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Bible Commentaries

James Gray's Concise Bible Commentary

Genesis 6

 

 

Verses 1-8

THE FIRST CULMINATION OF SIN

DEGENERATION

The results of civilization were morally downward instead of upward, even the Sethites becoming corrupted in time as seen in the fact that after Enoch’s translation only Noah and his family were found faithful. Just as the translation of Enoch was a type of that of the church when Jesus comes, so the moral condition of the world after his translation is a type of that which shall prevail after the translation of the Church (see Luke 18:8; 2 Thessalonians 2:1-17; 2 Timothy 3:1-17; 2 Peter 3:1-18).

To return to Genesis 5:28, note that the Lamech there spoken of is not the descendant of Cain previously mentioned, but the son of Methuselah in the line of Seth. The name Noah means comfort, but how do Lamech’s words testify of the sad experiences of men in those days on account of sin? What feature of sin is mentioned at the opening of chapter 6? Some think the Sethites are meant by “the sons of God,” but others regard it as a reference to fallen angels who kept not their own principality, but left their proper habitation (Jude 1:6) and consorted with human beings. Pember’s work, Earth’s Earliest Ages, presents arguments for this view which are corroborated by such scientific facts as are given by Sir J. William Dawson in The Meeting Place of Geology and History. In consequence of this awful sin, to what determination does Jehovah come (Genesis 6:3)? But what respite, nevertheless, is He still willing to bestow?

Genesis 6:4 is sadly interesting. The Hebrew for giants is nephilim (RV), which means fallen ones, and in the judgment of some refers to the sons of God or fallen angels of the preceding verses. A slightly different punctuation makes the verse read thus: “There were nephilim [fallen ones] in the earth in those days, and also after that.” “After that” seems to refer to Numbers 13:31-33, where in the report of the spies to Moses they speak of the men of Canaan as of “great stature,” adding: “And there we saw the nephilim, the sons of Anak which come of the nephilim.” This suggests that the culminating sin of the Canaanites was not different from that of the antediluvians. Observe further that the offspring of these sinful unions became the “mighty men which were of old, the men of renown,” from which possibly the ancients obtained their ideas of the gods and demi- gods of which the classics treat.

How does Genesis 6:5 define the extent of the wickedness of these days? Of course, when Jehovah is spoken of as repenting (Genesis 6:6), the language is used in an accommodated sense. Jehovah never repents or changes His mind, but His dealings with men as governed by their conduct appear to them as if He did so. What now becomes His purpose? Who alone is excepted? What shows that even in this case it is not of merit?


Verse 9-10

T

HE ARK AND ITS CONTENTS

Notice the phrase “the generations of” and recall the instruction about it in lesson 2. When Noah is spoken of as just and perfect, that relative sense is used in which any man is just and perfect before God who believes His testimony and conforms his life to it. It is in this sense that every true believer on Jesus Christ is just and perfect. What two charges does God make against the earth (Genesis 6:12-13)? What is Noah commanded (Genesis 6:14)? The measurement of the cubit is uncertain, the ordinary length being 18 inches, the sacred cubit twice that length, and the geometric, which some think may be meant, six times the common cubit. At the lowest calculation the ark was as large as some of our ocean liners. Notice “covenant” (Genesis 6:18), and connect it with the original promise of Genesis 3:15. Why was Noah to take two of every living thing into the ark (Genesis 6:19-20)? What else was he to take (Genesis 6:21)? Mention is made of the sevens of clean beasts (Genesis 7:2), doubtless for the purpose of sacrifice in the ark and after departing from it. If inquiry be raised as to how so many animals could be accommodated in such a space, it is to be remembered

(1) that the ark in all its three stories contained probably one hundred thousand square feet of space; perhaps the animals were not the totality of all the animals known in all the world, but those known to Noah; and

(2) that the distinct species of beasts and birds even in our own day have been calculated as not more than three hundred.

 


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Bibliography Information
Gray, James. "Commentary on Genesis 6:4". The James Gray's Concise Bible Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jgc/genesis-6.html. 1897-1910.

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