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Genesis 9

9
God promised not to cover the earth with water again
1God was good to Noah and his sons. God said to them, “I want you to have lots of kids, and fill the earth with people.#Genesis 1:28 2I’m making you boss over everything that lives on the ground, all the animals and all the birds, and I’m making you boss over the fish and everything in the sea too. They will be frightened of you.
3I gave you bush tucker to eat, and now I’m giving you meat to eat too. You can eat anything that moves. 4But I’m telling you this about blood. Blood is important. It keeps a body alive. So don’t eat any blood. You have to drain the blood out of the animal before you eat it. Don’t eat any meat that still has the blood in it.#Leviticus 7:26-27; 17:10-14; 19:26; Deuteronomy 12:16, 23; 15:23 5And I will punish anyone and anything that kills a person dead. If an animal kills somebody, it has to die. And it is the same for a person that kills another person, that murderer has to die. 6You see, I made people to be like myself, so they are important. So if somebody kills another person dead, you have to kill that murderer dead.#Genesis 1:26; Exodus 20:13
7But I want you mob to have lots of kids, so that there will be lots of people everywhere on the earth.”#Genesis 1:28
8Then God told Noah and his sons, 9“I promise this to you and to your kids, and to all the people that will be born later on. 10And I promise this to all the animals that live on the earth, too, all the birds, and all the wild animals, and all the animals that are not wild. I promise this to all of the animals that came out of the big boat with you. 11I promise that there will never again be a real big flood of water that will finish up everything on the earth. There will never again be a big flood that kills all the people and animals.”
God sent a rainbow to help people remember what he promised
12And God said, “I will give you something to help you remember what I promised to you, and to all of the animals living on the earth, and to your kids, and to all the people that will be born later on. 13It is my rainbow, up there in the sky. I’m putting it there to help you remember what I promised to you, and to everything that lives on the earth. I promised that I will never again send a real big flood to finish up everything on the earth. 14Sometimes I will send rain clouds into the sky, and there will be a rainbow in the clouds, too. 15Then I will remember what I promised to you, and to all the living animals. And there will never again be a flood that will kill all of the animals on the earth. 16Every time I look at the rainbow in the clouds, I will remember what I promised to you, and to all the animals on the earth. I will never break that promise. It will last for ever.”
17And God said to Noah, “This is very important. That rainbow will help you remember that I myself promised that for every living thing.”
Noah got drunk
18-19Noah had 3 sons. Their names were Shem, and Ham, and Jafeth. They were on the boat with Noah, and after they got off the boat, they had their own sons and daughters. One of Ham’s sons was called Canaan, and there were lots of other sons and daughters too. And later, all those kids had more kids, and it kept going like that. All the people in the world are from Noah’s family.
20Soon after Noah came out of the big boat, he started growing a garden. He planted some grape vines, and they grew some grapes. Then he made some wine from those grapes. 21Noah drank some of that wine and got drunk. He took his clothes off and went to sleep in his tent. 22Ham (Canaan’s father) went into the tent and saw his naked father. Ham didn’t respect his father, so he went outside and told his brothers what happened. 23Shem and Jafeth got a coat. They held it over their shoulders and walked backwards into the tent. They put the coat on their father to cover his naked body. They didn’t turn around and look at their naked father.
24After Noah woke up, he found out what Ham, his youngest son, did to him. 25Then Noah said, “I’m going to curse Canaan, Ham’s son. He will have to work hard for his relatives, without pay. 26God is good. I’m going to ask God to look after Shem, but Canaan will work hard for him with no pay. 27I’m going to ask God to give Jafeth a big country. Jafeth and Shem will share that country, and Canaan will work hard for them with no pay.”
28Noah lived for another 350 years after the flood. 29He died when he was 950 years old.
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.