New European Commentary


About | PDFs | Mobile formats | Word formats | Other languages | Contact Us | What is the Gospel? | Support the work | Carelinks Ministries | | The Real Christ | The Real Devil | "Bible Companion" Daily Bible reading plan

Deeper Commentary

6:1 It happened that when men began to multiply on the surface of the land, and daughters were born to them- Longer lifespans, stronger human stock and perhaps multiple births (Noah had triplets- see on Gen. 5:32) would have contributed to a huge population explosion, akin to what we have in these "last days" which are "the days of Noah". The implication is that the population explosion was related to the intermarriage of the faithful with the unfaithful of which we will now read, leading to the total declension from the faith apart from Noah. The connection would simply be in the fact that the faithful were so outnumbered; they preferred to marry into the line of Cain, rather than remain faithful. We sin "like sheep", Isaiah 53 says. For all our so strongly imagined independence and sense that we are original and strong, we are all hopelessly influenced by the herd instinct. The sheer size of the unbelieving population weighed heavily upon the faithful, until they gave in and joined the apostate majority. This highlights the faithful strength of mind and individual conscience which there was in Noah; and he is set up as our pattern in these last days, which the Lord saw as prefigured in "the days of Noah".

The flood myths give basically two reasons for the cause of the flood- the world was overpopulating [especially according to the Enuma Elis], and there was a battle between the gods which resulted in earth being flooded. Moses' explanation alludes to this but was radically different- the population growth was a result of God's blessing, and the flood came because of human sin. And, no cosmic battle which resulted in earth's inhabitants suffering because of it. Time and again, the surrounding myths sought to minimize sin, whereas Moses' record highlights it. Sadly, Jewish interpretations went the same way as the flood myths, with the Book of Enoch likewise attributing the flood and all human suffering to an Angelic revolt. Time and again, the difference between Moses' account of history and the surrounding myths is seen in the fact that Moses emphasizes human sin.

6:2 That the sons of God saw that the daughters of men were beautiful, and they took for themselves wives of all that they chose- The first recorded marriage out of the Faith was when the sons of God (the believers) saw the daughters of men (the women of the world), that they were "beautiful" (translated "better" 72 times; i.e. they preferred them to the faithful) (Gen. 6:2). Partners were chosen on the basis of appearance, rather than spirituality. And so it has ever been. They "chose" who they wanted, rather than marrying within the line of the seed of the woman or to spiritual women. The forbidden fruit always appears more beautiful; and the language of 'seeing' something as beautiful and attractive, and then taking it in sin, is all the language of Eve's failure with the forbidden fruit. The next verse describes how because of this, God decided to destroy mankind after 120 years. The corruption of God's way at that time was epitomized by marriage out of the Faith. The situation just before the flood is a type of that in the last days (Mt. 24:38); marriage out of the Faith will be a major problem for our last generation, according to this type.

Signs within the ecclesia seem to herald the Lord's coming even clearer than those without. As a prelude to the flood, the Sons of God married the daughters of men (Gen. 6:2)- the true believers married unbelievers. However, the "sons of God" often refers to Israel (Is. 43:6,7; 63:8; Jer. 31:20; Ez. 16:20; Mal. 1:16; 3:7), hinting that there will be a big Jewish inter-marriage problem in the last days too. There is ample evidence of this.

6:3 Yahweh said, My Spirit will not strive with man forever, because he also is flesh- "Strive with" has been interpretted as "remain with" by some (E.A. Speiser) and the LXX. In this case the connection would be with the later statements that the flood took life away from all in whom was the breath of life. But "strive" is the more natural reading. I suggest rather than the Spirit of God sought to work with men to make them spiritual; but He never unduly forces. Yet He does struggle with men, as He did with Jacob and as was epitomized in his struggle with the Angel; and yet He never forces. Peter says that the Spirit of Christ was in Noah and it was this which witnessed to Noah's audience. Paul seems to allude here, when he criticizes the Galatians for having such a struggle between flesh and Spirit- when instead they should completely surrender to the Spirit: "But I say, walk by the Spirit and you shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh. For these are contrary to each other. You may not do the things you would like to!" (Gal. 5:16,17). God will not battle with man endlessly; there comes a point when He will no longer try, and judgment must come, with the resultant destruction of the flesh. This is what happened at the flood.

In 2 Pet. 2:5 Peter says that Noah was a preacher of, or [Gk.] ‘by’ righteousness to the people around him. Yet in 1 Pet. 3:19 Peter says that Christ preached to those same people through His Spirit. The resolution surely is that although Noah had never met the Lord Jesus, he lived according to the same Godly spirit as did Jesus; and this was his witness to his world. In this sense the spirit or disposition of Christ was found in all the Old Testament prophets (1 Pet. 1:11). There is ultimately only one Spirit (Eph. 4:4). The same spirit of holiness which was in Jesus was likewise thus in Noah. “The Spirit”, the Spirit of God and the Spirit of Christ are all equated in Rom. 8:9. The ark 'was' Noah for those 120 years. When the ark 'rested' on Ararat ['holy hill'] the same word, 'Noah', is used (Gen. 8:4). Likewise the things of the Lord Jesus and the salvation which is in Him, both for ourselves and others, should be likewise identified with us.

The withdrawal of a man’s Spirit by God, as with the withdrawal of the Spirit gifts, is to be seen in some sense as God’s judgment of man. Gen. 6:3 LXX and RVmg. implies this.

The Gilgamesh flood stories are significantly lacking in attaching much value or significance to human moral behaviour. The flood happened as a result of arguments amongst the gods, or because they just didn’t want so many human beings on the earth- and not because of human sin. According to Gen. 6:3 (cp. 1 Pet. 3:20; 2 Pet. 2:5) there was a period of grace for 120 years before the flood, during which time Noah preached and urged people to repent. Such grace and pleading with man isn’t found in the pagan myths because they fail to locate the root cause of the flood in human sin. And the gods of the various pantheons knew nothing of grace. God’s appeal to humanity via Noah is in sharp contrast to the way the Gilgamesh Epic speaks of the flood being a secret which the gods carefully hid from man. The Epic records how Utnapishtim loaded the ark with his silver and gold lest it be destroyed (Gilgamesh Tablet 11:80-85 and 94,95); the Biblical record says nothing of this, speaking only of how living creatures and people were saved by the ark. Clearly life and people are of more importance to God than wealth, which cannot ultimately be saved. The ark of Gilgamesh had sailors to sail it, and “the pilot” is recorded as leaving the ship at the end of the flood. The Biblical ark had no sailor nor pilot apart from God. The Gilgamesh hero of the flood escaped it despite the will and intentions of the gods, who had decreed man’s destruction. Noah was a Biblical hero because he believed in God’s gracious desire to save him.

Yet will his days be one hundred twenty years- This could mean that lifespans were reduced, but people kept living to great ages right up to the flood. So I take this as meaning that after 120 years, the judgment would come. The name "Methuselah" had been predicting this for over 800 years already. Knowing the destruction that would come on all except Noah, God waited in the hope that more would be saved. He as it were hoped against His own foreknowledge that more would saved (1 Pet. 3:20). Likewise God told Ezekiel that Israel would not hear his preaching (Ez. 3:7); and yet Ezekiel repeatedly prefaced his preaching addresses with an appeal to please hear God’s word (Ez. 6:3; 13:2; 18:25; 20:47; 34:7; 36:1,4). He was hoping against hope; his preaching work was asking him to attempt the impossible. To make a nation hear who would not hear. Jeremiah likewise was told that Israel wouldn’t hear him (Jer. 7:27), but still he pleaded with them to hear (Jer. 9:20; 10:1; 11:6; 16:12; 17:24; 38:15); God’s hope was that perhaps they would hearken (Jer. 26:3) although He had foretold they wouldn’t. Jeremiah was told not to pray for Israel (Jer. 7:16; 11:14; 14:11) and yet he did (Jer. 14:20; 42:2,4). It was the spiritually minded lifestyle of Noah in those 120 years which was his witness to the world of his day. Peter says in 1 Pet. 3:19 that Christ through His Spirit preached to the people of Noah’s day.

