Genesis 9: God’s Covenant With Noah

Earnest Examination

This series is presented as an honest, sincere look into the study of the Bible with my own personal theories, opinions, comments and that of others’ insights and research into what the verses could mean. I cannot claim one way or another that everything that I am stating is fact and the true meaning of what is meant in these verses.

To lay it out in a way that I can manage, I have highlighted the texts of verses that I either don’t understand or have a comment or question about in yellow. And the comments I’ve left beneath it will be of a smaller font and using brown text.

I would love it if you’d join me in this journey and if you have any insights and/or knowledge of these chapters/verses etc., please feel free to share with me and the other readers. Any chance to get a clearer understanding of the Bible and Jesus Christ would be welcomed with open arms.

All verses used are from (NIV) Genesis 9

God’s Covenant With Noah

1 Then God blessed Noah and his sons, saying to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the earth.
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.
Why was this a new rule that God implemented on the beings of the planet? According to this, one could surmise that before this event, all animals had no fear of humans and co-existed side by side peacefully. But after the flood, God changes this completely and makes animals at the mercy of humans. Was this a test to see who will still treat animals with kindness and empathy, even after having reign over them?
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.
So am I to assume that before the flood, no one ate meat? It brings me back to Abel’s offering/sacrifice of the best of his flock, and of Noah’s sacrifice of some of the “clean” animals that Noah brought onto the ark. This was not only acceptable to God, it was beloved; as we can see from God’s reaction to Abel’s offering and one of the main reasons, apparently, that God promised to never again curse the ground because of humans. …Because he loved the smell of burning meat so much. “21 The LORD smelled the pleasing aroma and said in his heart: “Never again will I curse the ground because of humans, even though every inclination of the human heart is evil from childhood. And never again will I destroy all living creatures, as I have done.” I honestly don’t know what to say about this revelation.
4 “But you must not eat meat that has its lifeblood still in it.
Well, even God has his limits. Sadly, this common respect and courtesy for living creatures are indeed lost on some humans. For example, the military sent some of their troops to engage in a rather savage “survival” training camp that did encourage soldiers to eat/drink blood from live animals. And even admitted that the training program was not solely to teach survival skills, but rather to build a rapport with their fellow companions. “While the training exercise is marketed as a food procurement drill, officials have admitted it is intended to build camaraderie among troops in a manner resembling a barbaric hazing ritual.” – (WARNING: GRAPHIC MATERIAL) Military Training Drills Where Soldiers Eat Live Animals And Drink Snake Blood Could Spark New Pandemic, Says PETA

I don’t know about you, but if you look up the definition of ‘camaraderie‘, it states:
n. Goodwill and lighthearted rapport between or among friends; comradeship.
n. Companionship; good-fellowship; intimacy.
n. Comradeship and loyalty.

None of what was described in their “training drills” sounds like ‘goodwill’ or ‘lighthearted’ or ‘good-fellowship’ or anything of the sort and more like an occultic initiation rite to me.

Now some people will accuse others of judging based on cultural differences, but we have to ask ourselves, where do the rights of “cultural differences” stand when the beliefs are literally infringing upon other beings’ lives? “They’re just animals.” Yes. Animals with every right to living as well and not suffering through needless pain. Which again brings me to why a burnt offering of animals would be needed by the Lord and why it’s so hard for me to comprehend this idea in the first place.
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.
I know forgiveness is a huge factor in our lives, but I have to admit that I sometimes think of “karma” as being a real aspect and something that we’ll all have to face one of these days. Whether reincarnation is real or not, perhaps our deeds will go rewarded or punished depending on how we lived our life(lives). I have to be honest when I say that I hope that people get what’s coming to them – both the good and the bad. If someone is completely selfless and loving and spreads that, then I hope they get recompensed for all of their good-heartedness. If someone is evil/wicked, etc., then likewise, I hope they get what’s coming to them. I think it’s human nature to want to see good and bad people get what they inevitably deserve, and I have not yet “transcended” above that mentality.

