Genesis Chapter 7  PDF  MSWord

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Go to Bible: Genesis 7
Gen 7:1

“your household.” The Hebrew is just “your house,” where “house” refers to “household,” the immediate family.

Gen 7:2

“seven pairs.” The Hebrew text of Genesis 7:2 simply repeats the number seven twice, and literally reads, “seven seven,” which in this context means “seven pairs” (cp. CJB; HCSB; NAB; NIV2011; NJB; NLT; NRSV; RSV). What the “seven seven” means is clarified by the words that follow. The Hebrew text reads more literally, “seven seven, a male and his mate.” So Genesis 7:2 should be understood to mean “seven males, seven females; a male and his mate.” Thus, there were to be seven males and seven females of each clean animal on the ark. There were also to be seven pairs of the different kinds of birds on the ark (Gen. 7:3). The tradition that the animals went on only in twos comes from misunderstanding Genesis 6:19, which says that “two” of each animal was put on the ark, but in that context, the word “two” refers to “pairs,” not just “two” animals. See commentary on Genesis 6:19, “pairs.” The fact that there were seven pairs of clean animals and birds on the ark also explains how Noah could get off the ark and sacrifice some of the clean animals and birds and still have animals and birds to reproduce the species (Gen. 8:20). However, it seems that the unclean animals were only taken on board as “two,” that is, one pair. The word “two” is not repeated the way that “seven seven” is.

“the male and his female.” The Hebrew is different here than in Genesis 7:3. A more literal reading of Genesis 7:2 would be “a man and his wife,” (or a man and his mate), whereas in Genesis 7:3 it is literally “a male and female,” more specifically referring to the sexes.

Gen 7:3

“to keep seed alive.” To keep descendants alive on earth.

Gen 7:4

“In seven days I will cause it to rain on the earth for 40 days and 40 nights.” Noah and his family were on the ark for a year and ten days. They entered the ark on the seventeenth day of the second month of Noah’s six hundredth year (Gen. 7:11, 13) and left the ark on the twenty-seventh day of the second month (Gen. 8:14-19) of the six hundred first year (Gen. 8:13). We must keep in mind, however, that Noah and Israel used a lunar year, which is only 354 days, not 365 days, so a year and ten days lunar year is 364 days, or almost one solar year, which is the year that is used in most of the world today.

A common misunderstanding of this time period comes from not seeing that there was a seven-day period before Noah entered the ark during which the loading of animals took place. Genesis 7:4 says, “In seven days I will cause it to rain,” and then Genesis 7:10 records “after seven days.” During the seven-day period, Noah was loading the ark as God had instructed in Genesis 7:1-4. Anyone who has moved can appreciate the seven-day period it took for Noah to load the ark. Noah started loading the ark on the tenth day of the second month, and went in himself on the seventeenth day.

Because God told Moses to make Nisan the first month of the year, and since it seems that Adam and Jesus would have been “born” on the same day, the calendar from Adam to the Exodus would have been based on a Tishri year system. Therefore, the second month would be the month after Tishri, which is Marcheshvan (called “Bul” in 1 Kings 6:38).

“Every living thing.” The Hebrew word translated as “living thing” is quite unique and refers to things that are in existence.

Gen 7:5

“Noah did according to all that God commanded him.” This is parallel to Genesis 6:22.

Gen 7:6(top)
Gen 7:7(top)
Gen 7:8(top)
Gen 7:9

“by pairs.” The Hebrew is more literally, “two two,” meaning pairs.

Gen 7:10

“the seven days.” God had said there would be seven days (Gen. 7:4).

Gen 7:11

“windows.” This is not the normal Hebrew word for “window,” but it is used for windows (Ecc. 12:3).

Gen 7:12

“The rain fell on the earth.” The Hebrew is more literally, “and the rain was on the earth,” but we would say the rain fell on the earth.

Gen 7:13

“On that same day.” That is, the same day the rain started. Matthew 24:38-39 also indicate that Noah and his family entered the ark the day it started to rain.

Gen 7:14

“every kind.” The Hebrew phrase is referring to “every kind” of animal and bird coming to Noah to the ark, just as Genesis 6:20 is.

