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For New King James text and commentary, click here.
Genesis 4-7 Listen
1 And Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived, and bare Cain, and said, I have gotten a man from the LORD.
2 And she again bare his brother Abel. And Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground.
3 And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the LORD.
4 And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the LORD had respect unto Abel and to his offering:
5 But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell.
6 And the LORD said unto Cain, Why art thou wroth? and why is thy countenance fallen?
7 If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him.
8 And Cain talked with Abel his brother: and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him.
Eve initially bore two sons, Cain and Abel. The wording of verses 1-2 leads us to believe that they were twins - one conception, two boys. There has been much discussion among Old Testament scholars regarding Eve's statement in verse 1 after Cain emerged, "I have gotten a man from the LORD." First of all, based upon the wording in Hebrew, it has been suggested that she was boasting that she, as God himself, was able to create a man. That notion would suggest a less-than-right attitude toward God on Eve's part. To reinforce this theory, this statement is contrasted to her exclamation after the birth of Seth in verse 25, "For God, said she, hath appointed me another seed instead of Abel." In that verse, she clearly gives God the glory for the birth of Seth.
The second conjecture regarding her statement is quite noble on her part when it is suggested that she was exclaiming joy over the birth of Cain because she thought he was the Messiah. In order for that to be a viable theory, one must absolutely believe that Eve understood Genesis 3:15 (see notes) to be a prophecy regarding the Messiah. I'm just not certain Genesis 3:15 is to be understood as being Messianic. However, since the Hebrew word for "Adam" and "man" are identical and can only be differentiated by context, perhaps she was expressing amazement that she bore a little "Adam."
Abel kept sheep and Cain grew produce. That's really beside the point. Obviously they had been instructed that their offerings were to be animal sacrifices, not fruit and vegetables. Some have suggested that Cain's offering was fine, but his attitude was wrong. That doesn't seem to be the problem according to Hebrews 11:4 (see notes), "By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh." According to this verse, it is apparent that the sacrifice itself was wrong. It seems that Cain was to offer an animal sacrifice; nothing else would do. That being the case, it's the familiar scenario of man trying to circumvent God's standard. There's another point here; Cain could have made it right (verse 7), but he chose to slay the person who did do it right - his brother Abel. Why did he do it? I John 3:12 (see notes) says, "Not as Cain, who was of that wicked one, and slew his brother. And wherefore slew he him? Because his own works were evil, and his brothers righteous." John tells us that Cain was motivated by Satan. The exact Greek adjective ("poneros") is used twice in that verse by John, first to describe Satan ("that wicked one") and then to describe Cain's actions leading to the sacrifice he made before God ("works were evil"). Let's face it, this was no mistake...no inadvertent shortcoming on Cain's part; Cain was our first example of outright rebellion against God. There's a lesson about the unregenerate life to be found here. Did Cain disobey because he lacked faith that God was God? Nope! He knew exactly who God was, and he still disobeyed. When people we meet stand in defiance against our Savior, the reason can be summed up with one verse, Psalms 10:4 (see notes), "The wicked, through the pride of his countenance, will not seek after God: God is not in all his thoughts."
God and Cain have a discussion (Genesis 4:9-24)
9 And the LORD said unto Cain, Where is Abel thy brother? And he said, I know not: Am I my brother’s keeper?
10 And he said, What hast thou done? the voice of thy brother’s blood crieth unto me from the ground.
11 And now art thou cursed from the earth, which hath opened her mouth to receive thy brother’s blood from thy hand;
12 When thou tillest the ground, it shall not henceforth yield unto thee her strength; a fugitive and a vagabond shalt thou be in the earth.
13 And Cain said unto the LORD, My punishment is greater than I can bear.
14 Behold, thou hast driven me out this day from the face of the earth; and from thy face shall I be hid; and I shall be a fugitive and a vagabond in the earth; and it shall come to pass, that every one that findeth me shall slay me.
