Genesis 9:27
Verse (Click for Chapter)
New International Version
May God extend Japheth's territory; may Japheth live in the tents of Shem, and may Canaan be the slave of Japheth."

New Living Translation
May God expand the territory of Japheth! May Japheth share the prosperity of Shem, and may Canaan be his servant."

English Standard Version
May God enlarge Japheth, and let him dwell in the tents of Shem, and let Canaan be his servant.”

New American Standard Bible
"May God enlarge Japheth, And let him dwell in the tents of Shem; And let Canaan be his servant."

King James Bible
God shall enlarge Japheth, and he shall dwell in the tents of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
God will extend Japheth; he will dwell in the tents of Shem; Canaan will be his slave.

International Standard Version
May God make room for Japheth; may God live in Shem's tents, and may Canaan serve him."

NET Bible
May God enlarge Japheth's territory and numbers! May he live in the tents of Shem and may Canaan be his slave!"

New Heart English Bible
May God enlarge Japheth. Let him dwell in the tents of Shem. Let Canaan be his servant."

GOD'S WORD® Translation
May God expand the territory of Japheth. May he live in the tents of Shem. Canaan will be his slave."

JPS Tanakh 1917
God enlarge Japheth, and he shall dwell in the tents of Shem; And let Canaan be their servant.

New American Standard 1977
“May God enlarge Japheth,
            And let him dwell in the tents of Shem;
            And let Canaan be his servant.”

Jubilee Bible 2000
God shall enlarge Japheth, and he shall dwell in the tents of Shem; and Canaan shall be his slave.

King James 2000 Bible
God shall enlarge Japheth, and he shall dwell in the tents of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant.

American King James Version
God shall enlarge Japheth, and he shall dwell in the tents of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant.

American Standard Version
God enlarge Japheth, And let him dwell in the tents of Shem; And let Canaan be his servant.

Douay-Rheims Bible
May God enlarge Japheth, and may he dwell in the tents of Sem, and Chanaan be his servant.

Darby Bible Translation
Let God enlarge Japheth, and let him dwell in the tents of Shem, And let Canaan be his bondman.

English Revised Version
God enlarge Japheth, And let him dwell in the tents of Shem; And let Canaan be his servant.

Webster's Bible Translation
God shall enlarge Japheth, and he shall dwell in the tents of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant.

World English Bible
May God enlarge Japheth. Let him dwell in the tents of Shem. Let Canaan be his servant."

Young's Literal Translation
God doth give beauty to Japheth, And he dwelleth in tents of Shem, And Canaan is servant to him.'
Study Bible
Shem's Blessing and Noah's Death
26He also said, "Blessed be the LORD, The God of Shem; And let Canaan be his servant. 27"May God enlarge Japheth, And let him dwell in the tents of Shem; And let Canaan be his servant." 28Noah lived three hundred and fifty years after the flood.…
Cross References
Genesis 9:28
Noah lived three hundred and fifty years after the flood.

Genesis 10:2
The sons of Japheth were Gomer and Magog and Madai and Javan and Tubal and Meshech and Tiras.

Genesis 27:29
May peoples serve you, And nations bow down to you; Be master of your brothers, And may your mother's sons bow down to you. Cursed be those who curse you, And blessed be those who bless you."

Isaiah 66:19
"I will set a sign among them and will send survivors from them to the nations: Tarshish, Put, Lud, Meshech, Rosh, Tubal and Javan, to the distant coastlands that have neither heard My fame nor seen My glory. And they will declare My glory among the nations.
Treasury of Scripture

God shall enlarge Japheth, and he shall dwell in the tents of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant.

enlarge. or, persuade. Japheth. Japheth denotes enlargement, and how wonderfully have his boundaries been enlarged; for not only Europe, but Asia Minor, part of Armenia, Iberia, the whole of the vast regions of Asia north of Taurus, and probably America, fell to the share of his posterity.

he shall dwell. These words may mean either that God or that Japheth shall dwell in the tents of Shem. In either sense the prophecy has been literally fulfilled.

dwell.

