What does Genesis 8:13 mean?
ESV: In the six hundred and first year, in the first month, the first day of the month, the waters were dried from off the earth. And Noah removed the covering of the ark and looked, and behold, the face of the ground was dry.
NIV: By the first day of the first month of Noah's six hundred and first year, the water had dried up from the earth. Noah then removed the covering from the ark and saw that the surface of the ground was dry.
NASB: Now it came about in the six hundred and first year, in the first month, on the first of the month, that the water was dried up from the earth. Then Noah removed the covering of the ark, and looked, and behold, the surface of the ground had dried up.
CSB: In the six hundred first year, in the first month, on the first day of the month, the water that had covered the earth was dried up. Then Noah removed the ark's cover and saw that the surface of the ground was drying.
NLT: Noah was now 601 years old. On the first day of the new year, ten and a half months after the flood began, the floodwaters had almost dried up from the earth. Noah lifted back the covering of the boat and saw that the surface of the ground was drying.
KJV: And it came to pass in the six hundredth and first year, in the first month, the first day of the month, the waters were dried up from off the earth: and Noah removed the covering of the ark, and looked, and, behold, the face of the ground was dry.
Verse Commentary:
This is the fourth specific date we're given in the timeline of the events surrounding the flood and its aftermath. The first was the day the rains came. The second was the day the ark landed in the mountains of Ararat. The third was day the tops of the mountains became visible above the waves. One reason for giving such specific dates is to emphasize the historical nature of the text. The story of the flood is not characterized as "once upon a time," but as an actual event in the real world.

This date, the 601st year of Noah's life, on the first day of the first month, is the day Noah saw with his own eyes that the ground was finally dry. First, Noah removed the covering from the ark. We're not sure exactly what this means. It could indicate that Noah realized the rains were truly done and a covering was needed no longer. In any case, the act of removing the covering gave him a clear view of the world around the ark. He saw dry ground. The land was ready to support him, his family, and every kind of animal, insect, and bird on the boat. Or, at least it appeared to be dry. But, apparently it wasn't quite ready. The next verse will reveal that they did not disembark for another two months, until God gave them explicit approval to do so.
Verse Context:
Genesis 8:1–19 describes the process of God drying out the earth following the flood. Noah and his family and the animals wait for the waters to recede. Noah uses birds as a test to see if any land is nearby. When the time is finally right, a full year after they entered, God commands Noah, his family, and all the animals to leave the ark. Their mission from God is to swarm over the earth, multiply, and begin again.
Chapter Summary:
Even as all other life was being destroyed, God didn't forget Noah and the animals. He stops the deluge of water flowing from above and below and causes a great wind to blow to begin drying out the earth. The ark comes to rest on the mountains of Ararat. There, its occupants wait for the flood waters to go down. After a full year aboard, Noah and his family and the animals finally disembark. Noah builds an altar in worship to God and offers animal sacrifices. God commits to never curse the earth as He had through the flood, and to never again strike down all life on earth.
Chapter Context:
Genesis 6 and 7 explain the events leading up to the flood, and the actual catastrophe itself. After the devastation and destruction are over, God begins to dry out the earth in Genesis 8. The waters recede, Noah and the animals finally leave after a year aboard, and Noah offers animal sacrifices in worship to God. God commits to never again strike down all life on earth at once. As long as the earth remains, living things will enjoy the cycles of day, night, and seasons. The following chapters describe the re-population of earth by mankind, leading up to another instance of God's intervention, at the Tower of Babel (Genesis 11).
Book Summary:
The book of Genesis establishes fundamental truths about God. Among these are His role as the Creator, His holiness, His hatred of sin, His love for mankind, and His willingness to provide for our redemption. We learn not only where mankind has come from, but why the world is in its present form. The book also presents the establishment of Israel, God's chosen people. Many of the principles given in other parts of Scripture depend on the basic ideas presented here in the book of Genesis. Within the framework of the Bible, Genesis explains the bare-bones history of the universe leading up to the captivity of Israel in Egypt, setting the stage for the book of Exodus.
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