Exposition of Genesis 1–11: Genesis 7:13–15

Genesis 7:13–15
On that very day Noah entered the ark, accompanied by his sons Shem, Ham, and Japheth, along with his wife and his sons’ three wives.  14 They entered, along with every living creature after its kind, every animal after its kind, every creeping thing that creeps on the earth after its kind, and every bird after its kind, everything with wings.  15 Pairs of all creatures that have the breath of life came into the ark to Noah.
(NET Bible)

 The exact day things changed

Make no mistake! At a very specific time of the Father’s selection, every believer will be removed from this world and judgment will fall on those who remain.

How do we stay alert when every day seems like the one before? Since Christianity is a historical faith, how can the reality of past events prepare us for what God is doing now? If God is dead serious about the big events, how does he feel about the little things?

The author of Genesis is meticulous about defining the exact day when Noah and his family enter the ark. Genesis 7:11 makes clear that in a certain year, during a particular month and on a specific day, the world-wide judgment begins. The rare phrase “on that very day” (7:13) is used “to stress the memorableness of a particular occasion, e.g., Abraham’s circumcision (17:23, 26), the exodus (Exod. 12:41, 51), Moses’ death (Deut. 32:48).”[1]

Genesis 7:13 has an unusual ordering of the people. Noah does not board with his wife but with his sons. So, the order of those entering the ark consists of Noah, his sons, Noah’s wife, and then the three wives of his sons. The order is male and then female of humankind. Noah leads the males and his wife leads the females.

The sequence of boarding continues in verse 14 with each type of creature entering “after its kind.” The phrase “after its kind” occurs four times in verse 14, which is a high repetition rate. Why? A moment’s thought will tell you that the context is the key to unraveling this question. Order has broken down on the earth! Providing the worst example of all, the sons of God are having children by the daughters of men, which is not reproduction “after its kind.” The order in boarding the ark contrasts with the chaos and violence on the earth.

In case there is any doubt, Noah does not scour the earth for creatures to drag onto the ark. They come to him because God is bringing them; the migration is supernatural, not natural. Try hard not to be a person who makes miracles as small as possible. You may read many ideas about difficulty feeding all the animals, or ridding the ark of waste, or housing predators with prey, but all these objections assume God stuck Noah with the problems. He didn’t. When God saves, he saves in every way!

Copyright © 2011 by Barry Applewhite. All rights reserved worldwide. Derived from material created for Christ Fellowship, McKinney, Texas. Used by permission.

[1] Gordon J. Wenham, Genesis 1–15, Word Biblical Commentary (Nashville: Word Incorporated, 1987) 181.

Do you have an opinion or a different interpretation? Let me know!