|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
8:4-12 The ark rested upon a mountain, whither it was directed by the wise and gracious providence of God, that might rest the sooner. God has times and places of rest for his people after their tossing; and many times he provides for their seasonable and comfortable settlement, without their own contrivance, and quite beyond their own foresight. God had told Noah when the flood would come, yet he did not give him an account by revelation, at what times and by what steps it should go away. The knowledge of the former was necessary to his preparing the ark; but the knowledge of the latter would serve only to gratify curiosity; and concealing it from him would exercise his faith and patience. Noah sent forth a raven from the ark, which went flying about, and feeding on the carcasses that floated. Noah then sent forth a dove, which returned the first time without good news; but the second time, she brought an olive leaf in her bill, plucked off, plainly showing that trees, fruit trees, began to appear above water. Noah sent forth the dove the second time, seven days after the first, and the third time was after seven days also; probably on the sabbath day. Having kept the sabbath with his little church, he expected especial blessings from Heaven, and inquired concerning them. The dove is an emblem of a gracious soul, that, finding no solid peace of satisfaction in this deluged, defiling world, returns to Christ as to its ark, as to its Noah, its rest. The defiling world, returns to Christ as to its ark, as to its Noah, its rest. The carnal heart, like the raven, takes up with the world, and feeds on the carrion it finds there; but return thou to my rest, O my soul; to thy Noah, so the word is, Ps 116:7. And as Noah put forth his hand, and took the dove, and pulled her to him, into the ark, so Christ will save, and help, and welcome those that flee to him for rest.
Verse 4. - And the ark rested. Not stopped sailing or floating, got becalmed, and remained suspended over (Kitto's 'Cyclop.,' art. Ararat), but actually grounded and settled on (Tayler Lewis) the place indicated by עַל (cf. ver. 9; also Exodus 10:14; Numbers 10:36; Numbers 11:25, 26; Isaiah 11:2). In the seventh month, on the seventeenth day of the month. I.e. exactly 150 days from the commencement of the forty days' rain, reckoning thirty days to a month, which seems to confirm the opinion expressed (Genesis 7:24) that the forty days were included in the 150. Supposing the Flood to have begun in Marchesvan, the second month of the civil year (about the beginning of November), "we have then the remarkable coincidences that on the 17th day of Abib (about the beginning of April) the ark rested on Mount Ararat, the Israelites passed over the Red Sea, and our Lord rose again from the dead" ('Speaker's Commentary'). Upon the mountains. I.e. one of the mountains. "Pluralis numerus pro singulari ponitur" (cf. Genesis 21:7; Genesis 46:7; Judges 12:7; vide Glass., 'Philoh Seer. Tract.,' 1. cap. 14. p. 866). Of Ararat.
1. It is agreed by all that the term Ararat describes a region.
2. This region has been supposed to be the island of Ceylon (Samaritan), Aryavarta, the sacred land to the north of India (Van Bohlen, arguing from Genesis 11:2); but "it is evident that these and such like theories have been framed in forgetfulness of what the Bible has recorded respecting the locality" (Kitto's 'Cyclopedia,' art. Ararat).
3. The locality which appears to have the countenance of Scripture is the region of Armenia (cf. 2 Kings 19:37; Isaiah 37:38; Jeremiah 51:27; Aquila, Symmachus, Theodotion, Vulgate).
4. In Armenia three different mountains have been selected as the site on which the ark grounded.
(1) The modern Ararat, which rises in Northern Armenia, about twelve miles south of Erivan, in the form of two majestic cones, the one 16, 254, and the ether 12,284 feet (Parisian) in height above the level of the sea (Hierony. mus, Furst, Kalisch, Keil, Delitzsch, and Lange). All but universal tradition has decided that the loftiest of these two peaks (called Macis in Armenian; Aghri-Dagh, i.e. the difficult or steep mountain, by the Turks; Kuchi Nuch, i.e. the mountain of Noah, by the Persians) was the spot where the sacred vessel first felt the solid land. Travelers describe the appearance of this amazing elevation as of incomparable and overpowering splendor. "It appeared as if the highest mountains in the world had been piled upon each other to form this one sublime immensity of earth and rocks and snow. The icy peaks of its double head rose majestically into the clear and cloudless heavens; the sun blazed bright upon them, and the reflection sent forth a radiance equal to other suns" (Ker Porters 'Travels, 1:132; 2:636). "Nothing can be more beautiful than its shape, more awful than its height. All the surrounding mountains sink into insignificance when compared to it. It is perfect in all its parts; no hard, rugged feature, no unnatural prominences; everything is in harmony, and all combines to render it one of the sublimest objects in nature" (Morier's 'Journey,' 1:16; 2:312, 345). The ascent of the Kara Dagh, or Greater Ararat, which the Armenians believe to be guarded by angels from the profane foot of man, after two unsuccessful attempts, was accomplished in 1829 by Professor Parrot, a German, and five years later, in 1834, by the Russian traveler Automonoff. In 1856 five English travelers, Majors Stewart and Frazer, Roy. Walter Thursby, Messrs. Thee-bald and Evans, performed the herculean task. The latest successful attempt was that of Prof. Bryce of Oxford in 1876 (vide 'Transcaucasia and Ararat:' London: Macmillan and Co., 1877).
(2) An unknown mountain in Central Armenia between the Araxes and lakes Van and Urumiah (Vulgate, super mantes Armeniae; Gesenius, Murphy, Wordsworth, Bush, 'Speaker's Commentary').
