Genesis  ◦   Chapter 8

1God watched over Noah and all the animals – wild and tame – that were with him in the boat, and he sent a wind to blow over the earth, and the waters receded. 2By this time, the geysers of water from below the earth and the rain from the water that had been above the earth had stopped. 3The water steadily drained away from the land. At the end of one hundred and fifty days, they had significantly receded – 4so much so that on the seventeenth day of the seventh month the boat came to rest on the mountains of Ararat. 5The waters continued to drain from the land during the next three months, and on the first day of the tenth month the peaks of the mountains became visible.

6Forty days after the mountain peaks were visible, Noah opened the window he had made in the boat 7and released a raven, but it kept flying out, coming back, and resting on the boat, until the water finally dried up from the earth. 8Next he released a dove, to see if the water had receded from the valleys. 9But the dove could find no place to land, because water still covered the surface of the earth, so it flew back to Noah in the boat. He reached out his hand and brought the dove back inside the boat. 10Seven days later he again released a dove from the boat. 11When the dove returned that evening, it carried a fresh olive leaf in its beak! Then Noah knew that the water had finally receded from the valleys. 12He waited another seven days and again released a dove, but this time it did not return.

13By the first day of the first month of Noah’s six hundred and first year, the water had drained from the land. Noah removed the covering from the boat and saw that the surface layer of the ground was dry. 14By the twenty-seventh day of the second month, the ground was completely dry.

15Then God said to Noah, 16“Leave the boat, you, your wife, and your sons and their wives.17Bring out all the animals that are with you – the birds, wild and tame animals, and all the small creatures that scurry along the ground – so they can reproduce on the earth and grow, multiply and increase in numbers upon it.”

18So Noah came out of the boat, together with his wife, sons and their wives. 19All the wild and tame animals and the small animals that scurry along the ground, and all the birds – everything that moves on the earth – came out of the boat in groups of the same kind.

20Immediately after leaving the boat, Noah built an altar to the Lord. He sacrificed one of each of the clean animals and birds, which symbolized his faith in the Messiah (the sacrificial Lamb), who will come and burn sin (represented by the animal’s internal fat) out of the hearts of human beings. 21How sweet to the Lord is the fragrance of eradicating sin and saving people! So the Lord said to himself, “Never again will I need to change the face of the entire earth because humanity is in danger of destroying themselves. Even though they remain infected with fear and selfishness from birth, never again will I have to take such drastic measures and excise all living creatures in order to save the species, as I have done this time. 22As long as this earth lasts – planting and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will continue.”