What does Genesis 6:1 mean?
ESV: When man began to multiply on the face of the land and daughters were born to them,
NIV: When human beings began to increase in number on the earth and daughters were born to them,
NASB: Now it came about, when mankind began to multiply on the face of the land, and daughters were born to them,
CSB: When mankind began to multiply on the earth and daughters were born to them,
NLT: Then the people began to multiply on the earth, and daughters were born to them.
KJV: And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born unto them,
Verse Commentary:
The previous chapter covered the lineage of Noah, through each generation from Adam through Seth, and their sons. At the start of chapter 6, Genesis stops to take a look at the larger world from God's perspective. In brief: He doesn't like what He sees. Mankind's actions and thoughts are completely evil (Genesis 6:5). Seeing how far man has fallen since being evicted from Eden causes God substantial grief (Genesis 6:6).

Verses 1 and 2 are part of a single thought. Though not many women have been mentioned in the text thus far, daughters are being born as humanity expands across the face of the earth. As we'll see, those human women are attracting the attention of a group called "the sons of God." No further description is given of these men, which means their exact identity is not particularly important. If it was, Scripture would have provided additional details.

Most likely, this reference to the "sons of God" is a challenge to ancient perceptions of royalty. God is about to judge the world with a flood. Not even the children of humanity's kings and emperors, who often claimed to be divine, will be spared.
Verse Context:
Genesis 6:1–8 introduces us to two mysterious groups: the ''sons of God'' and the Nephilim. Provoked by the wickedness of humanity and, perhaps, by the power of these two groups, God declares that He will reduce human lifespans to 120 years. Alternatively, this same remark might refer to God's plan to wipe out all of humanity in 120 years. In either case, this prediction is fulfilled. God will exercise His authority as Creator and execute justice by ending the world as it was. Human civilization will be forced to start again, through one man: Noah.
Chapter Summary:
God sees. In the first chapter of Genesis, God saw that all He had made was good. Now, many generations after sin entered the world, God sees that all man has made is wickedness and evil. Human beings have used their power for violence and destruction. God declares His plan to wipe out all land-dwelling life on the face of the earth. He will however, preserve humanity and animal life for a new beginning through the one righteous man, Noah, and a huge life-giving structure called an ark.
Chapter Context:
The previous chapter traced the generations from Adam through his son Seth and all of the way to Noah. This chapter reveals that Noah will be the man through whom God will preserve humanity for a new beginning after wiping out all life on the face of the earth. God tells Noah to build an enormous structure, an ark, and prepare to welcome representatives of all of the animals on earth. Noah does exactly that, setting the stage for the cataclysmic judgment of God to come in chapter 7.
Book Summary:
The book of Genesis establishes fundamental truths about God. Among these are His role as the Creator, His holiness, His hatred of sin, His love for mankind, and His willingness to provide for our redemption. We learn not only where mankind has come from, but why the world is in its present form. The book also presents the establishment of Israel, God's chosen people. Many of the principles given in other parts of Scripture depend on the basic ideas presented here in the book of Genesis. Within the framework of the Bible, Genesis explains the bare-bones history of the universe leading up to the captivity of Israel in Egypt, setting the stage for the book of Exodus.
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