For facts about Noah and the Ark, the Bible is the only reliable source. Several modern day movies have portrayed the Flood, with assorted degrees of accuracy.
Beginning in Genesis 5:21, we have the names of the people who would have been contemporary with Noah. Adam’s son Seth had died before Noah was born, but Noah was 84 when Enos died. Noah was 179 when Cainan died, 234 when Mahalaeel died, 366 when Jared died, 502 when Shem was born, 595 when Lamech died, 600 when Methuselah died (the same year as the flood).
FACTS ABOUT NOAH
- Noah was the grandson of Methuselah, the oldest person in the Bible, who died at 969 years old (in the year of the flood). Noah’s father was Lamech, but we are not told his mother’s name. Noah was a tenth generation descendant of Adam, who was the first human being on Earth.
- Scripture tells us Noah was a farmer (Genesis 9:20). He was already 500 years old when he fathered three sons: Shem, Ham, and Japheth (Gen. 5:32).
- When God decided to wipe the wicked people from the face of the Earth, he first warned Noah, making a covenant to save Noah and his family. While Noah and his family labored constantly on the ark, he also preached repentance, but the violent generation ignored him. Like a parent whose children have gone bad, God mourned for his wayward children. The Lord was sorry He had created man and “was grieved in his heart” (Genesis 6:6). Notice that God was sorry He had made man. Their failure to repent caused God to repent, or turn around, in his approach to humanity.
- Noah was called a preacher of righteousness (2 Pet. 2:5).
- After the Flood, Noah promptly built an altar of stones and offered animal sacrifices to give thanks to God for salvation.
- God told Noah and his family the same thing he told Adam: “be fruitful and multiply.” (Gen. 1:28, 9:7).
- After Noah planted a vineyard, made wine, and got drunk on the wine, he lay naked in his tent. Ham told his brothers but did not protect his father. Shem and Japheth took a garment, backed into the tent and covered Noah without looking at him. When Noah woke, he blessed Shem and Japheth but cursed Ham’s offspring, Canaan. Ham’s sin was disrespecting his father.
- Noah lived 350 years after the flood and died at 950 years old.
FACTS ABOUT NOAH’S ARK
- One of the most debated facts about the ark is the type of wood used. The King James Bible calls it “gopher wood,” but trees are not called that today. Some speculate that gopher wood was what we call cypress, which was commonly used by Phoenicians in shipbuilding.
- Noah’s ark was 300 cubits long, 50 cubits wide, and 30 cubits high (Genesis 6:15)—about 450 feet long, 75 feet wide, and 45 feet high. A cubit is generally considered to be 18 inches. The proportions of the ark, 6:1, were still being used in shipbuilding into the 1900s. The ark was constructed with three “decks,” or stories (Genesis 6:16). When Noah and his family and all the animals entered the ark, God himself shut its door to insure their safety against the raging flood (Genesis 7:16). When the waters subsided after the Flood, the ark rested on the mountains of ARARAT (Genesis 8:4).
- God told Noah to cover the ark, inside and out, with pitch to waterproof it. Deposits of solid bitumen (asphalt) and sticky tar occur naturally in the Middle East.
- The ark took approximately 100 years to build. Notice that Noah was 500 when he bore his three sons and 600 when he went into the ark.
- The ark had a window in the top and a door on one side. There were three decks, with rooms within the decks. The ark was not designed to be steered or sailed but only to float. It drifted wherever God willed.
- God commanded Noah to take seven “clean” animals and two of every other kind of animal (male and female). The clean animals were used for food and sacrifice after Noah and his family came out of the ark.
- God said the animals “will come to you to be kept alive,” (Genesis 6:20), showing that the migration was directed by God.
- When the waters receded, the ark came to rest in the mountains of Ararat. No specific peak is named in this mountain range, located in present-day Turkey, but we are made to understand it was the highest or main peak.
FACTS ABOUT THE FLOOD
- God saw how great wickedness had become and decided to wipe mankind from the face of the earth. He also cursed the ground (Gen. 5:29). However, one righteous man among all the people of that time, Noah, found favor in God’s eyes. With very specific instructions, God told Noah to build an ark for him and his family in preparation for a catastrophic flood that would destroy every living thing on earth.
- God also instructed Noah to bring into the ark two of all living creatures, both male and female, and seven pairs of all the clean animals, along with every kind of food to be stored for the animals and his family while on the ark. Noah obeyed everything God commanded him to do.
- After they entered the ark, rain fell on the earth for a period of forty days and nights. The waters flooded the earth for a hundred and fifty days, and every living thing, which had the breath of life, died (Gen. 7:21). The water rose to 15 cubits (## feet) above the highest mountain (Gen. 7:20). As the waters receded, the ark came to rest on the mountains of Ararat. Noah and his family continued to wait for almost eight more months while the surface of the earth dried out.
- Finally after an entire year, God invited Noah to come out of the ark. Immediately, he built an altar and worshiped the Lord with burnt offerings from some of the clean animals. God was pleased with the offerings and promised never again to destroy all the living creatures as he had just done. Later God established a covenant with Noah: “Never again will there be a flood to destroy the earth.” As a sign of this everlasting covenant God set a rainbow in the clouds.
POINTS OF INTEREST:
- God’s purpose in the flood was to destroy the people because of their wickedness and sin.
- With more detail in Genesis 7:2-3, God instructed Noah to take seven pairs of every kind of clean animal, and two of every kind of unclean animal. Bible scholars have calculated that approximately 45,000 animals might have fit on the ark.
- Genesis 7:16 interestingly points out that God shut them in the ark, or “closed the door,” so to speak.
- The ark was exactly six times longer than it was wide. This is the same ratio used by modern ship builders.
- Remember the window was on top of the ark, and after 40 days Noah sent out a raven (Gen. 8:6-7).
- Noah also sent out a dove, but she returned because she had no rest for her foot (Gen. 8:8-9).
- Seven days later, he sent the dove out again and she returned with an olive branch in her mouth (Gen. 8:10-11).
- Noah waited another seven days to send the dove out again and she did not return.
- Noah opened the window of the ark and saw that the waters were gone when he was 601 years old (Gen. 8:13).
- God gave Noah power (authority) over the animals (Gen. 9:2; 9:11-13).