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Bible Commentaries

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Genesis 7

 

 

Verse 1

Genesis 7:1 And the LORD said unto Noah, Come thou and all thy house into the ark; for thee have I seen righteous before me in this generation.

Ver. 1. For thee have I seen righteous before me.] Not only before men, as Pharisees, [Luke 16:15] and civil justiciaries, [Romans 2:29] but before me who see the inside, and love "truth in the hidden man of the heart". [Psalms 51:6 1 Peter 3:5] And here Noah’s sincerity prevailed with God for his safety, as did likewise Lot’s, whom God hid in Zoar; and Abram’s, to whom God was a shield to save him from the deadly thrusts of destruction, when he pursued the four kings and foiled them, because he "walked before him, and was upright." [Genesis 15:1; Genesis 14:15] So true is that of Solomon, "He that walketh uprightly, walketh safely," [Proverbs 10:9] as if he were in a tower of brass, or town of war. And again, "In the fear of the Lord is strong confidence, and his children have a place of refuge". [Proverbs 14:26] The old Rock is still ready to relieve them. [Isaiah 26:3]

In this generation.] Called by St Peter, "a world of ungodly ones," [2 Peter 2:5] far worse, no doubt, than those in Enoch’s days. The greater praise was it to Noah, that, by a holy antiperistasis, he kindled from their coldness, and became nothing the worse, but much the better (as it is the nature of true goodness) by their oppositions. It was an invincible faith, whereby he both conquered the world and "condemned" it. What else could have carried him over so many difficulties, as he must needs encounter? Well might the apostle say, "By faith he prepared an ark". [Hebrews 12:7] For if he had been led by sense, he would have fled as far as Jonah did, ere ever he had gone about it.


Verse 2

Genesis 7:2 Of every clean beast thou shalt take to thee by sevens, the male and his female: and of beasts that [are] not clean by two, the male and his female.

Ver. 2. Of every clean beast thou shalt take by sevens.] Three pair for generation, and a single one for sacrifice, after the flood was past. Genesis 8:20 God must have a share; and good reason. But that two only of a sort, of the unclean hurtful creatures were preserved, note his fatherly providence. To this day we see, though sheep and birds be so killed up for man’s use, yet there are far more of them, than of other unserviceable or cruel creatures. Besides, the weaker creatures go in herds together, the stronger and more savage go alone. For if they should go in multitudes, no man nor beast could stand before them. This you shall find set down to your hand. Job 37:8, Psalms 104:17-30 Ammianus Marcellinus writeth, "that in Chaldea there are a huge number of lions, which were like enough to devour up both men and beasts throughout the country. But withal, he saith, that by reason of the store of water and mud thereof, there breed yearly an innumerable company of gnats, whose property is to flee into the eye of the lion, as being a bright and orient thing, where, biting and stinging the lion, he teareth so fiercely with the claws, that he puts out his own eyes; and by that means many are drowned in the rivers, others starve for want of prey, and many the more easily killed by the inhabitants. Bodin (a) telleth us, that the wolf never seeth his sire, his dam, nor his young: for that the herd of wolves set upon, and killeth that wolf, which by the smell they perceive to have coupled with the she wolf; which unless they did, what a deal of mischief would be done by them everywhere among cattle!


Verse 3

Genesis 7:3 Of fowls also of the air by sevens, the male and the female; to keep seed alive upon the face of all the earth.

Ver. 3. Of fowls also.] Such as are of clean kinds, as R. Solomon senseth it. The eagle and the lion were not for sacrifice; like as were the lamb and the dove. "Not many mighty," &c. [1 Corinthians 1:26]


Verse 4

Genesis 7:4 For yet seven days, and I will cause it to rain upon the earth forty days and forty nights; and every living substance that I have made will I destroy from off the face of the earth.

