8 1. Then God remembered1 Noah, every living thing, and all the livestock with him in the ark. So God caused his Spirit to sweep over the earth such that the waters abated.2 2. He closed up the fountains of the deep and the sluice-gates of the heavens; He shut up the rain from the heavens. 3. The waters returned from being on the earth, continually receding: by the end of 150 days, the waters had abated. 4. The ark came to rest in the seventh month, on the seventeenth day of the month, on the mountains of Ararat.3 5. The waters were steadily receding until the tenth month. In the tenth month, on the first day, the tops of the mountains appeared.
6. After 40 days, Noah opened the window of the ark he had made. 7. He sent out a raven, which went to and fro until the waters had dried off from the earth. 8. Then Noah sent out a dove to see if the waters had gone down from the face of the ground.4 9. But the dove could not find a resting place for her foot. So she returned to Noah, to the ark; for the waters were still over the face of all the earth. He reached out his hand and took her back to him in the ark. 10. Noah anxiously waited5 another seven days, after which he again sent out the dove from the ark. 11. The dove came back to him in the evening, and look! there was a freshly plucked olive leaf in her mouth!6 Then Noah knew that the waters had gone down from over the earth. 12. Then Noah anxiously waited another seven days before sending out the dove again. But this time, the dove never returned to him. 13. In Noah's six hundred and first year, the first month, and the first day of the month, the waters had dried from off the earth. So Noah removed the ark's cover, stared, and look! the face of the whole ground was dry. 14. In the second month, on the twenty-seventh day of the month, the earth was utterly dry.
15. Then God spoke to Noah, saying, 16. "Go out from the ark: you, your wife, your sons, and your sons' wives with you. 17. Every living thing that was with you of all flesh, from birds to livestock to every animal that creeps on the earth, shall be fruitful and multiply on the earth. 18. So Noah went out with his sons, his wife, and his sons' wives with him. 19. Every living animal: every creeping thing, all the birds, everything that moves on the earth, went out from the ark by families.
20. Then Noah built an ark to the Lord. He took from all the clean livestock and all the clean birds, and offered a burnt offering on the altar.
21. When He smelled the pleasing aroma, the Lord said to Himself, "I will never again curse the ground on man's account, since every thought of man's heart is evil from his youth.7 Therefore, I will never again smite all life as I have done. 22. For all the remaining days of the earth; planting and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, shall never cease."8
1. This is a covenantal remembering that is active in saving. The verse colors starting from 6:11 going to 8:22 form a chiasm. 8:1 is the center-piece of the chiasm, and is thus the most important part of the chiasm. See R. Kent Hughes Genesis, pg 132, quoting Ross. Furthermore, chapter 8 is a mirror of chapter one in many ways, down to the very way in which land appears, animals appear, vegetation appears, etc. Hence the chapter color-coding (matches chapter 1). text
2. See 1:2. The Spirit hovers there but sweeps here in preparation for new creation. See also John 3. text
3. The ark has its Sabbath on the seventeenth day of the month, in the seventh month. "Came to rest" comes from the same root as Noah's name. See here for a map of Ararat. text
4. See ISBE I, pg 512 for a very interesting insight into the wisdom of Noah in choosing these particular birds. text
5. Other words could have been used for a tranquil waiting. This word is used of trembling, as in a woman in labor. See the very parallel and connected idea in Romans 8:22. One can well believe that Noah was anxious to get off the boat by this time! text
6. The word "look" is intended to place the reader in the emotional state of Noah on seeing the leaf. This is how the word "behold" functions all the time in the Hebrew Bible. Notice the time detail: the dove found places all day to rest her foot. There was fresh foliage: the work of new creation had begun. text
7. The flow of thought here is difficult. The meaning seems to be that the Lord thinks further smiting useless to correct the problem. What good would it do? It will not change the human heart. Therefore, the era of patience and grace is about to begin, such that heart renovation will happen. This fits in very well with the covenant that the Lord institutes with Noah here, a covenant in which common grace makes room for special grace. text
8. The word for "cease" here is the same as that for Sabbath. There is no Sabbath for the earth until the new heavens and new earth. text