Page 19 - November 2023 - Truth & Tidings
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was joining what God had separated in the   the etymology of the name “Methuselah,”
        intermarrying of the “sons of God” and   God sets water in the expanse below and
        the “daughters of men” (6:1-4) that was   above (1:7). Ominously, it is the only day
        the catalyst for sending the flood. Before   where we do not read “and it was good.”
        Noah obeyed God and separated the ani-  At the creation of the world, God had
        mals (vv2-3), God, in grace, separated him   made provision for its judgment. Nothing
        and his family (v1, note “thee” in contrast   catches our God unawares.
        to “this generation”).                His Total Condemnation
          The final part of the pattern is the obedi-  This was more than just rain. It was a
        ence of Noah and the increasing detail on   cataclysmic opening of waters above and
        the impending flood (vv4-5,9-12,16b-24).   below the earth. Its pivotal nature is seen
        Although his obedience is stated simply,   in the phrase “on that same day” (vv11,13
        it was not easy. In walking with God (6:9),   JND), a phrase repeated at other signifi-
        he was out of step with the world. In other   cant days in the life of Israel (cf. 17:23,26;
        flood fables the main character is labelled   Exo 12:41,51).  The account lingers on the
        as heroic in building, deception and   destruction of all life (vv17-24). In verse 22,
        outwitting of the gods. However, Noah’s   standing at opposite ends of the sentence
        “heroic” quality was obedience.       is the juxtaposition of life and death.  The
                                              drama of the scene is seen in the repeti-
        The Character of God                  tion of “all/every” (8 times), “waters” (6
        His Ultimate Control                  times), “prevailed” (4 times), “increased”
          Throughout the chapter and into the   (2 times) and “destroyed” (2 times). Man’s
        next, there are repeated and symmetrical   rebellion went so far, but God determined
                                              it would go no further.
        mentions of days.  Nothing is happening
        a day too early or a moment too late. God   His View of Man
        is not like humanity, or pagan deities,   God’s judgment here has a punitive
        responding via uncontrollable anger.   aspect (God must judge sin) and a pre-
        Rather, in righteousness He orders His   servative aspect (guarding the Seed of
        judgments. This will be seen again in   the Woman). However, why was it a
        tribulation days. With exactness, He will   worldwide, ecology-destroying flood?
        unfold the seals, trumpets and bowls of   Couldn’t God exterminate the human
        wrath.                                ⁵ Thomas Newberry attaches “when he dies, it
        His Foreknowing Wisdom                shall be sent” to the meaning of that name, “he”
                                              being Methuselah and “it” being the deluge.
          In the Gilgamesh Epic, the gods be-  It is hard to be dogmatic on ancient names.
        come fearful of the out-of-control flood.   Linguistically, there are various opinions, but
                                              chronologically, Newberry’s meaning appears
        Throughout chapter 7, God announces   valid. Putting the genealogies and the years
        what will occur before the flood arrives.   together, when Methuselah dies, 7 days later,
        Even before the revelation to Noah, and   the flood is sent.
                                              ⁶ Kenneth A. Mathews, Genesis 1–11:26, Vol. 1A,
        ⁴ Notice the spacing of the days: 7 days (7:4), 7   The New American Commentary (Nashville, TN:
        days (7:10), 40 days (7:17) and 150 days (7:24).   Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1996), 375.
        Then, in chapter 8, the order is reversed: 150   ⁷ Gordon J. Wenham, Genesis 1–15, Vol. 1,
        days (8:3), 40 days (8:6), 7 days (8:10) and 7 days   Word Biblical Commentary (Grand Rapids, MI:
        (8:12).                               Zondervan, 1987), 183.
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