The Torah very often uses a beautiful literary structure. The basic idea is that words, phrases, or other elements can be arranged to mirror each other, so that the text lays out a given set of meanings and then goes back through their parallels in the reverse order. Analyzing the use of chiasm (the formal name of this literary structure) can reveal a text’s intricate design and holistic nature. While most we usually remember is how the human and animal world was saved through the ark built by Noah, is it possible that we have almost completely missed the very point of this ancient Hebrew story?

Commonly pairs such as A and A’, B and B’ and so on are used to symbolize these “mirrored” elements. If we analyze the story of Noah in this way, we see a long pattern climaxing in line P (which lacks a parallel and signifies the main point) at the center of the chiasm. Here is an outline to illustrate the thematic chiasm in Genesis 6-9:

A Noah (6:10a)
__B Shem, Ham, and Japheth (6:10b)
___C Ark to be built (6:14-16)
____D Flood announced (6:17)
_____E Covenant with Noah (6:18-20)
______F Food in the ark (6:21)
_______G Command to enter the ark (7:1-3)
________H 7 days waiting for flood (7:4-5)
_________I 7 days waiting for flood (7:7-10)
__________J Entry to ark (7:11-15)
___________K The LORD (YHWH) shuts Noah in (7:16)
____________L 40 days of flood (7:17a)
_____________M Waters increase (7:17b-18)
______________N Mountains covered (7:19-20)
_______________O 150 days: water prevail (7:21-24)
________________P GOD REMEMBERS NOAH (8:1)
_______________O’ 150 days: waters abate (8:3)
______________N’ Mountain tops visible (8:4-5)
_____________M’ Waters abate (8:5)
____________L’ 40 days (end of) (8:6a)
___________K’ Noah opens window of ark (8:6b)
__________J’ Raven and dove leave ark (8:7-9)
_________I’ 7 days waiting for waters to subside (8:10-11)
________H’ 7 days waiting for waters to subside (8:12-13)
_______G’ Command to leave ark (8:15-17 [22])
______F’ Food outside ark (9:1-4)
_____E’ Covenant with all flesh (9:8-10)
____D’ No flood in the future (9:11-17)
___C’ Ark left (9:18a)
__B’ Shem, Ham and Japheth (9:18b)
A’ Noah (9:19)

The central element of the chiasm in Genesis 8:1 reads as follows:

וַיִּזְכֹּר אֱלֹהִים אֶת־נֹחַ וְאֵת כָּל־הַחַיָּה וְאֶת־כָּל־הַבְּהֵמָה אֲשֶׁר אִתּוֹ בַּתֵּבָה וַיַּעֲבֵר אֱלֹהִים רוּחַ עַל־הָאָרֶץ וַיָּשֹׁכּוּ הַמָּיִם׃

God remembered Noah and all the beasts and all the cattle that were with him in the ark, and God caused a wind to blow across the earth, and the waters subsided. (Gen 8:1)

Since the central element of the chiasm functions as the focal point of the entire story – the tipping point not to be missed – we must assign it the first importance. Everything else described in the story is also important, but not nearly as important as the message of Genesis 8:1 (God remembering Noah). This “event” marks the triumph of mercy over judgment. God remembered Noah, just as He will later remember Abraham (Gen 19:29) and other great figures of Israel’s redemptive history – and, perhaps most importantly, the people of Israel during the yet-to-come Passover deliverance from Egypt. At that time, we are told, God remembered his covenant with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (Exod 2:23-25).

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67 COMMENTS

  1. Dr. Eli Shalom. I think that we can add Berishit 6:8, to your chart as Noah finds favor in the eyes of Hashem.

    Hashem is disappointed with Adama and is willing to destroy all because of the separation (sin) that humanity had created.

    In your main point (P), Hashem could not forget Noah and his family because they were the hope for the existence of Adama on earth and the keepers of all creatures.

    Just my point of view and or 2 cents.

    Shalom and I love your topics as I grow spiritually and enjoy the Blessings of gaining a better understanding.

  2. Nov 2 (7:11 =Psalms 117 = Deliverance from Babylon) +40 days and 40 night = Chanukkah (Conception of the Messiah) +170 days = Passover/ Feast of First Fruits. Next stop: Ascension of the Messiah. Then Pentecost, Then Peter and the Sheet. Next Stop Paul’s Conversion. Final Stop First day of the first month which is Tishrei 1 (Day of the Trumpet)

  3. All of G-ds creation suffers because of sin. Noah spent 120 years building the Ark and brought the animals into the Ark in pairs of seven the number of perfection. G-ds animals are very important to him, you can imagine 120 years toiling to build a large vessel for the purpose of saving the land creatures. I believe we have let G-d down as many of these majestic creatures are going extinct because of mans greed. These creatures where with Adam in the beginning and communicated with man before the fall, saved from the flood and they will be changed in the twinkling of an eye when Yeshua returns, because they do not understand sin and because G-d loves them and for no other reason.G-d remembers Noah and G-d has a plan.

