Genesis 6:3

3 Then the LORD said, “My Spirit will not contend with[a] humans forever, for they are mortal[b] ; their days will be a hundred and twenty years.”

Genesis 6:3 in Other Translations

KJV
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.
ESV
3 Then the LORD said, "My Spirit shall not abide in man forever, for he is flesh: his days shall be 120 years."
NLT
3 Then the LORD said, “My Spirit will not put up with humans for such a long time, for they are only mortal flesh. In the future, their normal lifespan will be no more than 120 years.”
MSG
3 Then God said, "I'm not going to breathe life into men and women endlessly. Eventually they're going to die; from now on they can expect a life span of 120 years."
CSB
3 And the Lord said, "My Spirit will not remain with mankind forever, because they are corrupt. Their days will be 120 years."

Genesis 6:3 Meaning and Commentary

Genesis 6:3

And the Lord said
Not to Noah, as in ( Genesis 6:13 ) for, as yet, he is not taken notice of, or any discourse addressed to him; but rather to or within himself, he said what follows, or thus concluded, and resolved on in his own mind: my Spirit shall not always strive with man;
meaning either the soul of man, called the Spirit of God, ( Job 27:3 ) because of his creation, and is what he breathes and puts into men, and therefore is styled the Father of spirits; and which is in man, as some in Aben Ezra observe to be the sense the word used, as a sword in the scabbard; and so the meaning is, it shall not always abide there, but be unsheathed and drawn out; man shall not live always, since he is corrupt, and given to carnal lusts: or else, as Jarchi thinks, God himself is meant, and that the sense is, my Spirit shall not always contend within myself; or there shall not always be contention within me concerning man, whether I shall destroy him, or have mercy on him; I am at a point to punish him, since he is wholly carnal: or rather this is to be understood of the Holy Spirit of God, as the Targum of Jonathan, which agrees with ( 1 Peter 3:18-20 ) and to be thus interpreted; that the Spirit of God, which had been litigating and reasoning the point, as men do in a court of judicature, as the word signifies, with these men in the court, and at the bar of their own consciences, by one providence or by one minister or another, particularly by Noah, a preacher of righteousness, in vain, and to no purpose; therefore, he determines to proceed no longer in this way, but pass and execute the sentence of condemnation on them: for that he also is flesh;
not only carnal and corrupt, but sadly corrupted, and wholly given up to and immersed in sensual lusts and carnal pleasures, so as not to be restrained nor reformed; even the posterity of Seth, professors of religion also, as well as the profane world and posterity of Cain: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years:
meaning not the term of man's life, reduced to this from the length of time he lived before the flood; but this designs the space that God would give for repentance, before he proceeded to execute his vengeance on him; this is that "longsuffering of God" the apostle speaks of in the afore mentioned place, "that waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was preparing"; and so both the Targums of Onkelos and Jonathan interpret it of a space of an hundred and twenty years given them to repent: now whereas it was but an hundred years from the birth of Japheth to the flood, some think the space was shortened twenty years, because of their impenitence; but it is more probable what Jarchi observes, that this decree was made and given out twenty years before his birth, though here related, by a figure called "hysteron proteron", frequent in the Scriptures.

Genesis 6:3 In-Context

1 When human beings began to increase in number on the earth and daughters were born to them,
2 the sons of God saw that the daughters of humans were beautiful, and they married any of them they chose.
3 Then the LORD said, “My Spirit will not contend with humans forever, for they are mortal ; their days will be a hundred and twenty years.”
4 The Nephilim were on the earth in those days—and also afterward—when the sons of God went to the daughters of humans and had children by them. They were the heroes of old, men of renown.
5 The LORD saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time.

Cross References 3

  • 1. Job 34:14; Galatians 5:16-17
  • 2. Isaiah 57:16; 1 Peter 3:20
  • 3. Job 10:9; Psalms 78:39; Psalms 103:14; Isaiah 40:6

Footnotes 2