Genesis 6:17
And, behold, I, even I, do bring a flood of waters on 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.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(17) A flood.Mabbul, another archaic word. It is used only of the deluge, except in Psalm 29:10, where, however, there is an evident allusion to the flood of Noah.

Every thing that is in the earth shall die.—That this by no means involves the theory of a universal deluge has been shown with admirable cogency by Professor Tayler Lewis in “Lange’s Commentary.” His view is that the writer described with perfect truthfulness that of which he was either an eye-witness, or of which he had received the knowledge by tradition; or lastly, that he recorded in his own language the impressions divinely inspired in his mind by God. “We have no right,” he adds, “to force upon him, and upon the scene so vividly described, our modern notions or our modern knowledge of the earth, with its Alps and Himalayas, its round figure, its extent and diversities, so much beyond any knowledge he could have possessed or any conception he could have formed.” The excursus is too long even for condensation, but we may add, first, that the idea of unnecessary miracle is contrary both to the wisdom of the Almighty, and to what we actually find in the Bible with respect to the exercise of supernatural power; and, secondly, that the narrative itself repeatedly negatives the theory that the flood extended to any great distance beyond the regions then occupied by man. Moreover, it is in exact accordance with the use of words in Holy Scripture that the large term, the earth, is limited to the earth as known to Noah and his contemporaries. We shall also discover in what follows reason for believing that the account originally came from one who was an eye-witness; and the extreme antiquity of the language is a proof that it was committed to writing at a time long anterior to the age of Moses.

Genesis 6:17-18. Behold, I, even I, do bring a flood of waters upon the earth — I, who am infinite in power and therefore can do it; infinite in justice, and therefore will do it. But with thee will I establish my covenant — 1st, The covenant of providence, that the course of nature should be continued to the end of time, notwithstanding the interruption which the flood would give to it: this promise was immediately made to Noah and his sons, Genesis 9:8, &c.; they were as trustees for all this part of the creation, and a great honour was thereby put upon them. 2d, The covenant of grace, that God would be to him a God, and that out of his seed God would take to himself a people.6:12-21 God told Noah his purpose to destroy the wicked world by water. The secret of the Lord is with them that fear him, Ps 25:14. It is with all believers, enabling them to understand and apply the declarations and warnings of the written word. God chose to do it by a flood of waters, which should drown the world. As he chooses the rod with which he corrects his children, so he chooses the sword with which he cuts off his enemies. God established his covenant with Noah. This is the first place in the Bible where the word 'covenant' is found; it seems to mean, 1. The covenant of providence; that the course of nature shall be continued to the end of time. 2. The covenant of grace; that God would be a God to Noah, and that out of his seed God would take to himself a people. God directed Noah to make an ark. This ark was like the hulk of a ship, fitted to float upon the waters. It was very large, half the size of St. Paul's cathedral, and would hold more than eighteen of the largest ships now used. God could have secured Noah without putting him to any care, or pains, or trouble; but employed him in making that which was to be the means to preserve him, for the trial of his faith and obedience. Both the providence of God, and the grace of God, own and crown the obedient and diligent. God gave Noah particular orders how to make the ark, which could not therefore but be well fitted for the purpose. God promised Noah that he and his family should be kept alive in the ark. What we do in obedience to God, we and our families are likely to have the benefit of. The piety of parents gets their children good in this life, and furthers them in the way to eternal life, if they improve it.The method of destruction is now specified. A water flood shall cover the land, in which all flesh shall perish. I, "behold," I. This catastrophe is due to the interposition of the Creator. It does not come according to the ordinary laws of physics, but according to the higher law of ethics.17-22. And, behold, I, even I, do bring a flood—The repetition of the announcement was to establish its certainty (Ge 41:32). 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. I, even I, which is thus emphatically repeated, to signify that this flood did not proceed from natural causes, but from the immediate hand and judgment of God,

do bring, i.e. will assuredly and speedily bring,

all flesh, i.e. all men, birds, and beasts.

