One of my all-time favorite photo opportunities occurred in June 2007, in eastern Turkey, in the mountains of Ararat. It was in this region that Noah’s ark came to rest as the flood waters receded: “In the seventh month, on the seventeenth day of the month, the ark rested upon the mountains of Ararat” (Genesis 8:4).
After Noah and his family exited the ark, God said:
“I establish My covenant with you; and all flesh shall never again be cut off by the water of the flood, neither shall there again be a flood to destroy the earth.” 12 God said, “This is the sign of the covenant which I am making between Me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all successive generations; 13 I set My bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a sign of a covenant between Me and the earth. 14 “It shall come about, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the bow will be seen in the cloud, 15 and I will remember My covenant, which is between Me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and never again shall the water become a flood to destroy all flesh. 16 “When the bow is in the cloud, then I will look upon it, to remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth” (Genesis 9:11-16).
Ararat is not just one peak, but a range of mountains. The highest is called Mt. Ararat, depicted on far left in photo. Note rainbow to the right.
Other biblical texts:
1. In the aftermath of the death of the Assyrian king Sennacherib: “It came about as he was worshiping in the house of Nisroch his god, that Adrammelech and Sharezer killed him with the sword; and they escaped into the land of Ararat. And Esarhaddon his son became king in his place” (2 Kings 19:37).
2. In connection with Jeremiah’s prophecy of the destruction of Babylon he mentions the kingdom of Ararat: “Lift up a signal in the land, Blow a trumpet among the nations! Consecrate the nations against her, Summon against her the kingdoms of Ararat, Minni and Ashkenaz; Appoint a marshal against her, Bring up the horses like bristly locusts” (Jer. 51:27).
Ararat is commonly designated as Urartu in Assyrian texts.