Genesis 6:17

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.

And, behold, I, even I, do bring a flood of waters upon the earth,.... That there was such a flood of waters brought upon the earth, is confirmed by the testimonies of Heathen writers of all nations; only instead of Noah they put some person of great antiquity in their nation, as the Chaldeans, Sisithrus or Xisuthrus; the Grecians and Romans, Prometheus or Deucalion, or Ogyges. Josephus {z} says, all the writers of the Barbarian or Heathen history make mention of the flood and of the ark; and he produces the authorities of Berosus the Chaldean, and Hieronymus the Egyptian, who wrote the Phoenician antiquities, and Mnaseas, and many others, and Nicolaus of Damascus: and there are others that Eusebius {a} makes mention of, as Melo, who wrote against the Jews, yet speaks of the deluge, at which a man with his sons escaped; and Abydenus the Assyrian, whose account agrees with this of Moses that follows in many things; as do also what Lucian {b} and Ovid {c} have wrote concerning it, excepting in the name of the person in whose time it was: and not only the Egyptians had knowledge of the universal deluge, as appears from the testimony of Plato, who says {d}, that an Egyptian priest related to Solon, out of their sacred books, the history of it; and from various circumstances in the story of Osiris and Typhon, which name they give to the sea, and in the Chaldee language signifies a deluge; and here the Targum of Onkelos renders the word by "Tuphana"; and the Arabs to this day call the flood "Al-tufan"; but the Chinese also frequently speak of the deluge {e}; and even it is said the Americans of Mexico and Peru had a tradition of it {f}; and the Bramines also {g}, who say that 21,000 years ago the sea overwhelmed and drowned the whole earth, excepting one great hill, far to the northward, called "Biudd"; and that there fled thither one woman and seven men (whose names they give, see Genesis 7:13) those understanding out of their books that such a flood would come, and was then actually coming, prepared against the same, and repaired thither; to which place also went two of all sorts of creatures (see Genesis 6:19) herbs, trees, and grass, and of everything that had life, to the number in all of 1,800,000 living souls: this flood, they say, lasted one hundred and twenty years (see Genesis 6:3) five months and five days; after which time all these creatures that were thus preserved descended down again, and replenished the earth; but as for the seven men and woman, only one of them came down with her, and dwelt at the foot of the mountain.

And this flood was not topical or national only, but general and universal: it was brought "upon the earth", upon the whole earth, as the following account shows; and by the Lord himself, it was not through second causes, or the common course of things: and to show it possible and certain, this form of expression is used, "behold, I, even I, do bring"; it was wonderful, beyond the power of nature, and therefore a "behold" is prefixed; it was possible, because the Almighty God declares he would bring it; and it was certain, which the redoubling of the word points at; and would be quickly, since he said, "I am bringing", or "do bring"; just about to do it; wherefore the ark was not so long preparing as some have thought, and the command to build it was not long before the flood came. The word for the flood comes from one which signifies to fall {h}, either because of the fall of the waters at it, or because it made all things to fall, wither, and decay, as herbs, plants, men, beasts, and all creatures; or from one that signifies to consume, or to mix and confound, and bring all things to confusion, as Jarchi suggests {i}: and the end and intention of it, as here expressed, was

to destroy all flesh, wherein is the breath of life, from under heaven; every living creature, men and women, the beasts and cattle of the earth, and every creeping thing on it, and the fowls of the heaven, man principally, and these for his sake.

And everything that is in the earth shall die; but not what was in the waters, the fishes of the sea, which could live in the flood.

{z} Antiqu. l. 1. c. 3. sect. 6.
{a} Praepar. Evangel. l. 9. c. 12, 19.
{b} De Dea Syria.
{c} Metamorph. l. 1. Fab. 7.
{d} In Timaeo, & de Iside & Osir.
{e} Sinic. Hist. l. 1. p. 3, 26.
{f} See Bishop Patrick, in loc.
{g} Miscellanea Curiosa, vol. 8. p. 261, 262.
{h} lbn "cecidit".
{i} hlb "consumpsit, vel" llb "confudit, miscuit".