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Who was Noah’s wife?

who was Noah’s wife

The Bible nowhere gives us the name or identity of Noah’s wife, and we know nothing of her character, so we cannot say definitively who she was. All the Bible says is that she was Noah’s wife and that she was one of eight persons aboard the ark (see Genesis 7:7). But the lack of biblical evidence has not stopped the imaginations of man from running wild.

There is an old Jewish tradition that Noah’s wife’s name was Naamah and that she was a sister of Tubal-Cain (see Genesis 4:22). (The Lamech listed as Naamah’s father in Genesis 4 is a different Lamech than the one listed as Noah’s father in Genesis 5.) While it’s possible that Noah and Tubal-Cain were brothers-in-law, it’s not explicitly taught in the Bible, and there’s no real reason to accept it as true.

In the early English dramas known as the medieval miracle plays, Noah’s wife is usually just called Uxor (“wife”). In these plays, she is portrayed as a shrewish, unmanageable wife and a thorn in Noah’s side. In the Newcastle play, Noah’s wife is approached by Satan, who persuades her that Noah’s work must be stopped. In all the miracle plays, when the time comes for the family to enter the ark, Uxor refuses to get on board and must be either coaxed or dragged to safety, depending on the play. The reason for her recalcitrance varies: she must finish her spinning (the Towneley play); she must have her friends with her (the Chester play); she must gather up her household things (the York play).

In Gnostic writings, Noah’s wife is identified as Norea, and she burns down the ark several times in attempts to thwart Noah’s project. In the apocryphal Book of Jubilees, she is called Emzara (Jubilees 4:33). Other literary sources give the name of Noah’s wife as Barthenos, Gyll, and even Eve.

In the end, we don’t know the name of Noah’s wife. Most likely, it’s best just to call her “Mrs. Noah.”

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This page last updated: June 10, 2024