The earth made anew, by the recess of waters, and the appearing of
the dry land a second time.
The increase of the waters is stayed, ver. 1, 2.
They begin sensibly to abate, ver. 3.
After fifteen days ebbing the ark rests, ver. 4.
After sixty days ebbing the tops of the mountains appear, ver. 5.
After forty days ebbing, and twenty days before the mountains
appeared, Noah begins to send out his spies, a raven and a
dove to gain intelligence, ver. 6 - 12.
Two months after the appearing of the tops of the mountains the
waters were gone, and the face of the earth was dry, ver. 13.
tho' not dried so as to be fit for man 'till almost two months
after, ver. 14.
Man placed anew upon the earth. In which,
Noah's discharge and departure out of the ark, ver. 15 - 19.
His sacrifice of praise which he offered to God upon his
enlargement, ver. 20.
God's acceptance of his sacrifice; and the promise he made
thereupon not to drown the world again, ver. 21, 22.
And thus at length mercy rejoiceth against judgment.
1: And God remembered Noah and every living thing - This is an
expression after the manner of men, for not any of his creatures, much less
any of his people are forgotten of God. But the whole race of mankind,
except Noah and his family, was now extinguished, and gone into the
land of forgetfulness, so that God's remembering Noah was the return of
his mercy to mankind, of whom he would not make a full end. Noah
himself, tho' one that had found grace in the eyes of the Lord, yet seemed
to be forgotten in the ark; but at length God returned in mercy to him, and
that is expressed by his remembering him.
3: The waters returned from off the earth continually - Heb. they
were going and returning; a gradual departure. The heat of the sun
exhaled much, and perhaps the subterraneous caverns soaked in more.
4: And the ark rested - upon the mountains of Ararat - Or,
Armenia, whether it was directed, not by Noah's prudence, but the
wise providence of God.
5: The tops of the mountains were seen - Like little islands
appearing above water. They felt ground above forty days before they
saw it, according to Dr. Lightfoots's computation, whence he infers
that if the waters decreased proportionably, the ark drew eleven cubits in
7: Noah sent forth a raven through the window of the ark, which
went forth, as the Hebrew phrase is, going forth and returning,
that is, flying about, but returning to the ark for rest; probably not
in it, but upon it. This gave Noah little satisfaction: therefore,
8: He sent forth a dove - Which returned the first time with no good
news, but probably wet and dirty; but the second time she brought an
olive leaf in her bill, which appeared to be fresh plucked off; a
plain indication that now the trees began to appear above water. Note here,
that Noah set forth the dove the second time, seven days after the
first time, and the third time was after seven days too: and probably
the first sending of her out was seven days after the sending forth of the
raven. The olive branch is an emblem of peace.
13: Noah removed the covering of the ark - Not the whole covering,
but so much as would suffice to give him a prospect of the earth about it:
and behold the face of the ground was dry.
14: The earth was dried - So as to be a fit habitation for Noah.
20: And Noah builded an altar - Hitherto he had done nothing without
particular instructions and commands from God but altars and sacrifices
being already of Divine institution, he did not stay for a particular
command thus to express his thankfulness. And he offered on the altar,
of every clean beast and of every clean fowl - One, the odd seventh that
we read of, (Ge 7:2,3).
21: And God smelled a sweet savour - Or a savour of rest from it,
as it is in the Hebrew. He was well pleased with Noah's pious zeal,
and these hopeful beginnings of the new world, as men are with fragrant and
agreeable smells. I will not again curse the ground, Heb. I will
not add to curse the ground any more - God had cursed the ground upon the
first entrance of sin, (Ge 3:17), when he drowned it he added to that
curse: but now he determines not to add to it any more. Neither will I
again smite any more every living thing - That is, it was determined that
whatever ruin God might bring upon particular persons, families or
countries, he would never again destroy the whole world, 'till the day when
time shall be no more. But the reason of this resolve is surprising; for it
seems the same with the reason given for the destruction of the world,(Ge 6:5).
Because the imagination of man's heart is evil from his youth. But
there is this difference: there it is said, the imagination of man's heart
is evil continually, that is, his actual transgressions continually cry
against him; here it is said, that it is evil from his youth or
childhood; he brought it into the world with him, he was shapen and
conceived in it. Now one would think it should follow, therefore that
guilty race shall be wholly extinguished: No; therefore I will no more take
this severe method; for he is rather to be pitied: and it is but what might
be expected from such a degenerate race. So that if he be dealt with
according to his deserts, one flood must succeed another 'till all be
destroyed. God also promises, that the course of nature should never be
discontinued. While the earth remaineth, and man upon it, there
shall be summer and winter, not all winter, as had been this last year;
day and night, not all night, as probably it was while the rain was
descending. Here it is plainly intimated that this earth is not to
remain always; it and all the works therein must shortly be burnt up.
But as long as it doth remain, God's providence will carefully preserve the
regular succession of times and seasons. To this we owe it, that the world
stands, and the wheel of nature keeps its tack. See here how changeable the
times are, and yet how unchangeable! 1. The course of nature always
changing. As it is with the times, so it is with the events of time,
they are subject to vicissitudes, day and night, summer and winter
counterchanged. In heaven and hell it is not so; but on earth God hath set
the one over against the other. 2. Yet never changed; it is constant in
this inconstancy; these seasons have never ceased, nor shall cease while
the sun continues such a steady measurer of time, and the moon such a
faithful witness in heaven. This is God's covenant of the day and
of the night, the stability of which is mentioned for the confirming our
faith in the covenant of grace, which is no less inviolable,(Jer 33:20). We see God's promises to the creatures made good, and
thence may infer that his promises to believers shall be so.