God enjoined particularly the command against the shedding of human blood.
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Whoso would shed man's blood, his blood would be shed. Even if human judges let the guilty man go free, his punishment would overtake him. He would die an unnatural death, such as he had inflicted upon his fellow-man. Yea, even beasts that slew men, even of them would the life of men be required. Noah lost his epithet "the pious" when he began to occupy himself with the growing of the vine. He became a "man of the ground," and this first attempt to produce wine at the same time produced the first to drink to excess, the first to utter curses upon his associates, and the first to introduce slavery.
This is the way it all came about. Noah found the vine which Adam had taken with him from Paradise, when he was driven forth. He tasted the grapes upon it, and, finding them palatable, he resolved to plant the vine and tend it. On the selfsame day on which he planted it, it bore fruit, he put it in the wine-press, drew off the juice, drank it, became drunken, and was dishonored--all on one day. His assistant in the work of cultivating the vine was Satan, who had happened along at the very moment when he was engaged in planting the slip he had found.
Satan asked him: "What is it thou art planting here? Noah: "The fruit it bears is sweet, be it dry or moist.
It yields wine that rejoiceth the heart of man. Satan thereupon slaughtered a lamb, and then, in succession, a lion, a pig, and a monkey.
The blood of each as it was killed he made to flow under the vine. Thus he conveyed to Noah what the qualities of wine are: before man drinks of it, he is innocent as a lamb; if he drinks of it moderately, he feels as strong as a lion; if he drinks more of it than he can bear, he resembles the pig; and if he drinks to the point of intoxication, then he behaves like a monkey, he dances around, sings, talks obscenely, and knows not what he is doing.
This deterred Noah no more than did the example of Adam, whose fall had also been due to wine, for the forbidden fruit had been the grape, with which he had made himself drunk. In his drunken condition Noah betook himself to the tent of his wife. His son Ham saw him there, and he told his brothers what he had noticed, and said: "The first man had but two sons, and one slew the other; this man Noah has three sons, yet he desires to beget a fourth besides. He added to this sin of irreverence the still greater outrage of attempting to perform an operation upon his father designed to prevent procreation.
When Noah awoke from his wine and became sober, he pronounced a curse upon Ham in the person of his youngest son Canaan. To Ham himself he could do no harm, for God had conferred a blessing upon Noah and his three sons as they departed from the ark. Therefore he put the curse upon the last-born son of the son that had prevented him from begetting a younger son than the three he had.
Thus he was requited, for it is the way of God to mete out punishment measure for measure. Canaan had to suffer vicariously for his father's sin. Yet some of the punishment was inflicted upon him on his own account, for it had been Canaan who had drawn the attention of Ham to Noah's revolting condition.
Ham, it appears, was but the worthy father of such a son. The last will and testament of Canaan addressed to his children read as follows: "Speak not the truth; hold not yourselves aloof from theft; lead a dissolute life; hate your master with an exceeding great hate; and love one another.
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As Ham was made to suffer requital for his irreverence, so Shem and Japheth received a reward for the filial, deferential way in which they took a garment and laid it upon both their shoulders, and walking backward, with averted faces, covered the nakedness of their father. Naked the descendants of Ham, the Egyptians and Ethiopians, were led away captive and into exile by the king of Assyria, while the descendants of Shem, the Assyrians, even when the angel of the Lord burnt them in the camp, were not exposed, their garments remained upon their corpses unsinged.
And in time to come, when Gog shall suffer his defeat, God will provide both shrouds and a place of burial for him and all his multitude, the posterity of Japheth. Though Shem and Japheth both showed themselves to be dutiful and deferential, yet it was Shem who deserved the larger meed of praise. He was the first to set about covering his father. Japheth joined him after the good deed had been begun. Therefore the descendants of Shem received as their special reward the tallit, the garment worn by them, while the Japhethites have only the toga.
A further distinction accorded to Shem was the mention of his name in connection with God's in the blessing of Noah.
The relation of Shem to Japheth was expressed in the blessing their father pronounced upon them: God will grant a land of beauty to Japheth, and his sons will be proselytes dwelling in the academies of Shem. At the same time Noah conveyed by his words that the Shekinah would dwell only in the first Temple, erected by Solomon, a son of Shem, and not in the second Temple, the builder of which would be Cyrus, a descendant of Japheth.
When it became known to Ham that his father had cursed him, he fled ashamed, and with his family he settled in the city built by him, and named Neelatamauk for his wife. Jealous of his brother, Japheth followed his example.
He likewise built a city which he named for his wife, Adataneses. Shem was the only one of the sons of Noah who did not abandon him. In the vicinity of his father's home, by the mountain, he built his city, to which he also gave his wife's name, Zedeketelbab. The three cities are all near Mount Lubar, the eminence upon which the ark rested. The first lies to the south of it, the second to the west, and the third to the east. Noah endeavored to inculcate the ordinances and the commands known to him upon his children and his children's children.
