God allowed the people who lived before the flood to have long lives. He wanted them to have sufficient time to change their attitudes. He wanted them to pray to him and to trust him again. But most people did not use their long lives to turn to God. And they did not become better people as they became older. In fact, people were becoming even more evil.
So God decided that he would not allow people to live so long. And he decided to punish wicked people wherever they lived. In verse 7, God’s plan was to destroy everything that he had made. But God saw that there were a few good people among the vast numbers of evil people.
Especially, God saw Noah. Noah was unlike other people. Noah ‘walked with God’ (verse 9), like Enoch (Genesis 5:24) and like Adam before he *sinned. So God could not destroy the entire world. He always does the right things (Genesis 18:25). And he will always save the people who trust him (2 Peter 3:11-13).
So God made a plan. He would still punish and kill the wicked people. But he would save the earth and he would allow some animals to live. God would separate the people who obeyed him from evil people. And God would save the people who trusted him. Noah would build a large boat, called the *ark. And Noah would protect his family, and each type of animal, in the boat.
Everybody was very evil, 6:1-8
v1 Men had large families on earth and they had many sons and daughters. v2 Then the sons of God saw that the daughters of men were pretty. The sons of God chose some daughters and they married those daughters. v3 Then the *Lord said, ‘My Spirit shall not struggle with people for always because they are human. They shall live for 120 years.’
v4 The Nephilim (giant people) were on the earth at that time. They were also there afterwards. The sons of God lay with the daughters of men. And so the sons of God had children. Those children became the famous men that lived a long time ago. They were famous because they were very strong and brave.
v5 The *Lord saw that the people on the earth were very wicked. Man’s every thought was always evil. And so was every wish in his heart. v6 And the *Lord was sorry that He had made man on the earth. He was bitterly angry. v7 So the *Lord said, ‘I will completely take away man, whom I have created, from the earth. I will completely take away from the earth all people and animals. I will take away all birds that fly in the air. And I will take away all *creatures that crawl. I am sorry that I made them.’ v8 But the *Lord was pleased with Noah.
Verse 2 We do not know who the ‘sons of God’ were. Some people think that the ‘sons of God’ were *angels or spirits. But another explanation is that they were *descendants of Seth. If that is the meaning, then the ‘daughters of men’ would be *descendants of Cain.
We do know this. The ‘sons of God’ were choosing wives for the wrong reason. They chose women that were pretty. But they needed to choose women that were good.
God’s people often have to behave in a different way from other people. This is because God’s people belong to God. Seth’s *descendants knew how to please God. They understood *sacrifice. They knew how to be friends of God. So they should not have associated with evil people.
Verse 3 My Spirit shall not ‘struggle with man’. The *Hebrew words here may have two different meanings. They can also mean ‘continue to stay in man’. However, we learn the same thing from both meanings. When God’s Spirit is in us, he struggles with our natural character. Our natural character is *sinful. We have it because we are human. ‘Do not upset God’s Holy Spirit’ (Ephesians 4:30).
‘120 years’. That may mean:
(1) that man would live only about 120 years instead of many hundred years; or
(2) that God would send the flood after 120 years.
But we learn the same thing from it anyway. God’s patience with man will end and God will bring judgement to all people. (‘Judgement’ means that he will bring punishment to those that have done wrong things. But God has provided ways to escape. God provided a way so that those people in the *ark could escape. Later, he gave Jesus to us. Because of Jesus, we can escape from God’s punishment.
Verse 4 ‘Nephilim’. They were giant people, who probably lived in an evil way.
Verse 5 The *Lord saw that there was nothing good in people. Even in their hearts, or minds, he could not find anything good.
Verse 6 God ‘was sorry’. But God did not wish that he had not made the earth. God loves people very much. But he is also *holy and he is completely fair. He was very sad to see how evil people had become. Their behaviour upset him deeply.
Verse 7 *Sin does not hurt only the person who *sins. At that time, it hurt the whole earth.
Verse 8 People were very evil. But Noah pleased God. And so, God made a special plan to save Noah.
