Elohim remembered Noah, and all the living things that were with him in the ark. So Elohim breathed over the waters, and the fountains of the abyss and the windows of the heavens were sealed, the rains stopped, and the water turned back from the land. At the end of 150 days the flooding had stopped. On the seventeenth day of the seventh month the ark rested on the mountain of Ararat. The water continued to decrease until on the first day of the tenth month the tops of the mountains became visible through the waters.
At the end of 40 days Noah opened the window he had made in the roof of the ark and sent out a raven to fly back and forth until the waters had dried up from the land. The he sent a dove to see if the waters had lifted from the face of the adamah. But the dove found nowhere to rest because the waters will still over the whole face of the land, so he reached out and pulled the dove back inside. After seven days Noah sent the dove out again, and this time in returned with a freshly picked olive leaf. After seven more days Noah sent the dove out again, but this time it did not come back.
On the first day of the first month of Noah’s 601st year he took off the covering of the ark and looked out – and the face of the adamah was thirsty. And by the twenty-seventh day of the second month the land was shrivelled.
Elohim said to Noah, “Leave the ark, you and your wife, and your sons, and your sons’ wives. And bring out every creature that is with you – all the birds, the cattle, and the creeping things – so that they can swarm on the land and reproduce.” So they did. And Noah built an altar to Yahweh and sacrificed from every clean animal and every clean bird with fire. When Yahweh inhaled the restful aroma he said in his heart, “I will never cleanse the adamah again for the sake of the adam, for the plans of their heart are evil from childhood. Nor will I destroy every living thing. While the land lives, seedtime and harvest, cold and hot, summer and winter, day and night will not rest.
- The Hebrew words used to describe the drying up of the land – usually translated in pretty banal terms to give the impression that the land simply wasn’t soaked any more – are actually quite visceral. Particularly given that the first of these is linked to the use of ‘face’ of the adamah. I have therefore translated that as ‘thirsty’, which is actually – as far as I understand it – a pretty straightforward translation. The second description I have translated ‘shrivelled’, to contrast with the ‘swelling’ of the waters in Chapter 7.
- Yahweh’s inner monologue, about not destroying the world again, is usually translated to give the impression that Yahweh is relenting. The sense is that, for the sake of humanity, Yahweh will not flood the earth again. However, his line about the adam being irredeemably evil doesn’t easily fit that vibe. So I flipped the whole thing, which then makes much more sense to me. In this translation Yahweh is saying he is not going to ‘cleanse the adamah again for the sake of the adam’ because it is a complete waste of time given the adam are so evil. The translation turns on the question of how the phrase ‘for the sake of’ is used.
- The final line ends ‘will not rest’. This is not always referenced in English translations, but also seems significant to me in relation to Elohim’s rest in Chapter 1, and the significance of Sabbath rest throughout the rest of the Hebrew story.