|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
9:1-3 The blessing of God is the cause of our doing well. On him we depend, to him we should be thankful. Let us not forget the advantage and pleasure we have from the labour of beasts, and which their flesh affords. Nor ought we to be less thankful for the security we enjoy from the savage and hurtful beasts, through the fear of man which God has fixed deep in them. We see the fulfilment of this promise every day, and on every side. This grant of the animals for food fully warrants the use of them, but not the abuse of them by gluttony, still less by cruelty. We ought not to pain them needlessly whilst they live, nor when we take away their lives.
Verse 1. - And God - Elohim, not because belonging to the Elohistic document (Block, Tuch, Colcnso); but rather because throughout this section the Deity is exhibited in his relations to his creatures - blessed - a repetition of the primal blessing rendered necessary by the devastation of the Flood (cf. Genesis 1:28) - Noah and his sons, - as the new heads of the race, - and said unto them, - audibly, in contrast to Genesis 8:21, 22, which was not addressed to the patriarch, but spoken by God to himself in his heart, as if internally resolving on his subsequent course of action, - Be fruitful, and multiply. A favorite expression of the Elohist (cf. Genesis 1:28; Genesis 8:17; Genesis 9:1, 7; Genesis 17:20; Genesis 28:3; Genesis 35:11; Genesis 47:27; Genesis 48:14), (Tuch); but
(1) the apparently great number of passages melts away when we observe the verbally exact reference of Genesis 8:17; Genesis 9:1, 7 to Genesis 1:28; and of Genesis 48:4 to Genesis 35:11;
(2) the Elohist does not always employ his "favorite expression" where he might have done so, as, e.g., not in Genesis 1:22; Genesis 17:6; Genesis 28:14;
(3) the Jehovist does not avoid it where the course of thought necessarily calls for it (vide Leviticus 26:9), (Keil). And replenish the earth. The words, "and subdue it, which had a place in the Adamic blessing, and which the LXX. insert here in the Noachic (καὶ κατακυριεύσατε αὐτῆς), are omitted for the obvious reason that the world dominion originally assigned to man in Adam had been forfeited by sin, and could only be restored through the ideal Man, the woman's seed, to whom it had been transferred at the fail Hence says Paul, speaking of Christ: "καὶ πάντα ὑπέταξεν ὑπὸ τοὺς πόδας αὐτοῦ (Ephesians 1:22); and the writer to the Hebrews: νῦν δὲ οὔπω ὀρῶμεν αὐτῷ (i.e. man) τὰ πάντα ὑποτεταγμένα, τὸν δὲ βραχύτι παρ ἀγγέλους ἠλαττομένον βλέπομεν Ἰησοῦν διὰ τὸ πάθημα τοῦ θανάτου δόξη καὶ τιμῆ ἐστεφανωμένον (i.e. the world dominion which David, Psalm 8:6, recognized as belonging to God's ideal man) ὅπως χάριτι θεοῦ ὑπὲρ παντὸς γεύσηται θανάτου (Genesis 2:8, 9). The original relationship which God had established between man and the lower creatures having been disturbed by sin, the inferior animals, as it were, gradually broke loose from their condition of subjection. As corruption deepened in the human race it was only natural to anticipate that man's lordship over the animal creation would become feebler and feebler. Nor, perhaps, is it an altogether violent hypothesis that, had the Deluge not intervened, in the course of time the beast would have become the master and man the slave. To prevent any such apprehensions in the future, as there was to be no second deluge, the relations of man and the lower creatures were to be placed on a new footing. Ultimately, in the palingenesia, they would be completely restored (cf. Isaiah 11:6); in the mean time, till that glorious consummation should arrive, the otherwise inevitable encroachments of the creatures upon the human family in its sin-created weakness should be restrained by a principle of fear. That was the first important modification made upon the original Adamic blessing.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And God blessed Noah and his sons,.... With temporal blessings, not spiritual ones; for though some of them were blessed with such, yet not all, particularly Ham:
and said unto them, be fruitful and multiply, and replenish the earth; depopulated by the flood: this is a renewal of the blessing on Adam, a power and faculty of propagating his species, which was as necessary now as then, since there were so few of the human race left in the world; and the renewal of this grant was the rather necessary, if, as has been observed, Noah and his sons were restrained from cohabiting with their wives while in the ark: but though these words are not an express command for the propagation of their species, yet more than a bare permission, at least they are a direction and instruction to it, and even carry in them a promise of fruitfulness, that they should multiply and increase, which was very needful at this time.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
Ge 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 [Ge 1:28].
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