And God blessed Noah and his sons, and said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth.
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.
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.
Verse 2. - And the fear of you and the dread of you. Not simply of Noah and his sons, but of man in general. Shall be. Not for the first time, as it could not fail to be evoked by the sin of man during the previous generations, but, having already been developed, it was henceforth to be turned back upon the creature rather than directed against man. Upon. The verb to be is first construed with עַל, and afterwards with בְּ. The LXX. render both by ἐπὶ, though perhaps the latter should be taken as equivalent to ἔν, in which case the three clauses of the verse will express a gradation. The dread of man shall first overhang the beasts, then it shall enter into and take possession of them, and finally under its influence they shall fall into man's hand. Every beast of the earth, and upon every fowl of the air, upon (literally, in; vide supra. Murphy translates with) all that moveth upon the earth, and upon (literally, in) all the fishes of the sea. This does not imply that the animals may not sometimes rise against man and destroy him (cf. Exodus 8:6, 17, 24; Leviticus 26:22; 1 Kings 13:24, 25; 1 Kings 20:36; 2 Kings 2:24; Ezekiel 14:15; Acts 12:23, for instances in which the creatures were made ministers of Divine justice), but simply that the normal condition of the lower creatures will be one of instinctive dread of man, causing them rather to avoid than to seek his presence - a Statement sufficiently confirmed by the facts that wherever human civilization penetrates, there the dominion of the beasts retires; that even ferocious animals, such as lions, tigers, and other beasts of prey, unless provoked, usually flee from man rather than assail him. Into your hand are they delivered. Attested by
(1) man's actual dominion over such of the creatures as are either immediately needful for or helpful to him, such as the horse, the ox, the sheep, &c.; and
(2) by man's capability of taming and so reducing to subjection every kind of wild beast - lions, tigers, &c.
Every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you; even as the green herb have I given you all things.
Verse 3. - Every - obviously admitting of "exceptions to be gathered both from the nature of the case and from the distinction of clean and unclean beasts mentioned before and afterwards" (Poole) - moving thing that liveth - clearly excluding such as had died of themselves or been slain by other beasts (cf. Exodus 22:31; Leviticus 22:8) - shall be meat for you. Literally, to you it shall be for meat. Though the distinction between unclean and clean animals as to food, afterwards laid clown in the Mosaic code (Leviticus 11:1-31), is not mentioned here, it does not follow that it was either unknown to the writer or unpracticed by the men before the Flood. Even as the green herb have I given you all things. An allusion to Genesis 1:29 (Rosenmüller, Bush); but vide infra. The relation of this verse to the former has been understood as signifying -
1. That animal food was expressly prohibited before the Flood, and now for the first time permitted (Mercerus, Rosenmüller, Candlish, Clarke, Murphy, Jamieson, Wordsworth, Kalisch) - the ground being that such appears the obvious import of the sacred writer s language.
2. That, though permitted from the first, it was not used till postdiluvian times, when men were explicitly directed to partake of it by God (Theodoret, Chrysostom, Aquinas, Luther, Pererius) - the reason being that prior to the Flood the fruits of the earth were more nutritious and better adapted for the sustenance of man's physical frame, propter excellentem terrae bonitatem praestantemque vim alimenti quod fructus terrae suppeditabant homini, while after it such a change passed upon the vegetable productions of the ground as to render them less capable of supporting the growing feebleness of the body, invalidam ad bene alendum hominem (Petetins).
3. That whether permitted or not prior to the Flood, it was used, and is here for the first time formally allowed (Keil, Alford, 'Speaker's Commentary'); in support of which opinion it may be urged that the general tendency of subsequent Divine legislation, until the fullness of the times, was ever in the direction of concession to the infirmities or necessities of human nature (cf. Matthew 19:8). The opinion, however, which appears to be the best supported is -
4. That animal food was permitted before the fall, and that the grant is h ere expressly renewed (Justin Martyr, Calvin, Willet, Bush, Macdonald, Lange, Quarry). The grounds for this opinion are -
(1) That the language of Genesis 1:29 does not explicitly forbid the use of animal food.
(2) That science demonstrates the existence of carnivorous animals prior to the appearance of man, and yet vegetable products alone were assigned for their food.'
(3) That shortly after the fall animals were slain by Divine direction for sacrifice, and probably also for food - at least this latter supposition is by no means an unwarrantable inference from Genesis 4:4 (q.v.).
