Genesis 9* God blesses Noah, and grants flesh for food. (1-3) Blood, andmurder forbidden. (4-7) God's covenant by the rainbow. (8-17)Noah plants a vineyard, is drunken and mocked by Ham. (18-23)Noah curses Canaan, blesses Shem, prays for Japheth, His death.(24-29)1-3 The blessing of God is the cause of our doing well. On himwe depend, to him we should be thankful. Let us not forget theadvantage and pleasure we have from the labour of beasts, andwhich their flesh affords. Nor ought we to be less thankful forthe security we enjoy from the savage and hurtful beasts,through the fear of man which God has fixed deep in them. We seethe fulfilment of this promise every day, and on every side.This grant of the animals for food fully warrants the use ofthem, but not the abuse of them by gluttony, still less bycruelty. We ought not to pain them needlessly whilst they live,nor when we take away their lives. 4-7 The main reason of forbidding the eating of blood,doubtless was because the shedding of blood in sacrifices was tokeep the worshippers in mind of the great atonement; yet itseems intended also to check cruelty, lest men, being used toshed and feed upon the blood of animals, should grow unfeelingto them, and be less shocked at the idea of shedding humanblood. Man must not take away his own life. Our lives are God's,and we must only give them up when he pleases. If we in any wayhasten our own death, we are accountable to God for it. When Godrequires the life of a man from him that took it away unjustly,the murderer cannot render that, and therefore must render hisown instead. One time or other, in this world or in the next,God will discover murders, and punish those murders which arebeyond man's power to punish. But there are those who areministers of God to protect the innocent, by being a terror toevil-doers, and they must not bear the sword in vain, #Ro 13:4|.Wilful murder ought always to be punished with death. To thislaw there is a reason added. Such remains of God's image arestill upon fallen man, that he who unjustly kills a man, defacesthe image of God, and does dishonour to him. 8-17 As the old world was ruined, to be a monument of justice,so this world remains to this day a monument of mercy. But sin,that drowned the old world, will burn this. Articles ofagreement among men are sealed, that what is promised may be themore solemn, and the doing of what is covenanted the more sureto mutual satisfaction. The seal of this covenant was therainbow, which, it is likely, was seen in the clouds before, butwas never a seal of the covenant till now it was made so. Therainbow appears when we have most reason to fear the rainprevailing; God then shows this seal of the promise, that itshall not prevail. The thicker the cloud, the brighter the bowin the cloud. Thus, as threatening afflictions abound,encouraging consolations much more abound. The rainbow is thereflection of the beams of the sun shining upon or through thedrops of rain: all the glory of the seals of the covenant arederived from Christ, the Sun of righteousness. And he will sheda glory on the tears of his saints. A bow speaks terror, butthis has neither string nor arrow; and a bow alone will dolittle hurt. It is a bow, but it is directed upward, not towardthe earth; for the seals of the covenant were intended tocomfort, not to terrify. As God looks upon the bow, that he mayremember the covenant, so should we, that we may be mindful ofthe covenant with faith and thankfulness. Without revelationthis gracious assurance could not be known; and without faith itcan be of no use to us; and thus it is as to the still greaterdangers to which all are exposed, and as to the new covenantwith its blessings. 18-23 The drunkenness of Noah is recorded in the Bible, withthat fairness which is found only in the Scripture, as a caseand proof of human weakness and imperfection, even though he mayhave been surprised into the sin; and to show that the best ofmen cannot stand upright, unless they depend upon Divine grace,and are upheld thereby. Ham appears to have been a bad man, andprobably rejoiced to find his father in an unbecoming situation.It was said of Noah, that he was perfect in his generations, ch.#6:9|; but this is meant of sincerity, not of a sinlessperfection. Noah, who had kept sober in drunken company, is nowdrunk in sober company. Let him that thinks he stands, take heedlest he fall. We have need to be very careful when we use God'sgood creatures plentifully, lest we use them to excess, #Lu21:34|. The consequence of Noah's sin was shame. Observe herethe great evil of the sin of drunkenness. It discovers men; whatinfirmities they have, they betray when they are drunk; andsecrets are then easily got out of them. Drunken porters keepopen gates. It disgraces men, and exposes them to contempt. Asit shows them, so it shames them. Men say and do that whendrunken, which, when sober, they would blush to think of. Noticethe care of Shem and Japheth to cover their father's shame.There is a mantle of love to be thrown over the faults of all,#1Pe 4:8|. Beside that, there is a robe of reverence to bethrown over the faults of parents and other superiors. Theblessing of God attends on those who honour their parents, andhis curse lights especially on those who dishonour them. 24-29 Noah declares a curse on Canaan, the son of Ham; perhapsthis grandson of his was more guilty than the rest. A servant ofservants, that is, The meanest and most despicable servant,shall he be, even to his brethren. This certainly points at thevictories 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 thedescendants of Ham; and for how many ages have the better partsof that country lain under the dominion of the Romans, then ofthe Saracens, and now of the Turks! In what wickedness,ignorance, barbarity, slavery, and misery most of theinhabitants live! And of the poor negroes, how many every yearare sold and bought, like beasts in the market, and conveyedfrom one quarter of the world to do the work of beasts inanother! But this in no way excuses the covetousness andbarbarity of those who enrich themselves with the product oftheir sweat and blood. God has not commanded us to enslavenegroes; and, without doubt, he will severely punish all suchcruel wrongs. The fulfilment of this prophecy, which containsalmost a history of the world, frees Noah from the suspicion ofhaving uttered it from personal anger. It fully proves that theHoly Spirit took occasion from Ham's offence to reveal hissecret purposes. "Blessed be the Lord God of Shem." The churchshould be built up and continued in the posterity of Shem; ofhim came the Jews, who were, for a great while, the onlyprofessing people God had in the world. Christ, who was the LordGod, 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 hisseed. It speaks of the conversion of the gentiles, and thebringing of them into the church. We may read it, "God shallpersuade Japheth, and being persuaded, he shall dwell in thetents of Shem." Jews and gentiles shall be united together inthe gospel fold; both shall be one in Christ. Noah lived to seetwo worlds; but being an heir of the righteousness which is byfaith, he now rests in hope, waiting to see a better thaneither.
Copyright information for MHCC
Welcome to STEP Bible
From Tyndale House, Cambridge UK
Use the search box to find Bibles, commentaries, passages, search terms, etc. Here are some examples:
This shows how to quickly lookup a passage.
Looking up a passage in three different translations is also easy.
This asks STEP to search for the Greek word for 'brother' and show the results in the ESV.
© Tyndale House, Cambridge, UK - 2018