Covenants & Curses
Read Genesis 8:20 – 9:28
v.20-22 After disembarking the ark, Noach builds an altar as an act of worship to God for sparing him and his family. God accepted the offering and in His heart He decides never to curse the ground, nor destroy all living things with a flood. God then reestablished the cycle of seasons…however, with many alterations from this catastrophic interruption.
v.1-7 Regeneration & Reordering Society
God begins to lay out the new ground rules for mankind and how they would interact with the new, post-Flood world. Animals were once fearless, trusting, and in willing subjection to man before the Flood, now God ordained man’s dominion over animals would be by force if necessary [v.2].
Meat was no longer prohibited as food for man, but man was not to eat the blood. Reason?
The blood was where the life was contained. [v.3-4] Blood was to be used only for divine sacrifice and never for human consumption.
God hands over to mankind the duty of bringing forth the punishment for homicide. Mere separation from God was a sufficient punishment when Kayin killed his brother, but this was no longer the case. It was God who introduced the death penalty by instructing that “any man who took another man’s life would himself be killed by men” [v.5-6]
God blessed Noach and his sons while giving these instructions to them and recommissioned them to “be fruitful, multiply, and fill the earth” [v.7].
v.8-17 God made a covenant.
This is the very first covenant that God made with man. And the covenant included all living creatures as He first promised in 6:19-20. God’s covenant promise was this: He would never again destroy the world and everything in it by a flood. Of course that leaves open just about all other ways of destruction!…just not a global flood.
**see 2 Peter 3:10
The sign of this covenant was God’s rainbow. He put His bow (qesheth) in the cloud to serve as a visible reminder for all of His covenant with the earth.
“though it is a bow, yet without arrows, and is not turned downwards towards the earth, but upwards towards heaven, and so is a token of mercy and kindness, not of wrath and anger.” —John Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible
**see also Ezekiel 1:26-28 / Revelation 4:2-3
v.20-24 Shame & Gossip. What did Ham do that caused Noach to become so upset?
How did Shem and Yefet act when they learned of Noach’s predicament? How were there actions more honourable than Ham’s?
v.25 Cursed be Kena’an; he will be a servant of servants to his brothers. Kena’an (Canaan), Ham’s son receives a curse. Why did Noach curse his grandson? A curse is the opposite of a blessing. A blessing is a beneficial thing; a curse is a judgement. People born into a line of blessing or a line of curse did nothing to merit good fortune or misfortune.
The line of Ham’s sons became the races that occupied Africa, who for centuries suffered the fate of subjugation. All of Ham’s descendants often represented enemies of Israel at one time or another…Egyptians & the Philistines
v.26 Blessed be ADONAI, the God of Shem; Kena’an will be their servant. Just as Adam was preeminent over all men for a long time, 7 generations, so was Noach in essence the “king of the world”…he was the head of the only family that existed on planet Earth. His authority was absolute and he chose to hand over that power to Shem. In this blessing we get a hint of the relationship between Shem and Adonai God as God is referred to as “the God of Shem”… that is not associated with either Yefet or Ham.
v.27 May God enlarge Yefet; he will live in the tents of Shem, but Kena’an will be their servant. The blessing bestowed on Yefet was somewhat dependant on his relationship with Shem.
Yefet was the branch of the family that would grow greatest in population and wealth.
There is a spirit of malice and dishonour that was present with Ham that is still very active today and working hard to smear the name, the shem, the reputation of God. These spiritual forces of darkness take the pure, beautiful things of God and twist them and distort the meaning and significance to hinder us from remembering God and His promises and His instructions for living.