Sermon on the Mount, The Emmaus View

Noah’s memorable moment and Moses’ movable feast. (Version 1.5)

Noah’s memorable moment and Moses’ movable feast

Restoring an unclean world

Some important themes are introduced through the account of Adam’s family, the deadly curse, the cleanliness of the land, the Edenic covenant and the significance of the Woman’s seed. With the Noahic flood, such themes return to centre stage, for as with Eden, God acted to restore an unclean land, whilst exercising mercy toward the Seed of the Woman. The events surrounding Noah have a profound theological dimension, for in them God revisits the creative work of Genesis 1:1-2:8 and, washed free from sin, the post-flood world becomes a new and liberated creation, complete with a new Eden, a new ‘Adam’, a new offering and a new covenant.

Just as Edenic precedents helped shape the Mosaic Law, so those from the flood would play their part. From the Noahic covenant came the peace offering and the special significance of blood. From the chronology of the flood, as adjusted by the Exodus, came the framework of Israel’s cultic year. Moreover, events that flowed from a pivotal moment amidst the cataclysm saw Israel’s annual Day of Atonement become the lynchpin of their land’s cleanliness. In later chapters understanding the significance of the festivals, together with their history, will help explain the Davidic dynasty’s role in cleansing the land, the ministry of John the Baptist and some of Jesus’ expectations concerning the cross.

Chaos, creation and cataclysm

The first nine chapters of Genesis are, in some respects, a typical early Mesopotamian creation story, one of its closest analogues being the Babylonian Atrahasis Epic. Both share the same broad narrative framework and both explore humanity’s earliest interactions with God. Both portray a creation, mankind’s detrimental impact, an order-restoring cataclysmic flood and divine measures to stop it happening again1. However, the two promote seemingly opposite theologies. The Epic blames the flood on mankind’s excessive multiplication and so its polytheistic pantheon takes life constraining measures to limit population growth, by introducing an agent of death, celibate priests and a child-snatching demon. By contrast, Genesis attributes the flood to mankind’s evil thoughts and its monotheistic God implements corrective legislation in the form of a life-giving covenant and for its priest to multiply.

In addition to offering a contrasting reason for the flood, the Genesis’ account (Gen 6:11-8:19) portrays God at work to fulfil the divine assurance from Eden (Gen 3:15). In Lamech’s days, men’s wickedness had brought a curse upon the ground (’adamah) and Lamech lacked the wherewithal to cleanse it. So his son Noah took on the role of seed of Eve, inspiring Lamech to name him in anticipation of the relief that he would bring (Gen 5:29), for Noah means ‘to rest’. Thus God granted Noah authority over animals and responsibility for maintaining the untainted sanctuary of the ark2.

Although the Septuagint describes the flood as a cataclysm, it waxed and waned with a poetic symmetry that highlights its most significant moment (see Appendix B). After 7 days the water came, the rain then fell for 40 days, and for a further 110 days it prevailed. Then God remembered Noah. The waters decreased for 110 days, after a further 40 days Noah opened the ark and sent out birds at intervals of 7 days. On its most significant day, the seventeenth of the seventh month, God remembered Noah and the ark rested.

With fifteen cubits of water submerging the mountains (Gen 7:19) the ark rested on Ararat. At which point we are inclined to focus on the event’s location, rather than its theological significance. However, the Hebrew text redresses the balance, for the flood brought rest (nowach) by reversing the wickedness (rah) of men and the curse (arar) that accompanied it (Gen 5:29, 6:4). In doing so it caused the ark to rest (nowach) upon the mountains (har, i.e. rah reversed) of Ararat, one meaning of which is ‘curse reversed’3.

