1 Then the Lord said to Noah, “Come into the ark, you and all your household, because I have seen that you are righteous before Me in this generation.
2 You shall take with you seven each of every clean animal, a male and his female; two each of animals that are unclean, a male and his female;
3 also seven each of birds of the air, male and female, to keep the species alive on the face of all the earth.
4 For after seven more days I will cause it to rain on the earth forty days and forty nights, and I will destroy from the face of the earth all living things that I have made.”
5 And Noah did according to all that the Lord commanded him.
6 Noah was six hundred years old when the floodwaters were on the earth.
7 So Noah, with his sons, his wife, and his sons’ wives, went into the ark because of the waters of the flood.
8 Of clean animals, of animals that are unclean, of birds, and of everything that creeps on the earth,
9 two by two they went into the ark to Noah, male and female, as God had commanded Noah.
10 And it came to pass after seven days that the waters of the flood were on the earth.
11 In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month, on that day all the fountains of the great deep were broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened.
12 And the rain was on the earth forty days and forty nights.
13 On the very same day Noah and Noah’s sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth, and Noah’s wife and the three wives of his sons with them, entered the ark—
14 they and every beast after its kind, all cattle after their kind, every creeping thing that creeps on the earth after its kind, and every bird after its kind, every bird of every sort.
15 And they went into the ark to Noah, two by two, of all flesh in which is the breath of life.
16 So those that entered, male and female of all flesh, went in as God had commanded him; and the Lord shut him in.
This first occurrence [v.1] of the word “come” in the Bible embraces the basic meanings of this gracious invitation occurring again and again in the Scriptures, even down to the last page (Revelation 22:17). This invitation (1) is extended by God to man; (2) urges him to avail himself of the perfect provision God has made for his preservation; and (3) is given in a time of overwhelming judgment and doom. — Scofield, page 12.
It is significant … that the Lord said “Come into the ark,” not “Go.” God would be in the ark with them, and although the Flood would soon be unleashed in devastating fury, they were all safe with Him. Though it was because of Noah’s faith and obedience that God gave the promise concerning his house, each member of that household also exercised saving faith as well. Each one chose voluntarily to enter the ark and renounce the world in which thy had lived so long. — Morris, page 190.
The New Testament refers to the flood under three aspects: (1) our Lord said that, as it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the end of this age (Matthew 24:37-39; Luke 17:26-27); (2) Noah himself is used as an illustration of saving faith (Hebrews 11:7); and (3) the flood is used as a type of baptism (1 Peter 3:19-21). — Scofield, page 12.
No previous categorization of animals as “clean” or “unclean” is given in Genesis. … The three pairs were [perhaps?] to encourage the relatively greater numerical proliferation of the clean animals after the flood (on a par with man, with his three surviving families) and perhaps also to allow for a greater variety of genetic factors, so that more varieties could be developed later as needed. The seventh animal in each group clearly was intended for sacrificial purposes (Genesis 8:20). Much later, the Mosaic law plainly spelled out which animals were to be regarded as clean in the Israelite system (Leviticus 11, etc.), though all such distinctions were to be removed altogether in the Christian dispensation (Acts 10:9-15; 1 Timothy 4:4). — Morris, pages 190-191.
species (v.3) = seed, offspring — not referring to species as we use the word today, but to kinds. The same word is translated “seed” in Genesis 1:11.
When God had finished His instructions, Noah proceeded to do “all that God commanded him,” just as he had done for over a hundred years. Here was the final test, the final break with the world he had known, thrusting himself completely on God’s mercy. And so again, Noah obeyed without a shadow of hesitation. — Morris, page 192.
We can’t be sure at this point which calendar the author of this section of Genesis was using, but he gave the exact date of the flood — “In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month, on that day all the fountains of the great deep were broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened.” Based on the chronology given in Genesis, the flood was approximately 1,655 years after creation.
