Genesis 8:8 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Genesis 8:8, NIV: "Then he sent out a dove to see if the water had receded from the surface of the ground."

Genesis 8:8, ESV: "Then he sent forth a dove from him, to see if the waters had subsided from the face of the ground."

Genesis 8:8, KJV: "Also he sent forth a dove from him, to see if the waters were abated from off the face of the ground;"

Genesis 8:8, NASB: "Then he sent out a dove, to see if the water was low on the surface of the land;"

Genesis 8:8, NLT: "He also released a dove to see if the water had receded and it could find dry ground."

Genesis 8:8, CSB: "Then he sent out a dove to see whether the water on the earth's surface had gone down,"

What does Genesis 8:8 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Noah has been sending out a raven on failed missions to discover if the ground had become dry enough to occupy (Genesis 8:7). Now, Noah turns to a dove. The dove was a clean animal in God's sight. Genesis 7:2–3 revealed that God considered some birds and animals clean and others unclean. God sent seven pairs of each of the clean animals on the ark, but only one pair of those that were unclean in His eyes.

That means Noah had at least seven pairs of doves to choose from for this mission. If the waters had subsided from the face of the ground, the dove might not come back. However, the dove would be expected to come back to the ark in search of food. If it came back empty-handed, Noah would assume that land was dried out enough for a bird to land on, but not yet ready to support life.