Isaiah 11:10 And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand …

Hosea 2:14 Therefore, behold, I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness, …

Malachi 1:11 For from the rising of the sun even to the going down of the same …

Acts 17:14 And then immediately the brothers sent away Paul to go as it were …

Romans 11:12 Now if the fall of them be the riches of the world, and the diminishing …

Romans 15:12 And again, Esaias said, There shall be a root of Jesse, and he that …

Ephesians 2:13,14,19 But now in Christ Jesus you who sometimes were far off are made near …

Ephesians 3:6,13 That the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, and of the same body, and …

Hebrews 11:9,10 By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, …

(27) God shall enlarge Japheth.--First, the Deity is here Elohim, following upon Jehovah in the preceding verse, and that with extraordinary exactness. Jehovah has never been the special name of the Deity worshipped by the race of Japheth, though doubtless it is the Greek Zeus and the Latin Jove. But it soon became the proper title of God in covenant with the race of Shem. It is plainly impossible to divide this most ancient poem into Elohistic and Jehovistic sections, and the theory, however plausible occasionally, fails in a crucial place like this. Next, there is a play upon the name of Japheth, or rather, Yepheth, our translators having made the same mistake as in changing Hebel into Abel. The Hebrew is Yapheth Elohim l'Yepheth, "God enlarge the enlarger" (not "God shall enlarge"). While, then, it is the special blessing of Shem that through him the voice of thanksgiving is to ascend to Jehovah, the God of grace; it is Elohim, the God of nature and of the universe, who gives to Japheth wide extension and the most numerous posterity. If the most ancient civilisation and the earliest empires in Egypt and on the Tigris were Hamite, the great world- powers of history, the Chaldean, the Medo-Persian, the Greek and Roman, the Hindoo, were all of Japhetic origin, as are also the modern rulers of mankind.

He shall dwell in the tents of Shem.--(Rather, let him dwell). In one sense Shem now dwells in the tents of Japheth: for the Jews, the noblest representatives of Shem, dwell dispersed in Aryan countries; and except in the Arabian peninsula, once Cushite, the Shemites have no home of their own. But the religious privileges of their race now belong to the family of Japheth. Carried by Jewish missionaries, like St. Paul, throughout the Roman world, they have become the property of the leading members of the Aryan race; and thus Japheth takes possession of the tents which by right of primogeniture belonged to Shem. For "to dwell in the tents of Shem" is not so much to share them as to own them; and if the Jews retain some degree of faith, it has lost with them all expansive power; while the right interpretation of their Scriptures, and as well the maintenance as the propagation of the religion of their Messiah, are now in the hands of the descendants of Japheth. Yet Shem does not lose all pre-eminence: for again we read--

Canaan shall be his servant (rather, their).--If Shem lose the foremost place of primogeniture, he is still a brother, and Canaan but a slave.

Verse 27. - God. Elohim. If vers. 18-27 are Jehovistic (Tuch, Bleek, Colenso, et alii), why Elohim? Is this a proof that the Jehovistic document was revised by the Elohistic author, as the presence of Jehovah in any so-called Elohistic section is regarded as an interpolation by the supplementer? To obviate this inference Davidson assigns vers. 20-27 to his redactor. But the change of name is sufficiently explained when we remember that "Jehovah, as such, never was the God of Japheth's descendants, and that the expression would have been as manifestly improper if applied to him as it is in its proper place applied to Shem" (Quarry, p. 393). Shall enlarge Japheth. יַפְתְּ לְיֶפֶת; literally, shall enlarge or make room for the one that spreads abroad; or, "may God concede an ample space to Japheth" (Gesenius). "Wide let God make it for Japheth" (Keil). "God give enlargement to Japheth" (Lange). So LXX., Vulgate, Chaldee, Syriac, Arabic. The words form a paronomasia, both the verb and the noun being connected with the root פָתָה, to spread abroad; Hiph., to cause to lie open, hence to make room for, - and refer to the widespread diffusion and remarkable prosperity of the Japhetic nations. The familiar interpretation which renders "God will persuade Japheth, the persuadable," i.e. incline his heart by the gospel so that he may dwell in the tents of Shem (Junins, Vatablus, Calvin, Willet, Ainsworth), is discredited by the facts

