And the LORD said unto Noah, Come thou and all thy house into the ark; for thee have I seen righteous before me in this generation.
Verse 1. - And the Lord, Jehovah, since Elohim now appears as the covenant God, though this change in the Divine name is commonly regarded by modern critics as betraying the hand of a Jehovist supplementer of the fundamental document of the Elohist (Bleek, Vaihinger, Davidson, Kalisch, Colense, Alford); but "that the variations in the name of God furnish no criterion by which to detect different documents is evident enough from the fact that in ver. 5 Noah does as Jehovah commands him, while in ver. 16 Elohim alternates with Jehovah" (Keil). Said unto Noah. At the end of the 120 years, when the building of the ark had been completed, and only seven days before the Flood - doubtless by an audible voice still speaking to him from between the cherubim, which we can suppose had not yet vanished from the earth. Come thou and all thy house into the ark. I.e. prepare for entering; the actual entry taking place seven days later. So God ever hides his people before the storm bursts (cf. Isaiah 26:20). For thee have I seen righteous (vide Genesis 6:9) before me. Literally, before my face; not merely notifying the Divine observance of Noah s piety, but announcing the fact of his justification in God's sight. "To be righteous before God," the usual Scriptural phrase for justification (cf. Psalm 143:2). In this generation. Vide Genesis 6:9. Indicating not alone the sphere of Noah's godly life, but its exceptional character; "involving an opposing sentence of condemnation against his contemporaries" (Lange).
Of every clean beast thou shalt take to thee by sevens, the male and his female: and of beasts that are not clean by two, the male and his female.
Verse 2. - Of every clean beast. That the distinction between clean and unclean animals was at this time understood is easier to believe than that the writer would perpetrate the glaring anachronism of introducing in prediluvian times what only took its rise several centuries later (Kalisch). That this distinction was founded on nature, "every tribe of mankind being able to distinguish between the sheep and the hyena, the dove and the vulture" ('Speaker's Commentary'), or "on an immediate conscious feeling of the human spirit, not yet clouded by any ungodly and unnatural culture, which leads it to see in many beasts pictures of sin and corruption" (Keil), has been supposed; but with greater probability it was of Divine institution, with reference to the necessities of sacrifice (Ainsworth, Bush, Wordsworth; cf. Genesis 8:20). To this was appended in the Levitical system a distinction between clean and unclean in respect of man's food (Leviticus 11:3). Shalt thou take - inconsistent with Genesis 6:20, which says the animals were to come to Noah (Colenso); but Genesis 6:19, which says that Noah was to bring them, i.e. make them go (at least nearly equivalent to take), clearly recognizes Noah's agency (Quarry) - to thee by sevens. Literally, seven, seven; either seven pairs (Vulgate, LXX., Aben Ezra, Clericus, Michaells, De Wette, Knobel, Kalisch, Murphy, Alford, Wordsworth, ' Speaker's Commentary'), or seven individuals (Chrysostom, Augustine, Theodoret, Calvin, Pererius, Wiliet, Delitzsch, Rosenmüller, Keil, Lange, Bush); both parties quoting the next clause in support of their particular interpretation. Davidson, Colenso, and Kalisch challenge both interpretations as "irreconcilable with the preceding narrative" (Genesis 6:19); but the obvious answer is, that while in the first communication, which was given 120 years before, when minute instructions were not required, it is simply stated that the animals should be preserved by pairs; in the second, when the ark was finished and the animals were about to be collected, it is added that, in the case of the few clean beasts used for sacrifice, an exception should be made to the general rule, and not one pair, but either three pairs with one over, or seven pairs, should be preserved. The male and his female. This seems to be most in favor of the first interpretation, that pairs, and not individuals, are meant. And of beasts that are not clean by two, the male and his female. Ish veishto. Cf. Genesis 2:25, where the phrase denotes the ethical personality of human beings, to which there is here an approximation, as the preserved animals were designed to be the parents of subsequent races. The usual phrase for male and female, which is employed in Genesis 1:28 (a so-called Elohistic) and Genesis 7:3 (a so-called Jehovistic section), refers to the physical distinction of sex in human beings.
Of fowls also of the air by sevens, the male and the female; to keep seed alive upon the face of all the earth.
