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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.

24. And Noah awoke. It might seem to some that Noah, although he had just cause of anger, still conducted himself with too little modesty and gravity; and that he ought, at least, silently to have mourned over his sin before God; and also, with shame, to have given proof of his repentance to men: but that now as if he had committed no offense, he fulminates with excessive severity against his son.297297     This is an objection, to which the answer immediately follows. Moses, however, does not here relate reproaches uttered by Noah, under the excitement of rage and anger, but rather introduces him speaking in the spirit of prophecy. Wherefore we ought not to doubt, that the holy man was truly humbled (as he ought to be) under a sense of his fault, and honestly reflected on his own deserts; but now, having received the grant of pardon, and his condemnation being removed, he proceeds as the herald of Divine judgment. It is not indeed to be doubted that the holy man, endued with a disposition otherwise gentle, and being one of the best of parents, would pronounce this sentence upon his son with the most bitter grief of mind. For he saw him miraculously preserved amongst a few and having a place among the very flower of the human race. Now, therefore, when, with his own mouth, he is compelled to separate him from the Church of God, he doubtless would grievously bewail the malediction of his son. But by this example, God would admonish us that the constancy of our faith must be retained, if at any time we see those fail who are most closely united to us, and that our spirits ought not to be broken; nay, that we must so exercise the severity which God enjoins, as not to spare even our own bowels. And whereas, Noah does not pronounce a sentence so harsh, except by Divine inspiration, it behaves us to infer from the severity of the punishment how abominable in the sight of God is the impious contempt of parents, since it perverts the sacred order of nature, and violates the majesty and authority of God, in the person of those whom he has commanded to preside in his place.

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