(1) that the verb never means to persuade, except in a bad sense (cf. 1 Kings 22:20), and

(2) that in this sense it is never followed by לְ, but always by the accusative (vide Gesenius, sub. nom.; cf. Bush, p. 109). The fulfillment of the prophecy is apparent from the circumstance that "praeter Europam (εὐρώκη - wide, extensive) "maximam Asiae pattern, totum demique novum orbem, veluti immensae maguitudinis auctarium, Japheto posterique ejus in perpetuam possessionem obtigisse" (Fuller, ' Sac. Miscel., lib. 2. c. 4, quoted by Glass); cf. Genesis 10:2-5, in which Japheth is given as the progenitor of fourteen peoples, to which are added the inhabitants of the lands washed by the sea. The expansive power of Japheth "refem not only to the territory and the multitude of the Japhethites, but also to their intellectual and active faculties. The metaphysics of the Hindoos, the philosophy of the Greeks, the military prowess of the Romans, and the modern science and civilization of the world are due to the race of Japheth" (Murphy). And he - not Elohim (Philo., Theodoret, Onkelos, Dathe, Baumgarten, et alii), which

(1) substantially repeats the blessing already given to Shem, and

(2) would introduce an allusion to the superiority of Shem's blessing in what the context requires should be an unrestricted benediction of Japheth; but Japheth (Calvin, Rosenmüller, Delitzsch, Keil, Lange, Kaliseh, Murphy, Wordsworth, 'Speaker's Commentary') - shall dwell. יִשְׁכַן, from שָׁכַן, to dwell; used of God inhabiting the heavens (Isaiah 57:15), dwelling in the bush (Deuteronomy 30:16), residing, or causing his name to dwell, in the tabernacle (Deuteronomy 12:11); hence supposed to favor the idea that Elohim is the subject; but it was as Jehovah (not Elohim) that God abode between the cherubim (Exodus 40:34). In the tents of Shem. Not the tents of celebrity (Gesenius, Vater, Michaelis, De Wette, Knobel), but the tents of the Shemitic races, with allusion not to their subjugation by the Japhethites (Clericus, Von Bohlen, Bochart), which would not be in keeping with the former blessing pronounced upon them (Murphy), but to their subsequent contiguity to, and even commingling with, but especially to their participation in the religious privileges of, the Shemites (the Fathers, Targum Jonathan, Hisronymus, Calvin, Keil, Lange, 'Speaker's Commentary,' Murphy, Candlish). The fulfillment of the prophecy is too obvious to call for illustration. And Canaan shall be his servant. God shall enlarge Japheth,.... Or give him a large part of the earth, and large dominions in it, as his posterity have had; for, as Bochart (r) observes, to them belonged all Europe, and lesser Asia, Media, Iberia, Albania, part of Armenia, and all those vast countries to the north, which formerly the Scythians, and now the Tartars inhabit; not to say anything of the new world (America), into which the Scythians might pass through the straights of Anian:

