New English Translation
God’s Grief over Humankind’s Wickedness
6 When humankind[a] began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born[b] to them,[c] 2 the sons of God[d] saw that the daughters of humankind were beautiful. Thus they took wives for themselves from any they chose. 3 So the Lord said, “My Spirit will not remain in[e] humankind indefinitely,[f] since[g] they[h] are mortal.[i] They[j] will remain for 120 more years.”[k]
4 The Nephilim[l] were on the earth in those days (and also after this)[m] when the sons of God would sleep with[n] the daughters of humankind, who gave birth to their children.[o] They were the mighty heroes[p] of old, the famous men.[q]
5 But the Lord saw[r] that the wickedness of humankind had become great on the earth. Every inclination[s] of the thoughts[t] of their minds[u] was only evil[v] all the time.[w] 6 The Lord regretted[x] that he had made humankind on the earth, and he was highly offended.[y] 7 So the Lord said, “I will wipe humankind, whom I have created, from the face of the earth—everything from humankind to animals,[z] including creatures that move on the ground and birds of the air, for I regret that I have made them.”
The Judgment of the Flood
9 This is the account of Noah.[ad]
11 The earth was ruined[aj] in the sight of[ak] God; the earth was filled with violence.[al] 12 God saw the earth, and indeed[am] it was ruined,[an] for all living creatures[ao] on the earth were sinful.[ap] 13 So God said[aq] to Noah, “I have decided that all living creatures must die,[ar] for the earth is filled with violence because of them. Now I am about to destroy[as] them and the earth. 14 Make[at] for yourself an ark of cypress[au] wood. Make rooms in the ark, and cover[av] it with pitch inside and out. 15 This is how you should make it: The ark is to be 450 feet long, 75 feet wide, and 45 feet high.[aw] 16 Make a roof for the ark and finish it, leaving 18 inches[ax] from the top.[ay] Put a door in the side of the ark, and make lower, middle, and upper decks. 17 I am about to bring[az] floodwaters[ba] on the earth to destroy[bb] from under the sky all the living creatures that have the breath of life in them.[bc] Everything that is on the earth will die, 18 but I will confirm[bd] my covenant with you. You will enter[be] the ark—you, your sons, your wife, and your sons’ wives with you. 19 You must bring into the ark two of every kind of living creature from all flesh,[bf] male and female, to keep them alive[bg] with you. 20 Of the birds after their kinds, and of the cattle after their kinds, and of every creeping thing of the ground after its kind, two of every kind will come to you so you can keep them alive.[bh] 21 And you must take[bi] for yourself every kind of food[bj] that is eaten,[bk] and gather it together.[bl] It will be food for you and for them.”
7 The Lord said to Noah, “Come into the ark, you and all your household, for I consider you godly among this generation.[bo] 2 You must take with you seven pairs[bp] of every kind of clean animal,[bq] the male and its mate,[br] two of every kind of unclean animal, the male and its mate, 3 and also seven pairs[bs] of every kind of bird in the sky, male and female,[bt] to preserve their offspring[bu] on the face of the entire earth. 4 For in seven days[bv] I will cause it to rain[bw] on the earth for forty days and forty nights, and I will wipe from the face of the ground every living thing that I have made.”
5 And Noah did all[bx] that the Lord commanded him.
6 Noah[by] was 600 years old when the floodwaters engulfed[bz] the earth. 7 Noah entered the ark along with his sons, his wife, and his sons’ wives because of[ca] the floodwaters. 8 Pairs[cb] of clean animals, of unclean animals, of birds, and of everything that creeps along the ground, 9 male and female, came into the ark to Noah,[cc] just as God had commanded him.[cd] 10 And after seven days the floodwaters engulfed the earth.[ce]
11 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[cf] burst open and the floodgates of the heavens[cg] were opened. 12 And the rain fell[ch] on the earth forty days and forty nights.
13 On that very day Noah entered the ark, accompanied by his sons Shem, Ham, and Japheth, along with his wife and his sons’ three wives.[ci] 14 They entered,[cj] along with every living creature after its kind, every animal after its kind, every creeping thing that creeps on the earth after its kind, and every bird after its kind, everything with wings.[ck] 15 Pairs[cl] of all creatures[cm] that have the breath of life came into the ark to Noah. 16 Those that entered were male and female,[cn] just as God commanded him. Then the Lord shut him in.
17 The flood engulfed the earth for forty days. As the waters increased, they lifted the ark and raised it above the earth. 18 The waters completely overwhelmed[co] the earth, and the ark floated[cp] on the surface of the waters. 19 The waters completely inundated[cq] the earth so that even[cr] all the high mountains under the entire sky were covered. 20 The waters rose more than 20 feet[cs] above the mountains.[ct] 21 And all living things[cu] that moved on the earth died, including the birds, domestic animals, wild animals, all the creatures that swarm over the earth, and all humankind. 22 Everything on dry land that had the breath[cv] of life in its nostrils died. 23 So the Lord[cw] destroyed[cx] every living thing that was on the surface of the ground, including people, animals, creatures that creep along the ground, and birds of the sky.[cy] They were wiped off the earth. Only Noah and those who were with him in the ark survived.[cz] 24 The waters prevailed over[da] the earth for 150 days.
8 But God remembered[db] Noah and all the wild animals and domestic animals that were with him in the ark. God caused a wind to blow over[dc] the earth and the waters receded. 2 The fountains of the deep and the floodgates of heaven were closed,[dd] and the rain stopped falling from the sky. 3 The waters kept receding steadily[de] from the earth, so that they[df] had gone down[dg] by the end of the 150 days. 4 On the seventeenth day of the seventh month, the ark came to rest on one of the mountains of Ararat.[dh] 5 The waters kept on receding[di] until the tenth month. On the first day of the tenth month, the tops of the mountains became visible.[dj]
8 Then Noah[dn] sent out a dove[do] to see if the waters had receded[dp] from the surface of the ground. 9 The dove could not find a resting place for its feet because water still covered[dq] the surface of the entire earth, and so it returned to Noah[dr] in the ark. He stretched out his hand, took the dove,[ds] and brought it back into the ark.[dt] 10 He waited seven more days and then sent out the dove again from the ark. 11 When[du] the dove returned to him in the evening, there was[dv] a freshly plucked olive leaf in its beak! Noah knew that the waters had receded from the earth. 12 He waited another seven days and sent the dove out again,[dw] but it did not return to him this time.[dx]
13 In Noah’s six hundred and first year,[dy] in the first day of the first month, the waters had dried up from the earth, and Noah removed the covering from the ark and saw that[dz] the surface of the ground was dry. 14 And by the twenty-seventh day of the second month the earth[ea] was dry.
15 Then God spoke to Noah and said, 16 “Come out of the ark, you, your wife, your sons, and your sons’ wives with you. 17 Bring out with you all the living creatures that are with you. Bring out[eb] every living thing, including the birds, animals, and every creeping thing that creeps on the earth. Let them increase[ec] and be fruitful and multiply on the earth!”[ed]
18 Noah went out along with his sons, his wife, and his sons’ wives. 19 Every living creature, every creeping thing, every bird, and everything that moves on the earth went out of the ark in their groups.
20 Noah built an altar to the Lord. He then took some of every kind of clean animal and clean bird and offered burnt offerings on the altar.[ee] 21 And the Lord smelled the soothing aroma[ef] and said[eg] to himself,[eh] “I will never again curse[ei] the ground because of humankind, even though[ej] the inclination of their minds[ek] is evil from childhood on.[el] I will never again destroy everything that lives, as I have just done.
