corner graphic

Bible Commentaries

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Genesis 8

 

 

Verse 1

Genesis 8:1 And God remembered Noah, and every living thing, and all the cattle that [was] with him in the ark: and God made a wind to pass over the earth, and the waters asswaged;

Ver. 1. And God remembered Noah.] He might begin to think that God had forgotten him, having not heard from God for five months together, and not yet seeing how he could possibly escape. He had been a whole year in the ark; (a) and now was ready to groan out that doleful Usquequo Domine :Hast thou forgotten to be merciful? &c. But forgetfulness befalls not the Almighty. The butler may forget Joseph; and Joseph, his father’s house: Ahasuerus may forget Mordecai; and the delivered city the poor man that by his wisdom preserved it. [Ecclesiastes 9:15] The Sichemites may forget Gideon; but "God is not unfaithful to forget your work and labour of love," saith the apostle. [Hebrews 6:10] And there is "a book of remembrance written before him," saith the prophet, "for them that fear the Lord". [Malachi 3:16] A metaphor from kings that commonly keep a calendar or chronicle of such as have done them good service: as Ahasuerus, [Esther 6:1] and Tamerlane, (b) who had a catalogue of their names and good deserts, which he daily perused, oftentimes saying that day to be lost wherein he had not given them something. God also is said to have such a book of remembrance. Not that he hath so, or needeth to have; for all things, both past and future, are present with him: he hath the idea of them within himself, and every thought is before his eyes, so that he cannot be forgetful. But he is said to remember his people (so he is pleased to speak to our capacity) when he showeth his care of us, and makes good his promise to us. We also are said to be his "remembrancers" [Isaiah 62:6] when we plead his promise, and press him to performance. Not that we persuade him thereby to do us good, but we persuade our own hearts to more faith, love, obedience, &c., whereby we become more capable of that good.

God made a wind.] So he worketh usually by means, though he needeth them not. But many times his works are, as Luther speaketh, in contrariis mediis . As here he assuageth the waters by a wind, which naturally "lifteth up the waves thereof," and enrageth them. [Psalms 107:25 Jonah 1:4] God worketh by contraries, saith Nazianzen, (c) that he may be the more admired.

Though our ark be driven in a tempestuous sea, saith one, yet it shall neither sink nor split, whiles we sail in the thoughts of Almighty God.


Verse 2

Genesis 8:2 The fountains also of the deep and the windows of heaven were stopped, and the rain from heaven was restrained;

Ver. 2. And the rain from heaven was restrained.] These four keys, say the Rabbis, God keeps under his own belt: 1. Of the womb; 2. Of the grave; 3. Of the rain; 4. Of the heart. "He openeth, and no man shutteth; he shutteth and no man openeth". [Revelation 3:7]


Verse 3

Genesis 8:3 And the waters returned from off the earth continually: and after the end of the hundred and fifty days the waters were abated.

Ver. 3. And the waters returned continually.] Or, hastily (Heb., הזלד ושׁוב). In going and returning; or, heaving and shoving, with all possible speed to return to their place, at God’s appointment. See a like cheerfulness in God’s servants. [Zechariah 8:21 Isaiah 9:8 Psalms 110:3]


Verse 4

Genesis 8:4 And the ark rested in the seventh month, on the seventeenth day of the month, upon the mountains of Ararat.

Ver. 4. Mountains of Ararat.] On the tops of the Gordaean mountains (where Noah’s ark rested) we find many ruins and huge foundations (saith the Preacher in his travels), (a) of which no reason can be rendered but that which Josephus gives: (b) that they that escaped the flood were so astonished and amazed that they dared not descend into the plains and low countries, but kept on the tops of those mountains, and there built.


Verse 5

Genesis 8:5 And the waters decreased continually until the tenth month: in the tenth [month], on the first [day] of the month, were the tops of the mountains seen.

Ver. 5. The waters decreased.] Not all on the sudden, but by little and little, for exercise of Noah’s faith. "He that believeth maketh not haste". [Isaiah 28:16] God limiteth our sufferings for time, manner, and measure. Joseph was a prisoner till the time came. Smyrna was in tribulation for ten days. Physic must have a time to work; and gold must lie some while in the fire. "In the opportunity of time," saith Peter, "God will exalt you." {εν καιρω, 1 Peter 5:6} Prescribe not to him, with those Bethulians in Judith; but wait his leisure, and let him do what is good in his own eyes. He waits a fit season to show us mercy, [Isaiah 30:18] and thinks as long of the time as we do.


