Genesis 7:4
For yet seven days, and I will cause it to rain upon the earth forty days and forty nights; and every living substance that I have made will I destroy from off the face of the earth.
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(4) Forty days.—Henceforward forty became the sacred number of trial and patience, and, besides the obvious places in the Old Testament, it was the duration both of our Lord’s fast in the wilderness and of His sojourn on earth after the Resurrection.

Every living substance.—The word “living” is found neither in the Hebrew nor in the ancient versions, and limits the sense unnecessarily. The word is rare, being found only thrice, namely, here, in Genesis 7:23, and in Deuteronomy 11:6. It means whatever stands erect. Thus God “destroys”—Heb., blots out (see on Genesis 6:7)—not man and beast only, but the whole existent state of things—“from the face of the earth”—Heb., the adâmâh, the cultivated and inhabited ground. This section is much more limited in the extent which it gives to the flood, not including reptiles, or rather, small animals, among those saved in the ark, and confining the overflow of the waters to the inhabited region.

Genesis 7:4. Yet seven days — Or after seven days, which time the long- suffering of God (1 Peter 3:20) granted to the world, as a further space for repentance, of which, therefore, it is probable, Noah gave them notice. And it is not unlikely that many of them, who slighted the threatening when it was at the distance of one hundred and twenty years, now hearing another threatening, and considering the nearness of their danger, might be more affected, and brought to repentance. And although destroyed, as to their bodies, by the flood, for their former and long-continued impenitence, yet might be saved in their spirits, 1 Peter 4:6. And as it is likely that some, who were preserved from the waters by the ark, nevertheless, at last, perished in hell; so some that were drowned in the deluge might be eternally saved into heaven. With respect, however, to the generality, this reprieve was certainly in vain: see Luke 17:26, and 2 Peter 2:5. These seven days were trifled away after all the rest, and they continued secure until the day that the flood came. While Noah told them of the judgment at a distance, they were tempted to put off their repentance: but now he is ordered to tell them that it is at the door; that they have but one week more to turn them in, to see if that will now at last awaken them to consider the things that belong to their peace. But it is common for those that have been careless for their souls during the years of their health, when they have looked upon death at a distance, to be as careless during the days, the seven days of their sickness, when they see it approaching, their hearts being hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. Reader, art thou the man?

7:1-12 The call to Noah is very kind, like that of a tender father to his children to come in-doors when he sees night or a storm coming. Noah did not go into the ark till God bade him, though he knew it was to be his place of refuge. It is very comfortable to see God going before us in every step we take. Noah had taken a great deal of pains to build the ark, and now he was himself kept alive in it. What we do in obedience to the command of God, and in faith, we ourselves shall certainly have the comfort of, first or last. This call to Noah reminds us of the call the gospel gives to poor sinners. Christ is an ark, in whom alone we can be safe, when death and judgment approach. The word says, Come; ministers say, Come; the Spirit says, Come, come into the Ark. Noah was accounted righteous, not for his own righteousness, but as an heir of the righteousness which is by faith, Heb 11:7. He believed the revelation of a saviour, and sought and expected salvation through Him alone. Thus was he justified by faith, and received that Spirit whose fruit is in all goodness; but if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. After the hundred and twenty years, God granted seven days' longer space for repentance. But these seven days were trifled away, like all the rest. It shall be but seven days. They had only one week more, one sabbath more to improve, and to consider the things that belonged to their peace. But it is common for those who have been careless of their souls during the years of their health, when they have looked upon death at a distance, to be as careless during the days, the few days of their sickness, when they see death approaching; their hearts being hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. As Noah prepared the ark by faith in the warning given that the flood would come, so he went into it, by faith in this warning that it would come quickly. And on the day Noah was securely fixed in the ark, the fountains of the great deep were broken up. The earth had within it those waters, which, at God's command, sprang up and flooded it; and thus our bodies have in themselves those humours, which, when God pleases, become the seeds and springs of mortal diseases. The windows of heaven were opened, and the waters which were above the firmament, that is, in the air, were poured out upon the earth. The rain comes down in drops; but such rains fell then, as were never known before or since. It rained without stop or abatement, forty days and forty nights, upon the whole earth at once. As there was a peculiar exercise of the almighty power of God in causing the flood, it is vain and presumptuous to attempt explaining the method of it, by human wisdom.Seven days after the issue of the command the rain is to commence, and continue for forty days and nights without ceasing. "Every standing thing" means every plant and animal on the land.4. For yet seven days—A week for a world to repent! What a solemn pause! Did they laugh and ridicule his folly still? He whose eyes saw and whose heart felt the full amount of human iniquity and perverseness has told us of their reckless disregard (Lu 17:27). Yet seven days, or, after seven days, the Hebrew Lamed being put for after, as it is Exodus 16:1 Psalm 19:3 Jeremiah 41:4. Or, within seven days, which time God allowed to the world as a further space of repentance, whereof therefore it is probable Noah gave them notice; and it is not unlikely that many of them who slighted the threatening when it was at one hundred and twenty years distance, now hearing a second threatening, and considering the nearness of their danger, might be more affected and brought to true repentance; who though destroyed in their bodies by the flood for their former and long impenitency, which God would not so far pardon, yet might be saved in their spirits. See 1 Peter 4:6. And as some preserved in the ark were damned, so others drowned in the deluge might be eternally saved.

