Genesis 6:11
The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence.
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(11) The earth.—This is the larger word, and it occurs no less than six times in these three verses, thus indicating a more widespread calamity than if adâmâh only had been used, as in Genesis 6:7. But the earth that “was corrupt before God” was not the whole material globe, but that part which man, notably the gibborim of Genesis 6:4, had “filled with violence.” Whithersoever man’s violence had spread, there his home and all his works, his builded cities, his tilled land, his cattle and stores, must be entirely swept away. An absolutely new beginning was to be made by Noah, such as Adam had to undertake when he was expelled from Paradise. The reason of this necessity is next given.

Genesis 6:11. The earth — Put for its inhabitants; was corrupt before God — In matters of God’s worship; either having other gods before him, or worshipping him by images; or before the face of God, whose eye was upon it, and in despite and contempt of his presence and justice. They sinned openly and impudently, without shame, and boldly and resolutely, without any fear of God. The earth also was filled with violence and injustice toward men; there was no order, nor regular government; no man was safe in the possession of that which he had the most clear right to; there was nothing but murders, rapes, and rapines.6:8-11 Noah did not find favour in the eyes of men; they hated and persecuted him, because both by his life and preaching he condemned the world: but he found grace in the eyes of the Lord, and this made him more truly honourable than the men of renown. Let this be our chief desire, let us labour that we may be accepted of him. When the rest of the world was wicked, Noah kept his integrity. God's good-will towards Noah produced this good work in him. He was a just man, that is, justified before God, by faith in the promised Seed. As such he was made holy, and had right principles; and was righteous in his conversation. He was not only honest, but devout; it was his constant care to do the will of God. God looks down upon those with an eye of favour, who sincerely look up to him with an eye of faith. It is easy to be religious when religion is in fashion; but it shows strong faith and resolution, to swim against the stream, and to appear for God when no one else appears for him; Noah did so. All kinds of sin were found among men. They corrupted God's worship. Sin fills the earth with violence, and this fully justified God's resolution to destroy the world. The contagion spread. When wickedness is become general, ruin is not far off; while there is a remnant of praying people in a nation, to empty the measure as it fills, judgments may be long kept off; but when all hands are at work to pull down the fences, by sin, and none stand in the gap to make up the breach, what can be expected but a flood of wrath?And the land was corrupt. - In contrast with Noah, the rest of the race were corrupt - entirely depraved by sin. "It was filled with violence" - with the outward exhibition of inward carnality. "And God saw this." It was patent to the eye of Heaven. This is the ground of the following commission.11. the earth was filled with violence—In the absence of any well-regulated government it is easy to imagine what evils would arise. Men did what was right in their own eyes, and, having no fear of God, destruction and misery were in their ways. The earth is here put for its inhabitants, as 1 Kings 10:24 Ezekiel 14:13.

Before God, or, before the face of God; q.d. in despite and contempt of God, and of his presence and justice. Compare Genesis 10:9, and Genesis 13:13: q. d. They sinned openly and impudently without shame, boldly and resolutely without any fear of God.

In the latter part of the verse,

the earth is put for the place, or the inhabited parts of it. So the same word is twice used in a differing sense in one and the same verse. See the like Matthew 8:22.

Violence, or, injustice, fraud, rapine, oppression; for all these this word signifies. Some conceive that these two branches note the universal corruption of mankind, in reference to all their duties.

1. Towards God and his worship, which they corrupted by horrible superstition, and by idolatry, which is called corruption, Exodus 32:7 Deu 32:5, Jdg 2:19.

2. Towards men, in the duties of righteousness. The earth also was corrupt before God,.... That is, the inhabitants of the earth were corrupt in their lives and conversations; they were corrupt both in principle and practice, and did abominable things; and those corruptions were, according to Jarchi, uncleanness and idolatry; they were corrupt in the worship of God, worshipping the creature more, or besides the Creator; and they were corrupt in their manners and behaviour to one another, being guilty of fornication and adultery, and other enormous crimes; of some against God, and of others against their neighbours; and these they committed openly and impudently, without any fear of God, or dread of his wrath and displeasure, and in contempt of him, his will and laws:

and the earth was filled with violence; with doing injury to the persons and properties of men; with oppression and cruelty, by tyrannical decrees and unrighteous judgments; or with rapines and robberies, as the Targums and Jarchi; and with rapes, as Aben Ezra adds: the account that Lucian (x) gives from tradition agrees with this; that the present race of men is not the first, they totally perished by a flood; and those men were very insolent and addicted to unjust actions; for they neither kept their oaths, nor were hospitable to strangers, nor gave ear to suppliants, for which reason they were destroyed.

(x) De Dea Syria.

The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with {k} violence.

(k) Meaning, that all were given to the contempt of God, and oppression of their neighbours.

11. corrupt] The full strength of the word would rather be given by “corrupted.” LXX ἐφθάρη, Lat. corrupta est, “was marred, ruined.” “Before God,” i.e. according to the standard of His judgement. “God” is here ha-Elohim, i.e. the God, the Elohim, absolutely.

violence] The particular form of wickedness represented by this word, here and in Genesis 6:13, is doubtless meant to be impious insolence and active disregard of all law of right and wrong. LXX ἀδικίας and Lat. iniquitate miss the specific thought of “violence.”Verse 11. - The earth -

(1) its inhabitants, as in ver. 11 (cf. Genesis 11:1) - mankind being denominated earth because wholly earthly (Chrysostom);

(2) the land, which had become defiled through their wickedness (vers. 12, 13; cf. Psalm 107:34) - also (literally, and the earth) was corrupt - in a moral sense, the causes and forms of which corruption have already been detailed in the preceding paragraph. The term is elsewhere applied to idolatry, or the sin of perverting and depraving the worship of God (Exodus 32:7; Deuteronomy 32:5; Judges 2:19; 2 Chronicles 27:2); but the special sins of the antediluvians were rather licentiousness and lawlessness - before God - i.e. openly, publicly, flagrantly, and presumptuously (cf. Genesis 10:9); noting the intensity of their wickedness, or intimating the fact that God had seen their corruption, and so commending the Divine long-suffering (Calvin), - and the earth was filled with violence. "The outward exhibition of inward carnality" (Murphy); "injurious and cruel dealing, the violating of duties towards men, 'rapines or robberies (Chaldee)'" (Ainsworth). Cf. Genesis 49:5; Joel 3:19; Obadiah 1:10. In Genesis 6:10-12, the account of the birth of his three sons, and of the corruption of all flesh, is repeated. This corruption is represented as corrupting the whole earth and filling it with wickedness; and thus the judgment of the flood is for the first time fully accounted for. "The earth was corrupt before God (Elohim points back to the previous Elohim in Genesis 6:9)," it became so conspicuous to God, that He could not refrain from punishment. The corruption proceeded from the fact, that "all flesh" - i.e., the whole human race which had resisted the influence of the Spirit of God and become flesh (see Genesis 6:3) - "had corrupted its way." The term "flesh" in Genesis 6:12 cannot include the animal world, since the expression, "corrupted its way," is applicable to man alone. The fact that in Genesis 6:13 and Genesis 6:17 this term embraces both men and animals is no proof to the contrary, for the simple reason, that in Genesis 6:19 "all flesh" denotes the animal world only, an evident proof that the precise meaning of the word must always be determined from the context.
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