THE RAINS CEASE
And God remembered Noah, and every living thing, and all the cattle that was with him in the ark: and God made a wind to pass over the earth, and the waters asswaged;
- Then God remembered Noah.
- God’s covenant with Noah brought provision and protection in the midst of severe judgment.
- The remnant was preserved and God initiated steps toward reestablishing the created order on earth.
- the waters subsided.
- God used the wind to dry the ground; evaporation returned water to the atmosphere.
The fountains also of the deep and the windows of heaven were stopped, and the rain from heaven was restrained;
- The fountains also of the deep, and the windows of heaven, were stopped,….
- The passages which let out the subterraneous waters in great quantity upon the earth, and the clouds of heaven, which poured down water upon it like spouts, were stopped from sending forth any more, as they had from the first of the flood unto one hundred and fifty days from thence.
- and the rain from heaven was restrained:
- which seems to confirm what has been before observed, that after the rain of forty days and nights it ceased not to rain, more or less, though not so vehemently, until the end of an hundred and fifty days, and then it entirely ceased.
And the waters returned from off the earth continually: and after the end of the hundred and fifty days the waters were abated.
- And the waters returned from off the earth continually,….
- Or “going and returning”; they went off from the earth, and returned to their proper places appointed for them; some were dried up by the wind, and exhaled by the sun into the air: and others returned to their channels and cavities in the earth, or soaked into it:
- and after the end of the hundred and fifty days, the waters were abated;
- or began to abate, which days are to be reckoned from the beginning of the flood, including the forty days’ rain; from the time of the ceasing of it; so that there were from the beginning of the flood one hundred and ninety days; six months, and ten days of the year of the flood now past;
And the ark rested in the seventh month, on the seventeenth day of the month, upon the mountains of Ararat.
- And the ark rested in the seventh month, on the seventeenth day of the month,….
- That is, five months after the flood began, and when the waters began to decrease; for this is not the seventh month of the flood, which lasted only five months, but of the year.
- the mountains of Ararat. These were in the region of the Caucasus, also known as ancient Urartu, where the elevation exceeded 17,000 feet.
And the waters decreased continually until the tenth month: in the tenth month, on the first day of the month, were the tops of the mountains seen.
- And the waters decreased continually until the tenth month,….
- The decrease of the waters was for wise reasons exceedingly slow and gradual – the period of their return being nearly twice as long as that of their rise.
- in the tenth month, on the first day of the month, were the tops of the mountains seen;
- not the tenth month of the flood, but of the year, the tenth from when the rain began.
And it came to pass at the end of forty days, that Noah opened the window of the ark which he had made:
- It is easy to imagine the ardent longing Noah and his family must have felt to enjoy again the sight of land as well as breathe the fresh air; and it was perfectly consistent with faith and patience to make inquiries whether the earth was yet ready.
And he sent forth a raven, which went forth to and fro, until the waters were dried up from off the earth.
- The smell of carrion would allure it to remain if the earth were in a habitable state. But it kept hovering about the spot, and, being a solitary bird, probably perched on the covering.
Also he sent forth a dove from him, to see if the waters were abated from off the face of the ground;
- Also he sent forth a dove from him,….
- Seven days after he had sent out the raven, as in Genesis 8:10.
- to see if the waters were abated from off the face of the ground;
- for the dove is a creature that delights in cleanness, flies low, and goes far off, so that if it returned not again, he might conclude that the waters were gone off the earth; but being a sociable creature, and familiar to men, and especially loving to its mate, if they were not gone off, it would certainly return again.
But the dove found no rest for the sole of her foot, and she returned unto him into the ark, for the waters were on the face of the whole earth: then he put forth his hand, and took her, and pulled her in unto him into the ark.
- But the dove found no rest for the sole of her foot, and she returned unto him into the ark,….
- It being a creature that feeds upon seeds it picks off from the ground, and loving cleanness, it could find no place where it could alight, and have food to live upon, and retain its cleanness; for though the tops of the mountains were clear of the waters, yet they might be muddy and filthy with what the waters had raised up in them, or left upon them; and therefore it returned to Noah again, and not only like the raven unto the ark, but into it:
- for the waters were on the face of the whole earth:
- there was no place dry, and so neither food nor footing for this creature.
