Noah Brought Adam's Body on the Ark, Says Early Christian Saint

Noah and his sons brought Adam's body on the Ark, along with gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. St. Hippolytus, a well known Christian saint born in the 2nd century, discusses this event, and many other historical details regarding the great flood . . .

Some 1700 years ago, two or three centuries after the time of Christ, St. Hippolytus was an Early Church Father and a prolific writer. In his Scriptural Commentaries, he provides a great deal of historical information regarding Noah and the Ark.

Among other details, St. Hippolytus discusses the location where Adam's body was buried, the specific arrangement of animals in the Ark, and the prophetic way in which the Ark traced the sign of the cross in the flood waters:

St. Hippolytus — Scriptural Commentaries (excerpt)

The names of the wives of the sons of Noah are these: the name of the wife of Sem, Nahalath Mahnuk; and the name of the wife of Cham, Zedkat Nabu; and the name of the wife of Japheth, Arathka. These, moreover, are their names in the Syriac Targum. The name of the wife of Sem was Nahalath Mahnuk; the name of the wife of Cham, Zedkat Nabu; the name of the wife of Japheth, Arathka.

Therefore God gave intimation to Noah, and informed him of the coming of the flood, and of the destruction of the ruined (wicked).

And God Most High ordered him to descend from the holy mount, him and his sons, and the wives of his sons, and to build a ship of three storeys. The lower storey was for fierce, wild, and dangerous beasts. Between them there were stakes or wooden beams, to separate them from each other, and prevent them from having intercourse with each other. The middle storey was for birds, and their different genera. Then the upper storey was for Noah himself and his sons — for his own wife and his sons' wives.

Noah also made a door in the ship, on the east side. He also constructed tanks of water, and store-rooms of provisions.

When he had made an end, accordingly, of building the ship, Noah, with his sons, Sem, Chain, and Japheth, entered the cave of deposits.

And on their first approach, indeed, they happily found the bodies of the fathers, Adam, Seth, Enosh, Kainan, Mahaliel, Jared, Mathusalach, and Lamech. Those eight bodies were in the place of deposits, viz., those of Adam, Seth, Enosh, Kainan, Mahaliel, Jared, Mathusalach, and Lamech.

Noah, moreover, took the body of Adam. And his sons took with them offerings. Sem carried gold, Cham myrrh, and Japheth frankincense. Then, leaving the cave of deposits, they transferred the offerings and the body of Adam to the holy mount.

And when they sat down by the body of Adam, over against paradise, they began to lament and weep for the loss of paradise.

Then, descending from the holy mount, and lifting up their eyes towards paradise, they renewed their weeping and wailing, (and) uttered an eternal farewell in these terms: Farewell! peace to you, O paradise of God! Farewell, O habitation of religion and purity! Farewell, O seat of pleasure and delight!

Then they embraced the stones and trees of the holy mount, and wept, and said: Farewell, O habitation of the good! Farewell, O abode of holy bodies!

Then, after three days, Noah, with his sons and his sons' wives, came down from the holy mount to the base of the holy mount, to the ship's place. For the (ark) was under the projecting edge of the holy mount.

And Noah entered the ship, and deposited the body of Adam, and the offerings, in the middle of the ship, upon a bier of wood, which he had prepared for the reception of the body.

And God charged Noah, saying: Make for yourself rattles of boxwood (or cypress). Now

Make also the hammer (bell) thereof of the same wood. And the length of the rattle shall be three whole cubits, and its breadth one and a half cubit.

And God enjoined him to strike the rattles three times every day, to wit, for the first time at early dawn, for the second time at mid-day, and for the third time at sunset.

And it happened that, as soon as Noah had struck the rattles, the sons of Cain and the sons of Vahim ran up straightway to him, and he warned and alarmed them by telling of the immediate approach of the flood, and of the destruction already hasting on and impending.