God warns Noah, 6:9-22
v9 These are Noah’s *descendants. Noah was a good man. Among the people that were alive then, he was without blame. Noah walked with God. v10 Noah had three sons called Shem, Ham and Japheth.
v11 Now God considered the earth as bad. All the people on the earth attacked each other often. v12 God looked at the earth. And he saw that it was very bad. All people lived in an evil way on the earth. v13 And God said to Noah, ‘I have decided to kill all people. The people who are on the earth attack each other often. Look! I will kill man. And I will destroy the earth too. v14 Make an *ark for yourself. Make it out of gopher wood (a certain kind of wood.) Make rooms in the *ark. Cover it with pitch (sticky black stuff) inside and outside. v15 This is how you must make it. It must be 300 *cubits long, 50 *cubits wide and 30 *cubits high. v16 Make a roof for the *ark. Finish the *ark so that it ends 1 *cubit from the top. So then there will be a window for light. Put a door in the side of the *ark. Make three decks. There must be lower, middle and upper decks. v17 I will flood the earth with water. I will kill all *creatures that live under the skies. Every *creature that lives will die. Everything on the earth will die. v18 I will make a *covenant with you. And I will do what I have promised you. You will enter the *ark with your sons. Your wife and your sons’ wives will also be with you. v19 Take each kind of *creature that lives. Take two from among each kind. Take them into the *ark with you and keep them alive. Take one male and one female from among each kind. v20 Take two from among every sort and keep them alive. Take two from among every kind of bird. Take two from among every kind of animal. And take every kind of *creature that crawls. Take two from among every kind. v21 Take every sort of food to eat. Take it with you and store it. That will be food for you. And it will be food for the birds, animals and *creatures.’
v22 Noah did that. He did everything exactly as God ordered him.
Verse 9 Noah was not perfect. He was ‘*righteous’. That means that he really tried to obey God. A *righteous person is someone who loves God. Such a person cares about other people too. A *righteous person lives in this way even if he would suffer as a result. Because of these attitudes, Noah was different from everyone else who lived at that time.
Verse 11 God saw that people had done many wrong things. In that way, they spoilt their own lives. They refused to do the things that please God. And they chose to live wicked lives. So God would kill them.
Verse 14 ‘*Ark’. The *Hebrew word for ‘*ark’ here is the same one that the writer uses for Moses’ basket. (Look at Exodus 2:3, 5.) But that word does not appear anywhere else in the Bible. The *ark’s shape was more like a building than a boat. Noah did not make the *ark to sail regularly on the seas. It had a special purpose, and its shape was ideal for that purpose.
‘Gopher wood’. We are not sure what the word ‘gopher’ means. So we do not know exactly what that wood was.
‘Pitch’ is a sticky black stuff. It would help to protect the wood from water. The *Hebrew words for ‘pitch’ and ‘cover’ are similar to each other. Later, when Jesus died for us, he ‘covered’ our *sins by means of his death.
‘Inside and outside’. That may mean ‘completely’.
Make ‘rooms’ in the *ark. Here, where we have the word ‘rooms’, the original *Hebrew text has ‘nests’. Some people have said that its meaning might be this. There are tall grasses called reeds, which grow in shallow water. Many birds use these to make their nests. So it might mean that also Noah should use these plants, to make the *ark.
Noah lived many miles from the sea. He did not know how to build boats. Nobody had ever built a boat like this. People probably laughed at him. But God told him what to do.
Verse 15 A *cubit is a measurement that people used then. It is equal to 18 inches (about 45 centimetres).
Verse 18 I will make a ‘*covenant’ with you. In *Hebrew, that is the same word as for ‘testament’. (A testament is a text that a person writes. It shows who must receive that person’s property after the person’s death.) *Covenants were serious agreements between two people (or two nations). Each person (or nation) had to promise to do certain things. God promised to save Noah. But God would only do that if Noah went into the *ark.
Verse 22 Noah had to do a lot of difficult things. He did them all because God told him to.
