Read Gen 6:5-8 at the Bible Gateway.
It just so happens there is another chiastic structure in Gen 6:5-8:
1A) 6.5 YHVH saw the wickedness of men;
1B) 6.6 YHVH’s sorrow over the wickedness of men;
–>CENTRAL AXIS 6.7a “YHVH said, “I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land, from man to animals to creeping things and to birds of the sky;”
2B) 6.7b YHVH’s sorrow;
2A) 6.8 YHVH saw (in the eyes of) Noah with favor (or grace).
This is the first occurrence of the word “grace” in the Scriptures. The first occurrence provides the definition.
Grace is Strong’s H2580, chen /j, from the primitive root, Strong’s H2603, chanan /nj, chet – nun – nun. The ancient pictographs are of the fence, and seed upon seed. Chen, then, is the fence that continues; i.e., when nomads encamped in a place, the families set up their tents so that all the tents formed a circle – a continuous fence. The tribal clan lived and worked within the circle, within the continuous fence. It was home. It was the place of family, of beauty, freedom, and mercy.
Noah was found to be within YHVH’s continuous fence; he was found to be of the Lord’s family.
Brad Scott on the mountain top meaning of chen.
Why was YHVH sorry with all the other men, but Noah found grace with Him? In the next verse (Gen 6:9), we see that Noah was a righteous man who walked (halek) with God. Torah is not teaching salvation by works, because God is clear that Noah found grace; however, Torah is teaching that righteousness and walking with God accompanies grace and salvation. Torah is painting a picture of two kinds of men: those who align themselves with God, and who, as a result of that alignment, walk with Him, and those who align themselves against God, choosing to walk their own way – not in the revealed path.
This parsha also reveals to us that the heart of God is grieved over wickedness and sinfulness. He isn’t just looking for opportunities to squash sinners like ants, gleefully; but evil and wickedness grieves His tender and loving heart.
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