15 And the LORD said unto him, Therefore whosoever slayeth Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold. And the LORD set a mark upon Cain, lest any finding him should kill him.
16 And Cain went out from the presence of the LORD, and dwelt in the land of Nod, on the east of Eden.
17 And Cain knew his wife; and she conceived, and bare Enoch: and he builded a city, and called the name of the city, after the name of his son, Enoch.
18 And unto Enoch was born Irad: and Irad begat Mehujael: and Mehujael begat Methusael: and Methusael begat Lamech.
19 And Lamech took unto him two wives: the name of the one was Adah, and the name of the other Zillah.
20 And Adah bare Jabal: he was the father of such as dwell in tents, and of such as have cattle.
21 And his brother’s name was Jubal: he was the father of all such as handle the harp and organ.
22 And Zillah, she also bare Tubalcain, an instructer of every artificer in brass and iron: and the sister of Tubalcain was Naamah.
23 And Lamech said unto his wives, Adah and Zillah, Hear my voice; ye wives of Lamech, hearken unto my speech: for I have slain a man to my wounding, and a young man to my hurt.
24 If Cain shall be avenged sevenfold, truly Lamech seventy and sevenfold.
Lying to God - how could that have seemed like a good idea? It's just like the child with chocolate all over his face who refuses to acknowledge that he took the candy. God placed a curse upon Cain, but forbade anyone from taking his life by placing a DO-NOT-KILL mark on him.
Here are the provisions of Cain's curse by God:
Cain's life was protected by God with a seal (verse 15); he made his home east of Eden and built a city named after his son, Enoch. This is not the Enoch who was a later descendant of his brother, Seth (Genesis 5:18, see below).
Verse 16 says, "...Cain went out from the presence of the LORD..." We see something of Cain's descendants after this - the first occurrence of polygamy with Lamech (verse 19), along with our second occurrence of the violent taking of a life in verses 23-24; perhaps it was self defense. It was a tough family.
It's a boy...finally! (Genesis 4:25-26)
25 And Adam knew his wife again; and she bare a son, and called his name Seth: For God, said she, hath appointed me another seed instead of Abel, whom Cain slew.
26 And to Seth, to him also there was born a son; and he called his name Enos: then began men to call upon the name of the LORD.
With their righteous son dead and their other son an exiled murderer, Adam and Eve are very excited about the birth of another son, Seth. Eve's expression of joy in verse 25 indicates her gratitude that God had restored what Cain had taken away. By the way, "Seth" is the Hebrew word for "substituted." Incidentally, the last sentence of verse 26 is obviously meant to add significance to the birth of Seth when it says, "then began men to call upon the name of the LORD." What does that mean? It obviously marks the beginning of an era, but what kind of an era? Before we answer that question, consider this: Where did Cain get his wife? Only three possibilities initially come to mind: (1) God created more people, (2) they were descendants of Abel before his death or (3) they were descendants of Adam and Eve. The Bible doesn't tell us directly, but scratch possibility number 1; Paul makes it clear that everyone has an Adamic sin nature because everyone is a descendant of Adam. Therefore, Cain either married his sister or his niece. We are not told specifically, but we get the impression that neither Cain nor Abel bore children prior to the murder of Cain. Whichever the case, Adam and Eve obviously reproduced other children prior to Seth, but Seth gets special mention. Could it be that Seth was the first male child born into this world after Abel who was not a descendant of "wicked" Cain? It seems quite likely that Seth marked the beginning of a righteous, God-worshipping blood line after the death of Abel, and so it is said, "then began men to call upon the name of the LORD." That would also explain Eve's statement in verse 25 when she proclaims at the birth of Seth that God "hath appointed me another seed instead of Abel." Eve must have had a long string of girls in between the births of Abel and Seth. We do know for certain from Genesis 5:4 (see below) that Adam "begat sons and daughters." However, Genesis 5:3 tells us that Adam was 130 years old when Seth was born.