God saves Noah from the flood, 7:1-24
v1 Then the *Lord said to Noah, ‘Go into the *ark and take all your family with you. I have seen that you alone are good among those that are living now. v2 Take 7 pairs of all *clean animals with you. So there will be seven males and their mates. Take one male and one female from each kind of *unclean animal. v3 Take seven pairs (male and female) of every bird that flies in the air. So then you will keep each kind of bird alive on the earth. v4 After 7 days, I will send rain upon the earth. It will rain for 40 days and 40 nights. I will completely take away from the earth every *creature that is alive. I will take away from the earth’s surface all those that I have made.’
v5 And Noah did everything that the *Lord had ordered him to do.
v6 Noah was 600 years old when the flood came. That was when the waters came upon the earth. v7 Noah went into the *ark. He took with him his sons, his wife and his sons’ wives. They entered the *ark in order to escape the waters of the flood. v8 Also, there were pairs of *clean animals and there were pairs of *unclean animals. There were pairs of birds. And there were pairs of everything that crawls on the ground. v9 They all went into the *ark with Noah. They went in order as pairs, male and female. It was exactly as God had given the command to Noah. v10 After 7 days, the waters of the flood came upon the earth.
v11 It was the 600th year in Noah’s life. It was the 2nd month in that year. And it was the 17th day in that month. Then all the water rushed up from the seas, which were great and deep. And rain poured down from the skies. v12 It rained for 40 days and 40 nights.
v13 On that same day, Noah entered the *ark. He took with him his three sons, called Shem, Ham and Japheth. He took also his wife and his sons’ three wives. v14 There was every kind of wild animal and there was every kind of *cattle. There was every kind of thing that crawls on the earth. And there was every sort of bird. They all entered the *ark too. v15 They went into the *ark with Noah. There were pairs of all *creatures that have life in them. v16 All those were male and female *creatures from all the kinds that were living. And they went into the *ark, as God had given the command to Noah. And then the *Lord shut Noah in.
v17 The flood continued for 40 days on the earth. The waters got higher. They rose high above the earth and the *ark floated upon them. v18 The waters rose and they increased greatly on the earth. But the *ark floated on top of the waters. v19 A very huge amount of water came upon the earth. So then all the high mountains under the whole sky were under the water. v20 A very huge amount of water came over the mountains. So then the mountains were under 15 *cubits of water. v21 All *creatures that were living before died. All that had moved upon the earth died. That included birds, *cattle and wild animals. It included all *creatures that moved in large groups on the earth. And it included every person. v22 Everything on dry land died. They had all had breath in their nostrils (holes in the nose). That is, breath that had made them live. But they died. v23 God completely took away from the earth every *creature that was alive. That means everything that was on the surface of the ground. It included people and animals. It included *creatures that crawl. And it included birds. God took them away completely from the earth. Only a few people remained. Noah remained. And those with him in the *ark remained.
v24 And the waters flooded the earth for 150 days.
God saved Noah and his family because Noah was *righteous. But the flood killed all the wicked people. This reminds us that God will be the judge of everyone. But God is not like a human judge. We cannot impress God by our efforts. And it does not matter whether we are rich or poor. But he will save us if, like Noah, we please him. We shall please him if we are *righteous. We do not become *righteous by our own efforts. We can only become *righteous because of what Jesus did for us. Jesus died to save us from the punishment for our *sins. So we must confess our *sins to God. And we must invite him into our lives.
God also rescued animals of all types. He arranged that they would come to Noah. The flood did not begin until they were all safely in the *ark.
This chapter does not mention the reaction of the people before they died in the flood. 2 Peter 2:5 shows that Noah warned them. But Jesus said that they were just carrying on their usual behaviour (Matthew 24:37-39). One day, they were eating and drinking. And they were merry. But then the flood came and God punished them. Jesus added that people will act in the same way before his return. They will continue their evil lives. But then Jesus will return. When he returns, he will be their judge. Jesus’ return gives hope to everyone who trusts him. But it will be a terrible event for everyone who opposes him.
Notes on the verses
Verse 1 The writer often reminds us that God gave commands to Noah. Also, the writer tells us that Noah obeyed God. Noah was good. (In other words, he was *righteous.) That does not mean that he was perfect. It means that he believed God. And it means that Noah obeyed God.
Verse 2 ‘Clean animals’. God gave strict rules about which animals people could *sacrifice. And he was strict about which animals they could eat. Those animals were called ‘clean animals’. But there were other animals that people must not *sacrifice. And they should not eat these animals. These animals were called ‘*unclean animals’.
Verse 4 ‘40 days and 40 nights’. That sometimes means just a long time. Here, however, it may mean the exact time. The writer gives many other exact details.
Verse 9 ‘Male and female’. Noah kept the animals as pairs. Everything was in order.
