Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
And God blessed Noah and his sons, and said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth.
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].
And the fear of you and the dread of you shall be upon every beast of the earth, and upon every fowl of the air, upon all that moveth upon the earth, and upon all the fishes of the sea; into your hand are they delivered.
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.
Every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you; even as the green herb have I given you all things.
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.
But flesh with the life thereof, which is the blood thereof, shall ye not eat.
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.
And surely your blood of your lives will I require; at the hand of every beast will I require it, and at the hand of man; at the hand of every man's brother will I require the life of man.
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 (Ro 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.
Whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man.
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.
And you, be ye fruitful, and multiply; bring forth abundantly in the earth, and multiply therein.
And God spake unto Noah, and to his sons with him, saying,
Ge 9:8-29. Rainbow.
And I, behold, I establish my covenant with you, and with your seed after you;
And with every living creature that is with you, of the fowl, of the cattle, and of every beast of the earth with you; from all that go out of the ark, to every beast of the earth.
And I will establish my covenant with you; neither shall all flesh be cut off any more by the waters of a flood; neither shall there any more be a flood to destroy the earth.
And God said, This is the token of the covenant which I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for perpetual generations:
I do set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of a covenant between me and the earth.
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.
And it shall come to pass, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the bow shall be seen in the cloud:
And I will remember my covenant, which is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and the waters shall no more become a flood to destroy all flesh.
And the bow shall be in the cloud; and I will look upon it, that I may remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is upon the earth.
And God said unto Noah, This is the token of the covenant, which I have established between me and all flesh that is upon the earth.
And the sons of Noah, that went forth of the ark, were Shem, and Ham, and Japheth: and Ham is the father of Canaan.
These are the three sons of Noah: and of them was the whole earth overspread.
And Noah began to be an husbandman, and he planted a vineyard:
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.
And he drank of the wine, and was drunken; and he was uncovered within his tent.
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.
And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father, and told his two brethren without.
And Shem and Japheth took a garment, and laid it upon both their shoulders, and went backward, and covered the nakedness of their father; and their faces were backward, and they saw not their father's nakedness.
And Noah awoke from his wine, and knew what his younger son had done unto him.
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.
And he said, Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren.
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.
And he said, Blessed be the LORD God of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant.
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 [Jos 9:25].
God shall enlarge Japheth, and he shall dwell in the tents of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant.
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)!
And Noah lived after the flood three hundred and fifty years.
And all the days of Noah were nine hundred and fifty years: and he died.