Genesis 9:1 “…Be fruitful and multiply…”
1-7 begins similar to Genesis 1:28 where God told man to subdue the earth and have dominion over all creatures. However, now things are different.
2 “…fear of you and the dread of you shall be on every beast…”
Instead of having dominion over the beasts, the beasts will now dread man, no mutual cooperation. I still think man has dominion over all other creatures, but now he is in danger when dealing with them. The ability to have a relationship with the animals of creation is gone. Seems now only dogs, cats, and horses have any interest in a relationship with man, and those can be easily strained. This is one of the points which is prophesied to be removed when Christ returns.
3-4 “Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you…even as the green herbs…you shall not eat flesh with its life, that is, its blood”
Man is no longer strictly a vegetarian. Commentaries agree that this is a permission, not a command. Man may have been eating animals before the flood after the fall, but now he is formally allowed to do so with a couple of restrictions. He must not eat the blood with the meat, and he must not eat animals that have died on their own. Some commentaries suggest that animals were already carnivorous before the fall, but I find no evidence of that. Whether some animals began eating each other before the flood is not mentioned. However, since this point is also mentioned as something that will be changed after Christ’s return, it supports the idea that all land animals ate plants until some point, either the fall or the flood.
6 “Whoever sheds man’s blood, By man his blood shall be shed; For in the image of God He made man.”
The basis for capital punishment for deliberate murder. God is closing any thought regarding man’s responsibility over another’s life, as Cain mentioned. Cain asked am I my brother’s keeper. God is now formally saying yes. He will require man’s life for that of his brother if he takes a life. It is also clearly stated that by man the forfeited life shall be taken. God is making this an institution of man. Official clarifications will be given later when He gives the law to Moses, such as accidental death, self defense, punishment as stated here, and war. Such is the difference between killing, the ending of a life and murder, the deliberate taking of an innocent life without cause, usually threat of life or limb. Certainly the death of any man is a terrible tragedy, but disobedience to God’s commands is how man got into trouble from the beginning. To think we know better than God and refuse His edicts is to court disaster in many forms.
8-17 The Noah-tic covenant. God will never again destroy all flesh from the earth by flood. He will destroy civilizations for their sin and wickedness, but not the entire population of the earth as He did with the flood. Scripture tells us the next time the entire planet is destroyed is after the return of Christ, and it will be by fire. The rainbow is the sign or reminder of the covenant. Much debate over whether this is the first appearance of a rainbow or if God is merely making it His sign. The arguments for its pre-existence are based on current meteorological conditions, namely direct sunlight through water falling from clouds. However, if the idea of the water canopy existing before the flood is correct, the conditions may not have been conducive for a rainbow. The sunlight coming through the canopy may not have been sufficient to produce a rainbow, nor would light passing through the body of water of the canopy have been. Even now, a rainbow is not produced by sunlight shining on clouds. There must be falling water/rain. I tend to follow the new phenomenon idea. It fits the whole narrative, the description of creation before the flood and God’s statement that He is setting the bow in the clouds.
How sad that modern man in his sin induced blindness misses the wonder and majesty of the rainbow. He can see by science, which is simply observation, how a rainbow is formed, and since he denies the existence of God, claims that rainbows are just manifestations of the physical world. He misses the facts that God does exist, He created all of the physics of this world and, for reasons unknown, He chooses to use them to bring about His purposes. Therefore, the existence of the rainbow isn’t just a manifestation of a physical phenomenon, but a message from the Almighty Creator, anchored as it were in the very fabric of the current creation. The more man attempts to display his intelligence, the more he shows his ignorance.
21 “…he drank of the wine and was drunk…”
Many make a moral judgment of Noah due to this episode. However, it may not have been his intention to produce alcohol. Pre-flood atmospheric conditions may have included air pressure twice that of post-flood. Under those conditions, fermentation may not have taken place so easily before the flood. Noah may have done the same thing he’d done many times before, but this time the grape juice fermented producing the alcohol causing him to become intoxicated. If it were the first time he had experienced the effects of alcohol, he easily could have enjoyed the onset without recognizing the detrimental results.
22-24 “…Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father, and told his two brothers outside…Noah…knew what his younger son had done to him”
Much debate over this incident. It is unclear exactly what happened and why Noah expressed a curse on Canaan although Ham was the perpetrator. Commentaries are varied in their suggestions. I have no clear idea other than what is stated in the text. The issue revolves around the phrase saw the nakedness of his father. Did Ham merely see Noah uncovered or does this refer to another action? And why was the curse placed on Ham’s son Canaan instead of Ham? The only thing that occurs to me is that Noah was being specific about which descendants the curse would affect. Commentaries see the destruction of the inhabitants of the land of Canaan by God years later as the fulfillment of the curse.
25 “Cursed be Canaan; A servant of servants He shall be to his brethren.”
Some have expressed the idea that those of African descent who were used in the slave trade were the descendents of Canaan and point to this verse as some sort of justification of slavery. No evidence of that. Canaan’s descendents settled in the middle east, primarily the land of Canaan which God gives to the Israelites. There is no justification for slavery of mankind by man. A prophecy is not a command of God. While the Bible seems to take an easy hand on the topic of slavery, the mistreatment of man by man is contrary to God’s commands. That would include depriving him of personal freedom as well as anything else. God focuses on the heart of man, and only God can change a man’s heart. The Bible’s treatment of the topic of slavery express this truth. Once man’s heart changes to the point of seeing the evil of slavery, he will stop the practice.
28 “…Noah lived after the flood three hundred and fifty years”
The detrimental effects of the new environment will soon begin to wear on mankind. Instead of the nine hundred and fifty year span of Noah, man’s life will eventually be reduced to around a hundred at the most.
I hope you enjoy reading and studying His word. May it accomplish what He desires. Please feel free to comment or post questions. Thanks for reading!
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.