(Gen 9:1 NASB) And God blessed Noah and his sons and said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth.
Gen 9:1: The first seventeen verses in this chapter are Elohim’s response to Noah’s faithful sacrifice he made upon leaving the ark.
Elohim is going to reiterate instructions for man’s government. These are instructions that Noah was probably already aware of, but they were being reiterated in a covenant form between Elohim and the descendants of Noah.
Much of Christianity teaches “dispensationalism.” This school of thought teaches biblical history as a number of successive, but different, economies or administrations under Elohim, which it calls “dispensations.” According to Christian dispensationalist, the original dispensation was one of perfection until sin became known. The next era was on where man had been governed by man’s own conscience. (Hence, they do not acknowledge the pre-existence of Torah before Sinai.) This era today is being governed (or should be governed) by Elohim’s rules that He gave through Jesus. In the next era (the millennium), man will be governed by Elohim Himself.
The problems with this line of thought are numerous. The implication is that either Elohim changes or He changes His mind. It looks as if Elohim is using a trial and error method of seeing what works. It states that Elohim’s standard for righteousness changes over time.
Elohim states in His word that He does not change (Mal. 3:6, 1 Sam. 15:29, Psalm 102:26-27). His Word does not change either (Matt. 24:35, Psalm 89:34, 119:89, Isa. 40:8).
(Gen 9:2 NASB) “And the fear of you and the terror of you shall be on every beast of the earth and on every bird of the sky; with everything that creeps on the ground, and all the fish of the sea, into your hand they are given.
Gen 9:2: The mandate given to Noah and his family in these first two verses is very similar to the mandate given to Adam (Gen. 1:26-28). One notable difference between the mandates is that Noah is not instructed to subdue the earth as Adam once was.
Man, before he ate of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, could possibly exercise control and command over the animal kingdom (Gen 1:28). Now Elohim needed to instill fear into the animal kingdom to ensure man’s survival. At the time, animals would have multiplied much quicker than man and could have quickly exterminated him. Notice that Elohim didn’t instill this fear into “cattle” or domesticated animals. All other animals would seek to flee from man. All animals were “given into your (man’s) hand” and man is free to do with them as he pleases, but should always act as a faithful steward.
(Gen 9:3 NASB) “Every moving thing that is alive shall be food for you; I give all to you, as I gave the green plant.
(Gen 9:4 NASB) “Only you shall not eat flesh with its life, that is, its blood.
Gen 9:4: Some Christians use verse 3 as a license to eat scavengers, which are strictly forbidden to be used as food by man. The passage compares eating animals that He has given them to eating all green plants which He has given them. In the same way, not all green plants were given as food. Many are poisonous, or at least unhealthy. He says that all the animals and plants for which Elohim has created for food, they all are the property of man.
The restriction given is against the digesting of blood. The blood is the “life” which is given for sacrifice (Lev. 17:11).
Another reason for not digesting blood is that Elohim is commanding that animals be killed in a humane manner by draining out the blood. A study cited by the Christian Jew Foundation showed that the most humane manner of slaughtering animals for food is by cutting the throat and letting the blood run out.
(Gen 9:5 NASB) “And surely I will require your lifeblood; from every beast I will require it. And from every man, from every man’s brother I will require the life of man.
(Gen 9:6 NASB) “Whoever sheds man’s blood, By man his blood shall be shed, For in the image of God He made man.
Gen 9:6: While an animal’s blood was sacred and not to be eaten, the blood of man was to be especially sacred. Therefore, no animal or other man is allowed to shed the blood of a man. If that does happen, then Elohim requires satisfaction and that means the very life that took the man’s life must be taken.
This instruction in no way refers to vengeance. It refers to justice and punishment which fits the crime.
There are instances where Elohim has indeed shown mercy on those who broke this law, such as David when he killed Uriah, the husband of Bathsheba. Judges and courts today can also take into account mitigating circumstances, but the sanctity of innocent human life should always take precedence. If justice is not done in the case of taking human life, all the people are defiled (Deut. 19:11-13).
