a Bible passage

Click a verse to see commentary
Select a resource above

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. 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.


Whoever sheds the blood of a human,

by a human shall that person’s blood be shed;

for in his own image

God made humankind.

7 And you, be fruitful and multiply, abound on the earth and multiply in it.”

8 Then 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.” 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.”

Noah and His Sons

18 The 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.

20 Noah, 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. 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.”

26 He also said,

“Blessed by the L ord my God be Shem;

and let Canaan be his slave.


May God make space for Japheth,

and let him live in the tents of Shem;

and let Canaan be his slave.”

28 After the flood Noah lived three hundred fifty years. 29All the days of Noah were nine hundred fifty years; and he died.

23. And Shem and Japheth took a garment. Here the piety, as well as the modesty, of the two brothers is commended; who, in order that the dignity of their father might not be lowered in their esteem, but that they might always cherish and keep entire the reverence which they owed him, turned away their eyes from the sight of his disgrace. And thus they gave proof of the regard they paid to their father’s honor, in supposing that their own eyes would be polluted, if they voluntarily looked upon the nakedness by which he was disgraced. At the same time they also consulted their own modesty. For (as it was said in Genesis 3:1) there is something so unaccountably shameful in the nakedness of man, that scarcely any one dares to look upon himself, even when no witness is present. They also censure the impious rashness of their brother, who had not spared his father. Hence, then, we may learn how acceptable to God is that piety, of which the example here recorded receives a signal encomium of the Spirit. But if piety towards an earthly father was a virtue so excellent, and so worthy of praise; with how much greater devotedness of piety ought the sacred majesty of God to be worshipped? The Papists make themselves ridiculous by desiring to cover the filthiness of their idol, yea, the abominations of their whole impure clergy, with the cloak of Shem and Japheth. I omit to state how great is the difference between the disgrace of Noah and the execrable vileness of so many crimes which contaminate heaven and earth. But it is necessary that Antichrist and his horned bishops, with all that rabble, should prove themselves to be fathers,296296     That is, legitimate fathers. if they with that any honor should be paid them.

VIEWNAME is study