Genesis 7

When did Noah enter the ark?


The apparent problem:   In reading Genesis 7 it may appear that the Lord told Noah to enter the ark seven days before the flood began (verses 1-4), but verse 13 seems to indicate that Noah and his family entered the ark on the very day the the flood began.

In verse 1 God invites them to come and enter.  In verse 4 they are told that they have seven days to do this.  [Usually it takes us at least several hours to pack for a trip.  It is not unreasonable that it took Noah and his family a week to pack an ark and make final preparations.]

In verse 10 we learn that the flood began in seven days.

Verse 13 says that in that very day (the day of the flood) Noah and his family entered.  The verb "entered" is pluperfect:  "had come."   According to Hebrew language experts Keil and Delitzsch, "the idea is not that Noah, with his family and all the animals, entered the ark on the very day on which the rain began, but that on that day he had entered, had completed the entering, which occupied the seven days between the giving of the command (v. 4) and the commencement of the flood (v.10)."    Leopold agrees and says that Noah would have seven days to complete preparations:  "The perfect 'came' points to the moment when their entering was an accomplished fact:  'had come' is a permissible rendering."

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