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Genesis 9

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.

Genesis 9

9
Genesis 9
1¶ And God blessed Noah and his sons and said unto them, Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth.
2And the fear of you and the dread of you shall be upon every animal of the earth and upon every fowl of the heavens, upon all that moves upon the earth and upon all the fishes of the sea; into your hand they are delivered.
3Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you; even as the green grass I have given you all things.
4But flesh with the soul (or life) thereof, which is its blood, ye shall not eat.
5For surely your blood which is your souls I will require; at the hand of every animal I will require it and at the hand of man; at the hand of every man’s brother I will require the soul (or life) of man.
6Whoever sheds man’s blood in man, his blood shall be shed; for in the image of God is man made.
7And you, be ye fruitful and multiply; bring forth abundantly in the earth and multiply therein.
8¶ And God spoke unto Noah and to his sons with him, saying,
9Behold that I establish my covenant with you and with your seed after you
10and with every living soul that is with you, of the fowl, of the animals, and of every beast of the earth with you, from all that go out of the ark to every animal of the earth,
11that I will establish my covenant with you, that all flesh shall not be cut off any more by the waters of a flood; neither shall there any more be a flood to destroy the earth.
12¶ And God said, This is the sign of the covenant which I make between me and you and every living soul that is with you, for perpetual ages:
13I set my bow in the clouds, and it shall be for a sign of a covenant between me and the earth.
14And it shall come to pass when I bring clouds over the earth, that the bow shall appear in the clouds;
15and I will remember my covenant, which is between me and you and every living soul of all flesh; and the waters shall no more become a flood to destroy all flesh.
16And the bow shall be in the clouds, and I will look upon it that I may remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living soul of all flesh that is upon the earth.
17And God said unto Noah, This shall be the sign of the covenant, which I have established between me and all flesh that is upon the earth.
18¶ And the sons of Noah, that went forth from the ark, were Shem, Ham, and Japheth; and Ham is the father of Canaan.
19These are the three sons of Noah; and of them was the whole earth overspread.
20And Noah began to till the ground, and he planted a vineyard;
21and he drank of the wine and was drunken; and he was uncovered within his tent.
22And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father and told his two brethren outside.
23Then Shem and Japheth took a garment and laid it upon both their shoulders and went backward, and covered the nakedness of their father; and their faces were backward, and they did not see their father’s nakedness.
24¶ And Noah awoke from his wine and knew what his younger son had done unto him.
25And he said, Cursed be Canaan; a slave of slaves shall he be unto his brethren.
26And he said, Blessed be the Lord God of Shem; and Canaan shall be his slave.
27God shall enlarge Japheth, and he shall dwell in the tents of Shem; and Canaan shall be his slave.
28¶ And Noah lived after the flood three hundred and fifty years.
29And all the days of Noah were nine hundred and fifty years, and he died.