Genesis 7

CHAPTER VII

God informs Noah that within seven days he shall send a rain upon

the earth, that shall continue for forty days and nights; and

therefore commands him to take his family, with the different

clean and unclean animals, and enter the ark, 1-4.

This command punctually obeyed, 5-9.

In the seventeenth day of the second month, in the six hundredth

year of Noah's life, the waters, from the opened windows of heaven,

and the broken up fountains of the great deep, were poured out upon

the earth, 10-12.

The different quadrupeds, fowls, and reptiles come unto Noah, and

the Lord shuts him and them in, 13-16.

The waters increase, and the ark floats, 17.

The whole earth is covered with water fifteen cubits above the

highest mountains, 18-20.

All terrestrial animals die, 21-23.

And the waters prevail one hundred and fifty days, 24.

NOTES ON CHAP. VII

Verse 1. Thee have I seen righteous]

See Clarke on Ge 6:8.

Verse 2. Of every clean beast] So we find the distinction

between clean and unclean animals existed long before the Mosaic

law. This distinction seems to have been originally designed to

mark those animals which were proper for sacrifice and food, from

those that were not. See Lev. xi.

Verse 4. For yet seven days] God spoke these words probably on

the seventh or Sabbath day, and the days of the ensuing week were

employed in entering the ark, in embarking the mighty troop, for

whose reception ample provision had been already made.

Forty days] This period became afterwards sacred, and was

considered a proper space for humiliation. Moses fasted forty

days, De 9:9,11; so did

Elijah, 1Ki 19:8; so did our

Lord, Mt 4:2. Forty days' respite were given to the Ninevites

that they might repent, Jon 3:4; and

thrice forty (one hundred and twenty) years were given to the

old world for the same gracious purpose, Ge 6:3. The forty days

of Lent, in commemoration of our Lord's fasting, have a reference

to the same thing; as each of these seems to be deduced from this

primitive judgment.

Verse 11. In the six hundredth year, &c.] This must have been

in the beginning of the six hundredth year of his life; for he was

a year in the ark, Ge 8:13; and lived three hundred and fifty

years after the flood, and died nine hundred and fifty years old,

Ge 9:29; so it is evident that, when the flood commenced, he

had just entered on his six hundredth year.

Second month] The first month was Tisri, which answers to the

latter half of September, and first half of October; and the

second was Mareheshvan, which answers to part of October and part

of November. After the deliverance from Egypt, the beginning of

the year was changed from Marcheshvan to Nisan, which answers to a

part of our March and April. But it is not likely that this

reckoning obtained before the flood. Dr. Lightfoot very probably

conjectures that Methuselah was alive in the first month of this

year. And it appears, says he, how clearly the Spirit of prophecy

foretold of things to come, when it directed his father Enoch

almost a thousand years before to name him Methuselah, which

signifies they die by a dart; or, he dieth, and then is the dart;

or, he dieth, end then it is sent. And thus Adam and Methuselah

had measured the whole time between the creation and the flood,

and lived above two hundred and forty years together.

See Clarke on Ge 5:3.

Were all the fountains of the great deep broken up, and the

windows of heaven were opened.] It appears that an immense

quantity of waters occupied the centre of the antediluvian earth;

and as these burst forth, by the order of God, the circumambient

strata must sink, in order to fill up the vacuum occasioned by the

elevated waters. This is probably what is meant by breaking up

the fountains of the great deep. These waters, with the seas on

the earth's surface, might be deemed sufficient to drown the whole

globe, as the waters now on its surface are nearly three-fourths

of the whole, as has been accurately ascertained by Dr. Long.

See Clarke on Ge 1:10.

By the opening of the windows of heaven is probably meant the

precipitating all the aqueous vapours which were suspended in the

whole atmosphere, so that, as Moses expresses it, Ge 1:7, the

waters that were above the firmament were again united to the

waters which were below the firmament, from which on the second

day of creation they had been separated. A multitude of facts

have proved that water itself is composed of two airs, oxygen and

hydrogen; and that 85 parts of the first and 15 of the last,

making 100 in the whole, will produce exactly 100 parts of water.

