It is not thusly recorded. Therefore, while it may have occurred in this manner, it is also possible that what you read is merely the product of a fevered imagination.
It is not long after the waters have receded and the large barge has come to rest. The rainbow, more radiant than any before (and quite possibly since), has disappeared from the sky. People and animals have departed. The ark is empty.
The firstborn of Noah comes to him, holding an object. It is a medium sized vase, an urn. Made of clay, it is not particularly ornate. It is intact and sealed.
“Look what I found, Father.” Shem holds it up.
Noah peers, the better to see. “Where did you find it?”
“Not far from the ark. I didn’t have to dig. It was lying on the surface.”
“Looks like something our people used,” he says, turning it in his hands. “Before they perished. Given what we endured, it’s a wonder it didn’t break. Let’s open it. I’m curious.”
Noah removes the seal from the opening, inserts a hand gnarled by age and decades of building a boat. The interior of the vase is dry.
Inside is a rolled scroll upon which is writing. Noah removes it and spreads it out on the ground, which is also dry. Shem helps him.
“It seems to be some sort of diary. Written by one of our people.” Noah scans the scroll.
“It looks to be something written over quite some time,” Shem comments.
“True. See here.” Noah reads aloud:
“‘My name is Naomi. I am 15. I am writing this as a record of what is happening. An odd fellow named Noah is building something strange.” He moves a crooked, bumpy finger across the scroll. “I think it is some kind of boat. A large one. Our leaders say he has been out in the sun too long. I’m not sure what to believe.’”
“Does she write often? The scroll is thick, but not that thick.”
“She does not write every day.” Noah scans ahead. “Or even every year.”
“What does she next say?”
“’It has been a few years. I am now a young woman. He, along with his sons, is still working on the strange structure. As he works, he tells us of our wickedness, which I admit is rampant. Evil is everywhere. It permeates life, lurks in the shadows. The widows are not cared for. Neither are the orphans. They cry out, but maybe only God hears them. And sometimes I wonder about that. Still, most of us do not like to hear how bad we are. Even if it be true.’ She does not date her entries, but, with good fortune, she does say about how old she is. That helps.”
“You know, father, this may be one of the few links we have to the past. One that is no more. When I try to imagine it, it’s as if it were a dream.” He pauses. “A horrible dream for everyone but us.”
Noah nods, does not look up, continues reading.
“’I am now 40. I wonder how much longer Noah is going to be building. He has become the local laughingstock. Even though we’ve gotten used to his unusual craft and his preaching, people still make fun of him. I haven’t, but my neighbors have.’”
“Did we know this woman, father? Or her family?”
Noah thinks a moment, shakes his head. “There were many people. One cannot know them all. I know no one named Naomi of that age.”
Noah keeps reading. “Next entry: ’60 years have passed. I hope this scroll lasts; this looks a bit weathered. If I manage to keep it dry, perhaps it will.’ The writing looks a bit smudged here. Wonder why. Maybe she spilled some liquid on it. I can still read it, however. ‘Noah and his sons are still working. Will they ever tire of their task? Will it ever be completed?’
He stands to stretch. “Can’t stay in one position too long,” Noah says wryly. “When you get older, you’ll understand.” Smiles, but his beard mutes it.
Shem bends down, continues reading.
‘I am now 100. So many seasons have come and gone. I’ve seen many sunrises, many sunsets. I’m beginning to feel my years.’ Glances at his father with affection. “There are some other entries. About her family, her friends, what else is going on in her life. I’ll skip over them for now.”
“Tell me what she says about the ark. That’s what interests me right now.”
“’Although work has been going on a long time, it is still not finished. I wonder if it ever will be. Might this whole thing be an elaborate hoax? Some who used to laugh simply ignore the huge boat, it’s been around so long.’ She sounds doubtful.”
“Prithee keep reading.”
Shem unrolls more of the scroll.
“‘Now 135. Finally, after 120 years, the ark is finished. I view it with some amazement. It sits on dry land, as if waiting for water that may never come.
“’However, some strange things have been happening. Animals of all kinds have boarded. This came close to home when some of our cattle went into it. I tried to coax them off, but it did no good. It seemed they were listening to another voice, so I didn’t persist.’ There’s not much left to the scroll.”
“‘It is 5 days since the animals boarded. There is a strange silence. I would have expected that the animals, at least, would make noise, in their own language. The door of the ark is shut. It is a massive door, and, while I suppose it could have been shut by several men, it might have been shut by someone else. The leaders still jeer and say this is all a big joke that Noah played on the rest of us. No rain has fallen. I don’t know what to think.
“‘I was tempted, just a little, to enter the ark. What if Noah were right? I was almost persuaded. But my family helped talk me out of it. Perhaps they brought me to my senses.
“‘But, just in case, I want to put my writings in this vase, and hope it survives whatever may come. They might be of interest. Or a warning to those who will follow.’
“That is her last entry, father. It was two days later that it began to rain — hard.”
“She didn’t have to perish. Neither did so many others. If they only had listened. Had they only…” Noah’s voice trails off. He sighs.
Naomi’s scroll, if it ever existed, has not survived the ravages of time. It was not found at Qumran, or elsewhere.
“As it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man.” — Luke 17:26.
Estimates of the populace of Earth at the time of the Great Deluge range from several hundred million to a billion. Out of that vast multitude, eight humans escaped the first death at that particular time.
How will it be at the 2nd Advent?