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Noah’s Ark is one of the most ludicrous narratives in the Bible. What a fairy tale! Yet the figurative, spiritual meaning is amazingly eye-opening. it’s all true.

Noah's Ark. The figurative meaning confirms the literal reality. Noah’s Ark. The figurative meaning confirms the literal reality.

Noah’s ark. Reality or myth, one of the best-known stories in the Bible. Yet central to the controversies surrounding this book. Why an ark? Why such destruction? Why is it so dramatic? Understanding the fourth key to master the literal-figurative significance of Biblical Hebrew words unlocks Bible meaning. You’re now going to do just that. Practice makes perfect, so set aside a little time, and let’s do it.

Bible Study Exercise,

  • Go to
  • Find Genesis 7:18 and the word ark.
  • Switch to Strong’s concordance and click on H8382 (ark).
  • At the bottom of H8392, click on Hebrew Concordance for H8392.
  • You’ll see all the verses in the KJV where you find H8392—Noah’s ark.
  • Learn to use the Bible study tools, practice makes perfect.

Practice makes perfect exercise with Noah's ark and water. Practice makes perfect exercise with Noah’s ark and water.

  • Look through the verses. How many contexts are there about an ark?
  • Isn’t it strange that the second context uses the same word? After all, the first ark was huge for Noah’s family and all the animals. They lived in it for a year. The second is Moses’ ark of bulrushes covered with pitch. It is small and only lasts for a few hours.
  • Find three points these Moses’ and Noah’s arks have in common. They are the literal meanings of these episodes.
  • No cheating :). Don’t open the box below. Practice makes perfect.
  • What three features characterize the episodes of Moses’ and Noah’s arks?

About the arks

1. The arks are instruments of salvation. The first ark saves Noah and his family. The second ark saves Moses.

2. They are both covered with pitch.

3. Both arks floated on the water.

4. A fourth point is the destruction going on. The world population dying and the Israelite males being killed by Pharaoh. Detractors focus on this wholesale obliteration, not the life-preservation on Noah’s ark. They don’t understand there’s a future for those who died during the flood or the babies killed by Pharaoh. I don’t think most Bible believers realize there’s more for them than these scenarios, which we can’t get into here. For now, let’s focus on Moses’ and Noah’s arks.

Practice makes perfect understanding of Pitch

Here’s another Biblical Hebrew word related to Noah’s ark that clearly reveals the literal and figurative 4th Key to unlock Bible meaning.

Genesis 6:14 

Make you an ark of gopher wood; rooms shall you make in the ark, and shall pitch (H3722) it within and without with pitch. (H3724)

Here’s the Hebrew for both the verb to pitch  (H3722) and the noun pitch (H3724).


כָּפַר kâphar kaw-far’; a primitive root; to cover (specifically with bitumen); figuratively, to expiate or condone, to placate or cancel:

KJV – appease, make (an atonement, cleanse, disannul, forgive, be merciful, pacify, pardon, purge (away), put off, (make) reconcile(-liation).


כֹּפֶר kôpher ko’-fer; from H3722 (כָּפַר); properly, a cover, i.e. (literally) a village (as covered in); (specifically) bitumen (as used for coating), and the henna plant (as used for dyeing); figuratively, a redemption-price:

KJV – bribe, camphire, pitch, ransom, satisfaction, sum of money, village.

Read the KJV translations and meditate on the literal and figurative different meanings of this one Biblical Hebrew word, pitch. The pitch makes the arks watertight.

  • What is the significance of the pitch from the other translations?
  • Do you see Key 1, one Biblical Hebrew word that has multiple meanings, in the KJV translations?
  • What are the figurative meanings of the pitch? There are many.
  • Meditate in New Testament terms. What are the spiritual meanings of these translations?
  • Practice makes perfect. Do the exercise before opening the box.

Figurative meanings of pitch

Pitch saved Noah and Moses. Were it not for that thin but precious covering, they would’ve drowned in the abundant water.

The other figurative and spiritual meanings of the translations of pitch should remind you of Christ’s sacrifice. Space is insufficient here to comment on all these words. Read and meditate on how each one is an aspect of God’s plan to save humankind.

  • appease, reconcile: These translations of H3722 (kaphar) are bridging the separation between God and humankind.
  • atonement, ransom: This portrays Christ’s sacrifice. You know the word Kaphar from Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement.
  • cleanse, purge: Christ’s sacrifice wipes away each of our sins.
  • disannul, pacify, put off: God waves the death penalty and instead gives us Eternal Life.
  • forgive, pardon: On repentance, God passes over our sins.
  • merciful: After the evil we’ve individually and collectively done, God is clement and benevolent.

Each aspect of the literal pitch reveals a specific figurative and spiritual facet of the way Christ saves His people.

In English, and I daresay in any other language, the word pitch means a black substance, or throwing a ball as in baseball, or putting up a tent. In Hebrew, the figurative is monumental. The other translations point to the ultimate Savior, the One Who saves Noah and Moses, prefiguring and opening the way of salvation for humankind. Do you see how the figurative meaning of pitch confirms the reality of the righteous?

By the way, in Exodus, the pitch on Moses’ ark is a different Hebrew word from that of Noah’s ark, with a different figurative meaning. I leave it to you to study it.

Personally, I have shivers up and down my spine when I read those translations of Noah’s ark and the pitch. This is the most under-used key for unlocking Bible meaning. It reveals God’s plan for humankind. God is going to cleanse and forgive every human. He will be merciful and disannul the penalty of sin for the repentant. That’s how God puts people on the ark, those reconciled with God, who receive the atonement of Christ. The Bible story is about how and when God puts humans on the ark, including those who died in the flood, and the babies at the time of Moses.

We’re going to see the figurative meaning of water. It also shows a vital, often misunderstood aspect of God’s plan for all humankind.


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