Then the Lord said to Noah, “Come into the ark, you with all your household, for you [alone] I have seen as righteous (doing what is right) before Me in this generation. Of every [a]clean animal you shall take with you seven pair, the male and his female, and of animals that are not clean, two each the male and his female; also of the birds of the air, seven pair, the male and the female, to keep the offspring alive on the surface of the earth. For in seven days I am going to cause it to rain on the earth for forty days and forty nights; and I will destroy (blot out, wipe away) every living thing that I have made from the surface of the earth.” So Noah did all that the Lord commanded him.
Noah was six hundred years old when the flood (deluge) of water came on the earth [covering all of the land]. Then Noah and his sons and his wife and his sons’ wives with him entered the ark to escape the flood waters. Of [b]clean animals and animals that are not clean and birds and fowls and everything that crawls on the ground, they came [motivated by God] into the ark with Noah two by two, the male and the female, just as God had commanded Noah. And after the seven days [God released the rain and] the floodwaters came on the earth. In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, on the seventeenth day of the second month, on that same day all the fountains of the great deep [subterranean waters] burst open, and the windows and floodgates of the heavens were opened. It rained on the earth for forty days and forty nights.
On the very same day Noah and Shem and Ham and Japheth, the sons of Noah, and Noah’s wife and the three wives of his sons with them, entered the ark, they and every animal according to its kind, all the livestock according to their kinds, every moving thing that crawls on the earth according to its kind, and every bird according to its kind, every winged thing of every sort. So they went into the ark with Noah, two by two of all living beings in which there was the breath and spirit of life. Those which entered, male and female of all flesh (creatures), entered as God had commanded Noah; and the Lord closed the door behind him.
The flood [the great downpour of rain] was forty days and nights on the earth; and the waters increased and lifted up the ark, and it floated [high] above the land. The waters became mighty and increased greatly on the earth, and the ark floated on the surface of the waters. The waters prevailed so greatly and were so mighty and overwhelming on the earth, so that all the high mountains everywhere under the heavens were covered. [In fact] the waters became [c]fifteen cubits higher [than the highest ground], and the mountains were covered. All living beings that moved on the earth perished—birds and cattle (domestic animals), [wild] animals, all things that swarm and crawl on the earth, and all mankind. Everything on the dry land, all in whose nostrils was the breath and spirit of life, died. God destroyed (blotted out, wiped away) every living thing that was on the surface of the earth; man and animals and the crawling things and the birds of the heavens were destroyed from the land. Only Noah and those who were with him in the ark remained alive. The waters covered [all of] the earth for a hundred and fifty days (five months).
- Genesis 7:2 This anticipates the numerous distinctions between animals for food purposes, which would later be revealed in the Mosaic Law.
- Genesis 7:8 The five extra pair of clean animals were for food and for sacrifice later.
- Genesis 7:20 About twenty-three feet.
The Flood Abates
And God remembered and thought kindly of Noah and every living thing and all the animals that were with him in the ark; and God made a wind blow over the land, and the waters receded. Also the fountains of the deep [subterranean waters] and the windows of the heavens were closed, the [pouring] rain from the sky was restrained, and the waters receded steadily from the earth. At the end of a hundred and fifty days the waters had diminished. On the seventeenth day of the seventh month [five months after the rain began], the ark came to rest on the mountains of Ararat [in [a]Turkey]. The waters continued to decrease until the tenth month; on the first day of the tenth month the tops of the mountains were seen.
At the end of [another] forty days Noah opened the window of the ark which he had made; and he sent out a raven, which flew here and there until the waters were dried up from the earth. Then Noah sent out a dove to see if the water level had fallen below the surface of the land. But the dove found no place on which to rest the sole of her foot, and she returned to him to the ark, for the waters were [still] on the face of the entire earth. So he reached out his hand and took the dove, and brought her into the ark. He waited another seven days and again sent the dove out from the ark. The dove came back to him in the evening, and there, in her beak, was a fresh olive leaf. So Noah knew that the water level had subsided from the earth. Then he waited another seven days and sent out the dove, but she did not return to him again.
Now in the six hundred and first year [of Noah’s life], on the first day of the first month, the waters were drying up from the earth. Then Noah removed the covering of the ark and looked, and the surface of the ground was drying. On the twenty-seventh day of the second month the land was [entirely] dry. And God spoke to Noah, saying, “Go out of the ark, you and your wife and your sons and their wives with you. Bring out with you every living thing from all flesh—birds and animals and every crawling thing that crawls on the earth—that they may breed abundantly on the earth, and be fruitful and multiply on the earth.” So Noah went out, and his wife and his sons and their wives with him [after being in the ark one year and ten days]. Every animal, every crawling thing, every bird—and whatever moves on the land—went out by families (types, groupings) from the ark.
And Noah built an altar to the Lord, and took of every [ceremonially] clean animal and of every clean bird and offered burnt offerings on the altar. The Lord smelled the pleasing aroma [a soothing, satisfying scent] and the Lord said to Himself, “I will never again curse the ground because of man, for the intent (strong inclination, desire) of man’s heart is wicked from his youth; and I will never again destroy every living thing, as I have done.
“While the earth remains,
Seedtime and harvest,
Cold and heat,
Winter and summer,
And day and night
Shall not cease.”
- Genesis 8:4 Formerly in Armenia, now in Turkey—near the present-day Turkish-Armenian border.
Covenant of the Rainbow
And God blessed Noah and his sons and said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth. The fear and the terror of you shall be [instinctive] in every animal of the land and in every bird of the air; and together with everything that moves on the ground, and with all the fish of the sea; they are given into your hand. Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you; I give you everything, as I gave you the green plants and vegetables. But you shall not eat meat along with its life, that is, its blood. For your lifeblood I will most certainly require an accounting; from every animal [that kills a person] I will require it. And from man, from every man’s brother [that is, anyone who murders] I will require the life of man.
“Whoever sheds man’s blood [unlawfully],
By man (judicial government) shall his blood be shed,
For in the image of God
He made man.
“As for you, be fruitful and multiply;
Populate the earth abundantly and multiply in it.”
Then God spoke to Noah and to his sons with him, saying, “Now behold, I am establishing My covenant (binding agreement, solemn promise) with you and with your descendants after you and with every living creature that is with you—the birds, the livestock, and the wild animals of the earth along with you, of everything that comes out of the ark—every living creature of the earth. I will establish My covenant with you: Never again shall all flesh be cut off by the water of a flood, nor shall there ever again be a flood to destroy and ruin the earth.” And God said, “This is the token (visible symbol, memorial) of the [solemn] covenant which I am making between Me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all future generations; I set My rainbow in the clouds, and it shall be a sign of a covenant between Me and the earth. It shall come about, when I bring clouds over the earth, that the rainbow shall be seen in the clouds, and I will [compassionately] remember My covenant, which is between Me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and never again will the water become a flood to destroy all flesh. When the rainbow is in the clouds and I look at it, I will [solemnly] remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth.” And God said to Noah, “This [rainbow] is the sign of the covenant (solemn pledge, binding agreement) which I have established between Me and all living things on the earth.”