Bibles

Verses of Genesis 6

6

Genesis 6:6 Commentary - Charles Simeon's Horae Homileticae (Old and New Testaments)

DISCOURSE: 14
GOD’S DETERMINATION TO DESTROY MAN

Gen 6:6-7. And it repented the Lord that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart. And the Lord said, I will destroy man, whom I have created, from the face of the earth.

THE evil of sin is visible wherever we turn our eyes. Not only has a manifest deterioration taken place in the intellectual and moral qualities of man, but the material world itself, together with all the brute creation, bears marks of God’s displeasure, and of the curse inflicted on account of sin. The spring with all its vivifying powers, or the autumn with all its profusion of matured fruits, does not more surpass the desolate appearances of winter, than the earth at its first formation did the state to which it is now reduced. It was the garden of the Lord, replete with beauty, and productive of nothing which did not minister to the comfort of its inhabitants: but it is become a waste howling wilderness, infected with plagues, agitated with storms, and fruitful in occasions of sorrow. Whether any additional curse was inflicted on it at the time of the deluge, we cannot say: but the shortening of man’s life from eight or nine hundred years to less than one tenth of that period, seems to indicate, that both the frame of our bodies, and every thing that contributes to their support, have undergone a further change, and “become subject to vanity” in a yet greater degree, than they were before the deluge. However this may be, it is certain that, of all the judgments with which God has ever visited his rebellious creatures, the deluge was the most tremendous. All other expressions of God’s anger have been limited to a few individuals, or cities, or nations; but this extended over the face of the whole earth.
That we may view aright this awful dispensation, let us consider,

I.

The state of the antediluvian world—

The degeneracy of mankind had been advancing with rapid strides from the time that Adam fell, to the time spoken of in our text. Their state was characterized by

1.

General supineness—

[Our blessed Lord informs us, that “in the days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, till the day that Noah entered into the ark [Note: Mat 24:37-39.].” By this he did not mean to condemn the use of those means which God himself had appointed for the maintenance of life and the preservation of our species, but to inform us, that the people were altogether addicted to carnal and sensual indulgences, without paying any regard to their spiritual and eternal interests. The great ends of life were quite forgotten by them; and their only study was, how to dissipate care, and spend their time in pleasure.]

2.

Awful depravity—

[The expressions used in the preceding and following context clearly shew, that wickedness of every kind was practised without restraint [Note:, 11, 12, 13. The words themselves are strong; but the frequent repetition of them greatly increases their energy.]. The law of God being disregarded, and human laws not having been framed and executed as they are amongst us, the strong and violent oppressed the weak and peaceable; and whatsoever any man’s interest or inclination prompted him to do, that he did without shame or remorse. We may form some idea perhaps of the state which then existed, from what still exists among uncivilized nations, and amongst us also, when the restraints of human laws are withdrawn [Note: How ready are men to embark their property and risk their lives in privateering expeditions, when they can obtain a licence to rob and plunder their unoffending neighbours! And how terrible are the atrocities committed by victorious armies!].]

3.

Obstinate impenitence—

[For a hundred and twenty years did Noah continue to warn that wicked generation [Note: 1Pe 3:19-20.]. By his practice also as well as by his preaching, did he condemn them. Before their eyes “he prepared (with vast expense and labour) an ark for the preservation of his household [Note: Heb 11:7.] ;” giving them thereby a certain pledge that the threatened judgments should be inflicted on the impenitent and unbelieving: but they, no doubt, ridiculed his precautions as absurd and visionary; and the longer the judgment was delayed, the more bold was their confidence, and the more bitter their derision [Note: 2Pe 3:3-6.]. Amongst us, the Gospel, though generally, is not universally, despised: some are brought to listen to its benign overtures: but to such a degree did the contemporaries of Noah harden themselves against the gracious messages of Heaven, that in that whole space of time there was not (as far as we know) one single person awakened to a sense of his guilt and danger.]

Fearful indeed must have been their state, when we consider,

II.

The regret which it excited in the bosom of Jehovah—

We must understand the language of the text, not in a literal, but figurative sense—
[We are not to suppose that God did not foresee what would happen; for prescience is an essential perfection of His nature: take away his foreknowledge, and you deny him to be God. Nor must we suppose that his happiness was really interrupted by what he saw in his creatures; for he is as immutable in his happiness, as in his nature. The language of the text is accommodated to our feeble apprehensions: it is taken from what passes among men, when they are disappointed in their expectations and endeavours. As a potter, finding that a vessel which he has formed with the utmost care does not answer the desired purpose, regrets his labour, and casts out of his sight the worthless object with indignation and grief; so God represents himself as “repenting that he had made man, and as grieved at his heart” that he had bestowed upon him so much labour in vain.]
Nevertheless the figure conveys to us much plain and solid instruction—
[The same figure occurs in various other parts of holy writ: sometimes it imports a change from anger to pity [Note: Jon 3:10.], and sometimes the reverse [Note: 1Sa 15:11. It is used in both senses, and in connexion with the foregoing illustration. Jer 18:3-10.]. In the text, it is intended to intimate, that God is not an unconcerned spectator of human actions — — — that he expects men to answer the end of their creation, by seeking his glory and their own happiness— — — and that he will manifest against sin his heavy displeasure, making all who practise it the objects of his fiery indignation— — —]

The feelings of our Creator on account of man’s apostasy are more plainly shewn by,

III.