The antediluvian hydrologic cycle was sharply different from that of the present day. It seems to have been controlled by the two great reservoirs of water resulting from the primeval separation of the waters of the primordial “deep” (Genesis 1:2) on the second day of Creation into “waters above the firmament” and “waters below the firmament,” the firmament consisting of the atmospheric heavens.
The “waters above the firmament” (also called “waters above the heavens” in Psalm 148:4) constituted the vast vaporous canopy which maintained the earth as a beautiful greenhouse, preventing cold temperatures and therefore preventing wind and rain storms. Being in the vapor state, it was invisible and fully transparent, but nevertheless contained vast quantities of water extending far out into space.
The “waters below the firmament” became what is referred to as “the great deep” or “the great depths” of water. This was water in the liquid state, visible especially to the first man in the form of the antediluvian seas (Genesis 1:10) and rivers (Genesis 2:10-14). These rivers were not produced by run-off from rainfall (Genesis 2:5), but emerged through controlled fountains or springs, evidently from deep-seated sources in or below the earth’s crust. There is an interesting reference to the abundant supplies of water pouring forth from these fountains of the great depths in Proverbs 8:24, and probably another in Job 38:16. — Morris, page 194.
every bird of every sort (v.14) – lit. “every kind of little bird of every kind of wings.”
Once all were inside, Noah evidently being last, a remarkable thing took place. “The Lord shut him in.” How He did this is not recorded, but somehow the door to the ark was shut and sealed, without the help of any human hands. This provided the final assurance to the occupants that they were in the will of God and under His protection. — Morris, page 198.
A reason for God’s repeated reference to the animals in this section is to indicate their specific “place” in the order of events about to ensue, not that the Flood is at hand. This order, specifically< is as follows: 1) Noah and his family are to enter the ark, 2) the clean and unclean animals will then enter, 3) after seven more days—i.e., seven days after Noah, his family, and the animals enter the ark—God will begin to send rain on the earth, and 4) the rain will endure continuously for forty days and forty nights until every living thing on the face of the land is dead.
Seven days … establishes the expectation of a seven-fold period during which special emphasis is placed on (the possibility of) repentance before final judgment. … In the same vein, God later grants the Israelites a period of 490 years (70 x 7) during which, through continual prophetic revelation and unmistakable miracles, God calls them to national repentance for their collective sin (epitomized by their failure to give the land its seventh-year—Sabbatical—rest) until He judges them by the Babylonian conquest and the 70-year exile that was intended to make up those missed rests (2 Chronicles 36:21). And so too do we find that the prophets speak of a seven-year period (otherwise known as “the Tribulation”) of intense supernatural activity during which mankind—and especially the Jewish people—will be given a final chance to repent and be saved before Christ returns to destroy all of wicked humanity (cf. Daniel 9:27; Revelation 11:2; 12:6).
The second significant numerical paradigm is the period of forty days, which establishes the expectation of a forty-fold period of “spiritual preparation” (“judgment” or even “cleansing” would be too narrow) in transition from one stage or state of affairs to another. Thus we see that the Israelites sojourned in the wilderness for forty years, during which they were instructed in God’s Law and so prepared for entrance into and life in the Promised Land. And so too Christ, the ideal Israelite, sojourned for forty days in the wilderness, immediately following His baptism, in spiritual preparation for His ensuing ministry. — Wechsler, page 144.
The use of repetition/flashback would have been especially relevant in the religious culture of Israel, wherein Scripture was typically “experienced” through oral recitation. — Wechsler, page 145.
The significance of Noah and his household as a symbol of the remnant, with which the reader is to (ideally) identify, is such that it is not left to the interpretive discretion of the reader: this “connection” is explicitly made in 1 Peter 3:20-21. There Peter writes that the people in the ark “who were saved through the water” find their “antitype” in those who are saved through spiritual “baptism” into (i.e., union with) Christ (see also Romans 6:3-5; Ephesians 2:8-9). — Wechsler, page 145.