Notes on Genesis Chapters 6-9

by Lambert Dolphin

 Text: Genesis Chapters 6-9

6:1 When men began to multiply on the face of the ground, and daughters were born to them, the sons of God saw that the daughters of men were fair; and they took to wife such of them as they chose. Then the LORD said, "My spirit shall not abide in man for ever, for he is flesh, but his days shall be a hundred and twenty years."

The Nephilim were on the earth in those days, and also afterward, [i.e., after the Flood] when the sons of God came in to the daughters of men, and they bore children to them. These were the mighty men that were of old, the men of renown.

The LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And the LORD was sorry that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart. So the LORD said, "I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the ground, man and beast and creeping things and birds of the air, for I am sorry that I have made them."

But Noah found favor [grace] in the eyes of the LORD. These are the generations of Noah. Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his generation; Noah walked with God. And Noah had three sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth.

Now the earth was corrupt in God's sight, and the earth was filled with violence. And God saw the earth, and behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted their way upon the earth. And God said to Noah, "I have determined to make an end of all flesh; for the earth is filled with violence through them; behold, I will destroy them with the earth.

Make yourself an ark of gopher wood; make rooms in the ark, and cover it inside and out with pitch. This is how you are to make it: the length of the ark three hundred cubits, its breadth fifty cubits, and its height thirty cubits. Make a roof for the ark, and finish it to a cubit above; and set the door of the ark in its side; make it with lower, second, and third decks.

For behold, I will bring a flood of waters upon the earth, to destroy all flesh in which is the breath of life from under heaven; everything that is on the earth shall die. But I will establish my covenant with you; and you shall come into the ark, you, your sons, your wife, and your sons' wives with you. 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. Of the birds according to their kinds, and of the animals according to their kinds, of every creeping thing of the ground according to its kind, two of every sort shall come in to you, to keep them alive. Also take with you every sort of food that is eaten, and store it up; and it shall serve as food for you and for them."

Noah did this; he did all that God commanded him.

7:1 Then the LORD said to Noah, "Come into the ark, you and all your household, for I have seen that you are righteous before me in this generation. Take with you seven pairs of all clean animals, the male and his mate; and a pair of the animals that are not clean, the male and his mate; and seven pairs of the birds of the air also, male and female, to keep their kind alive upon the face of all the earth. For in seven days I will send rain upon the earth forty days and forty nights; and every living thing that I have made I will blot out from the face of the ground."

And Noah did all that the LORD had commanded him. Noah was six hundred years old when the flood of waters came upon the earth. And Noah and his sons and his wife and his sons' wives with him went into the ark, to escape the waters of the flood. Of clean animals, and of animals that are not clean, and of birds, and of everything that creeps on the ground, two and two, male and female, went into the ark with Noah, as God had commanded Noah.

And after seven days the waters of the flood came upon the earth. In the six hundredth year of Noah's life, in the second month, on the seventeenth day of the month, on that day all the fountains of the great deep burst forth, and the windows of the heavens were opened. And rain fell upon the earth forty days and forty nights.

On the very same day Noah and his sons, Shem and Ham and Japheth, and Noah's wife and the three wives of his sons with them entered the ark, they and every beast according to its kind, and all the cattle according to their kinds, and every creeping thing that creeps on the earth according to its kind, and every bird according to its kind, every bird of every sort. They went into the ark with Noah, two and two of all flesh in which there was the breath of life. And they that entered, male and female of all flesh, went in as God had commanded him; and the LORD shut him in.

The flood continued forty days upon the earth; and the waters increased, and bore up the ark, and it rose high above the earth. The waters prevailed and increased greatly upon the earth; and the ark floated on the face of the waters. And the waters prevailed so mightily upon the earth that all the high mountains under the whole heaven were covered; the waters prevailed above the mountains, covering them fifteen cubits deep.

And all flesh died that moved upon the earth, birds, cattle, beasts, all swarming creatures that swarm upon the earth, and every man; everything on the dry land in whose nostrils was the breath of life died. He blotted out every living thing that was upon the face of the ground, man and animals and creeping things and birds of the air; they were blotted out from the earth. Only Noah was left, and those that were with him in the ark. And the waters prevailed upon the earth a hundred and fifty days.

