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8 And God spake unto Noah, and to his sons with him, saying,
9 And I, behold, I establish my covenant with you, and with your seed after you;
10 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:
11 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.
12 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:
13 I do set "my bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of a covenant between me and the earth. 14 And it shall come to pass, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the bow shall be seen in the cloud:
15 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.
16 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.
17 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.
f ver. 11, 17. c. 6. 19. & c. 8. 1. Ps. 145.9. 12 Pet. 3. 7. mc. 17. 11. n Ez. 1. . Rev. 4. 3. 10.1. e Lev. 25. 42, 45. Deut. 7. 9. 1 Kings 8. 23. Neh. 9. 32. both discover concealed murders, which are hidden from man's that God may bring other wasting judgments upon mankind eye, and punish avowed and justified murders, which are too for though he has here bound himself not to use this arrow any great for man's hand. (2.) The magistrate must punish mur-more, yet he has other arrows in his quiver. 2. Not but that derers, v. 6, Whoso sheddeth man's blood, whether upon a sud- he may destroy particular places and countries by the inundaden provocation, or having premeditated it, (for rash anger is tions of the sea or rivers. 3. Nor will the destruction of the heart-murder as well as malice prepense, Matt. 5. 21, 22,) by world at the last day by fire, be any breach of his promise. min shall his blood be shed, that is, by the magistrate, or who- Sin that drowned the old world, will burn this. ever is appointed or allowed to be the avenger of blood. There are those who are ministers of God for this purpose, to be a protection to the innocent, by being a terror to the malicious and evildoers, and they must not bear the sword in vain, Rom. 13. 4. Before the flood, as it should seem by the story of Cain, God took the punishment of murder into his own hands; but now he committed this judgment to men, to masters of families at first, and afterwards to the heads of countries, who ought to be faithful to the trust reposed in them. Note, Wilful murder ought always to be punished with death. It is a sin which the Lord would not pardon in a Prince, 2 Kings, 24. 3, 4, and which therefore a Prince should not pardon in a Subject. To this law there is a reason annexed; for in the image of God made he man at first: man is a creature dear to his Creator, and therefore ought to be so to us; God put honour upon him, let us not then put contempt upon him. Such remains of God's image are still even upon fallen man, as that he who unjustly kills a man, defaces the image of God, and does dishonour to him. When God allowed men to kill their beasts, yet he forbade them to kill their slaves; for these are of a much more noble and excellent nature, not only God's creatures, but his image, Jam. 3. 9. All men have something of the image of God upon them; but magistrates have, besides, the image of his power, and the saints the image of his holiness, and therefore those who shed the blood of princes or saints, incur a double guilt. V. 8-11. Here is,
V. 12-17. Articles of agreement among men are sealed, that the covenants may be the more solemn, and the performances of the covenants the more sure, to mutual satisfaction; God therefore, being willing more abundantly to show to the heirs of promise the immutability of his councils, has confirmed his covenant by a seal, (Heb. 6. 17,) which makes the foundations we build on stand sure, 2 Tim. 2. 19. The seal of this covenant of nature was natural enough; it was the rainbow, which, it is likely, was seen in the clouds before, when second causes concurred, but was never a seal of the covenant, till now that it was made so by a divine institution. Now concerning this seal of the covenant, Observe,
1. The general establishment of God's covenant with this new world, and the extent of that covenant, v. 9, 10. Where observe, 1. That God is graciously pleased to deal with man in the way of a covenant; wherein God greatly magnifies his condescending favour, and greatly encourages man's duty and obedience, as a reasonable and gainful service. 2. That all God's covenants with man are of his own making, I, behold, I. It is thus expressed, both to raise our admiration, (“Behold, and wonder, that though God be high, yet he has this respect to man,") and to confirm our assurances of the validity of the covenant. "Behold, and see, I make it; I that am faithful, and able to make it good." 3. That God's covenants are established firmer than the pillars of heaven, or the foundations of the earth, and cannot be disannulled. 4. That God's covenants are made with the covenanters and with their seed; the promise is to them and their children. 5. That those may be taken into covenant with God, and receive the benefits of it, who yet are not capable of restipulating, or giving their own consent. For this covenant is made with every living creature, every beast of the earth.
1. This seal is affixed with repeated assurances of the truth of that promise which it was designed to be the ratification of. I do set my bow in the cloud, (v. 13,) it shall be seen in the cloud, (v. 14,) that the eye may affect the heart, and confirm the faith; and it shall be the token of the covenant, (v. 12, 13;) and I will remember my covenant, that the waters shall no more become a flood, v. 15. Nay, as if the Eternal Mind needed a memorandum, I will look upon it, that I may remember the everlasting covenant, v. 16. Thus here is line upon line, that we might have sure and strong consolation, who have laid hold on this hope. 2. The rainbow appears then when the clouds are most disposed to wet, and returns after the rain; then when we have most reason to fear the rain prevailing, God shows this seal of the promise that it shall not prevail. Thus God obviates our fears with such encouragements as are both suitable and seasonable. 3. The thicker the cloud, the brighter the bow in the cloud. Thus as threatening afflictions abound, encouraging consolations much more abound, 2 Cor. 1. 5. 4. The rainbow appears when one part of the sky is clear, which intimates mercy remembered in the midst of wrath; and the clouds are hemmed as it were with the rainbow, that it may not overspread the heavens; for the bow is coloured rain, or the edges of a cloud gilded. 5. The rainbow is the reflection of the beams of the sun, which intimates that all the glory and significancy of the seals of the covenant are derived from Christ the Sun of righteousness, who is also described with a rainbow about his throne, (Rev. 4. 3,) and a rainbow upon his head, (Rev. 10. 1 ;) which bespeaks not only his majesty, but his mediatorship. 6. The rainbow has fiery colours in it, to signify, that though God will not again drown the world, yet when the mystery of God shall be finished, the world shall be consumed by fire. 7. A bow bespeaks terror, but it has neither string nor arrow, as the bow ordained against the persecutors has, (Ps. 7. 12, 13 ;) and a bow alone will do little execution; it is a bow, but it is directed upward, not toward the earth; for the seals of the covenant were intended for comfort, not to terrify. Lastly, As God looks upon the bow, that he may remember the covenant, so should we, that we also may be ever mindful of the covenant, with faith and thankfulness.
