|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
9:8-17 As the old world was ruined, to be a monument of justice, so this world remains to this day a monument of mercy. But sin, that drowned the old world, will burn this. Articles of agreement among men are sealed, that what is promised may be the more solemn, and the doing of what is covenanted the more sure to mutual satisfaction. The seal of this covenant was the rainbow, which, it is likely, was seen in the clouds before, but was never a seal of the covenant till now it was made so. The rainbow appears when we have most reason to fear the rain prevailing; God then shows this seal of the promise, that it shall not prevail. The thicker the cloud, the brighter the bow in the cloud. Thus, as threatening afflictions abound, encouraging consolations much more abound. The rainbow is the reflection of the beams of the sun shining upon or through the drops of rain: all the glory of the seals of the covenant are derived from Christ, the Sun of righteousness. And he will shed a glory on the tears of his saints. A bow speaks terror, but this has neither string nor arrow; and a bow alone will do little hurt. It is a bow, but it is directed upward, not toward the earth; for the seals of the covenant were intended to comfort, not to terrify. As God looks upon the bow, that he may remember the covenant, so should we, that we may be mindful of the covenant with faith and thankfulness. Without revelation this gracious assurance could not be known; and without faith it can be of no use to us; and thus it is as to the still greater dangers to which all are exposed, and as to the new covenant with its blessings.
Verse 17. - And God said unto Noah, This is the token of the covenant. Murphy thinks that God here directed the patriarch's attention to an actual rainbow; it seems more natural to conclude that from the beginning of the interview (Genesis 8:20) the ark, altar, and worshippers were encircled by its variegated arch. Kalisch compares with the rainbow the other signs which God subsequently appended to his covenants; as, e.g., circumcision (Genesis 17:11), the passover (Exodus 12:13), the sabbath (ibid. 31:13). The Noachic covenant being universal, the sign was also universal - "τέρας μερόπων ἀνθρώπων (I1, 11:27), a sign to men of many tongues. The later covenants being limited to Israel, their signs were local and provisional, and have now been supplanted by the higher symbolism of the Christian Church, viz., baptism, the Lord's Supper, and the Christian sabbath. Which I have established. The different verbs used in this passage in connection with בְּרִית may be here brought together.
1. נָתַן (ver. 12) representing the covenant as a gift of Divine grace.
2. קוּס (Hiph.; vers. 9, 11, 17) exhibiting the covenant as something which God has both caused to stand and raised up when fallen.
3. זָכַר (ver. 15) depicting the covenant as always present to the Divine mind. Tuch, Stahelin, and Delitzsch detect an idiosyncrasy of the Elohist in using the first and second of these verbs instead of כָּרַת, the favorite expression of the Jehovist. But כָּרַת is used by the Elohist in Genesis 21:27, 32, while in Deuteronomy 4:18 the Jehovist uses הֵקִיס. Between ms and all flesh that is upon the earth.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And God said to Noah, this is the token of the covenant,.... Which is repeated for the greater confirmation and certainty of it, since the fears of men would be apt to run very high, especially while the flood was fresh in memory:
which I have established between me and all flesh that is upon the earth: see Genesis 9:9, it is highly probable, that from the rainbow being the token of the covenant between God and Noah, and the creatures, sprung the fable of the Chinese concerning their first emperor, Fohi, who seems to be the same with Noah, and whom they call the son of heaven, and say he had no father; which is this, that his mother, walking on the bank of a lake near Lanthien, in the province of Xensi, trod upon a large footstep of a man impressed upon the sand, and from thence, being surrounded with the rainbow, conceived and brought forth Fohi (x).
(x) Martin. Sinic. Hist. p. 11.
Genesis 9:17 Parallel Commentaries
Genesis 9:17 NIV
Genesis 9:17 NLT
Genesis 9:17 ESV
Genesis 9:17 NASB
Genesis 9:17 KJV
Bible Hub: Online Parallel Bible