Genesis Chapter 9

Outline

God blesses Noah, and grants flesh for food. (Verse 1-3.)

Blood, and murder forbidden. (Verse 4-7.)

God’s covenant by the rainbow. (Verse 8-17.)

Noah plants a vineyard, is drunken and mocked by Ham. (Verse 18-23.)

Noah curses Canaan, blesses Shem, prays for Japheth, His death. (Verse 24-29.)


1 And God blessed Noah and his sons, and said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth.

[Gen 1:28, Gen 9:7, Lev 26:9, Psa 128:3]

compare with 1:28

Study Question

For what purpose was the earth created according to Isaiah 45:18?

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.

[Hos 2:18, James 3:7]

the animals apparently were not afraid of man before the flood

3 Every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you; even as the green herb have I given you all things.

God has given us every moving thing that lives for meat. This is not a dispensational idea. We are not required or expected to be vegetarians.

4 But flesh with the life thereof, which is the blood thereof, shall ye not eat.

[Lev 17:10, Deut 12:16, 1st Sam 14:34, Acts 15:20, Acts 15:29]

The one requirement that God puts on our eating meat is that it be drained of its life-giving blood. That means rare bloody steaks are off-limits to Christians, period!

God allows man to eat meat as long as the blood is not eaten; vegetarianism has no scriptural grounds

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.

[Exod 21:28 Num 35:31]

6 Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man.

[Exod 21:12, Lev 24:17, Matt 26:52, Rev 13:10]

Here we have the definitive answer for all Christians on capital punishment; the man who sheds another man’s blood is to be killed.  God demands it!

7 And you, be ye fruitful, and multiply; bring forth abundantly in the earth, and multiply therein.

[Gen 1:28, Gen 9:1, Lev 26:9, Psa 128:3]

8 And God spake unto Noah, and to his sons with him, saying,

9 And I, behold, I establish my covenant with you, and with your seed after you;

compare with 6:18

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.

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.

The next time the earth is destroyed it will not be by a flood, it will be by fire:

2 Peter 3:10 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. 11 Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, 12 Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?

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 17:11]

13 I do set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of a covenant between me and the earth.

“bow” as in rainbow; the rainbow is God’s promise that he will never again destroy the earth with water.

14 And it shall come to pass, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the bow shall be seen in the cloud:

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.

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 17:13, Gen 17:19, 2nd Sam 23:5, Eze 16:60]

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.

A token is a sign of a person’s promise just as Judah did to Tamar when he gave her his staff, signet and bracelets:

Genesis 38:16 And she said, What wilt thou give me, that thou mayest come in unto me? 17 And he said, I will send thee a kid from the flock. And she said, Wilt thou give me a pledge, till thou send it? 18 And he said, What pledge shall I give thee? And she said, Thy signet, and thy bracelets, and thy staff that is in thine hand.

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.

[1st Chron 1:4]

19 These are the three sons of Noah: and of them was the whole earth overspread.

[Gen 10:32]

We are all related to Noah through the sons of Noah. There is no worldwide evolution that turned monkeys into men. There is only one dysfunctional family which is spread out all over this globe.

from Shem, Ham and Japheth all men are descended; Shem is the father of the Oriental peoples, Ham of the Negro peoples and Japheth of the Caucasian peoples

20 And Noah began to be an husbandman, and he planted a vineyard:

21 And he drank of the wine, and was drunken; and he was uncovered within his tent.

[Gen 19:32, Prov 20:1, Eph 5:18]

22 And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father, and told his two brethren without.

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.

[Lev 18:8, Lev 20:11, Lev 20:20, Eze 22:10]

24 And Noah awoke from his wine, and knew what his younger son had done unto him.

“done unto him” – this phrase would imply that Ham did more than just look upon his father’s nakedness, which would explain the severe curse of verse 25.  In the book of Leviticus, looking upon somebody’s nakedness was sometimes a reference to sexual sins – see Leviticus 18.  The results of this “curse” will be seen throughout the OT with the descendants of Ham, and specifically the nations of Canaan, constantly under the judgment of God.

25 And he said, Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren.

[Lev 18:8, Lev 20:11, Lev 20:20, Eze 22:10]

Ham’s son Canaan was cursed for Ham’s actions concerning his father’s nakedness.

26 And he said, Blessed be the LORD God of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant.

[Josh 9:23, 1st Kings 9:21]

27 God shall enlarge Japheth, and he shall dwell in the tents of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant.

Scripture does not say what exactly transpired in Noah’s tent that day but many have speculated that there may have been a sexual assault on Noah by his drunken son Ham based on the words of Noah when he said, 24. And Noah awoke from his wine, and knew what his younger son had done unto him.

Regardless of what else transpired God wants us as believers to cover ourselves up. My body is the Lord’s and my wifes and no one else’s. As someone who is created in the image of God we are to glorify God with our bodies and that doesn’t mean showing it off to everyone.

I am amazed today to see that the clothes that were worn by Prostitutes on a street corner twenty years ago are now being worn by Church members to Church. How far we have fallen in just a few short years.

without being prejudiced, in a very broad sense the descendants of Ham have often found themselves in positions of servitude to the descendants of Shem and Japheth throughout history.

28 And Noah lived after the flood three hundred and fifty years.

29 And all the days of Noah were nine hundred and fifty years: and he died


Commentary by Matthew Henry, 1710.

Verse 1-3 – The blessing of God is the cause of our doing well. On him we depend, to him we should be thankful. Let us not forget the advantage and pleasure we have from the labour of beasts, and which their flesh affords. Nor ought we to be less thankful for the security we enjoy from the savage and hurtful beasts, through the fear of man which God has fixed deep in them. We see the fulfilment of this promise every day, and on every side. This grant of the animals for food fully warrants the use of them, but not the abuse of them by gluttony, still less by cruelty. We ought not to pain them needlessly whilst they live, nor when we take away their lives.

