Preparations for the flood (Gen 6:13-7:9)

“And God said to Noah, ‘I have determined to make an end of all flesh.  The earth is filled with violence because of them.  Now I am going to destroy them along with the earth.  Make yourself an ark of cypress wood. Make rooms in the ark, and cover it inside and out with pitch.  This is how you are to make it: the length of the ark three hundred cubits, its width fifty cubits, and its height thirty cubits.  Make a roof for the ark, and finish it to a cubit above. Put the door of the ark in its side.  Make it with lower, second, and third decks.’”

Noah was told how to make a big triple deck ark of cypress with pitch all over it, 450 feet long (300 cubits), 75 feet wide (50 cubits) , and 45 feet high (30 cubits).  By today’s standards, it was a small river cruise ship.

“’For my part, I am going to bring a flood of waters on the earth, to destroy from under heaven all flesh in which is the breath of life.  Everything that is on the earth shall die.  But I will establish my covenant with you.  And you shall come into the ark, you, your sons, your wife, and your sons’ wives with you.  And of every living thing of all flesh, you shall bring two of every kind into the ark, to keep them alive with you.  They shall be male and female.  Of the birds according to their kinds, and of the animals according to their kinds, of every creeping thing of the ground according to its kind, two of every kind shall come in to you, to keep them alive.  Also take with you every kind of food that is eaten, and store it up.  It shall serve as food for you and for them.’  Noah did this.  He did all that God commanded him.”

God said that he was going to send a big flood and destroy everything except for whatever would be in this ark.  Everything on the earth would die. Now there would be a new covenant with Noah and his three sons and their families. Yahweh told Noah to get two of every living thing, a male and female, birds, animals, and creeping things, and put them into the ark.  The division of living things is always the same, domestic and wild animals, birds, and creeping things.  This ‘creeping things’ seems strange but appears over and over again.  There was no word about fish since they could survive in the water.  Noah also took food and did as the God asked him to do.

“Then Yahweh said to Noah, ‘Go into the ark, you and your entire household, for I have seen that you alone are righteous before me in this generation.  Take with you seven pairs of all clean animals, the male and its mate.  Take with you a pair of the animals that are not clean, the male and its mate.  Take with you seven pairs of the birds of the air also, male and female, to keep their kind alive on the face of all the earth.  For in seven days I will send rain on the earth for forty days and forty nights.  Every living thing that I have made I will blot out from the face of the ground.’  And Noah did all that Yahweh had commanded him.”

God told Noah to take seven pairs of all clean animals, instead of just one pair of the other unclean animals.  In fact, this is the priestly tradition story with the emphasis on clean and unclean animals that was never mentioned until here. Of course the clean and unclean animals are part of the later Mosaic Law.  In seven days God said that the forty day rain would begin.

“Noah was six hundred years old when the flood of waters came on the earth.  And Noah and his sons and his wife and his sons’ wives went into the ark, to escape the waters of the flood.  Of clean animals, and of animals that are not clean, and of birds, and of everything that creeps on the ground, two and two, male and female, went into the ark with Noah, as God had commanded Noah.” 

So in seven days, Noah, the 600 year old, got the families of his three sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth, and all the animals, birds, and creeping things into the ark as God had told him to do.

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