1God remembered Noah and all the animals, wild and tame, that were with him in the ark. So God made a wind sweep over the earth, and the waters began to subside. 2The fountains of the abyss and the floodgates of the sky were closed, and the downpour from the sky was held back. 3Gradually the waters receded from the earth. At the end of one hundred and fifty days, the waters had so diminished 4that, in the seventh month, on the seventeenth day of the month, the ark came to rest on the mountains of Ararat.* 5The waters continued to diminish until the tenth month, and on the first day of the tenth month the tops of the mountains appeared.
6At the end of forty days Noah opened the hatch of the ark that he had made, 7* and he released a raven. It flew back and forth until the waters dried off from the earth. 8Then he released a dove, to see if the waters had lessened on the earth. 9But the dove could find no place to perch, and it returned to him in the ark, for there was water over all the earth. Putting out his hand, he caught the dove and drew it back to him inside the ark. 10He waited yet seven days more and again released the dove from the ark. 11In the evening the dove came back to him, and there in its bill was a plucked-off olive leaf! So Noah knew that the waters had diminished on the earth. 12He waited yet another seven days and then released the dove; but this time it did not come back.
13* In the six hundred and first year, in the first month, on the first day of the month, the water began to dry up on the earth. Noah then removed the covering of the ark and saw that the surface of the ground had dried. 14In the second month, on the twenty-seventh day of the month, the earth was dry.
15Then God said to Noah: 16Go out of the ark, together with your wife and your sons and your sons’ wives. 17Bring out with you every living thing that is with you—all creatures, be they birds or animals or crawling things that crawl on the earth—and let them abound on the earth, and be fertile and multiply on it.a 18So Noah came out, together with his sons and his wife and his sons’ wives; 19and all the animals, all the birds, and all the crawling creatures that crawl on the earth went out of the ark by families.
20Then Noah built an altar to the LORD, and choosing from every clean animal and every clean bird, he offered burnt offerings on the altar. 21When the LORD smelled the sweet odor, the LORD said to himself: Never again will I curse the ground because of human beings, since the desires of the human heart are evil from youth; nor will I ever again strike down every living being, as I have done.b
22All the days of the earth,
seedtime and harvest,
cold and heat,
Summer and winter,
and day and night
shall not cease.c
* [8:4] The mountains of Ararat: the mountain country of ancient Arartu in northwest Iraq, which was the highest part of the world to the biblical writer. There is no Mount Ararat in the Bible.
* [8:7–12] In the eleventh tablet of the Gilgamesh Epic, Utnapishtim (the equivalent of Noah) released in succession a dove, a swallow, and a raven. When the raven did not return, Utnapishtim knew it was safe to leave the ark. The first century A.D. Roman author Pliny tells of Indian sailors who release birds in order to follow them toward land.