Genesis 7:11 MEANING

Genesis 7:11
(11) In the second month.--That is, of the civil year, which commenced in Tisri, at the autumnal equinox. The flood thus began towards the end of October, and lasted till the spring. The ecclesiastical year began in Abib, or April; but it was instituted in remembrance of the deliverance from Egypt (Exodus 12:2; Exodus 23:15), and can have no place here. The year was evidently the lunar year of 360 days, for the waters prevail for 150 days (Genesis 7:24), and then abate for 150 days (Genesis 8:3). Now, as the end of the first period of 150 days is described in Genesis 8:4 as the seventeenth day of the seventh month, whereas the flood began on the seventeenth of the second month, it is plain that the 150 days form five months of thirty days each. But see farther proof on Genesis 8:14.

The fountains of the great deep broken up (Heb., cloven), and the windows (lattices) of heaven were opened.--This is. usually taken by commentators as a description of extraordinary torrents of rain, related in language in accordance with the popular ideas of the time and of the narrator himself. The rains poured down as though the flood-gates which usually shut in the upper waters were thrown open, while from the abysses of the earth the subterranean ocean burst its way upwards. But the words at least suggest the idea of a great cosmic catastrophe, by which some vast body of water was set loose. Without some such natural convulsion it is very difficult to understand how the ark, a vessel incapable of sailing, could have gone against the current up to the water-shed of Ararat. As the annual evaporation of the earth is also a comparatively fixed quantity, the concentrated downpour of it for forty days and nights would scarcely have produced a flood so vast as the deluge of Noah evidently was. It is thus probable that there was, besides the rains, some vast displacement of water which helped in producing these terrific effects.

We shall have occasion subsequently to notice the exactness of the dates (Genesis 8:14). Tradition might for a short time hand them down correctly, but they must soon have been committed to writing, or confusion would inevitably have crept in.

Verses 11, 12. - In the six hundredth year of Noah's life, in the second month. Not

(1) of Noah's 600th year. (Knobel); but either

(2) of the theocratic year, which began With Nisan or Abib (Exodus 12:2; Exodus 13:4; Exodus 23:15; Exodus 34:18; Deuteronomy 16:1; Nehemiah 2:1), either in March or April (Rabbi Joshua, Ambrose, Luther, Calvin, Mercerus, Havernick, Kalisch, Alford, Wordsworth); or

(3) of the civil year, which commenced with the autumnal equinox in the month Tisri, "called of old the first month, but now the seventh" (Chaldee Paraphrase; Exodus 32:16; Exodus 34:22), corresponding to September or October (Josephus, Rabbi Jonathan; Kimchi, Rosenmüller, Keil, Murphy, Bush, Ainsworth, 'Speaker s Commentary ). In support of the former maybe alleged the usual Biblical mode of reckoning the sacred year by numbers, and in defense of the latter that the ecclesiastical year did not begin till the time of the Exodus. In the seventeenth day of the month. "The careful statement of the chronology, which marks with such exactness day and month in the course of this occurence, puts all suspicion of the history to shame" (Havernick). The same day were all the fountains of the great deep - i.e. the waters of the ocean (Job 38:16, 30; Job 41:31; Psalm 106:9) and of subterranean reservoirs (Job 28:4, 10; Psalm 33:7; Deuteronomy 8:7) - broken up. "Byamctynomy because the earth and other obstructions were broken up, and so a passage opened for the fountains" (Peele). "The niphal or passive form of בָּקַע denotes violent changes in the depths of the sea, or in the action of the earth - at all events in the atmosphere" (Lange). And the windows of heaven were opened. Arubboth, from arabh, to twine - network or lattices; hence a window, as being closed with lattice-work instead of glass (Ecclesiastes 12:3); here the flood-gates of heaven, which are opened when it rains (cf. Genesis 8:2; 2 Kings 7:19; Isaiah 24:18; Malachi 3:10). And the rain was - literally, and there was (happened, came) violent rain; גֶּשֶׁס, different from מָטָר, which denotes any rain, and is applied to other things which God pours down from heaven (Exodus 9:18; Exodus 16:4) - upon the earth forty days and forty nights (cf. Genesis 7:4). Though the language is metaphorical and optical, it clearly points to a change in the land level by which the ocean waters overflowed the depressed continent, accompanied with heavy and continuous rain, as the cause of the Deluge (contrast with this the works of the third and fourth creative days); yet "the exact statement of the natural causes that concurred in the Deluge is a circumstance which certainly in no wise removes the miraculous nature of the whole fact - who has unveiled the mysteries of nature? - but which certainly shows how exact was the attention paid to the external phenomena of the Deluge" (Havernick).

