How Long Did it Take Noah to Build the Ark, and Why It Matters

How much time did Noah spend building the Ark mentioned in the Bible, and why is it significant to us? The precise duration of the construction is not stated in the Bible, and there is limited information about the ship-building process during Noah’s lifetime, particularly when it comes to a vessel authorized by God. There are varying beliefs on the duration, with some suggesting it took Noah just 40 days, others saying 120 days, and there are even those who believe it took him as long as 300 years.

In this post, we’ll see what Scripture itself and Bible commentators say about how long Noah spent constructing the Ark, what other measures he took to safeguard the environment in the years leading up to the flood, and the lessons we can derive from this narrative in terms of our present relationship with the earth.

How was the ark supposed to be constructed?

The construction of the Ark was comprised of three stories: the bottom for animals, the middle for the family of Noah, and the top for God. It was likely made of cedar wood, sealed with pitch both inside and outside. Rabbi Yehuda Altein explains in Genesis that God gave clear instructions to Noah regarding the building of the Ark.

The construction of the ark was a meticulous process. The ark was illuminated either from the outside or through a window, with a precious and radiant stone called tzohar. It was measured to be 30 cubits in height, 50 cubits in width, and 300 cubits in length.

The Talmud explains why Noah’s Ark had three levels – one for Noah and his family, one for the animals, and one for tons of waste. Researchers from San Diego Zoo may have discovered that the amount of manure during the year on the Ark could have reached up to 800 tons. It is suggested that Noah’s family spent a lot of time shoveling manure.

To maintain the cleanliness of Noah’s Ark, Noah and his family diligently labored to separate and dispose of waste in designated areas, whether it be on land or in the water. This teaches us the valuable lesson of the benefits of living in a clean and healthy space, both industrially and naturally, where humans and animals can coexist harmoniously.

Noah’s wife and his sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth, are maintaining a sort of proto-Biodome inside the struggling Ark, which is facing a very imbalanced ecological level. Noah sees the world as an integrated “closed” system, and from him, we can learn a key lesson, even on a larger scale.

Why Was an Ark Needed?

God, in His great judgment against the wickedness of mankind, decided to send a devastating flood to destroy all life on Earth. The Lord saw that the wickedness of man had increased to such an extent that it filled the Earth. The biblical story of Noah tells us that God judged the people of the Earth with a Flood, sparing only Noah, his wife, and his three sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth, along with the animals on board the Ark.

They did not change in those 120 years. Noah said to the people that unless they changed their evil deeds and wicked ways, a flood would come as a sign and instructed him to build the Ark, choosing Noah as a messenger. According to the Bible, God gave humans 120 years before unleashing the most serious environmental catastrophe in human history as punishment for their excesses and misbehavior.

Theft, or illegal activity (chamas), is condemned as a transgression against the law, leading to eventual punishment. According to the teachings of the rabbis in the Talmud (Midrash Genesis Rabbah 31:5), individuals would set up a marketplace display filled with beans, and each individual would take an amount worth less than a penny to avoid legal repercussions.

After 120 years, the Flood arrived. God punished them gradually, with each drop. Without considering the consequences of their combined actions, the people simply carried on as if nothing was happening. In response, God brought forth another single drop of rain. “I won’t be playing by the book either, just like you,” said God.

Floods in Our Times and the Relevance of Noah

The United Nations, in 1988, established climate change, a theory for which Swedish Nobel chemist Svante Arrhenius received recognition in 1896, “to offer governments across the globe an accurate scientific understanding of the state of the world’s climate,” almost a hundred years after the establishment of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

The use of fossil fuels is releasing more and more carbon into the atmosphere, which is gradually ruining the once protective wetlands. In our modern times, we can see parallels between the actions of developing corporations and individuals, and the Biblical floods that threaten us today. It is a petty wrong that can continuously be committed, but if caught, justice should be served. Even nations concerned with the well-being of their populations and governments struggle to significantly change their actions. The warnings from the panel have largely been ignored by the world.

Since the time of Noah, when God warned of a period of 120 years, even the most advanced nations have faced constant threats of devastating floods. This has been the case for the past 120 years, ever since the introduction of Arrhenius’ theory on climate change.

The Extinction Event Caused by Humans, and Noah.

They paralyze transportation systems; they spread toxic pollutants and disease; they wreck agricultural crops and erode huge areas of topsoil; they cause many deaths; they permanently or temporarily displace people whose homes are destroyed; and they cause devastating harm in floods today.

The emotional impact of floods can be devastating, as people can lose their entire sense of security when they live in places where they can never return in many cases and where generations have lived.

The arrival of devastating flood events is now predicted to occur more intensely and frequently than each season. We are ill-prepared for their impact, as the actions of individuals seemingly inconsequential in combining can pose the greatest risk. This is even referred to as the Anthropocene, the age in which the sixth great extinction event on Earth, caused by humans, is taking place. It is only in Noah’s time that such great power to radically alter or destroy virtually all life on Earth could be ascribed to God. Now, for the first time, humans have the ability to do so.

In the same way as Noah, we should also commit ourselves to the identical, profoundly optimistic objective. The future generations have the potential to receive a habitable earth, thus we must initiate alterations immediately and make sustainability our most important concern. Dr. Bill McKibben states that if we make progress against climate change at a sluggish pace, we ultimately face defeat. We possess the power to determine a far weightier matter: how much time will it take for humanity to achieve sustainable living? Although we will never ascertain the exact duration it took Noah to physically construct the Ark.