“Did God repent?”

Man is sinful, and when the Scriptures speak of man “repenting” it is in reference to him changing his mind and turning from sin. It means to “confess and forsake” his sins.

However, Numbers 23:19 tells us that “God is not a man, that He should lie, nor a son of man, that He should repent.”

God is without sin, so any reference to God’s “repentance” is merely His relenting by not bringing about a promised punishment if sinners turn from their sins. The King James translation has at least twenty-six references to God “repenting,” and each time it is in the context of punishing or rewarding a person or group of people. For example, Jonah 3:10 says, “Then God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God relented [“repented, KJV] from the disaster that He had said He would bring upon them, and He did not do it.” Because He did not punish them as He warned, it may appear to them that He “changed” His mind, but His punishment was contingent on their repentance.

Jeremiah 18:8 if that nation against whom I have spoken turns from its evil, I will relent of the disaster that I thought to bring upon it.

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3 Responses to “Did God repent?”

  1. Eileen Jeyes says:

    God repented in these verses:

    And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart.Gen 6:6

    And Samuel came no more to see Saul until the day of his death: nevertheless Samuel mourned for Saul: and the LORD repented that he had made Saul king over Israel.    1Sa 15:35

    It is stated differently in other transtlations.  These are King James Version.

      Eileen Jeyes Jacksonville, FL 32277 900-3154


  2. Bea Blessed says:

    God can be merciful, but it’s true that human repentance is a key ingredient to obtaining God’s mercy. You can’t just continually flaunt your human disobedience and expect God to go along with it.

    Just a word on this scripture:
    “And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart.” Gen 6:6

    The wickedness of mankind really does grieve God, and it’s quite true that He often thinks that human beings are not a worthy part of creation. Innocence is hardly a human trait. You can’t expect God to admire humans as much as they admire themselves.

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