The Lord Jesus / bridegroom “tarries”, the same Greek word translated ‘delay’ in “my Lord delayeth his coming”. The Lord does delay His coming- the man’s mistake was in acting inappropriately because of this. God’s judgments likewise “waited”, or delayed, in Noah’s time (1 Pet. 3:20)- presumably for the 120 year period of Gen. 6:3. In a similar way, the judgment on Nineveh preached by Jonah also delayed- it came in the end, but their repentance meant that it delayed at that time. 



It is a commonly stressed theme throughout Scripture that the days of Noah are a type of the last days of AD70. The clearest is in Mt. 24:37: "As the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the son of man be". It is generally understood among us that the events of AD70 and the " coming" of the Lord then, point forward to that in the last days. Thus it is not surprising that a number of passages describe the AD70 judgments of Israel in terms of the flood; which suggests that they also have reference to the last days:
- 2 Peter 3 is a clear example, describing the destruction of the Jewish system in AD70 as being by fire as opposed to water used in Noah's time. Yet the chapter also has reference, e.g. through it's links with the new Heavens and earth of Is. 65, with the destruction of the present age at the Lord's return.
- Nahum 1 describes the coming judgements on Israel in terms of mountains and hills splitting, and there being a great flood; all Genesis flood language.
- Dan. 9:26 describes the Romans in AD70 destroying "the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood", the LXX implying with a sudden flood, as in Noah's time.
- Is. 54:9 describes the judgments on Israel being "as the waters of Noah". The end of the flood, the end of Israel's judgments, therefore typifies the second coming.
- In the light of this the Lord's parable about the man building on sand whose house was destroyed when the heavy rain came (Mt. 7:25,27) must have primary reference (as so many of the parables do) to the judgement on the Jewish house in AD70. Those who built on sand as a result of not hearing Christ's words were the Jews- also described as shoddy builders in Mt. 21:42; Acts 4:11; 1 Pet. 2:7; Mic. 3:10; Jer. 22:13.

We can therefore look at the Genesis record of the lead up to the flood and be confident that every detail has some relevance to our time; and therefore grasp the reality of the fact that we should feel the same tenseness and intensity as Noah did as he waited for the rain. Note how Jesus' return is described as the rain in 2 Sam. 23:4; Hos. 6:3; Joel 2:23.
- Our present population explosion has only been paralleled in Noah's time. The longer life-spans could have resulted in each woman bearing up to 200 children; bearing in mind the lack of present constraining factors such as adverse climate, space, physical degeneration of the human stock over 6,000 years etc. which we now face, it is likely that in the 10 generations from Adam to Noah up to 2,000 million people were produced.
- These longer life-spans would have resulted in a great accumulation of knowledge and skills in the arts and sciences. Gen. 4:22 describes Tubal-Cain (contemporary with Noah) as "an instructor of every artificer in brass and iron", hinting at technical education and industrialization. Similarly Jubal was "father of all such as handle the harp and organ" (Gen. 4:21); a growth in so-called culture (i.e. sophisticated pleasure- educated Christians please note). Note the emphasis on education- "an instructor... father... father" .
- Cain's first big city (Gen. 4:17) no doubt spawned others. Complex, selfish city life would have been apparent at Noah's time- as it is supremely throughout our modern world.
- "Lamech shall be avenged seventy and seven fold" (Gen. 4:24) he boasted. Does this hint at the war preparations and a spirit of personal vengeance and pressing for one's 'rights' which fills the earth today?
- There is an emphasis on there being a "father" of all the cattle keepers, all the musicians, and an instructor of every metal worker (Gen. 4:20-22); implying the kind of commercial cartels and unionism which we have today?
- Job 22:15-18 comments on the people living just before the flood that they cast off all commitment to God and yet God " filled their houses with good things" ; i.e. material wealth despite a viciously God-forsaking attitude. Exactly the scene today.
- One of the few women mentioned as being contemporary with Noah was Adah- meaning 'to decorate, ornament'. And of such women the sons of God took wives of all that they chose (Gen. 6:2). Dolled up women picked up at will by sex-mad men could not be a more telling parallel with our age. Note too how the three periods picked out in Scripture as having major similarities with the last days- Sodom, Noah's time, Israel in AD70- all have the common feature of sexual misbehaviour. There can be no doubt that this is a major indication that we are in the last days.
- Given this apostacy of the sons of God and the unwillingness of the world to listen to Noah's preaching (2 Pet. 2:5) the size of the ecclesia must have declined, until it was only 9 strong. 'Methuselah' means 'When he dies, it shall come'- suggesting that he died a few days or weeks before the flood came. We can imagine the ecclesia falling away one by one until it was just that old brother, the middle aged Noah, and his three faithful sons (no doubt he had other sons and daughters who he failed to influence). The small, declining size of our ecclesias and the total apathy to our preaching should not discourage us- as with all negative things, a positive message can be read into them in the light of Scripture. And the message here is that such things clearly indicate that we are in the last days. The only people to survive the temptations of these 'last days' before the flood were one family unit. As these events are so pregnant with latter day relevance, it may be that we are to perceive here a faint hint that strongly led family units are the way to survive the last days. Noah is described as " the eighth" (2 Pet. 2:5), perhaps alluding to the fact that of the eight people saved in the ark, he was " the eighth" ; he put the others first. The three who escaped the judgments on Sodom, another type of the last days, were all members of the same family; possibly implying the same thing. It must surely be significant that our strongest members are often from families with other strong members.
However, the general spiritual apathy grieved God at His heart, we are told. This reminds us of the often overlooked fact that God is an emotional being- the world today grieves Him, and it is to be expected therefore that He is all the more intently watching us, to see whether we are going to keep ourselves separate from the spirit of this desperate age.

6:4 There were aggressive men [Nephilim] in the earth in those days, and also after that, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of men, they bore children to them. Those were the mighty men who were of old, men of renown-

There is no mention at all of “the sons of God” coming down from heaven. Why assume these “sons of God” are angels? The phrase is used concerning men, especially those who know the true God (Dt. 14:1 (R.S.V.); Hos. 1:10; Lk. 3:38; Jn. 1:12; 1 Jn. 3:1). If believers are to be made equal to angels (Lk. 20:35,36), will they still experience the same carnal desires which then motivated the sons of God, or have the possibility of giving way to them? Of course not! Luke 20:35,36, clearly says that the angels do not marry: “They which shall be accounted worthy to obtain that world, and the

resurrection from the dead, neither marry, nor are given in marriage... for they are equal unto the angels”. It is commonly believed that the angels who are thought to have sinned came down to earth at the time of the garden of Eden incidents, but Genesis 6 concerns the time of the flood, which was many years later. The Hebrew word for “giants” in Genesis 6:4, is also used to describe the sons of a man called Anak in Numbers 13:33. Freak human beings of unusual size or strength are sometimes born today, but it does not mean that their parents were angels. We are not specifically told that the giants were the children of the “sons of God”. “There were giants… and also after that… the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men” (:4).If Angels married women, then who were the children, and what were they like? The apocryphal book of 1 Enoch claims that the offspring were “evil spirits” and witches (1 Enoch 15:8–16:1) – but the Bible is utterly silent about this.


