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Genesis 9:26-27

Context

9:26 He also said,

“Worthy of praise is 1  the Lord, the God of Shem!

May Canaan be the slave of Shem! 2 

9:27 May God enlarge Japheth’s territory and numbers! 3 

May he live 4  in the tents of Shem

and may Canaan be his slave!”

1 tn Heb “blessed be.”

2 tn Heb “a slave to him”; the referent (Shem) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

3 tn Heb “may God enlarge Japheth.” The words “territory and numbers” are supplied in the translation for clarity.

sn There is a wordplay (paronomasia) on the name Japheth. The verb יַפְתְּ (yaft, “may he enlarge”) sounds like the name יֶפֶת (yefet, “Japheth”). The name itself suggested the idea. The blessing for Japheth extends beyond the son to the descendants. Their numbers and their territories will be enlarged, so much so that they will share in Shem’s territories. Again, in this oracle, Noah is looking beyond his immediate family to future generations. For a helpful study of this passage and the next chapter, see T. O. Figart, A Biblical Perspective on the Race Problem, 55-58.

4 tn In this context the prefixed verbal form is a jussive (note the distinct jussive forms both before and after this in vv. 26 and 27).



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