And he said, Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants shall he be to his brothers.…
We regard Japheth as the subject of this sentence; because, if God were its subject, the meaning would be substantially the same as that of the blessing of Shem, already given, and because this would intermingle the blessing of Shem with that of Japheth, without any important addition to our information. Whereas, when Japheth is the subject of the sentence, we learn that he shall dwell in the tents of Ahem, an altogether new proposition. This form of expression does not indicate a direct invasion and conquest of the land of Shem, which would not be in keeping with the blessing pronounced on him in the previous sentence. It rather implies that this dwelling together would be a benefit to Japheth, and no injury to Shorn. Accordingly we find that, when the Persians conquered the Babylonian empire, they restored the Jews to their native land. When Alexander the Great conquered the Persians, he gave protection to the Jews. And when the Romans subdued the Greek monarchy, they befriended the chosen nation, and allowed them a large measure of self-government. In their time came the Messiah, and instituted that new form of the Church of the Old Testament, which not only retained the best part of the ancient people of God, but extended itself over the whole of Europe, the chief seat of Japheth; went with him wherever he went, and is at this day, through God's blessing, penetrating into the moral darkness of Ham as well as the remainder of Shem and Japheth himself.
(Prof. J. G. Murphy.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And he said, Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren.