Genesis – 6 – Holy Bible Study

CAUSE OF THE FLOOD

In chapter 6 we see not only the Flood, but also the reason for the judgment of the Flood.

Genesis 6:1

And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born unto them,


  • Such long lifespans as indicated in the record of chapter 5 caused a massive increase in earth’s population.

Genesis 6:2

That the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose.


  • The sons of God, identified elsewhere almost exclusively as angels, saw and took wives of the human race.
  • This produced an unnatural union which violated the God-ordained order of human marriage and procreation as found in Gen. 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 versus human contrast.
  • The NT places this account in sequence with other Genesis events and identifies it as involving fallen angels who indwelt men.
  • Matthew 22:30 does not necessarily negate the possibility that angels are capable of procreation, but just that they do not marry.
  • However, to procreate physically, demons had to possess human, male bodies, making this an unnatural process.

Genesis 6:3

And the LORD said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years.


  • The Holy Spirit played a most active role in the OT. The Spirit had been striving to call people to repentance and righteousness, especially as Scripture notes, through the preaching of Enoch and Noah.
  • One hundred and twenty years, is the span of time until the Flood, in which man was given opportunity to respond to the warning that God’s Spirit would not always be patient.

Genesis 6:4

There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown.


  • The word nephilim is from a root meaning “to fall,” indicating that they were strong men who “fell” on others in the sense of overpowering them.
  • They were already in the earth when the “mighty men” and “men of renown” were born.
  • The fallen ones are not the offspring from the union in verses 1 and 2.

Genesis 6:5

And GOD 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.


  • This is one of the strongest and clearest statements about man’s sinful nature.
  • Sin begins in the thought-life.
  • The people of Noah’s day were exceedingly wicked, from the inside out.

Genesis 6:6

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


  • Sin sorrowed God who is holy and without blemish.

Genesis 6:7

And the LORD said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them.


  • God promised total destruction when His patience ran out.

GOD’S DELIVERANCE FROM THE JUDGMENT OF THE FLOOD

Genesis 6:8

But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD.


  • Lest one believe that Noah was spared because of his good works alone, God makes it clear that Noah was a man who believed in God as Creator, Sovereign, and the only Savior from sin.
  • He found grace for himself, because he humbled himself and sought it, he was obedient, as well.

Genesis 6:9

These are the generations of Noah: Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God.


Why did God save Noah?

Because he walked with God?

Yes, but we are also told:

  • By faith Noah, being warned of God, of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith.
  • It took faith to prepare an ark on dry land when it had not even drizzled!
  • In Hebrews, we are told that it was by faith that Enoch was translated.
  • You see, when the church is taken out of this world, every believer is going because the rapture is for believers, and the weakest saint is going out.
  • They are going out because God extends mercy, and we are told that the mercy of God will be demonstrated at that time.
  • This characterization of Noah creates a sharp contrast with the description of the world at large in Genesis 6:5.
  • Of course, Noah sinned like every other human being.
  • But clearly he did not participate in the general moral decay into which the society around him had fallen.
  • Noah was a follower of the Lord rather than idols.
  • But the language and context here distinguish him from other people more on the basis of his character than on the object of his worship.
  • While others are violent, abusive, and self-centered, Noah acts with justice toward others.
  • The word order is one of increasing spiritual quality before God.
  • Just, is to live by God’s righteous standards.
  • Perfect, sets him apart by a comparison with those of his day.
  • And that he walked with God, puts him in a class with Enoch.

Genesis 6:10

And Noah begat three sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth.


  • Noah’s three sons are significant for the role they will play in repopulating the earth after the great flood.
  • As survivors of the catastrophe, Shem, Ham, and Japheth will become the forefathers of all ethnic groups found in Genesis 10.
  • Presumably, they follow their father’s moral example and avoid the sins of the culture around them.

Genesis 6:11

The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence.


  • This verse summarizes the more detailed description of society in Genesis 6:4–7.
  • As seen earlier, God intends for humans to manage the earth and all living things responsibly by following His instructions.
  • While God had commanded Adam and Eve to produce new life, the darker human capacity to murder was introduced in the second generation of the human race.
  • The tendency now seems to be to take life rather than multiply it.
  • The seed of Satan, the fallen rejectors of God, deceitful and destructive, had dominated the world.

