The 2001 Translation Translator NotesNote

‘Ark’ or ‘Chest’?

Surely everyone has heard of Noah’s Ark, but what is an ark?

Ark is an ancient English word, the meaning of which has mostly been lost to history. However, it’s often used in other Bibles to translate the Greek word kiboton; and because most people don’t use the word ark, few people know what one is. As a result, most people see pictures in children’s storybooks and think an ark is a large boat with all sorts of animals crammed on the top deck, with others looking out of the windows. Yet this is not an ark.

An ark is simply a box or chest.

If you carefully examine the description of the measurements that God gave to Noah, you’ll see that He told Noah to build a long, three-story tall, wooden box. It didn’t have to be a ‘boat’ that could navigate, because all it had to do was float. Nor did the animals look out the window(s); it didn’t have a lot of windows or an open top deck, and the animals were kept in stalls.

Simply put, Noah’s Ark was not a boat, it was a wooden box, or chest. Noah’s Box would sound rather strange, but it would be accurate.

The Bible also uses the word kiboton to describe the sacred box known as ‘the Ark of the Covenant’ (greek: kiboton marturion or, Chest of Testimony). However, our translation uses ‘Chest of Proofs,’ since that sacred Chest originally held the proofs of God’s miracles, such as the manna, the flowering rod of Aaron, and the tablets of the Ten Commandments.

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