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Genesis 9

9
Chapter 9
God's covenant with Noah
1God blessed Noah and his sons. He said to them, ‘Give birth to many children so that you become very many people. Your descendants will live all over the earth. 2All the animals and all the birds will be afraid of you. You have authority over them. You also have authority over all the living things that move across the ground and all the fish in the sea. 3You may now eat anything that lives and moves. Before, I gave you the green plants to eat. Now I give you everything to eat as your food.
4But you must not eat meat that still has the blood of life in it.
5If any person or animal kills a human, I will certainly punish them. Their punishment will be death.
6God made people so that they were like himself. #9:6 See Genesis 1:26.
So, if anyone kills a human,
another human must kill him.
7But as for you, you should give birth to many children so that you become very many people. Then the number of people on the earth will grow and they will live all over the earth.’
8God said to Noah and to his sons, 9‘I promise you that I will keep the covenant that I am making with you. I promise this to you and to all your descendants. 10I also promise this to all the animals and birds that came out of the boat with you. That is everything that lives on the earth. 11This is the covenant that I promise to keep: I will never cause water to destroy all living things on the earth again. Deep water will never again come to destroy the earth.’ #9:11 A covenant is a special agreement that God makes with people. He promises that he will help them in a certain way.
12Then God said, ‘I will show you clearly that I have made this covenant with you, and with every living animal. I will keep this promise for ever, for as long as people live on the earth. 13I have put my rainbow among the clouds in the sky. It will show you clearly that I have made this covenant with everything on the earth. 14When I bring clouds over the earth, a rainbow will sometimes appear. 15Then I will remember the covenant that I have made with you and with all the different kinds of living things. Never again will the water become so deep that it destroys everything that lives. 16When I see the rainbow in the clouds, I will remember my covenant. It is a promise that I have made with every kind of living thing on the earth.’
17Then God said to Noah, ‘The rainbow will show you that I will certainly keep my promise. I will keep my covenant that is between me and everything that lives on the earth.’
Noah's sons
18The names of Noah's sons were Shem, Ham and Japheth. They all came out of the boat with Noah. Ham later became the father of a son called Canaan. 19All the people who live on the earth are descendants of Noah's three sons.
20Noah was a farmer. He was the first person to plant vines.
21He used the grapes to make wine. One day, he drank some of the wine and he became drunk. He lay inside his tent and he slept. He was not wearing any clothes. 22Canaan's father, Ham, saw that Noah was not wearing any clothes. He went out of the tent. He told his two brothers what he had seen. 23Then Shem and Japheth took Noah's coat and they put it between their shoulders. They walked into Noah's tent with their backs to Noah. In this way they covered their father with the coat. They looked away from their father so that they did not see him. They did this because Noah was not wearing any clothes. #9:23 Vines grow a small round fruit called grapes. People use grapes to make wine. Wine is a drink containing alcohol.
24Later, when he was no longer drunk with the wine, Noah woke up. He found out what his youngest son, Ham, had done. 25He said, ‘I curse Canaan! He will become a slave that must serve his brothers.’
26Noah also said, ‘I praise the Lord, the God of Shem! Let Canaan become Shem's slave! 27I pray that God will make the land of Japheth and his descendants grow bigger. I pray that the descendants of Japheth will share good things with Shem. I pray that Canaan will become Japheth's slave.’ #9:27 Noah wants God to bless Shem and Japheth, because they did the right thing. Noah asks for a curse on the descendants of Ham because he caused Noah to be ashamed.
28Noah lived for 350 years after God covered the earth with deep water. 29In his whole life, Noah lived for 950 years. Then he died.
9
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.