(4) That the words, "as the green herb," even if they implied the existence of a previous restriction, do not refer to Genesis 1:29, but to Genesis 1:30, the green herb in the latter verse being contrasted with the food of man in Genesis 1:29. Solomon Glass thus correctly indicates the connection and the sense: "ut viridem herbam (illis), sic illa omnia dedi vobis" ('Sacr. Phil,' lib. 3. tr. 2, c. 22:2).
(5) That a sufficient reason for mentioning the grant of animal food in this connection may be found in the subjoined restriction, without assuming the existence of any previous limitation.
But flesh with the life thereof, which is the blood thereof, shall ye not eat.
Verse 4. - But - אַך, an adverb of limitation or exception, as in Leviticus 11:4, introducing a restriction on the foregoing precept - flesh with the life thereof, which is the blood thereof. Literally, with its soul, its blood; the blood being regarded as the seat of the soul, or life principle (Leviticus 17:11), and even as the soul itself (Leviticus 17:14). The idea of the unity of the soul and the blood, on which the prohibition of blood is based, comes to light everywhere in Scripture. In the blood of one mortally wounded his soul flows forth (Lamentations 2:12), and he who voluntarily sacrifices himself pours out his soul unto death (Isaiah 53:12). The murderer of the innocent slays the soul of the blood of the innocent (ψυχὴν αἵματος ἀθώου, Deuteronomy 27:25), which also cleaves to his (the murderer's) skirts (Jeremiah 2:34; cf. Proverbs 28:17, blood of a soul; cf. Genesis 4:10 with Hebrews 12:24; Job 24:12 with Revelation 6:9; vide also Psalm 94:21; Matthew 23:35). Nor can it be said to be exclusively peculiar to Holy Scripture. In ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics the hawk, which feeds on bloods, represents the soul. Virgil says of a dying person, "purpuream vomit ille animam" ('AEneid,' 9:349). The Greek philosophers taught that the blood was either the soul (Critias), or the soul s food (Pythagoras), or the soul's seat (Empedocles), or the soul's producing cause (the Stoics); but only Scripture reveals the true relation between them both when it declares the blood to be not the soul absolutely, but the means of its self-attestation (vide Delitzsch s ' Bib. Psychology,' div. 4. sec. 11.). Shall ye not eat. Not referring to, although certainly forbidding, the eating of flesh taken from a living animal (Raschi, Cajetan, Delitzsch, Luther, Peele, Jamieson) - a fiendish custom which may have been practiced among the antediluvians, as, according to travelers, it is, or was, among modern Abyssinians; rather interdicting the flesh of slaughtered animals from which the blood has not been properly drained (Calvin, Keil, Kalisch, Murphy, Wordsworth). The same prohibition (commonly regarded by the Hebrew doctors as the seventh of the Noachic precepts which were enjoined upon all nations; vide infra, ver. 6) was afterwards incorporated in the Mosaic legislation (cf. Leviticus 3:17; Leviticus 7:26, 27; Leviticus 17:10-14; Leviticus 19:26; Deuteronomy 12:16, 23, 24; Deuteronomy 15:23), and subsequently imposed upon the Gentile converts in the Christian Church by the authority of the Holy Ghost and the apostles (Acts 15:28, 29). Among other reasons, doubtless, for the original promulgation of this law were these: -
1. A desire to guard against the practice of cruelty to animals (Chrysostom, Calvin, 'Speaker's Commentary').
2. A design to hedge about human life by showing the inviolability which in God s eye attached to even the lives of the lower creatures (Calvin, Willet, Peele, Kalisch, Murphy).
3. The intimate connection which even in the animal creation subsisted between the blood and the life (Kurtz, 'Sacr. Worship,' I. A.V.).
4. Its symbolic use as an atonement for sin (Peele, Delitzsch, ' Bib. Psy.' 4:11; Keil, Wordsworth, Murphy). That the restriction continues to the present day may perhaps be argued from its having been given to Noah, but cannot legitimately be inferred from having been imposed on the Gentile converts to Christianity as one τῶν ἐπάναγκες τούτων, from the burden of which they could not be excused (Clarke), as then, by parity of reasoning, meat offered to idols would be equally forbidden, which it is not, except when the consciences of the weak and ignorant are endangered (Calvin).
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.
