The Wickedness of the People
(Methuselah’s wisdom and knowledge were inherited by his grandson Noah, the son of Lemech. Noah was a righteous and pious man.) When Noah was five hundred years old, he had three sons--Shem, Ham, andJapheth. They too were good and pious men, fearing and loving G-d, and unlike all the other inhabitants of the earth, who had gradually become more and more depraved. Yet neither Noah nor Methuselah could change the evil ways of the people around them, in spite of the many warnings G-d sent through them to their fellow-men. Everyone thought only of his own welfare and recognized only the laws that were in his own favor. Mutual respect and cooperation had given way to violence and sin. Finally G-d gave them a last chance. He ordered Noah to build an ark slowly, and to complete it in 120 years. This was to be the last period of grace within which the people could change their evil ways. Time passed and yet the people had not repented. So fearful was the prevailing corruption that G-d determined to destroy all life by a universal Deluge; not only the men but the beasts also were to perish, so that no trace might remain of that wicked age. Only Noah found grace in the eyes of G-d, and he was to be spared the fate of all the other living things, because he was the only pious person who had tried to arouse the conscience of the people and warn them of the punishment to come. The Ark
G-d told Noah to build his ark in public and to tell everyone its purpose: that it would save him from the coming Flood. The Ark was to be three hundred cubits in length, fifty in width, and thirty in height, and was to consist of three stories, divided into small rooms to hold people, animals, and food. Noah and his wife, their three sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth, and their wives were to live in it. Some animals of every kind in the world were to live in the Ark too. Noah’s family and the animals were to live in the Ark until the Flood ended. Noah did as G-d...
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