The Story Of Flood: Sod (secret) Of Noah’s Ark

We’ve been discussing the story of the Flood and touching different themes here, however, I think you would agree that the Ark of Noah is at the very heart of this story. Therefore, it is the Ark that becomes God’s prophetic message to future humanity. At times people have thrown a bottle containing a message, into the sea, and years later it is found and the message contained within it is read. This is the picture I have for the Ark of Noah: the prophetic message is inside this story, and it is our task to ‘unseal’ it in order to understand the message. Noah himself probably did not realize the prophetic meaning of his own story (just as people who throw a bottle into the sea don’t know when and by whom it will be found) – but God definitely did know: He threw this sealed Ark into the waves, for us to unseal and to read. Today, as we open this ancient message, what do we find there?



First of all, who was Noah? Who was this man who was chosen to give a new beginning to the whole of humanity? Why was he chosen? Scripture tells us that Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord.[1] Since we are dealing here with the last level of PARDES – sod, secret, mystery – we have to ask: what does it have to do with Noah? What is the secret of him finding grace in the eyes of the Lord?

After everything we’ve discussed here already, the very first, and most obvious, suggestion would concern Noah’s bloodline. Various commentators assume that the expression “perfect in his generations”[2]  might be read, and even should be read, in the sense of his perfect bloodline : Noah was perfect in his genealogy.  His bloodline was pure, in that it was totally human, and that was the first and most obvious reason why God chose him.

We have to remember though, that the God of the Bible is first of all God of the hearts. That is why I have no doubt that Noah’s heart was also pure and that he indeed, was righteous before God. Scripture tells us very clearly that Noah ‘walked with God’[3] (by the way, there are only two people in the whole Bible that are described in this way: Enoch and Noah). Yes, Noah had a pure bloodline, but he was also righteous before God; in fact, these two things are connected and go together: Noah’s bloodline remained uncorrupted because he was righteous. He was completely separated from the sinful world and sinful people (and half-people) around him – and that’s why he was perfect in his generations. Do you know that in Hebrew the word kadosh, קדוש holy, also means “separated”: the words “at mekudeshet lee”, את מקודשת לי, pronounced by the groom to the bride in the Jewish wedding ceremony under the chuppah, simultaneously mean “you are separated to me” and “you are holy to me.”  This is exactly what God would later expect and require from His people: to be holy, and to be separated from the sin of this world.  Noah, with his pure heart, was separated from the corrupted world and therefore passed on a pure human bloodline, not corrupted by the demonic seed. Thus, Noah was a perfect candidate for God’s plan.



However, that is only part of the message that God is sending to us through this story.  The central point of the story of the Flood – God remembered Noah[4] – reminds us that this message is not only about man, but also about God. So, what is the second part of the mystery that God wants us to see in this story?

We will find the second clue in the Ark itself. You might remember that, when God instructed Noah how to build the ark, He commanded him to pitch it within and without with pitch[5]. In English, it sounds like a mere technical description, and you may never have given much thought to this verse. However, when we read in Hebrew, we discover here the rootכפר  (kafar: kaf- pei-reish) : vehafarta ota mibait umihutz  bekofer. You are probably familiar with Yom Kippur – this is the same root that we have in the word “Kippur”. Yom Kippur means the Day of Atonement, therefore the meaning of this verb has to be: “to atone”. We know, however, that Yom Kippur, as well as the whole concept of atonement, will only be introduced much later. Why then, would this verb be used here, in the story of Noah? We don’t find the word “atonement,” or anything pertaining to atonement, in our translated texts, whatever language we read. So what’s going on here? Why does this amazing root word occur here in the Hebrew text – and why then does it disappear in translation? This word is too significant, too deep, too important for all its future redemptive meanings, and therefore can’t be ignored.

