My Mum's Ancient Family Bible

My Mum's Ancient Family Bible
Kept in the garage of all places for so many years, it's finally been put to good use.

Monday, December 27, 2010

We Might Have Been Giants (Genesis 4-7)

Today I'm at the part in Genesis where Cain kills Abel, in a perfect example of sibling rivalry to the max. What happens here is pretty simple: Abel gives God nice offerings and Cain gives him crappy ones. Sort of like someone showing up to a party with Raincoast Crisps and a wheel of organic brie from the Leslieville Cheese Market and someone showing up with Doritos. Not cool, but would you freak if you were the hostess? God does. As a matter of fact, " Cain and his offerings he had no respect," which sounds to me like the first official dissing in the history of mankind (Gen 4: 5). Cain reacts in the appropriate way and kills his brother in a field. Then he gets cast out to what I assume is the wrong side of the tracks: the east side of Eden. I Googled "east of eden" because I thought I wanted to reference the 1955 film but I found out that it is also known as the Land of Nod (not a bad-sounding place at all).

After the Cain and Abel debacle, things start to slow down considerably. So-and-so begot what's-her-face and blah, blah, blah. Everyone lives an insanely long time which makes it even more boring. Somewhere down the line, Cain decides to copulate with his sister (Gen 4: 17). Pickings are slim but by that time, there are certainly some nieces and grand-nieces kicking around that at least aren't as closely related. Anyways, Cain and his nameless sister (I guess she's not important) have children who have children and we wind up with someone called Henoch who lives to be many hundreds of years old and then has an untimely end (as untimely as an end can be when you're over 100 years old). Henoch "walked with God and was seen no more; because God took him" (Gen 5: 24). God just took him - yoink!

There's one small detail that I think most people don't know about these Genesis characters. I think that it's pretty common knowledge that they all live to be nearly a millenium old but did anyone know that they were giants? Indeed. "Giants were upon the earth in those days" (Gen 6: 4). This was news to me. I thought that maybe I was misinterpreting the word but I read the footnote. Adam and Eve were giants. Huge people. How tall were they exactly? NBA tall or Attack of the 50 Foot Woman tall? I'd love to know. Was everything else their size or were cantaloupes like grapes to them?

Next comes the flood. It seems to be a kind of narrative distraction at this point because I'm pretty focused on the idea of giants. (By the way, the Bible I'm using is so old that Noah is spelled "Noe". I've never seen this before and I kept pronouncing it in my head like Zoe, but with an N). This is the part where Noah builds an ark because God forewarns him that he's going to kill everyone for no particular reason other than "corruption". He's supposed to build it to be so many cubits big and fill it with two of every kind of animal, one male and one female. Wait. That's just the unclean ones. All the clean animals have not two, but seven representatives of each sex (Gen 7: 3). I don't know unclean from clean animals but I know it would be harder to draw fourteen giraffe on one page if I was an illustrator of children's Bible stories so I can see how this got overlooked. Noah's job as cruise director must have been super-stressful, especially because he's six hundred years old at this point and in my experience, most old people don't love travelling.

1 comment:

  1. Think of the ark as an RV.

    But wait, he's traveling with family and an unreasonable amount of pets.

    Yeah, it had to suck.