The word "nephilim" comes from a Hebrew root meaning 'hackers or assailants'- implying arrogant gangs strutting round assailing people at will. Job. 22:15-17 R.V. gives the same impression. Compare this with the gang warfare and intimidation of the Americas and many countries, which is going to take over the eretz promised to Abraham. We already see it, in the images of Islamist fighters wandering around the eretz today.

The Hebrew syntax here would suggest that this is a notice that at this time, there were giants in the earth. The giants aren’t described as being the offspring of the relationship between the sons of God and daughters of men. The word “giants” has two possible meanings: “fallen ones” (which would be relevant to their being the “sons of God” who had spiritually fallen away) and “assailants, hackers, tyrants” – the definition provided by Martin Luther and H.C. Leupold (H.C. Leupold, Exposition of Genesis, Vol. 1 (Ann Arbor, MI: Wartburg Press, 1942), p. 250). This is the root of the Hebrew word for “giant”, and is used in 2 Kings 3:19,25, to describe a vicious attack on the Moabites by Israel. Thus we get the impression that there were men, perhaps of great physical size and strength, who went around viciously attacking people. They became famous (or infamous) – “men of renown”. Job (22:15–17) comments upon them: “Hast thou marked the old way which wicked men have trodden? Which were cut down out of time, whose foundation was overflown with a flood: which said unto God, Depart from us”. Notice that this refers to men, not angels. The intention of Moses in Genesis was to explain Israel’s surrounding world to them, and deconstruct the false ideas they encountered in surrounding myth. The people were frightened by the “giants” they met in the land of Canaan (Num. 13:33). These nephilim [LXX gigantes] had their origin explained by Moses in Genesis 6 – the righteous seed intermarried with the wicked, and their offspring were these nephilim, mighty men of the world. Note in passing how Ez. 32:27 LXX uses this same word gigantes to describe pagan warriors who died– no hint that they were superhuman or Angels.

 The Israelites were aware of the existence of unusually large people – the Zamzumin, Zumin, Rephaim, Nephilim, Emim, and Anakim (Dt. 1:28, 2:10,11, 20,21, 3:11). The bed of Og, King of Bashan, a Rephaim, was nine cubits long, over four meters (14 feet) – Dt. 3:11. In Canaanite mythology these giants came from intermarriage between human beings and the gods; but Moses in Genesis 6 is surely addressing this myth and correcting it. He’s saying (by implication) that this didn’t happen, but rather the Godly seed and the wicked intermarried; and yes, at that time, there were giants in the earth, but they were judged and destroyed by the flood, and the implication surely was that the Israel who first heard Moses’ inspired history could take comfort that the giants they faced in Canaan would likewise be overcome by God.

"And also after that" could be placed in brackets, as by the NET Bible. The idea would be that the nephilim in the eretz were encountered later in the history of the eretz, and indeed the term is used about the giant inhabitants of Canaan in Num. 13:33 (see note there). The Anakim or giants were descendants of Noah, but the point is that they were the equivalent of the strong warriors who strutted the eretz earlier, and who were judged and destroyed by the flood.

Umberto Cassuto pays special attention to the reference to the sons of God and daughters of men in Gen. 6, demonstrating that the "giants" are mortal, they were to die at best after 120 years; and they were on earth not in Heaven. Thus the Canaanite myths, which ironically later Judaism re-adopted, were deconstructed by Moses. He summarizes Moses' intention in the Genesis 6 passage as being to teach Israel: "Do not believe the gentile myths concerning men of divine origin who became immortal. This is untrue, for in the end all men must die, because they, too, are flesh... you must realize that they were only "on earth", and "on earth" they remained, and did not become gods, and they did not ascend to Heaven, but remained among those who dwell below, upon earth... the intention of the section is to contradict the pagan legends regarding the giants" (Umberto Cassuto, Biblical And Oriental Studies (Jerusalem: Magnes Press, 1973) Vol. 1 pp. 21-28).

The claim that this verse refers to Angels marrying men has many problems. There is no mention here of “the sons of God” coming down from heaven- and such a fall supposedly happened at the time of Adam's fall, not now, many generations later. Why assume these “sons of God” are angels? The phrase is used concerning men, especially those who know the true God (Dt. 14:1 (R.S.V.); Hos. 1:10; Lk. 3:38; Jn. 1:12; 1 Jn. 3:1). If believers are to be made equal to angels (Lk. 20:35,36), will they still experience the same carnal desires which then motivated the sons of God, or have the possibility of giving way to them? Of course not! Luke 20:35,36, clearly says that the angels do not marry: “They which shall be accounted worthy to obtain that world, and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry, nor are given in marriage... for they are equal unto the angels”. The Hebrew word for “giants” in Genesis 6:4, is also used to describe the sons of a man called Anak in Numbers 13:33. Freak human beings of unusual size or strength are sometimes born today, but it does not mean that their parents were angels. We are not specifically told that the giants were the children of the “sons of God”. “There were giants… and also after that… the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men” (:4). If Angels married women, then who were the children, and what were they like? The apocryphal book of 1 Enoch claims that the offspring were “evil spirits” and witches (1 Enoch 15:8–16:1) – but the Bible is utterly silent about this.

The idea of cosmic beings coming to earth and having sexual relations with human women is a classic piece of pagan myth; and the Jews came to adopt these into their interpretations of the Genesis 6 passage, e.g. In the Book of Enoch. Josephus brings out the similarities: “The angels of God united with women... The actions attributed to them by our tradition [note that – “our tradition”, not Scripture itself!] resemble the bold exploits which the Greeks recount about the Giants” (Antiquities of the Jews 1.3.1). Clearly, Jewish thinking sought to accommodate the pagan myths.

We have shown that the “sons of God” may refer to those with the true understanding of God. The “sons of God’ of every generation have kept themselves separate from the people of the world, and are warned by God not to marry such people because they will influence them away from following the true God (Ex. 34:12,15,16; Josh. 23:12–13; Ezra 9:12; 1 Cor. 7:39; 2 Cor. 6:14–16). Genesis 3:15 describes how the seed (descendants) of the serpent would be in constant conflict with the seed of the woman (cp. Gal. 4:29). The early chapters of Genesis highlight the fact that there were these two sorts of people; the descendants of Seth called themselves “by the name of the Lord” (Gen. 4:26 A.V margin) and comprised the righteous “sons of God”, the seed of the woman. By contrast, the descendants of Cain, are described as being associated with murder and instituting polygamy (Gen. 4:23,19), the art of weapon production (Gen. 4:22) and entertainment (Gen. 4:21). The names of these people imply that at this time they started an alternative, apostate, system of worship to replace the true worship of God, which angered God; e.g. Cain named a city after Enoch, whose name means “dedicated”; Irad means “eternal city”; Mehujael means “God combats”; Lamech means “Overthrower” (of the truth ?). The sons of God marrying the daughters of men would therefore describe the inter–marriage of these two lines, so that only Noah and his family were the “seed of the woman” at the time of the flood.