Verse 3. - Of fowls also of the air by sevens, the male and the female. I.e. of clean fowls, "which he leaves to be understood out of the foregoing verse" (Peele). The Samaritan, Syriac, and LXX. (not so Vulgate, Onkelos, Arabic) insert the word "clean unnecessarily, and also add," καὶ ἀπὸ πάντων τῶν πετεινῶν τῶνν μὴ καθαρῶν δύο δύο ἄρσεν καὶ θῆλυ," manifestly to make the verse resemble the preceding. To keep seed alive upon the face of all the earth.
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.
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.
And Noah did according unto all that the LORD commanded him.
And Noah was six hundred years old when the flood of waters was upon the earth.
Verse 6. - And Noah was six hundred years old. Literally, a som of six hundred years, i.e. in his 600th year (cf. ver. 11). The number six "is generally a Scriptural symbol of suffering. Christ suffered on the sixth day. In the Apocalypse the sixth seal, the sixth trumpet, the sixth vial introduce critical periods of affliction" (Wordsworth). When the flood of waters was upon the earth.
And Noah went in, and his sons, and his wife, and his sons' wives with him, into the ark, because of the waters of the flood.
Verse 7. - And Noah went in. I.e. began to go in a full week before the waters came (vide ver. 10). "A proof of faith and a warning to the world." And his sons, and his wife, and his sons' wives with him. In all eight persons (1 Peter 3:20); whence it is obvious that "each had but one wife, and that polygamy, as it began among the Cainites, was most probably confined to them" (Poole). Into the ark, because of the waters of the flood. Literally, from the face of the waters, being moved with fear and impelled by faith (Hebrews 11:7).
Of clean beasts, and of beasts that are not clean, and of fowls, and of every thing that creepeth upon the earth,
Verses 8, 9. - Of clean beasts, and of beasts that are not clean, and of fowls, and of every thing that creepeth upon the earth, there went in two and two into the ark, the male and the female. In obedience to a Divine impulse. Nothing short of Divine power could have effected such a timely and orderly entrance of the creatures into the huge vessel (cf. their mode of exit, Genesis 8:18). The seeming inconsistency of this verse with ver. 2, which says that the clean animals entered the ark by sevens, will be at once removed by connecting vers. 7 and 8 instead of 8 and 9, and commencing a new sentence with ver. 9. It favors this, that "of" is awanting before "everything that creepeth," and that the LXX. begin ver. 8 with "and" (cf. Quarry, p. 373). As God had commanded Noah.
There went in two and two unto Noah into the ark, the male and the female, as God had commanded Noah.
And it came to pass after seven days, that the waters of the flood were upon the earth.
Verse 10. - And it came to pass after seven days (literally, at the seventh of the days), that the waters of the flood were upon the earth.
In the six hundredth year of Noah's life, in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month, the same day were all the fountains of the great deep broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened.
Verses 11, 12. - In the six hundredth year of Noah's life, in the second month. Not
(1) of Noah's 600th year. (Knobel); but either
(2) of the theocratic year, which began With Nisan or Abib (Exodus 12:2; Exodus 13:4; Exodus 23:15; Exodus 34:18; Deuteronomy 16:1; Nehemiah 2:1), either in March or April (Rabbi Joshua, Ambrose, Luther, Calvin, Mercerus, Havernick, Kalisch, Alford, Wordsworth); or
(3) of the civil year, which commenced with the autumnal equinox in the month Tisri, "called of old the first month, but now the seventh" (Chaldee Paraphrase; Exodus 32:16; Exodus 34:22), corresponding to September or October (Josephus, Rabbi Jonathan; Kimchi, Rosenmüller, Keil, Murphy, Bush, Ainsworth, 'Speaker s Commentary ). In support of the former maybe alleged the usual Biblical mode of reckoning the sacred year by numbers, and in defense of the latter that the ecclesiastical year did not begin till the time of the Exodus. In the seventeenth day of the month. "The careful statement of the chronology, which marks with such exactness day and month in the course of this occurence, puts all suspicion of the history to shame" (Havernick). The same day were all the fountains of the great deep - i.e. the waters of the ocean (Job 38:16, 30; Job 41:31; Psalm 106:9) and of subterranean reservoirs (Job 28:4, 10; Psalm 33:7; Deuteronomy 8:7) - broken up. "Byamctynomy because the earth and other obstructions were broken up, and so a passage opened for the fountains" (Peele). "The niphal or passive form of בָּקַע denotes violent changes in the depths of the sea, or in the action of the earth - at all events in the atmosphere" (Lange). And the windows of heaven were opened. Arubboth, from arabh, to twine - network or lattices; hence a window, as being closed with lattice-work instead of glass (Ecclesiastes 12:3); here the flood-gates of heaven, which are opened when it rains (cf. Genesis 8:2; 2 Kings 7:19; Isaiah 24:18; Malachi 3:10). And the rain was - literally, and there was (happened, came) violent rain; גֶּשֶׁס, different from מָטָר, which denotes any rain, and is applied to other things which God pours down from heaven (Exodus 9:18; Exodus 16:4) - upon the earth forty days and forty nights (cf. Genesis 7:4). Though the language is metaphorical and optical, it clearly points to a change in the land level by which the ocean waters overflowed the depressed continent, accompanied with heavy and continuous rain, as the cause of the Deluge (contrast with this the works of the third and fourth creative days); yet "the exact statement of the natural causes that concurred in the Deluge is a circumstance which certainly in no wise removes the miraculous nature of the whole fact - who has unveiled the mysteries of nature? - but which certainly shows how exact was the attention paid to the external phenomena of the Deluge" (Havernick).
