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Bible Commentaries
Genesis 8

Smith's Bible CommentarySmith's Commentary

Verses 1-22

The eighth chapter begins with the words,

And God remembered Noah ( Genesis 8:1 ),

Let me tell you this, God never forgot him. It is important that we realize that in the Bible, there are terms that are used for God that are anthropomorphic type terms; in other words, describing God in human language. Really it's impossible to do but we don't have anything else. We don't have the divine terms to describe God's divine character. Thus, we must define or describe God's actions and God's character in all that we have human language, but there's no way that human language can really portray the truth of God. And so we just have to do the best we can using terms that are familiar with us to describe the activities or the actions of God because we really don't have any other terms.

Paul when he was caught up into heaven said, "I heard things that would be unlawful for me to try to describe"( 2 Corinthians 12:4 ). In other words, there isn't language that can do it justice. Anything I would try to describe would be so much less than what it actually was. It'd just be a crime. I'm not going to even try and describe it because it'd be a crime to try to reduce it to human language.

Now we do oftentimes experience the weakness of human language. Looking at the surf of Waikiki, how do you describe it? Looking at an Arizona sunset. Looking at the Grand Canyon. Looking at the marvels of God's creation we're bound with human language, but oh my, how beggarly it is to adequately describe the glory, the beauty, the sensation that you feel within. And so we have to do our best with what we've got.

And so "God remembered Noah." Not that He ever forgot Noah, but now the activity of God with Noah picked up again so that God was really watching over that ark for all of those days that it was floating there upon the water. God remembered Noah, began His activity with Noah once more.

and every living thing, and all the cattle that were with him in the ark: and God made a wind to pass over the earth, and the waters asswaged ( Genesis 8:1 );

And so for the first time, probably there began the strong wind current. Prior to the flood, with all of the waters suspended in the atmosphere, there was much less water surface upon the earth at that time. The earth was probably, as a result, far more jungle-like everywhere. There wouldn't have been the arid desert regions. There would have been a more of an earth-water kind of a balance and would have meant that there would have been actually a much greener effect. This water suspended in the atmosphere kept a moderate climate around the world. There weren't ice caps at the Polar Regions. In fact, the Polar Regions were jungles also.

But now that this moisture blanket has been removed, and there is not nearly the amount of moisture in the atmosphere as there was prior to the flood, there was the beginning then of the ice caps and the beginning of the glacial movements. And with the development now of the ice caps at the Polar Regions and the hot zone of the equator, you have then the making for these wind currents that began. And so God caused a strong wind.

Now winds can be developed by the heat and the cold areas, the contrast between them, something that didn't exist before the flood. Prior to the flood there weren't really violent windstorms at all. There could not have been. The climate was moderated to the extent that any breeze at all would have been just a very gentle breeze of air movement, but not great violent winds. And now the wind blowing and the water receding, actually draining off into ocean beds. Now as it was doing this, the earth, as the pressure of the water begins to settle in the lower areas, the seabed, the crust of the earth began then to have tremendous pressures and there were these great uplift movements.

So Mount Everest and the Himalayas began to push upward. The Andes began to push upwards. And there is evidence of this movement there in the mountain ranges of these upward thrusts as there were these tremendous pressures being created by the weight of the ocean, settling in some areas and pushing and thrusting upwards, great volcanic action, volcanic action around the world at this particular time. The development of the mountain ranges; the establishing of the sea in their present order, and of course, the dramatic geographical changes that took place then after the flood.

So while Noah was there sitting atop Mount Ararat, there were all kinds of activities that were taking place in the geographical surface of the earth around him, as you have the settling of the seas and these upward thrusts of the mountains. Again, I might suggest the little book, Earths in Upheaval by Emmanuel Villakosky where he thoroughly documents the upward thrust of the Andes as having taken place about five to six thousand years ago. Where he documents the upward thrust of the Himalayas taking place about the same time as the Andes were going upwards. And his book is an excellent documentary of the upward thrust of the mountain ranges within historic times. And so you might find that very interesting indeed.

We have found in the Andes the remains of cities that are now high up in the Andes where the people grew corn and so forth in areas that are far above the level of growing corn. And the indication is that the people were living at a lower altitude. But with this upward thrust, they were thrust so high in this upward thrust that no longer could they cultivate and develop the area in the same type of agriculture. And they finally just left the area and moved to lower climate. And there's plenty of evidence for these things. And these are part of the upheaval of the earth after the flood period.

