Genesis 9:1-7 . COVENANT.
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 first [ Genesis 1:28 ].
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 ( Romans 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.
Genesis 9:8-29 . RAINBOW.
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 [ Joshua 9:25 ].
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 ( Isaiah 46:10 , 1 Peter 1:25 )!