Verse 6

Genesis 8:6 And it came to pass at the end of forty days, that Noah opened the window of the ark which he had made:

Ver. 6. At the end of forty days.] Viz., After that the tops of the mountains were discovered.

The window of the ark,] i.e., That in the upper loft of the ark, where the fowls were.


Verse 7

Genesis 8:7 And he sent forth a raven, which went forth to and fro, until the waters were dried up from off the earth.

Ver. 7. And he sent forth a raven.] Which when it is made tame, though it delights in dead carcasses, whereof Noah knew the earth was now full, yet doth not easily forget its station, but returns thereto, when nature is satisfied.

Which went forth to and fro.] Fluttered about the ark, but kept out of it. Manet foris cum voce corvina, qui non habet simplicitatem columbinam. (August.)


Verse 8

Genesis 8:8 Also he sent forth a dove from him, to see if the waters were abated from off the face of the ground;

Ver. 8. Also he sent forth a dove.] A bird that being swift and simple, willingly "flies" back "to his windows," [Isaiah 60:8] through love and faithfulness to his mate and young. Besides, he fleeth a long while together, and very near the ground, and so was fitter for this service. Josephus saith, that he came into the ark with his feet and wings wet and dirty, which could not but be good news to Noah. Plutarch affirmeth, that Deucalion sent a dove to try whether the waters were dried: Satan est Dei simia .


Verse 9

Genesis 8:9 But the dove found no rest for the sole of her foot, and she returned unto him into the ark, for the waters [were] on the face of the whole earth: then he put forth his hand, and took her, and pulled her in unto him into the ark.

Ver. 9. And the dove found no rest.] No more doth man’s soul (God’s turtle) till it rest in God. Domine , saith St Augustine, fecisti nos ad te, ideoque cor nostrum inquietam est, donec requieverit in te. Hic finis nostrae formationis , saith another, ut homo sit templum Dei, et Deus ara hominis . How oft doth the good soul cry, "Oh that I had the wings of a dove!" &c. [Psalms 55:6] Or, if that "Oh" will not set him at liberty, she takes up that "Woe" to express her misery: "Woe is me that I sojourn in Mesech," &c. [Psalms 120:5] (a)


Verse 10

Genesis 8:10 And he stayed yet other seven days; and again he sent forth the dove out of the ark;

Ver. 10. And again he sent forth the dove.] The fitter for such a purpose, because she flieth long and low; and out of love to her mate would soon return with the good news so much longed for by Noah and his company.


Verse 11

Genesis 8:11 And the dove came in to him in the evening; and, lo, in her mouth [was] an olive leaf pluckt off: so Noah knew that the waters were abated from off the earth.

Ver. 11. In her mouth was an olive leaf.] The olive never casteth her leaf, and is greenest in the spring, saith Pliny. It might very well continue so under water during the flood. It may also very well, by an allegory, set forth that grace and peace by Jesus Christ, brought in the mouth of his ministers in this evening of the world. [Romans 10:15] The dove returned at first without her errand; but, sent again, she brought better tidings. The man of God must not only be "apt to teach," but "patient, in meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; proving, if at any time, God will give them repentance." (a) All are not sent into the vineyard at the same hour of the day. Holy Melancthon, being himself newly converted, thought it impossible for his hearers to withstand the evidence of the gospel. But after he had been a preacher a while, ‘tis said he complained, "that old Adam was too hard for young Melancthon." (b) And yet he lacked not afterwards the seal of his ministry. For among many others converted by him, was that sweet saint, George, Prince of Anhalt, whose house was eccelesia, academia, curia , and whose heart was so upright with God, his life so laudable among men, that Melancthon (c) (once publicly defending the certainty of our future felicity by this argument, that godly men must be hereafter rewarded, wicked men punished), he named this pious prince as an unquestionable example of such a man, as might assuredly expect the promised crown of life eternal, which God the righteous Judge will give to all his. [2 Timothy 4:8]


Verse 12

Genesis 8:12 And he stayed yet other seven days; and sent forth the dove; which returned not again unto him any more.