Verse 4-7 – The main reason of forbidding the eating of blood, doubtless was because the shedding of blood in sacrifices was to keep the worshippers in mind of the great atonement; yet it seems intended also to check cruelty, lest men, being used to shed and feed upon the blood of animals, should grow unfeeling to them, and be less shocked at the idea of shedding human blood. Man must not take away his own life. Our lives are God’s, and we must only give them up when he pleases. If we in any way hasten our own death, we are accountable to God for it. When God requires the life of a man from him that took it away unjustly, the murderer cannot render that, and therefore must render his own instead. One time or other, in this world or in the next, God will discover murders, and punish those murders which are beyond man’s power to punish. But there are those who are ministers of God to protect the innocent, by being a terror to evil-doers, and they must not bear the sword in vain, Romans 13:4. Wilful murder ought always to be punished with death. To this law there is a reason added. Such remains of God’s image are still upon fallen man, that he who unjustly kills a man, defaces the image of God, and does dishonour to him.

Verse 8-17 – As the old world was ruined, to be a monument of justice, so this world remains to this day a monument of mercy. But sin, that drowned the old world, will burn this. Articles of agreement among men are sealed, that what is promised may be the more solemn, and the doing of what is covenanted the more sure to mutual satisfaction. The seal of this covenant was the rainbow, which, it is likely, was seen in the clouds before, but was never a seal of the covenant till now it was made so. The rainbow appears when we have most reason to fear the rain prevailing; God then shows this seal of the promise, that it shall not prevail. The thicker the cloud, the brighter the bow in the cloud. Thus, as threatening afflictions abound, encouraging consolations much more abound. The rainbow is the reflection of the beams of the sun shining upon or through the drops of rain: all the glory of the seals of the covenant are derived from Christ, the Sun of righteousness. And he will shed a glory on the tears of his saints. A bow speaks terror, but this has neither string nor arrow; and a bow alone will do little hurt. It is a bow, but it is directed upward, not toward the earth; for the seals of the covenant were intended to comfort, not to terrify. As God looks upon the bow, that he may remember the covenant, so should we, that we may be mindful of the covenant with faith and thankfulness. Without revelation this gracious assurance could not be known; and without faith it can be of no use to us; and thus it is as to the still greater dangers to which all are exposed, and as to the new covenant with its blessings.

Verse 18-23 – The drunkenness of Noah is recorded in the Bible, with that fairness which is found only in the Scripture, as a case and proof of human weakness and imperfection, even though he may have been surprised into the sin; and to show that the best of men cannot stand upright, unless they depend upon Divine grace, and are upheld thereby. Ham appears to have been a bad man, and probably rejoiced to find his father in an unbecoming situation. It was said of Noah, that he was perfect in his generations, Genesis 6:9. but this is meant of sincerity, not of a sinless perfection. Noah, who had kept sober in drunken company, is now drunk in sober company. Let him that thinks he stands, take heed lest he fall. We have need to be very careful when we use God’s good creatures plentifully, lest we use them to excess, Luke 21:34. The consequence of Noah’s sin was shame. Observe here the great evil of the sin of drunkenness. It discovers men; what infirmities they have, they betray when they are drunk; and secrets are then easily got out of them. Drunken porters keep open gates. It disgraces men, and exposes them to contempt. As it shows them, so it shames them. Men say and do that when drunken, which, when sober, they would blush to think of. Notice the care of Shem and Japheth to cover their father’s shame. There is a mantle of love to be thrown over the faults of all, 1st Peter 4:8. Beside that, there is a robe of reverence to be thrown over the faults of parents and other superiors. The blessing of God attends on those who honour their parents, and his curse lights especially on those who dishonour them.

Verse 24-29 – Noah declares a curse on Canaan, the son of Ham; perhaps this grandson of his was more guilty than the rest. A servant of servants, that is, The meanest and most despicable servant, shall he be, even to his brethren. This certainly points at the victories in after-times obtained by Israel over the Canaanites, by which they were put to the sword, or brought to pay tribute. The whole continent of Africa was peopled mostly by the descendants of Ham; and for how many ages have the better parts of that country lain under the dominion of the Romans, then of the Saracens, and now of the Turks! In what wickedness, ignorance, barbarity, slavery, and misery most of the inhabitants live! And of the poor negroes, how many every year are sold and bought, like beasts in the market, and conveyed from one quarter of the world to do the work of beasts in another! But this in no way excuses the covetousness and barbarity of those who enrich themselves with the product of their sweat and blood. God has not commanded us to enslave negroes; and, without doubt, he will severely punish all such cruel wrongs. The fulfilment of this prophecy, which contains almost a history of the world, frees Noah from the suspicion of having uttered it from personal anger. It fully proves that the Holy Spirit took occasion from Ham’s offence to reveal his secret purposes. “Blessed be the Lord God of Shem.” The church should be built up and continued in the posterity of Shem; of him came the Jews, who were, for a great while, the only professing people God had in the world. Christ, who was the Lord God, in his human nature should descend from Shem; for of him, as concerning the flesh, Christ came. Noah also blesses Japheth, and, in him, the isles of the gentiles that were peopled by his seed. It speaks of the conversion of the gentiles, and the bringing of them into the church. We may read it, “God shall persuade Japheth, and being persuaded, he shall dwell in the tents of Shem.” Jews and gentiles shall be united together in the gospel fold; both shall be one in Christ. Noah lived to see two worlds; but being an heir of the righteousness which is by faith, he now rests in hope, waiting to see a better than either.