 Careful reflection on Genesis 6 indicates that the “sons of God” must have been men: 

– They “took them wives of all that they chose”. This process of choosing an appealing woman for marriage is so obviously something experienced by men. Notice how the “sons of God” probably took more than one wife each – “wives of all that they chose”. This was a characteristic of the seed of the serpent (Gen. 4:19), showing us that the two lines had merged; because of the sons of God marrying the daughters of men, God said that in 120 years’ time, He would destroy man (Gen. 6:3) in the flood. Why should God punish and destroy man if the angels had sinned? Seeing that angels cannot die (Lk. 20:35,36), there would have been no point in destroying the earth with a flood to try and destroy them. Things fall into place far better if the “sons of God” were men: therefore God said, “The end of all flesh(mankind) is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with (from) the earth” (Gen. 6:13). The violence on the earth which vv. 3–5 associate with the apostasy of the “sons of God” arose through man – man, not angels or the Devil, had filled the earth with violence: another reason God brought the flood was because the earth had become corrupt. Why did this happen? It was corrupt, “for (because) all flesh had corrupted His way upon the earth” (Gen. 6:11,12). Man had corrupted the true way of God – due to the sons of God, who understood “the way”, mixing with the people of the flesh. “The way” is a phrase used to describe the true understanding of God (e.g. Gen. 3:24; 18:19; Ps. 27:11; 119:32,33; Acts16:17; 9:2; 18:25; 19:9,23; 2 Pet. 2:2). This corruption of “the way” by the “sons of God” in Genesis 6 is commented on in Jude 11, where the apostate Christians of the first century are likened to those men who went “in the way of Cain” – not of the truth. Cain was the father of the seed of the serpent line

– The actions of the “sons of God” in Genesis 6:2, are described in v. 5 as “the wickedness of man”, which “was great in the earth... every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually”

– Jesus said that the world in the last days would be similar to what it was at the time of Noah. He implied that in the same way as men had the wrong attitude to marriage in Noah’s time, so men also would in the last days before His return (Lk. 17:26,27). The only reference to attitudes to marriage at Noah’s time is in Genesis 6:2, thus again implying that the “sons of God” who married wrongfully were men.

Apostate Jewish theology sought to minimize human sin and blame it on a Satan figure. It’s significant that when the inspired New Testament writers refer to the flood, there is no suggestion by them that they accepted the idea that sinful Angels somehow led humanity into sin. Instead, they repeatedly underscore the fact that it was human sin which led God to punish humanity. The uninspired Book of Jubilees, written about 150 BC, claims that Noah complained to God about “the unclean demons” leading his grandchildren into sin and asked God to judge these demons, thus resulting in the flood (Jubilees 10:1–7). That is mere fantasy – and quite the opposite of what the Genesis record states – where clearly it is human wickedness which leads God to judge humans. What I find so highly significant is that the Lord Jesus and His apostles stress that it was indeed human sin which led to Divine judgment through the flood. Effectively, they’re thus deconstructing these false ideas which were circulating and upholding the Biblical emphasis against the sophistry of the false theology about Satan / demons which was circulating. It’s a tragedy that the same false understandings still circulate, and so many still refuse to face up to the clear teaching of Scripture – that human beings sin and must take responsibility and bear judgment for that sin.


This passage is actively deconstructing false Canaanite myths about sinful gods, giants, demons etc. it could be argued that this passage, along with much of early Genesis, is actually deconstructing the wrong ideas about Angels, demons, Satan etc. which Israel had encountered in Egypt and amongst the Canaanite tribes. It is teaching that the giants which Israel had noticed were in fact only human, and no more. They were “mighty men”, “men of renown”. Later Scripture does likewise – the Rephaim had children like other human beings (2 Sam. 21:16,18; Dt. 3:11), inhabiting an area known as the valley of Rephaim (Josh. 15:8). Cassuto comments: “The intention of the section is actually to contradict certain folk–tales, and to erase, as far as possible, their mythological features” (Umberto Cassuto, Biblical and Oriental Studies (Jerusalem: Magnes Press, 1975) Vol. 2 p. 108). Elsewhere, Cassuto draws attention to the significance of God’s comment upon the sin of the ‘sons of God’ in Gen. 6:3: “My spirit shall not abide in [or, strive with] man forever”. God comments upon the human condition, not upon anything out in the cosmos. He comments: “[this] implies: Do not believe the heathen tales about human beings of divine origin, who were rendered immortal; this is untrue, for in the end every man must die, “in as much as he, too, is flesh”... The Torah’s intention is to counteract the pagan legends and to reduce to a minimum the content of the ancient traditions concerning the giants” (Umberto Cassuto, Commentary on the Book of Genesis (Jerusalem: Magnes Press, 1998 ed.) Vol. 1 p. 300). The record of the flood which follows that of the mention of the ‘giants’ can be read as a further deconstruction of the myths about them. The Biblical record states that God opened the “windows of Heaven” (Gen. 7:11). The identical term in Ugaritic occurs in Tablet 2 AB, col. 7 line 17 of the Ras Shamra tablets. Cassuto explains that “The Canaanites used to tell of the god Baal that at one stage he built for himself a palace in the sky and opened therein windows... The Canaanites attributed to Baal the sending down of rain from heaven”, but that the giants / offspring of the wicked gods “set down their feet and closed up the deep, and they placed their hands on the windows” (References in Umberto Cassuto, Commentary on the Book of Genesis (Jerusalem: Magnes Press, 1992 ed.) Vol. 2 pp. 86,87).


6:5 Yahweh saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually- The enormous judgment of the flood was because of human thoughts. This is in radical contrast to the various flood myths of the ancient world. There is almost a juxtaposition between human thoughts- and the enormity of the punishment. But that was the point. How man thinks is so hugely significant to God. Noah's response was to prepare "an ark to the saving of his house... and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith" (Heb. 11:7). We know from Peter that the ark represents Christ. Noah's response was not to smugly reflect how that soon he would be vindicated for his separation from the world, i.e. for his own personal righteousness. Instead he took seriously God's warning that sinners were to soon be destroyed. Noah was, of course, a sinner as we all are. He therefore must have cried out to God in faith, asking for God to count him as if he were righteous, so that he would be saved from the coming judgments against sin. This is how he had righteousness imputed to him. He showed his faith that God really had justified him by doing something physical- his faith led to the 'works' of building the ark; as our faith likewise leads us to baptism into Christ. Through Christ, God "scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts" (Lk. 1:51). This is quoting from Gen. 6:5 LXX concerning the wicked imagination of man's heart at the flood; note it was their thoughts and imaginations which were so obnoxious to God. This is even more evidence that we can read the events of the flood as typical of two things; our salvation from the judgment upon sin, and also of the events of the last days, when that salvation will be physically manifested. We are in Noah's position; we can see clearly the judgments which must come upon sin. By our nature, we are part and parcel of that sin which has to be judged. Our response cannot be to trust in our own righteousness, which we may feel we have as a result of our physical separation from the world. We must instead be motivated by imagining the reality of Christ's coming, to make sure that we are covered in the righteousness of Christ, so that the impending destruction of sin will not take us away with it. Perhaps at no time before has the body of Christ so needed to learn the lesson of Noah; to cease from our own works, "and become heir of the righteousness which is by faith".

6:6 Yahweh was sorry that He had made man on the earth- "Sorry" is AV It repented-  "It repented The LORD that He had made man on the earth, and it grieved Him at His heart". To repent means to change around. God Himself can change; the one thing that doesn't is His unfailing love and grace for His people. Yet the language here could be applied to Angels, or to God's manifestation of His thoughts through them. It was the Angels who actually made man on earth, in the image of themselves, and we have shown that it was the Angels who actually brought the flood on the earth. So it could be argued that it was they who repented and therefore decided to bring the flood. Thus only Noah "found grace in the eyes of the LORD" (:8). The eyes of the LORD are the Angels- it was they who surveyed the earth and saw that it was wicked, except for Noah. The phrase in :13 "the end of all flesh is come before Me" implies that it was brought to God's attention- another example of language of limitation, which must refer to the Angels. Thus it was the Angels who repented, or changed their mind, about creation.

But sometimes words have two meanings, and that is intentional. The Hebrew for "sorry" is also translated 'comfort' and is in fact a form of the word 'Noah' (Gen. 5:29). The hint may be that in all the Divine grief, He was comforted by the existence of even one man, Noah, who loved Him. For Noah really means 'source of comfort'. God's sensitivity is such that the response of one person, above all His Son, can totally affect His worldview and comfort Him in the grief of being the Father of a bad family. The account of Noah is repeated in essence in that of Lot and the destruction of Sodom. One man and his family was saved, having lived in a society of gross immorality, both were "shut in" miraculously (Gen. 7:16; 19:10 s.w.); yet even his salvation was followed by incest and drunkenness, and repopulation followed from that. And the same question is addressed: Will the righteous suffer along with the wicked? The answer is that God takes note of righteous individuals and will give them paths to escape to salvation. We have something similar in Ex. 32-34, where God was prepared to save Moses, and destroy the rest. But in all these records, there is the theme of God's openness to dialogue.


