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Noah: The Flood and the Rainbow
Video 13 of 22
Now remember earlier I had mentioned to you that when you look at the rainbow covenant there seemed to be a lot of needless repetition. The text seemed to just keep on saying the same things over and over again. Now whenever you find a Biblical text with a lot of repetition, it just seems like you keep on hearing the same ideas over and over again, that might be a clue to you that you might be looking at a chiasm. Because remember in a chiasm you're going to have what seems like a lot of repetition, you're going to have themes that start at the beginning, you'll hear them echo again at the end, you'll hear the second to first theme echo with the second to last theme. So maybe that repetition in the rainbow covenant actually is a clue that we might be looking at something like chiastic structure. So let's take a look at this text and see what we find.
Okay so let's start at the beginning - a very good place to start, in the words of Julie Andrews - so in the beginning; V'ani hineni meikim et briti itchem - reading now from Chapter 9, verse 9, and G-d says, and I, as for Me, I'm going to establish a covenant with you, My covenant with you. With who is this covenant going to be? It's going to be; V'et zarachem achareichem - it's going to be with your progeny, with everybody - all of your children Noah, but it's also going to be with the animal world; V'et kol nefesh hachayah asher itchem - it's also going to be with all of the animals that are with you; B'ohf ba'beheima uv'chol chayas ha'aretz - with fowl, with animals, with all the beasts of the field; Mikol yotzei hateivah - everybody who comes out of the ark; L'chol chayas ha'aretz.
So the idea over here is that we've got a covenant, and the covenant is with who? It's with Noah's children on the one hand, Noah's progeny, but it's also a covenant with all life; with animals, with fowl, with everything else. Okay, so let's see if we have that idea showing up anywhere at the bottom of this text.
So let's read at the bottom of this text, let's take verse 17 over here; And G-d said to Noah - Vayomer Elokim el Noach - G-d said to Noach; Zot ot habrit asher hakimoti beini ubein kol basar asher al ha'aretz - this is the sign of the covenant; Asher hakimoti - that I have established with you and with all flesh upon the face of the earth. So we have the same idea over here. We've got a covenant that G-d is establishing with Noah, with Noah's progeny, and with everybody, with all flesh. Really the same kind of idea echoed over here.
Even by the way to the point of the same words. If you look at the cardinal word here, the word that is going to be the verb, that signifies G-d establishing this covenant; Hakimoti is the word, and that's really nothing but the past tense version of a word which appears up here to also signify what G-d is doing. V'ani hineni meikim et briti - I am going to establish. So this word over here, establish, same as this word over here, the only difference is that at the end of this text we're saying it in the past, G-d has established this covenant, and in the beginning, G-d is establishing, is about to establish the covenant. So the idea over here G-d establishing a covenant with Noah's progeny, with all life, you seem to have it at the beginning of this text and you seem to have it at the end of this text.
So I'm going to get rid of all this messy red ink over here and let's make it nice and neat, and just talk about Element A, this covenant that G-d establishes with all flesh, and we're just going to color code over it here with blue. So the top of this text is going to be blue, mirrored by the bottom of the text which seems to correspond with it, which is also kind of blue. Not exactly the same but clearly the bottom blue is playing off the first blue. In the beginning G-d is establishing a covenant, in the end G-d has established this covenant. So now let's look at the next piece after the blue and see if we find anything corresponding towards the bottom over here?
Okay, so the next piece is; V'hakimoti et briti itchem v'loh yikaret kol basar od mimei ha'mabul v'loh yiheye od mabul leshacheis ha'aretz. So the idea over here if you translate into English is that G-d says that not only am I establishing this covenant, but as a result of it; Loh yikaret kol basar od mimei ha'mabul - that never again will all flesh be cut off because of a flood. There's never again going to be another flood to destroy all flesh. So the idea over here, what we're going to call Element B, which we'll just color code with, well let's call it flesh tones, there's going to be; All flesh is not going to be cut off anymore by the waters of the flood. So we'll do this flesh tones. So the covenant that there will never again be another flood to destroy all life, that's the idea in Element B.
Now we're going to look towards the end somewhere, are going to find this idea? And lo and behold you sort of do get this idea right over here in verse 15; V'zacharti et briti asher beini ubeineichem ubein kol nefesh chayah b'kol basar v'loh yiheye od hamayim l'mabul leshacheis kol basar - there will never again be another flood to destroy all flesh. Same sort of idea, never again be another flood.
