Commentary Critical and Explanatory
on the Whole Bible
1. And God blessed Noah--Here is republished the law of nature
that was announced to Adam, consisting as it originally did of several
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
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.
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.
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.
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
armed with public and official authority to repress the commission of
violence and crime. Such a power had not previously existed in
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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