|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
9:18-23 The drunkenness of Noah is recorded in the Bible, with that fairness which is found only in the Scripture, as a case and proof of human weakness and imperfection, even though he may have been surprised into the sin; and to show that the best of men cannot stand upright, unless they depend upon Divine grace, and are upheld thereby. Ham appears to have been a bad man, and probably rejoiced to find his father in an unbecoming situation. It was said of Noah, that he was perfect in his generations, ch.
Verse 21. - And he drank of the wine. יַיִן; "perhaps so called from bubbling up and fermenting;" connected with יָוַן (Gesenius). Though the first mention of wine in Scripture, it is scarcely probable that the natural process of fermentation for so many centuries escaped the notice of the enterprising Cainites, or even of the Sethites; that, "though grapes had been in use before this, wine had not been extracted from them" (Murphy); or that Noah was unacquainted with the nature and effects of this intoxicating liquor (Chrysostom, Theodoret, Keil, Lunge). The article before יַיִן indicates that the patriarch was "familiar with the use and treatment" of the grape (Kalisch); and Moses does not say this was the first occasion on which the patriarch tasted the fermented liquor (Calvin, Wordsworth). And was drunken. The verb שָׁכַר (whence shechar, strong drink, Numbers 28:7), to drink to the full, very often signifies to make oneself drunken, or simply to be intoxicated as the result of drinking; and that which the Holy Spirit here reprobates is not the partaking of the fruit of the vine, but the drinking so as to be intoxicated thereby. Since the sin of Noah cannot be ascribed to ignorance, it is perhaps right, as well as charitable, to attribute it to ago and inadvertence. Six hundred years old at the time of the Flood, he must have been considerably beyond this when Ham saw him overtaken in his fault, since Canaan was Ham's fourth son (Genesis 10:6), and the first was not born till after the exit from the ark (Genesis 8:18). But from whatever cause induced, the drunkenness of Noah was not entirely guiltless; it was sinful in itself, and led to further shame. And he was uncovered. Literally, he uncovered himself. Hithpael of גָּלַה, to make naked, which more correctly indicates the personal guilt of the patriarch than the A.V., or the LXX., ἐγυμνώθη. That intoxication tends to sensuality cf. the cases of Lot (Genesis 19:33), Ahasuerus (Esther 1:10, 11), Belshazzar (Daniel 5:1-6). Within his tent. Ἐν τῷ οἴκῷ αὐτοῦ (LXX.).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And he drank of the wine, and was drunken,.... Either not being acquainted with the strength of it, as is thought by many; or having been used to weaker liquor, as water; or through the infirmity of his age; however, he was overtaken with it, and which is recorded, not to disgrace him, but to caution men against the evil of intemperance, as well as to encourage repenting sinners to expect pardon: and this shows that the best of men are not exempted from sin, nor secure from falling; and that though Noah was a perfect man, yet not as to be without sin; and that whereas he was a righteous man, he was not so by the righteousness of works, but by the righteousness of faith:
and he was uncovered within his tent; being in liquor when he laid down, he was either negligent of his long and loose garments, such as the eastern people wore without breeches, and did not take care to wrap them about him; or in his sleep, through the heat of the weather, or of the wine, or both, threw them off.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
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.
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