Genesis 6 Commentary

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cChart from recommended resource Jensen's Survey of the OT - used by permission
Summary Chart of
The Book of Genesis
Focus Foundation Events
(Four Events)
(Events Predominant)
Foundation People
(Four People)
(People Predominant)
Divisions Creation
(Ge 1-2)
(Ge 3-5)
(Ge 6-9)
(Ge 10-12)
(Ge 12-24)
(Ge 25-26)
Jacob's Conflicts
(Ge 27-36)
(Ge 37-50)
Topics Beginning of the Human Race
(Race As A Whole)
Beginning of the Hebrew Race
(Family of Abraham)
Faithfulness of Mankind
Faithfulness of One Man's Family
Historical Biographical
Place Eastward
From Eden to Ur
From Canaan to Egypt
Time ~2000+ Years
(20% of Genesis)
About 300 Years
193 Yr in Canaan, 93 Yr in Egypt
(80% of Genesis)
Primeval History
of Humanity
Patriarchal History
of Israel
Author Moses


  • Ge 1:1-25 - The Universe (Everything)
  • Ge 1:26-2:25 - The Human Race
  • Ge 3:1-7 - Sin Enters the World
  • Ge 3:8-24- God Promises Redemption from Bondage to Sin
  • Ge 4:1-15 - Family Life
  • Ge 4:16ff - Civilization
  • Ge 10:1-11:32 - The Nations of the World
  • Ge 12:1ff - The Story of Israel and the Jews

Genesis 6:1  Now it came about, when men began to multiply on the face of the land, and daughters were born to them,


Dear reader, be forewarned that there are a number of difficult interpretative issues in Genesis 6. Study the interpretations and make up your mind but be careful not to miss the forest (God's global flood) because of the trees (interpretative difficulties)! Let the main things will be the plain things! 

Jack Arnold - This chapter tells of the collapse of man’s first attempt at civilization. The general truths in Genesis 6 can be applied to all civilizations. Arnold Toynbee, a renowned historian, has indicated there have been in the past some twenty-one or more different civilizations, each one in turn collapsing and giving way to another.

Now it came about, when men began to multiply on the face of the land, and daughters were born to them - At this time they were fulfilling God's command “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth." (Ge 1:28) Things will soon take a divinely ordained dramatic shift! 

Wenham has an interesting note that "in the Atrahasis epic the multiplication of mankind is mentioned shortly before the divine decree to send a catastrophic flood." - "When the land extended and the peoples multiplied. The land was bellowing like a bull" (Atrahasis 2:1, 2–3).

Utley"men" This is the generic use of the term "adam" with the DEFINITE ARTICLE (BDB 9, cf. Gen. 5:2). If it is also used in the generic sense in Gen. 6:2, which seems probable, then the angelic theory is strengthened.

Paul Apple titles Ge 6:1-4 - DEMONIZATION OF MARRIAGE AND ITS IMPACT – UNUSUAL PERVERSE PROPAGATION THAT CORRUPTS SOCIETY. Man generically (adam) is multiplying over the face of the earth (adamah); play on words; Purity harder to control and maintain as the sphere of population rapidly grows Remember overall context of battle between the seed of the woman and the seed of Satan from Gen. 3:15 – how is God going to ultimately be victorious? How is Satan going to try to frustrate God’s plan for history? Again the daughters of men here used in generic sense -- not limited to either the line of Seth or of Cain – this is describing normal procreation – “after its kind” = important biblical command – established in Gen. 1 – all things are supposed to produce after their kind – not some strange mixture of strange flesh

Genesis 6:2  that the sons of God saw that the daughters of men were beautiful; and they took wives for themselves, whomever they chose.

  • the sons - Ge 4:26 Ex 4:22,23 De 14:1 Ps 82:6,7 Isa 63:16 Mal 2:11  Joh 8:41 Joh 8:42 Ro 9:7,8 2Co 6:18 
  • saw - 2Pe 2:14 
  • that they - Ge 3:6 39:6,7 2Sa 11:2 Job 31:1 1Jn 2:16 
  • and they - Ge 24:3 27:46 Ex 34:16 De 7:3,4 Jos 23:12,13 Ezr 9:1,2,12 Ne 13:24-27 Mal 2:15 1Co 7:39 2Co 6:14-16 
  • Genesis 6 Resources - Multiple sermons and commentaries

Related Passages:

Job 1:6 Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came among them.

Job 2:1 Again there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came among them to present himself before the LORD.

Job 38:7 When the morning stars sang together And all the sons of God shouted for joy? 

Genesis 3:6+ When the woman saw (רָאָה, ra’ah) that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took (SAME VERB AS IN Ge 6:2) from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate.


that the sons of God saw that the daughters of men were beautiful - Who are the sons of God? The following notes address this question but you may not find the answer fully satisfying.

Bob Utley"the daughters of men were beautiful" The term "beautiful" is literally "good" or "fair". This has been a key theological concept from chapter 1 (esp. Gen. 1:31). It denotes that which is functional and fits its allotted task. Like the fruit of the tree of knowledge, these women looked "good" (cf. Gen. 3:6).

NET NOTE - The Hebrew phrase translated “sons of God” (בְנֵי־הָאֱלֹהִים, béne-ha’elohim) occurs only here (Ge 6:2, 4) and in Job 1:6; 2:1; 38:7. There are three major interpretations of the phrase here.

(1) In the Book of Job the phrase clearly refers to angelic beings. In Gen 6 the “sons of God” are distinct from “humankind,” (Ge 6:1) suggesting they were not human. This is consistent with the use of the phrase in Job. Since the passage speaks of these beings cohabiting with women, they must have taken physical form or possessed the bodies of men. An early Jewish tradition preserved in 1 En. 6–7 elaborates on this angelic revolt and even names the ringleaders.

(2) Not all scholars accept the angelic interpretation of the “sons of God,” however. Some argue that the “sons of God” were members of Seth’s line, traced back to God through Adam in Gen 5, while the “daughters of humankind” were descendants of Cain. But, as noted above, the text distinguishes the “sons of God” from humankind (which would include the Sethites as well as the Cainites) and suggests that the “daughters of humankind” are human women in general, not just Cainites.

(3) Others identify the “sons of God” as powerful tyrants, perhaps demon-possessed, who viewed themselves as divine and, following the example of Lamech (see Ge 4:19), practiced polygamy. But usage of the phrase “sons of God” in Job militates against this view. For literature on the subject see G. J. Wenham, Genesis (WBC).

Paul Apple  “sons of God” are distinct from the “men” mentioned in verse 1. the writer of Genesis states that the sons of God saw that the daughters of humankind were “beautiful” (Heb. tob). This connects the daughters of humankind in Ge 6:2 with Ge 4. There, in the genealogy of Cain, the sons of Lamech are named and something is said about each one’s impact on society; for example, Tubal-cain was the forger of all implements of bronze and iron. Tubal-cain’s sister, Naamah, is named, but nothing is said about her. This should make the reader wonder why she was mentioned at all, especially since women were viewed as lower class citizens. Interestingly, her name means “beautiful.” This is not the same word used in Ge 6:2, but we have already seen that passages do not need to use the same terms to be parallel. The word tob, “beautiful” or “good,” in Ge 6:2 sets up another connection with a statement in Ge 3:6: “The woman saw that the tree was good [tob].” The couple in the garden fell into judgment because they took (same verb laqah) the prerogative that belongs only to God — deciding what is good. Genesis 6:2, therefore, is presented as a reenactment of the Fall. [ saw, good, took] The godly line, who were supposed to walk with God, see the daughters of humankind from the ungodly line and decide for themselves that they are good.

And they took wives for themselves, whomever they chose ESV = "And they took as their wives any they chose." MSB = "They looked them over and picked out wives for themselves." The Hebrew verb for took is laqah which mean to take (1st use in Ge 2:15,21-23, God taking Enoch Ge 5:24), grasp, take hold of (Eve the fruit - Ge 3:6), as when Noah reached out and "took hold of," the dove to bring it back into the ark (Ge 8:9). It is used of grasping or seizing a person or an animal (Ge 12:5; Ex. 17:5; Ezek. 8:3; Hos. 14:2). The ark was captured (1 Sam. 4:11; 17, 19). It has the sense of keeping what one has (Gen. 14:21). In Ge 25:1 "Abraham took (laqah) another wife." 

Bob Utley has an interesting thought on took...whomever then chose - "they took wives for themselves, whomever they chose" The VERB "took" in the first phrase (Qal IMPERFECT with waw, cf. Gen. 4:19; 11:29; 12:19; 20:2,3; 21:21; 24:4,7,38,40,48; Jer. 29:6) implies marriage, which would militate against the view that it was angels. However, the second phrase implies that they took previously married and/or unmarried women, whomever they chose (Qal PERFECT). This could imply angelic beings, powerful human leaders of Cain's line (i.e., tyrants) practicing polygamy. The IVP Bible Background Commentary (OT), p. 36, suggests this phrase is related to the practice of Ancient Near East kings in the Gilgamish Epic who claimed the right to the first night with other men's wives. This would be viewed as a fertility rite."

Walton on marrying whom they chose. The practice of marrying “any of them they chose” has been interpreted by some to be a reference to polygamy. While it is not to be doubted that polygamy was practiced, it is difficult to imagine why that would be worthy of note, since polygamy was an acceptable practice even in Israel in Old Testament times. It is more likely that this is a reference to the “right of the first night,” cited as one of the oppressive practices of kings in the Gilgamesh Epic. The king could exercise his right, as representative of the gods, to spend the wedding night with any woman who was being given in marriage. This presumably was construed as a fertility rite. If this is the practice referred to here, it would offer an explanation of the nature of the offense.

John MacArthur - The sons of God, identified elsewhere almost exclusively as angels (Job 1:6; 2:1; 38:7), saw and took wives of the human race. This produced an unnatural union which violated the God-ordained order of human marriage and procreation (Ge 2:24). Some have argued that the sons of God were the sons of Seth who cohabited with the daughters of Cain; others suggest they were perhaps human kings wanting to build harems. But the passage puts strong emphasis on the angelic vs. human contrast. The NT places this account in sequence with other Genesis events and identifies it as involving fallen angels who indwelt men (see 2Pe 2:4, 5]; Jude 6). Matthew 22:30 does not necessarily negate the possibility that angels are capable of procreation, but just that they do not marry. To procreate physically, they had to possess human, male bodies. (See Study Notes)

Ray Pritchard adds some interesting comments that would lend support that the sons of God were demons - What better way to destroy the coming Messiah than to utterly corrupt the human race through the introduction of demonism? And this truly is the oldest interpretation. This is how the Jewish scholars who translated the Old Testament into Greek (the Septuagint) understood the text approximately two centuries before the birth of Christ. This interpretation also helps us understand two cryptic passages in the New Testament:

For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to pits of darkness, reserved for judgment; and did not spare the ancient world, but preserved Noah, a preacher of righteousness, with seven others, when He brought a flood upon the world of the ungodly” (2 Peter 2:4-5).

“And angels who did not keep their own domain, but abandoned their proper abode, He has kept in eternal bonds under darkness for the judgment of the great day. Just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the cities around them, since they in the same way as these indulged in gross immorality and went after strange flesh, are exhibited as an example in undergoing the punishment of eternal fire” (Jude 6-7).

Both passages describe a very drastic judgment upon certain angels who not only sinned but “abandoned their proper abode.” Note that in the first passage, the angels are mentioned first, then comes Noah and the flood. In Jude the phrase “just as” joins the angels with the story of Sodom and Gomorrah. And what was the sin of Sodom and Gomorrah? It was a form of “gross immorality” that consisted of going after “strange flesh.” That’s not just a reference to homosexuality. Genesis 19 tells us that the men of Sodom and Gomorrah were ready to rape the two angelic visitors who appeared in human form. Put it all together and it looks like this: In the days before the flood, certain angels rebelled against God and entered human bodies in a form of demon-possession, taking for themselves human wives.

J Vernon McGee does not agree with the demon interpretation - This matter of "the sons of God" and "the daughters of men" is something that has caused no end of discussion. There are a great many good men who take the position that "the sons of God" were angels. I personally cannot accept that at all. Most of my teachers taught that the sons of God were angels, and I recognize that a great many of the present-day expositors take that position. However, I cannot accept that view, because, if these were good angels, they would not commit this sin, and evil angels could never be designated as "sons of God." Also, the offspring here were men; they were not monstrosities. I do not know why it is assumed by so many that the offspring were giants. 

Warren Wiersbe on the sons of God - What was Satan’s plan for defeating God’s people in Noah’s day? To entice the godly line of Seth (“the sons of God”) to mix with the ungodly line of Cain (“the daughters of men”) and thus abandon their devotion to the Lord. (Bible Exposition Commentary)

MY CONCLUSION on SONS OF GOD - It is best not to get too worked up about whether sons of God were demons cohabiting with women or were the godly line of Seth cohabiting with the ungodly line of Cain. The net effect was the same - unbridled evil on a global scale. God's solution was to "flush" the corruption and begin again! For a nice concise summary of arguments on the identity of the sons of God see Jack Arnold


  1. Cain's rebellion, Genesis 4
  2. Mixing of human and angelic lines, Genesis 6
  3. Tower of Babel rebellion, Genesis 11
  4. Abram giving Sarai to Pharaoh, Genesis 12
  5. Birth of Ishmael to Hagar (Sarah's servant), Genesis 16 
  6. Abram giving Sarah to Abimelech, Genesis 20
  7. Sacrifice of Isaac, Genesis 22
  8. Rivalry between Esau and Jacob, Genesis 25, 32
  9. Isaac giving his wife to Abimelech, Genesis 26
  10. Trickery and rivalry of Laban, Genesis 29-31
  11. Jacob merging with Shechem, Genesis 34
  12. Rivalry between Jacob's children, Genesis 37
  13. Judah's faithlessness and promiscuity related to Tamar, Genesis 38

Warren Wiersbe agrees with Utley writing that "After chapter 3, Satan isn't mentioned by name in Genesis, but he and his demonic hosts are at work doing their utmost to keep the promised Redeemer from being born. This was Satan's purpose throughout all of Old Testament history. After all, he didn't want to have his head crushed by the Savior! (Ge 3:15) God had declared war on Satan and the deceiver intended to fight back. (Bible Exposition Commentary)

Who Are the “Sons of God” and the “Daughters of Men?” - Jack Arnold


A.  View #1: Godly Line of Seth and the Ungodly Line of Cain.  These two lines intermarried, breaking down the separation between the godly line of Seth and the godless line of Cain. The result was the judgment of the Flood.


a.  Context. There has been a discussion of the line of Cain and the line of Seth in chapter five. Then in chapter six is a discussion of the mingling of the two lines. Chapter seven brings the judgment of the Flood.

b.  Universality of Sin.  It was the total wickedness of man that brought about the Flood.

c.  Sons of God Implies Men.   While the specific term of God” is used in the Old Testament of angelic beings, there are other expressions which are akin and would express the fact of men rather than angels (Deut. 14:1; Isa. 43:6; Hos. 1:10; 11:1).

d.  Giants.   The giants are nephilim and it does not say that they are a result of what happened in verse two. These nephilim were on the earth both pre­vious (context) and subsequently (Num. 13:33). Why were they mentioned? Because the progeny of this relationship was like the nephilim they were violent men.

e.  Repetition of the Word “Man”.   In Genesis 6:1-6 the words “men” or “man” are used five times. The context is about human beings, not angelic beings.


a.  The context of Gen. 6:1-4 really gives very little evidence to take the “daughters” of men” as ungodly Cainitic women and “sons of God” as godly Sethites. NOTE.   In fact, the context implies that the “sons of God” may have been the Cainites. If this is true, it would be strange to call the Cainites sons of God, for they were ungodly.

b.  By what rules of interpretation can one limit the word “men” to a separate portion of the human race, when the word is race wide in its significance, and then go a step further and single it out as a distinctive part of the human race, the Cainitic line.

c.  The New Testament uses the words “sons of God” to refer to a believers but Moses wrote Genesis, and would hardly be using New Testament terminology.  Besides the words “sons of God” are specifically used of angels in the Old Testament (Job 1:6; 2:1; 38:7).

d.  How can we go so far to say that all the men of the line of Seth were saved and sons of God in that sense, and none of the men of the line of Cain? Then, too, it appears that the ungodly have only sons, while the godly have only daughters.

e.  Would the godly Sethites enter into such marriages, and obtain a plurality of wives, and do so by exercising force?

f.  Would the union of the lines of Seth and Cain produce beings of superhuman character and strength?

g.  How can this view harmonize with II Pet. 2:4-5; 1 Pet. 3:19-20 and Jude 6-7?

B.  View #2: Fallen Angels or Demon Possessed Men Cohabit with Sinful Women So As to Produce a Monstrous Progeny


a.  “Sons of God” are Angelic Beings.  This designation always refers to angels in the Old Testament and never to believers. (Job 1:6; 2:1; 38:1). NOTE.  However, it must be admitted that the title refers to good angels and not bad ones.

b.  “Daughters of Men” is Universal.   This designation indicates the natural increase of the whole human family, not a special class.

c.  Why Such a Severe Judgment? The crossing of fallen angels and human flesh brought a monstrosity of beings; thus God had to destroy the human race to keep it pure. Why such a cataclysmic judgment if this sin was just sexual immorality by humans? The sin must have been great in nature to bring God’s judgment upon the human race.

d.  Meaning of Nephilim.  The word “giant” (nephilim) has as its original meaning the fallen ones and could refer to monsters or mixed human and angelic birth.

e.  New Testament (1 Pet. 3:19-20; 2 Pet. 2:405; Jude 6-7).   1 Pet. 3:19-20 says that Christ after death went to preach to disobedient spirits (angelic beings) and these spirits are connected up with the days of Noah. Second Peter 2:4-5 connects the sinning angels with the Flood in the days of Noah. Jude 6-7 seems to link the judgment of some bad angels with sexual lust and the words “strange flesh” really means “flesh of another nature,”

f.  Satanic Plot.   This was another Satanic attempt to destroy the human race; thus making it impossible for the God-Man, Jesus Christ, to come to earth. This coincides with the “seed” in Gen. 3:15. Had the human race been completely infected by fallen angelic nature, there would be no place for Jesus Christ, the perfect man.

g.  Explains Greek Mythology: This viewpoint may explain early Greek mythology, which speaks of the Titans who were partly of celestial and partly of terrestrial origin. These monstrous beings of mixed birth rebelled against their father Uranus (Heaven) and after a prolonged contest were defeated by Zeus and thrown into Tartarus.


a.  Angelic beings do not marry or have the capacity to reproduce (Luke 20:35-­36; Mark 12:25; Matt. 22:30). ANSWERS:

(1)  In Matt. 22:30 the angels in heaven (good angels) are specified and it says nothing about fallen angels.

(2)  Angels do not procreate within their own kind but because all angels are spoken of in a masculine gender they may have united with those of another kind. In Jude 6-7 it says the angels went after “strange flesh” and it literally means “a flesh of another kind.”

(3)  Angels do appear in human form and have eaten food. Why should they not have a sex function?

b.  The whole idea of angels uniting with humans is too fantastic. ANSWER: Perhaps this is a case of demon possession on a large scale. In Jude 6 it says these wicked angels (demons) did not keep their regular habitation (dwelling place). The implication is that they found another place of dwelling. In the Bible, the human body is often referred to as a habita­tion or dwelling place. Thus these demons took up residence in human bodies where they did not belong. Thus evil spirits, fallen angels, possessed the bodies of men, and these demon possessed men married women and produced a race of strange beings called here in Genesis 6 “Nephilim.” They were a race of giants and were known as the “fallen ones.” NOTE: This suggests that demonic possession has the ability to affect genetic structure. The chromosomes are changed so that the progeny are markedly different; a sort of mutation takes place and the result is a pronounced change in the children of such a union. We know today that certain drugs (LSD, thalidomide, etc.) have this kind of affect on genetic structure.  NOTE.   We are also told in this passage that this phenomenon (apparently on a smaller scale) happened “also afterward,” that is, after the Flood a similar incursion of demonic beings took place. This second invasion resulted in the presence in the land of Canaan of certain gigantic races which are called in our Bible, the Canaanites This is one explanation why God told the Israelites to destroy the whole Canaanite society. NOTE:  It is interesting that archeologists have now discovered the giant cities of Bashan, and they confirm the fact that there did exist in this area races of gigantic beings whose beds are ten, eleven or twelve feet long.

C.  Conclusion. The best explanation is to see the “sons of God” as demons, which possessed men, and the “daughters of men” as probably lewd women, which became so corrupt that they opened themselves to demonic activity. The result was a race of supermen, fallen ones. Thus God had to bring judgment upon men.

QUESTION - Who were the sons of God and daughters of men in Genesis 6:1-4? WATCH VIDEO (And read their article on Nephilim below)

ANSWER - Genesis 6:1-4 refers to the sons of God and the daughters of men. There have been several suggestions as to who the sons of God were and why the children they had with daughters of men grew into a race of giants (that is what the word Nephilim seems to indicate). The three primary views on the identity of the sons of God are 1) they were fallen angels, 2) they were powerful human rulers, or 3) they were godly descendants of Seth intermarrying with wicked descendants of Cain. (ED: PROPONENTS OF #3 INCLUDE J VERNON MCGEE, WARREN WIERSBE AND STEVEN COLE) Giving weight to the first theory is the fact that in the Old Testament the phrase “sons of God” always refers to angels (Job 1:6; 2:1; 38:7). A potential problem with this is in Matthew 22:30, which indicates that angels do not marry. The Bible gives us no reason to believe that angels have a gender or are able to reproduce. The other two views do not present this problem.

The weakness of views 2) and 3) is that ordinary human males marrying ordinary human females does not account for why the offspring were “giants” or “heroes of old, men of renown.” Further, why would God decide to bring the flood on the earth (Genesis 6:5-7) when God had never forbidden powerful human males or descendants of Seth to marry ordinary human females or descendants of Cain? The oncoming judgment of Genesis 6:5-7 is linked to what took place in Genesis 6:1-4. Only the obscene, perverse marriage of fallen angels with human females would seem to justify such a harsh judgment.

As previously noted, the weakness of the first view is that Matthew 22:30 declares, “At the resurrection people will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven.” However, the text does not say “angels are not able to marry.” Rather, it indicates only that angels do not marry. Second, Matthew 22:30 is referring to the “angels in heaven.” It is not referring to fallen angels, who do not care about God’s created order and actively seek ways to disrupt God’s plan. The fact that God’s holy angels do not marry or engage in sexual relations does not mean the same is true of Satan and his demons.

View 1) is the most likely position. Yes, it is an interesting “contradiction” to say that angels are sexless and then to say that the “sons of God” were fallen angels who procreated with human females. However, while angels are spiritual beings (Hebrews 1:14), they can appear in human, physical form (Mark 16:5). The men of Sodom and Gomorrah wanted to have sex with the two angels who were with Lot (Genesis 19:1-5). It is plausible that angels are capable of taking on human form, even to the point of replicating human sexuality and possibly even reproduction. Why do the fallen angels not do this more often? It seems that God imprisoned the fallen angels who committed this evil sin, so that the other fallen angels would not do the same (as described in Jude 6). Earlier Hebrew interpreters and apocryphal and pseudepigraphal writings are unanimous in holding to the view that fallen angels are the “sons of God” mentioned in Genesis 6:1-4. This by no means closes the debate. However, the view that Genesis 6:1-4 involves fallen angels mating with human females has a strong contextual, grammatical, and historical

Bob Utley - SPECIAL TOPIC: "the sons of God" in Genesis 6

  1. There is great controversy over the identification of the phrase "the sons of God." There have been three major interpretations
    1. the phrase refers to the godly line of Seth (cf. Genesis 5)
    2. the phrase refers to a group of angelic beings
    3. the phrase refers to the kings or tyrants of Cain's line (cf. Genesis 4)
  2. Evidence for the phrase referring to Seth's line
    1. The immediate literary context of Genesis 4 and 5 shows the development of the rebellious line of Cain and the godly line of Seth. Therefore, contextual evidence seems to favor the godly line of Seth.
    2. The rabbis have been divided over their understanding of this passage. Some assert that it refers to Seth (but most to angels).
    3. The phrase, "the sons of God," though most often used for angelic beings, rarely refers to human beings
      1. Deut. 14:1, "sons of YHWH your God"
      2. Deut. 32:5, "His sons"
      3. Exod. 21:6; 22:8-9, (possibly Levitical Judges, cf. Ps. 82:1)
      4. Psalm 73:15, "Thy children"
      5. Hosea 1:10, "sons of the Living God"
  3. Evidence for the phrase referring to angelic beings
    1. This has been the most common traditional understanding of the passage. The larger context of Genesis could support this view as another example of supernatural evil trying to thwart God's will for mankind (the rabbis say out of jealousy; see SPECIAL TOPIC: SATANIC ATTEMPTS TO THWART THE MESSIANIC LINE IN GENESIS).
    2. The phrase ("sons of God") is used overwhelmingly in the OT for angels.
      1. Job 1:6
      2. Job 2:1
      3. Job 38:7
      4. Psalm 29:1
      5. Psalm 89:6,7
    3. The intertestamental book of I Enoch, which was very popular among believers in the first century church, along with the Genesis Apocryphon from the Dead Sea Scrolls and Jubilees 5:1, interprets these as rebellious angels (i.e., I Enoch 6:1-7:4; 12:4; 19:1; 21:1-10).
    4. The immediate context of Genesis 6 seems to imply that "the mighty men who were of old, men of renown" came from this improper mixing of the orders of creation.
    5. I Enoch even asserts that Noah's Flood came to destroy this angelic/human union which was hostile towards YHWH and His plan for creation (cf. I Enoch 7:1ff; 15:1ff; 86:1ff).
  4. Evidence for the phrase referring to kings or tyrants of Cain's line
    1. There are several ancient translations that support this view.
      1. Targum or Onkelos (second century A.D.) translates "sons of God" as "sons of nobles"
      2. Symmachus (second century A.D.) Greek translation of the OT, translated "sons of God" as "the sons of the kings"
      3. the term elohim is sometimes used of Israelite leaders (cf. Exod. 21:6; 22:8; Ps. 82:1,6, note NIV and NET Bible; see SPECIAL TOPIC: NAMES FOR DEITY, C.)
      4. Nephilim (NIDOTTE, vol. 3, p. 130, #5) is linked to Gibborim in Gen 6:4.  Gibborim is PLURALof Gibbor, meaning "a mighty man of valor; strength; wealth or power" (see SPECIAL TOPIC: NEPHILIM)
    2. This interpretation and its evidence is taken from Hard Sayings of the Bible, pp. 106-108.
  5. Historical advocates
    1. the phrase refers to Sethites
      1. Cyril of Alexandria
      2. Theodoret
      3. Augustine
      4. Jerome
      5. Calvin
      6. Kyle
      7. Gleason Archer
      8. J. J.Watts
    2. the phrase refers to angelic beings
      1. writers of the Septuagint
      2. Philo
      3. Josephus (Antiquities 1.3.1)
      4. Justin Martyr
      5. Clement of Alexandria
      6. Tertullian
      7. Origen
      8. Luther
      9. Delitzsch
      10. Hengstenberg
      11. Olford
      12. Westermann
      13. Wenham
      14. F. F. Bruce, Answers to Questions
      15. NET Bible footnotes
  6. How are the Nephilim of Gen. 6:4 related to the "sons of God" and "the daughters of men" of Gen. 6:1-2?  Note the three theories:
    1. They are the giants that resulted from the union between angels and human women (see Wisdom of Ben Sira 16:7).
    2. They do not relate at all. They are simply mentioned as being on the earth in the days of the events of Gen. 6:1-2 and also afterwards.
    3. R. K. Harrison in Introduction to the Old Testament, p. 557, has the following cryptic quote, "to miss entirely the invaluable anthropological insights into the interrelation of Homo sapiens and pre-Adamic species which the passage contains, and which are amenable to those scholars who are equipped to pursue them."
       This implies to me that he sees these two groups as representing differing groups of humanoids.  This would imply a later special creation of Adam and Eve, but also an evolutionary development of Homo erectus.
  7. It is only fair to disclose my own understanding of this controversial text. First, let me remind all of us that the text in Genesis is brief and ambiguous. Moses' first hearers must have had additional historical insight or Moses used oral or written tradition from the Patriarchal period that he himself did not fully understand. This issue is not a crucial theological subject. We are often curious about things the Scriptures only hint at. It would be very unfortunate to build an elaborate theology out of this and similar fragments of biblical information. If we needed this information God would have provided it in a more clear and complete form.  I personally believe it was angels and humans because:
    1. the phrase "sons of God" is used consistently, if not exclusively, for angels in the OT
    2. the Septuagint (Alexandrian) translates (late first century B.C.) "sons of God" as "angels of God"
    3. the pseudepigraphal apocalyptic book of I Enoch (possibly written about 200 B.C.) is very specific that it refers to angels (cf. chapters 6-7; also notice Jubilees 4:19)
    4. 2 Peter 2 and Jude speak of angels who sinned and did not keep their proper abode (also note I Enoch 10:4,12)
       I know that to some this seems to contradict Matt. 22:30, but these specific angels are neither in heaven nor earth, but in a special prison (Tartarus).
    5. I think that one reason many of the events of Genesis 1-11 are found in other cultures (i.e., similar creation accounts, similar flood accounts, similar accounts of angels taking women) is because all humans were together and had some knowledge of YHWH during this period, but after the tower of Babel's dispersion this knowledge became corrupted and adapted to a polytheistic model.
       A good example of this is Greek mythology where the half human/half superhuman giants called Titans are imprisoned in Tartarus, this very name used only once in the Bible (2 Peter 2) for the holding place of the angels that kept not their proper abode. In rabbinical theology Hades was divided into a section for the righteous (paradise) and a section for the wicked (Tartarus).

Mesopotamian version of the flood
is imbedded in the famous Gilgamesh Epic

QUESTION - What similarities are there between the Gilgamesh flood account and the biblical flood account?

ANSWER - There are many similarities between the Gilgamesh flood account and the biblical flood account (Genesis 6—8), beginning most importantly with God choosing a righteous man to build an ark because of an impending great flood. In both accounts, samples from all species of animals were to be on the ark, and birds were used after the rains to determine if flood waters had subsided anywhere to reveal dry land. There are other similarities between the Gilgamesh flood account and the biblical flood account.

One major point of clear agreement is that a global flooding disaster occurred in ancient times. Portions of the Gilgamesh account (Chaldean Flood Tablets) have been found dating back to 2000 BC or earlier. Tablets containing the full story, however, date to approximately 650 BC, or well after the Genesis account (c. 1450—1410 BC). These Chaldean tablets, from the city of Ur (modern-day southern Iraq), describe how the Babylonian God Ea decided to end all life except for the ark dwellers with a great flood. Ea, believed by the Babylonians to be the god who created the earth, selected Ut-Napishtim (or Utnapishtim) to construct a six-story square ark.

During the mid-nineteenth century, this complete “Epic of Gilgamesh” (from 650 BC) was unearthed in some ruins at Nineveh’s great library, and the depth and breadth of similarities and differences became evident. Here is a more extensive listing of the similarities and differences:

  1. God (or several gods in the Gilgamesh account) decided to destroy humankind because of its wickedness and sinfulness (Genesis 6:5–7).
  2. A righteous man (Genesis 6:9) was directed to build an ark to save a limited and select group of people and all species of animals (Noah received his orders directly from God, Utnapishtim from a dream).
  3. Both arks were huge, although their shapes differed. Noah’s was rectangular; Utnapishtim’s was square.
  4. Both arks had a single door and at least one window.
  5. A great rain covered the land and mountains with water, although some water emerged from beneath the earth in the biblical account (Genesis 7:11).
  6. The Noahic flood was the result of a storm lasting 40 days and nights (Genesis 7:12), while the Gilgamesh storm was much shorter: “Six days and seven nights / came the wind and flood, the storm flattening the land” (from Tablet XI, trans. by Maureen G. Kovacs)
  7. Birds were released to find land (a raven and three doves in the biblical account, Genesis 8:6–12; a dove, swallow, and raven in the other).
  8. After the rains ceased, both arks came to rest on a mountain, Noah’s on Ararat (Genesis 8:4); Utnapishtim’s on Nisir. These mountains are about 300 miles apart.
  9. Sacrifices were offered after the flood (Genesis 8:20).
  10. God was (or gods were) pleased by the sacrifices (Genesis 8:21), and Noah and Utnapishtim received blessings. Noah’s blessing was to populate the earth and have dominion over all animals (Genesis 9:1–3); Utnapishtim’s was eternal life.
  11. God (or the many gods) promised not to destroy humankind again (Genesis 8:21–22).

Perhaps most interesting is how the stories remain consistent over time. Although the complete Epic of Gilgamesh was discovered in the mid-nineteenth century, much earlier segments (before the writing of Genesis) have been discovered and dated. Yet most significant is the greater fidelity of the Hebrew account. This is attributed to the importance of Jewish oral tradition and the possibility that some of the story was recorded by Noah or from his time, which would make the Hebrew account precede the Babylonian version.

