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Genesis chapter 6

New International Version

1 When human beings began to increase in number on the earth and daughters were born to them, 2 the sons of God saw that the daughters of humans were beautiful, and they married any of them they chose. 3 Then the LORD said, 'My Spirit will not contend with humans forever, for they are mortal; their days will be a hundred and twenty years.'
4 The Nephilim were on the earth in those days--and also afterward--when the sons of God went to the daughters of humans and had children by them. They were the heroes of old, men of renown.
5 The LORD saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time. 6 The LORD regretted that he had made human beings on the earth, and his heart was deeply troubled. 7 So the LORD said, 'I will wipe from the face of the earth the human race I have created--and with them the animals, the birds and the creatures that move along the ground--for I regret that I have made them.' 8 But Noah found favor in the eyes of the LORD.
9 This is the account of Noah and his family. Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked faithfully with God. 10 Noah had three sons: Shem, Ham and Japheth.
11 Now the earth was corrupt in God's sight and was full of violence. 12 God saw how corrupt the earth had become, for all the people on earth had corrupted their ways. 13 So God said to Noah, 'I am going to put an end to all people, for the earth is filled with violence because of them. I am surely going to destroy both them and the earth. 14 So make yourself an ark of cypress wood; make rooms in it and coat it with pitch inside and out. 15 This is how you are to build it: The ark is to be three hundred cubits long, fifty cubits wide and thirty cubits high. 16 Make a roof for it, leaving below the roof an opening one cubit high all around. Put a door in the side of the ark and make lower, middle and upper decks. 17 I am going to bring floodwaters on the earth to destroy all life under the heavens, every creature that has the breath of life in it. Everything on earth will perish. 18 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. 19 You are to bring into the ark two of all living creatures, male and female, to keep them alive with you. 20 Two of every kind of bird, of every kind of animal and of every kind of creature that moves along the ground will come to you to be kept alive. 21 You are to take every kind of food that is to be eaten and store it away as food for you and for them.'
22 Noah did everything just as God commanded him.
English Standard Version

1 When man began to multiply on the face of the land and daughters were born to them, 2 the sons of God saw that the daughters of man were attractive. And they took as their wives any they chose. 3 Then the LORD said, “My Spirit shall not abide in man forever, for he is flesh: his days shall be 120 years.” 4 The Nephilim were on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of man and they bore children to them. These were the mighty men who were of old, the men of renown.
5 The LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. 6 And the LORD regretted that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart. 7 So the LORD said, “I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land, man and animals and creeping things and birds of the heavens, for I am sorry that I have made them.” 8 But Noah found favor in the eyes of the LORD.
9 These are the generations of Noah. Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his generation. Noah walked with God. 10 And Noah had three sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth.
11 Now the earth was corrupt in God’s sight, and the earth was filled with violence. 12 And God saw the earth, and behold, it was corrupt, for all flesh had corrupted their way on the earth. 13 And God said to Noah, “I have determined to make an end of all flesh, for the earth is filled with violence through them. Behold, I will destroy them with the earth. 14 Make yourself an ark of gopher wood. Make rooms in the ark, and cover it inside and out with pitch. 15 This is how you are to make it: the length of the ark 300 cubits, its breadth 50 cubits, and its height 30 cubits. 16 Make a roof for the ark, and finish it to a cubit above, and set the door of the ark in its side. Make it with lower, second, and third decks. 17 For behold, I will bring a flood of waters upon the earth to destroy all flesh in which is the breath of life under heaven. Everything that is on the earth shall die. 18 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. 19 And of every living thing of all flesh, you shall bring two of every sort into the ark to keep them alive with you. They shall be male and female. 20 Of the birds according to their kinds, and of the animals according to their kinds, of every creeping thing of the ground, according to its kind, two of every sort shall come in to you to keep them alive. 21 Also take with you every sort of food that is eaten, and store it up. It shall serve as food for you and for them.” 22 Noah did this; he did all that God commanded him.
King James Version

