Genesis 9 (NRSV)
The Covenant with Noah
God blessed Noah and his sons, and said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth. 2The fear and dread of you shall rest on every animal of the earth, and on every bird of the air, on everything that creeps on the ground, and on all the fish of the sea; into your hand they are delivered. 3Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you; and just as I gave you the green plants, I give you everything. 4Only, you shall not eat flesh with its life, that is, its blood.
The importance of the idea of blood in the Bible is shown by how often the word is used. It is used 424 times in 357 separate verses (in the New King James Version).
- Blood was the sign of mercy for Israel at the first Passover (Exodus 12:13)
- Blood sealed God’s covenant with Israel (Exodus 24:8)
- Blood sanctified the altar (Exodus 29:12)
- Blood set aside the priests (Exodus 29:20)
- Blood made atonement for God’s people (Exodus 30:10)
- Blood sealed the new covenant (Matthew 26:28)
- Blood justifies us (Romans 5:9)
- Blood brings redemption (Ephesians 1:7)
- Blood brings peace with God (Colossians 1:20)
- Blood cleanses us (Hebrews 9:14 and 1 John 1:7)
- Blood gives entrance to God’s holy place (Hebrews 10:19)
- Blood sanctifies us (Hebrews 13:12)
- Blood enables us to overcome Satan (Revelation 12:11)
5For your own lifeblood I will surely require a reckoning: from every animal I will require it and from human beings, each one for the blood of another, I will require a reckoning for human life. 6Whoever sheds the blood of a human, by a human shall that person’s blood be shed; for in his own image God made humankind. 7And you, be fruitful and multiply, abound on the earth and multiply in it.”
8Then God said to Noah and to his sons with him, 9“As for me, I am establishing my covenant with you and your descendants after you, 10and with every living creature that is with you, the birds, the domestic animals, and every animal of the earth with you, as many as came out of the ark. 11I establish my covenant with you, that never again shall all flesh be cut off by the waters of a flood, and never again shall there be a flood to destroy the earth.”
At its most basic, a covenant is an agreement between two parties. Some covenants place requirements on each of the partners (see, for example, Genesis 12:1-3). God’s covenant with Noah, however, requires only God’s maintenance and remembrance. Despite the disruptions in God’s original intentions for creation and despite the grief and trouble humanity has caused for God, God decides not to abandon creation.
–Linda B. Hinton
The Lord will fulfill His purpose for me.
Lord, Your love is eternal;
do not abandon the work of Your hands.
12God said, “This is the sign of the covenant that I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all future generations: 13I have set my bow in the clouds, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth. 14When I bring clouds over the earth and the bow is seen in the clouds, 15I will remember my covenant that is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh. 16When the bow is in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth.” 17God said to Noah, “This is the sign of the covenant that I have established between me and all flesh that is on the earth.”
Hebrews 11:7 (Contemporary English Version)
Because Noah had faith, he was warned about something that had not yet happened. He obeyed and built a boat that saved him and his family. In this way the people of the world were judged, and Noah was given the blessings that come to everyone who pleases God.
The most famous rainbow song in the world. “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” performed HERE by Eric Clapton, the only person to be inducted three times into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and widely considered to be one of the greatest guitarists of all time.
Ezekiel 1:27-28 (Contemporary English Version)
From the waist up, it was glowing like metal in a hot furnace, and from the waist down it looked like the flames of a fire. The figure was surrounded by a bright light, as colorful as a rainbow that appears after a storm. I realized I was seeing the brightness of the LORD’s glory! So I bowed with my face to the ground.
Bruce Feiler. Walking the Bible: A Journey by Land through the Five Books of Moses, (Introduction — “And God Said”)
Peter Spier. Noah’s Ark (a Caldecott winner wordless picture book)
Carmen Bernos De Gasztold, Author; Rumer Godden, Translator. Prayers from the Ark (from the animals and the humans!)
Noah and His Sons
18The sons of Noah who went out of the ark were Shem, Ham, and Japheth. Ham was the father of Canaan. 19These three were the sons of Noah; and from these the whole earth was peopled. 20Noah, a man of the soil, was the first to plant a vineyard. 21He drank some of the wine and became drunk, and he lay uncovered in his tent.
Proverbs 20:1 (English Standard Version)
Wine is a mocker, strong drink a brawler,
and whoever is led astray by it is not wise.
22And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father, and told his two brothers outside. 23Then Shem and Japheth took a garment, laid it on both their shoulders, and walked backward and covered the nakedness of their father; their faces were turned away, and they did not see their father’s nakedness.
24When Noah awoke from his wine and knew what his youngest son had done to him, 25he said, “Cursed be Canaan; lowest of slaves shall he be to his brothers.” 26He also said, “Blessed by the Lord my God be Shem; and let Canaan be his slave. 27May God make space for Japheth, and let him live in the tents of Shem; and let Canaan be his slave.”
28After the flood Noah lived three hundred fifty years. 29All the days of Noah were nine hundred fifty years; and he died.
The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Images courtesy of:
Rainbow and Promise. http://www.essex1.com/people/paul/the-rainbow.jpg
Judy Garland in The Wizard of Oz. http://i.ytimg.com/vi/IKCX71zBHo8/0.jpg