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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
God Blesses Noah and His Sons
1God blessed Noah and his sons and said to them, “Be fertile, increase in number, and fill the earth. 2All the wild animals and all the birds will fear you and be terrified of you. Every creature that crawls on the ground and all the fish in the sea have been put under your control. 3Everything that lives and moves will be your food. I gave you green plants as food; I now give you everything else.
4“But you are not to eat meat with blood in it. (Blood is life.) 5In addition, I will demand your blood for your life. I will demand it from any animal or from any person. I will demand the life of any person ⌞who kills⌟ another person.
6Whoever sheds human blood,
by humans his blood will be shed,
because in the image of God, God made humans.
7Be fertile, and increase in number. Spread over the earth, and increase.”
God’s Promise—the Sign of the Rainbow
8God also said to Noah and his sons, 9“I am going to make my promise  #9:9 Or “covenant.” to you, your descendants, 10and every living being that is with you—birds, domestic animals, and all the wild animals, all those that came out of the ship—every living thing on earth. 11I am making my promise to you. Never again will all life be killed by floodwaters. Never again will there be a flood that destroys the earth.”
12God said, “This is the sign of the promise I am giving to you and every living being that is with you for generations to come. 13I will put my rainbow in the clouds to be a sign of my promise to the earth. 14Whenever I form clouds over the earth, a rainbow will appear in the clouds. 15Then I will remember my promise to you and every living animal. Never again will water become a flood to destroy all life. 16Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember my everlasting promise to every living animal on earth.”
17So God said to Noah, “This is the sign of the promise I am making to all life on earth.”
Noah Curses Canaan but Blesses Shem and Japheth
18Noah’s sons, who came out of the ship, were Shem, Ham, and Japheth. 19These were Noah’s three sons. From them the whole earth was populated. Ham was the father of Canaan.#9:19 The second part of verse 18 (in Hebrew) has been placed just after verse 19 to express the complex Hebrew sentence structure more clearly in English.
20Noah, a farmer, was the first person to plant a vineyard. 21He drank some wine, got drunk, and lay naked inside his tent. 22Ham, father of Canaan, saw his father naked. So he went outside and told his two brothers.
23Shem and Japheth took a blanket and laid it over their shoulders. Then they walked in backwards and covered their father’s naked body. They turned their faces away so that they didn’t see their father naked.
24When Noah sobered up, he found out what his youngest son had done to him. 25So he said,
“Canaan is cursed!
He will be the lowest slave to his brothers.
26Praise the Lord, the God of Shem!
Canaan will be his slave.
27May God expand the territory of Japheth.#9:27 There is a play on words here between the Hebrew yapht (May God expand) and yepheth (Japheth).
May he live in the tents of Shem.
Canaan will be his slave.”
28Noah lived 350 years after the flood. 29Noah lived a total of 950 years; then he died.