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at which men were to go to war), do note a propriety in its signification; as thereby declaring the dismal time of the deluge. And Christian conceits do seem to strain as high, while, from the irradiation of the sun upon a cloud, they apprehend the mystery of the sun of righteousness in the obscurity of flesh, by the colours green and red, the two destructions of the world by fire and water, or by the colours of blood and water, the mysteries of baptism, and the Holy Eucharist.8
Laudable therefore is the custom of the Jews, who upon the appearance of the rainbow, do magnify the fidelity of God in the memory of his covenant, according to that of Syracides, "Look upon the rainbow, and praise him that made it." And though some pious and Christian pens have only symbolized the same from the mystery of its colours, yet are there other affections which might admit of theological allusions. Nor would he find a more improper subject, that should consider that the colours are made by refraction of light, and the shadows that limit that light; that the centre of the sun, the rainbow, and the eye of the beholder must be in one right line, that the spectator must be between the sun and the rainbow, that sometime three appear, sometime one reversed. With many others, considerable in meteorological divinity, which would more sensibly make out the epithet of the heathens,* and the expression of the son of Syrach, " Very beautiful is the rainbow, it compasseth the heaven about with a glorious circle, and the hands of the Most High have bended it.”
Of Shem, Ham, and Japheth. CONCERNING the three sons of Noah, Shem, Ham, and Japheth, that the order of their nativity was according to that of enumeration, and Japheth, the youngest son (as
* Thaumancias. 8 Cabalistical heads, &c.] The present paragraph was first added in the 2nd edition, in which also the same subject was first noticed in the last chapter of book vi.
9 that the order of their nativity, &c.] Mr. C. T. Beke, in the 5th chapter
most believe, as Austin and others account), the sons of Japheth, and Europeans need not grant, nor will it so well concord unto the letter of the text, and its readiest interpretations. For so is it said in our translation, Shem the father of all the sons of Heber, the brother of Japheth the elder, so by the Septuagint, and so by that of Tremellius. And therefore when the Vulgar reads it, Fratre Japhet majore, the mistake, as Junius observeth, might be committed by the neglect of the Hebrew accent, which occasioned Jerome so to render it, and many after to believe it. Nor is that argument contemptible which is deduced from their chronology, for probable it is that Noah had none of them before, and begat them from that year when it is said he was five hundred years old, and begat Shem, Ham, and Japheth. Again it is said he was six hundred years old at the flood, and that two years after Shem was but an hundred; therefore Shem must have been born when Noah was five hundred and two, and some other before in the year of five hundred and one. of his Origines Biblicæ, takes some pains to prove not only that Shem and not Japheth was Noah's eldest son (a point admitting some controversy), but that “the order in which the names of these three great progenitors of the human species are invariably placed when mentioned together in the sacred volume, may therefore be regarded as the order of their birth." Whereas “it is plainly delivered,” as Sir Thomas remarks, that Ham, whose name stands invariably second, was the youngest son-a fact which absolutely overthrows this argument in favour of Shem's primogeniture, leaving the way open to consideration on other grounds. Mr. Beke contends that its probability is “ strength ened by the situation of the country, which, in his opinion, was occupied by Shem and his descendants, namely, that in which Noah himself resided, while the possessions of Ham and Japheth, Shem's younger brothers, were situated, as they would naturally be imagined to have been, on either side of the paternal seat." He further endeavours to invalidate the argument against Shem's seniority, drawn from the 10th Gen. ver. 21,"unto Shem also the father of all the children of Eber, the brother of Japheth the elder,”—by an examination of similar passages which would admit, if not favour the interpretation which Sir Thomas notices, as given to this passage by the Vulgate and others, viz.,," the elder brother of Japheth.” Neither does he admit the chronology to be conclusive against Shem, but concludes, after a lengthened consideration of the point, that “there could not have been a sufficient interval between the 500th year of Noah's life, and the birth of the father of Arphaxad (Shem), to allow of the intervention of an elder son.”
Now whereas the Scripture affordeth the priority of order unto Shem, we cannot from thence infer his primogeniture. For in Shem the holy line was continued, and therefore, however born, his genealogy was most remarkable. So is it not unusual in Holy Scripture to nominate the younger before the elder. So it is said, that Terah begat Abraham, * Nachor, and Haram; whereas Haram was the eldest. So Rebecca f is termed the mother of Jacob and Esau. Nor is it strange the younger should be first in nomination, who have commonly had the priority in the blessings of God, and been first in his benediction. So Abel was accepted before Cain, Isaac the younger preferred before Ishmael the elder, Jacob before Esau, Joseph was the youngest of twelve, and David the eleventh son and minor cadet of Jesse.
