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Genesis 6

6
Chapter 6
1People began to grow in number all over the earth. Daughters were born to them. 2The sons of God saw that the daughters of men were beautiful. They chose any of them that they wanted to become their wives. #6:2 We do not know who the sons of God were. They may have been men on the earth who trusted God. They may have been men who belonged to God in heaven, like angels. The daughters of men were women who lived on the earth. They did not belong to God.
3The Lord said, ‘My Spirit will not give life to humans for ever. One day they will die. I will not let them live for more than 120 years. Then they will die.’
4The Nephilites lived on the earth at that time, and for some time after that. During that time, the sons of God were having sex with the daughters of men, who gave birth to their children. The Nephilites were famous great men and fighters.
5The Lord saw that men and women on the earth had become very bad. They thought only of evil things all the time. 6The Lord was sorry that he had made humans and put them on the earth. He became very upset. 7So the Lord said, ‘I made humans, but now I will destroy them. I will completely take them off the earth. As well as human people, I will also destroy the animals, the living things that move on the ground, and the birds. I am sorry that I made them.’
8But as for Noah, the Lord was happy about him. #6:8 Men and women have turned against God. God feels very sad. God is always sad when we do not do what he wants. Noah was different from the other people on the earth at that time. God was happy with him. The next verses tell us why God was happy about Noah.
God saves Noah
9This is the report about Noah and his family.
Noah was a good man. He was the only person at that time who lived in a completely right way. He stayed near to God in his life. 10Noah became the father of Shem, Ham and Japheth.
11God saw that everything on the earth had become spoiled. Everywhere, people were attacking each other. 12God saw how much the earth had become spoiled. Everyone was doing bad things. 13God said to Noah, ‘I am going to destroy everyone. That is what I have decided to do. Everywhere on the earth, people are attacking each other. Now I will destroy the people and also the earth. 14So, make a boat for yourself. Use wood from cypress trees to make it.#6:14 Cypress trees are trees with hard wood. The boat must have rooms in it. Cover the inside and the outside of the boat with tar. #6:14 Tar stops water coming into the boat.
15This is how you will build the boat: The boat must be 150 metres long, 25 metres wide and 15 metres high.
16Make a roof for the boat. Leave a space 45 centimetres high all round under the roof. Put a door in the side of the boat. Inside the boat, make 3 floors above each other.
17I am going to cover the earth with deep water. I will destroy all living things, wherever they live. Everything that breathes will die. 18But I will make a covenant with you, Noah. You will go into the boat. You will take your wife with you, and also your 3 sons and their wives. 19You must also take 2 of every different kind of animal into the boat. One will be male and the other will be female. Then they will stay alive with you. 20Bring 2 of every different kind of bird, 2 of every different animal and 2 of every different living thing that moves along the ground. All these will come to you. You will take care of them so that they will stay alive. 21You must also take every different kind of food. That will be food for you and food for the animals.’
22Noah obeyed God. He did everything that God had told him to do.

