Genesis 9:1-29

Genesis 9:1-29

Chap 9:1-2 – Like Adam, Noah received a mandate from the Lord to fill the earth.  God wanted man to quickly inhabit the whole earth just as Adam was commanded.  Noah and his sons were not given the same words concerning dominion that Adam received.  This may be due to the current dominion by Satan (1 John 5:19) “We know that we are children of God, and that the whole world is under the control of the evil one.” (2 Cor 4:4)  “The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.”  While he did not have dominion, nevertheless man was given superiority by God placing in the animals fear and dread. 

V 3-7 – God now sanctions an animal diet for man, as long as it is not eaten with blood (Lev 17:10) “Any Israelite or any alien living among them who eats any blood I will set my face against that person who eats blood and will cut him off from his people.”  The reason meat was allowed may be a direct result of the changed environment.   God extended the categories of food which man might eat to “every moving thing.”  The supreme value of a human life appears at this point. Every individual is precious; he is the “image” of God.  Capital punishment is now authorized to anyone who commits murder.  The reason is that God wants man to hold life sacred, because man is made in the image of God.  Murder is assuming the authority that only God has who is the creator and sustainer of life.  Murder is a demonstration of contempt for His creation.  In the Law and later in the New Covenant God gives human government the power of life or death to act as His agent for judgment.  (Rom 13:4) Prior to the establishment of government every man was a law unto himself, the result was every imaginable evil resulting in the judgment of the flood.  The emphasis here is on justice not vengeance. God concludes these commands by repeating again the command to be fruitful and multiply. 

V 8-12 Now God declares that He is establishing a covenant with Noah and his sons.  This included not eating blood or shedding blood as we have observed so far, but there is more.  This is the first time the word “berit” (covenant) is used.  This covenant is with Noah and His descendants, and the animals as well.  They too are God’s creatures as expressed in (Rom 8:22) “We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.”  God establishes this covenant unconditionally which states that there would never again be a universal flood.   

V 13-17 – A “covenant” is the most solemn and binding form of a promise by God.  It is an assurance of God’s commitment to mankind. God makes the covenant and fixes its terms and conditions to which He remains everlastingly faithful. There are seven covenants made between God and man: (1) The Adamic covenant provided for man’s enjoyment of Eden if he refrained from eating the forbidden fruit (2:16, 17). When man broke that covenant, God responded with a future hope of reconciliation  (3:15). (2) The Noahic covenant concerned the earth and its seasons (vv. 817). (3) The Abrahamic covenant provided blessing in the Promised Land (12:13). (4) The Mosaic covenant concerned the blessings of obedience (Ex. 19:5). (5) The restoration covenant (which some view as simply a preview of the new covenant) promised a return to the land and the restoration of one’s heart commitment to the Lord (Deut. 30:310). (6) The Davidic covenant promised that the royal lineage of the Messiah would come through Israel (2 Sam. 7:16). (7) The new covenant (Jer. 31:3134; Heb. 8:8).  The rainbow was the sign or token of God’s covenant.  This is a precious promise, we have been given the assurance that despite threats of thermonuclear warfare, ozone depletion, global warming and a myriad of other calamities the earth will not be totally destroyed until the end of the millennium, and the rainbow is a sign of that covenant promise (Gen 8:21-22).   

V 18-19 – All humanity today are descended from the three sons of Noah. This anticipates chap. 10-11, which show that God’s command to be fruitful and multiply was to be fulfilled despite of human sin. It is interesting to note that when Ham is mentioned it particularly names his youngest son Canaan.  This may be noted because of the role that the Canaanites would play in occupying the land of promise and would then be removed by God through Israel. 

V 20-21 – This is the first time the word wine appears in the Bible, but drinking was already a well-established practice before this (Matt. 24:38), so Noah knew about drinking. By drinking too much wine Noah probably elevated his body temperature and removed his clothing.  Scripture faithfully records sin even in God’s chosen. Although this is not the focus of the account, Noah sinned through his drunkenness. This was doubly tragic because he was the divinely assigned spiritual leader of his family.   Drunkenness is condemned (Prov. 21:17; Isa. 5:22, Eph 5:18), especially when it leads to nakedness (Lam. 4:21; Hab. 2:15).  Perhaps Noah thought to himself that he could let his guard down since evil in the world had been removed.  But this should serve as a reminder that the enemy is always ready to deceive us, and we should always be alert to his schemes.  Prior to the flood Noah’s family remained faithful amid a world deceived by Satan and his demons. 

