Genesis 7:4 MEANING

Genesis 7:4
(4) Forty days.--Henceforward forty became the sacred number of trial and patience, and, besides the obvious places in the Old Testament, it was the duration both of our Lord's fast in the wilderness and of His sojourn on earth after the Resurrection.

Every living substance.--The word "living" is found neither in the Hebrew nor in the ancient versions, and limits the sense unnecessarily. The word is rare, being found only thrice, namely, here, in Genesis 7:23, and in Deuteronomy 11:6. It means whatever stands erect. Thus God "destroys"--Heb., blots out (see on Genesis 6:7)--not man and beast only, but the whole existent state of things--"from the face of the earth"--Heb., the adamah, the cultivated and inhabited ground. This section is much more limited in the extent which it gives to the flood, not including reptiles, or rather, small animals, among those saved in the ark, and confining the overflow of the waters to the inhabited region.

Verses 4, 5. - For yet seven days. Literally, for today's yet seven - after seven days; thus giving Noah time to complete his preparations, and the world one more opportunity to repent, which Peele thinks many may have done, though their bodies were drowned for their former impenitency. And I will cause it to rain - literally, I causing it, the participle indicating the certainty of the future action (cf. Genesis 6:17; Proverbs 25:22; cf. Ewald's 'Hebrews Synt.,' § 306) - upon the earth forty days and forty nights. The importance assigned in subsequent Scripture to the number forty, probably from the circumstance here recorded, is too obvious to be overlooked. Israel wandered forty years in the wilderness (Numbers 14:33). The scouts remained forty days in Canaan (Numbers 13:26). Moses was forty days in the mount (Exodus 24:18). Elijah fasted forty days and forty nights in the wilderness of Beersheba (1 Kings 19:8). A respite of forty days was given to the Ninevites (Jonah 3:4). Christ fasted forty days before the temptation (Matthew 4:2), and sojourned forty, days on earth after his resurrection (Acts 1:3). It thus appears to have been regarded as symbolical of a period of trial, ending in victory to the good and in ruin to the evil. And every living substance - yekum; literally, standing thing, omne quod subsistit, i.e. "whatever is capable by a principle of life of maintaining an erect posture" (Bush); ἀνάστημα (LXX.; cf. Deuteronomy 11:6; Job 22:20) - that I have made will I destroy - literally, blot out (cf. Genesis 6:7) - from off the face of the earth. And Noah did according to all that the Lord (Jehovah, the God of salvation, who now interposed for the patriarch's safety; in Genesis 6:22, where God is exhibited in his relations to all flesh, it is Elohim) had commanded him.

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.For yet seven days,.... Or one week more, after the above orders were given, which, the Jews say, were for the mourning at Methuselah's death; others, that they were an additional space to the one hundred and twenty given to the old world for repentance; in which time some might truly repent, finding that the destruction of the world was very near, and who might be saved from everlasting damnation, though not from perishing in the flood: but it rather was a space of time proper for Noah to have, to settle himself and family, and all the creatures in the ark, and dispose of everything there, in the best manner, for their sustenance and safety:

and I will cause it to rain upon the earth forty days and forty nights: this was not an ordinary but an extraordinary rain, in which the power and providence of God were eminently concerned, both with respect to the continuance of it, and the quantity of water that fell:

and every living substance that I have made will I destroy from off the face of the earth: not every substance that has a vegetative life, as plants, herbs, and trees, which were not destroyed, see Genesis 8:11 but every substance that has animal life, as fowls, cattle, creeping things, and men.

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