And every living substance, all that hath in it the breath of life, as was said Genesis 6:17.

For yet seven days,.... Or one week more, after the above orders were given, which, the Jews say, were for the mourning at Methuselah's death; others, that they were an additional space to the one hundred and twenty given to the old world for repentance; in which time some might truly repent, finding that the destruction of the world was very near, and who might be saved from everlasting damnation, though not from perishing in the flood: but it rather was a space of time proper for Noah to have, to settle himself and family, and all the creatures in the ark, and dispose of everything there, in the best manner, for their sustenance and safety:

and I will cause it to rain upon the earth forty days and forty nights: this was not an ordinary but an extraordinary rain, in which the power and providence of God were eminently concerned, both with respect to the continuance of it, and the quantity of water that fell:

and every living substance that I have made will I destroy from off the face of the earth: not every substance that has a vegetative life, as plants, herbs, and trees, which were not destroyed, see Genesis 8:11 but every substance that has animal life, as fowls, cattle, creeping things, and men.

For yet seven days, and I will cause it to rain upon the earth forty days and forty nights; and every living substance that I have made will I destroy from off the face of the earth.
4. seven days] Note the period of seven days, the same interval as occurs again, in the J narrative, in Genesis 8:10; Genesis 8:12.

forty days and forty nights] The duration of the Flood is here announced. Cf. Genesis 7:12 and Genesis 8:6. In the Babylonian version the rain lasts for six days.

every living thing] or rather, “every existing thing.” A peculiar word in the Heb. occurring only here and Deuteronomy 11:6. (LXX ἀνάστεμα, Lat. substantiam.) It is, therefore, different from the expression “living thing,” which is used by P in Genesis 6:19, Genesis 8:1; Genesis 8:17; Genesis 8:21.

destroy] Heb. blot out, so also Genesis 7:23 (J): see note on Genesis 6:7.

