The Importance of Ethics and God's Sanctions During Noah's Flood

      Ethics and the sanctions of God play a major role throughout the entire Bible, and one place where this is shown particularly clearly is in the story of Noah and the Flood. The Bible teaches that mankind had fallen into a state of total depravity, and that in all the world there was literally only one man and his family who found favor in God's sight – Noah. God's justice could not allow the majority of sinful man to go unpunished, and yet in His mercy He decided to let one man and his family be saved. The Flood was God's way of wiping clean the slate, so to speak – and yet, afterward He promised to Noah that He would never again destroy all the world as He had just done. Sin was destroyed for the most part, and yet there was mercy, too. God's attitude towards sin is one of absolute intolerance, and so when He is depicted showing mercy in the Bible, He appears more holy and glorious because of it. Noah recognized this when the Flood was over that God had saved him and his family because of His righteousness, not the other way around. The reason ethics and God's sanctions play such an important part in the Bible's story of man is because man is flawed and God is perfect, and it is only through God's grace and mercy that man is saved – like Noah and the Flood.


Hector of Troy and the History of Minoan Crete

      In book 6 of The Iliad, what do we learn about Hector? What kind of man is he? Why does he fight?
     In book six of The Iliad, Hector is the prince of Troy, the hero of the Trojans much as Achilles is the hero of the Greeks. He is a warrior, a husband, and a father. Before he enters the war in book six, his wife begs him not to go – but Hector tells her that he, as a warrior, cannot shy away from battle. He tells her that his greatest pain would be if Troy lost the war and his wife and child were taken captive by the Greeks. He tells her that he would rather die fighting than see that fate come to pass. From this, we can tell that Hector is a man of honor and immense bravery, who will lay down his own life in an instant for those whom he loves. He fights not just for Troy, but for his family.
      Write a summary of the history of Minoan Crete.
     Minoan Crete has a rich and fascinating history, one that was not even discovered until about a hundred years ago. There have been inhabitants on the island of Crete since as early as 7000 BC, but it was not until the Bronze Age began in 2700 BC that Minoan civilization truly began to develop, with tradesmen and artisans taking on a greater social and economic role than in centuries past. After the pre-Bronze Age Prepalatial period, when farming and agriculture were the Minoans' primary support, came the Protopalatial period when Crete's first palaces were built. These great structures may have been for people such as kings or other ruling classes to live in; however, it is more likely that they served as massive complexes where the center of all life on Crete took place, with rooms for trade and storage inside them as well as rooms for living in. The Protopalatial period of Minoan history came to and end around 1700 BC, when the great palaces were destroyed – either by an invading force, perhaps from nearby Anatolia, or a natural disaster such as an earthquake or a volcano.
      Next came the Neopalatial period shortly after this destruction took place. The Minoan people began to rebuild almost instantly, creating even larger and more intricate palaces than before, with a different building structure that would hold up better against earthquakes – which suggests that perhaps it was an earthquake that had destroyed their palaces before. It was during this period that Minoan civilization reached its height. Artifacts showing examples of Minoan artwork from all over the world suggest that the Minoans were extensive traders, and had a trade network stretching over much of the known world at the time. Yet in 1450 BC another disaster struck, this time one that crippled Minoan civilization more than the previous one had. The Minoans carried on during the Postpalatial period until about 1420 BC, when Crete was invaded by Mycenaean Greeks and their palaces occupied. The Mycenaeans, though controlling Minoan government and economy, largely left their culture and art alone, and so Minoan civilization lasted until about 1200 BC, when suddenly it crumbled – probably because of a natural catastrophe, the cause of which is still debated among historians today.


The Elements of Hierarchy In the Garden of Eden

      Genesis chapters 1-3 deal with many things, not least of which are the elements of hierarchy in the early days of Creation. When God created man, He gave him a task to do – naming all of the animals – and when he had finished, God gave him a helper "meet" or fit for him: the woman, whom God created out of the man's rib. In the original perfect Creation, Adam and Eve worked together tending to the Garden of Eden and following God's commands. Prior to the Fall, this was a perfect arrangement – the man as the head of the family, the woman as his fit and equal helper, and both man and woman glorifying God in their work.

      After the Fall, this arrangement changed. When God decreed the punishments of Adam, Eve and the serpent, the roles were fundamentally the same and yet were no longer perfect. Adam was still head of his family, but his relationship to God had been corrupted because of his sin, as had his relationship to his wife. Eve was decreed that "your desire shall be to your husband, and he shall rule over you" (Genesis 3:16) – her position in the family was the same, but corrupted; likewise her own relationship to God was no longer as pure as it had been. Finally the serpent, who had tempted Adam and Eve to sin, was cursed for all his days. God said, "I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; he will bruise your head, and you will bruise his heel." (Genesis 3:15) The serpent's position was to be one of utter destruction, below Adam and Eve, and he would eventually be destroyed by the "seed" of Eve – Jesus Christ.