1 And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born unto them, 2 That the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose.
3 And the LORD said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years.
4 There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown. 5 And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.
6 And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart. 7 And the LORD said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them.
8 But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD. 9 These are the generations of Noah: Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God. 10 And Noah begat three sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth.
11 The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence. 12 And God looked upon the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth.
13 And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth. 14 Make thee an ark of gopher wood; rooms shalt thou make in the ark, and shalt pitch it within and without with pitch. 15 And this is the fashion which thou shalt make it of: The length of the ark shall be three hundred cubits, the breadth of it fifty cubits, and the height of it thirty cubits. 16 A window shalt thou make to the ark, and in a cubit shalt thou finish it above; and the door of the ark shalt thou set in the side thereof; with lower, second, and third stories shalt thou make it. 17 And, behold, I, even I, do bring a flood of waters upon the earth, to destroy all flesh, wherein is the breath of life, from under heaven; and every thing that is in the earth shall die. 18 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. 19 And of every living thing of all flesh, two of every sort shalt thou bring into the ark, to keep them alive with thee; they shall be male and female. 20 Of fowls after their kind, and of cattle after their kind, of every creeping thing of the earth after his kind, two of every sort shall come unto thee, to keep them alive. 21 And take thou unto thee of all food that is eaten, and thou shalt gather it to thee; and it shall be for food for thee, and for them.
22 Thus did Noah; according to all that God commanded him, so did he.
New American Standard Bible

1 Now it came about, when mankind began to multiply on the face of the land, and daughters were born to them, 2 that the sons of God saw that the daughters of mankind were beautiful; and they took wives for themselves, whomever they chose. 3 Then the LORD said, 'My Spirit will not remain with man forever, because he is also flesh; nevertheless his days shall be 120 years.' 4 The Nephilim were on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of mankind, and they bore children to them. Those were the mighty men who were of old, men of renown.
5 Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of mankind was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of their hearts was only evil continually. 6 So the LORD was sorry that He had made mankind on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart. 7 Then the LORD said, 'I will wipe out mankind whom I have created from the face of the land; mankind, and animals as well, and crawling things, and the birds of the sky. For I am sorry that I have made them.' 8 But Noah found favor in the eyes of the LORD.
9 These are the records of the generations of Noah. Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his generation. Noah walked with God. 10 And Noah fathered three sons: Shem, Ham, and Japheth.
11 Now the earth was corrupt in the sight of God, and the earth was filled with violence. 12 And God looked on the earth, and behold, it was corrupt; for humanity had corrupted its way upon the earth.
13 Then God said to Noah, 'The end of humanity has come before Me; for the earth is filled with violence because of people; and behold, I am about to destroy them with the earth. 14 Make for yourself an ark of gopher wood; you shall make the ark with compartments, and cover it inside and out with pitch. 15 This is how you shall make it: the length of the ark shall be three hundred cubits, its width fifty cubits, and its height thirty cubits. 16 You shall make a window for the ark, and finish it to a cubit from the top; and put the door of the ark on the side; you shall make it with lower, second, and third decks. 17 Now behold, I Myself am bringing the flood of water upon the earth, to destroy all flesh in which there is the breath of life, from under heaven; everything that is on the earth shall perish. 18 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. 19 And of every living thing of all flesh, you shall bring two of every kind into the ark, to keep them alive with you; they shall be male and female. 20 Of the birds according to their kind, and of the animals according to their kind, of every crawling thing of the ground according to its kind, two of every kind will come to you to keep them alive. 21 As for you, take for yourself some of every food that is edible, and gather it to yourself; and it shall be food for you and them.' 22 So Noah did these things; according to everything that God had commanded him, so he did.
New Living Translation

