Covenant with Noah. 1#God reaffirms without change the original blessing and mandate of 1:28. In the Mesopotamian epic Atrahasis, on which the Genesis story is partly modeled, the gods changed their original plan by restricting human population through such means as childhood diseases, birth demons, and mandating celibacy among certain groups of women. God blessed Noah and his sons and said to them: Be fertile and multiply and fill the earth.#Gn 1:22, 28; 8:17. 2#Pre-flood creatures, including human beings, are depicted as vegetarians (1:29–30). In view of the human propensity to violence, God changes the original prohibition against eating meat. Fear and dread of you shall come upon all the animals of the earth and all the birds of the air, upon all the creatures that move about on the ground and all the fishes of the sea; into your power they are delivered. 3#Gn 1:29–30; Dt 12:15. Any living creature that moves about shall be yours to eat; I give them all to you as I did the green plants. 4#Lv 7:26–27; 17:4; Dt 12:16, 23; 1 Sm 14:33; Acts 15:20. Only meat with its lifeblood still in it you shall not eat.#Because a living being dies when it loses most of its blood, the ancients regarded blood as the seat of life, and therefore as sacred. Jewish tradition considered the prohibition against eating meat with blood to be binding on all, because it was given by God to Noah, the new ancestor of all humankind; therefore the early Christian Church retained it for a time (Acts 15:20, 29). 5Indeed for your own lifeblood I will demand an accounting: from every animal I will demand it, and from a human being, each one for the blood of another, I will demand an accounting for human life.#Gn 4:10–11; Ex 21:12.
6#The image of God, given to the first man and woman and transmitted to every human being, is the reason that no violent attacks can be made upon human beings. That image is the basis of the dignity of every individual who, in some sense, “represents” God in the world. Anyone who sheds the blood of a human being,
by a human being shall that one’s blood be shed;
For in the image of God
have human beings been made.#Gn 1:26–27; Lv 24:17; Nm 35:33; Jas 3:9.
7Be fertile, then, and multiply; abound on earth and subdue it.#Gn 1:28; 8:17; 9:2; Jas 3:7.
8#God makes a covenant with Noah and his descendants and, remarkably, with all the animals who come out of the ark: never again shall the world be destroyed by flood. The sign of this solemn promise is the appearance of a rainbow. God said to Noah and to his sons with him: 9See, I am now establishing my covenant with you and your descendants after you#Gn 6:18. 10and with every living creature that was with you: the birds, the tame animals, and all the wild animals that were with you—all that came out of the ark. 11I will establish my covenant with you, that never again shall all creatures be destroyed by the waters of a flood; there shall not be another flood to devastate the earth.#Sir 44:18; Is 54:9. 12God said: This is the sign of the covenant that I am making between me and you and every living creature with you for all ages to come: 13#Sir 43:12. I set my bow in the clouds to serve as a sign of the covenant between me and the earth. 14When I bring clouds over the earth, and the bow appears in the clouds, 15I will remember my covenant between me and you and every living creature—every mortal being—so that the waters will never again become a flood to destroy every mortal being.#Is 54:9. 16When the bow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature—every mortal being that is on earth. 17God told Noah: This is the sign of the covenant I have established between me and every mortal being that is on earth.
Noah and His Sons. 18#The character of the three sons is sketched here. The fault is not Noah’s (for he could not be expected to know about the intoxicating effect of wine) but Ham’s, who shames his father by looking on his nakedness, and then tells the other sons. Ham’s conduct is meant to prefigure the later shameful sexual practices of the Canaanites, which are alleged in numerous biblical passages. The point of the story is revealed in Noah’s curse of Ham’s son Canaan and his blessing of Shem and Japheth. The sons of Noah who came out of the ark were Shem, Ham and Japheth. Ham was the father of Canaan.#Gn 5:32; 10:1. 19These three were the sons of Noah, and from them the whole earth was populated.
20Noah, a man of the soil, was the first to plant a vineyard. 21He drank some of the wine, became drunk, and lay naked inside his tent.#Lam 4:21; Hb 2:15. 22Ham, the father of Canaan, saw his father’s nakedness, and he told his two brothers outside. 23Shem and Japheth, however, took a robe, and holding it on their shoulders, they walked backward and covered their father’s nakedness; since their faces were turned the other way, they did not see their father’s nakedness. 24When Noah woke up from his wine and learned what his youngest son had done to him, 25he said:
“Cursed be Canaan!
