Genesis 7:1-16

1 Then the Lord said to Noah, “Come into the ark, you and all your household, because I have seen that you are righteous before Me in this generation.

You shall take with you seven each of every clean animal, a male and his female; two each of animals that are unclean, a male and his female;

also seven each of birds of the air, male and female, to keep the species alive on the face of all the earth.

For after seven more days I will cause it to rain on the earth forty days and forty nights, and I will destroy from the face of the earth all living things that I have made.”

And Noah did according to all that the Lord commanded him.

Noah was six hundred years old when the floodwaters were on the earth.

So Noah, with his sons, his wife, and his sons’ wives, went into the ark because of the waters of the flood.

Of clean animals, of animals that are unclean, of birds, and of everything that creeps on the earth,

two by two they went into the ark to Noah, male and female, as God had commanded Noah.

10 And it came to pass after seven days that the waters of the flood were on the earth.

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

12 And the rain was on the earth forty days and forty nights.

13 On the very same day Noah and Noah’s sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth, and Noah’s wife and the three wives of his sons with them, entered the ark—

14 they and every beast after its kind, all cattle after their kind, every creeping thing that creeps on the earth after its kind, and every bird after its kind, every bird of every sort.

15 And they went into the ark to Noah, two by two, of all flesh in which is the breath of life.

16 So those that entered, male and female of all flesh, went in as God had commanded him; and the Lord shut him in.

This first occurrence [v.1] of the word “come” in the Bible embraces the basic meanings of this gracious invitation occurring again and again in the Scriptures, even down to the last page (Revelation 22:17). This invitation (1) is extended by God to man; (2) urges him to avail himself of the perfect provision God has made for his preservation; and (3) is given in a time of overwhelming judgment and doom. — Scofield, page 12.

It is significant … that the Lord said “Come into the ark,” not “Go.” God would be in the ark with them, and although the Flood would soon be unleashed in devastating fury, they were all safe with Him. Though it was because of Noah’s faith and obedience that God gave the promise concerning his house, each member of that household also exercised saving faith as well. Each one chose voluntarily to enter the ark and renounce the world in which thy had lived so long. — Morris, page 190.

The New Testament refers to the flood under three aspects: (1) our Lord said that, as it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the end of this age (Matthew 24:37-39; Luke 17:26-27); (2) Noah himself is used as an illustration of saving faith (Hebrews 11:7); and (3) the flood is used as a type of baptism (1 Peter 3:19-21). — Scofield, page 12.

No previous categorization of animals as “clean” or “unclean” is given in Genesis. … The three pairs were [perhaps?] to encourage the relatively greater numerical proliferation of the clean animals after the flood (on a par with man, with his three surviving families) and perhaps also to allow for a greater variety of genetic factors, so that more varieties could be developed later as needed. The seventh animal in each group clearly was intended for sacrificial purposes (Genesis 8:20). Much later, the Mosaic law plainly spelled out which animals were to be regarded as clean in the Israelite system (Leviticus 11, etc.), though all such distinctions were to be removed altogether in the Christian dispensation (Acts 10:9-15; 1 Timothy 4:4). — Morris, pages 190-191.

species (v.3) = seed, offspring — not referring to species as we use the word today, but to kinds. The same word is translated “seed” in Genesis 1:11.

When God had finished His instructions, Noah proceeded to do “all that God commanded him,” just as he had done for over a hundred years. Here was the final test, the final break with the world he had known, thrusting himself completely on God’s mercy. And so again, Noah obeyed without a shadow of hesitation. — Morris, page 192.

We can’t be sure at this point which calendar the author of this section of Genesis was using, but he gave the exact date of the flood — “In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month, on that day all the fountains of the great deep were broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened.” Based on the chronology given in Genesis, the flood was approximately 1,655 years after creation.

The antediluvian hydrologic cycle was sharply different from that of the present day. It seems to have been controlled by the two great reservoirs of water resulting from the primeval separation of the waters of the primordial “deep” (Genesis 1:2) on the second day of Creation into “waters above the firmament” and “waters below the firmament,” the firmament consisting of the atmospheric heavens.

The “waters above the firmament” (also called “waters above the heavens” in Psalm 148:4) constituted the vast vaporous canopy which maintained the earth as a beautiful greenhouse, preventing cold temperatures and therefore preventing wind and rain storms. Being in the vapor state, it was invisible and fully transparent, but nevertheless contained vast quantities of water extending far out into space.

The “waters below the firmament” became what is referred to as “the great deep” or “the great depths” of water. This was water in the liquid state, visible especially to the first man in the form of the antediluvian seas (Genesis 1:10) and rivers (Genesis 2:10-14). These rivers were not produced by run-off from rainfall (Genesis 2:5), but emerged through controlled fountains or springs, evidently from deep-seated sources in or below the earth’s crust. There is an interesting reference to the abundant supplies of water pouring forth from these fountains of the great depths in Proverbs 8:24, and probably another in Job 38:16. — Morris, page 194.

every bird of every sort (v.14) – lit. “every kind of little bird of every kind of wings.”

Once all were inside, Noah evidently being last, a remarkable thing took place. “The Lord shut him in.” How He did this is not recorded, but somehow the door to the ark was shut and sealed, without the help of any human hands. This provided the final assurance to the occupants that they were in the will of God and under His protection. — Morris, page 198.

A reason for God’s repeated reference to the animals in this section is to indicate their specific “place” in the order of events about to ensue, not that the Flood is at hand. This order, specifically< is as follows: 1) Noah and his family are to enter the ark, 2) the clean and unclean animals will then enter, 3) after seven more days—i.e., seven days after Noah, his family, and the animals enter the ark—God will begin to send rain on the earth, and 4) the rain will endure continuously for forty days and forty nights until every living thing on the face of the land is dead. 