    • 1897 CE First Zionist Congress; August 29-31 First Zionist Congress convened by Theodor Herzl in Basel, Switzerland; Zionist Organization founded. 120 years to 2017 (Psalms 117) = Deliverance from Babylon.

      Gen 7:11 (Psalms 117) In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month, the same day were all the fountains of the great deep broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened. 

      Ezekiel’s wheel 3 times has the number 117=Psalms 117.

    • As i remember reading, Noah did not work on the ark for 120 years, but rather for 100 years. The 120 years were to be the days of mankind. Please explain to me if I am mistaken on this. Thanks

      • The Bible doesn’t actually say how long Noah took to build the ark. It was 120 years or less. It does relate however that 100 years before the flood, he had 3 sons. I guess Noah figured he would need help building the ark and repopulating the earth. 🙂

  4. Gen 8:4  And the ark rested in the seventh month, on the seventeenth day of the month, upon the mountains of Ararat. Feast of First Fruits.

    Gen 8:5  And the waters decreased continually until the tenth month: in the tenth month, on the first day of the month, were the tops of the mountains seen. Sivan 1 in that year could have been Pentecost.

    Gen 8:6  And it came to pass at the end of forty days, that Noah opened the window of the ark which he had made: What is 40 days after Pentecost? Is Elul 1 40 days after Pentecost.

    Gen 8:10  And he stayed yet other seven days; and again he sent forth the dove out of the ark; Peter and the Sheet.

    Gen 8:12  And he stayed yet other seven days; and sent forth the dove; which returned not again unto him any more. Paul’s Conversion.

    Gen 8:13  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.  (Day of Trumpet, Oct 10th, 2018)

  5. Entry to ark (7:11-15) Sept 11, 2018 was the Day of Trumpet which is Biblical Elul 1.
    ___________K The LORD (YHWH) shuts Noah in (7:16)
    ____________L 40 days of flood (7:17a) Oct 20th, 2018 is Marriage of the Groom and Bride and Armageddon.
    L’ 40 days (end of) (8:6a) Elul 1 is 40 days until Yom Kippur. Moshe and the Golden Calf. Yeshua’s Baptism. Sign of Jonas in Matt 12 was 687 BC. August 21 Solar Eclipse in 2017 over the USA ended on Elul 1 pointing to Yom Kippur as the 120th Jubilee year, the 70th Jubilee year and the 40th Jubilee year from Yeshua’s death. Lev 25:9-10, 20-23, 29th-30. Biblical Yom Kippur ends on Oct 20th 2018 with the marriage of the Groom and bride and Armageddon. Sept 10/11 Asteroid 2018 RC passed by as Elul 1 was beginning. Green comet passed by on the 11th (Yom Teruah). All the planets ended on the same side of the Sun on the 12. Here is the forecast for the 7th day after Elul 1: Mars at Perihelion and Moon at first Quarter and the Conjunction of the Moon and Saturn in Sagittarius. The Next 7 days is Fall Equinox on the Sabbath and possibly Revelation Trumpet Judgment 1.

  6. shalom. “God remembered Noah” tells me God did not forget Noah. He will not forget us or any of His promises. Sometimes it seems he has forgotten because the world is in such turmoil but look at what He has done with Israel. His days are not our days and His time is not our time. We must wait upon the Lord and trust that He will fulfill all his promises.