God’s Covenant with Humankind through Noah
9 Then God blessed Noah and his sons and said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth. 2 Every living creature of the earth and every bird of the sky will be terrified of you.[eo] Everything that creeps on the ground and all the fish of the sea are under your authority.[ep] 3 You may eat any moving thing that lives.[eq] As I gave you[er] the green plants, I now give[es] you everything.
4 “But[et] you must not eat meat[eu] with its life (that is,[ev] its blood) in it.[ew] 5 For your lifeblood[ex] I will surely exact punishment,[ey] from[ez] every living creature I will exact punishment. From each person[fa] I will exact punishment for the life of the individual[fb] since the man was his relative.[fc]
7 “But as for you,[fh] be fruitful and multiply; increase abundantly on the earth and multiply on it.”
8 God said to Noah and his sons,[fi] 9 “Look. I now confirm[fj] my covenant with you and your descendants after you[fk] 10 and with every living creature that is with you, including the birds, the domestic animals, and every living creature of the earth with you, all those that came out of the ark with you—every living creature of the earth.[fl] 11 I confirm[fm] my covenant with you: Never again will all living things[fn] be wiped out[fo] by the waters of a flood;[fp] never again will a flood destroy the earth.”
12 And God said, “This is the guarantee[fq] of the covenant I am making[fr] with you[fs] and every living creature with you, a covenant[ft] for all subsequent[fu] generations: 13 I will place[fv] my rainbow[fw] in the clouds, and it will become[fx] a guarantee of the covenant between me and the earth. 14 Whenever[fy] I bring clouds over the earth and the rainbow appears in the clouds, 15 then I will remember my covenant with you[fz] and with all living creatures of all kinds.[ga] Never again will the waters become a flood and destroy[gb] all living things.[gc] 16 When the rainbow is in the clouds, I will notice it and remember[gd] the perpetual covenant between God and all living creatures of all kinds that are on the earth.”
17 So God said to Noah, “This is the guarantee of the covenant that I am confirming between me and all living things[ge] that are on the earth.”
The Curse on Canaan
20 Noah, a man of the soil,[gh] began to plant a vineyard.[gi] 21 When he drank some of the wine, he got drunk and uncovered himself[gj] inside his tent. 22 Ham, the father of Canaan,[gk] saw his father’s nakedness[gl] and told his two brothers who were outside. 23 Shem and Japheth took the garment[gm] and placed it on their shoulders. Then they walked in backwards and covered up their father’s nakedness. Their faces were turned the other way[gn] so they did not see their father’s nakedness.
26 He also said,
“Worthy of praise is[gu] the Lord, the God of Shem!
May Canaan be the slave of Shem![gv]
27 May God enlarge Japheth’s territory and numbers![gw]
May he[gx] live[gy] in the tents of Shem
and may Canaan be the slave of Japheth!”[gz]
28 After the flood Noah lived 350 years. 29 The entire lifetime of Noah was 950 years, and then he died.
- Genesis 6:1 tn The Hebrew text has the article prefixed to the noun. Here the article indicates the generic use of the word אָדָם (ʾadam): “humankind.”
- Genesis 6:1 tn This disjunctive clause (conjunction + subject + verb) is circumstantial to the initial temporal clause. It could be rendered, “with daughters being born to them.” For another example of such a disjunctive clause following the construction וַיְהִי כִּי (vayehi ki, “and it came to pass when”), see 2 Sam 7:1.
- Genesis 6:1 tn The pronominal suffix is third masculine plural, indicating that the antecedent “humankind” is collective.
- Genesis 6:2 sn The Hebrew phrase translated “sons of God” (בְנֵי־הָאֱלֹהִים, vene haʾelohim) occurs only here (Gen 6:2, 4) and in Job 1:6; 2:1; 38:7. There are three major interpretations of the phrase here. (1) In the Book of Job the phrase clearly refers to angelic beings. In Gen 6 the “sons of God” are distinct from “humankind,” suggesting they were not human. This is consistent with the use of the phrase in Job. Since the passage speaks of these beings cohabiting with women, they must have taken physical form or possessed the bodies of men. An early Jewish tradition preserved in 1 En. 6-7 elaborates on this angelic revolt and even names the ringleaders. (2) Not all scholars accept the angelic interpretation of the “sons of God,” however. Some argue that the “sons of God” were members of Seth’s line, traced back to God through Adam in Gen 5, while the “daughters of humankind” were descendants of Cain. But, as noted above, the text distinguishes the “sons of God” from humankind (which would include the Sethites as well as the Cainites) and suggests that the “daughters of humankind” are human women in general, not just Cainites. (3) Others identify the “sons of God” as powerful tyrants, perhaps demon-possessed, who viewed themselves as divine and, following the example of Lamech (see Gen 4:19), practiced polygamy. But usage of the phrase “sons of God” in Job militates against this view. For literature on the subject see G. J. Wenham, Genesis (WBC), 1:135.
- Genesis 6:3 tn The verb form יָדוֹן (yadon) only occurs here. Some derive it from the verbal root דִּין (din, “to judge”) and translate “strive” or “contend with” (so NIV), but in this case one expects the form to be יָדִין (yadin). The Old Greek has “remain with,” a rendering which may find support from an Arabic cognate (see C. Westermann, Genesis, 1:375). If one interprets the verb in this way, then it is possible to understand רוּחַ (ruakh) as a reference to the divine life-giving spirit or breath, rather than the Lord’s personal Spirit. E. A. Speiser argues that the term is cognate with an Akkadian word meaning “protect” or “shield.” In this case, the Lord’s Spirit will not always protect humankind, for the race will suddenly be destroyed (E. A. Speiser, “YDWN, Gen. 6:3, ” JBL 75 : 126-29).
- Genesis 6:3 tn Or “forever.”
- Genesis 6:3 tn The form בְּשַׁגַּם (beshaggam) appears to be a compound of the preposition ב (bet, “in”), the relative שֶׁ (she, “who” or “which”), and the particle גַּם (gam, “also, even”). It apparently means “because even” (see BDB 980 s.v. שֶׁ).
- Genesis 6:3 tn Heb “he”; the plural pronoun has been used in the translation since “man” earlier in the verse has been understood as a collective (“humankind”).
- Genesis 6:3 tn Heb “flesh.”
- Genesis 6:3 tn See the note on “they” earlier in this verse.
- Genesis 6:3 tn Heb “his days will be 120 years.” Some interpret this to mean that the age expectancy of people from this point on would be 120, but neither the subsequent narrative nor reality favors this. It is more likely that this refers to the time remaining between this announcement of judgment and the coming of the flood.
- Genesis 6:4 tn The Hebrew word נְפִילִים (nefilim) is simply transliterated here, because the meaning of the term is uncertain. According to the text, the Nephilim became mighty warriors and gained great fame in the antediluvian world. The text may imply they were the offspring of the sexual union of the “sons of God” and the “daughters of humankind” (v. 2), but it stops short of saying this in a direct manner. The Nephilim are mentioned in the OT only here and in Num 13:33, where it is stated that they were giants (thus KJV, TEV, NLT “giants” here). The narrator observes that the Anakites of Canaan were descendants of the Nephilim. Certainly these later Anakite Nephilim could not be descendants of the antediluvian Nephilim (see also the following note on the word “this”).
- Genesis 6:4 tn This observation is parenthetical, explaining that there were Nephilim even after the flood. If all humankind, with the exception of Noah and his family, died in the flood, it is difficult to understand how the postdiluvian Nephilim could be related to the antediluvian Nephilim or how the Anakites of Canaan could be their descendants (see Num 13:33). It is likely that the term Nephilim refers generally to “giants” (see HALOT 709 s.v. נְפִילִים) without implying any ethnic connection between the antediluvian and postdiluvian varieties.
