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“Why Was the Flood of Genesis 7:10 Delayed by Seven Days?”

July 24th, 2005

“And after seven days the waters of the flood came upon the earth”

(Genesis 7:10)

The Jew, Philo of Alexandria, Egypt (c. 20 B.C. – 50 A.D.), asked this question: “Why, after the entrance of Noah into the ark, did seven days elapse, after which the deluge [flood, RMH] came?” (Questions and Answers on Genesis II (13), from The Works of Philo: Complete and Unabridged, New Updated Edition, translated by C.D. Yonge (Hendrickson Publishers: Peabody, Massachusetts, 1993), p. 819.
We offer several reasons for the relative delay. First, according to Genesis 7:4- 9, these days may have been given for the marching of the animals into the ark. For, Genesis 7:10 seems to intimate that once Noah and the animals had entered the ark, there was a space of seven days. Genesis 7:16 indicates that God, himself, shut the door of the ark. Perhaps, God spared Noah of this sorrow-laden action, namely, the closing of the door of hope. Second, Philo offers the possibility that this may have been a reflection of the seven days of creation, except in reverse. A third possibility is that this delay was yet another opportunity for man to express his remorse and acknowledgment of God the Father; not that he would be admitted into the ark, but that his faith would be duly noted. 1 Peter 3:20 reads, “…while God’s patience waited in the days of Noah;” and again, “…not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance” (2 Pet. 3:9).
It is written, after those seven days, “… all the fountains of the great deep
burst forth”
(Gen. 7:11). “But God remembered Noah” (Gen. 8:1).

-Robert M. Housby

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