Lastly, though Japheth were not elder than Shem, yet must we not affirm that he was younger than Cham; for it is plainly delivered, that, after Shem and Japheth had covered Noah, he awaked and knew what his youngest son had done unto him; υιός ο νεώτερος is the expression of the Septuagint, Filius minor of Jerome, and minimus of Tremellius. And upon these grounds perhaps Josephus doth vary from the Scripture enumeration, and nameth them Shem, Japheth, and Cham: which is also observed by the Annian Berosus, Noah cum tribus filiis, Semo, Jepeto, Chem. And therefore, although in the priority of Shem and Japheth, there may be some difficulty, though Cyril, Epiphanius, and Austin have accounted Shem the elder, and Salian the annalist, and Petavius the chronologist, contend for the same; yet Cham is more plainly and confessedly named the youngest in the text.
And this is more conformable unto the Pagan history and Gentile account hereof, unto whom Noah was Satan, whose symbol was a ship, as related unto the ark, and who is said to have divided the world between his three sons. Ham is conceived to be Jupiter, who was the youngest son, worshipped by the name of Hamon, which was the Egyptian and African name for Jupiter, who is said to have cut off the genitals of his father, derived from the history of Ham,
* Gen. xi.
+ Gen. xxviii.
who beheld the nakedness of his, and by no hard mistake might be confirmed from the text,* as Bochartust hath well observed.9
That the Tower of Babel was erected against a second Deluge. An opinion there is of some generality, that our fathers after the flood attempted the tower of Babel, to secure themselves against a second deluge. Which, however affirmed by Josephus and others, hath seemed improbable unto many who have discoursed hereon. For (beside that they could not be ignorant of the promise of God never to drown the world again, and had the rainbow before their eyes to put them in mind thereof), it is improbable from the nature of the deluge; which, being not possibly causable from natural showers above, or watery eruptions below, but requiring a supernatural hand,2 and such as all
* Gen. ix. 22.
+ Reading Veiaggod, et abscidit, for Veiegged, et nunciavit.-Bochartus de Geographiâ sacrá.
9 And this is more conformable, dc.] This paragraph added in 2nd edition.
" the promise of God, &c.] This was an argument of beleef in the family of Sem in the Old Testament, and to the familyes of Japhet now in the new, that could not break his promise. But to the familyes of Ham, whereof Nimrod was the cheefe, it was of noe force : with them itt was more easie to slight first and then to forget that promise : when as they had now forgot God himselfe, as appeares by this bold attempt, which therfore most deservedly ended in confusion.- Wr.
? requiring a supernatural hand.] A late writer, speaking of the Mosaic account of the deluge, says, “What a scene of terrific and awful desolation does this narrative convey! How puerile those comments which exhibit animals and men escaping to the highest grounds and hills as the flood advanced. The impossibility of such escape may be immediately seen. Neither man nor beast under such circumstances could either advance or flee to any distance. Any animal, found in the plain when the flood began, would thus be merged in water seven or eight feet deep in a quarter of an hour! And were he to attempt advancing up the rising ground, a cataract of sheet water several feet deep would be gushing all the way in his face, besdes impending water-spouts from the 'flood-gates' of heaven, momentarily bursting over him; he would instantly become a prey to those 'mighty
acknowledge irresistible, must needs disparage their knowledge and judgment in so successless attempts.
Again, they must probably hear, and some might know, that the waters of the flood ascended fifteen cubits above the highest mountains. Now, if (as some define) the perpendicular altitude of the highest mountains be four miles, or (as others) but fifteen furlongs, it is not easily conceived how such a structure could be effected, except we allowed the description of Herodotus concerning the tower of Belus; whose lowest story was in height and breadth one furlong, and seven more built upon it; abating that of the Annian Berosus, the traditional relation of Jerome, and fabulous account of the Jews. Probable it is, that what they attempted was feasible, otherwise they had been amply fooled in the fruitless success of their labours, nor needed God to have hindered them, saying, “Nothing will be restrained from them, which they begin to do.'3
It was improbable from the place, that is, a plain in the land of Shinar. And if the situation of Babylon were such at first as it was in the days of Herodotus, it was rather a seat of amenity and pleasure, than conducing unto this intention : it being in a very great plain, and so improper a place to provide against a general deluge by towers and eminent structures, that they were fain to make provisions against particular and annual inundations by ditches and trenches, after the manner of Egypt. And therefore Sir Walter Raleigh* accordingly objecteth: if the nations which followed Nimrod still doubted the surprise of a second flood, according to the opinions of the ancient Hebrews, it soundeth ill to the ear of reason, that they would have spent many years in that low and overflown valley of Mesopotamia. And therefore in this situation, they chose a place more likely to have secured them from the world's destruction by fire, than another deluge of water: and, as Pierius observeth, some have conceived that this was their intention. Lastly, the reason is delivered in the text.
* History of the World. 3 whose lowest story, &c.] This passage was altered and enlarged in the 2nd edition.
6 Let us