Some scholars hypothesize the Hebrews borrowed the Babylonian account, but no conclusive proof has been offered to support this. Based on the many and varied differences and details within these stories, it seems unlikely that the biblical version depended upon an existing Sumerian source. Further, given the Jews’ reputation for passing down information scrupulously from one generation to another and maintaining a consistent reporting of events, Genesis is viewed by many as far more historical than the Epic of Gilgamesh, which is regarded as mythological because of its numerous gods and their interrelationships and intrigues in deciding the fate of humankind.

Certainly, for those who believe the Bible is God’s Word, it is sensible to conclude He chose to preserve the true account in the Bible through the oral traditions of His chosen people. By God’s providence, His people kept this account pure and consistent over the centuries until Moses ultimately recorded it in the Book of Genesis. The Epic of Gilgamesh is believed to contain accounts which have been altered and embellished over the years by people not following the God of Abraham, Isaac, and

QUESTION - Are there really hundreds of flood legends giving credence to the Genesis flood?

ANSWER - The book of Genesis tells of a worldwide flood sent as God’s judgment on the world long ago. The memory of that flood has been preserved in cultures all over the globe, as acknowledged by ancient writers such as Flavius Josephus, who wrote almost 2,000 years ago,

“All writers of barbarian histories make mention of this flood and of this ark. Among whom is Berosus the Chaldean, Hieronymous the Egyptian, also, who wrote the Phoenician Antiquities, and Mnaseas, and a great many more, make mention of the same. Nay, Nicolaus of Damascus [as well]” (Antiquities of the Jews 1.3.6).

Josephus is correct. All nations around the world possess historical texts or traditions of a global flood in ancient times, and those narratives match the Genesis account in general outline and many specific details (Genesis 6—9). Some of the recurring details in flood narratives around the world are as follows:

  1. God sends the flood in judgment of human evil and violence
  2. a righteous man or prophet is forewarned by God
  3. the preparation of an ark or “great canoe”
  4. the gathering of animals aboard the ark
  5. a global flood covers mountains and drowns all but a few survivors
  6. the “great canoe” comes to rest on a high mountain
  7. the sending of a raven and a dove
  8. the dove returns with something in its beak as a sign of the flood coming to an end
  9. exiting the ark and repopulating the world
  10. a burnt offering sacrifice
  11. a rainbow
  12. the confusion of languages afterward

The existence of such stories is a stunning but undeniable fact, and one that demands an explanation.

We find Native American legends confirming the Genesis flood, for example. The Apache people refer to the ancient flood and the tus, a gigantic floating vessel, provided by God, which was sealed watertight with gum from the pinion tree. A few people entered the tus and thus escaped the flood that “completely submerged the earth for twelve days.” The Apaches remember the vessel landing on a hill and the sending of birds, including a pigeon (named Agocho) to inspect the flooded world (Curtis, E. S., The North American Indian, vol. 1, Cambridge University Press, 1907, pp. 27–28).

In what is now North Dakota, the Mandan tribe, of the Sioux language family, held a sacred annual ceremony memorializing the flood. The ceremony featured an old man (Nu-mohk-munk-a-nah, “the only man”), who survived in a “big canoe” that he constructed upon a prophetic warning. The “big canoe” landed somewhere at a mountain far to the west, according to the Mandan. This tribe also held the turtle dove in highest honor. Even their dogs were forbidden to harm it, on account of its having returned to the Nu-mohk-munk-a-nah carrying a willow twig in its beak, a sign that the flood had ended (Catlin, G., North American Indians - BORROW). Similar traditions can be found among other Sioux-language tribes and other language families.

In the American Northwest, the Spokanes, Nez Perces, and Cayuses had their own flood tradition: “One man and wife were saved on a raft. Each of those three tribes also, together with the Flathead tribes, has their separate Ararat in connection with this event” (Eells, M., “Traditions of the Deluge Among the Tribes of the North-West,” The American Antiquarian and Oriental Journal, vol. 1, 1878, p. 70). Numerous other tribes from the Pacific Northwest remember Noah’s flood as well.

In the Southwest, the Hualapai people of Arizona left ancient pictographs bearing witness to the flood. These are preserved at Spirit Mountain, a site considered sacred by neighboring tribes as well. One carving shows eight people being carried across the waters of the flood, departing from Wikahme Mountain where they had found refuge from the flood that destroyed the rest of humanity. Another drawing shows a bird being sent on two flights and returning on the second flight to the old man with a blade of grass in its peak (Liguori, N., Echoes of Ararat: A Collection of Over 300 Flood Legends from North and South America, Master Books, 2021). The Havasupai, Yima, Cochiti, Maricopa, Zia, and many other tribes of the Southwest also have flood traditions matching Genesis in several particulars.

We learn of the global flood from the Dene tribes, the Ottawa, the Ojibwe, the Inuit, and dozens of other tribes of Canada and Alaska. In Mexico we find that the Aztecs, Toltecs, Mayans, Purepecha, and other peoples had clear traditions and pre-colonial paintings depicting the flood.

Alexander de Humboldt, a German geographer and naturalist, wrote, “The people of Mechoacan preserved a tradition, according to which Coxcox, whom they called Tezpi, embarked in a spacious ‘acalli’ with his wife, his children, several animals, and grain, the preservation of which was of importance to mankind. When the great spirit, Tezcatlipoca, ordered the waters to withdraw, Tezpi sent out from his bark a vulture. . . . This bird, which feeds on dead flesh, did not return on account of the great number of carcasses, with which the earth, recently dried up, was strewed. Tezpi sent out other birds, one of which, the hummingbird alone, returned, holding in its beak a branch covered with leaves.” Humboldt adds that “Tezpi, seeing that fresh verdure began to clothe the soil, quitted his bark near the mountain of Colhuacan” (Researches Concerning the Institutions & Monuments of the Ancient Inhabitants of America, trans. Helen Maria Williams, vol. 2, Longman, 1814, p. 23).

In Central and South America, the earliest records of the European explorers preserve flood traditions narrated by the native peoples. Those narratives include clear similarities to the Genesis flood account. The Tupinamba of Brazil told the early Portuguese that “before the flood arrived, there was a man of great knowledge,” a prophet named Tupa. God warned Tupa of the coming flood and provided a place of refuge, where Tupa fled with his family. The flood covered the entire earth for a great length of time. “When the flood ended, they came down, multiplied, and again inhabited the land” (De Vasconcellos, S., Noticias Curiosas do Brasil Lisbon: Ioam da Costa, 1668, pp. 78–79).

George Catlin, a widely traveled American painter and author, summarized these findings this way: “Amongst one hundred and twenty different tribes that I have visited in North and South and Central America, not a tribe exists that has not related to me distinct or vague traditions of such a calamity, in which one, or three, or eight persons were saved above the waters, on the top of a high mountain” (O-Kee-Pa: A Religious Ceremony and Other Customs of the Mandans J. B. Lippincott and Co., 1867, pp. 1–2).

The above examples all come from the Western Hemisphere, but that hemisphere alone contains over 300 people groups possessing flood traditions. The Eastern Hemisphere has even more. To be sure, some traditions are better preserved than others. As a result, some flood narratives parallel Genesis more closely than others. However, there are specific details in all these accounts—such as the landing of a “great canoe” on a high mountain or the sending of a raven and a dove—that clearly match the biblical record. It is important to note that it is the Genesis flood account that they confirm, not some alternate text such as a Babylonian flood tradition. This is one of several indicators that Genesis is the authentic, original historical account that explains all the others.

All of these flood legends and histories told around the world are exactly what we should expect if Genesis is true. If Genesis were not true, then hundreds of matching flood legends are the last thing we should expect to find.

Secularists typically try to explain the abundance of global flood traditions in one of two ways: 1) the traditions are not referring to a global flood like that in Genesis but to a local flood or a purely mythical flood; or 2) Christian missionaries influenced the tribes and changed their traditions.

However, the secular explanations of flood stories do not really fit the data. The similarities of other flood accounts to Genesis are too specific and too multi-faceted to be describing a different flood. The sources are also too ancient, too well attested, and too consistent with one another within language families. In addition to oral traditions recorded very early, we have written histories, rock carvings, and ancient paintings that predate the arrival of Europeans in the New World. Many of the flood traditions form part of annual ceremonies and songs commemorating the flood. These are difficult to attribute to “missionary influence.” And if “missionary influence” were the cause, where are all the traditions of other famous biblical events like the virgin birth, the resurrection of Jesus, the Red Sea crossing, and David and Goliath?

We maintain that the best explanation for the hundreds of flood legends around the world is that tribes and nations remember the flood because it actually happened, just as Genesis says it did.

The existence of flood legends around the world should give us great encouragement that we can trust the Bible. God did indeed judge the world with water, and there is another judgment by fire still to come. The sinfulness of mankind is one of the foundational truths of the gospel and points us directly to our need for Jesus Christ, the ultimate ark of our

Related Resources:

  • Tim LaHaye and John Morris book The Ark on Ararat [BORROW THIS BOOK], see page 230 for fascinating chapter - "UNIVERSAL FLOOD TRADITIONS"
  • Almost every culture has a tradition of a global flood 
  • Noah's Ark - answersingenesis
  • Could Noah's Ark really hold all the animals
    Excerpt - Remember there are really only a few very large animals, such as the dinosaur or the elephant, and these could be represented by young ones. Assuming the average animal to be about the size of a sheep and using a railroad car for comparison, we note that the average double-deck stock car can accommodate 240 sheep. Thus, three trains hauling 69 cars each would have ample space to carry the 50,000 animals, filling only 37% of the ark. This would leave an additional 361 cars or enough to make five trains of 72 cars each to carry all of the food and baggage plus Noah’s family of eight people. The Ark had plenty of space.”

Gleason Archer in New International Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties discusses the widespread "flood stories" - One notable feature of the biblical account sets it off from all other Flood narratives discoverable among other nations. Flood sagas have been preserved among the most diverse tribes and nations all over the world: the Babylonians (who called their Noah by the name of Utnapishtim), the Sumerians with their Ziusidru, the Greeks with their Deucalion, the Hindus with their Manu, the Chinese with their Fah-he, the Hawaiians with their Nu-u, the Mexican Indians with their Tezpi, the Algonquins with their Manabozho. All these relate how this lone survivor (with perhaps his wife, children, and a friend or two) was saved from the destruction of a universal flood and was then faced with the task of repopulating a devastated earth after the flood waters had receded. But of all these accounts, only the Genesis record indicates with the exactitude of a diary or ship’s log the date of the inception of the Deluge (when Noah was exactly 600 years old, on the seventeenth day of the seventh month of that same year), the length of the actual downpour (40 days), the length of time that the water-depth remained at its maximum (150 days), the date at which the tops of the mountains became visible once more (on the first day of the tenth month), the length of time until the first evidence of new plant growth was brought to Noah in the beak of his dove (47 days, according to Gen. 8:6–9), and the precise day of Noah’s emerging from the ark on Mount Ararat (his 601st year, the first day of the first month). Here we have a personal record that apparently goes back to Noah himself.

The Babylonian account contains vivid details of how Utnapishtim built his ark, but there is no suggestion of a specific date. Like most legends handed down orally across the centuries or millennia, the Gilgamesh Epic (Tablet 11) fails to say anything at all about the year, even though the friendly sun-god, Shamash, had warned of the precise day when the prospective survivors would have to board their ark. It would seem that this Babylonian account is substantially closer to the Genesis record than any of the other Flood stories. Thus a friendly god warns the hero in advance and orders him to build an ark, to save not only his own family but also representative animals. That ark finally grounds on a mountain named Nisir (in the Zagros Range, northeast of Babylon); and Utnapishtim sends out a dove, a swallow, and a raven to bring back a report of conditions outside. Then finally he emerged with his family to offer sacrifice to the now-famished gods (who had been without altar-food for the weeks while the Flood was covering the earth).

Some comparative religionists have suggested that the Babylonian myth was earlier than the Hebrew, and that the compilers of Genesis 7 and 8 borrowed from it. But this is rendered most unlikely in view of the significant contrasts between the two. Thus, the ark built by Utnapishtim was completely cubic, equipped with six decks for all the animals to be quartered in. A more impractical and unseaworthy craft could hardly be imagined. But Noah’s ark was three hundred cubits long, fifty cubits wide, and thirty cubits deep—an ideal set of measurements for an ocean liner. If the cubit measured twenty-four inches in that earlier period (as it may well have done in an age when men were bigger than they were after the Flood—cf. Gen. 6:4), then the ark of Noah would have been six hundred feet long, by one hundred feet wide, and sixty feet deep. If it was fairly boxlike in shape (as would be probable in view of its special purpose), it would have had a capacity of 3.6 million cubic feet. This is the capacity of about two thousand cattle cars, each of which can carry 18 to 20 cattle, 60 to 80 hogs, or 80 to 100 sheep.

Whybray adds that "Stories of a great flood sent in primeval times by gods to destroy mankind followed by some form of new creation are so common to so many peoples in different parts of the world, between whom no kind of historical contact seems possible, that the notion seems almost to be a universal feature of the human imagination." (BORROW Introduction to the Pentateuch page 44)

Warren Wiersbe writes that "Both Jesus and Peter used the flood to illustrate future events that will involve the whole world: the return of Christ (Matt. 24:37–39; Luke 17:26–27) and the worldwide judgment of fire (2 Peter 3:3–7). If the flood was only local, these analogies are false and misleading.

Walter Kaiser - Genesis 6:1–4  Who Married the Daughters of Men? - Hard Sayings of the Bible

Few texts in the history of interpretation have aroused more curiosity and divergence of opinion than Genesis 6:1–4. It is at once tantalizing and deeply puzzling.

What is most difficult is the identification of the main participants in this short narrative—the “sons of God,” the “daughters of men” and the “Nephilim” (or “giants”). An impressive array of scholars has lined up for each of the three major positions taken on the identification of these three groups of participants. The three positions may be labeled “the cosmologically mixed races view” (angels and humans), “the religiously mixed races view” (godly Sethites and worldly Cainites) and “the sociologically mixed races view” (despotic male aristocrats and beautiful female commoners).

By all odds, the view that may perhaps claim the greatest antiquity is the cosmologically mixed races, or the angel theory, view. The pseudepigraphal and noncanonical 1 Enoch, dating from around 200 B.C., claims in 6:1–7:6 that two hundred angels in heaven, under the leadership of Semayaz, noticed that the humans had unusually beautiful daughters. These they desired for themselves, so they took a mutual oath to go down to earth together, and each took a wife. They taught these wives magical medicine, incantations, the cutting of roots and the care of plants. When the women became pregnant, they gave birth to giants that reached three hundred cubits. The giants in turn consumed all the food, thereby arousing the deep hatred of the earthlings. The giants turned to devouring the people along with the birds, wild beasts, reptiles and fish. Then it was that the earth, having had enough of these huge bullies, brought an accusation against them.

The famous Jewish historian Josephus (born 37 B.C.) also appears to follow this angel theory. He wrote, “Many angels accompanied with women, and begat sons that proved unjust” (Antiquities 1.3.1). Likewise, the Greek translation of the Bible of the third century B.C. reads “angels of God” for the phrase “sons of God” in Genesis 6:2. In spite of the antiquity of the cosmologically mixed races view, there are such overwhelming problems with it that it is not recommended as the solution to this problem. While it is true, of course, that the term “sons of God” does occur in Job 1:6, 2:1 and 38:7 with the meaning “angels” (and that the phrase “sons of the mighty” appears in Ps 29:1 and 89:6 with the meaning “angels”), it does not fit well here for several reasons.

Nowhere else in Scripture are we told that angels married humans. In fact, our Lord specifically stated that angels do not marry (Mk 12:25). And though the Septuagint translated the expression as being equivalent to “angels,” it is in fact only the Alexandrian manuscript that does so. The critical edition by Alfred Rahlfs does not reflect the angelic interpretation.

Even more serious is the problem of why judgment should fall on the humans and on the earth if the angels of heaven were the cause of the trouble. God should have flooded heaven, not earth. The culprits came from above; the women seem to have been doing nothing except being beautiful!

Some, however, will appeal to the New Testament passages of 1 Peter 3:18–20, 2 Peter 2:4 and Jude 6–7 for further support of the angel theory. But these passages do not say anything about angelic marriages. To argue from the phrase “in a similar way” in Jude 7 that the sin of Sodom and Gomorrah is the same as the sin of Genesis 6:1–4 claims too much, for the sin of sodomy is not the same thing as marrying a wife from another part of the universe! In fact, “in a similar way” does not compare the sin of the angels with the sin of the men of Sodom and Gomorrah; instead, it compares the sin of Sodom and Gomorrah with the sins of “the cities about them” (that is, Admah and Zeboiim; see Deut 29:23 and Hos 11:8). Thus the sins of Jude’s angels (Jude 6) and the sins of the five cities of the plain (Jude 7) are held up as warnings of the judgment that could come to others. The fall of the angels that Jude mentions is that which took place when Lucifer fell. To connect this fall with the time of the flood because of the proximity of the references in Jude 4–7 would demand that we connect the flood with the overthrow of the five cities of the plain. But the events listed in Jude are successive, not simultaneous: (1) the fall in eternity of Satan (Jude 4), (2) the preaching of Noah prior to the flood (Jude 5) and (3) the overthrow of Sodom and Gomorrah (Jude 6).

To allege that “giants” were the results of such sexual unions is once again to go beyond any data we possess in Scripture. Did the angels procreate without the use of natural bodies? Or did they already possess natural bodies? Or did they create for themselves natural bodies by the use of some mysterious, intrinsic, but rebellious power? Any and all answers to such questions would be purely speculative. To use extracanonical evidence such as 1 Enoch as a witness against or even for Scripture would be unprecedented.

The religiously mixed races view identifies the “sons of God” as the godly line of Seth. Given the sin they committed, they are generally looked on as the apostate line of Seth. “The daughters of men” are equated with the ungodly line of Cain. The sin condemned, then, would be the sin of being “unequally yoked”—that is, the marriage of believers to unbelievers.

This view also fails to meet the test of consistency with the biblical data and context. It uses the term men in verses 1 and 2 in two different senses: in verse 1 “men” is used to indicate humanity generically, while in verse 2 it is understood to refer to the Cainite line specifically. Suggesting such an abrupt change in meaning without any indication in the text is unwarranted.

But even more alarming is the problem of the offspring. Why would religiously mixed marriages produce nepnîlm-gibbôrîm (or, as some translate this Hebrew expression, “giants”)? Does the mixture of pagan and godly genes assure that the offspring’s DNA will be wild and grotesque?
This religiously mixed view should be abandoned as well as the cosmologically mixed view. Neither one can stand the weight of the evidence of the passage.

The preferable interpretation of this passage is the sociologically mixed view. “Sons of God” is an early, but typical, reference to the titularies for kings, nobles and aristocrats in the ancient Near Eastern setting. These power-hungry despots not only lusted after power but also were powerfully driven to become “men of a name” (or “men of renown”—Gen 6:4).

In their thirst for recognition and reputation, they despotically usurped control of the states they governed as if they were accountable to no one but themselves. Thus they perverted the whole concept of the state and the provision that God had made for some immediate amelioration of earth’s injustices and inequities (Gen 6:5–6; see also Gen 10:8–12). They also became polygamous, taking and marrying “any of [the women] they chose” (Gen 6:2).

What evidence can be produced for the correctness of this view? There are five lines of evidence. (1) The ancient Aramaic Targums render “sons of God” as “sons of nobles” (Targums of Onkelos), and the Greek translation of Symmachus reads “the sons of the kings or lords.” (2) The word gods (Hebrew elōhîm) is used in Scripture for men who served as magistrates or judges (“Then his master must take him before the judges [elōhîm],” Ex 21:6; see also Ex 22:8; Ps 82:1, 6). (3) Structurally, the account of the Cainite Lamech (Gen 4:19–24) and that of the “sons of God” in Genesis 6:1–4 are very much alike. In each there is the taking of wives, the bearing of children and the dynastic exploits. The former passage ends with a boast of judgment by Lamech, and the other ends with God’s decree of judgment. Lamech practiced bigamy (Gen 4:19), and he enforced his policies by using tyranny. The portraits are parallel and depict states of tyranny, corruption and polygamy. (4) Near Eastern discoveries have validated the pagan use of all sorts of gods’ and goddesses’ names in order to give more clout and prestige to the governments of Egypt and Mesopotamia—hence the title “sons of God.”

The fifth and final line of evidence concerns the nepīlîm/gibbôrôm of Genesis 6:4. The word nepīlîm occurs only here and in Numbers 13:33, where it refers to the Anakim, who were people of great stature. The root meaning of the word nepīlîm is “to fall.” However in Genesis 6:4 the nepīlîm are associated with the term gibbôrôm. The word gibbôrôm comes from gibbôrôm, meaning “a mighty man of valor, strength, wealth or power.” Nimrod, in Genesis 10:8, was such a gibbôrôm. He also was clearly a king in the land of Shinar. Hence the meaning of nepīlîm/gibbôrôm is not “giants,” but something more like “princes,” “aristocrats” or “great men.”

Genesis 6:1–4, therefore, is best understood as depicting ambitious, despotic and autocratic rulers seizing both women and power in an attempt to gain all the authority and notoriety they could from those within their reach. Their progeny were, not surprisingly, adversely affected, and so it was that God was grieved over the increased wickedness on planet Earth. Every inclination of the hearts and thoughts of humanity was evil. Thus the flood had to come to judge humankind for the perversion of authority, the state, justice and human sexuality.

Norman Geisler - When Critics Ask -  GENESIS 6:2—Were the “Sons of God” angels who married women?

PROBLEM: The phrase “sons of God” is used exclusively in the OT to refer to angels (Job 1:6; 2:1; 38:7). However, the NT informs us that angels “neither marry nor are given in marriage” (Matt. 22:30). Furthermore, if angels married, their children would be half human and half angel. But, angels cannot be redeemed (Heb. 2:14–16; 2 Peter 2:4; Jude 6).

SOLUTION: There are several possible interpretations other than insisting that angels cohabited with humans.

 Some Bible scholars believe “sons of God” refers to the godly line of Seth (from whom the redeemer was to come—Gen. 4:26), who intermingled with the godless line of Cain. They point out that (a) this fits the immediate context, (b) it avoids the problems with the angels view, and (c) it accords with the fact that humans are also referred to in the OT as God’s “sons” (Isa. 43:6).

 Other scholars believe that “sons of God” refers to great men of old, men of renown. They point to the fact that the text refers to “giants” and “mighty men” (v. 4). This also avoids the problems of angels (spirits) cohabiting with humans.

Still others combine these views and speculate that the “sons of God” were angels who “did not keep their proper domain” (Jude 6) and possessed real human beings, moving them to interbreed with “the daughters of men,” thus producing a superior breed whose offspring were the “giants” and “men of renown.” This view seems to explain all the data without the insuperable problems of angels, who are bodiless (Heb. 1:14) and sexless spirits (Matt. 22:30), cohabiting with humans.

Genesis 6:3  Then the LORD said, "My Spirit shall not strive with man forever, because he also is flesh; nevertheless his days shall be one hundred and twenty years."

See over 60 translations 

LXE  And the Lord God said, My Spirit shall certainly not remain among these men forever, because they are flesh, but their days shall be an hundred and twenty years. 

AMP Then the Lord said, “My Spirit shall not strive and remain with man forever, because he is indeed flesh [sinful, corrupt—given over to sensual appetites]; nevertheless his days shall yet be a hundred and twenty years.”

AMPC Then the Lord said, My Spirit shall not forever dwell and strive with man, for he also is flesh; but his days shall yet be 120 years.

CSB And the Lord said, “My Spirit will not remain with mankind forever, because they are corrupt. Their days will be 120 years.”

EXB The Lord said, “My Spirit will not ·remain in [or contend with] human beings forever, because they are ·flesh [mortal]. ·They will live [Their days will be] only 120 years.”

NLT Then the Lord said, “My Spirit will not put up with humans for such a long time, for they are only mortal flesh. In the future, their normal lifespan will be no more than 120 years.”

  • My - Nu 11:17 Ne 9:30 Isa 5:4 63:10 Jer 11:7,11 Ac 7:51 Ga 5:16,17 1Th 5:19 1Pe 3:18-20 Jude 1:14,15 
  • is - Ps 78:39 Joh 3:6 Ro 8:1-13 Ga 5:16-24 1Pe 3:20
  • Genesis 6 Resources - Multiple sermons and commentaries


Then - This indicates progression in a narrative.

The LORD said - This is clearly Jehovah making the declaration. 

My Spirit shall not strive with man forever, because he also is flesh - My Spirit is surely the Holy Spirit. Shall not strive is a prophetic promise where the verb strive is difficult to interpret because the Hebrew verb can be translated strive with or abide in. We can see these differences reflected in the translations so that the NIV has "My Spirit will not contend with man forever." and the ESV has "My Spirit will not abide in man forever."

Wycliffe Bible Commentary comments that "This Hebrew verb may be translated either strive with or abide in. The first translation would represent God as continually using force on rebellious man to hold him in line and to keep him from utter destruction as a result of his sinful behavior. The second view would represent God as determined to withdraw the vital breath of life from man, with the result, of course, that death would ensue. In the first interpretation, the spirit (rûaḥ) is considered an ethical principle used to restrain or to control the created one, the result being ethical behavior. In the other, the spirit (rûaḥ) is considered a vital principle given to the inanimate bit of clay to provide life, motivation, and power for living. When that rûaḥ is withdrawn by the divine hand, judgment is complete. This divine announcement came from Jehovah when He found his creatures dominated by sin. It is God's declaration that he must abandon man to the doom of death. Sin had set in motion that which would guarantee death. (BORROW Wycliffe Bible Commentary)

John MacArthur favors the idea of strive with writing that "The Holy Spirit played a most active role in the OT. The Spirit had been striving to call men to repentance and righteousness, especially as Scripture notes, through the preaching of Enoch and Noah (1Pe 3:20; 2Pe 2:5; Jude 14)." (See Study Notes)

David Guzik comments that "God did not allow the human race to stay in this rebellious place forever. This means there is a “point of no return” in our rejection of God. God will not woo us forever; there is a point where He will say “no more.” All the more reason for us to say today is the day we will respond to Jesus instead of waiting for another day. We have no promise God will draw us some other day.

God’s grace has a limit and in Noah’s day it was 120 years.

Nevertheless his days shall be one hundred and twenty years - Some think this refers to lifespan, but clearly some individuals still lived longer than 120 years. More likely and fitting with the context of evil that God was about to judge, He would give mankind 120 more years to repent. Peter supports this writing "who once were disobedient, when the patience of God kept waiting in the days of Noah, during the construction of the ark, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through the water." (1Pe 3:20) Thus "The patience of God kept waiting" for 120 years, which corresponds to the length of time Noah was building his Ark. In his second letter Peter writes that God "did not spare the ancient world, but preserved Noah, a preacher of righteousness, with seven others, when He brought a flood upon the world of the ungodly." Linking these two petrine passages together, it is reasonable to conclude that Noah preached the OT form of the "Gospel," to ungodly men and women for 120 years and had only 8 "converts" (his own family, assuming they were all spiritually saved). 

Warren Wiersbe - The people of that day “married and were given in marriage” (Matt. 24:37–39+) and thought nothing of the warning that Enoch and Noah gave about the coming judgment. Human history was now at the place where only Noah and his family—eight people—believed God and obeyed His Word. God’s Spirit was striving with lost people, but they resisted the call of God, and God was grieved at what man was doing. (Bible Exposition Commentary)

J Vernon McGee - We believe that Noah preached for 120 years, and during that time the Spirit of God was striving with men.

Henry Morris adds that "The antediluvians thus had ample warning, both through Noah’s preaching (2Pe 2:5+) and example, but the uniformitarian science of their day assured them such an event was impossible, and so they went on in unconcerned “eating and drinking” until the Flood came and took them all away. (BORROW  The Genesis Record: A Scientific and Devotional Commentary on the Book of Beginnings)

Bob Utley - The term "spirit" is ambiguous. It surely refers to YHWH's personal presence (i.e., Gen. 1:2). The VERB "strive" can be translated "remain" (Qal IMPERFECT, cf. LXX, NRSV "abide"). This either refers to (1) God's patience (i.e., He postponed the flood until the ark was finished, cf. 1 Pet. 3:20) or (2)mankind's reduced life span. How does Gen. 6:3 relate to Gen. 6:1-2 and 6:4? It is very difficult to follow the original author's intent through this context. Possibly even though humans had mixed with angels they will still die. As Eve "saw" and took (i.e., of the fruit in Genesis 3), so now "sons of God" "saw" and took, which implies the same type of rebellion (i.e., possibly grasping independence).

NET NOTE on one hundred and twenty years - Heb “his days will be 120 years.” Some interpret this to mean that the age expectancy of people from this point on would be 120, but neither the subsequent narrative nor reality favors this. It is more likely that this refers to the time remaining between this announcement of judgment and the coming of the flood.

QUESTION - What does it mean that God will not strive with man forever (Genesis 6:3)?

ANSWER - Moral chaos filled the earth during the historical period leading up to the flood. Wickedness in people’s hearts had become so pervasive that God decided to press the restart button (see Genesis 6:5–8, 11–13). Humanity would receive a fresh beginning with another chance at obeying the Lord. Against this backdrop, God said, “My Spirit shall not strive with man forever, for he is indeed flesh; yet his days shall be one hundred and twenty years” (Genesis 6:3, NKJV).

Some scholars believe the 120 years in Genesis 6:3 refers to a shorter, post-flood lifespan that God would begin to impose on humans. Before the flood, people lived hundreds of years longer than they did after the flood (see Genesis 5; cf. Genesis 11:10–26), but many people after the flood still lived well past the age of 120. Likewise, Psalm 90:10 says, “Seventy years are given to us! Some even live to eighty” (NLT). Consequently, 120 does not seem to signal a new average lifespan after the flood.

Another interpretation of the 120 years suggests that it was the time remaining before the flood. In the richness of His grace, God was giving people more than enough time to repent. This concept aligns with the immediately preceding statement that God’s Spirit would not strive with man forever.

The Hebrew word translated as “strive” (KJV, NKJV), “contend” (NIV), “abide” (ESV), and “remain” (CSB) appears only this once in the Old Testament. Its origin and meaning are uncertain. It could mean “stay” in the sense of remaining with or abiding with someone, or “argue” as in struggling with or having an argument with someone. Either way, by Noah’s day, we know God could no longer tolerate the corruption and rebellion that had overtaken human hearts. Living with it was so troubling to Him that “it broke his heart” (Genesis 6:6, NLT). Thus, God will not strive with man forever appears to mean that the Lord will not put up with our sinful disobedience indefinitely.

We know from Scripture that God is exceptionally patient with humanity (Exodus 34:6; Numbers 14:18; Psalm 78:38; Isaiah 48:9; Acts 13:18; Romans 2:4). One hundred and twenty years is a long time to delay judgment. The apostle Peter makes this connection while writing about the flood: “They deliberately forget that God made the heavens long ago by the word of his command, and he brought the earth out from the water and surrounded it with water. Then he used the water to destroy the ancient world with a mighty flood. And by the same word, the present heavens and earth have been stored up for fire. They are being kept for the day of judgment, when ungodly people will be destroyed” (2 Peter 3:5–7, NLT). Immediately, Peter highlights God’s great patience in delaying judgment: “The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance” (2 Peter 3:9, ESV).

The Lord’s “patience gives people time to be saved” (2 Peter 3:15, NLT). The apostle Paul elaborates: “Even though God has the right to show his anger and his power, he is very patient with those on whom his anger falls, who are destined for destruction. He does this to make the riches of his glory shine even brighter on those to whom he shows mercy” (Romans 9:22–23, NLT). As tolerant and gracious as He is, God will not strive with man forever. He won’t wait open-endedly for us to repent (Luke 13:3; Revelation 2:5). Before it’s too late and our years come to an end, we must choose good and not evil (Joshua 24:15)—to serve and obey God and not our own selves (Hebrews 11:24–26; Matthew 7:21). For Jesus said, “Unless you repent, you too will all perish” (see Luke 13:1–5)

Norman Geisler - When Critics Ask -  GENESIS 6:3—Does this contradict what Moses said in Psalm 90 about human longevity?

PROBLEM: This text seems to indicate that human longevity after the flood will not exceed “one hundred and twenty years.” Yet in Psalm 90 Moses took it to be as 70 or 80 years at best (v. 10).

SOLUTION: First of all, it is not certain that Genesis 6:3 is referring to human longevity. It may be speaking about how many years remained before the flood would come.

Second, even if it does envision how long humans would live, it does not contradict the later reference to 70 or 80 years for two reasons: for one, it refers to an earlier period when people still lived longer (Moses himself lived to 120, Deut. 34:7); further, the 70 or 80 was probably not intended as an absolute upper limit, but merely as an average for people who died of old age.

