Drunkenness, Care for the Elderly…

I’ve been reading familiar Bible stories in Genesis… Creation, Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel… stories I was taught as a boy and passed on to others… stories I’ve heard discussed, argued about, preached on….

The Noah narrative’s particularly well-known… God tells Noah to build an ark… the animals go in two by two… there’s a flood… water subsides… there’s a rainbow. Superficially it’s a children’s cartoon and we’re all happy because animals are nice and rainbows mean nice things…

Some might talk about deeper meanings… the consequences of sin, Noah’s obedience to his God, God’s promises to his people…

We often miss out the last part of the Noah story… Noah the ex-carpenter-boatbuilder, ex-zookeeper, finally settles down and becomes an elderly farmer. He plants a vineyard, gets drunk on his wine, and lies naked in his tent.

His son Ham sees his Dad and tells his brothers. Shem and Japheth take a cloak, walk into his tent backwards and cover their father’s naked body. Noah wakes up, curses Ham’s family, and blesses Shem’s and Japheth’s.

That’s a story I’ve never told to children, seen as a cartoon or heard preached on!

Musing…

…It’s about drunkenness… the first time it’s mentioned in the Bible… Teetotal friends or ex-addict friends might say it’s about the dangers and evils of drink.

…It’s about sons respecting their elderly father… Friends caring for their parents, or those involved in residential care-homes might discuss care and respect for the elderly…

…It’s about godlessness… It’s the first Bible-narrative in which God isn’t mentioned. My theologian friends might develop that theme.

…It’s the first time Noah speaks… cursing part of his family! So far in the narrative Noah is obedient to his God and says nothing. Perhaps there’s a lesson for both silent and conversational friends…

…It shows how guys who are good when they are young can mess up when they get old. That’s a salutary lesson for me today.

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