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1. Here is a gracious invitation of Noah and his family into a place of safety, now the flood of waters was coming. For thee have I seen righteous before me in this generation - Those are righteous indeed that are righteous before God; that have not only the form of godliness by which they appear righteous before men, who may easily be imposed upon; but the power of it, by which they approve themselves to God, who searcheth the heart.
2. Here are necessary orders given concerning the brute creatures that they were to be preserved alive with Noah in the ark. He must carefully preserve every species, that no tribe, no, not the least considerable, might entirely perish out of the creation. Observe in this: (1.) God's care for man. Doth God take care for oxen? 1 Cor. ix, 9, or was it not rather for man's sake that this care was taken? (2.) Even the unclean beasts were preserved alive in the ark, that were least valuable. For God's tender mercies are over all his works, and not only over those that are of most use. (3.) Yet more of the clean were preserved than of the unclean.
1. Because the clean were most for the service of man; and therefore in favour to him, more of them were preserved and are still propagated. Thanks be to God there are not herds of lions as there are of oxen, nor flocks of tigers as there are of sheep.
2. Because the clean were for sacrifice to God; and therefore, in honour to him, more of them were preserved, three couple for breed, and the odd seventh for sacrifice, chap. viii, 20.
4. Yet seven days and I will cause it to rain - It shall be seven days yet before I do it, After the 120 years were expired, God grants them a reprieve of seven days longer, both to shew how slow he is to anger, and to give them some farther space for repentance. But all in vain; these seven days were trifled away after all the rest, they continued secure until the day that the flood came. While Noah told them of the judgment at a distance, they were tempted to put off their repentance: but now he is ordered to tell them that it is at the door; that they have but one week more to turn them in, to see if that will now at last awaken them to consider the things that belong to their peace. But it is common for those that have been careless for their souls during the years of their health, when they have looked upon death at a distance, to be as careless during the days, the seven days of their sickness, when they see it approaching, their hearts being hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.
7. And Noah went in with his sons, and his wife, and his sons wives - And the brute creatures readily went in with him. The same hand that at first brought them to Adam to be named, now brought them to Noah to be preserved.
11. The six hundredth year of Noah's life, was 1656 years from the creation. In the second month, the seventeenth day of the month - Which is reckoned to be about the beginning of November; so that Noah had had a harvest just before, from which to victual his ark. The same day the fountains of the great deep were broken up - There needed no new creation of waters; God has laid up the deep in store-houses, Psalm xxxiii, 7, and now he broke up those stores. God had, in the creation, set bars and doors to the waters of the sea, that they might not return to cover the earth, Psalm civ; Job xxxviii, 9-11, and now he only removed these ancient mounds and fences, and the waters of the sea returned to cover the earth, as they had done at first, chap. i, 9. And the windows of heaven were opened - And the waters which were above the firmament were poured out upon the world; those treasures which God has reserved against the time of trouble, the day of battle and war, Job xxxviii, 22, 23. The rain, which ordinarily descends in drops, then came down in streams. We read, Job xxvi, 8. That God binds up the waters in his thick clouds, and the cloud is not rent under them; but now the bond was loosed, the cloud was rent, and such rains descended as were never known before or since.
12. It rained without intermission or abatement, forty days and forty nights - And that upon the whole earth at once.
14. And every beast after his kind - According to the phrase used in the history of the creation, chap. i, 21, 24, 25, to intimate, that just as many species as were created at first were saved now, and no more.
20. The mountains were covered - Therefore there were mountains before the flood.
21. All flesh died, all in whose nostrils was the breath of life, of all that was on the dry land, every living substance - And why so? Man only had done wickedly, and justly is God's hand against him, but these sheep what have they done? I answer,
1. We are sure God did them no wrong. He is the sovereign Lord of all life, for he is the sole fountain and author of it. He that made them as he pleased, might unmake them when he pleased, and who shall say unto him, What dost thou?
2. God did admirably serve the purposes of his own glory by their destruction, as well as by their creation. Herein his holiness and justice were greatly magnified: by this it appears that he hates sin, and is highly displeased with sinners, when even the inferior creatures, because they are the servants of man, and part of his possession, and because they have been abused to be the servants of sin, are destroyed with him. It was likewise an instance of God's wisdom. As the creatures were made for man when he was made, so they were multiplied for him when he was multiplied; and therefore, now mankind was reduced to so small a number, it was fit that the beasts should proportionable be reduced, otherwise they would have had the dominion, and would have replenished the earth, and the remnant of mankind that was left would have been overpowered by them.
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