and he shall dwell in the tents of Shem; inhabit the countries belonging to the posterity of Shem: this was verified by the Medes, who were the descendants of Japheth, together with the Babylonians seizing upon the Assyrian empire and overthrowing that, for Ashur was of Shem; and in the Greeks and Romans, who sprung from Japheth, when they made conquests in Asia, in which were the tents of Shem's posterity; and who, according to the prophecy in Numbers 24:24 that ships from the coast of Chittim, Greece, or Italy, or both, should afflict Ashur and Eber, the Assyrians and the Hebrews, or those beyond the river Euphrates, who all belonged to Shem; and particularly this was fulfilled when the Romans, who are of Japheth, seized Judea, which had long been the seat of the children of Shem, the Jews; and at this day the Turks (s), who are also Japheth's sons, literally dwell in the tents of Shem, or inhabit Judea: the Targums understand this in a mystical sense. Onkelos thus:"God shall cause his Shechinah or glorious Majesty to dwell in the tents of Shem;''which was remarkably true, when Christ, the brightness of his Father's glory, the Word, was made flesh, and tabernacled in Judea: Jonathan Ben Uzziel thus;"and his children shall be proselytes, and dwell in the school of Shem;''and many Christian writers interpret them of the conversion of the Gentiles, and of their union and communion with the believing Jews in one Gospel church state, which was very evidently fulfilled in the first times of the Gospel: and they read these words in connection with the former clause thus, "God shall persuade Japheth (t), and he shall dwell in the tents of Shem"; that is, God shall persuade the Gentiles, the posterity of Japheth, by the sweet alluring voice of his Gospel, and through the power of his grace accompanying it, to embrace and profess Christ and his Gospel, and join with his churches, and walk with them in all the commandments and ordinances of Christ; and at this day all the posterity of Japheth, excepting Magog, or the Turks, bear the name of Christians: the Talmudists (u) interpret the passage of the language of Japheth being spoken in the tents of Shem; which had its accomplishment when the apostles of Christ spoke and wrote in Greek, one of the languages of Japheth's sons. Some understand this of God himself, he shall dwell in the tents of Shem, or in Israel, as Jarchi, and was verified remarkably in the incarnation of the Son of God:

and Canaan shall be his servant; the posterity of Canaan servants to the posterity of Japheth; as they were when Tyre, which was built by the Sidonians, and Sidon, which had its name from the eldest son of Canaan, fell into the hands of Alexander the Grecian, who sprung from Japheth; and when Carthage, a colony of the Phoenicians of Canaan's race, was taken and demolished by the Romans of the line of Japheth, which made Hannibal, a child of Canaan, say, "agnoscere se fortunam Carthaginis" (w), that he owned the fate of Carthage; and in which some have thought that he refers to this prophecy.

(r) Phaleg. l. 3. c. 1. col. 149. (s) This was written about 1750. Ed. (t) "alliciet", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator; "persuadebit", Cocceius; so Ainsworth. (u) T. Hieros. Megillah, fol. 71. 2. T. Bab. Megillah, fol. 9. 2. Bereshit Rabba, sect. 36. fol. 32. 1.((w) Liv. Hist. l. 27. c. 51. 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)! 9:24-29 Noah declares a curse on Canaan, the son of Ham; perhaps this grandson of his was more guilty than the rest. A servant of servants, that is, The meanest and most despicable servant, shall he be, even to his brethren. This certainly points at the victories in after-times obtained by Israel over the Canaanites, by which they were put to the sword, or brought to pay tribute. The whole continent of Africa was peopled mostly by the descendants of Ham; and for how many ages have the better parts of that country lain under the dominion of the Romans, then of the Saracens, and now of the Turks! In what wickedness, ignorance, barbarity, slavery, and misery most of the inhabitants live! And of the poor negroes, how many every year are sold and bought, like beasts in the market, and conveyed from one quarter of the world to do the work of beasts in another! But this in no way excuses the covetousness and barbarity of those who enrich themselves with the product of their sweat and blood. God has not commanded us to enslave negroes; and, without doubt, he will severely punish all such cruel wrongs. The fulfilment of this prophecy, which contains almost a history of the world, frees Noah from the suspicion of having uttered it from personal anger. It fully proves that the Holy Spirit took occasion from Ham's offence to reveal his secret purposes. Blessed be the Lord God of Shem. The church should be built up and continued in the posterity of Shem; of him came the Jews, who were, for a great while, the only professing people God had in the world. Christ, who was the Lord God, in his human nature should descend from Shem; for of him, as concerning the flesh, Christ came. Noah also blesses Japheth, and, in him, the isles of the gentiles that were peopled by his seed. It speaks of the conversion of the gentiles, and the bringing of them into the church. We may read it, God shall persuade Japheth, and being persuaded, he shall dwell in the tents of Shem. Jews and gentiles shall be united together in the gospel fold; both shall be one in Christ. Noah lived to see two worlds; but being an heir of the righteousness which is by faith, he now rests in hope, waiting to see a better than either.
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