As the flood completed its terrible work, the restoration of order begins to echo Genesis 1 (Gen 1:2-26). First, a spirit (ruwach4) from God passed over the chaotic waters and then the waters from heaven and those from the deep stopped mingling upon the earth. Next Noah tests if the dry land has appeared. Seven more days and plants had sprouted. Another seven and a flying-thing chose to settle amongst them. Finally Noah opens the ark and cattle, creeping things and beasts of the earth swarm out to fill the virgin terrain.

God’s creative power was once again at work, enabling Noah to emerge into a new Eden, but leaving him to assess when the work was complete (Gen 8:7-13). The raven’s flight and the first dove’s return indicated that the land was still a wilderness. Seven days, time enough for a new creation, saw the land transformed into verdant terrain, but, finding the process still too incomplete to support the life of Eden, the dove returned. A further seven days and the land had become an Eden in which a clean animal could happily remain.

The life giving covenant with Noah

Whilst the flood speaks of God’s willingness to destroy all but the ‘Seed of the Woman’ in order to preserve the way, it also testifies to the impossibility of creating a sinless humanity purely by removing sinners from the world. People make a myriad judgements concerning good and bad, so eventually, deliberately or in error, these diverge from God’s opinion. However many times you deal death to sin, it will inevitably return. Thus, whilst the land was cleansed by the death of those who caused the curse, Noah still had to keep it that way. Therefore, he followed Eve’s example, presented a burnt offering, and sought a covenant with God. From the Maccabean period5, comes the suggestion that this offering shared its date with the fall itself (Jub. 3:17), and thus effectively marked the anniversary of the Edenic covenant.

In a scene, familiar to the ancients, Noah’s offering acknowledged his lord’s superiority and implied a desire for vassal status, the Lord then accepted this proposal by declaring the benefits of the agreement. It would prevent the curse upon the ground destroying all life and it would ensure the regular order of days and seasons.

In a typically eastern manner, God sealed the covenant by inviting Noah to share food. This invitation to a peace affirming meal of meat foreshadowed the peace offering (Lev 3:1-5, 16), for Leviticus takes this precedent and combines it with one from Abel’s offering. God was pleased to receive the fat portions (Gen 4:4), so this left the rest for mankind, provided they met the covenant’s requirements (Lev 7:26-27).

With harmony assured, God rendered judgement concerning mankind’s situation, affirming humanity’s unaltered purpose and addressing the sentence of death through legislation. People were to be fruitful, multiply and rule6 over the animals (Gen 9:1-2), but they were also to refrain from eating the blood of animals, for it contained the life they sought (i.e. their freedom from death).

Thanks to the fruit of Eden’s tainted tree, every human thought was evil and every individual’s lifeblood was forfeit to the sentence of death. However, by declaring that this blood would be required from the hand of every animal, God confirmed the substitutionary role that animals could have in the hands of humanity (Lev 17:10-11). As animals accepted domestication and handed their lives to humans, so people could ensure a curse free land by handing those lives to God. Later I shall explore how this related to the grace of God, but for now it is sufficient to see how this covenant confirmed sacrifice as an acceptable means to maintain cleanliness7.

A second fall

The covenant of Noah also clarified the earlier judgement from the case of Cain. Humans were indeed accountable for the life of their fellow humans, but God created humanity to emulate the divine example and that meant ministering ‘death’ to those whose who, by persistent idolatry or violence, threatened access to life8. Thus, the covenant of Noah legitimised judicial violence, though only when used in accord with God’s example, i.e. mercifully, with due warning and as appropriate, proportionate and corrective sanctions.

The covenant’s terms explained and its blessing reiterated, God then introduced its guarantee, the awesome sight of the divine bow, resting against the clouds, yet bent and ready for use. This sign, the ancient equivalent of painting a shouldered Kalashnikov in the sky9, provided everlasting assurance that the nature-ordering God had remembered, but accompanied by a reminder that he retained the power to act. The covenant’s land-cleansing benefit was conditional upon accepting the Lord’s judgements, as becomes apparent when the covenant of Moab reminded Israel that rebellion would still bring curses upon the land (Deut 28:18, 20-24) and the sin of Jeremiah’s Judah duly saw their land accursed (Jer 23:10)10.

