This chapter starts off with an overview of how the population of people that god had created increases. Men had daughters, other men found these daughters attractive, and married "any of them they chose." So the author is making a point that there were no arranged marriages, and that people married women by choosing them based on beauty.
But god says suddenly that man is mortal. Which you might've guessed from some of the characters in the last chapter. . . you know, dying. Yes, says god, "his days will be a hundred and twenty years." It's such a random statement that I almost react to it with a sigh and a 'whatever.' Okay, not almost.
The author goes on to describe humans called Nephilim, that were around then, and after that time too. These people were heroes. Of old. Or something. Again: 'whatever.'
The lord then decides that man is wicked. Which, for me, comes out of left field.
"every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time."
Sheesh. Harsh, god. Surely there was SOMETHING good down on the planet. You know, besides the garden from which you had barred everyone. No, apparently god was sorry he'd made men, and he had acid reflux to boot. Or "his heart was filled with pain" means something else.
So god said, I'm gonna just wipe everything out. Because it's all rubbish anyway. It's what Eddie Izzard calls "the etch-a-sketch end of the world." Even though it's man i'm really pissed at, I figure a clean slate is the way to go.
"But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord."
Well good for him.
Noah, it says, was "blameless," which makes me raise an eyebrow, I must say. Yeah, he walked with god. And the author again mentions his three sons (like that sitcom?) Shem, Ham and Japheth, the middle child of which sounds the most appetizing.
The earth was corrupt and people were violent and god saw this and said to Noah (probably when they were 'walking' one day) that he was gonna wipe it all out. Everything. He explains how the earth is filled with violence, and it's all because of man. Can you see Noah looking sideways at god with a horrified expression? Because I can.
Anyway, says god, enough of this. You need to make an ark of cypress, and coat it in pitch and make some rooms in it, all cozy-like.
I imagine god whipping out some blueprints before he continues telling Noah the actual measurements of the boat. Why any author would think we as readers need to know the MEASUREMENTS of the boat has always astonished me. Boy is that some useless information. Unless you're debating the verbatim truth of the bible, in which case it's GRAVY!
The translators of the NIV have seen fit to convert the measurements of cubits into feet and inches. So, being a bit of a geek, I dug out my old King James Version (which I recieved after being baptised in the blood, hallelujah) to include both units. Then I thought, why stop there? Why not convert the measurements into the Systeme International? Well all right then.
The ark, god is saying, needs to be 300 cubits long. Are you writing this down? Noah says, oh, yeah, lemme get a pen. Okay. So a cubit is a foot and a half long. And the metres below are approximate.
Length 300 cubits = 450 feet = 137 metres.
Width 50 cubits = 75 feet = 23 metres.
Height 30 cubits = 45 feet = 13 metres.
A line of windows around the top, under the roof, is mentioned measuring one cubit, imaginably provided so that methane gas doesn't build up on the inside. Eugh.
For comparison, the Hollywood sign in California is also 45 feet tall and 450 feet long.
God told Noah, don't forget the door, and make some decks in it, you know, like one of those carnival cruise ships. But no karaoke!
Noah is writing all this down, while trying to keep up with god as they're walking, calculating the distance to the nearest cypress forest and whether god would notice if he used a couple planks from that oak tree he'd cut down the other day.
I'm going to flood the whole planet! says god. What's a planet? asks Noah. Oh, it's a greek word, anyway, focus! It's all going down, man!
Look, Noah, here's the plan: You and your wife, and your three sons, and their wives, will get on the ark, and you won't die, oh and onto the ark I'd like you to bring two of all living things.
Then god goes on to make a list of the living things, and this might be because Noah is staring at him slackjawed after that last statement. You know, two of every kind of bird, and animal, and all those things that creep. On the ark. With you. Oh, and take every kind of food there is.
Then the author tells us that Noah did everything god told him to.