Gen. 9:1 And God blessed Noah and his sons, and said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth.
First God blesses Noah and his sons; then He tells them to be fruitful and multiply and replenish the earth. I think the fact that He blessed them meant that their efforts would be abundantly successful. It does make you wonder how many people died in the flood since God tells them to “replenish” the earth—to fill it back up. I believe the earth, the dry land, was still one contiguous whole at that time.
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.
All the other creatures of the world are designated as being there for man’s benefit. Before the flood, man’s food was the green plants. Now God says that everything that lives and moves is good for food; no distinction is made between clean and unclean. Only one thing is prohibited—to eat meat with blood in it. The blood represents life.
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.
Man’s life is especially precious since he is made in the image of God. Verses 5 and 6 state that whoever sheds the blood of man (whether animal or human) shall be put to death by man. This is the basis of the death penalty. Note: It doesn’t say execution is predicated on the preponderance of the evidence pointing to guilt. Judgment is justified only according to knowledge of the truth. Only God has the right to take a man’s life. He is delegating responsibility to man in this instance.
It also comes to my notice that man is distinct and separate from all other living creatures. He is in the position of authority and is to be served by the rest of creation.
Gen. 9:7 And you, be ye fruitful, and multiply; bring forth abundantly in the earth, and multiply therein.
Gen. 9:8 And God spake unto Noah, and to his sons with him, saying,
Gen. 9:9 And I, behold, I establish my covenant with you, and with your seed after you;
Gen. 9:10 And with every living creature that is with you, of the fowl, of the cattle, and of every beast of the earth with you; from all that go out of the ark, to every beast of the earth.
Gen. 9:11 And I will establish my covenant with you; neither shall all flesh be cut off any more by the waters of a flood; neither shall there any more be a flood to destroy the earth.
Gen. 9:12 And God said, This is the token of the covenant which I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for perpetual generations:
Gen. 9:13 I do set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of a covenant between me and the earth.
God repeats the command for Noah and his sons to be fruitful and multiply and bring forth abundantly. You wouldn’t think that He would need to repeat this command. I think the reason it is repeated in the record is to establish its importance. Think about it. Their obedience was significant to accomplishing His purpose of redemption.
Now God speaks to Noah and his sons regarding what He had already decided in His heart (cf 8:21-22). He makes a covenant, a promise, to them—and with every living creature that came off the ark--and their progeny. This is a promise with no strings attached; there are no conditions on man’s part. Never again will He destroy all flesh or the earth by a universal flood. Then He gives man a sign of His promise; He puts a rainbow in the sky.
Gen. 9:14 And it shall come to pass, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the bow shall be seen in the cloud:
Gen. 9:15 And I will remember my covenant, which is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and the waters shall no more become a flood to destroy all flesh.
Gen. 9:16 And the bow shall be in the cloud; and I will look upon it, that I may remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is upon the earth.
Gen. 9:17 And God said unto Noah, This is the token of the covenant, which I have established between me and all flesh that is upon the earth.
It sounds as if there is a rainbow in connection with every rain cloud; we just can’t always see it—but God can. It’s interesting that God says it is there to bring the covenant to His remembrance. We are created in His image. He has feelings and emotions. He’s letting man know that He will not forget His promise—even when man pushes Him to the nth degree.
Gen. 9:18 And the sons of Noah, that went forth of the ark, were Shem, and Ham, and Japheth: and Ham is the father of Canaan.
Gen. 9:19 These are the three sons of Noah: and of them was the whole earth overspread.
Noah had no more children after the flood. The descendants of the earth came from Shem, Ham and Japheth—Noah’s 3 sons.
Gen. 9:20 And Noah began to be an husbandman, and he planted a vineyard:
Gen. 9:21 And he drank of the wine, and was drunken; and he was uncovered within his tent.