So, who's your daddy? (Genesis 5)
1 This is the book of the generations of Adam. In the day that God created man, in the likeness of God made he him;
2 Male and female created he them; and blessed them, and called their name Adam, in the day when they were created.
3 And Adam lived an hundred and thirty years, and begat a son in his own likeness, after his image; and called his name Seth:
4 And the days of Adam after he had begotten Seth were eight hundred years: and he begat sons and daughters:
5 And all the days that Adam lived were nine hundred and thirty years: and he died.
6 And Seth lived an hundred and five years, and begat Enos:
7 And Seth lived after he begat Enos eight hundred and seven years, and begat sons and daughters:
8 And all the days of Seth were nine hundred and twelve years: and he died.
9 And Enos lived ninety years, and begat Cainan:
10 And Enos lived after he begat Cainan eight hundred and fifteen years, and begat sons and daughters:
11 And all the days of Enos were nine hundred and five years: and he died.
12 And Cainan lived seventy years, and begat Mahalaleel:
13 And Cainan lived after he begat Mahalaleel eight hundred and forty years, and begat sons and daughters:
14 And all the days of Cainan were nine hundred and ten years: and he died.
15 And Mahalaleel lived sixty and five years, and begat Jared:
16 And Mahalaleel lived after he begat Jared eight hundred and thirty years, and begat sons and daughters:
17 And all the days of Mahalaleel were eight hundred ninety and five years: and he died.
18 And Jared lived an hundred sixty and two years, and he begat Enoch:
19 And Jared lived after he begat Enoch eight hundred years, and begat sons and daughters:
20 And all the days of Jared were nine hundred sixty and two years: and he died.
21 And Enoch lived sixty and five years, and begat Methuselah:
22 And Enoch walked with God after he begat Methuselah three hundred years, and begat sons and daughters:
23 And all the days of Enoch were three hundred sixty and five years:
24 And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him.
25 And Methuselah lived an hundred eighty and seven years, and begat Lamech:
26 And Methuselah lived after he begat Lamech seven hundred eighty and two years, and begat sons and daughters:
27 And all the days of Methuselah were nine hundred sixty and nine years: and he died.
28 And Lamech lived an hundred eighty and two years, and begat a son:
29 And he called his name Noah, saying, This same shall comfort us concerning our work and toil of our hands, because of the ground which the LORD hath cursed.
30 And Lamech lived after he begat Noah five hundred ninety and five years, and begat sons and daughters:
31 And all the days of Lamech were seven hundred seventy and seven years: and he died.
32 And Noah was five hundred years old: and Noah begat Shem, Ham, and Japheth.
Chapter 5 is the record of the descendants of Adam through his son Seth down to Noah and his three sons, Shem, Ham and Japheth. In all, 1,656 years are spanned by this chronological record - from creation to the flood. A point needs to be noted regarding verse 2. The Hebrew word for "Adam" and "man" are identical. As a matter of fact, the Hebrew word for both is "adam." That Hebrew word is used 6 times in the first 5 verses - the exact form of the word in every instance. The only way to determine whether it is to be translated as "Adam" or as "man/mankind" is from context. Obviously in verse 2 it is a reference to "man" rather than "Adam" (KJV). Notice that Seth is given elder-son status in verse 4. As a matter of fact, Noah's genealogy traces back to Seth, making Noah's three sons (the fathers of us all) also descendants of Seth. Yup! Though Adam bore other "sons and daughters," Seth must have been the third son born to Adam and Eve.
A bit of information is included along the way with special note in verses 21-24 regarding Enoch. Notice verse 24, "And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him." Enoch didn't die, God just took him. That places Enoch in a very special category. Notice what Paul says in Hebrews 11:5 (see notes) regarding Enoch, "By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God." No question here - Enoch did not die.