V 22-23 – This incident with Noah and his son Ham had to have occurred a few years after the flood because Noah knew Canaan Ham’s son.  Noah thought he was alone when he had his wine and became unclothed. There is no indication of sexual impropriety; the sin of Ham was in making light of his father’s behavior and by dishonoring him by looking upon his shame and flippantly telling his brothers (perhaps implying ridicule). The ancient world and the Bible required children to honor their parents (Ex. 20:12; 21:15, 17; Deut. 21:18-21).  Shem and Japheth showed respect for their father by covering him without looking upon him (v. 23).  Ham’s actions demonstrated a lack of respect for his father, which had probably manifested itself in an even stronger way in his son Canaan. 

V. 24- When Noah awoke, he noticed the robe that had been placed on him and either because of his patriarchal status (prophet, priest and king), knowing what happened or he found out by asking his wife or sons.  He then makes a sweeping prophecy.  The parallels between Adam and Noah are striking.  Both Adam and Noah were commanded to fill the earth, and told to exercise authority, Adam by rule, Noah by the fear placed upon the animals.  Each are the father of all of mankind, both sinned by wrongly partaking of fruit, both became naked, and someone else clothed them.  The prophecy that resulted for both initially resulted in a curse but will ultimately lead to blessings and salvation. 

V. 25   Theses  words are a prophecy about Canaan and his descendants, as well as judgment on Ham through his son Canaan.  Noah could probably see already in Canaan the same ungodly attitudes that had surfaced in Ham. Prior to the conquest of the Promised Land, Israel learned from this account that the corruption of their enemies the Canaanites, came under the judgment of God, which could be traced to their ancestor Ham.  How has this prophecy been fulfilled has been the source of much controversy.  Canaan may have been involved with his father’s sin.  Perhaps he saw Noah’s condition first and told his father. Ham however was punished because of the dishonor he brought to Noah.  The curse is not on all of the sons of Ham, but the Canaanites.  Joshua subjected the Philistines and overthrew the Canaanites.  Some have applied this verse as justification for the treatment of black people as those who were under this special curse.  First, if this is the case then the Lebanese should be under the same curse for they too are sons of Ham and Canaan, so too the Egyptians, some scholars believe that the Mongol tribes which include the Chinese and Japanese also fall under this curse.  The fact of the matter is that when Jesus died and rose again, He made a way for all people who are enslaved to sin and its consequences to be set free from the curse that has spread to all men. 

V. 26-29 Noah blesses Shem, and we learn that he will be the son through whom Abraham would come, and ultimately the Messiah.  Noah, a patriarch, places his blessing on Shem, perhaps seeing that the Messiah would come through him. Japheth would be enlarged is an allusion to their great numbers and to the land that they would occupy.  Remember that earlier God had commanded Noah and his sons to be fruitful and to occupy the earth.  In some way Japheth was seen as doing just that.  Also, it is noted that Japheth would dwell in the tents of Shem.  This is clearly an allusion to fellowship.  In Ps. 84:10 the expression appears “dwell in the tents of wickedness”, which means that a person is living in wickedness rather than in fellowship with God.  Japheth would have fellowship with Shem through the Son of Shem, that is the Messiah.  Interestingly today there are multitudes of the descendants of Ham dwelling as well in the tents of Shem by virtue of their faith in Messiah, while the sons of Shem for the most part have at this point rejected the Messiah.  This would include both the Jewish and Arab peoples. Chapter 9 ends with the death of Noah at the age of 950.  From here on man’s lifespan decreases greatly.  If there are no gaps in the genealogies of chapter 11 then Noah continued living until Abraham was about 58 years old.  However, there are probably some gaps in the genealogy which we will look at later.  In any case Noah would have lived until the dispersion of nations and languages which occurred at the time of the tower of Babel.

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