In the Hebrew Flood narrative the syntax is conducive to the identification of the chronological sequence of events. Syntactical sequences confirm that the total time aboard the ark was 371 days. Noah’s family and the animals entered the ark the same day the Flood began — the day noted in 7:11 by year, month, and day. The 7 days of 7:10 are a fulfillment of the declaration given in 7:4 and are not part of the overall chronology of the Flood itself. There are two 40-day periods. The first 40 days began on the date given in 7:11 and are part of the first 150 days of the Flood. The second 40-day period began on the day after the mountaintops were seen, day 226. After this second 40-day period, three periods of 1 week are related to the releases of the raven and the dove. On day 315 the surface of the ground was described as drying (8:13) and the earth was dry on day 371, the day the ark’s occupants disembarked.

An analysis of the narrative as a unit supports a global cataclysmic Flood. A natural division of the Flood occurs in two main parts: 150 days of prevailing waters and 221 days of subsidence. The purpose of the first 150 days was to obliterate all terrestrial life including the original continent(s). Heavy rains were restrained after those 150 days (not after 40 days) when the fountains of the deep and the windows of heaven were stopped. The significance of the first 40 days is the lifting of the ark off the earth on the 40th day (7:17). The purpose of the 221 days was to make the earth suitable for life—an apparent replication of the third day of Creation (1:9-13). Grammatically the Hebrew description of continuous motion of the receding waters (8:3) is parallel to the grammar used to describe the raven’s flight to and fro. Large-scale, back and forth motion would have profound effects in shaping the new landscape.


Flood, deluge, cataclysm, Genesis, ark, Noah, ebb and flood, transgression, regression, global tectonics, world rift system, wayyiqtol, gešem, mabbûl, Gen. 7:6-8:14; 7:11; 8:3


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