Notice how long everyone in the Seth blood line lived...and how old they were before they had their first-born sons. Those life spans begin to shorten after the flood. Where it is not uncommon to find these first-born sons before the flood being born when their fathers were well over 100 years old, Abraham (after the flood) was considered old at 100 for the purpose of fathering a child. Could it be that the canopy of water we saw in Genesis 2:5-6 (see notes), along with the absence of rain, somehow shielded humans from environmental impacts that later caused rapid aging? Who really knows for certain!
Who are these...people...or beings? (Genesis 6:1-2)
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.
There is a doctrine that "sons of God" of verse 2 is a reference to fallen angels. It is further said that these angels intermarried with humans to create a race of giants. Many conclude that there's at least one major problem with this theory: Christ said in Matthew 22:30 (see notes), "For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven." Does he not plainly say here that angels do not marry? Many therefore conclude that verse 2 is probably making reference to Cain's descendants intermarrying with the other descendants of Adam and Eve. After all, the only other genealogical record given to us besides that of Seth is Cain's.
It is interesting, however, that this tradition of the fallen angels intermarrying goes back at least a couple of centuries before Christ. This angels-marrying-humans scenario is found in the compiled copies of the so-called "Book of Enoch" in some detail. This seems to have credibility to some, inasmuch as Jude appears to quote from this book in Jude 14-15 (see notes), though not regarding this issue. The currently-extant "Book of Enoch" is what scholars refer to as a pseudepigraphical book - not inspired by the Holy Spirit and not included in the canon of scripture. Copies of this book are available today and may, in fact, contain portions of Enoch's prophecies, though translated from the only extant manuscripts, Ethiopic and some Greek (no Hebrew manuscripts beyond small fragments). It is obvious to virtually all scholars who have studied this book that it is a compilation of works from various authors rather than only Enoch. As a matter of fact, even the casual Bible student will observe how uncharacteristic much of the contents are from Old Testament scripture. The now-extant "Book of Enoch" is obviously a late work (perhaps as late as the second century B.C.), but apparently does contain at least some of the words of Enoch's prophecies. The problem is, it is impossible to know which are truly from Enoch and which are not. The real "Book of Enoch" was not preserved, and it would not be prudent to view that which is purported to be the "Book of Enoch" in print today as having any authenticity or authority beyond that which is substantiated in our scripture. Therefore, the fact that the Book of Enoch gives some detail regarding the situation in Genesis 6:1-2 reflects only that there were people in the second century B.C. who subscribed to that theory; it does not validate that theory.
How about a hybrid view of what took place in Genesis 6:1-2. Could it be that these fallen angels possessed men who married the "daughters of men" in verse 2? We know that on numerous occasions in scripture we have seen the demon possession of humans; Jesus himself cast out demons from people. Demons are no more than fallen angels. Therefore, it is at least a reasonable theory that the "sons of God" could refer to men possessed by these fallen angels. The bottom line is: It's all speculation. No one can know for certain what exactly verses 1-2 are describing.
We've got some serious wickedness here (Genesis 6:3-7)
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.
Verse 3 has a phrase open to diverse interpretation, "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." So, what does that mean - that man will now only live to be 120 years old? Well, men did have longer life spans than 120 years after Genesis 6. I don't think that's what it means. The rest of the chapter talks about the wickedness on earth and the man, Noah, whom God raised up for the remedy. I think this period of 120 years is a reprieve from God's judgment - 120 years from Genesis 6:3 until the flood comes and destroys virtually all of mankind from the earth.
Let's look at the numbers regarding a 120-year reprieve from Genesis 6:3 until the flood. While they aren't conclusive, they do create a strong case for this view. We see in Genesis 5:32, "And Noah was five hundred years old: and Noah begat Shem, Ham, and Japheth." Then we see in Genesis 7:6 (see below), "And Noah was six hundred years old when the flood of waters was upon the earth." We see in Genesis 6:8, "But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD." Then we see in Genesis 6:10, "And Noah begat three sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth." So...the math works out that Genesis 6:3 refers to God's decision to give a reprieve of 120 years...20 years before Noah begat his children in verse 10. While not conclusive, it does make a pretty good case for the 120 years being a reference to the time period between verse 3 and Genesis 7:6 when the flood began.
