{17}   Gen 8:1-22  End of the Flood


Part E. The Great Flood (6:1—9:29)

E5.       The receding of the Flood (8:1-14)

E6.       Leaving the ark (8:15-22)

        The elegy in Gen 7:21-23 describes the horrific scene of the Flood wiping out all living creatures. Nothing can be seen except the boundless flood water which symbolizes the overflowing wrath of God’s judgment; yet, above this floats a gigantic box where the hope of all mankind lies.


8:1       God remembered: This simple phrase completely reverses the flow of the previous narrative, as if a spark of light suddenly appears amidst the darkest night. Remembering does not mean that God had forgotten but suddenly remembered. It means that God was concerned. When God remembers, God acts and blesses (Gen 19:29; 30:22; Ex 2:24; 6:5).

8:4       7th month 17th day: (150th day after the beginning of the rain, Jewish calculation: May 23) The Flood subsided enough to let the ark stop on Ararat Mountains, before the mountain tops were seen. According to some calculations, about one-third of the ark was below the water level.

mountains: The word is plural, meaning that the ark stopped in the mountain region, not necessary the peak of today’s Mount Ararat in northeastern Turkey. The entire Ararat range extends down to the foothills north of the Mesopotamia plain, with a total area of 250,000 square km.

o        The dove that Noah released came back with a leaf from an olive tree (v.11). As olive trees do not grow at high altitudes, the ark must have stopped at a place not far from an area of low elevation.

Question: Can we find the Noah’s ark?

Answer: There have been many expeditions searching for Noah’s ark in areas around Mount Ararat. Two sites have been picked as possible remains of the ark: Ararat anomaly and Durupinar site. There is no definitive confirmation that either one is the ark.

o        [1] Ararat anomaly: It is a ship-shaped feature on the Plateau in eastern Turkey, 2.2 km west of the Ararat summit. It measured at 309 meters long. It has been photographed from 1949 to 2000. The anomaly has yet to be explored. A planned expedition in 2004 was called off.

o        [2] Durupinar site: It is a large boat-shaped structure in the mountains of eastern Turkey, 11 km south of the Ararat summit. It measured at 254 metres. The feature was first reported in 1948. A team exploring it in 1985 could not reach any definitive proof one way or another.

o        [3] No ark left: It is likely that we would never recover the ark. The possible final location of the ark could be anywhere in the Ararat mountain range covering 250,000 square km. Also, the gigantic ark made of wood would have provided a source of valuable construction materials after the Flood.

8:5       10th month 1st day: (220th day, Jewish calculation: July 5) Tops of mountains seen.

8:6       at the end of the 40 days: (260th day, Jewish calculation: August 14)

window of the ark: could not be used to see the condition of the land around the ark.

8:7       raven: The raven is a stronger bird than the dove and can fly longer and can consume decomposed meat. The raven did not return inside the ark but might stop on the roof of the ark to rest.

8:8       sent forth a dove: The dove needs plants as food and would return if the land was not totally dry. Noah sent out a dove 3 different times, in 7 day intervals.

8:12     the dove did not return: The dove lives in low-lying areas. Its not returning indicated that even low areas were not covered with water.

8:13     1st month 1st day: (310th day, Jewish calculation: September 2, Hebrew New Year) the ground was no longer waterlogged but still wet. The date symbolizes the beginning of the new creation.

removed the covering: canopy for window was removed so that Noah could get to the top of the ark and observed; some believe that part of the roof was removed.

8:14     2nd month 27th day: (365th day, Jewish calculation: October 27) The ground dried out, and Noah left the ark, exactly one solar year (not Jewish calendar year) after the Flood had begun.

o        Many commentaries describe the period of the Flood as 1 year plus 11 days or 376 days because it started on the 17th day of the 2nd month and ended on the 27th day of the 2nd month one year later. The calculation presumes that one calendar year is 365 days. However, the lunar Hebrew calendar has only 354 days in a year. Therefore the total is 365 days, not 376 days.

8:15     Then God said to Noah: God’s command came almost 2 months after Noah saw that the land was dry. His perfect obedience was again demonstrated by his patience during the long waiting period.

8:17     be fruitful and multiply: same command as Gen 1:28, for the renewed world.

8:19     went out by families: importance of families to start anew. The use of this word possibly implies that new animals were born in the ark.

8:20     built an altar: first altar in the Bible. This was the first action after leaving the ark, indicating that Noah remembered God, just as God remembered Noah (Gen 7:1).

burnt offerings: Noah’s sacrifice perhaps had a double meaning: an offering of thanksgiving for God’s salvation during the Flood, and an appeasement in behalf of all postdiluvian humanity.

8:21     smelled the pleasing aroma: God was pleased with the sacrifice as well as with the worshipper.

o        The aroma from the slaughtering of animals is actually not humanly pleasing. But for God, the aroma points not to the objective smell but to the subjective worshipping spirit of the offerers.

the Lord said in his heart: God made two related vows,both using the phrase “never again”.

never again cursed the ground: [a] no additional curse besides the one handed out in Gen 3:17.

neither will I ever strike down: [b] God will never use the Flood to destroy mankind (Gen 9:11). This does not preclude God’s destruction of the world by fire at the end of time.

for the intention of man’s heart is evil from his youth: The destruction of mankind by the Flood could not change the sinful tendency of man. Even so, God decided not to again curse the ground.

o        There are 2 possible interpretations: [a] God admitted regretably that man’s condition is irreversible. [b] Even though man’s sin warrant for another judgment, God will exercise clemency.

8:22     while the earth remains: until the day when the Earth will be burnt up (2Pe 3:5-7,10).

shall not cease: God in recreating the Earth reestablished its order and its permanency. Nature will not act capriciously but will be timely and predictable, giving security to the world and its inhabitants. The permanent order includes: [a] farming, man’s work (seedtime and harvest), [b] temperature (cold and heat), [c] seasons (summer and winter), [d] time (day and night).


        Noah’s first action out of the ark was to build an altar to thank God for His mercy and blessing. What is our first action after we received a blessing?

        Countless times throughout the Bible we see God showing His love and patience toward man. Although their hearts are evil, God continues to try to reach them. Today, the world is rebelling against God. Atheists and secularists want to expel God out of our society, out of our world. Yet God is still patient because He has promised never again to destroy Earth until the Judgment Day.