The Great Flood is a well-known account in the Bible. Here are 3 hidden details in the flood of Noah you may have never heard.
When everything was ready, the Lord said to Noah, “Go into the boat with all your family, for among all the people of the earth, I can see that you alone are righteous. Take with you seven pairs—male and female—of each animal I have approved for eating and for sacrifice, and take one pair of each of the others. Also take seven pairs of every kind of bird. There must be a male and a female in each pair to ensure that all life will survive on the earth after the flood. Seven days from now I will make the rains pour down on the earth. And it will rain for forty days and forty nights, until I have wiped from the earth all the living things I have created.” (Genesis 7:1-4)
Ok, it may be a bit of an understatement to call the Great Flood a “well-known account” in the Bible. It may be the most well-known account in the Bible, at least from a general worldly knowledge. A non-believing family may never own a Bible or some figure or image of Jesus. But they just might have seen a playroom with a child’s rendering of Noah and the Ark.
However, even believers may not have heard about the 3 hidden details in the flood of Noah that we’re about to share. I’m not defining hidden as “esoteric”. There’s nothing mystical here. But these aren’t details that can be found in a simple verse by verse reading. These are details that will be discovered with deeper and deeper understanding of Scripture or deeper knowledge of the details being provided.
Did Noah’s Flood Really Happen?
This isn’t the point of this post, but we need to deal with the elephant (or 2 of them?) in the room from the start.
As a follower of Christ, we need to have confidence that the Bible is a true book. It is clear when it purports to tell an allegorical story versus when it is detailing actual events. If we aren’t willing to take the Bible at face value when it seems to treat a story as factual, then we are stuck trying to figure out where the cutoff point is between allegory and history.
Did the account of Job really happen? Samson? David and Goliath? Jonah and the great fish? It just keeps going until you get to something like the Jesus Seminar that went so far off the rails, I don’t even want to give credence to what it surmised by mentioning or linking to their conclusions.
The Bible becomes much easier to read and undedrstand if we trust that God is telling us history when it is written in that way. Perhaps in another post we will talk about defenses for the historicity of the great flood from biblical and extra-biblical evidence. For now, it’s enough to understand that how I would answer the question “did Noah’s flood really happen?” is yes.
If we don’t believe this event really happened, it does impact the power behind the 3 hidden details in the flood of Noah we’re talking about here. Because if this account is made up, then these details are in support of something that didn’t really happen. For me, these hidden details make me even more excited about God’s word. Imagine how many more hidden details there might be to discover!
Having said that – let’s dive into the 3 hidden details in the flood of Noah.
Hidden Detail – Translating the Generations of Noah
The first hidden detail in the flood of Noah concerns the translations of the names of the generations of Noah as detailed in Genesis 5. For now, we will simply focus on the names of the generations of Noah. The next hidden detail in the flood of Noah will also use the information found here.
Here are the generations of Noah: Adam, Seth, Enosh, Kenan, Mahalel, Jared, Enoch, Methuselah, Noah.
Now, even a casual Bible reader, especially reading the Old Testament, finds many references to the meaning of a name, either for a person or a place. So that a biblical name helps to describe the character or circumstances around a name’s origin.
These generations, according to the Bible, spanned many hundreds of years. So, it’s not like names could be deliberately chosen from one generation to the next, only for that person, to form a lengthy pattern.
In Noah’s case, as the one that the Lord found righteous in a world full of evil and licentiousness, and who was told to build an ark before the great flood that would wipe out life on the planet, his was the last in the “old world’s” generational line. And his name means Rest, or Comfort. Alone, that’s interesting. But then, you go back and look at the names for each generation from Adam to Noah, and you start to see something; their names can actually be read as a meaningful sentence. The graphic on the right shows how this looks from name to name.
In the end, the sentence translated reads: Man (is) appointed mortal sorrow; (but) the Blessed God shall come down teaching (that) His death shall bring the despairing comfort.
So we see that the names of the generations of Noah form a type of prophecy, looking forward to the time of the Messiah. Just as God delivered Noah, his family, and a small population of animals, So one day God would provide the ultimate deliverer.
I want to give credit where credit is due. I am not a translator of biblical texts or languages. So what I am sharing isn’t original research, but can be found online. I will only go into so much detail here, but this article provides more information if you’re interested.
Hidden Detail – The Timeline of the Generations of Noah
The next hidden detail in the flood of Noah relates again to the generations of Noah. But this time, we will focus on times rather than names.
If we assume that the generations listed in Genesis 5 are consecutive (and there’s no reason to think that they wouldn’t be), we are given specific dates for the age at which each generation died, the age at which the next generation was born, and so forth. When we examine these dates, we encounter some very interesting facts about the flood of Noah – 3 of them – as it relates to these generations.
