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Noah prophesieth of his sons ; dieth. 18 And the sons of Noah, and their faces were backward, that went forth of the ark, were and they saw not their father's Shem, and Ham, and Japheth : nakedness. and Ham is the father of Ca- 24 And Noah awoke from naan.
his wine, and knew what his 19 These are the three sons of younger son
had done unto Noah : and of them was the him. whole earth overspread.
25 And he said, Cursed be 20 And Noah began to be an Canaan ; a servant of servants husbandman, and he planted a shall he be unto his brethren. vineyard :
26 And he said, Blessed be 21 And he drank of the wine, the LORD God of Shem; and and was drunken; and he was Canaan shall be his servant. uncovered within his tent. 27 God shall enlarge Japheth,
22 And Ham, the father of and he shall dwell in the tents Canaan, saw the nakedness of of Shem; and Canaan shall be his father, and told his two bre- his servant. thren without.
28 And Noah Jived after the 23 And Shem and Japheth flood three hundred and fifty took a garment, and laid it years. upon both their shoulders, and 29 And all the days of Noah went backward, and covered were nine hundred and fifty the nakedness of their father; years : and he died.
The fulfilment of Noah's prophecy. We are repeatedly reminded of our being all brethren ; and this is the lesson which we have now to learn, from considering that the whole earth was overspread by the issue of the three sons of Noah. We are continually impressed with our liability to transgress. And of this we have an instance in Noah drunken and naked in his tent, and much more in Ham exposing his father's nakedness. Some indeed have thought that Noah was not aware of the effect of wine. But it was probably as well known before the flood as after it. We must not fear to own, that one of God's most faithful servants was for once overtaken in sin. Rather 6 let him that thinketh he standeth,” hence take warning “lest he fall.” 1 Cor. 10. 12. And some can see no harın in Ham's seeing his father naked, or in his telling his brethren what he saw. But there can be little doubt that he reported this sad sight, not with concern, but scorn. And the conduct of Shem and Japheth shews, that they in the same circumstances, and no better taught than Ham, knew both what it would be wrong to see, and what it was right to do. Let the curse which fell on Ham, in his son Canaan, remind us how great is the sin of those, who take pleasure in exposing the infirmities and offences of their spiritual fathers, the ministers of the Gospel. Let the blessings pronounced on Shem and Japheth incline us, in all our judgments of each other, to practise that charity which is able to cover “ a multitude of sins. James 5. 20.
Noah awake is at once sober. Shame, compunction, and penitence, restore him to his senses, and replace him through grace in communion with God. His curse denounced against Canaan the son of Ham, and his blessings bestowed on Shem and Japheth are not only a curse and blessings; they are signal prophecies, which have been fulfilled in all successive generations of mankind, even until the present time. Canaan and his children, and all the posterity of Ham, have been in the situation of servants to their brethren. They have formed a portion of mankind inferior in strength, in understanding, in moral attainments. And being usually also inferior in war, they have been in many instances according to one of the savage customs of war, made slaves by their conquerors. Shem has been blessed in having Jehovah for his God, being the father of the Israelites, God's chosen people, yea the father of Abraham and of David, and through them also of Mary the mother of our Lord. And Canaan was most signally made his servant, in the subjugation of the Canaanites by the Israelites, by the express command and guidance and help of God. Whilst Japheth has not only been enlarged, by having his descendants spread far and wide throughout the earth, and encroaching on the possessions of their brethren; but especially has he dwelt in the tents of Shem, by the Gentiles, descendants of Japheth, succeeding, on the rejection of the Gospel by the Jews, to the place of God's chosen people. And Canaan has been his servant also. Yea, not only has this been true in all the quarters of the world known of old; but also when new Indies were discovered, and when Japheth was once more enlarged by God, his children took out with them for their bondslaves the posterity of Canaan and of Ham. So thoroughly does God foresee all things from the beginning, and reveal them so clearly by his servants the prophets ! So entirely does He order and controul all the acts of all the children of men, for the fulfilment of his word, and for the manifestation of his glory!
“ And all the days of Noah were nine hundred and fifty years; and he died.” This is the longest life recorded, except that of Methuselah. Long as it was, it must needs end in death. He that survived the flood could not escape
grave. Whether live long, or die early, let us but live like Noah a life of faith and obedience, and then no life will be too long to be profitable, no death too soon to be welcome.
The generations of the sons of Noah. i Now these are the genera- bim, and Naphtuhim, tions of the sons of Noah, Shem, 14 And Pathrusim, and CasHam, and Japheth : and unto luhim, (out of whom came Phithem were sons born after the listim,) and Caphtorim. flood.
15 And Canaan begat Sidon 2 The sons of Japheth ; Go- his firstborn, and Heth, mer, and Magog, and Madai, 16 And the Jebusite, and the and Javan, and Tubal, and Amorite, and the Girgasite, Meshech, and Tiras.
17 And the Hivite, and the 3 And the sons of Gomer; Arkite, and the Sinite, Ashkenaz, and Riphath, and 18 And the Arvadite, and the Togarmah.
Zemarite, and the Hamathite : 4 And the sons of Javan; E- and afterward were the families lishah, and Tarshish, Kittim, of the Canaanites spread abroad, and Dodanim.
19 And the border of the Ca5 By these were the isles of the naanites was from Sidon, as Gentiles divided in their lands; thou comest to Gerar, unto Gaevery one after his tongue, after za; as thou goest, unto Sodom, their families, in their nations. and Gomorrah, and Admah,
6 And the of Ham; and Zeboim, even unto Lasha. Cush, and Mizraim, and Phut, 20 These are the sons of Ham, and Canaan.
after their families, after their 7 And the sons of Cush ; Se- tongues, in their countries, and ba, and Havilah, and Sabtah, in their nations. and Raamah, and Sabtechah : 21 Unto Shem also, the father and the sons of Raamah ; She- of all the children of Eber, the ba, and Dedan.
brother of Japheth the elder, 8 And Cush begat Nimrod : even to him were children born. he began to be a mighty one in 22 The children of Shem; the earth.