Seven days … establishes the expectation of a seven-fold period during which special emphasis is placed on (the possibility of) repentance before final judgment. … In the same vein, God later grants the Israelites a period of 490 years (70 x 7) during which, through continual prophetic revelation and unmistakable miracles, God calls them to national repentance for their collective sin (epitomized by their failure to give the land its seventh-year—Sabbatical—rest) until He judges them by the Babylonian conquest and the 70-year exile that was intended to make up those missed rests (2 Chronicles 36:21). And so too do we find that the prophets speak of a seven-year period (otherwise known as “the Tribulation”) of intense supernatural activity during which  mankind—and especially the Jewish people—will be given a final chance to repent and be saved before Christ returns to destroy all of wicked humanity (cf. Daniel 9:27; Revelation 11:2; 12:6).

The second significant numerical paradigm is the period of forty days, which establishes the expectation of a forty-fold period of “spiritual preparation” (“judgment” or even “cleansing” would be too narrow) in transition from one stage or state of affairs to another. Thus we see that the Israelites sojourned in the wilderness for forty years, during which they were instructed in God’s Law and so prepared for entrance into and life in the Promised Land. And so too Christ, the ideal Israelite, sojourned for forty days in the wilderness, immediately following His baptism, in spiritual preparation for His ensuing ministry. — Wechsler, page 144.

The use of repetition/flashback would have been especially relevant in the religious culture of Israel, wherein Scripture was typically “experienced” through oral recitation. — Wechsler, page 145.

The significance of Noah and his household as a symbol of the remnant, with which the reader is to (ideally) identify, is such that it is not left to the interpretive discretion of the reader: this “connection” is explicitly made in 1 Peter 3:20-21. There Peter writes that the people in the ark “who were saved through the water” find their “antitype” in those who are saved through spiritual “baptism” into (i.e., union with) Christ (see also Romans 6:3-5; Ephesians 2:8-9). — Wechsler, page 145. 

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Genesis 6:18-22

18 But I will establish My covenant with you; and you shall go into the ark—you, your sons, your wife, and your sons’ wives with you.

19 And of every living thing of all flesh you shall bring two of every sort into the ark, to keep them alive with you; they shall be male and female.

20 Of the birds after their kind, of animals after their kind, and of every creeping thing of the earth after its kind, two of every kind will come to you to keep them alive.

21 And you shall take for yourself of all food that is eaten, and you shall gather it to yourself; and it shall be food for you and for them.”

22 Thus Noah did; according to all that God commanded him, so he did.

In Genesis 7:2, God commanded seven of each of the clean beasts that were suitable for sacrifice.

covenant (v.18) — first use of the word in Scripture. The details of covenant are given in Genesis 9:9-17 when Noah leaves the ark.

Morris makes the point that larger animals on the ark were probably young ones that hadn’t yet reached full growth. In addition, many (if not all) the animals may have hibernated while on the ark.

Noah was not only a man of strong faith in God’s word, but of thoroughgoing obedience to that word. the tasks God had given him to do were monumental—extremely difficult and discouraging—and yet Noah never questioned or complained. He simply obeyed!

This last verse of the sixth chapter succinctly summarizes a whole century of God’s “long-suffering” while Noah “preached righteousness” to those “who were disobedient while the ark was a preparing” (1 Peter 3:20; 2 Peter 2:6; Luke 17:26-27).

Not only in this verse, but three times more we are told that Noah did all God commanded him (Genesis 7:5, 9, 16). … Because Noah walked with God and was obedient in faith to His word, God had wonderful fellowship with Noah. There are seven recorded instances in which it is said that God spoke to Noah (Genesis 6:13; 7:1); 8:15; 9:1, 8, 12, 17), each time in fellowship and blessing to Noah and his family. — Morris, page 187.

It is clear from the perspective of the text itself that [the flood] is to be regarded as a world-wide event. In the present passage this is underscored by the three-fold occurrence of the expression “all flesh” (Genesis 6:13, 17, and 19), which occurs 33 times elsewhere in the Hebrew Bible and clearly refers to all living creatures, both human and animal (cf., e.g., Job 34:15; Jeremiah 25:31; Ezekiel 21:5). The universal scope of the Flood is further emphasized by the later reference to the water covering “all the high mountains everywhere under the heavens” (Genesis 7:19) as well as God’s promise to “never again destroy every living thing” with a Flood (Genesis 8:21).

God’s concern for animal life—though secondarily, as always, with respect to human life—is borne out by His statement to Noah in vs. 19-20 concerning their preservation by boarding the ark in representative pairs of male and female. This statement is intended to inform Noah of the content of the ark, not as a directive for him to find and assemble these pairs himself—which would be a quite impractical, if not impossible human feat, even assuming Noah had comprehensive knowledge of every class or genus of animal on land, Hence, quite consistently, God concludes by informing Noah that these animal pairs shalle come to him of their own accord (viz., by God’s leading). — Wechsler, pages 139-140

The especial significance of the statement that “Noah did according to all that God commanded him”—which is repeated again in 7:5—becomes evident when once considers that Noah in fact says nothing throughout the entire course of the Flood narrative proper (what he does say in 9:25-27 is many years after the Flood). Indeed, Noah is the only major figure involved in an extended biblical event to whom no words are attributed in the course of that event—the point being that his obedience was expressed by his action. In the New Testament this point is further driven home—and, even more so, applied to evangelism—by Peter’s reference to Noah as a “preacher of righteousness” (2 Peter 2:5)—and yet he never said a word! The writer of Hebrews likewise emphasizes the evangelistic ministry of Noah as extending from his actions when he writes that “in reverence [Noah] prepared the ark … by which he condemned the world” (Hebrews 11:7). … This emphasis on the evangelistic aspect of active obedience is likewise evident in the third and last epistolary reference to Noah in the New Testament, in 1 Peter 3:18-20, in which the Apostle points out that it was the “Spirit” of Christ in Noah—that is, the Holy Spirit—that enabled Noah (just as He enables every believer in any age) to obey God and build the ark, and in so doing to “preach (the need for repentance)” to the people of his time, who nonetheless rejected Noah’s message and remain in prison (i.e., hell) until the day of final judgment (cf. Revelation 20:13-14). — Wechsler, pages 141-142. 

