We study the Torah according to the triennial cycle every Sabbath (Why?), being aware of the teaching tools employed by Torah, and looking for them, so that we can get the message God is trying to convey.
Parsha (paragraph) divisions in this week’s Torah portion:
Gen 6:13-8:14 ends in a parsha stumah, a weak paragraph division.
The outline of the events in the parsha from Gen 6:13-8:14 (outlining helps me see patterns or chiastic structures):
1) Warning and preparation for judgment, Gen 6:13-22;
2) Command to enter the ark given, Gen 7:1-5;
3) Noah entered in, Gen 7:6-16;
4) Judgment of the wicked, Gen 7:17-24;
5) Preservation of the righteous, Gen 8:1-14.
The outline revealed an elegant chiastic structure:
1A) Gen 6:13-16 Instructions for the preservation of the righteous;
1B) Gen 6:17 Warning of the coming judgment;
1C) Gen 6:18-22 Instructions on who and what will enter the ark;
1D) Gen 7:1-3 Command to enter the ark;
1E) Gen 7:4 After seven more days the flood will come;
1F) Gen 7:5 Noah did according to all that YHVH commanded him;
CENTRAL AXIS Gen 7:6-9a Noah was 600 years old when the flood came; Noah and his family entered the ark with the animals by twos;
2F) Gen 7:9b As God had commanded Noah;
2E) Gen 7:10-12 After seven days the flood came;
2D) Gen 7:13-15 On that same day, they entered the ark;
2C) Gen 7:16 Who and what entered as YHVH commanded;
2B) Gen 7:17-24 Judgment of the wicked;
2A) Gen 8:1-14 Preservation of the righteous.
The Gen 6:13-8:14 parsha topic is the righteous are preserved through the judgment of the wicked.
Listen, I know hard times are coming on the earth – for the ungodly. We do not need to fear, because God is not sending the judgment on us. He will preserve us through the judgment. This is what Torah is trying to teach us, by having the central axis of the entire parsha, two chapters worth of narrative, be the single sentence that on the day the judgment came, Noah entered the ark (which is preservation). But please note how many times in this parsha a variation of “Noah did all that the Lord commanded him” appears. Repetition is a teaching tool of Torah!
Finding Messiah in Torah
Whenever we see a picture in Torah of miraculous deliverance from certain death, this is the Torah theme of resurrection, who is Messiah! The deliverance which God wrought for Noah is the same deliverance which God wrought for us through the blood of Jesus our Lord!
Notice also what God says in Gen 8:4: “In the seventh month, on the seventeenth day of the month, the ark rested upon the mountains of Ararat.”
The 17th day of the 7th month is seven days following the Day of Atonement (the Day of Atonement falls on the 10th day of the 7th month). The seventh day is the Sabbath of Rest. Notice that in this one small detail, God is telling us that Rest follows Atonement! (The sin of the earth had just been atoned for by the flood of judgment.) In fact, the verb used to say the ark “rested” is the same verb used in the Ten Commandments, to say that on the seventh day God “rested” from all His work of Creation!