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Thursday, June 13th, 2024
the Week of Proper 5 / Ordinary 10
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Bible Commentaries
Genesis 9

Smith's Bible CommentarySmith's Commentary

Verses 1-29

Chapter 9

And God blessed Noah and his sons, and said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the eaRuth ( Genesis 9:1 ).

And so the commandment that was given to Adam at the beginning is now given to Noah because we're starting all over again with the race of men. That race that began with Adam was wiped out with the exception of Noah and his three sons with their wives. And so now we're starting over again to fill the earth, multiple, fill the earth.

Now the commandment is to fill the earth but in a little while, we're going to find them sort of congregating in one area and the plains of Shinar. So God there brought the change of languages in order to create the division and cause them to go ahead and fill the earth, instead of just trying to populate one area.

And the fear of you and the dread of you shall be upon every beast of the earth, upon every fowl of the air, and upon all that moveth upon the earth, and upon all the fish of the sea; and into your hand are they delivered. Every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you; even as the green vegetables have I given you all things. But the flesh with the life thereof, which is the blood thereof, ye shall not eat ( Genesis 9:2-4 ).

Now prior to the flood, man was a vegetarian. God said unto Adam, "All of the green herbs are yours. All of the vegetables are yours for food, the grain, the vegetables and the nuts, the fruit, they were comprising the food of man prior to the flood. But now after the flood period God has also given man meat in his diet. And so God declares that man can now eat meat but there is to be a thorough bleeding of the meat. And of course this is something that was codified under the law when God spoke to Moses. And interestingly enough, one of the only parts of the law that was commended to the Gentile church that they keep themselves from things that were strangled. That is, when you strangle an animal the blood remains in the flesh. And so the way of butchering was to cut it so that the animal would then bleed. The blood would bleed out of it and then they were to eat it.

Basically, this is probably for sanitary reasons as well as a spiritual connotation. The life of the flesh being in the blood and that recognition of the importance of blood for life which was all looking forward ultimately to Jesus Christ and His blood that was to be shed, His life that was to be given for our sins. And so the high respect for blood and the equating of blood with life. And so there was to be that thorough bleeding of the animal before it was to be eaten.

Now no way can you interpret this nor later on under the law where God commands them not to drink the blood, no way can you interpret this as to be a prohibition of blood transfusion. That is a, just a complete twisting of scripture. But it is a tragic twisting of scripture because it takes hundreds of lives every year. People last year were shocked because Jimmy Jones took a group of people down to Guyana and at his instigation they committed suicide or were murdered. And the whole world was shocked that people in a religious frenzy and fervor would go to such extremes as to commit mass suicide and murder that way. And yet because the Jehovah Witnesses refuse to have blood transfusions they are dying many of them every year because of a foolish interpretation and unscriptural interpretation of the Scriptures. I do not see much difference between Guyana and what is happening except that one was many people at one time; the other is many people over a period of time. Many more people actually but over a period of time.

I have a letter in my office from a heartbroken mother whose daughter had an operable tumor but because of her religious beliefs would not allow the doctors to operate. And the doctors, that is, she would not allow blood transfusion and the doctors would not because of the operation, the type of the operation they would not operate without having at least the privilege of using the blood and having it as a standby. And so in her refusal to have the blood transfusion, the doctors refused also to operate and she died a couple of months ago. I have the tragic letter from her mother, the heartbreak of the three little children that were left behind because she thought that she was following God's law, which in fact is just a misinterpreting of God's law by these people. And thus gave her life for religious reasons which was totally unnecessary.

But here we find God prohibiting the eating of meat with blood, that is, the meat that had been strangled, meat that had not been thoroughly bled and then they say it is one of the things that carried over into the church in the book of Acts when they decided what part of the law. But notice this is before the law was ever given, this antedates the law, and as I say, it's because God wants to give man the respect for life, and that's the whole idea, the respect for life.

For as we go on, God said

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 life of man. Whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he him ( Genesis 9:5-6 ).

So here at the beginning now of a new civilization, God is establishing capital punishment. If a man sheds another man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed. This is the beginning of human government. And it is the basic foundation upon which human government was to be established.