The fountains also of the deep and the windows of heaven were stopped, and the rain from heaven was restrained ( Genesis 8:2 );

And so the deluge is over. And now drying out time.

And the waters returned from off the earth continually: and after the end of the hundred and fiftieth day the waters were abated. And the ark rested in the seventh month, on the seventeenth day of the month, upon the mountains of Ararat ( Genesis 8:3-4 ).

The mountains of Ararat are the highest mountains in that region. They go up to seventeen thousand feet, which means that they are higher than anything in the continental United States except for McKinley up in the area of Alaska.

Now here is another interesting thing, Noah went into the ark on the seventeenth day of the second month, and now it is the seventh month and also again the seventeenth day when the ark rested. And so it had been laboring in this great ocean of flood. Now it is settled and resting. It is believed that the ark has been discovered. There are several books on the subject about the fourteen thousand-foot level at Mount Ararat. There have been a lot of stories concerning it dating back historically to the time of, or even before Marco Polo. But Marco Polo does also mention it in his writing.

But the interesting thing is that five months equaling a hundred and fifty days shows that originally the year was calculated at three hundred and sixty days a year, twelve thirty-day months. And in all of the ancient-type records and calculations, they all calculated the year at a three hundred and sixty-day year. Now of course, we in our modern calculations know that the earth revolves around the sun every three hundred and sixty five days, nine hours, fifty-six minutes and four six hundredths of a second, I think is what it's supposed to be, or nine and six hundredths of a second. And it's right on time. Every time it makes its orbit it, you know, you can set your watch to it.

Now this five and a quarter days in just ten years will show your seasons completely out of kilter. So they could not have made a mistake of five and a quarter days in their calculation of the earth's rotation, or else their whole seasons would have been out in just a few years' time. So in calculating the year at three hundred and sixty days, they were probably accurate in their calculation. That was probably the length of the earth's orbit around the sun in those days.

But the change of the earth's orbit around the sun was probably about the time of Joshua when, as the Scriptures record it, God caused the sun to stand still. And from that time, historically the calendars began to change and they began to calculate the year at three hundred and sixty five days, putting in their leap years. Some of the nations adjusted in other ways for awhile but ultimately all of the calendars began to move towards the three hundred and sixty five-day year. Some would adjust for a holiday at the end, they still calculate the thirty-day years and then put a little holiday at the end of no time, while they were waiting for these five and a quarter days to catch on.

But it is interesting that Biblical prophecy is predicated on the original three hundred and sixty-day year. Again, Emmanuel Villakosky in his book, Worlds in Collision, thoroughly documents the three hundred and sixty-day year in the Egyptian, Indian, Chinese records, Babylonian-of course, is Babylonian calendar carried on the three hundred and sixty-day year for a long time-the Incas, but there has been that change of the earth's orbit.

And of course, it is his theory that the change was wrought through the introduction of the planet Venus into our solar system. And he accounts that for the plagues of Egypt and then later on, when it returned again and was then caught in its own orbit around the sun that it created a change in the earth's orbit at that time. And that there were great happenings upon the earth.

Joshua describes how God threw rocks from heaven at their enemy and he believes that that was caused by debris from the planet Venus that was scattered upon the earth. And he believes that the long day was actually caused by this near approach to Venus and he has a very interesting theory that has come into recent attention again by the scientific world.

But here in Genesis, five months, a hundred and fifty days. So the years were calculated at this time at a three hundred and sixty-day year. And as I say, all prophecy in the Bible is predicated on that three hundred and sixty-day year which is interesting because that really puts us out to just about the year six thousand at the present time.

And the waters decreased continually until the tenth month: and in the tenth month, on the first day of the month, were the tops of the mountains seen ( Genesis 8:5 ).

So the water is now draining off. They are beginning to settle in the-in the sea beds, and of course there begins this upward thrust of the mountainous regions and the tops of the mountains are now beginning to come into view above the water by the tenth month.

