Genesis 8:22 MEANING

Genesis 8:22
(22) While the earth remaineth . . . --The traditional interpretation of this verse among the Jews represents the year as divided into six seasons. But this is untenable; for in Palestine itself there are two seed times, the winter crops being put into the ground in October and November, and the summer crops in January and February. Really the verse describes those great alternations upon which the well-being of the earth depends, whether considered absolutely, as of light and darkness, cold and heat, or with reference to man's labours, as of sowing and harvesting; or relatively with respect to vegetation, winter being earth's time of rest, and summer that of its activity.

As regards these promises, Delitsch considers that they probably came to Noah as strong inward convictions in answer to his prayers during the sacrifice.

Verse 22. - While the earth remaineth. Literally, as yet, all the days of the earth, i.e. henceforth, so long as the earth continues, עֹד expressing the ideas of repetition and continuance (vide ver. 12). Seed-time and harvest, - from roots signifying to scatter, e.g. seed, and to cut off, specially grain; σπέρμα καὶ θερισμὸς (LXX.) - and cold and heat, - ψύχος καὶ καῦμα (LXX.) - and summer and winter. Properly the cutting off of fruits, from a root meaning to cut off, hence summer; and the time when fruits are plucked, hence autumn (including winter); the import of the root being to gather, to pluck off; θέρος καὶ ἔαρ (LXX.). The first term of each pair denotes the first half of the year, and the second term of each pair the second half. And day and night (cf. Genesis 1:5) shall not cease. Hebrew, lo yish-bothu, shall not sabbatise, or keep a day of rest; i.e. they shall continue ever in operation and succession. This Divine promise to conserve the orderly constitution and course of nature is elsewhere styled "God's covenant of the day and of the night" (cf. Jeremiah 33:20, 25).


1. The Babylonian.

(1) From the Chaldean monuments. As deciphered from the eleventh tablet of the Izdubar series, the story of the Flood is briefly this: - Izdubar, whom George Smith identifies with Nimrod, the founder of Babylonia, is informed by Hasisadra, whom the same authority believes to represent Noah, of a Divine commandment which he had received to construct a ship after a specified pattern, in which to save himself and "the seed of all life," because the city Surippak wherein he dwelt was to be destroyed. After first attempting to excuse himself, as he explains to Izdubar, on the ground that "young and old will deride him," Hasisadra builds the ship, and causes to go up into it "all my male servants and my female the ants, the beast of the field, the animal of the field, the sons of the people, all of them," while the god Shamas makes a flood, causing it to rain heavily. The flood destroys all life from the face of the earth Six days and nights the storm rages; on the seventh it grows calm. Twelve measures above the sea rises the land. The ship is stopped by a mountain in the country of Nizir. After seven days Hasisadra sends forth a dove, "which went and turned, and a resting-place it did not find, and it returned;" then a swallow, and finally a raven. On the decrease of the waters he sends forth the animals, and builds an altar on the peak of the mountain, and pours out a libation ('Chaldean Genesis,' Genesis 16; 'Records of the Past,' vol. 7:133-141).

(2) From Berosus. The god Kronos appeared to Xisuthrus, the tenth Mug of Babylon, in a vision, and warned him of an approaching deluge upon the fifteenth day of the month Desius, by which mankind would be destroyed. Among other things the god instructed him to build a vessel for the preservation of himself and friends, and specimens of the different animals. Obeying the Divine admonition, he built a vessel five stadia in length and two in breadth, and conveyed into it his wife, children, and friends. After the flood had been upon the earth he three times sent out birds from the vessel, which returned to him the second time with mud upon their feet, and the third time returned to him no more. Find. ing that the vessel had grounded on a mountain, Xisuthrus disembarked with his wife and children, and, having constructed an altar, offered sacrifices to the gods, in reward for which he was raized immediately to heaven ('Chaldean Genesis,' Genesis 3; Kalisch, p. 202; 'Encyclopedia Britannica,' art. Deluge, ninth edition).

