13 God said to Noah, “I intend to make an end of all that lives, for through men the land is filled with violence; and behold, I am about to [a]destroy them together with the land. 14 Make yourself an [b]ark of [c]gopher wood; make in it rooms (stalls, pens, coops, nests, cages, compartments) and [d]coat it inside and out with pitch (bitumen). 15 This is the way you are to make it: the length of the ark shall be three hundred cubits, its width fifty cubits, and its height thirty cubits (450’ x 75’ x 45’).
Genesis 6:13Enoch (the descendant of Seth, not Cain) had warned these people (Jude 14, 15); Noah had preached righteousness to them (2 Pet 2:5); and God’s Spirit had been struggling with them (Gen 6:3). Yet they had rejected God.
Genesis 6:14The word “ark” comes from a Latin word (arca) for a box or chest. The design of the ark matched its purpose, which was not to travel through the water efficiently, but to be stable and have the greatest possible capacity for cargo. Also, such a vessel could be constructed relatively quickly, because there would be no need to form the wood used for the hull into efficient curves to maximize speed.
Genesis 6:14The type of wood is unknown. The name of the wood is a transliteration—not a translation—of the Hebrew, with no connection to the English word “gopher.”
Genesis 6:14This prevented water from seeping into the ark through the seams between the wooden planks, and may also have served to protect the wood from becoming saturated with water. Coating the ark with pitch on the outside as well as the inside was very practical. One of the worst jobs on the old wooden ships was to re-coat the inside bottom of the hull when water had seeped in, because the crewman had to quickly pave hot pitch on the hull under the water, which cooled the pitch as he worked and made the job all the more difficult—thus the nautical saying, “the devil (referring to the seam in the hull planking) to pay (i.e. pave with pitch).” The problem was eliminated or minimized on the ark, but Noah, due to his complete inexperience with sea-going vessels, would not even have known about the potential problem himself. It was imperative for him to have absolute faith in God, and to follow God’s directions word for word.
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