Elam, and Asshur, and Ar9 He was a mighty hunter be- phaxad, and Lud, and Aram. fore the Lord: wherefore it is 23 And the children of Aram; said, Even as Nimrod the migh- Uz, and Hul, and Gether, and ty hunter before the LORD. Mash. 10 And the beginning of his 24 And Arphaxad begat Sakingdom was Babel, and E- lah ; and Salah begat Eber. rech, and Accad, and Calneh, 25 And unto Eber were born in the land of Shinar.
two sons: the name of one was 11 Out of that land went forth Peleg ; for in his days was the Asshur,and builded Nineveh,and earth divided; and his brother's the city Rehoboth, and Calah, name was Joktan.
12 And Resen between Nine- 26 And Joktan begat Almoveh and Calah : the same is a dad, and Shelephi, and Hazargreat city.
maveth, and Jerah, 13 And Mizraim begat Lu- 27 And Hadoram, and Uzal, dim, and Anamim, and Leha- and Diklah,
28 And Obal, and Abimael, after their families, after their and Sheba,
tongues, in their lands, after 29 And Ophir, and Havilah, their nations. and Jobab: all these were the 32 These are the families of sons of Joktan.
the sons of Noah, after their 30 And their dwelling was generations, in their nations: from Mesha, as thou goest, un- and by these were the nations to Sephar a mount of the east. divided in the earth after the 31 These are the sons of Shem, flood.
LECTURE 21. The sovereignty of God among the nations. In this chapter we have it exactly described how the earth was overspread by the posterity of the sons of Noah ; an account set forth by Moses at a time when the division of the earth had not long taken place, and when the several names of persons and of countries, here mentioned, must have been well known whether true or false. And this account so much more ancient than any other now existing, so much more credible in itself than any other ever heard of, and so certainly verified by all remaining monuments of antiquity, will appear to be well worthy of a place in holy Scripture, when we consider how much light it sheds on prophecy, how much help it gives us in understanding the sovereignty of the Lord over all the nations of the earth. Here we see in what countries the sons of Shem and Ham and Japheth settled many generations after the prophecy of their father; yet so as exactly to fulfil every word of it.
Here we see the foundation of the first of four great empires, afterwards described in prophecy by Daniel, as most intimately connected with the church of God. Here we observe how Canaan's children in particular, remained exactly in that part of Asia, which was afterwards the appointed settlement of some of Shem's posterity, as if on purpose to be to them servants of servants. See ch. 9. 25. And here when Shem's descendants are recounted, it is mentioned that Japheth was the elder brother; by way of shewing us that God when He thought fit, did away with the privileges of birthright, and chose his people, and brought his only begotten Son into the world, in the family not of the elder brother Japheth, but of the second Shem. Shall we not then, on reviewing the whole account, agree, that whilst “one generation passeth away, and another generation cometh,” Ecc. I. 4, yet “the word of God” “abideth for ever”? I Pet. 1. 23. And if amongst all the nations, now dwelling on the face of the whole earth, we are apt to suppose that no one is more eminent than our own in this world's prosperity, or more privileged in the possession of spiritual advantages, shall we not be inclined to use our power, for communicating to all our brethren as much as possible of the same peace and plenty, the same security of person and property, and above all the same hope of a blessed immortality, as we have freely received ourselves?
The confusion of tongues at Babel. 1 And the whole earth was of 6 And the LORD said, Beone language, and of one speech. hold, the people is one, and
2 And it came to pass, as they they have all one language; journeyed from the east, that and this they begin to do: and they found a plain in the land of now nothing will be restrained Shinar; and they dwelt there. from them, which they have
3 And they said one to an- imagined to do. other, Go to, let us make brick, 7 Go to, let us go down, and and burn them throughly. And there confound their language, they had brick for stone, and that they may not understand slime had they for mortar. one another's speech.
4 And they said, Go to, let us 8 So the LORD scattered them build us
a city and a tower, abroad from thence upon the whose top may reach unto face of all the earth : and they heaven ; and let us make us a left off to build the city. name, lest we be scattered a- 9 Therefore is the name of it broad upon the face of the called Babel ; because the whole earth.
LORD did there confound the 5 And the LORD came down language of all the earth : and to see the city and the tower, from thence did the Lord which the children of men scatter them abroad
face of all the earth.
The advantage of unity. Pride, and unbelief, and disobedience to the known will of God, appear to have been the sins of those who attempted to build Babel. For we learn from the book of Deuteronomy that it was God who “divided to the nations their inheritance, and separated the sons of Adam;" and that He did this with a view to the fulfilment of his purposes relating to "the children of Israel.” Deut. 32. 8. But already had men begun again to forget the Lord, and to oppose his will; as if they could tell better than their Maker what was good, or had more concern for themselves than He for his creatures. Already did they prefer getting a name unto themselves, to glorifying God. And in these their wilful plans they were greatly aided by being all “of one language, and of one speech.” For they thought to keep themselves together and to get them a name by building a city, and a very lofty tower; a kind of work which it would be most difficult to carry on, especially in the infancy of arts, without every one understanding the language of the rest. And therefore God, by way of restraining their proud imaginations, confounded their language, so that they could not understand each other's speech. And by this means "the Lord scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth: and they left off to build the city.” So true is that which