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Genesis 6:14-17

14 Make yourself an ark of gopherwood; make rooms in the ark, and cover it inside and outside with pitch.

15 And this is how you shall make it: The length of the ark shall be three hundred cubits, its width fifty cubits, and its height thirty cubits.

16 You shall make a window for the ark, and you shall finish it to a cubit from above; and set the door of the ark in its side. You shall make it with lower, second, and third decks.

17 And behold, I Myself am bringing floodwaters on the earth, to destroy from under heaven all flesh in which is the breath of life; everything that is on the earth shall die.

To be very conservative, assume the cubit to have been only 17.5 inches, the shortest of all the cubits, so far as is known. In that case, the Ark would have been 438 feet long, 72.9 feet wide, and 43.8 feet high. It can be shown hydrodynamically that a gigantic box of such dimensions would be exceedingly stable, almost impossible to capsize. Even in a sea of gigantic waves, the ark could be tilted through any angle up to just short of 90° and would immediately thereafter right itself again. Furthermore, it would tend to align itself parallel with the direction of major wave advance and thus be subject to minimum pitching most of the time.

With the dimensions as calculated, the total volumetric capacity of the Ark was approximately 1,400,000 cubic feet, which is equal to the volumetric capacity of 522 standard livestock cars such as used on modern American railroads. Since it is known that about 240 sheep can be transported in one stock car, a total of over 125,000 sheep could have been carried in the Ark.

A few other details of the Ark’s construction are given. It was to have three stories, each ten cubits high; and each of these “decks” was to be divided into various “rooms” (literally “nests”—thus apparently each of appropriate size for the individual animals to rest in). The Ark was to be made of “gopher wood,” the exact nature of which is unknown today, though apparently some type of dense, hard wood; and it was to be made waterproof and resistant to decay by impregnation with “pitch,” inside and out.

The word for “pitch” (Hebrew kopher) is different from that used in other places in the Old Testament. it is equivalent to the Hebrew kaphar (“to cover”) and, in the noun form, means simply a “covering.” However, it is also the regular Hebrew word for “atonement,” as in Leviticus 17:11, for example. In essence, therefore, this is the first mention of “atonement” in the Bible. Whatever the exact nature of this”pitch may have been, it sufficed as a perfect covering for the Ark, to keep out the waters of judgment, just as the blood of the Lamb provides a perfect atonement for the soul.

The Ark also had a “window” (Hebrew tsohar), which probably means, literally, an “opening for daylight.” Although the phraseology is difficult, most authorities understand that this “window” was to consist of a one-cubit opening extending all around the Ark’s circumference, near the roof, as provision for light and ventilation. Presumably there was also a parapet provided to keep out the rain.

The word for “ark” (Hebrew tabhah) is not the word used later for the “ark of the covenant,” but it is the word used for the ark of bulrushes in which Moses was hidden as a baby (Exodus 2:3). it seems, therefore, to be a very ancient word for a box meant to float upon water. At the time Noah began building his Ark, it must have seemed ludicrous to his antedilulvian contemporaries. They had never seen any kind of flood, or even rain (Genesis 2:5), and Noah’s preaching and construction work no doubt gave them much occasion for ridicule. — Morris, pages 181-183

The word for “flood” (mabbul), used here [Genesis 6:17] for the first time, applies only to the Noahic Flood; other floods are denoted by various other words in the original. This was the “mabbul,” unique in all history. … Since mabbul is used only in Psalm 29:10, outside of Genesis 6–9, the cataclysmic activity poetically described in Psalm 29 must also refer to the Noachian Deluge. Similarly, when the Genesis Flood is referred to in the New Testament, the Greek term kataklusmos is uniquely employed (Matthew 24:39; Luke 17:27; 2 Peter 2:5; 3:6) instead of the usual Greek word for “flood.” 

The Flood would not only destroy mankind, but also “all flesh,” wherein is the breath of life, from under heaven.” This phrase indicates again that animals, like men, have the “breath” (rauch, “spirit”) of life. The phrase “under heaven” qualifies the destruction as applying to land animals only, as does also the statement “everything that is in the earth [or ‘land].” The Flood would not destroy all marine species. … Such language, of course, is utterly inconsistent with the idea of either a local flood or a tranquil flood. — Morris, pages 183-184.

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Genesis 6:8-13

 But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord.

This is the genealogy of Noah. Noah was a just man, perfect in his generations. Noah walked with God.

10 And Noah begot three sons: Shem, Ham, and Japheth.

11 The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence.

12 So God looked upon the earth, and indeed it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted their way on the earth.

13 And God said to Noah, “The end of all flesh has come before Me, for the earth is filled with violence through them; and behold, I will destroy them with the earth.

If Morris’s interpretation is correct—that generations means “records of the origins,” and that Moses edited Genesis from histories written by earlier men—than Noah’s history ends with verse 9.

Note the consistent Biblical order here. First, Noah “found grace.” Then Noah was “a just man” (that is, “justified” or “declared to be righteous”). Thus he was “perfect in his generations” (or “complete,” in so far as God’s records are concerned), and therefore he was able to “walk with God.” Salvation in any era is exactly in this way. by sovereign grace, received through faith, the believer is justified before God and declared to be complete in Him. Only as a result of, and on the basis of, this glorious gift of grace, can one then “walk” in fellowship with God …

It is noted that Noah was perfect “in his generations.” Among all his contemporaries, over the many generations of a long life, he was the only one, so far as the record goes, who had “walked with God” since Enoch. He was a “preacher of righteousness” (2 Peter 2:5), though apparently no one responded to his preaching …

Noah was above all a man of great faith. Among the heroes of faith recorded in Hebrews 11, it is only Noah whose description both begins and ends with the phrase “by faith” (Hebrews 11:7).

