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Chapter 7

Gen 9:20ff tells the story of how Noah after the Flood planted a vineyard and got drunk, and how Ham his son saw him naked when he was drunk and had his own son cursed as a result.

The reasonable interpretation for this (though it was not obvious to me, and I learned of it only a year or two ago) is that he was traumatised by seeing the whole of Mankind wiped out, and suffering from survivor's guilt, and alcohol was the only way he could deal with this. Jubilees, which seeks to portray Noah as more righteous than the rabbis did (who pointed out that he is described not as righteous but "righteous in his generation"), seeks to give him a more noble reason for getting drunk:

In the seventh week of this jubilee, in its first year, Noah planted vines on the mountain on which the ark had rested, named Lubar, one of the Ararat Mountains, and they produced fruit in the fourth year; he guarded their fruit, and gathered it in this year in the seventh month. He made wine from it and put it into a vessel, and kept it until the fifth year, until the first day, on the new moon of the first month, when he celebrated with joy the day of this feast, and he made a burnt sacrifice unto the Lord, one young ox and one ram, and seven sheep, each a year old, and a kid of the goats, that he might make atonement thereby for himself and his sons. [Details of the sacrifices follow.] He placed all their offerings mingled with oil upon [the altar], and afterwards he sprinkled wine on the fire which he had previously made on the altar, and he placed incense on the altar and caused a sweet savour to ascend acceptable before the Lord his God. And he rejoiced and drank of this wine, he and his children with joy.

Chapter 8

The author of Jubilees has boxed himself somewhat into a corner by claiming that all corrupt knowledge came from the Watchers, but then saying that after the Flood, there were no more Watchers or Nephilim or people corrupted by them on the Earth. Here's how he resolved this difficulty:
In the twenty-ninth jubilee, at the beginning of the first week, Arpachshad took to himself a wife and her name was Rasu'eja, the daughter of Susan, the daughter of Elam, and she bore him a son in the third year in this week; he called his name Kainam. The son grew up, and his father taught him writing, and he went to seek for himself a place where he might seize for himself a city. He found an inscription which former (generations) had carved on the rock, and he read what was in it, and transcribed it and sinned owing to it; for it contained the teaching of the Watchers in accordance with which they used to observe the omens of the sun and moon and stars in all the signs of heaven. And he wrote it down and said nothing regarding it; for he was afraid to speak to Noah about it lest he should be angry with him on account of it.
The following section describes how Noah divided up the earth between his children to inherit. In a rather Goldilocks fashion, Ham got the too-hot lands of the south (Africa), Japhet the too-cold lands of the north (Europe) and Shem the ideal-climate lands of the Mediterranean and Middle East, containing the earth's three holiest places:
The Garden of Eden is the holy of holies, and the dwelling of the Lord, and Mount Sinai the centre of the desert, and Mount Zion the centre of the navel of the earth: these three were created as holy places facing each other.

Chapter 9

Noah's sons then divided up their portions among their own sons; the text continues:
Thus the sons of Noah divided unto their sons in the presence of Noah their father, and he bound them all by an oath, imprecating a curse on every one that sought to seize the portion which had not fallen (to him) by his lot. And they all said, 'So be it; so be it' for themselves and their sons for ever throughout their generations till the day of judgment.
I'm not sure what point the author is trying to make here.

[Dead Sea Scroll of Jubilees] Jubilees posts                     Jewish learning notes index


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Lethargic Man (anag.)

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