Verse 11 Water came from both the seas and the sky. In *Hebrew, the writer says that the windows in the sky opened. It was something more than normal rain.
Verse 16 The *Lord shut Noah in. The *Lord sometimes punishes, but he can also save people.
Verse 20 The waters of the flood were so very deep that they covered everything on the earth. Nothing stayed above the water except the *ark. And only those who were inside the *ark stayed alive after the flood.
People begin to live on the earth again, 8:1-22
v1 But God remembered Noah. And God remembered all the wild animals and *cattle that were with Noah. They were with Noah in the *ark. And God made a wind blow over the earth. And the waters went down. v2 God stopped the waters that were rushing up from the seas. He stopped the waters that were pouring down from the sky. He stopped the rain. v3 All the time, the waters were going down. After 150 days, the waters had gone down. v4 On the 17th day in the 7th month, the *ark rested. It rested on the mountains called Ararat. v5 The waters were still going down until the 10th month. Then Noah could see the tops of the mountains. That was on the 1st day in the 10th month.
v6 After 40 days, Noah opened the window. That is, the window of the *ark that he had made. v7 He sent out a raven (a fairly large black bird). The raven continued to fly about until later, when the waters had gone. It flew about until the earth was dry. v8 Then Noah sent out a *dove. Noah needed to know whether the waters had gone down. He needed to know whether the earth was dry. v9 However, the *dove did not find any dry place to settle on. It came back to the *ark because the waters still covered all the earth. Noah put out his hand and he brought the *dove back into the *ark. v10 Noah waited for 7 more days and then again he sent out the *dove from the *ark. v11 The *dove came back to Noah in the evening. It had a fresh leaf in its mouth. It had picked the leaf from an *olive tree. Then Noah knew that the waters had gone down from the earth. v12 Then he waited for 7 more days and he sent the *dove out again. The *dove did not come back again.
v13 In Noah’s 601st year, the waters had dried off the earth. That was on the 1st day in the 1st month. Noah took the cover off the *ark and he looked. Look! The ground’s surface was dry. v14 On the 27th day in the 2nd month, the earth was completely dry.
v15 Then God said to Noah, v16 ’Go out of the *ark. I say that to you and your wife. And I say it to your sons and your sons’ wives. v17 Take with you all the *creatures that live. Take all the kinds of *creatures that are with you. Take the birds and animals. And take every *creature that crawls on the earth. Then they will have large families and those will give birth to very many young *creatures. So then they will live everywhere on the earth.’
v18 So Noah went out, with his sons, his wife and his sons’ wives. v19 Every animal went out. Every *creature that crawls went out. And every bird went out. Everything that moves on the earth went out. They all went out as families from the *ark.
v20 Then Noah built an *altar for the *Lord’s honour. Noah took some animals out of every kind of *clean animal. He took some birds out of every kind of *clean bird. And he offered *sacrifices that he burned on the *altar. v21 When the *Lord smelled the smell, the *Lord was pleased. And the *Lord said in himself, ‘I will never again *curse the ground because of people. People are evil even when they are young. People want bad things and they think bad things. I punished every *creature that lived. But I will never again do that, as I did then.
v22 While the earth exists, these things will not stop. People will sow and they will harvest. It will be cold and hot. There will be summer and winter. There will be day and night. It will always be so.’
This is a beautiful chapter. The terrible flood had destroyed the world that Noah knew. And Noah’s *ark (boat) was floating on the water. Noah might have been afraid. But this is not a story of despair. It is a story of hope. God had not forgotten the *ark and its inhabitants. God remembered Noah. And Noah trusted God.
At last, the rain stopped. And slowly, the level of the water went down. First, Noah felt that the *ark’s movement stopped. After some time, Noah could see the tops of the mountains. The mountains seemed bare, without any plants. But then plants started to grow again. It was as if God was creating a new world.
Each week, Noah carefully recorded the progress of the waters. He sent out birds so that he would know the situation. At last, God told Noah to leave the *ark. God would be kind to Noah and his family. And God would be kind to the animals and birds that left the *ark. They were few in number. But their numbers would increase.
Noah was grateful to God. Although there were only a few animals, Noah gave some animals as *sacrifices to God.