The new section of Genesis that begins at 6:9b is attributed to “the sons of Noah” (10:1). the “generation of Noah” ends at 6:9a. It is noteworth that Noah ends with his own testimony that he had simply “found grace in the eyes of the Lord.” His sons, on the other hand, began their record with a testimony concerning their father, “Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations.” — Morris, pages 177-178

As it was in the day of Noah, so it will be also in the days of the Son of Man (Luke 17:26). … Strictly speaking the statement of our Lord is full of comfort, for we know that the fullness of the violence will make place for another fullness, and that a fullness of glory (Numbers 14:21), where the same word,  the verb maleh is used. Again in Isaiah 11:9 we have the same word: “The earth shall be full of the knowledge of His name.” “The earth is full of the goodness of God” (Psalm 33:5). “The earth is full of thy riches” (Psalm 104:24). The earth, O Lord, is full of thy mercy” (Psalm 119:64).

Christ in His coming shall make the earth full of His praise (Habakkuk 3:3) and then the earth shall also be filled with God’s glory (Habakkuk 2:14). However, before all this blessed fullness of knowledge, praise, and glory comes, the earth will be filled with the most terrible judgments. — Bultema, pages 33.

There is always a remnant of those who strive to remain faithful to the Lord—a principle that is here represented by Noah and his immediate family. It is thus through Noah that God seeks to give humanity their “second chance” at living the ideal—and indeed, the likelihood that man will succeed this time seems even more likely, seeing that Noah, unlike Adam, already had a proven record of living righteously (and thus overcoming temptation) during extended exposure (600 years!) to an extremely wicked world. No one, in fact, except for the Messiah Himself, is described in more glowingly positive terms in the Hebrew Bible than Noah, for any one of the three approbatory expressions applied to him in v.9 would suffice to identify him with that very select group of saints otherwise inclusive of Abraham, who like Noah is described as a righteous man (see Genesis 15:6), Job, who like Noah is described as blameless (see Job 1:1; 12:4), and Enoch, who like Noah walked with God (see Genesis 5:22). That depravity is not ultimately overcome through Noah, despite man’s “reset” environment, serves to make God’s essential point in this last “trial part”—to wit: that depravity, ever since Adam’s sin, is part of our very nature, and cannot be removed except through the sovereign act of God in washing and cleansing our hearts, not our environment (cf. Ezekiel 36:25-26; 1 Corinthians 6:11; Hebrews 10:22).  — Wechsler, pages 137-138

It is, therefore, precisely to make the point that the problem of depravity and sin does not lie in our environment that the emphasis of the text is on the land—i.e., ha-ares (as in 1:10 to specifically designate not the planet, but the “dry ground” on which man lives)—which term is employed four times in the span of these two verses. In the same vein the term corrupt—various forms of which are employed three times in these two verses—should be specifically understood to denote “corruption” or “pollution” caused by sin … That the “corruption” of the land is the result of man’s wicked actions is further emphasized by the reference to the land being filled with violence—in which the word translated violence is employed throughout the Hebrew Bible to denote violence motivated by wicked intent, as opposed to violence which is intended as chastisement for sin or restraint/defense against wicked deeds … — Wechsler, page 138.

God informs Noah of His plan to destroy humanity in judgment for their sins, thus establishing the important paradigm of God informing those whom He “knows” (i.e., those who are justified by faith and regarded by God as His children) of His future plans—whether for the deliverance and/or chastisement of believers, or for the judgment of unbelievers. It is this same essential paradigm/principle that underlies the prophetic revelation of specific future events throughout all of Scripture, the knowledge of which is ultimately intended for the edification and encouragement of believers—i.e. those to whom “it has been granted” (Matthew 13:11)—not unbelievers, to whom the Word of God is “foolishness” and the knowledge of which “has not been granted” (1 Corinthians 1:18). — Wechsler, page 139.

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Genesis 6:5-7

Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.

And the Lord was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart.

So the Lord said, “I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth, both man and beast, creeping thing and birds of the air, for I am sorry that I have made them.”

every intent (v.5) = everything thought, every purpose, every conception

sorry (vs. 6, 7) = lit. “to sigh”

It is this verse [v.5], indeed, that clearly establishes the principle of human depravity—i.e., the principle that we not only have the potential of sinning through the commission of deeds, but that we are already sinners due to our inevitable post-Fall “commission” of wicked thoughts. Quite to the contrary of our society’s “conventional wisdom,” verse 5 thus makes clear that God’s assessment of who we truly are is based fundamentally on what we think as opposed to only what we do. This principle, not surprisingly, is reiterated time and again throughout the Bible as the unchanging ideal both for the Israelite who would faithfully follow the Law of Moses (cf. Deuteronomy 30:6; Proverbs 23:7a; Jeremiah 31:31) as well as for the Christian who would faithfully follow “the Law of Christ” (cf. Matthew 5:22, 28; Mark 7:20-23; Galatians 6:2). — Wechsler, page 135.

The opening clause of verse 6 is often translated “the Lord God was sorry that He had made man on the earth,” in which the expression “was sorry” should not be understood in the sense of “regretted,” but rather—as is also within the semantic range of the English verb—in the sense of “was pained” or “was sorrowful, grieved, or sad.” God is not “second-guessing” His decision to create man—for His decisions and actions are always perfect and exactly as they should be (cf. Numbers 23:19; Romans 11:29)—but rather, and quite consistent with the tenor already established in the opening chapters of Genesis, God is demonstrating an abiding and undiminished concern with man. Incredibly, what we do—even what we think—has a real impact on the heart of the One who created us and continues to take and active, loving interest in our lives. It is from this perspective, moreover, that we must understand the content of vs. 7-8—to wit: that God determines to “blot out man … from the face of the land” not merely because he has offended God’s righteous standard, but because such action is necessary for the welfare of man himself, to preserve man from the full effects of his unmitigated depravity. — Wechlser, pages 135-136.

Verse 5 helps me understand the reason behind the sick and twisted behaviors that have become not only accepted but celebrated in our culture. Some of these behaviors are not only evil, but make no logical sense whatsoever. There can be no benefit whatsoever to those who practice and promote some of the stuff that’s going on. And yet it continues and progresses toward even sicker and more illogical behaviors.

Why? Because man’s thoughts, once God is cast aside, are only evil continually. Evil becomes an end in itself. It’s an active pursuit of anything that is in opposition to God’s nature. I believe it’s often not even a conscious choice on the part of the individual. It’s that when people remove themselves from God, evil results every time, and more further removed they are, the greater the evil.

