Genesis
1-3 God Blesses Noah 4-7 The Blood 8-11 God’s Covenant with Noah 12-17 The Sign of the Covenant 18-23 Noah Gets Drunk; The Reaction of His Sons 24-27 Curse and Blessing 28-29 Death of Noah
God Blesses Noah

1And God blessed Noah and his sons and said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth. 2The fear of you and the terror of you will 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. 3Every moving thing that is alive shall be food for you; I give all to you, as [I gave] the green plant.

Noah is on a cleansed, renewed earth (Psa 104:30b30You send forth Your Spirit, they are created;
And You renew the face of the ground.
). He has made an offering. On the basis of this offering God blesses Noah and his sons. To bless is to speak good of someone, to wish someone good. God assures them of His benevolence for them and of His merciful intentions with them. All the promises of God to give the good flow from His intentions of love and the counsel of His will (Eph 1:1111also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will,; Jer 29:1111For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.).

Noah is given the same command as Adam to be fruitful and to fill the earth (Gen 1:2828God blessed them; and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”). Just like Adam he also gets the rule over the animals (Gen 1:26,2826Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”28God blessed them; and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”). But there is an additional element that was not there in the case of Adam, and that is that “fear of you and the terror of you will 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”. This is the result of sin.

Another new element is that humans are given animals for food. This means a spiritual lesson: The life of man is based on feeding with the death of another (Jn 6:51b51I am the living bread that came down out of heaven; if anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread also which I will give for the life of the world is My flesh.”). Whoever believes this has eternal life (Jn 6:5454He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.).

Whoever is a vegetarian out of conviction; that is to say who consciously will not eat flesh in order not to have to kill an animal, (unconsciously?) adheres  to a doctrine of demons: “But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons, by means of the hypocrisy of liars seared in their own conscience as with a branding iron, [men] who forbid marriage [and advocate] abstaining from foods which God has created to be gratefully shared in by those who believe and know the truth” (1Tim 4:1-31But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons,2by means of the hypocrisy of liars seared in their own conscience as with a branding iron,3[men] who forbid marriage [and advocate] abstaining from foods which God has created to be gratefully shared in by those who believe and know the truth.). Everything is good and nothing is reprehensible of what comes from the hand of God and is given to us to feed us (1Tim 4:44For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with gratitude;).


The Blood

4Only you shall not eat flesh with its life, [that is,] its blood. 5Surely 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.
6“Whoever sheds man’s blood,
By man his blood shall be shed,
For in the image of God
He made man.
7“As for you, be fruitful and multiply;
Populate the earth abundantly and multiply in it.”

God expands on the blood. He clearly states here that blood represents life: “The life of the flesh is in blood” (Lev 17:1111For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you on the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood by reason of the life that makes atonement.’) and to this He alone has the right. He never gives up that right. Therefore, the prohibition to eat blood – blood sausage is also covered by this prohibition! – still applies (Acts 15:2929that you abstain from things sacrificed to idols and from blood and from things strangled and from fornication; if you keep yourselves free from such things, you will do well. Farewell.”
).

God also commands man to kill someone who kills another person. God thus predicts that violence will be committed again. He knows that man’s heart hasn’t changed, and He sees the deeds to which man will fall again. With a view to the bloodshed, God says that whoever does so, his blood must also flow through the hand of a man. This also applies in case an animal kills a human being, which is later also laid down in the law (Exo 21:2828“If an ox gores a man or a woman to death, the ox shall surely be stoned and its flesh shall not be eaten; but the owner of the ox shall go unpunished.).

With the commission and the right to retaliate bloodshed, God places something of Himself (Psa 9:12a12For He who requires blood remembers them;
He does not forget the cry of the afflicted.
; 2Chr 24:2222Thus Joash the king did not remember the kindness which his father Jehoiada had shown him, but he murdered his son. And as he died he said, “May the LORD see and avenge!”) in the hands of – authorized – people (Rom 13:11Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God.). He does so because whoever offends against a human being, offends against His image bearer. He also does this to curb evil, so that no more situations develop as those that made the flood necessary: an earth full of violence (Gen 6:1111Now the earth was corrupt in the sight of God, and the earth was filled with violence.). Here we find the institution of the government, which gets the sword power (Rom 13:44for it is a minister of God to you for good. But if you do what is evil, be afraid; for it does not bear the sword for nothing; for it is a minister of God, an avenger who brings wrath on the one who practices evil.). The most characteristic of government is the judgment of evil.