Noah wanted to please God, like Abel in Genesis 4:4. And God was pleased with Noah. God knew that people were still *sinful (Genesis 8:21). God’s plan was that Jesus would die in order to forgive their *sins. But God made a promise to Noah. God promised to protect the earth. He will make sure that seasons and days continue. And this promise lasts until the end of the world.
Notes on the verses
Verse 1 ‘Remembered Noah’ means ‘took care of Noah’. Many things in this story remind us about God’s *creation. Before God created the earth, God’s Spirit moved gently over the water. And here God made a wind blow over the water. In *Hebrew, the same word means both ‘spirit’ and ‘wind’. In *creation, God had gathered waters together above the earth. He had gathered waters together in the seas. And here, after the flood, God collected water together again.
Verse 3 The writer of this story tells us the days when things happened. He tells us how long things took. He often tells us that the water was going down. That reminds us that there was a lot of water. It was a very big flood.
Verse 5 The waters were going down all the time. But at first, Noah could not see this. Noah was only able to see this after several weeks passed. God does things to help us. But he is often doing them for a long time before we know it.
Verse 7 A raven is a fairly large black bird. It can fly for a long time before it gets tired. One raven went out and it did not come back. We believe that the first raven lived outside until its companion came out later.
Ravens eat meat from dead animals. Many animals died in the flood. So, there was plenty of food for the raven.
Verse 8 Noah probably waited seven days before he sent out the *dove. He did wait 7 more days before he sent it out again. The writer says that in verse 10.
Unlike ravens, *doves do not eat meat from dead animals. *Doves need plants. So we can see that the plants had not yet grown.
Verse 9 In the original *Hebrew story, some words sound like the name ‘Noah’. Those are the words for ‘*dove’ and ‘place to rest’. Noah had so many *creatures to look after. But even so, he still cared about the *dove.
Verse 10 Noah may have considered the 7th day in a week as special. There is some evidence for that. He sent the birds out at certain times. The interval between those times was 7 days. An *olive tree has a special meaning. If something is ‘like an *olive tree’, that thing is beautiful and *fruitful. We can read in the Bible that Israel will be ‘like an *olive tree’ (Hosea 14:6).
It seems that this *olive tree did not die during the flood. And now it was growing again.
Verse 14 The earth had to be dry enough for all the *creatures to live there. Noah had to make sure that it was dry enough.
Verse 17 When God created everything, he also gave this command. He said that *creatures should have large families. And they should grow in number. It was very necessary at that time, when only a few *creatures were living on the earth. And when God created people, he said the same thing to them. But today the situation is different. God allows some people to have large families. But this is not God’s plan for everyone. Today, very many people live on the earth.
Verse 20 The writer does not tell us that Noah built *altars before the flood. And he does not tell us that Noah *sacrificed animals then. But Noah had probably done those things already. He did them immediately after he came out from the *ark. He knew which animals he should *sacrifice to please the *Lord. In other religions, too, there are stories about a flood. Some things in those stories are the same as they are in Genesis. But the important things are very different. We can read these things in Genesis only. There is one God, who has power over everything. He is good and he is a fair judge. And he loves people. Noah, the man that stayed alive after the flood, was a good man. He obeyed God. Only the writer of the Book of Genesis tells us about those things.
Verse 21 It seemed like a new world. But people were still evil. Everybody does evil things. Only God can forgive us, because of Jesus. See Romans 3:23-24.
Verse 22 God gave a wonderful promise. Because Noah obeyed God, God changed the world.
v1 And God *blessed Noah and his sons. And God said this to them. ‘Have very many children and *descendants. And live everywhere on the earth. v2 Every *creature that lives will be afraid of you. That includes every animal on the earth. It includes every bird that flies in the air. It includes all *creatures that crawl on the ground. And it includes the fish in the sea. I have given everything to you. v3 Every thing that lives shall be food for you. That is, every thing that also moves. I gave the green plants to you for food. Now I give everything to you.’
v4 However, you must not eat meat that still has its life in it. That is, it still has its blood in it. v5 When somebody kills someone, there must be punishment. Someone will kill any animal that kills a person. Someone will kill any person that kills another person. Every person that kills his brother will die.
v6 If someone kills a person, then people should kill the killer. That is because God made man like himself.
v7 And I say this to you. Have large families and have many *descendants. Spread over the earth and live everywhere on it.
