Genesis Overview: The Flood

a) The Prologue to the Flood (6.5-8)

6.5-8: "These verses form an especially important and curious Yahwistic primeval tradition' (p116). Up until this point J has been assembling material from older traditions, occasionally re-shaping material to suit his purposes but in these verses the narrator speaks on his own behalf; "we read a communication about God's judgment on man and hear of a decision in the divine heart" (p116). The transition is not smooth as 6.1-4 anticipates their successor verses. Before the destruction God has determined how the work of salvation can be revived.

b) The Flood (7.1-5,7,16b,8-10,12,17b,22-23; 8.6a,2b,3a,6b,8-12,13b,20)

The redactor has woven so ingeniously that almost all of J and P are intact; as P is larger and later than J it became the primary frame. The redactor has dropped any J reference to ark building in favour of P (6.13-22). Noah only knew of God's destructive purpose as he was entering the ark, so he built in 'blind' obedience, which Yahweh intended in order to test him. J does not only state Noah's righteousness (Saddiq - doing justice to a relationship in which one stands), as P does, he describes it. Thus, righteousness is not a juridical but a theological concept, cf. Genesis 15.6. The catastrophe in J of 40 days of rain and 61 of flood is less than P.

c) The Epilogue to the Flood (8.21-22)

8.21-22: At the end we are back with the words of J as God's speech-in-character. The notion of the sweet smell derives from - or is in parallel with - Gilgamesh, strikingly anthropomorphic. "In its hard paradox this v. 21 is one of the most remarkable theological statements in the Old Testament: it shows the pointed and concentrated way in which the Yahwist can express himself at decisive points. ... The contrast between God's punishing anger and his supporting grace, which pervades the whole Bible, is here presented almost inappropriately, almost as indulgence, an adjustment by God towards man's sinfulness." (p123). There is a transition in God from impatience to patience.

J is much superior to P which, for example, only mentions man's sinfulness abruptly as a fact.

KC V/14

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