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Thursday, July 18th, 2024
the Week of Proper 10 / Ordinary 15
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Bible Commentaries
Genesis 8

Grant's Commentary on the BibleGrant's Commentary

Verses 1-22


The five months of floating on a shoreless sea would seem interminable to Noah and his family, and it can be well imagined that they would feel that God had forgotten them. "But God remembered Noah, and all the beasts and all the cattle that were with him in the ark," -- the wild beasts as well as domesticated animals. But a flood covering even the mountains would require a long length of time to subside, even with the wind God sent to help in this. However, the sources from which the water came were stopped. If a tidal wave had emanated from the seas, this ceased to exert its power, and of course the rain from heaven no longer fell. This itself would be a welcome relief to the people in the ark. Yet at the end of 150 days the ark only grounded in the mountains of Ararat: there was still no land visible (v.4). Four and one half months later the tops of the mountains were seen (v.5).

Allowing forty days more, Noah opened the window of the ark and sent out a raven, and the raven did not return (v.7). He also sent out a dove as a test, but the dove did not find any favorable circumstances and returned to the ark (v.9). The unclean raven would no doubt find carrion to feed upon, which would be offensive to the clean dove. The raven is typical of the unclean, while the dove pictures the pure, renewed nature of the believer that can find pleasure only in what is pure and holy.

Now ten and a half months had passed since Noah's entering the ark. He removed the covering of the ark and found the face of the ground dry (v.13). Yet of course it would be dry on the higher elevations where the ark was, while requiring more time in lower areas to have the waters recede. So that verse 14 tells us that it was about two months later that the earth was dried. This total time amounts to one year and ten days (cf.Chapter 7:11 and 8:14).

Nothing is said about anyone being anxious to leave the ark. Had they become so accustomed to living there that they were hesitant to leave? God gave them orders to go out, however, including all the humans and all the animals of every kind. Whether at first they returned there for shelter at night we are not told. The animals sent back into their natural habitat, would then "breed abundantly" and multiply.

How good it is to see that Noah's first recorded act after leaving the ark is to build an altar to the Lord and offer one of every clean animal and every clean bird as burnt offerings to the Lord. He showed no resentment toward God at the thought of so terrible a flood, but became if anything a more decided worshiper of his great Creator. Evidently God's awesome judgment of the ungodly world increased within Noah a healthy, reverential fear of the God of all the earth.

Because these offerings are all typical of the matchless sacrifice of the Lord Jesus, God smelled a sweet savor, and for this reason purposed that He would not again curse the ground for man's sake. The basis of this purpose is really the sacrifice of Christ pictured in the offerings, the only refuge for man. It is interesting too that, while in Chapter 6:5 we see that the reason for the flood was that "the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually," yet this same fact becomes a reason that God would not curse the earth again (v.21). Since the imagination of man's heart is evil from his youth, God would not again curse the earth or destroy every living thing out of it. The reason for this is that in the sacrifice of Christ there is a remedy for the evil nature of man. This is only implied here, whereas in the New Testament this marvelous truth is seen in the actual death of the Lord Jesus and the subsequent teachings as to all of its wonderful value.

From that time there would be a normal cycle of living conditions on earth so long as earth remains. After the awful catastrophe of the flood, who could foretell that for the rest of earth's history there would a constant pattern of "seed time and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, and day and night." No one but the Creator Himself would even venture to suggest this. In the New Testament, however (2 Peter 3:10), God has as definitely foretold that the earth is not going to remain as it is: "The heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up." God foretold the flood 120 years in advance: the flood came. He has foretold the constant cycle of seasons so long as the earth remains: this has been thoroughly accurate for thousands of years and will remain so until, as He has also foretold, the earth and its works shall be burned up. How vitally important it is that we believe the revelation of God!

Bibliographical Information
Grant, L. M. "Commentary on Genesis 8". Grant's Commentary on the Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/lmg/genesis-8.html. 1897-1910.
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