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Chapter 9

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ch. 9:1-17   ch. 9:18-29


God's Covenant With Noah (ch. 9:1 - 17)  



In verse 1 God tells Noah the same thing that He told Adam.  He said, "be fruitful and increase in number and fill the earth."   The JKV uses the word "replenish" instead of the word "fill" when God speaks to both Adam and Noah.  Some say that this suggests one reason for the Gap Theory.  This theory states, as noted in my notes on Genesis 1:1 and2, that there is a gap between these two verses.  Prior to Genesis 1:2 there was a pre-adamic race that fell from God's grace resulting in judgment and God destroying the earth.


Verse 2 tells us about one major change that Noah and his family experienced in relation to animals.  If you remember, in Genesis 1:28 God told Adam to "rule" over the animals. This tells me that man had authority over the animals.  That appears to have now changed.  Animals, including birds and fish would now be afraid of man.  Another major point to be made here is that now man could eat animals.  Prior to this, man was vegetarian.


Verse 3 carries on with the same point that is found in verse 2.  God said that prior to this He had only given man vegetation to eat, but they could eat everything.  Any kind of animal, bird, or fish  was now available for man to eat. 


Verse 4 puts some exceptions to the "everything" that Noah and his family could eat.  They could not eat meat that still had "its lifeblood in it."  Note the word "lifeblood."   The KJV uses the word "life."  The Hebrew word translated here is "nephish."  It's the same word used in Genesis 2:7 when God breathed into Adam and he became a "living soul."   The words "living soul, or being" is the Hebrew word "nephish."  The Hebrew word "nephish" is often translated as soul throughout the King James Bible.  Blood and soul are thus closely related.


Blood is important to God.   Besides God's breath of life, it's the blood that provides the life for man and animal.  When Cain killed Abel, God said that Abel's "blood was crying from the ground."  Blood is holy to God.  It must not be eaten.  Yet with this in mind, Jesus spoke of us drinking His blood.  Of course Jesus wasn’t' speaking literally.  Still, knowing how God viewed the importance of blood, this statement from Jesus is significant.


Verse 5 continues the point about blood, but adds to it.  God says that He will have every man, and even every animal give account of himself when they take the life blood from a human being.   So, if a human, or an animal kills a human, they will have to give account of that to God some day.  How this will look when it comes to the animals, I don't know.  This tells me that animals are a living soul as man.  They are both eternal and spiritual in nature.  They weren't created in God's likeness and image, but both man and animals had the same breath of life breathed into them that made them both a living soul.    


Verse 6 says, "whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed; for in the image of God has God created man".   Many people point this verse to back up their thinking on capital punishment. The text says that if man sheds the blood of another man, then that man's blood will be shed.  I'm not one hundred percent sure this is talking about capital punishment here, but I can certainly see how one can derive capital punishment from this statement. 


Note the reason why the killers life then should be taken.  It is because he killed someone who "God made in His image."  It's more than just the killing of a man.  It's the fact that the dead man was made in God's image, and therefore, you're killing someone whom God has made, something similar to God Himself.


Verse 7 starts with the words "as for you", as in "as for you Noah."  These words relate this verse to the last verse.  God just spoke about man and animals killing man, but for Noah, this was not to be.  Instead of killing, God told Noah again to increase in number and fill the earth.  Instead of killing life, Noah was to bring forth new life.


Noah was to "fill the earth" with people.  This filling was actually a refilling, or replenishing, as the JKV puts it.  That's why some people believe in the Gap Theory, that is the gap between Genesis 1:1 and Genesis 1:2.   They suggest that when Adam was told to fill the earth, as Noah was here, it was also a replenishing, as the KJV puts it as well.


In verses 8 through 11 God speaks to Noah and tells him that He is making a covenant.  God, at this point made a covenant with Himself.  He agreed with Himself never to kill life from the earth with a flood of water again.  Note that this covenant was not made to man only.  It was made to all the animals as well.  This tells me that animals are important to God, and is just another point in my defense that animals are living souls, both eternal and spiritual in nature.


One thing we note here is that God said that He would not kill life on earth with a flood, but He would eventually kill life on earth, or at least most of life, as seen in the book of Revelation.  This will happen at the end of the age, and as Peter said, it would happen with fire (2 Peter 3:7).


Verse 12 once again states that this covenant is to both man and animals, and it will last for all generations, that is, for all time.  With any covenant, something is provided to confirm the covenant, and in this case, God said that He would provide a rainbow in the sky as a sign to this covenant. Now a rainbow is a natural phenomena, and is often the case, God uses natural things, not supernatural things when He deals with man and animals.  Another example is when God dried the earth of the water.  He used a wind.  Another thing is that man no longer lived long lives after the flood. God said that man's life would be 120 years. This was most likely due to a natural fact, that being, the umbrella effect of the water that no longer existed above the sky was gone.  The sun now would have an aging process on man.


Verse 13 speaks of this rainbow.  So every time we see a rainbow in the sky, it speaks to God's covenant.  The rainbow in itself tells us that God is alive and well.


Verses 14 and 16 speak of this rainbow from God's perspective.  It's not only a reminder to us about God's covenant, it's a reminder to God Himself.  He made a covenant with both man and animals never to flood the earth again with water, and every time God sees the rainbow this covenant will be brought to His attention.


This section ends with verse 17 that says, "this is the sign of the covenant I have established between me and all life on earth."  Once again, this covenant was not for man alone.  The animals are included.  They entered the ark with Noah and they left the ark with Noah.



