|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
8:1-3 The whole race of mankind, except Noah and his family, were now dead, so that God's remembering Noah, was the return of his mercy to mankind, of whom he would not make a full end. The demands of Divine justice had been answered by the ruin of sinners. God sent his wind to dry the earth, and seal up his waters. The same hand that brings the desolation, must bring the deliverance; to that hand, therefore, we must ever look. When afflictions have done the work for which they are sent, whether killing work or curing work, they will be taken away. As the earth was not drowned in a day, so it was not dried in a day. God usually works deliverance for his people gradually, that the day of small things may not be despised, nor the day of great things despaired of.
Verse 3. - And the waters returned from off the earth continually. Literally, going and returning. "More and more" (Gesenius). The first verb expresses the continuance and self-increasing state of the action involved in the second; cf. Genesis 26:13; 1 Samuel 6:12; 2 Kings 2:11 (Furst). Gradually (Murphy, Ewald). The expression "denotes the turning-point after the waters had become calm" (T. Lewis). May it not be an attempt to represent the undulatory motion of the waves in an ebbing tide, in which the water seems first to advance, but only to retire with greater vehemence, reversing the movement of a flowing tide, in which it first retires and then advances - in the one case returning to go, in the other going to return? The LXX., as usual, indicates the visible effect rather than the actual phenomenon: καὶ ἐνεδίδου τὸ ὕδωρ πορεύομενον ἀπὸ τῆς γῆς. And after the end of the hundred and fifty days the waters were abated. Literally, were cut off, hence diminished; imminsutae sunt (Vulgate); ἠλαττονοῦτο τὸ ὕδωρ (LXX.). The first stage was the quieting of the waters; the second was the commencement of an ebbing or backward motion; the third was a perceptible diminution of the waters.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And the waters returned from off the earth continually,.... Or "going and returning" (s); they went off from the earth, and returned to their proper places appointed for them; some were dried up by the wind, and exhaled by the sun into the air: and others returned to their channels and cavities in the earth, or soaked into it:
and after the end of the hundred and fifty days, the waters were abated; or began to abate, as Jarchi and the Vulgate Latin version; which days are to be reckoned from the beginning of the flood, including the forty days' rain; though Jarchi reckons them from the time of the ceasing of it; so that there were from the beginning of the flood one hundred and ninety days; six months, and ten days of the year of the flood now past; and in this he is followed by Dr. Lightfoot (t): but the former reckoning seems best, and agrees better with what follows.
(s) , "eundo et redeundo", Pagninus, Montanus. (t) Works, vol. 1. p. 6.
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