over all the earth where men had lived. And all the animals, the tame animals—cattle and sheep and oxen—were drowned; and the wild animals—lions and tigers and all the rest-were drowned also. Even the birds were drowned, for their nests in the trees were swept away, and there was no place where they could fly from the terrible storm. For forty days and nights the rain kept on, until there was no breath of life remaining outside of the ark.
After forty days the rain stopped, but the water stayed upon the earth for more than six months; the ark, with all that were in it, floated over the great sea that covered the land. Then God sent a wind to blow over the waters and to dry them up: so by degrees the waters grew less and less. First the mountains rose above the waters then the hills rose up; and finally the ark ceased to float, and lay aground on a mountain which is called Mount Âŕ a-răt. But Nṓ ah could not see what had happened on the earth, because the door was shut, and the window may have been in the roof. But he felt that the ark was no longer moving, and he knew that the water must have gone down So, after waiting for a time Nṓ ah opened a window and let loose a bird called a raven. Now the raven has strong wings; and this raven flew round and round until the waters had gone down, and it could find a place to rest, and it did not come back to the ark.
After Nṓ ah had waited for it a while, he sent out a dove; but the dove could not find any place to rest, so it flew back to the ark, and Nṓ ah took it into the ark again. Then Nṓ ah waited a week longer, and afterward he sent out the dove again. And at the evening, the dove came back to the ark, which was its home; and in its bill was a fresh leaf which it had picked off from an olive tree.
So Nṓ ah knew that the water had gone down enough to let the trees grow once more. He waited another week, and sent out the dove again; but this time the dove flew away and never came back. And Nṓ ah knew that the earth was becoming dry again. So he took off a part of the roof and looked out, and saw that there was dry land all around the ark. Nṓ ah had now lived in the ark a little more than a year, and he was glad to see the green land and the trees once more. And God said to Nṓ ah "Come out of the ark, with your wife, and your sons, and their wives, and all the living things that are with you in the ark.”
So Nṓ ah opened the door of the ark, and with his family came out, and stood once more on the ground. All the animals and birds and creeping things in the ark came out also, and began again to bring life to the earth.
The first that Nṓ ah did, when he came out of the ark, was to give thanks to God for saving all his family when the rest of the people on the earth were destroyed. He built an altar, and laid upon it an offering to the Lord, and gave himself and his family to God, and promised to do God's will.
And God was pleased with Nṓ ah's offering, and God said:
"I will not again destroy the earth on account of men, no matter how bad they may be. From this time no flood shall again cover the earth; but the season of spring and summer and fall and winter shall remain without change. I give to you the earth; you shall by the rulers of the ground and of every living thing upon it.”
Then God caused a rainbow to appear in the sky, and he told Nṓ ah and his sons that whenever they or the people after them should see the rainbow, they should remember that God had placed it in the sky and over the clouds as a sign of his promise that he would always remember the earth and the people upon it, and would never again send a flood to destroy men from the earth. So, as often as we see the beautiful rainbow, we are to remember that it is the sign of God's promise to the world.
Lesson 2. The Earliest People.
(Tell Stories 2 and 3.)
To the Teacher:
1. In the story of Cain and Abel, explain carefully what is meant by "an altar"; and how in early times people came to God in prayer. With little children, use the word "praying," rather than "worship," and "gift to God" or "offering," rather than "sacrifice.”
2. In the story of "The Great Ship," explain what "an ark" was, properly a chest or box; in this story, a great ship, built not to sail fast, but to float on the water, and to hold a great amount. Perhaps it was made so large, not only to carry many animals and their food, but also very many people, if the people had been willing to be saved by it.
3. Who was the first child of Adam and Eve after they were sent out of the garden of Eden? Cain.
4. What was the name of Cain's younger brother? Abel.
5. What wicked thing did Cain do when the two boys grew up to be men? He killed his brother Abel.
6. What does the Bible tell of the earliest people who were on the earth? They lived to be hundreds of
years old.
7. Who lived the longest of any of those people? Methuselah, who lived more than nine hundred years.
8. Were those who lived at that time good people? Nearly all of them were very wicked.
9. What good man lived in those times? Enoch, who walked with God.
10. What was the end of Enoch’s life? He did not die, but God took him to himself.
11. What came upon the earth on account of the wickedness of its people? A great flood.
12. What good man with his family was saved from the flood? Wall who built the Ark,
13. On what mountain did Noah and his family leave the ark after the flood? On Mount Aria-rat.