Commentary Column: Sons of God and Daughters of Men

Theme Verse of the Week

Now it came about, when men began to multiply on the face of the land, and daughters were born to them, that the sons of God saw that the daughters of men were beautiful; and they took wives for themselves, whomever they chose. (Genesis 6:1-2, NASB95)

MH’s Classic Commentary

For the glory of God’s justice, and as a warning to a wicked world, before the history of the ruin of the old world, we have a full account of its degeneracy, its apostasy from God and rebellion against him. The destroying of it was an act, not of an absolute sovereignty, but of necessary justice, for the maintaining of the honor of God’s government.

Now here we have an account of two things that occasioned the wickedness of the old world. First, mankind increased: Men began to multiply upon the face of the earth. This was the effect of the blessing (Genesis 1:28), and yet man’s corruption so abused and perverted this blessing that it was turned into a curse. Thus, sin takes occasion by the mercies of God to be the more exceedingly sinful. Proverbs 29:16, When the wicked are multiplied, transgression increases. The more sinners the more sin; and the multitude of offenders emboldens men.

Infectious diseases are most destructive in populous cities; and sin is a spreading leprosy. Thus, in the New Testament church, when the number of the disciples was multiplied, there arose a murmuring (Acts 6:1), and we read of a nation that was multiplied, not to the increase of their joy (Isaiah 9:3). Numerous families need to be well-governed, or they could become wicked families.

Second, there were mixed marriages (v. 2): The sons of God (that is, the professors of religion, who were called by the name of the Lord, and called upon that name), married the daughters of men (that is, those who were strangers to God and godliness). The posterity of Seth did not keep by themselves, as they ought to have done, both for the preservation of their own purity and in detestation of the apostasy. They intermingled themselves with the excommunicated race of Cain: They took wives of all that they chose.

But what was wrong in these marriages? (1.) They chose only by their eyes: They saw that they were beautiful, which was all they looked at. (2.) They followed the choice that their own corrupt affections made: they took all that they chose, without advice and consideration. (3.) But that which proved of such bad consequence to them was that they married strange wives and were unequally yoked with unbelievers (2 Corinthians 6:14). This was forbidden to Israel (Deuteronomy 7:3-4). It was the unhappy occasion of Solomon’s apostasy (1 Kings 11:1-4), and was of bad consequence to the Jews after their return out of Babylon (Ezra 9:1-2). Note, Professors of religion, in marrying both themselves and their children, should keep within the bounds of that profession. The bad will sooner ruin the good than the good reform the bad. Those that profess themselves the children of God must not marry without His consent, which they have not if they join in affinity with his enemies.

A Grain of Truth

The biblical principle of unequal yoke is not a big deal for some millennials. The idea seems archaic for them thus no hesitation to flush it in the gutter. If you know anyone who has a nonbeliever partner, please take some time to uphold them in your prayer this week.

(Adapted from Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible: Complete and Unabridged in One Volume. Peabody: Hendrickson, 1994).


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