On Bereishis 5:32, Rashi brings an explanation that Noach had children when he was 500

so that Japheth, his eldest son, should not be liable for punishment before the Flood, as it is written (Isa. 65:20):“For the youth who is one hundred years old shall die.”

But what about all the other people under 100 at the time the Flood came? Why did they die, if they were under the age of culpability?

  • 2
    A very keen observation!
    – Al Berko
    Commented Oct 27, 2019 at 18:12
  • Why is this different than why the animals died? (I know that’s been asked here before but I can’t find it atm.)
    – DonielF
    Commented Oct 27, 2019 at 18:20
  • Related: judaism.stackexchange.com/a/89723/1739. See my citation from Rav Dovid Kronglass. Although it doesn't seem to fit with Rashi's comment that you bring
    – robev
    Commented Oct 27, 2019 at 18:42
  • 1
    Maybe there were none?
    – msh210
    Commented Oct 27, 2019 at 19:20
  • 8
    I recall an answer I heard - but I can't source it, so I"ll leave it as a comment - that the decree was on the entire world, animals and all people, even children. Noach's own children were the exception and saved only in his merit. If they were wicked and deserved to die - because they were over 100 - his merit would not have been enough to save them. Commented Oct 28, 2019 at 2:59

1 Answer 1


Etz Yosef on the midrash brought by Rashi:

שראוי לעונשים שכן היה השיעור קודם מתן תורה (רש"י בחומש ועי' בנזה"ק) ואע"ג דבמבול מתו גם הקטנים. בעון אביהם מתו:

Translation: "That is deserving of punishment, for such was the measure before the giving of the Torah. And even though in the Flood young ones also died, they died from the sin of their father."

Similarly writes Gur Aryeh on Beresheet 14:13:

ואין לומר בשביל שלא הגיע לעונשים, דאם כן בני דורם ינצלו כל אשר הם פחות מבן ק', אלא על כרחך כל אותם שלא הגיעו לק' מתו במבול בשביל אבותם, דבעון אבות בנים מתים (ראה שבת לב ע"ב), וגבי נח שהיה צדיק אמרו (ב"ר כו, ב) שבניו נצולו בשביל שלא הגיעו לעונשין

Translation: "...and it should not be said that [he survived] because he [Og] didn't reach [the age of] punishment, for if so, all those sons of their generation should be saved because they were less than one-hundred years old, so you must say that all those that hadn't reached one-hundred died for their fathers, for in the sin of the fathers sons die, and about Noach who was righteous they said that his sons were saved because they hadn't reached [the age of] punishment..."

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