Genesis 8 and 9: The Noahic Covenant


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This article was written by Hayley Mizell, producer of Bible Book Club.

In today’s episode, Noah and the crew get to disembark the ark. It has been a year with just the family and a lot of animals. So, yes, this was the ride of their life, literally. I have never thought much about Noah’s family getting off the ark but as Susan mentioned, I’m sure it was a bit traumatic. I love that God, being God,  knows how overwhelming it would have felt to them and he chooses that moment to give Noah a bit of guidance through a covenant. (See notes below for more details on the Noahic Covenant.)


My Bible bender is just the entire aspect of lifeblood. It was a new vocab word for me–so much so that I didn’t realize what lifeblood meant until Susan explained it to us. I was equally amazed by the understanding behind the term as disgusted by the reasoning Susan thinks it was mentioned at all in the covenant–that people were eating part of an animal while it was still alive. Talk about gag-inducing. I think it is important to consider instances where the shedding of lifeblood can come into play–such as war. Without studying the Bible, we wouldn’t remember the commands listed in the covenants for our protection. The Bible bender along with learning about lifeblood is that Jesus’ blood covers all of our sins which is an amazing fact. Learning all this back in Genesis just makes the Gospels even more incredible.



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Noahic Covenant Notes:

The First Covenant in the Old Testament — the Noahic Covenant

Genesis 9:1

Then God blessed Noah and his sons, saying to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the earth. The fear and dread of you will fall on all the beasts of the earth, and on all the birds in the sky, on every creature that moves along the ground, and on all the fish in the sea; they are given into your hands. Everything that lives and moves about will be food for you. Just as I gave you the green plants, I now give you everything.

But you must not eat meat that has its lifeblood still in it. And for your lifeblood I will surely demand an accounting. I will demand an accounting from every animal. And from each human being, too, I will demand an accounting for the life of another human being.

“Whoever sheds human blood,
    by humans shall their blood be shed;
for in the image of God
    has God made mankind.

As for you, be fruitful and increase in number; multiply on the earth and increase upon it.”

  • 5 commands in the Covenant
    • Be fruitful, increase and fill the earth 9:1 (similar to Adam’s command)(chap 11 going to break this one)
    • Have dominion over animals 9:2-3 (similar to Gen 1:28 however no longer a loving dominion, the animals will have fear)
    • Eat plants and animals for food 9:3
    • Refrain from eating blood 9:4,
      • an accounting for every animal. 9:5
    • Refrain from shedding human blood 9:4
      • An accounting for human life 9:5
      • Every human is made in the image of God and sacred in his sight (1:27)
  • 2 Warnings of an accountings for life in the Covenant:
    • This got me thinking because truthfully I had never thought about this “accounting section”
  • Warning 1: Animal Accounting of life 9:5
    • God says have dominion, he never says be cruel. Must not eat meat that has lifeblood in it.
    • Barnes: The design of this restriction is to prevent the horrid cruelty of mutilating or cooking an animal while yet alive and capable of suffering pain.
    • In other words, we have a responsibility to treat all God’s creatures with respect and care.
  • Warning 2: Human accounting of life 9:5-6
    • Murder pretty clear how God feels about murder here and in Exodus 20, commandment 6. You shall not murder. But here we see that there will be an accounting, which is very ominous.
    • War is more complicated. So much blood is shed. The right side doesn’t always win. Both sides could be wrong and so God could hold both sides accountable.
    • Abortion This one made me curious because there is so much controversy about whether or not an embryo has human rights. It says in verse “Whoever sheds human blood.”
      • So my question was when does human blood begin? I never really thought about that in connection with this verse.
      • The heart and major blood vessels begin to develop by about day 16 after fertilization. The heart begins to pump fluid through blood vessels by day 20, and the first red blood cells appear the next day on day 21.
      • So about the time that a woman realizes she didn’t bleed from her period is about the same time the embryo has blood.
      • It is human blood and it is lifeblood.


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