Ver. 12. Which returned not unto him any more.] But, out of love of liberty, forgat both her mate and her master; who yet was hereby certified, to his comfort, that now she had, abroad, met with both footing and feeding.


Verse 13

Genesis 8:13 And it came to pass in the six hundredth and first year, in the first [month], the first [day] of the month, the waters were dried up from off the earth: and Noah removed the covering of the ark, and looked, and, behold, the face of the ground was dry.

Ver. 13. The face of the ground.] The surface of it was dry, but yet soft and muddy: he therefore waited two months longer. Let us also "be patient". [James 5:7]


Verse 14

Genesis 8:14 And in the second month, on the seven and twentieth day of the month, was the earth dried.

Ver. 14. And in the second month.] This was God’s good time, which holy Noah was content to wait; which we must also learn to do, or all will be out of order. Christ oft stayeth long, till "the fourth watch". [Matthew 14:25] As he never faileth at his own time, so he seldom cometh at ours. Do therefore as the martyr did, who might have escaped privately out of prison, and was tempted so to do by his friends. But he replied, I will not go out of prison, when my friends would have it so, for that would be too soon; neither shall I stay here, till mine enemies would let me go, for that would be too long: but when God seeth good, and makes a fair way for me, &c.


Verse 15

Genesis 8:15 And God spake unto Noah, saying,

Ver. 15. And God spake unto Noah.] {See Trapp on "Genesis 8:16"}


Verse 16

Genesis 8:16 Go forth of the ark, thou, and thy wife, and thy sons, and thy sons’ wives with thee.

Ver. 16. Go forth of the ark.] Learn we of this holy patriarch, to do all by God’s direction, and not dare to attempt anything without his warrant; approving ourselves to him in our comings in and goings out. He hath "charged his angels" [Psalms 91:11] with us, so long as we keep the king’s highway; but if we go out of his precincts, we go out of his protection. Take counsel at his mouth, and then we may safely say, "Lord, if I be deceived, thou hast deceived me". [Jeremiah 20:7] This, as at all times we have need to do, so now especially, when there is {as 2 Chronicles 15:5} "no peace to him that goeth out, nor to him that cometh in, but great vexation upon all countries. Nation being destroyed of nation, and city of city," &c.


Verse 17

Genesis 8:17 Bring forth with thee every living thing that [is] with thee, of all flesh, [both] of fowl, and of cattle, and of every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth; that they may breed abundantly in the earth, and be fruitful, and multiply upon the earth.

Ver. 17. That they may breed abundantly.] R. Solomon thinks that not only reasonable, but unreasonable creatures also did forbear carnal copulation during the flood; {See Trapp on "Genesis 7:7"} which yet Mercer holds not probable.


Verse 18

Genesis 8:18 And Noah went forth, and his sons, and his wife, and his sons’ wives with him:

Ver. 18. And Noah went forth.] In obedience to the divine command. Yεω επου, "follow God," was the old and good rule. {See Trapp on "Genesis 8:16"}


Verse 19

Genesis 8:19 Every beast, every creeping thing, and every fowl, [and] whatsoever creepeth upon the earth, after their kinds, went forth out of the ark.

Ver. 19. Every beast after their kind.] Heb., After their families: that is, not confusedly and pell-mell, as we say, but distinctly and in order: the lion with the lioness, &c., every male with his female, the clean by themselves, and the unclean by themselves. And as these latter came to the ark unclean, and unclean they departed; so do millions, now-a-days, to the ordinances. A preacher hath as much joy to see them there as John Baptist had to see the Pharisees thronging to his baptism, when he cried out, "O generation of vipers," who sent for you "who hath forewarned you?" &c. [Matthew 3:7]


Verse 20

Genesis 8:20 And Noah builded an altar unto the LORD and took of every clean beast, and of every clean fowl, and offered burnt offerings on the altar.