Genesis 6:12

And God looked upon the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth.


  • The breadth of the problem is stressed in that the phrase all flesh includes all descendants of Adam and Eve.
  • Everyone except Noah has become corrupt.
  • This implies many self-centered sins. Violent struggles for power, no regard for the common stewardship of the earth’s resources as God originally commanded, etc.
  • People have come to realize that control of the world at the expense of others can produce great material wealth.

Genesis 6:13

And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth.


  • By the time Noah comes on the scene, the situation has become so bad that God sees no other solution than to destroy what He has made.
  • Destroy did not mean annihilation, but rather referred to the Flood judgment, both of the earth and its inhabitants.
  • Theoretically, Genesis 6:7 could signal a return to the timelessness that existed before Genesis 1 after God destroys the universe and all humans with it.
  • Then He could start over. Or God could keep all the inanimate elements of creation intact, then bring new humans into existence.
  • But since Noah is an exception to the rule of wickedness, God decides to work with him and his family rather than starting from scratch.
  • God’s decision to reveal His plan to Noah further stresses the quality of Noah’s character.
  • To what extent Noah shares this dire warning with others outside his family is unknown.
  • Noah is characterized as “a preacher of righteousness” in 2 Peter 2:5, but it is unclear whether that means Noah actually speaks to his contemporaries about the coming judgment and the need to repent.

INSTRUCTIONS TO NOAH FOR BUILDING THE ARK

In the preparation for the Flood, God is giving the people ample opportunity.

Genesis 6:14

Make thee an ark of gopher wood; rooms shalt thou make in the ark, and shalt pitch it within and without with pitch.


  • Having warned Noah of the impending flood, God now tells him how to survive it.
  • Notably, God’s instructions require Noah to demonstrate faith.
  • While God could miraculously protect Noah and his household inside a magic underwater bubble, He instead requires Noah to create his own means of survival at his own expense long before the first drop of rain falls.
  • Noah’s salvation is to take the form of a boat—an ark. The Hebrew word used to describe the vessel is somewhat unusual, appearing in the Bible only here in the story of Noah and at Exodus 2:3–5.
  • In the latter, it refers to the container in which Moses’ mother set him afloat on the Nile River.
  • Some commentators think the word, deriving from an Egyptian term, means, chest or box; others think it means, palace.
  • In Noah’s context, it perhaps implies the special role the ark will play as a container of the precious life within.
  • This was a hollow chest, a box designed to float on water, made of gopher-wood.
  • Probably cedar or cypress trees are in view, abundant in the mountains of Armenia.
  • The precise kind of wood is uncertain since the word gopher is not a translation but a transliteration, that is, a literal rendering of the sounds of the original Hebrew word.
  • The fact that this is the only place in the Old Testament where this word is used adds to the uncertainty.

Genesis 6:15

And this is the fashion which thou shalt make it of: The length of the ark shall be three hundred cubits, the breadth of it fifty cubits, and the height of it thirty cubits.


  • The dimensions of the ark are impressive, even by modern standards: conversion of 18-inch cubits to feet yields a length of 450 feet, a breadth, or width of 75 feet, and height of 45 feet.
  • At first glance, the 33,750 square feet of floor space is impressive enough, but Genesis 6:16b, has more to add to this.
  • The total volume computes to more than 1.5 million cubic feet. This equates to the capacity of about 375 modern tractor trailers! Note that Noah’s ark is conceived as a free-floating barge, not as a steerable ship.
  • Therefore none of its capacity will be occupied by any kind of propulsion system.

Genesis 6:16

A window shalt thou make to the ark, and in a cubit shalt thou finish it above; and the door of the ark shalt thou set in the side thereof; with lower, second, and third stories shalt thou make it.


