Questions about Noah's ark: How long did it take Noah to build the ark? How long was Noah on the ark?

How long did it take Noah to build the ark? The Bible does not tell us precisely how long it took Noah to build the ark. We know that it was after Noah was 500 that he fathered Shem, Ham, and Japheth (Genesis 5:32). And we know that when Noah entered the ark with his wife, three sons, and daughter-in-laws, he was in his 600th year (Genesis 7:6, 11). So it appears the ark took less than 100 years to build.

However, there is also an intriguing note in Genesis 6:3 that states, "My Spirit shall not abide in man forever, for he is flesh: his days shall be 120 years." Many see this as the amount of time from God's prediction of judgment until the Flood. Others view it as the length of time God would allow humans to live. A third view suggests that the Flood would take place within 120 years. Based on other dates mentioned in the Flood chronology, this third option appears to be the most accurate interpretation.

That said, Noah began having sons at the age of 500 and the flood took place when he was 600. If his youngest son was born just a few years after Noah's first son and grew old enough to be married (Genesis 6:18 might indicate that Noah's sons were married at the time God instructed Noah to build the ark), we could estimate that Noah might have been around 520 years old when he received the instruction. This leaves about 80 years maximum for the ark's construction, though the range of time could have been 50 to 80 years in length.

How long were Noah and his family on the ark? Noah and his family entered the ark on the second month, tenth day of his 600th year (Genesis 7:4-11). Seven days later the Flood's rains began (Genesis 7:11). The waters flooded the earth for 150 days, including the 40 days of rain (Genesis 7:12, 17, 24; 8:1). The waters subsided, and the ark rested on Mount Ararat on the seventh month, seventeenth day, just 10 days after the flooding stopped (Genesis 8:3-4). Noah exited in the second month, 27th day of his 601st year (Genesis 8:14-19). In total, the Flood lasted 370 days.

How many of each animal was on the ark? Genesis notes seven pairs of "clean" animals (Genesis 7:2-3) and two of every "unclean" animal (Genesis 6:19-20). Clean animals referred to those that could be sacrificed (such as those listed in Leviticus as part of the worship offerings) and required a larger number since some would later be sacrificed as an offering to God.

How many people were on the ark? Eight people were included in total. Noah, Noah's wife, Shem, Ham, Japheth, and the wives of these three sons (Genesis 7:13; 1 Peter 3:20).

Who was Noah's wife? The name of Noah's wife is never specifically mentioned in the Bible. Some traditions teach that her name was Naamah (Genesis 4:22) but this is not certain.

Related Truth:

Was the Noahic flood global?

What is the Epic of Gilgamesh? What relation does it have with the biblical Flood?

Why did God create humanity?

How old is the Earth?

Are there dinosaurs in the Bible?

Return to:
Truth about Creation

Subscribe to the Newsletter:

Preferred Bible Version: is a ministry of