Verse 5. - And surely. Again the conjunction אַך introduces a restriction. The blood of beasts might without fear be shed for necessary uses, but the blood of man was holy and inviolable. Following the LXX. (καὶ γὰρ), Jerome, Pererius, Mercerus, Calvin, Peele, Willet give a causal sense to the conjunction, as if it supplied the reason of' the foregoing restriction - a sense which, according to Furst ('Hebrews Lex.,' sub nom.) it sometimes, though rarely, has; as in 2 Kings 24:3; Psalm 39:12; Psalm 68:22; but in each case אַך is better rendered "surely." Your blood of your lives.
(1) For your souls, i.e. in requital for them - lex talionis, blood for blood, life for life (Kalisch, Wordsworth, Bush);
(2) for your souls, i.e. for their protection (Gesenins, Miehaelis, Schumann, Tuch);
(3) from your souls - a prohibition against suicide (Suma-tan);
(4) with reference to your souls, - לְ = quoad (Ewald, ' Hebrews Syn.,' 310 a), - as if specifying the particular blood for which exaction would be made (Keil);
(5) of your souls, belonging to them, or residing in them (LXX., Syriac, Vulgate, A.V., Calvin, Rosenmüller (qui ad animas vestras perti net), Murphy, 'Speaker's Commentary') although, according to Kalisch, לְ cannot have the force of a genitive after דּמְכֶס, a substantive with a suffix; but vide Leviticus 18:20, 23; cf. Ewald, 'Hebrews Syn.,' p. 113. Perhaps the force of לְ may be brought out by rendering, "your blood to the extent of your lives; ' i.e. not all blood-letting, but that which proceeds to the extent of taking life (cf. ver. 15: "There shall no more be waters to the extent of a flood"). Will I require. Literally, search after, with a view to punishment; hence avenge (cf. Genesis 42:22; Ezekiel 33:6; Psalm 9:13). At (literally, from) the hand of every beast will I require it. Not "an awful warning against cruelty to the brute creation!" (Clarke), but a solemn proclamation of the sanctity of human life, since it enacted that that beast should be destroyed which slew a man - a statute afterwards incorporated in the Mosaic legislation (Exodus 21:28-32), and practiced even in Christian times; "not for any punishment to the beast, which, being under no law, is capable of neither sin nor punishment, but for caution to men" (Peele). If this practice appears absurd to some moderns (Dr. H. Oort, 'The Bible for Young People,' p. 103), it was not so to Solon and Draco, in whose enactments there was a similar provision (Delitzsch, Lunge). And at (from) the hand of man; at (or from) the hand of every man's brother. Either
(1) two persons are here described -
(a) the individual man himself, and
(b) his brother, i.e. the suicide and the murderer (Maimonides, Wordsworth, Murphy), or the murderer and his brother man, i.e. kinsman, or goel (Michaelis, Bohlen, Baumgarten, Kalisch, Bush), or the ordinary civil authorities (Kalisch, Candlish, Jamieson) - or
(2) one, viz., the murderer, who is first generically distinguished from the beast, and then characterized as his victim's brother; as thus - " at" or from "the hand of man," as well as beast; "from the hand of the individual man, or every man (cf. Genesis 42:25; Numbers 17:17 [Numbers 17:2] for this distributive use of אִישׁ) his brother," supplying a new argument against homicide (Calvin, Knobel, Delitzsch, Keil, Lunge). The principal objection to discovering Goelism in the phraseology is that it requires מִיַּד to be understood in two different senses, and the circumstance, that the institution of the magistracy appears to be hinted at in the next verse, renders it unnecessary to detect it in this. Will I require the life (or soul) of man. The specific manner in which this inquisition after Blood should be carried out is indicated in the words that follow.
Whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man.
Verse 6. - Whoso sheddeth. Literally, he shedding, i.e. willfully and unwarrantably; and not simply accidentally, for which kind of manslaughter the law afterwards provided (vide Numbers 35:11); or judicially, for that is commanded by the present statute. Man's blood. Literally, blood of the man, human blood. By man. Not openly and directly by God, but by man himself, acting of course as God's instrument and agent - an instruction which involved the setting up of the magisterial office, by whom the sword might be borne ("Hic igitur fens est, ex quo manat totum jus civile etjus gentium." - Luther. Cf. Numbers 35:29-31; Romans 13:4), and equally laid a basis for the law of the goel subsequently established in Israel (Deuteronomy 19:6; Joshua 20:3). The Chaldee paraphrases, "with witnesses by sentence of the judges." The LXX. substitutes for "by man" ἀντὶ τοῦ αἵματος αὐτοῦ ( an interpretation followed by Professor Lewis, who quotes Jona ben Gannach in its support, Shall. Not merely a permission legalizing, but an imperative command enjoining, capital punishment, the reason for which follows. For in the image of God made he man. To apply this to the magistracy (Bush, Murphy, Keil), who are sometimes in Scripture styled Elohim (Psalm 82:6), and the ministers of God (Romans 13:4), and who may be said to have been made in the Divine image in the sense of being endowed with the capacity of ruling and judging, seems forced and unnatural; the clause obviously assigns the original dignity of man (cf. Genesis 1:28) as the reason why the murderer cannot be suffered to escape (Calvin, Poole, Alford, 'Speaker's Commentary,' Candlish, Lange)
And you, be ye fruitful, and multiply; bring forth abundantly in the earth, and multiply therein.
