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Christian Biblical Studies
Question: Genesis 6: 5, 6 in the King James Version (KJV) reads:
5 And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. 6 And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart.
Does this mean that God had second thoughts about having created mankind – that He had made a mistake?
Answer: The word ‘repented’ has come to mean turning away from one’s past sins or mistakes and embarking on a new direction. In the KJV translation of the New Testament the word ‘repented’ usually carries the meaning ‘to reform’. See Matthew 11: 20; 2 Corinthians 12: 21, and others.
In Genesis 6: 6 ‘repented’ signifies a deep breath as in a sigh, denoting pity, not remorse on God’s part. Man’s decadent condition caused God pain and sorrow (‘grieved him at his heart’), especially knowing the heartbreaking punishment – the Deluge – He would eventually inflict on mankind to correct matters.
God’s ‘reactions’ are often couched in terms familiar to our human understanding, but He is never caught off-guard by any turn of events.
Genesis 6: 5, 6 are translated more clearly in the following versions:
New International Version (Anglicised edition):
5 The LORD saw how great man’s wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time. 6 The LORD was grieved that he had made man on the earth, and his heart was filled with pain.
Rotherham’s Emphasised Bible:
5 Then Yahweh saw that great was the wickedness of man in the earth, and that every purpose of the devices of his heart was only wicked all the day; 6 and it grieved Yahweh that he had made man in the earth, – and he took sorrow unto his heart.
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