Notes & Commentary:
Ver. 1. Daughters. These had borne equal proportion with the males from the beginning; but here
they are particularized, because they were the chief instruments in corrupting the descendants of Seth. (Haydock) --- Even
the sons of these libidinous people were so effeminate, as to deserve to be called women. (Menochius)
Ver. 2. The sons of God. The descendants of Seth and Enos are here called Sons of God, from
their religion and piety: whereas the ungodly race of Cain, who by their carnal affections lay grovelling upon the earth,
are called the children of men. The unhappy consequence of the former marrying with the latter, ought to be a warning to Christians
to be very circumspect in their marriages; and not to suffer themselves to be determined in choice by their carnal passion,
to the prejudice of virtue or religion. (Challoner) --- See St. Chrysostom, hom. 22, &c. Some copies of the Septuagint
having the angels of God, induced some of the ancients to suppose, that these spiritual beings (to whom, by another
mistake, they attributed a sort of aerial bodies) had commerce with women, as the pagans derived their heroes from a mortal
and a god. But this notion, which is borrowed from the book of Henoch, is quite exploded. (Calmet) --- The distinction of
the true Church from the synagogue of satan, here established, has been ever since retained, as heretics are still distinguished
from Catholics. (Worthington) (St. Augustine)
Ver. 3. His days shall be, &c. The meaning is, that man's days, which before the flood were
usually 900 years, should now be reduced to 120 years. Or rather, that God would allow men this term of 120 years, for their
repentance and conversion, before he would send the deluge. (Challoner) --- He spoke therefore to Noe in his 480th year. (St.
Augustine) Those who suppose, that he foretold this event 20 years later, think with St. Jerome, that God retrenched 20 years
from the time first assigned for penance. The Spirit of the sovereign Judge was fired with contending; or, as
others translate it, with remaining quiet as in a scabbard, and bearing with the repeated crimes of men. He resolved
to punish them severely in this world, that he might shew mercy to some of them hereafter. (St. Jerome, 9. Heb.) (Calmet)
--- If we suppose, that God here threatens to reduce the space of man's life to 120 years, we must say, at least, that he
did it by degrees: for many lived several hundred years, even after the deluge. In the days of Moses, indeed, few exceeded
that term. But we think the other interpretation is more literal, and that God bore with mankind the full time which he promised.
Ver. 4. Giants. It is likely the generality of men before the flood were of a gigantic stature,
in comparison with what men now are. But these here spoken of, are called giants, as being not only tall in stature,
but violent and savage in their dispositions, and mere monsters of cruelty and lust. (Challoner) --- Yet we need not imagine,
that they were such as the poets describe, tearing up mountains, and hurling them against heaven. Being offspring of men,
who had lived hitherto with great temperance, but now gave full scope to their passions, and the love of the fair daughters
whom they chose, we need not wonder that they should be amazingly strong and violent. Nephilim, rushing on,
as Ag.[Aquila?] translates. That there have been giants of an unusual size, all historians testify. Og, Goliah, &c. are
mentioned in Scripture, and the sons of Enac are represented as much above the common size, as the Hebrews were greater than
grasshoppers, Numbers xiii. 34. If we should suppose they were four or five times our size, would that be more wonderful than
that they should live nine or ten times as long as we do? See St. Augustine, City of God xv. 9, 23; Calmet's Dissert. &c.
Delrio affirms, that in 1572 he saw at Rouen, a native of Piedmont, above nine feet high. (Haydock) --- Of old. The
corruption of morals had commenced many ages ago, and some of the sons of Seth had given way to their lusts; so that we are
not to suppose, that these giants were all born within a hundred years of the flood, as some might suppose from their being
mentioned here, after specifying the age of Noe, chap. v. 31. (Haydock)
Ver. 5. At all times. Hebrew: only evil continually. They had no relish for any thing else: as
we may say of a glutton, he thinks of nothing but his belly. Yet some good thoughts would occur occasionally, and we may grant
that they did some things which were not sinful. (Menochius) --- If we follow corrupt nature, and live among sinners, we find
a law within us warring against the spirit; and a very powerful grace is necessary to rescue us from such a dangerous situation.