- Genesis 6:4 tn Heb “would come to.” The verb בּוֹא (bo’; “to come, enter”) with the preposition אֶל (’el; “to”) means “to approach, to come to” (HALOT 113 s.v. בּוֹא) and is a euphemism for coming together for sexual relations. See the note at 2 Sam 12:24 on this phrase being only a euphemism. A more literal rendering such as “get together with” would be less clear about the sexual implication, so a clearer euphemism has been used for the translation. The Hebrew imperfect verbal form portrays the action as repetitive or customary.
- Genesis 6:4 tn Heb “and they gave birth to them.” The masculine plural suffix “them” refers to the “sons of God,” to whom the “daughters of humankind” bore children. After the Qal form of the verb יָלָד (yalad, “to give birth”) the preposition ל (lamed, “to”) introduces the father of the child(ren). See Gen 16:1, 15; 17:19, 21; 21:2-3, 9; 22:23; 24:24, 47; 25:2, etc.
- Genesis 6:4 tn The parenthetical/explanatory clause uses the word הַגִּבֹּרִים (haggibborim) to describe these Nephilim. The word means “warriors; mighty men; heroes.” The appositional statement further explains that they were “men of renown.” The text refers to superhuman beings who held the world in their power and who lived on in ancient lore outside the Bible. See E. A. Speiser, Genesis (AB), 45-46; C. Westermann, Genesis, 1:379-80; and Anne D. Kilmer, “The Mesopotamian Counterparts of the Biblical Nephilim,” Perspectives on Language and Text, 39-43.
- Genesis 6:4 tn Heb “men of name” (i.e., famous men).
- Genesis 6:5 sn The Hebrew verb translated “saw” (רָאָה, raʾah), used here of God’s evaluation of humankind’s evil deeds, contrasts with God’s evaluation of creative work in Gen 1, when he observed that everything was good.
- Genesis 6:5 tn The noun יֵצֶר (yetser) is related to the verb יָצָר (yatsar, “to form, to fashion [with a design]”). Here it refers to human plans or intentions (see Gen 8:21; 1 Chr 28:9; 29:18). People had taken their God-given capacities and used them to devise evil. The word יֵצֶר (yetser) became a significant theological term in Rabbinic literature for what might be called the sin nature—the evil inclination (see also R. E. Murphy, “Yeser in the Qumran Literature,” Bib 39 : 334-44).
- Genesis 6:5 tn The related verb חָשָׁב (khashav) means “to think, to devise, to reckon.” The noun (here) refers to thoughts or considerations.
- Genesis 6:5 tn Heb “his heart” (referring to collective “humankind”). The Hebrew term לֵב (lev, “heart”) frequently refers to the seat of one’s thoughts (see BDB 524 s.v. לֵב). In contemporary English this is typically referred to as the “mind.”
- Genesis 6:5 sn Every inclination of the thoughts of their minds was only evil. There is hardly a stronger statement of the wickedness of the human race than this. Here is the result of falling into the “knowledge of good and evil”: Evil becomes dominant, and the good is ruined by the evil.
- Genesis 6:5 tn Heb “all the day.”sn The author of Genesis goes out of his way to emphasize the depth of human evil at this time. Note the expressions “every inclination,” “only evil,” and “all the time.”
- Genesis 6:6 tn Or “was grieved”; “was sorry.” In the Niphal stem the verb נָחָם (nakham) can carry one of four semantic meanings, depending on the context: (1) “to experience emotional pain or weakness,” “to feel regret,” often concerning a past action (see Exod 13:17; Judg 21:6, 15; 1 Sam 15:11, 35; Job 42:6; Jer 31:19). In several of these texts כִּי (ki, “because”) introduces the cause of the emotional sorrow. (2) Another meaning is “to be comforted” or “to comfort oneself” (sometimes by taking vengeance). See Gen 24:67; 38:12; 2 Sam 13:39; Ps 77:3; Isa 1:24; Jer 31:15; Ezek 14:22; 31:16; 32:31. (This second category represents a polarization of category one.) (3) The meaning “to relent from” or “to repudiate” a course of action which is already underway is also possible (see Judg 2:18; 2 Sam 24:16 = 1 Chr 21:15; Pss 90:13; 106:45; Jer 8:6; 20:16; 42:10). (4) Finally, “to retract” (a statement) or “to relent or change one’s mind concerning,” “to deviate from” (a stated course of action) is possible (see Exod 32:12, 14; 1 Sam 15:29; Ps 110:4; Isa 57:6; Jer 4:28; 15:6; 18:8, 10; 26:3, 13, 19; Ezek 24:14; Joel 2:13-14; Am 7:3, 6; Jonah 3:9-10; 4:2; Zech 8:14). See R. B. Chisholm, “Does God ‘Change His Mind’?” BSac 152 (1995): 388. The first category applies here because the context speaks of God’s grief and emotional pain (see the following statement in v. 6) as a result of a past action (his making humankind). For a thorough study of the word נָחָם, see H. Van Dyke Parunak, “A Semantic Survey of NHM,” Bib 56 (1975): 512-32.
- Genesis 6:6 tn Heb “and he was grieved to his heart.” The verb עָצָב (ʿatsav) can carry one of three semantic senses, depending on the context: (1) “to be injured” (Ps 56:5; Eccl 10:9; 1 Chr 4:10); (2) “to experience emotional pain”; “to be depressed emotionally”; “to be worried” (2 Sam 19:2; Isa 54:6; Neh 8:10-11); (3) “to be embarrassed”; “to be offended” (to the point of anger at another or oneself); “to be insulted” (Gen 34:7; 45:5; 1 Sam 20:3, 34; 1 Kgs 1:6; Isa 63:10; Ps 78:40). This third category develops from the second by metonymy. In certain contexts emotional pain leads to embarrassment and/or anger. In this last use the subject sometimes directs his anger against the source of grief (see especially Gen 34:7). The third category fits best in Gen 6:6 because humankind’s sin does not merely wound God emotionally. On the contrary, it prompts him to strike out in judgment against the source of his distress (see v. 7). The verb וַיִּתְעַצֵּב (vayyitʿatsev), a Hitpael from עָצָב, alludes to the judgment oracles in Gen 3:16-19. Because Adam and Eve sinned, their life would be filled with pain, but sin in the human race also brought pain to God. The wording of v. 6 is ironic when compared to Gen 5:29. Lamech anticipated relief (נָחָם, nakham) from their work (מַעֲשֶׂה, maʿaseh) and their painful toil (עִצְּבֹן, ʿitsevon), but now we read that God was sorry (נָחָם) that he had made (עָשָׂה, ʿasah) humankind for it brought him great pain (עָצָב).
- Genesis 6:7 tn The text simply has “from man to beast, to creatures, and to birds of the air.” The use of the prepositions עַד…מִן (min…ʿad) stresses the extent of the judgment in creation.
- Genesis 6:8 tn The disjunctive clause (conjunction plus subject plus verb) is contrastive here: God condemns the human race, but he is pleased with Noah.
- Genesis 6:8 tn The Hebrew expression “find favor [in the eyes of]” is an idiom meaning “to be an object of another’s favorable disposition or action,” “to be a recipient of another’s favor, kindness, mercy.” The favor/kindness is often earned, coming in response to an action or condition (see Gen 32:5; 39:4; Deut 24:1; 1 Sam 25:8; Prov 3:4; Ruth 2:10). This is the case in Gen 6:8, where v. 9 gives the basis (Noah’s righteous character) for the divine favor.
- Genesis 6:8 tn Heb “in the eyes of,” an anthropomorphic expression for God’s opinion or decision. The Lord saw that the whole human race was corrupt, but he looked in favor on Noah.