v8 Then God said this to Noah. And God said it to Noah’s sons, who were with Noah. v9 ’Look! I am *confirming my *covenant with you. And it is also a *covenant with your *descendants, who will live after you. v10 And it is a *covenant with every *creature that is with you. That is, every *creature that lives on the earth. That includes birds, *cattle and wild animals. It includes everything that came out of the *ark. v11 I am *confirming my *covenant with you. Never again will I send the waters of a flood to completely destroy everything. I will never again kill all that is alive. Never again will I send a flood to destroy the earth.’
v12 And God said, ‘This is the thing that will especially remind you about the *covenant. I have made that *covenant between me and you. And it is also between me and every *creature with you. That is, every *creature that lives. The *covenant will be for always. v13 I put my rainbow in the cloud. The rainbow shall be something that especially reminds you about the *covenant. That is, the *covenant between me and the earth. v14 I will bring clouds over the earth and the rainbow will appear in the clouds. v15 Then I will remember my *covenant, which is between me and you. And it is between me and every *creature from all kinds. That is, every *creature that lives. Never again will I send enough water to kill all *creatures. v16 When the rainbow is in the clouds, I will look at it. I will remember the *covenant that I, God, have made with every *creature. That means every *creature that lives upon earth, from all kinds. That *covenant will last for always.’
v17 God said to Noah, ‘This thing will especially remind you about the *covenant. I have made that *covenant between me and all *creatures. That is, all *creatures that live on the earth.’
v18 Noah’s sons, who went out from the *ark, were Shem, Ham and Japheth. Ham was Canaan’s father. v19 Those three were Noah’s sons. Those sons’ *descendants spread all over the earth.
v20 Noah was a man that worked on the land. He was the first person that made a vineyard (a garden where *grapes grow). v21 Noah drank some *wine and he became *drunk. He lay in his tent and he was naked. v22 Ham saw his naked father Noah. (Ham was Canaan’s father.) Ham went outside and he told his two brothers about it. v23 Then Shem and Japheth took a *cloak. And they laid it upon the shoulders of them both. They walked *backward and they covered their naked father with the *cloak. They turned their faces away so that they did not see their naked father.
v24 Later Noah woke and he was not *drunk any longer. Then he discovered what his youngest son had done. v25 So he said, ‘Canaan has a *curse. He will be his brother’s slave. He will have a lower position than any other slave.’ v26 Noah also said, ‘Let people *bless the *Lord, who is Shem’s God. Let Canaan be Shem’s slave. v27 Let God make Japheth increase. Let Japheth live in Shem’s tents. Let Canaan be Japheth’s slave.’
v28 Noah lived 350 more years after the flood. v29 His whole life lasted for 950 years. Then he died.
God is perfect. But people often do wrong things.
God’s *covenant (agreement) with Noah reminds us about the wrong things that we do. It is not like God’s words to the first people in Genesis 1:28-30. God spoke those words before people *sinned. And he only promised good things then.
But God made the *covenant with Noah after people had *sinned. This *covenant promised many good things to people. But God also warned people in the *covenant. He spoke about murder. He warned people that they would be responsible for their evil behaviour. And he warned them that God would punish them for their evil deeds.
People would be evil. But God is kind. He promised never again to flood the whole world. And he used the rainbow to remind people about this promise.
Noah was a great servant of God. And Noah was a *righteous man. But Noah was not perfect. He did something that was very wrong. He drank too much wine. His son, called Ham, saw him. And Ham gossiped. This was terrible behaviour. He did not respect his father, although his father was a great servant of God. When Noah awoke, he spoke words about the future of his three sons. Noah spoke these words by the Holy Spirit, because Noah was a servant of God. Ham’s family would suffer because of Ham’s *sin. But Noah *blessed his other sons.
Notes on the verses
God makes a *covenant with Noah, 9:1-17
Verse 1 ‘Have very many children and *descendants.’ God said that also when he made people in the beginning. And he said the same words in *Hebrew when he made *creatures. Those words mean ‘have large families’. But they also mean ‘be useful’ and ‘be helpful’. They mean, ‘Be other people’s servant. Do not expect other people to serve you.’
Verse 2 Here, God seems to give to people more power over the *creatures. That is, more power than he gave earlier to Adam and Eve.