II. The particular intention of this covenant; it was designed to secure the world from another deluge, v. 11, There shall not any more be a flood. God had drowned the world once, and, still it is as filthy and provoking as ever, and God foresaw the wickedness of it, and yet promised he would never drown it any more; for he deals not with us according to our sins. It is owing to God's goodness and faithfulness, not to any reformation of the world, that it has not often been deluged, and that it is not deluged now. As the old world was ruined, to be a monument of justice, so this world remains to this day a monument of mercy, according to the oath of God, that the waters of Noah should no more return to cover the earth, Is. 54. 9. This promise of God keeps the sea and clouds in their decreed place, and sets them gutes and bars; hitherto they shall come, Job 38. 10, 11. If the sea should flow but for a few days, as it does twice every day for a few hours, what desolation would it make! And how destructive would the clouds be, if such showers as we have sometimes seen, were continued long! But God, by flowing seas, and sweeping rains, shows what he could do in wrath; and yet, by preserving the earth from being deluged between both, shows what he can do in mercy, and will do in truth. Let us give him the glory of his mercy in promising, and truth in performing. This promise does not hinder, 1. But
Ps. 106 45. Ez. 16. 60. Luke 1. 72. p c. 17. 13, 19. 2 Sam. 23.5. 18. 55. 3. Jer. 32.40. Heb. 13. 20.
V. 18-23. Here is,
I. Noah's family and employment. The names of his sons are again mentioned, (v. 18, 19,) as those from whom the whole earth was overspread. By which it appears that Noah, after the flood, had no more children: all the world came from these three. Note, God, when he pleases, can make a little one to become a thousand, and greatly increase the latter end of those whose beginning was small. Such are the power and efficacy of a divine blessing. The business Noah applied himself to, was that of a husbandman, Hebr. a man of the earth, that is, a man dealing in the earth, that kept ground in his hand, and occupied it. We are all naturally men of the earth, made of it, living on it, and hastening to it: many are sinfully so, addicted to earthly things. Noah was led by his calling to trade in the fruits of the earth. He began to be a husbandman; that is, some time after his departure out of the ark, he returned to his old employment, from which he had been diverted by the building of the ark first, and, probably, after
18 And the sons of Noah, that went forth of the | laid it upon both their shoulders, and went backark, were Shem, and Ham, and Japheth: and ward, and covered the nakedness of their father; Ham is the father of Canaan. and their faces were backward, and they saw not their father's nakedness.
19 These are the three sons of Noah :r and of them was the whole earth overspread.
20 And Noah began to be an husbandman, and he planted a vineyard:
21 And he drank of the wine, 'and was drunken; and he was uncovered within his tent.
22 And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw "the nakedness of his father, and told his two brethren without.
23 And Shem and Japheth took a garment, and
q c. 10. 1, 6. Chenaan. r c. 10. 32. 1 Chr. 1. 4. Deut. 20. 6. 28.30. Prov. 21. 30. Cant. 1. 6. 1 Cor. 9. 7. t Prov. 20. 1. Luke 21. 34. 1 Cor. 10. 12. Tit. 2.2. Hab. 2. 15. Rev. 3. 18.
ward, by the building of a house on dry land for himself and family. For this good while he had been a carpenter, but now he began again to be a husbandman. Observe, Though Noah was a great man, and a good man, an old man, and a rich man, a man greatly favoured by Heaven, and honoured on earth, yet he would not live an idle life, nor think the husbandman's calling below him. Note, Though God by his providence may take us off from our callings for a time, yet when the occasion is over, we ought with humility and industry to apply ourselves to them again; and in the calling wherein we are called, therein faithfully to abide with God, 1 Cor. 7. 24.