    • If we are on God’s Biblical calendar, then we are on His days and we watch for Signs in the Sun, Moon, and Stars on His Days, but if we are on the Julian calendar, or Satan’s calendar then we are not on His days or His time frame. Psalms is 19 books from Genesis and 47 books from Revelation. Hint: 1947 CE (Psalms 47 and Proclamation of Israel) + 70 years (Psalms 90:10)= 2017 (Psalms 117–Deliverance from Babylon) When: 2018= Psalms 118 with 3 events (Rapture, Armageddon (Oct 20th, 2018) and Millennium (Oct 25th, 2018). We know that Marriage of the Groom and Bride and Armageddon is on Yom Kippur and Millennium is Sukkot / Tabernacles (Psalms 118:15). Psalms 118:5 is rapture where Set me in a large place is mansions in John. Psalms 118:10-13 is All the Nations surrounds me is the Ezekiel 28-29 War which is WWIII so we have Judgment of the Nations on Yom Kippur. Psalms 1=1901. Psalms 17/18 = 1917 and 1918. Psalms 45-48 is 1945-1948. Psalms 52 is 1952. Psalms 67 is 1967. Psalms 107-117 is Revelation 2:10 10 days of Tribulation from Yom Teruah to Yom Kippur from 2007-2017, then one year from Yom Teruah to Yom Kippur, then 10 days from Yom Teruah to Yom Kippur. If the rapture is not on Yom Teruah (2018/5779) or Sukkot 1 (2017) then that leaves in 5779 either Yom Kippur or Sukkot 1 or 8 because the Jubilee year began on Yom Kippur in 5778 (Sept 30th or Oct 5) and one year is Sept 19th, 2018 but Biblically Yom Kippur is Oct 20th. Welcome to the Day of the Lord on Rabbinic Yom Kippur (Rev 8:1-5=Lev 16=Rev 6:12-17; and Isa 24:1-6). LOOK UP Monday and Tuesday for a Blue Orb in the Northern Hemisphere for your Redemption draweth neigh (NOW)!!

    • The Rabbinic Aviv began on March 18 prior to the Spring Equinox so all those who celebrated Passover did it in the winter (Song of Solomon 2). March 21 was the Spring Equinox so the Biblical month of Aviv/Abib bagan on April 16 New Moon with a Cross in the Corona of the Sun. On April 25th (Wednesday) , there was another cross in the Sun. Biblical Aviv had 3 signs. Biblical Iyaar had 6. Sivan went crazy with signs increasing. Tammuz became really crazy. Av was buzy with signs. Elul was busy with signs.

  7. On a previous post Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg April 23, 2018 at 4:15 am, you made the following comment:

    As I mentioned in another post – its important to keep in mind that biblical prophecy is circular, not linear, in nature. Patterns repeat and escalate. Events in 70 CE did not exhaust the meaning of prophecies that will find their ultimate fulfillment at the end of the age.

    Can you direct me to this post and also point me to other resources to gain a greater understanding of patterns in prophecy?

    Thank you!

    • Pamela the best way to gain more understanding with this is to take our course Revelation in the Jewish Context (you can see it in our course catalog). See top of the page.

    • Israel Bible Center equips you with the tools you need to enter into the Jewish world of Scripture. We provide first-rate teaching, and the opportunity to learn from some of the world’s top scholars. As a student, you will be able to interact personally with our teaching faculty, and gain access to hundreds of hours of Bible courses, including Leviticus and The New Testament and The Jewish Gospel of John I: The Arrival of the King. Become a part of the community of teachers and students at Israel Bible Center today!

  8. This is brilliant! Parallelism has always been my favorite part of literature to teach and I always thought that scripturally, this literary form was mainly found in the Book of Psalms… but look at it right hereat the beginning of the Bible!

  9. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg, This chaistic structure, which was used in other Old Testament writings, and thus is a form used in antiquity, demonstrates the unity of the text of Genesis chapters 6-8. Many liberal scholars have tried to argue for a piecemeal contruction of the narrative from other similar flood stories, but they missed the continuity shown by it. The magesty of the Righteousness of God and His dealings with mankind is far more clear in the Biblical text than other flood stories. It, Noah’s, is the True Narrative Account.

  10. I’m so grateful for being introduced to chiasms. Finding the main point or emphasis of the story teaches me so much about GOD. Joshua and Isaiah are where I have found the most. And Exodus.

  11. Presuming that the flood narrative is the redaction of two separate traditions (hard to unsee that once you see it!), do you think this chiasm would represent a deliberate work on the part of the redactor?

  12. I found this article quite interesting. Having studied the scriptures for a great many years and decades. I can say that cycles and numbers are a favorite of God. And all have a beginning from the beginning of the things done at creation’s history base. From the way YHWH schematically designed you to to the events that unfold across history. Prophecy timing is included. Even the Great Pyramid has a say as a clock in a timing cycle of the end times. (YHWH Star timing 1997/2004) For those who study ..Keep up the great work you have done so far!

  13. You say: God remembered Noah, as He will later remember Abraham and other great figures of Israel’s most importantly, the people of Israel during the yet-to-come Passover deliverance from Egypt.
    The bible says: In THESE LAST DAYS, He has spoken by His Son… After making purification for sins, (9:26 the consummation of the ages) He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty… waiting until His enemies are made His footstool. For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are sanctified. in a very little while, the Coming One will come and not delay. It Happened!!!

