8:21 pleasing. A play on words results from the similarity between this Hebrew word and Noah’s name. This reference to the divine sense of smell anthropomorphically portrays the pleasure God takes in the worship of His people (Ezek. 20:41; Eph. 5:2; cf. 2 Cor. 2:15, 16). As a propitiatory sacrifice, Noah’s burnt offering soothed God’s indignation against sin (6:6) and prefigured the death of Christ (Is. 53:10). Pleased with the sacrifice of His servant Noah (cf. 4:4), God resolves never again to send a flood (cf. 6:6 note).
curse the ground. God is not lifting the curse of 3:17 but promising not to destroy the earth again by flood (9:11).
for the intention . . . evil. The gracious character of the Noahic covenant is underscored by the divine promise, despite the continuing presence of human sin deserving judgment, never again to send a deluge. Such grace also underlies God’s preservation of Israel (Ex. 33:3; 34:9).
Neither will I ever again strike. God’s grace toward Noah is extended to mankind in general (6:8; 9:12).