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Genesis 9:2-5

Context
9:2 Every living creature of the earth and every bird of the sky will be terrified of you. 1  Everything that creeps on the ground and all the fish of the sea are under your authority. 2  9:3 You may eat any moving thing that lives. 3  As I gave you 4  the green plants, I now give 5  you everything.

9:4 But 6  you must not eat meat 7  with its life (that is, 8  its blood) in it. 9  9:5 For your lifeblood 10  I will surely exact punishment, 11  from 12  every living creature I will exact punishment. From each person 13  I will exact punishment for the life of the individual 14  since the man was his relative. 15 

1 tn Heb “and fear of you and dread of you will be upon every living creature of the earth and upon every bird of the sky.” The suffixes on the nouns “fear” and “dread” are objective genitives. The animals will fear humans from this time forward.

2 tn Heb “into your hand are given.” The “hand” signifies power. To say the animals have been given into the hands of humans means humans have been given authority over them.

3 tn Heb “every moving thing that lives for you will be for food.”

4 tn The words “I gave you” are not in the Hebrew text, but are supplied in the translation for stylistic reasons.

5 tn The perfect verb form describes the action that accompanies the declaration.

6 tn Heb “only.”

7 tn Or “flesh.”

8 tn Heb “its life, its blood.” The second word is in apposition to the first, explaining what is meant by “its life.” Since the blood is equated with life, meat that had the blood in it was not to be eaten.

9 tn The words “in it” are supplied in the translation for stylistic reasons.

sn You must not eat meat with its life…in it. Because of the carnage produced by the flood, people might conclude that life is cheap and therefore treat it lightly. But God will not permit them to kill or even to eat anything with the lifeblood still in it, serving as a reminder of the sanctity of life.

10 tn Again the text uses apposition to clarify what kind of blood is being discussed: “your blood, [that is] for your life.” See C. L. Dewar, “The Biblical Use of the Term ‘Blood,’” JTS 4 (1953): 204-8.

11 tn The word “punishment” is not in the Hebrew text, but is supplied in the translation for clarification. The verb דָּרָשׁ (darash) means “to require, to seek, to ask for, to exact.” Here it means that God will exact punishment for the taking of a life. See R. Mawdsley, “Capital Punishment in Gen. 9:6,” CentBib 18 (1975): 20-25.

12 tn Heb “from the hand of,” which means “out of the hand of” or “out of the power of” and is nearly identical in sense to the preposition מִן (min) alone.

13 tn Heb “and from the hand of the man.” The article has a generic function, indicating the class, i.e., humankind.

14 tn Heb “of the man.”

15 tn Heb “from the hand of a man, his brother.” The point is that God will require the blood of someone who kills, since the person killed is a relative (“brother”) of the killer. The language reflects Noah’s situation (after the flood everyone would be part of Noah’s extended family), but also supports the concept of the brotherhood of humankind. According to the Genesis account the entire human race descended from Noah.



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