QUESTION -  Is there an age limit to how long we can live?

ANSWER - Many people understand Genesis 6:3 to be a 120-year age limit on humanity, “Then the Lord said, ‘My Spirit will not contend with man forever, for he is mortal; his days will be a hundred and twenty years.’” However, Genesis chapter 11 records several people living past the age of 120. As a result, some interpret Genesis 6:3 to mean that, as a general rule, people will no longer live past 120 years of age. After the flood, the life spans began to shrink dramatically (compare Genesis 5 with Genesis 11) and eventually shrank so that very few people lived to be 120 years old. By the time of the Exodus, almost no one survived to that age. Moses and Aaron lived that long (Numbers 33:39; Deuteronomy 34:7), and Jehoiada the priest lived to 130 (2 Chronicles 24:15). So, 120 years was not a “hard” boundary; rather, it was near the age that an especially healthy and fortunate person could expect to survive.

However, another interpretation, which seems to be more in keeping with the context, is that Genesis 6:3 is God’s declaration that the flood would occur 120 years from His pronouncement. Humanity’s days being ended is a reference to humanity itself being destroyed in the flood. Some dispute this interpretation due to the fact that God commanded Noah to build the ark when Noah was 500 years old in Genesis 5:32 and Noah was 600 years old when the flood came (Genesis 7:6); only giving 100 years of time, not 120 years. However, the timing of God’s pronouncement of Genesis 6:3 is not given. Further, Genesis 5:32 is not the time that God commanded Noah to build the Ark, but rather the age Noah was when he became the father of his three sons. It is perfectly plausible that God determined the flood to occur in 120 years and then waited several years before He commanded Noah to build the ark. Whatever the case, the 100 years between Genesis 5:32 and 7:6 in no way contradicts the 120 years mentioned in Genesis 6:3.

Several hundred years after the flood, Moses declared, “The length of our days is seventy years—or eighty, if we have the strength; yet their span is but trouble and sorrow, for they quickly pass, and we fly away” (Psalm 90:10). Neither Genesis 6:3 nor Psalm 90:10 are God-ordained age limits for humanity. Genesis 6:3 is a prediction of the timetable for the flood. Psalm 90:10 is simply stating that as a general rule, people live 70-80 years (which is still true today)

John Bennett - MY SPIRIT SHALL NOT ALWAYS STRIVE WITH MAN  (BORROW Day by day Paradise to the Promised Land)

The swelling stream of humanity, poisoned at its source by Adam’s wilful disobedience, was now marked by such foul, moral lawlessness, that ‘it repented the Lord that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart’, v. 6. Most grievous of all, was the fact that fallen angelic beings (the sons of God, v. 2) made physical, sexual union with the ‘daughters of men’: which expression is a Hebraism meaning simply ‘human daughters’. This awful invasion from the realm of evil, having come ‘in unto the daughters of men’, produced offspring called ‘giants’, v. 4. This word, translated as ‘fallen ones’ by ROBERT YOUNG in his Literal Translation, comes from the Hebrew root which means ‘to fall’. According to Psalm 8 verse 5, man was made ‘a little lower than the angels’, but this cohabitation of fallen angelic beings with ‘human daughters’ was blurring this divinely ordained distinction and God was compelled to destroy man from the face of the earth. ‘Unless He had done so, the entire human race would have become a mongrel breed. Satan would have become triumphant. Only through a godly remnant and a new start would the human race be preserved so that Messiah eventually would come to identify Himself with the human race to redeem it’, MERRILL UNGER.

It was in this depressingly dark, immoral scene that one bright light appears, ‘And Noah walked with God’, v. 9. The true greatness of this man of faith is seen in the fact that this walk was maintained for many decades, without any supporting fellowship other than his own immediate family and the God he served.

Peter’s commentary on this shameless period in man’s history is, ‘the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah’. Though great, the longsuffering of God is not infinite, as is indicated by the direct phrase of warning, ‘My spirit shall not always plead with man’, v. 3 JND. The name Methuselah means ‘when he is dead it shall be sent’. So the deluge would only come after the death of Methuselah, whose life was lengthened out beyond that of any other man who has ever walked the planet. Such is the longsuffering of God!

Genesis 6:4  The Nephilim were on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of men, and they bore children to them. Those were the mighty men who were of old, men of renown.

  • giants - Nu 13:33 De 2:20,21 3:11 1Sa 17:4 2Sa 21:15-22 
  • after - Ge 6:3 
  • men of - Ge 11:4 Nu 16:2 
  • Genesis 6 Resources - Multiple sermons and commentaries

Related Passages:

Numbers 13:33+  “There also we saw the Nephilim (the sons of Anak are part of the Nephilim); and we became like grasshoppers in our own sight, and so we were in their sight.” (COMMENT: The Greek version uses gigantes (“giants”) to translate “the Nephilim,” but it does not retain the clause “the sons of Anak are from the Nephilim.”)


We come to another controversial passage regarding the identity of the Nephilim.

The Nephilim were on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God (see note Ge 6:2) came in to the daughters of men, and they bore children to them - Note that the Nephilim were on the earth before and after the marriages of the sons of God to the daughters of men. In other words the Nephilim are NOT the offspring of the union of the sons of God and daughters of men. The phrase came in to the daughters of men is a euphemistic way to describe having sex and in this context procreating children and the "Hebrew imperfect verbal form draws attention to the ongoing nature of such sexual unions during the time before the flood." (NET Note)

Those were the mighty (gibbor) men who were of old, men of renown - This refers to the Nephilim. Ray Pritchard explains that the “nephilim” were a race of ancient leaders who in their arrogance ignored God, built vast empires, acted as despots and tyrants, and embodied the worst traits of humanism—living as if God did not exist. They would agree with the man who said, “I am the master of my fate, the captain of my soul.” No doubt they were highly gifted individuals who could be charming when they needed to be but underneath were ravenous wolves, filled with corruption, violence, hatred and all manner of evil. Such men filled the earth in the days before the flood. 

NET NOTE - "The parenthetical/explanatory clause uses the word הַגִּבֹּרִים (haggibborim) to describe these Nephilim. The word means “warriors; mighty men; heroes.” The appositional statement further explains that they were “men of renown.”" 

NET NOTE on Nephilim - The Hebrew word נְפִילִים (néfilim) is simply transliterated here, because the meaning of the term is uncertain. According to the text, the Nephilim became mighty warriors and gained great fame in the antediluvian world (BEFORE THE GLOBAL FLOOD). The text may imply they were the offspring of the sexual union of the “sons of God” and the “daughters of humankind” (Ge 6:2), but it stops short of saying this in a direct manner. The Nephilim are mentioned in the OT only here and in Nu 13:33, where it is stated that they were giants (thus KJV, TEV, NLT “giants” here). The narrator observes that the Anakites of Canaan were descendants of the Nephilim. Certainly these later Anakite Nephilim could not be descendants of the antediluvian Nephilim (see also the following note).

NET NOTE on and also afterward -  This observation is parenthetical, explaining that there were Nephilim even after the flood. If all humankind, with the exception of Noah and his family, died in the flood, it is difficult to understand how the postdiluvian Nephilim could be related to the antediluvian Nephilim or how the Anakites of Canaan could be their descendants (see Nu 13:33). It is likely that the term Nephilim refers generally to “giants” (see HALOT 709 s.v. נְפִילִים) without implying any ethnic connection between the antediluvian and postdiluvian varieties.

QUESTION -  What is the significance of the fact there were giants in those days (Genesis 6:4)?

ANSWER - Genesis 6 records the expansion of the human race and its descent into further corruption. The writer records that there were “giants on the earth in those days” (Genesis 6:4, NKJV) and offers a brief explanation of how that came to be.

As humanity multiplied and began to be numerous on the earth (Genesis 6:1), the “sons of God” took wives (Genesis 6:2), and they began to increase. In light of the rapid multiplication of humanity and its evil, God limited the human lifespan to one-hundred, twenty years (Genesis 6:3). Prior to that time, people lived a very long time—even up to around nine hundred years (see Genesis 5). Though lifespans were decreasing on their own, God intervened to limit them greatly. Despite this significant limitation, there were giants (Hebrew, Nephilim) in those days—in the days of Noah. These were mighty men of renown and were apparently the products of relationships between the “sons of God” and the “daughters of men” (Genesis 6:4).

The giants in those days were extraordinary, leading some to suppose that the “sons of God” in Genesis 6:2 and Genesis 6:4 are fallen angels and not merely regular people. In that theory, these fallen angels took on physical form and procreated with women. The demon-human hybrid DNA resulted in giant size and, apparently, enhanced physical abilities. There are three objections to this theory:

First, there is nothing in the text that suggests the “sons of God” are angels. While the phrase can be used of angels (as it is apparently in Job 1:6, 2:1, and 38:7), it is also regularly used of people (e.g., Matthew 5:9 and Luke 20:36).

Second, there is no indication that angels are physiologically compatible with women and can procreate with them (unless this is the only instance).

Third, the theological implications are significant enough that one might expect some further explanation. Instead, we only see the offspring referred to as “giants” (Nephilim) and mighty, but nothing beyond that.

Others have suggested that the sons of God might be people possessed by demonic beings. As in the other view, the phrase sons of God would still refer to fallen angels. While this view would resolve the physiological implications, there is nothing in the text that would suggest this possibility.

A third view is that there were giants in those days simply because humanity hadn’t been fully genetically corrupted—everyone was big and tall and mighty—and God intervenes to shorten human lifespans. This theory takes the biblical account at face value, that these sons of God were simply men. In any case, there were giants in the land at this time before the flood and “afterward” (Genesis 6:4). There were still giants during the time of Israel’s conquest of Canaan (Numbers 13:33) and David’s time (1 Samuel 17:4–7). If these Nephilim were superhumans resulting from demonic and human cohabitation, it seems they would have died in the flood (Genesis 7:21–23). The fact that they were still around after the flood is either evidence that the fallen angels performed the same act again at some point after the flood, or it is another indicator in support of the third view that these giants on the earth from time to time were exceptional, but not superhuman.

Whatever the case, Genesis 6:4 states that there were giants in the land in those days. The passage does not explicitly say how these giants came to be. It is best to not be dogmatic on an issue that the Bible says so little about and that is not theologically significant in the grand scheme of things.

Genesis 6:5  Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.

MSG God saw that human evil was out of control. People thought evil, imagined evil—evil, evil, evil from morning to night. God was sorry that he had made the human race in the first place; it broke his heart. God said, “I’ll get rid of my ruined creation, make a clean sweep: people, animals, snakes and bugs, birds—the works. I’m sorry I made them.”

  • Then the LORD saw - Ge 13:13 18:20,21 Ps 14:1-4 53:2 Ro 1:28-31 3:9-19 
  • every intent of the thoughts Ge 8:21 De 29:19 Job 15:16 Pr 6:18 Ec 7:29 9:3 Jer 17:9-10 Eze 8:9,12 Mt 15:19 Mk 7:21-23 Eph 2:1-3 Titus 3:3 
  • thoughts - Jer 4:14 
  • Genesis 6 Resources - Multiple sermons and commentaries

Related Passages: 

Jeremiah 17:9-10 “The heart is more deceitful than all else And is desperately sick; Who can understand it?  10 “I, the LORD, search the heart, I test the mind, Even to give to each man according to his ways, According to the results of his deeds. 

Mark 7:21-23+ “For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed the evil thoughts, fornications, thefts, murders, adulteries, 22 deeds of coveting and wickedness, as well as deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride and foolishness. 23 “All these evil things proceed from within and defile the man.”

Jeremiah 4:14 Wash your heart from evil, O Jerusalem, That you may be saved. How long will your wicked thoughts Lodge within you? 

Genesis 3:6+ When the woman saw saw (רָאָה, ra’ah) that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate.

Matthew 24:37-38 “For the coming of the Son of Man will be just like the days of Noah (UNBRIDLED LAWLESSNESS!). 38 “For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage (APATHY AND REFUSAL TO HEED GOD'S WARNINGS), until the day that Noah entered the ark,


Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth - Then marks progression in the narrative. The LORD saw (anthropomorphic expression)...on the earth is an allusion to His omniscience and omnipresence, as described in Pr 15:3+ (see also "Eyes of the Lord" below) Saw (רָאָה, ra’ah), used here of God’s evaluation of mankind’s evil deeds contrasts with God’s evaluation of His perfect creative work in Genesis 1, when "God saw (רָאָה, ra’ah) all that He had made and behold it was very good." (Ge 1:31+). Now what He sees is VERY BAD! This grieves His holy heart! 

Jack Arnold says that "Wickedness is always the absence of the life of God at work in human society.This would include all kinds of evil but with special emphasis upon sexual perversion (Gal. 5:19-21; Rom. 1:24-32). The second mark of decline is an unusual manifestation of sexual wickedness, not sporadic but continuous, not localized but everywhere. "

Nowhere else in the Bible will you find such a clear description of the doctrine of Total Depravity.
-- Ray Pritchard

And that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually - Every intent...only evil continually is a sad all inclusive phrase! Don't miss the emphasis brought out by the words "every", "only" and "continually!" This is mankind as God sees it. This is the human race wholly apart from God’s grace. This is man at his worst! His corruption was inward, continual and habitual. Their evil heart led to evil thoughts which led to evil conduct. They were "rotten" from the inside out! This was the pattern and practice in Noah's day just as it is in our day (just watch the evening news!) What a picture of men made in God's image but terribly maring His image! Godly thoughts did not even enter their ungodly hearts! The heart refers to the seat of one's thoughts and thus is essentially the same as one's mind.

Adrian Rogers has an interesting thought on every intent (imagination - KJV) of the thoughts of his heart says "that word imagination is an interesting word. The scholars tell us that it comes from a root, a Hebrew root word (ED: yatsar = to form or fashion), which means “to shape, as a potter would shape things with his hands.” That is, there were new philosophies that were being spawned. There were new ideas that were being molded. Actually, men were fashioning—they were molding—wicked philosophies. And with these wicked philosophies, they were espousing filthy causes. What they were doing was trying to reshape and remold society. They were trying to get perversion and vice and immorality to become the acceptable norm, to say what was good was bad and what was bad was good, and to get the people of that day to be molded into their mold.

Ray Pritchard - This is what you are apart from God’s grace.

1) Sin is internal. It is a matter of the heart first and foremost. “The thoughts of his heart.”
2) Sin is pervasive. It touches every part of our existence. “Every intent of the thoughts of his heart.”
3) Sin is continual. It consumes man and controls him. “Every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.”

Pritchard goes on - Any “good” you may do is stained with the dirt of your own sinful inclinations. You have never done a truly good deed in and of yourself and you never will. All that we do is tainted with self-interest. Even our good deeds are but “filthy rags” in the sight of Almighty God (Isaiah 64:6). Your heart is so wicked that you don’t even know the half of your own sin. In the words of Anselm of Canterbury, you have not yet considered how sinful you are. Do not read Genesis 6:5 and say, “Those people must have been terrible.” Read it and then look in the mirror. There is no difference. That’s the whole point of Romans 3:23. No difference between them and us. No difference between then and now. No difference between the savage in the jungle and the corporate executive who is under indictment. Take away his MBA, his fine Brooks Brothers suit, his shiny BMW, and underneath beats the heart of a sinner. All the thoughts of his heart are evil continually. (The Days of Noah: Why God Sent the Flood)

Ray Pritchard makes a good point that 'in civilized society, many evil thoughts are left that way—as thoughts, never to be mentioned or spoken or written or acted upon. In the days before the flood, evil thoughts became evil words that ultimately led to acts of unspeakable atrocity, brutality, lust and perversion. The unthinkable became thinkable, then speakable, then doable. And finally the unspeakable was done openly and praise was given to those who did it openly." (Genesis 6:9-22 Noah’s Ark: A Picture of Salvation)

Wycliffe Bible Commentary adds that "The whole bent of his thoughts and imaginations was completely out of line with the will of Jehovah. Flesh was on the throne. God was forgotten or openly defied."

Lawrence Richards - “Grief and pain” Gen. 6:6. Note the text does not say “anger and outrage”! God takes no pleasure in punishing those who sin. Instead He is deeply pained—by the hurt His creations cause one another and by the necessity of punishing persons made in His own image. (BORROW The 365 day devotional commentary)  

NET NOTE  "Every inclination of the thoughts of their minds was only evil. There is hardly a stronger statement of the wickedness of the human race than this. Here is the result of falling into the “knowledge of good and evil”: Evil becomes dominant, and the good is ruined by the evil." 

NET NOTE says intent (inclination) is the "noun יֵצֶר (yetser) is related to the verb יָצָר (yatsar, “to form, to fashion [with a design]”). Here it refers to human plans or intentions (see Gen 8:21; 1 Chr 28:9; 29:18). People had taken their God-given capacities and used them to devise evil. The word יֵצֶר (yetser) became a significant theological term in Rabbinic literature for what might be called the sin nature—the evil inclination (see also R. E. Murphy, “Yeser in the Qumran Literature,” Bib 39 [1958]: 334–44).

QUESTION - What is the meaning of “the eyes of the Lord” in the Bible?

ANSWER: The eyes of the Lord is an anthropomorphic expression, meaning that it attributes humanlike qualities to God. God, who is spirit (John 4:24), does not have a physical body with eyes and ears, or arms and legs. The omniscience of God is most often the intended implication of the eyes of the Lord, as seen in Proverbs 15:3: “The eyes of the LORD are everywhere, keeping watch on the wicked and the good.”

Nothing and no one in heaven and on earth can escape being observed by the watchful, all-pervading eyes of the Lord. God is always assessing, appraising, overseeing, superintending, and safeguarding His creation. God sees all people and knows all people, both the evil and the righteous.

Since the eyes of the Lord are everywhere, so too is His presence. Thus, the idiom also expresses God’s omnipresence: “For the eyes of the LORD range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him” (2 Chronicles 16:9+).

The eyes of the Lord conveys the all-knowing, all-seeing limitlessness of God, and yet at the same time His personal, ever-caring nature. The Bible tells us that God is always paying attention to our needs: “The eyes of the LORD are on the righteous, and his ears are attentive to their cry” (Psalm 34:15). Believers can count on the individual, intimate care and concern of a loving God: “But the eyes of the LORD are on those who fear him, on those whose hope is in his unfailing love” (Psalm 33:18).

The eyes of the Lord often indicates His recognition and the bestowing of His favor: “But Noah found favor in the eyes of the LORD” (Genesis 6:8; see also 1 Peter 3:12). Likewise, the phrase frequently expresses His protection: “It is a land the LORD your God cares for; the eyes of the LORD your God are continually on it from the beginning of the year to its end” (Deuteronomy 11:12). The heavenly Father keeps a fond eye on His children: “He will not let your foot slip—He who watches over you will not slumber; indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep” (Psalm 121:3–4+).

The Bible tells us that God sees everything: “Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account” (Hebrews 4:13; see also Psalm 11:4). The Lord’s field of vision is omnidirectional and unrestricted. Nothing we do can be hidden or kept secret from Him. Closed doors and locked chambers will not obscure His vision. He sees everything, including our sins, which displease Him, and the depravity of the world, which breaks His heart (Jeremiah 17:9–10).

In His sovereign knowledge and foresight of all things, God is never caught off guard or taken by surprise. Nothing happens to Him or to His children unexpectedly. We may find ourselves in difficult circumstances, but we can rest assured that God is in control. As the psalmist reassures, God will be there with us: “If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast. If I say, ‘Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,’ even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you” (Psalm 139:11–12).

The concerned and compassionate eyes of the Lord are always on us, penetrating even our darkest night. From the moment we are conceived and every day thereafter, He sees us (Psalm 139:16). The Lord keeps His eyes on His children to protect and preserve them and lead them home. May we pray daily for the Lord to equip us “with everything good” so that we “may do His will, working in us that which is pleasing in His sight through Jesus Christ” (Hebrews 13:20–21).

QUESTION - What was it like in the days of Noah?

ANSWER - The biblical account of Noah begins in Genesis 6. Approximately 1,600 years had passed since the creation of Adam and Eve (Genesis 1:26–27). As the earth’s population exploded in number, it also exploded with evil. Long forgotten was the righteous sacrifice of Abel (Genesis 4:4) as “the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually” (Genesis 6:5). Verses 11 and 12 say, “Now the earth was corrupt in God’s sight, and the earth was filled with violence. And God saw the earth, and behold, it was corrupt, for all flesh had corrupted their way on the earth.” However, “Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord” (verse 8).

When Jesus described the events that will surround His second coming, He said, “Just as it was in the days of Noah, so will it be in the days of the Son of Man. They were eating and drinking and marrying and being given in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all” (Luke 17:26–27). Jesus was pointing out that, although the people of Noah’s day were totally depraved, they were not the least bit concerned about it. They were carrying on the events of their lives without a single thought of the judgment of God. Noah is described as a “preacher of righteousness” (2 Peter 2:5), meaning he had spent years warning his friends and neighbors what the Holy God was about to do. No one listened.

The depravity and ungodly lifestyles of the entire world at that time were enough to cause the Lord to “regret that He had made man” (Genesis 6:6). Many scholars believe that part of the need to destroy every human being except Noah and his family was the sin mentioned in Genesis 6:1–4, when “the Nephilim were on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of men, and they bore children to them.” As evil reproduced and overtook the world, the most merciful act God could perform was to start over.

It is interesting that God allowed Noah nearly one hundred years to complete the building of the ark. Through all that time, God patiently waited (1 Peter 3:20). Scripture seems to imply that Noah preached to the people of that time about what was coming (Hebrews 11:7). They did not believe Noah and were content with their wickedness and idolatry. Their hearts were hard and their ears dull. No one repented, and no one cared to seek God.

Jesus said that the world will be much the same before He returns to set up His earthly kingdom (Matthew 25:31–33). He warned us to “be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.” 2 Timothy 3:1–4 gives us a clear picture of the state of the world before Jesus comes and most likely also describes the world in the days of Noah. That verse says,

“But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God.”

It is becoming increasingly obvious that, to understand what the world was like in the days of Noah, we only need to watch the evening

QUESTION - Does God make mistakes?

ANSWER - God makes no mistakes. His perfection and greatness disallow mistakes: “Great is the LORD and most worthy of praise; his greatness no one can fathom.” (Psalm 145:3). In the original language, the word translated “fathom” incorporates the thought of “possible to find out or enumerate.” In other words, God’s greatness is infinite. This statement cannot refer to a fallible person, for, with even one mistake, his greatness would be quantifiable and finite.

God’s ability to do all things and comprehend all matters also prevents Him from making mistakes: “Great is our Lord and mighty in power; his understanding has no limit” (Psalm 147:5). Again, Scripture shows that God is infallible. Limited knowledge leads to mistakes, but God has unlimited knowledge and makes no mistakes.

God has made no mistakes in His creation of the world. God’s infinite wisdom, infinite power, and infinite goodness combined to produce a perfect world. At the end of six days of creation, God surveyed all He had made and pronounced it “very good” (Genesis 1:31). There was no exception or qualification or disappointment. Just the statement “very good.”

“God is not human, that he should lie, not a human being, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill?” (Numbers 23:19). Unlike man, God makes no mistakes and has no afterthoughts leading to a change of mind. God makes no decrees that He must later annul because He did not consider all the consequences or because He did not possess the power to fulfill. Also, God is not like man whose sinfulness requires judgment. “God is light; in him there is no darkness at all” (1 John 1:5b). “The LORD is righteous in all his ways and faithful in all he does” (Psalm 145:17).

Some claim that Scripture shows God having second thoughts about His creation: “The Lord saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time. The Lord regretted that he had made human beings on the earth, and his heart was deeply troubled. So the Lord said, ‘I will wipe from the face of the earth the human race I have created—and with them the animals, the birds and the creatures that move along the ground—for I regret that I have made them’” (Genesis 6:5-7).

It’s good to understand the word regret in this passage. When used of God, regret incorporates the thought of compassionate grief and an action taken. God was not showing weakness, admitting an error, or regretting a mistake. Rather, He was expressing His need to take specific, drastic action to counteract the wickedness of mankind: “Everything they thought or imagined was consistently and totally evil” (Genesis 6:5). The fact that God did not consider His creation a mistake is proved by the world’s continued existence. We’re still here, sinful though we are. Praise the Lord for His grace: “Where sin increased, grace increased all the more” (Romans 5:20b), and “Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD” (Genesis 6:8).

God has never made a mistake. He has had a purpose in everything, and outcomes are no surprise to Him, for He declares the end from the beginning: “I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me, Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure” (Isaiah 46:9-10).

Someone may think God has made a mistake in his or her own personal life. Certain experiences and conditions beyond our control make us wonder if God has maybe miscalculated. However, “we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28). This takes faith to accept, but “we live by faith, not by sight” (2 Corinthians 5:7). In everything we must understand that the things of this life are expendable and are being spent for our eternal reward according to the wisdom of Him who “is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy” (Jude 1:24). We can rejoice that our Lord God makes no mistakes in our lives but has a good and loving purpose for everything He allows.

There is no fault in our God; there are no mistakes He has made. And there is no fault in His Son; Jesus committed no sin in thought, word, or deed (Hebrews 4:15). Satan was desperate to reveal even one fault in Jesus, but the devil utterly failed in his attempts (Matthew 4:1-11). Jesus remained the spotless Lamb of God (1 Peter 1:19). At the end of Jesus’ life, His earthly judge, Pontius Pilate, declared, “I find no fault in this man” (Luke 23:4).

We live with our mistakes, big and little, petty and disastrous, and we get used to making them. But we serve an infallible, mistake-free God whose greatness cannot be fathomed. “Many, LORD my God, are the wonders you have done, the things you planned for us. None can compare with you; were I to speak and tell of your deeds, they would be too many to declare” (Psalm 40:5). It’s good to know that God’s in charge and that He who makes no mistakes can more than compensate for

G Campbell Morgan -  Gen. 6.5.
These words give the reason for the Deluge. We come at this point in the record of human history, to the first activity of the punitive judgment of God. A crisis was reached, which made it necessary, in order to the carrying on of the Divine purpose for humanity, that there should be such action; and in these words the nature of the crisis is revealed. They are very emphatic, and show the utter moral depravity which prevailed. To read them carefully is to discover that fact. When evil choices and courses have thus wrought themselves out, God ever acts in judgment in this way. Over and over again has He done so. We have lived through a period of such Divine activity. And so it will continue until the final victory is gained, and evil is completely banished from the earth. Two matters are revealed which are of the greatest importance. First, God never acts in such judgment until it is necessary in order to the fulfilling of His highest purposes for humanity. Second, God always does so act, when it is necessary. They are the facts of His patience and His persistence. Evil never escapes Him. He presses upon it, and compels it to go on to the uttermost expression; and that, in order that He may destroy it. The flood, the blood and fire and vapour of smoke, all are the instruments of His judgment, and are employed in order to the realization of His high ideals for humanity.

Genesis 6:6  The LORD was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart.

ASV And it repented Jehovah that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart.

AMP The Lord regretted that He had made mankind on the earth, and He was [deeply] grieved in His heart.

EXB He ·was sorry [regretted] he had made human beings on the earth, and his heart was filled with pain.

  • The LORD was sorry - Ex 32:14 Nu 23:19 De 32:36 1Sa 15:11,29 2Sa 24:16 1Ch 21:15 Ps 106:45 110:4 Jer 18:8-10 26:19 Ho 11:8 Jon 3:10 Mal 3:6 Ro 11:29 Heb 6:17,18 Jas 1:17 
  • grieved - De 5:29 32:29 Ps 78:40 81:13 95:10 119:158 Isa 48:18 63:10 Eze 33:11 Lu 19:41,42 Eph 4:30 Heb 3:10,17 
  • Genesis 6 Resources - Multiple sermons and commentaries

Related Passages:

Exodus 32:14 (see discussion)  So the LORD changed His mind about the harm which He said He would do to His people. 


The LORD was sorry (nacham) that He had made man on the earth - The picture is that "the Lord heaved with a sigh". 

and He was grieved (atsabin His heart - Evil grieves God's heart. Their evil heart grieved His heart, where heart is an anthropomorphic expression

THOUGHT - After I read and meditated on this last phrase (grieved in His heart), I needed to go and look in the mirror and see that this is a picture of me in those horrible times when I willfully, wantonly, presumptively sin against Him (and all sin is in fact against Him! Ge 39:9) Sin grieves Him. Sin grieves His Spirit (Eph 4:30+) and short-circuits the supernatural grace and power we are dependent on to live the Christ life, walking like Jesus walked! Ezekiel 6:9+ (speaking of Judah in exile but applicable in principle to all of us) describes Jehovah's lament "how I have been hurt by their adulterous hearts which turned away from Me, and by their eyes which played the harlot after their idols." Woe is me! I am undone! (Isa 6:5KJV+) Our (my) sin grieves God's heart! Our (my) sin hurts God! Oh, Spirit of the Living God, make these truths sink into our (my) heart deeply that we (I) might experience the expulsive power of a new affection to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please You our (my) Father in all respects (Col 1:10+). 

Ray Pritchard - God’s grief is a sign of his great love. The Lord is no robot. He is not some unfeeling God in heaven who sets the world in motion and then watches in benign disinterest while men and women destroy themselves. His heart breaks over the sin that covers the earth. He weeps over broken homes, broken promises, suffering children, and the wreckage of human sin that covers planet earth and turns it into a massive junkyard of pain, sadness, shame and guilt. 

Sorry (05162naham/nacham is a verb which means to be sorry, to pity, to console oneself, repent, regret, comfort, be comforted, to get revenge for oneself (Ge 27:42, Ezek 5:13). According to the TWOT nacham reflects the idea of "breathing deeply" and hence refers to the physical display of one's feelings, such as sorrow, or in this case compassion or comfort. In the present passage nacham means be in a state of sorrow or regret over a person or event (Ge 6:6, 7; Jdg 21:6, 15; 1Sa 15:11, 35; 2Sa 24:16; 1Ch 21:15; Jer 42:10);

NET NOTE on sorry (nacham) - Or “was grieved”; “was sorry.” In the Niphal stem the verb נָחָם (nakham) can carry one of four semantic meanings, depending on the context:

(1) “to experience emotional pain or weakness,” “to feel regret,” often concerning a past action (see Exod 13:17; Judg 21:6, 15; 1 Sam 15:11, 35; Job 42:6; Jer 31:19). In several of these texts כִּי (ki, “because”) introduces the cause of the emotional sorrow.

(2) Another meaning is “to be comforted” or “to comfort oneself” (sometimes by taking vengeance). See Gen 24:67; 38:12; 2 Sam 13:39; Ps 77:3; Isa 1:24; Jer 31:15; Ezek 14:22; 31:16; 32:31. (This second category represents a polarization of category one.)

(3) The meaning “to relent from” or “to repudiate” a course of action which is already underway is also possible (see Judg 2:18; 2 Sam 24:16 = 1 Chr 21:15; Pss 90:13; 106:45; Jer 8:6; 20:16; 42:10). (4) Finally, “to retract” (a statement) or “to relent or change one’s mind concerning,” “to deviate from” (a stated course of action) is possible (see Exod 32:12, 14; 1 Sam 15:29; Ps 110:4; Isa 57:6; Jer 4:28; 15:6; 18:8, 10; 26:3, 13, 19; Ezek 24:14; Joel 2:13–14; Am 7:3, 6; Jonah 3:9–10; 4:2; Zech 8:14). See R. B. Chisholm, “Does God ‘Change His Mind’?” BSac 152 (1995): 388 (SEE ALSO ANOTHER ARTICLE BY CHISHOLM). The first category applies here because the context speaks of God’s grief and emotional pain (see the following statement in v. 6) as a result of a past action (his making humankind). For a thorough study of the word נָחָם, see H. Van Dyke Parunak, “A Semantic Survey of NHM,” Bib 56 (1975): 512–32 - you can set up a free account to read it.

Grieved (06087)(atsab) to hurt, to pain, to grieve, to shape, to fashion. The verb ʿāṣab as a term of physical and mental discomfort is used in a variety of contexts. This word has two separate meanings. The first meaning deals with physical pain (Eccl. 10:9); emotional pain (1 Sam. 20:34); or some combination of physical and emotional pain (1 Chr. 4:10). The second meaning generally refers to creative activity (Job 10:8). Both uses of atsab occur with the verb ʿāśāh which means to make or to do.

Gilbrant - The verb ʿātsav is generally believed to be from two homonymous root words. One use of the word means "to plait" or "to shape." This use is found in Job 10:8, where Job reminds God that He has "shaped" him from clay. It also is found in Jer. 44:19, where it means "to make a copy of" or "to make an image of." Some older translations, however, render it as "worship."

The other use of ʿātsav is radically different, and the root seems to relate to both physical pain and emotional sorrow. The Qal stem occurs three times in the OT. It is used in a passage about David's son Adonijah, where it says that David had never "rebuked" him at any time, showing a gross lack of parental interest and discipline by the king (1 Ki. 1:6). The noun is found in the request of Jabez that God would bless him and keep him from harm, that evil might not "hurt" him (1 Chr. 4:10). In another instance, Israel is portrayed as a wife who is forsaken and "grieved" in spirit (Isa. 54:6).

