Commentary Critical and Explanatory
on the Whole Bible
WICKEDNESS OF THE
2. the sons of God saw the daughters of men--By the former is
meant the family of Seth, who were professedly religious; by the
latter, the descendants of apostate Cain. Mixed marriages between
parties of opposite principles and practice were necessarily sources of
extensive corruption. The women, religious themselves, would as wives
and mothers exert an influence fatal to the existence of religion in
their household, and consequently the people of that later age sank to
the lowest depravity.
3. flesh--utterly, hopelessly debased.
And the Lord said, My spirit shall not always strive--Christ, as
God, had by His Spirit inspiring Enoch, Noah, and perhaps other
preached repentance to the antediluvians; but they were incorrigible.
yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years--It is
probable that the corruption of the world, which had now reached its
height, had been long and gradually increasing, and this idea
receives support from the long respite granted.
4. giants--The term in Hebrew implies not so much the
idea of great stature as of reckless ferocity, impious and daring
characters, who spread devastation and carnage far and wide.
5, 6. God saw it . . . repented . . .
grieved--God cannot change
but, by language suited to our nature and experience, He is
described as about to alter His visible procedure towards mankind--from
being merciful and long-suffering, He was about to show Himself a God
of judgment; and, as that impious race had filled up the measure of
their iniquities, He was about to introduce a terrible display of His
8. But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord--favor. What an
awful state of things when only one man or one family of piety and
virtue was now existing among the professed sons of God!
9. Noah . . . just . . . and perfect--not
absolutely; for since the fall of Adam no man has been free from sin
except Jesus Christ. But as living by faith he was just
and perfect--that is, sincere in his desire to do God's will.
11. the earth was filled with violence--In the absence of any
well-regulated government it is easy to imagine what evils would arise.
Men did what was right in their own eyes, and, having no fear of God,
destruction and misery were in their ways.
13. And God said unto Noah--How startling must have been the
announcement of the threatened destruction! There was no outward
indication of it. The course of nature and experience seemed against
the probability of its occurrence. The public opinion of mankind would
ridicule it. The whole world would be ranged against him. Yet,
persuaded the communication was from God, through faith
he set about preparing the means for preserving himself and family from
the impending calamity.
14. Make thee an ark--ark, a hollow chest
gopher wood--probably cypress, remarkable for its durability and
abounding on the Armenian mountains.
rooms--cabins or small cells.
pitch it within and without--mineral pitch, asphalt, naphtha, or
some bituminous substance, which, when smeared over and become
hardened, would make it perfectly watertight.
15. And this is the fashion--According to the description, the
ark was not a ship, but an immense house in form and structure like the
houses in the East, designed not to sail, but only to float. Assuming
the cubit to be 21.888 inches, the ark would be five hundred
forty-seven feet long, ninety-one feet two inches wide, and forty-seven
feet two inches high.
16. A window--probably a skylight, formed of some transparent
in a cubit shalt thou finish it above--a direction to raise the
roof in the middle, seemingly to form a gentle slope for letting the
water run off.
17-22. And, behold, I, even I, do bring a flood--The repetition
of the announcement was to establish its certainty
Whatever opinion may be entertained as to the operation of natural laws
and agencies in the deluge, it was brought on the world by God as a
punishment for the enormous wickedness of its inhabitants.
18. But with thee will I establish my covenant--a special
promise of deliverance, called a covenant, to convince him of the
confidence to be reposed in it. The substance and terms of this
covenant are related at
22. Thus did Noah--He began without delay to prepare the
colossal fabric, and in every step of his progress faithfully followed
the divine directions he had received.