Noah and Satan (Wine and the Kingdom)

22 07 2006

/Part 2 of [?] on thoughts I came across while researching a talk on Christians and alcohol./

Once while Noah was hard at work, breaking the ground for a vineyard, Satan drew near and inquired what he was doing, “What are you planting?”

Noah: “A vineyard.”

Satan: “And what may be the qualities of its fruit?”

Noah: “The fruit it bears is sweet, be it dry or moist. It yields wine that gladdens the heart of man.”

Satan: “Let us go into partnership in this business of planting a vineyard.”

Noah: “Agreed.”

Satan thereupon slaughtered a lamb and then in succession a lion, a pig and monkey, and fertilized the soil with each in turn. Thus Satan conveyed to Noah the qualities of wine. If a man drinks one glass, he is as meek as a lamb; if he drinks two glasses, he is boastful and feels as strong as a lion; if he drinks three or four glasses, then behaves like a monkey, he dances around, sings, talks obscenely and does not know what he is doing; and if he becomes intoxicated, he resembles the pig.”

from Midrash Tanhuma. Midrash are often commentaries on scriptures by Rabbis, sometimes repeating oral Jewish tradition from well before they were written. This is a 9th century commentary on the Pentateuch.

This may be commentary on Genesis 9, where scriptures say that after the flood, Noah planted a vineyard. Some translations think the ancient Hebrew says he is the “first” to plant a vineyard. (first among whom – those who survive the flood?). A professor might point out this a shift from nomadic to agrarian society.

But I point this out mostly as angle on wine from rabbinical thought. more soon.

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One response

22 07 2006
Roger G

Good blog.

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