The dominant use of ʿātsav is found in the Niphal stem, which occurs seven times. Once it refers to physical pain (Ecc. 10:9), but it usually refers to mental and spiritual "grief" or "sorrow." Joseph's brothers were grieved and angry when they finally recognized who he was (Gen. 45:5). Jonathan was likewise grieved upon learning of his father's plots against David (1 Sam. 20:3, 34). David grieved over the loss of his son Absalom (2 Sam. 19:2); and all Israel grieved over their shortcomings revealed by the reading of the Torah (Neh. 8:10f).

The remaining uses of ʿātsav are found in the Piel, Hiphil and Hithpael stems. The Piel stem is used twice. David complained that his enemies were distorting his words (Ps. 56:5), and Isaiah declared to Israel that they had rebelled against God and grieved his Holy Spirit (Isa. 63:10). The Hiphil is found only in Ps. 78:40, where the passage speaks of how often Israel rebelled against God and grieved Him. The Hithpael stem occurs twice. Because of the wickedness of humanity, God was sorry He had made man, and He was grieved in his heart (Gen. 6:6). Also, because their sister Dinah was raped by Shechem, the sons of Jacob were grieved and angry (Gen. 34:7). (Complete Biblical Library)

NET NOTE on grieved - Heb “and he was grieved to his heart.” The verb עָצָב (’atsav) can carry one of three semantic senses, depending on the context:

(1) “to be injured” (Ps 56:5; Eccl 10:9; 1 Chr 4:10);

(2) “to experience emotional pain”; “to be depressed emotionally”; “to be worried” (2 Sam 19:2; Isa 54:6; Neh 8:10–11);

(3) “to be embarrassed”; “to be offended” (to the point of anger at another or oneself); “to be insulted” (Gen 34:7; 45:5; 1 Sam 20:3, 34; 1 Kgs 1:6; Isa 63:10; Ps 78:40). This third category develops from the second by metonymy. In certain contexts emotional pain leads to embarrassment and/or anger. In this last use the subject sometimes directs his anger against the source of grief (see especially Gen 34:7).

The third category fits best in Gen 6:6 because humankind’s sin does not merely wound God emotionally. On the contrary, it prompts him to strike out in judgment against the source of his distress (see v. 7). The verb וַיִּתְעַצֵּב (vayyit’atsev), a Hitpael from עָצָב, alludes to the judgment oracles in Gen 3:16–19. Because Adam and Eve sinned, their life would be filled with pain; but sin in the human race also brought pain to God. The wording of v. 6 is ironic when compared to Gen 5:29. Lamech anticipated relief (נָחָם, nakham) from their work (מַעֲשֶׂה, ma’aseh) and their painful toil (עִצְּבֹן, ’itsévon), but now we read that God was sorry (נָחָם, nakham) that he had made (עָשָׂה, ’asah) humankind for it brought him great pain (עָצָב, ’atsav).

Atsab - crossed(1), distort(1), grieved(11), hurt(1), pain(1). Gen. 6:6; Gen. 34:7; Gen. 45:5; 1 Sam. 20:3; 1 Sam. 20:34; 2 Sam. 19:2; 1 Ki. 1:6; 1 Chr. 4:10; Neh. 8:10; Neh. 8:11; Job 10:8; Ps. 56:5; Ps. 78:40; Eccl. 10:9; Isa. 54:6; Isa. 63:10; Jer. 44:19

GOD Is A PERSON  - Paul Enns (BORROW Approaching God: Daily Reflections for Growing Christians

      I am the Lord, and there is no other; besides Me there is no God. (Isaiah 45.5) 

During the 1950s there was an epidemic of polio. Many people-teenagers and young married people included-succumbed to the dreaded disease. Some who survived it were confined to an iron lung, having completely lost the use of their bodies. Although they had no functional bodies, they proved that a body is not necessary to personal-ity. One young married woman who was immobilized through polio was a great encouragement and blessing to her visitors because of her radiant faith in Christ. 

God does not have a body, yet He is a person. What, then, constitutes personhood? A person is someone who has a will. Animals do not have a will; they function according to instinct and conditioning. The vegetable world does not have a will. Human beings have a will because they are made in the image of God. God reveals His personality in the display of His will; He makes choices. For example, He chose Jacob rather than Esau to be the one through whom He would display His blessings (Romans 9:11). 

A person is also someone with intellect. God displayed His intellect in His observation of the Israelites' suffering; He listened to their cries, and He responded to their suffering (Exodus 3:7). 

A person has emotion. God reveals that He is a person in His display of emotion: when God saw the wickedness of man on earth He was grieved in His heart and sorry that He had made him (Genesis 6:6). 

A person is also self-conscious, that is, he is aware of his existence; he is able to relate his feelings and thoughts to himself. An example of this is Isaiah 45:5: "I am the Lord, and there is no other; besides Me there is no God." 

Is it significant that God is a person? Indeed. Otherwise it would be impossible for us to have fellowship with Him. Paul Tillich taught that God is an impersonal force, "the ultimate ground of all being." It is impossible to have fellowship with a god like that! Thankfully, God, though He does not have a body, is indeed a person. 

LESSON: God is a person, having self-consciousness, intellect, emotion, and a will in order that we might have fellowship with Him. 

Warren Wiersbe - Psalm 139:19–22 Confronting Evil (BORROW  Prayer, praise & promises : a daily walk through the Psalms

MANY PEOPLE ARE BOTHERED BY THE PROBLEM OF EVIL. THEY SAY, “If God is a loving and good God, why does He allow evil?” David did not ignore this problem, nor did he give in to it. Instead, he made a decision and took his stand with God. Only our God can permit evil and be able to overrule it to accomplish His purposes. As David confronted the problem of evil in the world, he did so in stages.

Stage one: He evaluated (Ps 139:22). David looked at the wicked, violent, blasphemous, deceitful, and rebellious crowd. He showed courage and honesty in taking his stand against them. When we start asking ourselves, Is it safe? or, Is it popular? we have moved away from biblical ethics and integrity.

Stage two: He grieved (Ps 139:21). God the Father grieves (Gen. 6:6), God the Son grieves (Mark 3:5), and God the Holy Spirit grieves (Eph. 4:30) over sin. We also ought to grieve over sin. When Nehemiah heard that the walls of Jerusalem were destroyed, he sat and wept (Neh. 1:4). Today, we need people who will sit down long enough to weep over sin.

Stage three: He hated (Ps 139:21–22). We could use a little more holy anger today. Christians sometimes are too bland, too complacent, and too comfortable. Love and hate are not contradictory when dealing with sin. Jesus showed both compassion toward sinners and hatred of sin.

Stage four: He decided (Ps 139:19). David decided to separate himself from evil (Ps. 119:115). We need to stand among sinners as the salt of the earth and the light of the world, but we need to have contact without contamination.

Stage five: He trusted (Ps 139:19). We must leave vengeance with God; He will punish the wicked (Rom. 12:19). Our job is to give ourselves to Him and do the work He wants us to do.

  If you fail to make a decision, the world will make it for you. Take your stand with God and use David’s experience as a guide for confronting evil.

William MacDonald - “I am the Lord; I change not.” (Mal. 3:6)

The attribute of God which describes Him as changeless is called His immutability. He does not change in His essential being. He does not change in His attributes. He does not change in the principles by which He operates.

The psalmist contrasted the changing destiny of the heavens and earth with God’s changelessness: “They shall be changed, but thou art the same” (Ps. 102:26, 27). James describes the Lord as “the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning” (Jas. 1:17).

There are other Scriptures that remind us that God does not repent. “God is not a man that he should lie; neither the son of man that he should repent” (Num. 23:19). “The Strength of Israel will not lie nor repent” (1 Sam. 15:29).

But what, then, do we do with verses that say that God does repent? “It repented the Lord that he had made man on the earth” (Gen. 6:6). “The Lord repented that he had made Saul king over Israel” (1 Sam. 15:35b). See also Exodus 32:14 and Jonah 3:10.

There is no contradiction. God always acts on these two principles: He always rewards obedience and always punishes disobedience. When man shifts from obedience to disobedience, God must still be true to His own character by shifting from the first principle to the second. This seems like repentance to us, and it is so described in what we might call the language of human appearance. But it does not indicate regret or changeableness.

God is always the same. In fact, that is one of His names. “…thou, the Same, thou alone art the God of all the kingdoms of the earth” (Isa. 37:16, Darby). That name is also found in 2 Sam. 7:28 Margin, Psa. 102:27 and Isa. 41:4 Margin, all in Darby’s translation.

The immutability of God has been a comfort to His saints in all ages, and a theme of their song. We celebrate it in the immortal lines of Henry F. Lyte:

Change and decay in all around I see—
O thou who changest not, abide with me!

It is also a quality for us to imitate. We should be stable, constant and stedfast. If we are vacillating, fickle and mercurial, we misrepresent our Father to the world.

“Be ye stedfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord” (1 Cor. 15:58).

Walter Kaiser - Genesis 6:6  Does God Change His Mind? - Hard Sayings of the Bible

In Malachi 3:6 God affirms, “I the LORD do not change.” This is why Christian doctrine teaches that God is immutable—that is, unchangeable. The promise of this constancy and permanence in the nature and character of God has been deeply reassuring to many believers down through the ages. When everything else changes, we can remember the living God never fails or vacillates from anything that he is or that he has promised.
For this reason many are legitimately startled when they read that the Lord “was grieved” or “repented” that he had ever made man and woman upon the earth (Gen 6:6). How can both the immutability and the changeableness of God be taught in the same canon of Scripture?

Scriptures frequently use the phrase “God repented.” For example, Exodus 32:14 says, “Then [after Moses’ intercession for the Israelites] the LORD relented and did not bring on his people the disaster he had threatened.” Or again in 1 Samuel 15:11, “I am grieved that I have made Saul king, because he has turned away from me and has not carried out my instructions.” Again in Jeremiah 26:3, “Perhaps they will listen and each will turn from his evil way. Then I will relent and not bring on them the disaster I was planning because of the evil they have done.” (See also Jer 26:13, 19; Jon 3:10.)

The Hebrew root behind all the words variously translated as “relent,” “repent,” “be sorry” and “grieve” is nḥm. In its origins the root may well have reflected the idea of breathing or sighing deeply. It suggests a physical display of one’s feelings—sorrow, compassion or comfort. The root is reflected in such proper names as Nehemiah, Nahum and Menehem.

When God’s repentance is mentioned, the point is not that he has changed in his character or in what he stands for. Instead, what we have is a human term being used to refer—rather inadequately—to a perfectly good and necessary divine action. Such a term is called an anthropomorphism.

When the Bible says that God repented, the idea is that his feelings toward some person or group of persons changed in response to some change on the part of the objects of his action or some mediator who intervened (often by God’s own direction and plan). Often in the very same passages that announce God’s repentance there is a firm denial of any alteration in God’s plan, purpose or character. Thus 1 Samuel 15:29 reminds us that “he who is the Glory of Israel does not lie or change his mind; for he is not a man, that he should change his mind.” Yet Samuel made that statement the day after the Lord told him that he was grieved he had made Saul king (1 Sam 15:11).

From our human perspective, then, it appears that the use of this word indicates that God changed his purpose. But the expression “to repent,” when used of God, is anthropopathic (that is, a description of our Lord in terms of human emotions and passions).

In Genesis 6:6 the repentance of God is his proper reaction to continued and unrequited sin and evil in the world. The parallel clause says that sin filled his heart with pain. This denotes no change in his purpose or character. It only demonstrates that God has emotions and passions and that he can and does respond to us for good or ill when we deserve it.

The point is that unchangeableness must not be thought of as if it were some type of frozen immobility. God is not some impervious being who cannot respond when circumstances or individuals change. Rather, he is a living person, and as such he can and does change when the occasion demands it. He does not change in his character, person or plan. But he can and does respond to our changes.
See also comment on 1 SAMUEL 15:29; JONAH 4:1–2.

Norman Geisler - When Critics Ask -  GENESIS 6:6—Why was God unsatisfied with what He made?

PROBLEM: In Genesis 1:31, God was satisfied with what He made, declaring it “very good.” But here in Genesis 6:6, God declares that He is “sorry that He had made man on the earth.” How can both be true?

SOLUTION: These verses speak of humankind at different times and under different conditions. The first deals with humans in the original state of creation. The second refers to the race after the Fall and just before the flood. God is pleased with what He made, but is not happy with what sin has done to His perfect creation.

Genesis 6:7  The LORD said, "I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land, from man to animals to creeping things and to birds of the sky; for I am sorry that I have made them."

  • I will - Ps 24:1,2 37:20 Pr 10:27 16:4 
  • both man, and beast - Heb. from man unto beast, Jer 4:22-27 12:3,4 Ho 4:3 Zep 1:3 Ro 3:20-22 
  • Genesis 6 Resources - Multiple sermons and commentaries


The LORD said, "I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land, from man to animals to creeping things and to birds of the sky; for I am sorry (nacham) that I have made them - This passage teaches that there is a limit to God's grace and all flesh had reached His limit. He repeats I am sorry (nacham) for emphasis. 

Ray Pritchard - So now God decides to “uncreate” the earth. Think of what this means. Whole cities destroyed. Homes washed away. Roads covered. Buildings inundated. Whole villages flooded. Men, women and children vanishing beneath the waves. The whole earth under the waters of judgment. Nothing like it had happened before and nothing like it has happened since. It was a catastrophic judgment that enveloped the entire globe and washed away every vestige of human civilization.

Bob UtleyI will blot out man whom I have created" The VERB "blot out" means "to annihilate" (BDB 562, KB 567, Qal IMPERFECT, i.e., the flood). The animals suffer because of the sin of mankind (cf. Rom. 8:19-22). The fish are not included in this judgment. This judgment is not based on the capricious actions of the gods as in the Mesopotamian accounts of creation but the moral evil of humanity. This evil remains even within the family of righteous Noah (cf. Gen. 8:21-22) but God's grace chooses to allow human evil (i.e., as a call to repentance) until the coming of Christ (cf. Galatians 3).

NIV Study Bible note on animals - Though morally innocent, the animal world, as creatures under the corrupted rule of human beings, shared in their judgment (cf. 1Sa 15:3)

Related Resources:

QUESTION -  Were fish and sea creatures also destroyed during the Flood (Genesis 6-8)?

ANSWER - When God revealed His plan to destroy the world with a Flood, He told Noah, “I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land, man and animals and creeping things and birds of the heavens, for I am sorry that I have made them” (Genesis 6:7). Interestingly, fish and sea creatures were not mentioned.

Several passages in the Flood section of Genesis help shed some light on the question of whether or not fish were killed in the Flood. Genesis 6:17 states, “For behold, I will bring a flood of waters upon the earth to destroy all flesh in which is the breath of life under heaven. Everything that is on the earth shall die.” Specifically, everything on the earth would die. The flood of water would drown them. Logically, animals that live in the water would not be affected by more water. Also, it is hard to see how fish could be described as having “breath.”

Land animals and birds were selected to board the ark, but fish and sea creatures were not (Genesis 6:19-21; 7:2-4). This would seem to indicate that sea creatures did not need the ark in order to survive.

Genesis 7:20-23 lists animals that died, but sea life is not included: “The waters prevailed above the mountains, covering them fifteen cubits deep. And all flesh died that moved on the earth, birds, livestock, beasts, all swarming creatures that swarm on the earth, and all mankind. Everything on the dry land in whose nostrils was the breath of life died. He blotted out every living thing that was on the face of the ground, man and animals and creeping things and birds of the heavens.” The reference to “dry land” limits what types of animals were affected.

After the Flood, “God remembered Noah and all the beasts and all the livestock that were with him in the ark” (Genesis 8:1). Why didn’t God “remember” the fish and sea creatures? They had not been destroyed like the other animals.

It is interesting to observe how the Hebrew worldview categorized animal life. The fifth day of creation included the creation of fish and sea life as well as flying creatures and birds: “So God created the great sea creatures and every living creature that moves, with which the waters swarm, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good” (Genesis 1:21). Land animals were created on the sixth day (Genesis 1:24). Based on these verses, the Jewish people saw animal life in three categories—sea life, flying animals, and land animals. Of those three categories, only the flying animals and land animals were taken aboard the ark. The fish and sea life were not at risk under the water.

James Smith - NOAH SAVED FROM WRATH Genesis 6:7

In these chapters we have a dark, dismal picture of man. After about two thousand years’ trial he is here only as a total failure. When man has altogether failed God comes in sovereign grace and manifests His saving power. It is always so. Grace comes when man is utterly lost and helpless. The coming forth of Noah and his family from the ark may be a foreshadowing of the coming of Christ and His saints to bless a new earth, purged by the judgment of God. Look at the

I. Divine Verdict. “God said, The end of all flesh is come before ME” (chap. 6:13). What a poor end this was! “Evil, only evil, continually.” Mark, this is the end of all flesh. Evolutionists predict a different end, but the divine verdict has already gone forth—“Only evil.” “That which is born of the flesh is flesh” (John 3:6). “They that are in the flesh cannot please God” (Rom. 8:8). Unregenerate man, this is the end of your supposed good life, as seen by a righteous and holy God.

II. Divine Plan. “God said to Noah, Make an ark.” Noah and his family could never have escaped the flood had not God been pleased to reveal this way of deliverance. It is not in man (1 Cor. 2:10, 11). Salvation is of the Lord. What a revelation of grace has come to us through Jesus Christ! God laid on Him the iniquity of us all.

III. Divine Warning. “Behold, I, even I, will bring a flood” (v. 17). How gracious our God is in providing a Refuge for us in Christ, and in so plainly warning us of the coming wrath (Luke 3:7). There is no escape for those who neglect His merciful provision (Heb. 2:3). “Remember Lot’s wife” (Luke 17:32).

IV. Divine Invitation. “Come thou, and all thy house, into the ark” (chap. 7:1). He who made the provision sends forth the invitation (Matt. 22:2, 3). He who gave His Son up to the death for us invites us to “hear Him.” The pleading of Jesus is the pleading of God in Him (Matt. 9:28). God’s gracious purpose is to save both you and your household (Acts 16:31).

V. Divine Security. “The Lord shut him in” (v. 16). They are safely kept whom God shuts up. When He shuts, no man can open. If any man enter in he shall be saved (John 10:9), kept (1 Peter 1:5), and comforted (John 14:16). To be shut in by God is to be shut out from the world—from its pleasures, its sins, and its doom. If your life is hid with Christ in God, seek those things which are above.

VI. Divine Carefulness. “God remembered Noah.” Those who hide know where to seek. Those hidden by God are ever remembered by Him. All who are shut up in Jesus Christ, like Noah, are shut up to faith. It is a blessed privilege to be where we cannot be touched by judgment, and cannot be forgotten of God.

VII. Divine Commission. “God said unto Noah, Go forth” (chap. 8:16). We go in for salvation, and go forth for testimony. We are first taken out of the world before we are sent into it (John 17). Those who go in and out will find pasture. To the unsaved God’s word is, “Come in;” to the saved His word is, “Go forth.” Blessed coming and going!

Genesis 6:8  But Noah found favor in the eyes of the LORD.

  • Ge 19:19 Ex 33:12-17 Ps 84:11 145:20 Pr 3:4 8:35 12:2 Jer 31:2 Lu 1:30 Ac 7:46 Ro 4:4 11:6 1Co 15:10 Ga 1:15 2Ti 1:18 Tit 2:11 3:7 Heb 4:16 2Pe 2:5 
  • Genesis 6 Resources - Multiple sermons and commentaries


But - One of the greatest terms of contrast in the Bible. Here is a change of direction, an about face. This passage is a great illustration of Romans 5:20 "where sin increased, grace abounded all the more." Had God not orchestrated a great turn-around, none of us would even be here now!!! One is reminded of Habakkuk's great prayer "in wrath, remember mercy!" (Hab 3:2+)

Noah found favor (chen; Lxx = charis = grace) in the eyes of the LORD (see preceding note) - Found is translated in the Septuagint with the verb heurisko which means to discover or to find without seeking. Given that Noah was a sinner with Adam's seed (Ro 5:12+), clearly it was true of him also what Paul wrote in Romans 3:11b+ "There is none who seeks for God." Noah was not looking for God, but God was looking for Noah and drew Noah to Himself (cf Jn 6:44, 65+). Noah of course still had to believe (MYSTERY OF DIVINE SOVEREIGNTY/MAN'S FREE WILL AND RESPONSIBILITY) because God does not desire robots, but hearts of men and women who love Him for Who He is. Noah demonstrated his faith was genuine by his works (120 years constructing an Ark). Works always verify one's faith, but remember that faith alone saves. And the faith that saves is not alone. Faith without works is dead (Jas 2:14-26+) and will not save, so if you say you believe in Jesus and there is no clear, demonstrable change in your life (2Co 5:17+), then your faith is "dead" and you too are spiritually dead in your trespasses and sins (Eph 2:1+) and in grave danger (pun intended) of experiencing eternal separation from the One Who Created you (see 2Th 1:5-7, 8, 9+

Favor in the Septuagint is charis or grace, and this in fact is the first mention of grace in the Bible. Is not that apropos, for the world was now in its greatest need of the grace of God. Grace means undeserved favor, and describes the blessing God gives to those who do not deserve it. It is no accident that in this narrative, grace comes in verse 8 and righteous in verse 9. The only pathway to the latter is by God's provision of the former. Ephesians 2:8-9+ is the immutable pattern 

For by grace you have been saved (DECLARED RIGHTEOUS, JUSTIFIED) through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.

Noah found grace in the same way that Paul obtained mercy (1Ti 1:16), namely, by mercy’s taking hold of him.

Jack Arnold says "Noah “found grace” from God. It was sovereign grace that saved Noah. God was under no obligation to save Noah at all but He did it according to the good pleasure of His own will. It was pure grace that permitted Noah and his family to escape the judgment of the Flood. Salvation is directly related to God’s covenant."

All that the eyes of the LORD saw (anthropomorphism) on the earth was evil continually with the exception of when He looked at Noah, on whom He had bestowed amazing grace, unmerited favor. 

Bob Utley- "Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord" The VERB (chen)(Qal PERFECT) is used of several key people in the OT, but it never states specifically why or what that favor involved. Noah ‒ Gen. 6:8, Abraham ‒ Gen. 18:3; 19:19, Moses ‒ Ex 33:12,13,16,17; 34:9; Num. 11:11,15, Gideon ‒ Jdgs. 6:17, David ‒ 2 Sam. 15:25

NET NOTE - The Hebrew expression “find favor [in the eyes of]” is an idiom meaning “to be an object of another’s favorable disposition or action,” “to be a recipient of another’s favor, kindness, mercy.” The favor/kindness is often earned, coming in response to an action or condition (see Gen 32:5; 39:4; Deut 24:1; 1 Sam 25:8; Prov 3:4; Ruth 2:10). This is the case in Gen 6:8, where v. 9 gives the basis (Noah’s righteous character) for the divine favor.n Heb “in the eyes of,” an anthropomorphic expression (SEE GOD DESCRIBED AS HUMAN anthropomorphism)  for God’s opinion or decision. The LORD saw that the whole human race was corrupt, but he looked in favor on Noah. (ED: AREN'T WE GLAD GOD HAS "DOUBLE VISION" SO TO SPEAK!)

Ray Pritchard calls grace the “contrary-to-merit” favor of God. Do not read this verse and think, “Noah was a really good man, a righteous man, and because he obeyed God, he earned God’s grace.” That’s impossible. It doesn’t happen that way. Noah didn’t “earn” anything. Grace was given to him the same way it is given to people today. Either grace is a gift or it isn’t grace. Instead of saying, “Noah found grace,” we should say instead, “Grace found Noah.” That would be more appropriate. Grace found him and saved him and his whole family. Let us learn two important truths from this verse: First, grace is available in the darkest hours. Even though the world was rushing headlong into judgment, Noah found grace. There is never a pit so deep that the love of God is not deeper still. Do not say, “I am too bad a sinner to ever be saved.” You don’t know that. Don’t say, “God could never forgive me.” Yes, he can. And he will, if you will cry out to him. And don’t say, “My husband is too far gone to ever be saved” or “I’m going to stop praying for that person because she is a hopeless case.” You don’t know that. While there is life, there is hope. Leave the final judgment in the hands of the Lord. Keep praying. And if you do not know the Lord, seek him while he may be found. Turn to him. Come to him. Trust in him. This is the day of grace. Though a thousand perish at your side, though your friends and family turn away, there is hope for you and plentiful grace if you will only come to Jesus. Second, grace is the only means of escape. Was Noah somehow “better” than his contemporaries? No, he was a sinner just like them. But he found grace and was spared. He turned to the Lord and was delivered.Hebrews 11:7 tells us that “by faith” Noah saved himself and his family. What Noah did, you can do. By grace we can be delivered even in the darkest days and from the deepest pit of sin. I admit that grace is a hard concept for us to grasp. I define it as God doing for us what we could never do for ourselves. It is God coming to our rescue when we were trapped in sin.

Plenteous grace with Thee is found,
Grace to cover all my sin;
Let the healing streams abound,
Make and keep me pure within:

Thou of life the fountain art,
Freely let me take of Thee;
Spring Thou up within my heart,
Rise to all eternity.
  ---Charles Wesley,

Favor (grace) (02580chen/hen; Lxx - charis = grace) means favor (acts which display one’s fondness or compassion for another), grace (acts of kindness displaying one’s pleasure with an object, which benefit the object of pleasure), acceptance. The idea is that a person finds favor in the sight of another person or acceptance by the person. This word plays a major role in helping us understand God's relationship with sinful men as shown in the first use in Genesis 6:8 with those wonderful words "And Noah found favor (grace) in the eyes of the Lord." The result of this favor was that he was delivered by God from His judgment of the world through the Flood. In a similar vein, the nation of Israel was granted by God to receive "favor in the sight of the Egyptians." (Ex 3:21, 11:3, 12:36). Meanings include - Favor, grace, charm, graciousness, kindness, beauty, pleasantness, attractiveness, loveliness, affectionate regard. 

Chen is translated in the Septuagint by the Greek word charis which is usually translated grace in the NT. Chen is used three times in Ruth (Ruth 2:2, 10, 13) all three in Ruth 2 (Ru 2:10 "Why have I found favor in your sight" and in Ru 2:13 -"I have found favor in your sight") Grace is favor bestowed on someone who doesn’t deserve it and can’t earn it. As a woman, a poor widow, and an alien, Ruth was in need of grace and she sought it in the form of a field in which she could glean. This was completely an act of faith (cp 2Co 5:7) because, being a stranger, she didn’t know who owned the various parcels of ground that made up the fields. There were boundary markers for each parcel, but no fences or family name signs as seen on our farms today. Her great faith reminds us that "without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him." (Heb 11:6+)

Chen - 67v - adornment(1), charm(1), charm*(1), charming*(1), favor(51), grace(8), graceful(2), gracious(3), pleases*(1). Gen. 6:8; Gen. 18:3; Gen. 19:19; Gen. 30:27; Gen. 32:5; Gen. 33:8; Gen. 33:10; Gen. 33:15; Gen. 34:11; Gen. 39:4; Gen. 39:21; Gen. 47:25; Gen. 47:29; Gen. 50:4; Exod. 3:21; Exod. 11:3; Exod. 12:36; Exod. 33:12; Exod. 33:13; Exod. 33:16; Exod. 33:17; Exod. 34:9; Num. 11:11; Num. 11:15; Num. 32:5; Deut. 24:1; Jdg. 6:17; Ruth 2:2; Ruth 2:10; Ruth 2:13; 1 Sam. 1:18; 1 Sam. 16:22; 1 Sam. 20:3; 1 Sam. 20:29; 1 Sam. 25:8; 1 Sam. 27:5; 2 Sam. 14:22; 2 Sam. 15:25; 2 Sam. 16:4; 1 Ki. 11:19; Est. 2:15; Est. 2:17; Est. 5:2; Est. 5:8; Est. 7:3; Est. 8:5; Ps. 45:2; Ps. 84:11; Prov. 1:9; Prov. 3:4; Prov. 3:22; Prov. 3:34; Prov. 4:9; Prov. 5:19; Prov. 11:16; Prov. 13:15; Prov. 17:8; Prov. 22:1; Prov. 22:11; Prov. 28:23; Prov. 31:30; Eccl. 9:11; Eccl. 10:12; Jer. 31:2; Nah. 3:4; Zech. 4:7; Zech. 12:10

ILLUSTRATION OF THE GRACE OF GOD - Trapped 240 Feet Below the Surface
Perhaps an illustration will help. It’s Wednesday and you are a coal miner in Pennsylvania. Today you are working 240 feet underground. By accident a drill pierces through the wall of an abandoned mine shaft nearby. Suddenly millions of gallons of water rush toward you. Quickly you and your eight buddies run for safety. It’s clear you will never make it to the mine entrance. In desperation you clamber over the rocks, searching for an air pocket as the water rises around you. At length you find a tiny space with a little bit of air. There you and your friends huddle together. It is cold and dark. As the water continues to rise, you wonder how long you can survive. Slowly the truth hits you. You are 240 feet underground. There is no way out. You can do nothing to save yourself. You cannot swim to safety. You cannot dig your way to the surface. You are trapped in the darkness. If someone far above you does not come to your rescue, you will die where you are. And that is exactly what happens. Far above you rescue workers drill an air hole, sending in hot air that keeps you warm and pushes back the rising water. Unknown to you, hundreds of people work together to dig first one rescue shaft and then another. Finally, they break through, the capsule is lowered, and you are lifted to safety. When you were trapped, they came for you. When you could do nothing, they rescued you. When your life was nearly gone, they dug through and found you. Someone far above came for you and you were saved. This is the grace of God. When we were trapped in the darkness of sin, Someone far above us came down from heaven to rescue us. He left the comforts of heaven to dig through the layers of sin and guilt to set us free. Jesus knew where we were. He came to us in our darkness and he shined the light of freedom upon us. We were trapped by sin and living in the darkness. The waters of judgment were rising around us. There was nothing we could do to help ourselves. If someone from above does not come for us, we’re going to die. Someone came. His name is Jesus. He dug down to where we were to set us free. This is the grace of God! As it was…So it is

A W Tozer - Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord. Genesis 6:8

Grace is the goodness of God confronting human demerit. So, grace is what God is—unchanging, infinite, eternal!

This throws light on God’s dealings with men and women throughout the Old Testament dispensations and history. It is certainly the truth, and a proper concept for us to hold, that no one was ever saved, no one is now saved, and no one will ever be saved except by the grace of God.

Before Moses came with the Law, men were saved only by grace. During the time of Moses, no one was saved except by grace. After Moses, before the cross, and after the cross, and during all of the dispensations, anywhere, anytime, no one was ever saved by anything but the grace of God!

We can say this with assurance because God dealt in grace with mankind looking forward to the Incarnation and the atoning death of Christ.

If God had not always operated in grace, He would have swept the sinning human race away. This, then, is the good news: God is gracious all the time, and when His grace becomes operative through our faith in Jesus Christ, then there is the new birth from above!

Standing Alone For God In A Godless World

A tough but achievable assignment.

      •      Noah, like you, lived in a wicked society.
      •      Victoriously!
      •      And so can you!

God’s assessment of Noah’s life?

  “You alone I have seen to be righteous before Me in this generation.” (Genesis 7:1)

The Lord was painfully aware of societies’ blatant sins as SEX and VIOLENCE dotted the landscape12 as it does ours.

“Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil … continually … [God] was grieved in his heart … that He had made man …” (Genesis 6:5, 6)

Living amidst this decadence, Noah stood up and was counted:

  “Noah found favor in the eyes of God”—That is, he was pleasing to God! (Genesis 6:8)

  “Noah was a righteous man”—That is, he was lawful and just before God! (Genesis 6:9)

  “Noah was blameless in his time”—That is, he lived a life of integrity before his fellow man. (Genesis 6:9)

  “Noah walked with God”—That is, he and God were conversant. They had a relationship. (Genesis 6:9)

STANDING ALONE FOR GOD is a tough but achievable assignment which God expects us to accomplish!


Croft Pentz -  Noah Obeys God -- Genesis 6–8
    Noah walked with God—Ge 6:9
      A.      Agreement (Amos 3:3). To walk together, both must agree. This is why many don’t walk with God—they can’t agree with Him.
      B.      Acceptance (Gal. 5:16). If we walk in the Spirit, we will not fulfill the lusts of the flesh.

    Noah was a just (righteous) man—Ge 6:9
      A.      Source of righteousness (2 Cor. 5:17). Begins with salvation.
      B.      Separation and righteousness (2 Cor. 6:17)
      C.      Sanctification and righteousness (2 Cor. 7:1)

    Noah was a consecrated man—Ge 6:9
    He was perfect (He did God’s perfect will). Note three types of God’s will in Romans 12:2.
      A.      Good. This means the new convert.
      B.      Acceptable. This means the growing Christian.
      C.      Perfect. This means the mature Christian.