II. Noah's sin and shame. He planted a vineyard; and when he had gathered his vintage, probably, he appointed a day of mirth and feasting in his family, and had his sons and their children with him, to rejoice with him in the increase of his house, as well as in the increase of his vineyard; and we may suppose he prefaced his feast with a sacrifice to the honour of God. If that was omitted, it was just with God to leave him to himself, that he who did not begin with God, might end with the beasts; but we charitably hope the case was different. And perhaps he appointed this feast, with a design, at the close of it, to bless his sons, as Isaac, ch. 27. 3, 4, That I may eat, and that my soul may bless thee. At this feast, he drank of the wine; for who planteth a vineyard, and eateth not of the fruit of it? But he drank too liberally, more than his head at this age would bear; for he was drunken. We have reason to think he was never drunken before or after; observe how he came now to be overtaken in this fault. It was his sin, and a great sin, so much the worse for its being so soon after a great deliverance; but God left him to himself, as he did Hezekiah, (2 Chr. 32. 31,) and has left this miscarriage of his upon record, to teach us, 1. That the fairest copy that ever mere man wrote since the fall, had its blots and false strokes. It was said of Noah, that he was perfect in his generations, (ch. 6. 9;) but this shows that it is meant of sincerity, not a sinless perfection. 2. That sometimes those, who, with watchfulness and resolution, have by the grace of God, kept their integrity in the midst of temptation, have, through security and carelessness, and neglect of the grace of God, been surprised into sin, when the hour of temptation has been over. Noah, who had kept sober in drunken company, is now drunken in sober company. Let him that thinks he stands take heed. 3. That we have need to be very careful when we use God's good creatures plentifully, lest we use them to excess. Christ's disciples must take heed, lest at any time their hearts be overcharged, Luke 21. 34.
Now the consequence of Noah's sin was shame. He was uncovered within his tent, made naked to his shame, as Adam when he had eaten forbidden fruit. Yet Adam sought concealment; Noah is so destitute of thought and reason, that he seeks no covering. This was a fruit of the vine, that Noah did not think of. Observe here the great evil of the sin of drunkenness. (1.) It discovers men; what infirmities they have, they betray when they are drunken, and what secrets they are intrusted with, are then easily got out of them. Drunken porters keep open gates. (2.) It disgraces men, and exposes them to contempt. As it shows them, so it shames them. Men say and do that when drunken, which, when they are sober, they would blush at the thoughts of, Hab. 2. 15, 16.
III. Ham's impudence and impiety: (v. 22,) he saw the nakedness of his father, and told his two brethren. To see it accidentally and involuntarily, would not have been a crime; but, 1. He pleased himself with the sight, as the Edomites looked upon the day of their brother, (Ob. 12,) pleased and insulting. Perhaps Ham had sometimes been himself drunken, and reproved for it by his good father, whom he was therefore pleased to see thus overcome. Note, It is common for those who walk in false ways themselves, to rejoice at the false steps which they sometimes see others make. But charity rejoices not in iniquity, nor can true penitents, that are sorry for their own sins, rejoice in the sins of others. 2. He told his two brethren without, (in the street, as the word is,) in a scornful deriding manner, that his father might seem vile unto them. It is very wrong, (1.) To make a jest of sin, (Prov. 14. 9,) and to be puffed up with that for which we should rather mourn, 1 Cor. 5. 2. And, (2.) To publish the faults of any, especially of parents, whom it is our duty to honour. Noah was not only a good man, but had been a good father to him; and this was a most base disingenuous requital to him for his tenderness. Ham is here called the father of Canaan, which intimates that
24 And Noah awoke from his wine, and knew what his younger son had done unto him:
25 And he said, Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren.
26 And he said, Blessed be the LORD God of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant.
27 God shall enlarge! Japheth, and he shall dwell in the tents of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant.
IV. The pious care of Shem and Japheth to cover their poor father's shame, v. 23. They not only would not see it themselves, but provided that no one else might see it; herein setting us an example of charity with reference to other men's sin and shame; we must not only not say, A confederacy, with those that proclaim it, but we must be careful to conceal it, or however to make the best of it, so doing as we would be done by. 1. There is a mantle of love to be thrown over the faults of all, 1 Pet. 4. 8. 2. Beside that, there is a robe of reverence to be thrown over the faults of parents and other superiors. V. 24-27. Here,
I. Noah comes to himself. He awoke from his wine: sleep cured him, and, we may suppose, so cured him, that he never relapsed into that sin afterward. Those that sleep as Noah did, should awake as he did, and not as that drunkard, Prov. 23. 35, who says when he awakes, I will seek it yet again. II. The spirit of prophecy comes upon him, and, like dying Jacob, he tells his sons what should befall them, ch. 49. 1. v. 25. 1. He pronounces a curse on Canaan the son of Ham, in whom Ham is himself cursed; either, because this son of his was now more guilty than the rest, or, because the posterity of this son was afterward to be rooted out of their land, to make room for Israel. And Moses here records it for the animating of Israel in the wars of Canaan; though the Canaanites were a formidable people, yet they were of old an accursed people, and doomed to ruin. The particular curse is, a servant of servants, that is, the meanest and most despicable servant shall he be, even to his brethren. Those who by birth were his equals, shall by conquest be his lords. This certainly points at the victories obtained by Israel over the Canaanites, by which they were all either put to the sword, or put under tribute, (Josh. 9. 23. Judg. 1. 28, 30, 33, 35,) which happened not till about 800 years after this. Note, (1.) God often visits the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, especially when the children inherit their father's wicked dispositions, and imitate the father's wicked practices, and do nothing to cut off the entail of a curse. (2.) Disgrace is justly put upon those that put disgrace upon others, especially that dishonour and grieve their own parents. An undutiful child that mocks at his parents, is no more worthy to be called a son, but deserves to be made as a hired servant, nay as a servant of servants among his brethren. (3.) Though divine curses operate slowly, yet, first or last, they will take effect. The Canaanites were under a curse of slavery, and yet, for a great while, had the dominion; for a family, a people, a person may lie under the curse of God, and yet may long prosper in the world, till the measure of their iniquity, like that of the Canaanites, be full. Many are marked for ruin, that are not yet ripe for ruin. Therefore, Let not thine heart envy sinners.