The theme of Divine regret is found in both Genesis and Gilgamesh; according to the Bible, Yahweh regretted the creation of man, whereas according to Gilgamesh, the gods regretted the destruction of man. This purposeful contrast is surely to indicate that whilst Yahweh has emotions, His judgment of man was just and was done without regret.

There has to be a connection between the fact that "Noah" was intended to bring "comfort" or "repentance" (Gen. 5:29), and the way the same word is now used of how God "repented" that He had made man. The hope of the faithful had been that Noah would bring about the re-thinking of the curse upon earth for Adam's sin; but God's re-thinking was to actually destroy all men upon the earth, apart from Noah.

Gilgamesh speaks of how there was a discussion amongst the gods as to what to do with humanity. Human sin is not given as the reason for their decision, but rather mere capriciousness of the gods. The Atrahasis epic gives the reason as the gods becoming angry that the humans are not serving them enough. In Gilgamesh, the majority of gods wanted to destroy humanity, but some, led by the god Ea-Enki, wanted to save. What is totally unique about the Biblical record is that there is only one God involved. Within Him there is this tension between judging sin, and lovingly saving His wayward creation. And thus we read the incredible statement that God “repented” that He had created man (Gen. 6:5). In Gilgamesh, there is a tension amongst the gods; Ea-Enki becomes so passionate to save humanity that he rebels against the other gods. In the true, Biblical record, that tension between gods is expressed as a tension within the heart of the one true God. He created mankind; and then He wanted to destroy them for their sin; and yet He struggled with this. The record leads us to enter into the Divine pain, the struggle of God. This is totally and utterly unique; this is the truth, which all other religions and myths could never get hold of. Moses’ record was paving the way for his own experience of this aspect of Israel’s wonderful God. For he too had experienced God stating His judgment of His people, ‘repenting’ that He had created them as a nation, seeking to destroy them, and yet being sensitive to Moses’ pleas. One sees the same Divine pain in later Scripture, especially in Hosea. There, God alternates between having no mercy on His people, and showing mercy; not being their God any longer; yet being their God. And like a wounded lover, God declares: “I will love them no more”; and yet in the final, tear-jerking outpouring of God in Hosea 14, we read the wonderful conclusion: “I will love them freely”. This is such a hard thing to really come to terms with. For how can a God who is all powerful and who knows the end from the beginning, have such feelings? Yet those Divine feelings are legitimate, they really were felt, and they are felt by God Almighty about us at this very moment. It is so much easier to do as Gilgamesh did, and have a judgmental god and a saviour god; or to have a ‘good God’ and a bad, evil satan, as in the theology of today’s apostate Christianity. But the wonder of Yahweh is that this one and only true God has these two aspects within Him. To know something of this Divine struggle, this surpassing love of God, is something that flows out from a belief in there being only one God. The issues of grace and truth, love and judgment, mercy and justice, are all brought together in the awesome personality of this God with whom we have to do.

And it grieved Him- For "grieved", see on Gen. 8:10; Is. 63:10, where again the Spirit of God is grieved by the people in the eretz. Prov. 3:20 RV says that "By his knowledge the depths were broken up, and the skies dropped down the rain". The flood was brought about by God's wisdom, not because a deity lost his patience and temper with mankind. God destroyed mankind because of His grief (Gen. 6:6)- and He did so because He planned on saving the world through water (1 Pet. 3:20). Noah and the faithful were saved from corruption and the faith being lost by the world that threatened to destroy them (spiritually) being itself destroyed. There are many allusions to the flood in Job, notably in the descriptions of the waters being stored up by God, released by Him as He wishes, and having had bounds now placed upon them after the flood (Job 38:9-11,22,33; 26:8; there’s specific mention of the flood in Job 22:16). The flood would’ve been relatively recent history in Job’s time. It’s therefore instructive to read in Job 37:11-13 that God sends His waters upon the earth partly for correction, partly in judgment, and also partly “for mercy”. The flood was in a sense a Divine mercy, in ending the existence of impenitent sinners.

In His heart- The evil heart of mankind troubled the heart of God (Gen. 6:5,6). This "heart to heart" between God and man is amazing.

6:7 Yahweh said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the surface of the ground; man, along with animals, creeping things, and birds of the sky; for I am sorry that I have made them- Man, beast, creeping things, birds- a reversal of the creation order in Gen. 1:20-27. 6:7,8 I will destroy man... but Noah could imply that God’s initial intention was to totally destroy humanity, but because Noah found grace [the idiom could imply God heard his prayer], God made a way of escape for Noah and intended to found a new humanity from him. I’ve elsewhere commented that much in the early Pentateuch is connectable with Israel’s later history; Moses’ account in Genesis was in order to explain to Israel in the wilderness the background to their situation. The situation here in 6:7,8 recalls how God wanted to destroy all Israel and make of Moses a new nation (Ex. 32:10); but Moses, like Noah, found grace in God’s eyes (Ex. 33:13; 34:9). Moses describes himself as one who had found grace in God’s eyes at the very time that God speaks of making a new nation from him- he saw the connection. God's expressed regret that He had made the animal creation can read strangely; it reads as if it is an emotional statement. And perhaps that is indeed how we are to read it; here in early Genesis we are being introduced to a God who has passion, whose anger flares up in His face (Ez. 38:18), and only subsides because of His grace.

It was when "Yahweh saw that every inclination of the thoughts of their hearts was only evil all the day" that He decided: “I will blot out from the earth the Adam I have created” (Gen. 6:5-7). But comparing this with Gen. 8:21, we get the impression that God comes to accept the weakness of man, and to tolerate it without destroying it: "Yahweh said in His heart, “I will never again curse the soil because of the Adam, for the inclination of the Adam’s heart is evil from youth”. This same pattern is seen later; God is so angry with human sin in His people that He decides to change His plans and destroy the sinners. But He later again changes, and decides to tolerate them. Thus in Ex. 33:3,5 God says that “I will not go up among you for you are a stiff-necked people, lest I would consume you on the way... You are a stiff-necked people; if for a single moment I should go up among you, I would consume you”. But after Moses' intercession, God does go up among them even thought they are a stiff-necked people. He hears Moses' prayer of Ex. 34:9: “I pray, let Yahweh go among us for this is a stiff-necked people, pardon our iniquity and our sin, and take us for your inheritance". This is not to say that God will not judge sin and sinners. He definitely will. But we see here a growth in tolerance, akin to what many men experience as they pass through the fatherhood experience. We think of how God tells Abraham "Now I know that you fear God, in that you have not withheld your son... from Me" (Gen. 22:12). Being a father is not simply an act of procreation; fatherhood is a relationship, and it could be argued that it goes with the territory of fatherhood to change and be changed in response to your children. This may be one window onto how God in this sense can change or learn. It was a choice He made to go through that experience. God is not fickle, and yet He has emotions. Later He will say that He repents of certain relationships with His people, and rejects them; and then He changes His mind again, repenting of His repentance as it were. His repentings are "kindled together" at the time of Hosea. This is how deeply involved God is in the response of His children to Him. It inspires us to love and serve Him with all we have and are; in a way that a stone faced, unfeeling god would never inspire. God's omnipotence is such that the Master of the plot as it were gets emotionally caught up within the plot.  As we go through life we are faced with the awesome reality that God responds passionately and emotionally to our every move. For or against Him. This is the huge meaning of the crucifixion- so much response is elicited, and in turn responded to by God. Realizing this dimension of God is the ultimate answer to the scepticism and stone facedness of the postmodern world.