The lowest of slaves
shall he be to his brothers.”#Dt 27:16; Wis 12:11.
26He also said:
“Blessed be the Lord, the God of Shem!
Let Canaan be his slave.
27May God expand Japheth,#In the Hebrew text there is a play on the words yapt (“expand”) and yepet (“Japheth”).
and may he dwell among the tents of Shem;
and let Canaan be his slave.”
28Noah lived three hundred and fifty years after the flood. 29The whole lifetime of Noah was nine hundred and fifty years; then he died.
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Covenant of the Rainbow
1And God blessed Noah and his sons and said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth. 2The fear and the terror of you shall be [instinctive] in every animal of the land and in every bird of the air; and together with everything that moves on the ground, and with all the fish of the sea; they are given into your hand. 3Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you; I give you everything, as I gave you the green plants and vegetables. 4But you shall not eat meat along with its life, that is, its blood. 5For your lifeblood I will most certainly require an accounting; from every animal [that kills a person] I will require it. And from man, from every man’s brother [that is, anyone who murders] I will require the life of man.
6Whoever sheds man’s blood [unlawfully],
By man (judicial government) shall his blood be shed,
For in the image of God
He made man.
7As for you, be fruitful and multiply;
Populate the earth abundantly and multiply in it.”
8Then God spoke to Noah and to his sons with him, saying, 9“Now behold, I am establishing My covenant (binding agreement, solemn promise) with you and with your descendants after you 10and with every living creature that is with you—the birds, the livestock, and the wild animals of the earth along with you, of everything that comes out of the ark—every living creature of the earth. 11I will establish My covenant with you: Never again shall all flesh be cut off by the water of a flood, nor shall there ever again be a flood to destroy and ruin the earth.” 12And God said, “This is the token (visible symbol, memorial) of the [solemn] covenant which I am making between Me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all future generations; 13I set My rainbow in the clouds, and it shall be a sign of a covenant between Me and the earth. 14It shall come about, when I bring clouds over the earth, that the rainbow shall be seen in the clouds, 15and I will [compassionately] remember My covenant, which is between Me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and never again will the water become a flood to destroy all flesh. 16When the rainbow is in the clouds and I look at it, I will [solemnly] remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth.” 17And God said to Noah, “This [rainbow] is the sign of the covenant (solemn pledge, binding agreement) which I have established between Me and all living things on the earth.”
18The sons of Noah who came out of the ark were Shem and Ham and Japheth. Ham would become the father of Canaan. 19These are the three sons of Noah, and from these [men] the whole earth was populated and scattered with inhabitants.
20And Noah began to farm and cultivate the ground and he planted a vineyard. 21He drank some of the wine and became drunk, and he was uncovered and lay exposed inside his tent. 22Ham, the father of Canaan, saw [by accident] the nakedness of his father, and [to his father’s shame] told his two brothers outside. 23So Shem and Japheth took a robe and put it on both their shoulders, and walked backwards and covered the nakedness of their father; their faces were turned away so that they did not see their father’s nakedness. 24When Noah awoke from his wine [induced stupor], he knew what his younger son [Ham] had done to him. 25So he said,
“Cursed be Canaan [the son of Ham];
# The words of Noah are prophetic. God later found the disobedience of the Canaanites to be repulsive and replaced them with the descendants of Shem. A servant of servants
He shall be to his brothers.”
26He also said,
“Blessed be the Lord,
The God of #The Jewish people are the descendants of Shem. Through Shem’s lineage came the Messiah and salvation.Shem;
And let Canaan be his servant.
27May God enlarge [the land of] Japheth,
And #Note that “let” in this verse represents a command, as in “Let there be light” (1:3).let #The antecedent of the word “him” could be Japheth, but it could also be “God,” thus making Him (the Messiah) dwell in the tents of Shem indicating the incarnation in the Semitic line.him dwell in the tents of Shem;
And let Canaan be his servant.”
28Noah lived three hundred and fifty years after the flood. 29So all the days of Noah were nine hundred and fifty years, and he died.
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