Verses 4, 5. - For yet seven days. Literally, for today's yet seven - after seven days; thus giving Noah time to complete his preparations, and the world one more opportunity to repent, which Peele thinks many may have done, though their bodies were drowned for their former impenitency. And I will cause it to rain - literally, I causing it, the participle indicating the certainty of the future action (cf. Genesis 6:17; Proverbs 25:22; cf. Ewald's 'Hebrews Synt.,' § 306) - upon the earth forty days and forty nights. The importance assigned in subsequent Scripture to the number forty, probably from the circumstance here recorded, is too obvious to be overlooked. Israel wandered forty years in the wilderness (Numbers 14:33). The scouts remained forty days in Canaan (Numbers 13:26). Moses was forty days in the mount (Exodus 24:18). Elijah fasted forty days and forty nights in the wilderness of Beersheba (1 Kings 19:8). A respite of forty days was given to the Ninevites (Jonah 3:4). Christ fasted forty days before the temptation (Matthew 4:2), and sojourned forty, days on earth after his resurrection (Acts 1:3). It thus appears to have been regarded as symbolical of a period of trial, ending in victory to the good and in ruin to the evil. And every living substance - yekum; literally, standing thing, omne quod subsistit, i.e. "whatever is capable by a principle of life of maintaining an erect posture" (Bush); ἀνάστημα (LXX.; cf. Deuteronomy 11:6; Job 22:20) - that I have made will I destroy - literally, blot out (cf. Genesis 6:7) - from off the face of the earth. And Noah did according to all that the Lord (Jehovah, the God of salvation, who now interposed for the patriarch's safety; in Genesis 6:22, where God is exhibited in his relations to all flesh, it is Elohim) had commanded him. Genesis 7:4Genesis 7:1-12

When the ark was built, and the period of grace (Genesis 6:3) had passed, Noah received instructions from Jehovah to enter the ark with his family, and with the animals, viz., seven of every kind of clean animals, and two of the unclean; and was informed that within seven days God would cause it to rain upon the earth forty days and forty nights. The date of the flood is then given (Genesis 7:6): "Noah was six hundred years old, and the flood was (namely) water upon the earth;" and the execution of the divine command is recorded in Genesis 7:7-9. There follows next the account of the bursting forth of the flood, the date being given with still greater minuteness; and the entrance of the men and animals into the ark is again described as being fully accomplished (Genesis 7:10-16). - The fact that in the command to enter the ark a distinction is now made between clean and unclean animals, seven of the former being ordered to be taken, - i.e., three pair and a single one, probably a male for sacrifice-is no more a proof of different authorship, or of the fusion of two accounts, than the interchange of the names Jehovah and Elohim. For the distinction between clean and unclean animals did not originate with Moses, but was confirmed by him as a long established custom, in harmony with the law. It reached back to the very earliest times, and arose from a certain innate feeling of the human mind, when undisturbed by unnatural and ungodly influences, which detects types of sin and corruption in many animals, and instinctively recoils from them (see my biblische Archeologie ii. p. 20). That the variations in the names of God furnish no criterion by which to detect different documents, is evident enough from the fact, that in Genesis 7:1 it is Jehovah who commands Noah to enter the ark, and in Genesis 7:4 Noah does as Elohim had commanded, whilst in Genesis 7:16, in two successive clauses, Elohim alternates with Jehovah-the animals entering the ark at the command of Elohim, and Jehovah shutting Noah in. With regard to the entrance of the animals into the ark, it is worthy of notice, that in Genesis 7:9 and Genesis 7:15 it is stated that "they came two and two," and in Genesis 7:16 that "the coming ones came male and female of all flesh." In this expression "they came" it is clearly intimated, that the animals collected about Noah and were taken into the ark, without his having to exert himself to collect them, and that they did so in consequence of an instinct produced by God, like that which frequently leads animals to scent and try to flee from dangers, of which man has no presentiment. The time when the flood commenced is said to have been the 600th year of Noah's life, on the 17th day of the second month (Genesis 7:11). The months must be reckoned, not according to the Mosaic ecclesiastical year, which commenced in the spring, but according to the natural of civil year, which commenced in the autumn at the beginning of sowing time, or the autumnal equinox; so that the flood would be pouring upon the earth in October and November. "The same day were all the fountains of the great deep (תּהום the unfathomable ocean) broken up, and the sluices (windows, lattices) of heaven opened, and there was (happened, came) pouring rain (גּשׁם in distinction from טטר) upon the earth 40 days and 40 nights." Thus the flood was produced by the bursting forth of fountains hidden within the earth, which drove seas and rivers above their banks, and by rain which continued incessantly for 40 days and 40 nights.

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