    Noah was an obedient man—Ge 6:22; 7:5
      A.      The plan. Build an ark. God would destroy the sinful world.
      B.      The problem. Build an ark on dry ground? It had never rained before. God would destroy the world by rain?
    Noah didn’t understand, but he obeyed God fully!

    Noah was a faithful man. Noah worked for 120 years in building the ark—Ge 6:3
      A.      Word. He was faithful to God’s word and prepared an ark (see Heb. 11:7).
      B.      Work. He worked because he had faith (see James 2:17). Faith believes before it sees (Heb. 11:1; see also Heb. 11:6).

    Noah preached God’s Word (2 Peter 2:5). “A preacher of righteousness.”
      A.      Concern. He was interested in man’s safety.
      B.      Compassion. He was interested in man’s soul.

    All died except Noah’s family, which was saved—Ge 7:23
      A.      God’s plan (John 1:12). Accept Him and be saved.
      B.      God’s provision (John 3:1–8). If you are not born again, then you are lost.

Genesis 6:9  These are the records of the generations of Noah. Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his time; Noah walked with God.

 NET BIBLE - Genesis 6:9 This is the account of Noah. Noah was a godly man; he was blameless among his contemporaries. He walked with God. 

NET NOTE - Heb “Noah was a godly man, blameless in his generations.” The singular “generation” can refer to one’s contemporaries, i.e., those living at a particular point in time. The plural “generations” can refer to successive generations in the past or the future. Here, where it is qualified by “his” (i.e., Noah’s), it refers to Noah’s contemporaries, comprised of the preceding generation (his father’s generation), those of Noah’s generation, and the next generation (those the same age as his children). In other words, “his generations” means the generations contemporary with him. See BDB 190 s.v. דוֹר.

  • These - Ge 2:4 5:1 10:1 
  • just - Ge 7:1 Job 12:4 Pr 4:18 Ec 7:20 Eze 14:14,20 Hab 2:4 Lu 2:25 Lu 23:50 Ac 10:22 Ro 1:17 Ga 3:11 Heb 11:7 2Pe 2:5 
  • perfect - or, upright, 2Ch 15:17 25:2 Job 1:1,8 Ps 37:37 Lu 1:6 Php 3:9-15 
  • and Noah - Ge 5:22,24 17:1 48:15 1Ki 3:6 Lu 1:6 1Pe 2:5
  • Genesis 6 Resources - Multiple sermons and commentaries


These are the records of the generations of Noah - Man's record was a "broken record," so God seeks to set the record straight with Noah! 

Noah was a righteous (saddiq; Lxx = dikaios) man, blameless (tamim; Lxx = teleios) in his time -  Noah was righteous (first mention of righteous in the Bible), which indicates he had believed what he knew of the Gospel, for Paul says " the the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “BUT THE RIGHTEOUS man SHALL LIVE BY FAITH.” (Ro 1:16-17+) Noah was declared righteous by faith just as was  Abram in Ge 15:6+ where Moses writes that "he believed in the LORD; and He reckoned it to him as righteousness." In Gal 3:8+ Paul says Abraham heard the Gospel! Noah must also have heard the Gospel (but we do not have a specific text like Gal 3:8 but see Heb 11:7 below). Noah had positional righteousness (aka "positional sanctification" = justified by faith) and in his daily life he manifested practical righteousness or progressive sanctification (as shown by his obedience to God's commands to built an Ark, etc). 

Noah was blameless not perfect but by grace through faith he was a saved man, the writer of Hebrews recording

"By faith Noah, being warned by God about things not yet seen (IT HAD NEVER RAINED), in reverence prepared an ark (OBEDIENCE) for the salvation of his household, by which he condemned the world, and became an heir of the righteousness which is according to faith." (Heb 11:7+

Righteous (think "right") means that Noah conformed to the standard of his understanding about the will of God.

Lawrence Richards - “A righteous man” Gen. 6:9. When applied to human beings in the Old Testament, “righteous” and “blameless” never imply being without sin. Instead they are used to portray persons who respond to God wholeheartedly and who honestly seek to please Him. Only Noah merited this description. (BORROW The 365 day devotional commentary)  

Bob Utley on righteous and blameless - These two descriptive words are very significant. The first one implies that Noah conformed to the standard of his understanding about the will of God. The second (BDB 1070) implies that he has a complete heart toward the Lord (e.g., Gen. 17:1; Ps. 18:23). The second term is later used for unblemished sacrifices. These two terms do not imply Noah's sinlessness, as Gen. 9:21 shows. There has been some speculation that "blameless" means "pure" (i.e., not contaminated with the mixture of rebellious angels and human women).

Noah walked with God - He was in continual communication with God, having a walk that pleased God. Moses gave the same description of Enoch that he  "walked with God" (Ge 5:22, 24+). There was thankfully one major difference, for with Enoch we read "he was not, for God took him," whereas Noah "entered the ark" (Mt 24:37-39+, Lk 17:26, 27+) and was saved to re-populate the earth. I love the Septuagint translation of "walked with God" for the Greek verb is euaresteo which means to do something or act is a manner that is pleasing to another, in this case God! The same verb describes Enoch in Ge 5:22, 24+ the English of the Septuagint being "And Enoch was well-pleasing to God." 

NET NOTE - The construction translated “walked with” is used in Gen 5:22, 24 (see the note on this phrase in 5:22) and in 1 Sam 25:15, where it refers to David’s and Nabal’s men “rubbing shoulders” in the fields. Based on the use in 1 Sam 25:15, the expression seems to mean “live in close proximity to,” which may, by metonymy, mean “maintain cordial relations with.”

C H Spurgeon - “Enoch walked with God, and he was no more for God took him” (Gen 5:24+), and we read that Noah also “walked with God” (Gen 6:9). These two spent their lives in such constant communion with the Most High that they could be fully described as walking with God. Noah is the picture of one who is the Lord’s witness during evil days and lives through them faithfully, enduring unto the end. It was his to be delivered from death by death. The ark was, so to speak, a coffin to him: he entered it and became a dead man to the old world; within its enclosure, he was floated into a new world to become the founder and father of a new race. As in the figure of baptism we see life by burial, so it was with this chosen patriarch; he passed by burial in the ark into a new life. In Enoch we see a type of God’s people who will go home peacefully before the last closing struggle. Before the first clash of swords at Armageddon, such Enochs will be taken from the evil to come (ED: THAT IS A FASCINATING STATEMENT BY SPURGEON - IT SOUNDS LIKE HE ADVOCATES A PRE-TRIBULATION RAPTURE, THAT IS BEFORE ARMAGEDDON - Rev 16:16+!). But in Noah we see those who will engage in the conflict and bear themselves bravely amid backsliding and apostasy until they shall see the powers of evil trodden under their feet (Ro 16:20+) as straw is trodden for the dunghill. Noah believed in God in his ordinary life. Before the great test came, before he heard the oracle from the secret place, Noah believed in God. We know that he did, for we read that he walked with God, and in his common conduct he is described as being “a righteous man, without defect in his generations” (Gen 6:9). To be righteous in the sight of God is never possible apart from faith, for “the righteous shall live by his faithfulness” (Hab 2:4+). It is a great thing to have faith in the presence of a terrible trial, but the first essential is to have faith for ordinary everyday consumption.

NET NOTE - There is a vast body of scholarly literature about the flood story. The following studies are particularly helpful:

  1. A. Heidel, The Gilgamesh epic and Old Testament parallels; (BORROW)
  2. M. Kessler, “Rhetorical Criticism of Genesis 7,” Rhetorical criticism : essays in honor of James Muilenburg (PTMS), 1–17; (BORROW)
  3. I. M. Kikawada and A. Quinn, Before Abraham was : the unity of Genesis 1-11; (BORROW)
  4. A. R. Millard, “A New Babylonian ‘Genesis Story’,” TynBul 18 (1967): 3–18;
  5. G. J. Wenham, “The Coherence of the Flood Narrative,” VT 28 (1978): 336–48. (Register for free account)

W H Griffith Thomas - The entire section dealing with “the generations of Noah” (chap. 6:9 to 9:29) should be looked at as a whole, and its completeness noted:—

1. Noah and his Sons (Ge 6:9, 10).
2. The Sinfulness and Condemnation of the World (Ge 6:11–13).
3. The Divine Command (Ge 6:14–21).
4. The Obedience of Noah (Ge 6:22 to 7:9).
5. The Flood (Ge 7:10–24).
6. The Divine Preservation of the Ark (Ge 8:1–22).
7. The New Covenant (Ge 9:1–17).
8. The New Start (Ge 9:18–29).

Righteous (adjective) (06662saddiq from sadaq = to be just or righteous) is an adjective with describes one as upright or just. This root basically connotes conformity to an ethical or moral standard. And so saddiq pertains to a person being in accordance with a proper (right) standard (God's standard being the ultimate arbiter of what defines righteousness acceptable to God). Saddiq can also convey the sense of innocence (guiltless) when describing one having no sin or wrongdoing according to a right (righteous) standard (Ex 23:7). In the first use of saddiq in Scripture God says "Noah was a righteous (Lxx = dikaios) man." (Ge 6:9, 7:1 cp 2Pe 2:5-note) Saddiq describes Jehovah (Isa 26:7, 45:21, Jer 12:1, Lam 1:18, etc) In Ex 9:27 Pharaoh testified (correctly) "Jehovah is the Righteous One!" Messiah is called a "righteous Branch" (Jer 23:5), the "Righteous One" (Isa 24:16, Isa 53:11). In Jer 20:12 we see that the Righteous one "tests the righteous." Mal 3:18 gives an interesting working "definition" of righteous - "the righteous and the who serves God and one who does not serve Him." The coming King (Messiah - first advent) is "just" (Lxx = dikaios) (Zech 9:9) (Of course He is also righteous in His Second Advent but that return is prophesied in Zech 9:10). In one of the most notable uses Hab 2:4-note says "the righteous (Lxx = dikaios) will live by his faith." Israel was accused by Jehovah of selling "the righteous for money." (Amos 2:6, cp Amos 5:12, Hab 1:4, 13-note, Isa 5:23-note) Hosea helps us understand "practical righteousness" writing that "the ways of the LORD are right (Hebrew = yashar = to be straight), and the righteous (Lxx = dikaios) will walk in them, but transgressors will stumble in them." (Jer 12:1, Hos 14:9) In a prophecy to be fulfilled when Messiah returns "Then all your people will be righteous (this parallels Ro 11:26-27-note when the remnant of the nation of Israel is delivered! cp Isa 26:2); They will possess the land forever (finally fulfilling the land promise to Jacob - national Israel will possess the land), the branch of My planting, the work of My hands, that I may be glorified

Saddiq in the Pentateuch - Gen. 6:9; Gen. 7:1; Gen. 18:23; Gen. 18:24; Gen. 18:25; Gen. 18:26; Gen. 18:28; Gen. 20:4; Exod. 9:27; Exod. 23:7; Exod. 23:8; Deut. 4:8; Deut. 16:19; Deut. 25:1; Deut. 32:4

Blameless (without defect or blemish, perfect, integrity) (08549tamim from the verb tamam = to be complete, entire or whole (literal sense in Lev 3:9, Ezek 15:5), refers to a action which is completed) has both physical (without defect) and spiritual (blameless, devout, upright) significance. Tamim has the fundamental idea of completeness or wholeness. Tamim deals primarily with a state of moral or ceremonial purity (e.g., animal sacrifices - 51x tamim refers to unblemished animals -  Passover lamb in Ex 12:5 picturing of course Christ sinless perfection - 1Cor 5:7, "knew no sin" = 2Cor 5:21). Tamim can mean blameless, complete, whole, full, perfect. Tamim can refer to the "entirety" of a period of time (7 complete Sabbaths = Lev 23:15; full year = Lev 25:30). Joshua 10:13 records the miracle of the sun standing still for a "whole (tamim) day," allowing Joshua to extract vengeance on the Amorite coalition that had attacked him. Pr 1:12 refers metaphorically to the fate of the innocent being swallowed "whole" by the wicked, even as happens to those who go to the grave.

NET NOTE - The Hebrew term תָּמִים (tamim, “blameless”) is used of men in Gen 17:1 (associated with the idiom “walk before,” which means “maintain a proper relationship with,” see Ge 24:40); Deut 18:13 (where it means “blameless” in the sense of not guilty of the idolatrous practices listed before this; see Josh 24:14); Ps 18:23, 26 (“blameless” in the sense of not having violated God’s commands); Ps 37:18 (in contrast to the wicked); Ps 101:2, 6 (in contrast to proud, deceitful slanderers; see Ps 15:2); Prov 2:21; Pr 11:5 (in contrast to the wicked); Pr 28:10; Job 12:4.

Tamin - 85v - Gen. 6:9; Gen. 17:1; Exod. 12:5; Exod. 29:1; Lev. 1:3; Lev. 1:10; Lev. 3:1; Lev. 3:6; Lev. 3:9; Lev. 4:3; Lev. 4:23; Lev. 4:28; Lev. 4:32; Lev. 5:15; Lev. 5:18; Lev. 6:6; Lev. 9:2; Lev. 9:3; Lev. 14:10; Lev. 22:19; Lev. 22:21; Lev. 23:12; Lev. 23:15; Lev. 23:18; Lev. 25:30; Num. 6:14; Num. 19:2; Num. 28:3; Num. 28:9; Num. 28:11; Num. 28:19; Num. 28:31; Num. 29:2; Num. 29:8; Num. 29:13; Num. 29:17; Num. 29:20; Num. 29:23; Num. 29:26; Num. 29:29; Num. 29:32; Num. 29:36; Deut. 18:13; Deut. 32:4; Jos. 10:13; Jos. 24:14; Jdg. 9:16; Jdg. 9:19; 1 Sam. 14:41; 2 Sam. 22:24; 2 Sam. 22:26; 2 Sam. 22:31; 2 Sam. 22:33; Job 12:4; Job 36:4; Job 37:16; Ps. 15:2; Ps. 18:23; Ps. 18:25; Ps. 18:30; Ps. 18:32; Ps. 19:7; Ps. 37:18; Ps. 84:11; Ps. 101:2; Ps. 101:6; Ps. 119:1; Ps. 119:80; Prov. 1:12; Prov. 2:21; Prov. 11:5; Prov. 11:20; Prov. 28:10; Prov. 28:18; Ezek. 15:5; Ezek. 28:15; Ezek. 43:22; Ezek. 43:23; Ezek. 43:25; Ezek. 45:18; Ezek. 45:23; Ezek. 46:4; Ezek. 46:6; Ezek. 46:13; Amos 5:10

Qualified in God’s Eyes

[Noah] walked faithfully with God. Genesis 6:9

Today's Scripture & Insight: Genesis 6:9–18

A technology-consulting firm hired me after college although I couldn’t write a line of computer code and had very little business knowledge. During the interview process for my entry-level position, I learned that the company did not place high value on work experience. Instead, personal qualities such as the ability to solve problems creatively, exercise good judgment, and work well with a team were more important. The company assumed new workers could be taught the necessary skills as long as they were the kind of people the company was looking for.

Noah didn’t have the right resume for the job of constructing the ark—he wasn’t a boat builder or even a carpenter. Noah was a farmer, a man comfortable with dirt on his shirt and a plow in his hands. Yet as God decided how to deal with the evil in the world at that time, Noah stood out because “he walked faithfully with God” (Genesis 6:9). God valued the teachableness of Noah’s heart—the strength to resist the corruption around him and to do what was right.

When opportunities to serve God come our way, we may not feel qualified for the work. Thankfully, God is not necessarily concerned with our skill set. He prizes our character, love for Him, and willingness to trust Him. When these qualities are being developed inside us by the Spirit, He can use us in big or small ways to accomplish His will on earth. By:  Jennifer Benson Schuldt (Reprinted by permission from Our Daily Bread Ministries. Please do not repost the full devotional without their permission.)

What character qualities do you need God to develop in you? Why is your character so important to God?

Dear God, give me a heart that’s willing to serve You in any way. Equip me in the areas where I lack experience, and fill me with Your Spirit.

F B Meyer - Genesis 6:9   Noah was just,… perfect,… walked with God.

The eyes of God went to and fro over the ancient world, where sin reigned unchecked, to discover one grateful spectacle. But they were doomed to disappointment, till they lighted on Noah. He found grace in the eyes of the Lord, because him only had God seen to be righteous in all his generation. Like Antipas, he dwelt where Satan’s seat was, held fast the Divine name, and was God’s faithful witness. Be thou loyal to God, my soul, though thou stand-alone. There are three characteristics in the man who finds grace in the eyes of the Lord.

In himself he is Just. — Not faultless, as judged by the white light of eternity; but blameless, so far as his own consciousness is concerned. He wears ever the white flower of a blameless life. His strength is as the strength of ten, because his heart is pure. He exercises himself to have always a conscience void of offence towards God and man. This condition is only possible to faith, that opens the door of the heart to receive the life of God. Wouldst thou be just, welcome that Just One. Let Him live within thee.

Towards man he is Upright. — He does not keep his eyes bowing down to the ground in shame, or furtively looking around to gain a secret advantage; he looks the whole world in the face. His eyes reflect the integrity and purity of his soul; they beam with sincerity, unselfishness, and love.

With respect to God, he abides in Perpetual Fellowship. — This were worth our getting, though we parted with all our jewels to win it. To be tuned into one deep accord with the Divine nature; to answer to Him with one full, responsive chord; to be always found where God is, and never where He is not — that were life indeed. 

Knowing God

Let him who glories glory in this, that he understands and knows Me. — Jeremiah 9:24

Today's Scripture: Genesis 6:1-9

According to Genesis 6, Noah lived in a time of terrible wickedness, yet he kept himself from all the evil around him. He must have known the Lord in a close, personal way, for he was described as a man who “walked with God” (v.9).

This raises an important question. How do we really get to know someone? Let me illustrate: Many years have passed since that wonderful day my wife and I were married, and I realize how little I knew her at that time. Only after living with her and growing together, through both the sweet and the bitter experiences of life, have I come to appreciate her for who and what she is. I know her better and love her more than ever before.

In a similar manner, it takes time to get to know God. We hear what the Bible says about God the Father, Jesus His Son, and the Holy Spirit. But to really get to know God, we must receive Jesus as our personal Savior. Then we must learn all we can about Him through studying God’s Word and fellowshiping with Him each day. Getting acquainted with God means talking with our heavenly Father in prayer, trusting and obeying the Lord Jesus, and daily relying on the power and guidance of the indwelling Holy Spirit.

That’s what it takes to know God. By:  Richard DeHaan

Life's journey is to know the Lord,
To trust Him every day,
To read His Word, to learn His will,
To love Him, and to pray.

To know the Bible is good; to know its Author is better.

Larry Richards - Blameless among the People of His Time (Ge 6:9–22) (BORROW The 365 day devotional commentary)  

Noah is one of the most impressive men of the Bible. He lived in a totally corrupt society. Yet he himself was committed to godliness and succeeded in living a blameless life. Even more impressive is the fact that when told by God to build a giant ship in a time when rain was unknown (2:6), Noah immediately set out to do so!

Noah and his sons cut and shaped ton upon ton of beams to form a keel and skeleton. They sawed uncounted thousands of planks for siding. They planted, gathered, and stored crops to serve as food for themselves and the animals God would bring when His time was right. And all the time they must have suffered the ridicule of their neighbors, who came to listen to and scoff at mad Noah’s predictions of water about to fall from the sky and destroy them all.

How long did Noah and his sons labor? Genesis 6:3 tells us. When God made His decision to judge, mankind was given 120 years. It was during that time Noah and his sons accomplished their herculean tasks. And during all that time Noah bore the jokes made at his expense. He ignored the loud whispers he was intended to hear. And he kept on working, surrounded by the tittering laughter of his neighbors. Despite it all, Noah remained faithful. He had heard God speak. And Noah “did everything just as God commanded him.”

Chris, the teenage son of our pastor, Richard Schmidt, can understand the pressure on Noah. In the locker room he was ridiculed for his determination to remain sexually pure. “It’s what I believe,” he said, “and it’s what I’m going to do.”

Probably you can understand too. There are so many in our modern world who laugh at people who have heard God’s voice and try to do “everything just as God commanded.” Imagine! Noah knew just that pressure, from everyone, and for 120 years! Yet Noah remained faithful. And you and I can remain faithful too.

Peter gives us a special insight into what Noah’s faithfulness meant. Yes, Noah’s faithfulness to God’s word meant deliverance for himself and his family. But 1 Peter 3:19–20 suggests that by the agency of the Holy Spirit Christ Himself spoke through Noah in the long decades that “God waited patiently” for Noah to finish his assigned task.

How important our faithfulness is. As we like Noah bear up under the pressure brought on us, Christ by His Holy Spirit speaks through us to the very persons who laugh and doubt. And this time, they may respond! 

Personal Application
Our faithfulness when others jeer speaks more powerfully than the words of the most gifted preacher the world has ever known.

“Sin is first pleasing, then it grows easy, then delightful, then frequent, then habitual, then confirmed; then the man is impenitent, then he is obstinate, then he is resolved never to repent. And then he is ruined.”—Bishop Leighton

Walter Kaiser - Genesis 6:9  Was Noah Perfect? - Hard Sayings of the Bible

Genesis 6:9 is a hard saying because it appears to imply that Noah attained moral and spiritual perfection. How could Noah have achieved such an elevated status of perfection when he came after the Fall? Did he not partake of the sinful nature and the bent toward depravity that all the race had inherited? If he did, as most will affirm, in what sense could it be said that he was “righteous” and “blameless”?

Noah, Daniel and Job are remembered for their righteous lives (Ezek 14:14, 20). But they did not as humans set the standard for others. The standard they shared is still the same today: it is the Lord himself who sets the standard. His nature and will compose the ethical and moral measuring stick for all others to follow.

The Hebrew word ṣadîq (which shares the same root as the Hebrew word ṣeḏoeq) basically connotes conformity to the standard. The original idea may well have been “to be straight.” From this came the idea of a “norm” and of being “in the right.” The bureau of standards for what was morally and ethically right was to be found only in God himself. “The Lord is righteous [ṣadîq] in all his ways and loving toward all he has made” (Ps 145:17). Therefore, the standards and judgments set out in his Word are righteous (Ps 119:144, 160, 172).

Some of the earlier usages of the word occur in connection with the Israelite judges’ carrying out of their functions and decisions. They were warned, “Do not pervert justice; do not show partiality to the poor or favoritism to the great, but judge your neighbor fairly” [ṣeḏoeq] (Lev 19:15). This same type of “righteousness” applied to scales and weights: “Use honest [ṣeḏoeq] scales and honest weights, an honest ephah and an honest hin” (Lev 19:36). Thus, the righteousness of God opposed commercial or judicial fraud and deception.

Righteousness applied to three areas of personal relationships: the ethical, the forensic and the theological. None of these three areas depended on current norms or practices; the righteousness that God wanted could be found only in the standards set forth in his Word. The ethical area dealt with the conduct of persons with one another. The forensic aspect required equality before the law for small and great, rich and poor. The theological aspect demanded that God’s covenant people live a life of holiness, following the path laid out by God’s righteousness.

In the case of Noah, he conformed to the standard set by God. When all the people around him were immersing themselves in evil and earning the wrath and judgment of God, Noah set his heart to follow the path found in the person and character of God. He stood his ground and remained uninfluenced by all that was happening around him.

The word righteous simply meant that he accepted and used the righteous standard for his living and acting. It does not imply perfection. The term does not in itself establish total approbation of his actions, any more than it does in connection with Tamar in Genesis 38:26. The text expresses an estimate of the comparative rightness of Tamar and Judah. When Judah was exposed as the adulterer by whom Tamar had become pregnant, he said, “She is more righteous than I”—that is, she was more within her rights to act as she did than Judah was in what he did. This can hardly be a complete endorsement of Tamar or her actions. Neither is the use of the same term a total endorsement of Noah.

Noah met the basic requirement set by the norm God had erected, and his conduct proved it. This can also be seen from the parallel clause “and he walked with God”—the same wording that was used of Enoch (Gen 5:24).

But this still leaves the problem of Noah’s being called “blameless” or “perfect.” Scripture has one preeminent example of the “perfect” man: Job. It is said that he was “blameless” (Job 1:1). He too claimed that he was “blameless” or “perfect” in Job 9:21–22, 12:4 and 31:6. Even under heavy assault to the contrary, he held fast to his “integrity” (same root—Job 27:5). And he was not alone in this opinion, for his wife ascribed “integrity” to him (Job 2:9). Even Yahweh in heaven agreed that Job was indeed “blameless” or “perfect” (Job 1:8; 2:3).

In spite of all these high accolades for Job, he knew that he was a sinner, for he queried, “How can a mortal be righteous before God?” (Job 9:2). He further acknowledged his sin (Job 10:6; 14:16–17). Accordingly, the use of the word blameless or perfect does not imply that one has attained perfection or a state in which one no longer sins. Even the creature in Eden (probably Lucifer) that was created “perfect” was found to be capable of sin (Ezek 28:13–15).

The Hebrew root of the word perfect involves the idea of completeness. Thus we conclude that Noah conformed to the standard set by God and that his life was “complete,” with no essential quality missing.

The modifying phrase “among the people of his time” indicates all the more clearly that Noah’s righteousness and blamelessness stood out against his contemporaries’ sinfulness.

Just as Job had to admit his sin, so the same Scripture that tells us that Noah was righteous and blameless also tells us that he became drunk from the fruit of the vine (Gen 9:21). Clearly then there is no case for perfection and sinlessness in these words righteous and blameless. Instead, this is a case of someone who walked with God and delighted in following what he had said and living by the standards he had established.

Genesis 6:10  Noah became the father of three sons: Shem, Ham, and Japheth.


Noah became the father of three sons: Shem, Ham, and Japheth - Since 8 people entered the Ark, that leaves 3 daughters but they and Noah's wife are not named in Scripture. It is not a small detail that this time of out of control wickedness, Noah was monogamous not polygamous! See discussion below for more detail of the sons. Noah didn’t become a father until he was 500 years old (Ge 5:32), and he entered the ark when he was 600 years old (Ge 7:6). Based on this, Noah's three sons were still relatively “young” in pre-flood ages.  Ham was the youngest son (Ge 9:24) while Japheth was the eldest (Ge 10:21), and clearly all three boys were married (Ge 6:18, Ge 7:13).

QUESTION - Who was Shem in the Bible?

ANSWER - Shem was one of the three sons of Noah. Before the great flood that God used to judge the inhabitants of the earth for their great wickedness (Genesis 6:5–7), God instructed the righteous Noah to build a great ark to save Noah and his wife, along with their sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth, and their wives. The Lord brought two of every kind of unclean animal and seven of every kind of clean animal and shut them up in the ark before the flood waters covered the earth (Genesis 7:14–16). The families and animals were in the ark for about 370 days: 40 days and 40 nights during the rains, and then the remainder of the time waiting for the flood waters to recede (see Genesis 7:1–8:19).

Shem is always mentioned first among the sons of Noah, possibly because he was of primary importance to Moses’ audience, the Hebrews. Shem was their ancestor. In the birth order of Noah’s sons, Shem was the middle child, as calculated below:

  • according to Genesis 5:32, Noah began having children when he was 500 years old.
  • according to Genesis 7:11, Noah was 600 years old when the flood began (making his oldest child 100 years old)
  • according to Genesis 11:10, Shem had a child when he was 100 years old, two years after the flood (making him 98 years old at the time of the flood)
  • since we know that Ham was not the oldest (according to Genesis 9:24), the 100-year-old son at the time of the flood must have been Japheth

Shem, along with his brothers and their wives, fulfilled God’s command to begin repopulating the earth (Genesis 9:7). Shem’s line produced the Assyrians, Chaldeans, Elamites, ArameansMoabitesAmmonites, Edomites, Arabs, and Hebrews. Shem’s name is the origin of the word Semitic; Shem’s great-grandson Eber was the father of those who were eventually called “Hebrews,” including Abram and the Jews (see Genesis 10 and 11 for more on Shem’s line).

There is only one other story that deals with Shem, son of Noah. After the flood, Noah became something of a farmer and grew a vineyard (Genesis 9:20). He became drunk on the wine one day and passed out naked in his tent (verse 21). Noah’s son Ham found him thus, but instead of covering his father or helping him in any way, he reported the incident to his brothers outside (verse 22). Shem and Japheth brought some sort of garment into the tent, and, walking backward so they would not see their father’s nakedness, they covered Noah with the garment (verse 23). When Noah woke, he was angry with Ham for his neglect and cursed him, but he blessed both Shem and Japheth for the respect they showed (verses 24–27).

After Shem had fathered many children, he passed away at the old age of 600 (Genesis 11:10–11). Shem is mentioned in the New Testament as an ancestor of Jesus (Luke 3:36)

QUESTION - Who was Ham in the Bible?

ANSWER - Ham was one of the three sons of Noah. Ham and his wife, along with the rest of Noah’s family, were saved from the great flood God sent to judge the earth, which had grown increasingly wicked. Once the flood waters had receded, God commanded Noah’s family, specifically his sons and their wives, to multiply and repopulate the earth. Ham himself became the father of the Canaanites, the Babylonians, the Phoenicians, the Cushites, and the Egyptians (Genesis 10:6–20).

Ham was involved in a sordid family incident. As Noah’s family worked to reestablish civilization after the flood, Noah became “a man of the soil” and grew a vineyard (Genesis 9:20). One day, he became drunk after imbibing some of the wine he had produced. Ham entered Noah’s tent and found his father there, passed out and naked. Ham told his brothers of their father’s condition, and Shem and Japheth walked backward into the tent, their faces turned respectfully away, and covered their father with a garment (verses 22–23). When Noah awoke, he realized “what his youngest son had done to him” (verse 24). Noah blessed Shem and Japheth for their action, but he omitted Ham from the blessing. In addition, Noah cursed Ham and Ham’s son, Canaan, who it seems had also been involved in the matter somehow (verse 25).

The exact reason for Noah’s curse on Ham and Canaan is unknown, because the Bible does not give any detail as to Ham’s specific actions in the tent. The curse may have been due to an inaction on Ham’s part—that is, Ham did not afford Noah the same respect and courtesy Shem and Japheth had shown him. Some speculate that Ham actively violated his father somehow, and rabbinic tradition states that Ham castrated Noah. Whatever happened, Noah was greatly displeased and cursed Ham’s and his line through Canaan: “Cursed be Canaan! / The lowest of slaves / will he be to his brothers” (Genesis 9:25).

The Bible does not relate exactly how Ham’s son Canaan served Japheth and Shem. Much later, however, Canaan’s line did indeed experience enslavement at the hands of Shem’s descendants. The Canaanites were destroyed or subjugated by Israel (who are Shemites) during the conquest of the Promised

QUESTION - Who was Japheth in the Bible?

ANSWER - Japheth was one of three sons of Noah, the righteous man whose family God saved from the great flood.

Hundreds of years after God created the world, man had fallen into such a state of depravity that “the Lord regretted that he had made human beings on the earth, and his heart was deeply troubled” (Genesis 6:6). There was one righteous man named Noah, and the Lord commanded him to build an ark so his family would be saved. After bringing two of every unclean animal and seven of every clean animal to the ark, the Lord shut the door and sent the rains (Genesis 7:13–16). Noah; his wife; his sons, ShemHam, and Japheth; and their wives were saved.

When the flood waters subsided and Noah’s family exited the ark, God commanded them to repopulate the earth. Noah began to tend the ground and grow a vineyard, but there is not much more said about Shem, Ham, or Japheth except in the account of Noah’s drunkenness in Genesis 9:20–27. This passage describes a day Noah became drunk on the wine from his vineyard and passed out naked in his tent. Ham found Noah in that shameful condition and told Shem and Japheth what he had seen (Ge 9:22). Shem and Japheth brought in a garment and, walking backward so they wouldn’t shame their father by looking at his nakedness, covered Noah with the garment (Ge 9:23). When Noah woke, he cursed Ham but blessed Shem and Japheth (Ge 9:24–27). Japheth’s blessing took the form of these words: “May God extend Japheth’s territory; / may Japheth live in the tents of Shem, / and may Canaan [Ham’s son] be the slave of Japheth” (Ge 9:27).

After the flood, Japheth and his brothers did indeed multiply and repopulate the earth. Japheth himself fathered seven sons: Gomer, Magog, Madai, Javan, Tubal, Meshech, and Tiras (Genesis 10:2). The descendants of Japheth included various maritime peoples (verse 5) as well as the Persians, Greeks, Romans, Scythians, and Macedonians. Japheth’s descendants spread out over much of Asia and Europe and, through colonization, North America, thus fulfilling Noah’s prediction of “expansion” for

QUESTION - What is the biblical account of Shem, Ham, and Japheth?