And it came to pass at the end of forty days, that Noah opened the window of the ark which he had made: And he sent forth a raven, which went forth to and fro, until the waters were dried up from off the earth. So he sent forth a dove to see if the waters were abated from the face of the earth; And 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: and then he put forth his hand, and took her, and pulled her in unto him into the ark. And he stayed yet or waited another seven days; and again he sent forth the dove out of the ark; And the dove came to him in the evening; and, lo, in her mouth there was an olive leaf that was plucked off: so Noah knew that the waters were abated from off the earth. And he stayed yet another seven days; and sent forth the dove; which returned not again unto him any more. So it came to pass in the six hundredth and first year ( Genesis 8:6-13 ),

That would be the six hundred and first year of Noah's life. He entered the ark in the six hundredth year of his life and so this would be the six hundredth and first year of Noah's life.

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 ( Genesis 8:13 ).

But still he did not come out.

For in the second month, on the seventh twenty-seventh day of the month, was the earth dried. And God spake unto Noah, saying, Go forth out of the ark, thou, and thy wife, thy sons, thy sons' wives with thee. Bring forth with thee every living thing that is with thee, of all the flesh, both of fowl, and cattle, every creeping thing that creepeth on the earth; that they may breed abundantly in the earth, and be fruitful, and multiply upon the earth. And so Noah went forth, and his sons, and his wife, and his sons' wives with him: every beast, every creeping thing, every fowl, whatsoever creeps on the earth, after their kind, went forth out of the ark ( Genesis 8:14-19 ).

So they were in the ark for ten days over a year or three hundred and seventy days. Oh, I imagine they were stir crazy by that time. They're in the ark for three hundred and seventy days, so it causes you to realize really a little bit of some of the problems that must have existed. Taking all of those animals in, you would have taken food supplies for all of those animals and there are just a lot of sanitation things that had to be taken care of during that period of time. So I imagine when we get to heaven Noah would have quite an interesting story to tell us.

And Noah built an altar unto the LORD; and he took of every clean beast ( Genesis 8:20 ),

Now you remember he took the clean beast by sevens, that is seven pairs of the clean beast. The others just one pair of each but of the clean or domesticated type animals he took seven pairs. And so "Noah built an altar unto the LORD; and he took of every clean beast,"

and every clean fowl, and he offered a burnt offering on the altar ( Genesis 8:20 ).

Now later on when we get into Leviticus and we discover the various types of offerings, we find that the burnt offering was the offering of dedication or sacrifice or commitment unto God. There was the peace offering, which was the communion offering, the fellowship. There was the sin offering, but the burnt offering was one of consecration to God. And so the first thing that Moses did, I mean Noah did in coming out of the ark was to establish now this commitment to God, the burnt offering, the offering of consecration, commitment.

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 ( Genesis 8:21 ).

"The LORD smelled a sweet savour." In other words, the Lord smelled that meat barbecuing. God likes the smell of barbecued meat. So do I. But God's declaration and God's evaluation of man "that the imagination of man's heart is evil from his youth". Isn't that something? Why is that? That's from youth, imagination of the heart is evil. It is because we have been born with a sinful nature, so from our youth, the wicked imaginations.

Now the Bible speaks about God in His dealing with us and it says, "He knows our frame; that we are but dust" ( Psalms 103:14 ), an understanding that we are but dust. Knowing our weaknesses He has made provisions to make us strong. We're never to just excuse ourselves and say, "Well, my imaginations are wicked from my youth and I'm just dust". And so I just, you know, will give in to my fleshly impulses and so forth. Never. The fact that God knows we're but dust and He knows that the imagination of our minds are evil continually, it doesn't mean that then God condones the evil. But he has made the provisions that we might have a spiritual birth and that we might enter into that power and dimension of power that He has for us.

And while the earth remains, there will be seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night shall not cease ( Genesis 8:22 ).

Now this was God's declaration. It's getting nighttime so God's word is still true. They just recently planted the seeds and the beans are starting to come up across the street. Seed time. The wheat that they planted, the winter wheat crops are about ready to harvest. So there's seedtime, harvest. Now there is the cold and the heat. Of course, here in Southern California we get mixed up sometimes and we get cold in May, and it gets warm in July, in January. But basically we have our seasons-summer and winter, day and night, planting and harvesting. The cycles of God, the covenant of God.


Bibliographical Information
Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on Genesis 8". "Smith's Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/csc/genesis-8.html. 2014.
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