6:8 But Noah found favour in Yahweh’s eyes- Or, "found grace"; see on Gen. 9:21. Noah was saved by grace and was likely not without his weaknesses. Finding grace may suggest that He sought it- that he recognized his weakness [alcoholism?] and asked for God's grace; and found it. 2 Pet. 2:5 speaks of how "the old world" was not "spared", but Noah was, in that he was saved. His salvation was by grace, it was a 'being spared' rather than a reward for his righteousness. In Gen. 7:1, God says that He considered Noah as 'seen righteous'. Here we have an Old Testament working model of justification by grace through faith. The statement of Gen. 7:1 is after Noah has built the ark; so his works have demonstrated his faith. But his justification is by grace not works; and in Gen. 8:21 God speaks of humanity including Noah as having the imagination of evil in his heart. But despite that, God counted or 'saw' him righteous. Perhaps the account of Noah's drunkenness [with no apparent repentance] is there to show us what being 'seen righteous by grace' means in practice. Heb. 11:7 cites Noah as an example of those to whom righteousness is imputed by faith; and in Romans, Paul explains that this is a parade example of grace. Clearly Paul has Noah in view as a worked example of a sinner being saved by grace through faith, by having righteousness imputed to him. Noah is not therefore presented as righteous, but as faithful; and thereby having righteousness imputed to him.

6:9 This is the history of the generations of Noah- a Hebraism for 'an account of the life' of Noah. Yet the Hebrew for "generations" means just that. We expect to now encounter a list of children, grandchildren etc. Instead we read a summary of Noah's character. His children, his offspring, his memorial in this earth, was not his children, but rather his character. This is comfort for the childless. Our characters are our generation. This is what shall remain beyond the grave; for our spirit, the personality we develop, abides with God after our death and shall live eternally as 'us' at the Lord's return to earth. So often, individual character development becomes subsumed beneath the pressures of childrearing. But our ultimate "generation" is us, our personality and character.

Noah was a righteous man- The idea is, complete. All parts of his life were devoted to God, the lesson of the whole burnt offerings.  But as noted on :8, his righteousness was imputed to him by faith, through grace.

Blameless among the people of his time- We must note the connection between God showing grace, undeserved favour, to Noah- and him being described here as a just or righteous man. Heb. 11:7 states that Noah’s righteousness was that which comes from justification by faith. And he was the only one amongst the "people of his time" who had such faith. the idea is not that he was so much better than them. He was the forerunner of Abraham. Noah was counted righteous, because he believed- he believed God’s words about the flood coming, he gave 120 years of his life to building an ark, and by his example witnessed to the world and pleaded with them to also believe. It wasn’t that God as it were rewarded Noah for his good deeds by counting righteousness to him. Otherwise there’d be no meaning to the statement that Noah found grace from God (6:8). So we can see how it worked out- Noah’s reasoning must’ve been something like: ‘We’re all sinners and quite rightly done for by this flood that will come, me as well as the rest of my world. But... wait up... God has given me a way out of this, by building an ark and being saved from it. But...  I’m a sinner and deserve to die in this judgment that’s coming. So how can it be, that I, with all my weakness and dysfunction, can survive this judgment? It must be that although I am worthy of destruction in the flood, God’s willing to count me as if I’m righteous and therefore not destroy me with the world of the ungodly. Wow. He counts me as  if I am righteous... and I believe that. So I will go on building the ark and seek to persuade as many others to believe God is willing to count them as righteous and if they believe that, they’ll jump on board the ark with me’.

Noah walked with God- Noah as one of the seed of the woman had the characteristic of Enoch, who was in the same line. Moment by moment in the day, we are to be "with" God, on a journey with Him. All life is movement, a journey. It's not a case of being on a journey whilst others are static, but moving with God.

Gen 6:10 Noah became the father of three sons: Shem, Ham, and Japheth-
Gen. 6:18 implies that Noah only had three sons, whereas for people with such long life spans we'd have expected him to have had far more than that. He only had three children- for he prepared the ark to save "his house" (Heb. 11:7) and Gen. 7:1 is quite clear: "Go into the ark, you and all your household"- his whole household was his wife, three sons and their wives. Period . I suggested on Gen. 5:29 that we get the picture of a man who was the underdog, the farm worker, the sidekick of the family, whose own family life was delayed and limited by this background. Perhaps he turned to alcohol for comfort (hence Gen. 9:21). But it was he whom God chose to save, he alone who was righteous in that generation which perished. It was the quiet, broken man who was saved. 

The mention of three sons being born in one year (Gen. 5:32) might mean they were triplets. Perhaps there was a far higher incidence of multiple births in those days, just as lifespans were far longer. This would mean that there would have been a veritable population explosion going on in the lead up to the flood- another connection with our last days, which are "as the days of Noah".

6:11 The earth was corrupt before God- Note how this verse is quoted in Ez. 8:17 about the land (same word as "earth") of Israel being filled with violence. Similarly Gen. 6:13 is alluded to in Ez. 7:2,3,6. This opens up an understanding of Ezekiel along the lines that it is describing the events of AD70 as well as other periods. The flood being such a clear type of AD70, passages which allude to it must also have an AD70 context. "Before God" means 'in His presence'; the idea may be that His presence was still found at the cherubim which guarded the entrance to the garden of Eden. But 'before Him' there, the earth was found corrupt. And so the flood swept away Eden and the sanctuary. This would imply that up until the flood, God was willing to allow Eden to be restored and to grant entry to it- but no saviour figure arose in the line of the seed of the woman, despite some, such as Noah, Cain and Seth, who may have had the potential. And so the salvation program was set back, as has happened so often in salvation history.

The same Hebrew word is translated "corrupt" and "destroyed" (s.w. :13). The people destroyed themselves; their corruption was their own destruction. And this is how God works; it's not simply that judgment for sin is appropriate to the sin, but that sin is its own judgment and condemnation. Therefore to "bear sin" is to bear the [judgment for] sin. And God's judgment and destruction is simply a confirmation of man's choice to destroy himself and his world. In this we see how God respects human freewill decisions, to the point that we are confirmed in those choices by Him. And that adds meaning to human decision and imparts a gravity and seriousness to human choice.

The Jewish apocryphal Book of Enoch was instrumental in forging the Jewish misunderstanding of Satan as a personal being. This book shifts the blame for sin from humanity to a Satan-figure called Azazel: "The whole earth has been corrupted through the works that were taught by Azazel: to him ascribe all sin" (1 Enoch 9:6; 10:8). There is a subtle but significant difference between this and the Biblical record in Gen. 6:11- which states that the earth became corrupt before God because of human sin. The Biblical record makes no attempt to pass the blame for this onto any other being- humanity was punished because they sinned. It would in any case be surely unethical for God to punish humanity because of what Azazel did.


And the earth was filled with violence- The world was characterized by hamas- "unrighteousness". 'Hamas' can mean "lawlessness perpetrated by force" (Umberto Cassuto, A Commentary On The Book Of Genesis (Jerusalem: Magness Press, 1998) Vol. 2 p. 52). Perhaps we have here a suggestion that the 'land' promised to Abraham- the arena of the Biblical flood- is to be dominated by 'Hamas' or a like terrorist organization.

