Richard Agee

Genesis 8: Noach sends out raven and dove as Flood subsides

Richard AgeeGod “marked” Noach and his family for salvation in the ark during the Flood. The dove that found dry land after the waters subsided points to another Messenger Who went to prepare room for us in God’s Kingdom.

There are a lot of dates and anniversaries in Genesis 8. This gives support to the idea that this chapter is a historical document. It is not allegorical at all. 

This chapter starts with the phrase, “But God remembered Noah…” (Gen. 8:1). God’s remembrance of Noah is not in the sense that He forgot about Noah, as though the travails of Noah and his family and those in the ark meant nothing to Him. The Hebrew word for remember here is זָכַר zakar (Strong’s lexicon No. 2142), which carries the meaning of marking for memorial. God was marking a point and time in history.

When God tells us to “Remember the Sabbath day” it is not to imply that we forget about it the other six days but we are to mark it and establish it as special. 

Noah, his family and those in the ark were special to him. He went through a lot of time and effort to save them. 

We are told in Gen. 8:1, “…God caused a wind…” The Hebrew word is רוּחַ ruach (Strong’s H7307). The ruach’s function here is to abate the waters from the earth. 

Three kinds of “waters” were released onto the earth and all three kinds of water were subsided as well. “Also the fountains of the deep and the floodgates of the sky were closed, and the rain from the sky was restrained.” 

  1. Fountains of the deep closed 
  2. Floodgates of the sky closed
  3. Rain from the sky restrained

The fountains of the deep were the aquifers and underground rivers that dwell deep in the earth. This water was returned underneath the earth. There is a lot more fresh water under the earth than there is salt water above the earth. 

Hebrew for floodgates is אֲרֻבָּה ’arubbah (Strong’s H699), which literally means “a lattice or a window.” Something was unleashed on the earth that had been held back. When this lattice was removed, even more water was released onto the earth than was originally there. 

In Gen. 7:11, we read that “the windows of heaven were opened up” to instigate the flood. 2nd Kings 7:1-19 uses the same phrase in a conversation between Elisha and Samaria’s captain of the guard. Elisha predicts that the siege would be broken and food would be plentiful and purchased at a fair price. The Kingdom of Israel was being subjected to a siege by the Assyrians and food was very costly and in limited supply. The captain did not believe Elisha. He said that even if God Himself caused grain to come down from heaven, food would not become a cheap commodity again. Elisha judged the captain’s unbelief and said that he would live to see it but would never taste of it. That’s exactly what happened. The captain was trampled to death by the starving hoards in Samaria as they rushed to purchase the food. 

The act of the Flood was all about God’s actions. It was not the acts of man or an act of nature. 

“In the seventh month, on the seventeenth day of the month, the ark rested upon the mountains of Ararat.” (Gen. 8:4)

He could still not see dry land at this point. The ark was about 45 ft tall and it came to rest on the mountain and was no longer being moved by the waters but Noah still had some waiting to do. 

It took about three months from the time the ark came to rest until he could even see the tops of the mountains.

“The water decreased steadily until the 10th month; in the 10th month, on the first day of the month, the tops of the mountains became visible.” (Gen. 8:3)

The first day of the 10th month puts this event in the middle of Chanukah, the Festival of Dedication

Forty days later, Noah sent out a raven out to check out the land. We are told that the raven would fly “here and there,” coming and going from the ark as he saw fit “until the water dried up from the earth” (Gen 8:6–7).

The word for raven in Hebrew is עֹרֵב ’oreb (Strong’s H6158), which comes from a root עָרַב ’arab (Strong’s H6150) that means “to grow dusky at sundown; be darkened, (toward) evening.” The raven was telling Noah that there’s no dry land yet. The raven was still going back and forth even after Noah sent the dove out. 

The raven was doing its duty, a good job and given Noah hope that the water would eventually subside. 

He also sent out a dove to scout for dry land. Unlike the raven, which was going back and forth, the dove went out for a time and came back to Noah, and landing on his arm to go back into the ark. One of the main jobs of doves or pigeons is to carry messages. Seven days later, he sent the dove out again and this time she returned with an olive branch. 

God also used a dove to give Yokhanan (John the Baptist) a message of who the Messiah was. Yokhanan didn’t want to baptize the Messiah because he did not feel worthy to do so but Messiah encouraged Yokhanan to baptize Him anyway because He knew that God had a special message for Yokhanan. When Yeshua went into the water, the dove gave Yokhanan a precious message that he had been waiting his entire life to hear, that the Messiah is on earth. 

It’s very interesting that the dove brought back an olive branch. The Hebrew word for olive is זַיִת zayit (Strong’s H2132). The name is also connected to the name for the second month of the Jewish calendar, called Ziv (Strong’s H2099), which means “be prominent; properly, brightness.” Olive oil is the offering that Israelites bring to the temple that brings light into it. 

“Now it came bout in the six hundred and first year, in the first month, on the first of the month, the water was dried up from the earth. Then Noah removed the covering of the ark, and looked, and behold, the surface of the ground was dried up.” (Gen. 8:13)

The raven stopped going back and forth so Noah knew he could open the ark but he did not leave the ark for good until a month later, when God Himself said it was OK to come out of the ark. 

When Noah and his family came out of the ark and they were able to release the animals from the ark, in gratitude, Noah made a sacrifice of only certain clean animals. He did not offer one of every single clean animals. The word “all” in the text is not a literal “all.” 

God was not upset by this offer; He was actually very pleased with it.

“The LORD smelled the soothing aroma; and the LORD said to Himself, ‘I will never again curse the ground on account of man, for the intent of man’s heart is evil from his youth; and I will never again destroy every living thing, as I have done.’ ”

God actually destroyed all of mankind except Noah’s family for man’s sake, not for His own sake. Yet God said He won’t do it again. 

God promises from this point on to never destroy Earth with a flood. The rainbow is a mark of remembrance. We are to remember this promise. 

Reader: Jeff. Speaker: Richard Agee. Summary: Tammy.

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