Every thing that is in the earth. This limitation is added to show, that the fishes are not included in the threatened destruction, either because they did not live in the same element wherein men lived and sinned; or because they were not so instrumental in men’s sins as the beasts might be; or because man had a greater command over the beasts than over the fishes, and greater service and benefit from them; and therefore the destruction of the former was a greater and more proper punishment to man than the latter. And, behold, I, even I, do bring a flood of waters upon the earth,.... That there was such a flood of waters brought upon the earth, is confirmed by the testimonies of Heathen writers of all nations; only instead of Noah they put some person of great antiquity in their nation, as the Chaldeans, Sisithrus or Xisuthrus; the Grecians and Romans, Prometheus or Deucalion, or Ogyges. Josephus (z) says, all the writers of the Barbarian or Heathen history make mention of the flood and of the ark; and he produces the authorities of Berosus the Chaldean, and Hieronymus the Egyptian, who wrote the Phoenician antiquities, and Mnaseas, and many others, and Nicolaus of Damascus: and there are others that Eusebius (a) makes mention of, as Melo, who wrote against the Jews, yet speaks of the deluge, at which a man with his sons escaped; and Abydenus the Assyrian, whose account agrees with this of Moses that follows in many things; as do also what Lucian (b) and Ovid (c) have wrote concerning it, excepting in the name of the person in whose time it was: and not only the Egyptians had knowledge of the universal deluge, as appears from the testimony of Plato, who says (d), that an Egyptian priest related to Solon, out of their sacred books, the history of it; and from various circumstances in the story of Osiris and Typhon, which name they give to the sea, and in the Chaldee language signifies a deluge; and here the Targum of Onkelos renders the word by "Tuphana"; and the Arabs to this day call the flood "Al-tufan"; but the Chinese also frequently speak of the deluge (e); and even it is said the Americans of Mexico and Peru had a tradition of it (f); and the Bramines also (g), who say that 21,000 years ago the sea overwhelmed and drowned the whole earth, excepting one great hill, far to the northward, called "Biudd"; and that there fled thither one woman and seven men (whose names they give, see Genesis 7:13) those understanding out of their books that such a flood would come, and was then actually coming, prepared against the same, and repaired thither; to which place also went two of all sorts of creatures (see Genesis 6:19) herbs, trees, and grass, and of everything that had life, to the number in all of 1,800,000 living souls: this flood, they say, lasted one hundred and twenty years (see Genesis 6:3) five months and five days; after which time all these creatures that were thus preserved descended down again, and replenished the earth; but as for the seven men and woman, only one of them came down with her, and dwelt at the foot of the mountain.And this flood was not topical or national only, but general and universal: it was brought "upon the earth", upon the whole earth, as the following account shows; and by the Lord himself, it was not through second causes, or the common course of things: and to show it possible and certain, this form of expression is used, "behold, I, even I, do bring"; it was wonderful, beyond the power of nature, and therefore a "behold" is prefixed; it was possible, because the Almighty God declares he would bring it; and it was certain, which the redoubling of the word points at; and would be quickly, since he said, "I am bringing", or "do bring"; just about to do it; wherefore the ark was not so long preparing as some have thought, and the command to build it was not long before the flood came. The word for the flood comes from one which signifies to fall (h), either because of the fall of the waters at it, or because it made all things to fall, wither, and decay, as herbs, plants, men, beasts, and all creatures; or from one that signifies to consume, or to mix and confound, and bring all things to confusion, as Jarchi suggests (i): and the end and intention of it, as here expressed, was

to destroy all flesh, wherein is the breath of life, from under heaven; every living creature, men and women, the beasts and cattle of the earth, and every creeping thing on it, and the fowls of the heaven, man principally, and these for his sake.

And everything that is in the earth shall die; but not what was in the waters, the fishes of the sea, which could live in the flood.

(z) Antiqu. l. 1. c. 3. sect. 6. (a) Praepar. Evangel. l. 9. c. 12, 19. (b) De Dea Syria. (c) Metamorph. l. 1. Fab. 7. (d) In Timaeo, & de Iside & Osir. (e) Sinic. Hist. l. 1. p. 3, 26. (f) See Bishop Patrick, in loc. (g) Miscellanea Curiosa, vol. 8. p. 261, 262. (h) "cecidit". (i) "consumpsit, vel" "confudit, miscuit".

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.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
17. And I, behold, I] The emphasis on the 1st person seems to bring out the thought of the terrible necessity of this act of universal destruction brought upon the world by its Creator.

the flood] Heb. mabbûl, a word used only of the Deluge in this passage (6–9) and in Psalm 29:10, where “the flood of waters” fails to give the meaning, which is “the Deluge (the mabbûl) of waters.”

all flesh] See Genesis 6:12. Here, however, it denotes the animals as well as mankind.

the breath of life] Lit. “the spirit (ruaḥ, LXX πνεῦμα) of life,” a different phrase from that in Genesis 2:7, “the breath (nishmath) of life” (J). Noah is commanded to enter the ark, taking with him his own family and two of all the animals. The Priestly Writer could not endorse the idea that the distinction between “clean” and “unclean” was known before the days of Moses. In J, however (Genesis 7:2-3), it is assumed that this distinction was primaeval (see note).Verse 17. - And, behold, I, even I. More correctly, "And I, behold, I," an emphatic assertion that what was coming was a Divine visitation, and not simply a natural occurrence. Do bring. Literally, brining, the participle standing in place of the finite verb to indicate the certainty of the future action (vide Gesenius, 'Gram.,' § 134). A flood of waters upon the earth. מַכּוּל, pronounced by Bohlen "far-fetched," "is an archaic word coined expressly for the waters of Noah (Isaiah 44:9), and is used nowhere else except Psalm 29:10 waters upon the earth" (Keil). The first intimation of the means to be employed in inflicting judgment on the morally corrupted world. To destroy all flesh, wherein is the breath of life, from under heaven; and every thing that is in the earth shall die. The fishes only being excepted, "either

(1) because they did not live in the same element wherein man lived and sinned; or

(2) because they were not so instrumental in man's sins as the beasts might be; or

(3) because man had a greater command over the beasts than over the fishes, and greater service and benefit from them" (Peele). Noah was to build this ark, because God was about to bring a flood upon the earth, and would save him, with his family, and one pair of every kind of animal. מבּוּל, (the flood), is an archaic word, coined expressly for the waters of Noah (Isaiah 54:9), and is used nowhere else except Psalm 29:10. הארץ על מים is in apposition to mabbul: "I bring the flood, waters upon the earth, to destroy all flesh, wherein is a living breath" (i.e., man and beast). With Noah, God made a covenant. On בּרית see Genesis 15:18. As not only the human race, but the animal world also was to be preserved through Noah, he was to take with him into the ark his wife, his sons and their wives, and of every living thing, of all flesh, two of every sort, a male and a female, to keep them alive; also all kinds of food for himself and family, and for the sustenance of the beasts.
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