- Genesis 6:9 sn There is a vast body of scholarly literature about the flood story. The following studies are particularly helpful: A. Heidel, The Gilgamesh Epic and the Old Testament Parallels; M. Kessler, “Rhetorical Criticism of Genesis 7, ” Rhetorical Criticism: Essays in Honor of James Muilenburg (PTMS), 1-17; I. M. Kikawada and A. Quinn, Before Abraham Was; A. R. Millard, “A New Babylonian ‘Genesis Story’,” TynBul 18 (1967): 3-18; G. J. Wenham, “The Coherence of the Flood Narrative,” VT 28 (1978): 336-48.
- Genesis 6:9 tn The Hebrew term תָּמִים (tamim, “blameless”) is used of men in Gen 17:1 (associated with the idiom “walk before,” which means “maintain a proper relationship with,” see 24:40); Deut 18:13 (where it means “blameless” in the sense of not guilty of the idolatrous practices listed before this; see Josh 24:14); Pss 18:23, 26 (“blameless” in the sense of not having violated God’s commands); 37:18 (in contrast to the wicked); 101:2, 6 (in contrast to proud, deceitful slanderers; see 15:2); Prov 2:21; 11:5 (in contrast to the wicked); 28:10; Job 12:4.
- Genesis 6:9 tn Heb “Noah was a godly man, blameless in his generations.” The singular “generation” can refer to one’s contemporaries, i.e., those living at a particular point in time. The plural “generations” can refer to successive generations in the past or the future. Here, where it is qualified by “his” (i.e., Noah’s), it refers to Noah’s contemporaries, comprised of the preceding generation (his father’s generation), those of Noah’s generation, and the next generation (those the same age as his children). In other words, “his generations” means the generations contemporary with him. See BDB 190 s.v. דוֹר.
- Genesis 6:9 tn Heb “Noah.” The proper name has been replaced with the pronoun in the translation for stylistic reasons.
- Genesis 6:9 tn The construction translated “walked with” is used in Gen 5:22, 24 (see the note on this phrase in 5:22) and in 1 Sam 25:15, where it refers to David’s and Nabal’s men “rubbing shoulders” in the fields. Based on the use in 1 Sam 25:15, the expression seems to mean “live in close proximity to,” which may, by metonymy, mean “maintain cordial relations with.”
- Genesis 6:10 tn Heb “fathered.”
- Genesis 6:11 tn Apart from Gen 6:11-12, the Niphal form of this verb occurs in Exod 8:20 HT (8:24 ET), where it describes the effect of the swarms of flies on the land of Egypt; Jer 13:7 and 18:4, where it is used of a “ruined” belt and “marred” clay pot, respectively; and Ezek 20:44, where it describes Judah’s morally “corrupt” actions. The sense “morally corrupt” fits well in Gen 6:11 because of the parallelism (note “the earth was filled with violence”). In this case “earth” would stand by metonymy for its sinful inhabitants. However, the translation “ruined” works just as well, if not better. In this case humankind’s sin is viewed as having an adverse effect upon the earth. Note that vv. 12b-13 make a distinction between the earth and the living creatures who live on it.
- Genesis 6:11 tn Heb “before.”
- Genesis 6:11 tn The Hebrew word translated “violence” refers elsewhere to a broad range of crimes, including unjust treatment (Gen 16:5; Amos 3:10), injurious legal testimony (Deut 19:16), deadly assault (Gen 49:5), murder (Judg 9:24), and rape (Jer 13:22).
- Genesis 6:12 tn Or “God saw how corrupt the earth was.”
- Genesis 6:12 tn The repetition in the text (see v. 11) emphasizes the point.
- Genesis 6:12 tn Heb “flesh.” Since moral corruption is in view here, most modern western interpreters understand the referent to be humankind. However, the phrase “all flesh” is used consistently of humankind and the animals in Gen 6-9 (6:17, 19; 7:15-16, 21; 8:17; 9:11, 15-17), suggesting that the author intends to picture all living creatures, humankind and animals, as guilty of moral failure. This would explain why the animals, not just humankind, are victims of the ensuing divine judgment. The OT sometimes views animals as morally culpable (Gen 9:5; Exod 21:28-29; Jonah 3:7-8). The OT also teaches that a person’s sin can contaminate others (people and animals) in the sinful person’s sphere (see the story of Achan, especially Josh 7:10). So the animals could be viewed here as morally contaminated because of their association with sinful humankind.
- Genesis 6:12 tn Heb “had corrupted its way.” The third masculine singular pronominal suffix on “way” refers to the collective “all flesh.” The construction “corrupt one’s way” occurs only here (though Ezek 16:47 uses the Hiphil in an intransitive sense with the preposition ב [bet, “in”] followed by “ways”). The Hiphil of שָׁחָת (shakhat) means “to ruin, to destroy, to corrupt,” often as here in a moral/ethical sense. The Hebrew term דֶּרֶךְ (derekh, “way”) here refers to behavior or moral character, a sense that it frequently carries (see BDB 203 s.v. דֶּרֶךְ 6.a).
- Genesis 6:13 sn On the divine style utilized here, see R. Lapointe, “The Divine Monologue as a Channel of Revelation,” CBQ 32 (1970): 161-81.
- Genesis 6:13 tn Heb “the end of all flesh is coming [or “has come”] before me.” (The verb form is either a perfect or a participle.) The phrase “end of all flesh” occurs only here. The term “end” refers here to the end of “life,” as v. 3 and the following context (which describes how God destroys all flesh) make clear. The statement “the end has come” occurs in Ezek 7:2, 6, where it is used of divine judgment. The phrase “come before” occurs in Exod 28:30, 35; 34:34; Lev 15:14; Num 27:17; 1 Sam 18:13, 16; 2 Sam 19:8; 20:8; 1 Kgs 1:23, 28, 32; Ezek 46:9; Pss 79:11 (groans come before God); 88:3 (a prayer comes before God); 100:2; 119:170 (prayer comes before God); Lam 1:22 (evil doing comes before God); Esth 1:19; 8:1; 9:25; 1 Chr 16:29. The expression often means “have an audience with” or “appear before.” But when used metaphorically, it can mean “get the attention of” or “prompt a response.” This is probably the sense in Gen 6:13. The necessity of ending the life of all flesh on earth is an issue that has gotten the attention of God. The term “end” may even be a metonymy for that which has prompted it—violence (see the following clause).
- Genesis 6:13 tn The participle, especially after הִנֵּה (hinneh) has an imminent future nuance. The Hiphil of שָׁחָת (shakhat) here has the sense “to destroy” (in judgment). Note the wordplay involving this verb in vv. 11-13: The earth is “ruined” because all flesh has acted in a morally “corrupt” manner. Consequently, God will “destroy” all flesh (the referent of the suffix “them”) along with the ruined earth. They had ruined themselves and the earth with violence, and now God would ruin them with judgment. For other cases where “earth” occurs as the object of the Hiphil of שָׁחָת, see 1 Sam 6:5; 1 Chr 20:1; Jer 36:29; 51:25.
- Genesis 6:14 sn The Hebrew verb is an imperative. A motif of this section is that Noah did as the Lord commanded him—he was obedient. That obedience had to come from faith in the word of the Lord. So the theme of obedience to God’s word is prominent in this prologue to the law.
- Genesis 6:14 tn A transliteration of the Hebrew term yields “gopher (גֹּפֶר, gofer) wood” (so KJV, NAB, NASB). While the exact nature of the wood involved is uncertain (cf. NLT “resinous wood”), many modern translations render the Hebrew term as “cypress” (so NEB, NIV, NRSV).
