What does Genesis 7:22 mean?
ESV: Everything on the dry land in whose nostrils was the breath of life died.
NIV: Everything on dry land that had the breath of life in its nostrils died.
NASB: of all that was on the dry land, all in whose nostrils was the breath of the spirit of life, died.
CSB: Everything with the breath of the spirit of life in its nostrils--everything on dry land died.
NLT: Everything that breathed and lived on dry land died.
KJV: All in whose nostrils was the breath of life, of all that was in the dry land, died.
Verse Commentary:
These last few verses of Genesis 7 seem to repeat the same idea over and over. This is not an accident. Repetition in ancient literature was often used to emphasize the truth or importance of a statement. In this case, God had promised to "blot out" all mankind, and every land- and air-dwelling creature, as judgment on mankind's sin (Genesis 6:13).

Some debate whether this judgment by God required a planet-wide event, or a flood confined to the regions inhabited by men. For the purposes of the story, such a question is actually beside the point. As this verse makes clear, everything not protected from the flood by the ark died. Every land-dwelling, air-breathing thing confronted by the flood was killed, including every single human being other than Noah and his immediate family.

Interestingly, no mention is made of fish or other sea-dwelling creatures, who apparently survived the flood. Or, who at least were able to survive in sufficient numbers that there was no need for Noah to preserve them on the ark. God's judgment was limited to the land, as it was a response to humanity's pervasive evil (Genesis 6:5).
Verse Context:
Genesis 7:11–24 describes the greatest disaster in world history: the flood. For forty days and nights, rain falls from above, and underground water rushes from below. As a result, floodwaters fully cover the surface of the land for another 110 days. The ark, built as God has instructed Noah, is able to float and survive the deluge. Every land-dwelling, air-breathing human and creature dies, except for those aboard the ark.
Chapter Summary:
Genesis 7 tells the story of the actual flood itself. God again commends Noah for his righteousness. The animals of every kind come to the ark. God shuts Noah and his family and the animals in, and it begins to rain. Water pours from above and bursts forth from below with incredible intensity. This outpouring of water lasts for 40 days, and covers the surface of the earth for another 110 days. The ark floats, rises, moves across the surface of the water. Outside of it, every land-dwelling, air-breathing thing dies. God wipes it all out, including every human being other than Noah and his family.
Chapter Context:
In chapter 6, God saw the wickedness and violence of humanity and resolved to wipe it all out. He revealed that plan to Noah, and He commanded Noah to build the ark. In chapter 7, the ark is finished, the animals arrive, the door is shut, and the rain begins on a specific date in the history of the world. All life aboard the ark is saved; all land-dwelling, air-breathing life outside of it is ended. The waters burst from below the earth and pour from above with great intensity for 40 days and then covered the earth for another 110. In the following chapter, the ark will come to rest, and the remade earth will begin to dry out.
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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