Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
And God remembered Noah, and every living thing, and all the cattle that was with him in the ark: and God made a wind to pass over the earth, and the waters asswaged;
Ge 8:1-14. Assuaging of the Waters.
1. And God remembered Noah—The divine purpose in this awful dispensation had been accomplished, and the world had undergone those changes necessary to fit it for becoming the residence of man under a new economy of Providence.
and every living thing … in the ark—a beautiful illustration of Mt 10:29.
and God made a wind to pass over the earth—Though the divine will could have dried up the liquid mass in an instant, the agency of a wind was employed (Ps 104:4)—probably a hot wind, which, by rapid evaporation, would again absorb one portion of the waters into the atmosphere; and by which, the other would be gradually drained off by outlets beneath.
The fountains also of the deep and the windows of heaven were stopped, and the rain from heaven was restrained;
And the waters returned from off the earth continually: and after the end of the hundred and fifty days the waters were abated.
And the ark rested in the seventh month, on the seventeenth day of the month, upon the mountains of Ararat.
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.
And the waters decreased continually until the tenth month: in the tenth month, on the first day of the month, were the tops of the mountains seen.
5. And the waters decreased continually—The decrease of the waters was for wise reasons exceedingly slow and gradual—the period of their return being nearly twice as long as that of their rise.
And it came to pass at the end of forty days, that Noah opened the window of the ark which he had made:
6. at the end of forty days—It is easy to imagine the ardent longing Noah and his family must have felt to enjoy again the sight of land as well as breathe the fresh air; and it was perfectly consistent with faith and patience to make inquiries whether the earth was yet ready.
And he sent forth a raven, which went forth to and fro, until the waters were dried up from off the earth.
7. And he sent forth a raven—The smell of carrion would allure it to remain if the earth were in a habitable state. But it kept hovering about the spot, and, being a solitary bird, probably perched on the covering.
Also he sent forth a dove from him, to see if the waters were abated from off the face of the ground;
8-11. Also he sent forth a dove—a bird flying low and naturally disposed to return to the place of her abode.
But the dove found no rest for the sole of her foot, and she returned unto him into the ark, for the waters were on the face of the whole earth: then he put forth his hand, and took her, and pulled her in unto him into the ark.
And he stayed yet other seven days; and again he sent forth the dove out of the ark;
10. again he sent forth the dove—Her flight, judging by the time she was abroad, was pursued to a great distance, and the newly plucked olive leaf, she no doubt by supernatural impulse brought in her bill, afforded a welcome proof that the declivities of the hills were clear.
And the dove came in to him in the evening; and, lo, in her mouth was an olive leaf pluckt off: so Noah knew that the waters were abated from off the earth.
And he stayed yet other seven days; and sent forth the dove; which returned not again unto him any more.
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.
And it came to pass in the six hundredth and first year, in the first month, the first day of the month, the waters were dried up from off the earth: and Noah removed the covering of the ark, and looked, and, behold, the face of the ground was dry.
13, 14. Noah removed the covering of the ark—probably only as much of it as would afford him a prospect of the earth around. Yet for about two months he never stirred from his appointed abode till he had received the express permission of God. We should watch the leading of Providence to direct us in every step of the journey of life.
And in the second month, on the seven and twentieth day of the month, was the earth dried.
And God spake unto Noah, saying,
Ge 8:15-22. Departure from the Ark.
15, 16. And God spake … Go forth—They went forth in the most orderly manner—the human occupants first, then each species "after their kinds" [Ge 8:19], literally, "according to their families," implying that there had been an increase in the ark.
Go forth of the ark, thou, and thy wife, and thy sons, and thy sons' wives with thee.
Bring forth with thee every living thing that is with thee, of all flesh, both of fowl, and of cattle, and of every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth; that they may breed abundantly in the earth, and be fruitful, and multiply upon the earth.
And Noah went forth, and his sons, and his wife, and his sons' wives with him:
Every beast, every creeping thing, and every fowl, and whatsoever creepeth upon the earth, after their kinds, went forth out of the ark.
And Noah builded an altar unto the LORD; and took of every clean beast, and of every clean fowl, and offered burnt offerings on the altar.
20. Noah builded an altar—literally, "a high place"—probably a mound of earth, on which a sacrifice was offered. There is something exceedingly beautiful and interesting to know that the first care of this devout patriarch was to return thanks for the signal instance of mercy and goodness which he and his family had experienced.
took of every clean beast … fowl—For so unparalleled a deliverance, a special acknowledgment was due.
And the LORD smelled a sweet savour; and the LORD said in his heart, I will not again curse the ground any more for man's sake; for the imagination of man's heart is evil from his youth; neither will I again smite any more every thing living, as I have done.
21. And the Lord smelled a sweet savour—The sacrifice offered by a righteous man like Noah in faith was acceptable as the most fragrant incense.
Lord said in his heart—same as "I have sworn that the waters of Noah should no more go over the earth" (Isa 54:9).
for—that is, "though the imagination is evil"; instead of inflicting another destructive flood, I shall spare them—to enjoy the blessings of grace, through a Saviour.
While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease.
22. While the earth remaineth—The consummation, as intimated in 2Pe 3:7, does not frustrate a promise which held good only during the continuance of that system. There will be no flood between this and that day, when the earth therein shall be burnt up [Chalmers].