Now we, this past week, have just heard another outcry because a man who had been guilty of shedding another man's blood. His life was taken by the hand of man, and there was this great outcry again in our country because of this. I do not understand why these same people aren't crying out against Khomenei or against the horrible things that the Russian government is doing, or the millions of lives that were destroyed by the Khymer Rouge in the Cambodian extermination of population. I cannot be sympathetic with them when they are so inconsistent as they talk about the inconsistencies of our judicial system. If they are going to be truly inconsistent, they should be just as concerned about those that the communists are killing, as they are those that are being put to death because they themselves are guilty of murder.

But like it or not, agree with it or not, capital punishment was instituted by God as the basis of human government. Now the way that man has kept the law certainly is not just. But it doesn't take away from the fact that this is the basic foundation and principle of human government.

And you, [the Lord said] be fruitful, and multiply; and bring forth abundantly in the earth, and multiply therein ( Genesis 9:7 ).

So the commandment to man to bring fruit abundantly, to multiply in the earth. And it is interesting that those who are trying so loud or so loudly against capital punishment are the same ones who endorse so strongly many times abortion. That doesn't make sense. It's just the opposite of what God said. God said multiply. God said, "if a man takes another man's life, or sheds another man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed." And so they are just really going against, opposite to what God has said. They're crying against capital punishment and yet they are crying out for abortion. Really there's some bad inconsistencies there.

And God spake unto Noah, and to his sons with him, saying, And I, behold, I will establish my covenant with you, and with your seed after you ( Genesis 9:8-9 );

So now God is beginning to establish a covenant with man, and this is the beginning of God's covenant relationship with man. Now God established a covenant later with Abraham that he would be the one through whom, he would be the father of the nations, through whom the Messiah would come. Later God made a covenant with the nation Israel under the law. The covenant always establishes the basis of man's relationship with God.

So here is a righteous, holy God, here is a sinful man. Here is an infinite God and a finite man. How can you ever get the two together? How can a finite sinful man become one with an infinite, holy God? There has to be some basis by which man's sin is put away in order that he might become one with a righteous, holy God.

In the Old Testament as God established the covenant with the nation Israel, there were the provisions that the sin offerings whereby their sins would be covered in order that they might have a fellowship with God. But that covenant failed, not because God wasn't faithful, but because man wasn't even faithful to that covenant relationship. And so God said, "A new covenant will I make, not written on the tables of stone, but I'll write it on the fleshly tablets of their hearts" ( 2 Corinthians 3:3 ).

Now if the first covenant was adequate and sufficient, there would have never been need for a new covenant. But even Jeremiah who lived under the old covenant saw that it was not and could not work because of man's continued disobedience and unfaithfulness. So God established a new covenant, not predicated upon man's faithfulness but predicated now upon God's faithfulness. So we have a covenant relationship with God through Jesus Christ and it's based upon the faithfulness of God of putting away my sins if I'll just simply believe and trust in His Son.

Now the old covenant based upon man's faithfulness to keep the law failed because man didn't keep the law. Because it was predicated upon man, man's faithfulness failed. Thus, the new covenant cannot fail because God cannot fail, and it's predicated upon God's faithfulness, Who is faithful and Who will keep His promise and will keep His covenant that He has made with us through Jesus Christ. But this is the beginning; really, of the covenant relationships with God and man and God established this covenant with Noah after he came out from the ark.

And God in this covenant declared that

neither shall all flesh be cut off any more by the waters of a flood; neither shall there be any more a flood to destroy the earth. And God said, This is the token of my covenant [the sign] which I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for perpetual generations: for I will set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of a covenant between me and the earth. And it shall come to pass, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the bow shall be seen in the cloud: And I will remember my covenant, which is between me and you and every living creature and of all flesh; and the waters shall no more become a flood to destroy all flesh. 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. 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 eaRuth ( Genesis 9:11-17 ).

And so the rainbow. Prior to the flood there had never been a rainbow because there had never been rain. But now God has set a rainbow, that beautiful rainbow in the clouds caused by the prisms, water, raindrops, the sun hitting them. But they are God's covenant to man that the earth will never again be totally destroyed.

Now it isn't a promise that there would not be localized flood. For there are localized floods. But the earth itself will never be destroyed by a great deluge, by a great flood the entire earth and all flesh. And that is God's promise, the rainbow is the sign of God's promise that the earth will not again be destroyed by a flood. The earth is to be destroyed but not by a flood, by a dissolving of the atoms, actually, described by Peter.