Verse 7. - And you, be ye fruitful, and multiply; bring forth abundantly in the earth, and multiply therein. Vide on ver. 1.
And God spake unto Noah, and to his sons with him, saying,
Verse 8. - And God spake - in continuation of the preceding discourse - unto Noah, and to his sons with him, saying.
And I, behold, I establish my covenant with you, and with your seed after you;
Verse 9. - And I, behold, I establish - literally, am causing to rise up or stand; ἀνίστημι (LXX.) - my covenant (cf. Genesis 6:18) with you, and with your seed after you. I.e. the covenant contemplated all subsequent posterity in its provisions, and, along with the human family, the entire animal creation.
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.
Verse 10. - And with every living creature - literally, every soul (or breathing thing) that liveth, a generic designation of which the particulars are now specified - that is with you, of the fowl, of the cattle, and of every beast of the earth - literally, in fowl, &c.; i.e. belonging to these classes of animals (cf. Genesis 1:25, 30; Genesis 6:20; Genesis 8:17) with you; from all that go out of the ark, - not necessarily implying ('Speaker s Commentary,' Murphy), though in all probability it was the case, that there were animals which had never been in the ark; but simply an idiomatic phrase expressive of the totality of the animal creation (Alford) - to every beast of the earth. I.e. wild beast (Genesis 1:25), the chayyah of the land, which was not included among the animals that entered the ark (Murphy); or living creature (Genesis 2:19), referring here to the fishes of the sea, which were not included in the ark (Kalisch). That the entire brute creation was designed to be embraced in the Noachic covenant seems apparent from the use of the prepositions - בְּ describing the classes to which the animals belong, as in Genesis 7:21; מִן indicating one portion of the whole, the to minus aquo, and לְ the terminus ad quem - in their enumeration (vide Furst, 'Hebrew Lex.,' sub לְ., p. 715; cf. Kell in loco). Kalisch thinks the language applies only to the animals of Noah's time, and not to those of a later age, on the ground that "the destiny of the animals is everywhere connected with that of the human race;" but this is equivalent to their being included in the covenant.
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.
Verse 11. - And I will establish my covenant with you. Not form it for the first time, as if no such covenant had existed in antediluvian times (Knobel); but cause it to stand or permanently establish it, so that it shall no more be-in danger of being overthrown, as it recently has been. The word "my" points to a covenant already in existence, though not formally mentioned until the time of Noah (Genesis 6:18). The promise of the woman's seed, which formed the substance of the covenant during the interval from Adam to Noah, was from Noah's time downwards to be enlarged by a specific pledge of the stability of the earth and the safety of man (cf. Genesis 8:22). Neither shall all flesh - including the human race and animal creation. Cf. כָּל־בָּשָׂר mankind (Genesis vi 12), the lower creatures (Genesis 7:21) - be cut off any more by the waters of a flood. Literally, the flood just passed, which would no more return. Neither shall there any more be a flood (of any kind) to destroy the earth. Regions might be devastated and tribes of animals and men swept away, but never again would there be a universal destruction of the earth or of man.
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:
Verse 12. - And God said, This is the token - אות (vide Genesis 1:14; 4:15) - of the covenant which I make - literally, am giving (cf. Genesis 17:2) - between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for perpetual generations. Le'doroth (vide Genesis 6:9); olam (from alam, to hide, to conceal), pr. that which is hidden; hence, specially, time of which either the beginning or the end is uncertain or undefined, the duration being usually determined by the nature of the case (vide Gesenius, 'Hebrews Lex.,' sub voce). Here the meaning is, that so long as there were circuits or generations of men upon the earth, so long would this covenant endure.
I do set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of a covenant between me and the earth.
