Francesco Venale fvenale at academicstudies.fsnet.co.uk
Sun Mar 30 06:47:27 EST 2003

Dear Constandinos,


You wrote:  GENESIS 6:6 - WHY GOD REPENTED FOR THE CREATION OF THE MAN? What's the deep meaning of this verse nowadays?


Your question is interesting. Please see my comment below. 


The Hebrew word /¦q (nacham) means “to repent”, “feel regret”, “comfort”. But in the Old Testament most uses of this word are connected  with God’s feelings.   


Genesis 6:6 (BHS) says:  וַיִּנָּחֶם יְהוָה כּ־עָשָׂה אֶת־הָאָדָם בָּאָרֶץ וַיִּתְעַצֵּב אֶל־לִבּוֹ wich is translated by NASB “…It repented the Lord that he had made man…” and by NWT “And Jehovah felt regrets that he had made men in the earth, and he felt hurt at his heart”.


In reference to God the word nacham has not the idea of sin but the sense of  “feeling regret” and by consequence “change of mind”. The NWT renders accurately the nuance of the word on this passage: the feeling of God toward men’s conduct.


You may also consider the following two comments:


[1] “In other instances, the Lord changed His mind ; obviously, He changed when man changed to make the right choices, but He could not change His attitude toward evil when man continued on the wrong course. As God changed His actions, He always remained faithful to His own rigteousness.” – Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Word, “to repent”, pp. 201-2.


[2] “In the majority of cases where the Hebrew na·cham' is used in the sense of “feeling regret,” the reference is to Jehovah God. Genesis 6:6, 7 states that “Jehovah felt regrets that he had made men in the earth, and he felt hurt at his heart,” their wickedness being so great that God determined he would wipe them off the surface of the ground by means of the global Flood. This cannot mean that God felt regret in the sense of having made a mistake in his work of creation, for “perfect is his activity.” (De 32:4, 5) Regret is the opposite of pleasurable satisfaction and rejoicing. Hence, it must be that God regretted that after he had created mankind, their conduct became so evil that he now found himself obliged (and justly so) to destroy all mankind with the exception of Noah and his family. For God ‘takes no delight in the death of the wicked.’—Eze 33:11.


M’Clintock and Strong’s Cyclopaedia comments: “God himself is said to repent [na·cham', feel regret]; but this can only be understood of his altering his conduct towards his creatures, either in the bestowing of good or infliction of evil—which change in the divine conduct is founded on a change in his creatures; and thus, speaking after the manner of men, God is said to repent.” (1894, Vol. VIII, p. 1042) God’s righteous standards remain constant, stable, unchanging, free from fluctuation. (Mal 3:6; Jas 1:17) No circumstance can cause him to change his mind about these, to turn from them, or to abandon them. However, the attitude and reactions of his intelligent creatures toward those perfect standards and toward God’s application of them can be good or bad. If good, this is pleasing to God; if bad, it causes regret. Moreover, the creature’s attitude can change from good to bad or bad to good, and since God does not change his standards to accommodate them, his pleasure (and accompanying blessings) can accordingly change to regret (and accompanying discipline or punishment) or vice versa. His judgments and decisions, then, are totally free from caprice, fickleness, unreliability, or error; hence he is free from all erratic or eccentric conduct.—Eze 18:21-30; 33:7-20.” 

- Insight on the Scriptures, Volume 2, page 776, published by the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York, Inc.


I hope this answer is ok for you.


_ _ _ _


Francesco Venale



  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: spyropoulos constandinos 
  To: b-greek at lists.ibiblio.org ; b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org 
  Sent: Tuesday, March 25, 2003 9:58 PM

  Greetings to all of you from Athens,  Greece

  GENESIS 6:6 - WHY GOD REPENTED FOR THE CREATION OF THE MAN? What's the deep meaning of this verse nowadays?

  יֵשׁ תָּמִיד שׁוֹמֵר יִשְׂרָאֵל

  Kαί μετενόησεν ὁ Θεός διότι ἐδημιούργησεν (ἐποίησεν, ἔκαμεν) τόν ἄνθρωπον ἐπί τῆς γῆς και ἐλυπήθη  -από τά βάθη- τῆς καρδίας του (Γεν. στ’ 6). 

  וַיִּנָּחֶם יְהוָה כּ־עָשָׂה אֶת־הָאָדָם בָּאָרֶץ וַיִּתְעַצֵּב אֶל־לִבּוֹ (בראשית ו' 6).

  And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart (Gen. 6:6).

  L'Éternel se repentit d'avoir fait l'homme sur la terre, et il fut affligé en son coeur (Gen. 6:6).

  Kαί μετενόησεν ὁ Θεός διότι ἐδημιούργησεν (ἐποίησεν, ἔκαμεν) τόν ἄνθρωπον ἐπί τῆς γῆς και ἐλυπήθη  - από τά βάθη - τῆς καρδίας του (Γεν. στ’ 6). 

   If you use Word 2000 or XP and MS Windows 2000 professional or XP or 98 – Hebrew enabled, you can type easily both accented and unaccented Hebrew and non polytonic and polytonic Greek as well.  Click on the Start button. Select Settings Control Panel. Double-click on the Keyboard icon. In the window that opens, choose the Language tab. Click the Add button and select the keyboard layout for Hebrew, Greek and Greek Polytonic. Finally for better and easier typing use the ON SCREEN KEYBOARD command (start, programs, Accessories, Accessibility, ON SCREEN KEYBOARD). Use PALATINO LINOTYPE, ARIAL UNICODE MS, TIMES NEW ROMAN and other fonts. The Hebrew and Greek text above and below is typed in that way, using the TIMES NEW ROMAN FONT for Hebrew and the PALATINO LINOTYPE for Greek (Greek Polytonic and Accented Hebrew).

  After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.   (Ματ. στ΄ 9 -13).


  לָכֵן כָּ הִתְּפַּלְּלוּ אַתֶּם: אָבִינוּ שֶׁבַּשָּׁמַיִם, יִתְקַּדֵשׁ שִׁמְ, תָּבוֹא מַלְכוּתְ, יֵעַשֶׂה רְצוֹנְ כְּבַשָּׁמַיִם כֵּן בָּאָרֶץ (וּבָאָרֶץ). אֶת הַלֶּחֶם חֻקּנּוּ תֵּן לָנוּ הַיּוֹם וּסְלַח לָנוּ עַל חֲטָאֵינוּ כְּמוֹ שֶׁסּוֹלְחִים גַּם אֲנַחְנוּ לַחוֹטְאִים לָנוּ. וְאַל תְּבִיאֵנוּ לִידֵי נִסָיוֹן  כִּי חַלְּצֵנוּ מִן הָרָע. (כִּי לְ הַמַּמְלָכָה וְהַגְּבוּרָה וְהַתִּפְאֶרֶת לְעוּלְמֵי הָעוֹלָמִים. אָמֵן (מתי ו״ 9 - 13).

  Athens, Greece
  Spyrcon at otenet.gr

  b-hebrew mailing list
  b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org

More information about the b-hebrew mailing list