  • The Hebrew word translated window occurs only here in the Old Testament, so the problem of exact meaning is similar to that of “gopher” in verse 14.
  • The translators of the old Greek version known as the
  • sep-twuh-gnt – Septuagint, who lived two centuries before Christ, seem to have been just as perplexed in their translation; “By an assembling, you shall make the ark; and by a cubit you shall complete it from above.”
  • Presumably, the ark is to have many openings below an overhanging roof for light and ventilation.
  • And the door of the ark shalt thou set in the side thereof; with lower, second, and third stories shalt thou make it.
  • The door of the ark will allow the loading of cargo and animals.
  • It is likely sealed with pitch before the journey.
  • Because the ark is to include three habitable stories, its floor space will exceed 100,000 square feet.

PASSENGERS IN THE ARK

Genesis 6:17

And, behold, I, even I, do bring a flood of waters upon the earth, to destroy all flesh, wherein is the breath of life, from under heaven; and every thing that is in the earth shall die.


  • Having provided instructions for the ark, God now identifies its purpose: the judgment He has decreed will take the form of a devastating flood.
  • The scale of the destruction parallels the scale of the sin, verse 13 indicates that violence and evil had become universal, and the verse at hand prescribes a universal flood as the remedy.
  • Scholars debate whether the term all flesh should be taken to mean that the flood was to be global, covering the entire earth, or regional, confined to one specific part of the world.
  • The latter interpretation emphasizes the fact that judgment is pronounced on and targeted at humanity. And at this point, humans seem confined to a specific area of the world, signifying that all human life can be destroyed by a flood that affects only that region.
  • In either case, the scope of the devastation to come is clear; God intends to wipe out the entire human race, with just a few exceptions.

Genesis 6:18

But with thee will I establish my covenant; and thou shalt come into the ark, thou, and thy sons, and thy wife, and thy sons’ wives with thee.


  • The term covenant, appearing here for the first time in the Bible, is used in a way that specifically distinguishes faithful Noah and his family from the rest of the human race that will be destroyed.
  • Covenant means “contract.” This covenant implies that obedience to a sovereign ruler; in this case God; will result in protection and provision.
  • The terms of the agreement presuppose that Noah, as a servant of God, must follow the command to build and enter the ark; the implied reward is protection from the
  • deh-lyooj – deluge, which Noah receives as a result of his obedience.
  • The explicit terms of the Noahic covenant are listed in Genesis 8:20–9:17.

Genesis 6:19

And of every living thing of all flesh, two of every sort shalt thou bring into the ark, to keep them alive with thee; they shall be male and female.


  • The terms of Noah’s obedience to God’s covenant continue, now regarding the plan for preserving animal life.
  • These instructions cover the full range of creatures.

Genesis 6:20

Of fowls after their kind, and of cattle after their kind, of every creeping thing of the earth after his kind, two of every sort shall come unto thee, to keep them alive.


  • It will be physically impossible for Noah to capture a mating pair of each and every species.
  • The fact will leave room for another miraculous display of God’s power as He will compel healthy representatives to come into the ark.
  • The note that the animals will come in pairs of male and female reflects their purpose of repopulation.
  • These instructions are further clarified in Genesis 7:1–3.
  • Skeptics who doubt the truth of the biblical narrative question the ark’s ability to accommodate eight humans and representatives of all animal species of land and air.
  • They generally approach the question by noting the number of species extant today and arguing that Noah’s ark was not big enough to hold them all.
  • The biblical account, however, takes the opposite approach: only those animals who travel on the ark will survive the flood.

Genesis 6:21

And take thou unto thee of all food that is eaten, and thou shalt gather it to thee; and it shall be for food for thee, and for them.


  • As a final instruction, Noah is commanded to stock the ark with supplies for his family and the animals.
  • Comparing Genesis 7:11 with 8:3–14 indicates that they were in the ark for more than a year.

Genesis 6:22

Thus did Noah; according to all that God commanded him, so did he.


  • Now aware of the forthcoming reality of the annihilation of the human race, Noah proceeds with God’s intricate instructions.
  • The action God intends to take is unprecedented, and we wonder if this quickens the pace of construction.
  • We don’t know.
  • This part of the story merely concludes with a simple statement of Noah’s obedience.
  • Just as he has distinguished himself throughout his life by his righteous conduct, he now distinguishes himself by his full and unquestioning obedience to God’s commands.
  • This aspect of Noah’s story is highlighted in Hebrews 11:7, part of a listing known as the Faith Hall of Fame.
  • By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith.

 

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