|ARK OF NOAH |
The vessel in which the family of Noah was preserved during the deluge, when all the rest of our race perished for their sins. The ark is called in Hebrew, in the Septuagint, and by Josephus, a chest; and the same word is used in the history of the infant Moses, Exodus 2:3. So far as this name affords any evidence, it goes to show that the ark of Noah was not a regular sailing-vessel, but merely intended to float at large guard it as a large, oblong, floating house, with a roof either flat or only slightly inclined. It was constructed with three stories, and had a door in the side. There is no mention of windows in the side, but "above," probably in the roof, where Noah was commanded to make them of a cubit in height, Genesis 5:16 8:13.
The dimensions of the ark, taking the cubit as eighteen inches, were 450 feet in length, 75 in breadth and 45 in height. It was built of gopher-wood, and made water-proof with bitumen, and was no doubt large enough to accommodate the eight persons of Noah’s family and the animals to be saved in it-namely, of all birds and clean beasts seven each, and of unclean beasts two each, male and female. Many questions have been raised, and discussed at great length by skeptics and others, respecting the form and dimensions of the ark; the number of animals saved in it-whether including all species then existing in the world, except such as live in water or lie dormant, or only the species living in the parts of world then peopled by man; and as to the possibility of their being all lodged in the ark, and their food during the year, etc. Some of these questions the Bible clearly settles. Others it is vain to discuss, since we have no means of deciding them. Certain it is, that while the Bible eulogizes the faith and obedience of Noah, it shows that his salvation was a miracle of Providence. It was by miracle that he was forewarned, and directed to prepare for the flood; and the same miraculous power accomplished all that Noah was unable to so in designing, building, and filling the ark, and preserving and guiding it through the deluge. It has been commonly supposed that the warning came to Noah 120 years before the flood. Compare Genesis 5:32 with Genesis 7:6, and Genesis 6:3 with 1 Peter 3:20. Traditions of the ark are found in most nations all over the globe. See DELUGE.