Genesis 7:21
And all flesh died that moved upon the earth, both of fowl, and of cattle, and of beast, and of every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth, and every man:
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Genesis 7:21. All flesh died; all that was on the dry land — And why so? Man only had done wickedly, and justly is God’s hand against him, but these sheep, what have they done? I answer, 1st, We are sure God did them no wrong. He is the sovereign Lord of all life; for he is the sole fountain and author of it. He that made them as he pleased, might unmake them when he pleased, and who shall say unto God, What dost thou? 2d, God did admirably serve the purposes of his own glory by their destruction, as well as by their creation. Herein his holiness and justice were greatly magnified: by this it appears that he hates sin, and is highly displeased with sinners, since even the inferior creatures, because they are the servants of man, and part of his possession, and because they had been abused to be the servants of sin, are destroyed with him. It was likewise an instance of God’s wisdom. As the creatures were made for man when he was made, so they were multiplied for him when he was multiplied; and, therefore, now mankind was reduced to so small a number, it was fit that the beasts should proportionably be reduced, otherwise they would have had the dominion, and would have replenished the earth, and the remnant of mankind that was left would have been overpowered by them.

7:21-24 All the men, women, and children, that were in the world, excepting those in the ark, died. We may easily imagine what terror seized them. Our Saviour tells us, that till the very day that the flood came, they were eating and drinking, Lu 17:26,27; they were deaf and blind to all Divine warnings. In this posture death surprised them. They were convinced of their folly when it was too late. We may suppose they tried all ways and means possible to save themselves, but all in vain. And those that are not found in Christ, the Ark, are certainly undone, undone for ever. Let us pause, and consider this tremendous judgment! Who can stand before the Lord when he is angry? The sin of sinners will be their ruin, first or last, if not repented of. The righteous God knows how to bring ruin upon the world of the ungodly, 2Pe 2:5. How tremendous will be the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men! Happy they who are part of Christ's family, and safe with him as such; they may look forward without dismay, and rejoice that they shall triumph, when fire shall burn up the earth, and all that therein is. We are apt to suppose some favourable distinctions in our own case or character; but if we neglect, refuse, or abuse the salvation of Christ, we shall, notwithstanding such fancied advantages, be destroyed in the common ruin of an unbelieving world.There expired all flesh. - The resulting death of all by drowning is here recounted. "All in whose nostrils was the breath of the spirit of live died." This statement refers solely to man, whose higher life is exclusively expressed by the phrase חיים נשׁמת nı̂shmat chayı̂ym, "breath of life" Genesis 2:7. It affirms the death of the whole of mankind. The sum total of animal and vegetable life, with the exception of those in the ark, is here declared to be extinguished.21. all flesh died … fowl … cattle, and … creeping thing—It has been a uniform principle in the divine procedure, when judgments were abroad on the earth, to include every thing connected with the sinful objects of His wrath (Ge 19:25; Ex 9:6). Besides, now that the human race was reduced to one single family, it was necessary that the beasts should be proportionally diminished, otherwise by their numbers they would have acquired the ascendancy and overmastered the few that were to repeople the world. Thus goodness was mingled with severity; the Lord exercises judgment in wisdom and in wrath remembers mercy. All flesh that moved, i.e. lived; for motion is a sign of life.

And all flesh died that moved upon the earth,.... That had animal life in them, of which motion was a sign:

both of fowl, and of cattle, and of beast, and of every creeping thing that creepeth on the earth; excepting those that were in the ark. This general destruction of the creatures, as it was for the sins of men, whose they were, and by whom they were abused, and is expressive of God's hatred of sin, and of his holiness and justice in the punishment of it; so, on the other hand, it is a display both of the wisdom of God, in causing a decrease of the creatures, in proportion to the decrease of men, who now would not need so many; and of the goodness of God to those that were spared, that so the beasts of the field, especially the wilder sort, might not multiply against them, and prevail over them, see Exodus 23:29.

and every man: except those in the ark; and the number of them is supposed to be as great, if not greater, than of the present inhabitants of the earth, by those who are skilful in the calculation of the increase of men. It is thought it may be easily allowed, that their number amounted to eleven billion; and some have made their number to be eighty billion (p). The Apostle Peter calls them, the world of the ungodly, 2 Peter 2:5.

(p) Scheuchzer. Physica Sacra, vol. 1. p. 55.