And the rain was upon the earth forty days and forty nights.
In the selfsame day entered Noah, and Shem, and Ham, and Japheth, the sons of Noah, and Noah's wife, and the three wives of his sons with them, into the ark;
Verses 13, 14. - In the selfsame day - literally, in the bone, or strength, or essence (Genesis 2:23) of that day - in that very day (cf. Genesis 17:23, 26); "about noonday, i.e. in the public view of the world" (Peele) a phrase intended to convey the idea of the utmost precision of time" (Bush) - entered Noah, and Shem, and Ham, and Japheth, the sons of Noah, and Noah's wife, and the wives of his three sons with them, into the ark. Not inconsistent with vers. 4, 5, which do not necessarily imply that the actual entry was made seven days before the Flood; but merely that Noah then began to carry out the Divine instructions. The threefold recital of the entry - first in connection with the invitation or command (ver. 5), and again in the actual process during the seven days (ver. 7), and finally on the day when the Flood began (ver. 15), - besides lending emphasis to the narrative, heightens its dramatic effect. They, and every beast after his Mad, and all the cattle after their kind, and every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind, and every fowl after his kind, every bird of every sort (literally, wing). The creatures here specified correspond with the enumeration - viz., chay-yah, behemah, remes - in Genesis 1:25, q.v. The last clause, kol-canaph, Kalisch, following Clericus, translates, though, according to Rosenmüller, without satisfactory reasons, "every winged creature," and so makes "three classes of winged beings - the eatable species (עופ), the birds which people the air and enliven it by the sounds of their melodies (עִפור), and the endless swarms of insects (כָּנָפ), the greatest part of which possess neither the utility of the former nor the beauty of the latter. Gesenius, however, translates it "birds of all kinds," and Knobel regards it as synonymous with "every bird." The LXX. give the sense of the two clauses: καὶ πᾶν ὄρνεον πετεινὸν κατὰ γένος αὐτοῦ.
They, and every beast after his kind, and all the cattle after their kind, and every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind, and every fowl after his kind, every bird of every sort.
And they went in unto Noah into the ark, two and two of all flesh, wherein is the breath of life.
Verse 15. - And they went in unto Noah into the ark (cf. Genesis 6:20, which affirmed they should come), two and two of all flesh, wherein is the breath of life. Cf. the three expressions for an animated creature - חַיָּה (Genesis 1:30), יְקוּס: (Genesis 7:4), אֲשֶׂראּבּו רוּחַ חיִּיס.
And they that went in, went in male and female of all flesh, as God had commanded him: and the LORD shut him in.
Verse 16. - And they that went in, went in male and female of all flesh, as God (Etohim) had commanded him. This evidently closed an Elohistic passage, according to Colenso, as the ensuing clause as manifestly belongs to the Jehovistic interpolator; but the close connection subsisting between the two clauses forbids any such dislocation of the narrative as that suggested. "On the supposition of an independent Jehovistic narrative, Bishop Colenso feels it necessary to interpolate before the next statement the words, 'And Noah and all his house went into the ark'" (Quarry, p. 379). And the Lord (Jehovah) shut him in. Literally, shut behind, him, i.e. closed up the door of the ark after him (ἐκλεισε τὴν κιβωτὸν ἔξωθεν αὐτοῦ, LXX.); doubtless miraculously, to preserve him both from the violence of the waters and the rage of men. The contrast between the two names of the Deity is here most vividly presented. It is Elohim who commands him about the beasts; it is Jehovah, the covenant God, who insures his safety by closing the ark behind him.
