I did see a documentary a few years back shot on site, of a man who thinks he has found the Ark- it showed a form on mount Ararat, buried of coarse; but it looked like it had the shape and size of the Ark.
But apparently the authorities would not allow him to explore further. You are probably familiar with this story
I have heard or have read Gopher wood was a cold laminating
process used in that time. I think records for doing that process
has been lost over time.
Bobby, that's interesting, but actually translators had no idea what the Hebrew word "gopher" meant and so they merely transliterated it. When you say “gopher,” you’re saying a Hebrew word with an unknown meaning. The oldest Greek translation calls gopherwood “squared timber.” The most popular Latin translation calls it “smoothed wood.” Some have thought it is cedar or cypress. But the bottom line is . . . we don’t know.
So to say gopher wood was a cold laminating process is as good an explanation as any.
When you look up tebah in Strong's Hebrew it is word 8392. The definition it uses for this word is a box or a chest.
James Strong is not confused; Johnathan: as you stated, tebah 8392 is box, and God told Noah to build Him a box. This box was the first of its kind, we call them boats or ships now.
In Exodus 2:3, 3 month old Moses was put in an tebah, a box.
Exodus 25:10 God told Moses to Build Him a box; arown 727 from 717 (in the sense of gathering); a box: ark, chest, coffin
Matthew 24:38, Luke 17:27, Hebrews 11:7, 1 Peter 3:20; Noah and the ark. Hebrews 9:4 ark of covenant. Revelation 11:19 the ark of His testament, all use the same word; kibotos 2787 a box, the sacred ark and that of Noah:- ark
Johnathan, James Strong was probably confused. The English Bible uses ark as a name for both Noah’s boat and for the holy box containing the Ten Commandments, Aaron’s rod, a jar of manna, and the Torah scroll written by Moses. But Hebrew uses two very different words for these two objects—and uses tebah only for Noah’s ark and for the basket in which baby Moses was placed by his mother. We don’t know if tebah means a boat, something covered in pitch, a certain shape, something that preserves life—or something else.
There was no Noah's Ark
The Jews were nomadic people who lived in caves when the Egyptians were building marble palaces and irrigation canals on the Nile.
The Egyptians have written records of all significant events in their region since Egypt was united under King Samar about 5000 years ago. They have no records of any Jews living in Egypt nor of any Jewish civilization in the Middle East.
Being nomadic people, the Jews learnt the stories and events from the civilizations with whom they came into contact and copied their stories which they claimed as their own. Apart from the stories in the Torah, there are physical evidence recorded therein but those stories are well documented in the ancient civilizations long before the Jews claimed them as their own.
I tried to comment under the section "The Ark" but fwiw it seems to be labeled "The Animals".
Here is my two cents on the ark. People who scoff at the notion of a 450-foot wooden ship envision something like a wooden version of the Titanic or something like a huge Florentine river barge because that is the way the vessel has been depicted for centuries. The few clues that the Bible gives us suggest something else, however.
Actually, the skeptic's objections to such a ship springing leaks is well taken. The documented huge ships of antiquity all had crews of hundreds or even thousands of individuals who could patch leaks and man pumps as needed to keep those huge wooden ships afloat. But Noah only had eight people to handle the work on the ark. I believe the objections of the critics are really criticisms of their own misconceptions of the ark instead of any problems with the real ark that Noah probably would have built.
The first clue is the Hebrew word "tavah". That is word translated as ark in the flood account but also for the basket that Moses' mother obtained before casting him adrift in the Nile. The verses say that the ark was made of bulrushes and that she daubed it with pitch. Even to this day, the people living in the marshy areas of the Nile delta still construct "boats" made from lashed-together river reeds daubed with pitch or asphalt. These people have been doing this for thousands of years. They use either papyrus or another similar reed for their boats, the daubed on asphalt acts as a preservative and also prevents water from filling the air cells in the reeds in order to maintain the buoyancy of their "boats". I put the word boats in quotes because these Nile delta craft do not float by having a watertight hull that displaces water the way other boats do. These vessels float by virtue of the buoyancy of their construction materials. Moses' basket sounded like it was identical in principle and construction.
A scene in Cecil B. DeMille's "The Ten Commandments" seems laughable when you think of it now, when Pharoah's daughter tells her servant girl to sink the ark, the girl steps into the river and presses down on the ark which took on water and rapidly sank out of sight. This is laughable because, as described, Moses' basket was INTRINSICALLY UNSINKABLE. It floated the way a raft does and not like a boat. The use of the same Hebrew word for the ark of Noah may not be a reference to the shape or function as in "chest" as is commonly believed, instead, it may refer to the operant principle; perhaps both arks floated in the same way, like rafts.