Ver. 4. For yet seven days, &c.] God could have destroyed them by water, or otherwise, in a far shorter space: But, of his free grace, he gives them yet seven days further, and then rains upon the earth forty days, as, not willing that any should "eternally perish, but that all should come to repentance". [2 Peter 3:9] The Hebrew doctors are very injurious to Noah, because we read not that he prayed for the old world, but only took care of himself, and his own family, censuring him therefore of self-love and hard-heartedness. So they judge very uncharitably of those that perished in the flood; sending them all to hell, and wresting some scriptures thereunto; as, that in this present verse, God saith, he will destroy them, or blot them out; that is, say they, (a) out of the land of the world to come, the land of the living. I deny not, but many of their "spirits are in prison"; so saith St Peter. [1 Peter 3:19] But withal, in the next chapter, the same apostle tells us, that "for this cause the gospel was preached also to them that are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit". [1 Peter 4:6] Compare these words with those in 1 Peter 3:18-20, and it will appear, the apostle speaks of these antediluvians. All were not saved that were in the ark, nor all damned, we may well think, that were out of it. Could they see their "foundation overflown with a flood," as the phrase is, [Job 22:16] and "not lay for themselves a good foundation" by "laying hold on eternal life"? [1 Timothy 6:19] St Ambrose conceiveth, that Noah was seven days in the Ark, before the flood came; that as God was six days in creating the world, and rested the seventh; so these perishing persons, admonished by the number of the days of the creation, might "remember their creator," [Ecclesiastes 12:1] and make their peace. Nunquam sero, si serio .


Verse 5

Genesis 7:5 And Noah did according unto all that the LORD commanded him.

Ver. 5. And Noah did according unto all.] This "All," is a little word, but of large extent. He doth not his master’s but his own will, that doth no more than himself will. A dispensatory conscience is an evil conscience. God cries to us, η ολως, η μη ολως. He will have universal obedience both for subject and object. ( Quicquid propter Deum sit, aequaliter sit .) We must be entirely willing in all things to please God, or we utterly displease him. Herod did many things, and was not a button the better. Jehu’s golden calves made an end of him, though he made an end of Baal’s worship. He that doth some, and not "all God’s will," with David, {θεληματα, Acts 13:22} in desire and affection at least, doth but as Benhadad, recover of one disease, and die of another: yea, if he take not a better course for himself, he doth but take pains to go to hell. Then shall we not be ashamed, when we have respect, at least, to all God’s commandments. [Psalms 119:6]


Verse 6

Genesis 7:6 And Noah [was] six hundred years old when the flood of waters was upon the earth.

Ver. 6. And Noah was six hundred years old.] He was five hundred old when God first foretold the flood, and promised the old world one hundred and twenty years’ respite: but, wearied out with their obstinacy in sin, he "cut the work short in righteousness," [Romans 9:28] and brought the flood upon them twenty years sooner: as it is said of Christ’s second coming, that, "for the elect’s sake, those days shall be shortened"; [Matthew 24:22] so, for the contumacy of these ungodly sinners, their judgment was hastened. For God is not asleep, or gone a journey, as the prophet said of Baal, &c. [1 Kings 18:27]


Verse 7

Genesis 7:7 And Noah went in, and his sons, and his wife, and his sons’ wives with him, into the ark, because of the waters of the flood.

Ver. 7. And Noah went in, and his sons, &c.] Not till he was compelled by the coming in of the flood, say the Jews: of no good will, but because there was no other remedy. Thus they belie the good old preacher. Let no man think much to be misjudged. Novit sapiens ad hoc scamma se productum, ut depuguet cure iis, qui maledictis aluntur, ut venenis capreae .{ a}

And his wife, and his sons’ wives.] Here some have noted, that when they entered into the ark, the Holy Ghost puts the men by themselves, and the women by themselves; as, when they went out, God joined them together; to teach us, say they, that in a common calamity "those that have wives, must be as they that have none". [1 Corinthians 7:5; 1 Corinthians 7:29]


Verse 8

Genesis 7:8 Of clean beasts, and of beasts that [are] not clean, and of fowls, and of every thing that creepeth upon the earth,

Ver. 8. And of those that are not clean.] So a Doeg may set his foot as far within the sanctuary as a David: A "generation of vipers" may come to John’s baptism, [Matthew 3:7] as well as better men. But as these beasts came unclean to the ark, and went thence as unclean; so do most men to the holy ordinances; which yet are the heavenly exchange betwixt God and his elect: they present duty, He confers mercy. "The just Lord is in the midst thereof; he will not do iniquity: … but the unjust knoweth no shame"; [Zephaniah 3:5] he that is "filthy," will "be filthy still". [Revelation 22:11]


Verse 9

Genesis 7:9 There went in two and two unto Noah into the ark, the male and the female, as God had commanded Noah.

Ver. 9. There went in two and two.] Of their own accord, by divine instinct. Noah was not put to the pains of hunting after them, or driving them in. Only he seems to have been six days in receiving and disposing of them in their various cells, and fetching in food. When God bids us do this or that, never stand to cast perils; but set upon the work, yield "the obedience of faith," and fear nothing. The creatures came in to Noah, without his care or cost. He had no more to do, but to take them in, and place them. The prophet alludes hereto in Isaiah 11:6-7, - all bloodiness and rapine aside.


