Genesis 6:12
And God looked upon the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth.
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(12) All flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth.—These material things were incapable alike of moral good or evil, but man had made them the instruments of working his carnal will, and because of the associations connected with them they must be effaced, or rubbed out. (See Note on Genesis 6:7.)

6:12-21 God told Noah his purpose to destroy the wicked world by water. The secret of the Lord is with them that fear him, Ps 25:14. It is with all believers, enabling them to understand and apply the declarations and warnings of the written word. God chose to do it by a flood of waters, which should drown the world. As he chooses the rod with which he corrects his children, so he chooses the sword with which he cuts off his enemies. God established his covenant with Noah. This is the first place in the Bible where the word 'covenant' is found; it seems to mean, 1. The covenant of providence; that the course of nature shall be continued to the end of time. 2. The covenant of grace; that God would be a God to Noah, and that out of his seed God would take to himself a people. God directed Noah to make an ark. This ark was like the hulk of a ship, fitted to float upon the waters. It was very large, half the size of St. Paul's cathedral, and would hold more than eighteen of the largest ships now used. God could have secured Noah without putting him to any care, or pains, or trouble; but employed him in making that which was to be the means to preserve him, for the trial of his faith and obedience. Both the providence of God, and the grace of God, own and crown the obedient and diligent. God gave Noah particular orders how to make the ark, which could not therefore but be well fitted for the purpose. God promised Noah that he and his family should be kept alive in the ark. What we do in obedience to God, we and our families are likely to have the benefit of. The piety of parents gets their children good in this life, and furthers them in the way to eternal life, if they improve it.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. All men, as the word flesh is taken, Psalm 78:39 Isaiah 40:5, and oft elsewhere,

had corrupted his way; either,

1. God’s way, his precepts concerning religion and righteousness; or,

2. Their own way or manner of living.

And God looked upon the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt,.... This is spoken as if he had never looked upon it before; whereas his eyes are always upon the earth, and the inhabitants of it, and upon all their ways and works: but this denotes the special notice he took, and the particular observation he made upon the condition and circumstances the earth, and its inhabitants, were in. And this is remarked, as well as the particle "behold" is used, to denote the certainty of this corruption; it must needs be true, that the earth was corrupted, since the omniscient God had declared it to be so, who sees and knows all things:

for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth: that is, all men, excepting Noah; who were flesh, carnal and unregenerate persons; these had corrupted the way of God, the true religion, with their idolatries: and they had corrupted their own way, their manners, their life and conversation with their uncleanness and wickedness of various sorts: the Arabic writers (y) say, that after Enoch was taken away, the children of Seth and of Cain worshipped idols, everyone as he pleased, and were immersed in wickedness, and gave their right hands to each other, and joined in fellowship in committing sin and vice; and that in the times of Noah, none were left in the holy mount but he and his wife, and his three sons and their wives; all went down below and mixed with the daughters of Cain, and were immersed in sins, and worshipped strange gods, and so the earth was corrupted and filled with lasciviousness. The Jewish writers also observe (z), that the generations of Cain were guilty of uncleanness, men and women, like beasts, and defiled themselves with all kind of fornication and incest, everyone with his mother, and with his own sister, and with his brother's wife, and that openly, and in the streets: and Sanchoniatho (a), the Heathen historian, the writer of the history of Cain's line, says of the fifth generation before the flood, that the women of those times, without shame, lay with any man they could meet with.

(y) Elmacinus & Patricides, apud Hottinger. Smegma Oriental. l. 1. c. 8. p. 242, 247. (z) Pirke Eliezer, c. 22. (a) Apud Euseb. Praepar. Evangel. l. 1. p. 34, 35.

And God looked upon the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth.
12. all flesh] Used here for “all the human race.” The phrase, which is found 13 times in the Story of the Flood, is a characteristic of P.

had corrupted his way] This expression seems to be used with the object of shewing that man was a free agent, and that his corruption was not the result of blind fate, or of any external malign influence.

Verse 12. - And God looked upon the earth. "God knows at all times what is doing in our world, but his looking upon the earth denotes a special observance of it, as though he had instituted an inquiry into its real condition" (Bush; cf. Psalm 14:2; Psalm 33:13, 14; Psalm 80:2, 3). And, behold, it was corrupt. "Everything stood in sharpest contradiction with that good state which God the Creator had established" (Delitzsch, quoted by Lange). The nature of this corruption is further indicated. For all flesh, i.e. the human race, who are so characterized here not so much for their frailty (Isaiah 40:5, 6) as for their moral and spiritual degeneracy (Genesis 6:3, q.v. ) - had corrupted - skachath (καταφθείρω, LXX. ); literally, had destroyed, wrecked, and ruined, wholly subverted and overthrown - his way - derech (from darach, to tread with the feet), a going; hence a journey, a way; e.g.

(1) of living or acting (Proverbs 12:15; 1 Samuel 18:44)';

(2) of worshipping God - ὀδὸς, Acts 19:9, 23 (Psalm 139:24; Amos 8:14). Here it signifies the entire plan and course of life in all its ethical and religious aspects as designed for man by God (cf. Psalm 119:9; and contrast "the way of Cain," Jude 1:11; "the way of Balaam," 2 Peter 2:15) - upon the earth. Genesis 6:12In 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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