  14. Your program is too expensive, can you not teach or preach for free. Does the word of Yahweh Elohim entails a cost? The bible says something like, freely you receive, freely you give.
    I hope you understand my point.

    • Thank you for your comment, Rufina. The verse you cited refers to freely healing (Matt. 10:8). Nevertheless, these articles are completely free of charge to anyone, and I hope that you are blessed by them. If the courses are too expensive, then I invite you to just continue to enjoy the free insights and leave your edifying comments in them. God bless you!

    • We are very happy that you’ve joined our discussion forum. Would you believe that these articles are only a taste of what Israel Bible Center has to offer? We also provide comprehensive teaching on a variety of biblical, historical, and cultural topics. You might begin with Exodus and The New Testament or The Story of Our Hebrew Fathers: Abraham and Isaac. You’ll be amazed at the Jewish world that awaits you. Don’t delay another minute: enroll now!

  15. Interesting insight into the true meaning of the whole history, thank you. What I do not understand is this: when Adam failed the punishment is for all the seed of Adam, come Jesus and a win and selection got introduced into the history. WHY! WHY!! WHY!!! is it not for all, no question ask. After all Jesus represents all. Thank you.

    • If a father has to sell himself into slavery, will his future son be free or slave? And redemption comes to those who put their trust and faith in Yeshua; not to everyone automatically.

  16. With respect to a previous comment. In the days of Creation…All things were created equal being perfect and on a continous perfect path. Obedience was a part of the perfect path of trust with God. When Adam and Eve disobeyed, perfect trust ended. (When you move away to a different city, your life of living in that city ends.) Man no longer could be trusted to always be perfect. As a new creation, that meant that it could happen anytime by replication. In other words, imperfection ability could be passed genetically. (Like a car model design imperfection needing dealer fixes.)

  17. I downloaded Becoming-Isreal it explains The book of Genesis very well but it completely ignores Chapter 6:1-7. This could be the key to why God needed to take such drastic action as the flood. Dr. Eli could you provide an explanation of these verses which mentions the Sons of God.

    • Israel Bible Center equips you with the tools you need to enter into the Jewish world of Scripture. We provide first-rate teaching, and the opportunity to learn from some of the world’s top scholars. As a student, you will be able to interact personally with our teaching faculty, and gain access to hundreds of hours of Bible courses, including The Story of Our Hebrew Fathers: Abraham and Isaac and The Revelation in a Jewish Context II : Discovery. Become a part of the community of teachers and students at Israel Bible Center today!

        • Sorry Robert, the link is correct but the post is actually not publicly visible yet; only to students. Basically, I think that the “Sons of God” probably referred to powerful and influential men who felt they were above the law.

          • The only explanation that makes sense as to why God found it necessary to destroy all inhabitants of the earth except Noah and his family is because rebelling angels (sons of God) had corrupted the gene pool by having intercourse with earthly women. This was part of Satan’s plan.

          • Jesus tells us that angels are not sexual, but the book of Enoch supports your position. I choose to put more stock in Messiah’s words than the person that wrote Enoch.

          • We are very happy that you’ve joined our discussion forum. Would you believe that these articles are only a taste of what Israel Bible Center has to offer? We also provide comprehensive teaching on a variety of biblical, historical, and cultural topics. You might begin with The Stories of Jewish Christ: First Century Diversity or The Jewish Gospel of John I: The Arrival of the King. You’ll be amazed at the Jewish world that awaits you. Don’t delay another minute: enroll now!

  18. Genesis 6 clearly states that the sons of God went to the daughters of humans and had children by them. There are strong suggestions here and elsewhere in the bible that these were not ordinary males because of the resulting offspring. Jesus only said angels do not marry.

      • I agree with Robert Loose that Jesus only said that angels do not marry.Remember he was answering a question from the Sadducees who question resurrection.And since they recognize only the Pentateuch as canonical scripture,Jesus respected their standpoint by referring to Ex 3…

        • …respected their standpoint by referring to Ex 3 (and not, for example, to Is 26, which is more telling!). Now, having somewhat accommodated their procedural requirements, Jesus could not help himself but throw a monkey wrench into the proceedings: the Saduccees don’t believe in angels either! St-Paul-used-the-same-trick-to-great-comical-effect-in-Acts-23.

          • …So we can’t read too much in something Jesus said half in jest. Anyway the logic behind his answer seems to be: people get married in order to have children as a way to continue living vicariously through their offsprings. But since they can’t die after resurrection, there-is-no-need-for-after-life-existence-through-progeny, like angels.