2. The Egyptian. Though commonly alleged to be entirely unknown in the Nile valley, it is certain that the germs of the Deluge story are to be discovered even there. According to the Egyptian historian Manetho, quoted by Eusebius, Thoth, the first Hermes, erected certain pillars with inscriptions, which, after the Deluge, were transcribed into books. Plato also states in the Timaeus (chap. 5.) that a certain Egyptian priest informed Solon that the gods, when wishing to purify the earth, were accustomed to overwhelm it by a deluge, from which the herdsmen and shepherds saved themselves on the tops of the mountains. Josephus ('Ant.,' I.3.9) certifies that Hieronymus the Egyptian refers to the Flood. A conception altogether analogous to that of Genesis is likewise to be found in a myth belonging to the archaic period of Seti I., which represents Ra, the Creator, as being disgusted with the insolence of mankind, and resolving to exterminate them (vide Inscription of the Destruction of Mankind, ' Records of the Past,' vol. 6. p. 103). In short, the Egyptians believed not that there was no deluge, but that there had been several The absence of any indications of this belief in the recovered literature of ancient Egypt is not sufficient to set aside the above concurrent testimonies to its existence (Kitto, 'Bible Illustrations,' vol. 1. p. 150; Rawlinson's 'Historical Illustrations of O. T.;' 'Encycl. Britan.,' art. Deluge, ninth edition).

3. The Indian. Through the theft of the sacred Vedas by the giant Hayagrivah, the human race became fearfully degenerate, with the exception of seven saints and the good King Satyavrata, to whom the Divine spirit Vishnu appeared in the form of a fish, in. forming him of his purpose to destroy the earth by a flood, and at the same time to send a ship miraculously constructed for the preservation of himself and the seven holy ones, along with their wives, and one pair of each of all the irrational animals. After seven days the rain descended, when Satyavrata, confiding in the promises of the god, saw a huge ship drawing near, into which he entered as directed. Then the god appeared in the form of a fish a million miles long, with an immense horn, to which the king made the ship fast, and, drawing it for many years (a night of Brahma), at length landed it upon the highest peak of Mount Himavau. When the flood abated the god arose, struck the demon Hayagrivah, recovered the sacred books, instructed Satyavrata in all heavenly sciences, and appointed him the seventh Mann, from whom the second population of the earth descended in a supernatural manner, whence man is styled Manudsha (born of Mann). Vide Kalisch, p. 203; Auberlen's 'Divine Revelation,' p. 169 (Clark's 'For. Theol. Lib.' ).

4. The Grecian. It is sufficient here to refer to the well-known story of Deucalion and Pyrrha, first given in Pindar, and afterwards related by Apollodorus, Plutarch, Lucian, and Ovid, whose account bears so close a resemblance to the Biblical narrative as to suggest the probability of access to Hebrew or Syrian sources of information. The previous corruption of manners and morals, the eminent piety of Deucalion, the determination "genus mortals sub undisperdere," the construction of a boat by Divine direction, the bursting of the storm, the rising of the waters, the universal ocean in which "jamque mare et tellus nullum discrimen habebant," the subsidence of the flood, the landing of the boat on Parnassus with its double peak, the consultation of the Deity "per sacras sortes," and the answer of the god as to how the earth was to be re-peopled "ossaque post tergum magnae jactare parentis," are detailed with such graphic power as makes them read "like amplified reports of the record in Genesis." Indeed, by Philo, Deucalion was distinctly regarded as Noah. Cf. Ovid, 'Metamorph.,' lib. 1. f. 7; 'Kalisch on Genesis,' p. 203; Kitto's 'Bible Illustrations,' p. 150 (Porter's edition); 'Lange on Genesis,' p. 294, note by Tayler Lewis; Smith's ' Dictionary of the Bible,' art. Noah.

5. The American. Traditions of the Flood appear to be even more numerous in the New World than the Old. The Esquimatux in the North, the Red Indians, the Mexicans and the Brazilians in the central parts of America, and the Peruvians in the South have all their peculiar versions of the Deluge story. Chasewee, the ancestor of the Dog. rib Indians, on the Mackensie river, according to Franklin, escaped in a canoe from a flood which overflowed the earth, taking with him all manner of four-footed beasts and birds. The Astees, the Mixtees, the Zapotess, and other nations inhabiting Mexico all have, according to Humboldt, their Noahs, Xisuthrus, or Manus (called Coxcox, Teocipactli, or Tezpi), who saves himself by a raft, or in a ship, which lands upon the summit of Colhuacan, the Ararat of the Mexicans. The legends of the Tamanacks relate that a man and woman saved themselves from the Deluge, and repeopled the earth by casting behind them the fruits of the Mauritia palm tree (Kalisch, p. 205; Auberlen's 'Divine Revelation,' p. 171; Smith's 'Dictionary,' art. Noah). What, then, is the conclusion to be drawn from this universal diffusion of the Deluge story? The theory of Schirren and Gerland, as stated by the writer of the article Deluge in the 'Encyclopedia Britannica,' is that the Deluge stories were originally other-myths, descriptive of the phenomena of the sky, which have been transferred from the celestial regions to the earth; but, as Kalisch justly observes, "the harmony between all these accounts is an undeniable guarantee that the tradition is no idle invention;" or, as is forcibly stated by Rawlinson, of a tradition existing among all the great races into which ethnologists have divided mankind, - the Shemites, the Hamites, the Aryans, the Turanians, - "but one rational account can be given, viz., that it embodies the recollection of a fact in which all mankind was concerned."

8:20-22 Noah was now gone out into a desolate world, where, one might have thought, his first care would have been to build a house for himself, but he begins with an alter for God. He begins well, that begins with God. Though Noah's stock of cattle was small, and that saved at great care and pains, yet he did not grudge to serve God out of it. Serving God with our little is the way to make it more; we must never think that is wasted with which God is honoured. The first thing done in the new world was an act of worship. We are now to express our thankfulness, not by burnt-offerings, but by praise, and pious devotions and conversation. God was well pleased with what was done. But the burning flesh could no more please God, than the blood of bulls and goats, except as typical of the sacrifice of Christ, and expressing Noah's humble faith and devotedness to God. The flood washed away the race of wicked men, but it did not remove sin from man's nature, who being conceived and born in sin, thinks, devises, and loves wickedness, even from his youth, and that as much since the flood as before. But God graciously declared he never would drown the world again. While the earth remains, and man upon it, there shall be summer and winter. It is plain that this earth is not to remain always. It, and all the works in it, must shortly be burned up; and we look for new heavens and a new earth, when all these things shall be dissolved. But as long as it does remain, God's providence will cause the course of times and seasons to go on, and makes each to know its place. And on this word we depend, that thus it shall be. We see God's promises to the creatures made good, and may infer that his promises to all believers shall be so.While the earth remaineth,.... Which as to its substance may remain for ever, Ecclesiastes 1:4 yet as to its form and quality will be changed; that and all in it will be burnt up; there will be an end of all things in it, for so the words are in the original, "as yet all the days of the earth", or "while all the days of the earth" are (i); which shows that there is a time fixed for its continuance, and that this time is but short, being measured by days: but however, as long as it does continue:

seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night, shall not cease; as they had done, or seemed to do during the flood; for the year past there had been no seedtime nor harvest, and it must have been for the most part damp and cold, through the rains, and the abundance of water on earth, that the difference of seasons was not very discernible; as neither of days and nights at some times, especially when the clouds were so black and thick over the heavens, that neither sun, moon, or stars could be seen; and such floods of water continually pouring down, that it must be difficult to know when it was day, and when night; but for the future it is promised, that these should not cease as long as the world stands: "seedtime and harvest"; the time of sowing seed in the earth, and the time of gathering in the fruits of it when ripe, so necessary for the sustenance of man and beast: once in seven years, and once in fifty years indeed, these ceased in the land of Judea, while the people of Israel resided there; but then this was not general all the world over, in other places there were seedtime and harvest: "and cold and heat, and summer and winter"; in some places indeed there is but little cold, in others but little heat, and the difference of summer and winter is not so discernible in some places as in others, yet there is of all these in the world in general. According to Jarchi, "cold" signifies a more severe season than "winter", or the severer part of the winter; and "heat" a hotter season than the summer, or the hotter part of it. The Jews observe, that the seasons of the year are divided into six parts, and two months are to be allowed to each part; which Lyra, from them, and chiefly from Jarchi, thus gives,"to seedtime the last half of September, all October, and half November; to cold, the other half of November, all December, and half January; to winter, half January, all February, and half March: to harvest, half March, all April, and half May; to summer, half May, all June, and half July; to heat, half July, all August, and the first half of September.''But these accounts refer to the land of Judea only: it is enough for the fulfilment of the promise, that they are more or less, at one time of the year or another, in all parts of the world, and so will be until the world shall be no more; and may, in a mystic sense, denote the continuance of the church of God in the world, as long as it endures, and its various vicissitudes and revolutions; sometimes it is a time of sowing the precious seed of the Word; and sometimes it is an harvest, is an ingathering of souls into it; sometimes it is a winter season with it, and all things seem withered and dead; and at other times it is summer, and all things look smiling and cheerful; sometimes it is in a state of coldness and indifference, and at other times exposed to the heat of persecution, and more warm and zealous usually then; sometimes it is night with it, and sometimes day, and so it is like to be, until that state takes place described in Revelation 7:16.

(i) "cunctis diebus terrae", V. L. "adhuc omnes dies terrae", Pagninus, Montanus; so Drusius, Cocceius.

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