8:1 But God remembered Noah and all the beasts and all the cattle that were with him in the ark. And God made a wind blow over the earth, and the waters subsided; the fountains of the deep and the windows of the heavens were closed, the rain from the heavens was restrained, and the waters receded from the earth continually. At the end of a hundred and fifty days the waters had abated; and in the seventh month, on the seventeenth day of the month, the ark came to rest upon the mountains of Ararat.

And the waters continued to abate until the tenth month; in the tenth month, on the first day of the month, the tops of the mountains were seen. At the end of forty days Noah opened the window of the ark which he had made, and sent forth a raven; and it went to and fro until the waters were dried up from the earth. Then he sent forth a dove from him, to see if the waters had subsided from the face of the ground; but the dove found no place to set her foot, and she returned to him to the ark, for the waters were still on the face of the whole earth. So he put forth his hand and took her and brought her into the ark with him. He waited another seven days, and again he sent forth the dove out of the ark; and the dove came back to him in the evening, and lo, in her mouth a freshly plucked olive leaf; so Noah knew that the waters had subsided from the earth. Then he waited another seven days, and sent forth the dove; and she did not return to him any more.

In the six hundred and first year, in the first month, the first day of the month, the waters were dried from off the earth; and Noah removed the covering of the ark, and looked, and behold, the face of the ground was dry. In the second month, on the twenty-seventh day of the month, the earth was dry. Then God said to Noah, "Go forth from the ark, you and your wife, and your sons and your sons' wives with you. Bring forth with you every living thing that is with you of all flesh-birds and animals and every creeping thing that creeps on the earth-that they may breed abundantly on the earth, and be fruitful and multiply upon the earth."

So Noah went forth, and his sons and his wife and his sons' wives with him. And every beast, every creeping thing, and every bird, everything that moves upon the earth, went forth by families out of the ark.

Then Noah built an altar to the LORD, and took of every clean animal and of every clean bird, and offered burnt offerings on the altar. And when the LORD smelled the pleasing odor, the LORD said in his heart, "I will never again curse the ground because of man, for the imagination of man's heart is evil from his youth; neither will I ever again destroy every living creature as I have done. While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, shall not cease."

9:1 And God blessed Noah and his sons, and said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth. The fear of you and the dread of you shall be upon every beast of the earth, and upon every bird of the air, upon everything that creeps on the ground and all the fish of the sea; into your hand they are delivered. Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you; and as I gave you the green plants, I give you everything. Only you shall not eat flesh with its life, that is, its blood. For your lifeblood I will surely require a reckoning; of every beast I will require it and of man; of every man's brother I will require the life of man. Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed; for God made man in his own image. And you, be fruitful and multiply, bring forth abundantly on the earth and multiply in it."

Then God said to Noah and to his sons with him, "Behold, I establish my covenant with you and your descendants after you, and with every living creature that is with you, the birds, the cattle, and every beast of the earth with you, as many as came out of the ark. I establish my covenant with you, that never again shall all flesh be cut off by the waters of a flood, and never again shall there be a flood to destroy the earth." And God said, "This is the sign of the covenant which I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all future generations: I set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth. When I bring clouds over the earth and the bow is seen in the clouds, I will remember my covenant which is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh. When the bow is in the clouds, I will look upon it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is upon the earth." God said to Noah, "This is the sign of the covenant which I have established between me and all flesh that is upon the earth."

The sons of Noah who went forth from the ark were Shem, Ham, and Japheth. Ham was the father of Canaan. These three were the sons of Noah; and from these the whole earth was peopled.

Noah was the first tiller of the soil. He planted a vineyard; and he drank of the wine, and became drunk, and lay uncovered in his tent. And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father, and told his two brothers outside. Then Shem and Japheth took a garment, laid it upon both their shoulders, and walked backward and covered the nakedness of their father; their faces were turned away, and they did not see their father's nakedness. When Noah awoke from his wine and knew what his youngest son had done to him, he said, "Cursed be Canaan; a slave of slaves shall he be to his brothers." He also said, "Blessed by the LORD my God be Shem; and let Canaan be his slave. God enlarge Japheth, and let him dwell in the tents of Shem; and let Canaan be his slave."

After the flood Noah lived three hundred and fifty years. All the days of Noah were nine hundred and fifty years; and he died.

10:1 These are the generations of the sons of Noah, Shem, Ham, and Japheth...