7:1-12 The call to Noah is very kind, like that of a tender father to his children to come in-doors when he sees night or a storm coming. Noah did not go into the ark till God bade him, though he knew it was to be his place of refuge. It is very comfortable to see God going before us in every step we take. Noah had taken a great deal of pains to build the ark, and now he was himself kept alive in it. What we do in obedience to the command of God, and in faith, we ourselves shall certainly have the comfort of, first or last. This call to Noah reminds us of the call the gospel gives to poor sinners. Christ is an ark, in whom alone we can be safe, when death and judgment approach. The word says, Come; ministers say, Come; the Spirit says, Come, come into the Ark. Noah was accounted righteous, not for his own righteousness, but as an heir of the righteousness which is by faith, Heb 11:7. He believed the revelation of a saviour, and sought and expected salvation through Him alone. Thus was he justified by faith, and received that Spirit whose fruit is in all goodness; but if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. After the hundred and twenty years, God granted seven days' longer space for repentance. But these seven days were trifled away, like all the rest. It shall be but seven days. They had only one week more, one sabbath more to improve, and to consider the things that belonged to their peace. But it is common for those who have been careless of their souls during the years of their health, when they have looked upon death at a distance, to be as careless during the days, the few days of their sickness, when they see death approaching; their hearts being hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. As Noah prepared the ark by faith in the warning given that the flood would come, so he went into it, by faith in this warning that it would come quickly. And on the day Noah was securely fixed in the ark, the fountains of the great deep were broken up. The earth had within it those waters, which, at God's command, sprang up and flooded it; and thus our bodies have in themselves those humours, which, when God pleases, become the seeds and springs of mortal diseases. The windows of heaven were opened, and the waters which were above the firmament, that is, in the air, were poured out upon the earth. The rain comes down in drops; but such rains fell then, as were never known before or since. It rained without stop or abatement, forty days and forty nights, upon the whole earth at once. As there was a peculiar exercise of the almighty power of God in causing the flood, it is vain and presumptuous to attempt explaining the method of it, by human wisdom.In the six hundredth year of Noah's life,.... Not complete, but current, for otherwise Noah would have lived after the flood three hundred and fifty one years, whereas he lived but three hundred and fifty; Genesis 9:28.

in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month: as the Jews had two ways of beginning their year, one at the spring, and the other at autumn; the one on ecclesiastical accounts, which began at Nisan, and which answers to March and April; and then the second month must be Ijar, which answers to part of April and part of May: and the other on civil accounts, which began at Tisri, and answers to part of September and part of October; and then the second month must be Marchesvan, which answers to part of October and part of November; so they are divided about this month in which the flood was: one says it was Marchesvan; another that it was Ijar (t); a third in particular says (u) it was on the tenth of Marchesvan that all the creatures came together into the ark, and on the seventeenth the waters of the flood descended on the earth; and this is most likely, since this was the most ancient way of beginning the year; for it was not until after the Jews came out of Egypt that they began their year in Nisan on sacred accounts; and besides the autumn was a proper time for Noah's gathering in the fruits of the earth, to lay up in the ark, as well as for the falling of the rains; though others think it was in the spring, in the most pleasant time of the year, and when the flood was least expected: the Arabic writers (w), contrary to both, and to the Scripture, say, that Noah, with his sons, and their wives, and whomsoever the Lord bid him take into the ark, entered on a Friday, the twenty seventh day of the month Adar or Agar: according to the Chaldean account by Berosus (x), it was predicted that mankind would be destroyed by a flood on the fifteenth of the month Daesius, the second month from the vernal equinox: it is very remarkable what Plutarch (y) relates, that Osiris went into the ark the seventeenth of Athyr, which month is the second after the autumnal equinox, and entirely agrees with the account of Moses concerning Noah: according to Bishop Usher, it was on the seventh of December, on the first day of the week; others the sixth of November; with Mr. Whiston the twenty eighth:

