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Genesis 9:5-6

Context
9:5 For your lifeblood 1  I will surely exact punishment, 2  from 3  every living creature I will exact punishment. From each person 4  I will exact punishment for the life of the individual 5  since the man was his relative. 6 

9:6 “Whoever sheds human blood, 7 

by other humans 8 

must his blood be shed;

for in God’s image 9 

God 10  has made humankind.”

1 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.

2 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.

3 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.

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

5 tn Heb “of the man.”

6 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.

7 tn Heb “the blood of man.”

8 tn Heb “by man,” a generic term here for other human beings.

9 sn See the notes on the words “humankind” and “likeness” in Gen 1:26, as well as J. Barr, “The Image of God in the Book of Genesis – A Study of Terminology,” BJRL 51 (1968/69): 11-26.

10 tn Heb “he”; the referent (God) has been specified in the translation for clarity.



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