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Genesis 8:13-17 meaning

The flood waters had completely dried up. But Noah waited until God said to leave the ark before they left. God commanded them to be fruitful and multiply on the earth.

Noah went into the ark seven days before it began to rain (Genesis 7:4, 10). It rained forty days and nights (Genesis 7:12). The flood waters prevailed for 150 days (Genesis 7:24, 8:3). In Chapter 8:15-16, God says they can come out of the ark. Genesis 7:11 tells us that on the six hundredth year of Noah's life, in the second month, on the seventeenth day of the month, on the same day all the fountains of the great deep burst open. Now, in the second month, on the twenty-seventh day of the month of Noah's life, the earth was dry. Noah and his family spent over one year on the ark. Note the precision in dates. It seems clear that one of the messages is that this is not a parable, but an actual historical account.

Observe that even after the earth was dry, Noah waited almost two more months for the command of God before exiting the ark. We are not told why. It could be in part that God is waiting for the ground to dry sufficiently that the creatures on the ark don't get stuck in the mud. God commands that all the occupants of the ark now depart. Noah, his family, and the animals were to multiply, be fruitful, and increase on the earth (Genesis 1:22). They were to repopulate the world. The command to be fruitful and multiply on the earth was a command to get back to the work that was established "in the beginning." They had entered the ark and successfully rode out the storm of God's judgment. They were delivered intact by the mercy of God. 

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