Art Resource, New York ©1992 ARS, New York/ADAGP, Paris

God places a rainbow, the sign of the covenant, in the heavens, contemplated by Noah reclining on the right. In this visionary painting by Marc Chagall (1887–1985), the rainbow is a mystic white, its colors appropriated for the rest of the images. As the story is told in Genesis 9:8–17, God establishes a covenant with every living creature on earth that “never again shall all flesh be cut off by the waters of a flood” (Genesis 9:15). In the Book of Jubilees, the story is expanded to include an explanation of how the festival of Weeks (Shavuot in Hebrew, Pentecost in Christian tradition) had been celebrated in heaven from the time of the creation and should be celebrated on earth “to renew the covenant each and every year.” Through such expansions, Jubilees emphasizes the unchanging nature of God’s ordinances, asserting that some religious rites and festivals traced in Exodus to the time of Moses were in fact practiced much earlier.