In particular he admonished them against the fornication, the uncleanness, and all the iniquity which had brought the flood down upon the earth. He reproached them with living apart from one another, and with their jealousies, for he feared that, after his death, they might go so far as to shed human blood.
Against this he warned them impressively, that they be not annihilated from the earth like those that went before. Another law which he enjoined upon them, to observe it, was the law ordaining that the fruit of a tree shall not be used the first three years it bears, and even in the fourth year it shall be the portion of the priests alone, after a part thereof has been offered upon the altar of God.
And having made an end of giving his teachings and injunctions, Noah said: "For thus did Enoch, your ancestor, exhort his son Methuselah, and Methuselah his son Lamech, and Lamech delivered all unto me as his father had bidden him, and now I do exhort you, my children, as Enoch exhorted his son. When he lived, in his generation, which was the seventh generation of man, he commanded it and testified it unto his children and his children's children, until the day of his death.
In the year after the creation of the world, Noah divided the earth by lot among his three sons, in the presence of an angel. Each one stretched forth his hand and took a slip from the bosom of Noah. Shem's slip was inscribed with the middle of the earth, and this portion became the inheritance of his descendants unto all eternity.
Noah rejoiced that the lot had assigned it to Shem. Thus was fulfilled his blessing upon him, "And God in the habitation of Shem," for three holy places fell within his precincts--the Holy of Holies in the Temple, Mount Sinai, the middle point of the desert, and Mount Zion, the middle point of the navel of the earth. The south fell to the lot of Ham, and the north became the inheritance of Japheth.
The land of Ham is hot, Japheth's cold, but Shem's is neither hot nor cold, its temperature is hot and cold mixed. This division of the earth took place toward the end of the life of Peleg, the name given to him by his father Eber, who, being a prophet, knew that the division of the earth would take place in the time of his son. The brother of Peleg was called Joktan, because the duration of the life of man was shortened in his time. In turn, the three sons of Noah, while they were still standing in the presence of their father, divided each his portion among his children, Noah threatening with his curse any who should stretch out his hand to take a portion not assigned to him by lot.
And they all cried, "So be it! So be it!
Thus were divided one hundred and four lands and ninety-nine islands among seventy-two nations, each with a language of its own, using sixteen different sets of characters for writing. To Japheth were allotted forty-four lands, thirty-three islands, twenty-two languages, and five kinds of writing; Ham received thirty-four lands, thirty-three islands, twenty-four languages, and five kinds of writing; and Shem twenty-six lands, thirty-three islands, twenty-six languages, and six kinds of writing--one set of written characters more to Shem than to either of his brothers, the extra set being the Hebrew.
The land appointed as the inheritance of the twelve sons of Jacob was provisionally granted to Canaan, Zidon, Heth, the Jebusites, the Amorites, the Girgashites, the Hivites, the Arkites, the Sinites, the Arvadites, the Zemarites, and the Hamathites. It was the duty of these nations to take care of the land until the rightful owners should come.
No sooner had the children of Noah and their children's children taken possession of the habitations apportioned to them, than the unclean spirits began to seduce men and torment them with pain and all sorts of suffering leading to spiritual and physical death. Upon the entreaties of Noah God sent down the angel Raphael, who banished nine-tenths of the unclean spirits from the earth, leaving but one-tenth for Mastema, to punish sinners through them.
Raphael, supported by the chief of the unclean spirits, at that time revealed to Noah all the remedies residing in plants, that he might resort to them at need. Noah recorded them in a book, which he transmitted to his son Shem. This is the source to which go back all the medical books whence the wise men of India, Aram, Macedonia, and Egypt draw their knowledge.midwestdiscountprinting.com/wp-includes/vijekup/2035.php
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The sages of India devoted themselves particularly to the study of curative trees and spices; the Arameans were well versed in the knowledge of the properties of grains and seeds, and they translated the old medical books into their language. The wise men of Macedonia were the first to apply medical knowledge practically, while the Egyptians sought to effect cures by means of magic arts and by means of astrology, and they taught the Midrash of the Chaldees, composed by Kangar, the son of Ur, the son of Kesed. Medical skill spread further and further until the time of aesculapius. This Macedonian sage, accompanied by forty learned magicians, journeyed from country to country, until they came to the land beyond India, in the direction of Paradise.
They hoped there to find some wood of the tree of life, and thus spread their fame abroad over the whole world. Their hope was frustrated. When they arrived at the spot, they found healing trees and wood of the tree of life, but when they were in the act of stretching forth their hands to gather what they desired, lightning darted out of the ever-turning sword, smote them to the ground, and they were all burnt.
With them disappeared all knowledge of medicine, and it did not revive until the time of the first Artaxerxes, under the Macedonian sage Hippocrates, Dioscorides of Baala, Galen of Caphtor, and the Hebrew Asaph. With the spread of mankind corruption increased.