6:18 establish my covenant. The first occurrence in Genesis of the Hebrew term for “covenant” (berith), though the concept itself and related terms are present earlier. See notes 2:4; 2:8–17; 2:24; 3:1–24. The Hebrew here denotes not the initiation of a completely new covenant, but the confirmation to Noah of a covenant already in existence. Noah’s salvation from the waters of the Flood is an example of God’s covenant grace and mercy. See “God’s Covenant of Grace” at 12:1.
your sons . . . with you. This refrain (7:7, 13; 8:16, 18; cf. 7:1) emphasizes that God preserves humanity in its basic family structure and that God often deals savingly with the entire family unit, including the children. Here physical salvation is secured in the midst of floodwater, a type of Christian baptism (1 Pet. 3:20, 21).