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Series Theme: FRAMEWORKS: Genesis

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FRAMEWORKS: Genesis 9: Covenants & Curses


v.1-7 God's Covenant of Protection with Noah

v.8-17 The Rainbow Covenant

v.18-21 The Sons of Noah & Noah's Folly

v.22-29 Ham shames his father and is cursed



v.1-7 God's Covenant of Protection with Noah


v.1 Then God blessed Noah and his sons, saying to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the earth.

v.2 The fear and dread of you will fall on all the beasts of the earth, and on all the birds in the sky, on every creature that moves along the ground, and on all the fish in the sea; they are given into your hands.

v.3 Everything that lives and moves about will be food for you. Just as I gave you the green plants, I now give you everything.

v.4 “But you must not eat meat that has its lifeblood still in it.

v.5 And for your lifeblood I will surely demand an accounting. I will demand an accounting from every animal. And from each human being, too, I will demand an accounting for the life of another human being.

v.6 “Whoever sheds human blood,  by humans shall their blood be shed; for in the image of God has God made mankind.

v.7 As for you, be fruitful and increase in number; multiply on the earth and increase upon it.”


[Notes: There are in these few verses some very significant things said by the Lord:

1. The first command comes again [v.1] - to fill and subdue the earth [see 1:28]

2. The other creatures of the earth will fear mankind [v.2]

3. Meat (animals) can now be food as well as plant-life [v.3]

4. Blood must not remain in the meat. [v.4] Later blood is referred as the ‘life' of a creature.

5. For this reason killing a person is forbidden and any killer will be answerable to God and to others [v.5.6]

6. It concludes [v.7] with that same initial command - increase.

It seems that the verses 2-6 in between facilitate that growth a) by food provision and b) protection.]



v.8-17 The Rainbow Covenant


v.8 Then God said to Noah and to his sons with him:

v.9,10 “I now establish my covenant with you and with your descendants after you and with every living creature that was with you—the birds, the livestock and all the wild animals, all those that came out of the ark with you—every living creature on earth.

v.11 I establish my covenant with you: Never again will all life be destroyed by the waters of a flood; never again will there be a flood to destroy the earth.”

v.12 And God said, “This is the sign of the covenant I am making between me and you and every living creature with you, a covenant for all generations to come:

v.13 I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth.

v.14 Whenever I bring clouds over the earth and the rainbow appears in the clouds,

v.15 I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living creatures of every kind. Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life.

v.16 Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth.”

v.17 So God said to Noah, “This is the sign of the covenant I have established between me and all life on the earth.”


[Notes: A covenant is a God-initiated agreement. Within this one note:

1. It is between God and every living creature [v.9,10]

2. It is the promise that never again will a flood destroy all the earth [v.11]

3. It wasn't just for them; it is for ever [v.12]

4. The presence of a rainbow will act as a reminder of this agreement [v.13-16]. Rainbows surely already existed as sunlight reflects etc. on rain and cloud droplets, but now any rainbow takes on a new significance where there is rain – a reminder that God will not let this rain go on and on and on.

5. Thus Noah [v.17] will see and know and remember and be reassured.

6. This ‘covenant' [v.9] requires nothing from mankind except belief and, no doubt, a grateful attitude towards God.]



v.18-21 The Sons of Noah & Noah's Folly


v.18 The sons of Noah who came out of the ark were Shem, Ham and Japheth. (Ham was the father of Canaan.)

v.19 These were the three sons of Noah, and from them came the people who were scattered over the whole earth.

v.20 Noah, a man of the soil, proceeded to plant a vineyard.

v.21 When he drank some of its wine, he became drunk and lay uncovered inside his tent.


[Notes: Noah's three sons are brought to prominence who will be part of repopulating the earth. Noah, perhaps unwisely, plants a vineyard, grows grapes and makes wine. Using the wine he becomes drunk and lies naked, sprawled across his bed.]



v.22-29 Ham shames his father and is cursed


v.22 Ham, the father of Canaan, saw his father naked and told his two brothers outside.

v.23 But Shem and Japheth took a garment and laid it across their shoulders; then they walked in backward and covered their father's naked body. Their faces were turned the other way so that they would not see their father naked.

v.24,25 When Noah awoke from his wine and found out what his youngest son had done to him, he said,

“Cursed be Canaan! The lowest of slaves will he be to his brothers.”

v.26 He also said, “Praise be to the Lord , the God of Shem! May Canaan be the slave of Shem.
v.27 May God extend Japheth's territory; may Japheth live in the tents of Shem, and may Canaan be the slave of Japheth.”

v.28 After the flood Noah lived 350 years.

v.29 Noah lived a total of 950 years, and then he died.




i) The Disrespect: Ham, the youngest son presumably peers in, sees his father, and goes and tells his brothers, presumably in a disrespectful way. Seeing Noah displayed in this way, does nothing to bring respect and honour to the leader of the family and so the other two brothers in a remarkable display of honour, take a garment on their shoulders, back into the room and drop it over their father, restoring a semblance of respectability and honour to him. In the morning somehow Noah finds out


ii) The Curse: A curse in this context, uttered by a man, is a prophetic declaration of the judgment of God. It speaks of Canaan, the youngest son of Ham, as if to suggest this is how it will work out to the end of the family, and comes in three parts:

- he will become a slave to his brothers

- Shem will be blessed and lord it over him

- Japheth, the oldest, will also be blessed, sharing Shem's blessing, and Ham a slave to him.

In what follows Shem will become the chosen and blessed line resulting in Abram and eventually Israel and although Ham will initially not be seen as the land of Canaan, when they are eventually, they will be subdued by Israel. See later.]



Lessons or Challenges to Ponder from Genesis Chapter 9


1. God enters into a fresh covenant with Noah. Noah gets drunk. Time must have passed between the two things. Do I let the wonderful encounters with the Lord fade in memory and fall into folly? May it not be.

2. Ham dissed his father (OK, disrespected him!) and made fun of him behind his back. His brothers honoured their father and sought to regain his respect for him. Which brother am I in respect of my parents (or of their memory)?



Continue to Chapter 10