This is exactly what Paul was getting at in Romans 1:18-32.

18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness,

19 because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them.

20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse,

21 because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened.

22 Professing to be wise, they became fools,

23 and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man—and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things.

24 Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves,

25 who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.

26 For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature.

27 Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due.

28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting;

29 being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers,

30 backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,

31 undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful;

32 who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them.

That is an exact blueprint of what is happening in our culture. There is no limit to the amount or quality of God’s grace, but there is apparently a limit to how many times He will offer it to someone who deliberately and knowingly rejects it over and over. And once He withdraws His offer of grace, there is no limit to man’s depravity.

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Genesis 6:1-4

1 Now it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born to them,

that the sons of God saw the daughters of men, that they were beautiful; and they took wives for themselves of all whom they chose.

And the Lord said, “My Spirit shall not strive with man forever, for he is indeed flesh; yet his days shall be one hundred and twenty years.”

There were giants on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of men and they bore children to them. Those were the mighty men who were of old, men of renown.

Some commentators believe that the “sons of God” in verse 2 simply refers to men from the line of Seth who followed God. They believe that these men married women from the line of Cain and their offspring followed their mother’s rejection of God. That view doesn’t make much sense to me. I lean toward Morris’s view as stated below.

The actual phrase bene elohim is used three others times, all in the very ancient book of Job (1:6; 2:1; 38:7). There is no doubt at all that, in these passages, the meaning applies exclusively to the angels. A very similar form (bar elohim) is used in Daniel 3:25, and also refers either to an angel or to a theophany. The term “sons of the mighty” (bene elim) is used in Psalm 29:1 and Psalm 89:6, and again refers to angels. Thus, there seems no reasonable doubt that, in so far as the language itself is concerned, the intent of the writer was to convey the thought of angels—fallen angels, no doubt, since they were acting in opposition to God’s will. …

The reason for questioning this obvious meaning, in addition to the supernaturalistic overtones is (for those who do not reject the idea of angels) the opinion that it would be impossible for angels to have sexual relations with human women and to father children by them. However, this objection presupposes more about angelic abilities than we know. Whenever angels have appeared visibly to men, as recorded in the Bible, they have appeared in the physical bodies of men. …

It is true that the Lord Jesus said that “in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven” (Matthew 22:30). However, this is not equivalent to saying that angels are “sexless,” since people who share in the resurrection will surely retain their own personal identity, whether male or female. Furthermore, angels are always described, when they appear, as “men,” and the pronoun “he” is always used in reference to them. …

When Jesus said that the angels of God in heaven do not marry, this does not necessarily mean that those who have been cast out of heaven were incapable of doing so. It clearly was not God’s will or intention that angels mix in such a way with human women, but these wicked angels were not concerned with obedience to God’s will. In fact, it was probably precisely for the purpose of attempting to thwart God’s will that this particular battalion of the “sons of God” engaged in this illegal invasion of the bodies of the daughters of men. … Desiring to completely corrupt mankind before the promised Seed could accomplish Satan’s defeat, they seem to have decided to utilize the marvelous power of procreation … and to corrupt it to their own ends. — Morris, pages 165-167.

It is significant that the Septuagint renders the phrase “sons of God” as ‘angels of God.” This was the Old Testament version in dominant use in the Apostolic period, and thus this would be the way the phrase would have been read by Christ and His apostles.  … This interpretation is strongly implied, and probably required by three New Testament passages: Jude 1:6; 2 Peter 2:4-6; 1 Peter 3:19-20. — Morris, page 168.

A solution seems to consist in recognizing that the children were true human children of truly human fathers and mothers, but that all were possessed and controlled by evil spirits. That is, these fallen angelic “sons of God” accomplished their purposes by something equivalent to demon possession, indwelling the bodies of human men, and then also taking (or “possessing”) the bodies of the women as well. … Thus, the “sons of God” controlled not only the men whose bodies they had acquired for their own exploitation, but also the women they took to themselves in this way, and then all the children they bore. — Morris, page 169.

This particular prophecy [his days shall be a hundred and twenty years v.3] was evidently given … just 120 years before the coming of the Flood. … God has always been long-suffering, even under such awful conditions as prevailed in the days of Noah (1 Peter 3:20). Though all had rejected Him, He still granted 120 years to mankind in light of the bare possibility that at least some might “come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9). — Morris, page 171.

The children of the unions of the demonically controlled men and women of this period are the ones said to have become the “giants,” the mighty men of old. The word in the Hebrew is nephilim and comes from the verb naphal (“fall”). The natural and probable meaning is “those who have fallen,” probably a reference to the nature of their pseudoparents, the fallen angels. The name came also to mean “giants” and was applied later to the giants seen in Canaan by the Israelite spies (Numbers 13:33). — Morris, page 172.

Wechsler takes a different view.

Resolution in this matter is possible, though it depends, as always, on careful attention to the inseparable interpretative duo of context (the passage’s relationship to the surrounding text, both immediate and canonical) and language (how the passage’s terms and expressions are used elsewhere). Thus, though long-standing and popular, the view that these sons of God in verse 2 are angels who sinned by marrying human women is to be dismissed since it makes no contextual sense—whether in the immediate context of verse 3, in which God’s reaction is exclusively towards man, the slightly larger context of what precedes and follows this episode (i.e., Adam’s genealogy and the Flood, both focused on man, not the angels), or the broader thematic context of Genesis, this first “half” of which represents God’s prosecution of human, not angelic, depravity. Also, the one other occurrence of the term Nephilim, in Numbers 13:33, refers to men of large stature. Nor is there any evidence in Scripture that angels can in fact produce children (see Matthew 22:30) or, even assuming they could, that God would have permitted them such time to marry and produce children before He “cast them into hell and committed them to pits of darkness, reserved for judgment” (2 Peter 2:4). — Wechsler, page 131.

His view is as follows.