  19. Is this really how Jews interpret the Holy Writ? i believe there are poetry in Hebrew but also narratives in telling stories and historical episodes. The psalms and wisdom books are chiefly poetry. Thee is nothing in the historical story of the worldwide flood to denote it was just poetry.

    • The article is not saying that the story is “just poetry”. The original author seems to have built up a chiastic structure to tell the story of Noah so as to highlight the most important aspect. Of course the story is recording an historical event, but it is so much more than just a written account.

    • Israel Bible Center equips you with the tools you need to enter into the Jewish world of Scripture. We provide first-rate teaching, and the opportunity to learn from some of the world’s top scholars. As a student, you will be able to interact personally with our teaching faculty, and gain access to hundreds of hours of Bible courses, including Exodus and The New Testament and The Revelation in a Jewish Context II : Discovery. Become a part of the community of teachers and students at Israel Bible Center today!

  20. First time on this page find it interesting, but I am surprised with some of your answers and some you are asked and do not respond, like Genesis 6, sons of GOD are angels created directly by GOD, they left their home in Heaven they produced a race that had

    • In English, forget is the antonym for remember. But the Hebrew zachor would be better translated “recall, mention, be mindful of”. Of course God didn’t forget Noah.

    • We are very happy that you’ve joined our discussion forum. Would you believe that these articles are only a taste of what Israel Bible Center has to offer? We also provide comprehensive teaching on a variety of biblical, historical, and cultural topics. You might begin with Exodus and The New Testament or The Stories of Jewish Christ: First Century Diversity. You’ll be amazed at the Jewish world that awaits you. Don’t delay another minute: enroll now!

    • In a way, I suppose it is. It is a master plan to reverse all the curses and return the world to the perfection of Eden.

      • Salvation history is summed up in the chiasm found in Jn 16:28: “I came forth from the Father and have come into the world,again I am leaving the world and going to the Father”.Of course what happens in the middle is the nexus: he embraces us all by his cross.

        • Man, that is fire. If I use Jesus’s testimony for my own, then I don’t need to worry about my food or clothing or place to live…I have essentially destroyed the dash between the dates on my tombstone…or made them more significant. Thank you for this terrific insight.

  21. Today is my birthday. In seven days my feet will stand on the ground in Israel. This is pure speculation but I wonder if God’s sovereignty in the chiastic structure of redemption extends to individuals, and how detailed it is. I think God is holding all things together like that.

  22. loved learning about “the point of the story”. also love your sense of humour Dr Eli, re that Noah had 3 sons perhaps to help repopulate the earth, which they did!

  23. Dr. Eli, I have found an important chaismus also in Genesis 2:18-20. The heading is: It is not good for Adam to be alone. The solution to this judgment, or better, the non solution, as it turns out, is given to us in a literary device.
    A. I will make a helper fit for Adam.
    B. I created everything with body and breath for Adam to name. (because)
    C. Whatever Adam calls anything alive is its name.
    B.Adam named everything alive with body and breath.
    A. Adam still has no helper fit for him.
    We seem to have the very power of life and death in our tongues. And on our failure to call good what God called good, we are in poverty across the board. What do you think? All of this happens before the “woman” who we have made into the villian. Have we erred with our tongues? Why on earth do we have common and unclean people if we did not do that to them?

    • Naming things right is important, but are all seeds of violence going back to misnaming. I am not sure I follow, perhaps you would be willing to clarify.

  24. Dr. Eli, please tell me…can it be that the restoration of peace will come upon our renaming of this Creation? We call ourselves worthy, others are common…those unclean…these are fools…These are things that Jesus forbids. He seems to say that if I call someone a fool, then I am the diablos, I am the problem of the world. If he came to destroy the work of the devil, then it will be in the direction of the human tongue. Am I even in the ballpark? Because these ideas fit well in our Bible.

  25. In response to Mr. David Inman’s comments, I would like to recommend a Dr. Michael Sedler, who writes extensively w/even a self-study wrkbk, @ our use of our tongues, gossip, etc., He also is a social worker, pastor, Messianic jewish gentleman in Spokane, WA. He is both Biblical & practical. Don’t neglect IBC’s & Dr. Eli’s wonderful works, but this does sound like a topic of interest to you. Blessings to you both.

    • Thank you, jane mazzola, for the response. I just bought Dr. Sedler’s book, Stop the Runaway Conversation. I am going to read it closely starting today. Thank you, again.

  26. Thanks for this Dr. Eli. Remembering doesn’t imply God has forgotten. “In wrath remember mercy.” It was His very nature to be merciful. Amen to your great article.

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