Genesis 8:11 MEANING

Genesis 8:11
Verse 11. - And the dove came in unto him. Literally, to him. As the manner of doves is, partly for better accommodation both for food and lodging than yet he could meet with abroad, and partly from love to his mate (Peele). In the evening (of the seventh day). And, lo, in her mouth was an olive leaf plucked off. Not as if "Deo jubente, uno die germinavit terra" (Ambrose), but because the olive leaves kept green under water (Chrysostom). Rosenmüller, Lange, and Kalisch quote Pliny (13. 50) and Theophrastus ('Hist. Plant., 4:8) to this effect. That the olive tree grows in Armenia is proved by the testimony of Strabo (11. 575), Horace (Od. I. 7. 7), Virgil (Georg. 2:3), Diodorus Siculus (1. 17), etc. On this point vide Kalisch. The leaf which the dove carried towards the ark was "taraf," freshly plucked; hence rightly translated by "viride (Michaelis, Rosenmüller) rather than by "decerptum" (Chaldee, Arabic) or "raptum" (Calvin). Κάρφος (LXX.) is just the opposite of "fresh," viz., withered. So Noah knew that the waters were abated from off the earth.

8:4-12 The ark rested upon a mountain, whither it was directed by the wise and gracious providence of God, that might rest the sooner. God has times and places of rest for his people after their tossing; and many times he provides for their seasonable and comfortable settlement, without their own contrivance, and quite beyond their own foresight. God had told Noah when the flood would come, yet he did not give him an account by revelation, at what times and by what steps it should go away. The knowledge of the former was necessary to his preparing the ark; but the knowledge of the latter would serve only to gratify curiosity; and concealing it from him would exercise his faith and patience. Noah sent forth a raven from the ark, which went flying about, and feeding on the carcasses that floated. Noah then sent forth a dove, which returned the first time without good news; but the second time, she brought an olive leaf in her bill, plucked off, plainly showing that trees, fruit trees, began to appear above water. Noah sent forth the dove the second time, seven days after the first, and the third time was after seven days also; probably on the sabbath day. Having kept the sabbath with his little church, he expected especial blessings from Heaven, and inquired concerning them. The dove is an emblem of a gracious soul, that, finding no solid peace of satisfaction in this deluged, defiling world, returns to Christ as to its ark, as to its Noah, its rest. The defiling world, returns to Christ as to its ark, as to its Noah, its rest. The carnal heart, like the raven, takes up with the world, and feeds on the carrion it finds there; but return thou to my rest, O my soul; to thy Noah, so the word is, Ps 116:7. And as Noah put forth his hand, and took the dove, and pulled her to him, into the ark, so Christ will save, and help, and welcome those that flee to him for rest.And the dove came in to him in the evening,.... It having been out all day delighting itself in a free air, and perching upon the trees, but yet not finding sufficient food, or a proper lodging, it returned to Noah at the evening for food and dwelling in the ark:

and, lo, in her mouth was an olive leaf plucked off: which might easily be done, and even an "olive branch", as the word sometimes signifies, and is by some (p) rendered; for it being now the summer season, young branches sprouted out, which being tender, were easily cropped: the Targum of Jonathan adds,"which it had took from the mount of Olives;''but there is no necessity to suppose it went so far from the ark, since Assyria, a country nearer, was a land of olive oil, like that of Judea; 2 Kings 18:32 and besides, olives grew in Armenia itself, where the ark rested. Gogarene, in Armenia, is said by Strabo (q) to produce olive trees; though a modern author says (r)"I do not see where the dove which was sent out of the ark could find an olive branch, if the ark be supposed to have rested on Mount Ararat, or any of the mountains in Armenia; for this sort of trees is not found hereabout, where the species must be lost, and yet olives are known to be a kind of trees which never die:''but the above accounts show it to be otherwise in ancient times:

so Noah knew the waters were abated from off the earth: by this he perceived not only that they were gone off the mountains, but the lower grounds, at least the hills on which olive trees delight to grow; and yet that they were only abated, and not entirely gone off, since the dove returned to him: this dove sent out the second time, and returning, may be considered as an emblem of a Gospel minister, comparable to a dove, for the dove like gifts of the Spirit of God, by which he is qualified for his work, and for his simplicity, harmlessness, meekness, and humility; and the olive leaf in its mouth may be an emblem of the Gospel, which is from Christ, the good olive; is the Gospel of peace, which an olive branch is a symbol of, proclaiming and publishing peace and reconciliation by Christ; and as that is ever green, the Gospel always continues, and is the everlasting Gospel, and which was brought, and more fully and clearly dispensed in the evening of the world; and by it, it is known that the waters of divine wrath are assuaged, and the people of God may be assured they will never return to come upon them.

(p) "ramum olivae", V. L. so Ainsworth, see Nehemiah 8.15. (q) Geograph. l. 11. p. 363. (r) Tournefort's Voyage to the Levant, vol. 3. p. 173.

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