Bible Commentaries

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

Genesis 7

Verse 1

GENESIS CHAPTER 7

God commands Noah to enter into the ark; the reason of it, Genesis 7:1. Directs him as to the manner and time, Genesis 7:2-4. Noah’s obedience in all things, Genesis 7:5. His age, Genesis 7:6. His entrance with his family, &c. into the ark, Genesis 7:7-9. The day in which the flood began, Genesis 7:10-11. Its continuance, Genesis 7:12. Noah and his family, &c. in the ark, Genesis 7:13-16. The flood increases and destroys all living substance, Genesis 7:17-24.

2349 When the ark was finished and furnished, and the time of God’s patience expired, Genesis 6:3, he

said unto Noah, Come, i.e. prepare to enter,

thou and all thy family; which consisted only of eight persons, 1 Peter 3:20, to wit, Noah and his three sons, and their four wives, Genesis 6:18. Whereby it appears that each had but one wife, and consequently it is more than probable that polygamy, as it began in the posterity of wicked Cain, Genesis 4:19, so it was confined to them, and had not as yet got footing amongst the sons of God. For if ever polygamy had been allowable, it must have been now, for the repeopling of the perishing world.

For thee have I seen righteous, with the righteousness of faith, as it is explained, Hebrews 11:7, evidenced by all the fruits of righteousness and true holiness, not only before men, and seemingly, but really, and to my all-seeing eye, in this generation; of which expression, see Poole on "Genesis 6:9".

Verse 2

Obj. The distinction of clean and unclean beasts was not before the law.

Answ. Some legal things were prescribed and used before the law, as abstinence from the eating of blood, Genesis 9:4, and, among other things, sacrifices, as learned men have sufficiently proved; and consequently the distinction of beasts to be sacrificed was then, in some measure, understood, which afterwards was expressed, Leviticus 1:1-17, &c. Nor is this a good argument, This was not written before, therefore it was not commanded and practised before, especially concerning a time when no commands of God were written, but only delivered by tradition.

By sevens; either,

1. Seven single, as most think. Or rather,

2. Seven couples, as may be gathered,

1. From the duplication of the word in Hebrew. If it be said seven seven signifies only seven of every kind, then it would have been said concerning the unclean beasts two two, i.e. two of each sort: whereas now there is an apparent difference; there it is said only by two, but here,

by sevens, or seven seven, which difference of the phrase suggest a difference in the things. 2. By the following words,

the male and his female, which being indifferently applied to the clean and unclean, plainly shows that none of them entered into the ark single, and therefore there was no odd seventh among them, but all went in by couples, which was most convenient in all for the propagation of their kind, and in the clean for other uses also; as for sacrifices to God, if not for the sustentation of men in the ark, and after they came out of it. Which gives us the reason why God would have more of the clean than of the unclean put into the ark, because they were more serviceable both to God and men.

Verse 3

Of clean fowls, which he leaves to be understood out of the foregoing verse,

by sevens; and of the unclean, by two; as before of the beasts,

to keep seed alive, i.e. the issue or breed of them.

Verse 4

Yet seven days, or, after seven days, the Hebrew Lamed being put for after, as it is Exodus 16:1 Psalms 19:3 Jeremiah 41:4. Or, within seven days, which time God allowed to the world as a further space of repentance, whereof therefore it is probable Noah gave them notice; and it is not unlikely that many of them who slighted the threatening when it was at one hundred and twenty years distance, now hearing a second threatening, and considering the nearness of their danger, might be more affected and brought to true repentance; who though destroyed in their bodies by the flood for their former and long impenitency, which God would not so far pardon, yet might be saved in their spirits. See 1 Peter 4:6. And as some preserved in the ark were damned, so others drowned in the deluge might be eternally saved.

And every living substance, all that hath in it the breath of life, as was said Genesis 6:17.

Verse 5

Which was said Genesis 6:22, and is here repeated, because this was an eminent instance of his faith and obedience.

Verse 7

Or, for fear of; for fear is ascribed to and commended in Noah, Hebrews 11:7. Or, from the face of.

Verse 9

They went by the secret impulse of their great Creator and Governor, {see Genesis 2:19, Genesis 6:20}

two and two; of which see above, Genesis 4:20.

Verse 11

In the six hundredth year; either complete, or rather current or begun; otherwise he had lived three hundred and fifty one years after the flood, not three hundred and fifty only, as it is written, Genesis 9:29.

In the second month; either,

1. Of that year of Noah’s life; or,

2. Of the year. Now as the year among the Hebrews was twofold; the one sacred, for the celebration of feasts, beginning in March, of which see Exodus 12:2; the other civil, for the better ordering of men’s political or civil affairs, which began in September. Accordingly this second month is thought, by some, to be part of April and part of May, the most pleasant part of the year, when the flood was least expected or feared; by others, part of October and part of November, a little after Noah had gathered the fruits of the earth, and laid them up in the ark. So the flood came in with the winter, and was by degrees dried up by the heat of the following summer. And this opinion seems the more probable, because the most ancient and first beginning of the year was in September; and the other beginning of the year in March was but a later institution among the Jews, with respect to their feasts and sacred affairs only, which are not at all concerned here.