The Sons Of Noah (ch. 9:18 - 29)


Verse 18 tells us the names of Noah's three sons.  They were Shem, Ham, and Japheth.  The name Shem means, a name or a mark, or some distinguishing mark.  It is said that Shem's line of ancestry ended up in Asia and migrated to the far east.  They became Persians, Assyrians, Aramaeans, and part of the Arab population.  The name Ham means hot.  Ham's ancestry includes the Canaanites, and those who lived in the south, including Egypt.  Japheth means opened.  His ancestry spread northwards and settled in the coast of the Mediterranean and north into Europe .  


Verse 18 specifically says that Ham was the father of Canaan.  This is mentioned here due to what will come later on in this chapter.


Verse 19 generalizes what I've commented on in verse 18.  It just states that from these three sons came all the people of the world.  That means you and I are descendents of one of these men.


Verse 20 tells us what work Noah involved himself in.  The text says that he worked with the soil.  It also says that he planted a vineyard.  The NIV doesn't say it this way, but the text could also read that he was the first to plant a vineyard.  We probably can't know for sure, but if Noah was the first to plant a vineyard, that means no one drank wine prior to this date. It might also give Noah an excuse for what takes place in this chapter.


In verse 21 we learn that Noah drank some of the wine he made from his vineyard.  As a result, he got drunk.  If he was the first to plant a vineyard, he might well have been the first to get drunk.  We can't say for sure.  Along with being drunk, the text says that he laid uncovered in his tent.   Laying uncovered means laying naked.   It is only speculation why Noah was naked.  Some might suggest that he just undressed himself and went to sleep.  Others might suggest some sexual activity going on.  We just don't know.


The Bible speaks lots about getting drunk.  It teaches us not to get drunk.  It teaches us about the problems of drunkenness.  The Bible does not teach us not to drink.  I will not get involved in the discussion here, but clearly, Jesus drank wine without getting drunk.


Verse 22 tells us that Ham saw Noah's nakedness.  Why Ham entered Noah's tent is uncertain.  All we know is that he did.  Many scholars tell us that the Hebrew suggest that Ham didn't just see his father naked.  The Hebrew word translated as "saw" means "a long gaze" which in the eyes of some suggest some deviousness on Ham's part.  But that's somewhat speculative as well.


Verses 22 and 23 tell us that Ham went out to get his brothers.  Then Shem and Japheth took some kind of garment, put it over their shoulders, walked backwards so they could not see their father's naked body and covered Noah up.  They seem to go out of their way to cover up their father without looking at him.  This suggests to me that Shem and Japheth felt that it was wrong to see their naked father.  Or else they felt embarrassed by seeing their naked father.


Verses 24 tells us that when Noah woke up, he was very upset with what his youngest son had done to him.  There's some debate over the term "youngest son".  It was Ham who first seemed to discover that his father was naked.  We tend to think that Ham was the middle son, although it might be possible that when the three sons are mentioned in the Bible, they are not mentioned in order of their age.  They're always mentioned as Shem Ham, and Japheth, Ham being the middle son.


Whatever the case Noah was upset with this son because he did something to Noah while Noah was naked. From the text, the only thing we know that any son did to Noah was to cover him up without seeing his nakedness.  That doesn't seem to be anything worth getting upset over.  So, many scholars suggest something else had to have happened before the other two sons came to cover up Noah.  These scholars suggest that Ham engaged in some kind of homosexual activity.  We don't know for sure what really happened.  All we know is that Noah was very upset with this son, and we know this son was Ham because of what Noah says next.


In verse 25 Noah cursed Canaan, the son of Ham.  The question is always asked, "why did Noah curse Canaan when it was Ham that he was upset with?"  Once again we might not know the answer to this question.  One way of punishing a person though would be to inflict his son with the punishment instead.  Canaan would become a  slave according to the curse. We might view these words as prophetic due to the history of the Canaanites.  These words of Noah then, might well be from God.


Noah continues in verse 26 by saying, "blessed be the Lord the God of Shem.  May Canaan be the slave of Shem."   We see here that Noah says that God was the God of Shem. As we said earlier, the godly lineage of Adam seemed to go through Abel, and then through Seth  Now the godly line seems to go through Shem, all because of something that Ham did, and we don't really know what that was. 


Canaan would thus end up serving, or being a slave of Shem.  This means that Canaan and his descendents would always be subject to, and in opposition to the lineage of Shem. 


These seemingly prophetic words spoken by Noah continue in verse 27.  Noah says, "may God extend the territory of Japheth ."  If the lineage of Japheth actually extended to the north east, that means they went into Europe and eventually the Europeans ended up in North America , thus fulfilling this prophetic word.


Verse 27 also says, "may Japheth live in the tents of Shem."  This could be prophetic.  Japheth could represent what would some day become the Gentile nations.  We do know that Abraham came through the lineage of Shem.  Thus, the Gentiles, as in Gentile Christians, would be grafted into the people of God, or in other words, "living in Shem's tents."


We also note that Canaan would be the slave of Japeth as well as Shem.  Ham seems to be completely out of the picture now.  He has been replaced by Canaan and Canaan has clearly been cursed.  It's like at times God removes a mantel from one person and puts in on one of his sons.  This might well be the case in a negative sense as well.   Ham's mantel was now placed on Ham.  The mantel was actually a curse that has been passed down from one generation to another.    


I won't get involved in this discussion now, but here, early in human history we see the idea of a curse.  Many people believe today that our descendents can be cursed of God as well.  Other's believe that no such curse exists for the Christian.


Verse 28 tells us that Noah lived 350 years after the flood.  He would have seen many of his sons descendents.

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