God Confirms His Covenant
1Then God blessed Noah and his sons and told them, “Be fruitful and multiply. Fill the earth. 2All the animals of the earth, all the birds of the sky, all the small animals that scurry along the ground, and all the fish in the sea will look on you with fear and terror. I have placed them in your power. 3I have given them to you for food, just as I have given you grain and vegetables. 4But you must never eat any meat that still has the lifeblood in it.
5“And I will require the blood of anyone who takes another person’s life. If a wild animal kills a person, it must die. And anyone who murders a fellow human must die. 6If anyone takes a human life, that person’s life will also be taken by human hands. For God made human beings#9:6 Or man; Hebrew reads ha-adam. in his own image. 7Now be fruitful and multiply, and repopulate the earth.”
8Then God told Noah and his sons, 9“I hereby confirm my covenant with you and your descendants, 10and with all the animals that were on the boat with you—the birds, the livestock, and all the wild animals—every living creature on earth. 11Yes, I am confirming my covenant with you. Never again will floodwaters kill all living creatures; never again will a flood destroy the earth.”
12Then God said, “I am giving you a sign of my covenant with you and with all living creatures, for all generations to come. 13I have placed my rainbow in the clouds. It is the sign of my covenant with you and with all the earth. 14When I send clouds over the earth, the rainbow will appear in the clouds, 15and I will remember my covenant with you and with all living creatures. Never again will the floodwaters destroy all life. 16When I see the rainbow in the clouds, I will remember the eternal covenant between God and every living creature on earth.” 17Then God said to Noah, “Yes, this rainbow is the sign of the covenant I am confirming with all the creatures on earth.”
18The sons of Noah who came out of the boat with their father were Shem, Ham, and Japheth. (Ham is the father of Canaan.) 19From these three sons of Noah came all the people who now populate the earth.
20After the flood, Noah began to cultivate the ground, and he planted a vineyard. 21One day he drank some wine he had made, and he became drunk and lay naked inside his tent. 22Ham, the father of Canaan, saw that his father was naked and went outside and told his brothers. 23Then Shem and Japheth took a robe, held it over their shoulders, and backed into the tent to cover their father. As they did this, they looked the other way so they would not see him naked.
24When Noah woke up from his stupor, he learned what Ham, his youngest son, had done. 25Then he cursed Canaan, the son of Ham:
“May Canaan be cursed!
May he be the lowest of servants to his relatives.”
26Then Noah said,
“May the Lord, the God of Shem, be blessed,
and may Canaan be his servant!
27May God expand the territory of Japheth!
May Japheth share the prosperity of Shem,#9:27 Hebrew May he live in the tents of Shem.
and may Canaan be his servant.”
28Noah lived another 350 years after the great flood. 29He lived 950 years, and then he died.
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God’s Covenant with Noah
1God lovingly blessed Noah and all his family and said to them, “Reproduce, be fruitful, and populate the earth. 2I will cause every living creature of earth, sky, and sea # 9:2 Or “every animal of the earth, every bird of the air, everything that creeps on the ground, and all the fish of the sea.” to fear and dread you from this time forward. They are now under your authority. # 9:2 Or “are delivered into your hands.” 3You may now eat the meat of animals # 9:3 Or “every moving thing that lives.” See Col. 2:16; 1 Tim. 4:3–5. as well as green plants; I now give you everything for food for you. 4However, you must not eat meat with its lifeblood still in it, for its life is in the blood. 5If anyone takes another person’s life, I will demand an account—whether from man or beast, I will demand an account for taking a human life.
6“Whoever sheds human blood,
by other humans he must have his own blood shed;
for to kill a person is to kill one made
in God’s own beautiful image.
7Now all of you, with my blessing, reproduce,
be fruitful and repopulate the earth.” # 9:7 Or “swarm throughout the earth.”
8Then God said to Noah and his family, 9“I establish my loving covenant # 9:9 The Hebrew word for “covenant” is berit and is found numerous times in this chapter. God’s covenant turns judgment into grace. with you, your descendants, 10and every living creature that is with you—animals large and small, birds, and every living thing that came out of the ark. 11I will maintain my loving covenant with you. I will never again completely destroy life on earth by means of a flood. Yes, never again will a flood destroy the whole earth!”