Verse 13. - I do set. Literally, I have given, or placed, an indication that the atmospheric phenomenon referred to had already frequently appeared (Syriac, Arabic, Aben Ezra, Chrysostom, Calvin, Willet, Murphy, Wordsworth, Kalisch, Lange). The contrary opinion has been maintained that it now for the first time appeared (Bush, Keil, Delitzsch), or at least that the historian thought so (Knobel); but unless there had been no rain, or the laws of light and the atmospheric conditions of the earth had been different from what they are at present, it must have been a frequent spectacle in the primeval heavens. My bow. i.e. the rainbow, τόξον (LXX.), (cf. Ezekiel 1:28). The ordinary rainbow consists of a series of successive zones or bands of polarized light, forming little concentric circles in the sky, and having a common center almost always below the horizon, and diametrically opposite to the sun. It is produced by the refraction and reflection of the sun's light through the spherical raindrops on which the rays fall, and, accordingly, must always appear, with a greater or a lesser degree of visibility, when the two material agencies come in contact The part of the sky on which the rainbow is thrown is much more bright within than without the bow. The outer space is dark, almost black; and the inner space, on the contrary, melts into the violet almost insensibly (Nichol's 'Cyclopedia of the Sciences,' art. Rainbow). It is here styled God's bow, as being his workmanship (cf. Ecclus. 43:12), and his seal appended to his covenant (Genesis 9:17). In the cloud, עָנָן that which veils the heavens, from a root signifying to cover (Gesenius). And it shall be for a token, לְאות = εἰς σημεῖον, (LXX.). In Greek mythology the rainbow is designated by a name (Iris) which is at least connected with εἴρω, to speak, and εἰρήνη, peace; is represented as the daughter of Thaumas (wonder), and Electra (brightness) the daughter of Oceanus; is assigned the office of messenger to the king and queen of Olympus; and is depicted as set in heaven for a sign (Homer, 'I1,' 11:27; 17:547, 548; 24:144, 159; Virgil, AEn.,' 4:694; 5:606; Ovid, 'Met.,' 1:270; 11:585). The Persians seem to have associated the rainbow with similar ideas. An old picture, mentioned by Stolberg, represents a winged boy on a rainbow with an old man kneeling in a posture, of worship. The Hindoos describe the rainbow as a warlike weapon in the hands of Indras their god, "with which he hurls flashing darts upon the impious giants;" but also as a symbol of peace exhibited to man "when the combat of the heavens is silenced." By the Chinese it is regarded as the harbinger of troubles and misfortunes on earth, and by the old Scandinavians as a bridge uniting earth and heaven ('Kalisch on Genesis,' pp. 223, 224). Traditional reflections of the Biblical narrative, they do not "account for the application in the Pentateuch of the rainbow to a very remarkable purpose," or "explain why the New Testament represents the rainbow as an attribute of the Divine throne," or "why angels are sent as messengers on earth" (Kalisch); but are themselves accounted for and explained by it. The institution of the rainbow as a sign clearly negatives the idea (Aquinas, Cajetan) that it was originally and naturally a sign; which, if it was, "it was a lying sign," since the Flood came notwithstanding its prognostications (Willet). Of a covenant. "The bow in the hands of man was an instrument of battle (Genesis 48:22; Psalm 7:12; Proverbs 6:2; Zechariah 9:10); but the bow bent by the hand of God has become a symbol of peace" (Wordsworth). Between me and the earth.
And it shall come to pass, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the bow shall be seen in the cloud:
Verse 14. - And it shall come to pass, when I bring a cloud over the earth. Literally, in my clouding a cloud, i.e. gathering clouds, which naturally signify store of rain (1 Kings 18:44, 45). Clouds are often used to denote afflictions and dangers (cf. Ezekiel 30:3, 18; Ezekiel 32:7; Ezekiel 34:12; Joel 2:2). That the bow shall be seen in the cloud. Literally, and the bow is seen, which it always is when the sun's rays fall upon it, if the spectator's back is towards the light, and his face towards the cloud. Thus at the moment when danger seems to threaten most, the many-colored arch arrests the gaze.
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.
Verse 15. - And I will remember (cf. Genesis 8:1). An anthropomorphism introduced to remind man that God is ever faithful to his covenant engagements (Calvin). "God is said to remember, because he maketh us to know and to remember" (Chrysostom). My covenant (vide on ver. 11), which is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and the waters shall no more become a flood - hayah with le - to become (cf. Genesis 2:7); literally, shall no more be (i.e. grow) to a flood; or, "and there shell no more be the waters to the extent of 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.
