Did You Know The Ark Was Large Enough To Hold Over 500 Livestock Railroad Cars?

building the ark


God said to Noah, “It’s all over. It’s the end of the human race. The violence is everywhere; I’m making a clean sweep.

Genesis 6:13
The Message (MSG)


God told Noah his purpose to destroy the wicked world by water. “The secret of the Lord is with them that fear Him; and He will show them His covenant” (Ps. 25:15). When you walk with God, He speaks to you through His Word and tells you what you need to know and to do. Christians are more than just servants who do His will; we’re also His friends who know His plans (John 15:14-15).


Building An Ark

building the ark


“Build yourself a ship from teakwood. Make rooms in it. Coat it with pitch inside and out. Make it 450 feet long, seventy-five feet wide, and forty-five feet high. 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.
I’m going to bring a flood on the Earth that will destroy everything alive under Heaven. Total destruction.

Genesis 6:14-17
The Message (MSG)


God told Noah what his task was: to build a wooden vessel that would survive the waters of the Flood and keep Noah and his family safe. If the cubit mentioned was the standard cubit of eighteen inches, then the vessel was 450 feet long, 75 feet wide, and 45 feet high. It had three decks, one door, and a series of small windows eighteen inches high right under the roof, providing light and ventilation. The three decks were divided into compartments where the various animals would be kept and where Noah and his family would live.


This vessel was designed for flotation, not navigation. It was a huge wooden box that could float on the water and keep the contents safe and dry. Dr. Henry Morris calculated that the ark was large enough to hold the contents of over 500 livestock railroad cars, providing space for about 125,000 animals. Of course, many of the animals would be very small and not need much space; and when it came to the large animals, Noah no doubt collected younger and smaller representatives. There was plenty of room in the vessel for food for both humans and animals, and the insects and creeping things would have no problem finding places to live on the ark.


Trusting God’s Covenant

But I will establish My covenant (promise, pledge) with you, and you shall come into the ark—you and your sons and your wife and your sons’ wives with you.

Genesis 6:18
Amplified Bible (AMP)



God established his covenant with Noah. This is the first place in the Bible where the word ‘covenant’ is found; it seems to mean,


  1. The covenant of providence; that the course of nature shall be continued to the end of time.
  2. The covenant of grace; that God would be a God to Noah, and that out of his seed God would take to himself a people.


The word “covenant” appears often in Scripture because the covenant concept is an important part of God’s great plan of redemption. (God would explain His covenant to Noah after he left the ark; Genesis 8:20-9:17.) A covenant is an agreement that involves obligations and benefits for the parties involved. In some of the covenants, God alone is the “covenant party” and makes unconditional promises to His people. But there were also covenants that required His people to fulfill certain conditions before God could bless them.


God’s words were addressed specifically to Noah, but God also included Noah’s family in the covenant. Noah didn’t become a father until he was 500 years old, and he entered the ark when he was 600; so his three sons were still “young” as far as pre-Flood ages were concerned. Ham was the youngest son and Japheth was the eldest, and all three boys were married.


The fact that God had covenanted to care for Noah and his family gave them the peace and confidence they needed as they prepared the ark and then lived in it for over a year. God is faithful to keep His promises, and as God’s covenant people, the eight believers had nothing to fear.


Gathering The Animals

And of every living thing of all flesh [found on land], you shall bring two of every sort into the ark, to keep them alive with you; they shall be male and female.
Of fowls and birds according to their kinds, of beasts according to their kinds, of every creeping thing of the ground according to its kind—two of every sort shall come in with you, that they may be kept alive.
Also take with you every sort of food that is eaten, and you shall collect and store it up, and it shall serve as food for you and for them.
Noah did this; he did all that God commanded him.


Genesis 6:19-22
Amplified Bible (AMP)


God not only wanted humans to be preserved from destruction but also every kind of creature that would be drowned by the waters of the Flood.


But how was Noah to gather such a large number of animals, birds, and creeping things?


God would cause these creatures to come to Noah and Noah would take them into the ark. This included not only pairs of unclean animals who would be able to reproduce after the Flood, but also seven pairs of clean animals, some of who would be used for sacrifices. Noah and his family not only learned about the faithfulness of God, but they also saw the sovereignty of God in action.


In His sovereign power, God brought the animals to Noah and his sons and controlled them so that they did His bidding. However, this magnificent demonstration of God’s power didn’t touch the hearts of his neighbors, and they perished in the Flood. The birds, beasts, and creeping things knew their Creator’s voice and obeyed Him, but people made in the image of God refused to heed God’s call. Centuries later, God would say through His servant Isaiah, “The ox knows his master, the donkey his owner’s manger, but Israel does not know, my people do not understand” (Isa. 1:3).


During all of this important activity, Noah was serving the Lord and bearing witness to a sinful world. For 120 years, God was long-suffering toward careless and rebellious sinners; but they ignored His message and lost their opportunity for salvation.



I do all that the Lord commands me to do.



Bible Exposition Commentary – Be Basic
Matthew Henry Concise Bible Commentary


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