Verse 3 Here, God permits people to eat meat as well as vegetables and fruit.
Verse 4 God did not allow people to kill other people. If they did kill other people, they would be punished. He did not allow people to eat meat with blood in it. In that way, he reminded them that life is important. Life is ‘*holy’. God has made us like an image of himself. So we must not kill other people.
Verses 5-7 God’s punishment was fair. If there was a murder, people should kill the murderer only. In many places, families might fight each other because somebody had murdered someone from the other family. And they might kill each other because of that. Such a situation might continue for a very long time. But God did not say that that should happen.
Verses 8-11 God had made an agreement (*covenant) with Noah before the flood. He told Noah about it again here, because it was very important. God included all *creatures in the agreement. People must take care of God’s earth and God’s *creatures.
Verses 12-17 This does not mean that there were no rainbows before. But rainbows now have a new meaning. God’s agreement was with all the people and animals in the entire world. And the rainbow was a sign of that agreement.
Noah and his son do something wrong, 9:18-29
Verse 20 ‘A man that worked on the land’. Noah was the master of the earth. After the flood, he became a farmer. He grew grapes (small, sweet fruit) that he made into *wine.
Verse 21 The writer does not hide from us the fact that Noah was not perfect. When he was naked like that, he was not giving honour to God. We can read in the Bible that *wine can be pleasant (Psalm 104:15). But we can see here that too much *wine is not good.
Verse 22 People should respect their parents. Ham should have covered his father instead of staring at him. Then Ham should have said nothing. But he gossiped to his brothers. It is not certain whether Ham’s son Canaan *sinned too. It was Canaan that suffered as a result. God would later promise to bring his people (Shem’s *descendants) to a new country that was also called Canaan. The *Canaanites, the people that would live there first, would be Canaan’s *descendants. And they would be very wicked.
Verse 23 Shem and Japheth respected their father. They were careful to look away from him as they covered him. A ‘cloak’ was a large piece of warm cloth. People wore it on top of other clothes during the day. And they used it as a blanket at night.
Verses 24-25 Noah spoke about the future of his sons by the power of the Holy Spirit. So, this was not just Noah’s idea. This was a message from God. We do not know when Ham’s *descendants became his two brothers’ slaves. But we do know that Canaan’s *descendants became very evil. In fact, they were so evil that God gave their land to Abraham’s *descendants. And God helped Abraham’s *descendants to overcome Canaan’s *descendants. (See the Book of Joshua.)
Verse 26 One would expect Noah to say ‘I *bless Shem, the *Lord’s man.’ It is not usual to ‘*bless the *Lord of a person’. But it might mean that Shem was the son that God *blessed in particular. And Noah was *blessing God especially because he (God) was Shem’s God. Shem’s *descendants were the people that God chose specially for himself. Abraham and his *descendants (Israel) were among Shem’s *descendants.
Verse 27 Let God ‘make Japheth increase’. The *Hebrew word for ‘Let him make bigger’ sounds like the name Japheth. It does not mean that Japheth would get fat! It means ‘Let Japheth’s *descendants increase in number and let them be more powerful.’ It is not clear what Noah was praying. Maybe he prayed that God would ‘live in Shem’s tents’. Or maybe he prayed that Japheth would live in them. God did actually ‘live in the tents’ of Shem’s *descendants (Israel). That was because God chose that nation for himself. But this seems to be a peculiar *blessing for Japheth. Probably Noah was saying that Japheth would live in Shem’s tents. But we cannot discover when this happened. Many people have suggested different times. This is one possible meaning. People that were not *Jews would live together with *Jews. That would happen by means of what Jesus did. (See Ephesians 2:11-19.) Noah repeated his words about Canaan again. That showed how important they were.