And all flesh died that moved upon the earth, both of fowl, and of cattle, and of beast, and of every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth, and every man:
Verses 21, 22 describe the effect of the Deluge in its destruction of all animal and human life. And all flesh died that moved upon the earth. A general expression for the animal creation, of which the particulars are then specified. Both of fowl, and of cattle, and of beast, and of every creeping thing that creepeth on the earth. Literally, in fowl, and in cattle, &c. (cf. ver. 14). And every man. i.e. all the human race (with the exception of the inmates of the ark), which is further characterized as all in whose nostrils was the breath of life. Literally, the breath of the spirit of lives, i.e. all mankind. A clear pointing backwards to Genesis 2:7, which leads Davidson to ascribe vers. 22, 23 to the Jehovist, although Eichhorn, Tuch, Bleek, Vaihinger, and others leave them in the fundamental document, but which is rather to be regarded as a proof of the internal unity of the book. Of all that was in the dry land, - a further specification of the creatures that perished in the Flood, - died. It is obvious the construction of vers. 21, 22 may be differently understood. Each verse may be taken as a separate sentence, as in the A.V., or the second sentence may commence with the words, "And every man," as in the present exposition. Thus far the calamity is simply viewed in its objective result, In the words which follow, which wear the aspect of an unnecessary repetition, it is regarded in its relation to the Divine threatening. Genesis 7:21Genesis 7:17-24 contain a description of the flood: how the water increased more and more, till it was 15 cubits above all the lofty mountains of the earth, and how, on the one hand, it raised the ark above the earth and above the mountains, and, on the other, destroyed every living being upon the dry land, from man to cattle, creeping things, and birds. "The description is simple and majestic; the almighty judgment of God, and the love manifest in the midst of the wrath, hold the historian fast. The tautologies depict the fearful monotony of the immeasurable expanse of water: omnia pontus erant et deerant litera ponto." The words of Genesis 7:17, "and the flood was (came) upon the earth for forty days," relate to the 40 days' rain combined with the bursting forth of the foundations beneath the earth. By these the water was eventually raised to the height given, at which it remained 150 days (Genesis 7:24). But if the water covered "all the high hills under the whole heaven," this clearly indicates the universality of the flood. The statement, indeed, that it rose 15 cubits above the mountains, is probably founded upon the fact, that the ark drew 15 feet of water, and that when the waters subsided, it rested upon the top of Ararat, from which the conclusion would very naturally be drawn as to the greatest height attained. Now as Ararat, according to the measurement of Perrot, is only 16,254 feet high, whereas the loftiest peaks of the Himalaya and Cordilleras are as much as 26,843, the submersion of these mountains has been thought impossible, and the statement in Genesis 7:19 has been regarded as a rhetorical expression, like Deuteronomy 2:25 and Deuteronomy 4:19, which is not of universal application. But even if those peaks, which are higher than Ararat, were not covered by water, we cannot therefore pronounce the flood merely partial in its extent, but must regard it as universal, as extending over every part of the world, since the few peaks uncovered would not only sink into vanishing points in comparison with the surface covered, but would form an exception not worth mentioning, for the simple reason that no living beings could exist upon these mountains, covered with perpetual snow and ice; so that everything that lived upon the dry land, in whose nostrils there was a breath of life, would inevitably die, and, with the exception of those shut up in the ark, neither man nor beast would be able to rescue itself, and escape destruction. A flood which rose 15 cubits above the top of Ararat could not remain partial, if it only continued a few days, to say nothing of the fact that the water was rising for 40 days, and remained at the highest elevation for 150 days. To speak of such a flood as partial is absurd, even if it broke out at only one spot, it would spread over the earth from one end to the other, and reach everywhere to the same elevation. However impossible, therefore, scientific men may declare it to be for them to conceive of a universal flood of such a height and duration in accordance with the known laws of nature, this inability on their part does not justify any one in questioning the possibility of such an event being produced by the omnipotence of God. It has been justly remarked, too, that the proportion of such a quantity of water to the entire mass of the earth, in relation to which the mountains are but like the scratches of a needle on a globe, is no greater than that of a profuse perspiration to the body of a man. And to this must be added, that, apart from the legend of a flood, which is found in nearly every nation, the earth presents unquestionable traces of submersion in the fossil remains of animals and plants, which are found upon the Cordilleras and Himalaya even beyond the limit of perpetual snow.

(Note: The geological facts which testify to the submersion of the entire globe are collected in Buckland's reliquiae diluv., Schubert's Gesch. der Natur, and C. v. Raumer's Geography, and are of such importance that even Cuvier acknowledged "Je pense donc, avec MM. Deluc et Dolomieu, que s'il y a quelque chose de constat en gologie; c'est que la surface de notre globe a t victime d'une grande et subite rvolution, dont la date ne peut remonter beaucoup au del de cinq ou six mille ans" (Discours sur les rvol. de la surface du globe, p. 190, ed. 6). The latest phase of geology, however, denies that these facts furnish any testimony to the historical character of the flood, and substitutes the hypothesis of a submersion of the entire globe before the creation of man: 1. because the animals found are very different from those at present in existence; and 2. because no certain traces have hitherto been found of fossil human bones. We have already shown that there is no force in these arguments. Vid., Keerl, pp. 489ff.)

In Genesis 7:23, instead of ויּמּח (imperf. Niphal) read ויּמח (imperf. Kal): "and He (Jehovah) destroyed every existing thing," as He had said in Genesis 7:4.

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