These four verses (which in the Hebrew text are not separated into a separate chapter) serve to “fill-out” the foregoing genealogy of 5:1-32 by clearly indicating (here for the first time) that the blessing of begetting offspring was taking place within the general context of marriage—that is, men (the sons of God) “taking” women (the daughters of men) in marriage. The expression “sons of God” should thus be understood, simply, as an idiomatic designation for men—reflecting the creation of man first by God—just as the expression “daughters of men” is clearly intended as an idiomatic designation for women, reflecting the subsequent creation of woman from man. … Unlike any of the other views, it is also consistent with the following statement, expressed by God in response to the activity of verses 1-2 that “My spirit shall not abide in man forever.” … The point of the verse in context is that in response to man’s expanding population, God dramatically limits the duration that the “breath” which he breathed into man (see Genesis 2:7) will abide or remain within him in his depraved state.  In other words, as an expression of His mercy and love—not judgment—God here acts to limit the potential expression of human depravity (and hence to limit his potential judgment) by reducing man’s lifespan from the multiple centuries attested in chapter 5 to the proximate duration of 12o years. — Wechsler, page 133-134.

He also believes that Nephilim shouldn’t be translated “giants” but “mighty men,” or literally, “proven warriors.

I’m skeptical. First of all, I think Morris answers all the objections regarding context. I think the verses in Jude and Peter that he quotes offer an explanation for when the angels were imprisoned. Wechsler doesn’t explain why all the similar phrases to Nephilim obviously refer to angels. He doesn’t explain why the offspring of men and women would produce particularly mighty men. I like Morris’s take that the 120 years refer to the time remaining before the Flood (in light of Peter’s reference to that same period). It doesn’t make sense to me that God was saying that man’s lifespan would be 120 years because ever since shortly after the flood, man’s lifespan has been considerably shorter. And a worldwide flood that sent all humans but 8 to a godless eternity in hell doesn’t feel like mercy.

I still lean toward the demon-possessed human men and human women, but I can’t claim a definite understanding of the passage any more than anyone else.

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Genesis 5:25-32

25 Methuselah lived one hundred and eighty-seven years, and begot Lamech.

26 After he begot Lamech, Methuselah lived seven hundred and eighty-two years, and had sons and daughters.

27 So all the days of Methuselah were nine hundred and sixty-nine years; and he died.

28 Lamech lived one hundred and eighty-two years, and had a son.

29 And he called his name Noah, saying, “This one will comfort us concerning our work and the toil of our hands, because of the ground which the Lord has cursed.”

30 After he begot Noah, Lamech lived five hundred and ninety-five years, and had sons and daughters.

31 So all the days of Lamech were seven hundred and seventy-seven years; and he died.

32 And Noah was five hundred years old, and Noah begot Shem, Ham, and Japheth.

Many ancient and modern commentators have interpreted the name Methuselah as meaning “When he dies, it shall be sent.” If this suggestion is correct (and there is at least a possible basis for it), then a justifiable inference is that Enoch, the prophet of coming judgment had received—at the time of the birth of this son—a special revelation concerning the coming judgment of the great Flood. God, however, promised him that it would not come as long as Methuselah lived; and Enoch gave him a name to commemorate that prophetic warning and promise. This may possibly be the significance of the fact that Methuselah lived longer (969 years) than any other man in history whose age was recorded. “God is long-suffering to usward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9). As He is long-suffering toward godless men today, so He was long ago, “when once the long-suffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was preparing” (1 Peter 3:20). — Morris, pages 159-160.

Lamech (as well as Adam, Abel, and Enoch) was undoubtedly one of those in Peter’s mind when he spoke of “the times of restitution [or ‘restoration’] of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began” (Acts 3:21). Noah, as the one who would by his ark preserve life as the cursed earth was being “cleansed” by the waters of the Flood, was only a precursory fulfillment of Lamech’s prophecy, of course. The promised Seed was still future, but in Him and His promised coming were true “rest” and “comfort.”

Lamech, like all the other patriarchs, “began sons and daughters” in addition to Noah. It seem probable that these brothers and sisters of Noah must have perished in the Flood. Moreover, there must have been many others in the Sethite line that also perished, since it could hardly have been only the Cainites who had begun to “multiply on the earth” (Genesis 6:1). Thus, the wickedness and corruption which had become rampant had affected both branches of the human family by this time, except probably for the godly remnant in the direct line from Enoch to Noah.

It may even have affected Noah’s family, though of this we cannot be sure. We are told only of his three sons who survived the Flood; but it seem rather likely that he also, like the others, “began sons and daughters,” particularly since the five-hundred-year age at which Shem, Ham, and Japheth began to be born is more that three hundred years older than the age at which any of the other named members of the patriarchal line were born. The reason for mentioning three sons by name (rather than only Shem, the next in the prophetic lineage) is that these were the ones in his family who elected to go with him into the Ark and who would, therefore, become the progenitors of the post-Flood nations. — Morris, page 161.

Although sin prevented Adam and Eve from experiencing the pre-Fall ideal of “strolling” in most intimate physical proximity to God, the possibility, nonetheless remains open to man to experience that more fundamental spiritual proximity  to God—which “proximity,” or “connection,” is perhaps best denoted by the English term “relationship.”

The hope of experiencing this pre-Fall ideal completely via not just spiritual, but also physical interaction with God (i.e., “walking” with Him in unrestricted proximity) is further highlighted in connection with Noah, whose father, Lamech (not the same as in Genesis 4:23), bases his son’s name in the expectation that Noah “will give us rest from the ground that God has cursed.” The clear messianic tenor of this statement is evident both from the name Noah (which derives from the same theologically-charged root meaning “to give rest” used to describe man’s initial state in Genesis 2:15—as well as from the specific reference to the ground that God cursed—which same terminology is used prior to this only in Genesis 3:17. Though the reason for this expectation concerning Noah is unstated (and hence not the point of the narrative), it is important to remember that the “messianic” hope is at this point still imminent—no less so, in light of what God has so far revealed, than it was for Eve when she expressed the similar expectation that her first-born son Cain was the promised human-divine Seed who would restore mankind to their pre-Fall ideal (Genesis 4:1). — Wechsler, pages 129-130.

