Chapter 9

  1. God’s Covenant with Noah

    • God blessed Noah and his sons and instructed them to be fruitful, multiply, and fill the earth. God also told them that all the animals of the earth would now would have an innate fear of man. God placed the animals under Noah’s authority.

      • “God gave Noah the same kind of mandate He gave Adam in the beginning of creation (Genesis 1:28), since Noah essentially began all over again.” (Guzik)

      • “Again, presumably before the flood, man had a completely different relationship with the animals. God did not put this fear in animals because man did not look to them as food.” (Guzik)

    • God told Noah that as He had given Adam and Eve green plants for their food, now He is also giving every living creature to Noah as food.

      • “And, even as Adam received instructions for eating (Genesis 1:29-30, 2:15-17), so does Noah. Yet now, Noah receives specific permission to eat animals, permission Adam was not given (as far as we know).” (Guzik)

    • God instructs Noah not to eat meat with its blood still in it.

      • “God also commands Noah that if animals are eaten, there must be a proper respect for the blood, which represents the life principle in the animal (Leviticus 17:1, 17:14 and Deuteronomy 12:23)… The importance of the idea of blood in the Bible is shown by how often the word is used. It is used 424 times in 357 separate verses (in the New King James Version).” (Guzik)

    • God mandates that when man’s blood is shed (even by an animal)- there must be an accounting for it because he is made in the image of God.

    • Genesis 9:6- Whoever sheds man’s blood, his blood will be shed by man, for God made man in His image.

      • “…Because life is valuable, when murder is committed the death penalty is in order. In its original languages the Bible makes a distinction between killing and murder. Not all killing is murder, because there are cases where there is just cause for killing (self- defense, capital punishment with due process of law, killing in a just war). There are other instances where killing is accidental. This is killing, but not murder. The Bible also consistently teaches that the punishment of the guilty is the role of human government (Romans 13:1-4) so as to restrain man’s depravity. It also teaches that the guilt of unpunished murder defiles a land (Numbers 35:31-34). As Luther said, “God establishes government and gives it the sword to hold wantonness in check, lest violence and other sins proceed without limit.” (Boice)” (Guzik)

    • God then reiterates His command for man to spread out over the earth, be fruitful, and multiply.

    • God tells Noah and his sons to understand that He is confirming His covenant with them and their descendants after them, along with every living creature that came out of the ark. God will never wipe out all life on the earth with a flood.

      • “However, when things again become similar to the days of Noah (Matthew 24:37), God will destroy the earth – but by fire, not by flood (2 Peter 3:1-7).” (Guzik)

    • God tells Noah that He gives us the rainbow as a sign of this covenant between Him and the earth, Noah, and all future generations. God said that whenever a rainbow appears in the sky, He will remember His covenant with us.

      • “The other mentions of a rainbow in the Bible are set in the context of God’s enthroned glory (Ezekiel 1:28; Revelation 4:3 and 10:1). It is staggering to see God, in His glory, setting so close to Himself a reminder of His promise to man. In Revelation 4:3, God’s throne is surrounded by a green-hued rainbow. The rainbow is a reminder (in the midst of such supreme sovereignty) of God’s commitment to His covenant with man. On the same principle, the believer glories in the sovereignty of God, because he knows God’s sovereignty is on his side. It means no good purpose of God relating to the believer will ever be left undone.” (Guzik)

2. Prophecies About Noah’s Family

    • Noah’s three sons were Shem, Ham, and Japheth and the entire earth was populated from them. Ham was the father of Canaan.

      • Today, evolutionary science would tell us that this Biblical fact is not possible. However, the science of genetics is growing by leaps and bounds thanks to the Human Genome Project whose results were published in 2003. Interestingly, some of the best corroboration of this Biblical account is coming from evolutionary science. As it turns out, the study of genetics is no friend of evolution. For an in depth discussion of how the science behind the diversity of the human race that we witness today, perfectly aligns with the Bible, check out my blog post Could All the Diversity in the Human Race Have Come From Adam and Eve?

    • Noah was the first to plant a vineyard. Noah drank too much wine and was drunk. He lay naked inside his tent.

    • Ham (the father of Canaan) saw Noah naked and told his brothers.

    • Shem and Japheth covered their father with a cloak carefully so as not to see their father naked.

    • When Noah woke up and learned what Ham had done, he pronounced this curse: Canaan will be cursed to be the lowest slaves of his brothers.