2. He entails a blessing upon Shem and Japheth. (1.) He blesses Shem, or, rather blesses God for him, yet so that it entitles him to the greatest honour and happiness imaginable, v. 26. Observe,  He calls the Lord, the God of Shem; and happy, thrice happy is that people whose God is the LORD, Ps. 144. 15. All blessings are included in this. This was the blessing conferred on Abraham and his seed; The God of Heaven was not ashamed to be called their God, Heb. 11. 16. Shem is sufficiently recompensed for his respect to his father by this, that the Lord himself puts this honour upon him, to be his God, which is a sufficient recompense for all our services and all our sufferings for his name. [2.] He gives to God the glory of that good work which Shem had done, and, instead of blessing and praising him that was the instrument, he blesses and praises God that was the Author. Note, The glory of all that is at any time well done by ourselves or others, must be humbly and thankfully transmitted to God, who works all our good works in us and for us. When we see men's good works, we should glorify, not them, but our Father, Matt. 5. 16. Thus David, in effect, blessed Abigail, when he blessed God that sent her, 1 Sam. 25. 32, 33, for it is an honour and favour to be employed for God, and used by him in doing good. [3.] He foresees and foretels, that God's gracious dealings with Shem and his family, would be such as would evidence to all the world that he was the God of Shem, on which behalf thanksgivings would by many be rendered to him. Blessed be the Lord God of Shem. [4.] It is intimated that the church should be built up and continued in the poste
28 And Noah lived after the flood three hundred and fifty years.
29 And all the days of Noah were nine hundred and fifty years: and he died.
This chapter shows more particularly what was said in general, ch. 9. 19, concern
ing the three sons of Noah, that of them was the whole earth overspread; and Sons of Raamah; Sheba and Dedan.
the fruit of that blessing, ch. 9. 1, 7, replenish the earth. It is the only certain account extant of the original of nations; and yet perhaps there is no nation but that of the Jews, that can be confident from which of these 70 fountains (for so many there are here) it derives its streams. Through the want of early records, the mixtures of people, the revolutious of nations, and distance of time-the
knowledge of the faral descent of the present inhabitants of the earth is lost; nor
were any genealogies preserved but Jews, for the sake of the Messinh;
only in this chapter, we have a brief account, I. Of the posterity of Japheth, v. 2 - II. The posterity of Ham, v. 6-20, and in that particular notice taken of Nimrod, v. 8-10. III. The posterity of Shem, v. 21-31.
these are the generations of the sons of Noah; Shem, Ham, and Japheth: and unto them were sons born after the flood.
2 The sons of Japheth; Gomer, and Magog, and Madai, and Javan, and Tubal, and Meshech, and Tiras.
3 And the sons of Gomer; Ashkenaz, and Riphath, and Togarmah.
4 And the sons of Javan; Elishah, and Tarshish, Kittim, and Dodanim.*
or, as some read it, Rodanim. a Jer. 2. 10. Zeph. 2. 11. 6 Ps. 72. 10. e Mic. 5. 6. d Mic. 7. 2.
rity of Shem; for of him came the Jews, who were, for a great while, the only professing people God had in the world. [5.] Some think reference is here had to Christ, who was the Lord God that in his human nature should descend from the loins of Shem; for of him, as concerning the flesh, Christ came. [6.] Canaan is particularly enslaved to him; He shall be his servant. Note, Those that have the Lord for their God, shall have as much of the honour and power of this world as he sees good for them.
By these were the isles "of the Gentiles divided in their lands; every one after his tongue, after their families, in their nations.
6 And the sons of Ham; Cush, and Mizraim, and Phut, and Canaan.
7 And the sons of Cush; Seba, and Havilah, and Sabtah, and Raamah, and Sabtecha: and the
(2.) He blesses Japheth, and, in him, the isles of the Gentiles, which were peopled by his seed, v. 27, God shall enlarge Japheth, and he shall dwell in the tents of Shem. Now,
 Some make this to belong wholly to Japheth, and to bespeak either, First, His outward prosperity, that his seed should be so numerous, and so victorious, that they should be masters of the tents of Shem; which was fulfilled, when the people of the Jews, the most eminent of Shem's race, were tributaries to the Grecians first, and afterward to the Romans, both of Japheth's seed. Note, Outward prosperity is no infallible mark of the true church; the tents of Shem are not always the tents of the conqueror. Or, Secondly, It bespeaks the conversion of the Gentiles, and the bringing of them into the church; and then we would read it, God shall persuade Japheth, (for so the word signifies,) and then, being so persuaded, he shall dwell in the tents of Shem, that is, Jews and Gentiles shall be united together in the Gospel-fold; after many of the Gentiles shall have been proselyted to the Jewish religion, both shall be one in Christ, Eph. 2. 14, 15. And the Christian church, mostly made up of the Gentiles, shall succeed the Jews in the privileges of church-membership; the latter having first cast themselves out by their unbelief, the Gentiles shall dwell in their tents, Rom. 11. 11, &c. Note, It is God only that can bring those again into the church, who have separated themselves from it. It is the power of God that makes the Gospel of Christ effectual to salvation, Rom. 1. 16. And again, Souls are brought into the church, not by force, but by persuasion, Ps. 110. 3. They are drawn by the cords of a man, and persuaded by reason to be religious.