With that being said, if someone is truly remorseful and regretful for all their bad deeds and turns their life around to show this, then by all means, forgiveness should most definitely be on the table and wipe the slate clean. I think this is one of the key attributes in clearing a kind of karmic debt/cycle. But the heart must be sincere in order for it to work.
6 “Whoever sheds human blood, by humans shall their blood be shed; for in the image of God has God made mankind.
Except Cain, right?
“Then the LORD put a mark on Cain so that no one who found him would kill him.”
Why did God show so much leniency to Cain when he was allegedly the first murderer on the planet? God even put upon him the protection from being killed by the hands of someone else, but yet this verse indicates that if you shed someone’s blood (like Cain did) then your blood will be shed by a human as well. Perhaps God changed his mind. Of course, we know this rule doesn’t necessarily reflect truth as we know it since there have been killers/murderers, etc. that get away with their crime and die peacefully in their sleep. So perhaps there’s something we’re missing to completely understand the context of these words.
7 As for you, be fruitful and increase in number; multiply on the earth and increase upon it.”
8 Then God said to Noah and to his sons with him:
9 “I now establish my covenant with you and with your descendants after you
10 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.
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.”
I think most of us might remember this story from our childhood; God’s promise to never destroy most of the world due to a flood ever again – hence the rainbow in the sky as a testament to this promise – however, as a lot of people have pointed out, the prophetic words of Revelation point to Fire as the next detrimental punishment the world will receive when the time comes. Perhaps there is a symbolic meaning behind this, seeing as how fire is often seen as the essence of purification.
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:
13 I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth.
14 Whenever I bring clouds over the earth and the rainbow appears in the clouds,
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.
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.”
17 So God said to Noah, “This is the sign of the covenant I have established between me and all life on the earth.”

The Sons of Noah

18 The sons of Noah who came out of the ark were Shem, Ham and Japheth. (Ham was the father of Canaan.)
19 These were the three sons of Noah, and from them came the people who were scattered over the whole earth.

I remember seeing an interesting depiction of these three sons of Noah, implicating the skin color of each one. There is so much controversy surrounding the nature of this, that, while I feel it prudent to study it and research the possible correlations between all of it, I am not going to address it on this post. Just bringing up the subject matter for future reference, and to connect this with the possible origins we have on the different kinds of ethnicities and cultures that we can see all around the world. I think it is a fascinating study into our history, although the theories and opinions differ greatly between multiple groups and are highly debatable and ultimately inconclusive.
20 Noah, a man of the soil, proceeded to plant a vineyard.
21 When he drank some of its wine, he became drunk and lay uncovered inside his tent.

This is more of a personal opinion, but I am not a big drinker, and, to be quite frank, I don’t think anyone else should be either. There is so much conflict and drama when alcohol is in the mix, and it leads to drastic decisions that probably could have been avoided simply by not imbibing the drink. There are (conspiracy) theories as to why alcohol is called ‘spirits’ to begin with. Maybe there’s a perfectly good reason why it’s called that. And it’s also a good reason why we should stay away from it. A little bit of it here and there is fine, but when one crosses the line into “drunkenness”, it most definitely becomes a problem. The consumption of alcohol directly weakens our cognitive functions, and, in my conspiratorial opinion, leaves one wide open for spiritual possession and impaired judgement.
22 Ham, the father of Canaan, saw his father naked and told his two brothers outside.
You wouldn’t think it simply by looking at this rather straight-forward statement, but it is, in fact, rife with hidden meaning. (That is, of course, contested, but what isn’t nowadays?)
When I first read this line, my mind automatically thought, “Well, so what? Noah’s son accidentally looked upon his drunken father’s nakedness. Is that really such a major deal? And his other sons simply took a garment and respectfully covered him. What’s to see here?”

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.
But it wasn’t until I researched these verses that it made sense. What the term ‘saw his father naked‘ really means in Hebrew – is a euphemism for sleeping with his father’s wife.
It means that Ham slept with his own mother.
Why Was Canaan Cursed?
This is of course, just one theory, but it’s the one that makes the most sense to me. After all, yes having someone take a peek at you while you’re laying naked is utterly embarrassing, but enough so to warrant cursing your own grandchild? Eh, not so much. However, a family member having an immoral relationship with another family member, especially one who you’re married to? And then to have that family member go behind your back and brag about it to other family members?…That makes more sense.
But that does raise the question as to why Noah cursed his grandchild to begin with and not Ham; the one who ACTUALLY committed the sin.

24 When Noah awoke from his wine and found out what his youngest son had done to him,
25 he said, “Cursed be Canaan! The lowest of slaves will he be to his brothers.”