Verses 28-29 Noah lived a long life. God would not allow people in the future to live such long lives.
v1 Noah’s sons were Shem, Ham and Japheth. This is their families’ history. They had sons after the flood.
v2 Japheth’s sons were Gomer, Magog, Madai, Javan, Tubal, Meshech and Tiras. v3 Gomer’s sons were Ashkenaz, Riphath and Togarmah. v4 Javan’s sons were Elishah, Tarshish, the people called Kittim and the people called Dodanim. v5 The nations spread along the coasts from those families. Each nation got its own language.
v6 Ham’s sons were Cush, Egypt, Put and Canaan. v7 Cush’s sons were Seba, Havilah, Sabtah, Raamah and Sabteca. Raamah’s sons were Sheba and Dedan.
v8 Cush was also Nimrod’s father. Nimrod began to be a powerful man on the earth. v9 He was a powerful hunter. The *Lord could see what Nimrod was doing. Therefore people often say, ‘like Nimrod, who is a powerful hunter. The *Lord can see what Nimrod is doing.’ v10 The beginning of Nimrod’s *kingdom consisted of Babel, Erech and Accad. Those are all in the country called Shinar. v11 From Shinar, Nimrod went into Assyria. He built Nineveh, Rehoboth-Ir, Calah and Resen. v12 Resen is between Nineveh and Calah. That is the great city.
v13 Egypt was the father of Ludim, Anamim, Lehabim, Naphtuhim, v14 Pathrusim, Casluhim, and Caphtorim. The *Philistines came from Casluhim’s family.
v15 Canaan was the father of Sidon, his oldest son. Canaan was also the father of Heth. v16 He was also the father of the people called Jebusites, *Amorites, Girgashites, v17 Hivites, Arkites, Sinites, v18 Arvadites, Zemarites and Hamathites.
Later the families that came from Canaan scattered. v19 And the country of those people spread from Sidon up to Gerar. It spread as far as Gaza. And it spread towards Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah and Zeboiim, as far as Lasha.
v20 Those are Ham’s sons in their families, languages, countries and nations.
v21 Shem also had children. Shem was Japheth’s older brother. Shem was the *ancestor of all Eber’s children.
v22 Shem’s sons were Elam, Asshur, Arpachshad, Lud and Aram. v23 Aram’s sons were Uz, Hul, Gether and Mash. v24 Arpachshad was the father of Shelah, and Shelah was the father of Eber. v25 Eber had two sons. One son was called Peleg because the earth became divided during his life. Peleg’s brother was called Joktan. v26 Joktan was the father of Almodad, Sheleph, Hazarmaveth, Jerah, v27 Hadoram, Uzal, Diklah, v28 Obal, Abimael, Sheba, v29 Ophir, Havilah and Jobab. All those were Joktan’s sons.
v30 They lived in a country that spread from Mesha toward Sephar. It spread to the hilly country in the east. v31 Those are Shem’s sons in their families, languages, countries and nations.
v32 Those are the *descendants of Noah’s sons. The *descendants are in their families and they are in their nations. From those people, the nations scattered over the earth. That happened after the flood.
A new part of Genesis starts here. People’s life on the earth was starting again after the flood.
The actual names are not very important to us. But they do show that this account is true. These people were real. They actually lived. The account shows how quickly new families were born. And it shows how quickly they grew up. Some names here are probably places’ names rather than people’s names. People did not stay close together. They moved to new places and they became many nations.
In this list here, we read that Japheth had 7 sons and 7 grandsons. Cush’s sons and grandsons together were 7 in total. (That does not include Cush’s other son Nimrod, whom the writer talks about separately.) The writer mentions 70 nations as *descendants of Noah’s sons. People often used the number 70 to mean a large number. And 7 was a ‘special’ number too.
Japheth’s family, 10:2-5
The writer begins with Japheth’s sons and grandsons. Their names show us that their families moved north, towards Europe. And they moved round the sea called the Mediterranean.
Ham’s family, 10:6-20
Ham’s family moved towards the south and into North Africa. Canaan was the original name of the country that became Israel. So Canaan’s *descendants are important to the history in the Bible. But Ham’s *descendants lived across a much larger area.
Nimrod’s *descendants were especially powerful. Babylon would become the greatest city in the world for a short time. And Nineveh was also a very powerful city.
Verse 12 mentions ‘the great city’. It is not clear whether that means Nineveh or Calah. It seems as if it is Calah. But in the Book of Jonah, Nineveh is called a ‘great city’.
Shem’s family, 10:21-32
Shem’s family comes last in this chapter, although his name comes first in verse 1. We do not know why that is so. Perhaps it is because the Book of Genesis continues with the story of Shem’s *descendants.
Many of Shem’s *descendants moved east. But this list also contains the names of places that are elsewhere.