(Gen 9:7 NASB) “And as for you, be fruitful and multiply; Populate the earth abundantly and multiply in it.”
Gen 9:7: It appears that this is one command that man has obeyed.
(Gen 9:8 NASB) Then God spoke to Noah and to his sons with him, saying,
(Gen 9:9 NASB) “Now behold, I Myself do establish My covenant with you, and with your descendants after you;
Gen 9:9: This is the first in time Scripture that the Hebrew word for covenant, “berith” was used. It appears in Genesis 6:18, but that was still in reference to this covenant with Noah.
(Gen 9:10 NASB) and with every living creature that is with you, the birds, the cattle, and every beast of the earth with you; of all that comes out of the ark, even every beast of the earth.
Gen 9:10: Notice that Elohim makes this covenant with the animals also. Other parts of Scripture tell us that Elohim cares about the animal kingdom also (Matt. 6:26).
It is also important to see that Elohim referenced “all that comes out of the ark, every beast of the earth.” This once again is reassuring us that the flood was worldwide and all living animals were only those on the ark.
(Gen 9:11 NASB) “And I establish My covenant with you; and all flesh shall never again be cut off by the water of the flood, neither shall there again be a flood to destroy the earth.”
Gen 9:11: Elohim again refers to this flood being worldwide and applying to all living creatures.
(Gen 9:12 NASB) And God said, “This is the sign of the covenant which I am making between Me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all successive generations;
Gen 9:12: Elohim uses the word “covenant” seven times in this chapter in reference to this promise to Noah.
(Gen 9:13 NASB) I set My bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a sign of a covenant between Me and the earth.
(Gen 9:14 NASB) “And it shall come about, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the bow shall be seen in the cloud,
(Gen 9:15 NASB) and I will remember My covenant, which is between Me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and never again shall the water become a flood to destroy all flesh.
(Gen 9:16 NASB) “When the bow is in the cloud, then I will look upon it, to remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth.”
(Gen 9:17 NASB) And God said to Noah, “This is the sign of the covenant which I have established between Me and all flesh that is on the earth.”
Gen 9:17: Rainbows occur because of the reflection of sunlight off of water droplets in the air. Before the flood, the atmosphere probably consisted only of invisible water vapor and rainbows would not have been possible. Elohim permanently destroyed the old hydrologic system and the vapor canopy to where it would be physically impossible for a worldwide flood to occur again.
(Gen 9:18 NASB) Now the sons of Noah who came out of the ark were Shem and Ham and Japheth; and Ham was the father of Canaan.
(Gen 9:19 NASB) These three were the sons of Noah; and from these the whole earth was populated.
Gen 9:19: The subject of race has been one of the most discussed issues of our time. The existence of distinct races, nations, and languages has been a fact of life that many sociologists and politicians have tried unsuccessfully to break down. If these barriers between different races are to be broken down, we must understand their true origins. The Book of Genesis gives us the only reliable account of these matters and it is very important that we believe and understand what it says.
Today there seems to be three to six major “races,” depending on how you classify them, 150 (+ or -) nations of any size, and somewhere between 3000 – 4000 different languages, but we all must have come from the same ancestor.
It is interesting that the only grandson pointed out in this brief summary is Canaan. He is the one who is the ancestor of the Canaanites. The Canaanites were Israel’s big enemy and occupied the land promised to Abraham and the Israelites.
(Gen 9:20 NASB) Then Noah began farming and planted a vineyard.
(Gen 9:21 NASB) And he drank of the wine and became drunk, and uncovered himself inside his tent.