- Which was an emblem of a sensible sinner, who finds no rest in anything short of Christ; not in worldly enjoyments; nor in external duties, not in hearing, reading, praying, fasting, nor in external humiliation and tears; nor in the law, and in the works of it; nor in natural descent, nor in education principles, nor in a profession of religion, and subjection to ordinances;
- Only in Christ, where it finds rest from the burden and guilt of sin, and the tyrannical power of it; from the bondage, curse, and condemnation of the law, and from a sense of divine wrath and fear of it; and though not from afflictions, yet it finds rest in Christ amidst them:
- then he put forth his hand and took her, and pulled her in unto him into the ark:
- she hovered about it, and got near the window, which Noah opened and took her in;
- Which may represent the gracious reception sensible souls meet with from Christ, who apply to him;
- He kindly embraces them, and they find room in His heart and affections, fulness of everything they want, and security from all danger.
And he stayed yet other seven days; and again he sent forth the dove out of the ark;
- And he stayed yet other seven days,….
- As he had stayed seven days between the sending out of the raven and the dove, so he stayed seven days more after he had sent out the dove, and it returned to him, waiting patiently for his deliverance, and the signs of it; though he could have been glad to have known its near approach, for which he made the experiments be did:
- and again he sent forth the dove out of the ark;
- very probably the selfsame dove he had sent out before.
And the dove came in to him in the evening; and, lo, in her mouth was an olive leaf pluckt off: so Noah knew that the waters were abated from off the earth.
- And the dove came in to him in the evening,….
- It having been out all day delighting itself in a free air, and perching upon the trees, but yet not finding sufficient food, or a proper lodging, it returned to Noah at the evening for food and dwelling in the ark:
- and, lo, in her mouth was an olive leaf plucked off:
- which might easily be done, and even an “olive branch”, as the word sometimes signifies, and is by some rendered; for it being now the summer season, young branches sprouted out, which being tender, were easily cropped.
- so Noah knew the waters were abated from off the earth:
- by this he perceived not only that they were gone off the mountains, but the lower grounds, at least the hills on which olive trees delight to grow; and yet that they were only abated, and not entirely gone off, since the dove returned to him:
- This dove sent out the second time, and returning, may be considered as an emblem of a Gospel minister, comparable to a dove, for the dove like gifts of the Spirit of God, by which he is qualified for his work, and for his simplicity, harmlessness, meekness, and humility;
- The olive leaf in its mouth may be an emblem of the Gospel, which is from Christ, the good olive; is the Gospel of peace, which an olive branch is a symbol of, proclaiming and publishing peace and reconciliation by Christ;
- And as that is ever green, the Gospel always continues, and is the everlasting Gospel, and which was brought, and more fully and clearly dispensed in the evening of the world;
- And by it, it is known that the waters of divine wrath are assuaged, and the people of God may be assured they will never return to come upon them.
And he stayed yet other seven days; and sent forth the dove; which returned not again unto him any more.
- And he stayed yet other seven days,….
- After the dove had returned:
- and sent forth the dove;
- the same dove again:
- which returned not again unto him any more:
- the earth being dry, it found rest for the sole of its feet, sufficient food to eat, and a proper place for its habitation; and liking to be at liberty, and in the open air, chose not to return to the ark, even though its mate was there:
EARTH DRIES—NOAH LEAVES THE ARK
And it came to pass in the six hundredth and first year, in the first month, the first day of the month, the waters were dried up from off the earth: and Noah removed the covering of the ark, and looked, and, behold, the face of the ground was dry.
- And it came to pass, in the six hundred and first year,….
- Of Noah’s life, and so the Septuagint adds, in the first month:
- the first day of the month;
- so that it was the first day of the year, New Year’s Day, and a joyful one it was to Noah and his family, when they saw dry ground; which they had not seen for above ten months.
- the waters were dried up from off the earth:
- by the wind that continued to pass over it, and by the sun, which exhaled great quantities of it throughout the whole summer season; as it was from the end of the one hundred days, when the wind was first made, and the waters began to assuage to this time; as well as also by their soaking into the earth, and by returning to the cavities and receptacles in it:
- and Noah removed the covering of the ark, and looked;
- not the roof of it, at least not the whole, only a board or two; though perhaps this was a covering made of skins, that was thrown over the ark, like that which was put over the tabernacle of Moses, and was made of skins, found in Exodus 26:14 where the same word is used as here:
- The use of this might be to hang over the window and defend it from the rain; so that the uncovering of the ark was only putting by, or turning up this covering, that he might be able more clearly to see, out of the window, how things were:
- and, behold, the face of the ground was dry;
- the ground or surface of the earth looked dry; but was not so dry and hard as to bear heavy bodies, or the foot to tread on it, being soft and tender, through the water so long upon it, and had left mud and slime, not yet sufficiently hardened by the wind and sun to walk upon.
And in the second month, on the seven and twentieth day of the month, was the earth dried.
