Archive for April, 2013

In spite of the fact that the Bible most often gives only a condensed account of events, it is very repetitive in certain areas concerning Noah’s flood. The writer doesn’t want us to miss certain facts. In Genesis 7:1 to 8:17, we are repeatedly given information about the extent of the flood, how long it took for the water to recede, and for the earth to dry.

The writer wants us to know that the flood completely covered the earth until it was 15 cubits (about 25 feet) over the highest mountain, and that all land animals perished except for those on Noah’s ark (Genesis 7:19-24). It was a hundred and fifty days before the water receded enough for the ark to run aground (8:3-4), and then another two months and thirteen days before the peaks of other mountains could be seen.

When ancient sailors observed certain birds flying over the ocean, they knew that land was near. I’ve also read that sailors sometimes released birds to see if they would head for land that couldn’t yet be seen from their ship.

Noah released a raven, and then a dove, perhaps in an attempt to determine if it was dry enough nearby for plants to begin to regrow. Ravens will eat decaying flesh and just about anything. The raven may have been able to find something on top of a mountain somewhere. The dove would have looked for vegetation and didn’t land anywhere when Noah first released it.

If we could have seen the earth at that time through the eyes of the dove, it would have looked like an alien world, mud and water everywhere, and nothing green anywhere in sight. The dove found “no rest for the soul of her foot,” and she returned to the ark (Genesis 8:9). When released again, seven days later, she returned to Noah with a leaf from an olive sprout in her mouth.¬†Virtually everything in the Bible, and in life, can be viewed as having a spiritual application (2nd. Timothy 3:16). Sometimes, that is even the main consideration, and I intend to write more about the raven and the dove later on.

Repeating the same basic thing in multiple ways can accomplish several things. It can protect information from changes in language and in the meanings of words over a period of time. That helps to keep translations more accurate. It can also be used to encrypt information. I hope to go into more detail when I get to the tower of Babel later on, but the Bible contains a great deal of such information.

While the Bible seems to give only a general area for the resting place of the ark, it’s yet possible that more details could be hidden in the wordplay of the Hebrew language of Genesis. Biblical Hebrew may not be the original language of the earliest chapters of Genesis, but it is the language that has been used to transmit the Old Testament to us. There is definitely some Hebrew wordplay in this section of the Bible, which makes it even more repetitive than is evident in our translations. It could possibly be there for some reason other than simply being an aid to memorization.

The name Noah (“Noach” in Hebrew) means “rest.” The Hebrew word for “rested” in Genesis 8:4, (when the ark rested) is “nowach.” It is from the same root word as the name Noah. The word “manowach,” ¬†translated as “rest” in Genesis 8:9 when speaking of the dove, is also from the same root.

There are other Hebrew words that could have been used in these verses, but this family of words seems to indicate more permanence than others. The ark settled down on the mountain. The dove found no place to settle when she was first released. The raven flies in search of destruction, and the dove in search of peace.

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Though it carried the only survivors of the world-wide flood, Noah’s ark probably wasn’t the only boat in existence at the time at the time of its construction. Knowledge of the courses of the four rivers mentioned in Genesis 2:10-14 could indicate that man had migrated down these streams from the land of Eden (see Rivers of Eden in my October 2011 archives). Some of the information in those verses could be from different time periods, but it is likely that boats would have been used very early in history.

Noah may have had some knowledge of boat construction before the ark was built. He and his family would have had adequate time to do the building on their own, but they could also have hired help. People would possibly have worked for Noah, if the money was right, even though they later refused to board the ark. It’s likely that God also gave Noah more detailed plans for the ark than have been preserved for us in the Bible.

We need to remember that the Bible only gives us a very condensed history of the world. Even so, the Bible is still a very thick book. The Bible gives the proportions of the ark and tells us there were three stories which were divided up into rooms or cages. The “window” of the ark is believed to have been a long row of openings in a narrow area of the top with an overhang above it. Genesis 6:16 sounds as if the door was large, allowing access to all three stories. When Noah’s family and the animals were safely on the ark, the Lord sealed the door (verse 7:16).

The ark was made of “gopher wood,” but we don’t know what kind of wood that was. The word itself is Hebrew, and some think it was some type of Cypress, while some even think that gopher wood was layered wood that had undergone a lamination process.

I started writing on subjects related to Noah’s flood in September 2012. I’m trying to go into detail in areas where the Bible’s critics have raised serious questions, and I’m just skimming over other areas. I’m trying to pay special attention to points that are often overlooked, and I think that my posts have shown that the biblical record of Noah’s flood should be taken seriously. It was an actual event in human history.

We don’t know where the voyage of the ark began. Perhaps it was near the shore of the ancient ocean. It was probably a wild ride at times, but they had God’s promise. While catastrophic events were destroying all land areas, it could sometimes have been relatively calm out on the deep ocean. Much of the time it may have been dark and quiet inside the ark. Confined to their cages, many of the animals would have grown lethargic and slept much of the time. Some would probably have hibernated.

After forty days and nights, the “fountains of the deep” quit flowing and it stopped raining. New ocean basins began to form, and the flood-waters began to retreat. Five months after the flood began, the ark came to rest in the “mountains of Ararat.” It probably ran aground near the summit of a tall mountain because it was another two months and thirteen days before the peaks of other mountains could be seen (Genesis 8:5). Mount Ararat seems to be the most likely landing-place. I’ve been spending some time studying the mountain, and praying for something to write about it soon.

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