6:12 God saw the earth, and saw that it was corrupt- He sees or 'looks' all the time (Ps. 14:2; 53:2,3). ‘Looking upon’ is an idiom for answered prayer or God's response to human request (Gen. 6:12; 29:32; Ex. 2:25; Dt. 26:7; Jud. 6:14; Lk. 1:48). Perhaps [as often in early Genesis] we have the same events recorded in different words; in 6:8 we learn that Noah found grace in God's eyes; and perhaps in response to Noah's prayers for salvation from his evil world, God looked upon the earth and decided to destroy it in response to Noah's prayers. Not that necessarily Noah prayed for earth's destruction; but this was the method God used to answer whatever Noah was asking for.

For all flesh had corrupted His way on the earth– The same word is translated ‘destroy’ when we read of God’s resolve to  ‘destroy’ humanity with the flood (Gen. 6:13,17). Humanity had destroyed themselves; Divine condemnation and judgment is only really a working out of what people have done to themselves. The same word occurs in Ex. 32:7, where we read that Israel had corrupted / destroyed themselves. This is an example of how within the Pentateuch, events in early Genesis set the scene for the later story of Israel. God's "way" in the eretz was surely the way to the tree of life, guarded by the cherubim. The flood swept all that away, including the garden of Eden and the possibility to come to eternity through the sanctuary and a saviour-seed of the woman. "All flesh" had corrupted or destroyed that way by their immorality. And God confirmed that by literally destroying it.

We note that the eretz was corrupt because the people upon it were corrupt. So often, the eretz and its people are seen as one. Hence the eretz was left desolate whilst the people of the eretz were desolated. In :13 we will likewise read that the people of the land had filled the land with violence; and this was why the land ["earth"] had to be destroyed.


6:13 God said to Noah, The end of all flesh has come before me, for the earth is filled with violence through them. Behold, I will destroy them with the earth- Both Moses and Peter stress that God brought the flood upon "the world of the ungodly", i.e. the wicked people. The Jewish writings claimed that the purpose of the flood was to destroy sinful Angels, and that mankind suffered from the result of their destruction. Thus the Testament of Naphtali 3.5: "Likewise the Watchers departed from the order of nature; the Lord cursed them at the Flood". The Jewish writings repeatedly change the Biblical emphasis upon wicked people (especially Jews), claiming that the various Divine judgments were upon wicked Angels. Quite why people on earth should have to suffer the result of this remains a begged question. The Biblical record speaks repeatedly of the destruction of "all flesh". It was their 'corruption' which came 'before God' (:11); here, it is the end or destruction of "all flesh" which was before God. Again, people are put for their behaviour. This may sound obvious, but in reality, we so often consider that we ourselves in our core being are a spiritual person, and yet we allow ourselves to do things and say words which are [so we like to think] 'not really me'. But human words and actions are treated by God as the person. For that is who we are. The word is made flesh, whether that word is good or bad. Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks (Mt. 12:34).

It's significant that the various Mesopotamian legends about a flood all speak of there being conflict between the divinities before the decision to flood the earth was taken; and then quarrels and recriminations between them after it. The Biblical record has none of this- the one true God brought the flood upon the earth by His sovereign will, and He lifted the flood. In the legends, the hero of the flood [cp. Noah] is exalted to Divine status, whereas in the Biblical record Noah not only remains human, but is described as going off and getting drunk. Throughout pagan legends, the Divine-human boundary is often blurred- gods get cast down to earth and become men, whilst men get exalted to 'Heaven' and godhood. This gave rise to the idea of 'angels that sinned' and were cast down to earth. But in the Biblical record, the Divine-human boundary is set very clearly- the one God of Israel is so far exalted above humanity, His ways are not ours etc. (Is. 55:8), that there can be no possibility of this happening. The exception of course was in the Son of God, the Lord Jesus Christ- but even He was born as a genuine human upon earth, and [contrary to Trinitarian theology] He was no Divine comet who landed upon earth for 33 years. The whole idea of the Divinity and personal pre-existence of Jesus Christ is simply not Biblical.

6:14 Make a ship of gopher wood- A commonly available tree in the Middle East. The ark is Christ. He was from common material, of our human nature. Building a boat on dry land, before anyone had experienced rain or flooding, was the kind of paradigm breaking challenge which in essence we experience in this age. For we are asked to bend all our powers to preparing for a future which we can only see by faith, leading to the mockery of those around us.

You shall make rooms in the ship- Heb. nests. There is a unique place for each of us prepared in God's eternal house- Jn. 14:1-3.

And shall seal it inside and outside with pitch- Cp. our being sealed in Christ with the Spirit in our hearts, as it were "inside", in a way which is visible to all, "outside" (Eph. 1:13; Eph. 4:30). The same idea is to be found in the Lord shutting in Noah (Gen. 7:16). The Hebrew for 'pitch' is related to the word for 'covering', as in the atonement covering for sin. Clearly, the ark and the flood narrative are intended to be interpreted as a parable of redemption in Christ.

6:15 This is how you shall make it. The length of the ship will be three hundred cubits, its breadth fifty cubits, and its height thirty cubits- The ark was not designed for sailing, it had no means of self propulsion, nor self-steering. We likewise are led by the Spirit, and once we surrender to that, our path is not of our own device nor direction. The ark represents Christ, entering Him by baptism (1 Pet. 3:19-21). Once there, we're in God's hands. 300 x 50 x 30 is the same proportion as the human body- significant in that the ark is understood by Peter as being a type of the body of Christ, into which the believer enters by baptism.

The Biblical account of the flood gives details which are imaginable, earthly realities; there is nothing of the grossly exaggerated and other-worldly which there is in the pagan flood legends. Thus the Biblical dimensions for the ark are realistic, whereas the boat mentioned in the Babylonian legend recorded by Berossus was supposedly about one kilometer long and half a kilometer wide. Noah was 600 years old according to the Biblical record, whereas Ziusudra, the Mesopotamian equivalent of Noah, was supposedly 36,000 years old at the time of the flood.

6:16 You shall make a roof in the ship, and you shall finish it leaving a cubit between the roof and the sides. You shall set the door of the ship in its side. You shall make it with lower, second, and third levels- "Roof" is AV "a window"- Heb. a light (as RV, ASV), a glistering thing; the word comes from the word for pressed oil. The Rabbis suggest it was a precious stone. If so, it would look forward to the Lord Jesus as the light of our world as we live within the ark. This isn’t the same Hebrew word as in Gen. 8:6, where Noah opened a window in the ark. "The door" likewise is a title of the Lord Jesus; the same Hebrew word is used multiple times of the tabernacle door (Ex. 29:11) and the temple door, also of the door of the houses at Passover time in which salvation was to be found (Ex. 12:22,23). The three levels are hard to interpret; we think of Paul's reference to a "third heaven", and the three divisions of the tabernacle, into most holy, holy and the entrance area beyond the door of the tabernacle. The ark is presented as a kind of tabernacle, a sanctuary, with Noah building it obediently, as Moses did the tabernacle (Gen. 6:22).

6:17 I, even I, do bring the flood of waters on this earth, to destroy all flesh having the breath of life from under the sky. Everything that is in the earth will die- The condemned world of Noah’s time [the flood was a clear type of the final judgment] were to ‘pine away / languish’ (Gen. 6:17; 7:21- AV “die”). The wicked will melt away from the Lord's presence (Ps. 68:2). Rejected Israel are described as being "ashamed away" (Joel 1:12)- the same idea. This is the idea behind Heb. 12:15 RVmg: "…man that falleth back from the grace of God". What they did in this life in slinking away from the reality of pure grace will be what is worked out in their condemnation experience. 1 Jn. 2:28 speaks of them as being "ashamed from before him at his coming", the Greek suggesting the idea of slinking away in shame.

6:18 But I will establish my covenant- The covenant wasn’t established until Noah left the ark, Gen. 9:11. Noah lived by faith in this promise of a promise- which is what this was. Being in covenant relationship with God is presented as the opposite of dying. The covenant was of salvation, and outside of it, there was no salvation, only death. The same to this day. This encourages us to preach that covenant to others, and urge those who accept it to remain within it.