The resolution he adopted in consequence of it—

To destroy all the human race was indeed a terrible resolve—

[We can form little conception of the distress occasioned through the habitable globe, when once the flood began to rise above its accustomed limits. Every contrivance would be resorted to, and every eminence be made a refuge, in hopes that the waters would subside, and that a premature death might be avoided. When one place was covered, happy would they feel themselves who could flee to some lofty mountain, and carry with them provision for their support. But they would soon find that they indulged a vain hope: a suspense, more painful than death itself, would soon occupy their minds; and the waves, fast approaching, would at last terminate their lives, which fear and terror had already half destroyed. It is probable that many would seek admittance into the ark, and cling to it, when every other refuge had failed. Many too would, doubtless, betake themselves to prayer in the midst of their distress: but the time of judgment was come; and mercy, whether exercised or not in the eternal world, could not be extended to them [Note: Thus it was with Saul, 1Sa 15:25-26.]. Children in vain solicited their parents’ aid; in vain did the fond mother clasp them in her arms, or the affrighted husband strive to succour his beloved wife: all, in quick succession, were swept away; and neither man nor beast (those only in the ark excepted) were permitted to survive the wreck of nature.]

But, however terrible this judgment was, it was strictly just

[The punishments inflicted by human governors, of necessity, involve the innocent with the guilty: the children suffer through the misconduct of their parents; yet no one on that account exclaims against the laws as unjust. Why then should that be deemed unjust in the government of God which is approved as just in the governments of men? But God, who is the giver of life, and by whom alone it is maintained, has a right to take it away at any time, and in any manner that he sees fit. Does any one arraign his providence, if numbers both of men and children are carried off by a pestilence, or overwhelmed in a storm? By what authority then do we prescribe limits to God, and say unto him, “Hitherto shalt thou go, and no further?” We might as well condemn the Governor of the Universe for inflicting disease and death upon one single infant, as arraign his justice for destroying many. The lives of all are forfeited: and whether he take them away after a longer or shorter period, or cut them off singly or at once, he is still the same; “a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he.” The Judge of all the earth will do right: and who are we that we should reply against him? “Whoso reproveth God, let him answer it.”]

Infer,
1.

We are not at all the more safe for having many on our side—

[No doubt, the antediluvians fortified themselves against the warnings of Noah, by the consideration that they acted only like those around them. They probably replied, as many at this time do, ‘If I perish, what must become of all the world? And, Is God so unmerciful as to destroy the whole world?’ But the event shewed the folly of all such reasonings: and we should learn from it to expect safety in no other way than in turning from all iniquity, and seeking refuge in Christ Jesus.]

2.

There will certainly be a day of future retribution—

[From the judgment executed at the deluge it is manifest, that God will punish sin: but from the indiscriminate manner in which that punishment was inflicted, we may be assured, that there shall be a day in which justice shall be more equitably dispensed [Note: 2Pe 2:4-5; 2Pe 2:9.], or, as it is called in Scripture, “a day of the revelation of the righteous judgment of God.” Then shall every one receive according to his deeds, whether they be good or evil: “the wicked shall go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into life eternal.” May God prepare us all for that great and solemn day!]

3.

It becomes us all to grieve and mourn for our past sins—

[Have the sins of men caused God himself to “repent and be grieved at his heart” that ever he formed man; and should not our sins awaken sorrow and contrition in our hearts? O that we could but view them aright! O that we could mourn over them, as it becomes us, and weep in dust and ashes! Surely if we go on impenitent in our sins, the day will come, when we shall repent that ever we were created; we shall wish that we had died in our mother’s womb; we shall find that “it would have been better for us if we had never been born.”]


Verses of Genesis 6

6

Consult other comments:

Genesis 6:6 - Joseph Benson’s Commentary on the Old and New Testaments

Genesis 6:6 - Calvin's Complete Commentary

Genesis 6:6 - The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges

Genesis 6:6 - Commentary on the Holy Bible by Thomas Coke

Genesis 6:6 - Companion Bible Notes, Appendices and Graphics

Genesis 6:6 - Expository Notes of Dr. Constable (Old and New Testaments)

Genesis 6:6 - Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers (Old and New Testaments)

Genesis 6:6 - Geneva Bible Notes

Genesis 6:6 - John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

Genesis 6:6 - Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary (Old and New Testaments)

Genesis 6:6 - Matthew Henry's Whole Bible Commentary

Genesis 6:6 - Charles Simeon's Horae Homileticae (Old and New Testaments)

Genesis 6:6 - Church Pulpit Commentary

Genesis 6:6 - Commentary Series on the Bible by Peter Pett

Genesis 6:6 - English Annotations on the Holy Bible by Matthew Poole

Genesis 6:6 - Scofield Reference Bible Notes

Genesis 6:6 - John Trapp's Complete Commentary (Old and New Testaments)

Genesis 6:6 - The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

Genesis 6:6 - Whedon's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments

Charles Simeon's Horae Homileticae (Old and New Testaments)