Lectionary Calendar
Monday, June 17th, 2024
the Week of Proper 6 / Ordinary 11
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Bible Commentaries
Genesis 8

Gray's Concise Bible CommentaryGray's Concise Commentary

Verses 1-14


When did the flood begin (Genesis 7:11 )? What shows an uprising of the oceans and seas, occasioned perhaps by a subsiding of the land? How long did the rain continue? What suggests a rising of the water even after the rain ceased (Genesis 7:17-19 )? How long did it continue to rise (Genesis 7:24 )? What circumstance mentioned in Genesis 2:5 may have given “a terrifying accompaniment” to the rain? When and where did the ark rest (Genesis 8:4 )?

Ararat is rendered Armenia in 2 Kings 19:37 and Isaiah 37:38 . What is the story of Noah’s messengers (Genesis 8:6-12 )? How long did the flood last (Genesis 8:14 )? A beautiful parallel is found in considering the ark as a type of Christ. All the waves of divine judgment passed over Him, and He put Himself judicially under the weight of all His people’s sins. But He rose triumphantly from the grave to which that penalty had consigned Him. Nor did He thus rise for Himself only, but for all believers who are in Him by faith as was Noah and his family in the ark.

But did the flood actually occur? and did it cover the whole earth? are questions frequently asked. As to the first, the Word of God is all-sufficient to the man of faith, but it is pertinent to add that the event is corroborated by tradition and geology. As to the second, there may be a division of opinion even among those who accept the authority of Scripture.

Genesis 7:19-23 seems to teach its universality, but whether this means universal according to the geography of Noah or Moses or the geography of the present, is a question as to which Christians are divided.

Verses 20-22


What did Noah do on leaving the ark (Genesis 8:20 )? How does this verse bear on Genesis 7:2 ? What indicates the acceptance of his offering, and by its acceptance that of himself (Genesis 8:21 )? What divine promise was associated with this acceptance? Of course, this does not mean that no further judgment is to be visited on the earth, as may be seen by 2 Thessalonians 1:7-10 ; 2 Peter 3:10-13 , and Revelation 14:22.

Where, earlier, have we met the blessing now bestowed on Noah and his family (Genesis 9:1 )? What new power over the brute creation is now put into man’s hands (Genesis 9:2 )? If his dominion previously was that of love, of what was its nature to be henceforth? If his food previously was limited to herbs, to what is it now extended (Genesis 9:3 )? But what limitation is put upon it, and why (Genesis 9:4 )? We see here that from the times of the deluge the blood was constituted a most sacred thing, devoted exclusively to God, to make expiation on the altar of sacrifice for the sins of men (Leviticus 17:11-14 ). When the blood of the “Lamb of God who taketh away the sin of the world” had been shed, this prohibition ceased naturally, together with the reason for it. The apostles, nevertheless, as a concession to the scruples of the Jewish Christians, ordained its continuance (Acts 15:1-29 ), a concession which likewise of itself fell into disuse with the cessation of the occasion for it the disappearance of Judaic Christianity.

To speak further of eating meat, some regard it as a lightening of the curse in that flesh was more easily obtained than the products of the soil, but others consider it as bearing on the intercourse with the spiritual beings previously spoken of. In this connection it is in point to remark that the votaries of spiritualism, theosophy and other occultisms are denied a meat diet on the ground that it interferes with their mysterious (and sinful) affinities.

What magisterial functions not previously exercised are now conferred on man (Genesis 9:5-6 )? The death penalty has been abused in almost all the countries of the world, but this does not justify its abolition in cases of premeditated homicide; and unwillingness to apply to the criminal the pain of death ordained by God Himself, the Author of life, always tends to the increase of crime and gives loose rein to personal vengeance. The inviolability of human life means that the life of a human being is a thing so sacred that he who takes it without just cause must pay for it with his own in amends to outraged justice, both human and divine. Compare Numbers 35:33 .

What are the terms of the covenant now made with Noah (Genesis 9:8-11 )? And what token or seal does God set to it (Genesis 9:12-17 )? The rainbow may have been seen before, but God now employs it for a new purpose. And the token is not only for us, but also for every living thing, and for perpetual generations. And then, too, God looks upon it and remembers the covenant whether we do or not, our deliverance depending not on our seeing it. This calls to mind the promise of Exodus 12:13 : “When I see the blood, I will pass over you.”


(1) What was the result of the earliest civilization, morally considered?

(1) What two applications have been given to the “sons of God” in Genesis 6:1-22 ?

(2) What is the Hebrew for “giants,” and what is its meaning?

(3) How might be explained the large number of animals in the ark?

(4) In what way may the ark be used as a type of Christ?

(5) In what two ways is the story of the flood corroborated?

(6) What two reasons have been given for the privilege of eating meat?

(7) What element will be employed in the next destruction of the earth?

(8) Have we biblical authority and mandate for capital punishment?

(9) What circumstances of special interest do you recall in connection with the rainbow?

Bibliographical Information
Gray, James. "Commentary on Genesis 8". Gray's Concise Bible Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jgc/genesis-8.html. 1897-1910.
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