The new world order (Gen 9:1-9:17)

 “And God blessed Noah and his sons, and said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth.  The 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 all the fish of the sea.  Into your hand they are delivered.  Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you.  Just as I gave you the green plants, I give you everything.  Only you shall not eat flesh with its life, that is, its blood.  For 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 mankind.  And you, be fruitful and multiply, abound on the earth and multiply in it.”

God blessed Noah and his sons and told them to be fruitful, multiply, and fill the earth.  Thus we have the second creation story that like the first asked humans to multiply.  Once again, humans are to dominate animals, birds, and creeping things.  Everything that lives is to be their food.  Now the only restrictions are not to eat flesh with its life or blood in it.  We already have a food restriction that will appear in the later Mosaic Law.  Also there is the blood oath. Whoever sheds human blood must shed their own blood, because humans are made in the image of God.  This is the beautiful thought that humans are next to God.  It also reinforces the power of humans over the created world.

 “Then God said to Noah and to his sons with him, ‘As for me, I am  establishing my covenant with you and your descendants after you, and 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. I 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.’  God 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.  I have set my bow in the clouds, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth.  When I bring clouds over the earth and the bow is seen in the clouds,  I will remember my covenant which is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh.  The waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh.  When 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.’ God said to Noah, ‘This is the sign of the covenant that I have established between me and all flesh that is on the earth.’”

God established a new covenant with Noah and his descendants.  There will never be another flood.  The sign of the new covenant is the bow in the clouds that is the rainbow. This rainbow commits humans to a continual relationship with God.  This rainbow after the rain is the eternal sign of God’s relationship to man, all living creatures, and earth itself.  What a nice ending to this terrible flood story.

The decrease of the water (Gen 8:1-8:14)

“But God remembered Noah and all the wild animals and all the domestic animals that were with him in the ark. And God made a wind blow over the earth, and the waters subsided.  The fountains of the deep and the windows of the heavens were closed, the rain from the heavens was restrained, and the waters gradually receded from the earth.   At the end of a hundred and fifty days the waters had abated.  And in the seventh month, on the seventeenth day of the month, the ark came to rest on the mountains of Ararat.  The waters continued to abate until the tenth month.  In the tenth month, on the first day of the month, the tops of the mountains appeared.”

Finally, a wind blew and the waters subsided, as we pick up the sacerdotal tale. Once again out of chaos, Yahweh will help create a new world. This will be another creation story.  We will have a new world to start over again.  This is the second chance world.  The waters subsided and began to recede. So on the 17th day of the seventh month the ark came to rest on the mountains in Ararat, somewhere in Armenia. The waters went down until the tenth month when you could see the tops of the mountains.  They were at least eight months in the ark.  Here we have similarities to the Babylonian flood stories.

“At the end of forty days Noah opened the window of the ark that he had made, and sent out a raven.  It went to and fro until the waters were dried up from the earth.  Then he sent out the dove from him, to see if the waters had subsided from the face of the ground.  But the dove found no place to set its foot, and it returned to him in the ark, for the waters were still on the face of the whole earth. So he put forth his hand and took it and brought it into the ark with him.  He waited another seven days, and again he sent out the dove from the ark.  The dove came back to him in the evening, and there in its beak was a freshly plucked olive leaf.  So Noah knew that the waters had subsided from the earth.  Then he waited another seven days, and sent out the dove.  It did not return to him anymore.”

Noah sent a raven, but it never returned.  Then he sent a dove, but it returned.  Then seven days later he sent the dove out again, but this time it returned with a leaf.  Another seven days passed and he sent the dove again, but it never returned. What a wonderful story.  Noah is testing the dry land.

“In the six hundred first year in the first month, on the first day of the month, the waters were dried up from the earth.  Noah removed the covering of the ark, and looked, and saw that the face of the ground was drying.  In the second month, on the twenty-seventh day of the month, the earth was dry.”

Then on Noah’s 651st year, on the first day of the first month, Noah took the cover off of the ark. Then on the 27th day of the second month the earth was dry.  Now we have our time line straight as they spent a little over a year on the ark.