 Others divide this between Japheth and Shem, Shem having not been directly blessed, v. 26. First, Japheth has the blessing of earth beneath; God shall enlarge Japheth, enlarge his seed, enlarge his border; Japheth's posterity peopled all Europe, a great part of Asia, and perhaps America. Note, God is to be acknowledged in all our enlargements. It is he that enlarges the coast, and enlarges the heart. And again, Many dwell in large tents, that do not dwell in God's tents, as Japheth did. Secondly, Shem has the blessing of Heaven above: He shall, that is, God shall, dwell in the tents of Shem, that is, "From his loins Christ shall come, and in his seed the church shall be continued." The birthright was now to be divided between Shem and Japheth, Ham being utterly discarded; in the principality they equally share, Canaan shall be servant to both; the double portion is given to Japheth, whom God shall enlarge; but the priesthood was given to Shem, for God shall dwell in the tents of Shem: and certainly we are more happy, if we have God dwelling in our tents, than if we had there all the silver and gold in the world. It is better to dwell in tents with God than in palaces without him; in Salem, where is God's tabernacle, there is more satisfaction than in all the isles of the Gentiles. Thirdly, They both have dominion over Canaan; Cangan shall be servant to them; so some read When Japheth joins with Shem, Canaan falls before them both. When strangers become friends, enemies become ser
V. 28, 29. Hore see, 1. How God prolonged the life of
8 And Cush begat Nimrod; he began to be a mighty one in the earth:
9 He was a mighty hunter before the LORD: wherefore it is said, Even as Nimrod the mighty hunter before the LORD.
10 And the beginning of his kingdom was Babel, and Erech, and Accad, and Calneh, in the land of Shinar.
11 Out of that land went forth Asshur, and builded Nineveh, and the city Rehoboth, and Calah,
12 And Resen between Nineveh and Calah: the same is a great city.
13 And Mizraim begat Ludim, and Anamim, and Leabim, and Naphtuhim,
14 And Pathrusim, and Casluhim, (out of whom came Philistim,) and Caphtorim.
† Gr. Babylon. or, he went out into Assyria. § or, the streets of the city. e 1 Chr. 1. 12.
Noah; he lived 950 years; 20 more than Adam, and but 19 less than Methuselah; this long life was a further reward of his signal piety, and a great blessing to the world, to which, no doubt, he continued a preacher of righteousness, with this advantage, that now all he preached to were his own children. 2. How God put a period to his life at last; though he lived long, yet he died, having, probably, first seen many that descended from him, dead before him. Noah lived to see two worlds, but being an heir of the righteousness which is by faith, when he died he went to see a better than either.
NOTES TO CHAPTER X.
V. 1-5. Moses begins with Japheth's family; either because he was the eldest, or, because his family lay remotest from Israel, and had least concern with them, at the time when Moses wrote; and therefore he mentions that race very briefly; hastening to give account of the posterity of Ham, who were Israel's enemies, and of Shem, who were Israel's ancestors: for it is the church that the scripture is designed to be the history of, and of the nations of the world, only as they were some way or other related to Israel, and interested in the affairs of Israel. Observe, 1. Notice is taken that the sons of Noah had sons born to them after the flood, to repair and rebuild the world of mankind which the flood had ruined. He that had killed, now makes alive. 2. The posterity of Japheth were allotted to the isles of the Gentiles, (v. 5,) which were, solemnly, by lot, after a survey, divided among them, and, probably, this island of our's among the rest; all places beyond the sea from Judea, are called isles, Jer. 25. 22, and this directs us to understand that promise, Is. 42. 4, the isles shall wait for his law, of the conversion of the Gentiles to the faith of Christ.
V. 6-14. That which is observable and improvable in these verses, is, the account here given of Nimrod, v. 8-11. He is here represented as a great man in his day. He began to be a mighty one in the earth, that is, whereas those that went before him, were content to stand upon the same level with their neighbours, and though every man bare rule in his own house, yet no man pretended any further; Nimrod's aspiring mind could not rest here; he was resolved to tower above his neighbours, and not only so, but to lord it over them. The same spirit that actuated the giants before the flood, (who became mighty men, and men of renown, ch. 6. 4,) now revived in him; so soon was that tremendous judgment which the pride and tyranny of those mighty men brought upon the world, forgotten. Note, There are some, in whom ambition and affectation of dominion seem to be bred in the bone; such there have been, and will be, notwithstanding the wrath of God often revealed from heaven against them. Nothing on this side hell, will humble and break the proud spirits of some men, in this, like Lucifer, Is. 14. 14, 15. Now,
I. Nimrod was a great hunter; this he began with, and for this became famous to a proverb. Every great hunter is, in remembrance of him, called a Nimrod. I. Some think he did good with his hunting, served his country by ridding it of the wild beasts which infested it, and so insinuated himself into the affections of his neighbours, and got to be their prince: those that exercise authority, either are, or at least would be called, benefactors, Luke 22. 25. 2. Others think that under pretence of hunting, he gathered men under his command, in pursuit of another game he had to play, which was to make himself master of the country, and to bring them into subjection. He was a mighty hunter, that is, he was a violent invader of his neighbour's rights and properties, and a persecutor of innocent men, carrying all before him, and endeavouring to make all his
15 And Canaan begat *Sidon his first-born, and Heth,
16 And the Jebusite, and the Amorite, and the Girgasite,
17 And the Hivite, and the Arkite, and the Sinite,
18 And the Arvadite, and the Zemarite, and the Hamathite: and afterward were the families of the Canaanites spread abroad.