Noah became a farmer and planted a vineyard. Evidently, man had figured out early on how to make wine. (I do think that in some way God gave early man some instructions and insights regarding science and nature, etc. that were never recorded. Innate knowledge only deals with a limited scope of information.) Noah was an old man and had experienced great things. I guess one could get a bit overwhelmed or maybe even prideful. For whatever reason, Noah got drunk and was lying naked in his tent.
It should be noted that we aren’t told how long after the flood this happened.
Gen. 9:22 And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father, and told his two brethren without.
Gen. 9:23 And Shem and Japheth took a garment, and laid it upon both their shoulders, and went backward, and covered the nakedness of their father; and their faces were backward, and they saw not their father’s nakedness.
“told” = stand boldly out opposite…specifically to expose
“Ham…..saw” – When I checked the Hebrew, it seemed to allow for Ham staring with enjoyment at his father, an act of great disrespect. Then he went to tell his two brothers and expose his father’s condition. Shem and Japheth responded by very carefully covering their father’s nakedness without looking at him. They showed great respect and concern for their father in contrast to Ham.
Gen. 9:24 And Noah awoke from his wine, and knew what his younger son had done unto him.
Gen. 9:25 And he said, Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren.
Gen. 9:26 And he said, Blessed be the LORD God of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant.
Gen. 9:27 God shall enlarge Japheth, and he shall dwell in the tents of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant.
After Noah woke up, he found out what had happened. (The Hebrew root for “knew” indicates became aware of.) It should be noted that Noah knew something had been “done” to him. Then Noah cursed Canaan (the descendants of Ham’s youngest son); Canaan was designated a position of servitude to the descendants of his brothers.
So, the question arises—Why did God curse Canaan and not Ham? Research revealed that some commentators posit that having his nakedness uncovered is a reference to being sexually assaulted based on similar wording and the context in Leviticus 18. If so, the wording could imply that Canaan was the perpetrator; and Ham became aware of what had happened.
Important observation by Clarke: “Even this curse does not exclude them from the possibility of obtaining salvation; it extends not to the soul and to eternity, but merely to their bodies and to time; though if they continued to abuse their liberty, resist the Holy Ghost, and refuse to be saved on God’s terms, then the wrath of Divine justice must come upon them to the uttermost.”
God is praised and recognized as “the LORD God of Shem.” (Already the line of Shem is designated as having a unique connection to the Lord.)
Japheth’s progeny would be great and would “dwell in the tents of Shem.” The word dwell has many shades of meaning, including “rest.” I think it is interesting that Shem’s line (through whom the Messiah would come) is designated as the one providing a resting place since Jesus is our “rest.” Again, emphasis is given that Canaan would have the status of servant. It is also interesting to note that it was Canaan whose descendants would be driven from the Promised Land by the Israelites.
Henry Morris and Arthur Custance both note the general thought that the descendants of Ham would serve the world through their contributions toward physical well being. They developed tools and building materials, and discovered and invented medicines, surgical practices and instruments. They invented most of the concepts of math and navigational tools, and they developed paper and ink along with many other things.
The descendants of Shem have been characterized by their spiritual interests, and the descendants of Japheth characterized by their thirst for knowledge and interest in philosophy.
In his “Doorway Papers,” Custance observes: “Where Japheth has applied his philosophical genius to the technological genius of Ham, science has emerged. Where Japheth has applied his philosophical genius to the spiritual insights of Shem, theology has emerged.”
I love hearing my granddaughters’ thoughts as we have our devotions. They observed that if we all came from Adam, then we are really all one family. I told them they were right! Identification of the “races” is a product of man. We are all humans with different amounts of skin pigment and different genetic characteristics resulting from family heredity from within groups of like language and from adaptation to geographic location.
Gen. 9:28 And Noah lived after the flood three hundred and fifty years.
Gen. 9:29 And all the days of Noah were nine hundred and fifty years: and he died.
Noah lived for 600 years before the flood and 350 years after the flood. He died at the age of 950. Side note: Abraham was 58 years old when Noah died.