1. And God blessed Noah—Here is
republished the law of nature that was announced to Adam, consisting as
it originally did of several parts.
Be fruitful, &c.—The first part
relates to the transmission of life, the original blessing being
reannounced in the very same words in which it had been promised at
2. And the fear of you and the dread of
you—The second part re-establishes man's dominion over the
inferior animals; it was now founded not as at first in love and
kindness, but in terror; this dread of man prevails among all the
stronger as well as the weaker members of the animal tribes and keeps
away from his haunts all but those employed in his service.
3. Every moving thing that liveth shall be meat
for you—The third part concerns the means of sustaining life;
man was for the first time, it would seem, allowed the use of animal
food, but the grant was accompanied with one restriction.
4. But flesh … the blood … shall ye
not eat—The sole intention of this prohibition was to prevent
these excesses of cannibal ferocity in eating flesh of living animals,
to which men in the earlier ages of the world were liable.
5. surely your blood of your lives will I
require—The fourth part establishes a new power for
protecting life—the institution of the civil magistrate
13:4), armed with public and
official authority to repress the commission of violence and crime.
Such a power had not previously existed in patriarchal society.
6. Whoso sheddeth man's blood … for in the
image of God made he man—It is true that image has been
injured by the fall, but it is not lost. In this view, a high value is
attached to the life of every man, even the poorest and humblest, and
an awful criminality is involved in the destruction of it.
13. I do set my bow in the cloud—set,
that is, constitute or appoint. This common and familiar phenomenon
being made the pledge of peace, its appearance when showers began to
fall would be welcomed with the liveliest feelings of joy.
20. And Noah … planted a
vineyard—Noah had been probably bred to the culture of the
soil, and resumed that employment on leaving the ark.
21. And he drank of the wine, and was
drunken—perhaps at the festivities of the vintage season.
This solitary stain on the character of so eminently pious a man must,
it is believed, have been the result of age or inadvertency.
24. This incident could scarcely have happened
till twenty years after the flood; for Canaan, whose conduct was more
offensive than that even of his father, was not born till after that
event. It is probable that there is a long interval included between
these verses and that this prophecy, like that of Jacob on his sons,
was not uttered till near the close of Noah's life when the prophetic
spirit came upon him; this presumption is strengthened by the mention
of his death immediately after.
25. Cursed be Canaan—This doom has been
fulfilled in the destruction of the Canaanites—in the degradation
of Egypt and the slavery of the Africans, the descendants of Ham.
26. Blessed be the Lord God of
Shem—rather, "Blessed of Jehovah, my God, be Shem,"—an
intimation that the descendants of Shem should be peculiarly honored in
the service of the true God, His Church being for ages established
among them (the Jews), and of them, concerning the flesh, Christ came.
They got possession of Canaan, the people of that land being made their
"servants" either by conquest, or, like the Gibeonites, by submission
27. God shall enlarge Japheth—pointing
to a vast increase in posterity and possessions. Accordingly his
descendants have been the most active and enterprising, spread over the
best and largest portion of the world, all Europe and a considerable
part of Asia.
he shall dwell in the tents of Shem—a
prophecy being fulfilled at the present day, as in India British
Government is established and the Anglo-Saxons being in the ascendancy
from Europe to India, from India over the American continent. What a
wonderful prophecy in a few verses (Isa 46:10; 1Pe 1:25)!