ANSWERShemHam, and Japheth were the three sons of Noah who along with their wives were carried in the ark during the great flood. Their descendants went on to re-populate the world (Genesis 10:1). Noah fathered Shem, Ham, and Japheth after he was 500 years old (Genesis 5:32). If Noah had any other children, they are not mentioned in the biblical account. Only Shem, Ham, and Japheth are mentioned.

The Israelites came from the line of Shem; in fact, the word Semite comes from the name of Shem. Other descendants of Shem include the AssyriansChaldeans, Elamites, ArameansMoabitesAmmonites, and Edomites. Japheth’s line produced the Persians, Romans, Scythians, and Macedonians. Ham’s line produced the Canaanites, the Babylonians, the Phoenicians, the Cushites, and the Egyptians. Each of the races and people-groups that exist today can trace their lineage back to one of these three brothers.

There is only one biblical story recorded that concerns Shem, Ham, and Japheth. After the flood waters receded, Noah was “a man of the soil” and grew a vineyard (Genesis 9:20). One day, after drinking too much wine, Noah passed out in his tent and lay there naked and exposed. Ham “saw his father naked and told his two brothers outside” (Genesis 9:22). Some have suggested that Ham—or possibly his son Canaan—performed an inappropriate sexual act on his drunken father, but that is nothing more than speculation. Whatever the extent of Ham’s sin, Shem and Japheth refused to join him in dishonoring their father; instead, they walked into the tent backward without looking at Noah and lay a blanket over him to cover him (Genesis 9:23). When Noah woke up and found out what Ham had done, he cursed Ham’s child, Canaan, saying, “Cursed be Canaan! The lowest of slaves will he be to his brothers” (Genesis 9:25). Noah then blessed his other two sons and reiterated Canaan’s servitude to both Shem and Japheth (verses 26–27).

Noah’s curse on Canaan was not an empty threat. In fact, it could be seen as a prophecy of events to unfold in the lives of the Canaanites. In Genesis 10, the descendants of Canaan are listed. They include the Sidonians, the Hittites, the Jebusites, the Amorites, and the inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 10:15–19). Noah’s curse/prophecy came true during the time of Joshua. The Canaanites, descendants of Ham and Canaan, were conquered by the Israelites, descendants of Shem. True to God’s Word, some of the Canaanites became slaves (Joshua 9:27; 17:12–13).It’s important to note that Noah’s three sons were blessed (Genesis 9:1) and, out of Ham’s descendants, only the line of Canaan was cursed (Genesis 9:25). The historical record supports the fact of Noah’s curse on Canaan and is powerful evidence of the accuracy of

QUESTION - Who were the sons of Noah, and what happened to them and their descendants?

ANSWERNoah had three sons born to him, Shem, Ham, and Japheth, before God sent a flood to destroy the world (Genesis 5:32). Whenever the names of Noah’s three sons are recorded, Shem is always mentioned first (e.g., Genesis 9:18; 10:2, 21), even though Shem was the second-born (the Bible often lists people according to prominence rather than age). Japheth was the oldest (Genesis 10:21), and Ham was the youngest (Genesis 9:24).

Japheth was born when Noah was 500 years old, and the flood came 100 years later (Genesis 7:6–7). Since Shem was 100 two years after the flood (Genesis 11:10), he must have been born when Noah was 502 years old. There is no record of when Ham was born other than the fact that he was born sometime after Shem (Genesis 9:24).

“Shem was the ancestor of all the sons of Eber” (Genesis 10:21), and this is important because the word Eber is the origin of the Hebrew word for “Hebrew.” The word Shem means “name,” which implies that Noah expected this son’s name to become great. He was right—the modern words Semitic and Semite are derived from Shem’s name. The Bible records that Shem had five sons: Elam, Ashur, Arphaxad, Lud, and Aram (Genesis 10:22). Shem lived to be 600 years of age (Genesis 11:10–11) and became the ancestor of the Semitic peoples (Genesis 10:1, 21–31). Abraham, a descendant of Shem, is the first person in the Bible who is referred to as a “Hebrew” (Genesis 14:13).

Noah blessed Shem above his brothers (Genesis 9:26–27), and it was through Shem that the promised seed destined to crush Satan came (Genesis 3:15). That seed is traced back to Adam’s son Seth (Genesis 5:1–32), through Shem, and on to Abraham, Judah, and David, leading all the way to Christ (Luke 3:36).

Shem’s son Elam was the father of the Elamites, who later settled east of Mesopotamia. Shem’s son Ashur, whose name is related to the word Assyria, is most likely is the father of those who settled the ancient region of Assyria (Genesis 2:14). Arphaxad is thought by many scholars to be a compound form of the Hebrew word for “Chaldea,” which was a region in southern Mesopotamia (Genesis 11:10–13). It was through Arphaxad that Eber came. Scholars believe that the descendants of Shem’s son Lud became known as the Lydians of Asia Minor. And Aram is identified by Bible scholars with the area northeast of the Promised Land, known today as Syria (cf. 2 Kings 16:6). The sons of Aram are listed in Genesis 10:23. Of Aram’s sons, Uz is later referred to in the book of Job (Job 1:1).

Noah’s firstborn son, Japheth, is listed as the father of Gomer, Magog, Madai, Javan, Tubal, Meshech, and Tiras (Genesis 10:2). Their descendants became the people who lived to the north and west of Israel and, after Babel, spoke what today are classified as Indo-European languages.

In blessing his son Japheth, Noah said, “May God extend Japheth’s territory; / may Japheth live in the tents of Shem, / and may Canaan be the slave of Japheth” (Genesis 9:27). There are two schools of thought regarding what this prophecy about Japheth means.

Some scholars are of the opinion that the enlargement of Japheth’s territory refers to a great numerical increase of his descendants. The comment “may Japheth live in the tents of Shem” means that Japheth will share in the blessings of Shem. According to this view, there was to be a time when God worked primarily with Shem (the people of Israel), but later Japheth would be brought into connection with the faith of Israel to share Israel’s blessings. A similar prophecy is evident in the Abrahamic Covenant, when God promises to bless all nations through Abraham’s seed (Genesis 12:3). The fulfillment is found in Christ and in the gospel coming to the Gentiles at the inception of the church (Acts 15:7; Romans 15:16; Galatians 2:2). Other scholars are of the opinion that the extension of Japheth’s territory refers to territorial enlargement, and living “in the tents of Shem” is the conquest of the Semites’ territory by Japhethites. According to this view, the fulfillment was the Greek and Roman conquests of Israel.

Ham, the youngest of Noah’s three sons, had four sons: Cush, Mizraim (Hebrew for “Egypt”), Put, and Canaan (Genesis 10:6; 1 Chronicles 1:8). Egypt was later called the “land of Ham” (Psalm 78:51; 105:23; 106:22). The Hamitic peoples are shown in Genesis 10:6–20 as becoming a godless and worldly power. It was the land of Israel that was assigned to Ham’s son, Canaan, and for centuries it was under the control of the Egyptians. Ham is the father of the Arabians, Canaanites, and Africans, including the Egyptians. Due to Ham’s sin against his father (Genesis 9:20–25), Noah cursed Canaan, saying Canaan would be a servant to Shem (Genesis 9:26). This was fulfilled centuries later when the Israelites entered the land of Canaan and subdued the inhabitants of that land (1 Kings 9:20–21)

Genesis 6:11  Now the earth was corrupt in the sight of God, and the earth was filled with violence.

  • before - Ge 7:1 10:9 13:13 2Ch 34:27 Lu 1:6 Ro 2:13 3:19 
  • filled - Ps 11:5 55:9 140:11 Isa 60:18 Jer 6:7 Eze 8:17 28:16 Ho 4:1,2 Hab 1:2 2:8,17 
  • Genesis 6 Resources - Multiple sermons and commentaries

Related Passage: 

Ezekiel 8:17 He said to me, “Do you see this, son of man? Is it too light a thing for the house of Judah to commit the abominations which they have committed here, that they have filled the land with violence and provoked Me repeatedly? For behold, they are putting the twig to their nose.

Psalms 14:1-3 For the choir director. A Psalm of David. The fool has said in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, they have committed abominable deeds; There is no one who does good.  2 The LORD has looked down from heaven upon the sons of men To see if there are any who understand, Who seek after God.  3 They have all turned aside, together they have become corrupt; There is no one who does good, not even one. 



Now we see the striking contrast between Noah and all the rest of humanity. Talk about standing alone for righteousness! Noah stands out as a man without peer in the Bible (other than Christ of course). 

Now the earth was corrupt (shachath) in the sight of God (Pr 15:3), and the earth was filled (male; Lxx - pimplemi) with violence (chamas/hamas) - Note was filled clearly pointing to a global corruption (rotten, putrid, utterly foul) which would need global cleansing. This is a world in the final stages of moral decomposition! The Septuagint translates corrupt (shachath) with the verb phtheiro = which means to cause loss of soundness, to ruin, to destroy. In the passive voice as in this passage, it means be ruined, be doomed to destruction, which is what was about to transpire.

Violence (chamas/hamas) is translated in the Septuagint with adikia which describes an act that violates the standards of right conduct, showing total disregard for what is right in God's eyes! Adikia is a blatant disregard for the respect and obedience due to God with the resulting rotten fruit of wickedness, unrighteousness and wrongdoing. Corrupt character of conduct filled the earth. One is reminded of the last days described by Jesus Who explained "because lawlessness is increased, most people's love will grow cold." (Mt 24:12+). 

It is ironic that the same Hebrew word filled (male; Lxx - pimplemi) speaks of man filling the earth with violence when he should have been obeying God's original command to fill the earth with people! (Ge 1:28+). In fact, the earth was filled, but now was filled with violent people! See THE FALL OF MANKIND

Filled with violence means that violence was everywhere and "running over the top" so to speak. Also the idea of filled speaks of that which controls. In other words, since the world was filled with violence, the expected norm would be violent behavior.

W H Griffith Thomas - The two words, “corrupt” and “violence,” give us respectively the character and expression of the sin, the cause and the effect. The corruption has led to violence, for badness always leads to cruelty in one form or another. A life that is wrong with God necessarily becomes wrong with its fellows.

NET NOTE on violence - The Hebrew word (chamas/hamas) translated “violence” refers elsewhere to a broad range of crimes, including unjust treatment (Gen 16:5; Amos 3:10), injurious legal testimony (Deut 19:16), deadly assault (Gen 49:5), murder (Jdg 9:24), and rape (Jer 13:22).

God does not give more details but with a little imagination it would be easy to picture riots and fighting, and out and out lawlessness going on everywhere. I am reminded of Proverbs 29:18 (see commentary) which in one paraphrase says "When there is no word from God, the people run wild!" That's a good description of the world in Noah's day (and to a degree becoming more true in our day, 2023). Below are some other translations of Pr 29:18. Note the striking contrast brought out by the "BUT" the second clause being a good description of Noah who was blessed by God and delivered from the "sewer" by God's act of flushing the waste down the drain, so to speak! 

AMP Where there is no vision [no revelation of God and His word], the people are unrestrained; BUT happy and blessed is he who keeps the law [of God].

CSB Without revelation people run wild, BUT one who follows divine instruction will be happy.

CEB When there’s no vision, the people get out of control, BUT whoever obeys instruction is happy.

CEV Without guidance from God law and order disappear, BUT God blesses everyone who obeys his Law.

ERV If a nation is not guided by God, the people will lose self-control, BUT the nation that obeys God’s law will be happy.

EASY If people do not hear God's message, there is no law to control them. BUT if someone obeys God's law, he is in a happy place.

ESV Where there is no prophetic vision the people cast off restraint, BUT blessed is he who keeps the law.

EXB Where there is no ·word from God [vision; prophecy], ·people are uncontrolled [the people perish], BUT those who ·obey what they have been taught [guard the law] are ·happy [blessed].

GW Without prophetic vision people run wild, BUT blessed are those who follow God’s teachings.

LSB Where there is no vision, the people are out of control, BUT how blessed is he who keeps the law.

TLB Where there is ignorance of God, crime runs wild; BUT what a wonderful thing it is for a nation to know and keep his laws.

NLT When people do not accept divine guidance, they run wild. BUT whoever obeys the law is joyful.

Filled (04390male means to fill or to be full, to complete, to fulfill, to finish, to satisfy. Male is used of something full in both the spatial and temporal sense.The first uses are in Genesis 1, Ge 1:22 and Ge 1:28 are God's command to His creatures to fill the earth, in other words to procreate.   In a figurative sense male describes that "the earth was filled (Lxx = pimplemi = satiated, completely filled) with violence (Ge 6:11, 13, cp Ps 74:20)" or a man's hand "full (Lxx = pimplemi) of bribes" (Ps 26:10), God's right hand "full of righteousness." (Ps 48:10)

Male in Genesis - Gen. 1:22; Gen. 1:28; Gen. 6:11; Gen. 6:13; Gen. 9:1; Gen. 21:19; Gen. 24:16; Gen. 25:24; Gen. 26:15; Gen. 29:21; Gen. 29:27; Gen. 29:28; Gen. 42:25; Gen. 44:1; Gen. 50:3

Corrupt (07843shachath means to decay, to go to ruin, to corrupt, to destroy (Sodom and Gomorrah = Ge 13:10, Ge 18:28, 31-32), to lay waste (Egypt from swarms of flies -Ex 8:24). Shachath is used of Israelites who worshiped the golden calf (Ex 32:7; Dt 9:12; 32:5, Hos 9:9). God warned He would destroy Israel if they were turned away from following Him (Nu 32:15). Shachath describes Israel's behavior as more corrupt after a judge died (Jdg 2:19).

While Moses was on the mountain the Israelites made a golden idol, which caused God to speak...

Then the LORD spoke to Moses, “Go down at once, for your people, whom you brought up from the land of Egypt, have corrupted themselves. (Ex 32:7, "acted corruptly" = Dt 9:12; Corruption is associated with idolatry = Dt 4:16, 25)

God prophesied of Israel's corruption...

For I know that after my death you will act corruptly (shachath) and turn from the way which I have commanded you; and evil will befall you in the latter days, for you will do that which is evil in the sight of the LORD, provoking Him to anger with the work of your hands." (Deuteronomy 31:29)

Despite Israel's repeated sin, God remained faithful to the Abrahamic Covenant...

For the LORD your God is a compassionate God; He will not fail you nor destroy (shachath; Lxx = ektribo = obliterate) you nor forget the covenant with your fathers which He swore to them. (Deuteronomy 4:31)

NET NOTE - Apart from Gen 6:11–12, the Niphal form of this verb occurs in Exod 8:20 HT (8:24 ET), where it describes the effect of the swarms of flies on the land of Egypt; Jer 13:7 and 18:4, where it is used of a “ruined” belt and “marred” clay pot, respectively; and Ezek 20:44, where it describes Judah’s morally “corrupt” actions. The sense “morally corrupt” fits well in Gen 6:11 because of the parallelism (note “the earth was filled with violence”). In this case “earth” would stand by metonymy for its sinful inhabitants. However, the translation “ruined” works just as well, if not better. In this case humankind’s sin is viewed has having an adverse effect upon the earth. Note that vv. 12b–13 make a distinction between the earth and the living creatures who live on it.

Violence (02555)(chamas/hamas from the verb chamas = to treat violently or wrong) means wrong, violence (to God's law = Ezek 22:26, Zeph 3:4, "violent hatred" = Ps 25:19), malicious (witness - Ex 23:1, Dt 19:16), , and is used almost always in connection with sinful violence, not with the violence of natural catastrophes. Chamas signifies extreme wickedness and the first two uses are very instructive (especially God's reaction)…

(Ge 6:11) Now the earth was corrupt in the sight of God, and the earth was filled with violence. (Lxx translates with adikia = an act that violates the standards of right conduct)

(Ge 6:13) Then God said to Noah, “The end of all flesh has come before Me; for the earth is filled with violence (Lxx translates with adikia) because of them; and behold, I am about to destroy them with the earth.

The noun usually denotes physical violence (Ezek 7:23). It suggests crimes (Jdg 9:24) or violent wrong (1Ch 12:17). Chamas provoked the Flood (Gen 6:13). It describes suffering that involves elements of violence (Gen 16:5). It appears (7x) with shod ("destruction"; Am 3:10). Chamas functions adjectivally as violent (Isa 59:6), vicious (Gen 49:5), or malicious (Ex 23:1), and adverbially as violently (Ps 25:19). A malicious witness falsely accuses another (Dt 19:16). The verb chamas (8x) means do violence. Priests did violence to the law by disregarding and failing to teach it (Ezek 22:26). God did violence to the temple by destroying it (Lam 2:6). One harms himself (Pr 8:36) and wrongs (Job 21:27) or brutalizes others (Jer 22:3). Vines drop unripe grapes (Job 15:33). The passive phrase body ravished is literally "heels having endured violence"; it indicates physical abuse (Jer 13:22). 

The Upright Thumb

Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord. — Genesis 6:8

Today's Scripture: Genesis 6:11-22

According to an African fable, four fingers and a thumb lived together on a hand. They were inseparable friends. One day, they noticed a gold ring lying next to them and conspired to take it. The thumb said it would be wrong to steal the ring, but the four fingers called him a self-righteous coward and refused to be his friend. That was just fine with the thumb; he wanted nothing to do with their mischief. This is why, the legend goes, the thumb still stands separate from the other fingers.

This tale reminds me that at times we may feel we’re standing alone when wrongdoing surrounds us. In Noah’s day, the earth was filled with violence; every thought in every heart was “evil continually” (Gen. 6:5,11). Yet “Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord” (v.8). Fully devoted to God, Noah obeyed Him and built the ark. The Lord, in His grace, spared him and his family.

We too have been shown God’s grace through His Son Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection. We have every reason to bring Him honor and stand strong for Him in our daily lives. He is always near, even abiding in us, so we never really stand alone. His “ears are open to [our] cry” (Ps. 34:15). By:  Jennifer Benson Schuldt (Reprinted by permission from Our Daily Bread Ministries. Please do not repost the full devotional without their permission.)

They show their colors when they stand
For what is true and right;
And those who venture all on God
Are pleasing in His sight.
—D. DeHaan

It’s easy to stand with a crowd; it takes courage to stand alone.

Genesis 6:12  God looked on the earth, and behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted their way upon the earth.

  • God - Ge 6:8 18:21 Job 33:27 Ps 14:2 33:13,14 53:2,3 Pr 15:3 
  • for all - Ge 6:4,5 7:1,21 9:12,16,17 Job 22:15-17 Lu 3:6 1Pe 3:19,20 2Pe 2:5 
  • Genesis 6 Resources - Multiple sermons and commentaries


God looked on the earth, and behold, (hinneh) it was corrupt (shachath; Lxx = kataphtheiro = "rotten"!) - “God saw how corrupt the earth was.” God examined earth and earth failed the test of holiness and godliness! Moses repeats the fact that the earth was corrupt (shachath; Lxx = kataphtheiro) or  "rotten" (the meaning of the Greek verb) and in the perfect tense indicates past completed action (when it began to "rot") with enduring effect. What a sad contrast with God's examination in Ge 1:31+ when "God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good." 

If you want a picture of what this corruption looked like read Romans 1:18-32+ noting especially the three times God gives sinful men and women over to the power of sin! 

For - This is a term of explanation, explaining why the earth was corrupted. And don't miss 3 uses in 2 verses (Ge 6:11,12) of this one word corrupt (shachath) which places considerable emphasis on the degree of corruption! 

All flesh had corrupted (shachath; Lxx = kataphtheiro) their way upon the earth - The Earth was corrupt because it was filled with corrupt people. All flesh indicates that Noah's preaching of righteousness had absolutely no effect on the people of the world. This reminds me of the last 7 years of this present age in which there will be a group or category of people called earth dwellers who want to have nothing to do with God and who will be destroyed. 

NET NOTE on flesh - Heb “flesh.” Since moral corruption is in view here, most modern western interpreters understand the referent to be humankind (ED: I FAVOR THAT INTERPRETATION). However, the phrase “all flesh” is used consistently of humankind and the animals in Gen 6–9 (Ge 6:17, 19; 7:15–16, 21; 8:17; 9:11, 15–17), suggesting that the author intends to picture all living creatures, humankind and animals, as guilty of moral failure (ED: NOT SURE OF THIS POINT. THEN WHY TAKE ANIMALS IN PAIRS TO REPLENISH?). This would explain why the animals, not just humankind, are victims of the ensuing divine judgment. (ED: AND AS JUST NOTED THEY ARE NOT ALL VICTIMS. BUT ANOTHER EXPLANATION WOULD BE THAT THEY ARE "FRIENDLY FIRE" OR "COLLATERAL DAMAGE" OF MEN WHO MUST BE DESTROYED WORLDWIDE AND A GLOBAL FLOOD IS AN EFFICIENT WAY TO ACCOMPLISH THIS END!) The OT sometimes views animals as morally culpable (Gen 9:5; Exod 21:28–29; Jonah 3:7–8). The OT also teaches that a person’s sin can contaminate others (people and animals) in the sinful person’s sphere (see the story of Achan, especially Josh 7:10). So the animals could be viewed here as morally contaminated because of their association with sinful humankind.

Behold (02009hinneh is an interjection meaning behold, look, now; if. "It is used often and expresses strong feelings, surprise, hope, expectation, certainty, thus giving vividness depending on its surrounding context." (Baker) Hinneh generally directs our mind to the text, imploring the reader to give it special attention. In short, the Spirit is trying to arrest our attention! And so hinneh is used as an exclamation of vivid immediacy (e.g., read Ge 6:13)! Hinneh is a marker used to enliven a narrative, to express a change a scene, to emphasize an idea, to call attention to a detail or an important fact or action that follows (Isa 65:17, Ge 17:20, 41:17). The first use of hinneh in Ge 1:29 and second in Ge 1:31 - "And God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day." Hinneh is often used in the idiom "Here I am" in Ge 22:1, 7,11 Ge 27:1,18, Ge 31:11, Ge 46:2 Ex 3:4 1Sa 3:4, 3:16, 12:3, 2Sa 1:7, Isa 52:6, Isa 58:9. Hinneh is used most often to point out people but also to point out things (Ge 31:41, 17:4). God uses hinneh to grab man's attention before He brings destruction (Ge 6:13, 17). God uses hinneh when He establishes covenants (Ge 9:9, 15:12, 17 [when Jehovah cut the Abrahamic covenant], Ge 17:4, cp Ge 28:13, 15), when He provided a sacrificial substitute for Isaac (foreshadowing His giving us His only Son!) (Ge 22:13). Hinneh marks the "chance (The Providence of God)" arrival of Boaz at the field where Ruth was gleaning (Ru 2:4-read about this "chance romance" - Indeed, "Behold!"). Hinneh is used to announce the Lord’s sending of a child as a sign and a prophecy of Immanuel-Emmanuel, the Messiah (Isa. 7:14-note). In fact W E Vine says that it is notable that when behold (hinneh) is used in Isaiah, it always introduces something relating to future circumstances.

Spurgeon reminds us that "Behold is a word of wonder; it is intended to excite admiration. Wherever you see it hung out in Scripture, it is like an ancient sign-board, signifying that there are rich wares within, or like the hands which solid readers have observed in the margin of the older Puritanic books, drawing attention to something particularly worthy of observation." I would add, behold is like a divine highlighter, a divine underlining of an especially striking or important text. It says in effect "Listen up, all ye who would be wise in the ways of Jehovah!"

Hinneh is translated in the Septuagint with the interjection idou (strictly speaking a command in the second person aorist imperativemiddle voice) a demonstrative particle (used 1377 times in the Septuagint and NT) which is found especially in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke "and giving a peculiar vivacity to the style by bidding the reader or hearer to attend to what is said: "Behold! See! Lo!" (Thayer) The command is calling for urgent attention. Do this now! Don't delay! It could be loosely paraphrased "Pay attention!" or "Listen up!" to arouse attention and introduce a new and extraordinary fact of considerable importance.

Genesis 6:13  Then God said to Noah, "The end of all flesh has come before Me; for the earth is filled with violence because of them; and behold, I am about to destroy them with the earth.

  • The end - Jer 51:13 Eze 7:2-6 Am 8:2 1Pe 4:7 
  • filled - Ge 6:4,11,12 49:5 Ho 4:1,2 
  • and behold - Ge 6:17 
  • with - or, from, Ge 7:23 
  • the earth - Jer 4:23-28 Heb 11:7 2Pe 3:6,7,10-12 
  • Genesis 6 Resources - Multiple sermons and commentaries

Related Passages:

Matthew 24:37-39+  “For the coming of the Son of Man will be just like the days of Noah. 38“For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, 39and they did not understand until the flood came and took them all away; so will the coming of the Son of Man be.


Then - This marks progression in the narrative. The reader is being convinced of the abysmal, depraved state of the entire world which justly deserves God's punishment. 

God said to Noah, "The end of all flesh has come before Me - Before Me is before God's face. In other words, the idea is that this has gotten God's attention, so to speak, and prompts an apt response! He has seen enough to justify the end of all flesh. "The necessity of ending the life of all flesh on earth is an issue that has gotten the attention of God." (NET NOTE).

Moral putridity can only be destroyed by a Divine judgment.
- W H Griffith Thomas

NET NOTE - The phrase “end of all flesh” occurs only here. The term “end” refers here to the end of “life,” as v. 3 and the following context (which describes how God destroys all flesh) make clear. The statement “the end has come” occurs in Ezek 7:2, 6, where it is used of divine judgment.

For (term of explanation) the earth is filled (male; Lxx - pimplemiwith violence (chamas/hamasLxx = adikia an act that violates the standards of right conduct) because of them - God gives Noah a rational explanation for what He is about to decree (destruction) of all flesh. Fortunately the all flesh did not include Noah, which reflects the great mercy of God to not dispense with human beings whom He had created. It is interesting that God leaves out the gory details of the violence, but we can only imagine. I think of the heinous, demonically inspired, Third Reich which was like "evil on steroids," so to speak. What Hitler did was horrible, but imagine if this magnitude of evil (or even worse) had occurred on a global scale!  

And behold, (hinneh) I am about to destroy (shachath; Lxx = kataphtheiro) them with the earth - Here is God's verdict for the global corruption and violence. A global problem needs a global solution and God is just the One Who can accomplish it!  We think the sins we commit only affect us or the one with whom we sin, but we must understand that our total environment is affected by our evil, and when the judgment of God is experienced, the whole environment is affected.

NET NOTE - The participle, especially after הִנֵּה (hinneh) has an imminent future nuance. The Hiphil of שָׁחָת (shachath) here has the sense “to destroy” (in judgment). Note the wordplay involving this verb in Ge 6:11–13 (ED: shachath IS USED IN vv 11, 12, 13, 17): The earth is “ruined” because all flesh has acted in a morally “corrupt” manner. Consequently, God will “destroy” all flesh (the referent of the suffix “them”) along with the ruined earth. They had ruined themselves and the earth with violence, and now God would ruin them with judgment.

Ray Pritchard - Jesus made a direct comparison between the days of Noah and the days preceding his return to the earth (Matthew 24:37-39). As it was then, so it shall be again. The past is the key to the future. Go back to Noah’s day and what do you find? Widespread unbelief and skepticism, a generation that had no time for the Almighty. Killing and violence on a daily basis. Human life was cheap. Sexual perversion was the rule of the day. Better yet, there were no rules. Men and women did as they pleased, and the result was a putrefying mass of evil so sickening that God decided to start all over again. On one level it was “business as usual,” on another level it was “sin to the 12th power.” That same combination of moral corruption and “business as usual” will be the order of the day when Jesus returns. (Noah’s Ark: A Picture of Salvation)

QUESTION -  Why did God also destroy animals in the Flood (Genesis 6-8)?

ANSWER - God sent the Flood as a judgment on mankind’s wickedness. But it wasn’t only human beings who died. Most of the animals were also swept away. Genesis 6:7 states, “I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land, man and animals and creeping things and birds of the heavens, for I am sorry that I have made them.” Why did God destroy animal life in the Flood, since they were not guilty of sin?

First, it should be noted that God did not destroy all animal life. Two of every kind of unclean animal were placed on the ark, and seven of every clean animal (Genesis 7:1–4). In addition, sea life was not harmed. The destruction included land animals and birds.

God had a plan to recreate. Just as God had created human and animal life in the beginning of time, so now He would recreate human and animal life. Genesis 8 closes with the animals leaving the ark at the beginning a new world. They went with the command to go forth and multiply (Genesis 8:17).

We can assume that, in some way, animal life had become corrupted along with human life. Genesis 6:13 states, “I have determined to make an end of all flesh, for the earth is filled with violence through them.” The phrase “all flesh” is used throughout the narrative to include both human and animal life. How was animal life corrupted? This is not explained. Some have suggested the use of animals in sinful, pagan sacrifices as the reason. Others have considered that the violence filling the earth was due, in part, to animals (this would correspond with the theory of large dinosaurs being destroyed by the Flood). Regardless of how the animals became corrupted, God viewed them as part of creation that needed to be recreated.

Another concern was Noah’s welfare. Perhaps the land animals were destroyed so that Noah and his family could live safely after exiting the ark. Eight humans living in a world of unchecked wildlife would have had a slim chance of survival, most likely. But with only the animals on the ark, the ratio of animal life to human life would make living together much safer. God could have chosen a different method, but He chose to save Noah and his family, along with a large boat of animals, to restart life on earth.

Elsewhere in the Old Testament, we see that a person’s sin can contaminate other people or animals at times (e.g., Joshua 7:24–25; Romans 8:19–22). In a ceremonial sense, perhaps, the animals that died in the Flood could be viewed as morally contaminated because of their association with humankind. They were part of that antediluvian, sin-infested world.

In summary, God destroyed many animals in the Flood, but not all of them. In fact, He spared many more animals than He did humans. God chose to recreate using a limited number of animals, sparing only those land animals that He led to the ark. After the Flood, God provided for a safe coexistence between human and animal life.

Genesis 6:14  "Make for yourself an ark of gopher wood; you shall make the ark with rooms, and shall cover it inside and out with pitch.

  • Make - Mt 24:37-39+, Lk 17:26, 27+ 1Pe 3:20 
  • shall cover (pitch it with pitch) - Ex 2:3 
  • Genesis 6 Resources - Multiple sermons and commentaries


Make (a command in the Septuagint it is poieo in the aorist imperative - "JUST DO IT!") for yourself an ark (tebah; Lxx = kibotos) of gopher wood - Basically Noah was to make something akin to a "floating box!" Spurgeon called it a "coffin" for in effect Noah became dead to the world that was passing away in the flood. Noah obeyed this command because he believed the word of the Lord that there would be a flood even though it had not rained up to this time. 

THOUGHT - Noah's obedience is instructive to all saints of all ages for it illustrates genuine faith in action. In other words, Noah obeyed (action) because he believed (faith). When we obey God's Word given to us in love, we demonstrate that we believe God's word and that in fact we love God. As Jesus said "If you love Me, you will keep My commandments." (John 14:15). In sum, obedience demonstrates our faith is real and our love has fervor. Beloved, by God's grace and the enabling power of His Spirit , may we "not be sluggish, but imitators of those (LIKE NOAH) who through faith and patience inherit the promises." (Heb 6:12+). 

NET NOTE on gopher wood - A transliteration of the Hebrew term yields “gopher (גֹּפֶר, gofer) wood” (so KJV, NAB, NASB). While the exact nature of the wood involved is uncertain (cf. NLT “resinous wood”), many modern translations render the Hebrew term as “cypress” (so NEB, NIV, NRSV).

you shall make the ark (tebah; Lxx = kibotoswith rooms - Clearly these would be for the animals. I am not sure a wolf and a lamb were ready to be roommates, but it will occur in the glorious Millennium (Isa 11:6+)! 

Jack Arnold on the dimensions of the Ark - It is given in terms of cubits. The Hebrews had a long cubit of 20.4 inches (Ezek. 40:5) and a common cubit of about 17.5 inches. On the basis of even the shorter cubit the site of the ark was 437.5 feet long, 72.92 feet wide and 43.75 feet high. Since it had three decks (6:16) it had a total deck area of approximately 95,770 square feet (equivalent to slightly more than the area of 20 standard college basketball courts, and its total volume was 1,396,000 cubic feet. The gross tonnage was about 13,960 tons, which would place it well within the category of large metal ocean-going vessels today. NOTE.   The size is huge when compared to the battleship New Mexico (length: 624; width: 106 1/4 and depth: 29 1/2) or to the U.S.S. Mariposa, which had a tonnage of 14,512. POINT: The ark had the space of 522 stock cars on the railroad. The ark was not streamlined but was boxy, having a barge-like frame. It was built for stability and was almost impossible to capsize. Evidently the center of grav­ity was very low. NOTE: It was a huge vessel and took 120 years to build it. Noah spent much of his time warning men of the coming judgment (2 Pet. 2:5). But the uniformitarians (un­godly scientists) of his day no doubt ridiculed such preaching. They had never seen a flood, or even rain, and the huge box Noah was building must have been a source of rich amusement to them. Their ‘science so-called” had proved that a flood was impossible, and so they went on with no fear of judgment.

