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Bible Commentaries

Kingcomments on the Whole Bible

Genesis 8

Verses 1-5

The Water Decreases; The Ark upon the Ararat

God thinks of Noah and therefore of all that is with him in the ark (Habakkuk 3:2). Here is Noah a picture of the Lord Jesus. As God here thinks of Noah, God will for the sake of the Lord Jesus once put an end to the great tribulation in which the faithful remnant of His people will find itself. God always thinks of Him and in connection with Him.

Personal application: God thinks of each of His own who is in trouble and trials. He does not allow anyone to be tempted beyond ability, “but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it” (1 Corinthians 10:13).

The waters of the judgment recede steadily from the earth. God does not let the water disappear at once. First the ark “rested on the mountains of Ararat”. Ararat means ‘holy ground’. Someone ends up there because of his conversion. In the life of a person who repents, the first consequence is rest for his conscience. He may rest in knowing that his sins are forgiven. This does not mean that all the consequences of his life in sin are immediately gone. It often takes some time. Sometimes certain consequences are even permanent.

Verses 6-7

Noah Sends out a Raven

Noah opens the window in the ark and sends out a raven. The window at the top of the ark is the only opening (Genesis 6:16) that can be opened; the door is closed and remains closed. The opening at the top of the ark represents the connection with heaven, with God. Only by being in contact with God can it become clear whether the earth is dry, whether all the water is gone, whether the judgment has been raged out completely.

It seems that the raven has flown back and forth between the ark and the water, without really getting back into the ark. Once the water has dried from the earth, the raven no longer comes to the ark. The raven is an unclean animal (Leviticus 11:13; Leviticus 11:15). It is a bird of prey that lives from death. The raven is a picture of the flesh, the restless, old nature of the believer.

Verses 8-12

Noah Sends out a Dove Three Times

Noah releases a dove three times. The dove is a clean animal, a picture of the Holy Spirit, Who can only find rest with Christ (Matthew 3:16) and with the believer, because he has Christ as his life (1 Corinthians 6:19).

When Noah sends her out the first time, most likely seven days after the raven was sent out – because the second time it says that he waits “yet another seven days” (Genesis 8:10) –, she returns, because she can’t find rest anywhere. The second time, seven days later, Noah releases the dove again. Then she comes back with an olive leaf. That points to new life.

In the life of the believer, spiritual fruit will be discernible. God’s goal is that the new earth, the new life, produces fruit, fruit worked by the Holy Spirit, the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22). This fruit we see here in the picture of the olive leaf of the olive tree. The olive tree produces oil. Oil was later used for the anointing of priests, kings, and occasionally a prophet. Thus is the believer anointed with the Holy Spirit, he has the “anointing from the Holy One” (1 John 2:20; 2 Corinthians 1:21; 1 John 2:27), through which he can produce the fruit of the Spirit.

When Noah sends out the dove for the third time, she does not return. Now he knows that the earth is dry.

Verses 13-14

The Earth Is Dry Again

The earth is dry again. This state is reached after a process. The same goes for the life of a believer. See also the spiritual application of Genesis 1.

Verses 15-19

Out of the Ark

Noah went into the ark by order of God (Genesis 7:1). Now, together with all that is in the ark with him, he goes out of the ark by order of God. They enter a renewed earth (Psalms 104:30), to take possession of and enjoy all the blessings God has in store for them. The earth is populated with everything that comes out of the ark.

The life of the believer who has come ‘on dry land’ also looks like this. He is going to walk in newness of life (Romans 6:4). He now looks at all things in a new, spiritual way, as God sees it. That is totally different before his conversion.

Verse 20

An Altar and an Offering

The first thing Noah does when he has entered the new earth is to build an altar for the LORD and to offer him offerings. In doing so, he acknowledges that God has every right to the new earth. He offers burnt offerings of all clean animals, which are animals that man is later given as food.

This is the third time we read about an offering pleasing to God. The first time it is an offering that God brings to clothe man so that he may exist before Him (Genesis 3:21). The second time it is Abel who offers an offering (Genesis 4:4). He is aware that he can only be accepted by God on the basis of the blood of an innocent one. Here it is a burnt offering on a new earth, brought on an altar.

A burnt offering is an offering that is exclusively for God (Leviticus 1:9; Leviticus 1:13). It goes up completely in fire and smoke, while its smell rises to God. An altar speaks of offering and worship. The clean offerings speak of the Lord Jesus. We bring a burnt offering when we tell God Who the Lord Jesus is for Him, what His work means for Him (Hebrews 13:15). Bringing a burnt offering requires an understanding of the joy that God has found in the Lord Jesus, of the honor that God has been brought by the Lord Jesus in His work on the cross.

Bringing such an offering is an expression of the new life of someone who has come to conversion and walks in newness of life. His heart goes out to the Savior. Such a person can do nothing but honor God in this way. He wants to do this in his personal life, and he wants to do the same with other believers, as a church. Such worshippers the Father seeks (John 4:23-Jeremiah :).

The offering of Noah consists of clean animal and clean birds. The clean animal speaks of the Lord Jesus as Man on earth, the clean birds speak of Him as Man Who came from heaven.

Verses 21-22

God’s Answer to the Offering

It is impressive to see what the soothing aroma of the burnt offering does with the LORD. This gives rise to thoughts in Him which He also makes known to us, so that He allows us to share in what concerns Him on the basis of the offering.

He says to Himself that He will no longer curse the earth because of man. The reason He gives for this is almost the same as He gave in Genesis 6 (Genesis 6:5-Judges :). There He says that He will destroy the earth, because the thoughts of man’s heart are only bad. And now He says that He will not destroy the earth for exactly the same reason. We see the solution when we pay attention to context.

The first is said before the flood, the second after it. First comes the judgment about man because of his anger. After the flood the LORD takes into account that the heart of man is bad “from his youth”. Evil is innate to man and that makes him all the more dependent on the grace of God. Therefore, after the flood, God takes another ground for His relationship with man. Judgment has not changed man’s heart, but God now sees the earth by the pleasant smell of the burnt offering.

The LORD smells the soothing aroma of the offering. “soothing aroma” is literally ‘the smell that gives peace’. God has found His joy and rest in the offering of the Lord Jesus, His Son (Ephesians 5:2). He still finds it, despite the immutability of man. On the basis of the offering He will not destroy the earth again through water.

Through the work of the Lord Jesus on the cross, which always stands before God’s attention, God maintains the cycle of Genesis 8:22. On the basis of that work God still “causes His sun to rise on [the] evil and [the] good, and sends rain on [the] righteous and [the] unrighteous” (Matthew 5:45).

Chronology of the flood

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Kingcomments on the Whole Bible © 2021 Author: G. de Koning. All rights reserved. Used with the permission of the author
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Bibliographical Information
de Koning, Ger. Commentaar op Genesis 8". "Kingcomments on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/kng/genesis-8.html. 'Stichting Titus' / 'Stichting Uitgeverij Daniƫl', Zwolle, Nederland. 2021.