A second clue is the fact that God told Noah to coat the ark inside and out with pitch. If this was to be a watertight hull, then why waterproof the inside? While you might argue that the inside coat may act as a secondary barrier to keep water out, but any water impinging on this secondary seal would cause huge blisters which would readily rupture and fail. The logical reason to waterproof the ark inside and out was to preserve the "gopher wood" and prevent it from becoming waterlogged in order to preserve its buoyancy just like in the Nile river craft are daubed to prolong their bouyancy.
Even though the movie "Noah" made no attempt to be biblical, there were a few things that I think they got right. Noah did not have access to unlimited quantities of mill dressed, sawn lumber for the project. The move ark looked cruder than Ken Ham's ark, it seemed to be made of large logs lashed together with ropes. That style of construction is much less of an undertaking than the oversized, Florentine river barge constructions that every other ark replica looks like.
What is gopher wood?
While we don't know and it may have even been an extinct variety of tree, I believe that the currently existing Balsa tree has many characteristics that would make it ideal for the purpose. Any man my age has played with balsa gliders and the extreme fragility of those toys was evident. Yet in 1947, the Norwegian scientist Thor Heyerdahl constructed a sixty-foot long raft from a few large balsa logs he floated from Equador to sail across the Pacific Ocean to help explain how the South American Indians may have populated the Pacific Islands. He didn't bother drying the logs and subsequently applying pitch but he regretted not doing so. As it was, his raft was very seaworthy, even humorously so. They constructed a grass hut on top of the lashed together logs, but after safely crossing 4300 miles of ocean, as they approached an island, their raft was being dashed upon a coral reef surrounding the island. Heyerdahl and his crew barely got away from the wreck with their lives and equipment. As they watched their battered raft get hit by wave after wave, suddenly it was across! All the logs went back into place and even the grass hut sprang back into shape.
Balsa is actually the strongest wood by weight. It is also the most buoyant. It grows in the sort of tropical clim
It grows in the sort of tropical climate that may have been the global climate pre-flood. It is humorous to see depictions of Noah and sons constructing the ark in an arid, middle eastern looking area. After 260 days adrift, the landing spot and launch point for the ark were almost certainly different. If gopher wood was balsa or a similar plant, it surely grew nearby where Noah would build the ark. Balsa is also noteworthy for how quickly it grows. In 5 to 10 years it grows to almost 100 feet tall and 12 to 24 inches in diameter. It does well with cultivation. In a few years, Noah could raise an entire forest of raw material for the project. Planting on the slope of a hill would facilitate drying too. Sap would drain rapidly from a felled tree lying on the slope. Collecting the sap and boiling it down could have been the pitch.
Imagine a huge raft constructed of lashed together balsa logs. The lowest layer is the primary floatation with perhaps multiple layers of lashed together dried and waterproofed logs. Upon this is secured a superstructure with thee decks and a roof. I Envision the weight of everything above being enough to drive the primary flotation layer under water. Remember, our ark leaks like a sieve because it is unsinkable! If you posit that the ocean was considerably less salty then as is likely, then the water below decks would be a self-cleaning latrine, a self-service source of drinking water for the animals, and depending on how open to the sea it was, a self-service source of food for the meat eaters. A substantial amount of water below decks would add enormous stability to the ark also.
On the self-service aspect, animals can feed themselves with no need for cages or tending by humans. They do it in the real world all the time. If there were huge piles of food, the animals would come and go on their own. Prey would usually avoid predators, Maybe the giant ground sloths got eaten and some other animals went extinct from predation. Maybe the rats bred like rats, maybe the predators went vegetarian, who can say?
Thank you for your thoughtful comments and speculation about the ark. The idea that it might have been built out of balsa wood is very intriguing. But like so many things about Noah and the ark -- which frustrated some of my readers who wanted definite answers -- is the ark might have been made of balsa wood; it's a possibility; but we don't really know.
I appreciate your thoughts.
My main thought was that the ark did not have a watertight hull. The chief advantage of a watertight hull is speed, but the ark had no need to be fast. Everything else was reasonable conjecture that answers most skeptical criticisms of the ark story. The low-tech easy to build and operate aspects of the floating zoo I propose is in contrast to the more demanding posh resort envisioned by Ken Ham et al, true we can not know anything beyond the scriptures. My intent was to come up with a plausible explanation that would address the main skeptic's criticisms.