One more interesting aspect of this 120-year period - what did Noah do during this time? Peter gives us a hint to the answer in II Peter 2:5 (see notes), "And spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly." Peter tells us that Noah was a "preacher of righteousness." It seems safe to assume that God gave the wicked people of the earth a 120-year reprieve, during which time Noah preached salvation to them; they refused that salvation. As an aside, Lamech, Noah's father lived 595 years after Noah's birth (Genesis 5:30, see above), so he died five years before the flood. And...Noah's sons were born when he was 500 years old according to Genesis 5:32 (see above), so they were 100 years old when the flood came.
The Hebrew word for giant in verse 4 is just used in two verses in the Old Testament, here and Numbers 13:33 (see notes) where it refers to the large people in the Land of Canaan. However, the word may be translated "bully" rather than "giant." All other Old Testament occurrences of the word "giant" come from a totally-unrelated Hebrew word. Since we saw Lamech's threat of violence (Cain's descendant) in chapter 4, perhaps the point intended here is that the intermarriage between Cain's descendants and the rest of mankind resulted in the birth of some really wicked, mean-spirited men.
With that being said, let me introduce you to what I consider an erroneous doctrine that is commonly held today. It is widely taught that the "sons of God" of verse 2 were supernatural beings (fallen angels) who reproduced children with mortal women, thus producing these "giants." As I said, I'm relatively certain that angels just don't have what it takes to reproduce. Therefore, I take a less-exciting view of the origin and identity of these giants in verse 4; sometimes I'm just boring like that.
In verse 6 we see that God "repented" (KJV). This terminology has caused some to stumble because they misunderstand what this word means. The word "repent" in the Old Testament does not have the same meaning as the word "repent" in the New Testament - one is Old Testament Hebrew and the other New Testament Greek. The Hebrew word found here for repent is "nacham." This word means to express sorrow. God expressed sorrow over what man had become. The New Testament word (verb) for "repent" is "metanoeo," pronounced "met-an-o-eh´-o." This New Testament word rendered "repent" means to change one's mind or attitude, usually in the context of turning toward God. To be clear, God didn't "change his mind" about anything, but was sorrowful regarding the course mankind had taken.
The remedy? Noah! Build an ark! (Genesis 6:8-22)
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.
Noah was righteous before God (verses 8-9). The rest of the inhabitants of the earth, with the exception of Noah's family, were condemned to death because of their wickedness (verses 12-13). God instructs Noah to build an ark, a huge floating box about 450 feet long, 75 feet wide and 3 stories high (verses 14-16). Keep in mind, it didn't have to sail - just float. By the way, flooding was an unknown phenomenon back then; so was rain. Remember how the earth was watered back in Genesis 2:5-6 (see notes)? It was a process of evaporation and condensation, but no rain. While Noah is building an ark because of the threat of a flood by rain...well...it must have seemed kinda ridiculous to all those wicked people, "Rain, what's rain?!!!" They'll soon find out. Here we find the first usage of the word "covenant" in scripture (verse 18). God's special covenant will be through Noah. Click here to see the details of that covenant in Genesis 8:21-9:17. Noah then gets his instructions regarding the stocking of the ark which is continued in chapter 7.
Time to pack up and go! (Genesis 7)
1 And the LORD said unto Noah, Come thou and all thy house into the ark; for thee have I seen righteous before me in this generation.
2 Of every clean beast thou shalt take to thee by sevens, the male and his female: and of beasts that are not clean by two, the male and his female.
3 Of fowls also of the air by sevens, the male and the female; to keep seed alive upon the face of all the earth.
4 For yet seven days, and I will cause it to rain upon the earth forty days and forty nights; and every living substance that I have made will I destroy from off the face of the earth.