- Genesis 6:14 tn The Hebrew term כָּפָר (kafar, “to cover, to smear” [= to caulk]) appears here in the Qal stem with its primary, nonmetaphorical meaning. The Piel form כִּפֶּר (kipper), which has the metaphorical meaning “to atone, to expiate, to pacify,” is used in Levitical texts (see HALOT 493-94 s.v. כפר). Some authorities regard the form in v. 14 as a homonym of the much more common Levitical term (see BDB 498 s.v. כָּפָר).
- Genesis 6:15 tn Heb “300 cubits long, 50 cubits wide, and 30 cubits high.” The standard cubit in the OT is assumed by most authorities to be about 18 inches (45 cm) long.
- Genesis 6:16 tn Heb “a cubit.”
- Genesis 6:16 tn Heb “to a cubit you shall finish it from above.” The idea is that Noah was to leave an 18-inch opening from the top for a window for light.
- Genesis 6:17 tn The Hebrew construction uses the independent personal pronoun, followed by a suffixed form of הִנֵּה (hinneh, “look”) and the participle used with an imminent future nuance: “As for me, look, I am going to bring.”
- Genesis 6:17 tn Heb “the flood, water.”
- Genesis 6:17 tn The verb שָׁחָת (shakhat, “to destroy”) is repeated yet again, only now in an infinitival form expressing the purpose of the flood.
- Genesis 6:17 tn The Hebrew construction here is different from the previous two; here it is רוּחַ חַיִּים (ruakh khayyim) rather than נֶפֶשׁ חַיָּה (nefesh khayyah) or נִשְׁמַת חַיִּים (nishmat khayyim). It refers to everything that breathes.
- Genesis 6:18 tn The Hebrew verb וַהֲקִמֹתִי (vahaqimoti) is the Hiphil perfect with a vav (ו) consecutive (picking up the future sense from the participles) from קוּם (qum, “to rise up”). This may refer to the confirmation or fulfillment of an earlier promise, but it is more likely that it anticipates the unconditional promise made to humankind following the flood (see Gen 9:9, 11, 17).
- Genesis 6:18 tn The perfect verb form with vav (ו) consecutive is best understood as specific future, continuing God’s description of what will happen (see vv. 17-18a).
- Genesis 6:19 tn Heb “from all life, from all flesh, two from all you must bring.” The disjunctive clause at the beginning of the verse (note the conjunction with prepositional phrase, followed by two more prepositional phrases in apposition and then the imperfect verb form) signals a change in mood from announcement (vv. 17-18) to instruction.
- Genesis 6:19 tn The Hiphil infinitive construct לְהַחֲיוֹת (lehakhayot, here translated as “to keep them alive”) shows the purpose of bringing the animals into the ark—saving life. The Hiphil of this verb means here “to preserve alive.”
- Genesis 6:20 tn Heb “to keep alive.”
- Genesis 6:21 tn The verb is a direct imperative: “And you, take for yourself.” The form stresses the immediate nature of the instruction; the pronoun underscores the directness.
- Genesis 6:21 tn Heb “from all food,” meaning “some of every kind of food.”
- Genesis 6:21 tn Or “will be eaten.”
- Genesis 6:21 tn Heb “and gather it to you.”
- Genesis 6:22 tn Heb “according to all.”
- Genesis 6:22 tn The last clause seems redundant: “and thus (כֵּן, ken) he did.” It underscores the obedience of Noah to all that God had said.
- Genesis 7:1 tn Heb “for you I see [as] godly before me in this generation.” The direct object (“you”) is placed first in the clause to give it prominence. The verb “to see” here signifies God’s evaluative discernment.
- Genesis 7:2 tn Or “seven” (cf. NIV). Since seven is an odd number, and “seven” is qualified as male and female, only seven pairs can match the description (cf. TNIV, NRSV, HCSB).
- Genesis 7:2 sn For a study of the Levitical terminology of “clean” and “unclean,” see L. E. Toombs, IDB 1:643.
- Genesis 7:2 tn Heb “a male and his female” (also a second time at the end of this verse). The terms used here for male and female animals (אִישׁ, ʾish and אִשָּׁה, ʾishah) normally refer to humans.
- Genesis 7:3 tn Or “seven” (cf. NIV).
- Genesis 7:3 tn Here (and in v. 9) the Hebrew text uses the normal generic terms for “male and female” (זָכָר וּנְקֵבָה, zakhar uneqevah).
- Genesis 7:3 tn Heb “to keep alive offspring.”
- Genesis 7:4 tn Heb “for seven days yet,” meaning “after [or “in”] seven days.”
- Genesis 7:4 tn The Hiphil participle מַמְטִיר (mamtir, “cause to rain”) here expresses the certainty of the act in the imminent future.
- Genesis 7:5 tn Heb “according to all.”
- Genesis 7:6 tn Heb “Now Noah was.” The disjunctive clause (conjunction plus subject plus predicate nominative after implied “to be” verb) provides background information. The age of Noah receives prominence.
- Genesis 7:6 tn Heb “and the flood was water upon.” The disjunctive clause (conjunction plus subject plus verb) is circumstantial/temporal in relation to the preceding clause. The verb הָיָה (hayah) here carries the nuance “to come” (BDB 225 s.v. הָיָה). In this context the phrase “come upon” means “to engulf.”
- Genesis 7:7 tn The preposition מִן (min) is causal here, explaining why Noah and his family entered the ark.
- Genesis 7:8 tn Heb “two two” meaning “in twos.”
- Genesis 7:9 tn The Hebrew text of vv. 8-9a reads, “From the clean animal[s] and from the animal[s] which are not clean and from the bird[s] and everything that creeps on the ground, two two they came to Noah to the ark, male and female.”
- Genesis 7:9 tn Heb “Noah”; the pronoun has been used in the translation for stylistic reasons.
- Genesis 7:10 tn Heb “came upon.”
- Genesis 7:11 tn The Hebrew term תְּהוֹם (tehom, “deep”) refers to the watery deep, the salty ocean—especially the primeval ocean that surrounds and underlies the earth (see Gen 1:2).sn The watery deep. The same Hebrew term used to describe the watery deep in Gen 1:2 (תְּהוֹם, tehom) appears here. The text seems to picture here subterranean waters coming from under the earth and contributing to the rapid rise of water. The significance seems to be, among other things, that in this judgment God was returning the world to its earlier condition of being enveloped with water—a judgment involving the reversal of creation. On Gen 7:11 see G. F. Hasel, “The Fountains of the Great Deep,” Origins 1 (1974): 67-72; idem, “The Biblical View of the Extent of the Flood,” Origins 2 (1975): 77-95.
- Genesis 7:11 sn On the prescientific view of the sky reflected here, see L. I. J. Stadelmann, The Hebrew Conception of the World (AnBib), 46.
- Genesis 7:12 tn Heb “was.”
- Genesis 7:13 tn Heb “On that very day Noah entered, and Shem and Ham and Japheth, the sons of Noah, and the wife of Noah, and the three wives of his sons with him into the ark.”
- Genesis 7:14 tn The verb “entered” is not in the Hebrew text, but is supplied in the translation for stylistic reasons.
- Genesis 7:14 tn Heb “every bird, every wing.”
- Genesis 7:15 tn Heb “two two” meaning “in twos.”
- Genesis 7:15 tn Heb “flesh.”
- Genesis 7:16 tn Heb “Those that went in, male and female from all flesh they went in.”
- Genesis 7:18 tn Heb “and the waters were great and multiplied exceedingly.” The first verb in the sequence is וַיִּגְבְּרוּ (vayyigberu, from גָּבַר, gavar), meaning “to become great, mighty.” The waters did not merely rise; they “prevailed” over the earth, overwhelming it.