Still a little bit different, the verbs are different; over here the verb is again going to be Hakimoti, which is establish, G-d is establishing His covenant that there is never again going to be another flood. And over here you've got a different verb which is, Zacharti, which is that G-d says He is going to remember this covenant and there is never again going to be another flood. If you think about the progression over here; at the beginning of the text G-d is talking about establishing a covenant, but then having established it, G-d says, I'm going to remember that covenant, the covenant that there's never again going to be another flood to destroy all life.
So getting rid of my unsightly markups over here, we can just color code this section over here verse 15, again with these flesh tones and we've got a blue element and this sort of beige element at the top of the chiasm, and then a blue element and a beige element towards the bottom.
Okay, and that brings us to the next element, just go down a little bit further and look here at verse 12, we'll call this Element C, and the idea of Element C is that G-d is showing the sign of the covenant as it were, to Noah. Vayomer Elokim, zot ot habrit asher ani noten beini ubeineichem - here is the sign of the covenant, this is the sign of the covenant. Over here it's translated as token but in Hebrew, Ot really means sign. A fancier word, a more archaic word is token, we'll call it either token or a sign. So G-d shows Noah and it's like He's pointing up at the clouds - because remember what is the sign of the covenant, the sign of the covenant is the rainbow. It's like G-d is literally showing to Noah, visibly, with his eyes, and saying, right over here, here you can see this is the sign of the covenant, this rainbow, that I am placing between Me and you. Ubein kol nefesh chayah - and between all flesh; Asher itchem l'dorot olam - a covenant which is going to be forever, a covenant that all flesh will not be destroyed.
So again the elements of C which is that G-d is showing a sign of the covenant, an everlasting covenant, a covenant that will be around forever, between who - between G-d and all flesh. Between G-d and; Nefesh chayah - right over here in English - every living creature that is with you, this is a sign of the covenant, it's perpetual for all generations. These are the elements. Element C: you've got (a) over here showing the sign of the covenant, (b) an everlasting covenant, (c) between G-d and all flesh.
So is there another section of text towards the bottom of this section over here that has all of these elements over here, all of these pieces; a, b and c? Something where G-d is showing a sign of the covenant, stressing that it's an everlasting covenant between G-d and all flesh. The answer is yes, there is a corresponding piece to the green. The corresponding piece to the green is right over here in verse 16; Vehayta hakeshet be'annan - and there will be a rainbow in the clouds; Ure'itiha - and I will see it.
Notice up here G-d had spoken to Noach and had showed him - had showed Noah - the sign of the covenant; Zot ot habrit - here is, right up there, there's the rainbow, now G-d is not showing it to Noah; Ure'itiha - G-d says, and I will see the covenant. I will show Myself in the future. It's almost like you don't have to see it - to give you a kind of crass analogy to it, it's like when you go into Target and they ask you to buy the extra insurance plan. They say, you know you don't have to keep the receipt we have it right here in the computers, we'll remember it, you don't have to remember it. G-d says, I will remember this covenant, you don't have to remember it.
So that's piece (a) over here, showing the sign of the covenant. G-d is - instead of showing Noah, in the future I will show Myself the sign of the covenant. Lizkor brit olam - I will remember this covenant for generations, it's a covenant that will last forever. And, what is the covenant between? Bein Elokim ubein kol nefesh chayah - between G-d and between all animals. Between G-d and between all flesh. So all of these pieces; a, b and c remarkably we see showing up not just in the green over here, but in the green down here as well.
So we've got blue and beige and green, and we've got all of those elements down at the bottom as well.
Okay so moving along, let's look at the next element here, Element D, which I'm just going to put in this light purple-ish over here. Et kashti natati b'annan - G-d says, I've placed My bow in the clouds, the rainbow is like My archer's bow that I've placed in the clouds. Do we have anything towards the bottom that's going to remind you of; Et kashti natati b'annan? Now when I say bottom now, I don't mean really the bottom, the whole bottom over here is already paralleled to the top, we're just looking at somewhere over here, we would expect to find it somewhere just above the beige. And in fact that is where we do find a mirrored element to; Et kashti natati b'annan - that I have placed My bow in the clouds. It's right over here, G-d says; Venirata hakeshet be'annan - the bow will be seen in the clouds.
