After the Flood
Following the flood, God addresses Noah and his sons, telling them to be fruitful and multiply. He promises that the animals of the Earth will fear them and their descendants, and gives them the right to eat meat. He warns, however, against eating the animal with its blood. He also vows that He will exact justice on anyone, man or animal, who takes a human life. God then tells Noah of His commitment never to wipe out humanity in another flood, placing a rainbow in the sky as a sign.
Noah plants a vineyard, makes wine and becomes intoxicated and falls asleep, naked, in his tent. His youngest son, Ham, sees his father and calls to his older brothers to humiliate Noah. Shem and Japheth instead cover their father out of respect. When Noah awakens, he realizes what his youngest son has done, and curses him to be subservient to his brothers for all time. Meanwhile, he blesses Shem and Japheth.
The Israel Bible relates Rashi’s comments that Noah blessed the God of Shem because He will eventually give the Land of Israel to Shem’s descendants.
The Torah then goes on to list the descendants of Noah and his sons born after the flood. This genealogy gives rise to the seventy nations that traditionally people the Earth. Since the next story relates that the people of the time were reluctant to spread out upon the Earth, the Israel Bible distinguishes between the verb nifridu, used here, meaning natural growth and sprawl, and vayafetz, used there, to describe God’s forcible dispersion of the people. Likewise, the word for language used here, lashon (also Hebrew for tongue) differs in connotation from the word safa, meaning language, used there. Lashon implies a natural shift in dialect, while safa refers to actual different languages.
Virtual Classroom Discussion
Until Noah, God had allowed man to eat plants (fruits and vegetables), but not meat, yet animal sacrifice is recorded in the Torah already. Why do you think God now permits man to eat meat?