Verse 10

Genesis 7:10 And it came to pass after seven days, that the waters of the flood were upon the earth.

Ver. 10. The waters of the flood were upon the earth.] God is as faithful in his menaces, as in his promises. [Zephaniah 3:5] The wicked think them but wind, but shall feel them to be "fire". [Jeremiah 5:14] "Your fathers, where are they? Did not my word" (though never so much slighted) "lay hold upon them? And they returned" (that is, changed their minds, when they smarted) "and said, Like as the Lord thought to do unto us, so hath he dealt with us". [Zechariah 1:5-6] Veratio dat intellectum . There wanted not those in the old world, that held all the threats of a flood to be in terrorem only; and, when they heard Noah thundering, put off all, as those in the gospel, with "God forbid". [Luke 20:16] We cannot get men to believe that God is so just, or the devil so black, or sin so heavy, or hell so hot; till it hath even closed her mouth upon them. "The fool rageth and is confident," [Proverbs 14:16] "passeth on and is punished," [Proverbs 22:3] and will not be better advised. But what said the martyr? (a) They that tremble not in hearing, shall be crushed to pieces in feeling. God’s wrath is such as none can avert or avoid.


Verse 11

Genesis 7:11 In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month, the same day were all the fountains of the great deep broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened.

Ver. 11. In the second month.] In April, as it is thought; then when everything was in its prime and pride; birds chirping, trees sprouting, &c., nothing less looked for than a flood; then God "shot at them with an arrow suddenly," [Psalms 64:7] as saith the psalmist. So shall "sudden destruction" [1 Thessalonians 5:3] come upon the wicked at the last day, when they least look for it. So the sun shone fair upon Sodom the same day wherein, ere night, it was fearfully consumed. What can be more lovely to look on, than the grain field a day before harvest, or a vineyard before the vintage?

All the fountains of the great deep, &c.] So, we live continually betwixt two deaths, the waters above and below us. (a) "Serve the Lord with fear."


Verse 12

Genesis 7:12 And the rain was upon the earth forty days and forty nights.

Ver. 12. Forty days and forty nights.] This was God’s last warning-piece, shot off at these secure sinners, to arouse them, if haply they would awake out of "the snare of the devil," who lay "taken captive by him, at his will": [2 Timothy 2:26] God loveth to fore-signify, saith the heathen historian.


Verse 13

Genesis 7:13 In the selfsame day entered Noah, and Shem, and Ham, and Japheth, the sons of Noah, and Noah’s wife, and the three wives of his sons with them, into the ark;

Ver. 13. In the self-same day.] Things are repeated, that they may be the better observed, and the greatness of the mercy the more acknowledged: that God should single out so few, and save them, &c.


Verse 14

Genesis 7:14 They, and every beast after his kind, and all the cattle after their kind, and every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind, and every fowl after his kind, every bird of every sort.

Ver. 14. They, and every beast after his kind.] Laying aside all their antipathies, and hostilities, for self-preservation, in that common danger. Oh that men were thus wise! Some Roman generals did so; and some fathers of the Church: but few such now-a-days: Apparent rari ,& c.


Verse 15

Genesis 7:15 And they went in unto Noah into the ark, two and two of all flesh, wherein [is] the breath of life.

Ver. 15. And they went in unto Noah.] Of their own accord, by an instinct from God, whose hosts all creatures are called, for their (1.) number, (2.) order, (3.) obedience. {See Trapp on "Genesis 6:20"}


Verse 16

Genesis 7:16 And they that went in, went in male and female of all flesh, as God had commanded him: and the LORD shut him in.

Ver. 16. And the Lord shut him in.] A mean office, one would think, for God to shut the door after Noah. He could not well do it himself, the door doubtless being great and heavy, and others that were without would not do him so much service. God therefore doth it himself, and therefore it could not but be well done indeed. In a case of necessity, we need not question God’s readiness to do us any good office, so long as we keep close to him in a holy communion. [2 Chronicles 15:2] In a letter of B. Hooper’s, to certain good people, taken praying in Bow churchyard, and now in trouble, thus he writes; - "Read (a) the second chapter of Luke; there the shepherds that watched upon their sheep all night, as soon as they heard Christ was born at Bethlehem, by and by they went to see him. They did not reason, nor debate with themselves, who should keep the wolf from the sheep in the meanwhile; but did as they were commanded, and committed their sheep to him, whose pleasure they obeyed. So let us do. Now we be called, commit all other things to him that calleth us. He will take heed that all things shall be well: he will help the husband, comfort the wife, guide the servants, keep the house, preserve the goods: yea, rather than it shall be undone, he will wash the dishes, and rock the cradle. Cast therefore all your care upon God," &c. Thus he.