If murder as an affront and violation of the image of God in man is to be punished with death, it is clear that this punishment cannot be exercised by every random man. It is only permitted to those who represent God’s right and majesty on earth, which are the ones established by Him. These representatives are also meaningfully called “gods” (Psa 82:1-2,61A Psalm of Asaph.
God takes His stand in His own congregation;
He judges in the midst of the rulers.
2How long will you judge unjustly
And show partiality to the wicked? Selah.
6I said, “You are gods,
And all of you are sons of the Most High.
).

Now that God, because of man’s innate sinfulness, no longer threatens with a judgment of extermination, another way must be found to prevent evil. This is done through the establishment of rules and commandments, on which the government must ensure that they are maintained and where the government must punish for transgressing them.


God’s Covenant with Noah

8Then God spoke to Noah and to his sons with him, saying, 9“Now behold, I Myself do establish My covenant with you, and with your descendants after you; 10and 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. 11I 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.”

God establishes a covenant not only with Noah, but also with all his descendants and with all creation. This covenant makes clear how great for God the value of man’s life is. Life is holy and belongs to God. It is also a general covenant, because it concerns the entire offspring of Noah and all living beings.

In this covenant there are no obligations for Noah and his descendants. God takes upon Himself all obligations to keep this covenant. It is a one-sided covenant. The foundation is the offering. When clouds appear again, man need not be afraid of a new flood (Isa 54:99“For this is like the days of Noah to Me,
When I swore that the waters of Noah
Would not flood the earth again;
So I have sworn that I will not be angry with you
Nor will I rebuke you.
).


The Sign of the Covenant

12God 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; 13I set My bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a sign of a covenant between Me and the earth. 14It shall come about, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the bow will be seen in the cloud, 15and 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. 16When 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.” 17And 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.”

The (rain)bow in the clouds is the visible proof of God’s faithfulness to His covenant for all creation. Not only man sees the bow, but God sees it too. Then He thinks of his covenant. The bow also holds the promise that God will bless after the judgments.

Therefore we see in Revelation 4 the bow again (Rev 4:2-32Immediately I was in the Spirit; and behold, a throne was standing in heaven, and One sitting on the throne.3And He who was sitting [was] like a jasper stone and a sardius in appearance; and [there was] a rainbow around the throne, like an emerald in appearance.). In the book of Revelation the judgments about the world, Israel and Christianity burst forth from Revelation 6 onwards. But for the faithful, seeing the bow at the beginning gives the promise of blessing after the judgments. That fills them with hope. So they call upon God and cry to Him: “In wrath remember mercy” (Hab 3:2b2LORD, I have heard the report about You [and] I fear.
O LORD, revive Your work in the midst of the years,
In the midst of the years make it known;
In wrath remember mercy.
).

The bow is a picture of the Lord Jesus. Only through Him is there blessing possible. Only through Him God blesses wherever and whenever. This blessing is only for those who are connected with Him by faith. Man sees the bow and God sees the bow. God wishes man to have the same thoughts when seeing the bow as He has. The bow then works fellowship between man and God.


Noah Gets Drunk; The Reaction of His Sons

18Now the sons of Noah who came out of the ark were Shem and Ham and Japheth; and Ham was the father of Canaan. 19These three [were] the sons of Noah, and from these the whole earth was populated. 20Then Noah began farming and planted a vineyard. 21He drank of the wine and became drunk, and uncovered himself inside his tent. 22Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father, and told his two brothers outside. 23But 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.

The sons of Noah are named because they are the germ of the new earth. Out of them the human race develops in three directions. From them descend all future generations and peoples. One people is named by name: the Canaanites, of whom Cham is the father.

The earth has been cleansed, but man has not changed. After the blessing there is the failing of Noah. So it has always gone in the history of man. We see it with Adam in the beginning and here with Noah. Later we see that after establishing the priesthood the sons of Aaron fail (Lev 10:1-31Now Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took their respective firepans, and after putting fire in them, placed incense on it and offered strange fire before the LORD, which He had not commanded them.2And fire came out from the presence of the LORD and consumed them, and they died before the LORD.3Then Moses said to Aaron, “It is what the LORD spoke, saying,
‘By those who come near Me I will be treated as holy,
And before all the people I will be honored.’”
So Aaron, therefore, kept silent.
) and after appointing a king, king Saul, he fails. It has been not different with the church (Revelation 2-3).

Noah, who has been given authority over creation, has no authority over himself. He uses the blessing of the earth for his own enjoyment, the blessing takes possession of him. Isn’t that what often happens, also with us Christians? Love of drink drags the former preacher of righteousness (2Pet 2:55and did not spare the ancient world, but preserved Noah, a preacher of righteousness, with seven others, when He brought a flood upon the world of the ungodly;) into the mud. Noah cannot handle the wealth of the new earth. He splurges on it and so his nakedness becomes public.

