Genesis 9

In Genesis 9 after the flood we find a covenant is made with the earth: the principle of government is set up. Then we enter on the theater and times of dispensations. One sees the reason why man before this had not been punished by the judge; whereas after the flood there was government and judicial proceeding. In the postdeluvian earth God establishes principles which hold their course throughout the whole scene until Jesus came, or rather until He not only comes and affirms by His own power and personal reign all the ways in which God has been testing and trying man, but deliver up the kingdom to the Father, that God may be all in all, when He shall have put down all rule, and all authority and power.
The end of this chapter shows that the man in whose person the principle of human government was set up could not govern himself. It is the old familiar story, – man tried and found wanting as always.
This gives occasion to the manifestation of a great difference among Noah’s sons, and to the solemn words which the father uttered in the spirit of prophecy. “Cursed be Canaan” was of deep interest, especially to an Israelite, but in truth to anyone who values the revelation of God. We can see afterward how verified the curse was, as it will be yet more.
The sin began with utter disrespect to a father. Not to speak of the destroyed cities of the plain, they had in Joshua’s day sunk into the most shameless of sinners that ever disgraced God and defiled the earth. The believer can readily understand how Noah was divinely led to pronounce a just malediction on Canaan. “Cursed [be] Canaan; a servant of servants shall he be.” So always it is. A man who despises him whom he is bound to honor, not to speak of the special distinction which God had shown him, must come to shame and degradation, must be not merely a servant but “a servant of servants.” The most vaulting pride always has the deepest fall.
On the other hand, “Blessed be Jehovah the God” – for God does not dwell upon the curse, but soon turns to the blessing – “Blessed be Jehovah the God of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant.” And Elohim, it is said, “shall enlarge Japhet, and he shall dwell in the tents of Shem.” How remarkably this has been made good in the providential history of the world I need not stay to prove, – how Jehovah God connected His name with Shem, to the humiliation of Canaan, and how Elohim enlarged Japhet, who would spread himself not merely in his own destined lot, but even dwell in the tents of Shem, and Canaan humbled there too. How true of the energetic Japhetic race that pushed westward, and not content with the east, pushes round again to the west – anywhere and everywhere. Thus God declares Himself in every word He utters. A little key to the world’s history is contained in those few words of Noah.