the same day were all the fountains of the great deep broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened; and by both these the flood of waters was brought upon the earth, which drowned it, and all the creatures in it: by the former are meant the vast quantities of subterraneous waters, which are more or greater than we know; and might be greater still at the time of the deluge:"there are large lakes, (as Seneca observes (z),) which we see not, much of the sea that lies hidden, and many rivers that slide in secret:''so that those vast quantities of water in the bowels of the earth being pressed upwards, by the falling down of the earth, or by some other cause unknown to us, as Bishop Patrick observes, gushed out violently in several parts of the earth, where holes and gaps were made, and where they either found or made a vent, which, with the forty days' rain, might well make such a flood as here described: it is observed (a), there are seas which have so many rivers running into them, which must be emptied in an unknown manner, by some subterraneous passages, as the Euxine sea; and particularly it is remarked of the Caspian sea, reckoned in length to be above one hundred and twenty German leagues, and in breadth from east to west about ninety, that it has no visible way for the water to run out, and yet it receives into its bosom near one hundred rivers, and particularly the great river Volga, which is of itself like a sea for largeness, and is supposed to empty so much water into it in a year's time, as might suffice to cover the whole earth, and yet it is never increased nor diminished, nor is it observed to ebb or flow: so that if, says my author, the fountains of the great deep, or these subterraneous passages, were continued to be let loose, without any reflux into them, as Moses supposes, during the time of the rain of forty days and forty nights; and the waters ascended but a quarter of a mile in an hour; yet in forty days it would drain all the waters for two hundred and forty miles deep; which would, no doubt, be sufficient to cover the earth above four miles high: and by the former, "the windows" or flood gates of heaven, or the "cataracts", as the Septuagint version, may be meant the clouds, as Sir Walter Raleigh (b) interprets them; Moses using the word, he says, to express the violence of the rains, and pouring down of waters; for whosoever, adds he, hath seen those fallings of water which sometimes happen in the Indies, which are called "the spouts", where clouds do not break into drops, but fall with a resistless violence in one body, may properly use that manner of speech which Moses did, that the windows or flood gates of heaven were opened, or that the waters fell contrary to custom, and that order which we call natural; God then loosened the power retentive in the uppermost air, and the waters fell in abundance: and another writer upon this observes (c), that thick air is easily turned into water; and that round the earth there is a thicker air, which we call the "atmosphere"; which, the further it is distant from the earth, the thinner it is, and so it grows thinner in proportion, until it loseth all its watery quality: how far this may extend cannot be determined; it may reach as far as the orb of the moon, for aught we know to the contrary; now when this retentive quality of waters was withdrawn, Moses tells us, that "the rain was upon the earth forty days" and "forty nights": and therefore some of it might come so far as to be forty days in falling; and if we allow the rain a little more than ten miles in an hour, or two hundred and fifty miles in a day, then all the watery particles, which were 10,000 miles high, might descend upon the earth; and this alone might be more than sufficient to cover the highest mountains. (We now know that the earth's atmosphere does not extent more than a few miles above the earth's surface, before thinning out rapidly. If all the water vapour in our present atmosphere fell as rain, the ground would be covered to an average depth of less than two inches (d). Even if there was a vapour canopy, this would not be a major source or water. Most of the water came from subterranean sources or volcanic activity. We know that volcanic eruptions spew much steam and water vapour into the atmosphere. This would later fall as rain. For a complete discussion of this see the book in footnote (e). Ed.)

(t) In Bab. Roshhashanah, fol. 11. 2.((u) Pirke Eliezer, c. 23. (w) Elmacinus, p. 11. apud Hottinger. p. 251. Abulpharag. Hist. Dynast. p. 8. (x) Apud Syncell. p. 30, 31. (y) De Iside & Osir. (z) Nat. Quaest. l. 3. c. 30. (a) Bedford's Scripture Chronology, c. 12. p. 154. (b) History of the World. B. l. c. 7. sect. 6. (c) Bedford's Scripture Chronology. p. 153. See Scheuchzer. Physica, vol. 1. p. 45. Ray's Physico-Theolog. Discourses, Disc. 2. c. 2. p. 71. (d) The Genesis Flood, Whitcomb and Morris, 1978, The Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Company, p. 121. (e) Ib.

Courtesy of Open Bible