Genesis 8:1 MEANING

Genesis 8:1

(1) God.--Elohim. On the Jehovistic theory, one would have expected Jehovah here. (See Excursus.)

Every living thing.--See Note on Genesis 7:14.

The waters asswaged.--Heb., became still. It is plain from this that the "strength" of the waters, described in Genesis 7:24, has reference to the violent currents, which still existed up to the end of the one hundred and fiftieth day, after which they ceased.

A wind (comp. the creative wind in Genesis 1:2) began to blow as soon as the rains ceased, or even before, as must necessarily have been the case with so vast a disturbance of the atmosphere; but its special purpose of assuaging the waters only began when the downpour was over. This wind would affect the course of the ark, but scarcely so strongly as the currents of the water.

Verse 1. - And God. Elohim, i.e. God in his most universal relation to his creatures. The supposition of two different accounts or histories being intermingled in the narrative of the Flood (Bleek, Eichhorn, Hupfeld, Kalisch, Alford, Coleuso) is not required for a sufficient explanation of the varying use of the Divine names. Remembered. From a root signifying to prick, pierce, or print, e.g., upon the memory; hence to remember. "Not that there is oblivion or forgetfulness with God, but then God is said to remember when he showeth by the effects that he hath taken care of man" (Willet). He remembers man's sins when he punishes them (Psalm 25:7; cf. 1 Kings 17:20), and his people's needs when he supplies them (cf. Nehemiah 5:19). The expression is an anthropopathism designed to indicate the Divine compassion as well as grace. Calvin thinks the remembrance of which Moses speaks "ought to be referred not only to the external aspect of things (i.e. the coming deliverance), but also to the inward feeling of the holy man," who, through grace, was privileged to enjoy "some sensible experience of the Divine presence" while immured in the ark. Noah, - cf. the Divine remembrance of Abraham and Lot (Genesis 19:29), the request of the Hebrew psalmist (Psalm 132:1) - and every living thing, - chayyah, or wild beast (vide Genesis 1:25; Genesis 7:14) - and all the cattle that was with him in the ark. A touching indication of the tenderness of God towards his creatures (cf. Deuteronomy 25:4; Isaiah 36:6; 145:9, 15, 16; Jonah 4:11). As a proof that God remembered the lonely inmates of the ark, he at once takes steps to accomplish their deliverance, which steps are next enumerated. And God made a wind - ruach. Not the Holy Ghost, as in Genesis 1:2 (Theodoret, Ambrose, LXX. - πνεῦμα), nor the heat of the sun (Rupertus); but a current of air (ἄνεμος), which "would promote evaporation and aid the retreat of the waters" (Murphy): - the ordinary method of driving away rain and drying the ground (vide Proverbs 25:23); the special instrumentality employed to divide the waters of the Red Sea (Exodus 14:21) - to pass over the earth, and the waters assuaged, or began to grow calm, after a period of commotion (cf. Esther 2:1; Esther 7:10) - the first stage in the returning of the waters. Καὶ εκόπασε τὸ ὕδωρ, and the water grew tried (LXX.). Cf. ἐκόπασεν ὁ ἄνεμος, Matthew 14:32; Mark 4:39; Mark 6:51.

8:1-3 The whole race of mankind, except Noah and his family, were now dead, so that God's remembering Noah, was the return of his mercy to mankind, of whom he would not make a full end. The demands of Divine justice had been answered by the ruin of sinners. God sent his wind to dry the earth, and seal up his waters. The same hand that brings the desolation, must bring the deliverance; to that hand, therefore, we must ever look. When afflictions have done the work for which they are sent, whether killing work or curing work, they will be taken away. As the earth was not drowned in a day, so it was not dried in a day. God usually works deliverance for his people gradually, that the day of small things may not be despised, nor the day of great things despaired of.And God remembered Noah, and every living thing, and all the cattle that was with him in the ark,.... Not that God had forgotten Noah, for he does not, and cannot forget his creatures, properly speaking; but this is said after the manner of men, and as it might have seemed to Noah, who having heard nothing of him for five months, and having been perhaps longer in the ark than he expected, might begin to think that he was forgotten of God; but God remembered him, and his covenant with him, and the promise that he had made to him, that he and his family, and all the living creatures in the ark, should be preserved alive during the flood, Genesis 6:17 and God may be said particularly to remember him, and them, when he began to take measures for removing the waters from the earth, as he did by sending a wind, next mentioned: and thus God's helping his people when in difficulties and in distress, and delivering out of them, is called his remembrance of them; and he not only remembered Noah and his family, who are included in him, but every living creature also, which is expressed; for as the creatures suffered in the flood for the sins of men, so those in the ark were remembered and preserved for the sake of Noah and his family, and the world of men that should spring from them:

and God made a wind to pass over the earth, and the waters assuaged; not a stormy blustering one, that would have endangered the ark, but a gentle, hot, drying one; which stopped the increase of the waters, and made them less, and both drove away the rain, as the north wind does, as this perhaps was (r), and caused the waters to move wards their proper channels and receptacles: this was the work of God, who has the command of the winds and waters, brings the former out of his storehouses, and restrains the latter at his pleasure; and this wind had this effect to assuage the waters, not from its own nature, but was attended with the mighty power of God to make it effectual, in an extraordinary manner: and it was, as the Targums of Jonathan and Jerusalem call it, "a wind of mercies", or a merciful wind; or a wind of comforts, as Jarchi; for so it was to Noah and his family, and to all the creatures, since it served to dry up the waters of the flood, and caused them to subside.

(r) ------------for clouds were fled, Driv'n by a keen north wind, that, blowing dry, Wrinkled the face of Deluge, as decay'd. Milton, B. 11. l. 841, &c.

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