Verse 16. - And the bow shall be in the cloud; and I will look upon it, that I may remember the everlasting covenant. Literally, the covenant of eternity. One of those pregnant Scripture sayings that have in them an almost inexhaustible fullness of meaning, which does not at first sight dis. close itself to the eye of the unreflecting reader. In so far as the Noachic covenant was simply a promise that there should be no recurrence of a flood, the covenant of eternity had a corresponding limit in its duration to the period of this present terrestrial economy. But, rightly viewed, the Noachic covenant was the original Adamic covenant set up again in a different form; and hence, when applied to it, the phrase covenant of eternity is entitled to retain its highest and fullest significance, as a covenant reaching from eternity to eternity. 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.
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.
And the sons of Noah, that went forth of the ark, were Shem, and Ham, and Japheth: and Ham is the father of Canaan.
Verse 18. - And the sons of Noah, that went forth of the ark, were Shem, and Ham, and Japheth, who are here again mentioned as the heads of the nations into which the family of man developed, the writer having described the important modifications made upon the law of nature and the covenant of grace, and being now about to proceed with the onward course of human history. The present section, extending to ver. 27, is usually assigned to the Jehovistic author (Tuch,Bleek, Kalisch, Colenso, Kuenen), though by Davidson it is ascribed to a so-called redactor, with the exception of the present clause, which is recognized as the Jehovist's contribution to the story. The ground of this apportionment is the introduction of the name Jehovah in ver. 26 (q.v.), and certain traces throughout the paragraph of the style of writing supposed to be peculiar to the supplementer. And Ham is the father of Canaan. Kena'an, the depressed or low one; either the Lowlander or inhabitant of a tow coast country, as opposed to the loftier regions (Aram); from kana , to be low, depressed, in situation, as of land (Gesenius); or more probably the servile one in spirit (Furst, Murphy, Keil, Lange). The reason for the insertion of this notice here, and of the similar one in ver. 22, was obviously to draw attention to the circumstance, not "that the origin of Israel's ascendancy and of Canaan's degradation dates so far back as the family of the second founder of the human race," as if the writer's standpoint were long subsequent to the conquest (Kalisch), but that, "as Israel was now going to possess the land of Canaan, they might know that now was the time when the curse of Canaan and his posterity should take place" (Wilier).
These are the three sons of Noah: and of them was the whole earth overspread.
Verse 19. - These are the three sons of Noah; and of them was the whole earth - i.e. the earth's population (cf. Genesis 11:1; Genesis 19:31) - overspread. More correctly, dispersed themselves abroad. Διεοπάρησαν ἐπὶ πᾶσαν τὴν γῆν (LXX.): disseminatum est omne genus hominum (Vulgate).
And Noah began to be an husbandman, and he planted a vineyard:
Verse 20. - And Noah began to be an husbandman. Literally, a man of the ground. Vir terror (Vulgate); ἄνθρωπος γεωργὸς γῆς (LXX.); Chald., נְּבַר פָלַח בְּאַרְעָא = vir co-lens terram; agriculturae dediturus. Cf. Joshua 5:4, "a man of war;" 2 Samuel 16:7, "a man of blood;" Genesis 46:32, "a man of cattle;" Exodus 4:10, "a man of words." And he planted a vineyard. So Murphy, Wordsworth, Kalisch. Keil, Delitzsch, and Lange regard ish ha Adamah, with the art., as in apposition to Noah, and read, "And Noah, the husbandman, began and planted a vineyard," i.e. caepit plantare (cf. Gesenius, 'Gram.,' 142, 3; Glass, Sacrae Philologiae, lib. 3. tr. 3. can. 34). Neither interpretation presupposes that husbandry and vine cultivation were now practiced for the first time. That Armenia is a wine-growing country is testified by Xenophon ('Anab.,' 4:4, 9). That the vine was abundantly cultivated in Egypt is evident from representations on the monuments, as well as from Scriptural allusions. The Egyptians say that Osiris, the Greeks that Dionysus, the Romans that Saturn, first taught men the cultivation of the tree and the use of its fruit.
And he drank of the wine, and was drunken; and he was uncovered within his tent.
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.).
And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father, and told his two brethren without.