When Noah removed the ark’s covering, he observed how the flood had ruined the ground (’adamah), thus rendering it clean11. As he then embraced the uncovered, ‘naked’, life of Eden, his actions provided a physical metaphor for his spiritual state. However, once grape production tempted him to drunkenness, its first fruit was Ham’s recognition of (Noah’s) nakedness. Noah then afflicted the curse of slavery upon Ham’s seed, just as God had inflicted slavery upon the seed of the serpent. Hence, the reader is encouraged to recall the impact of Eden’s forbidden fruit and to liken the ‘fall’ of Ham to that of Adam, the cursing of Canaan to that of Cain. As for Adam, Noah was left in need of a covering, so Shem and Japheth, who had refused to see their father’s naked state, emulated God (cf. Gen 3:19) and provided a garment.

In addition to the gift of a garment, Noah’s sons also put on the shoulder (singular) of both of them (i.e. two portions)12, a dual witness to their father’s restored stature. From whence, one might assume, comes the practice of giving an upper leg portion of a peace offering to the priest (Lev 7:32-34, cf. Deut 18:3). When Jacob blessed Joseph he harked back to Noah, passing on the double shoulder13 to this son, because he, like Shem, had provided security (covering) for his father (Gen 48:22). Similarly Moses assuring Benjamin of security between shoulders (Deut 33:12) may refer to their protected place between Ephraim and Manasseh (Num 2:18-22).

Noah’s New Year

As Adam’s covenant gave Israel the burnt offering, so, from Noah’s, came the peace offering. However, the covenant also provided the promise of a stable calendar. The timetable of the flood reflects a 354-day lunar year (see Appendix B), a feature of which would have been unstable seasons for festivals. However, the Noahic re-creation of the world provided a re-created calendar. The flood furnished the precedents needed to establish a much more stable 364-day year, then keep it in step with the solar year by minor intercalary Sabbath Year adjustments until it was re-created anew each Jubilee (see Appendix B).

It was not only ancient Israel’s calendar that was rooted in the flood, for a closer look at the Exodus chronology reveals that the timing of the major festivals also relates to it. However, in the midst of all the detail, it is easy to miss that the Exodus again marked a calendar re-set.

Exodus revolves around festivals. First a call to celebrate a feast (Exod 3:18) gives birth to both Passover and the joyous seven-day assembly of Tabernacles. Then, upon arrival at Sinai, God called for the celebration that became Pentecost (Exod 19:10-20:26)14. Following that, a reminder to celebrate the feasts (Exod 23:14-17) introduces the preparation and celebration of the anonymous precursor to Atonement (Exod 24:1-11). A second reminder to celebrate the feasts (Exod 34:18-23) then precedes the preparation for the first anniversary of the Passover (Exod 35:4-40:38,Num 9:1-5). However, it is worth considering this in a bit more detail to understand the significance of each feast.

The Exodus commenced as Moses returned to Pharaoh, commanding him to release the Israelites to celebrate an anonymous major feast (Exod 10:9-3, 10:9)15. The account of Noah contains the only chronological details in Genesis, to which one might attach such a feast and coincidentally, it also happens to provide an obvious candidate. The point of the Passover was to ensure that Israel could take the three-day journey into the wilderness to attend this anonymous feast. Thus, its date fell on the seventeenth day of the month, as did the focal point of the Noahic flood.

The significance of a festival marking the focal point of the Noahic cataclysm becomes clearer if we consider the New Year festivals of Noah’s pagan peers. Nations in the ancient near east had a cyclical view of time in which their priests annually revisited their understanding of creation and sought to ensure the triumph of order over chaos for another year16. Such celebrations represented a critical turning point in the annual cycle, a darkest cultic-hour, upon which the deity was required to intervene before the situation could improve. The seventeenth day, when God remembered the Seed of the Woman and intervened to rescue him from the chaotic waters, was just such a day. Hence, the events of the flood created a strangely timed New Year in the seventh month, which is precisely where Israel celebrates it even today17. The Talmud sees this as a celebration of the creation of the world18, but fails to appreciate that it was the creation of Noah’s world, rather than Adam’s.