And the flood was forty days upon the earth; and the waters increased, and bare up the ark, and it was lift up above the earth.
Verses 17-19. - And the flood was forty days upon the earth. Referring to the forty days' and nights' rain of ver. 4 (τεσσαράκοντα ἡμέρας καὶ τεσσαράκοντα νύκτας, LXX.), during which the augmentation of the waters is described in a threefold degree. And the waters increased. Literally, grew great. The first degree of increase, marked by the floating of the ark. And bare up the ark, and it was lift up above the earth. Literally, it was high from upon the earth, i.e. it rose above it. And the waters prevailed. Literally, were strong; from גָּבַר, to be strong; whence the Gibborim of Genesis 6:4. And were increased greatly on the earth. Literally, became great, greatly. The second degree of increase, marked by the going of the ark. And the ark went - i.e. floated along; καὶ ἐπεφέρετο, LXX. (Psalm 104:26) - upon the face of the waters. And the waters prevailed exceedingly. Literally, and the waters became strong, exceedingly. The third degree of increase, marked by the submergence of the mountains. And all the high hills, that were under the whole heaven, were covered. A clear assertion of the universality of the Flood (Keil, Kalisch, Alford, Bush, Wordsworth); but the language does not necessarily imply more than that all the high hills beneath the spectator s heaven were submerged (cf. Genesis 41:57; Exodus 9:25; Exodus 10:15; Deuteronomy 2:25; 1 Kings 10:24; Acts 2:5; Colossians 1:25, for instances in which the universal terms all and every must be taken with a limited signification); while it is almost certain that, had the narrator even designed to record only the fact that all the heights within the visible horizon had disappeared beneath the rising waters, he would have done so by saying that "all the high hills under the whole heaven were covered." While, then, it is admitted that the words may depict a complete submergence of the globe, it is maintained by many competent scholars that the necessities of exegesis only demand a partial inundation (Peele, Murphy, Taylor Lewis, 'Speaker's Commentary,' Inglis).
And the waters prevailed, and were increased greatly upon the earth; and the ark went upon the face of the waters.
And the waters prevailed exceedingly upon the earth; and all the high hills, that were under the whole heaven, were covered.
Fifteen cubits upward did the waters prevail; and the mountains were covered.
Verse 20. - Fifteen cubits upward - half the height of the ark - did the waters prevail. Literally, become strong; above the highest mountains obviously, and not above the ground simply; as, on the latter alternative, it could scarcely have been added, and the mountains were covered.
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.
All in whose nostrils was the breath of life, of all that was in the dry land, died.
And every living substance was destroyed which was upon the face of the ground, both man, and cattle, and the creeping things, and the fowl of the heaven; and they were destroyed from the earth: and Noah only remained alive, and they that were with him in the ark.
Verse 23. - And every living substance was destroyed - literally, wiped out (cf. Genesis 6:7; Genesis 7:4) - which was upon the face of the ground, both man, and - literally, from, man urge - cattle, and the creeping things, and the fowl of the hearten; and they were destroyed - wiped, out by washing (cf. Genesis 6:7) - from the earth: and Noah only remained alive, and they that were with him in the ark. The straits to which the advocates of the documentary hypothesis are sometimes reduced are remarkably exemplified by the fortunes of these verses (21-23) in the attempt to assign them to their respective authors. Astruc conjectures that ver. 21 was taken from what he calls monumentum B, ver. 22 from "monument" A, and ver. 23 from monument C. Eichhorn ascribes vers. 21, 22 to an Elohistic author, and ver. 23 to a Jehovistic. Ilgen assigns vers. 21, 22 to the first, and ver. 23 to the second Elohist. Bleek, all three to the Elohist; and Davidson ver. 21 to the Elohist, vers. 22, 23 to the Jehovist. Amid such uncertainty it will be reasonable to cling to the belief that Moses wrote all the three verses, at least till the higher criticism knows its own mind.
And the waters prevailed upon the earth an hundred and fifty days.
Verse 24. - And the waters prevailed upon the earth an hundred and fifty days. Additional to the forty days of rain (Murphy), making 190 since the commencement of the Flood; or more probably inclusive of the forty days (Knobel, Lange, Bush, Wordsworth, 'Speaker's Comment.' Inglis),which, reckoning thirty days to the month, would bring the landing of the ark to the seventeenth day of the seventh month, as stated in Genesis 8:4.