How long does the Bible say it took Noah to construct the ark? Then then, what’s the big deal? Since the Bible doesn’t specify, and since shipbuilding practises during Noah’s time are largely unknown (particularly those related to a ship built at God’s request), we can only speculate. Some claim it took Noah only 40 days, while others say 120 days, and yet others estimate 300 years.
We’ll look at what the Bible and commentators have to say about how long it took Noah to construct the Ark, what else he did to safeguard the planet before the deluge, and what we may apply to our own connection with the planet today in this topic.
Just how long did it take Noah to construct the Ark?
Bible’s first ship is Noah’s Ark. Multiple timelines exist for how long he laboured over its creation. In verse 6 of Genesis 6, we learn that Noah was 600 years old when the worldwide flood began. Thus, we may deduce that humans lived longer back then, as evidenced by the fact that Noah was an elderly man at the time of the deluge.
- In Jewish tradition, Noah planted the trees from which he would take the wood for the Ark 120 years before the Deluge, therefore there was no old-growth logging in the 350 years following the flood when he died. Noah knew his project would require a lot of money and time, so he tried to make it self-sufficient.
- The number 120 appears in the Bible’s account of Noah’s life, specifically in Genesis 6:3 when God declares that “my soul shall not contend with man forever, since he also is flesh, yet his days shall be one hundred and twenty years.”
- SeferHayashar, a book dating as early as the 9th century, claims that it took Noah only five years to construct the ark. Instructing Noah to construct the ark with the use of a “finger,” as one 9th-century Italian Jewish commentator puts it (Pirke De-Rabbi Eliezer 23). According to one account, it took Noah 52 years to construct the ark under the supervision of God.
What was the plan for building the ark?
God provided Noah with detailed instructions for constructing the ark. According to Rabbi Yehuda Altein’s interpretation of the relevant Genesis passages: “It was to be made with gopher (possibly cedar) wood and sealed from within and without with pitch. The upper level would house Noah and his family, the middle level would house the animals, and the basement would be used to store trash.
Its length was to be 300 cubits, its breadth 50 cubits, and its height 30 cubits. A tzohar, which might have been a window through which natural light shined or a brilliant valuable stone, provided illumination within the ark. The ark was built with painstaking accuracy.
Noah’s three-story Ark begs the question: why?
According to the Talmud, there were three decks aboard Noah’s ark: one for Noah and his family, one for the animals, and one for the waste, which included tonnes upon tonnes of animal droppings. Noah’s family spent a lot of their time shoveling manure. San Diego Zoo experts estimate that the quantity produced by the animals on the Ark over the year may have amounted to 800 tonnes of dung.
Seeing the world as a “closed,” integrated system provides a critical lens through which to analyse it, which is an even more important lesson we can learn from Noah. Within the confines of the Ark, Noah, his wife, Shem, Ham, Japheth, and their wives struggled to maintain some kind of ecological balance despite the extreme difficulties they faced.
As a sustainable structure, Noah’s Ark is an interesting concept.
In biblical times, Noah, Shem, Ham, and Japheth and their wives built the Ark as a “green” enterprise. According to Jewish mythology, Noah planted trees specifically for the building of the Ark, and their wood was used to construct the ship. Green construction standards have come a long way in the last several decades, and lessons learned from the first structure commissioned by God might impact today’s practises.
- One-third of new construction projects in the United States are now “green,” saving an average of 15% on water and power expenditures compared to traditional buildings. The use of natural light, solar energy, and water recycling (such as using “grey” sink water to irrigate exterior gardens) are only a few of the numerous architectural and design characteristics that guarantee buildings will use fewer of the Earth’s resources.
- Every choice has consequences within such an architectural and technical system, and parts may be made to work together for the greater good of the environment.
Why Was an Ark Needed?
According to the Book of Genesis, God sent a Flood to Earth as a form of judgement upon its inhabitants. The only humans left alive were Noah, his wife, their four sons Shem, Ham, and Japheth. A global flood occurred because “the Lord realised that man’s depravity had spread to the point where it inundated the globe.” To exact his wrath onto humanity, God planned to wipe out all life on Earth.
After 120 years of human disobedience and excess, the Bible says God unleashed the worst environmental disaster in human history. God picked Noah to be His messenger, telling him to construct the Ark as a warning to humanity that the Flood would come unless they repented. As Noah pleaded with the people, “Turn back from your terrible ways and acts.” There was no evolution throughout the 120-year period.
- Sins of lawlessness, robbery, or misconduct sealed the sentence (chamas). The rabbis in the Talmud say that in order to avoid legal repercussions, “a person would put out a market stand full with beans, and each individual would come and take less than a penny’s worth.” (Midrash Rabbah, Genesis, 31:5)
- After seeing that humanity was not following the rules, God declared, “I, too, will not follow the book.” In response, God allowed a single drop of rain, followed by more. Like the humans, who took one bean at a time without considering the whole of their conduct, God meted out His punishment gradually. The Flood occurred after 120 years.
Floods Today and Noah’s Lesson
Svante Arrhenius, a Swedish Nobel chemist, was honoured for his work on the topic of climate change in 1896. To “present the governments of the world with a clear scientific understanding of what is occurring to the world’s climate,” the United Nations established the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in 1988, nearly a century later.