Abraham’s festival

The involvement of a three-day journey, together with the sacrifice of a lamb to preserve a son, prompted Jewish tradition to alighted upon another biblical episode as the origin of our mystery festival. The author of Jubilees suggests that Abraham celebrated a seven-day feast of joy to celebrate the journey to Moriah and the salvation of Isaac (Gen 22:2-3, Jub 18:3, 18), this they attempt to relate to Passover19. For Isaac, this was a similar ‘darkest hour’ to Noah’s and, as Abraham’s faith no doubt anticipated, their willing entry into this cataclysmic scenario brought divine salvation, along with a re-statement of the promise concerning the Woman’s Seed (Gen 22:15-18).

Jubilees inferred festivity, recalling three-days out, a day on which God saved the Seed, and three-days return, would certainly fit the requirements for the feast that triggered the Exodus and also ties in well with Noah’s salvation. However, we know that the new year for Moses sacred system fell in the seventh month, for he started the year of Jubilee ‘at the appointed time in the year of release, at the Feast of Tabernacles’ (Deut 31:10, NKJV), in the centre of which, on the eighteenth day, they would have gained their re-created calendar. So, if a New Year covenant renewal, marking the key moment of the flood, lay behind this seventh-month festival, how could it also have triggered a festival in the first month? Moreover, why did New Year fall on such an odd date anyway? The answers lie with changes in calendar.

When a calendar changes, significant dates can move, just as during England’s switch from the Julian calendar to Gregorian. At that time eleven days disappeared from the calendar but the tax year remained unchanged, shifting its end to the fifth of April. The seventeenth day appears to be a similar artefact, caused by translating dates from the 354-day calendar to a Sabbath Year 371-day calendar (see Appendix B). Furthermore, if God caused a calendar restart to fall in the seventh month then any pre-existent first month covenant renewal would have been offset by six months. The Exodus, as we shall see, appears to have involved just such a six-month calendar shift, so it is not impossible that some re-creative cataclysm between Noah and Moses, such as the sacrifice of Isaac, was accompanied by a similar shift, displacing the commemorative dates by seven months.

In the seventh month

By assuming that Moses was seeking to celebrate a seventh-month Noahic New Year, then treating the later festivities of both first and seventh months as if they occupied the same period, the connection between the Exodus, the Noahic flood and the cultic year becomes inescapable (see Appendix C for this in tabular form). In doing so, it is helpful to recall the format of the seventh month festivities. They start with Rosh Hashanah (Head of the Year), the biblical ‘feast’ of trumpets. This first day of the seventh month today represents the Jewish New Year and opens a month when everyone focuses on God’s judgements (Deut 31:10-13). Judaism knows the ten days that start with Rosh Hashanah as Yamim Noraim (the Days of Awe or Days of Repentance). It sees them as a time for individual reflection, repentance and practical piety in anticipation of Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement). Public declaration of the Law provides the opportunity for conviction and repentance, as seen during the equivalent celebrations amongst those who returned from exile in Babylon (Neh 8:2-18). On the Day of Atonement, Israel’s humble attitude once allowed the High Priest to go before the ark of the covenant and atone for his own sins, thereby enabling him to atone for those of the nation. Today Yom Kippur is still seen as setting the spiritual tone for the year ahead. Five days later, comes Sukkot (the Feast of Booths), a weeklong festival, during which the people dwell in makeshift shelters to recall their nation’s time in the wilderness.