Thus, moreover, was the pity of God toward them displayed, that they might be converted and come to themselves again. But the sons of Cain did not comply with what Noah proclaimed to them. And Noah brought together pairs, male and female, of all birds of every kind; and thus also of all beasts, tame and wild alike, pair and pair.


Hippolytus, the Syrian expositor of the Targum, has said: We find in an ancient Hebrew copy that God commanded Noah to range the wild beasts in order in the lower floor or storey, and to separate the males from the females by putting wooden stakes between them.

And thus, too, he did with all the cattle, and also with the birds in the middle storey. And God ordered the males thus to be separated from the females for the sake of decency and purity, lest they should perchance get intermingled with each other.

Moreover, God said to Moses: Provide victuals for yourself and your children. And let them be of wheat, ground, pounded, kneaded with water, and dried. And Noah there and then bade his wife, and his sons' wives, diligently attend to kneading dough and laying it in the oven. They kneaded dough accordingly, and prepared just about as much as might be sufficient for them, so that nothing should remain over but the very least.

And God charged Noah, saying to him: Whosoever shall first announce to you the approach of the deluge, him you shall destroy that very moment. In the meantime, moreover, the wife of Cham was standing by, about to put a large piece of bread into the oven. And suddenly, according to the word of the Lord, water rushed forth from the oven, and the flow of water penetrated and destroyed the bread. Therefore the wife of Cham exclaimed, addressing herself to Noah: Oh, sir, the word of God has come good: that which God foretold has come to pass; execute, therefore, that which the Lord commanded. And when Noah heard the words of the wife of Chain, he said to her: Is then the flood already come? The wife of Cham said to him: You have said it. God, however, suddenly charged Noah, saying: Destroy not the wife of Cham; for from your mouth is the beginning of destruction — you first said, The flood has come. At the voice of Noah the flood came, and suddenly the water destroyed that bread. And the floodgates of heaven were opened, and the rains broke upon the earth. And that same voice, in truth, which had said of old, Let the waters be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear, gave permission to the fountain of waters and the floods of the seas to break forth of their own accord, and brought out the waters.

Consider what God said about the world: Let all its high places be brought low, and they were brought low; and let its low places be raised from its depths.

And the earth was made bare and empty of all existence, as it was at the beginning.

And the rain descended from above, and the earth burst open beneath. And the frame of the earth was destroyed, and its primitive order was broken. And the world became such as it was when desolated at the beginning by the waters which flowed over it. Nor was any one of the existences upon it left in its integrity.

Its former structure went to wreck, and the earth was disfigured by the flood of waters that burst upon it, and by the magnitude of its inundations, and the multitude of showers, and the eruption from its depths, as the waters continually broke forth. In fine, it was left such as it was formerly.


Hippolytus, the expositor of the Targum, and my master, Jacobus Rohaviensis, have said: On the twenty-seventh day of the month Jiar, which is the second Hebrew month, the ark rose from the base of the holy mount; and already the waters bore it, and it was carried upon them round about towards the four cardinal points of the world. The ark accordingly held off from the holy mount towards the east, then returned towards the west, then turned to the south, and finally, bearing off eastwards, neared Mount Kardu on the first day of the tenth month. And that is the second month Kanun.

And Noah came out of the ark on the twenty-seventh day of the month Jiar, in the second year: for the ark continued sailing live whole months, and moved to and fro upon the waters, and in a period of fifty-one days neared the land. Nor thereafter did it float about any longer. But it only moved successively toward the four cardinal points of the earth, and again finally stood toward the east. We say, moreover, that that was a sign of the cross. And the ark was a symbol of the Christ who was expected. For that ark was the means of the salvation of Noah and his sons, and also of the cattle, the wild beasts, and the birds. And Christ, too, when He suffered on the cross, delivered us from accusations and sins, and washed us in His own blood most pure.

And just as the ark returned to the east, and neared Mount Kardu, so also Christ, when the work was accomplished and finished which He had proposed to Himself, returned to heaven to the bosom of His Father, and sat down upon the throne of His glory at the Father's right hand. . . .

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