Throughout the Torah, we meet many outstanding personalities. Certain events surrounding their lives famously display great obedience to God. The overwhelming majority, if not all, were the children of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. The only person ever to be called a righteous man in the entire Torah was not a part of this family. His name was Noah. (Gen.6:9)

Yet it was not Noah, but Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob that were privileged to be the founders of God’s ancient people Israel. Even though the nations of the world as represented by Noah are very important in God’s redemptive plan, it was Israel that was chosen to be the holy nation of priests (Ex. 19:6). So why is it that while Noah was the only one who was called righteous, he was not part of God’s ancient chosen people Israel? I think the answer has to do with how Noah approached God when he heard of the coming judgment.

Let us compare Noah’s and Abraham’s obedience in the situations when they heard the news about God’s judgment.

Noah was told by God that judgment was coming to his sinful generation and he needed to build a large boat to save his family and animals. He obeyed without an argument (Gen.6:22).

The word Israel (Yisrael) itself comes from the Hebrew word לשרות  (lesrot), which means to wrestle/exercise influence. Jacob’s new name commemorates the foundational event in Jewish history when Jacob wrestled with someone, whom he later identified as God himself (Gen. 32:28).

Abraham’s response to God when he was told that the blatantly sinful towns of Sodom and Gomorrah would be judged differed markedly from Noah’s. Abraham argued with God and interceded on behalf of the desert settlements, hoping until the very end that he will be able to convince God not to do as He intended. Abraham spoke to God in the most challenging way possible, risking divine displeasure for the possibility of the salvation of others (Gen.18:16-33). Abraham too accepted God’s will just as Noah did, but not without a fight and not before he acted as a priest on behalf of others.

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67 COMMENTS

  1. Friends, let's get a thoughtful conversion going about this topic (please, register to begin your certificate program and come back to engage with this post). Who would go first? (Please, don't write about how Noah is not a Jew, because Israel's family begins with Abraham/Isaac/Jacob trio and not before. We know that, but there is more to that than just chronology).
    • I am reminded of the importance of intercessory prayer, and consider the meaning of what it means to "walk with God". I am grateful for their example. And then there is Enoch who also walked with God...Blessings everyone.
    • Considering Genesis 6:4 the sin comitted there with the crossing of divine and human bloodlines was a much different situation than that in Abrahams time. In Genesis that bloodline had to die it was completely given over perverse abandon. Only Noah was found sound in his generations. His blood wasn't tainted so if Noah understood these things I don't think that makes him less compassionate than Abraham. Even when Abraham pleaded he said if there be found righteous men. He also understood that God is all knowing and does not destroy needlessly.

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    • Great points, but what about Iyov (Job) whom God named as blameless? Wasn’t he a contemporary, and not a descendant of, Abraham? Not sharpshooting, but it just jumped out at me immediately.
    • I'm unable at this time to register, i pray that I will continue to receive your newsletter due to they are alot of help. I also are looking forward do putting back money for next year, due to at this time I'm only receiving an SSI and Disability.

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  2. Very interesting ! Moses ALSO chatted with G-d and he ALSO discuused many, many times with G-d .
  3. Abraham Issac and Jacob were not Jews either the word Jew is only a few hundred years old and it is on Christian origin just like the word nigger is of Christian origin and it has pretty much the same hatful intent. There are no Jews in the Bible! Ya Huss was one of 12 children of Israel’s but you all know this and attempt to deceive. I would love to discuss these and other issues Thank u so very much. Shalom
  4. God used a rare good man like Noah to fulfill His purpose to cleanse the earth of wickedness. Just as equally God used Abraham and his descendents years later to present God's moral righteous Laws to the worlds inhabitents like the 10 Commandments whom Noah obeyed generations before by living righteously in the midst of a very wicked generation. This example contrasts how God is no respecter of persons whether Jew or Greek (gentile) and is not willing that any perish.
  5. The title of this page is "What makes prayer Jewish" but I don't see that addressed at all in the paragraphs here. Are people aware that Noah was, in fact, Abraham's grandfather and that Abraham was sent to live with him because his father feared that he was the one prophecied about which sent the King of Egypt into a tizzy and ordered all male children under two to be killed (seems to be the thing back then). So even though the twelve tribes of Israel (Jacob's sons) commenced with Jacob, Noah was, in fact, Jacob's ancestor through Shem. TBC
    • Thus the ancestral line threads back to Adam; which is why the OT plays such an important role in establishing the bloodline of Adam through to the Messiah. Another point that people may not realise is that of Jacob's twelve sons, Judah is but one who, after Moses led them out of Egypt, became the ruling tribe with others taking on the name of Judah. Levi took care of Priestly duties but the rest intermarried, thus descendants today are a mixture, whist Levites were particularly careful to maintain pure bloodlines. Israel = God's Chosen People responsible to bless the world.

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    • Dr Eli points out that the difference between Noah and Abraham's prayer involves interacting with God a method of changing a situation for the better. We can add that Christian prayer ought to continue the same tradition, only that it is done through Jesus Christ.

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  6. Hello Dr. Eli, Thank you so much for your daily insight. I feel like I learn something new every day. I have a few thoughts, please correct me if I’m wrong. The genealogies seem to indicate that Noah was still alive when Abraham was born. Is it possible that Abraham learned righteousness at the knees of his great great great, etc ...grandfather Noah. After witnessing such loss of life perhaps Noah regretted not speaking up and passed this urgency on to Abraham. Was Abraham chosen because he learned righteousness from Noah? Pure speculation but delightful to ponder. Thanks again!
    • Yolanda, you are right on every point. If you read my first comment above you will see that Abraham was sent to live with Noah to avoid being killed as an infant. This is where he was taught the ways of God and ordained into the Holy Priesthood. You can read a beautiful account of Abraham in one of the books that were left out when the Bible was put together but quoted by the other Holy Prophets and Apostles - the Book of Jasher - easy to find and download PDF from the net.
  7. Thank you Dr Eli for this insight about Noah and Abraham. I actually always wondered about this. This makes perfectly sense. I love it . God loves obedience but he loves compassion even more. This is why King David also was called the beloved; he had compassion on Saul. He had the opportunity to kill him , but he decided not to, accepting him as an annointed of God, who simply failed.
  8. You are right on the money this time. Who would hire a lawyer to defend them selves that just agreed with the prosecutions position even if they were right. I want someone to go to bat for me no mater how guilty I am.
  9. So, thinking along the same lines, why is the nation called the children of Israel and not just the children of Abraham (or of Jacob, for that matter). After all, they often referred to these THREE as their "fathers".
    • In Genesis 32:22-32 Jacob's name-meaning deceiver, is changed to "Israel" after wrestling with a man during the night. The name Israel means-one who struggles with God. The "tribes of Israel" were named after Jacobs 12 sons, except for Levi and Joseph, Genesis 29:31-30:24, with Benjamin born Gen. 35:18.The Levites were the priestly tribe and were instructed to live throughout all the other tribes. Joseph wasn't given a tribe because his 2 sons, Manasseh and Ephraim, that were born to him while in Egypt, were the other 2 names that Isaac claimed as his own that were given tribe names.
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