This is a beautiful example of how deep and multifaceted the Hebrew language is. Turn with me to a dictionary, and you will be overwhelmed (as I was, and have been ever since) by the incredible depth of His word. Since Hebrew is a root language, most of the words are formed from a three-consonant root by changing vowels and by adding different prefixes and suffixes. Thus, we find in the dictionary two verbs from the same root, with two completely different meanings:

(qal):  כפר  (kafar)  – to pitch something with pitch; and

(piel) כיפר (kiper) – to atone, to pardon

Can you imagine? This very technical command – you shall pitch it within and without with pitch – in Hebrew, this sounds almost like a theological statement.  We all know of course, that the Flood and the Ark are great symbols of punishment of the wicked and salvation of the righteous; however, without Hebrew, we completely lose something that is obvious in the original text: even phonetically, the story of Noah is the story of redemption and atonement, the word “to atone” being actually built into the original text!

Do you see what is going on here? The language of Torah is given by God, and therefore it is different from any other human language: the meanings that are yet to come are shown here through the regular meanings of the words. More often than not, the words of Torah are pregnant with these future meanings – with something that is yet to come, that was not seen by man, but was installed there by God. Here we find the Sod, the Secret that God wants us to see in the story of Noah: Yes, a man has to be separated from the corrupted world and to walk with God – and yet, even those within the ark of Noah were not ‘perfect’ and still needed to be “pitched” by God:  within and without.  From inside and from outside.


[1] Gen. 6:8

[2] Gen.6:9

[3] Gen.6:9

[4] Gen.8:1b

[5] Gen.6:14


If these articles whet your appetite for discovering the hidden treasures of the Hebrew Bible, I would be happy to provide more information (and also a  discount) regarding eTeacher courses. I also encourage you to read my book, Abaraham had two sons: this is the   only Messianic book that is written according to PARDES layers of meaning, (click here for my books:

About the author

Julia BlumJulia is a teacher and an author of several books on biblical topics. She teaches two biblical courses at the Israel Institute of Biblical Studies, “Discovering the Hebrew Bible” and “Jewish Background of the New Testament”, and writes Hebrew insights for these courses.

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  1. MG

    Fascinating! I have ALWAYS struggled with what seemed a clear cut declaration on Noah’s genetic purity since he couldn’t possibly be genetically pure unless his parents were both genetically pure – which then sets up contradiction to Noah being the ONLY one of genetic purity.

    Upon reading this article, I feel…what’s the right word – uplifted? – to think of Noah’s purity being more about righteousness, which then allows him to be a sort of High Priest to purify/atone on behalf of his wife, sons, and daughters-in-law! I love that idea so much!

    That said, I also can’t help wondering if there is another possibility not yet explored – if the “in all his generations” is less about his own genetic purity and more about his children’s genetic purity? As in, if his lone righteousness was that he alone chose an equally uncorrupted wife (forgoing whatever physical prowess came with intermingling for their children) which meant their sons were in corrupted…and perhaps Noah’s pitching granted atonement for all future descendants. I don’t know, it is just an idea that popped into my head while considering the atonement angle – I run with such considerations sometimes too much, I guess. 🙂

  2. Robbie Beaver

    Thank the Creating King and you for this insight, it lead me to look for the next time the King James used pitch and it was Exodus 2:3 where pitch was used to save Moses in his ark. But that pitch was the Hebrew word zepheth, which is used just three times, once here and twice in Isaiah 34:9.

    Isaiah 34:9- And the streams thereof shall be turned into pitch, and the dust thereof into brimstone, and the land thereof shall become burning pitch.

    The first time the word for pitch and atonement was used it saved Noah and us , the second time pitch was used it saved Moses, who was used by our Creator to save Israel by bringing judgement upon Egypt and that word is used one other time in Isaiah 34:9 in a chapter which seems to bring judgement upon the nations.

    You probably knew this but it is nice to be one in the mind of our Saviour

    1. Julia Blum

      Robbie, it’s really wonderful that you can read Hebrew and see the difference between Hebrew word for “pitch” in Genesis 6 and in Exodus 2, I am very impressed. I think, it’s worth a separate study, these three times of zepheth in Tanach. Thank you!

