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The Blue Letter Bible

Don Stewart :: What Was the Duration of the Flood?

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Don Stewart
Though many people assume the Flood lasted only forty days and forty nights, the Bible does not say that. When the days of the flood are totaled we find that Noah and his family, as well as the animals, were in the ark a total of 371 days. The Bible says the following about what occurred:

Noah Leaves

Bible tell us when Noah entered the ark:

In the six hundredth 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 (Genesis 7:11).

The Bible also records when Noah and his family disembarked from the ark.

And it came to pass in the six hundred and first year, in the first month, the first day of the month, that the waters were dried up from the earth . . . and in the second month, on the twenty-seventh day of the month, the earth was dried (Genesis 8:13,14).

Hence, the people and animals were in the ark for over one year.


The chronology of events was as follows: The rain poured down in torrents for the first forty days and nights. After that it continued to rain lightly for the next one hundred and ten days.

And the waters prevailed on the earth one hundred and fifty days. Then God remembered Noah . . . The fountains of the great deep and the windows of heaven were also stopped and the rain from heaven was restrained (Genesis 7:24, 8:1,2).

The waters then abated for the next seventy-four days until Noah could see the tops of the mountains.

And the waters decreased continually. In the tenth month, on the first day of the month, the tops of the mountains were seen (Genesis 8:5).

The seventy-four days can be calculated by adding from the seventeenth day of the seventh month until the first day of the tenth month. There were thirteen remaining days in the seventh month. The eighth and ninth month were made up of thirty days each. The first day of the tenth month would be the seventy fourth day.

Forty days later Noah sent out a raven to see if the waters had abated (Genesis 8:6,7).

Seven days after this he sent out a dove which returned to the ark (Genesis 8:8,9). After another seven days, he sent the dove out again which also returned. And he waited yet another seven days before he again sent the dove out from the ark (Genesis 8:10).

Waited Longer

The Bible then records that he waited another seven days before sending out the dove the third time (Genesis 8:12). This time the dove did not return. Twenty-nine days later Noah removed the covering from the ark (Genesis 8:13). Fifty-seven days later God told Noah to leave the ark (Genesis 8:14-17).


When these figures are added up they total 371 days: 150 days for the rain, seventy-four days for the waters to abate, seven days afterward Noah sent out the dove. He sent the dove a second time seven days later, Noah sent the dove for the final time after another seven days. Twenty-nine days thereafter Noah removed the covering from the ark and found the surface to be dry. Fifty-seven days later Noah, his family and the animals disembarked from the ark. Hence, the entire duration of the Flood, from beginning to end, lasted some 371 days.

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