(Calmet) --- Though the expressions in this place seem general, they must be understood with some limitations. (Worthington)
Ver. 6. It repented him, &c. God, who is unchangeable, is not capable of repentance, grief,
or any other passion. But these expressions are used to declare the enormity of the sins of men, which was so provoking as
to determine their Creator to destroy these his creatures, whom before he had so much favoured. (Challoner) --- God acted
outwardly as a man would do who repented. (Haydock)
Ver. 8. Grace. Notwithstanding the general denunciation against all flesh, we see here that God
will not confound the just with the guilty, in the same punishment. Noe pleased God, by observing the most perfect justice,
in the midst of a corrupt generation. (St. Chrysostom; &c.) (Worthington)
Ver. 12. Its way, being abandoned to the most shameful and unnatural sins. (Liranus)
Ver. 13. All flesh. I will destroy all these carnal and wicked people, and, because all other creatures
were made only for man's use, and will be useless, I will involve them in the common ruin, reserving only what will be necessary
for the support of the few, who shall be preserved, and for the repeopling of the earth. (Haydock)
Ver. 14. Timber planks. Hebrew, "gopher wood," which is no where else mentioned in Scripture. It
was probably a sort of wood full of rosin, and being besmeared with something like our pitch, was capable of resisting the
fury of the ensuing tremendous storm, for a length of time. (Calmet; Haydock) --- Rooms to separate the birds, various
animals, provisions, &c. --- Pitch, literally: "besmear it with bitumen," which has a very strong smell, able to
counteract the disagreeable odours arising from beasts confined. (Menochius) --- It might be mixed with some other ingredients,
naphtha, pitch, &c. (Calmet)
Ver. 15. Three hundred cubits, &c. The ark, according to the dimensions here set down, contained
four hundred and fifty thousand square cubits; which were more than enough to contain all the kinds of living creatures, with
all necessary provisions: even supposing the cubits here spoken of to have been only a foot and a half each, which was the
least kind of cubits. (Challoner) --- It is therefore unnecessary for us to have recourse, with Cappel, to the sacred cubit,
which was twice as large as the common one, but which seems not to have been in use among the Jews before the Babylonian captivity.
Still less need we adopt the geometrical cubit, which contains six ordinary ones, as we might be authorised to do by the great
names of Origen and St. Augustine, City of God xv. 27. q. in Gen. i. 4. These dimensions would make the ark as large as a
city. Moses always speaks of the same sort of cubit, used probably in Egypt. Apelles and other heretics, with some modern
infidels, have attempted to shew, that this account of Moses is fabulous. But they have been amply refuted by able calculators,
John Buteo, Pelletier, &c. This amazing structure, for which God himself gave the plan, was divided with three stories,
besides the lower part of the vessel, which might serve to keep fresh water. The different species of animals are not so numerous,
as some imagine. Fishes, and such creatures as can live in water, would not need to come into the ark. Animals deprived of
exercise, and allowed barely what may support nature, will live upon a very little. Even an ox, according to Columella, will
live on 30 pounds of hay, or on a cubic foot, a whole day, so that 400 of these large creatures might be supported on 146,000
cubic feet. The middle story, for provisions, would alone contain 150,000 cubits. Noe's family, and the birds, would probably
occupy the room above, in which was a window all around, of the height of a cubit, without glass or crystal, which
were not yet invented, but defended with lattice work of wood, like our dairy rooms. (Haydock)
Ver. 16. In a cubit. This is understood by some, of the height of the window; by others, of the
roof, which would be almost flat, like the top of a coach. Menoch supposes, that the whole ark was to be measured with the
cubit in every part, from the bottom to the top; and the words of it, properly refer to the ark. --- Side,
or at the end, about the middle way, that the animals might be conveyed easily to their stalls. The door would open into the
story allotted to the beasts, and all things might enter it by a sort of bridge, or by sloping planks. (Calmet) --- Ordure
might be thrown down into the lowest part of the ark, separated from the reservoir of fresh water, or might be brought up
with ropes and buckets to the window at the top, which would easily open. (Tirinus)
Ver. 18. My covenant, that thou shalt be saved, amid the general ruin. This is the second covenant
of God with man: the first was with Adam, the third with Abraham, when circumcision was instituted, and the last with Moses,
Exodus xix. All others were only ratifications of these; and even these were only figures of that which our Saviour entered
into with men, when he undertook to make satisfaction for them to his Father. (Calmet)
Ver. 19. Two, intended for the propagation of their kind. God afterwards specifies what more Noe
should preserve for food, chap. vii. 2. (Calmet). --- Wild beasts forgot their savage nature, and became subject to the just
Noe; and all came readily at his beck, in the same manner as domestic animals come when we offer them food. Yet, in all this
we must acknowledge the work of God, and a sort of miracle. (Haydock)
Bible Text & Cross-references:
Man's sin is the cause of the deluge. Noe is commanded to
build the ark.
