3) Gen 8:2–5: Due to the Lord remembering Noah (Gen 8:1), “The springs of the deep and the windows of the heavens were sealed, and the heavy rain from the heavens was restrained.”

God began reversing his actions (Cf. Gen 7:11–12).[1] Just as the Lord divided the waters on the second day of creation, he reestablished the separation between the watery deep and the sky (Gen 1:6–7).[2]

The flood remained entirely under God’s control, rather than merely subject to the forces of nature.[3]

The Sumerian flood account, the Eridu Genesis, closely parallels the biblical record.[4] Nevertheless, several important differences appear. It says:

After, for seven days (and) seven nights, the flood had swept over the land, (and) the huge boat had been tossed about by the windstorms on the great waters, [the sun god] Utu came forth, who sheds light on heaven (and) earth. Ziusudra opened a window of the huge boat, the hero Utu brought his rays into the giant boat.[5]

In Genesis, the wind sent by the Lord evaporated the water, not warm rays of light sent by the sun god (Gen 8:1).

Moses recorded the results of the Lord’s activity, “The waters gradually receded from upon the earth, and at the end of 150 days, the waters decreased.”

This reversed the events of Gen 7:17, 24.[6] However, the waters had not completely disappeared by that point. Instead, they returned to their original locations.[7]

Moses used the same description regarding the Sea of Reeds, an occurrence very familiar to his original audience (Exod 14:26–28). Later in Israel’s history, Joshua depicted the Jordan River in a similar way (Josh 4:18).[8]

Finally, “The ark rested in the seventh month, on the seventeenth day of the month, upon the mountains of Ararat.”

Ironically, the date is extremely specific but the location—the piece of information which interests most readers—remains quite vague.[9]

Exactly five months after the flood began, the ark could no longer clear the mountain peaks and came to rest (nuakh).[10] Here Moses used wordplay, employing the verb related to Noah’s name (noakh) (Gen 5:29).[11]

The mountains of Ararat are located in what was once Armenia (2 Ki 19:37; Jer 51:27).[12] This range is now in eastern Turkey, southern Russia, and northwest Iran.[13] The highest peak rises to approximately 17,000 feet.[14]

People have sought to identify which specific mountain the ark rested upon since before the time of Christ.[15] However, concerning this matter, the Bible omits precise information.[16]

According to the Epic of Gilgamesh, “On Mount Nisir the ship came to a halt. Mount Nisir held the ship fast, allowing no motion.”[17]

In contrast, neither the Eridu Genesis nor the Atrahasis Epic names a landing site.[18]

Moses wrote, “And the waters had been decreasing steadily until the tenth month. In the tenth month, on the first of the month, the tops of the mountains appeared.”

By including an exact date—which typically occurs in the Ancient Near East only in the annals of kings—Moses imbued the account with historical credibility.[19]

This occurred two and a half months after the ark came to a sudden halt. The decline of the waters mirrors Gen 7:19–20.[20]

It also parallels the separation of the waters from the ground on the third day of creation (Gen 1:9).[21]

Image via Wikimedia Commons

 

a) Read Gen 8:2–5. How did the Lord reverse what he had done to produce the flood? Why did Moses give precise dates? What makes it very difficult to guess where the ark came to rest? Imagine the moment when the boat came to a halt. What do you think that was like?

 

 

 

 

Go to Renewal of the Earth

 

[Related posts include God Separates the Waters (Gen 1:6–8); Dry Ground Appears (Gen 1:9–13); Seeking Relief (Gen 5:28–32); A Reversal of Creation (Gen 7:5–16); The Waters Prevail (Gen 7:17–20); The Breath of Life Extinguished (Gen 7:21–24); God Remembered Noah (Gen 8:1); Ancient Literature; and Author and Date of Genesis]

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

 

[1]Wenham, Genesis 1–15, 184.

[2]Waltke and Fredricks, Genesis: A Commentary, 128.

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

[4]Pritchard, ANET, 42, https://archive.org/stream/Pritchard1950ANET_20160815/Pritchard_1950_ANET#page/n67/mode/2up.

[5]Samuel Noah Kramer, trans., “The Deluge,” in ANET, lines 203–8, 44, https://archive.org/stream/Pritchard1950ANET_20160815/Pritchard_1950_ANET#page/n69/mode/2up.

[6]Wenham, Genesis 1–15, 184.

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

[8]Wenham, Genesis 1–15, 184.

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

[10]Wenham, Genesis 1–15, 184.

[11]Hamilton, The Book of Genesis, Chapters 1–17, 301.

[12]Matthews, Chavalas, and Walton, IVPBBCOT, Gen 8:4.

[13]Wenham, Genesis 1–15, 184–5.

[14]Matthews, Chavalas, and Walton, IVPBBCOT, Gen 8:4.

[15]Hamilton, The Book of Genesis, Chapters 1–17, 301.

[16]Wenham, Genesis 1–15, 185.

[17]Speiser, “The Epic of Gilgamesh,” in ANET, 11:140–1, 94, https://archive.org/stream/Pritchard1950ANET_20160815/Pritchard_1950_ANET#page/n119/mode/2up.

[18]Hamilton, The Book of Genesis, Chapters 1–17, 301.

[19]Waltke and Fredricks, Genesis: A Commentary, 139.

[20]Wenham, Genesis 1–15, 185.

[21]Waltke and Fredricks, Genesis: A Commentary, 129.