Judaism has a way of looking at the seventh month that helps develop the links between its feasts and the Exodus account. It envisages Rosh Hashanah as the day on which God, after examining the account books of a person’s actions, announces a provisional judgement. At Yom Kippur, the books are sealed and God’s judgement becomes absolute, determining whether the coming year will be one of blessing or curse. From this perspective, the Yamim Noraim are a crucial opportunity to strive for a positive outcome (bearing in mind Isaiah 58:5).

Shifting times

To return to Exodus, on the first day of the month, Moses trumpeted Pharaoh’s provisional judgement by turning the Nile to blood. This was the first of the ten days of awe, seven of fulfilment followed by three of darkness. During the seven days, plagues forced him to reflect upon the consequences of his sin and each, though only hardening his heart, still represented a chance to repent20. The last plague brought three days in which to reflect. On the tenth day, Pharaoh faced his Yom Kippur and, as he wasted his final chance, his fate was sealed as finally as the metaphorical book of judgement. On that same day the Israelites chose the path of obedience and took in their lamb.

Pharaoh’s refusal rendered his land unclean and meant that getting Israel out of Egypt would require a cataclysmic re-creative event, so, on that tenth day, Moses issued a command that was redundant had it already been the first month. “This month shall be unto you the beginning of months: it shall be the first month of the year to you” (Exod 12:2, KJV). The seventh month had just become the first so, with the imminent flood-related seventh month wilderness feast tied to a specific month, Moses’ declaration displaced the festivities back by six months to become Tabernacles, carrying with it a preparatory period informed by Pharaoh’s experience. He also instigated a feast to recall the Passover and Unleavened Bread to commemorate the Edenic covenant renewal’s original position. By pinning these to both the first month and the barley ripening in the month of Abib (Exod 13:4-5, 10), he put an end to the cataclysmic volatility in the cultic year that hitherto had seen the first and seventh month swaping places.

Moses’ flood

Moses’ celebration involved a three-day journey into the wilderness. Thus, on the fourteenth day blood was daubed and overnight on the fifteenth day the firstborn of a rebellious generation died as the angel passed over. That same day the Israelites escaped to Succoth, an event celebrated on the equivalent day in the seventh month by the start of Tabernacles (Succoth). On the sixteenth day, they moved from Succoth to Etham and on the seventeenth from Etham to Pihahiroth. There, on the anniversary of God remembering Noah, God remembered Israel and intervened. Reassured of salvation on the seventeenth day, they crossed the sea on the eighteenth. Whereupon the Lord delivered them from the living ‘death’ of an unclean land, by drowning their enemies beneath the waters of a contrived flood21. Egypt had shed innocent blood and had paid the price.

Moses’ understood the link between Noah’s flood and the subsequent Red Sea incident, for the Noahic flood, blotting out all substance (yâquwm) from the surface of the ground (Gen 7:23), supplies one of the Hebrew Bible’s only two occurrences of that word. Moses uses flood related vocabulary to draw a parallel between the crossing of the sea and the suppression of the arrogant uprising of Dathan and Abiram, whose substance (yâquwm) the earth swallowed (Deut 11:3-6). Then, in the Song of Moses, we find the drowning of the Egyptians described as the earth swallowing them (Exod 15:12). David makes the connection even more explicit when, drawing inspiration from Moses’ words, he parallels salvation from enemies, salvation from a flood and salvation from descent into a pit that shuts its mouth (Ps 69:14-15). It is also notable how Isaiah combines imagery from the creation myths of ancient Palestine (i.e. slaying the sea monster) with the Exodus imagery of a pathway through the sea (Isa 51:9-11).

After God compressed a Noah-like inundation into a single day and the waters returned, Moses continued to follow the timetable set by the Noahic flood. Thus, just as Noah waited forty-seven days after the water had receded before a dove brought back the first fruits of the new creation, so, forty-seven days after crossing the sea Moses instigated a festival of first fruits. Thus, fifty days after God separated Israel from Egypt through the Passover, Moses renewed the covenant of Noah. The dual natured feast of Pentecost had been born, a feast on which, tradition has it, God gave the Torah in all seventy languages of Noah’s grandsons22.

