B’reishit, Chapter 8: The flood ends

The rains came to a stop, and the ark rested on the mountains of Ararat.  To test whether the land had dried, up, Noah sent out a dove.  The first time, the land was still wet.  The second time, however, the dove brought back an olive leaf showing that the land was dry.  God commanded Noah to leave the ark with all the animals, and to be fruitful and multiply.  Noah made an alter and gave a sacrifice to God, and God promised never to destroy the earth again.  

Where, exactly, did the ark rest?  According to Josephus in The Antiquities of the Jews, Book I, Chapter 3:

5. When God gave the signal, and it began to rain … After this, the ark rested on the top of a certain mountain in Armenia; which, when Noah understood, he opened it; and seeing a small piece of land about it, he continued quiet, and conceived some cheerful hopes of deliverance. … However, the Armenians call this place, (Greek for) The Place of Descent; for the ark being saved in that place, its remains are shown there by the inhabitants to this day.

6. Now all the writers of barbarian histories make mention of this flood, and of this ark; among whom is Berosus the Chaldean. For when he is describing the circumstances of the flood, he goes on thus: “It is said there is still some part of this ship in Armenia, at the mountain of the Cordyaeans; and that some people carry off pieces of the bitumen, which they take away, and use chiefly as amulets for the averting of mischiefs.” Hieronymus the Egyptian also, who wrote the Phoenician Antiquities, and Mnaseas, and a great many more, make mention of the same. Nay, Nicolaus of Damascus, in his ninety-sixth book, hath a particular relation about them; where he speaks thus: “There is a great mountain in Armenia, over Minyas, called Baris, upon which it is reported that many who fled at the time of the Deluge were saved; and that one who was carried in an ark came on shore upon the top of it; and that the remains of the timber were a great while preserved. This might be the man about whom Moses the legislator of the Jews wrote.”

Marco Polo wrote about the location of the ark in his famous travelogue, as did Sir Walter Raleigh in his History of the World.  The search continues to this day.

Rabbi Roy Feldman

B’reishit, Chapter 8: The flood ends

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