And thus it is found that these two airs form the constituent

parts of water in the above proportions. The electric spark,

which is the same as lightning, passing through these airs,

decomposes them and converts them to water. And to this cause we

may probably attribute the rain which immediately follows the

flash of lightning and peal of thunder. God therefore, by the

means of lightning, might have converted the whole atmosphere into

water, for the purpose of drowning the globe, had there not been a

sufficiency of merely aqueous vapours suspended in the atmosphere

on the second day of creation. And if the electric fluid were

used on this occasion for the production of water, the incessant

glare of lightning, and the continual peals of thunder, must have

added indescribable horrors to the scene.

See Clarke on Ge 8:1.

These two causes concurring were amply sufficient, not only to

overflow the earth, but probably to dissolve the whole terrene

fabric, as some judicious naturalists have supposed: indeed, this

seems determined by the word mabbul, translated flood,

which is derived from bal or balal, to mix, mingle,

confound, confuse, because the aqueous and terrene parts of the

globe were then mixed and confounded together; and when the

supernatural cause that produced this mighty change suspended its

operations, the different particles of matter would settle

according to their specific gravities, and thus form the various

strata or beds of which the earth appears to be internally

constructed. Some naturalists have controverted this sentiment,

because in some cases the internal structure of the earth does not

appear to justify the opinion that the various portions of matter

had settled according to their specific gravities; but these

anomalies may easily be accounted for, from the great changes that

have taken place in different parts of the earth since the flood,

by volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, &c. Some very eminent

philosophers are of the opinion "that, by the breaking up of the

fountains of the great deep, we are to understand an eruption of

waters from the Southern Ocean." Mr. Kirwan supposes "that this

is pretty evident from such animals as the elephant and rhinoceros

being found in great masses in Siberia, mixed with different

marine substances; whereas no animals or other substances

belonging to the northern regions have been ever found in southern

climates. Had these animals died natural deaths in their proper

climate, their bodies would not have been found in such masses.

But that they were carried no farther northward than Siberia, is

evident from there being no remains of any animals besides those

of whales found in the mountains of Greenland. That this great

rush of waters was from the south or south-east is farther

evident, he thinks, from the south and south-east sides of almost

all great mountains being much steeper than their north or

north-west sides, as they necessarily would be if the force of a

great body of water fell upon them in that direction." On a

subject like this men may innocently differ. Many think the first

opinion accords best with the Hebrew text and with the phenomena

of nature, for mountains do not always present the above

appearance.

Verse 12. The rain was upon the earth] Dr. Lightfoot supposes

that the rain began on the 18th day of the second month, or

Marcheshvan, and that it ceased on the 28th of the third month,

Cisleu.

Verse 15. And they went in, &c.] It was physically impossible

for Noah to have collected such a vast number of tame and

ferocious animals, nor could they have been retained in their

wards by mere natural means. How then were they brought from

various distances to the ark and preserved there? Only by the

power of God. He who first miraculously brought them to Adam that

he might give them their names, now brings them to Noah that he

may preserve their lives. And now we may reasonably suppose that

their natural enmity was so far removed or suspended that the lion

might dwell with the lamb, and the wolf lie down with the kid,

though each might still require his peculiar aliment. This can be

no difficulty to the power of God, without the immediate

interposition of which neither the deluge nor the concomitant

circumstances could have taken place.

Verse 16. The Lord shut him in.] This seems to imply that God

took him under his especial protection, and as he shut HIM in, so

he shut the OTHERS out. God had waited one hundred and twenty

years upon that generation; they did not repent; they filled up

the measure of their iniquities, and then wrath came upon them to

the uttermost.

Verse 20. Fifteen cubits upward] Should any person object to

the universality of the deluge because he may imagine there is not

water sufficient to drown the whole globe in the manner here

related, he may find a most satisfactory answer to all the

objections he can raise on this ground in Mr. Ray's

Physico-theological Discourses, 2d edit., 8vo., 1693.

Verse 22. Of all that was in the dry land] From this we may

conclude that such animals only as could not live in the water

were preserved in the ark.

Verse 24. And the waters prevailed upon the earth a hundred and

fifty days.] The breaking up of the fountains of the great deep,

and the raining forty days and nights, had raised the waters

fifteen cubits above the highest mountains; after which forty days

it appears to have continued at this height for one hundred and

fifty days more. "So," says Dr. Lightfoot, "these two sums are to

be reckoned distinct, and not the forty days included in the one

hundred and fifty; so that when the one hundred and fifty days

were ended, there were six months and ten days of the flood past."

For an improvement of this awful judgment, see the conclusion of

the following chapter.

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