After many years the earth became full of people, but they were very wicked and did not obey the Lord as they should. The Lord was not only sorry he had made so many people, but he was angry at the way they had forsaken his teachings. Therefore, when He saw so much wickedness in the world He said: "I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth." At the same time the Lord said He would destroy all the animals, and the birds, and the creeping things, in fact everything that lived He intended to destroy.
There was one good man named Noah whom the Lord did not wish to destroy. He had found grace in the eyes of the Lord, for he and his sons and their wives had worshiped the Lord and obeyed all his orders, and had not followed the wicked ways of the people of the earth.
The Lord told Noah that the end of all flesh had come and that He intended to destroy all living things, except Noah and his family, and that He would do this by a great flood that should cover the face of the earth and drown all the people and everything that was alive.
God told Noah to build an ark, which was a great boat in which Noah and the others were to live while the waters covered the earth. The ark was to have a covering like a house, with a door and a window, and was to be three stories high. Everything was to be provided to care for all those that God intended to go into the ark.
It took Noah a long time to build the ark, and by the time he had it finished he was six hundred years old. Then God told him to take his wife, and his sons and their wives and go into the ark for the flood was coming and everybody and everything outside the ark would be destroyed.
God also commanded Noah to take into the ark two of every kind of animal, and bird, and creeping thing, so that when the flood was over, the earth should again have living things of all kinds upon it. And Noah did as the Lord commanded him. The animals of all kinds marched into the ark and the birds flew in and the reptiles crept in, until the ark was full of living things.
Then Noah and his family went into the ark, and closed the doors and the windows for they knew the Lord would do as he had told them. Seven days afterwards the rain began to descend and it rained forty days and forty nights. It was not a rain such as we know, for the Bible says the windows of the heavens were opened and the fountains of the deep were broken up, by which is meant that the rain came down in great torrents, and the rivers and the seas began to boil and rise over the land.
The ark rose and floated upon the waters, with Noah and his family and all the animals and birds and living things safe inside, with food to last them for a long time. The waters rose until the level ground was covered, then the trees disappeared and then the hills, until as far as one could see it was all water.
When the wicked people saw the waters rise they fled to the high places, then they climbed the hills, but they could not escape the flood. The waters rose behind them no matter where they fled until at last they were all drowned. The animals and the creeping things perished, and even the birds having no trees to rest in, fell dead into the water. At last there was no living thing left upon the earth except Noah and his family and those whom God had allowed to enter the ark.
For one hundred and fifty days the water was upon the earth and the ark floated about guided by the hand of God, Himself. Noah and his family lived in the ark, took care of all the animals and living things committed to their care and trusted in God to bring them safely out of the flood.
At last the waters began to flow back into the rivers and oceans. The tops of the mountains and of the hills began to appear. One day the ark rested firmly on the top of Mount Ararat, and Noah knew that the flood was over and that the waters were going from the land.
The ark rested on Mount Ararat for more than two months, and the waters kept on going down, and the mountains and the hills appeared. Then Noah opened a window and sent forth a raven to fly over the waters, but what became of the raven he never knew, for it did not come back to the ark. Noah opened the window again and sent forth a dove. The dove flew over the waters but could not find any trees to light on or any food to eat, so she returned to the ark and Noah put out his hand and took her in.
At the end of the week the flood had gone down still more, and Noah sent forth the dove again out of the window of the ark. The dove flew away and was gone all day, and in the evening when she returned to the ark there was an olive leaf in her mouth. Then Noah knew that the waters had gone down a great deal from the face of the earth.
Then Noah removed the covering from the ark, and opened the door, and looked out over the earth and behold, the face of the ground was dry. How rejoiced he must have been to know that the flood was not to last forever, and to see the ground, and the trees, and the grass, and to know that at last he could leave the ark and build him a home to live in the rest of his life!
Noah and his sons came out of the ark, and all the animals walked out, and the birds flew out and the reptiles crawled out and set about making homes for themselves. And Noah built an altar and offered sacrifices unto the Lord, for he loved the Lord and was thankful for his deliverance from the terrible flood.
When the Lord saw the offering that Noah was making on the altar He said to him: "I will not again curse the ground any more for man's sake; neither will I again smite every living thing as I have done."
God promised Noah that there should never more be a flood to destroy the earth, and that he and his sons should rule over all the animals of the field and the birds of the air, and that their children should be many and that the earth would again be full of people.
In token of this promise God put a rainbow in the heavens, and whenever the rain falls and the sun shines we can still see this bow of promise reminding us of the covenant between God and the old Noah whom he had saved from the flood.