Genesis 6:14 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Genesis 6:14, NIV: "So make yourself an ark of cypress wood; make rooms in it and coat it with pitch inside and out."

Genesis 6:14, ESV: "Make yourself an ark of gopher wood. Make rooms in the ark, and cover it inside and out with pitch."

Genesis 6:14, KJV: "Make thee an ark of gopher wood; rooms shalt thou make in the ark, and shalt pitch it within and without with pitch."

Genesis 6:14, NASB: "Make for yourself an ark of gopher wood; you shall make the ark with compartments, and cover it inside and out with pitch."

Genesis 6:14, NLT: "'Build a large boat from cypress wood and waterproof it with tar, inside and out. Then construct decks and stalls throughout its interior."

Genesis 6:14, CSB: ""Make yourself an ark of gopher wood. Make rooms in the ark, and cover it with pitch inside and outside."

What does Genesis 6:14 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

In the previous verse, God revealed to Noah that He would destroy all of humanity for their violence. What other details were given, we don't know. For our purposes, this is all Scripture has revealed. Now, God launches into specific instructions to Noah, describing exactly how to build the ark. Once again, what's recorded here in the Bible is not likely a complete transcript of God's discussions with Noah. Rather, it tells us the bare-bones basics of what this man is learning from God. Even with the instructions to follow, the text does not provide every detail needed to complete the construction of an ark. It does show us, though, that God's directions to Noah were very specific. God cared that Noah execute the construction of this craft according to God's particular plan.

Strictly speaking, God does not tell Noah to build a boat. He tells Noah to build an ark. It's possible that the word ark meant "box" or "chest." This same term is used to describe the vessel used to carry the Ten Commandments by Israel after leaving Egypt (Exodus 25:10–16). In reference to the "ark" built by Noah, there is no mention made of sails, or oars, or a rudder. This craft is meant to float, not travel. The dimensions given to Noah in the following verses describe a giant rectangular box. At one point in history, skeptics laughed at the idea of such a craft being seaworthy. Now, however, the proportions of large cargo ships are extremely similar to the outlines of Noah's ark.

Noah is told to build it with gopher wood, a material we aren't entirely sure of. Some scholars believe this is actually a reference to cedar, or cypress, while others think it might be from a now-extinct tree. Either way, it's a substance appropriate for a craft built for this purpose. Furthermore, Noah is directed to make rooms (or "nests") inside the ark, as well as to seal the spaces between the wood with pitch both inside and outside of the structure.

It should be noted that, in the context of the story, it's unlikely that Noah was expected to build this ark only using his own two hands. Just as the owner of a company can be said to have "built" something, when much of the labor is done by others, it seems reasonable to assume Noah used the help of his sons, and probably others, to construct this ark.