  3. Ian

    Julia, thanks for sharing. I rather agree with your two points on ‘Noah being perfect before God’ and the ‘pitch’ being a picture of the atonement. Also agree with some of the comments made by others.
    In addition I would like to add:
    I see a picture of the act of sealing as a coming of the Holy Spirit first upon Jesus at His baptism in Jordan and of the believer when the Holy Spirit “fell on them” – eg Acts 8:16; 10:44; 11:15; 9.
    see John 6:27 ; Ephesians 1:13, and 4:30.
    Also agree with Antwi; the whole picture of the ark being ‘immersed’ in water, going through the waters which resulted in death to the old life and a rising into new life for Noah; a real cleansing…just like the Red Sea crossing was for Israel their baptism unto Moses (1 Cor 10) – a death to the old life and an entrance into a new life. A cutting off of the power of the Pharoah and his host over Israel.

    In fact, the Holy Spirit had Moses use the word (forgive me all you Hebrew experts) ‘yeshua’ in Exodus 14:13; and again in 15:2 , and the word ‘yasha’ in 14:30. And even the very day that the Lord’s salvation occured is detailed – “THAT DAY”.
    Note also these words are not used in reference to the Passover Lamb night 3 days before.
    Note also that it was only the firstborn of each household who had to be protected – ONLY the firstborn, not the whole family (see Mat 1:25; Rom 8:29; Col 1:15,18; Heb 12:23).
    Whereas every single Israelite was at risk of death or re enslavement if they (whoever) did not cross over – go through the waters with Moses. Every one was to go throught those waters to get completely free of Pharoah and his army. All pictures, and shadows of something better because of Jesus – Yeshua Ha Messhiach. Blessed be God forever.

    Every detail of these things are not without significance, as is even the dimensions of the Ark and all its structure. I have only seen some things by the grace of God…I have much to learn. What a Book of LIfe.

  4. Angeline

    Thank you Julia, you are always great and make us look and see. I can picture the word “pitch” working the same way in Exodus 2:2-3, the appearance of the second arc. “But when she could hide him no longer, she got a papyrus basket[a] for him and coated it with tar and pitch. Then she placed the child in it and put it among the reeds along the bank of the Nile. “. Moses is separated, protected within and without. Like the message in the bottle you mentioned, he is discovered by Pharaoh’s daughter.

  5. Antwi Felix Twum

    Of course the articles really whet my appetite, but this particular one I think is outstanding. Personally, I had always thought that there’s something hidden in this particular verse:- goes like this; Ch.7:11 “In the six hundred year of Noah’s life, in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month, on that day all the fountains of the great deep were broken up and the windows of heaven were opened…….” So was the ark really floating on the surface of the flood, or it was caught in between the fountains of the great deep and the rains from above? A type of immersion? Baptism, b, cos you said; Noah was asked to “pitched the ark within and without” which is the same as atonement and it’s too important, too deep, significant and all its future redemptive meanings. Today, as a Christian I understand that for one to get safe from this corrupt dworld, you need to be immersed in water, “baptism”. And why the flood came down exactly on the six hundredth birthday of Noah? I mean why the number “6”? Is it just after Noah had gone through all the six dimensions of the world reality, does it coincide with any numerical value according to Judaism teaching?
    Confession! You really make my day, keep on throwing more Light, you are a channel. Next month I will order your book as for the course, please wait for me.
    Thanks Julia.

    1. Julia Blum

      Thank you, Antwi, for your kind words and for your profound thoughts. I really liked your question regarding number 6. I am afraid, I will have to whet your appetite even more here: I am always telling my students about number 6 during our first or second class, when we talk about “sixth day” of creation. So, it looks like you have no choice 🙂 Email me when you are ready, I am really looking forward to seeing you in the class !