Having completed our five-part Genesis mini-series, I realised that there is still one more post to write on this section of the Flood Narrative. Namely, the explanation of what happened after Noah’s family found dry land- and here I am thinking in particular about the feasibility of whether Noah’s three sons could repopulate the earth by themselves? In the Jerusalem Bible it states:
‘These are the descendants of Noah’s sons, Shem, Ham and Japtheth, to whom sons were born after the Flood. ‘Japheth’s sons: Gomer, Magog the Medes, Javan, Tubal, Meshech, and Tiras….(then) Ham’s sons: Cush, Misraim, Put, and Canaan… (and finally) Shem’s sons Elam, Ashur, Arpachshad, Lud, and Aram.’ (Genesis 10, v1, 2, 6, 11)
My, what a lot of males born to Noah’s sons and seemingly not a daughter in sight – what are the odds on that? Not just this but it seems from the records that Noah’s grandsons also had numerous sons and grandsons. Which is all very curious given that we know an adult male and female is necessary in the process of making a baby. So what are we to make of it?
Well, we know that without women, there would have been no children born to Shem, Ham and Japtheth so obviously women were there.Yet there is no mention of them entering or exiting the Ark. There is also no mention of them disembarking when the Ark finds lands as is the incomplete story of how grandchildren and great grandchildren come into being.
Of course, to understand this passage we need to be culturally assimilated into the patriarchy of the religion in this period. To understand how it resulted in male children having their history recorded while the story of young girls was largely ignored, one only has to look to the absence of women in the story which was more often taken as a cultural choice to view what God is doing from a patriarchal view point.
In short, women were on the ark. They disembarked, worked the land and gave birth to offspring – it’s just their pioneer spirit was not recorded. That said, it does explain how Noah’s sons could grow a family and advance.