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Genesis 7 and 8

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  1. Chapter 8

Verse 1 is immediately to the point. Noah is a righteous man. He is in good standing with the Lord God.

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In the ark go 7 pairs of clean animals (male and female) and of the non-clean animals 1 x pair. And the birds 7 pairs.

So it does NOT say unclean animals but not clean animals. This is a cultural term that should not be taken to mean 'sinful'. This is also evident in God's concern for the unclean animals. He does not want them to perish in the water.

A certain Moshe ben Nachman thinks that Noah was already revealed the food laws from Leviticus 11.

Genesis 1 - 11 then already contains the basis for the later Sabbath ( 2:1-3), temple (2: 1-15), sacrifices (4: 1-8) and food laws ( 7: 2).

By the way, that seven pairs.....it literally says "seven seven". Translators have taken this to mean seven pairs because it explicitly mentions male and female. That then gives a total of 14 pure animals per species.

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Noah and family (8 people) from the lineage of Seth and Enoch.

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It is remarkable that God himself closes the door of the ark. Noah will have been the last to enter. God thus takes responsibility for the safety of man and beast.

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While at creation the waters flowed together and the dry land emerged, this is now temporarily undone by God. So exactly the other way around. The separation between the waters below and above the firmament is removed ( 1:8, Ex. 15:5-8, Js 24:18-19, Hk3:8-10). We return, as it were, to the state of the chaos of water in Genesis 1:2. As a result, as in Gen. 1: 2, there is talk of a "primeval flood" (tehoom) (abyss, spring tides, water depths). They are opened in 7: 11 and closed in 8: 2.

According to most interpreters, during this flood the water which was in the earth came to the surface: the wells of the great abyss (tehoom) broke open. It is incorrect to conclude from this that the writer of Genesis believed that this water was in a deep abyss under the earth, so that the earth rested on it. (cf. Deut 8:7).

The Hebrew tehoom does not refer to a reservoir of water in a locatable place, but to the powerful power of water in general as seen in springs, rivers, lakes and seas.

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The whole event of the Flood is fascinating but difficult to understand. For example, we often try to compare the rainfall during the Flood with our current rainfall. But we must also keep climatic change in mind. Also it is unclear whether the locks of the sky are equivalent to our current clouds. Some have thus thought of a hydrosphere above the earth that came down during the flood (van der Heide 2004; de Boer 1962).

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Verse 19: all the high mountains were covered. That is hard to imagine. It is physically impossible to explain. Mount Everest is almost 9 km high. Perhaps then it was a local flood after all?
Read Deut 2 : 25

"On this day I begin to put terror and fear upon you upon the nations under all heaven," referring only to the nations in Canaan and immediate surroundings. Gen 41 : 57 reports that "all the world" comes to Egypt to buy wheat from Joseph. This obviously refers only to the surrounding peoples.

The problem remains that not everything over the whole earth has been destroyed. So much life would have remained intact.

Perhaps the mountains were not as high then as they are now?

It is also possible that the water was not equally high everywhere. Think about ebb and flow.

Job 9 : 5 speaks of God's power to move mountains and Job 14 : 18-19 mentions collapsing mountains. Job lived in the land of Uz, now far from the sea, but he and his people were familiar with tidal waves. In Israel there are high beaches high above the opposite coastlines that can be followed as far as Lebanon and along the southern coast of Turkey. They have become so high because the land has risen, but one can still clearly see where the tidal waves have flowed in. The tidal waves were probably caused by the movement of the earth's crust at a particular location. Recently, it is increasingly believed that a shift of continents has taken place. The shifting of the continents, which continues to a small degree, has created high mountains and deep earth crevices. If a lesser layer of water is meant than that which rises above the present mountain range in Ararat, it is more plausible to think of the waters which covered the whole earth in Gen. 1:1 and in Gen. 1:9 at God's command flowed together into the sea, so that dryness emerged.
Read 2 Peter 3 : 5- 7

For knowingly [and willfully] they are ignorant that through the Word of God the heavens have been there for a long time, as well as the earth, which [rises] out of water and is fixed in water. As a result, the world that was then there perished, being overrun by water. But the heavens that are here now, and the earth, are laid up as a treasure by the same Word, and are kept from the fire until the day of judgment and of the destruction of ungodly men.

What does Peter mean by 'the world that was then present'?

Chapter 8

God thought of creation. God thought of the people and the animals in the ark. God has a heart for all of His creation. God cares about his creatures.

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To lower the water, God chose to send a wind over the earth. This "Spirit wind" (ruach) coming over the earth. Reminds us of the creation story in Genesis 1. There it speaks of the 'Spirit' hovering over the waters. Wind and spirit are the same word in Hebrew. It may be that the Spirit is from God, hovering over the earth. The parallel with Gen 1 is reinforced by the word 'over...going' (avar) which occurs in the grammatical pi'el form only three times viz Gen 1: 2, Gen 8: 1 and Deut. 32: 11 -> the description of God's care as an eagle for the people.

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The ark landed on Mount Ararat, which is now the Buyuk Aghti Dagh volcano. The mountain is almost 6 km high.

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Noah let out a bird 4 times. The first one namely the raven is difficult to understand. The dove of course does because it returns. The Jewish interpreter Philo tells us that the raven indicates vice and the dove indicates virtue. The raven would keep flying back and forth above the ark because he found enough carcasses on earth to enjoy being a bird of prey. The dove does not feel at home in this atmosphere of death and returns to the peace offered by the ark (Philo of Alexandria, 2005) . The raven thus became a wild, unclean black bird of prey, contrasted with the restful, pure white dove. The experiment Noah wanted to do failed (Sarna, 1989 and Keil & Delitzsch 1988, Wenham 1987, Mackintosh 1973, Cassuto 1964 and Augustine 2014).

There are more explanations that I did not find interesting.

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The ark comes to rest (verse 4) on Ararat and also the resting place (verse 9) is the Hebrew word used which has a word connection with Noah meaning rest. (watanach - derived from the verb nawach from which also the name Noah is derived. (The nun and the waf and the chet). Not coincidentally.

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The olive branch later became a symbol of friendship and peace (Psalm 52 :10)!

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Hausoul writes that according to some scientists, the atmosphere that hung over the atmosphere disappeared. Due to this change, the living environment on earth became less favorable and dinosaurs and other animals became extinct. UV radiation also causes humans to age rapidly.

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The first thing Noah does is build an altar. And there rose up a lovely aroma. It literally says "aroma of rest. And then the LORD comes with the promise not to curse the earth's soil again.

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Verse 22 : For the first time in the Bible, there is a reference to seasons. These will not cease to exist in continuity. Later, the prophet Jeremiah will also speak of the continuity of day and night and the fixed order of creation in the announcement of the new covenant.