9 Then God blessed Noah and his sons, saying to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the earth. 2 The fear and dread of you will fall on all the beasts of the earth, and on all the birds in the sky, on every creature that moves along the ground, and on all the fish in the sea; they are given into your hands. 3 Everything that lives and moves about will be food for you. Just as I gave you the green plants, I now give you everything.
4 “But you must not eat meat that has its lifeblood still in it. 5 And for your lifeblood I will surely demand an accounting. I will demand an accounting from every animal. And from each human being, too, I will demand an accounting for the life of another human being.
6 “Whoever sheds human blood,
by humans shall their blood be shed;
for in the image of God
has God made mankind.
7 As for you, be fruitful and increase in number; multiply on the earth and increase upon it.”
8 Then God said to Noah and to his sons with him: 9 “I now establish my covenant with you and with your descendants after you 10 and with every living creature that was with you—the birds, the livestock and all the wild animals, all those that came out of the ark with you—every living creature on earth. 11 I establish my covenant with you: Never again will all life be destroyed by the waters of a flood; never again will there be a flood to destroy the earth.”
12 And God said, “This is the sign of the covenant I am making between me and you and every living creature with you, a covenant for all generations to come: 13 I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth. 14 Whenever I bring clouds over the earth and the rainbow appears in the clouds, 15 I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living creatures of every kind. Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life. 16 Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth.”
17 So God said to Noah, “This is the sign of the covenant I have established between me and all life on the earth.”
18 The sons of Noah who came out of the ark were Shem, Ham and Japheth. (Ham was the father of Canaan.) 19 These were the three sons of Noah, and from them came the people who were scattered over the whole earth.
20 Noah, a man of the soil, proceeded to plant a vineyard. 21 When he drank some of its wine, he became drunk and lay uncovered inside his tent. 22 Ham, the father of Canaan, saw his father naked and told his two brothers outside. 23 But Shem and Japheth took a garment and laid it across their shoulders; then they walked in backward and covered their father’s naked body. Their faces were turned the other way so that they would not see their father naked.
24 When Noah awoke from his wine and found out what his youngest son had done to him, 25 he said,
“Cursed be Canaan!
The lowest of slaves
will he be to his brothers.”
26 He also said,
“Praise be to the Lord, the God of Shem!
May Canaan be the slave of Shem.
27 May God extend Japheth’s territory;
may Japheth live in the tents of Shem,
and may Canaan be the slave of Japheth.”
28 After the flood Noah lived 350 years. 29 Noah lived a total of 950 years, and then he died.
(Genesis 9:1-29 NIV)
At the end of Chapter 8, Noah and all the creatures on the ark exited and made their way out into the new world.
As we begin Chapter 9, the Lord blesses Noah and his family and commissions them. God gives Noah and his sons the whole earth again, and grants them dominion and power over all the other creatures. God also gives Noah and his family the animals, birds, and fish as a food source. The only restriction was that the meat of the creatures being eaten must not be consumed raw.
This restriction was God’s way of showing dignity and grace for all life that He created, and human life above all others:
- Humans must not kill other humans, nor consume their flesh
- Animals must not be permitted to harm or kill humans
- Humans must not eat the meat of creatures raw like other creatures do
After God blessed Noah and his family, He then made a covenant with all creation (including humans, animals, birds, bugs, everything) that He would never destroy all life by flooding the earth again. As a sign of this promise, God gave the reminder of a rainbow in the sky.
God’s rainbow reminder continues to our world today; after work yesterday, I stopped at the store for a few groceries; as I walked back to my car, there was a partial rainbow with brilliant colors in the sky. People in the parking area were stopped to look and comment; one couple even tried to take a picture of themselves with the rainbow in the background. God’s promises are true and everlasting!
Moses previously recorded Noah’s righteousness; in this chapter, we also see his fallenness. Noah’s sin and shame came through drunkenness. One of his sons disrespected his father rather than honoring him. Noah’s two other sons were very careful not to dishonor their father and cover his nakedness without seeing him naked.
After Noah slept off his drunkenness and realized what had happened, he gave a prophecy against the son who had dishonored him and in favor of the two sons who had honored him. We will see the effects of this curse and blessing in future chapters.
As Chapter 9 ends, the saga of Noah’s life (all 950 years) comes to an end. Noah had seen two worlds, before and after to flood, full of people and creatures, and just a few that were starting over. Noah (for the most part) lived in humble gratitude of the Lord.
May we do likewise.