Genesis 404
Lesson Four


Gen 8:6   And it came to pass at the end of forty days, that Noah opened the window of the ark which he had made: 
Gen 8:7   And he sent forth a raven, which went forth to and fro, until the waters were dried up from off the earth. 
Gen 8:8  Also he sent forth a dove from him, to see if the waters were abated from off the face of the ground; 
Gen 8:9   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. 
Gen 8:10   And he stayed yet other seven days; and again he sent forth the dove out of the ark; 
Gen 8:11   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. 
Gen 8:12   And he stayed yet other seven days; and sent forth the dove; which returned not again unto him any more.


The previous verse revealed that the steadily draining water had dropped low enough that the tops of the mountains had become visible. This landmark was achieved on the first day of the tenth month. Noah allowed another 40 days to pass before opening a window in the ark, maybe in the roof, to send out a raven (Genesis 8:7). This is a sailor's tactic to locate dry land: a bird which has no interest in landing on the water will fly high enough to see for miles around, and if it cannot find dry land, it will eventually come back to the boat (Genesis 8:9). Early on, it seems, there was nothing suitable nearby. This means that the visible mountaintops were probably a good distance away.  The end of verse 7 tells us that this raven flew back and forth off of the ark until the waters were dried up.  This bird was chosen as one strong of flight, and also, perhaps, because anciently regarded as prophetic of the weather; besides this, it is easily tamed, and as Noah retained its mate he had security for its return.


This Raven gave Noah little satisfaction: therefore, he sent forth a dove — Which returned the first time with no good news, but probably wet and dirty; but the second time she brought an olive-leaf in her bill, which appeared to be fresh plucked off; a plain indication that now the trees began to appear above water. Note here, that Noah sent forth the dove a second time, seven days after the first time, and the third time was after seven days too: and probably the first sending of her out was seven days after the sending forth of the raven. The olive-branch is an emblem of peace.  Notice that the raven came and went, but it does not mention that it came back into the ark.   The raven is more of a scavenger bird, eating dead flesh and whatever it can find.  It was comfortable outside the ark, flying around, eating dead stuff.  But, the Dove, a symbol of Gods Spirit,  "found no rest for the sole of her foot, and she returned unto him into the ark".  The dove did not like it outside the ark.  It was not content to land on dead bodies floating around and eating decaying flesh.  It came back into the safety of the ark.  This is a picture of the natural man (raven), and the reborn man (Dove).  The natural man likes the things of the earth, it likes it outside the safety of God's salvation.  But, the reborn man, loves the things of God, not the things of the world.  The reborn man returns to God and finds rest.


When, after another week’s delay, Noah again sent forth the dove, it remained away until “the time of evening,” finding both food and ground on which it could alight near the ark. It was not till nightfall that it came home, bringing to him “an olive leaf plucked off,” or, possibly, a fresh olive-leaf. The olive-tree, which grows abundantly in Armenia, is said to vegetate under water; but what Noah wanted to learn was, not whether the topmost boughs were emerging from the flood, but whether the soil beneath was becoming free from water. Now, after a seven days’ interval, when Noah again sent forth the dove, she did not return, “because the ground was dry.” It is thus plain that the olive-tree had had plenty of time on some of the higher lands, while the flood was subsiding, to put forth new leaves. From this event the olive-leaf, thus sent by the regenerated earth to Noah in proof that she was ready to yield herself to him, has been ever since, among all mankind, the symbol of peace.


Now, it is time to prepare to leave the ark.   We will take that up in the next lesson.

Answer the questions below.  If you miss a question, go back and study that portion of the class and then retake the test.  Once you have received a 100% you may proceed to the next class.  You DO NOT have to submit this test for grading.  Only the final test will be submitted.