A similar re-creative ‘flood’ event would mark Joshua’s entry into the Promised Land, thereby providing a baseline for the Jubilee system of territory return. This reminder of Egypt’s foolish decision took place on the anniversary of God’s final judgement of Pharaoh’s nation, the tenth of the first. One may infer that it was on that same day that God had finally sealed the Canaanites fate. Following the river crossing Israel celebrated Passover (Josh 5:10) and the waving of the sheaf (Josh 5:11, cf. Lev 23:10-14). This was again followed, some time later by writing the law on stones and then proclaiming it (Josh 8:31-35).

An annual renewal

The bloodshed of Moses’ childhood revealed Egypt as an unclean land and the experience of Pharaoh confirmed the tenth day of the seventh month was the last opportunity to do anything about it. As the recurrent festivities of that month parallel the process presented to Pharaoh, the anniversary of the tenth day naturally appeared the time at which Israel would be best prepared to seek a favourable judgement. Thus, it is no surprise to find that day providing the culmination of Leviticus’ treatment of personal cleanliness (Lev 16:1-31)23.

Each year, as the anniversary of God’s graciousness toward mankind approached, the people started their new year by recognising their sin, humbling themselves and seeking their Lord’s forgiveness. Then, on the Day of Atonement, the high priest carried the names of the sons of Israel before the Lord (Exod 28:11, 21, Heb 9:7), in the hope that, as he appeared above the ark, God would once again remember mankind and extend mercy to them, as he had to Noah.

Remembering the covenant was a solemn responsibility, for the life of every living creature was dependent upon the substitutionary shedding of blood that held the curse at bay (Lev 10:11). Thus, tellingly, Leviticus follows its description of the Day of Atonement with clarification of precedents established in the account of Noah (Lev 17:1-19:8), including sections on how to handle blood, not uncovering your kinfolk’s nakedness and making acceptable peace offerings.

Unforgivable sin

Provided the High Priest satisfactorily atoned for himself on the one day each year, the priesthood could continue to exercise their delegated authority as God’s messengers. Through burnt offerings, they could enable people to give themselves and their families over to the service of God (Gen 8:20, 22:2). Through peace offerings, they could facilitate the gratefully sharing of the divine banqueting table. Via the sin offering, they could atone for unintended sin. Via the guilt offering, they could bring release from the guilt of unknowing sin24. Through teaching and judging, they could maintain the Law. Thus, as the Day of Atonement became the lynch pin upon which the nation’s cleanliness depended, its significance eclipsed that of the Noahic festival, leaving the latter to become subsumed within the Feast of Tabernacles.

However, the Day of Atonement was not always effective. For example, the Jewish oral tradition, reported in the Talmud, suggests that following A.D. 30 it consistently failed, with the lot for the scapegoat always turning up in the left hand, which Judaism considered a terrible omen25. Such problems arose because there was no way to deal with deliberate disobedience, which was tantamount to idolatry, or for shedding of innocent blood (Gen 9:6, Num 15:27-30). These were the unforgivable sins, for they could not be atoned for with a substitutionary offering and therefore led to death. Nor was there any recourse to atonement at the corporate level if leaders deliberately allowed such crimes to go unpunished.

From creation to cleansing

Genesis, like its contemporary cousins, portrays a cataclysmic flood preceding the establishment of a new order, however it does so in a uniquely life affirming manner. For Genesis, the flood was a re-creative event that left Noah as a new ‘Adam’ in a clean land. Yet, Noah recognised that he, like Adam, continued to be dependent upon God. By entering into a covenant, he gained both security and an invitation to eat at God’s table. The peace offering had been born and blood had gained a new significance. However, in return, their were conditions to be met and the rainbow sign to remind humanity who their security depended upon.

