God Remembered Noah

God remembered Noah

1) Gen 8:1: The flood had wiped out virtually everyone descended from Adam (Gen 7:21–22). It destroyed even most of the animals which God commissioned humanity to steward (Gen 1:26–28). Humanity stood on the brink of a new era, with Noah as the father of all.[1]

Moses structured the entire flood narrative as a chiasm (Gen 6:9–9:19).[2]

While the first five sections of the account increasingly darkened in tone,[3] we have at last reached the center of the account.[4] After this, he described the renewal of the earth.[5]

By placing this verse as the pivotal focus of the story,[6] Moses emphasized that Noah’s deliverance was no accident: the Lord himself saved Noah and his passengers.[7]

He wrote, “And God remembered (zakhar) Noah and all of the animals and all of the cattle which [were] with him in the ark. And God caused a wind to pass over the land. And the waters subsided.”

For the first time, the Bible describes the Lord as remembering someone.[8] Significantly, Moses mentioned neither Noah’s righteousness nor his obedience as a reason for his favor (Cf. Gen 6:8–9).[9]

The English word “remembered” implies that something had been forgotten. However, the Hebrew term carries a different nuance.[10] It expresses commitment to a covenant (Lev 26:45; Ps 74:2; Jer 14:20–21).[11]

Whenever the Lord “remembered” people in the Old Testament, he intervened to save them from death, infertility, or slavery (Gen 18:23; Gen 19:29; Gen 30:22–23; Exod 2:23–25).[12]

Consequently, the Lord would fulfill his promise of salvation to Noah (Gen 6:18).[13] God’s concern also extended to animals (Jonah 4:10–11; Matt 6:26; Matt 10:29).[14]

Even today, we can trust God to keep his covenants with us (Matt 26:26–28; Heb 10:11–25).[15] When the Lord remembers, he acts.[16] He remains merciful and true to his word.[17]

In Noah’s case, God’s remembrance caused him to send a wind to blow over the surface of the earth, increasing the evaporation of the water.[18] The same Hebrew word (ruakh) means “wind” and “spirit.”[19]

Moses deliberately echoed the original creation account.[20]

At the beginning of God’s creation of the heavens and the earth, the divine spirit hovered magnificently over the waters (Gen 1:1–2). Here that same wind dispersed the waters of judgment.[21]

The Akkadian gods in the Epic of Gilgameshcowered like dogs” when faced with the storm they unleashed in their attempt to destroy everyone on earth.[22]

In contrast, the Lord remained in complete control of Noah’s situation.[23]

Image via Wikimedia Commons

 

a) Read Gen 8:1. How does the Hebrew word “remember” differ from its English equivalent? Whom did God include in his covenant with Noah? What similarities would Moses’s original audience have recognized between this verse and the creation account in Gen 1? How does this verse provide you with comfort in hard times?

 

 

 

 

Go to Jesus, Remember Me

 

[Related posts include In the Beginning of God’s Creating (Gen 1:1–2); Stewards of the Earth (Gen 1:26 cont.); Noah Found Favor (Gen 6:8); Righteous and Blameless (Gen 6:9–10); God Establishes a Covenant (Gen 6:18); The Breath of Life Extinguished (Gen 7:21–24); Blood Given for You (Matt 26:26‒28); Ancient Literature; and Author and Date of Genesis]

[Click here to go to Chapter 8: Safely Through (Gen 8:1–19)]

 

[1]Waltke and Fredricks, Genesis: A Commentary, 127.

[2]Wenham, Genesis 1–15, 156.

[3]Waltke and Fredricks, Genesis: A Commentary, 140.

[4]Wenham, Genesis 1–15, 156.

[5]Waltke and Fredricks, Genesis: A Commentary, 140.

[6]Hamilton, The Book of Genesis, Chapters 1–17, 299.

[7]Wenham, Genesis 1–15, 157.

[8]Wenham, Genesis 1–15, 184.

[9]Hamilton, The Book of Genesis, Chapters 1–17, 299.

[10]Waltke and Fredricks, Genesis: A Commentary, 140.

[11]H. Eising, “זָכַר” (zakhar), TDOT 4:70–82, 70.

[12]Hamilton, The Book of Genesis, Chapters 1–17, 299.

[13]Kline, Kingdom Prologue: Genesis Foundations for a Covenantal Worldview, 232.

[14]Wenham, Genesis 1–15, 184.

[15]Waltke and Fredricks, Genesis: A Commentary, 140.

[16]Wenham, Genesis 1–15, 184.

[17]Waltke and Fredricks, Genesis: A Commentary, 123.

[18]Hamilton, The Book of Genesis, Chapters 1–17, 299.

[19] Brown, Driver, and Briggs, “רוּחַ” ­(ruakh), BDB, 924, https://archive.org/stream/hebrewenglishlex00browuoft#page/924/mode/2up.

[20]Walton, Genesis, 331.

[21]Hamilton, The Book of Genesis, Chapters 1–17, 300.

[22]Speiser, “The Epic of Gilgamesh,” in ANET, 11:113–5, 94, https://archive.org/stream/Pritchard1950ANET_20160815/Pritchard_1950_ANET#page/n119/mode/2up.

[23]Waltke and Fredricks, Genesis: A Commentary, 140.