And spared not the old world
In distinction from the present world, that now is; which was, as it were, formed anew out of that which was destroyed by the deluge. The Vulgate Latin version renders it, "the original world"; and the Ethiopic version, "the first world"; it designs the ancient inhabitants of the world, as it was from the beginning, before the flood; who, being wicked, were not spared by God, but had just punishment inflicted on them:
but saved Noah the eighth person;
not the eighth from Adam, as Enoch is said to be the seventh from him, ( Jude 1:14 ) for he was the tenth; nor is it to be read with the following clause, "the eighth preacher of righteousness"; but he was the eighth person, or one of the eight persons, saved from the flood; see ( 1 Peter 3:20 ) hence the Ethiopic version, rather as a paraphrase than a version, renders it, "but caused to remain seven souls with Noah; whom he saved"; Hottinger
F16 and Dr. Hammond F17 observe, from the Arabic writers, that the mountain on which the ark rested, and a town near it, were called Themenim; that is, "the eight", from the number of persons then and there saved:
a preacher of righteousness;
of the righteousness of God, in all his ways and works, and in case he should destroy the world by a flood, as he had threatened; and of civil and moral righteousness among men, both by words, during the building of the ark, and by works, by his own example, in his righteous life and conversation; and of the righteousness of faith, or of Christ, by which he was justified and of which he was an heir, ( Hebrews 11:7 ) , the Jews F18 say that Noah was a prophet; and they represent him also, as a preacher, and even tell us the very words he used in his exhortations to the old world F19, saying,
``be ye turned from your evil ways and works, lest the waters of the flood come upon you, and cut off all the seed of the children of men:''but though Noah, a preacher of righteousness, was saved, false teachers cannot expect to escape divine vengeance; who only are transformed as ministers of righteousness, but in truth are ministers of unrighteousness; opposers of the righteousness of Christ, and live unrighteous lives and conversations, and so their end will be according to their works:
bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly;
or "the ungodly of the world", as (aera yevr) "the ungodly of the earth" F20; see ( Psalms 75:8 ) though here it indeed means a whole world of wicked men, all but a very few, which were destroyed by the flood. This expresses both the wickedness of the men of that generation, the imagination of the thoughts of whose heart were evil continually; and whose lives were filled up with uncleanness, violence, rapine, oppression, injustice, and corruption, of all sorts; and likewise the large numbers of them, there was a whole world of them; and yet this did not secure them from the wrath of God, but served to stir it up the more; wherefore false teachers and their followers must not build upon their numbers, or hope to be screened from just punishment on that account; since a world of ungodly men were, for their wickedness, at once swept away, with a flood of God's bringing upon them; causing that very useful and serviceable element of water to be the means of their destruction; for this was not a casual thing, which came of itself, or by chance, but was of God himself, who broke up the fountains of the great deep, and opened the windows of heaven, and destroyed at once all mankind, men, women, and children, and every living creature, excepting what were with Noah in the ark: and since they were persons of such a character as here described, it is not to be thought their punishment is ended here; it is the general notion of the Jews F21, that
``the generation of the flood shall have no part in the world to come, nor shall they stand in judgment.''
F16 Smegma Orientale, p. 251, 252.
F17 In loc.
F18 Aben Ezra in Gen. viii. 21.
F19 Pirke Eliezer, c. 22.
F20 Targum in Psal. xlvi. 8.
F21 Misna Sanhedrin, c. 11. sect. 3. Vajikra Rabba, sect. 4. fol. 149. 1. Yalkut Simeoni, par. 2. fol. 89. 2.