Noah, Noah, and Messiah

When Noah was born, his parents named him Noach, saying, “This one will give us rest…”

Portion of Noah mosaic in Basilica di San Marco, Venice (Source: Wikimedia Commons)


Regular Shabbat Readings

Read / Listen to these Portions

  • Noach (נח | Noah)
  • Torah: Genesis 6:9-11:32
  • Haftarah: Isaiah 54:1-55:5
  • Gospel: Luke 17:20-27

Note: The regular readings are often interrupted with special readings on Jewish holidays, special Sabbaths, and Rosh Chodesh. Refer to the annual Torah Portion schedule for these special portions.

Portion Outline

  • Torah
    • Genesis 6:1 | The Wickedness of Humankind
    • Genesis 6:9 | Noah Pleases God
    • Genesis 7:1 | The Great Flood
    • Genesis 8:1 | The Flood Subsides
    • Genesis 8:20 | God's Promise to Noah
    • Genesis 9:1 | The Covenant with Noah
    • Genesis 9:18 | Noah and His Sons
    • Genesis 10:1 | Nations Descended from Noah
    • Genesis 11:1 | The Tower of Babel
    • Genesis 11:10 | Descendants of Shem
    • Genesis 11:27 | Descendants of Terah
  • Prophets
    • Isaiah 54:1 | The Eternal Covenant of Peace
    • Isaiah 55:1 | An Invitation to Abundant Life

Portion Summary

The second reading in the book of Genesis is named after Noah. In Hebrew, the name Noah is spelled Noach (נח). The word Noach is related to the Hebrew word for "rest." Genesis 5:29 says that his parents named him Noah (Noach נח) because they hoped their son would give them rest (nacham, נחם) from their toil. The contents of section Noah tell the story of Noah's flood, the tower of Babel and the beginning of the Abrahamic line.

Noah has a lot in common with the Messiah. The Torah's story of Noah and the flood illustrates the human condition, man’s sin, God's reaction, the horror of divine judgment, and the need for salvation. Noah was the savior of the world. In the days of Noah, the Almighty held a terrible, universal judgment over the world. The whole earth was corrupt, but Noah “was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked with God” (Genesis 6:9).

Noah proclaimed a message of repentance to a wicked and adulterous generation. The apostles called him a “preacher of righteousness” who called his generation to repent (2 Peter 2:5, 1 Clement 7:6). He warned the people of his time about an imminent day of divine fury and judgment. Noah offered men a means of deliverance through which they could be saved from the fate about to befall their generation.

The name Noah (Noach, נח) also alludes to Messiah. When Noah was born, his parents named him Noach, saying, “This one will give us rest (nacham, נחם) from our work and from the toil of our hands” (Genesis 5:29). The name Noach (נח), which also means “comforter,” is a form of the word menachem (מנחם). The sages of the Talmud say that Menachem is one of the names of Messiah. Lamentations 1:16 refers to the Messiah as the menachem, i.e., the “comforter.” Yeshua told His disciples that the Father would send them another Comforter, indicating that up until then, He had filled that title. The apostles refer to the Messiah as our “Advocate with the Father,” a term employing the Greek equivalent for Menachem.

Perhaps this hint toward a messianic title explains the unusual repetition of Noah’s name when the Torah says, “Noah, Noah” —“אֵ֚לֶּה תּוֹלְדֹ֣ת נֹ֔חַ נֹ֗חַ אִ֥ישׁ צַדִּ֛יק” (Genesis 6:9). The repetition hints toward the first coming of the Messiah and the second coming of the Messiah.

The apostles also compared the salvation God brought through Noah to the salvation that God brings through the Messiah. Unlike Noah, who saved only himself and his family, however, the Messiah will bring salvation to the whole world. A parable comparing Noah and Moses illustrates the point:

It is as if two ships encountered a storm on the sea. Two pilots steered the two ships. One managed to save himself but not his ship, but the other saved both himself and his ship? Which one received admiration? Surely the one who saved himself and his ship. Similarly, Noah saved only himself, whereas Moses saved himself and his generation. (Genesis Rabbah 11:3)

Messiah is the second Noah, the comforter and the savior of the world. Perhaps that is way the Torah says, "“These are generations of Noah. Noah was a righteous man.”

Adapted From: Torah Club Commentary Set: Shadows of the Messiah. Learn more about Torah Club and how you can start a Club of your own, or join a Torah Club in your area. Visit TORAHCLUB.ORG

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Torah Club is an interactive group Bible study that brings together disciples from diverse backgrounds to share the common ground of new discovery. This year only, Torah Clubs have the option of following the main study track commentary, Shadows of the Messiah. This deep dive into the Torah employs Jewish commentary and ancient Christian texts to reveal Messiah in the books of Moses.

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