Genesis 6

The Flood

Long Lifespans

His days will be one hundred and twenty years (Genesis 6:3)

The flood signals the end of the lengthy lifespans of men. Whereas the lifespans of the men listed in Genesis 5 averaged roughly 950 years each, those that follow Noah and precede Babel are roughly 450 years, and after Babel, they drop to about 200 years. Eventually, of course, the average lifespan dips below 100. The lifespan of 120 years seems to be the “ideal life” (e.g., Moses—Deut 34:7). This American Colony photo of an elderly Bedouin man was taken between 1898 and 1946.


The Nephilim were on the earth in those days, and also afterward (Genesis 6:4).

As the text states, there were Nephilim not just before the Flood but afterward also. Goliath, who was of gigantic physical proportions and carried huge weapons, is often considered to be an example of this group, although the biblical text does not specifically identify him as one of the Nephilim. It is not known what the intended use of the huge axes shown here might have been. These axes were recovered from a large public structure at Nirou Chani (Nirou Khani) on the island of Crete and photographed at the Heraklion Museum.

Walking with God

Noah walked with God (Genesis 6:9).

Noah is the second man who is described as having walked with God, the first being Enoch (Gen 5:22). The phrase “walked with God” is usually taken as a description of a close, personal relationship. This statuette of two Roman men standing together was photographed at the Getty Villa in southern California.

The Ark

Make for yourself an ark of gopher wood (Genesis 6:14).

The word “ark” (Heb. tebah) refers to a container like a box or chest. The subsequent description of this object, with dimensions, indicates that it was a massive box. The full-size reconstruction shown here was built according to the measurements given in Genesis 6. It was photographed at the Ark Encounter in Williamstown, Kentucky.

Flood Accounts

Behold, I am bringing a flood of waters upon the earth (Genesis 6:17).

The Flood, or Deluge, is a common story in the legends and mythologies of peoples around the world. There are often elements that are similar to those found in the biblical account, but other elements differ. While scholars propose various theories for the existence of these diverse stories, the simplest explanation is that a global flood really did happen and was preserved in the memories of Noah’s descendants as they were scattered throughout the world. One of the most famous extrabiblical flood stories is found in the Sumerian Gilgamesh Epic. The tablet that describes a global flood (Tablet XI) is shown here.

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