Today we begin our study of Genesis Chapter 9.
For the Complete Jewish Bible, click here.
For the King James Version, click here.
This chapter starts off with God’s first post-flood speech to Noah in the Bible.
This is also the first time Scripture has God addressing someone in narrative form using the phrase “And God said….“.
Immediately, we are introduced to a major change that has occurred.
The vegetarian man of the Garden of Eden is now allowed a carnivores’ diet, and as a result the animal kingdom that once had a harmonious relationship with man will now live in fear of him.
Why do you think it was so easy for Noah to get the animals to cooperate with him prior to the flood?
The answer is because before the flood man had a different relationship with the animal kingdom.
“Every moving thing that lives will be food for you; just as I gave you green plants before, so now I give you everything — only flesh with its life, which is its blood, you are not to eat.”-Genesis 9:3-4
Based on the above verse, at this stage, it seems like no living creature was off limits for food.
However, there was a very strict rule placed on the eating of meat, and it was that man was NOT allowed to eat the blood from an animal.
The reason is because blood carries the life essence in it.
We will see that moving forward blood is only to be used for sacrifices.
Blood is way too holy for man to partake of!
We see the importance of blood also being applied to human beings.
The taking of human blood (in other words murder) is strictly prohibited and if it happens, the person guilty as charged will have his or her life taken from her. He or she will be subjected to the death penalty.
“Whoever sheds human blood, by a human being will his own blood be shed; for God made human beings in his image.“-Genesis 9:6
Notice in verse 6 that God assigns the responsibility of meting out justice for murder over to man now. Up until now, God had dealt with it Himself.
What’s interesting is that when God dealt with Cain, the punishment meted out was banishment from His presence.
The mere separation from God’s presence was sufficient punishment.
However, in the post-flood age, when man murders man, he will incur the death penalty.
Honestly, if I was a murderer and had to choose between the death penalty and eternal separation from God’s presence, I would choose the death penalty any day. (I mean, we’re going to die anyway right.)
Concerning this portion of the Scripture, the ancient Jewish sages have pointed out that here God is establishing the principle of earthly government.
Actually, this is the beginning of what would eventually come to be called the 7 Noachide Laws.
The 7 Noachide Laws are the most fundamental principles of justice that God gave to Noah and from these basic laws will come all the other civil laws that will eventually comprise the Torah. The seven laws are as follows:
1) No idol worship.
2) No taking God’s name in vain.
3) No murder.
4) No incest.
5) No robbing and stealing.
6) No eating blood nor meat of strangled animals.
7) Man must submit to government authority.
Thousands of years later after Jesus’s ascension, these Noachide Laws were brought up by the Jerusalem Council of 49 AD as the minimum behavioral requirements for gentiles who wanted to fellowship with Jewish believers in Messiah.
CONNECTING THIS TEACHING TO THE NEW TESTAMENT
Instead, we should write them a letter telling them to abstain from things polluted by idols, from fornication, from what is strangled and from blood. For from the earliest times, Moshe has had in every city those who proclaim him, with his words being read in the synagogues every Shabbat.”-Acts 15:20-21