19 And the border of the Canaanites was from Sidon, as thou comest to Gerar, unto Gaza; as thou goest, unto Sodom, and Gomorrah, and Admah, and Zeboim, even unto Lasha.
20 These are the sons of Ham, after their families, after their tongues, in their countries, and in their nations.
21 Unto Shem also, the father of all the children of Eber, the brother of Japheth the elder, even to him were children born.
* Tzidon, f c. 15. 18, 21. Num. 34. 2, 12. Josh. 12. 7, 8. ↑ Azzah. own by force and violence. He thought himself a mighty prince, but before the Lord, that is, in God's account, he was but a mighty hunter. Note, Great conquerors are but great hunters. Alexander and Cæsar would not make such a figure in scripture history as they do in common history; the former is represented in prophecy but as a he-goat, pushing, Dan. 8. 5. Nimrod was a mighty hunter against the Lord, so the LXX; that is, (1.) He set up idolatry, as Jeroboam did, for the confirming of his usurped dominion: that he might set up a new government, he set up a new religion upon the ruin of the primitive constitution of both : Babel was the mother of harlots. Or, (2.) He carried on his oppression and violence, in defiance of God himself; daring Heaven with his impieties, as if he and his huntsmen could outbrave the Almighty, and were a match for the Lord of Hosts and all his armies: As if it were a small thing to weary men, he thinks to weary my God also,
Is. 7. 13.
II. Nimrod was a great ruler, v. 10, The beginning of his kingdom was Babel. Some way or other, by arts or arms, he got into power, either chosen to it, or forcing his way to it; and so laid the foundations of a monarchy, which was afterward a head of gold, and the terror of the mighty, and bid fair to be universal. It does not appear that he had any right to rule by birth; but either his fitness for government recommended him, as some think, to an election; or, by power and policy, he advanced gradually, and perhaps insensibly, into the throne. See the antiquity of civil government, and particularly that form of it, which lodges the sovereignty in a single person. If Nimrod and his neighbours began, other nations soon learned, to incorporate under one head for their common safety and welfare, which, however it began, proved so great a blessing to the world, that things were reckoned to go ill indeed when there was no king in Israel.
III. Nimrod was a great builder; probably he was architect in the building of Babel, and there he began his kingdom; but when his project to rule all the sons of Noah was baffled by the confusion of tongues, out of that land he went forth into Assyria, (so the margin reads it, v. 11,) and built Nineveh, &c. that having built these cities, he might command them, and rule over them. Observe in Nimrod the nature of ambition: 1. It is boundless; much would have more, and still cries, Give, give. 2. It is restless; Nimrod, when he had four cities under his command, could not be content till he had four more. 3. It is expensive; Nimrod will rather be at the charge of rearing cities than not have the honour of ruling them. The spirit of building is the common effect of a spirit of pride. 4. It is daring, and will stick at nothing; Nimrod's name signifies rebellion, which (if indeed he did abuse his power to the oppression of his neighbours) teaches us that tyrants to men are rebels to God, and their rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft. V. 15-20. Observe here, 1. That the account of the posterity of Canaan, of the families and nations that descended from him, and of the land they possessed, is more particular than of any other in this chapter; because these were the nations that were to be subdued before Israel, and their land was, in process of time, to become the holy land, Immanuel's land; and this God had an eye to, when, in the mean time he cast the lot of that accursed devoted race in that spot of ground which he had spied out for his own people; this Moses takes notice of, Deut. 32. 8; When the most high divided to the nations their inheritance, he set the bounds of the people according to the number of the children of Israel. 2. That by this account it appears that the posterity of Canaan were both numerous and rich, and very pleasantly seated; and yet Canaan was under a curse, a divine curse, and not a curse causeless. Note, Those that are under the curse of God, may yet perhaps thrive and prosper greatly in this world; for we cannot know love or hatred, the blessing or the curse, by what is before us, but by what is within us, Ec. 9. 1. The curse of God always works really, and always terribly: but perhaps it is a secret curse, a curse to the soul, and does not work visibly; or a slow curse, and does not work immediately; but sinners are by it reserved for, and bound over to, a day of wrath. Canaan here
30 And their dwelling was from Mesha, as thou goest unto Sephar, a mount of the east.
31 These are the sons of Shem, after their
Arpachshad. § Shelah. g 1 Chr. 1. 19. i. e. division.
has a better land than either Shem or Japheth, and yet they have a better lot, for they inherit the blessing.
V. 21-32. Two things especially are observable in this account of the posterity of Shem.
I. The description of Shem, v. 21. We have not only his name, Shem, which signifies a name, but two titles to distinguish him by.