It is like with the church of Laodicéa. She also finds herself so great and blessed. But blessing apart from God, blessing that is abused for one’s own pleasure, results in nudity. Therefore the Lord Jesus says to that church: ‘You are naked’ (Rev 3:1717Because you say, “I am rich, and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing,” and you do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked,).

Noah’s sin is the reason for Cham’s failure. That is a serious lesson for every father. Cham ridicules his father with his brothers. That is clear from the context. It is not a question of justifying Noah’s sin – that cannot be justified – but for the son, his father’s failure should not be a reason to mock him. This is an important principle at a time when parental authority is often undermined. Parents are not perfect, they make mistakes. Yet the Scriptures say, “Honor your father and mother” (Eph 6:22Honor your father and mother (which is the first commandment with a promise),).

The other two sons treat their failing, naked father with the necessary respect. Not only do they not want to see the nakedness themselves, but they also make sure that no one else sees it. They use the garment as it were as a garment of love they throw over their father’s lack, something that is an example to us in our dealings with the evil of others (1Pet 4:88Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins.).


Curse and Blessing

24When Noah awoke from his wine, he knew what his youngest son had done to him. 25So he said,
“Cursed be Canaan;
A servant of servants
He shall be to his brothers.”
26He also said,
“Blessed be the LORD,
The God of Shem;
And let Canaan be his servant.
27“May God enlarge Japheth,
And let him dwell in the tents of Shem;
And let Canaan be his servant.”

Noah curses Cham in his son Canaan (Gen 10:66The sons of Ham [were] Cush and Mizraim and Put and Canaan.) and blesses Shem and Japheth. The special curse is that Canaan will be “a servant of servants” to his brothers, that is the very lowest servant. We see this fulfilled, among other things, in the victories Israel achieves over them, when they conquer the land of Canaan (Jdg 1:28,30,33,3528It came about when Israel became strong, that they put the Canaanites to forced labor, but they did not drive them out completely.30Zebulun did not drive out the inhabitants of Kitron, or the inhabitants of Nahalol; so the Canaanites lived among them and became subject to forced labor.33Naphtali did not drive out the inhabitants of Beth-shemesh, or the inhabitants of Beth-anath, but lived among the Canaanites, the inhabitants of the land; and the inhabitants of Beth-shemesh and Beth-anath became forced labor for them.35yet the Amorites persisted in living in Mount Heres, in Aijalon and in Shaalbim; but when the power of the house of Joseph grew strong, they became forced labor.), about eight hundred years later.

Not Cham himself is cursed. Cham and his brothers are blessed by God (verse 11And God blessed Noah and his sons and said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth.), and Noah will not undo this. Here the father’s sin is visited to the children (Exo 20:5-65You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me,6but showing lovingkindness to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.), although the punishment for sin is also earned by the children themselves.

The immorality of Cham is expressed in his descendants, the Canaanites. Israel is later warned not to behave in that way: “You shall not do what is done in the land of Egypt where you lived, nor are you to do what is done in the land of Canaan where I am bringing you; you shall not walk in their statutes” (Lev 18:33You shall not do what is done in the land of Egypt where you lived, nor are you to do what is done in the land of Canaan where I am bringing you; you shall not walk in their statutes.). In the kingdom of peace, the curse of Canaan will find its full fulfillment (Zec 14:21b21Every cooking pot in Jerusalem and in Judah will be holy to the LORD of hosts; and all who sacrifice will come and take of them and boil in them. And there will no longer be a Canaanite in the house of the LORD of hosts in that day.).

The prophecy of Noah contains in a few words the course of world history. In Genesis 10 we see a further interpretation of it. There we have the generations of the sons of Noah from whom the entire world population originated (verse 1919These three [were] the sons of Noah, and from these the whole earth was populated.).

God is called here “the God of Shem”. Never before has God been connected to a human being in this way. Later He is also called ‘the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob’. This means that Japheth and Ham will have to seek their blessing from Shem, for God is with him (Zec 8:2323Thus says the LORD of hosts, ‘In those days ten men from all the nations will grasp the garment of a Jew, saying, “Let us go with you, for we have heard that God is with you.”‘“).


Death of Noah

28Noah lived three hundred and fifty years after the flood. 29So all the days of Noah were nine hundred and fifty years, and he died.

Noah’s history ends with the mention of his age and the announcement of his death. Noah has seen two worlds in his life: an old world before the flood and a new world after it. Because by faith “he condemned the world, and became an heir of the righteousness which is according to faith” (Heb 11:77By faith Noah, being warned [by God] about things not yet seen, in reverence prepared an ark for the salvation of his household, by which he condemned the world, and became an heir of the righteousness which is according to faith.), he died in the faith that in the resurrection he will participate in a world better than both.


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