First Fact About the Flood of Noah
The first fact about the flood of Noah is that, accepting these dates as correct, we know how many years after God created Adam that the great flood occurred, and that’s 1646 years. There were over 16 centuries of history for which we only have a few chapters’ insight from the book of Genesis.
Second Fact About the Flood of Noah
The second fact about the flood of Noah we see a second interesting thing: Noah is the only generation that was born after the death of Adam – over 100 years after his death (and incidentally, just 4 years after the death of Seth). Meaning, the direct eyewitness to the beginning of things was no longer around to refute denials of how things began.
Think about some of the historical events for which we are getting down to the last few contemporaries of the events. Look at how some historical events are being flipped on their heads today. Do not underestimate the ability of people to rewrite history after history’s witnesses have passed on. Since Noah was a direct descendant of Adam, he would have been better equipped to not get caught up in the misinformation. But the rest of the exceedingly wicked world? Not so much.
Third Fact About the Flood of Noah
The third fact about the flood of Noah is that final year before the flood – year 1646. How do we know this? Because we are told how old Noah was when the flood came – 600 years old. Now let’s look at the final generations leading up to Noah.
Methuselah’s son is the only generation to pass prior to the previous generation (because Enoch didn’t die! Genesis 5:23-24). Lamech died 1641 years after Adam was created. Methuselah was the oldest person according to the Bible. He lived 969 years. If you do the math, that means that he died in 1646.
How do I know it wasn’t the flood that killed Methuselah? I believe there are 3 evidences.
First, we are told he died. It seems odd that if he died due to the flood, this is a detail that would be left out.
Second, while not specifically stated, for each generation, I believe that this generational line was faithful to God through Noah. Again, Noah was the only one to be born after the death of Adam, so Adam would have been available to remind them all of everything that had happened before. I therefore believe that everyone in this generational line was spared the horror of the flood.
And third, let’s go back and look at the meaning of Methuselah’s name: “His death shall bring”. If we believe this to be a true foreshadowing, then while Methuselah was alive, the flood would not yet come. Once he died, the prophetic nature of his name was fulfilled.
If you think about it, this is a picture of God’s longsuffering patience with man, giving us every last chance to turn to him. Methuselah lived the longest life on record. And as long as he lived, the predictive nature of his name indicated the flood would not come. Perhaps Methuselah was the last righteous man left on earth before the ark door closed in Noah and his family.
Hidden Detail – The 17th of Nisan
The last hidden detail in the flood of Noah I want to review really takes this to a mind-blowing level. This one truly helps me see the value in deep study of God’s word and how important connecting the dots across all of scripture is to our understanding.
The Bible records exactly the day that the ark settled on land again, and that was the “seventeenth day of the seventh month” (Genesis 8:1-4, KJV). While an amazing footnote in itself, there’s more.
That’s because the seventh month became the first month in the Jewish religious calendar. This change took place while the Jewish people were still slaves in Egypt, and was made as God instructed Moses what to do to prepare for the first Passover, which would protect the Jewish firstborn during the final plague of Egypt (Exodus 12:1-2). Passover is the 14th of Nisan. On that 17th of Nisan, Israel crossed the Red Sea.
Other events that occurred on the 17th of Nisan include:
The first day the manna stopped after feeding the Israelites for their 40 years in the wilderness.
Haman’s plot to kill the Jewish people ended when Esther exposed his treachery to the king, bringing an end to Haman’s life.
And finally, the 17th of Nisan is the resurrection day of Jesus Christ! Why do we know this? Because He died on the cross as Passover was starting, and then He was raised on the first day of the week following.
So the 17th of Nisan is clearly intended to be revealed as a day of deliverance from God’s perspective. He knew the importance this date would hold, so He foreshadowed it in the deliverance of Noah (who was of course, an ancestor of Abraham), and the deliverance of the Jewish people on 3 separate occasions – 2 of them being on the verge of being annihilated.
This is another one I cannot claim original research in doing, and again will give credit where credit is due. If you want even more detail than what I’ve shared here, check out this article.
The Blessing of Studying God’s Word
I hope you’ve enjoyed reading these hidden details in the flood of Noah. While these facts about the flood of Noah are a blessing to recognize and consider, I hope this post goes one step further for you. I hope that it encourages you to take a deeper, more attentive look into God’s Word as a whole.
Yes, God’s word is powerful (Hebrews 4:12). Wherever it is ingested, it bears fruit (Isaiah 55:11). Studying God’s word is one of the vital abiding disciplines that we need to all be about as followers of Christ. Please, if you aren’t diving into God’s Word today, get started. A good study Bible will give you ideas; you can also find topical studies or guides on sites such as BibleGateway.com, where all our scripture references are linked.
More Bible verses describing the blessing of studying God’s Word: