The Earth Must be Destroyed
Genesis 6:11-13
The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence.…

The earth was corrupted, and full of violence, and all flesh had depraved its way upon the earth; therefore the end of all flesh was resolved, together with the earth. The earth is, in the Bible, not considered as a mere passive object; it is the habitation of man; it beholds his deeds of virtue and of baseness; it is, therefore, like the eternal heavens, invoked as a witness in solemn exhortations; it cries up to heaven if it is soiled with blood; it "vomits out" the wicked inhabitants. But the earth has also furnished the matter from which man was framed; there is, therefore, a certain mutual relation between both; if man is corrupted, the earth shares his degradation; if the one is exterminated, the other participates in the ruin; Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed together with their impious inhabitants; the Israelites were threatened, that when they should be led away as captives for their iniquity, their once blooming land would be converted into a dreary desert of thorns and thistles; whilst, at the return of the pious and penitent into their land, even the inhospitable wilderness would be changed into beautiful gardens and proud cedar forests; and just as the first parents were, after their fall, doomed to exhaust their strength on a curse-laden soil; thus the generation of Noah was annihilated, together with the earth which had seen and suffered their iniquity. The Persian faith teaches that, in whatever country the sacredness of matrimony is violated, that country perishes, together with its inhabitants. The nearer man is to the state of nature, the more mysterious and inseparable appears to him his connection with the earth and its silently working powers; the earth is the "great mother" of all men, who produces, nourishes, and may destroy them; and the heathen nations have based upon these conceptions many of their most beautiful myths, too universally known to require a detailed allusion. But the animals must perish, because they had also beheld the iniquity of man; every witness of the degradation was to be removed; the history of man should commence a new epoch. If crimes were committed through the instrumentality of animals, the latter were also killed: an ox which had caused the death of a man, was destroyed; if a Hebrew town adopted idolatrous worship, its inhabitants were destroyed with their cattle; whilst piety and faith were attended by prosperity among the beasts; the avarice of Achan was punished by death, and the destruction of his family and his property; when the Amalekites were to be extirpated, the animals were included in the fatal decree; and when the Ninevites did penance by fasting and humiliation, the beasts shared the same acts of external grief. The horror against bloodshed was so intense, that every reminiscence of it was to be eradicated; some Indian tribes pursue with their united force the wild beast which has killed a man, and the family of the murdered is an abomination and a disgrace till they have killed that or another beast of the same species; and other ancient nations went a step still farther, and doomed even inanimate objects (as an axe) with which a crime had been perpetrated to ignominious treatment, if the author of the misdeed could not be discovered (see notes on Exodus 21:28-32); and if, among the Hindoos, a man is killed by an accidental fall from a tree, all his relations assemble, cut it down, and reduce it to chips, which they scatter to the winds.

(M. M. Kalisch, Ph. D.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence.

WEB: The earth was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence.

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