Verse 22. - And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness. Pudenda, from a root (עָרָה) signifying to make naked, from a kindred root to which (עָרם) comes the term expressive of the nakedness of Adam and Eve after eating the forbidden fruit (Genesis 3:7). The sin of Ham - not a trifling and unintentional transgression" (Von Bohlen) - obviously lay not in seeing what perhaps he may have come upon unexpectedly, but
(1) in wickedly rejoicing in what he saw, which, considering who he was that was overcome with wine, - "the minister of salvation to men, and the chief restorer of the world," - the relation in which he stood to Ham, - that of father, - the advanced age to which he had now come, and the comparatively mature years of Ham himself, who was "already more than a hundred years old," should have filled him with sincere sorrow; "sed nunquam vino victum pattern filius risisset, nisi prius ejecisset animo illam reverentiam et opinionem, quae in liberis de parentibus ex mandato Dei existere debet" (Luther); and
(2) in reporting it, doubtless with a malicious purpose, to his brethren. And told his two brethren without. Possibly inviting them to come and look upon their father's shame.
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.
Verse 23. - And Shem and Japheth took a garment. Literally, the robe, i.e. which was at hand (Keil, Lange); the simlah, which was an outer cloak (Deuteronomy 10:18; 1 Samuel 21:10; Isaiah 3:6, 7), in which, at night, persons wrapped themselves (Deuteronomy 22:17). Sometimes the letters are transposed, and the word becomes salmah (cf. Exodus 22:8; Micah 2:8). And laid it upon both their shoulders, and went backwards, and covered the nakedness of their father; and their faces were backward, and they saw not the nakedness of their father; thereby evincing "the regard they paid to their father's honor and their own modesty (Calvin).
And Noah awoke from his wine, and knew what his younger son had done unto him.
Verse 24. - And Noah awoke from his wine. I.e. the effects of his wine (cf. 1 Samuel 1:14; 1 Samuel 25:37); ἐξένηψε (LXX.); "became fully conscious of his condition" (T. Lewis). And knew. By inspiration (Alford); more probably by making inquiries as to the reason of the simlah covering him. What his younger son. Literally, his son, the little one, i.e. the youngest son (Willet, Murphy, Wordsworth, T. Lewis, Alford, Candlish), or the younger son (Keil, Bush, Karisch); cf. Genesis 5:32. Generally believed to have been Ham, though by many Canaan is understood (Aben Ezra, Theodoret, Procopius, Scaliger, Poole, Jamieson, Inglis, Lewis). Origen mentions a tradition that Canaan first saw the shame of Noah, and told it to his father. Wordsworth, following Chrysostom, believes Canaan may have been an accomplice. 'The Speaker's Commentary' thinks it would solve the difficulty which attaches to the cursing of Canaan.
And he said, Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren.
Verse 25. - And he said. Not in personal resentment, since "the fall of Noah is not at all connected with his prophecy, except as serving to bring out the real character of his children, and to reconcile him to the different destinies which he was to announce as awaiting their respective races" (Candlish); but under the impulse of a prophetic spirit (Poole, Keil, Lange, Candlish, Murphy, and expositors generally), which, however, had its historical occasion in the foregoing incident. The structure of the prophecy is perfectly symmetrical, introducing, in three poetical verses,
(1) the curse of Canaan,
(2) the blessing of Shem, and
(3) the enlargement of Japheth, and in all three giving prominence to the doom of servitude pronounced upon the son of Ham. Cursed. The second curse pronounced upon a human being, the first having been on Cain (Genesis 4:11). Colenso notices that all the curses belong to the Jehovistic writer; but vide Genesis 49:6, 7, which Tuch and Bleek ascribed to the Elohist, though, doubtless in consequence of the "curse," by Davidson and others it is now assigned to the Jehovist. That this curse was not an imprecation, but a prediction of the future subjection of the Canaanites, has been maintained (Theodoret, Venema, Willet), chiefly in consequence of its falling upon Canaan; but
(1) as the contrary "blessing" implies the inheritance of good in virtue of a Divine disposition to that effect, so does "cursing" import subjection to evil by the same Divine power; and
(2) if we eliminate the moral element from the doom of Canaan, which clearly referred to a condition of temporal servitude, there seems no reason why the language of Noah should not be regarded as a solemnly pronounced and Divinely guaranteed infliction; while
(3) as the curse is obviously aimed at the nations and peoples descending from the execrated person, it is not inconsistent to suppose that many individuals amongst those nations and peoples might attain to a high degree of temporal and spiritual prosperity. Be Canaan.
(1) Not Ham, the father of Canaan (Arabic Version); nor
(2) all the sons of Ham, though concentrated in Canaan (Havernick, Keil, Murphy); but
(3) Canaan alone, though indirectly, through him, Ham also (Calvin, Bush, Kalisch, Lange, et alii). For the formal omission of Ham many different reasons have been assigned.