- Genesis 7:18 tn Heb “went.”
- Genesis 7:19 tn Heb “and the waters were great exceedingly, exceedingly.” The repetition emphasizes the depth of the waters.
- Genesis 7:19 tn Heb “and.”
- Genesis 7:20 tn Heb “rose 15 cubits.” Since a cubit is considered by most authorities to be about 18 inches, this would make the depth 22.5 feet. This figure might give the modern reader a false impression of exactness, however, so in the translation the phrase “15 cubits” has been rendered “more than 20 feet.”
- Genesis 7:20 tn Heb “the waters prevailed 15 cubits upward and they covered the mountains.” Obviously, a flood of 20 feet did not cover the mountains; the statement must mean the flood rose about 20 feet above the highest mountain.
- Genesis 7:21 tn Heb “flesh.”
- Genesis 7:22 tc The MT reads נִשְׁמַת רוּחַ חַיִּים (nishmat ruakh khayyim, “breath of the breath/spirit of life”), but the LXX and Vulgate imply only נִשְׁמַת חַיִּים (nishmat khayyim). Either the LXX translator omitted translation of both words because of their similarity in meaning, or the omission in LXX shows that the inclusion of רוּחַ in the MT is the addition of an explanatory gloss.
- Genesis 7:23 tn Heb “and he”; the referent (the Lord) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
- Genesis 7:23 tn Heb “wiped away” (cf. NRSV “blotted out”).
- Genesis 7:23 tn Heb “from man to animal to creeping thing and to the bird of the sky.”
- Genesis 7:23 tn The Hebrew verb שָׁאָר (shaʾar) means “to be left over; to survive” in the Niphal verb stem. It is the word used in later biblical texts for the remnant that escapes judgment. See G. F. Hasel, “Semantic Values of Derivatives of the Hebrew Root šʾr,” AUSS 11 (1973): 152-69.
- Genesis 7:24 sn The Hebrew verb translated “prevailed over” suggests that the waters were stronger than the earth. The earth and everything in it were no match for the return of the chaotic deep.
- Genesis 8:1 tn The Hebrew word translated “remembered” often carries the sense of acting in accordance with what is remembered, i.e., fulfilling covenant promises (see B. S. Childs, Memory and Tradition in Israel [SBT], especially p. 34).
- Genesis 8:1 tn Heb “to pass over.”
- Genesis 8:2 tn Some (e.g., NIV) translate the preterite verb forms in this verse as past perfects (e.g., “had been closed”), for it seems likely that the sources of the water would have stopped before the waters receded.
- Genesis 8:3 tn The construction combines a Qal preterite from שׁוּב (shuv) with its infinitive absolute to indicate continuous action. The infinitive absolute from הָלָךְ (halakh) is included for emphasis: “the waters returned…going and returning.”
- Genesis 8:3 tn Heb “the waters.” The pronoun (“they”) has been employed in the translation for stylistic reasons.
- Genesis 8:3 tn The vav (ו) consecutive with the preterite here describes the consequence of the preceding action.
- Genesis 8:4 tn Heb “on the mountains of Ararat.” Obviously a boat (even one as large as the ark) cannot rest on multiple mountains. Perhaps (1) the preposition should be translated “among,” or (2) the plural “mountains” should be understood in the sense of “mountain range” (see E. A. Speiser, Genesis [AB], 53). A more probable option (3) is that the plural indicates an indefinite singular, translated “one of the mountains” (see GKC 400 §124.o).sn Ararat is the Hebrew name for Urartu, the name of a mountainous region located north of Mesopotamia in modern day eastern Turkey. See E. M. Yamauchi, Foes from the Northern Frontier (SBA), 29-32; G. J. Wenham, Genesis (WBC), 1:184-85; C. Westermann, Genesis, 1:443-44.
- Genesis 8:5 tn Heb “the waters were going and lessening.” The perfect verb form הָיָה (hayah) is used as an auxiliary verb with the infinitive absolute חָסוֹר (khasor, “lessening”), while the infinitive absolute הָלוֹךְ (halokh) indicates continuous action.
- Genesis 8:5 tn Or “could be seen.”
- Genesis 8:6 tn The introductory verbal form וַיְהִי (vayehi), traditionally rendered “and it came to pass,” serves as a temporal indicator and has not been translated here.
- Genesis 8:6 tn Heb “opened the window in the ark which he had made.” The perfect tense (“had made”) refers to action preceding the opening of the window, and is therefore rendered as a past perfect. Since in English “had made” could refer to either the ark or the window, the order of the phrases was reversed in the translation to clarify that the window is the referent.
- Genesis 8:7 tn Heb “and it went out, going out and returning.” The Hebrew verb יָצָא (yatsaʾ), translated here “flying,” is modified by two infinitives absolute indicating that the raven went back and forth.
- Genesis 8:8 tn Heb “he”; the referent (Noah) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
- Genesis 8:8 tn The Hebrew text adds “from him.” This has not been translated for stylistic reasons, because it is redundant in English.
- Genesis 8:8 tn The Hebrew verb קָלָל (qalal) normally means “to be light, to be slight”; it refers here to the waters receding.
- Genesis 8:9 tn The words “still covered” is supplied in the translation for stylistic reasons.
- Genesis 8:9 tn Heb “him”; the referent (Noah) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
- Genesis 8:9 tn Heb “it”; the referent (the dove) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
- Genesis 8:9 tn Heb “and he brought it to himself to the ark.”
- Genesis 8:11 tn The clause introduced by vav (ו) consecutive is translated as a temporal clause subordinated to the following clause.
- Genesis 8:11 tn The deictic particle הִנֵּה (hinneh) draws attention to the olive leaf. It invites readers to enter into the story, as it were, and look at the olive leaf with their own eyes.
- Genesis 8:12 tn The word “again” is not in the Hebrew text, but is supplied in the translation for stylistic reasons.
- Genesis 8:12 tn Heb “it did not again return to him still.” For a study of this section of the flood narrative, see W. O. E. Oesterley, “The Dove with the Olive Leaf (Gen VIII 8-11),” ExpTim 18 (1906/07): 377-78.
- Genesis 8:13 tn Heb In the six hundred and first year.” Since this refers to the six hundred and first year of Noah’s life, the word “Noah’s” has been supplied in the translation for clarity.
- Genesis 8:13 tn Heb “and saw and look.” As in v. 11, the deictic particle הִנֵּה (hinneh) invites readers to enter into the story, as it were, and look at the dry ground with their own eyes.
- Genesis 8:14 tn In v. 13 the ground (הָאֲדָמָה, haʾadamah) is dry; now the earth (הָאָרֶץ, haʾarets) is dry.
- Genesis 8:17 tn The words “bring out” are not in the Hebrew text, but are supplied in the translation for stylistic reasons.
- Genesis 8:17 tn Following the Hiphil imperative, “bring out,” the three perfect verb forms with vav (ו) consecutive carry an imperatival nuance. For a discussion of the Hebrew construction here and the difficulty of translating it into English, see S. R. Driver, A Treatise on the Use of the Tenses in Hebrew, 124-25.
- Genesis 8:17 tn Heb “and let them swarm in the earth and be fruitful and multiply on the earth.”
- Genesis 8:20 sn Offered burnt offerings on the altar. F. D. Maurice includes a chapter on the sacrifice of Noah in The Doctrine of Sacrifice. The whole burnt offering, according to Leviticus 1, represented the worshiper’s complete surrender and dedication to the Lord. After the flood Noah could see that God was not only a God of wrath, but a God of redemption and restoration. The one who escaped the catastrophe could best express his gratitude and submission through sacrificial worship, acknowledging God as the sovereign of the universe.