(3) A peak in the Gordyaean mountains, or Carduchian range, separating Armenia on the south from Kurdistan (Chaldea Paraphrase, Onkelos, Syriac, Calvin), near which is a town called Naxuana, the city of Noah (Ptolemy), Idshenan (Moses Chorenensis), and Nachid-shenan, the first place of descent (the Armenians), which Josephus translates by ἀπορατήριον, or the place of descent. Against the first is the inaccessible height of the mountain; in favor of the third is the proximity of the region to the starting-place of the ark.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And the ark rested in the seventh month, on the seventeenth day of the month,.... That is, five months after the flood began, and when the waters began to decrease; for this is not the seventh month of the flood, but of the year, which being reckoned from Tisri, or the autumnal equinox, must be the month Nisan, which answers to part of our March, and part of April; and so the Targum of Jonathan explains it,"this is the month Nisan;''but Jarchi makes it to be the month Sivan, which answers to part of May, and part of June, taking it to be the seventh month from Cisleu, when the forty days' rain ceased; in which he is followed by Dr. Lightfoot (u); and according to Bishop Usher (w) the seventeenth day of the seventh month, on which the ark rested, was Wednesday the sixth of May: and then it rested
upon the mountains of Ararat; that is, on one of them, for Ararat is said to be a long ridge of mountains like the Alps, or the Pyrenean mountains; which, as Sir Walter Raleigh (x) thinks, are the same which run through Armenia, Mesopotamia, Assyria, &c. and are by Pliny (y) called Taurus. But what is now called Ararat, and by the Armenians Messis or Macis, and by the Turks Augri-daugh or Agrida, is a single mountain, and is so high that it overtops all the mountains thereabout; and that which makes it seem so very high is, that it stands by itself in the form of a sugar loaf, in the middle of one of the greatest plains one can see; it has two tops, one greater, and the smaller is most sharp pointed of the two (z). The Vulgate Latin version renders it the mountains of Armenia; and so Ararat in the Septuagint of Isaiah 37:38 is rendered Armenia, and in our version also; and it is the more commonly received opinion, that Ararat was a mountain there; and this agrees with the testimonies of various Heathen writers, which are produced by Josephus and Eusebius. Berosus the Chaldean (a) says,"it is reported that in Armenia, on a mountain of the Cordyaeans, there is part of a ship, the pitch of which some take off, and carry about with them, and use it as an amulet to avert evils.''And Nicholas of Damascus (b) relates, that in Minyas in Armenia is an huge mountain called Baris, to which, as the report is, many fled at the flood, and were saved; and that a certain person, carried in an ark or chest, struck upon the top of it, and that the remains of the timber were preserved a long time after; and, adds he, perhaps he may be the same that Moses, the lawgiver of the Jews, writes of. Now this mountain seems plainly to have its name from the ark of Noah, for a boat, or ship, is, with the Egyptians, called Baris. Herodotus (c) gives a large account of ships they call by this name; and the boat in which Charon is said to carry the dead bodies over the lake Acherusia, near Memphis, is said by Diodorus Siculus (d) to have the same name. Abydenus the Assyrian (e) tells us, that"Saturn having foretold to Sisithrus, that there would be a vast quantity of rain on the fifteenth of the month Daesius, he immediately sailed to the Armenians; and that the ship being driven to Armenia, the inhabitants made amulets of the wood of it, which they carried about their necks, as antidotes against diseases.''And hence Melo (f), who wrote against the Jews, suggests, as if the deluge did not reach Armenia; for he says,"at the deluge a man that had escaped with his sons went from Armenia, being driven out of his possession by those of the country, and passing over the intermediate region, came into the mountainous part of Syria, which was desolate.''And with what Berosus says of a mountain of the Cordyaeans, in Armenia, agree the Targums of Onkelos and Jonathan, and the Syriac and Arabic versions, who all render the words here the mountains of Cardu or Carda: from the resting of the ark on this day on the mountains of Ararat, Jarchi concludes, and Dr. Lightfoot (g) after him, that the ark drew eleven cubits water, which, according to them, thus appears; on the first day of the month Ab, the mountain tops were first seen, and then the waters had fallen fifteen cubits, which they had been sixty days in doing, namely, from the first day of Sivan, and so they had abated the proportion of one cubit in four days: by this account we find, that on the sixteenth day of Sivan they had abated but four cubits, and yet on the next day, the seventeenth, the ark resteth on a hill, where the waters yet lay eleven cubits above it.
(u) Works. vol. 1. p. 8. (w) Annales Vet. Test. p. 4. (x) History of the World, B. 1. ch. 7. sect. 13. (y) Nat. Hist. l. 5. c. 27. (z) Cartwright's Preacher's Travels, p. 32. Tournefort's Voyage to the Levant, vol. 3. p. 177, 183, 186. (a) Apud Joseph. Antiqu. l. 1. c. 3. sect. 6. (b) Apud ib. (c) Euterpe sive, l. 2. c. 96. (d) Bibliothec. l. 1. p. 87. (e) Apud Euseb. Evangel. Praepar. l. 9. c. 12. p. 414, 415. (f) Apud ib. c. 19. p. 420. (g) Ut supra, (Works. vol. 1.) p. 8.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
4. seventh month—of the year—not of the flood—which lasted only five months.
rested—evidently indicating a calm and gentle motion.
upon the mountains of Ararat—or Armenia, as the word is rendered (2Ki 19:37; Isa 37:38). The mountain which tradition points to as the one on which the ark rested is now called Ara Dagh, the "finger mountain." Its summit consists of two peaks, the higher of which is 17,750 feet and the other 13,420 above the level of the sea.
Genesis 8:4 Parallel Commentaries
Genesis 8:4 NIV
Genesis 8:4 NLT
Genesis 8:4 ESV
Genesis 8:4 NASB
Genesis 8:4 KJV
Bible Hub: Online Parallel Bible