1 Then the people began to multiply on the earth, and daughters were born to them. 2 The sons of God saw the beautiful women and took any they wanted as their wives. 3 Then the LORD said, 'My Spirit will not put up with humans for such a long time, for they are only mortal flesh. In the future, their normal lifespan will be no more than 120 years.'
4 In those days, and for some time after, giant Nephilites lived on the earth, for whenever the sons of God had intercourse with women, they gave birth to children who became the heroes and famous warriors of ancient times.
5 The LORD observed the extent of human wickedness on the earth, and he saw that everything they thought or imagined was consistently and totally evil. 6 So the LORD was sorry he had ever made them and put them on the earth. It broke his heart. 7 And the LORD said, 'I will wipe this human race I have created from the face of the earth. Yes, and I will destroy every living thing--all the people, the large animals, the small animals that scurry along the ground, and even the birds of the sky. I am sorry I ever made them.' 8 But Noah found favor with the LORD.
9 This is the account of Noah and his family. Noah was a righteous man, the only blameless person living on earth at the time, and he walked in close fellowship with God. 10 Noah was the father of three sons: Shem, Ham, and Japheth.
11 Now God saw that the earth had become corrupt and was filled with violence. 12 God observed all this corruption in the world, for everyone on earth was corrupt. 13 So God said to Noah, 'I have decided to destroy all living creatures, for they have filled the earth with violence. Yes, I will wipe them all out along with the earth!
14 'Build a large boat from cypress wood and waterproof it with tar, inside and out. Then construct decks and stalls throughout its interior. 15 Make the boat 450 feet long, 75 feet wide, and 45 feet high. 16 Leave an 18-inch opening below the roof all the way around the boat. Put the door on the side, and build three decks inside the boat--lower, middle, and upper.
17 'Look! I am about to cover the earth with a flood that will destroy every living thing that breathes. Everything on earth will die. 18 But I will confirm my covenant with you. So enter the boat--you and your wife and your sons and their wives. 19 Bring a pair of every kind of animal--a male and a female--into the boat with you to keep them alive during the flood. 20 Pairs of every kind of bird, and every kind of animal, and every kind of small animal that scurries along the ground, will come to you to be kept alive. 21 And be sure to take on board enough food for your family and for all the animals.'
22 So Noah did everything exactly as God had commanded him.
Christian Standard Bible

1 When mankind began to multiply on the earth and daughters were born to them, 2 the sons of God saw that the daughters of mankind were beautiful, and they took any they chose as wives for themselves. 3 And the LORD said, "My Spirit will not remain with mankind forever, because they are corrupt. Their days will be 120 years." 4 The Nephilim were on the earth both in those days and afterward, when the sons of God came to the daughters of mankind, who bore children to them. They were the powerful men of old, the famous men.
5 When the LORD saw that human wickedness was widespread on the earth and that every inclination of the human mind was nothing but evil all the time, 6 the LORD regretted that he had made man on the earth, and he was deeply grieved. 7 Then the LORD said, "I will wipe mankind, whom I created, off the face of the earth, together with the animals, creatures that crawl, and birds of the sky--for I regret that I made them." 8 Noah, however, found favor with the LORD.
9 These are the family records of Noah. Noah was a righteous man, blameless among his contemporaries; Noah walked with God. 10 And Noah fathered three sons: Shem, Ham, and Japheth.
11 Now the earth was corrupt in God's sight, and the earth was filled with wickedness. 12 God saw how corrupt the earth was, for every creature had corrupted its way on the earth. 13 Then God said to Noah, "I have decided to put an end to every creature, for the earth is filled with wickedness because of them; therefore I am going to destroy them along with the earth.
14 "Make yourself an ark of gopher wood. Make rooms in the ark, and cover it with pitch inside and outside. 15 This is how you are to make it: The ark will be 450 feet long, 75 feet wide, and 45 feet high. 16 You are to make a roof, finishing the sides of the ark to within eighteen inches of the roof. You are to put a door in the side of the ark. Make it with lower, middle, and upper decks.
17 "Understand that I am bringing a flood--floodwaters on the earth to destroy every creature under heaven with the breath of life in it. Everything on earth will perish. 18 But I will establish my covenant with you, and you will enter the ark with your sons, your wife, and your sons' wives. 19 You are also to bring into the ark two of all the living creatures, male and female, to keep them alive with you. 20 Two of everything--from the birds according to their kinds, from the livestock according to their kinds, and from the animals that crawl on the ground according to their kinds--will come to you so that you can keep them alive. 21 Take with you every kind of food that is eaten; gather it as food for you and for them." 22 And Noah did this. He did everything that God had commanded him.

