Genesis 7:1 “And the Lord said unto Noah, ‘Come thou and all they house into the ark; for thee have I seen righteous before me in this generation.’”
I sometimes receive correspondence from those who read my studies asking where I came up with a particular rendering for certain words. They say that they have searched out the lexicons and Strong’s and found nothing that even remotely suggest the rendering I came up with.
The Semitic languages like the Akkadian, Sumerian, Ugaritic, Phoenician or Aramaic share many words, called loan words, and sometimes I will trace a particular root word through its Semitic origins to see if there is an application for a certain Semitic root to the particular verse I am studying.
Then in many cases I will go to the masters of the Hebrew language, the Jewish sages and rabbis who have a much deeper understanding of the language than I and most Christians including Christian scholars would have. In Genesis 7:1 I found an interesting rendering for the word tebah which we render as ark. Rabbi Yisroel Ben Eliezer who was an eighteenth century Rabbi and one such master of the Hebrew language writes that another rendering for the word tebah is word. Hence Rabbi Ben Eliezer renders this passage as, “And the Lord said unto Noah, ‘Come thou and all they house into the word.’”
Rabbis Ben Eliezer indicates that this is a play on the word tebah with its dual meaning of both ark and word and is suggesting that God not only instructed Noah and his family to enter the ark, but to also enter into a time of prayer and study of the Word of God.
As a Christian I see an even more profound play on words here. In John 1:1 we learn that in the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God. The Word as we Christians view it is Jesus Christ and when we enter into the Word we receive life eternal.
Even here in the story of the flood, God is giving us a picture of his plan of Salvation. Just as Noah and his family had to enter the ark (tabah) to be saved from the destruction of the flood, we must enter into the tabah, the Word or Jesus Christ to know and experience spiritual salvation from the destruction of the fires of hell.
This word tabah (ark, word) comes from the Egyptian word for a coffin or sarcophagi. In ancient Egypt the sarcophagi was used in preparation for the afterlife. Many spells were written on the sarcophagus which was to be a vehicle to the afterlife. Hence we have the origin of the rendering for tabah as word. With this picture we find that the word tabah to be appropriate for an ark of safety. It would also be appropriate for the Word in Jesus Christ who is our ark to safety from eternal destruction.
Even today as we look around and wonder if the judgment of God is going to fall upon us or upon our nation we have only to look to our tabah (ark, Word) for our safety. If our nation comes under the judgment of God we will most likely hear God say to us, “Come now and all they house into the tabah.
I read where one rabbi commented on why God made Noah spend 120 years building an ark. God could have figured out an easier way to protect Noah and his family. However, I agree with the rabbi who said that God had Noah spend 120 years visibly building an ark of safety to warn the people of the coming judgment and give them a chance to repent.
I read a news article this morning that when Israel came to the United States for a routine re-supply of missiles recently for their Iron Dome that they purchase from the United States, Congress and the Pentagon refused shipment. No reason was given, but the Red Alert APP on my IPAD has been sounding more than ever. Although there is little in the news media about a new round of attacks it seems Hamas has stepped up their attacks to drain Israel of their defensive missiles. I can’t believe the United States would not supply the needed missiles for Israel’s Iron Dome, particularly since Israel is paying for them. I belong to that school of thought that if this nation turns its back on Israel we will face the judgment of God.
I am concerned as to how this would break God’s heart as well as leaving Israel without its defense. As far as this nation coming under judgment, yeah, like Noah I am joining in the voices that are being raised to warn of coming judgment and I am pointing my tabah, my ark of safety, The Word as their only means of salvation. If judgment does fall on this nation I am confident that I am a queen in the palm of God’s hand during judgment and I will hear the voice of God say, “Come thou into the tabah (the ark, The Word).