Verse 17

Genesis 7:17 And the flood was forty days upon the earth; and the waters increased, and bare up the ark, and it was lift up above the earth.

Ver. 17. It was lift up above the waters.] Afterwards it went upon the face of the waters, till, at last, the highest hills were covered with waters; the ark floating upon the surface of them, and not swallowed up by them. In reference whereunto David prays, "Let not the waterflood overflow me, neither let the deep swallow me up". [Psalms 69:15] The true Christian may be tossed on the waters of affliction, yea, douced over head and ears; and, as a drowning man, sink twice to the bottom; yet shall up again, if out of the deep he call upon God, as Jonah did: "Then I said, I am cast out of thy sight" (there you may take him up for dead), "yet I will look again toward thy holy temple" (there he revives and recovers comfort), [Jonah 2:4] Yea, though hell had swallowed up a servant of God into her bowels, yet it must, in despite of it, render him up, as the whale did Jonah: which, if he had lighted upon the mariners, would have devoured and digested twenty of them in less space.


Verse 18

Genesis 7:18 And the waters prevailed, and were increased greatly upon the earth; and the ark went upon the face of the waters.

Ver. 18. And the ark went upon the face of the waters.] Where now were those profane scoffers that asked what the old fool meant to build such a vessel? and whether, when he had made his ship, he would also make a sea for it to swim in?


Verse 19

Genesis 7:19 And the waters prevailed exceedingly upon the earth; and all the high hills, that [were] under the whole heaven, were covered.

Ver. 19. And all the high hills.] So high, some of them, that their tops are above the clouds and winds. And yet, as high as they were, they could not save those from the flood that fled to them. "Truly," might they say, "in vain is salvation hoped for from the mountains". [Jeremiah 3:23] Well for them, if, taught by their present distress and danger, they could go on, with the Church there, and say, "Surely in the Lord our God is the salvation of Israel." Happy storm, that beats us into the harbour!


Verse 20

Genesis 7:20 Fifteen cubits upward did the waters prevail; and the mountains were covered.

Ver. 20. Fifteen cubits upward.] So, above any mountain. The Popish fable of Enoch, preserved alive in some high place of the earthly paradise, shall as soon be believed as the Jewish tale of Og (one of the old giants, say they), escaping death by riding astride upon the ark.


Verse 21

Genesis 7:21 And all flesh died that moved upon the earth, both of fowl, and of cattle, and of beast, and of every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth, and every man:

Ver. 21. And every man died.] Now these mockers behold that ark with envy, that erst they beheld with scorn; they wish themselves in the darkest corner of it, that lately laughed at it, and perhaps did what they could to hinder the finishing of it. (a) Yea, some, likely, to save them from drowning, caught at and clung as fast to the outside of the ark as Joab, for the same cause, did to the horns of the altar. But all in vain; for,


Verse 22

Genesis 7:22 All in whose nostrils [was] the breath of life, of all that [was] in the dry [land], died.

Ver. 22. All in whose nostrils was the breath of life died, of all that was in the dry land.] This last clause exempts fishes: though the Jews would needs persuade us that these also died; for that the waters of the flood were boiling hot. But rain-water uses not to be hot, we know; and therefore we reject this conceit as a Jewish fable.


Verse 23

Genesis 7:23 And every living substance was destroyed which was upon the face of the ground, both man, and cattle, and the creeping things, and the fowl of the heaven; and they were destroyed from the earth: and Noah only remained [alive], and they that [were] with him in the ark.

Ver. 23. And every living substance was destroyed.] That all ensuing ages, considering this standing monument of God’s wrath against sin (whence once it is become, as physicians say of some diseases, corruptio totius substantiae), might hear, and fear, and do no more so.


Verse 24

Genesis 7:24 And the waters prevailed upon the earth an hundred and fifty days.

Ver. 24. A hundred and fifty days.] Reckoning from the first day of the falling of the rain [Genesis 7:11] unto the end of the sixth month: well might the poet say -

Oψε θεων αλεουσι μυλαι, αλεουσι δε λεπτον.

 


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Bibliography Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Genesis 7:4". John Trapp Complete Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/genesis-7.html. 1865-1868.

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