The project of building the ark is arguably one of the most remarkable undertakings in the Bible. Not only has Noah never seen an ark in his life but God was also asking to build an ark that would sustain all animals. Work of such magnitude not only required the grace of God but physical labor as well.
The Bible is silent on who assisted Noah in the actual work of building the ark. However, it would be impossible to imagine that Noah built such a massive ark alone – especially with the limited tools of his days. He must have got some help.
So who helped Noah build the ark? We do not know for sure. However, it is highly likely that Noah was assisted by his wife, three sons, and their wives. Members of his extended family like his grandfather Methuselah and his father Lamech might have helped too. Another possibility is that Noah hired workers to help him build the ark.
Since the Bible doesn’t specify, we can only speculate on who actually helped him in building the ark. Bible scholars have suggested three possibilities:
Some Bible scholars believe that Noah’s sons not only shared his faith in God but also assisted him in preaching to their neighbors. The three sons of Noah (Shem, Ham, and Japheth) must have therefore also assisted their father in building the ark.
In Bible time, it was customary for Children to take after their father’s profession. For instance, Jesus is referred to as the carpenter (Mathew 13:55) even though there isn’t any evidence in the scriptures that he was a carpenter. In his society, it was expected that since his foster father was a carpenter, he would be one too. It is therefore plausible that Noah’s three sons worked hand in hand with their father in building the ark.
The Bible also says that Noah’s sons entered the ark with their wives. While not much detail has been given on the said wives, it is safe to assume that the three sons of Noah had god-fearing wives too. The purpose of the flood was to destroy sinful man and start fresh with the only righteous people that had been found and since the wives were admitted to the ark, we can infer that they also passed the bar of righteousness. It is therefore very likely that they also supported their husbands and father-in-law in constructing the ark.
Noah came from a lineage of holy men and some of his relatives must have been alive when he started building the ark. Some Bible scholars believe that Noah must have been assisted by his grandfather methuselah in the building of the ark. The main reason for this school of thought was his age. The Bible records that Methuselah lived for 969 years (Genesis 5:27) which makes him the man with the longest lifespan. It is plausible that he helped his grandson in building the ark. Bible scholars also believe that Lamech, Noah’s father assisted in the work.
The obvious question that this idea raises is why they were not included among the people who boarded the ark. Or did they just assist Noah as a family obligation but didn’t really believe in his cause? Well, the answer is quite simple – they were both dead by the time the flood started. From the timelines given in Genesis 5, we can infer that Methuselah died in the same year the flood started while Lamech died five years earlier. So it is possible that they were looking forward to the completion of the ark and they believed in Noah’s message. However, they died before they could see its fruition. There is also the possibility that other members of Noah’s extended family helped in the construction. However, there is no definitive way of knowing that since the scripture doesn’t mention it.
Another possibility that has been suggested is that Noah recruited people to help him build the ark. Even though he was given the blueprint by God, he might have still needed experts who could interpret the design and translate it into the ark that Noah had in mind. The Bible has lots of examples of this but the temple of Solomon as well as the Ark of the Tabernacle are great examples.
Let’s use the ark of Tabernacle for instance. After Moses received clear instructions on how to build it, he looked for people who were skilled in different areas to help him construct it. For instance, the Bible mentions how God directed Moses to Bezalel the son of Uri who was skilled in all manner of workmanship that dealt with bronze, silver, gold, and other metals. (Ex. 35:2-3). Similarly, it is plausible that Noah hired builders who had experience in building ships or any other irrelevant construction work and contracted them with the project. Noah therefore became the architect who provided the hired people with the plan and then supervised its construction to make sure it was exactly as God had revealed to him.
In conclusion, the question of who helped Noah build the ark remains a matter of speculation, as the Bible does not provide a definitive answer. However, there are several plausible scenarios to consider. It is highly likely that Noah received assistance from his immediate family, particularly his three sons (Shem, Ham, and Japheth) and their wives. In biblical times, children often followed in their father’s profession, and given the magnitude of the task, it is reasonable to assume that Noah’s sons played a significant role in the construction.
Noah may have also received support from his extended family, including his grandfather Methuselah and his father Lamech, although they passed away before the flood began.
Another possibility is that Noah hired skilled workers to assist in the construction of the Ark, much like how skilled craftsmen were enlisted to build the Tabernacle and the Temple in other biblical narratives. These workers would have translated God’s design into a physical structure under Noah’s supervision.