{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 on Earth wiping out all living creatures reminds us about the equally horrific scene at end times when an angel proclaims in a loud voice, “Woe, woe, woe to those who dwell on the earth.” (Rev 8:13) Here, nothing can be seen except the boundless flood water which seems to symbolize 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).

o        Jewish translation: God gave special thought to Noah.

all the beasts: Noah was the one God remembered and he brought blessing to those near him.

wind: same word as “Spirit” in Gen 1:2; the Spirit created the original Earth and here the wind renewed the Earth.


8:3       abated: diminished, can be translated “began to evaporate.”

8:4       7th month 17th day: (about 150th day after the beginning of the 40-day 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, the ark drew about 11 cubits of water (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 near the border of Armenia). It is a scenic volcanic cone dominating the skyline of the Armenian capital Yerevan. The entire Ararat range extends towards north and east of the peak all the way 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.

o        Josephus believes that Ararat is a mountain in Armenia. He also writes that the Armenians called that place Apobaterion, ‘the place of descent.’ He notes that Berosus the Chaldean (330-250 BC) mentions that parts of this ship still exist in the Cordyne Mountains in Armenia, and that people carry off pieces for good luck. It is significant to note that Mt. Ararat is very close to the Murat River, which is one of the headwaters of the Euphrates. This may indicate that Noah had not been carried very far from where he started out.

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 an interesting feature located on the northwest corner of the Western Plateau of Mount Ararat in eastern Turkey, 2.2 km west of the summit, at the edge of a steep downward slope. It is a ship-shaped feature, including what resembles a ship’s superstructure in the right spot. It measured at 309 meters (1,015 feet) long, as large as today’s largest aircraft carriers. It has been photographed since 1949 and even as late as 2000. The anomaly has yet to be explored. An expedition in July 2004 led by businessman Daniel McGivern was called off when permission was refused by the Turkish authorities since the area is within a restricted military zone. The US Defence Intelligence Agency has analysed satellite photos and reported the anomaly as “linear façades in the glacial ice underlying more recently accumulated ice and snow.”

o        [2] Durupinar site: It is a large boat-shaped structure in the Tenderuk mountains of eastern Turkey. The site is 11 km south of the Greater Mount Ararat summit. The striking size of the rock structure  and its even more striking symmetry have strong resemblance to the hull of a gigantic ship. It measured at 254 metres, close to the 300 cubits of the Bible if the long cubit of 22 inches is used. The feature was first reported in 1948. Archaeologist and explorer Ron Wyatt led a team exploring it in 1985 but could not reach any definitive proof one way or another.

o        [3] No ark left: There is a more likely probability 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. More importantly, the gigantic ark made of gopher wood would have provided an important source of valuable construction materials after the Flood. The ark was probably pulled apart shortly after the Flood. On top of this, all of the ancient Mesopotamian cities were burned to the ground more than once. It is therefore unlikely that archaeologists can found wood positively identified as part of the ark.

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

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

window of the ark: located at the top of the ark (perhaps facing the sky), symbolizing communication with and reliance on God; probably not easy to reach and could not be used to see the condition of the land around the ark so that Noah needed to use the birds to test the condition of the land.

8:7       raven: The raven is a stronger bird than the dove and can fly for a more extensive period. Ravens can also consume decomposed meat, perhaps from the floating carcasses. Apparently, the raven did not return to the ark. It is also possible that the raven stopped on the roof of the ark to rest but did not go back inside.

o        The raven symbolizes an unclean bird, unfit for sacrifices. It is also unfit for consumption (Lev 11:15; Dt 14:14). According to rabbinic tradition, the raven was released first as expendable.

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.

o        The dove conveys the opposite meaning to the raven. It was commonly found in the sacrificial legislation for rites of purification (Lev 12:6,8) and was appropriate for burnt offering and sin offering among the poor (Lev 1:14; 5:7; 14:22). The dove was noted for the beauty of its eyes (SS 1:15) and remembered for its wings of flight, perching peacefully among the cliffs (Ps 55:6; Jer 48:28).

