Genesis 6:16

16 Make a roof for it, leaving below the roof an opening one cubit[a] high all around.[b] Put a door in the side of the ark and make lower, middle and upper decks.

Genesis 6:16 in Other Translations

King James Version (KJV)
16 A window shalt thou make to the ark, and in a cubit shalt thou finish it above; and the door of the ark shalt thou set in the side thereof; with lower, second, and third stories shalt thou make it.
English Standard Version (ESV)
16 Make a roof for the ark, and finish it to a cubit above, and set the door of the ark in its side. Make it with lower, second, and third decks.
New Living Translation (NLT)
16 Leave an 18-inch opening below the roof all the way around the boat. Put the door on the side, and build three decks inside the boat—lower, middle, and upper.
The Message Bible (MSG)
16 Build a roof for it and put in a window eighteen inches from the top; put in a door on the side of the ship; and make three decks, lower, middle, and upper.
American Standard Version (ASV)
16 A light shalt thou make to the ark, and to a cubit shalt thou finish it upward; and the door of the ark shalt thou set in the side thereof; with lower, second, and third stories shalt thou make it.
GOD'S WORD Translation (GW)
16 Make a roof for the ship, and leave an 18-inch-high opening at the top. Put a door in the side of the ship. Build the ship with lower, middle, and upper decks.
Holman Christian Standard Bible (CSB)
16 You are to make a roof, finishing [the sides of the ark] to within 18 inches [of the roof.] You are to put a door in the side of the ark. Make it with lower, middle, and upper [decks].
New International Reader's Version (NIRV)
16 Make a roof for it. Leave the sides of the ark open a foot and a half from the top. Put a door in one side of the ark. Make lower, middle and upper decks.

Genesis 6:16 Meaning and Commentary

Genesis 6:16

A window shalt thou make to the ark
Or a "light", such as is that at noon, for which the word in the dual number is used; and therefore Junius and Tremellius translate it a "clear light". The Jewish writers F19 will have it to be a precious stone, a pearl which Noah fetched from the river Pison, and hung up in the ark, and it gave light to all the creatures, like a large chandelier; but a window no doubt it was to let light into the several apartments, and to look out at on occasion, since Noah is afterwards said to open it; but what it was made of is difficult to say, since it does not appear that as yet glass was invented. Some think it was made of crystal, which would let in light, and keep off the water. A very learned F20 man is of opinion, that Noah understanding chemistry, prepared a fine subtle fragrant spirit, of an oily nature and luminous, which he put into vessels made of crystal or glass, and hung them up in every room in the ark, and which was both illuminating and refreshing; and this he thinks is what is meant by the "Zohar", or "light", which we translate a "window"; but this is afterward said to be opened by Noah, to send forth the raven and the dove, which will not agree with such a vessel of spirituous liquor:

and in a cubit shall thou finish it above;
not the window, as some think, which they place at top of the ark, and suppose to be a cubit in length, but the ark itself, which was finished with a roof raised up a cubit high in the middle:

and the door of the ark shall thou set in the side thereof;
on which it is not said; an Arabic writer F21 places it on the east side of it, on which side he supposes Noah and his sons dwelt, and on the west side his wife and his sons' wives. How large this door was is not said; it is reasonably supposed F23 to be ten cubits high and eight broad, that there might be room enough for an elephant to enter in by it; and it seems it was so large, that Noah, and those with him, could not shut it, but it was done by the Lord, ( Genesis 7:16 )

[with] lower, second, and third [stories] shalt thou make it:
the above Arabic writer F24 makes the lower story to be for the beasts, the second for the birds, and the third for Noah and his children; and with him agrees a Jewish writer F25: but as by this distribution no place is left for provisions, they seem most correct who place the beasts in the lower story, and the birds with Noah and his family in the uppermost, and the provisions for all in the middle. This ark was a type of the church of God. As to the form and pattern of it, it was of God, so the separation of men from the world in a church state is of God; it is by his appointment, and it is his will, that when any numbers of men are converted in a place, that they should be incorporated together in a church state, the form of which is given by him, its officers appointed, and the laws and ordinances of it fixed by him: and as to the matter of it, "Gopher wood", a lasting and incorruptible wood, denoting the duration of the church; God ever had, and ever will have a church in the world: as to the parts of it, and rooms in it, the rooms may point at particular churches, of which there have been many; or may signify, that there is always room enough in the church of God to receive saints. The ark had three stories in it, as the tabernacle and temple had three divisions, which were types of the same also; and may have respect to the visible church, consisting of believers and unbelievers, the invisible church, or general assembly of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven, and the church triumphant. The door into the ark may signify Christ, who, and faith in him, may be said to be the door into the church, and to all the ordinances of it: the window may either typify the glorious light of the Gospel, held forth in the church, or the ordinances of it, to which sensible souls betake themselves, as doves to their windows, ( Isaiah 60:8 ) . Into this ark not only Noah and his family, but creatures of all sorts were admitted, as sinners of all sorts called by grace, and become peaceable, are received into the church of God; yea, even good and bad have a place here, though the latter under the notion and character of the former, but are hypocrites in Zion: here also were plenty of provisions for all in it, as there are in the church of God fulness of spiritual provisions for all the people of God. The ark was of the use of a ship, and was the means of saving a few men, even Noah and his family; so the church of God has the nature and use of a ship, of which Christ is the pilot, and conducts it through the sea of this world, in which it is often tossed with tempests, and distressed; but at last brought to its haven, in which a few are saved, not as the cause, which alone is Christ, but as the means. The Apostle Peter makes baptism its antitype, ( 1 Peter 3:21 ) which is God's ordinance, and not man's, of his appointing; as to the form and manner of it, is the object of the world's scorn, when rightly administered, as Noah's ark was; represents a burial, as that did when Noah entered into it; and was an emblem of Christ's resurrection and ours, when he came out of it: it was a type of baptism in its salutary effect, it saves by water, as that does by leading to the resurrection of Christ; it saves not as a cause, but as a means of directing to Christ, the author of salvation; and saves not all in the water, only those that are in the ark, that is, truly and rightly in the church, and real members of it, or that are in Christ; and so many make the ark also a type of Christ.


F19 Targum Jonathan in loc. Pirke Eliezer, c. 23.
F20 Dickinson. Physic. vet & vera, c. 20. p. 324, 325.
F21 Patricides, apud Hottinger. p. 248, 250.
F23 Scbeuchzer. Physica Sacra, vol. 1. p. 40.
F24 Patricides, apud Hottinger. p. 248, 250.
F25 Pirke Eliezer, c. 23.

Genesis 6:16 In-Context

14 So make yourself an ark of cypress wood; make rooms in it and coat it with pitch inside and out.
15 This is how you are to build it: The ark is to be three hundred cubits long, fifty cubits wide and thirty cubits high.
16 Make a roof for it, leaving below the roof an opening one cubit high all around. Put a door in the side of the ark and make lower, middle and upper decks.
17 I am going to bring floodwaters on the earth to destroy all life under the heavens, every creature that has the breath of life in it. Everything on earth will perish.
18 But I will establish my covenant with you, and you will enter the ark—you and your sons and your wife and your sons’ wives with you.

Footnotes 2

  • [a]. That is, about 18 inches or about 45 centimeters
  • [b]. The meaning of the Hebrew for this clause is uncertain.
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