Sunday, March 28, 2010

Last night, after snuggling with my wife, I intended to study the scriptures.

That was before I passed out.

That left me waking up today with an hour of reading to do, five verses to memorize, and thirty-five verses to review. Needless to say, I was busy for some time.

But, thanks be to God, I was able to get the work done, and tomorrow I will be back on schedule. In the meantime, I noticed a very interesting writing style in the account of Noah. Take a look at the italicized verses below before reading on.

Did you notice anything...annoying? Like, maybe, that the last four verses are essentially the same sentence written over and over again? I noticed, and in a big way, since I had to try to memorize every subtle little difference between each verse. What could Moses have been trying to accomplish by writing things in this way?

I think I have an idea. The repetitive section begins with the phrase, "For forty days, the floodwaters kept coming..." He then repeats himself over and over again, with each sentence revealing a new fact about this catastrophe. In this way, the description of the flood "keeps coming" as relentlessly as the floodwaters themselves. You begin to feel as Noah probably did, when he sat in the ark and wondered, "Is this rain ever going to stop?" Thus, through the use of this repetition, Moses succeeds in telling history and setting the mood at the same time.

The animals going in were male and female of every living thing, as God had commanded Noah. Then the Lord shut him in.

For forty days, the flood kept coming on the earth, and as the waters increased, they lifted the ark high above the earth.

The waters rose and increased greatly on the earth, and the ark floated on the surface of the water.

They increased greatly on the earth, and all the high mountains under the entire heavens were covered.

The waters rose and covered the mountains to a depth of more than twenty feet.

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