- Genesis 8:21 tn The Lord “smelled” (וַיָּרַח, vayyarakh) a “soothing smell” (רֵיחַ הַנִּיחֹחַ, reakh hannikhoakh). The object forms a cognate accusative with the verb. The language is anthropomorphic. The offering had a sweet aroma that pleased or soothed. The expression in Lev 1 signifies that God accepts the offering with pleasure, and in accepting the offering he accepts the worshiper.
- Genesis 8:21 tn Heb “and the Lord said.”
- Genesis 8:21 tn Heb “in his heart.”
- Genesis 8:21 tn Here the Hebrew word translated “curse” is קָלָל (qalal), used in the Piel verbal stem.
- Genesis 8:21 tn The Hebrew particle כִּי (ki) can be used in a concessive sense (see BDB 473 s.v. כִּי), which makes good sense in this context. Its normal causal sense (“for”) does not fit the context here very well.
- Genesis 8:21 tn Heb “the inclination of the heart of humankind.”
- Genesis 8:21 tn Heb “from his youth.”
- Genesis 8:22 tn Heb “yet all the days of the earth.” The idea is “[while there are] yet all the days of the earth,” meaning, “as long as the earth exists.”
- Genesis 8:22 tn Heb “seed,” which stands here by metonymy for the time when seed is planted.
- Genesis 9:2 tn Heb “and fear of you and dread of you will be upon every living creature of the earth and upon every bird of the sky.” The suffixes on the nouns “fear” and “dread” are objective genitives. The animals will fear humans from this time forward.
- Genesis 9:2 tn Heb “into your hand are given.” The “hand” signifies power. To say the animals have been given into the hands of humans means humans have been given authority over them.
- Genesis 9:3 tn Heb “every moving thing that lives for you will be for food.”
- Genesis 9:3 tn The words “I gave you” are not in the Hebrew text, but are supplied in the translation for stylistic reasons.
- Genesis 9:3 tn The perfect verb form describes the action that accompanies the declaration.
- Genesis 9:4 tn Heb “only.”
- Genesis 9:4 tn Or “flesh.”
- Genesis 9:4 tn Heb “its life, its blood.” The second word is in apposition to the first, explaining what is meant by “its life.” Since the blood is equated with life, meat that had the blood in it was not to be eaten.
- Genesis 9:4 tn The words “in it” are supplied in the translation for stylistic reasons.sn You must not eat meat with its life…in it. Because of the carnage produced by the flood, people might conclude that life is cheap and therefore treat it lightly. But God will not permit them to kill or even to eat anything with the lifeblood still in it, serving as a reminder of the sanctity of life.
- Genesis 9:5 tn Again the text uses apposition to clarify what kind of blood is being discussed: “your blood, [that is] for your life.” See C. L. Dewar, “The Biblical Use of the Term ‘Blood,’” JTS 4 (1953): 204-8.
- Genesis 9:5 tn The word “punishment” is not in the Hebrew text, but is supplied in the translation for clarification. The verb דָּרָשׁ (darash) means “to require, to seek, to ask for, to exact.” Here it means that God will exact punishment for the taking of a life. See R. Mawdsley, “Capital Punishment in Gen. 9:6, ” CentBib 18 (1975): 20-25.
- Genesis 9:5 tn Heb “from the hand of,” which means “out of the hand of” or “out of the power of” and is nearly identical in sense to the preposition מִן (min) alone.
- Genesis 9:5 tn Heb “and from the hand of the man.” The article has a generic function, indicating the class, i.e., humankind.
- Genesis 9:5 tn Heb “of the man.”
- Genesis 9:5 tn Heb “from the hand of a man, his brother.” The point is that God will require the blood of someone who kills, since the person killed is a relative (“brother”) of the killer. The language reflects Noah’s situation (after the flood everyone would be part of Noah’s extended family), but also supports the concept of the brotherhood of humankind. According to the Genesis account the entire human race descended from Noah.
- Genesis 9:6 tn Heb “the blood of man.”
- Genesis 9:6 tn Heb “by man,” a generic term here for other human beings.
- Genesis 9:6 sn See the notes on the words “humankind” and “likeness” in Gen 1:26, as well as J. Barr, “The Image of God in the Book of Genesis—A Study of Terminology,” BJRL 51 (1968/69): 11-26.
- Genesis 9:6 tn Heb “he”; the referent (God) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
- Genesis 9:7 sn The disjunctive clause (vav plus subject plus verb) here indicates a strong contrast to what has preceded. Against the backdrop of the warnings about taking life, God now instructs the people to produce life, using terms reminiscent of the mandate given to Adam (Gen 1:28).
- Genesis 9:8 tn Heb “to Noah and to his sons with him, saying.”
- Genesis 9:9 tn Heb “I, look, I confirm.” The particle הִנְנִי (hineni) used with the participle מֵקִים (meqim) gives the sense of immediacy or imminence, as if to say, “Look! I am now confirming.”
- Genesis 9:9 tn The three pronominal suffixes (translated “you,” “your,” and “you”) are masculine plural. As v. 8 indicates, Noah and his sons are addressed.
- Genesis 9:10 tn The verbal repetition is apparently for emphasis.
- Genesis 9:11 tn The verb וַהֲקִמֹתִי (vahaqimoti) is a perfect with the vav (ו) consecutive and should be translated with the English present tense, just as the participle at the beginning of the speech was (v. 9). Another option is to translate both forms with the English future tense (“I will confirm”).
- Genesis 9:11 tn Heb “all flesh.”
- Genesis 9:11 tn Heb “cut off.”
- Genesis 9:11 tn Heb “and all flesh will not be cut off again by the waters of the flood.”
- Genesis 9:12 tn Heb “sign.”
- Genesis 9:12 sn On the making of covenants in Genesis, see W. F. Albright, “The Hebrew Expression for ‘Making a Covenant’ in Pre-Israelite Documents,” BASOR 121 (1951): 21-22.
- Genesis 9:12 tn Heb “between me and between you.”
- Genesis 9:12 tn The words “a covenant” are supplied in the translation for clarification.
- Genesis 9:12 tn The Hebrew term עוֹלָם (ʿolam) means “ever, forever, lasting, perpetual.” The covenant would extend to subsequent generations.
- Genesis 9:13 tn The translation assumes that the perfect verbal form is used rhetorically, emphasizing the certainty of the action. Other translation options include “I have placed” (present perfect; cf. NIV, NRSV) and “I place” (instantaneous perfect; cf. NEB).
- Genesis 9:13 sn The Hebrew word קֶשֶׁת (qeshet) normally refers to a warrior’s bow. Some understand this to mean that God the warrior hangs up his battle bow at the end of the flood, indicating he is now at peace with humankind, but others question the legitimacy of this proposal. See C. Westermann, Genesis, 1:473, and G. J. Wenham, Genesis (WBC), 1:196.
- Genesis 9:13 tn The perfect verbal form with vav (ו) consecutive here has the same aspectual function as the preceding perfect of certitude.
- Genesis 9:14 tn The temporal indicator (וְהָיָה, vehayah, conjunction + the perfect verb form), often translated “it will be,” anticipates a future development.
- Genesis 9:15 tn Heb “which [is] between me and between you.”
- Genesis 9:15 tn Heb “all flesh.”
- Genesis 9:15 tn Heb “to destroy.”
- Genesis 9:15 tn Heb “all flesh.”
- Genesis 9:16 tn The translation assumes that the infinitive לִזְכֹּר (lizkor, “to remember”) here expresses the result of seeing the rainbow. Another option is to understand it as indicating purpose, in which case it could be translated, “I will look at it so that I may remember.”
- Genesis 9:17 tn Heb “all flesh.”
