Tuesday, October 18, 2016

The Animals on Noah's Ark

Alice C. Linsley

Noah was a Proto-Saharan ruler in the region of Lake Chad. The historicity of Noah’s concern for animals is supported by the discovery that Proto-Saharan rulers kept royal menageries of exotic animals. 

The oldest known zoological collection was found during the 2009 excavations at Nekhen on the Nile. The menagerie dates to about 3500 BC and included bulls, hippos, elephants, baboons, wildcats, and dogs (The Oxford Handbook of Zooarchaeology, p. 456). The animals were exhumed in the city’s elite cemeteries and had received mortuary treatment similar to humans. There is evidence that these animals had been well tended, including a few bone fractures that would have required medical care to heal properly.

Noah would have known about the shrine city of Nekhen. It was one of the earliest worship centers for the Horite Hebrew.

This Nekhen tomb painting shows a sickle boat
in what is today the Sahara.

During a period of flooding in the Chad Basin Noah preserved his animals by putting them on a ship. These prehistoric rock paintings found in the Sudan show the boats and cows of Proto-Saharans. Clearly moving animals by boat was a common practice.

The boats were made mainly of large bundles of reeds bound together over a wood frame. Boat types have been identified as sickle, incurved sickle, square, incurved square and flared boat. These images were found on rock surfaces in the Central Eastern Desert of Egypt. (Read more here: Boat Petroglyphs in Egypt's Central Eastern Desert)

Nilo-Saharan rulers built large boats out of גפר (gofer/gopher), as described in Genesis 6:4. The word gofer refers to reeds and is used in reference to the basket made for the baby Moses (Exodus 2:3). The Schocken Bible reads: "Make yourself an Ark of gofer wood, with reeds make the Ark...", Vol. I, p. 35. Noah's ark likely looked like the boat shown below.

Noah was a ruler in the region of Lake Chad. He was one of the "might men of old" mentioned in Genesis 6. These archaic rulers dispersed out of Africa into Mesopotamia, the Levant, and Southern Europe. Nimrod was one of Noah's descendants. He built his kingdom in the Tigris-Euphrates Valley. These great rulers were known as sar, meaning king. The word corresponds to the Sanskrit śāri and the Nilo-Saharan and Hausa word sarki. The Sumerian word for king is sar and the Chadic word for ruler is gon, so Sar-gon means "High King" or "King of Kings." The Elamite word for king was sunki, a variant of sarki. Another variant is the word šarka, found in the Lithuanian language.

Climate studies reveal that the Lake Chad Basin held much more water in Noah's time. Noah lived between 2490-2415 BC, when the Sahara experienced the Gurian Wet Period (also known as the Aqualithic or the African Humid Period). His reign coincided with the Old Kingdom, a time of great cultural and technological achievement in Egypt. This places Noah and his sons in relatively recent history, not at the dawn of human existence. They ruled over territories during the 7th, 8th and 9th Dynasties in Egypt.

DNA studies indicate that Noah's R1b peoples dispersed from Africa. The dispersion of the R1b group is shown on the map below. Note the bright red mark in central Africa. This is the region of Lake Chad, Noah's homeland.

The dark red spot in Central Africa is the Lake Chad Basin.

Related reading: Noah's Birds; Noah's Flood; When the Sahara Was Wet; Boats and Cows of the Proto-Saharans


Fr. Charles Erlandson said...


Alice C. Linsley said...

Thank you, Father. Once we place Noah in the right location the pieces of the puzzle fall into place. No one should be surprised that Noah ruled in the region of Lake Chad. Abraham's ancestors came out of the Chad Basin and Mega-Nile (these were connected by a series of smaller lakes, according to hydrological studies). Abraham was a descendant of Nimrod and Nimrod was a Kushite ruler, the "son of Kush" according to Genesis 10:8.

Anonymous said...

I am an elementary teacher at a Christian school. After reading your blog and other sources, I am struggling to continue teaching Bible to my 5th grade students. It seems that most of the things I have been taught to believe about the Bible are not completely accurate. Some things that I was taught were super spiritual events were really natural, earthly events with common sense explanations. I love reading your historical data, but it does make me question many many things.

Alice C. Linsley said...

Anonymous, God bless you!

Don't give up. Please join the international Facebook group The Bible and Anthropology where you will have a better opportunity to discuss your concerns. That platform lends itself better to conversations and we discuss everything in depth.

If the Bible is our first authority as Christians, it is also worth studying in detail and teaching rightly. The problem is not the Bible. It holds up to the strictest scientific scrutiny. The problem is denominational and fundamentalist interpretations. They believe they are defending the Bible, but they end up obfuscating what Genesis says.