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In Genesis 7:6 we read Noah was 600 years old when the flood landed.
Only four verses later we read he'd been in his 600th year when the flood began.

Why would the author write of the events in that order and give the same age twice in this way?

Gen 7:6-11, KJV:

And Noah was six hundred years old when the flood of waters was upon the earth. And Noah went in, and his sons, and his wife, and his sons' wives with him, into the ark, because of the waters of the flood. Of clean beasts, and of beasts that are not clean, and of fowls, and of every thing that creepeth upon the earth, There went in two and two unto Noah into the ark, the male and the female, as God had commanded Noah. And it came to pass after seven days, that the waters of the flood were upon the earth. In the six hundredth year of Noah's life, in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month, the same day were all the fountains of the great deep broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened.

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a year is 12 months long. There is the year, from January to December & the birthday year from your birthday year to the next. Generally speaking i think Bible writers gave the years of people so that we in the future could use that information to calculate the times. or its just a case of writing style. i see no impact the repetition has on understanding the passage. – geraldwamba Jan 13 '14 at 19:42
Thanks. I understand what you're saying, and I keep wondering why ages specifically would be repeated. The repeating of a person's age is done for only 3 people in Genesis. It's for Noah in the case above, Abraham when he becomes a father and his son Isaiah is born, and with Joseph in the last 5 verses of Genesis. Do you also see no impact on understandings re: those? – John Martin Jan 13 '14 at 19:55
One thing that seems a little odd is regarding Noah and Joseph. In both cases, the same number/age for those two is given the first time, and then again only 4 verses later. – John Martin Jan 13 '14 at 19:59
up vote 2 down vote accepted

Noah’s age is not the only detail in the story that gets repeated. In fact many of the points of the story are repeated. The parallels between 7:6 and 7:11 may not be anything specific to Noah’s age. For example, the story repeats:

  • The number of animals taken into the ark (7 clean and 2 unclean in verse 7:2f, then 2
  • clean and 2 unclean in verse 7:8f)
  • Noah’s age (verse 7:6 and verse 7:11)
  • Noah et al entering the ark (verse 7:7 and verse 7:13)
  • The length of the flood (40 days in verse 7:17, 150 days in verse 7:24, apx. a year based on verse 8:13)
  • All life being ended (7:21, 7:22, and 7:23)
  • The earth drying out (8:13 and 8:14)

One explanation is to take a Document Hypothesis type approach to this text. From this point of view, the account is a combination of two (or more) different traditions of the Noah/flood story. If that is true, it would appear the different traditions were intermingled to create a single telling of the story (this is a different approach than the creation story, where the two accounts are kept separate). Based on this approach, the repeating of Noah’s age could just be an indication that this detail was present in both traditions.

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