And shall cover (kapar/kaphar) it inside and out with pitch (kopher; Lxx = asphaltos - tar, bitumen) - Note that the verb cover (kapar/kaphar)  in this context literally means to cover over but in other uses kapar/kaphar means to make an atonement This would make the Ark waterproof. Pitch (kopher) refers to some type of petroleum based, dark material. Moses' mother waterproofed his basket with something similar (tar = chemar and pitch = od)  in Exod. 2:3. Tar (chemar) was used the builders of the Tower of Babel used to hold the bricks together (Ge 11:3)

Henry Morris - The word for “pitch” (Hebrew kopher) is different from that used in other places in the Old Testament. It is equivalent to the Hebrew kaphar (“to cover”) and, in the noun form, means simply a “covering.” However, it is also the regular Hebrew word for “atonement,” as in Leviticus 17:11+, for example. In essence, therefore, this is the first mention of “atonement” in the Bible. Whatever the exact nature of this “pitch” may have been (probably a resinous substance of some kind, rather than a bituminous material), it sufficed as a perfect covering for the Ark, to keep out the waters of judgment, just as the blood of the Lamb provides a perfect atonement for the soul. (BORROW The Genesis Record: A Scientific and Devotional Commentary on the Book of Beginnings.)

David Guzik writes that "Because of this mention of pitch (a petroleum product) in what most people think is the Middle East, John D. Rockefeller looked for (and found) oil in that region based on this verse." 

Henry Morrispitch - The ark (an ancient Hebrew word used also for the small box in which the infant Moses floated on the Nile) was made of a hard dense wood whose species has not yet been identified; it was made waterproof, not by a bituminous pitch (a different Hebrew word) but by some as-yet-unknown "covering." The Hebrew word is (kopher; Lxx = asphaltos - tar, bitumen), equivalent to kaphar (kapar/kaphar), frequently translated later as "atonement" (e.g., Leviticus 17:11). In providing a protective covering against the waters of judgment, it thus becomes a beautiful type of Christ.

Related Resources:

Cover (03722kapar means to cover, to forgive, to expiate, to reconcile. The basic meaning, from which all others extend, is "to cover" over something, and the word often carries the idea of atonement (see more discussion of atonement). Clearly in the context of Genesis 6:14 kapar has a distinct meaning of covering with pitch and not atonement, but there certainly could be a play on words intended by the Holy Spirit, a so-called double entendre, as the covering over with the waterproof material certainly assured that the Ark would not become waterlogged and sink and thus the cover (? "atonement") assured the safe passage of the 8 occupants so that their lives were protected and preserved from God's righteous wrath (the flood). Just a thought to meditate upon! (see discussion of "Pitch - kopher" below)

Kapar in Ge 6:14 appears in the Qal stem with its primary, non-metaphorical meaning. The Piel form כִּפֶּר (kipper), which has the metaphorical meaning “to atone, to expiate, to pacify,” is used in Leviticus referring to atonement . E.g., Lev. 1:4; Lev. 4:20; Lev. 4:26; Lev. 4:31; Lev. 4:35; Lev. 5:6; Lev. 5:10; Lev. 5:13; Lev. 5:16; Lev. 5:18; Lev. 6:7; Lev. 6:30; Lev. 7:7; Lev. 8:15; Lev. 8:34; Lev. 9:7; Lev. 10:17; Lev. 12:7; Lev. 12:8; Lev. 14:18; Lev. 14:19; Lev. 14:20; Lev. 14:21; Lev. 14:29; Lev. 14:31; Lev. 14:53; Lev. 15:15; Lev. 15:30; Lev. 16:6; Lev. 16:10; Lev. 16:11; Lev. 16:16; Lev. 16:17; Lev. 16:18; Lev. 16:20; Lev. 16:24; Lev. 16:27; Lev. 16:30; Lev. 16:32; Lev. 16:33; Lev. 16:34; Lev. 17:11; Lev. 19:22; Lev. 23:28).

Pitch (03724) (kopher) means "pitch," "tar" or "asphalt". Do not be confused, for a word with same Strong's number (03724) and spelling (kopher) means to cover over and was the Hebrew word for atonement (as in Yom Kippur, the "Day of Atonement" e.g., "to make atonement for iniquity," in Da 9:24+ speaking of the Messiah Who makes atonement for iniquity). Most OT uses of the Strong's number (03724) mean a ransom, or price demanded to redeem a person.

The word for pitch appears in Babylonian flood stories in reference to the material used to caulk the ark for weatherproofing purposes. In the OT the word kopher meaning pitch only occurs in Ge 6:14. Other versions translate this word as "bitumen or asphalt." Large deposits of this semi-liquid mineral have been known to exist around the Dead Sea and in Egypt and Mesopotamia since ancient times . The kings of Sodom and Gomorrah fell into pits of bitumen or tar (see Ge 14:10).

How long did it take Noah to build the ark? The Bible does not specifically say how long it took Noah to build the ark. When Noah is first mentioned in Genesis 5:32, he is 500 years old. When Noah enters the ark, he is 600 years old. The time it took to build the ark would depend on how much time passed between Genesis 6:14, when God commanded Noah to build the ark; and Genesis 7:1, when God commanded Noah to enter the ark. Some scholars teach that it took Noah 120 years to build the ark, based on Genesis 6:3. Others say that it took 100 years, based on Noah’s age in Genesis 5:32 and his age in Genesis 7:6. (

Norman Geisler - When Critics Ask -  GENESIS 6:14ff—How could Noah’s ark hold hundreds of thousands of species?

PROBLEM: The Bible says Noah’s ark was only 45 feet high, 75 feet wide, and 450 feet long (Gen. 6:15, NIV). Noah was told to take two of every kind of unclean animal and seven of every kind of clean animal (6:19; 7:2). But scientists inform us that there are between one half a billion to over a billion species of animals.

SOLUTION: First, the modern concept of “species” is not the same as a “kind” in the Bible. There are probably only several hundred different “kinds” of land animals that would have to be taken into the ark. The sea animals stayed in the sea, and many species could have survived in egg form.

Second, the ark was not small; it was a huge structure—the size of a modern ocean liner. Furthermore, it had three stories (6:16) which tripled its space to a total of over 1.5 million cubic feet!

Third, Noah could have taken younger or smaller varieties of some larger animals. Given all these factors, there was plenty of room for all the animals, food for the trip, and the eight humans aboard.

Norman Geisler - When Critics Ask -  GENESIS 6:14ff—How could a wooden ark survive such a violent flood?

PROBLEM: The ark was only made of wood and carried a heavy load of cargo. But, a world-wide flood produces violent waters that would have broken it in pieces (cf. Gen. 7:4, 11).

SOLUTION: First, the ark was made of a strong and flexible material (gopherwood) that “gives” without breaking. Second, the heavy load was an advantage that gave the ark stability. Third, naval architects inform us that a long box-shaped, floating box-car, such as the ark was, is a very stable craft in turbulent waters. Indeed, modern ocean liners follow the same basic dimensions or proportions of Noah’s ark.

Genesis 6:15  "This is how you shall make it: the length of the ark three hundred cubits, its breadth fifty cubits, and its height thirty cubits.

Size of Ark Relative to Cargo Ship


This is how you shall make it: the length of the ark (tebah; Lxx = kibotosthree hundred cubits, its breadth fifty cubits, and its height thirty cubits - Many different models of the ark have been designed, but the text gives us insufficient information to accurately portray the giant boat. The Imagine the man hours that it took to construct this Ark! Every nail that Noah's hammer hit was like a shout to the unbelieving, skoffing skeptics who walked by this "fool" for God! Scripture says Noah was a preacher of righteousness (2Pe 2:5+) and while the sound of Noah pounding nails should have been convicting, the sound of Noah preaching righteousness (the Gospel - Ge 15:6, Gal 3:8) should have convicted them. Sadly, Noah had no converts despite pounding thousands of nails and preaching the Gospel hundreds of times! 

THOUGHT - Dear reader, have you heard the Gospel preached many times and yet you are still debating, still prevaricating, still procrastinating? God's Spirit will not strive with you forever (Ge 6:3)! You need to wake up and open up your heart (allow the Spirit to do this - Acts 16:14+), lest you end up experiencing something far worse than drowning in a temporal flood! 

Bob Utley on cubits - "cubits" There are two cubits (BDB 52, KB 61) in the Bible. The regular cubit is the distance between an average man's longest finger and his elbow, usually around 18 inches (cf. Deut. 3:11; 2 Chr. 3:3). There is also a longer cubit (royal cubit) used in construction (i.e., Solomon's temple), which was common in Egypt, Palestine, and sometimes Babylon. It was 21 inches long (cf.2 Chr. 3:3; Ezek. 40:5; 43:13). The physical dimensions of the ark were probably around 450 feet by 75 feet by 45 feet. This is about half the size of the Queen Elizabeth II. It has been surmised that it was square but it possibly had slanted sides to help control wave pressure against the hull. The ancients used parts of the human body for measurement. The people of the Ancient Near East used: (1) width between the outstretched arms (2) length from elbow to middle finger (cubit) (3) width from outstretched thumb to little finger (span) (4) length between all four fingers of a closed hand (handbreadth) The cubit (BDB 52, KB 61) was not completely standardized, but there were two basic lengths. (a) normal male's elbow to middle finger (about 18 inches, cf. Deut. 3:11) (b) royal cubit was a bit longer (about 21 inches, cf. 2 Chr. 3:3; Ezek. 40:5; 43:13)

Henry Morris - three hundred cubits. The dimensions of the ark were ideally designed both for stability and capacity. It has been shown hydrodynamically that the ark would have been practically impossible to capsize and would have been reasonably comfortable, even during violent waves and winds. Assuming the ancient cubit to have been only 17.5 inches (the smallest suggested by any authority), the ark could have carried as many as 125,000 sheep-sized animals. Since there are not more than about 25,000 species of land animals known (that is, mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians), either living or extinct, and since the average size of such animals is certainly much less than that of a sheep, it is obvious that all the animals could easily have been stored in less than half the capacity of Noah's ark, each pair in appropriate "rooms" (literally "nests").

There was also ample room for the approximately one million species of insects! We wish God would have left them off the Ark! 

Ray Pritchard - A few years ago a man named Robert Fulghum wrote an essay called “All I really need to know I learned in kindergarten.” It was so popular that it spawned a number of spin-offs. This week I ran across one called “All I need to know I learned from Noah’s Ark.”

1. Don’t miss the boat.
2. Remember that we are all in the same boat.
3. Plan ahead. It wasn’t raining when Noah built the Ark.
4. Stay fit. When you’re 600 years old someone may ask you to do something really big.
5. Don’t listen to critics, just get on with the job that needs to be done.
6. Build your future on high ground.
7. For safety’s sake travel in pairs.
8. Speed isn’t everything. The snails were on board with the cheetahs.
9. When you’re stressed, float awhile.
10. Remember the Ark was built by amateurs, the Titanic by professionals.
11. No matter the storm, when you are with God there’s always a rainbow waiting.

Genesis 6:16  "You shall make a window for the ark, and finish it to a cubit from the top; and set the door of the ark in the side of it; you shall make it with lower, second, and third decks.

  • window - Ge 8:6 2Sa 6:16 2Ki 9:30 
  • the door - Ge 7:16 Lu 13:25 
  • with - Eze 41:16 42:3 
  • Genesis 6 Resources - Multiple sermons and commentaries

Related Passages:

Genesis 8:6  Then it came about at the end of forty days, that Noah opened the window of the ark which he had made;

Genesis 7:16  Those that entered, male and female of all flesh, entered as God had commanded him; and the LORD closed it behind him. 

This Medieval depiction of the construction project reflects the painter's Biblical ignorance, for there surely were not 12 people helping to build the Ark. Did Noah fire 4 for shoddy workmanship? I doubt it! Here's the takeaway -- do not get your theology for Biblical artwork regardless of how beautiful it is! 

You shall make a window for the ark (tebah; Lxx = kibotos) - ESV, NIV = Make a roof (note says "Or skylight"). 

Henry Morris - The Ark also had a “window” (Hebrew tsohar), which probably means, literally, an “opening for daylight.” Although the phraseology is difficult, most authorities understand that this “window” was to consist of a one-cubit opening extending all around the Ark’s circumference, near the roof, as provision for light and ventilation. Presumably there was also a parapet provided to keep out the rain. It has also been suggested that the word “window” might refer to a low wall extending around the Ark above the roof, providing a sort of cistern as a means of water supply. (BORROW The Genesis Record: A Scientific and Devotional Commentary on the Book of Beginnings.)

New American Bible renders it "Make an opening for daylight in the ark" and adds this note "Opening for daylight: a conjectural rendering of the Hebrew word sohar, occurring only here. The reference is probably to an open space on all sides near the top of the ark to admit light and air. The ark also had a window or hatch, which could be opened and closed (Genesis 8:6)." 

and finish it to a cubit from the top; and set the door of the ark (tebah; Lxx = kibotosin the side of it; you shall make it with lower, second, and third decks - This huge boat will have only one window about 18" from the top for light. 

Henry Morris - third stories. The three decks may have been laid out as follows: large animals on the bottom; small animals and food storage on the middle deck; family quarters, possessions, records, etc., on the top deck. Water could have been stored in cisterns on the roof and piped throughout the ark where needed. Overhead water storage could also have provided fluid pressure for various other uses.

NET NOTE - Heb “to a cubit you shall finish it from above.” The idea is that Noah was to leave an 18-inch opening from the top for a window for light.

Ray Pritchard describes how the Ark symbolized Jesus Christ the “ark of salvation” to everyone who believes in Him.

Consider these points of comparison:

1) Just as the ark was provided by God, Christ was sent from heaven as a gracious provision for our salvation.

2) The ark was sealed inside and out with “pitch.” The Hebrew word for this resinous substance comes from the same root word translated elsewhere as “atonement” or “covering.” Just as the pitch sealed and covered the spaces between the planks of gopher wood, the blood of Christ covers our sins so that they cannot rise up and condemn us any longer.

3) There was only one ark provided and it had only one door. God never said, “Make four or five arks and let the people make their choice.” And he never offered more than one door to the ark. Only one ark! Only one door! Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6).
4) The ark saved everyone who entered. And everyone who comes to Christ is saved. No one who comes to him in faith will be turned away (John 6:37).

5) The ark was a place of total security. No matter how high the waters rose, the people and the animals inside were safe. Let the winds howl and the waves crash against the side. Let the rain fall for 40 days and 40 nights. It did not matter. The ark was so strong that it preserved everyone and everything inside. And those who come to Christ find that they are not only saved, they are safe forever and eternally secure.

6) Once God shut the door, no one else could enter. This is a sad and solemn thought. While the door was open, anyone could enter and be saved from the coming flood. Once the door was shut, it would not be opened again until the flood was over. Today is the day of grace. The door of salvation is open to all who care to enter. Whosoever will may freely come. The invitation goes out to the entire world. God takes no delight in the death of the wicked. He delays the coming judgment that all may come to repentance (II Peter 3:9). But the day of grace will not last forever. Death comes to all men sooner or later. And there will come a time when the gospel call will end and judgment must begin.

7) Consider this final thought. When the flood finally arrived, everyone inside the ark was saved while everyone outside perished in the rising waters. Perhaps some people came and banged on the door and cried, “Let us in!” When the floodwaters rose, the skeptics at last knew that Noah wasn’t so crazy after all. But it was too late then. The same thing will happen when Christ returns to the earth. There will be a final separation between the saved and the lost. (Noah’s Ark: A Picture of Salvation)

One Window

You shall make a window for the ark, and you shall finish it to a cubit from above. —Genesis 6:16

Today's Scripture: Genesis 6:9-16

Windows have two primary functions: one is to let people look out, the other is to let the light shine in.

When God gave Noah the instructions for an ark to save his family, He designed it with only one window in the entire huge structure. It was to be near the top of the boat, perhaps encircling the entire vessel. Noah could look out upon the waters and up toward heaven.

We have here many spiritual lessons. The ark is a picture of Christ (1 Pet. 3:20-22), who bears His own through the waters of judgment to the the heavenly places of security and divine fellowship (Eph. 2:6). Even as Noah and his family were not to be touched by the waters of God’s wrath, so also we will be delivered.

Darkness may surround the believer, but the clear blue of God’s love and the warmth and light of His smile await the ransomed soul who will simply look to God in His Word. If the Lord Jesus does not return soon and physical death comes to us, we need not fear the passage through the deep valley of death or the lashing waves of judgment.

Through the window of the Bible we may look up with hope into the shining realities of eternity! By:  Henry G. Bosch (Reprinted by permission from Our Daily Bread Ministries. Please do not repost the full devotional without their permission.)

Keep looking to Jesus through all of your life
If you want to brighten each day;
The windows of heaven are open to you:
The light of God's Word for your way.

When the outlook is dark, try the uplook!

Genesis 6:17  "Behold, I, even I am bringing the flood of water upon the earth, to destroy all flesh in which is the breath of life, from under heaven; everything that is on the earth shall perish.

  • behold - Ge 6:13 7:4,21-23 9:9 Ex 14:17 Lev 26:28 De 32:39 Ps 29:10 Isa 51:12 Eze 5:8 6:3 34:11,20 Ho 5:14 2Pe 2:5 
  • bring - Ge 7:4,17,21-23 Job 22:16 Ps 29:10 93:3,4 107:34 Isa 54:9 Am 9:6 Mt 24:37-39+, Lk 17:26, 27+ Heb 11:7 1Pe 3:20 
  • is the - Ge 2:7 7:15 
  • shall die - Ge 6:7 Ps 107:34 Ro 5:12-14,21 6:23 8:20-22 
  • Genesis 6 Resources - Multiple sermons and commentaries



Behold, (hinneh) I, even I - Note the attention grabbing "behold," and double "I," so that the reader will understand that this punishment is straight from the throne room of Yahweh! 

And note the flow of the passages - first God gives Noah the provision (Ark) in Ge 6:13-16 and then He gives the reason (a flood is coming) for the provision which otherwise would not make sense! Of course, it did not make sense to the unregenerate sinners who watched him construct this huge "box" for decades! Now God tells Noah exactly what form the coming destruction would take, the flood of water.

I am bringing the flood (mabbul; Lxx = kataklusmos - English cataclysm) of water upon the earth, to destroy (shachath; Lxxkataphtheiro)  all flesh (4X - Ge 6:12, 13, 17, 19) in which is the breath of life, from under heaven; everything that is on the earth shall perish - Note the adjectives all and everything indicating the totality of the destruction, an observation that supports the fact that this was a universal, global flood and not just a local, regional catastrophe! Note also the phrase upon the earth which means what it says -- a global catastrophe, not a local flood! If it had read "upon Mesopotamia" (see map above) it would have meant a local flood, but it did not say that! And if it had meant "Mesopotamia" why would Noah need an Ark? God could have told him to sojourn to a safe place that was not flooded! We must let the text say what God says, and if God says it, that settles it whether we understand it or not or whether we believe it or not!

Henry Morris -  a flood The Flood (Hebrew mabbul) was a unique event. Various other words were used in Scripture for local floods. The mabbul was the Flood. (ED: In support of Morris' comment is the Septuagint rendering which has "ton kataklusmon hudor" ["the flood water" - see more detailed discussion of the related Greek verb katakluzo used to describe the global flood in 2Pe 3:5] with the definitive article [ton] identifying this as not just any flood, but the specific flood that covered the entire globe!)

Related Resources:

Breath of life is the very phrase used in Ge 2:7 for what God gave to man, breathing life into him. In light of man's sin, it is God's right to now take away from Adam's corrupt offspring what He initially gave Adam.  Breath of life indicates  that animals, like men, have the “breath” (ruach, “spirit”) of life. The Flood would not destroy all marine species, though multitudes of marine organisms would no doubt perish in the submarine upheavals associated with the Flood.

Utley on the breath of life - This is the Hebrew term ruach. It can be used for wind, life, breath, or spirit. Both humans and beasts are said to have nephesh but only humans are made in the image of God (cf. Ge 1:26-27) and have a "special" creation (cf. Ge. 2:7).

Note that this is the 5th use of the Hebrew verb shachath in Genesis 6 (Ge 6:11, 12, 13, 17, twice in v12), here expressing the purpose of the flood. Divine destruction is determined and decreed and will soon be done. It is interesting that the first 3 uses of shachath are translated corrupt or corrupted describing what man had done to the earth. The last 2 uses are translated destroy which is what God would do because of what man had done! We see here (at least implied) the principle of sowing and reaping (Gal 6:7-8+).

You can doubt that there was global flood in Noah's day.  That is your choice. But to do so is to doubt God's Word of Truth. If He is not truthful here, then where else in His many promises might He not be true? That's rhetorical, because all of His promises are true (cf 2Co 1:20NIV+) and have been or will be perfectly fulfilled. Believe it or not, and if you choose not to believe it ,you place yourself on shaky ground. It's His sure Word versus your shaky belief. Guess Who wins! 

Adrian Rogers - I don’t believe in the flood because of archeology or geology. I believe it because of Christology: Jesus believed in the flood. Jesus said, in Matthew chapter 24, “As it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be also in the day of the coming of the Son of man.” (Matthew 24:37) And the Bible speaks of the time when the flood came in the days of Noah. And Jesus utters these words from His own lips, in Matthew chapter 24, verses 37 and following. Jesus Christ believed in the flood, and Jesus said that the last days were going to be like the days that were before the flood—“as it was in the days of Noah.” (Matthew 24:37).....(Rogers adds) that just before the flood—I mean, to the very day that the flood came—they were eating and drinking, they were marrying and giving in marriage, and knew not until the flood came. (Matthew 24:38) That is, in spite of the preaching of the prophet Noah, they just simply yawned in the face of God. Oh, these were days when nothing seemed to shake them! They were just as assured as they could be that tomorrow was going to come just like yesterday had come."

Flood (03999)(mabbul) is a term used only for the global flood of Noah's day, even the one use outside of Genesis and even there may allude to the great flood (Ps 29:10). It is significant that mabbûl always occurs with the definite article ("THE" SPECIFIC UNIQUE ONE OF A KIND FLOOD) when it refers to Noah's flood (e.g., Ge 6:17; 9:28) and without the article when it refers to some future, destructive flood which God promises He will never send (Ge 9:11, 15). Mabbul used for the flood and then explained by the phrase "waters upon the earth."  Note that other lesser floods are denoted by various other Hebrew words. This Flood was not to be comparable to other later local floods; it was to be absolutely unique in all history. This word is related to an Assyrian word meaning “destruction.” The phrase “a flood of waters” could thus well be translated by “the hydraulic cataclysm.” 

NET NOTE - The noun מַּבּוּל (mabbul, “flood”) appears only in Ps 29:10 and in Gen 6–11, where it refers to the Noahic flood. Some see a reference to that event here. The presence of the article (perhaps indicating uniqueness) and the switch to the perfect verbal form (which could be taken as describing a past situation) might support this. However, the immediate context indicates that the referent of מַּבּוּל is the “surging waters” mentioned in Ps 29:3. The article indicates waters that are definite in the mind of the speaker and the perfect is probably descriptive in function, like “thunders” in Ps 29:3. However, even though the historical flood is not the primary referent here, there may be a literary allusion involved. The psalmist views the threatening chaotic sea as a contemporary manifestation of the destructive waters of old.

Walter Kaiser on mabbul - A technical term reserved for the watery catastrophe which God brought on the earth during the days of Noah. That event was so well known that mabbûl usually occurs with the definite article (except in Genesis 9:11, 15). mabbûl is used only once outside Genesis 7-11. Psalm 29:10 says that "the Lord sits upon the flood, indeed, the Lord is enthroned king forever." Instead of Baal, the god of storm and thunder who according to the Ugaritic myths defeated yam the sea god, the Lord's voice is heard in the thunder, and it is he who reigns over the destructive forces of nature, in this case the storm so beautifully described in Psalm 29.

All attempted etymologies for this word have failed because of linguistic difficulties. A few of the suggestions have been: the Akkadian root nbl "to destroy," Akkadian abūbu from the alleged wabūbu "cyclone," Akkadian bubbulu, biblu, bibbulu "inundation," which is the best suggestion yet. But it also fails since the term is not used in any of the Akkadian flood stories. Hebrew ybl "to flow, stream" or nbl "waterskin" have also been suggested. But these suggestions are not linguistically supported and appear to be parents to the unwarranted thought that mabbûl refers to a "heavenly ocean" or a "heavenly store of water in jars."

While God himself brought the waters of the flood on the earth because of man's sin (Genesis 6:17; Genesis 7:6), afterward he covenanted never again to destroy the earth with water (Genesis 9:11, 15). Thus God's own can be certain that the earth will endure until the desired eschaton comes. (See TWOT

Mabbul - 13x/12v - flood(13) Gen. 6:17; Gen. 7:6; Gen. 7:7; Gen. 7:10; Gen. 7:17; Gen. 9:11; Gen. 9:15; Gen. 9:28; Gen. 10:1; Gen. 10:32; Gen. 11:10; Ps. 29:10

Flood (2627)(kataklusmos [English = cataclysm] from kata = intensifies meaning + kludon = dashing or surging wave, a surge, a violent agitation of the sea from kluzo = to billow, dash over, dash against) is a noun that refers to an inundation, a deluge and all 4 NT uses (3 by Jesus Himself) refer to Noah's flood (Mt 24:38,39, Lk 17:27+, 2Pe 2:5+). Central to the word is the idea of a violent torrent of water. More than a great body of water, the emphasis is upon its destructive force. It pictures the water as swift and turbulent. In sum, all of the NT uses and most of the uses in the Septuagint refer to the Genesis flood (exceptions - Ps 32:6, Da 9:26, Nah 1:8). The related verb katakluzo means to surge over completely, to inundate (cover with a flood, figuratively to overwhelm), to deluge, to overflow or to submerge. Kataklusmos in the NT - 4x in 4v - Mt 24:38, 39; Luke 17:27; 2Pe 2:5 - Kataklusmos occurs 16x in 15v in the Septuagint, most describing the Genesis flood - Gen 6:17; 7:6,7, 10, 17; 9:11, 15, 28; 10:1, 32; 11:10; Ps 29:10; 32:6; Dan 9:26; Nah 1:5

Warren Wiersbe has an interesting analysis he entitles "The schedule of the flood."

If we count the year of Adam’s creation as 1, then Noah was born in the year 1056. Genesis 6:3 indicates that God gave Noah 120 years to build the ark and preach (1 Peter 3:20), which means he was 480 years old when he started (Ge 7:11). This would be the year 1536. The flood came in Noah’s 600th year, which would be 1656, and in the year 1657, his 601st year, Noah and his family were back on dry ground (Ge 8:13ff). The events on the ark began on the tenth day of the second month (2/10) of 1656, when Noah and His family entered the ark (Ge 7:1–9). The floods came on 2/17 (Ge 7:10–11); the rains stopped on 3/26 (Ge 7:12); and the ark rested on Mt. Ararat on 7/17 (Ge 8:1–4). On 10/1 the family could see the tops of the mountains (Ge 8:5). On 11/11, Noah sent out the raven (Ge 8:6–9). On 11/18, he sent the dove, which brought back the olive branch (Ge 8:10–11). A week later on 11/25, Noah again sent out the dove and it did not return (Ge 8:12). On the first day of the first month of the next year (1657), Noah removed the covering of the ark and surveyed the earth (Ge 8:13). On 2/27, they all left the ark (Ge 8:14ff). (BORROW Wiersbe's Expository Outlines on the Old Testament )

Perish (01478)(gava) means to expire (very apropos for flesh drowning and no longer able to inspire!), to die, to perish.  Death in the flood (Ge 6:17, 7:21). Death of the patriarchs (Gen 25:8, 17, 35:29, 49:33). Breathing out (Job 34:14, Ps 104:29). Baker says gava "is apparently from a root meaning to breathe out." Bush says " The term signifies not so precisely to die, as to be brought into that state of painful suffocation which is very likely to end in death." It is used to describe a natural death (Gen. 25:8), death by dehydration (Num. 20:3), execution (Achan, Josh. 22:20) and divine judgment (Num. 17:12f). In an incredible prophetic passage gava is used to predict the future death of 2/3's of the nation of Israel (Zech 13:8+)!

QUESTION -  What does the Bible say about uniformitarianism vs. catastrophism?

ANSWER - Geologically speaking, uniformitarianism is the idea that geological processes (rates of erosion and uplift, etc.) are essentially the same today as they were in the unobservable past. According to this principle, we should be able to make accurate determinations about processes in the past simply by observing processes in the present. This principle is often summed up aphoristically in the phrase “the present is the key to the past.” A strict uniformitarian would look at a canyon with a river running through the bottom and see millions of years of slow, gradual erosion caused by that river.

Catastrophism is the idea that natural disasters (floods, earthquakes, etc.) can dramatically alter the surface of the earth very quickly and that we can be certain that at least some of the geological features we see today were formed rapidly during past catastrophes rather than by the slow, gradual processes of uniformitarianism. We must, therefore, take the possible effects of unknown catastrophes into consideration when studying the history of the earth’s surface. A catastrophist would look at the same canyon with the river running through the bottom and wonder if it was the result of gradual uniformitarian or rapid catastrophic erosion (like the canyon rapidly formed by the Toutle River washing out a mudslide following the Mt. St. Helens eruption in Washington State).

The uniformitarianism-versus-catastrophism debate is essentially this: how much can geologists rely on extrapolations of present-day geological processes when postulating the history and age of geological phenomena?

Of course, you won’t find the words uniformitarianism or catastrophism anywhere in the Bible. The Bible does say that Earth was inundated in a global deluge (Noah’s flood). Thus, any geological phenomena caused by gradual uniformitarian processes prior to that catastrophe were either eroded by the flood’s waters or else lost under the massive amounts of sedimentation deposited during the flood. We cannot necessarily rely upon uniformitarian reasoning when examining anything affected by this

Norman Geisler - WAS THE FLOOD A REAL EVENT? When Skeptics Ask (BORROW)

As with the Creation accounts, the Flood narrative in Genesis can be shown to be more realistic and less mythological than the other ancient versions, indicating its authenticity. The superficial similarities point not toward plagiarism by Moses, but toward a historical core of events that gave rise to all. While the names may change (Noah is called Ziusudra by the Sumerians and Utnapishtim by the Babylonians), the basic story doesn’t. A man is told to build a ship to specific dimensions because God(s) is going to flood the world. He does it, rides out the storm, and offers sacrifice on exiting the boat. The Deity(ies) responds with remorse over the destruction of life and makes a covenant with the man. These core events point to a historical basis. Similar accounts are found all over the world. The Flood is told of by the Greeks, the Hindus, the Chinese, the Mexicans, the Algonquins, and the Hawaiians. Also, one list of Sumerian kings treats the Flood as a real event. After naming eight kings who lived extraordinarily long lives (tens of thousands of years), this sentence interrupts the list: “[Then] the Flood swept over [the earth] and when kingship was lowered [again] from heaven, kingship was [first] in Kish.”3

But is there good reason to believe that Moses has given us the most historically reliable record? A lot of things suggest that to be the case. The other versions contain elaborations that display corruption. Only in Genesis is the year of the Flood given, as well as dates for the whole chronology relative to Noah’s life. In fact, Genesis reads almost like a diary or ship’s log of the events. The cubical Babylonian ship could not have saved anyone from the Flood. The raging waters would be constantly turning it over on every side. However, the biblical ark is rectangular—long, wide, and low—so that it would ride the rough seas well. The length of the rainfall in the pagan accounts (seven days) is not enough time for the devastation they describe. The waters would have to rise at least above most mountains, to a height of above 17,000 feet, and it is more reasonable to assume a longer rainfall to do this. The idea that all of the floodwaters subsided in one day is equally absurd. There is also a striking note of realism because, in the other accounts, the hero is granted immortality and exalted, while in the Bible, we see that Noah sinned. Only a version that seeks to tell the truth would include this.

Wait a Minute --   It would seem like the most natural thing in the world to argue that if there are flood stories in the Middle East, Asia, Hawaii, North America, and Mexico, then the Flood must have happened in all those places. But wait a minute, if there was a Flood, and Noah’s kin were the only survivors, then there wasn’t anyone left in all those other places to tell the story. Doesn’t that prove that it is all just a popular legend? We have to admit that these worldwide stories don’t prove that the Flood occurred in all these places. Rather, it shows that all of these stories had a common origin. If Noah and his family were indeed the only survivors, and these survivors spread all over the earth, then they took with them the tale of the Flood as a part of the folklore to explain why they were going to new lands. These stories don’t necessarily prove the worldwide nature of the deluge, but they do indicate a reliable tradition that it really happened.

Some have suggested that this was a severe but local flood, not a worldwide flood. There is geological evidence to support a worldwide Flood. Partial skeletons of recent animals are found in deep fissures in several parts of the world, and the Flood seems to be the best explanation for these skeletons.

