And it shall come to pass, when I bring a cloud over
Or "cloud a cloud" F21, cause the clouds to gather thick in the heavens, and to hang over the earth ready to pour down great quantities of water; by reason of which the inhabitants might dread another flood coming upon them: wherefore, in order to dissipate such fears, it shall be so ordered, that the bow shall be seen in the cloud;
after it has pretty much discharged itself; for the rainbow is always in a thin, not a thick cloud; after the heavy showers are fallen from the thick clouds, and a small thin one remains, then the rainbow is seen in it; not always, but very frequently, and when the sun and clouds are in a proper position: and this is often so ordered, to put men in mind of this covenant, and to divest them of, or prevent their fears of the world being drowned by a flood; for when they see this, it is a sure sign the rain is going off, since the cloud is thinned, or otherwise the rainbow could not appear: and a most glorious and beautiful sight it is, having such a variety of colours in it, and in such a position and form. Some think that it serves both to put in mind of the destruction of the old world by water, through its watery colours, and of the present world by fire, through its fiery ones. Others make the three predominant colours to denote the three dispensations before the law, under the law, and under the Gospel: rather they may signify the various providences of God, which all work together for the good of his people; however, whenever this bow is seen, it puts in mind of the covenant of preservation made with all the creatures, and the firmness, stability, and duration of it; and is by some considered as an emblem of the covenant of grace, from ( Isaiah 54:9 Isaiah 54:10 ) which is of God's making, as this bow is; is a reverberation of Christ the sun of righteousness, the sum and substance of the covenant; consists of various blessings and promises of grace; is expressive of mercy and peace, and is a security from everlasting destruction: or rather it may be thought to be an emblem of Christ himself, who was seen by John clothed with a cloud, and a rainbow on his head, ( Revelation 10:1 ) this being a wonderful thing, as Christ is wonderful in his person, office, and grace; and as it has in it a variety of beautiful colours, it may represent Christ, who is full of grace and truth, and fairer than the children of men; and may be considered as a symbol of peace and reconciliation by him, whom God looks unto, and remembers the covenant of his grace he has made with him and his chosen ones in him; and who is the rainbow round about the throne of God, and the way of access unto it; ( Revelation 4:3 ) the Jews have a saying,
``till ye see the bow in its luminous colours, do not look for the feet of the Messiah, or his coming F23.''