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Genesis 6:3

Context
6:3 So the Lord said, “My spirit will not remain in 1  humankind indefinitely, 2  since 3  they 4  are mortal. 5  They 6  will remain for 120 more years.” 7 

Genesis 6:5

Context

6:5 But the Lord saw 8  that the wickedness of humankind had become great on the earth. Every inclination 9  of the thoughts 10  of their minds 11  was only evil 12  all the time. 13 

Genesis 6:13

Context
6:13 So God said 14  to Noah, “I have decided that all living creatures must die, 15  for the earth is filled with violence because of them. Now I am about to destroy 16  them and the earth.

1 tn The verb form יָדוֹן (yadon) only occurs here. Some derive it from the verbal root דִּין (din, “to judge”) and translate “strive” or “contend with” (so NIV), but in this case one expects the form to be יָדִין (yadin). The Old Greek has “remain with,” a rendering which may find support from an Arabic cognate (see C. Westermann, Genesis, 1:375). If one interprets the verb in this way, then it is possible to understand רוּחַ (ruakh) as a reference to the divine life-giving spirit or breath, rather than the Lord’s personal Spirit. E. A. Speiser argues that the term is cognate with an Akkadian word meaning “protect” or “shield.” In this case, the Lord’s Spirit will not always protect humankind, for the race will suddenly be destroyed (E. A. Speiser, “YDWN, Gen. 6:3,” JBL 75 [1956]: 126-29).

2 tn Or “forever.”

3 tn The form בְּשַׁגַּם (bÿshagam) appears to be a compound of the preposition בְּ (beth, “in”), the relative שֶׁ (she, “who” or “which”), and the particle גַּם (gam, “also, even”). It apparently means “because even” (see BDB 980 s.v. שֶׁ).

4 tn Heb “he”; the plural pronoun has been used in the translation since “man” earlier in the verse has been understood as a collective (“humankind”).

5 tn Heb “flesh.”

6 tn See the note on “they” earlier in this verse.

7 tn Heb “his days will be 120 years.” Some interpret this to mean that the age expectancy of people from this point on would be 120, but neither the subsequent narrative nor reality favors this. It is more likely that this refers to the time remaining between this announcement of judgment and the coming of the flood.

8 sn The Hebrew verb translated “saw” (רָאָה, raah), used here of God’s evaluation of humankind’s evil deeds, contrasts with God’s evaluation of creative work in Gen 1, when he observed that everything was good.

9 tn The noun יֵצֶר (yetser) is related to the verb יָצָר (yatsar, “to form, to fashion [with a design]”). Here it refers to human plans or intentions (see Gen 8:21; 1 Chr 28:9; 29:18). People had taken their God-given capacities and used them to devise evil. The word יֵצֶר (yetser) became a significant theological term in Rabbinic literature for what might be called the sin nature – the evil inclination (see also R. E. Murphy, “Yeser in the Qumran Literature,” Bib 39 [1958]: 334-44).

10 tn The related verb הָשָׁב (hashav) means “to think, to devise, to reckon.” The noun (here) refers to thoughts or considerations.

11 tn Heb “his heart” (referring to collective “humankind”). The Hebrew term לֵב (lev, “heart”) frequently refers to the seat of one’s thoughts (see BDB 524 s.v. לֵב). In contemporary English this is typically referred to as the “mind.”

12 sn Every inclination of the thoughts of their minds was only evil. There is hardly a stronger statement of the wickedness of the human race than this. Here is the result of falling into the “knowledge of good and evil”: Evil becomes dominant, and the good is ruined by the evil.

13 tn Heb “all the day.”

sn The author of Genesis goes out of his way to emphasize the depth of human evil at this time. Note the expressions “every inclination,” “only evil,” and “all the time.”

14 sn On the divine style utilized here, see R. Lapointe, “The Divine Monologue as a Channel of Revelation,” CBQ 32 (1970): 161-81.

15 tn Heb “the end of all flesh is coming [or “has come”] before me.” (The verb form is either a perfect or a participle.) The phrase “end of all flesh” occurs only here. The term “end” refers here to the end of “life,” as v. 3 and the following context (which describes how God destroys all flesh) make clear. The statement “the end has come” occurs in Ezek 7:2, 6, where it is used of divine judgment. The phrase “come before” occurs in Exod 28:30, 35; 34:34; Lev 15:14; Num 27:17; 1 Sam 18:13, 16; 2 Sam 19:8; 20:8; 1 Kgs 1:23, 28, 32; Ezek 46:9; Pss 79:11 (groans come before God); 88:3 (a prayer comes before God); 100:2; 119:170 (prayer comes before God); Lam 1:22 (evil doing comes before God); Esth 1:19; 8:1; 9:25; 1 Chr 16:29. The expression often means “have an audience with” or “appear before.” But when used metaphorically, it can mean “get the attention of” or “prompt a response.” This is probably the sense in Gen 6:13. The necessity of ending the life of all flesh on earth is an issue that has gotten the attention of God. The term “end” may even be a metonymy for that which has prompted it – violence (see the following clause).

16 tn The participle, especially after הִנֵּה (hinneh) has an imminent future nuance. The Hiphil of שָׁחָת (shakhat) here has the sense “to destroy” (in judgment). Note the wordplay involving this verb in vv. 11-13: The earth is “ruined” because all flesh has acted in a morally “corrupt” manner. Consequently, God will “destroy” all flesh (the referent of the suffix “them”) along with the ruined earth. They had ruined themselves and the earth with violence, and now God would ruin them with judgment. For other cases where “earth” occurs as the object of the Hiphil of שָׁחָת, see 1 Sam 6:5; 1 Chr 20:1; Jer 36:29; 51:25.



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