Book of Noah

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In the Genesis, Noah was mentioned as a son of Lamech (5:28-32):

When Lamech had lived 182 years, he begot a son. And he named him Noah, saying "This one will provide us relief from our work and from the toil of our hands, out of the very soil which the LORD placed a curse."
Genesis 5:28-29, (New Jewish Publication Society (NJPS), 1985 translation)

As you can see, the Genesis description about Noah's birth is brief to say the least, and nothing spectacular.

In more details, the Genesis recounts Noah's vision & his construction of the Ark (Genesis 6), the Flood (7-8), his vineyard and bout of drunkeness (9). Finally just as briefly it mentioned his birth, it mentioned Noah's death at age 950 (9:28-29). So there are lot of gaps before and after the Flood that are unaccounted for.

Perhaps, the most interesting legend about Noah, other the Flood and outside of Genesis, was his birth, which the Bible gives no real details about. So I have to look elsewhere about Noah's birth.

The best source come from the Book of Enoch (1 Enoch), right at the end (chapters 106 and 107), largely because it is less fragmented than others, therefore more complete than the other writings. This section of 1 Enoch was known as the Book of Noah.

Other sources can be found in one of the fragmented scrolls from the Dead Sea Scrolls.

So I will retell 1 Enoch 106-107, but will include other writings, where they differ in details.

So the Book of Noah begins with the birth of Noah. At that time, the Nephilim already existed. The Nephilim were offspring of angels, known as the Watchers, and of mortal women. To God, the Nephilim were abominations. See Enoch and the Watchers about the Watchers and Nephilim.

Lamech was terrified of his son, because he was so different, physically. So different that Lamech thought the infant's real father might have been an angel, so not his (Lamech's) son.

The baby was born with white and red body, and his hair was also white. But what amazed everyone was the baby's beautiful eyes; beautiful and yet terrifying to Lamech:

And his body was white as snow and red as the blooming of a rose, and the hair of his head and his long locks were white as wool, and his eyes beautiful. And when he opened his eyes, he lighted up the whole house like the sun, and the whole house was very bright.
1 Enoch 106:2 (translated by R.H. Charles)

When Noah opened his eyes, light shone forth so bright that it lit up the house with its light. The light was supposedly brighter than the rays of the sun. Lamech ran out of the house, to seek counsel from his father, Methuselah.

But in the Dead Sea Scroll version, from Genesis Apocryphon, Lamech conversed with his wife first, before going to his father. Lamech's wife was named Betenos, daughter of B�r�k��l, in the Book of Jubilees, while the Genesis Apocryphon named her - Bath-enosh, Batenosh, Bitenosh - depending on who's doing the translation of Genesis Apocryphon. In 1 Enoch, wife is not mentioned at all. So for the sake of convenience, I will use Betenos here.

Lamech demanded to know if the child was his, he wanted Betenos to tell him the truth. Betenos unsuccessfully tried to convince her husband that the baby was his. So then, Lamech left the house to find his father.

It should be noted that Betenos called Lamech, her husband and "my brother" in the scroll. But in the Book of Jubilees, Lamech married his cousin (his father's brother's daughter).

So Lamech told his father about the infant's remarkable appearance and power (with the eyes). Lamech was convinced the infant was the son of a Watcher (angel). Lamech beseeched his father to speak to Enoch (Methuselah's father and Lamech's grandfather), to ask what the God or angels know about the true lineage of this infant.

At this time, Enoch was already living in heaven with the angels, for he was an angel. But in 1 Enoch 106, it was not known where Methuselah went to find his father, but in the Genesis Apocryphon, Methuselah went to Parwain or Parvayyim. It is not known where this Parwain is, or if it exists at all. In any case, this is where Enoch answered his son's call.

Methuselah told everything to Enoch, which his son had told him. Methuselah told Lamech was afraid that the infant was a son of an angel. Enoch told Methuselah not only the truth, that Noah was Lamech's son, but that Lamech's son (and grandsons) would survive the destruction that would follow (referring to the Flood). The destruction would happen because of the wickedness of the Nephilim and mankind. Enoch told his son to reassure that the infant was Lamech's real son and to name the baby, Noah.


The Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha of the Old Testament
R.H. Charles
Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1913 (2 vols)

These volumes were available in my local library, but they are now gone, probably sold.

Fortunately, copies of these translations can also be found in a couple of websites.

At Wesley College, Noncanonical Literature, I have used the following works as my sources from the above site:

The following texts were found in Pseudepigrapha, Apocrypha and Sacred Writings site:

Dead Sea Scrolls
On-Line Texts Related to Biblical Study

Gnosis Archive

Internet Sacred Text Archive

Good News Bible: Today English Version
United Bible Societies
1976; reprinted 1986

Here are the following texts used from this bible:

Tanakh: A New Translation of the Holy Scriptures
According to the Traditional Hebrew Text

The New Jewish Publication Society; 1985

Internet Sacred Text Archive:

The Legends of the Jews (Haggada)
trans. Louis Ginzberg, 1909
The following texts used is Volume 1, chapters 1-4, particularly chapter 3, which have a fair bit on Enoch.

Tales and Maxims from the Midrash
Samuel Rapaport, 1907
See Genesis Rabba about Naamah.

Medieval Hebrew: Featuring Midrash:
See the Bereshith or Genesis Rabba about Naamah.

Zohar: Bereshith to Lekh Lekha
Nurho de Manhar, 1900-14
See Exposition of Bible Mysteries and Chapter 32 about Naamah.

The following are external links from Gnosis Archive:

Dead Sea Scrolls The Complete Dead Sea Scrolls In English, The Book of Noah 1Q19, Fr. 3; Frs 13-14. 4Q534. 4Q536 (4Q534, Fr 7).