The fountains of the great deep, i.e. of the sea, called the deep, Job 38:16, Job 38:30, Job 41:31, Psalms 106:9; and also of that great abyss, or sea of waters, which is contained in the bowels of the earth. For that there are vast quantities of waters there, is implied both here and in other scriptures, as Psalms 33:7 2 Peter 3:5; and is affirmed by Plato in his Phaedrus, and by Seneca in his Natural Questions, 3.19, and is evident from springs and rivers which have their rise from thence; and some of them have no other place into which they issue themselves, as appears from the Caspian Sea, into which divers rivers do empty themselves, and especially that great river Volga, in such abundance, that it would certainly drown all those parts of the earth, if there were not a vent for them under ground; for other vent above ground out of that great lake or sea they have none. Out of this

deep therefore, and out of the sea together, it was very easy for God to bring such a quantity of waters, as might overwhelm the earth without any production of new waters, which yet he with one word could have created. So vain are the cavils of atheistical antiscripturists in this.

The fountains are said to be broken up here, also Psalms 74:15, by a metonymy, because the earth and other obstructions were broken up, and so a passage opened for the fountains; as bread is said to be bruised, Isaiah 28:28, and meal to be ground, Isaiah 47:2, because the corn, of which the meal and bread were made, was bruised and ground.

The windows of heaven were opened; which some understand of the waters, which, from Genesis 1:7, they suppose were placed by God above the visible heavens, and reserved and kept, as it were, in prison for this very purpose; and now the prison-doors were opened, and they let loose and sent down for the destruction of the world. But others more fitly understand it of the clouds, which are called the windows of heaven, Malachi 3:10; so 2 Kings 7:2, 2 Kings 7:19, Psalms 78:23, Isaiah 24:18, which then grew thicker and bigger with waters; nor is there any inconvenience in it, if we say that God created a great quantity of waters for this end, which afterwards he annihilated.

Verse 12

God by this gradual proceeding both awakened to repentance, and gave them space for it.

Verse 13

In the selfsame day on which the flood began by that terrible shower. Heb. In the body, or essence, or strength of the day, as Genesis 17:26 Leviticus 23:14 Joshua 10:27: q. d. Not in the dark or twilight, like one ashamed of his action, or afraid of the people, but when it was clear day, or about noon-tide, in the public view of the world.

Verse 14

Every bird. The first word signifies the greater, the second the less sort of birds, as appears from Genesis 15:9-10, Leviticus 14:4, Psalms 104:17.

Of every sort; Heb. Of every kind of wing, whether feathered, as it is in most birds, or skinny and gristly, as in bats.

Verse 15

See Poole on "Genesis 7:9". i.e. All living creatures forementioned, Genesis 7:14.

Verse 16

Or, shut the door after him, or upon him, or for him, i.e. his good and safety, against the fury either of the waters or of the people. This God did in some extraordinary manner.

Verse 17

The flood; or, that flood of waters which was poured down in that shower mentioned Genesis 7:12; otherwise the flood was one hundred and fifty days upon the earth, Genesis 7:24.

The waters increased, by the accession of more waters from above and beneath.

Verse 18

The waters were increased greatly upon the earth; overthrowing men, and houses, and trees, where possibly they did or thought to secure themselves.

Verse 19

Profane wits pretend this to be impossible, because of the vast height of divers mountains. But,

1. This cannot be thought impossible by any man that believeth a God; to whom it was as easy to bring forth a sufficiency of water, for this end, as to speak a word. And if we acknowledge a miracle of the Divine power and providence here, it is no more than even heathens have confessed in other cases.

2. Peradventure this flood might not be simply universal over the whole earth, but only over all the habitable world, where either men or beasts lived; which was as much as either the meritorious cause of the flood, men’s sins, or the end of it, the destruction of all men and beasts, required. And the or that whole heaven may be understood of that which was over all the habitable parts of it. And whereas our modern heathens, that miscall themselves Christians, laugh at the history of this flood upon this and the like occasions, as if it were an idle romance; they may please to note, that their predecessors, the ancient and wiser heathens, have divers of them acknowledged the truth of it, though they also mixed it with their fables, which was neither strange nor unusual for them to do. Lactantius appeals to the heathens of his age concerning it. Nay, there is not only mention of the flood in general, but also of the dove sent out of the ark, in Plutarch, and Berosus, and Abydenus. And the memory of this general flood is preserved to this day among the poor ignorant Indians, who asked the Christians who invaded their land, whether they ever heard of such a thing, and whether another flood was to be expected? And the Chinese writers relate, that but one person, whom they call Puoncuus, with his family, were saved in the flood, and all the rest perished.

Verse 20

Fifteen cubits were sufficient for the destruction of the highest men, or other creatures, though placed upon the highest mountains.

Verse 21

All flesh that moved, i.e. lived; for motion is a sign of life.

Verse 22

Whether men or beasts, &c., all that breathed the same air with man, all that lived in the same element which man by his sins had infected; whereby the fishes are excepted, as living in another element. See Poole on "Genesis 2:7".

Verse 23

This is so often repeated, that it may be more deeply ingrafted into the dull minds and hard hearts of men, to teach men that they ought again and again to consider this dreadful instance of God’s justice against sin and incorrigible sinners.

Verse 24

The waters prevailed, i.e. either grew higher and higher, or rather continued to prevail, and did not decrease.

An hundred and fifty days in all, whereof one part was the forty days mentioned Genesis 7:17, as appears from Genesis 8:4.

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Bibliographical Information
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Genesis 7". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/mpc/genesis-7.html. 1685.