The LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of man’s heart was continually only evil. The LORD was sorry that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him in his heart. (Genesis 6:5-6)
The more I study the Word of God in Hebrew, the more I fall in love with it. We really do lose so much in translation. If I had read the above verses in my trusty and copyright-free World English Bible, I would’ve probably missed the nuances that beg to be discovered in Hebrew.
But before digging into the depths of Hebrew, there are two phrases repeated between these two verses that are conspicuous enough, even in English. They are “Mankind in the earth” (haadam ba’aretz) and “his heart” (lib-o). This isn’t a coincidence; it’s a pattern – and it’s up to us to follow that pattern and discover why these words were so woven.
This pattern seems to follow two lines of thought: a connection of mankind with the earth and what’s going on in the heart. At first I thought these were two parallelisms describing the statuses of both men and then God, but these do not seem to be clever rephrasing of the same thoughts, as we are accustomed to seeing elsewhere in the Bible (i.e. ‘ask and you shall receive, seek and you shall find’).
No, this is something different. It’s frightfully different, in fact. Considering that Moses was once told by God “no one can look into my face and live” (Exodus 33:20), it’s sort of shocking that there is this glimpse into the Almighty’s heart. This certainly hasn’t escaped my attention; there’s definitely something God wants us to learn here.
So if we hone in on the “Mankind in the earth” and “his heart” verses in the Hebrew, we see that they are have similarities (which I emphasize in bold):
The first is: Kiy rabah raat ha-adam ba-aretz wa-khal yetzer mach’sh’vot lib-o raq ra kal-ha-Yom (that great was the evil of Mankind in the earth, and every form of imagination of his heart is evil all the day).
The second is: Kiy asah et ha-adam Ba-aretz wa-Yit’atzev el-liB-o (that He made Mankind in the earth, and it pained him at His heart)
So we can see these two thoughts about the evil of mankind on one hand, and the pain experienced by God on the other, were similarly constructed (This is an example of a chiasm which is often found throughout the Bible). Now there is one small but gargantuan phrase which separates the “evil of man” and “pain of God” thoughts. Can you guess it?
It’s wa–yinachem yhweh (“And YHVH regretted”). Its significance? The root of this verb yinachem is shared by the name of Noach (Noah). That cannot be a coincidence. This is a deep sod revelation that Noah and YHVH are TOGETHER, caught in between the evil of Mankind and the pain of the Almighty! In fact, this prophetically and spiritually suggests that Noach – as he was running away from the evil of mankind, met YHVH as He was trying to forget the pain in His heart. And it was here, in the middle, where they found each other. So in the middle of all this chaos, we get this hidden love story.
A little later in the text we read that Noah was “found” by God (see vs. 8). Maybe, just maybe, the Word is giving us additional hints as to how that meeting came about.
You may not agree with how I see things prophetically in the Word, and I can live with that. But as the proverb says, “It is the glory of God to conceal a thing, but the honor of kings to search for it” (Proverbs 25:2). This is one of those “things”. I can honestly say that my experience in reading about Noah has been amplified, and I hope it is for you as well. ◊