What does Genesis 6:12 mean?
ESV: And God saw the earth, and behold, it was corrupt, for all flesh had corrupted their way on the earth.
NIV: God saw how corrupt the earth had become, for all the people on earth had corrupted their ways.
NASB: And God looked on the earth, and behold, it was corrupt; for humanity had corrupted its way upon the earth.
CSB: God saw how corrupt the earth was, for every creature had corrupted its way on the earth.
NLT: God observed all this corruption in the world, for everyone on earth was corrupt.
KJV: And God looked upon the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth.
NKJV: So God looked upon the earth, and indeed it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted their way on the earth.
Verse Commentary:
This verse describes the extent of the corruption of sin on the earth: It was everywhere. It was everyone. And it was self-inflicted. "All people" or "all flesh" had corrupted their ways. In other words, every person was guilty of taking the good thing that God had made—including themselves—and turning it away from God's good intent to use it for selfishness and evil.

The prior verse described man's culture as "violent," from the Hebrew term hā'mās'. This not only includes physical aggression, but cruelty and injustice, as well. Man has rejected God, and turned against each other. The fact that this evil is so widespread is a primary reason for God's chosen instrument of destruction: the flood. Left alone, humanity is doomed to fall further and further into sin and evil. Without intervention, there will soon be no godly people left.

To correct the situation, God has chosen to limit the lifespan of human beings (Genesis 6:3), and will eliminate all but a tiny fraction (Genesis 6:8) in order to "reboot" the human race.
Verse Context:
Genesis 6:9-22 begins another new section in Genesis called the ''generations of Noah.'' Because of humanity's power and wickedness, the earth had become filled with violence and sinfulness. By contrast, Noah was a righteous, blameless man who walked with God. God chooses to declare to Noah His plan to end all land-dwelling life on earth, but also to save Noah and his family and two of every animal. Noah obeys God's command to build the ark that would preserve the human race from total destruction in the flood.
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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