Genesis 404
Lesson Seven

 

Gen 9:1   And God blessed Noah and his sons, and said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth. 
Gen 9:2  And the fear of you and the dread of you shall be upon every beast of the earth, and upon every fowl of the air, upon all that moveth upon the earth, and upon all the fishes of the sea; into your hand are they delivered. 
Gen 9:3  Every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you; even as the green herb have I given you all things. 
Gen 9:4  But flesh with the life thereof, which is the blood thereof, shall ye not eat. 
Gen 9:5  And surely your blood of your lives will I require; at the hand of every beast will I require it, and at the hand of man; at the hand of every man's brother will I require the life of man. 
Gen 9:6 Whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man. 
Gen 9:7  And you, be ye fruitful, and multiply; bring forth abundantly in the earth, and multiply therein.

 

Genesis 9 begins with God's blessing on, and charge to, the humans who remain alive on the earth. This blessing is similar to God's blessing on humankind in Genesis 1:28 and Genesis 5:2. This is also the third instance so far in Scripture where God commands humanity to be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth (Genesis 1:28; 8:17). In a very real sense, this blessing shows that God is beginning again with Noah what He started with Adam.

 

This time, however, there will be specific differences set out from the start of this reboot of God's relationship with humanity. Among these will be slightly different directions regarding food and the consequences of murder, for example. The tendency of animals to fear and flee human beings will also be brought up in this passage.

 

Previously, God indicated that the animals of the ark were meant to repopulate the land devastated by the flood (Genesis 8:17). Now, God's command defines for Noah and his sons their greatest remaining purpose: reproduce.

 

These first verses of Genesis 9 repeat some of the language God used with Adam and Eve when He blessed them. After commanding Noah and his sons to be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth in the previous verse, God now speaks to them about subduing the animal kingdom, as He did with Adam (Genesis 1:28).

 

This command to rule over the animal kingdom is different from the original version given in Eden, however. Instead of merely commanding Noah to subdue the earth, God tells Noah and sons that the animal kingdom will fear them. Every kind of non-human life will be fearful of humankind. Some interpret this to mean that, prior to the flood, animals did not fear man. Others suggest that this simply reinforces the hostile, difficult nature of survival in the post-flood world.

 

Now, however, God promises that humanity will triumph over the animal kingdom as if in a military battle. Humanity will reign supreme on the earth, even over the most fearsome of the animals. Whether or not animals feared man before the flood, and whether or not they had eaten them prior to flood, the relationship established upon leaving the ark is certain. This verse establishes a mostly adversarial relationship between man and animals, something else lost from the paradise of Eden as the result of man's sinfulness.

 

If you remember from previous studies, God had said to Adam that he could eat from every plant, except for a single forbidden trees. God again gives humanity specific permission to eat, saying to Noah and his sons that they can eat anything that moves, as well as any of the plants. This, in part, might explain the reason why man's relationship with animals is characterized in this passage as hostile.

 

At this point in God's relationship with humankind, no restriction is mentioned about defining certain animals as edible or inedible: clean or unclean. This may have been understood, in the sense that Noah would have considered those animals not previously defined as "clean" as inappropriate to eat (Genesis 7). The other possibility is that humans may have been free to eat animals categorized as "unclean" until God made them off-limits for His people in the Law (Leviticus 11, Deuteronomy 14).

 

Now lets look at a different aspect of what we can eat...that is, what we CAN NOT eat.

While God does allow man the ability to eat animal flesh, He includes a restriction: Humans are not to eat the blood of these animals along with their flesh. The verse describes the blood as the animal's life. Later, under the Law of Moses, Israelites will be required to very carefully drain the blood from animals before consuming them. This deep respect for blood is the first step in a long process, establishing the symbolism of Christ's sacrifice for human sin on the cross.

 

As the human race started afresh after the flood, God blessed it, as at the first. God always stands with us in a new start. The prohibition against the use of blood in food is often repeated. See Lev_17:11; Act_15:29. In a very deep sense, the blood is the life. When we speak of being redeemed by the blood of Jesus, we mean that we have been saved by His sacrificed life. The blood maketh atonement for the soul. But while animal life might be used for food or sacrifice, human life was surrounded by the most solemn sanctions.

The institution of the death penalty by God differs drastically from His response to Cain's murder of his brother Abel. Then God allowed Cain to live and even to thrive on the earth (Genesis 4:15–16). However, the violence on the earth was part of God's reason for wiping out mankind with the flood (Genesis 6:5).

 

God gives a specific reason for this new command to kill those who kill others: Humans are made in God's image (Genesis 1:26–27). God values human life and will not allow the taking of life to stand without the killer giving an account. This command also shows that human life is valued above animal life in God's eyes. Men were allowed to kill and eat animals, but men or animals who killed a person would themselves be killed.

 

And then lastly, God give the repercussions for animals killing  humans, or humans killing other humans. This specific reference to capital punishment—an offense worthy of physical death—is also important in that it predates the Law of Moses. Christians are often divided over the concept of the death penalty. As part of that debate, this verse reminds us that capital punishment did not originate with Moses, but with Noah.  
 

Answer the questions below.  If you miss a question, go back and study that portion of the class and then retake the test.  Once you have received a 100% you may proceed to the next class.  You DO NOT have to submit this test for grading.  Only the final test will be submitted.