1. He was the father of all the children of Eber: Eber was his great-grandson; but why should he be called the father of all his children, rather than of all Arphaxad's, or Salah's, &c.? Probably, because Abraham and his seed, God's covenantpeople, not only descended from Heber, but from him were called Hebrews, ch. 14. 13, Abram the Hebrew. St. Paul looked upon it as his privilege, that he was a Hebrew of the Hebrews, Phil. 3. 5. Eber himself, we may suppose, was a man eminent for religion in a time of general apostacy, and a great example of piety to his family; and the holy tongue being commonly called from him the Hebrew, it is probable that he retained it in his family, in the confusion of Babel, as a special token of God's favour to him; and from him the professors of religion were called the children of Eber; now, when the inspired penman would give them an honourable title, he calls him the father of the Hebrews; though, when Moses wrote this, they were a poor despised people, bondslaves in Egypt, yet, being God's people, it was an honour to a man to be akin to them. As Ham, though he had many sons, is disowned by being called the father of Canaan, on whose seed the curse was entailed, ch. 9. 22, so Shem, though he had many sons, is dignified with the title of the father of Eber, on whose seed the blessing was entailed. Note, A family of saints is more truly honourable than a family of nobles; Shem's holy seed than Ham's royal seed, Jacob's twelve patriarchs than Ishmael's twelve princes, ch. 17. 20. Goodness is true greatness.
2. He was the brother of Japheth the elder, by which it appears that though Shem is commonly put first, yet he was not Noah's first-born, but Japheth was older. But why should this also be put as part of Shem's title and description, that he was the brother of Japheth, since that had been, in effect, said often before? And was he not as much brother to Ham? Probably, this was intended to signify the union of the Gentiles with the Jews in the church. He had mentioned it as Shem's honour, that he was the father of the Hebrews; but lest Japheth's seed should therefore be looked upon as for ever shut out from the church, he here reminds us that he was the brother of Japheth, not in birth only, but in blessing, for Japheth was to dwell in the tents of Shem. Note, (1.) Those are brethren in the best manner, that are so by grace, and that meet in the covenant of God, and in the communion of saints. (2.) God, in dispensing his grace, does not go by seniority, but the younger sometimes gets the start of the elder in coming into the church; so the last shall be first, and the first last.
II. The reason of the name of Peleg, v. 25, because in his days, (that is about the time of his birth, when his name was given him,) was the earth divided among the children of men that were to inhabit it; either, when Noah divided it by an orderly distribution of it, as Joshua divided the land of Canaan by lot, or when, upon their refusal to comply with that division, God, in justice, divided them by the confusion of tongues; whichsoever of these was the occasion, pious Heber saw cause to perpetuate the remembrance of it in the name of his son; and justly may our sons be called by the same name, for in our days, in another sense, is the earth, the church, most wretchedly divided.
NOTES TO CHAPTER XI.
V. 1-4. The close of the foregoing chapter tells us, that by the sons of Noah, or, among the sons of Noah, the nations were divided in the earth after the flood, that is, were distinguished into several tribes or colonies; and the places they had hitherto lived in together being grown too strait for them, it was either appointed by Noah, or agreed upon among his sons, which way each several tribe or colony should steer its course, beginning with the countries that were next them,
families, after their tongues, in their lands, after their nations.
32 These are the families of the sons of Noah, after their generations, in their nations: and by these were the nations divided in the earth after the flood. CHAPTER XI.
The old distinction between the sons of God, and the sons of men, (professors and
profane,) survived the Bad, and now appeared again, when men began to multi ply: according to this distinction, we have, in this chapter, I. The dispersion of the sons of men at Babel, v. 1-9, where we have, 1. Their presumptuous pro
king design, which was, to build a city and a tower, v. 1-4. 2. The righteous of God upon them in their design, by language, and so scattering them, v. 5-9. II. The peligree of the sons of God down to Abraham, v. 10-25, with a general account of his family, and removal
out of his native country, v. 27-32.
and designing to proceed further and further, and to remove to a greater distance from each other, as the increase of their several companies should require. Thus was the matter well settled, one hundred years after the flood, about the time of Peleg's birth; but the sons of men, it should seem, were loath to scatter into distant places; they thought, the more the merrier, and the safer, and therefore they contrived to keep together, and were slack to go to possess the land which the Lord God of their fathers had given them, Josh. 18. 3, thinking themselves wiser than either God or Noah. Now here we have,
I. The advantages which befriended their design of keeping together. 1. They were all of one language, v. 1. If there were any different languages before the flood, yet Noah's only, which, it is likely, was the same with Adam's, was preserved through the flood, and continued after it. Now, while they all understood one another, they would be the more likely to love one another, and the more capable of helping one another, and the less inclinable to separate one from another. 2. They found a very convenient commodious place to settle in, v. 2, a plain in the land of Shinar, a spacious plain, and able to contain them all, a fruitful plain, and able, according as their present numbers were, to support them all; though perhaps they had not considered what room there would be for them when their numbers should be increased. Note, Inviting accommodations, for the present, often prove too strong temptations to the neglect of both duty and interest, as it respects futurity.
II. The method they took to bind themselves to one another, and to settle together in one body. Instead of coveting to enlarge their borders by a peaceable departure under the divine protection, they contrived to fortify them, and as those that were resolved to wage war with heaven, they put themselves into a posture of defence. Their unanimous resolution is, Let us build a city and a tower. It is observable, that the first builders of cities, both in the old world, ch. 4. 17, and in the new world here, were not men of the best character and reputation: tents served God's subjects to dwell in; cities were first built by those that were rebels against him, and revolters from him. Observe here,
1. How they excited and encouraged one another to set about this work. They said, Go to, let us make brick, v. 3, and again v. 4, Go to, let us build us a city; by mutual excitements they made one another more daring and resolute. Note, Great things may be brought to pass, when the undertakers are numerous and unanimous, and stir up one another to it. Let us learn to provoke one another to love and to good works, as sinners stir up and encourage one another to wicked works. See Ps. 122. 1. Is. 2. 3, 5. Jer. 50. 5.
