• Issue: August 1969
  • Designer: D. Grebu & I. Schwadron
  • Plate no.: 263 - 267
  • Sheet of 15 stamps Tabs: 5
  • Method of printing: Photogravure

The Great Flood

After the Lord had, within seven days, created a perfect world, later generations of man and beast corrupted their way on earth. The earth was filled with violence and the Lord resolved to bring the flood of waters upon the earth "to destroy all flesh wherein is the breath of life." There was only one righteous man, Noah, whom the Lord had decided to save and keep alive, in order to reestablish the broken covenant and build up a new world.

The Lord told Noah to make an ark of gopher wood and to bring to it two of every sort of living thing of fowl or cattle or creeping thing "to keep the seed alive upon the face of all the earth."

The windows of heaven were opened and the fountains of the great deep broken up and the rain was upon the earth 40 days and 40 nights. "All flesh died that moved upon the earth, both fowl and cattle, and beast, and every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth, and every man." Only Noah's ark, bearing the remnants of mankind and specimens of everything alive to build up a new world, was floating on the ever-increasing waters. After 150 days the waters calmed and "returned from off the earth continually," until the ark came to a rest on the mountains of Ararat. It is from here that Noah sent off a raven, later to be followed by a dove, to explore the desolated world. From her second exploratory flight the dove came back with an olive leaf in her beak, an indication of nature's revival. As she did not return at all from her third attempt, Noah understood that a new world had come into being and that it was possible to leave the ark.

The tradition of other ancient peoples, too, relates the story of the earth flooded by the deluge. But it is the moral background of the flood that imparts a special significance to the story of the Bible: the world is corrupt, corruption and violence of necessity lead to the destruction of the world; the Lord intends to establish a new world, and Noah, the only remaining righteous and blameless person will survive from the old world and start the new. The Lord has renewed his covenant with the world. The first and foremost provision binding man is the holiness of life: "Whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made He man." By this covenant the Lord pledges that "there shall not be any more a flood to destroy the earth." The rainbow to be seen in the cloud after the rain shall be the token of this covenant.

The stamps in the series describe events surrounding Noah and the Great Flood, with the apt biblical phrase inscribed on each tab: building the ark, "Make yourself an ark of gopher wood" (Gen. 6:14); Noah, his family, and the animals entering the ark, "They went into the ark with Noah, two and two" (Gen. 7:15); the ark weathering the flood, ". . . and the ark floated on the face of the waters" (Gen. 7:18); Noah sending off the dove, "Then he sent forth a dove" (Gen. 8:8); and the rainbow for a sign, "And the bow is seen in the clouds" (Genesis 9:14).

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Festivals 1969