What does Genesis chapter 6 mean?

Just a few chapters ago, God looked at all He had made on the earth and called it good (Genesis 1:31). Several hundred years after Adam and Eve walked out of Eden, God sees a very different world. Human sinfulness has made it far from good. This trend towards sin is certainly not out of forgetfulness. Adam and his children all live hundreds of years, maintaining a long line of eyewitnesses to God's work on earth. And yet, many terrible things begin to happen in the world of man.

For one thing, the members of a mysterious group described as the "sons of God" begin to take human wives and reproduce. Their offspring became heroic and famous and, apparently, quite powerful on the earth. There is frequent debate over the nature of these men. Some speculate that they were humans of large physical build. Others suggest these were the offspring of humans and demons. Or that they were aliens. While the number of possible interpretations is almost infinite, the Bible devotes very little time to this particular idea. Rather, it seems to be a footnote in the story of the flood.

Powerful humans unchecked in their sinfulness always produce death, destruction, and wickedness. Consider how much damage modern dictators have done with only 30-40 years of active life at their disposal. In this chapter, God points out that every inclination of the thoughts of human beings is only evil all the time (Genesis 6:5). He decides to reduce human lifespans to just 120 years (Genesis 6:3). Much as with confusing languages at the Tower of Babel (Genesis 11), this seems to be God's way of limiting the evil man can inflict.

An alternate interpretation of this passage is that God will wipe out all land-dwelling life on the planet in 120 years. However one interprets this remark, it certainly comes to pass.

Very few times in Scripture is God said to experience "regret." The state of mankind prior to the flood produces this emotion in their Creator. This comment has to be understood in careful context, and with a sense of the original Hebrew language. What God experiences here is not a feeling of error, but a sense of anguish. Much like a parent who feels pained when disciplining a child, but has no doubt that it is the right decision, so too can God feel grief over man's sin without concluding that He was wrong to create humans. Some translations use phrases such as "grieved," or even "repented," all carrying the same idea of sorrow (Genesis 6:6–7).

However, the Bible does not indicate that God feels guilt, or doubts about His creation. Rather, this verse expresses God's anguish at seeing the wickedness and violence in the world of men.

In order to preserve His creation, God declares that He will exercise His authority as the Creator and wipe out humanity for its sinfulness and violence, along with the birds, insects, and other animals (Genesis 6:7, 13, 17). In this chapter, as with those that follow, there is often debate over the extent of this flood. Some see this as a truly global event, others as a "local" event which only destroyed all of man, not all of the planet. There are points to be made on both sides, but God's intent—and the effect—is beyond debate: the destruction of the entire human race, with exception of one family.

That exception is Noah. God points out that Noah is a righteous and blameless man who walks faithfully with the Creator. God declares His intentions to Noah: He will destroy all land-dwelling life with a great flood. However, He will not wipe out His creation entirely. He will spare Noah and Noah's family. In addition, He will spare a male and female pair of every kind of bird, "creeping thing," and animal (Genesis 6:19–21).

The means for this salvation are unique. God tells Noah to build a huge box, an "ark." It will be some 450 feet (137 meters) long, almost 5 stories tall, and seaworthy (Genesis 6:14–16). Once it is constructed, Noah and family will board the ark and be saved from the coming flood. In addition, Noah will prepare food for his family and all the pairs of animals who will come to ark, at God's direction, to be saved.

The chapter ends with an amazing statement: Noah did everything, just as God commanded. Faithful Noah would be saved and be the means by which God would save humanity and start again. And, the story of the ark and flood will serve as powerful foreshadowing of the ministry of Jesus Christ, many thousands of years later.