BBC: Genesis 7:11-16
In the six hundredth year of Noah's life, in the second month, on the seventeenth day of the month, on that day all the fountains of the great deep burst forth, and the windows of the heavens were opened. And rain fell upon the earth forty days and forty nights. On the very same day Noah and his sons, Shem and Ham and Japheth, and Noah's wife and the three wives of his sons with them entered the ark, they and every beast, according to its kind, and all the livestock according to their kinds, and every creeping thing that creeps on the earth, according to its kind, and every bird, according to its kind, every winged creature. They went into the ark with Noah, two and two of all flesh in which there was the breath of life. And those that entered, male and female of all flesh, went in as God had commanded him. And the Lord shut him in. – Genesis 7:11-16
There are many fine points that are to be lifted from this passage. The first is the age of Noah. The timing of his life is important to the symbolism of the event occurring. “Six” (hundred years) have come and the earth is to receive its “Sabbath” from the sinfulness of man. Even the specific dating is important as it is mentioned at both the start and finish (Gen 8:14) of this cosmic judgment. It is my opinion that this is the celebration of an “unclean Passover” (Num 9:11; 2 Chron 30:1-15) for which the “forty days” of rain symbolizes the purification of Noah’s family.
The other important insight is the continuing emphasis on “male and female” in the role of creation. The deliverance of mankind and the continuation of the dominion mandate (Gen 9:1) requires this model. Likewise also in the new creation the Lord Jesus Christ needs His bride (Rev 21:9).