Genesis 6:16
A window shalt thou make to the ark, and in a cubit shalt thou finish it above; and the door of the ark shalt thou set in the side thereof; with lower, second, and third stories shalt thou make it.
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(16) A window.—Not the word so rendered in Genesis 7:11; Genesis 8:2, which means a lattice; nor that in. Genesis 8:6, which means an aperture; but “zohar,” light, brightness. In the dual, double-light, it is the usual word for “midday,” but it does not occur elsewhere in the singular. It was evidently a means, not merely of lighting the ark, but also of ventilating it; for as it was thickly covered within and without with bitumen—a point strongly insisted upon in the Chaldean Genesis—the two lower storeys would be so ill supplied with air as to be fit only for stores and. ballast, and the upper storey alone capable of being inhabited. If this zohar was an open space one cubit in height, running all round the ark, and formed by not boarding over the upright beams, it would have given a sufficient supply of air, and being protected by the overhanging eaves of the roof—for the ark had no deck—would not have admitted any serious amount. of rain. So in the Chaldean Genesis the ark has no deck, but a roof (p. 281).

Above.—Or, upward. The word is one of those reduplicated forms by means of which the Hebrew language expresses so much within a little compass. Consisting of only six letters, it is nevertheless a compound of five particles, and signifies from to upward .· that is, thou shalt finish it (the ark, as is shown by the gender) from beneath, working upwards till the last cubit, which is not to be finished, but left open for ventilation and light.

The door, on which also much stress is laid in the Chaldean account as being essential for the protection of the inmates (p. 281), was to be at the side, and probably extended throughout the three storeys, two-thirds of which, however, might be closed as soon as the lower storeys had received their freightage of provisions. Besides this door, there must also have been apertures to admit of cleaning the cells in which the animals were confined and removing their litter, but of such lower arrangements no mention is made.

It is not necessary to suppose that Noah and his three sons built this vast vessel with their own hands. He was probably a powerful chieftain, and many of the Sethites may have given him aid. Implements of iron had been invented by the Cainites, and on the intermarriage of the two lines would be brought into general use. It is difficult, however, to understand now four men could feed, clean, and give water to a very large collection of animals for so many months. Without scrupulous attention to such matters, a murrain would have broken out, and as only two of many species were taken into the ark, the loss of any one of these animals would have been equivalent to the destruction of the race. The narrative, however, implies that the health of man and beast throughout the twelve months was perfect; and probably the number of the animals received into the ark was less than is commonly supposed.

6:12-21 God told Noah his purpose to destroy the wicked world by water. The secret of the Lord is with them that fear him, Ps 25:14. It is with all believers, enabling them to understand and apply the declarations and warnings of the written word. God chose to do it by a flood of waters, which should drown the world. As he chooses the rod with which he corrects his children, so he chooses the sword with which he cuts off his enemies. God established his covenant with Noah. This is the first place in the Bible where the word 'covenant' is found; it seems to mean, 1. The covenant of providence; that the course of nature shall be continued to the end of time. 2. The covenant of grace; that God would be a God to Noah, and that out of his seed God would take to himself a people. God directed Noah to make an ark. This ark was like the hulk of a ship, fitted to float upon the waters. It was very large, half the size of St. Paul's cathedral, and would hold more than eighteen of the largest ships now used. God could have secured Noah without putting him to any care, or pains, or trouble; but employed him in making that which was to be the means to preserve him, for the trial of his faith and obedience. Both the providence of God, and the grace of God, own and crown the obedient and diligent. God gave Noah particular orders how to make the ark, which could not therefore but be well fitted for the purpose. God promised Noah that he and his family should be kept alive in the ark. What we do in obedience to God, we and our families are likely to have the benefit of. The piety of parents gets their children good in this life, and furthers them in the way to eternal life, if they improve it.The ark. - Reckoning the cubit at 1.8 feet, we find the length to be about 540, the breadth 90, and the height 54 feet. The construction of such a vessel implies great skill in carpentry. The lighting apparatus is not described so particularly that we can form any conception of it. It was probably in the roof. The roof may have been flat. "And to a cubit shalt thou finish it above." The cubit is possibly the height of the parapet round the lighting and ventilating aperture. The opening occupied, it may be, a considerable portion of the roof, and was covered during the rain with an awning מכסה mı̂ksēh, Genesis 8:13. If, however, it was in the sides of the ark, the cubit was merely its height. It was then finished with a strong railing, which went round the whole ark, and over which the covering, above mentioned, hung down on every side. The door was in the side, and the stories were three. In each were of course many "nests" or chambers, for animals and stores. It may be curious to a mechanical mind to frame the details of this structure from the general hints here given; but it could not serve any practical end. Only the animals necessary to man, or unusual to the region covered by the deluge, required to be included in the ark. It seems likely that wild animals in general were not included. It is obvious, therefore, that we cannot calculate the number of animals preserved in the ark, or compare the space they would require with its recorded dimensions. We may rest assured that there was accommodation for all that needed to be there.16. A window—probably a skylight, formed of some transparent substance unknown.

