“You shall take with you of every clean animal by sevens, a male and his female; and of the animals that are not clean two, a male and his female; also of the birds of the sky, by sevens, male and female, to keep offspring alive on the face of all the earth.” (7:2-3)
I guess Noah knew the official classifications of animals to know which to bring 2 of and which to bring 14 of. Maybe Noah had some level of instruction from God. Sinai was obviously not the first time mankind found out some animals are dirty.
Also, Noah makes an alter and offers clean animal sacrifices which soothes the LORD:
“Then Noah built an altar to the LORD, and took of every clean animal and of every clean bird and offered burnt offerings on the altar. The LORD smelled the soothing aroma; and the LORD said to Himself, ‘I will never again curse the ground on account of man, for the intent of man’s heart is evil from his youth; and I will never again destroy every living thing, as I have done. While the earth remains, Seedtime and harvest, And cold and heat, And summer and winter, And day and night Shall not cease.’” (8:20-22)
This stirs in me a memory of how simple it can be to please the Lord. Jesus said to enter the kingdom with child-like faith. Sure, Exodus-Deuteronomy are chalk full of detailed instructions. But also, there are many times when the LORD breaks it down for us.
“Then [Abram] believed in the LORD; and He reckoned it to him as righteousness.” (Genesis 15:6)
“Hear, O Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD is one! You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.” (Deuteronomy 6:4-5)
“He has told you, O man, what is good; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justice, to love kindness, And to walk humbly with your God?” (Micah 6:8)
Sometimes the LORD is just building off the obvious. Even the future Ten Commandments aren’t unreasonable expectations.
All this to say, the LORD wasn’t inventing a cultural of sacrifice with Israel in the desert. He was refining it, to set them apart from how everyone else was doing it.
I don’t want to spend this whole time getting super ahead of myself though. It’s a crazy story, and super fun to imagine having seen the land surrounding Mt Ararat: Where the rest of human history takes off!
For an interesting side read, Wikipedia has a list of ancient civilizations that have a flood story.
By the time I get to the end, with the birds and Noah’s slow and deliberate weekly land checks, I think I would be losing my mind in that thoroughly infested space.
What stuck out to you this time around?