Ver. 20. And Noah builded an altar to the Lord.] This was his first care; and so it was Abraham’s wherever he came. It must be also ours, after great deliverances especially. God’s mercies are binders: Beneficium postulat officium . He is content we have the comfort of his blessings, so he may have the praise of them. This peppercorn is all the rent he looks for. Oh, cover we God’s altar "with the calves of our lips, giving thanks to his name". [Hebrews 13:15] This will "please him better than an ox that hath horns and hoofs". [Psalms 69:31] Only let it be done, the first thing that we do, after the receipt of a benefit, which else will soon wax stale and putrify as fish. No part of the thank offering might be kept unspent to the third day. Hezekiah wrote his song the third day after his recovery. Noah was no sooner out of the ark, but he offered on his newly built altar; as well for testification of his thankfulness, as for confirmation of his faith in that Lamb of God, slain and sacrificed from the beginning of the world. "God was" now also "in Christ reconciling this" new "world to himself". [2 Corinthians 5:19]


Verse 21

Genesis 8:21 And the LORD smelled a sweet savour; and the LORD said in his heart, I will not again curse the ground any more for man’s sake; for the imagination of man’s heart [is] evil from his youth; neither will I again smite any more every thing living, as I have done.

Ver. 21. And the Lord smelled a sweet savour.] Heb., A savour of rest (a) Greek, ευωδιας; which the apostle followeth, saying that Christ gave himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a smell of sweet savour. [Ephesians 5:2] All our sacrifices are accepted for this of Christ, which otherwise would be turned off with, "who required these things at your hands?" [Isaiah 1:12] The sacrifice of the wicked is, abomination to the Lord; (b) yea, though he should bring "thousands of rams, and ten thousand rivers of oil," with those miscreants in Micah. [Micah 6:7] that by their munificence would fain have purchased a dispensation to sin: whereas Noah with his ox, ram, he-goat, turtle, and young pigeon, laid in for him by God himself for this same purpose, is highly accepted in that beloved One, as Christ is called [Ephesians 1:6] (c)

The Lord said in his heart.] All his promises are heart-sprung; the issue of a most faithful and righteous will, void of any the least insincerity and falsehood. Whatsoever he speaks, he speaks from his heart. We may write upon it, "the eternity of Israel cannot lie". [1 Samuel 15:29]

I will not again curse the ground, &c., for the imagination of man’s heart. As who should say, Man doth but his kind now, in committing evil before me. He hath by his fall brought upon himself a miserable necessity of sinning, so that he cannot but "do wickedly with both hands earnestly"; [Micah 7:3] which though it be no excuse, but an aggravation rather of his actual sin (that he doth it out of the pravity of his nature), yet I will not take advantages to deal with him after his deserts; for then there would be no end of making worlds, and unmaking them again. "I will not curse, I will not smite any more." Where note, that God’s smiting his creature is a fruit of sin, and a piece of the curse. And unless men "return to him that smiteth them," [Isaiah 9:13] all that they suffer here, is but a typical hell. Here the leaves only fall upon them, the trees will fall upon them hereafter.


Verse 22

Genesis 8:22 While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease.

Ver. 27. While the earth remaineth.] Heb., All the days of the earth. The earth then (though Solomon in some sense says it endureth for ever) hath its set and certain number of days appointed it by God. For "the earth also and the works therein shall be burnt up". [2 Peter 3:10] And this the heathen had heard of, and hammered at; as Lucretius, who disputes the matter out of natural causes. So doth Cicero, De Nat. Deorum , lib. i. 2. And Ovid, Metamorph . i.: Esse quoque in fatis meminit ,& c. There he hath also a large relation of the general flood in Deucalion’s days: so he calleth Noah. Lucian (a) hath the like in his book, De Dea Syriae . And Plutarch speaketh of the sending forth of the dove, and of her return unto Deucalion into the ark. "But we have a more sure word of prophecy."

Cold and heat, and summer and winter, &c.] Lopez de Gomara saith that the kings of Mexico, when they are consecrated, use to take their oath after this manner: - I swear that the sun, during my life, shall hold on his course, and keep his wonted glory and brightness, and that the clouds shall send down rain, the river shall run, and the earth bring forth all manner of fruit, &c. But "can any of the vanities of the heathen give rain?" &c. [Jeremiah 14:22]

 


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Genesis 8:4". John Trapp Complete Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/genesis-8.html. 1865-1868.

Commentary Navigator
Search This Commentary
Enter query in the box below
To report dead links, typos, or html errors or suggestions about making these resources more useful use our convenient contact form
Powered by Lightspeed Technology