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Verse 17

This is the token - אות oth , The Divine sign or portent: The bow shall be in the cloud. For the reasons above specified it must be there, when the circumstances already mentioned occur; if therefore it cannot fail because of the reasons before assigned, no more shall my promise; and the bow shall be the proof of its perpetuity.

Both the Greeks and Latins, as well as the Hebrews, have ever considered the rainbow as a Divine token or portent; and both of these nations have even deified it, and made it a messenger of the gods.

Homer, Il. xi., ver. 27, speaking of the figures on Agamemnon's breastplate, says there were three dragons, whose colors were

- - ιρισσιν εοικοτες, ἁς τε Κρονων .

Εν νεφεΐ στηριξε, τερας μεροπων ανθρωπων .

"like to the rainbow which the son of Saturn has placed in the cloud as a Sign to mankind," or to men of various languages, for so the μεροπων ανθρωπων of the poet has been understood. Some have thought that the ancient Greek writers give this epithet to man from some tradition of the confusion and multiplication of tongues at Babel; hence in this place the words may be understood as implying mankind at large, the whole human race; God having given the rainbow for a sign to all the descendants of Noah, by whom the whole earth was peopled after the flood. Thus the celestial bow speaks a universal language, understood by all the sons and daughters of Adam. Virgil, from some disguised traditionary figure of the truth, considers the rainbow as a messenger of the gods. Aen. v., ver. 606:

Irim de caelo misit Saturnia Juno .

"Juno, the daughter of Saturn, sent down the rainbow from heaven;" and again, Aen. ix., ver. 803: -

aeriam caelo nam Jupiter Irim Demisit .

"For Jupiter sent down the ethereal rainbow from heaven."

It is worthy of remark that both these poets understood the rainbow to be a sign, warning, or portent from heaven."

As I believe the rainbow to have been intended solely for the purpose mentioned in the text, I forbear to make spiritual uses and illustrations of it. Many have done this, and their observations may be very edifying, but they certainly have no foundation in the text.

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