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Genesis 5:6-24

Seth lived one hundred and five years, and begot Enosh.

After he begot Enosh, Seth lived eight hundred and seven years, and had sons and daughters.

So all the days of Seth were nine hundred and twelve years; and he died.

Enosh lived ninety years, and begot [a]Cainan.

10 After he begot Cainan, Enosh lived eight hundred and fifteen years, and had sons and daughters.

11 So all the days of Enosh were nine hundred and five years; and he died.

12 Cainan lived seventy years, and begot Mahalalel.

13 After he begot Mahalalel, Cainan lived eight hundred and forty years, and had sons and daughters.

14 So all the days of Cainan were nine hundred and ten years; and he died.

15 Mahalalel lived sixty-five years, and begot Jared.

16 After he begot Jared, Mahalalel lived eight hundred and thirty years, and had sons and daughters.

17 So all the days of Mahalalel were eight hundred and ninety-five years; and he died.

18 Jared lived one hundred and sixty-two years, and begot Enoch.

19 After he begot Enoch, Jared lived eight hundred years, and had sons and daughters.

20 So all the days of Jared were nine hundred and sixty-two years; and he died.

21 Enoch lived sixty-five years, and begot Methuselah.

22 After he begot Methuselah, Enoch walked with God three hundred years, and had sons and daughters.

23 So all the days of Enoch were three hundred and sixty-five years.

24 And Enoch walked with God; and he was not, for God took him.

We are probably by now used to the idea that Hebrew names have a meaning. However, the meaning of the names of the ten patriarchs provides a very interesting insight into the prediluvian world.

  • Adam means “man.”
  • Seth means “appointed.” Eve gave this name to show her faith in the fact that God would deliver the promised Messiah through the appointed son.
  • Enoch means “mortal.” This emphasizes once again that man is now mortal, because of sin.
  • Cainan means “sorrow.” The existence of sin causes sorrow. Imagine the sorrow of Adam and Eve at the death of their son, Abel. Death brings such sorrow that even Jesus was caused to weep at the tomb of his friend Lazarus (John 11:35).
  • Mahalalel means “the God who is to be praised.” All was not gloom and doom. There was a start to worship of the Lord God. Mahalalel’s name emphasizes the existence of those who want to worship God in faith.
  • Jared means “shall come down.” This is one of the more puzzling names, until we put them all together below.
  • Enoch means “teaching.” It seems that Enoch was a teacher and a prophet.
  • Methuselah means “his death shall bring.” We will see that there are two reasons for this. The first is that the Flood came the very year that Methuselah died. His death is prophetic, pointing to the way of salvation, and warning against doubt.
  • Lamech means “despairing.” It is perhaps significant that he died before he could see the salvation caused by the Flood. He was also a prophet, prophesying that Noah would “comfort us concerning our work and the toil of our hands, because of the ground which the LORD has cursed” (Genesis 5:29). This is significant was well because Noah means “rest” or “comfort.”

There is a passage of the Bible that contains all these names, one after the other. It is 1 Chronicles 1:1-3: “Adam, Seth, Enosh, Cainan, Mahalalel, Jared, Enoch, Methuselah, Lamech, Noah.” Now that we know the meanings, this passage can be read as follows: “Man is appointed mortal sorrow, but the God who is to be praised shall come down, teaching that His death shall bring the despairing rest.”

This is remarkable that in the very names of the ten patriarchs from before the Flood through whose line God was to send the Messiah, should spell out a dramatic statement of the gospel. This can surely be no coincidence. One of the exciting things about studying Genesis that we see over and over again is that it is foundational to the understanding of the entire Bible. God gave us hope right from the very beginning. Even in the midst of the dreadful evil before the Flood, God would not leave us without a way of salvation. — Taylor, pages 134-135.

I don’t know if the meaning of the names strung together are intended to convey a message, as Taylor writes above. Other commentaries give different (but at least vaguely-similar) meanings to the names. But I thought it was interesting enough to be possible.

There is no reason to think that there are any gaps in this record [of the genealogies] or that the years are anything other than normal years (except for the possibility that the original year was 360 days long). The record is perfectly natural and straightforward and is obviously intended to give both the necessary genealogical data the denote the promised lineage and also the only reliable chronological framework we have for the antediluvian period of history. … There was a total of 1,656 years from the Creation to the Flood. It is interesting to note that Adam lived until Lamech, the father of Noah, was fifty-six years old, and Noah was born only fourteen years after the death of Seth. Most likely, the oldest of the living patriarchs maintained the primary responsibility for preserving and promulgating Dos’ Word to his contemporaries. Since both Enoch and Lamech were outlived by their fathers, there were only seven men in the line before Noah who had this responsibility. This probably explains why, in 2 Peter 2:5, Noah is called the  “eight preacher of righteousness” in the “old world.” … The names are repeated in 1 Chronicles 1:1-4 and Luke 3:36-38. This confirms that they were accepted as historical by the later Biblical writers, of both Old and New Testaments. — Morris, pages 154-155.

Enoch “walked with God” and was a prophet of God. As such, he preached against the godlessness of his generation in fearsome, thundering words: “Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of His saints, 15 to execute judgment on all, to convict all who are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have committed in an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him” (Jude 1:14-15).

It is remarkable that Enoch would prophesy of what we now recognize as the second coming of Christ even before the Flood, but this is clearly the meaning placed on it by Jude. Actually, it may be considered as an amplification and exposition of the great prophecy of Genesis 3:15, the promise of the eventual crushing of the serpent, Satan, and his seed. God “left not himself without witness,” even in the days of the antediluvians. The promised “coming” in judgment had a preliminary and precursory fulfillment in the great Flood, but its final fulfillment awaits the glorious return and triumph of the Lord Jesus Christ. — Morris, pages 155-156.

The climax of Enoch’s testimony was an event all but unique in history. “By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death, and was not found, because God had translated him” (Hebrews 11:5). This is the inspired interpretation of the phrase here in Genesis: “he was not, for God took him.” Somehow, in actual physical flesh Enoch was supernaturally carried up into heaven, where presumably he still is today.