      • While we would all agree that what Ham did was certainly not respectful, many people are confused as to the harsh punishment that doesn’t seem to fit the crime. Why would Noah curse Ham’s son Canaan for Ham’s indiscretion? This question has prompted a lot of conjecture, so we’ll discuss some of the options.

        • Some people argue that some greater sin other than just Ham’s viewing of his father’s nakedness took place. These theories include Ham castrating Noah, incest between Ham and his mother, Ham abusing his father in some way, that Ham’s son Canaan was also involved instead of only Ham, among other things. Personally, I do not see any Biblical basis for any of these “reading between the lines” theories.

      • Taking the Word at its literal meaning, Don Stewart writes for Blue Letter Bible discussing the significance of Ham’s seeing his father naked to the culture of the day, “In the ancient world merely seeing one’s father naked was a highly offensive act. The father’s position as moral and spiritual head would be held in disrepute and the family unit would suffer as a result of this. The culture in which this event occurred considered it a capital crime for a child to strike their father…The sin of Ham, therefore, is that he told his brothers of what he had seen. In doing so, it brought shame to the entire family.”

        • Even though this was clearly a much more serious offense when put into its cultural context, it still leaves the question of why Noah would have cursed Ham’s son Canaan instead of Ham himself.

          – Guzik offers this explanation, “We can trust God is not punishing the son (Canaan) for the sin of the father (Ham). This goes against the heart and justice of God (Ezekiel 18:2-3). However, through Noah’s prophecy, God tells Ham what will happen to his son. Perhaps the strongest punishment against Ham was for Noah to reveal prophetically the destiny of his son Canaan.”

        • In Don Stewart’s article linked above, he adds to the thought that Noah is not so much damning Canaan’s line to servitude as he is revealing prophetically the destiny of the line of Canaan. Stewart says that possibly, “Ham’s descendants foreshadowed the deeds of his descendants. The contrast between the reactions is the basis of the following blessings and curses on their descendants.” So, Ham’s disrespectful behavior is just a foreshadowing of the behavior that his line will exhibit.

        • Historian Charles Scott Kimball also offers some insight in his work The Genesis Chronicles, “Now it may seem unfair for Noah to curse the youngest son of Ham rather than the perpetrator himself, but there was a reason for it. In Old Testament times, blessings/curses not only affected the person being blessed/cursed, but also the person’s father, and the descendants of both. We have an example of this in the story of David, when, after David killed the giant Goliath, King Saul asked, ‘ Whose son is this that I may bless him?’ Of course he knew who David was, but he wanted to know if David’s father deserved the same blessing he was about to bestow on David. Likewise, the curse Noah placed fell back one generation to affect the father of the accursed person. If Noah had said ‘Cursed be Ham instead, the curse would have affected Noah himself, and the whole human race. By making Canaan the recipient, Noah was limiting the curse’s effect to the descendants of Ham, rather than putting it on everyone.”

– A historical misuse of these verses is the claim that the descendants of Canaan are the black race of Africa thereby justifying slavery and racism based on Noah’s curse. However, Guzik notes that , “…black people did not come from Canaan. Canaan was the father of the near-eastern peoples, most of who were conquered by Joshua when Israel took the Promised Land.” Christian Answers also has a good article on this topic. Here is an excerpt, “False teaching about Ham has been used to justify slavery and other non- biblical racist practices. It is traditionally believed that the African nations are largely Hamitic, because the Cushites (Cush was a son of Ham: Genesis 10:6) are thought to have lived where Ethiopia is today. Genesis suggests that the dispersion was probably along family lines, and it may be that Ham’s descendants were on average darker than, say, Japheth’s. However, it could just as easily have been the other way around. Rahab, mentioned in the genealogy of Jesus in Matthew 1, was a Canaanite. A descendant of Ham, she must have married an Israelite. Since this was a union approved by God, it shows that the particular “race” she came from was not important. It mattered only that she trusted in the true God of Israel. Ruth, a Moabitess, also features in the genealogy of Christ. She expressed faith in the true God before her marriage to Boaz (Ruth 1:16). The only marriages God warns against are God’s people marrying unbelievers.”

– Noah continued saying, “Praise the Lord, Shem’s God, Canaan will be his slave. Japheth will also live in Shem’s tents and Canaan will be his slave.

      • Don Stewart again drives home the point of foreshadowing behavior differences in the lines of Shem, Japheth, and Ham. “It speaks of two groups of mankind. Shem covered nakedness and hid shame, while Ham exposed Noah’s nakedness.”

    • Noah lived 350 years after the flood and died at the age of 950.