Now it is interesting that when John sees the throne of God, there is a rainbow about the throne of God, or a bow about the throne of God likened to an emerald. So there in heaven about the throne of God is again a bow, which speaks of God's covenant that He has made with man, a reminder of God's covenant. Of course, that one in heaven is probably a reminder of that new covenant that is ours through Jesus Christ because we will be standing there with God on the basis of this covenant relation that He's established through Jesus.

And the sons of Noah, that went forth of the ark, were Shem, Ham, Japheth: and Ham is the father of Canaan ( Genesis 9:18 ).

Now that's just thrown in. Canaan wasn't his first son, he was probably his fourth or fifth son but it's just thrown in because he was actually Ham's youngest son. But he is going to, for some reason or other, come under a curse of Noah. And so it is mentioned the relationship here Canaan is brought in as Ham's son.

Now these are the three sons of Noah: and of them was the whole earth populated. And Noah began to be a husbandman, that is, he planted a vineyard: and began to till the soil. And he drank of the wine, and was drunken; and he was uncovered within his tent ( Genesis 9:19-21 ).

Now there are some people who try to excuse Noah and say, "Well, prior to the flood there wasn't any fermentation and so Noah was sort of taken by surprise". But there is nothing scientifically at all that would cause us to believe that the conditions were any different prior to the flood as after the flood or that any of the atmospheric conditions after the flood would have caused a fermentation. That's only speculation, we don't know for sure. At any rate, Noah got drunk and was lying uncovered in his tent.

And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father, and he told his two brothers without ( Genesis 9:22 ).

Now the word "saw the nakedness of his father" is a little more intense in the Hebrew. Actually he was gazing upon and the whole undertone of the thing is that he was in rebellion against his father. And he more or less delighted to see his father in this condition and went out and told his two brothers in such a way as to bring a reproach and disrespect upon his father Noah.

And Shem and Japheth took a garment, and laid it upon both of their shoulders, and they went backward, and covered the nakedness of their father; and their faces were backward, and they saw not their father's nakedness ( Genesis 9:23 ).

The respect for him.

And Noah awoke from his wine, and he knew what the younger son had done to him. And he said, Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants ( Genesis 9:24-25 )

Now notice he didn't say cursed be Ham. But he goes down to this youngest son of Ham and said, "Cursed be Canaan, a servant of servants"

shall he be unto his brethren. And he said, Blessed be the LORD God of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant. And God shall enlarge Japheth, and he shall dwell in the tents of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant ( Genesis 9:25-27 ).

Now why would Noah curse Canaan when it was actually Ham who did it? Much of prophecy, which this is a prophecy, is predicated upon observation of human characteristic and just knowing what the ultimate effect of that kind of a characteristic will bring. You can look at people with certain basic human characteristics and you can more or less tell what's going to happen to their lives.

There are little kids as they're growing up you say, "Man, he's you know going to come to no good in his life". You can tell by their reactions to authority, by their attitudes and all that hey, they're going to get in trouble. They have a rebellious attitude towards authority. And you can, you can pick out characteristics and by the characteristics that are there, you can more or less make a determination of what their future holds.

And Noah no doubt has observed in Canaan many of the characteristics of his father by which he knew that these characteristics would lead to this kind of a future. Now it is totally unscriptural, totally unfounded that weird interpretation of the scripture that was held by many people for so long that the curse was that Canaan became black, and thus that the black people were a subservient race.

Now this was held by the Mormons until recently. A Mormon could not-a black man could not become a priest in the Mormon Church. And it was a common view, a tragic view, an unscriptural view. It was an unscriptural tragic interpretation. There's no basis for that at all. God has created all of us equal. And the color of my skin has nothing to do with the character and the condition of my heart. Nor does it make me any closer to God or any farther from God, nor does it categorize me to a certain destiny because my skin is white and I have no hair. That is a tragic interpretation of the Scriptures that caused a great deal of horrible attitudes towards a race of people, treating them as servants, as sub-par.

I am so grateful that that ridiculous interpretation has finally been filed away except in the minds of a few rednecks. And that we've come to the beautiful realization that hey, we are all brothers and in Christ Jesus "there is neither Jew nor Greek, Barbarian, Scythian, bond or free: but Christ is all, and in all" ( Colossians 3:11 ).