(1) Because God had preserved him in the ark (Jewish commentators).
(2) Because if Ham had been mentioned all his other sons would have been implicated (Pererius, Lange).
(3) Because the sin of Ham was comparatively trifling (Bohlen). For the cursing of Canaan instead of Ham, it has been urged -
(1) That he was Ham's youngest son, as Ham was Noah's (Hoffman and Delitzsch); surely a very insufficient reason for God cursing any one!
(2) That he was the real perpetrator of the crime (Aben Ezra, Procopius, Poole, Jamieson, Lewis, &c.).
(3) That thereby the greatness of Ham's sin was evinced (Calvin).
(4) That Canaan was already walking in the steps of his father's impiety (Ambrose, Mercerus, Keil).
(5) That Noah foresaw that the Canaanites would abundantly deserve this visitation (Calvin, Wordsworth, Murphy, Kalisch, Lange). We incline to think the truth lies in the last three reasons. A servant of servants. A Hebraism for the superlative degree; cf. "King of kings, "holy of holies, "the song of songs" (vide Gesenius, § 119). I.e. "the last even among servants" (Calvin); "a servant reduced to the lowest degree of bondage and degradation" (Bush); "vilissima servituts pressus" (Sol. Glass); "a most base and vile servant" (Ainsworth); "a working servant" (Chaldee); "the lowest of slaves" (Keil); παῖς οἰκἑτης (LXX.), which "conveys the notion of permanent hereditary servitude" (Kalisch). Keil, Hengstenberg, and Wordsworth see an allusion to this condition in the name Canaan (q.v., supra), which, however, Lange doubts. Shall he be to his brethren. A prophecy which was afterwards abundantly fulfilled, the Canaanites in the time of Joshua having been partly exterminated and partly reduced to the lowest form of slavery by the Israelites who belonged to the family of Shem (Joshua 9:23), those that remained being subsequently reduced by Solomon (1 Kings 9:20, 21); while the Phenicians, along with the Carthaginians and Egyptians, who all belonged to the family of Canaan, were subjected by the Japhetic Persians, Macedonians, and Romans (Keil).
And he said, Blessed be the LORD God of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant.
Verse 26. - And he said - not "Blessed of Jehovah, my God, be Shem" (Jamieson), as might have been anticipated (this, equally with the omission of Ham's name, lifts the entire patriarchal utterance out of the region of mere personal feeling), but - Blessed - בָּרוּך when applied to God signifies an ascription of praise (cf. Psalm 144:15; Ephesians 1:3); when applied to man, an invocation of good (cf. Genesis 14:19, 20; Psalm 128:1; Hebrews 7:6) - be the Lord God - literally, Jehovah, Elohim of Shem (cf. Genesis 24:27); Jehovah being the proper personal name of God, of whom it is predicated that he is the Elohim of Shem; equivalent to a statement not simply that Shem should enjoy "a rare and transcendent," "Divine or heavenly," blessing (Calvin), or "a most abundant blessing, reaching its highest point in the promised Seed" (Luther); but that Jehovah, the one living and true God, should be his God, and that the knowledge and practice of the true religion should continue among his descendants, with, perhaps, a hint that the promised Seed should spring from his loins (OEeolampadius, Willet, Murphy, Keil, &c.) - of Shem. In the name Shem (name, renown) there may lie an allusion to the spiritual exaltation and advancement of the Semitic nations (vide Genesis 5:32). And Canaan shall be his servant. לָמו = לָהֶס (Chaldee, Syriac, Arabic), i.e. the two brothers (Delitzsch), their descendants (Knobel, Keil), Shem and Jehovah (Bush); or more probably - לו, as a collective singular (cf. Gesenius, § 103, 2), i.e. Shem, including his descendants (LXX., αὐτοῦ; Kalisch, Lange, Murphy).
God shall enlarge Japheth, and he shall dwell in the tents of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant.
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.
And Noah lived after the flood three hundred and fifty years.
Verses 28, 29. - And Noah lived after the flood three hundred and fifty years. I.e. to the fifty-eighth year of the life of Abram, and was thus in all probability a witness of the building of the tower of Babel, and of the consequent dispersion of mankind. And all the days of Noah were nine hundred and fifty years: and he died. Tuch, Bleek, and Colenso connect these verses with ver. 17, as the proper continuation of the Elohist's work.
And all the days of Noah were nine hundred and fifty years: and he died.