Ark of Noah
ARK OF NOAH (תֵּבָה, H9310; LXX κιβωτον, meaning chest, box, or boat, or a vessel to float). A vessel that God ordered Noah to build, for the purpose of preserving a remnant of the human race, together with two each of all animals, through the Flood (
It was built of gopher wood, sometimes rendered “pine,” but usually “cypress,” a material resistant to decay. The specifications called for a size of 300 cubits in length, 50 in width, and 30 in height. It was to have rooms (or “nests”) and was to be caulked with bitumen or asphalt. The length of a cubit is unknown, but is commonly believed to be eighteen inches. If the short cubit of 17.5 inches is used, the displacement can be shown as 19,940 tons, and if the 22.5 inch cubit is used, as much as 43,000 tons. The dimensions are entirely practical for good capacity and stability. Nothing is said concerning its shape, but it must be visualized as only a floating craft, with no propulsion or control. The door had to be sufficiently large for embarking animals, and the window description is somewhat ambiguous, but is usually taken to be a continuous feature, running around the vessel, under the roof. A parallel description is found in the Sumerian-Babylonian story of Utnapishtim. At the conclusion of the Flood, the Ark rested upon the mountains of Ararat (
Warning of the Flood was given 120 years beforehand, with directions to construct the Ark (
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)
ark, no’-a: A structure built by Noah at the command of God to preserve from the Flood a remnant of the human race and of the animals associated with man. It was constructed of "gopher wood" (
It is needless to speculate upon the capacity of the Ark for holding absolutely all the species of animals found in the world, together with the food necessary for them, since we are only required to provide for such animals as were native to the area to which the remnants of the human race living at that time were limited, and which (see Deluge of Noah) may not have been large. But calculations show that the structure described contained a space of about 3,500,000 cubic feet, and that after storing food enough to support several thousand pairs of animals, of the average size, on an ocean voyage of a year, there would remain more than 50 cubic feet of space for each pair.
No mention is made in the Bible of a pilot for the Ark, but it seems to have been left to float as a derelict upon the waters. For that purpose its form and dimensions were perfect, as was long ago demonstrated by the celebrated navigator, Sir Walter Raleigh, who notes it had "a flat bottom, and was not raised in form of a ship, with a sharpness forward, to cut the waves for the better speed"--a construction which secured the maximum of storage capacity and made a vessel which would ride steadily upon the water. Numerous vessels after the pattern of the Ark, but of smaller dimensions, have been made in Holland and Denmark and proved admirably adapted for freightage where speed was not of the first importance. They would hold one-third more lading than other vessels, and would require no more hands to work them. The gradual rise and subsidence of the water, each continuing for six months, and their movement inland, render the survival of such a structure by no means unreasonable. According to