 Rehwinkel (BORROW The Flood in the light of the Bible, geology and archaeology) indicates that these fissures occur even in hills of considerable height, and they extend from 140 feet to 300 feet. Since no skeleton is complete, it is safe to conclude that none of these animals (mammoths, bears, wolves, oxen, hyenas, rhinoceros, aurochs, deer and many smaller mammals) fell into these fissures alive, nor were they rolled there by streams. Yet because of the calcite cementing of these heterogeneous bones together, they must necessarily have been deposited underwater. Such fissures have been discovered in Odessa by the Black Sea, in the island of Kythera off the Peloponnesus, in the island of Malta, in the Rock of Gibraltar, and even at Agate Springs, Nebraska.… This is exactly the kind of evidence that a brief but violent episode of this sort would be expected to show within the short span of one year.4

The widespread findings of these skeletons make a worldwide Flood likely (cf. Gen. 6–9; 2 Peter 3:5–7).

Genesis 6:18  "But I will establish My covenant with you; and you shall enter the ark--you and your sons and your wife, and your sons' wives with you.

  • establish - Ge 9:9,11 17:4,7,21 
  • come - Ge 7:1,7,13 Isa 26:20 Heb 11:7 1Pe 3:20 2Pe 2:5 
  • Genesis 6 Resources - Multiple sermons and commentaries

Related Passages:

Psalm 25:14 The secret of the LORD is for those who fear Him (LIKE NOAH - Heb 11:7 = "in reverence"), And He will make them know His covenant (AS IN Ge 6:18!). 


But - This is another one of those merciful ("mercy filled") terms of contrasts (cf "But God" - Eph 2:4+), marking a 180 degree change of direction in this case from divine destruction to divine favor. 

I will establish My covenant (berit/berith/beriyth) with you - Elohim (Ge 6:13) elaborates on His covenant in Genesis 9:9,11 Moses recording "Now behold (hinneh), I Myself do establish My covenant with you, and with your descendants after you....“I establish My covenant with you; and all flesh shall never again be cut off by the water of the flood, neither shall there again be a flood to destroy the earth.” Note that God initiates the covenant and He will keep the covenant. There are no conditions that man must meet in the Noahic Covenant. Genesis 6:18 is the first use of covenant (berit/berith/beriyth) in the Bible and is further described in Ge 9:8-17. Remember that covenant was the most solemn, binding arrangement two parties could enter into in the ancient world. In this case this is an unconditional covenant with an unchanging Partner, the LORD God Himself. 

And you shall enter the Ark (tebah; Lxx = kibotos)--you and your sons and your wife, and your sons' wives with you - Note that the covenant was specifically between God and Noah, but Noah's offspring were beneficiaries of the covenant promises. Clearly they were watching Noah and saw his faith (Heb 11:7+) validated by his actions.

Ray Pritchard applies this passage to us today - When Noah entered the ark, his wife went with him. When Noah and Mrs. Noah entered the ark, their boys went with them. When the boys entered the ark, their wives went with them. I don’t know how much faith they had, but they had enough to follow the head of the family. And Noah had enough faith to inspire all of them to follow his example. That’s the power of a godly leader. Noah’s faith saved his entire family. He believed so deeply and obeyed so completely and walked so intimately with God that it was natural for his entire family to do what he did. They believed because he believed. This is the power of a godly example. It is also the power of a godly husband and father. Men, God holds you accountable to set the pace for your entire family. Your wife looks to you for leadership. Your sons and daughters will be like you, for better or for worse. If you abdicate your responsibility, your wife will never be able to fully take your place. And if you live out your faith every day, it’s natural and normal to expect your family to follow in your steps. (Noah’s Ark: A Picture of Salvation)

The Ark is clearly a picture of that which delivers or saves from destruction, and as such clearly being safe in the Ark is a foreshadowing of being safe in Christ, safe from God's wrath forever.

It is interesting to note that the Hebrew word for Ark (tebah) is also used in Ex 2:3,5+ of the "box" or "basket" that in a sense rescued Moses from the Pharaoh's death sentence for Hebrew males ("every son who is born you are to case into the Nile" Ex 1:22+), the "ark" providentially bringing him safely into the household of Pharaoh's daughter.

Covenant (01285berit/berith/beriyth means covenant, treaty, compact, agreement between two parties (first use in God's covenant with Noah - Ge 6:18, 9:9, 11, 12, 13, 15, 16, 17). Beriyth describes a compact made by passing between pieces of flesh. Covenant is a solemn, binding arrangement between two parties and entails a variety of responsibilities, benefits and penalties depending on the specific covenant which is being studied. OT covenants were made between God and man (eg, God with Noah - Ge 6:18, with Abram - Ge 15:18) or between men (Abraham and Abimelech - Ge 21:27, Isaac and Abimelech - Ge 26:28, Jacob and Laban - Ge 31:44) (For summary of covenants see - Covenant in the Bible).

Berit/berith/beriyth in the Pentateuch - Gen. 6:18; Gen. 9:9; Gen. 9:11; Gen. 9:12; Gen. 9:13; Gen. 9:15; Gen. 9:16; Gen. 9:17; Gen. 14:13; Gen. 15:18; Gen. 17:2; Gen. 17:4; Gen. 17:7; Gen. 17:9; Gen. 17:10; Gen. 17:11; Gen. 17:13; Gen. 17:14; Gen. 17:19; Gen. 17:21; Gen. 21:27; Gen. 21:32; Gen. 26:28; Gen. 31:44; Exod. 2:24; Exod. 6:4; Exod. 6:5; Exod. 19:5; Exod. 23:32; Exod. 24:7; Exod. 24:8; Exod. 31:16; Exod. 34:10; Exod. 34:12; Exod. 34:15; Exod. 34:27; Exod. 34:28; Lev. 2:13; Lev. 24:8; Lev. 26:9; Lev. 26:15; Lev. 26:25; Lev. 26:42; Lev. 26:44; Lev. 26:45; Num. 10:33; Num. 14:44; Num. 18:19; Num. 25:12; Num. 25:13; Deut. 4:13; Deut. 4:23; Deut. 4:31; Deut. 5:2; Deut. 5:3; Deut. 7:2; Deut. 7:9; Deut. 7:12; Deut. 8:18; Deut. 9:9; Deut. 9:11; Deut. 9:15; Deut. 10:8; Deut. 17:2; Deut. 29:1; Deut. 29:9; Deut. 29:12; Deut. 29:14; Deut. 29:21; Deut. 29:25; Deut. 31:9; Deut. 31:16; Deut. 31:20; Deut. 31:25; Deut. 31:26; Deut. 33:9; 

Andrew Murray, the gifted nineteen century writer in Two Covenants speaks to the importance of studying covenant writing "Blessed is the man who truly knows God as his God; who knows what the Covenant promises him; what unwavering confidence of expectation it secures, that all its [covenant's] terms will be fulfilled to him; what a claim and hold it gives him on the Covenant-keeping God Himself. To many a man, who has never thought much of the Covenant, a true and living faith in it would mean the transformation of his whole life. (ED: GOD'S SPIRIT USED THE TRUTH OF COVENANT TO SAVE MY MARRIAGE!) The full knowledge of what God wants to do for him; the assurance that it will be done by an Almighty Power; the being drawn to God Himself in personal surrender, and dependence, and waiting to have it done; all this would make the Covenant the very gate of heaven. May the Holy Spirit give us some vision of its glory." (Two Covenants)

Ark (08392tebah  is a box like structure which is used in only two settings in the OT - a "big box" referring to Noah's Ark (26 times). It is not the word used later for the “ark of the covenant,” but it is the word used for the ark of bulrushes in which Moses was hidden as a baby (Ex 2:3; 2:5+). In both situations the occupants were in danger of dying (God's judgment in the flood and Pharaoh's decree to kill the male infants) and in both situations the occupants were rescued from the water. So in both "divine rescues" the result was not just salvation for Noah and Moses, but respectfully the salvation and perpetuation of the human race and the deliverance of the Chose People. (See Epic of Gilgamesh which is a secular writing that parallels the Biblical account of the flood). Ronald Youngblood adds that "Noah's ark as a symbol of salvation is compared to the ordinance of baptism in 1 Peter 3:20f+, and as a symbol of God's protection from external evil, it was frequently sketched by the early Christians on the walls of the catacombs under the streets of ancient Rome." (TWOT)

Tebah - 28x/25v - ark(26), basket(2). - Gen. 6:14; Gen. 6:15; Gen. 6:16; Gen. 6:18; Gen. 6:19; Gen. 7:1; Gen. 7:7; Gen. 7:9; Gen. 7:13; Gen. 7:15; Gen. 7:17; Gen. 7:18; Gen. 7:23; Gen. 8:1; Gen. 8:4; Gen. 8:6; Gen. 8:9; Gen. 8:10; Gen. 8:13; Gen. 8:16; Gen. 8:19; Gen. 9:10; Gen. 9:18; Exod. 2:3; Exod. 2:5

Ark in the Greek Septuagint (2787)(kibotos) means box, a wooden box, a coffer, a chest, a sea-faring vessel or boat like the ark (Latin - arca) of Noah (Moffatt says something like a barge) Note that kibotos is used for the Ark (aron) of the Covenant even though that Hebrew word for Ark (aron) is different than the Hebrew word for Noah's Ark (Mt 24:37-39+, Lk 17:26, 27+; Heb 11:7; 1 Pt 3:20, 4Macc 15:31). The ark of the covenant in the Holy of Holies (Heb 9:4; Rev 11:19). Kibotos - 6v - ark (6) - Matt. 24:38; Lk. 17:27; Heb. 9:4; Heb. 11:7; 1 Pet. 3:20; Rev. 11:19. 

QUESTION - What is the Noahic Covenant?

ANSWER - The Noahic Covenant, found in Genesis 9:8-17, is the promise that God made to Noah and his descendants after the flood which destroyed the world. The Noahic Covenant has several distinguishing features. First, it is an unconditional covenant. Second, it was made to Noah and all his descendants as well as “every living creature” and the earth in general (Genesis 9:8-10). Third, it was sealed with a sign, the rainbow.

The Noahic Covenant is an unconditional covenant because it does not depend upon anything Noah or his descendants had to do to fulfill the covenant. The promise is based upon God’s faithfulness alone. Because of God’s faithfulness to always do what He says He will do, we can know today with certainty that there will never be another worldwide flood as there was in the days of Noah, no matter how wicked mankind becomes. Neither the wickedness nor the righteousness of mankind affects this unconditional covenant. There is no "condition" under which God will renege on His promise. This does not mean that God will never again destroy the earth, however. He has promised to one day destroy the earth by fire (2 Peter 3:10, 11; Revelation 20:9, 21:1 ) in the terrible events known as the “day of the Lord.”

After the flood God promised that He would never again send a worldwide flood to destroy the earth as an act of His divine judgment for sin. As a sign to remind Noah and his descendants of His covenantal promise, God “set the rainbow in the cloud” (Genesis 9:12-13). Just as circumcision was the sign of the Abrahamic Covenant, the rainbow is the sign of the Noahic Covenant. The lesson to us is that when we see a rainbow we should always be reminded of God’s faithfulness and His amazing grace. We should also be reminded that our God is a holy and righteous God who has a holy hatred for sin and who will not allow sin to go unpunished forever. Also, just as God provided a way for Noah and his family to be saved in the ark, He also has provided a way for us to be saved through Jesus Christ. Noah and his family were saved from the wrath of God that came in the flood, just as those who are in Christ are saved from the “wrath to come” (1 Thessalonians 1:10).


Hebrew: Beriyth/ Berit
Greek: Diatheke



Ge 6:18
(1st mention of covenant)

Ge 9:11


"I Myself"

Ge 9:9

Unconditional covenant = declares God's purpose will be fulfilled regardless of man's response. This does not mean man makes no response but man's response doesn't leave fulfillment of covenant in doubt. Noah obeyed - he built ark in faith (Lesson - True faith obeys!)
Heb 11:7-note

Even an unconditional
Covenant entails responsibility!


Noah means rest, relief, quiet

Ge 5:29 "rest from our work"

"There it is: God obligating Himself to preserve man in the midst of judgment. Without anything on Noah's part-without any commitment, pledge, or guarantee-God obligated Himself -- Do you catch the faint but sweet scent of grace wafting in the wind?" (Arthur)

Divine Judgment
Read Ge 6:1, 2, 3, 4, 5
Wickedness of man was great

Ge 6:11, 12, 13

--Corrupt = 3x

--Filled with violence = 2x

God sorry He made man...

He was grieved

"It broke His heart" (NLT)

Preserve life Why? To fulfill His promise in Ge 3:15 to bring forth Messiah who would bruise the head of Satan (cp Ro 16:20-note)


clean animal...’ (blood)
Ge 8:20
(Costly-sacrificial = 1/7 of his clean animals - Ge 7:2)

This was an act of worship & gratitude
in response to God’s covenant faithfulness in sparing Noah and his family.


son’s wives
Ge 6:18

Ge 9:9

every living creature
Ge 9:12

the earth
Ge 9:13

To keep alive

Ge 6:19

This is the reason for this covenant - if all died God could not keep Ge 3:15

I will never again destroy every living thing x3

Ge 8:21, 9:11, 15

Will not curse ground again

Ge 8:21

Seasons, day/night shall not cease

Ge 8:22

No Global Flood

Ge 9:11


‘My bow in the cloud’
Ge 9:13

The Rainbow "is the sign of the covenant"
Ge 9:12

Hebrew for "bow" also describes the weapon of war ("bow and arrow")!

"I will look upon it to remember the everlasting covenant"
Ge 9:16
(cf "all successive generations" Ge 9:12)
Application: God will not forget any of His covenants.

When man looked at the bow he remembers the covenant - be mindful that God is also looking at the bow and as He looks He too remembers!

Could that be why we see a rainbow in Rev 4:3-note?

"Noah built an altar to Jehovah"
Ge 8:20
(See Altar)

(Hebrew word for altar means "place of sacrifice" - NB: Use of this word implies blood)


Speaks of

(1) Expresses gratitude for salvation

(2) Sacrificial - offered 1/7th of clean animals (cp Ge 7:2)

(3) Emphasis on blood as way to approach God (cp Ge 3:21, 4:4)

(4) Consecration to God (surrender)

(cp NT parallel in Ro 12:1-note)


(see below for the repeating of this covenant to Isaac & Jacob)


Ge 15:18

Ge 17:2,4


Ge 17:7, 15:18

God Alone (symbolized by "a smoking oven & a flaming torch" Ge 15:17) passed through the pieces of flesh

Abram was in a deep sleep (LXX = ekstasis = trance)

Ge 15:12


In you (Abram) all the families of the earth shall be blessed = prophecy of the Messiah

Ge 12:1, 2, 3


Abram cut animals in two, each half laid opposite other (blood)
Ge 15:10


Je 34:18, 19, 20

I will give the land to your descendants forever.
Ge 13:15

Jehovah cut covenant "to your seed I have given this land"
(note past tense - God promised it - it is as good as done!)
Ge 15:18

The Lord God's promises to Abraham:
"The Seed" (Masc. Sing. ~ Messiah)
Ge 22:17,18
(cf Ga 3:16, Ac 3:25)
Descendants as numerous as stars
Ge 15:5

Ge 13:15, 15:7, 18

Be their God
Ge 17:8

(or see here)
"And you shall be circumcised in the flesh of your foreskin; and it shall be the sign of the covenant between Me and you.
Ge 17:11


Ge 17:7,8


El Shaddai promises "I will establish My covenant between Me & you & your descendants (seed) after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant."

Isaac, Abraham's seed, is prophesied & granted the covenant promises.

Ge 17:19, 20, 21


1) Abram ("exalted father") to Abraham

("father of a multitude")

2) Sarai (meaning ? some say "contentious", others "princess") to Sarah ("princess") Ge 17:5,15


Ge 21:27,32

This man was a Philistine ruler over a pagan people, and yet he was the initiator of the covenant Implication? Pagans understood the solemn and binding nature of covenant

God was with Abe
Ge 21:22

Water Rights
Ge 21:25

Not Stated but see
Ge 21:27
''the two of them made (Karath - cut) a covenant''. The fact that Abraham had given him sheep and oxen in the same verse strongly suggests they walked between the flesh of these slain animals as they "cut covenant" (blood)
"Swear to me here by God that you will not deal falsely with me, or with my offspring, or with my posterity..."
Ge 21:23
Abraham would not deal falsely with Abimelech (read Genesis 20 for why he may have prescribed this condition) but in kindness (a covenant word)
Ge 21:23

The two of them took an oath
Ge 21:31,32

Abraham gave Abimelech seven ewe

Ge 21:28, 29, 30

Abraham planted a


Ge 21:33

(See ill. in pagan culture)

Ge 21:23

Abraham "called on the name of the LORD, the Everlasting God" (El Olam)

Everlasting is implied in Ge 21:23

("well of seven fold oath"
"well of the oath")

Ge 21:31


Ge 26:28

This is probably the same one who cut covenant with Abraham (Ahuzzath &
Ge 26:26

(et. al.)

Abimelech saw that the Lord was with Isaac
Ge 26:28

‘Do us no harm’
Ge 26:29

In essence a "peace treaty"

The phrase "let us make (cut) a covenant" (suggests blood)
Ge 26:28
Not Stated: Note that if this Abimelech is the same king the covenant he cut with Isaac's father Abraham should have been sufficient to ensure peace, pointing that men's covenants are not as trustworthy as God's covenants to men! (Abimelech) said, 'Let there now be an oath between us, even between you and us, and let us make a covenant with you, Ge 26:28

They exchanged oaths
Ge 26:31
(See ill. in pagan culture)

-- -- Isaac ‘made them a feast
Ge 26:30



Ge 26:24,25


Reaffirms the Abrahamic Covenant
to Abraham's Seed

Ge 26:24,25
Preservation of the seed
I am with you,
I will bless you & multiply your seed
Ge 26:24
Not clear
Hebrew for Altar = "place of sacrifice" (suggests blood)
YES Jehovah promises Isaac "I will establish the oath which I swore to your father Abraham
Ge 26:3
-- "multiply your descendants" in Ge 26:24 implies
Isaac built an altar at Beersheba
Ge 26:25



Ge 28:13-15


Reaffirms the Abrahamic Covenant

Reaffirms God's Covenant with Abraham
To do what God had He had promised
Ge 28:15
-- YES
Ge 28:13, 14, 15
Ge 28:15
See also
Jacob set it up as a pillar, and poured oil on its top
Ge 28:18
Everlasting Name change
Luz called Bethel
(House of God)
Ge 28:19


Ge 31:44-55

"So now come let us make a covenant you & I & let it be a witness between you & me"
Ge 31:44

I will not pass by this heap to you for harm... you will not pass by this heap & this pillar to me for harm.
Ge 31:52

"Then Jacob offered a sacrifice (blood) on the mountain & called his kinsmen to the meal & they ate the meal & spent the night on the mountain"
Ge 31:54
"If you mistreat my daughters or if you take wives besides my daughters, although no man is with us see God is witness between you & me."
Ge 31:50
Not to mistreat daughters or take other wives
Ge 31:50

Jacob swore by the fear (God) of his father Isaac.

Ge 31:53

Four Witnesses!

Covenant a witness Ge 31:44

God is witness Ge 31:50

Heap- witness

Pillar- witness Ge 31:51, 52


1) Jegar-sahadutha

(heap of witness)

2) Jacob called it Galeed (heap of witness)

3) Mizpah = Watch tower Ge 31:47, 48, 49


Ge 31:54



Ex 24:1-8

Ex 34:27,28


Ex 34:27
Moses &

Ex 34:27

Conditional = fulfillment depends on recipients obeying

-- YES
1/2 of blood on altar;
1/2 blood in basins sprinkled on people (swore to obey)
Ex 24:6, 7, 8

"the blood of the covenant"

-- Israel Made a Promise:
‘’All that the Lord has spoken we will do.’’
Ex 24:3,7
Twelve pillars at the foot of Mt Sinai
Ex 24:4

One of the purposes of "pillars" is to help remember the covenant conditions

-- Altar
at foot of Mt Sinai
Ex 24:4

Ex 24:11

Shared a common meal

New — Covenant


Mt 26:26-28

Lk 22:20 ("New covenant")


Jesus instituted with His disciples at time of the Passover Meal the night before He was crucified (Mt 26:19-28) God/Man

Isa 42:6 Messiah = Covenant

Messenger of covenant to His Temple =1st advent

Mal 3:1

"refiner's fire" =2nd advent

Mal 3:2

For the forgiveness of sins
Mt 26:28
‘My body’
‘My blood of the covenant"
Mt 26:28
(prophesied - promised)
Jer 31:31, 32, 33, 34

(promise fulfilled)
Lk 22:20

"This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance (memorial) of Me." Lk 22:19

Reminds us of costliness of Covenant

Eternal Covenant
He 13:20-note
Mt 26:26, 27,28
1Co 11:23, 24, 25, 26

Shared a common meal

Resources Related to Covenant:

Genesis 6:19  "And of every living thing of all flesh, you shall bring two of every kind into the ark, to keep them alive with you; they shall be male and female.

  • two - Ge 7:2,3,8,9,15,16 Ge 8:17 Ps 36:6 
  • Genesis 6 Resources - Multiple sermons and commentaries

Related Passage:

Psalms 36:6   Your righteousness is like the mountains of God; Your judgments are like a great deep. O LORD, You preserve man and beast. 

Genesis 8:17  “Bring out with you every living thing of all flesh that is with you, birds and animals and every creeping thing that creeps on the earth, that they may breed abundantly on the earth, and be fruitful and multiply on the earth.”


Note this famous picture is beautiful but is not biblically accurate (note all the windows). 

And of every living thing of all flesh, you shall bring two of every kind into the ark (tebah; Lxx = kibotos), to keep them alive with you; they shall be male and female. - The purpose of the Ark was "to keep...alive." The text says you shall bring two of every kind (Noah's responsibility), but clearly God's sovereignty made sure that all the animals were brought to Noah (note this pattern all through Scripture - God's Sovereignty/Man's Responsibility). As an aside, can you imagine the amazement on the faces of the neighbors as they watched this zoo parade into the Ark! And yet even this striking supernatural revelation (it has to be supernatural to get the animals to obey Noah) still did not convince the scoffers and skeptics to heed Noah's warnings (2Pe 2:5, Heb 11:7).

Henry Morris - two of every kind. Two of each kind of bird, cattle, and creeping thing (the "beasts" are also included in Genesis 7:14) were to be put on the ark. Again, marine animals are omitted, as representatives of their kinds could survive outside the ark. Note that the animals were to "come unto thee." God directed to the ark, by a miraculous selection process, those animals who possessed the necessary genes for the migratory instincts which would be needed by their survivors in the post-Flood world. Noah did not have to gather the animals himself, but merely to take into the ark two of each kind as God sent them to him. (BORROW The Defender's Study Bible

Warren Wiersbe writing about the "animal parade" comments that "The birds, beasts, and creeping things knew their Creator’s voice and obeyed Him, but people made in the image of God refused to heed God’s call. Centuries later, God would say through His servant Isaiah, “The ox knows his master, the donkey his owner’s manger, but Israel does not know, my people do not understand” (Isa. 1:3NIV). (Bible Exposition Commentary)

The purpose of bringing two of every kind is clearly stated - to keep them alive and by implication to preserve their kind through future procreation after the flood. Noah is not just to bring them on the Ark but is to keep them alive. If one of a pair died off, there would be instant extinction of that species! The implication is that Noah was able to accomplish this instruction perfectly and bring off the same number of pairs as he had brought on (this is not stated but no where is it refuted). We discover in Ge 7:2-3 that of the “clean” animals (evidently those to be used for domestication and sacrifice), seven were to be taken aboard.

Henry Morris - Authorities on biological taxonomy estimate that there are less than eighteen thousand species of mammals, birds, reptiles, and amphibians living in the world today. This number might be doubled to allow for known extinct land animals (that is, those known from actual fossil records, not the imaginary transitional forms that never existed except in the minds of evolutionists). Allowing then for two of each species, there might have to be a total of about seventy-two thousand animals on the Ark—say seventy-five thousand; to allow for the five extra animals in each “clean” species.

John MacArthur - There are less than 18,000 species living on earth today. This number may have been doubled to allow for now extinct creatures. With two of each, a total of 72,000 creatures is reasonable...the cubic space could hold 125,000 sheep, and since the average size of land animals is less than a sheep, perhaps less than 60 percent of the space was used. The very large animals were surely represented by young. There was ample room also for the one million species of insects, as well as food for a year for everyone (Ge 6:21) (See notes on Genesis 6 in The MacArthur Study Bible) -  How many of each type of animal did Noah take on the ark? Seven pairs of each kind of clean animal and one pair of each kind of other animals were taken on the ark (Genesis 6:19-20; 7:2-3). By “clean” the Bible means animals that were "acceptable for sacrifice." That is why seven pairs of the clean animals were taken – so some of them could be sacrificed after the Flood was over without endangering the species.

Walter Kaiser - Genesis 6:19–20; 7:2–3  How Many Animals Went into the Ark? - Hard Sayings of the Bible

During the last century and a half, the prevailing nonevangelical interpretation of the Noah story has been that this is not one story but at least two separate stories poorly patched together in an attempt to make them one unified whole. Evidence offered for the existence of two original stories is the fact that Noah is first told to take two of each kind of animal on board the ark and then to take seven of each clean kind.

In the final analysis, according to one eminent critical scholar, there is only one piece of evidence for the disunity of the Noah story, and that is repetition or repeated occurrence. The repetition, he reasoned, makes no sense unless two or more narratives have been conflated.

Repetition can sometimes be a sign of divergent traditions and of an editor having welded together several versions of the same story, or even different stories. But there are other explanations for this same phenomenon. Repetition is one of the most fundamental tools of the literary artist. Its presence does not necessarily indicate that the literary piece is a composite hodgepodge reflecting heterogeneous elements of mixed sources, oral or written.

To claim, as many have done, that Genesis 6:19–20 came from a priestly source around 450 B.C. and that Genesis 7:2–3 came from an earlier Yahwistic source around 850 B.C. is to say that the editor of the material let the contradiction stand. There is no need for such extravagant theories of origins, especially since we have a second-millennium flood story from Mesopotamia, the Gilgamesh Epic, with many of the same details. The Gilgamesh Epic, only unearthed in this century, could hardly have incorporated the so-called priestly and Yahwistic sources from the fifth and ninth centuries B.C., having been written and buried long before then. Why then must we suppose that Genesis incorporates such allegedly later sources?

The truth is that there is no inherent incompatibility between the two texts as they presently stand. Genesis 7:2–3 is just more precise than 6:19–20 on the question of the types and numbers of animals and birds that would board the ark.

Noah’s first instruction was to admit pairs of all kinds of creatures on the ark to preserve their lives (Gen 6:19–20). That was the basic formula. Then he was given more specific instructions about admitting seven pairs of each of the clean animals and seven pairs of each kind of bird. The purpose of this measure was to become clear only after the flood. Birds would be needed to reconnoiter the earth (Gen 8:7–12), and the clean animals and birds would be offered in sacrifice to the Lord (Gen 8:20). If Noah had taken only one pair of each and then offered each of these pairs in sacrifice, these species would have become completely extinct.

The simplest and most adequate explanation is that chapter 6 of Genesis contains general summary directions—take two of each. After Noah had understood these general instructions, God spoke more specifically about the role the clean beasts and birds were to play.

Scripture does not indicate how the distinction between “clean” and “unclean” arose. Later on the Mosaic law would sanction this distinction and formally define it. But we are left without any indication of the origin of the distinction, just as we are left in the dark regarding how and when the whole idea of sacrifices started. Cain and Abel both sacrificed, but a formal declaration inaugurating this ritual is not recorded.

If some analysts still wish to excise the clean animals from the so-called priestly account of the Genesis flood story, they only introduce into what they are calling the Yahwistic account the very sort of repetition that they had earlier taken as a sign of divergent sources. This is too high a price to pay just to avoid admitting that perhaps the accounts of the boarding of pairs of unclean animals are connected with the boarding of seven pairs of clean animals. Genesis 7:6–15 does not support a Yahwistic-and-priestly-source explanation; indeed, it causes unusual trouble for such an analysis of the material.

Genesis 6:20  "Of the birds after their kind, and of the animals after their kind, of every creeping thing of the ground after its kind, two of every kind will come to you to keep them alive.

  • fowls - Ge 1:20-24 Ac 10:11,12 
  • two - Ge 1:28 2:19 7:8-16 Joh 5:40 
  • Genesis 6 Resources - Multiple sermons and commentaries

Of the birds after their kind, and of the animals after their kind, of every creeping thing of the ground after its kind, two of every kind will come to you to keep them alive - Note the specification of "kind," which speaks of the specific species of animal. Why would he need to keep the birds who could fly over the water? There was no place for a bird to land because the entire earth would soon be covered with water. This is another piece of indirect evidence that the flood covered the entire earth submerging everything! And think about every creeping thing which means the Ark would house numerous venomous snakes! Yet we hear of no one being bitten. Clearly God protected Noah and his family. 

Genesis 6:21  "As for you, take for yourself some of all food which is edible, and gather it to yourself; and it shall be for food for you and for them."

  • Ge 1:29,30 Job 38:41 40:20 Ps 35:6 104:27,28 136:25 145:16 147:9 Mt 6:26 
  • Genesis 6 Resources - Multiple sermons and commentaries


As for you, take (command) for yourself some of all food which is edible, and gather it to yourself; and it shall be for food for you and for them - It is interesting that the implication is that the edible food for Noah was also what was used to feed the animals. In other words, God does not say take bundles of hay for the animals in addition to edible food for the family. When you think about this scenario, it is amazing -- 8 people would have to daily feed thousands of animals and keep them alive so that they could later repopulate the earth. One wonders how many hours Noah and family could sleep and with all the strange noises of the animals how they could stay asleep. And there was no melatonin available then! 

Genesis 6:22  Thus Noah did; according to all that God had commanded him, so he did.

  • Ge 7:5,9,16 17:23 Ex 40:16,19,21,23,25,27,32 De 12:32 Mt 7:24-27 Joh 2:5 15:14 Heb 11:7,8 1Jn 5:3,4 
  • Genesis 6 Resources - Multiple sermons and commentaries

Related Passages: 

Genesis 7:5+ Noah did according to all that the LORD had commanded him. 

Genesis 7:9+ there went into the ark to Noah by twos, male and female, as God had commanded Noah.

Genesis 7:16+ Those that entered, male and female of all flesh, entered as God had commanded him; and the LORD closed it behind him. 


Thus Noah did - Don't miss what this verse implies. Noah "did" for over 100 years! I have trouble "doing" God's will 100 minutes! Talk about endurance/perseverance (Heb 12:1b). That was Noah! Noah did it by faith, for as far as we know he had never even seen rain. Talk about walking by faith and not sight (2Co 5:7)! That was Noah. 

According to all that God had commanded him, so he did - This is an amazing verse describing Noah's obedience to God's commands. His obedience was complete and absolute! Two things are significant - (1) What God commands, He enables, so He did not give Noah a task too great that he could not bring it to completion. (2) Noah's obedience to the Lord's commands is evidence that his faith was authentic. 

THOUGHT - We can easily profess we "believe" with our lips, but if we fail to prove it with our lives, our belief is not genuine (Titus 1:16+). We are not speaking of perfect obedience, for only Jesus accomplished that. But we are talking about the general direction of a person's life. So if they say they believe and continually, habitually disobey, then it is doubtful that they ever really believed. If they truly believed, they would have received the Holy Spirit, Who leads us and empowers toward a holy walk (not perfection, but direction). 

Ray Pritchard add that Noah did "Nothing halfway. There was no “Well, I think I’ll build two decks instead of three” or “I think I’ll use oak instead of gopher wood” or “Let’s make it 350 cubits instead of 300 cubits long.” And he didn’t try to bargain with God about all those animals. Because he believed God when he said a flood was coming, he had no reason to question the design of the ark or the need to provide space for all the land animals. God said it and that settled it for Noah." 

Matthew Poole - “The work of building the ark was laborious, costly, tedious, dangerous, and seemingly foolish and ridiculous; especially when all things continued in the same posture and safety for so many scores of years together; whereby Noah, without doubt, was all that while the song of the drunkards, and the sport of the wits of that age. So it is not strange that this is mentioned as an heroic act of faith.” (Poole)

David Jeremiah - Sanctuary (BORROW) DON’T ASK, DO

Ge 6:22 According to all that God commanded [Noah], so he did.

Noah did “according to all that God commanded him, so he did” (Genesis 6:22). Therein lies the key and secret to Noah’s faith. When God told him to do something, he did it. He was a man who took God at His word. We have no record of Noah disagreeing with God or debating His instructions. He believed his salvation depended on God’s wisdom and good plan, and he chose to receive it and implement it just as God explained it.

For us to be saved and move ahead as men and women of faith, we have to do the same thing. God needs to know that we are not going to debate or disagree with Him. His Word to us becomes our command. You and I will likely never be in Noah’s position—the only person on earth who will obey God. But we need to live like it anyway. If we do, God will remember us the same way He remembered His friend Noah (Genesis 8:1).