Noah (nōˈə) [key] [Heb., = to rest], in the Bible, the builder of the ark. Righteous Noah and his family were the only people God saved from a world sunk in sin. At divine direction Noah built the ship that saved human and animal life from the Deluge, after which God established a covenant with him. According to biblical ethnography, Noah's sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth, are eponymous ancestors of races as humankind is divided in the Bible. The story has similarities with other Middle Eastern accounts of the Deluge in the Gilgamesh epic and in the Babylonian myth of Atrahasis.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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