- Probably only as much of it as would afford him a prospect of the earth around. Yet for about two months he never stirred from his appointed abode till he had received the express permission of God. We should watch the leading of Providence to direct us in every step of the journey of life.
And God spake unto Noah, saying,
- Whether in a dream or vision, or by an articulate voice, appearing in an human form, or by an impulse on his mind, is not certain; however, the Lord spoke so to him, that he heard him and understood him: it was, no doubt, very rejoicing to him, since he had not heard his voice for a year or more, at least that we read of; and what he said to him was as follows.
Go forth of the ark, thou, and thy wife, and thy sons, and thy sons’ wives with thee.
- They went forth in the most orderly manner – the human occupants first, then each species, after their kinds, found in Genesis 8:19, literally, according to their families, implying that there had been an increase in the ark.
- The Jewish writers observe, that the manner of Noah and his family coming out of the ark is different from that of their going into it.
- When they went into it, then went the men by themselves,
- and the women by themselves,
- and so continued apart in the ark,
- the use of the marriage bed being forbidden them, being a time of distress.
- But now when they came out they are coupled together, signifying that they were now free to cohabit together.
Bring forth with thee every living thing that is with thee, of all flesh, both of fowl, and of cattle, and of every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth; that they may breed abundantly in the earth, and be fruitful, and multiply upon the earth.
- Bring forth with thee every living thing that is with thee,….
- There is a various reading of the word for “bring forth”; according to the margin, the sense is, order them to come forth; and according to the Scripture, if they will not, oblige them to come:
- of all flesh, both of fowl, and of cattle, and of every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth;
- for of each of these there were some that went with him into the ark, and continued there:
- that they may breed abundantly in the earth, and be fruitful, and multiply upon the earth,
- for which end they were preserved in the ark.
- It is said, on the earth, not in the ark, which shows that birds and beasts were likely not allowed to couple, and that they did not breed there.
- It is a question with some, how the creatures, which were only in Asia at their coming out of the ark, could spread themselves all over the earth.
- Particularly how they could get into islands, and especially into America.
- To which it may be answered, that this might be done by many of them, by swimming over narrow seas, for some wild creatures will swim whole days and nights together, when they are forced to it; and by men’s carrying others in vessels to distant and different parts, on one account or another, either for profit or pleasure.
- And especially, what is it the power and providence of God cannot do, who could not be at a loss for ways and means to replenish a world in all the parts of it He had made desolate, when it was His pleasure?
- Most creationists think the earth entered an ice age after the flood.
- This would make the sea level lower than it is today.
- If the average sea level was lowered by only six hundred feet, all the major continents would be connected by land bridges.
- Animals could easily migrate to any continent.
And Noah went forth, and his sons, and his wife, and his sons’ wives with him:
- And Noah went forth,….
- Being obedient to the divine command, and no doubt with great pleasure in his countenance, and with a heart full of thankfulness for so great a deliverance:
- and his sons, and his wife, and his sons’ wives with him:
- in all eight persons, and no more were saved in the ark, as Peter observes, 1 Peter 3:20 and the Arabic writers say,
- Noah and his sons built a city near the place where they came out of the ark, and called it Themanin, giving this as a reason of the name, we are eight, that is, who have escaped;
- The earth being dried of the waters, there were then only eight people in Armenia, from whence all mankind sprung.
Every beast, every creeping thing, and every fowl, and whatsoever creepeth upon the earth, after their kinds, went forth out of the ark.
- Every beast, every creeping thing, and every fowl, and whatsoever creepeth upon the earth,….
- All went out, not one was left, and they went out.
- after their kind;
- not in a confused disorderly manner, mixing with one another; but as they went in by pairs, male and female of every sort, so they came forth in like manner, or, according to their families.
- By which it seems as if the creatures did breed in the ark, and had their families of young ones.
- went forth out of the ark;
- everyone with his mate, in order to procreate and multiply upon the earth.
NOAH BUILDS AN ALTAR AND OFFERS SACRIFICE
God is now going to make a covenant with Noah. We will see this new beginning as we get into the next chapter. This covenant is a very important one. When God made it with Noah, He made it with the human family that is on the earth today.
And Noah builded an altar unto the LORD; and took of every clean beast, and of every clean fowl, and offered burnt offerings on the altar.
- Literally, “a high place” – probably a mound of earth, on which a sacrifice was offered.
- There is something exceedingly beautiful and interesting to know that the first care of this devout patriarch was to return thanks for the signal instance of mercy and goodness which he and his family had experienced.