There are debates as to if this is what is really meant by the “uncovered nakedness” means, and as I’ve stated, it is what makes most sense to me. If it was that Ham saw him naked and bragged about it to his brothers, then the severity of the curse doesn’t seem to fit the crime. If, however, it is because Ham committed incest with his mother and this is how Canaan was born, it falls into place more logically. Now the question is, was the mother complicit in this egregious deed; or was she overpowered and taken advantage of? Was it not only a crime of incest, but also of rape? The Bible doesn’t expand upon this further, so there is no way of knowing.

And through my own curiosity, since Noah automatically went to curse Canaan, I wondered if this child had already been born and was just the poor recipient of Noah’s wrath due to being the child of Ham, OR, if Noah knew that Canaan was going to be born from Ham’s incestuous relationship with his mother. The verse states “when Noah awoke from his wine” – could this have meant “when Noah awoke from his drunken stupor”? When looking up how long one can be drunk for, the answer was astonishing. If it was a matter of a single day/night in which Noah lay drunk and finally arose out of it, that would be one thing. But again, the Bible doesn’t specify. If, however, Noah was a consistent wine drinker to the point where he was a (even barely) “functioning drunk”, then this state could last for weeks, months, even years! Perhaps when he finally set the wine aside and sobered up, is when his other sons got through to him and let him know the grievous action that their brother committed. And during that time, Noah, seeing his wife pregnant and knowing that it wasn’t his but instead Ham’s, unleashed his curse on the unborn child.
26 He also said, “Praise be to the LORD, the God of Shem! May Canaan be the slave of Shem.
27 May God extend Japheth’s territory; may Japheth live in the tents of Shem, and may Canaan be the slave of Japheth.”

It seems as if Noah’s wrath onto Canaan is more of a retribution to smite Ham – forcing him to watch his son be at the mercy of others, but because to me it seems unfair to subject an otherwise innocent child to such hostility and animosity, it’s taking me awhile to wrap my head around it.
There is something that I’m reminded of and wonder if it has any relevance to the reaction of Noah to his grandson Canaan. In some reincarnation testimonies, children have been known to decide which parents they want to be born from. Could this be why Noah holds resentment to Canaan? Since Canaan allegedly chose to be born from this cursed union?
I will never forget when my son told me when he was around 4, “I’m glad I picked you to be my mommy.” (…I didn’t know it worked like that…) Of course I asked him what he meant by that, and he couldn’t quite explain it but stated it as a matter of fact thing, like “of course that’s how it works, silly”. He also regaled me with stories of what it was like INSIDE THE WOMB and me, being fascinated with what he was telling me, grabbed the nearest piece of paper and pen I could find and hastily scribbled down everything he was saying. Was this merely a fanciful imagination of a young child? Or was he remembering things that go far beyond our current comprehension?
Lastly, I want to bring up how sad it is that after God’s hard work at smiting the WHOLE PLANET (save but a few) because of the evil inclinations of the human heart, what happens next? Ham, one of the chosen few to be saved, goes out and SINS and brings corruption right back. …Really? Out of 8 people, they couldn’t just stay holy enough to not further curse the land? It’s not like they went ahead and listened to the Lord and repopulated the land AND THEN one of those foolish offspring brought about corruption. NO. We see it right away from one of Noah’s sons. You can’t tell me that God didn’t foresee this coming. Which begs the question, ‘why allow it’?

28 After the flood Noah lived 350 years.
29 Noah lived a total of 950 years, and then he died.

As we can see, the Lord does indeed work in mysterious ways and I can’t even pretend to know the hows, whats and whys and so on. All we can do is live life the best way we can, work on our own development and help others through their hardships and learn from our mistakes. We may never know the “ultimate plan” and why God allows certain things to happen, but to stay in a cynical, hard-hearted stubbornness of rebellion and disbelief is to shut out open-mindedness and understanding. Something that I am perpetually working on in my own life.

And again I want to reiterate that some of my thoughts and theories may be way off base, and I also research some other things on the side as well to try and get a broader understanding of what I’m reading, so please bear with me, or, even better, if you have insights that bring more light to these verses, please let me know.

I enjoy bouncing off theories and theology off of each other and love to hear other people’s perspectives on things. Thank you for reading and I look forward to hearing from you!

Fact checking is extremely important. I want to reiterate not to take everything at face value; no matter what you read, where you read it from, or who you hear it from. And to be clear, do not rely on “fact checking” websites to give you accurate information either. These are just as likely, (if not even more likely…), to feed false information and false debunking accounts to manipulate the reader. Please take everything into consideration before adhering to a certain narrative – and always keep your mind open to other possibilities.

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