[For more on the translation “every kind,” see commentary on Genesis 1:11.]

“of wild animal.” In contrast with the livestock, the Hebrew almost certainly refers to wild animals in the same way that Genesis 1:24-25 seems to. It is not referring to “all animals,”

“every chirping bird.” The Hebrew word is related to the word “chirp,” and this seems to be pointing to basic differentiation among the birds.

Gen 7:15

“pairs.” The Hebrew is literally, “two two,” referring to a pair.

Gen 7:16

“and Yahweh shut him in.” The Hebrew is perhaps more literally, “and Yahweh closed [the door] behind him” (or “on his behalf”). Noah did not close out the people outside the ark, Yahweh did.

Gen 7:17(top)
Gen 7:18

“floated.” The ark had no means of steering or propulsion, it just floated.

“the surface of the waters.” The Hebrew is more literally, “on the face of the waters.”

Gen 7:19

“rose very very high upon the earth.” By repeating the word “very” (or, “greatly”), the Hebrew text emphasizes the way the water covered the earth. Noah’s Flood was not a local event, as some people would have us believe. The Bible is clear that the water covered all of the earth that was under heaven. Besides, if the flood was local, God would have just had Noah and his family move away. That would have taken much less time and effort than building the ark.

The verse gets emphasis from the figure of speech epizeuxis. If a word is repeated in a sentence in exactly the same form, as it is in the Hebrew text here, it is the figure of speech epizeuxis.a In fact, if the words are repeated right next to each other as these are, Bullinger refers to it as a subset of epizeuxis called geminatio. If the root word is repeated but the word is inflected differently, that is the figure of speech polyptoton.

[For more on polyptoton in the Bible, see commentary on Genesis 2:16].

[See figure of speech “polyptoton.”]

Bullinger, Figures of Speech, 189, 491, “epizeuxis”; Oxford English Dictionary.
Gen 7:20

“15 cubits.” This is 22.5 feet.

Gen 7:21

“took its last breath.” The Hebrew verb gava (#01478 גָּוַע) refers to dying and is fundamentally synonymous with the verb “die” muth (#04191 מָוֹת), although it can infer a violent death (see commentary on Gen. 25:8, “breathed his last”).

“every swarming thing that swarms on the earth.” The same word “swarm” is in Genesis 1:20, where things swarm in the water.

Gen 7:22

“dry land.” The Hebrew text is specific to dry land. It is possible that some sea creatures that breathe air could have survived if this was the only verse on the subject.

Gen 7:23(top)
Gen 7:24

“150 days.” Scripture says the waters prevailed for 150 days. There are commentators who assert that the 150 days proves that there is something they call a “prophetic month” of 30 days. They claim that prophetic times in Scripture are calculated on a premised 30-day month. However, there is no traditional source for such a thing—it seems to be a concept built to accommodate their calculations. The Jews based their month from the moon, and there is no Jewish concept of a straightforward 30-day month. That concept is being read back into history, but is not a part of it. Some of the authors who try to defend the 30-day month use for their first proof that the flood year with the statement of the seventeenth of the second month, when the rains started, to the rain’s end, the seventeenth of the seventh month, is listed as 150 days. So, they say from the seventeenth of Marcheshvan to the seventeenth of Nisan (of course, counting the first of the year being Tishri, as it was supposed to be in remote antiquity) is the 150 days, counting months as having 30 days. This would seem to be so, since counting that time as lunar months should come out to 147 days or so.

The first volume of “The book of Genesis” under the series “Books of the Bible” published by the Judaica Press contains the Hebrew text, their own translation, and extensive commentaries taken from Rashi, Rambam, Eben Ezra, and others. What they say is that the “seventh month” means not the month on the calendar, but the seventh month, counting from when the rain started. Their calculation goes:

Kislev —three days (after the 40 days of rain beginning in the “second month” Marcheshvan, leaving three days in Kislev)
Tevet 29, Shevat 30, Adar 29, Nisan 30, Iyar 29, = 150

These are Jews commenting on their own Scripture and we would give them more than a little weight on this issue.


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