But with you will I establish my covenant; and you shall come into the ark, you, and your sons, and your wife…
1. The leading ideas suggested by a covenant are those of peace and goodwill between the parties, and if differences have subsisted, forgiveness of the past, and security for the future. Such were the friendly alliances between Abram and Abimelech, Isaac and another of the same name, and between Jacob and Laban. God was highly displeased with the world, and would, therefore, destroy that generation by a flood, but when He should have done this, He would return in loving kindness and tender mercies, and would look upon the earth with a propitious eye. Nor should they be kept in fearful expectation of being so destroyed again; for He would pledge His word no more to be wroth with them in such a way, nor to rebuke them forever.
2. In covenants wherein one or both the parties had been offended, it was usual to offer sacrifices, in which a kind of atonement was made for past offences, and a perfect reconciliation followed. Such were the covenants before referred to; and such, as we shall see at the close of the eighth chapter, was the covenant in question. "Noah offered sacrifices, and the Lord smelled a sweet savour, and promised to curse the ground no more for man's sake."
3. In covenants which include a blessing on many, and they unworthy, it is God's ordinary method to bestow it in reward, or for the sake of one who was dear to Him. God loves men, but He also loves righteousness: hence He delights to bestow His blessings in such a way as manifest His true character. If there had been any dependence on Noah's posterity, that they would all have walked in his steps, the covenant might have been established with them as well as him; but they would soon degenerate into idolatry, and all manner of wickedness. If, therefore, He will bestow favour on them in such a way as to express His love of righteousness, it must be for their father Noah's sake, and in reward of his righteousness. To say, "With thee will I establish My covenant," was saying in effect, "I will not treat with thy ungodly posterity: whatever favour I show them, it shall be for thy sake."
Parallel VersesKJV: 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.