Genesis 6:18 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Genesis 6:18, NIV: "But I will establish my covenant with you, and you will enter the ark--you and your sons and your wife and your sons' wives with you."

Genesis 6:18, ESV: "But I will establish my covenant with you, and you shall come into the ark, you, your sons, your wife, and your sons’ wives with you."

Genesis 6:18, KJV: "But with thee will I establish my covenant; and thou shalt come into the ark, thou, and thy sons, and thy wife, and thy sons' wives with thee."

Genesis 6:18, NASB: "But I will establish My covenant with you; and you shall enter the ark—you, your sons, your wife, and your sons’ wives with you."

Genesis 6:18, NLT: "But I will confirm my covenant with you. So enter the boat--you and your wife and your sons and their wives."

Genesis 6:18, CSB: "But I will establish my covenant with you, and you will enter the ark with your sons, your wife, and your sons' wives."

What does Genesis 6:18 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

The prior verse summarized God's plan to wipe out all land-dwelling life on earth with a flood. Before that, God had given Noah instructions on building the huge ark which would carry man and animals to be spared. Here, God specifically tells Noah that he and his family alone would be saved from the flood.

In doing so, God uses a word which will become important for God's people forever: covenant. This term implies more than just a simple contract, or agreement. It carries the idea of a pledge and a promise. God says that He will establish His covenant with Noah. In this case, God wants Noah to understand that the Lord is obligating Himself to save Noah and his family from the coming destruction.

The purpose of God using this language is trust. A covenant is a very solemn, serious obligation. Its worth is only as good as the person making it. At the same time, it implies that the one making the covenant is staking their entire reputation on upholding their end of the bargain. So, when God tells Noah He is making a covenant with him, it implies the most absolutely binding, serious kind of commitment. If Noah cannot place his trust in a covenant from God, he can't place his trust in anything.

God's covenant with Noah—and through Noah with humanity to follow—will be further developed in the coming chapters.