Said Rabbi Abba: "The word 'ath' preceding 'col hayqoun' (every living substance) includes in the deluge also the celestial chiefs and rulers under whose jurisdiction the earth was placed at that time, for when the Holy One punishes mankind he first chastises their spiritual rulers and then those over whom they ruled, as it is written, 'In that day shall the Lord punish the host of the high ones that are on high, the kings of the earth upon the earth' (Is. XXIV. 21). But how can these angel chiefs be destroyed? Are they consumed in the primordial fire, as is written, 'For the Lord they God is a consuming fire and by that element, angel rulers are destroyed as those under their rule were destroyed by water, and thus it was that every living substance upon the ground was exterminated therefrom; that is, the cattle and creeping things and the fowl of the heaven, all were destroyed from the earth and Noah only remained along with those in the ark."
Said Rabbi Jose: "Even Noah himself did not wholly escape injury, for it has been said that he was crippled by the bite of a lion. 'And God remembered Noah and every living thing and all the cattle with him in the ark.'"
Said Rabbi Hiya: "A prudent man forseeth the evil and hideth himself' (Prov. XXII. 3). These words refer to Noah who entered the ark and hid himself therein, seeing the oncoming of the waters and the destroying angel."
Said Rabbi Jose: "They refer to the man who when death rages in the world hideth himself and goes not forth that he may not be seen by the destroying angel who has then the power of afflicting and destroying whom he beholds, and so in the second part of this verse it is added, 'but the simple pass on and are punished.' By the word along (abron) scripture teaches that the simple pass along before the exterminating angle and suffer. This word also signifies to transgress, and we are taught the simple break the commands of their lord and consequently are punished, My second part of the verse is also applied to the contemporaries of Noah who if he had not hid himself in the ark would have perished along with them in the waters of the flood, but was saved by his obedience to the divine commands, and therefore it came to pass, as it is written, 'and God remembered Noah.'"
Said Rabbi Simeon: Whilst divine judgments operate in the world, the word zacar (remember) is never found used in scripture only after punishment and judgments have been accomplished and the world has been broken and the destroying angel reigns rampant, and not until he has executed his mission, does the world revert to its normal state, and therefore it is written, 'and God remembered Noah.' The word remember is here applied to Noah as being a just and perfect man. It is written, 'Thou rulest the raging of the sea, when the waves thereof arise thou stillest them' (Ps. LXXXIX. 9). When the waves of the sea arise mountains high and its depths are upheaved, the Holy One unseen sends forth his word by which the angry billows are assuaged and the fury of the waters is restrained and calmed. Jonah was cast into the tempestuous sea and a fish was prepared to swallow him. How was it he continued to exist and retain consciousness? It was because the Holy One rules and governs the powers of evil that proceed from his left and excite and cause storms and tempests. When however the good powers come forth from his right and, descending
upon the waters, meet those from the left, then the billows rage as beasts hungering after prey. Then it is that the Holy One stilleth them and causes them to return to their place. Another interpretation of the word 'stillest,' (the-shabhem) giving the literal sense is, 'thou praisest them,' because the tempestuous billows are a manifestation of the desire on the part of the evil forces, to come into contact, and union with the good ones proceeding from the right, and hence we infer from this passage of scripture that a man is worthy of praise when, desirous of the knowledge of divine mysteries, he engages and addicts himself to the study of them. He is worthy of commendation even if, through lack of intellectual and natural abilities, success does not crown his endeavours.
Said Rabbi Jehuda, whilst in the ark, Noah became apprehensive lest the Holy One had forgotten him, but after the judgment on the antediluvians was completed and they had been swept off the face of the earth, then is it written, 'And God remembered Noah.'"
Said Rabbi Eleazar: "Observe, when the world was undergoing punishment, it was better for man that his name should not be mentioned before the presence of the Holy One on high, as then his sins and misdeeds would have been remembered and given rise to examination into them. What ground have we for making such a statement? From the case of the Shunamite woman. It was on New Year's day, when God sits and judges the world, that Elisha was staying in her69b house. And he said unto her wishest thou that I should speak unto the king for thee, that is, the Holy One who called a King, the King of righteousness, the Holy King.2 Kings 4:13 And she said, I dwell amongst mine own people; meaning, I wish not to be remembered or spoken of to the Holy One save as one and along with those with whom I live, so that our deeds and acts may not be judged and examined separately but collectively together. This she said because when the actions of a whole people are adjudicated upon, those of an individual are less remarked and manifest and therefore avoid censure and disapprobation. Observe, that whilst judgment was being executed on the world, there was no remembrance of Noah. When however it was accomplished, then the Lord remembered him. Another interpretation of these words is, they have one and the same meaning as the words 'I have remembered my covenant'" (Ex. VI. 5).