With you- "You" singular. God established His covenant with Noah personally, but Noah was able to save his family as well on account of his covenant relationship with God. Ez. 14:14,20 state that in Ezekiel's time, Israel were so wicked that Noah would've saved only himself and not his family. Yet Heb. 11:7 says that Noah saved his family by preparing the ark. The implication could be that Noah's spirituality 'covered' his weaker family, because they were not as unspiritual as the people of Ezekiel's time, although still in need of saving by another. This suggests that to some extent, we can affect the salvation of third parties, especially family members, by our own finding of grace before God. Noah is strangely described as "the eighth person" of the eight who were saved (2 Pet. 2:5). Perhaps this means that he put the salvation of the others first, and entered last of all into the ark. The covenant was with him, relating to his personal salvation; but he wasn't spiritually selfish, but rather worked to incorporate others within his own salvation. And God remembered this, calling him "the eighth" (RV "Noah with seven others").

You shall come into the ship, you, your sons, your wife, and your sons’ wives with you- Noah apparently had only one wife, even though it seems she wasn't very fruitful. Polygamy was likely popular amongst the wealthy- indicating Noah's faithfulness to his wife as well as possibly his poverty


6:19 Of every living thing of all flesh, you shall bring two of every sort into the ship, to keep them alive with you. They shall be male and female- The animals were gathered from all over the land. They cannot represent the saints- Noah's family represents them. They may therefore look forward to the people from all over the world who will survive the judgements on the world due to their association with us. Thus many of those to whom we witness but they do not respond may well survive the holocaust to come upon the world to live in the new age of peace, like that which followed the flood. This concept should give the ultimate fillip to our enthusiasm for preaching- no longer obsessed with numbers of baptisms but with the number of people being witnessed to. Far more clean animals than unclean were taken into the ark. Peter in Acts 10 saw a vision in which clean animals represented Jews and unclean were Gentiles. Does this indicate that more Jews will survive the judgements to come on the world than Gentiles? Given the many Jews that we know will die in the last day judgements, it follows that if this line of interpretation is correct very few Gentiles will survive at all.

This throws interesting light on the likely population in the Millennium, if indeed that understanding is literally correct. If each saint rules over some mortals, as Rev. 5:10 and the parable of ten and five cities indicates, then the population of the cities cannot be that great. For all the world to come and worship at Jerusalem to keep the feast of tabernacles (Zech. 14) could suggest small numbers relative to the present world population. Everything apart from what was in the ark was destroyed by the flood; the carnage was beyond description. Thus in the last days, which will be an even fuller cataclysm than anything yet seen on the earth, such wholesale destruction is to be expected, in which only a handful survive.

"Shall you bring" contrasts with "shall come unto you" (6:20). Noah's ark is a well known type of the salvation which humanity can find in Christ; and yet close analysis of the Genesis record reveals that there were some animals whom Noah had to bring into the ark and take them with him (Gen. 6:19; Gen. 7:2); and others who came to Noah and entered into the ark of their own volition (Gen. 6:20; Gen. 7:9,15,16). The same Hebrew is found in Gen. 8:9, about how the dove came to Noah of its own volition, and Noah welcomed her and took her into the ark. Putting all this together, we are to compel men to come in (Lk. 14:23); and yet we are also to be there to welcome in the seekers who seek of their own volition. It's easier to do the latter; to put up a website, waiting there for some eager seeker to come and find. But we are also to compel people in, and to also bear in mind that there are some who will be attracted to the Gospel from selfish reasons, as the man who buys the field thinking that he can exploit it for his own benefit. These too we are to take on board and not turn away. Whilst people, with all their wonderful uniqueness, should never be pigeon-holed nor over-categorized... all the same, we need to consider the type of person we're dealing with as we plan out our approach. For if we seek them, we will consider who they are, and how appropriately we can engage them.

A week before the flood came, Noah was told to bring seven pairs of clean animals and one pair of unclean animals into the ark. This two stage gathering process may suggest that in the last days, immediately before judgment falls, there is a desperate final appeal to the world; and good and bad, clean and unclean, come in. Just as the parable of the marriage supper teaches.

"Of every sort" may not mean every single kind of animal, just as not literally "all men" shall be saved, but representatives of them. Semitic languages comfortably carry this kind of idea when they speak in absolute terms such as "every" or "all". It depends how we read the word "of". If it is only the eretz  in view, then the logistical problems are far less. In the type, this speaks of all kinds of people preserved in Christ- but not literally all are saved. If Noah hadn't brought them in, much to the mockery of the surrounding world, they wouldn't have been saved. Few, i.e. 8 people, were saved in the ark (1 Pet. 3:20). The animals therefore don't represent the 'saved'. The point may simply be that through our salvation, there is also the salvation of the animal world; or perhaps the animals were representative of those who will be given the chance of redemption after the Lord has returned and established the Kingdom, both good and bad, clean and unclean. Note the use of clean and unclean animals to symbolize people hearing the Gospel in Acts 10:9-16.

6:20 Of the birds after their kind, of the livestock after their kind, of every creeping thing of the ground after its kind, two of every sort shall come to you, to keep them alive- "Come to you [Noah]"- cp. Jn. 6:37 "All that the Father gives me shall come to me". Noah was a type of Christ, saving His household. As "Come unto me" (Mt. 10:28). "To keep them alive" is an idea found later in Genesis, when we read that Joseph created as it were a sanctuary in Egypt and gathered food for others to eat, "To bring to pass, as it is this day, to save many people alive" (Gen. 50:20). There are many such interconnections within the Pentateuch, especially between the early chapters of Genesis and Israel's later recorded experiences.

6:21 Take with you of all food that is eaten, and gather it to yourself; and it will be for food for you, and for them- This would've involved Noah observing the animals carefully in order to understand what food they required. If his gathering of the animals represents our gathering of people for the Kingdom, we can learn from this- to understand those whom we seek to bring in to Christ and care for in Him. Seeing they were in the ark for a year and 10 days (Gen. 7:11 600th year, 2nd month, 17th day of the month to 601st year, 2nd month, 27th day, Gen. 8:13,14), this involved a huge amount and variety of food; and also observing the animals to see what they each ate. People really would've thought Noah was crazy. All this preparation for others was part of the witness through which Noah was a "preacher of righteousness" (2 Pet. 2:5). And so it is with us; there is no record of Noah preaching, but his example and dedication to the salvation project was of itself the preaching.

6:22 Thus Noah did. According to all that God commanded him, so he did- As noted on Gen. 6:16, the ark was a kind of tabernacle. The comment upon Noah's obedient building is that made so often upon Moses' obedient building of the tabernacle, and the related commandments required to save Israel (Ex.  7:20; Ex. 12:50; Ex. 40:16).

During the preparation period, Noah was a "preacher of righteousness" (2 Pet. 2:5). But there's no hint in the Genesis record that he preached in any formal sense. 1 Pet. 1:11; 3:19-21 suggest that he made his witness through "the spirit of Christ". His very preparation for the coming of the day of the Lord was his witness. Noah must be one of the greatest examples of witness through silent example (cp. 1 Pet. 3:1), openly structuring his life around his faith in God's promised future rather than living just for today. 1 Pet. 3:20 says that God's patient grace "waited" whilst the ark was being prepared. But the Greek really means to "await", with the idea of expectation, looking for something. So as Noah preached, God's grace eagerly looked for and awaited a result. The result may appear tiny- 'just' his wife, three sons and three young women whom they then married. But God's grace was eagerly awaiting and anticipating the success of his witness. And it's just the same with our witness and appeal for baptism into the Christ ark in these last days, which were typified by that period of Noah's life.