Now because of this attitude, unfortunately, among many black people there has become an attitude of sort of a backlash against the church, against Jesus Christ and against Christianity because it was sort of held in Christian circles these concepts for a time. And that is tragic indeed because it was holding back then a great number of these people from knowing the love of God and the power of God's spirit in being able to change their lives and give them love, enjoy the peace that God would have for them.

There are many things in history and many things in the history of the church for which I am greatly ashamed. I do not try to defend church history. I cannot understand why some people seem to love to hold up the historic church as the criteria for doctrinal truth, as though the historic church was so correct. The historic church is an abomination. Their concepts were an abomination to God, their practices, their introduction of pagan idolatry. All of these things are a part and a parcel of the historic church.

That is why I am glad that as for myself, I am not identified with the historic church. We can start all over afresh and just seek for the true scriptural patterns without having to be bound or restricted or identified with the mistakes and the evils of the historic church. It's neat to have a fresh start. Thus, when I look at the historic church I blush with shame. I don't try to defend it, it was wrong. It was wrong in its treatment of the Jew. It was wrong in its treatment of those people who had darker colored skin. It was wrong in its introduction of idolatry. It was wrong in its introduction of the Babylonian system of religion. It was wrong in so many areas of the interpretation of the Scriptures.

So why should I reject the glorious blessed hope of the rapture of the church just because it wasn't a part of the historic church teaching? There is a lot of the historic church teaching that I reject totally as being false and unscriptural. So the fact that the historic church did not teach the rapture doesn't affect my believing one iota. There's a lot of things that they didn't teach or practice that I do believe. And I believe in such as the gift of the Holy Spirit in the lives of the believer, which is not a part of the historic church if you want to get technical. So to me, these guys who are arguing all the time against the rapture and using as their chief tenet, well, it isn't a part of the historic church doctrine. Well, if you want to follow historic church doctrine, that's your problem.

I'm glad to take a fresh look. I'm glad to come at the Scriptures without presupposition. I'm glad to just let the word of God speak to me and speak to my own heart directly and plainly and openly without coming with a presupposition that would prejudice my interpretation. I'm glad for the chance to start over fresh. I'm glad for the new wineskin to hold the new wine of God's spirit that He is seeking to pour out in these days. I'm glad that we're not bound in traditions of the past. God help us to keep from developing our own traditions. God keep us in a free flow. God keep us flexible. God keep us open so that the skins don't get hard and tight and rigid.

And should the Lord tarry, and I sleep with my father, and the day should come when someone sees a need within the church and they suggest a new way to reach out and touch lives, and if someone says, "Well, Chuck didn't do it that way", I'll tell you, I'm going to be breathing over your shoulder haunting you because we're not trying to establish ways; we're only seeking to follow the movement of God's Spirit in these days. Let's stay flexible. Let's stay open. God is working in a beautiful way now and we love it and we rejoice in it.

But it doesn't mean that we will always be following the same patterns of worship that we are presently. But we just want to be open to however God leads and to remain open.

So the curse was passed upon Canaan and Canaan actually was the father of those nations that established the land of Canaan; the Amorites, the Jebusites and so forth. Those who established in the land that became known as the land of Canaan, which land later Abraham came to and was given as God's promise to Abraham and to his seed. So Canaan actually was the father of those people and not the black African races though the African continent was populated by the other descendants of Ham.

And so Noah lived after the flood three hundred and fifty years ( Genesis 9:28 ).

Which means that he lived almost to the time of Abraham. And his son Seth did live contemporary; in fact, Seth lived for seventy-five years after almost as long as Abraham did really. He lived for seventy-five years after Abraham had left Haran. So it means that he lived just about contemporaneously with Abraham himself. So you see that you're really not far removed as far as the story goes from Adam.

For Adam lived unto the time of Noah's father. And so could have passed on the story of creation, the garden and all to Noah's father. Noah himself passing it on to Shem, his son, who lived to the time of Abraham and related the whole thing to Abraham. So you don't have the story too far removed from Abraham. "

Bibliographical Information
Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on Genesis 9". "Smith's Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/csc/genesis-9.html. 2014.
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