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Contrast between Initial and Ending Flood Stages
Robert E. Gentet
© 2011

Compare the words of the Bible giving the description of the first forty days of the Flood with the final slow receding of the waters.

“For forty days the flood kept coming on the earth, and as the waters increased they lifted the ark high above the earth. The waters rose and increased greatly on the earth, and the ark floated on the surface of the water. They rose greatly on the earth and all the high mountains under the entire heavens were covered” (Genesis 7:17-19).

The Flood began on the seventeenth day of the second month of Noah’s six hundredth year (Genesis 7:11) and flooded the Earth for one hundred and fifty days (Genesis 7:24). However, it was not until the first day of the tenth month that the tops of the mountains became visible (Genesis 8:5) and not until just before the first day of the first month of Noah’s six hundred and first year that “Noah knew that the water had receded from the Earth” (Genesis 8:11). It was yet almost two more months before those within the Ark departed onto the dry land (perhaps to give time for sufficient vegetation to grow for the animals). Thus, while it took only 40 days for the Earth to be covered by water, and a total time of 150 days before the waters would begin to retreat, it was yet another seventy-seven days for the waters to abate so the mountain tops could be seen and still three more months for the Earth to be pronounced as “dry” (Genesis 8:13).

  • 40 days of continual rain to cover the Earth
  • 110 more days [150-40 days] until waters are restrained and ark rests on mountain top
  • 74 more days until mountain tops are seen from ark
  • 90 more days until Earth “dry”
  • 57 more days until Ark inhabitants empty into post-Flood world.

Thus while the Flood waters reached maximum height in only 40 days it was 221 days for the waters to recede enough for the Ark inhabitants to dwell on the Earth.

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