It is possible that the raven was sent out 7 days before the dove was sent out. If this is the case, this is the 267th day of the Flood.


8:10     another seven days: possibly the 274th day.

8:11     olive leaf: The olive branch as well as the dove are commonly used today as emblems of peace. Olive trees do not grow in high areas. In the time of Moses, olive was connected with the tabernacle where olive oil fuelled the menorah in the tabernacle (Ex 27:20; Lev 24:2-4); it was added to the mixture of perfumed oil for anointing tabernacle and furnishings (Ex 30:24-29). It was obviously something that pleased God.

8:12     another seven days: possibly the 281st day.

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: (about 310th day, Jewish calculation: September 2, Hebrew New Year) the ground was no longer covered with water but was 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: (about 365th day) The ground dried out, and Noah left the ark. Jewish calculation puts this day on October 27, exactly one solar year (not the Jewish calendar year) after the Flood had begun.

o        Many commentaries describe the period of the Flood as 1 year plus 11 days (inclusive) 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 is based on the presumption 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 word “families” is the Hebrew word meaning “kind” (mispaha) but is different from “according to its kind” (Heb. min) when they entered the ark. It is used typically for human “families”. 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).

every clean animal and every clean bird: Sacrificial animals were selected from every (meaning all) type of clean animals and clean birds.

burnt offerings: literally, offerings that ascend, since the entire offering ascends when it is burned. In the time of Moses, the burnt offering was a blood offering with 2 meanings: [a] as a voluntary offering for sin (Lev 1:4; 5:10; 9:7) and also [b] as an act of thanksgiving in worship. Perhaps Noah’s sacrifice also had a double meaning: an offering of thanksgiving for God’s salvation and guidance during the Flood, and an appeasement in behalf of all postdiluvian humanity.

8:21     smelled the pleasing aroma: The Hebrew word for aroma (nihoah) sounds like Noah, meaning relief and comfort. Others translate it as “pleasant fragrance” or “scent of satisfaction”. Obviously, God was pleased with the sacrifice as well as with the worshipper. God felt comfortable accepting the burnt offerings from Noah. Noah provided relief to God because the world would begin anew and God’s plan of salvation was still on track.

o        The aroma from the slaughtering and burning of animals is not humanly pleasing, as those who have experience observing around a real altar can tell you. But for God, the aroma points not to the objective smell around the altar but to the subjective worshipping and thanksgiving spirit of the offerers.

the Lord said in his heart: an oath to Himself. Isa 54:9: “this is like the days of Noah, when I swore that the waters of Noah would never again cover the earth.” God made two related vows by using the phrase “never again” in each vow.

never again cursed the ground: [a] first decision of God: no additional curse besides the one already handed out in Gen 3:17. There is no alleviation of the curse brought on by Adam’s sin but God would desist from imposing any further affliction on the already-burdened ground.

neither will I ever strike down: [b] second decision of God: He 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.

o        The word here for “strike down” (Heb. naka) is different from the word “destroy” before the Flood (Gen 6:7, maha; Gen 6:13,17, sahat).

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. Despite this, God decided not to again curse the ground.

o        There are 2 possible interpretations of this clause: [a] The reason God will not mount curse upon curse is the human disposition toward transgression. It might be taken that God admitted regretably that man’s condition is irreversible. [b] The better reading is that the clause is a concession “even though” or explanatory “for”, meaning that despite warrant for another judgment God will exercise clemency.

8:22     while the earth remains: until the day when time shall be no more, when the Earth will be burnt up (2Pe 3:5-7,10). The Earth will be blessed with the regularity of predictable environmental patterns. The condition established here inferred that the present Earth will someday cease.

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 in order to save them. 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 everything on Earth until the Judgment Day.

        Noah is a model for us. He distinguished himself from the surrounding corrupt world, not following sinful culture and sinful customs. He obeyed all commands of God to the letter (building the ark, storing the food, leading his family and the animals into the ark, waiting for God’s command to leave the ark).