Notice by the way the slight difference between the two. Towards the top; Et kashti natati b'annan - I am placing My bow in the clouds. On the bottom; Venirata - having placed it, the bow is seen, can be seen now in the clouds. Again, first I am doing it, with G-d actually doing it in the present or in the future tense, and then G-d having done it, the consequence is it can now be seen, so over here it's the past. Remember, that's really the pattern we've seen really with contrasting the entire top of this text with the bottom of the text; which is the top of the text really seems to be present oriented, it's what G-d is doing now or going to do. Then over here it's G-d sort of looking back and seeing what are the consequences, what - you're going to be able to see this bow in the clouds now. One can see this.
Okay, and now that brings us to what appears to be the center. Vehaytah l'ot brit beini ubein ha'aretz. Vehaya b'anneni annan al ha'aretz. There's sort of a kind of doubled center in here. Vehaytah l'ot brit - it's going to be a sign of the covenant between Me and all the land; Vehaya b'anneni annan al ha'aretz - and it shall be when, in the future, when I convene clouds upon the earth - and that's it. It shall be a covenant between Me and the earth whenever I bring clouds over the earth. The idea is that in the future when people would look at clouds - if you would think of Noah looking at storm clouds, what would your emotional reaction be to storm clouds when you see that? Storm clouds makes you nervous, storm clouds is you remember that that's destruction, that's the flood. So in the future whenever I bring clouds - the way the commentators understand that, in the future - as the Medrash points out, whenever G-d sort of contemplates destroying the earth again, He's not going to do it, He's going to look at the covenant. There's going to be a covenant between Me and the earth, whenever I bring clouds I'm not going to destroy the earth, there will be the rainbow and there will be a limit to the water, the water will not come and completely wipe out everything. That is the middle of this chiasm.
As we talked about before, a chiasm is structured so that everything points towards the center. It's like the eye of the hurricane, everything over here is revolving around this idea. So the question is what is the magic in these words? How is it that we understand this as really the conceptual center of the rainbow? Then the really deep mystery is how do I understand how this enlightens me about the connection between - the mysterious connection - between the rainbow covenant and Sabbath, what does all this have to do with the Sabbath? What possibly could this center - if this what the rainbow boils down to, how could that possibly enlighten me as to anything about the meaning of the Sabbath, in that kind of way?
But it is kind of fascinating, this chiastic structure, it's there, the sort of perfect mirror. Actually not quite a perfect mirror. If you notice there's one element - even though everything in the top is mirrored at the bottom, there's one element which seems out of order. Over here you've got blue, beige, green, purple, yellow and you would imagine that at the bottom you'd also have blue, beige, green, purple, yellow, but you don't. You have blue, green, beige, purple, yellow. These two actually seem out of order. So it's actually - you might call it an imperfect chiasm - seems to be an imperfect chiasm, and I want you to just tuck that away in your memory now and we'll get back to that before, could there be any possibly meaning in these two elements being switched around? What could that possibly mean? Maybe think about that, what happens when you have an imperfect chiasm in that kind of way? Is it just a fluke or does it actually mean anything? So we'll come back to that maybe a little bit later.
But I just want to point out to you that this chiasm just - it seems to be there, it seems to exist, it's actually a far more elegant chiasm than we've actually begun to see right now. There's another fascinating element to it which I'm going to get to in our next video, which shows a second, sort of numeric layer in the rainbow covenant. There's something to do with numbers over here, which is very, very fascinating as well and I want to show that to you. So we'll come back and talk about that in the next video. I'll see you then.
1. Water, Water Everywhere
2. Parallel Universes
4. The Sixth Day
5. Brave New World
6. Noah's World
7. Is There a 'Sabbath' in Noah's World?
8. Sabbath Echoes
9. Rainbows Have Seven Colors
10. A Bow In the Clouds
12. Chiasms: More Than Just a Pretty Face
13. Colors of the Rainbow
14. Numeric Centers; Thematic Centers
15. Taking Stock: Where Are We Now?
16. Sabbath's Center
17. How Tiring Was It To Create a World?
18. Rest As the Purpose of Work?
19. Positive Rest
20. What If a Parent Never Lets Go?
21. Conclusion: Two Ways to Destoy a World
22. Epilogue: Why the Rainbow Covenant is a Two-Way Street (Premium)
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