And the ark rested in the seventh month, on the seventeenth
day of the month
That is, five months after the flood began, and when the waters began to decrease; for this is not the seventh month of the flood, but of the year, which being reckoned from Tisri, or the autumnal equinox, must be the month Nisan, which answers to part of our March, and part of April; and so the Targum of Jonathan explains it,
``this is the month Nisan;''but Jarchi makes it to be the month Sivan, which answers to part of May, and part of June, taking it to be the seventh month from Cisleu, when the forty days' rain ceased; in which he is followed by Dr. Lightfoot F21; and according to Bishop Usher F23 the seventeenth day of the seventh month, on which the ark rested, was Wednesday the sixth of May: and then it rested
upon the mountains of Ararat;
that is, on one of them, for Ararat is said to be a long ridge of mountains like the Alps, or the Pyrenean mountains; which, as Sir Walter Raleigh F24 thinks, are the same which run through Armenia, Mesopotamia, Assyria and are by Pliny F25 called Taurus. But what is now called Ararat, and by the Armenians Messis or Macis, and by the Turks Augri-daugh or Agrida, is a single mountain, and is so high that it overtops all the mountains thereabout; and that which makes it seem so very high is, that it stands by itself in the form of a sugar loaf, in the middle of one of the greatest plains one can see; it has two tops, one greater, and the smaller is most sharp pointed of the two F26. The Vulgate Latin version renders it the mountains of Armenia; and so Ararat in the Septuagint of ( Isaiah 37:38 ) is rendered Armenia, and in our version also; and it is the more commonly received opinion, that Ararat was a mountain there; and this agrees with the testimonies of various Heathen writers, which are produced by Josephus and Eusebius. Berosus the Chaldean F1 says,
``it is reported that in Armenia, on a mountain of the Cordyaeans, there is part of a ship, the pitch of which some take off, and carry about with them, and use it as an amulet to avert evils.''And Nicholas of Damascus F2 relates, that in Minyas in Armenia is an huge mountain called Baris, to which, as the report is, many fled at the flood, and were saved; and that a certain person, carried in an ark or chest, struck upon the top of it, and that the remains of the timber were preserved a long time after; and, adds he, perhaps he may be the same that Moses, the lawgiver of the Jews, writes of. Now this mountain seems plainly to have its name from the ark of Noah, for a boat, or ship, is, with the Egyptians, called Baris. Herodotus F3 gives a large account of ships they call by this name; and the boat in which Charon is said to carry the dead bodies over the lake Acherusia, near Memphis, is said by Diodorus Siculus F4 to have the same name. Abydenus the Assyrian F5 tells us, that
``Saturn having foretold to Sisithrus, that there would be a vast quantity of rain on the fifteenth of the month Daesius, he immediately sailed to the Armenians; and that the ship being driven to Armenia, the inhabitants made amulets of the wood of it, which they carried about their necks, as antidotes against diseases.''And hence Melo F6, who wrote against the Jews, suggests, as if the deluge did not reach Armenia; for he says,
``at the deluge a man that had escaped with his sons went from Armenia, being driven out of his possession by those of the country, and passing over the intermediate region, came into the mountainous part of Syria, which was desolate.''And with what Berosus says of a mountain of the Cordyaeans, in Armenia, agree the Targums of Onkelos and Jonathan, and the Syriac and Arabic versions, who all render the words here the mountains of Cardu or Carda: from the resting of the ark on this day on the mountains of Ararat, Jarchi concludes, and Dr. Lightfoot F7 after him, that the ark drew eleven cubits water, which, according to them, thus appears; on the first day of the month Ab, the mountain tops were first seen, and then the waters had fallen fifteen cubits, which they had been sixty days in doing, namely, from the first day of Sivan, and so they had abated the proportion of one cubit in four days: by this account we find, that on the sixteenth day of Sivan they had abated but four cubits, and yet on the next day, the seventeenth, the ark resteth on a hill, where the waters yet lay eleven cubits above it.
F21 Works. vol. 1. p. 8.
F23 Annales Vet. Test. p. 4.
F24 History of the World, B. 1. ch. 7. sect. 13.
F25 Nat. Hist. l. 5. c. 27.
F26 Cartwright's Preacher's Travels, p. 32. Tournefort's Voyage to the Levant, vol. 3. p. 177, 183, 186.
F1 Apud Joseph. Antiqu. l. 1. c. 3. sect. 6.
F2 Apud ib.
F3 Euterpe sive, l. 2. c. 96.
F4 Bibliothec. l. 1. p. 87.
F5 Apud Euseb. Evangel. Praepar. l. 9. c. 12. p. 414, 415.
F6 Apud ib. c. 19. p. 420.
F7 Ut supra, (Works. vol. 1.) p. 8.