And Noah lived after the flood three hundred and fifty years.…
Here is a brief record of a noble life. There is little besides the simple numeration of years — merely a reference to the great event of Noah's history, and his falling at length under the common fate of all the race. This record, short as it is, teaches us some important lessons.
I. THE SLOW MOVEMENTS OF DIVINE JUSTICE. Before the flood the wickedness of man had grown so great that God threatened to cut short his appointed time upon the earth. His days were to be contracted to one hundred and twenty years — a terrible reduction of the energy of human life when man lived nearly one thousand years (Genesis 6:3). But, from the instance of Noah, we find that this threat was not executed at once. Divine justice is stern and keen, but it is slow to punish.
II. THE ENERGY OF THE DIVINE BLESSING. God blessed man at the first, and endowed him with abundant measures of the spirit of life. Even when human iniquity required to be checked and punished by the curtailing of this sift, the energy of the old blessing suffered little abatement. God causes the power of that blessing still to linger among mankind. The hand of Divine goodness slackens but slowly in the bestowal of gifts to man. How often are the favours of Providence long continued to doomed nations and men! Underlying all God's dealings with men there is the strong power of redemption, which is the life of every blessing. That power will yet overcome the world's evil and subdue all things.
III. GOD'S PROVISION FOR THE EDUCATION OF THE RACE. When men depended entirely upon verbal instruction, and teachers were few, the long duration of human life contributed to the preservation and the extending of knowledge. But as the education of the world advanced, new sources of knowledge were opened and teachers multiplied, the necessity for long life in the instructors of mankind grew less. The provisions of God are wonderfully adjusted to human necessity.
IV. AN ENCOURAGEMENT TO PATIENT ENDURANCE. Here is one who bore the cross for the long space of nine hundred and fifty years. What a discipline in suffering as well as in doing the will of God! Time is the chief component among the forces that try patience, for patience is rather borne away by long trials than overwhelmed by the rolling wave. If tempted to murmur in affliction, or at our protracted contest with temptation and sin, let us think of those who have endured longer than we.
(T. H. Leale.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And Noah lived after the flood three hundred and fifty years.