The term, "the sons of God" (bene elohim) as used in the OT and in Gen. 6:1 refers to the angels. (See Job 1:6, 2:1, 38:7). This is the preferred interpretation of most scholars and is consistent with 1 Pet. 3:18-22, 2 Pet. 2:4-5, and Jude 6-7.

These particular fallen angels apparently "possessed" human males (or perhaps in some way had direct sexual intercourse with human females) so that a race of fallen giants, the Nephilim and/or Rephaim, was brought into the world prior to the Flood. Gen 6:4 says this impregnation of human women by fallen angels also occured after the Flood, leading at that time to the giants such as Goliath or Og, King of Bashan. (Nu. 13:33, 1 Sam. 17) (The giants seem to have had genetic defects: "And there was again war at Gath, where there was a man of great stature, who had six fingers on each hand, and six toes on each foot, twenty-four in number; and he also was descended from the giants." 2 Samuel 21:20) From these offspring of illicit unions between men and angels possibly arise legends (such as the stories of Homer) concerning the demigods of mythology. The particular group of fallen angels who sinned in this way before the flood are now chained in Tartarus, according to Jude 6. God removed them from their influence in the world at that time. The giants after the Flood were apparently confined to the Canaanite peoples. Angels in heaven do not marry (Matt. 22:30) but they may not be sexless beings. See Notes on the Nephilim.

Verse 3, "My spirit shall not abide in man for ever, for he is flesh, but his days shall be a hundred and twenty years," probably refers to the time remaining until the judgment of the Flood. That is, God now gave man only 120 more years to repent. Apparently no one heeded the message of God's grace except for Noah and his family, 8 persons in all. Noah, like Enoch before him, was very likely a vigorus evangelist.

The phase "These are the generations of Noah," evidently marks the end of Noah's account and the beginning of the record kept by his sons which continues through 10:1. "Noah" means rest or comfort. The NT speaks of Noah eight times. Jesus said about the end of the age we live in, "As it was in the days of Noah, so will it be in the days of the Son of man. They ate, they drank, they married, they were given in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all." Hebr. 11:7 says, "By faith Noah, being warned by God concerning events as yet unseen, took heed and constructed an ark for the saving of his household; by this he condemned the world and became an heir of the righteousness which comes by faith." Peter writes: "...God's patience waited in the days of Noah, during the building of the ark, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were saved through water." 3:20, and "if he did not spare the ancient world, but preserved Noah, a herald of righteousness, with seven other persons, when he brought a flood upon the world of the ungodly..." 2:5.

The Ark measured 450 feet long by 75 feet beam by 45 feet high, about the size of the Titanic. It had three decks and a window all around the top under the roof. Evidently God Himself assembled the animals and brought them to the location and then into the Ark. It is possible the animals hibernated most of the year they were in the Ark. None died during the year they were afloat, and no new animals were born during that year. Some think the food supplies were kept on the top deck, that everyone lived on the mid-deck and that waste and refuse was collected on the third deck, but we can not be sure.

God called from within the Ark, "Come into...", (not "go into").

After they were all in the Ark safely, God shut the door (from the inside). They waited another seven days before the rains began. The waiting period may have been a mournng period for Methusaleh who had just died. It is difficult to see how some can claim that the Flood of Noah was local and not global. Why work building a great boat for ~120 years preparing for a local flood? Why not simply climb the highest mountain or move to a different valley? God promised he would never again destroy the earth in a flood like this one. The Flood of Noah was clearly unique--one of a kind. The Hebrew word mabbul used only in describing the Flood of Noah is kataklysmos in the Greek LXX and in the NT. The Apostle Peter gives a great commentary on the Flood in his second letter, Chapter 3: "First of all you must understand this, that scoffers (mockers, skeptics) will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own passions and saying, 'Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things have continued as they were from the beginning of creation.' [this is the doctrine known as uniformitarianism] They deliberately ignore this fact, that by the word (logos) of God heavens existed long ago, and an earth formed out of water and by means of water, through which the world (kosmos) that then existed was deluged ("cataclysmed" = inundated) with water and perished. [The Hebrew word for the Flood of Noah, mabbul, also implies a catastrophic flood. Hebrew has other words for local or minor floods.] But by the same word the heavens and earth that now exist have been stored up ("treasured up") for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men. But do not ignore this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slow about his promise as some count slowness, but is forbearing toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a loud [rushing] noise, and the elements (stoicheion) will be dissolved (lit: unloosed) with fire, and the earth and the works that are upon it will be burned up. Since all these things are thus to be dissolved (luo, "unloosed"), what sort of persons ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be kindled and dissolved, and the elements will melt with fire! But according to his promise we wait for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells."