As the Edenic covenant’s New Year became a landmark for future generations, the need to celebrate it sent Moses to challenge Pharaoh, triggering the events that culminated in the Red Sea ‘flood’ and giving rise to the major festivals of Passover, Pentecost, Atonement and Tabernacles. However, that second ‘flood’ reset the calendar, concealing the feasts’ common origin and with it the significance of certain days; the seventeenth day as a day when God remembered the Seed; the eighteenth day as the day on which God started a new creation. In the process, the Day of Atonement came to be the most auspicious anniversary upon which to seek God’s mercy for another year of favour. By right attitudes, sacrificial blood and annual ceremonies the priesthood could keep the land clean and the nation could continue to enjoy the presence of God in their midst. It was a means, albeit imperfect, by which men dealt with the problem of an unclean land and, as such, it has a key role to play in the next chapter.

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1 Tikva Frymer-Kensky, "What the Babylonian Flood Stories Can and Cannot Teach Us About the Genesis Flood," BAR 4: 4 (Nov/Dec 1978; Logos Electronic Edition, 2002): n.p.

2 Jewish tradition continued to maintain that a boat was a clean place

3 Strong,“780 אֲרָרַט,” Concordance.

4 Spirit and wind are synonyms (see Strong, “7307 רוּחַ,” Concordance).

5 Charles, Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha, 2: 6.

6 This word also describes a ruler’s relationship with a subject (Mal 1:6, 2:5).

7 As illustrated by Joshua’s dispute with the eastern tribes (Josh 22:19).

8 This ruling helps explain why it was better if a man drowned than corrupt an innocent (Matt 18:6).

9 The Hebrew word also denotes the instrument of warfare. See “8008 קֶשֶׁת, James Swanson, Dictionary of Biblical Languages, (Electronic ed.; Oak Harbor: Logos Research Systems, 1997), n.p.

10 Some take the covenantal promises at Gen 8:22 as unconditional, based on passages such as Jeremiah 33:20-21 and Isaiah 54:9. However, Jeremiah was referring to God’s decree concerning the timekeeping role of day and night (Gen 1:14-18), the Genesis 8:22 agreement was not with day and night but with mankind. Moreover, Isaiah states that wrath had recurred for a moment, precisely because the promise concerning wrath was like that given to Noah (Isa 54:7, 9), i.e. conditional.

11 ‘Ruined’ is an alternate shade of meaning for the word usually translated ‘dry’. The same dynamics are apparent for the land of Tyre (Ezek 26:19).

12 This is a fairly loose literal translation.

13 The word often rendered ‘portion’ here, is generally translated ‘shoulder’ elsewhere (e.g. Gen 9:23).

14 The Talmud makes this association and claims the festival generally occurs on about the sixth day of the third month (Polano, Talmud, 345).

15 A major feast is implied by the need for the elderly, children and animals to go as well.

16852 יוֹם, TWOT, 370-1.

17 D. F. Morgan, “Calendar”, ISBE, 1:574-8, in particular 578.

18 Polano, Talmud, 347-8.

19 See Baruch M. Bokser, “Unleavened Bread and Passover, Feasts of,” ABD, 6:755-765, in particular 6:760-1.

20 When God allows trouble, it always elicits a response, wither humble repentance and acknowledgment of God’s wisdom, or obstinate arrogance and a hardened heart.

21 The echoes of this are to be found in 1 Peter 3:20-21.

22 B. Grossfeld, “Torah,” Dictionary of New Testament Background, n.p.

23 W. Möller and J. B. Payne, “Atonement, Day of',” ISBE, 1:360-362, in particular 1:361.

24 See Appendix P.

25 Robert L. Plummer, “Something Awry In The Temple? The Rending of the Temple Veil And Early Jewish Sources that Report Unusual Phenomena in the Temple Around AD 30,JETS, 48.2, 300-18, in particular 307.