1 And after that men began to be multiplied upon the earth, and daughters
were born to them,
2 The sons of God seeing the daughters of men, that they were fair, took
to themselves wives of all which they chose.
3 And God said: *My spirit shall not remain in man for ever, because he
is flesh, and his days shall be a hundred and twenty years.
4 Now giants were upon the earth in those days. For after the sons of God
went in to the daughters of men, and they brought forth children, these are the mighty men of old, men of renown.*
5 And God seeing that the wickedness of men was great on the earth, and
that all the thought of their heart was bent upon evil at all times,*
6 It repented him that he had made man on the earth. And being touched
inwardly with sorrow of heart,
7 He said: I will destroy man, whom I have created, from the face of the
earth, from man even to beasts, from the creeping thing even to the fowls of the air, for it repenteth me that I have made
8 But Noe found grace before the Lord.
9 These are the generations of Noe:* Noe was a just and perfect man in
his generations, he walked with God.
10 And he begot three sons, Sem, Cham, and Japheth.
11 And the earth was corrupted before God, and was filled with iniquity.
12 And when God had seen that the earth was corrupted (for all flesh had
corrupted its way upon the earth),
13 He said to Noe: The end of all flesh is come before me, the earth is
filled with iniquity through them, and I will destroy them with the earth.*
14 Make thee an ark of timber planks: thou shalt make little rooms in the
ark, and thou shalt pitch it within and without.
15 And thus shalt thou make it. The length of the ark shall be three hundred
cubits: the breadth of it fifty cubits, and the height of it thirty cubits.
16 Thou shalt make a window in the ark, and in a cubit shalt thou finish
the top of it: and the door of the ark thou shalt set in the side: with lower, middle chambers, and third stories shalt thou
17 Behold I will bring the waters of a great flood upon the earth, to destroy
all flesh, wherein is the breath of life under heaven. All things that are in the earth shall be consumed.
18 And I will establish my covenant with thee, and thou shalt enter into
the ark, thou and thy sons, and thy wife, and the wives of thy sons with thee.
19 And of every living creature of all flesh, thou shalt bring two of a
sort into the ark, that they may live with thee: of the male sex, and the female.
20 Of fowls according to their kind, and of beasts in their kind, and of
every thing that creepeth on the earth according to its kind: two of every sort shall go in with thee, that they may live.
21 Thou shalt take unto thee of all food that may be eaten, and thou shalt
lay it up with thee: and it shall be food for thee and them.
22 And Noe did all things which God commanded him.
3: Year of the World 1536, Year before Christ 2468.
4: Baruch iii. 26.; Amos ii. 9.; Wisdom xiv. 6.; Ecclesiasticus xvi. 8.
5: Genesis viii. 21.; Matthew xv. 19.
9: Ecclesiasticus xliv. 17.
13: 1 Peter iii. 20.; 2 Peter ii. 5.