Genesis 6

6
Origin of the Nephilim.#These enigmatic verses are a transition between the expansion of the human race illustrated in the genealogy of chap. 5 and the flood depicted in chaps. 6–9. The text, apparently alluding to an old legend, shares a common ancient view that the heavenly world was populated by a multitude of beings, some of whom were wicked and rebellious. It is incorporated here, not only in order to account for the prehistoric giants, whom the Israelites called the Nephilim, but also to introduce the story of the flood with a moral orientation—the constantly increasing wickedness of humanity. This increasing wickedness leads God to reduce the human life span imposed on the first couple. As the ages in the preceding genealogy show, life spans had been exceptionally long in the early period, but God further reduces them to something near the ordinary life span. 1When human beings began to grow numerous on the earth and daughters were born to them, 2the sons of God#The sons of God: other heavenly beings. See note on 1:26. saw how beautiful the daughters of human beings were, and so they took for their wives whomever they pleased.#Mt 24:38; Lk 17:26–27. 3Then the Lord said: My spirit shall not remain in human beings forever, because they are only flesh. Their days shall comprise one hundred and twenty years.
4The Nephilim appeared on earth in those days, as well as later,#As well as later: the belief was common that human beings of gigantic stature once lived on earth. In some cultures, such heroes could make positive contributions, but the Bible generally regards them in a negative light (cf. Nm 13:33; Ez 32:27). The point here is that even these heroes, filled with vitality from their semi-divine origin, come under God’s decree in v. 3. after the sons of God had intercourse with the daughters of human beings, who bore them sons. They were the heroes of old, the men of renown.#Wis 14:6; Bar 3:26.
Warning of the Flood. 5#6:5–8:22] The story of the great flood is commonly regarded as a composite narrative based on separate sources woven together. To the Yahwist source, with some later editorial additions, are usually assigned 6:5–8; 7:1–5, 7–10, 12, 16b, 17b, 22–23; 8:2b–3a, 6–12, 13b, 20–22. The other sections are usually attributed to the Priestly writer. There are differences between the two sources: the Priestly source has two pairs of every animal, whereas the Yahwist source has seven pairs of clean animals and two pairs of unclean; the floodwater in the Priestly source is the waters under and over the earth that burst forth, whereas in the Yahwist source the floodwater is the rain lasting forty days and nights. In spite of many obvious discrepancies in these two sources, one should read the story as a coherent narrative. The biblical story ultimately draws upon an ancient Mesopotamian tradition of a great flood, preserved in the Sumerian flood story, the eleventh tablet of the Gilgamesh Epic, and (embedded in a longer creation story) the Atrahasis Epic. When the Lord saw how great the wickedness of human beings was on earth, and how every desire that their heart conceived was always nothing but evil,#Ps 14:2–3. 6the Lord regretted making human beings on the earth, and his heart was grieved.#His heart was grieved: the expression can be misleading in English, for “heart” in Hebrew is the seat of memory and judgment rather than emotion. The phrase is actually parallel to the first half of the sentence (“the Lord regretted…”).
7So the Lord said: I will wipe out from the earth the human beings I have created, and not only the human beings, but also the animals and the crawling things and the birds of the air, for I regret that I made them.#Human beings are an essential part of their environment, which includes all living things. In the new beginning after the flood, God makes a covenant with human beings and every living creature (9:9–10). The same close link between human beings and nature is found elsewhere in the Bible; e.g., in Is 35, God’s healing transforms human beings along with their physical environment, and in Rom 8:19–23, all creation, not merely human beings, groans in labor pains awaiting the salvation of God. 8But Noah found favor with the Lord.
9These are the descendants of Noah. Noah was a righteous man and blameless in his generation;#Wis 10:4; Sir 44:17. Noah walked with God. 10Noah begot three sons: Shem, Ham, and Japheth.
11But the earth was corrupt#Corrupt: God does not punish arbitrarily but simply brings to its completion the corruption initiated by human beings. in the view of God and full of lawlessness.#Jb 22:15–17. 12When God saw how corrupt the earth had become, since all mortals had corrupted their ways on earth,#Ps 14:2. 13God said to Noah: I see that the end of all mortals has come, for the earth is full of lawlessness because of them. So I am going to destroy them with the earth.#Sir 40:9–10; 44:17; Mt 24:37–39.
Preparation for the Flood. 14Make yourself an ark of gopherwood,#Gopherwood: an unidentified wood mentioned only in connection with the ark. It may be the wood of the cypress, which in Hebrew sounds like “gopher” and was widely used in antiquity for shipbuilding. equip the ark with various compartments, and cover it inside and out with pitch. 15This is how you shall build it: the length of the ark will be three hundred cubits, its width fifty cubits, and its height thirty cubits.#Hebrew “cubit,” lit., “forearm,” is the distance from the elbow to the tip of the middle finger, about eighteen inches (a foot and a half). The dimensions of Noah’s ark were approximately 440 × 73 × 44 feet. The ark of the Babylonian flood story was an exact cube, 120 cubits (180 feet) in length, width, and height. 16Make an opening for daylight#Opening for daylight: a conjectural rendering of the Hebrew word sohar, occurring only here. The reference is probably to an open space on all sides near the top of the ark to admit light and air. The ark also had a window or hatch, which could be opened and closed (8:6). and finish the ark a cubit above it. Put the ark’s entrance on its side; you will make it with bottom, second and third decks. 17I, on my part, am about to bring the flood waters on the earth, to destroy all creatures under the sky in which there is the breath of life; everything on earth shall perish.#Gn 7:4, 21; 2 Pt 2:5. 18I will establish my covenant with you. You shall go into the ark, you and your sons, your wife and your sons’ wives with you.#Gn 9:9; Wis 14:6; Heb 11:7; 1 Pt 3:20. 19Of all living creatures you shall bring two of every kind into the ark, one male and one female,#You shall bring two of every kind…, one male and one female: For the Priestly source (P), there is no distinction between clean and unclean animals until Sinai (Lv 11), no altars or sacrifice until Sinai, and all diet is vegetarian (Gn 1:29–30); even after the flood P has no distinction between clean and unclean, since “any living creature that moves about” may be eaten (9:3). Thus P has Noah take the minimum to preserve all species, one pair of each, without distinction between clean and unclean, but he must also take on provisions for food (6:21). The Yahwist source (J), which assumes the clean-unclean distinction always existed but knows no other restriction on eating meat (Abel was a shepherd and offered meat as a sacrifice), requires additional clean animals (“seven pairs”) for food and sacrifice (7:2–3; 8:20). to keep them alive along with you. 20Of every kind of bird, of every kind of animal, and of every kind of thing that crawls on the ground, two of each will come to you, that you may keep them alive. 21Moreover, you are to provide yourself with all the food that is to be eaten, and store it away, that it may serve as provisions for you and for them. 22Noah complied; he did just as God had commanded him.#Just as God had commanded him: as in the creation of the world in chap. 1 and in the building of the tabernacle in Ex 25–31, 35–40 (all from the Priestly source), everything takes place by the command of God. In this passage and in Exodus, the commands of God are carried out to the letter by human agents, Noah and Moses. Divine speech is important. God speaks to Noah seven times in the flood story.