in a cubit shalt thou finish it above—a direction to raise the roof in the middle, seemingly to form a gentle slope for letting the water run off.

A window, or a light; or lights, or windows; the singular number being put for the plural, which is most frequent: or it might be one great light or lantern, by which light might be derived and distributed into several rooms.

Shalt thou finish it above, i.e. either,

1. The window, which was to be a cubit square. Or rather,

2. The ark; as appears,

1. From the gender of the Hebrew affix, which is feminine, and therefore agrees with the ark, which in the Hebrew is of the feminine gender, not with the window, which is masculine.

2. From the nature of the thing, the ark requiring a roof, and that sloping, that the rain might slide off from it, and not sink into it; for which end the roof in the middle was to be higher than the ark by a cubit. And as the other parts of the ark were made with exquisite contrivance, so doubtless this was not defective therein.

The highest story was for men and birds; the second for provision for the brute creatures; the lowest for the beasts, under which was the sink of the ark, which most probably was made sloping at the bottom, as all ships and boats are, where serpents and such like creatures might be put, with their proper provisions.

A window shalt thou make to the ark,.... Or a "light", such as is that at noon, for which the word in the dual number is used; and therefore Junius and Tremellius translate it a "clear light". The Jewish writers (s) will have it to be a precious stone, a pearl which Noah fetched from the river Pison, and hung up in the ark, and it gave light to all the creatures, like a large chandelier; but a window no doubt it was to let light into the several apartments, and to look out at on occasion, since Noah is afterwards said to open it; but what it was made of is difficult to say, since it does not appear that as yet glass was invented. Some think it was made of crystal, which would let in light, and keep off the water. A very learned (t) man is of opinion, that Noah understanding chemistry, prepared a fine subtle fragrant spirit, of an oily nature and luminous, which he put into vessels made of crystal or glass, and hung them up in every room in the ark, and which was both illuminating and refreshing; and this he thinks is what is meant by the "Zohar", or "light", which we translate a "window"; but this is afterward said to be opened by Noah, to send forth the raven and the dove, which will not agree with such a vessel of spirituous liquor:

and in a cubit shall thou finish it above; not the window, as some think, which they place at top of the ark, and suppose to be a cubit in length, but the ark itself, which was finished with a roof raised up a cubit high in the middle:

and the door of the ark shall thou set in the side thereof; on which it is not said; an Arabic writer (u) places it on the east side of it, on which side he supposes Noah and his sons dwelt, and on the west side his wife and his sons' wives. How large this door was is not said; it is reasonably supposed (w) to be ten cubits high and eight broad, that there might be room enough for an elephant to enter in by it; and it seems it was so large, that Noah, and those with him, could not shut it, but it was done by the Lord, Genesis 7:16.