Gen 9:21: This is the first time wine is mentioned in the Bible. Some scholars have attempted to say that fermentation did not occur before the flood and Noah was an innocent victim of the unfamiliar fermentation process. However, there is no scientific basis for this claim and that explanation is highly doubtful. Scripture usually displays the flaws of even the godliest men (Abraham’s cowardice, Jacob’s deceptions, David’s murdering and adultery, and so on….), but this is not necessarily a flaw of Noah’s. The fact is that Noah liked his wine on many occasions since he went to the trouble to grow his own vineyard. Did Noah “sin” by doing this? Torah does not describe drunkenness as “sin.” However, getting drunk has its consequences according to Scripture (Prov. 20:1, 21:17).
Noah drank so much that he felt the artificial heat that goes along with over-imbibing (or, so I’m told…). He got so hot that he threw his clothes off and pretty much just passed out.
(Gen 9:22 NASB) And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father, and told his two brothers outside.
(Gen 9:23 NASB) But Shem and Japheth took a garment and laid it upon both their shoulders and walked backward and covered the nakedness of their father; and their faces were turned away, so that they did not see their father’s nakedness.
Gen 9:23: Noah was probably not expecting company that day and thought he might enjoy some of his wine. If he thought someone might drop in, he might have been a little more careful.
The Scripture says that Ham “saw the nakedness of his father.” This probably means that he had some sort of sexual relationship with his mother. He at least gazed at her body as she was probably partying with Noah (Lev. 18:7-8).
Ham told his brothers about what he did or saw. The text actually means “he told with delight.” The two brothers didn’t snicker with, nor rebuke Ham. Their actions spoke louder than anything they could have said.
Keep in mind that although Ham apparently had a dark side, he was still a godly man. If he weren’t then he wouldn’t have been on the ark with the others.
(Gen 9:24 NASB) When Noah awoke from his wine, he knew what his youngest son had done to him.
Gen 9:24: When Noah woke up, he must have vaguely remembered some things about the incident. He either saw himself or his wife in a way that reminded him of it.
Regardless of how he found out what happened, somehow he knew who did it. This was possibly not the first time Ham showed disrespect and now he was going to feel the wrath of his father. This type of rebellion is a picture of natural man’s attitude toward Elohim and is not tolerated by Elohim.
In Torah, the sin of severe disrespect and dishonor toward parents exacted the death penalty.
(Gen 9:25 NASB) So he said, “Cursed be Canaan; A servant of servants He shall be to his brothers.”
Gen 9:25: It does appear that Noah is angrily cursing his son, Ham, in the person of Canaan.
This is a presumption, but since the sin of Ham was likely some sort of sexual sin pertaining to his mother, it is possible that Canaan was the result of that union and therefore cursed.
The descendants of Canaan are described in other parts of Genesis. Many have either disappeared, or are a part of the Beast in Psalm 83.
(Gen 9:26 NASB) He also said, “Blessed be the LORD, The God of Shem; And let Canaan be his servant.
Gen 9:26: Shem is given the spiritual blessing by Noah saying that Yahweh is the Elohim of Shem. The seed of the woman is going to pass through Shem. Canaan is to be his “servant” with Shem reigning over him.
(Gen 9:27 NASB) “May God enlarge Japheth, And let him dwell in the tents of Shem; And let Canaan be his servant.”
Gen 9:27: The Hebrew word for “enlarge” is “Pathah” which is not usually used to mean “enlarge.” It is usually meant to entice or persuade. Noah is blessing Japheth to be enticed by Elohim. Canaan will be his servant also.
(Gen 9:28 NASB) And Noah lived three hundred and fifty years after the flood.
(Gen 9:29 NASB) So all the days of Noah were nine hundred and fifty years, and he died.
Gen 9:29: Noah lived 950 years which is longer than any other man except Jared (962) and Methuselah (969). If there are no gaps in the genealogies of Genesis chapter 11, then Noah continued living well past the dispersion of Babel and on until Abraham was 58 years old.
Patrick McGuireCopyright 2014 Patrick McGuire and Beit Yeshua Torah Assembly All rights reserved, no portion of this Lesson may be reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission except in the case of brief quotations in articles and reviews. Beit Yeshua Torah Assembly Fort Smith, Arkansas