5 And Noah did according unto all that the LORD commanded him.
6 And Noah was six hundred years old when the flood of waters was upon the earth.
7 And Noah went in, and his sons, and his wife, and his sons’ wives with him, into the ark, because of the waters of the flood.
8 Of clean beasts, and of beasts that are not clean, and of fowls, and of every thing that creepeth upon the earth,
9 There went in two and two unto Noah into the ark, the male and the female, as God had commanded Noah.
10 And it came to pass after seven days, that the waters of the flood were upon the earth.
11 In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month, the same day were all the fountains of the great deep broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened.
12 And the rain was upon the earth forty days and forty nights.
13 In the selfsame day entered Noah, and Shem, and Ham, and Japheth, the sons of Noah, and Noah’s wife, and the three wives of his sons with them, into the ark;
14 They, and every beast after his kind, and all the cattle after their kind, and every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind, and every fowl after his kind, every bird of every sort.
15 And they went in unto Noah into the ark, two and two of all flesh, wherein is the breath of life.
16 And they that went in, went in male and female of all flesh, as God had commanded him: and the LORD shut him in.
17 And the flood was forty days upon the earth; and the waters increased, and bare up the ark, and it was lift up above the earth.
18 And the waters prevailed, and were increased greatly upon the earth; and the ark went upon the face of the waters.
19 And the waters prevailed exceedingly upon the earth; and all the high hills, that were under the whole heaven, were covered.
20 Fifteen cubits upward did the waters prevail; and the mountains were covered.
21 And all flesh died that moved upon the earth, both of fowl, and of cattle, and of beast, and of every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth, and every man:
22 All in whose nostrils was the breath of life, of all that was in the dry land, died.
23 And every living substance was destroyed which was upon the face of the ground, both man, and cattle, and the creeping things, and the fowl of the heaven; and they were destroyed from the earth: and Noah only remained alive, and they that were with him in the ark.
24 And the waters prevailed upon the earth an hundred and fifty days.
Here's a Bible trivia question: How many of each type of animal did God instruct Noah to put into the ark? You may want to read verses 2-3 before you answer that. That's right - seven of the clean animals while only two of the unclean. Now Noah is 600 years old, and it starts to rain. It only rained for 40 days, but the waters covered the earth for much longer than that - 150 days before the tops of the mountains began to peek through. Click here to see the complete timeline for the flood events provided with the summary of Genesis 8. The cataclysm of the flood caused a landscape transformation after that. Mountains and valleys were accentuated (the highest previously being less than 25 feet or so according to verse 20), and the land masses were divided into continents. It was truly a global occurrence. Verse 24 says that everything upon the dry ground died except those in the ark with Noah.
"Where did all that water come from?" you might ask. Answer: From above and below. First...back to Genesis 2:5-6 (see notes). It had never rained before. There was a natural evaporation/condensation process that watered the earth. That means that there was a canopy of water encompassing the earth. Well...it collapsed! But wait, there's more! Read ahead to Genesis 8:2 (see notes) and notice that there were additional "fountains...of the deep." Water under the earth also surfaced. Add all the water from above to all the water under the earth...well...that's a lot of water. Remember this from Genesis 1:9-13 (see notes): there was originally a single land mass surrounded by water on the earth. That land mass disappeared! And when the water subsides providing dry land over a year later, the topography of the earth has changed. As a matter of fact, I'm convinced that the topography of the earth continued to transition into what it is today over one man's lifetime, Peleg (Genesis 10:25, see notes), after the flood.
The water reached its highest point on day 150. One more interesting note here is to be found in verse 16 where it says, "the LORD shut him in." God himself sealed them into the ark, which may explain why they stayed in the Ark for 87 days beyond the discovery of dry land. They didn't leave until God allowed them to leave. For a chronology of the flood milestones, click here to go to the Genesis 8 commentary.