with lower, second, and third stories shalt thou make it: the above Arabic writer (x) makes the lower story to be for the beasts, the second for the birds, and the third for Noah and his children; and with him agrees a Jewish writer (y): but as by this distribution no place is left for provisions, they seem most correct who place the beasts in the lower story, and the birds with Noah and his family in the uppermost, and the provisions for all in the middle. This ark was a type of the church of God. As to the form and pattern of it, it was of God, so the separation of men from the world in a church state is of God; it is by his appointment, and it is his will, that when any numbers of men are converted in a place, that they should be incorporated together in a church state, the form of which is given by him, its officers appointed, and the laws and ordinances of it fixed by him: and as to the matter of it, "Gopher wood", a lasting and incorruptible wood, denoting the duration of the church; God ever had, and ever will have a church in the world: as to the parts of it, and rooms in it, the rooms may point at particular churches, of which there have been many; or may signify, that there is always room enough in the church of God to receive saints. The ark had three stories in it, as the tabernacle and temple had three divisions, which were types of the same also; and may have respect to the visible church, consisting of believers and unbelievers, the invisible church, or general assembly of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven, and the church triumphant. The door into the ark may signify Christ, who, and faith in him, may be said to be the door into the church, and to all the ordinances of it: the window may either typify the glorious light of the Gospel, held forth in the church, or the ordinances of it, to which sensible souls betake themselves, as doves to their windows, Isaiah 60:8. Into this ark not only Noah and his family, but creatures of all sorts were admitted, as sinners of all sorts called by grace, and become peaceable, are received into the church of God; yea, even good and bad have a place here, though the latter under the notion and character of the former, but are hypocrites in Zion: here also were plenty of provisions for all in it, as there are in the church of God fulness of spiritual provisions for all the people of God. The ark was of the use of a ship, and was the means of saving a few men, even Noah and his family; so the church of God has the nature and use of a ship, of which Christ is the pilot, and conducts it through the sea of this world, in which it is often tossed with tempests, and distressed; but at last brought to its haven, in which a few are saved, not as the cause, which alone is Christ, but as the means. The Apostle Peter makes baptism its antitype, 1 Peter 3:21 which is God's ordinance, and not man's, of his appointing; as to the form and manner of it, is the object of the world's scorn, when rightly administered, as Noah's ark was; represents a burial, as that did when Noah entered into it; and was an emblem of Christ's resurrection and ours, when he came out of it: it was a type of baptism in its salutary effect, it saves by water, as that does by leading to the resurrection of Christ; it saves not as a cause, but as a means of directing to Christ, the author of salvation; and saves not all in the water, only those that are in the ark, that is, truly and rightly in the church, and real members of it, or that are in Christ; and so many make the ark also a type of Christ.

(s) Targum Jonathan in loc. Pirke Eliezer, c. 23. (t) Dickinson. Physic. vet & vera, c. 20. p. 324, 325. (u) Patricides, apud Hottinger. p. 248, 250. (w) Scbeuchzer. Physica Sacra, vol. 1. p. 40. (x) Patricides, apud Hottinger. p. 248, 250. (y) Pirke Eliezer, c. 23.

A window shalt thou make to the ark, and in a cubit shalt thou finish it above; and the door of the ark shalt thou set in the side thereof; with {1} lower, second, and third stories shalt thou make it.

(1) That is, of three heights.

16. Alight] Perhaps better than a roof. The word so rendered (ṣôhar) only occurs here in the singular: in the dual it is the regular Heb. word for “noonday.” Accepting the rendering which connects it with “light,” we should probably be right in conjecturing that it means here “a window,” or “opening,” beneath the over-hanging eaves of the roof on both sides of the ark. So Latin, fenestram. In the Babylonian version, a window is mentioned. Others, connecting the word with an Arabic form, render it by roof, deeming that the roof, being of such importance to the inmates, could not have been omitted in the description. LXX ἐπισυνάγων is unintelligible, but possibly gives the idea of the converging sides of the covering.

and to a cubit, &c.] This clause is very difficult. (a) The commonest opinion is that, if the reference be to a window, it was to be a cubit high, running round the ark. This, however, would have been a mere slit, and practically inadequate for purposes of light and air. Perhaps it may mean the distance of a cubit from the top of the window to the roof. (b) The idea that it represented a little square window in Noah’s own cell is fanciful. (c) If the word rendered “light” denoted the roof, the cubit “upward,” or “from above,” might indicate the amount of slope, which, however, would be extremely small. An allusion to the “window” is the most probable explanation. The opening would have run all round the ship, with the necessary intervals of beams and supports. The description must not be judged by modern standards either of ship-building or of hygiene. It is more or less imaginative.

upward] The rendering of the margin, from above, gives a more intelligible meaning.

