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The species of wood of which the ark was fabricated, strongly corroborates the opinion that Noah lived before the flood, in the country of Eden. It is called in Scripture, Gopher wood.* Fuller rightly conjectures, from the word itself, that it is the cypress. The Greek word for cypress
the termination, and Kurap remains, which has all the radical letters of the word Gopher, and differs but little from it in sound. Nor is any sort of wood more durable and lasting than the cypress. Thucydides informs as, that for this reason the Athenians deposited in coffins of cypress wood, the bones of those who had fallen in the wars of their country.t And the Scholiast observes upon the place, that these boxes, or coffins, were made of cypress, because it was not liable to rot. It is extremely probable that the ark of Noah was built of the same durable material; for it is asserted by a great number of ancient writers, that some relics of it remained for several thousand years after the deluge. The learned and indefatigable Bochart also proves, by the testimony of Plato, Plutarch, and other writers, that the cypress wood is not only durable, but also fit for shipping ; and that it abounds in Babylonia, and the surrounding countries. Hence, he informs us from Arrian, that the fleet which Alexander ordered to be built at Babylon, was all constructed of cypress wood ;
There at length they came sailing; thus the fish addressed the sage:
Both these opinions (viz., that which places Ararat in India, as well as that which transfers it to Armenia), continues Dr Kirby, have their difficulties, which I shall not farther discuss, but leave the decision of the question to persons better qualified to direct the public judgment. I shall only observe, that perhaps the Indian station was more central and convenient for the ready dispersion of the men and animals over the world, than the Armenian one. Bridgewater Treatise, vol. vi. p. 45.- Editor. * Genesis vi. 14.
+ Thucydides, lib. i. 94, 112. * Bochart. Phal. lib. i. cap. 4, p. 23.
because the country produced few other trees fit for that purpose. *
But it has been already shown, that the country of Eden lay on both sides of the river, formed by the united streams of the Euphrates and the Tigris ; and, therefore, partly within the limits of Babylonia. Noah, therefore, lived in Eden before the flood, and there built the ark of gopher, or cypress wood, with which that country abounds."
* Rooke's Translation of Arrian, vol. ii. p. 178.
See for a fuller account, Dr Wells' Hist. Geog. pp. 34, 35.
THE LAND OF SHINAR, AND THE CITY AND TOWER OF
The land of Shinar is that beautiful valley through which the rapid Tigris rushes from the mountains of Armenia to the sea. That this assertion is not lightly hazarded, will appear from the testimony of ancient writers, both sacred and profane. The prophet Isaiah mentions Shinar as one of the countries to which his people were carried captive; and by connecting it with Cush and Elam, seems to intimate that it was situated in their neighbourhood :— The Lord shall set his hand again the second time, to recover the remnant of his people—from Cush, and from Elam, and from Shinar.' So convinced were the Seventy interpreters of this fact, that they render the term Shinar in this, and other passages, by the word Babylonia. In several parts of Scripture, Shinar is expressly called Babel. The beginning of Nimrod's empire was Babel, and Erech,+ and Accad, I and Calneh, in the land of Shinar.’s The tower of Babel was, according to Moses, built in the same country ;|| and it received that name,
Because the Lord did there confound the language of the whole land.' It is a fact which cannot be disputed, that the capital of Nebuchadnezzar's empire was the renowned city of Babylon,
† Aracca.--Ed. # Ctesiphon.-Ed. § Genesis x. 10.
Genesis xi. 2, 4, 9.
* Isaiah xi. 11.
and the prophet Daniel asserts, in explicit terms, that it was situated in the land of Shinar. In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah, came Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, unto Jerusalem, and besieged it: and the Lord gave Jehoiakim king of Judah, into his hand, with part of the vessels of the house of God, which he carried into the land of Shinar, to the house of his god.'* From these quotations, it is indisputable, that the land of Shinar is the same country which afterwards received the name of Babylonia. The fact is confirmed by the testimony of uninspired authors. Abydenes, as quoted by Eusebius, observes, That Nebuchadnezzar having finished the Syrian war, magnificently adorned the temple of Belus with the spoils of the conquered nations. The same writer has preserved a fragment of Milesius, the ancient historian of Phænicia, in which he asserts that Shinar belonged to Babylonia.
From the remarks of Ptolemy and other ancient geographers, it is probable, that to the land of Shinar belonged the whole country along the west bank of the Tigris, as far as the mountains of Armenia. In the opinion of some writers, the land of Shinar probably included the whole valley on both sides of the river, from the mountains of Armenia to the Persian gulf, or at least, to the southern division of the common channel of the Tigris and Euphrates. It is however certain, that it extended all along the western bank of that river.
* Daniel i. 1, 2.
† Wells' Geog. vol. i. p. 32, &c.; Bochart. Phal. lib. i. c. 5, pp. 24, 25 [i. e. the whole region of Babylon and Mesopotamia.]-Editor.
# The Seyyapas ópos of Ptolemy, Mount Singaras, a mountain, or rather a chain of mountains, situated in the north of Mesopotamia, obtained its name, according to Jerome and others, from shen, a tooth, and naar, to thrust out, i.e. because there the dispersion of the human race took place. Owing to the extraordinary fertility of this mountain range, for which it has in all ages been celebrated, it is thought to have anciently given its name to the whole surrounding country. It is thus described by Niebuhr:- On the south side
Noah and his sons probably formed their first settlement after the flood, near the bottom of the mountain on which the ark rested in the northern parts of Shinar; and here the venerable patriarch spent the remainder of his days. For we have not the least evidence, that he had any concern in the building of the city and tower of Babel. The piety of his character must have led him strenuously to oppose the daring attempt of his degenerate offspring; and to remain at a distance from the scene of their wickedness.*
To this proof of his continuing in the northern parts of Shinar, may be added, that Ptolemy mentions a city near the sources of the Tigris, under the name of Zama, which bears so great an affinity to Zem, or Shem, as to render it exceedingly probable, that Noah and his sons formed their first settlement near this place.
That the city of Zama derived its name from Shem, is evident from this consideration, that in the Arabic version, Shem is always called Sam or Zam.t Here the venerable father of the postdiluvian world restored the worship of Jehovah, and for three hundred and fifty years swayed the patriarchal sceptre over the virtuous part of his descendants. The rest of his sons, determined on the prosecution of their own presumptuous schemes, and unable to bear or subdue his firm opposition, withdrew from his presence, and, proceeding down the river, fixed on a particular place for their intended work, at a considerable distance from his residence.
So great was the impiety of these degenerate sons of Noah, and so regardless were they of the sure and awful proofs of the Divine jealousy, that they selected a spot within the limits of the land of Eden, and not of our road from Mosul we saw Mount Sindsjar. It lies in an extremely fruitful plain, and has a very fine and salubrious atmosphere. This,' he adds in a note,' is probably the Singara of Greek writers. The name has likewise a close resemblance to the Shinar of Scripture.'-Travels, vol. ii. p. 388.--Editor.
* Bochart. Phal. c. 10, p. 37. + Wells' Geog. vol. i. p. 111.