Important Events In Hebrew History From Abraham to Moses

     From Abraham to Moses, there were many important events which all affected Hebrew history in some way. Hebrew history is in fact typically thought to have begun at the time when God commanded Abraham, the head of a very large household in the Mesopotamian city of Ur, to take his family and his property and move to the land which God would show him. Abraham and his wife had never had any children, despite their being almost a hundred years old, yet God promised to them that they would be the beginning of a great and numerous people – a promise which was fulfilled in the birth of their son, Isaac. Abraham trusted God implicitly, and when God commanded him to sacrifice Isaac as a show of his faith, Abraham began to do so without question. At the last minute God stayed Abraham's hand from killing his son and provided a perfect ram as sacrifice instead.

      Isaac was married to Rebekah, a woman whom Abraham had chosen for him as a suitable wife because she came from Abraham's relatives, people who also worshiped the true God. Together Isaac and Rebekah had two sons, Esau and Jacob. Although Esau was the elder son, Jacob tricked his brother into selling Jacob his birthright in exchange for a meal. Esau didn't think much of this "bargain," but Jacob took it very seriously and when Isaac their father lay dying he, with the help of his mother Rebekah, tricked Isaac into giving Jacob the blessing of the oldest son. Fearing Esau's wrath, Jacob fled to Rebekah's brother Laban, for whom he worked for seven years without wage in exchange for the hand of Laban's daughter, Rachel. When the seven years were up, Jacob married whom he thought was Rachel, his beloved – but when the ceremony was completed and the veil was lifted, Jacob realized that he had been tricked into marrying Rachel's older sister Leah instead! Jacob was furious, but agreed to work another seven years without pay, again for Rachel's hand. Finally at the end of fourteen years' unpaid labor, Jacob married the woman he loved, and he took his family and left Laban. On the road with his household and property, Jacob met his brother Esau – and, after so many years, they finally made peace. Jacob also wrestled with an angel of the Lord, who rechristened him Israel, and called him the father of a great nation.

      Jacob had ten sons with Leah and two sons with Rachel. Because Jacob loved Rachel more than Leah, her two sons were Jacob's favorite out of all his twelve sons. Jacob and Rachel's son Joseph was the one whom Jacob loved best, and this was obvious to all of Joseph's brothers, who became very angry and jealous of their father's preference. Finally in retaliation they sold their brother Joseph into slavery and told Jacob that he had been devoured by wild beasts. Joseph, meanwhile, had become a servant of a high-ranking general of Egypt named Potiphar, who eventually came to trust Joseph enough to make him manager over all of Potiphar's property. After a while, however, Joseph was accused of a crime he did not commit, and he was thrown into prison. In prison with the cup-bearer and the baker of the Pharaoh of Egypt, Joseph's God-given talent for dream-interpretation – a skill which was highly prized in the ancient world – brought him to the attention of Pharaoh himself, whose dream Joseph interpreted and predicted a long famine coming for all of Egypt. Pharaoh then made Joseph the ruler of all Egypt, second only to Pharaoh himself, in order to prepare for the famine which Joseph had predicted from Pharaoh's dream. When the famine hit, Egypt became the most well-stocked nation in the ancient world, leading peoples from all over to come to Egypt to buy food. Among those who came were Joseph's own brothers, who did not recognize this high-ranked, powerful Egyptian as the brother they had sold into slavery all those years ago. Joseph revealed himself to his brothers and forgave them for what they had done, and then invited them and their families to come to Egypt to live.

      After many generations, the Hebrew people had become very numerous in the land of Egypt. Joseph and the Pharaoh he had served were both long dead, and the new Pharaoh did not like the Hebrews and was afraid of the threat their numbers posed. Because of this, he put the Hebrews into slavery, and later ordered all Hebrew male children under a year old to be killed, allowing only the females to live. Amidst this infanticide one child was born to Hebrew parents, who hid him from Pharaoh's men for as long as they could, until at last the boy's mother put him into a basket and set him afloat in the Nile, where he was eventually found and adopted by Pharaoh’s daughter, who called him Moses. Moses grew up as a privileged young Egyptian, while his people the Hebrews were still being oppressed under Pharaoh's regime. One day Moses happened upon an Egyptian overseer who was beating a Hebrew worker. Moses was so furious that he killed the Egyptian, and was forced to flee Egypt, having finally accepted his heritage as a Hebrew man. Moses was later commanded by God that he was to lead the Hebrews out of slavery and show them to the Promised Land – the land of Canaan, where Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Joseph had once lived. Pharaoh refused to set the Hebrews free when Moses asked, and in fact even increased their workload, which did not make Moses very popular among the Hebrews. But God sent a number of plagues upon Egypt every time Pharaoh refused to let the Hebrews go, until – after a plague that killed every firstborn son of Egyptian households – Pharaoh agreed. The Hebrews were on their way out of Egypt when Pharaoh changed his mind and sent an army to fetch the Hebrews back, cornering them between the army and the Red Sea. But God used Moses to perform a miracle: parting the waters of the Red Sea down the middle, providing a path of dry land for the Hebrews to walk on. The Hebrews made it safely across to the other side, with Pharaoh's army following, when the Red Sea crashed back into place and drowned the entire army.

      Moses led the people with God's help all the way to the Promised Land, a journey which – thanks to disbelieving, disobedient and dissatisfied Hebrews – lasted forty years, during which time God gave the people the Ten Commandments and a system of laws to live by. Moses was not to enter the Promised Land because of his earlier disobedience to God, but he led the people all the way there, and was personally buried by God when he died. Then the Hebrew people at long last entered the land of their forefathers.