Genesis 8:12
And he stayed yet other seven days; and sent forth the dove; which returned not again to him any more.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
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.The raven and the dove are sent out to bring tidings of the external world. "Forty days." Before Noah made any experiment he seems to have allowed the lapse of forty days to undo the remaining effect of the forty days' rain. "The window." He seems to have been unable to take any definite observations through the aperture here called a window. The raven found carrion in abundance, floated probably on the waters, and did not need to return. This was such a token of the state of things as Noah might expect from such a messenger. He next sends the dove, who returns to him. "Yet other seven days." This intimates that he stayed seven days also after the raven was sent out. The olive leaf plucked off was a sign of returning safety to the land. It is said by Theophrastus (Hist. Plant. 4, 7) and Pliny (H. N. 13, 50) that the olive strikes leaves even under water. From this event, the olive branch became the symbol of peace, and the dove the emblem of the Comforter, the messenger of peace. After seven other days, the dove being despatched, returns no more. The number seven figures very conspicuously in this narrative. Seven days before the showers commence the command to enter the ark is given; and at intervals of seven days the winged messengers are sent out. These intervals point evidently to the period of seven days, determined by the six days of creation and the seventh day of rest. The clean beasts also and the birds are admitted into the ark by seven pairs. This points to the sacredness associated with the number arising from the hallowed character of the seventh day. The number forty also, the product of four, the number of the world or universe, and ten the number of completeness, begins here to be employed for a complete period in which a process will have run its course.12. he … sent forth the dove: which returned not … any more—In these results, we perceive a wisdom and prudence far superior to the inspiration of instinct—we discern the agency of God guiding all the movements of this bird for the instruction of Noah, and reviving the hopes of his household.

other seven days—a strong presumptive proof that Noah observed the Sabbath during his residence in the ark.

Finding convenient food and resting place upon the earth, and preferring her freedom before her mate: possibly she might lose the sight of the ark, and forget or mistake the way to it. And he stayed yet other seven days,.... After the dove had returned:

and sent forth the dove; the same dove again:

which returned not again unto him any more: the earth being dry, it found rest for the sole of its feet, sufficient food to eat, and a proper place for its habitation; and liking to be at liberty, and in the open air, chose not to return to the ark, even though its mate was there: of those birds sent out, the Heathen writers make mention: Abydenus says (s), that Sisithrus, the same with Noah, sent out birds making an experiment to see whether the earth was emersed out of the water, which returned again to him; and after them he sent out others; and having done so three times, obtained what he wished for, since the birds returned with their wings full of clay or mud; and so Josephus (t) says, the dove which brought the olive leaf was all over with clay or mud: and Plutarch (u) makes particular mention of the dove, and says that, according to the mythologists, a dove was let out of the ark; and that her going out was to Deucalion, (the same with Noah) a sign of fair weather, and her return of foul: and the story that Lucian (w) tells of a golden dove upon the head of a statue in the temple of Hierapolis, supposed to be Deucalion's, seems plainly to refer to this dove of Noah; for the report, he says, was, that this golden dove flew away twice in a year, at the commemoration there made of the flood, by pouring out abundance of water into a chasm or cleft of the earth, then not very large; and which, it was told him, was formerly a very great one, and swallowed up all the flood that drowned the world.

(s) Apud Euseb. Praepar. Evangel. l. 9. c. 12. p. 414, 415. (t) Antiqu. l. 1. c. 3. p. 5. (u) De Solert. Animal. (w) De Dea Syria.

And he stayed yet other seven days; and sent forth the dove; which returned not again unto him any more.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Verse 12. - And he stayed. וַיִּיָּחֶל; Niph. fut. of יָחַל (Gesenius); cf. וַיָּחֶל. (ver. 10), Hiph. fut. of חוּל (Furst, Delitzsch). Tayler Lewis, following Jewish authorities, would derive both from יָחַל; with Aben Ezra making the first a regular Niphal, and with Rashi the second a contracted Piel (vide Lunge, p. 308; Clark's 'For. Theol. Lib.'). Yet other seven days. The frequent repetition of the number seven clearly points to the hebdomadal division of the week, and the institution of Sabbatic rest (vide Genesis 2:1-3, Expos.). And sent forth the dove. "The more we examine these acts of Noah, the more it will strike us that they must have been of a religious nature. He did not take such observations, and so send out the birds, as mere arbitrary acts, prompted simply by his curiosity or his impatience; but as a man of faith and prayer he inquired of the Lord. What more likely then that such inquiry should have its basis in solemn religious exercises, not arbitrarily entered into, but on days held sacred for prayer and religious rest?" (T. Lewis). Which returned not again (literally, and it added not to return) unto him any more. Forty days after the appearance of the mountain tops, Noah opened the window of the ark and let a raven fly out (lit., the raven, i.e., the particular raven known from that circumstance), for the purpose of ascertaining the drying up of the waters. The raven went out and returned until the earth was dry, but without being taken back into the ark, as the mountain tops and the carcases floating upon the water afforded both resting-places and food. After that, Noah let a dove fly out three times, at intervals of seven days. It is not distinctly stated that he sent it out the first time seven days after the raven, but this is implied in the statement that he stayed yet other seven days before sending it out the second time, and the same again before sending it the third time (Genesis 8:10 and Genesis 8:12). The dove, when first sent out, "found no rest for the sole of its foot;" for a dove will only settle upon such places and objects as are dry and clean. It returned to the ark and let Noah take it in again (Genesis 8:8, Genesis 8:9). The second time it returned in the evening, having remained out longer than before, and brought a fresh (טרף freshly plucked) olive-leaf in its mouth. Noah perceived from this that the water must be almost gone, had "abated from off the earth," though the ground might not be perfectly dry, as the olive-tree will put out leaves even under water. The fresh olive-leaf was the first sign of the resurrection of the earth to new life after the flood, and the dove with the olive-leaf a herald of salvation. The third time it did not return; a sign that the waters had completely receded from the earth. The fact that Noah waited 40 days before sending the raven, and after that always left an interval of seven days, is not to be accounted for on the supposition that these numbers were already regarded as significant. The 40 days correspond to the 40 days during which the rain fell and the waters rose; and Noah might assume that they would require the same time to recede as to rise. The seven days constituted the week established at the creation, and God had already conformed to it in arranging their entrance into the ark (Genesis 7:4, Genesis 7:10). The selection which Noah made of the birds may also be explained quite simply from the difference in their nature, with which Noah must have been acquainted; that is to say, from the fact that the raven in seeking its food settles upon every carcase that it sees, whereas the dove will only settle upon what is dry and clean.
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