Gunkel, who considers that the text is corrupt, makes the strange conjectural emendation, “and on a hinge shalt thou make it revolve.”

the door] Cf. Genesis 7:16.

stories] The Babylonian account is more elaborate: “Then I built 6 decks in it so that it was divided into 7 stories. The interior (of each storey) I divided into 9 compartments.”

Verse 16. - A window - עֹהַר, from עָהַר, to shine, hence light (עָהֲרַיִם, double light, or light of midday - Genesis 43:16; Jeremiah 6:4). Not the window which Noah afterwards opened to let out the dove, which is called הַלּון (Genesis 8:6), but obviously a lighting apparatus, which may have been a series of windows (Gesenius), scarcely one (Theodotion, θύραν; Symmachus, διαφανές; Vulgate, fenestram; Kimchi, Luther, Calvin); or an opening running along the top of the sides of the ark, occupied by some translucent substance, and sheltered by the eaves of the roof (Knobel); or, what appears more probable, a light opening in the upper deck, stretching along the entire length, and continued down through the different stories (Baumgarten, Lange); or, if the roof sloped, as is most likely, an aperture along the ridge, which would admit the clear light of heaven (tsohar), and serve as a meridional line enabling Noah and the inmates of the ark to ascertain the hour of noon (Taylor Lewis). Keil and Murphy think we can form no proper conception of the light arrangement of the ark. The conjecture of Schultens, which is followed by Dathius, Michaelis, Rosenmüller, and others, that the tsohar meant the covering (tectum, dorsum), "quo sane hoc aedificium carere non potuit, propter pluviam tot diernm continuam," is obviously incorrect - shalt thou make to the ark, and in a cubit - to a cubit, i.e. all but a cubit (T. Lewis); into a cubit, i.e. to the extent of a cubit (Ainsworth); by the cubit, i.e. by a just measure (Kalisch) - shalt thou finish it - not the window (Gesenins, Ewald, Tueh), the feminine suffix agreeing with tebah, which is feminine, and not with tsohar, which is masculine; but the ark - above. Literally, from above to above; i.e., according to the above interpretations of the preposition, either the roof, after the construction of the windows, should be regularly finished "by the just measure" (Kalisch); or the roof should be arched but a cubit, that it might be almost flat (Ainsworth); or from the eaves up toward the ridge it should be completed, leaving a cubit open or unfinished (T. Lewis). And the door of the ark - the opening which should admit its inmates - shalt thou set in the side thereof; with lower, second, and third stories. The word stories is not in the original, but some such word must be supplied. Lunge thinks that each fiat or story had an entrance or door in the side. Genesis 6:16"Light shalt thou make to the ark, and in a cubit from above shalt thou finish it." As the meaning light for צהר is established by the word צהרים, "double-light" or mid-day, the passage can only signify that a hole or opening for light and air was to be so constructed as to reach within a cubit of the edge of the roof. A window only a cubit square could not possibly be intended; for צהר is not synonymous with חלּון (Genesis 8:6), but signifies, generally, a space for light, or by which light could be admitted into the ark, and in which the window, or lattice for opening and shutting, could be fixed; though we can form no distinct idea of what the arrangement was. The door he was to place in the side; and to make "lower, second, and third (sc., cells)," i.e., three distinct stories.

(Note: As the height of the ark was thirty cubits, the three stories of cells can hardly have filled the entire space, since a room ten cubits high, or nine cubits if we deduct the thickness of the floors, would have been a prodigality of space beyond what the necessities required. It has been conjectured that above or below these stories there was space provided for the necessary supplies of food and fodder. At the same time, this is pure conjecture, like every other calculation, not only as to the number and size of the cells, but also as to the number of animals to be collected and the fodder they would require. Hence every objection that has been raised to the suitability of the structure, and the possibility of collecting all the animals in the ark and providing them with food, is based upon arbitrary assumptions, and should be treated as a perfectly groundless fancy. As natural science is still in the dark as to the formation of species, and therefore not in a condition to determine the number of pairs from which all existing species are descended, it is ridiculous to talk, as Pfaff and others do, of 2000 species of mammalia, and 6500 species of birds, which Noah would have had to feed every day.)

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