The ark floated cleared of the highest mountains during the flood. The major great mountain ranges we know today probably sprang up after the Flood by isostatic rebound and vulcanism. Earth's one continent seems to have been divided rather quickly, perhaps in the days of Peleg. The great ocean basins sunk down and the land rose in isostatic rebound as the weight of water drained into the newly deepened ocean basins. Most of the water for the flood seems to have come from "the fountains of the deep" rather than from rainfall. All the waters of the flood remain on the earth today--in the oceans. The surface of the earth is two-third water opf average depth 12,000 feet. The land masses have an average height of 5000 feet. If all the land were leveled, water would cover the entire earth to a depth or at least a mile.

The raven is not only an unclean bird but also a scavenger, able to feed on floating corpses. The dove, a symbol of the Holy Spirit, did not permanently leave the ark until green growth had returned. The olive branch and the dove have become universal symbols of peace.

The Ark landed on the very calendar day that Jesus Christ would later arise from the dead! (The old Hebrew calendar was changed when God instituted the Passover with Israel, Ex. 12)

Psalm 29
A Psalm of David.

1 Ascribe to the LORD, O heavenly beings,
ascribe to the LORD glory and strength.

2 Ascribe to the LORD the glory of his name;
worship the LORD in holy array.

3 The voice of the LORD is upon the waters;
the God of glory thunders,
the LORD, upon many waters.

4 The voice of the LORD is powerful,
the voice of the LORD is full of majesty.

5 The voice of the LORD breaks the cedars,
the LORD breaks the cedars of Lebanon.

6 He makes Lebanon to skip like a calf,
and Sirion like a young wild ox.

7 The voice of the LORD flashes forth flames of fire.

8 The voice of the LORD shakes the wilderness,
the LORD shakes the wilderness of Kadesh.

9 The voice of the LORD makes the oaks to whirl,
and strips the forests bare;
and in his temple all cry, "Glory!"

10 The LORD sits enthroned over the flood;
the LORD sits enthroned as king for ever.

11 May the LORD give strength to his people!
May the LORD bless his people with peace!

Noah's first action after disembarking from the Ark was to offer a sacrifice to God. All true worship of God is based on sacrifice. "Without the shedding of blood there is no remission (removal) of sin."

Storms, seasons, wind, rain hail and weather patterns, as we know them now, began after the flood when the regulating green-house effect of the vapor canopy was no longer taking place. The ice age and the extinction of many species, such as dinosaurs, probably followed because not all animals could survive the drastic climate change and radically different food chain and infrastructure of life on our planet.

A new arrangment for living was established between God and Noah, Noah's offspring, and the animals, after the great flood. The sanctity of life is clearly declared. The institution of government is implied--which includes capital punishment. Pre-Flood civilization was evidently patriarchal in nature. Rom. 13:1-5 "Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore he who resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of him who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, for he is God's servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain; he is the servant of God to execute his wrath on the wrongdoer. Therefore one must be subject, not only to avoid God's wrath but also for the sake of conscience."

Man was previously vegetarian, but now is permitted to eat meat. Enmity now enters the animal world so that much of nature becomes "red in tooth and claw." The animals now fear man (man is, sadly, often their greatest enemy). It seems likely that rainbows did not exist before the flood due to the very different climatic conditions. The rainbow is a great symbol of God's grace leading to life. "...and lo, a throne stood in heaven, with one seated on the throne! And he who sat there appeared like jasper and carnelian, and round the throne was a rainbow that looked like an emerald." (Rev. 4:2,3)

For a discussion of the incident of Noah's DrunkenNess see Noah's Drunkenness and the Curse on Canaan.

All human beings on the earth today are descendants of Noah's three sons. There are three great branches on the one human race. The Semitic peoples are descended from Shem, the Hamites are the Blacks, Egyptians, Indians and Oriental families of man, and the Japhethites are (largely) the people of India and the Europeans.Genetic diversity occurs most rapidly when breeding populatiuons are small.

The Book of Job, the oldest book in the Bible seems to describe conditions on earth not long after the Flood. See: Walter Lang, Job and Science, or Ray Stedman's Expository Commentary on Job.

Lambert Dolphin
July 1992. February 2003.