- This is the first altar mentioned in Scripture—though it is not the first blood sacrifice, see Genesis 4:4.
- When Noah was commanded to save pairs of animals in the ark, more clean animals were spared than unclean ones, as found in Genesis 6:19, 20; 7:2, 3.
- Perhaps the act of sacrifice noted in the verse before us has been intended from the beginning, provision for it having been made by keeping more of the appropriate animals alive.
- We are not told what differentiates clean animals from unclean ones at this point in history, but Noah somehow knows the difference.
And the LORD smelled a sweet savour; and the LORD said in his heart, I will not again curse the ground any more for man’s sake; for the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth; neither will I again smite any more every thing living, as I have done.
- The writer, Moses, uses figurative language to describe God’s response to the sacrifice.
- Since God is a Spirit, as we read in John 4:24, we need not assume that God smells things the same way we do or has a literal, physical heart.
- Nevertheless, we understand such language.
- The same manner of figurative language is used when Scripture speaks of the, hand and arm, of the Lord found in Deuteronomy 4:34, 5:15, 7:19, etc.
- This kind of figurative language is known as anthropomorphic.
- The point being made is that God accepts the offering.
- Moses will use the same kind of language later to describe the sacrifices and burnt offerings that the new nation of Israel will be commanded to present to the Lord.
- But we may wonder to what end God accepts Noah’s offerings.
- In later times, burnt offerings will atone for sin found in Leviticus 1:1–9, and to ordain the Aaronic priesthood found in Exodus 29.
- Some suggest that Noah’s offerings are for atonement for the sins of all who perished in the flood, but that is not likely.
- Ordinarily an offering of atonement is made in lieu of punishment, but those who have perished have already been punished.
- More likely, Noah’s sacrifice is to purify the earth.
- Aaron and his sons will offer burnt offerings to purify themselves for the new priesthood centuries later; similarly, Noah offers sacrifices to cleanse the earth as home to new generations.
- Up to this point in the Bible, the ground has been spoken of as being under a curse only twice.
- The ground was cursed in Genesis 3:17 because of sin.
- Only with difficulty would humanity be able to make a living from it.
- Much later, Noah’s father, Lamech, prophesied Noah to be the one to bring relief from the burdensome toil because of the ground which the Lord hath cursed.
- The question that arises, then, is whether the statement I will not again curse the ground here in 8:21 refers to the flood itself or to the original curse of 3:17.
- If the latter, then the prophecy of 5:29 is fulfilled—but then we have to ask why thorns and thistles still interfere found in 3:18, and why agriculture still involves sweat-producing labor found in 3:19.
- If the reference is to the punishment of the flood, then the promise to not again curse the ground is another way of stating the promise never again to flood the earth.
- The reason given, because the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth, fits better with the concept that the flood itself was the curse of the ground that will not be repeated.
- Time will reveal that the flood is not the permanent solution to sin, so repeating it will serve no purpose.
- The sacrifice of Christ will be needed to address the heart need and sin guilt of people.
While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease.
- Days and years and seasons come about by the rotation of the earth and the tilt of its axis as the planet moves around the sun. These are constant and unchanging.
- But sometimes weather can block awareness of those constants. In a strong storm, the sun can be obscured to such an extent that daytime seems like night.
- One can imagine that the 40 days of rain Noah experienced were difficult to count.
- The cloud cover needed to produce such rain probably blocked sunlight almost totally during much of that time.
- In addition, the months that passed with water high enough to cover the mountains, found in Genesis 7:20, 24, surely resulted in climate change.
- Evaporation of the floodwaters would have caused significant cloud cover once again.
- The earth would have cooled during this time. Perhaps Noah and his family were able to discern a significant change in climate by the end of their time on the ark.
- This could have caused concern about where such climate change would lead.
- This promise in the verse before us allays any such fears.
- Even when storms are strong enough to obscure the sun for a time, day and night shall not cease.
- Climate change may occur, but there will still be summer and winter. In one area the winter may bring snow, but in others the winter is more of a rainy season.
- Still the seasons change with regularity as the earth continues on its course around the sun.
- Even so, the Lord does allow for cataclysmic change—even outright destruction.
- The constant change of seasons that allows seedtime and harvest will continue only as long as the earth itself does so.
- Peter refers to the Noahic flood as an illustration that God is able to judge the world and that there is coming another destruction, one by fire, found in 2 Peter 3:6, 7.
- But until that time of judgment, the cycles of the seasons will continue.
- Perhaps we should spend more time warning of the coming judgment because of sin rather than worrying about predictions of climate change because of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere!
I hope that you have really enjoyed this post,
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