on Genesis 6 :18
With thee will I establish my covenant - The word ברית berith, from בר bar, to purify or cleanse, signifies properly a purification or purifier, (see on Genesis 15 (note)), because in all covenants made between God and man, sin and sinfulness were ever supposed to be on man's side, and that God could not enter into any covenant or engagement with him without a purifier; hence, in all covenants, a sacrifice was offered for the removal of offenses, and the reconciliation of God to the sinner; and hence the word ברית berith signifies not only a covenant, but also the sacrifice offered on the occasion, Exodus 24:8; Psalm 50:5; and Jesus Christ, the great atonement and purifier, has the same word for his title, Isaiah 42:6; Isaiah 49:8; and Zechariah 9:11.
Almost all nations, in forming alliances, etc., made their covenants or contracts in the same way. A sacrifice was provided, its throat was cut, and its blood poured out before God; then the whole carcass was divided through the spinal marrow from the head to the rump; so as to make exactly two equal parts; these were placed opposite to each other, and the contracting parties passed between them, or entering at opposite ends met in the center, and there took the covenant oath. This is particularly referred to by Jeremiah, Jeremiah 34:18, Jeremiah 34:19, Jeremiah 34:20 : "I will give the men (into the hands of their enemies, Jeremiah 34:20) that have transgressed my covenant, which have not performed the words of the covenant which they made before me, when they cut the calf in twain, and passed between the parts thereof," etc. See also Deuteronomy 29:12.
A covenant, says Mr. Ainsworth, is a disposition of good things faithfully declared, which God here calls his, as arising from his grace towards Noah (Genesis 6:8) and all men; but implying also conditions on man's part, and therefore is called our covenant, Zechariah 9:11. The apostles call it διαθηκη, a testament or disposition; and it is mixed of the properties both of covenant and testament, as the apostle shows, Hebrews 9:16, etc., and of both may be named a testamental covenant, whereby the disposing of God's favors and good things to us is declared. The covenant made with Noah signified, on God's part, that he should save Noah and his family from death by the ark. On Noah's part, that he should in faith and obedience make and enter into the ark - Thou shalt come into the ark, etc., so committing himself to God's preservation, Hebrews 11:7. And under this the covenant or testament of eternal salvation by Christ was also implied, the apostle testifying, 1 Peter 3:21, that the antitype, baptism, doth also now save us; for baptism is a seal of our salvation, Mark 16:16. To provide a Savior, and the means of salvation, is God's part: to accept this Savior, laying hold on the hope set before us, is ours. Those who refuse the way and means of salvation must perish; those who accept of the great Covenant Sacrifice cannot perish, but shall have eternal life. See on Genesis 15:10 (note), etc.
on Genesis 6 :18
The covenant with Noah. Here is the first appearance of a covenant between God and man on the face of Scripture. A covenant is a solemn compact, tacit or express, between two parties, in which each is bound to perform his part. Hence, a covenant implies the moral faculty; and wherever the moral faculty exists, there must needs be a covenant. Consequently, between God and man there was of necessity a covenant from the very beginning, though the name do not appear. At first it was a covenant of works, in regard to man; but now that works have failed, it can only be a covenant of grace to the penitent sinner. "My covenant." The word "my" points to its original establishment with Adam. My primeval covenant, which I am resolved not to abandon. "Will I establish." Though Adam has failed, yet will I find means of maintaining my covenant of life with the seed of the woman. "With thee." Though all flesh be to perish through breach of my covenant, yet will I uphold it with thee. "Go into the ark." This is the means of safety. Some may say in their hearts, this is a clumsy way to save Noah. But if he is to be saved, there must be some way. And it is not a sign of wisdom to prescribe the way to the All-wise. Rather let us reflect that the erection of this ark was a daily warning to a wicked race, a deepening lesson of reliance on God to Noah and his household, and a most salutary occupation for the progenitors of the future race of mankind. "And thy sons, etc." Noah's household share in the covenant.
on Genesis 6 :18
6:18 But with thee will I establish my covenant - [1.] The covenant of Providence, that the course of nature shall be continued to the end of time, not withstanding the interruption which the flood would give to it: this promise was immediately made to Noah and his sons, Ge 9:8, and c. they were as trustees for all this part of the creation, and a great honour was thereby put upon him and his. God would be to him a God, and that out of his seed God would take to himself a people.