Nearly 25 centuries later, another prophet, Elijah, was similarly taken into heaven without dying (2 Kings 2:11). … One intriguing possibility to consider is that Enoch and Elijah may have been taken into heaven without dying because of a further ministry God has for them in the future—namely, that of serving as God’s “two witnesses” during the coming Tribulation Period. These witnesses are also identified as the “two anointed ones, that stand by the Lord of the whole earth” in Zechariah 4:14. These anointed ones, these witnesses are real men, not angels, as is evident from the fact that they are to be slain when they have “finished their testimony,” and then resurrected (Revelation 11:7-120 and translated.  — Morris, pages 157-158.

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Genesis 5:1-5

1 This is the book of the genealogy of Adam. In the day that God created man, He made him in the likeness of God.

He created them male and female, and blessed them and called them Mankind in the day they were created.

And Adam lived one hundred and thirty years, and begot a son in his own likeness, after his image, and named him Seth.

After he begot Seth, the days of Adam were eight hundred years; and he had sons and daughters.

So all the days that Adam lived were nine hundred and thirty years; and he died.

The main point of this section [Genesis 5:1-11:9] is that human depravity is here to stay—that it is, in fact, endemic to the human condition. This is driven home by the two grand narrative episodes contained in this section—the Flood and the building of Babel/Babylon. Both episodes make clear that depravity (i.e., the predilection to sin) is not the result of an environment or circumstance (though this may certainly exacerbate the expression of depravity)—that is, in the terminology of the modern debate, nurture—but rather it is the result of our nature, and hence to be found in every individual. It is essential, therefore, to the point of this last section that the scope of these two grand events be understood exactly as the text presents them—to wit, as events which, in both instances, encompass all (not most or the Middle-Eastern) portion of humanity. — Wechsler, page 127.

In the first verse of Genesis 5, the writer recalls again that God created man “in the likeness of God.” But then, in verse 3, he says that Adam “begat a son in his own likeness, after his image, and called his name Seth.” Between Adam and Seth intervened the Fall. Though Adam was created in God’s image, Seth was begotten in Adam’s image; he therefore partook of the fallen nature of his father (note Romans 5:12-14). — Morris, pages 150-151.

These verses [vs. 1-2] obviously refer to Genesis 1:26-28. The reason for this is clearly to tie this new section back to the first record. The first was the toledoth of “the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 2:4), the “book of the toledoth of Adam” (5:1) has just been completed and now, much later, “the toledoth of Noah” (6:9) is beginning to be inscribed. It was necessary for Noah’s record to be identified with both of the others, as a continuation of the “official” history of the human race and specially of the line of promise. Furthermore, this brief summary then makes this section a complete record of the antediluvian patriarchs, from the date of Creation down to the birth of Shem, Ham, and Japheth. It therefore provides the chronological framework of history from Creation to the Flood. — Morris, page 152. 

Genesis 5:5 gives Adam’s obituary announcement, fulfilling the physical aspect of the death sentence pronounced on him in Genesis 3:19 and assuring all of humanity that “the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23). — Morris, page 153.

A straightforward reading of the biblical genealogies from the reliable Masoretic text shows that Adam was created about 4000 B.C. and that the Flood occurred around 2500 B.C. Contextual, linguistic, and historical analyses of the book of Genesis confirm that the chronogenealogies are a complete record with no gaps. Creationists who wish to push back the date of the Flood and creation to fit their geological or archaeological theories have no ground to do this based on the biblical record. — Taylor, page 129.

These opening verses reiterate the central idea set forth in 1:26-28, to wit: that mankind (both males and females equally) was created—uniquely among all living creatures—in the likeness of God. By repeating this point here, after mankind’s Fall from perfection, we are being reminded that this fundamental divine “likeness” remains intact—and so to, by implication, do we retain our pride of place as the crowning recipient of God’s blessing, both materially, as the administrators and prime benefactors of Creation, and spiritually, as those who have been uniquely privileged with the potential of experiencing spiritual “wholeness”—that is, unbroken and complete relationship with our Creator-Father. To this is also here added—and for the first time stated explicitly—that God named humanity in the day when He created them, the point of which, in the present context, is two-fold: on the one hand, as indicated by the act of naming in general, to underscored God’s continuing dominion over mankind (now despite the advent of depravity); and, on the other hand, to underscore God’s continuing paternal role as the Father of mankind, as underscored by the observation that both throughout this chapter, as in the Bible generally, the name of a son is given by his father. — Wechsler, page 128.

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Genesis 4:25-26

25 And Adam knew his wife again, and she bore a son and named him Seth, “For God has appointed another seed for me instead of Abel, whom Cain killed.”

26 And as for Seth, to him also a son was born; and he named him Enosh. Then men began to call on the name of the Lord.

The name Seth means “appointed” or “substituted,” and indicates that Eve had faith that it was through this son that God’s promises would eventually be fulfilled. … In the days of [Enosh] (meaning “mortal frailty,” an implicit testimony to Seth’s awareness of man’s deep spiritual need), the son of Seth, it is recorded that “men began to call upon the name of Jehovah.” — Morris, page 149.

As sons continue to be born to man and the population of mankind consequently increases, so too does the presence, realization, and aftermath of depravity, with the result that the name of the Lord (a synecdoche for the Lord Himself) in increasingly invoked. The purpose of this invoking or “calling upon” the name of the Lord would therefore be to seek His aid in deliverance from death or distress, as is consistent with this expression elsewhere in Scripture (cf. 2 Kings 5:11; Psalm 116:4; Joel 3:5)—including as well the complementary idea of invoking the name of the lord as an act of worship in response to His acts of deliverance and sovereign self-revelation (cf. 1 Kings 18:39; Psalm 105:1; Zephaniah 3:9). The use of this expression thus adeptly serves to bring this section to thematic-theological closure, implying not only the increasing depravity of man—consistent with the overall theme of 1:1–11:26—but also, on the positive side, God’s continuing solicitude for the welfare of man and His increasing glorification via the worshipful response of those who receive and recognize His solicitude. — Wechsler, page 126. 

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