12“Here is the sign for you and future generations that my loving covenant will endure between me and you and every animal that came with you out of the ark: 13I have placed my rainbow # 9:13 Or “bending,” most often translated “warrior’s bow,” for just as a warrior hangs up his bow after the battle, so God’s bow, without arrows, is now surrendered to the sky, not aimed at earth, because of his love for humanity. The rainbow around God’s throne is a full circle, for the earth does not cut off God’s rainbow promises. And it is an emerald-colored rainbow around the throne, for it is the promise of life. See Rev. 4:3; 10:1. among the clouds, and it will be a sign of my loving covenant between me and the earth. 14Whenever I bring clouds over the earth, and the rainbow appears in the clouds, 15I will remember my covenant with you and with every living thing upon the earth. Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy life from the earth. 16When the rainbow is in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant I made with you and every living thing of every kind upon the earth.”
17So God said to Noah, “The rainbow is my signature in the sky, my seal of love # 9:17 Or “sign of confirmation.” to confirm that I have kept my covenant between me and every living thing on earth.”
18Noah’s sons came out of the ark with him: Shem, Ham (the father of Canaan), and Japheth. 19From these three sons of Noah the entire world was repopulated.
20Noah, a farmer, was the first to plant a vineyard. 21He drank so much of the wine he made that he got drunk and passed out naked inside his tent. # 9:21 Chronologically, this would likely have been years after they exited the ark. 22And Ham, the father of Canaan, went into the tent and gazed on his shamefully exposed father. # 9:22 Various Hebrew scholars surmise that this was a euphemistic account of Ham doing some act of gross indecency, not mere voyeurism. See Prov. 30:17; 1 Peter 4:8. Then he went out and informed his brothers. 23So, Shem and Japheth took their father’s cloak # 9:23 Or “the garment.” It is possible that Ham brought his father’s garment outside the tent to show it to his brothers. and walked backwards with the cloak on their shoulders into the tent to cover up their naked father. Respectfully, they turned their faces away so as not to see their father lying there exposed. 24When Noah sobered up and realized what his youngest son had done to him, 25he uttered these words:
“Cursed be your son, Canaan, # 9:25 Although it was Ham, Noah’s son, who violated his father, Ham’s son Canaan was the one who was cursed. Some see the possibility that Canaan was complicit in what Ham did.
and let him be the lowest of servants # 9:25 Or “slave of slaves.” Canaan was the ancestor of the Canaanites. Canaan means “bow down.” See Josh. 9:23; Judg. 1. to his brothers.”
26He also said,
“Worthy of praise is Yahweh,
the God of Shem! # 9:26 Jesus Christ came through the lineage of Shem (see Luke 3:23–38), the father of the Semitic peoples. This is a prophecy that Shem would have a special relationship with Yahweh.
Let Canaan be Shem’s slave.
27May God enlarge Japheth’s family
and increase his territory. # 9:27 Or “May God make room for Japheth.” This a play on words, for the Hebrew triliteral root for Japheth (y-p-t) is identical to the root for “make room,” “increase,” or “enlarge [enrich, prosper].” Japheth was to become the father of enlarged nations, spreading out over the globe.
May he share in the blessing of Shem,
and his descendants make their homes
among the tents of Shem, # 9:27 Many scholars view this as an alliance between Shem and Japheth that would include sharing the blessing of prosperity among them.
and may Canaan be his slave also!” # 9:27 This account of Noah’s cursing and blessing of his three sons illustrates the power of a father’s words over his children (and grandchildren) and how those words create the reality of their future. Descendants of each of Noah’s sons were present at the crucifixion of the Lord Jesus. The descendants of Shem were present in the Jewish religious leaders who conspired to crucify the Messiah. Japheth was present in the Romans who participated jointly with the Jews to crucify the Lord Jesus. And a descendant of Ham was present in the person of Simon of Cyrene, who bore the cross of Christ in servitude (see Luke 23:26). The sons of Noah are brought before us again in Acts 8–10. The Ethiopian was a descendant of Ham whom Philip blessed with the gospel (see Acts 8:25–40). Saul of Tarsus (Paul) was from Shem and was also converted by the revelation of Jesus (see Acts 9:1–31). Cornelius the centurion was a son of Japheth who believed the good news of Christ (see Acts 10).
28After the flood, Noah lived another three hundred and fifty years. 29Noah’s entire lifetime was nine hundred and fifty years, and then he died. # 9:29 There are numerous parallels between Noah and Adam. Both came onto an earth that had been submerged by water. Both were given lordship over creation. Both were blessed and told to multiply. Both were men of the soil, working the ground. Both sinned in a garden (vineyard). Both experienced the exposure of nakedness. Both men’s sins affected their posterity. Both had three sons. And both experienced a prophecy following their fall.
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