(76) Why, when Noah prayed for Japhet, did he say, “God shall enlarge Japhet, and bid him to dwell in the house of Shem: and Canaan shall be their servant?” (#Ge 9:27). Without examining the literal statement, for the meaning of that is plain, we had better approach the inner sense contained in it, and examine that, in which the second and third blessings mentioned are capable of an enlarged and ample extension. As, for instance, good health, and a vigorous state of the outward senses, and beauty, and strength, and opulence, and nobleness of birth, and friends, and the power of a prince, and numbers of other things. And on this account he said, “God shall enlarge,” etc. Because taken separately, the abundant possession of such numerous and great blessings has of itself been injurious to many persons who have scarcely dwelt with justice, or wisdom, or any other virtues, the complete possession of which dispenses to man in an admirable manner the advantages which are external to and which surround the body; but the deprivation or absence of them leaves him without the enjoyment or use of them; and man, if deprived of all good protectors, and of the use of these enjoyments, is exposed to as much suffering as he is capable of. Therefore he prays on behalf of he man who has those things which are around and exterior to the body, that he may dwell in the house of the wise man; so that attending to the rules of all good men he may see and regulate his own course by their example.
(77) Why because Ham had sinned did God pronounce that his son Canaan should be the servant of Ham and Japhet? (#Ge 9:27). In the first place, God pronounced this sentence because both father and son had displayed the same wickedness, being both united together and not separated, and both indulging in the same disposition. But in the second place, he did so because the father would be exceedingly afflicted at the curse thus laid upon the son, being sufficiently conscious that he was punished not so much for his own sake as for that of his father. And so the leader and master of the two suffered the punishment of his wicked counsels, and words, and actions. This is the literal meaning of the statement. But if we look to its inward meaning, then in reality they are no more two different men than two different dispositions. And this is made plain by the names given to them, which manifestly denote the nature of the facts; for Ham being interpreted means heat or hot; and Canaan means merchants of causes.