- Genesis 9:18 sn The concluding disjunctive clause is parenthetical. It anticipates the following story, which explains that the Canaanites, Ham’s descendants through Canaan, were cursed because they shared the same moral abandonment that their ancestor displayed. See A. van Selms, “The Canaanites in the Book of Genesis,” OTS 12 (1958): 182-213.
- Genesis 9:19 tn Heb “was scattered.” The rare verb נָפַץ (nafats, “to scatter”) appears to be a bi-form of the more common verb פּוּץ (puts, “to scatter”) which figures prominently in the story of the dispersion of humankind in chap. 11. And the form here, נָפְצָה (nafetsah), could be repointed as נָפוֹצָה (nafotsah), the Niphal of פּוּץ.
- Genesis 9:20 sn The epithet a man of the soil indicates that Noah was a farmer.
- Genesis 9:20 tn Or “Noah, a man of the soil, was the first to plant a vineyard”; Heb “and Noah, a man of the ground, began and he planted a vineyard.”
- Genesis 9:21 tn The Hebrew verb גָּלָה (galah) in the Hitpael verbal stem (וַיִּתְגַּל, vayyitgal) means “to uncover oneself” or “to be uncovered.” Noah became overheated because of the wine and uncovered himself in the tent.
- Genesis 9:22 sn For the second time (see v. 18) the text informs the reader of the relationship between Ham and Canaan. Genesis 10 will explain that Canaan was the ancestor of the Canaanite tribes living in the promised land.
- Genesis 9:22 tn Some would translate “had sexual relations with,” arguing that Ham committed a homosexual act with his drunken father for which he was cursed. However, the expression “see nakedness” usually refers to observation of another’s nakedness, not a sexual act (see Gen 42:9, 12 where “nakedness” is used metaphorically to convey the idea of “weakness” or “vulnerability”; Deut 23:14 where “nakedness” refers to excrement; Isa 47:3; Ezek 16:37; Lam 1:8). The following verse (v. 23) clearly indicates that visual observation, not a homosexual act, is in view here. In Lev 20:17 the expression “see nakedness” does appear to be a euphemism for sexual intercourse, but the context there, unlike that of Gen 9:22, clearly indicates that in that passage sexual contact is in view. The expression “see nakedness” does not in itself suggest a sexual connotation. Some relate Gen 9:22 to Lev 18:6-11, 15-19, where the expression “uncover [another’s] nakedness” (the Piel form of גָּלָה, galah) refers euphemistically to sexual intercourse. However, Gen 9:22 does not say Ham “uncovered” the nakedness of his father. According to the text, Noah uncovered himself; Ham merely saw his father naked. The point of the text is that Ham had no respect for his father. Rather than covering his father up, he told his brothers. Noah then gave an oracle that Ham’s descendants, who would be characterized by the same moral abandonment, would be cursed. Leviticus 18 describes that greater evil of the Canaanites (see vv. 24-28).sn Saw the nakedness. It is hard for modern people to appreciate why seeing another’s nakedness was such an abomination, because nakedness is so prevalent today. In the ancient world, especially in a patriarchal society, seeing another’s nakedness was a major offense. (See the account in Herodotus, Histories 1.8-13, where a general saw the nakedness of his master’s wife, and one of the two had to be put to death.) Besides, Ham was not a little boy wandering into his father’s bedroom; he was over a hundred years old by this time. For fuller discussion see A. P. Ross, “The Curse of Canaan,” BSac 137 (1980): 223-40.
- Genesis 9:23 tn The word translated “garment” has the Hebrew definite article on it. The article may simply indicate that the garment is definite and vivid in the mind of the narrator, but it could refer instead to Noah’s garment. Did Ham bring it out when he told his brothers?
- Genesis 9:23 tn Heb “their faces [were turned] back.”
- Genesis 9:24 tn Heb “his wine,” used here by metonymy for the drunken stupor it produced.
- Genesis 9:24 tn Heb “he knew.”
- Genesis 9:24 tn The Hebrew verb עָשָׂה (ʿasah, “to do”) carries too general a sense to draw the conclusion that Ham had to have done more than look on his father’s nakedness and tell his brothers.
- Genesis 9:25 sn For more on the curse, see H. C. Brichto, The Problem of “Curse” in the Hebrew Bible (JBLMS), and J. Scharbert, TDOT 1:405-18.
- Genesis 9:25 sn Cursed be Canaan. The curse is pronounced on Canaan, not Ham. Noah sees a problem in Ham’s character, and on the basis of that he delivers a prophecy about the future descendants who will live in slavery to such things and then be controlled by others. (For more on the idea of slavery in general, see E. M. Yamauchi, “Slaves of God,” BETS 9 : 31-49). In a similar way Jacob pronounced oracles about his sons based on their revealed character (see Gen 49). Wenham points out that “Ham’s indiscretion towards his father may easily be seen as a type of the later behavior of the Egyptians and Canaanites. Noah’s curse on Canaan thus represents God’s sentence on the sins of the Canaanites, which their forefather Ham had exemplified.” He points out that the Canaanites are seen as sexually aberrant and Lev 18:3 describes Egypt and Canaan, both descendants of Ham, as having abominable practices. See G. Wenham, Genesis vol. 1 (WBC), 202.
- Genesis 9:25 tn Heb “a servant of servants” (עֶבֶד עֲבָדִים, ’eved ’avadim), an example of the superlative genitive. It means Canaan will become the most abject of slaves.
- Genesis 9:26 tn Heb “blessed be.”
- Genesis 9:26 tn Heb “a slave to him”; the referent (Shem) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
- Genesis 9:27 tn Heb “may God enlarge Japheth.” The words “territory and numbers” are supplied in the translation for clarity.sn There is a wordplay (paronomasia) on the name Japheth. The verb יַפְתְּ (yaft, “may he enlarge”) sounds like the name יֶפֶת (yefet, “Japheth”). The name itself suggested the idea. The blessing for Japheth extends beyond the son to the descendants. Their numbers and their territories will be enlarged, so much so that they will share in Shem’s territories. Again, in this oracle, Noah is looking beyond his immediate family to future generations. For a helpful study of this passage and the next chapter, see T. O. Figart, A Biblical Perspective on the Race Problem, 55-58.
- Genesis 9:27 sn There is some debate over whether God or Japheth is the subject. On the one hand, the brothers acted together and the refrain ending vv. 26 and 27 is the same, which suggests that v. 26 is about Shem and v. 27 is about Japheth. But it is not clear what it would mean for Japheth to live in Shem’s tents. A similar phrase occurs in Ps 78:55 where it means for Israel to occupy Canaan, but there is no reason in this context to expect Japheth to be blessed at the expense of Shem and occupy his territory. If this applies to Japheth, it would make more sense for it to mean that Japheth would participate in the blessings of Shem, but that is not clear for this phrase. On the other hand it is typical to keep the same subject if a new one is not explicitly introduced, suggesting that God is the subject here (see W. Kaiser, The Messiah in the Old Testament, 44-46). In addition, the phrase שָׁכַן בּ (shakhan b…, “to dwell in/among” is often used of the Lord dwelling among Israel, in Zion, making his name dwell there, or the Tabernacle dwelling among them. Referring to the “tents” (plural) of Shem looks ahead to tents of his descendants, not to the Tabernacle, though the Tabernacle being in the middle of the camp would seem to be a realization of the statement, as would Jesus’ presence among Israel.
- Genesis 9:27 tn In this context the prefixed verbal form is a jussive (note the distinct jussive forms both before and after this in vv. 26 and 27).
- Genesis 9:27 tn Heb “a slave to him”; the referent (Japheth) has been specified in the translation for clarity.