2. What materials they used in their building. The country being plain, yielded neither stone nor mortar, yet that did not discourage them from their undertaking, but they made brick to serve instead of stone, and slime or pitch instead of mortar. See here, (1.) What shift those will make, that are resolute in their purposes: were we but thus zealously affected in a good thing, we should not stop our work so often as we do, under pretence that we want conveniences for carrying it on. (2.) What a difference there is between men's building and God's; when men build their Babel, brick and slime are their best materials; but when God builds his Jerusalem, he lays even the foundations of it with sapphires, and all its borders with pleasant stones, Is. 51. 11, 12. Rev. 21. 19.
3. For what ends they built. Some think they intended hereby to secure themselves against the waters of another flood. God had told them indeed he would not again drown the world; but they would trust to a tower of their own making, rather than to a promise of God's making, or an ark of his appointing: if, however, they had had this in their eye, they would have chosen to build their tower upon a mountain, rather than upon a plain; but three things, it seems, they aimed at in building this tower.
(1.) It seems designed for an affront to God himself; for they would build a tower, whose top might reach to heaven, which bespeaks a defiance of God, or at least a rivalship with him;
3 And they said one to another, Go to, let us make brick, and "burn them thoroughly. And they had brick for stone, and slime had they for mortar.
4 And they said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered cabroad upon the face of the whole earth.
5 And the LORD came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of men builded.
6 And the LORD said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do.
7 Go to, let us go down, and there confound
their language, that they may not understand one
8 So the LORD scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth: and they left off to build the city.
c ver. 9. Ps. 92. 9 Luke 1. 51. d c. 18. 21. € Ps. 2. 1. f Acts 2. 6. Ps. 56. 9. Cor. 14. 23.
they will be like the Most High; or come as near him as they can, not in holiness, but in height. They forget their place, and, scorning to creep on the earth, resolve to climb to heaven, not by the door, or ladder, but some other way.
(2.) They hoped hereby to make them a name; they would do something to be talked of now, and to give posterity to know that there had been such men as they in the world; rather than die and leave no memorandum behind them, they would leave this monument of their pride, and ambition, and folly. Note, [1.] Affectation of honour, and a name among men, inspires with a strange ardour for great and difficult undertakings, and often betrays to that which is evil, and offensive to God. [2.] It is just with God to bury those names in the dust, which are raised by sin. These Babel-builders put themselves to a great deal of foolish expense, to make them a name; but they could not gain even this point, for we do not find in any history the name of so much as one of these Babel-builders; Philo Judæus says, They engraved every one his name upon a brick, in perpetuam rei memoriam-as a perpetual memorial; yet neither did that serve their purpose.
(3.) They did it to prevent their dispersion; lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the earth. "It was done," (says Josephus,) in disobedience to that command, ch. 9. 1, Replenish the earth." God orders them to scatter; No," say they, "we will not, we will live and die together." In order hereunto, they engage themselves, and one another, in this vast undertaking. That they might unite in one glorious empire, they resolve to build this city and tower, to be the metropolis of their kingdom, and the centre of their unity. It is probable that the hand of ambitious Nimrod was in all this: he could not content himself with the command of a particular colony, but aimed at universal monarchy; in order to which, under pretence of uniting for their common safety, he contrives to keep them in one body, that, having them all under his eye, he might not fail to have them under his power. See the daring presumption of these sinners: here is, [1.] A bold opposition to God; "You shall be scattered," says God; " But we will not," say they; Wo unto him that thus strives with his Maker.  A bold competition with God. It is God's prerogative to be universal Monarch, Lord of all, and King of kings; the man that aims at it, offers to step into the throne of God, who will not give his glory to another.
V. 5-9. We have here the quashing of the project of the Babel-builders, and the turning of the counsel of those froward men headlong, that God's counsel might stand in spite of them. Here is,
I. The cognizance that God took of the design that was on foot, v. 5, The Lord came down to see the city: it is an expression after the manner of men; he knew it as clearly and fully as men know that which they come to the place to view. Ob
serve, 1., Before he gave judgment upon their cause, he inquired into it; for God is incontestably just and fair in all his proceedings against sin and sinners, and condemns none unheard. 2. It is spoken of as an act of condescension in God, to take notice even of this building, which the undertakers were so proud of; for he humbles himself to behold the transactions, even the most considerable ones, of this lower world, Ps. 113. 6. 3. It is said to be the tower which the children of men built; which intimates, (1.) Their weakness and frailty as men: it was a very foolish thing for the children of men, worms of the earth, to defy Heaven, and to provoke the Lord to jealousy: Are they stromger than he? (2.) Their sinfulness and obnoxiousness: they were the sons of Adam, so it is in the Hebrew; nay, of that Adam, that sinful disobedient Adam, whose children are by nature children of disobedience, children that are corrupters. (3.) Their distinction from the children of God, the professors of religion, from whom these daring builders had separated themselves, and built this tower to support and perpetuate the separation. Pious Eber is not found among this ungodly crew; for he and his are called the children of God, and therefore their souls come not into the secret, nor unite themselves to the assembly of these children of men.