After the Flood

Genesis 9:1-10:32

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?


Comments ( 15 )

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  • Sue

    I have always thought that the whole earth, before the flood, was a very different place indeed . On a much higher spiritual plane. I think that it and we, were spiritually "higher" and that after the flood everything, including mankind, was considerably "lower" and more "gross" – on an altogether much lower level, in every conceivable way. Before the "fall of man" we were much purer beings. I also think that a vegetarian diet is "purer" and possibly/probably aids spirituality and general "purity" even today. This may sound somewhat controversial I know and I certainly don't wish to offend anyone.
    The thought of consumed, dead animal bodies inside me is very upsetting and actually, disgusting, but we are , I fear, on a low level indeed in today's world.
    May Mashiach come quickly and in our time.

  • Pauline Graham

    I believe that the world was ripped apart during the flood. As the waters covered the earth, precious nutrients and healthy bacteria were destroyed. When the waters receded, the soil and plants were not as they once were, hence Noach and his family were told they could now eat animals for food. Hence they would fear us, as our hearts attitude had changed towards them. They were no longer pets and friends of humans but things to capture, kill and eat. Also, vegetarians need to take sometimes supplements to enable their bodies to get all the nutritional needs of their bodies.

  • Mark Matthias

    Like some of you, it appears to me that the changing atmosphere had its ramifications such that man lived gradually shorter lives and since meat is a more concentrated protein source perhaps that was needed after the flood more so than before.

  • Herman Arentsen

    I think there is a possibility of extra patience of G-d; possibly also extended to this meat-eating behavior of mankind, (G-d had already patience for 10 generations and 120 years!!!before wiping out through the flood)) Second reason might be the fear of the animals and viceversa the fear of mankind for some animals. Killing animals out of lifesaving motivation leaves a corps . G-d never intended to spil anything. Maybe this was a reason they are allowed to eat meat. From this habit killing for saving one’s life may have been developed the eating of these animals. Not eating blood: because in the blood there is life.

  • Angela B

    May be because they hadn't yet learnt which are the clean and the unclean animals, or perhaps it was still a grace period for the animals to enjoy long life just like Adam and the generations to Noah.

  • SueJean Heinz

    We know that prior to the Flood, rain had never fallen on the Earth before and great changes came because of the global climate disruption. The land was no longer watered from the dew rising up from the ground.
    I’m not a scientist and this is only a theory that I’ve entertained over the years, but there are specific nutrients that come from eating meat that are difficult to get only by eating plants. I know that vegetarians have overcome this in some ways, but it’s definitely a concern that has to be addressed and is difficult in our day and age with our scientific knowledge. It would have been even harder back in Noach’s day.
    Elohim has taken care of this need even to the point of providing quail in the Wilderness.
    Anyway, it’s just a theory.
    I also see the elements referred to by Kara as having some merit. Death came into the world by Adam’s sin and death is a part of our lives now.
    Baruch Hashem.

    • Doreen Poole

      I agree with your theory, I did study science. The earth was changed, also the reminder of death is a very good point.

  • Kara Strain

    After the flood man began a new age which would bring us to the age of Mashiyach. In the sacrifices for sin and atonement, they were a reminder of our sins from year to year. Maybe partaking of the flesh is a reminder that goes even deeper. Because of sin there is death. Something/Someone has to die. When that life is given up and laid on the altar, it brings life for someone else.

  • Herman

    I know that Rashi says that Noach had acquired some authority over the animals by saving and caring for them during the flood. But to take life is forbidden. That’s why we are not permitted to eat blood. For in the blood is the life. So there are G’dly restrictions for us concerning meat consumation.

  • Sheila

    Because the blessings of God are now released over Noah and his sons which now included the provision of animals for food —Gen 9:1-5 — All life is valuable to God both human and animal and man should never treat them with abuse or cruelty or merciless killing. The purpose of prohibiting the eating of unbled meat was to affirm the value of life for the blood represents the life force of the animal and this sovereignity of life and death belongs to God alone. In a spiritual sense the shed blood upon the altar provided an atonement for the soul of man. It was through Noah’s sacrifice that the covenant was renewed by the Lord and the blessings flowed.

      • Damian Sco

        With regard to this sentence from Sheila "All life is valuable to God both human and animal and man should never treat them with abuse or cruelty or merciless killing." I completely and without reservation agree, and I too think your conclusion was elegantly expressed.

        BUT, if we start reading prior to 6:9 we find just a few sentences before, the following:
        Gen 6:5

        And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.

        Gen 6:6

        And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart.

        Gen 6:7

        And the LORD said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repented me that I have made them."

        Please someone tell me how the animals that were destroyed along with man could have angered Hashem to such a degree as to include them in the destruction to follow. And why wasn't that logic followed by the fish in the sea,? If the animals did not escape blame, why would the fish get off scot-free? Certainly they were not needed for food post flood since that precaution had already been accounted for. So I ask both questions at the same time. Why should the animals be held up with equal punishment as the men who mostly came from the Giants that were born of normal females? Nothing similar was going on among the animals (to my humble knowledge). But if it were going on, then how come the fish escaped? For they too were a living breathing part of the Earthly community Hashem saw fit to start over! No?

        • Grozelia Stepney-Herring

          i agree with Shelia as well, also because the plants and herbs had not started to grow enough for food, that something else had to be provided in order to sustain them. Everything had to start over for survival.

        • Pauline Graham

          Could it be that as in todays world, where animals were sexually abused and therefore deemed unclean and sin ridden, that they carried awful diseases that could spread backwards and forwards, from animal to human, and vice versa.

        • Pauline Graham

          Take for instance a tiger or a lion kills a human, as it gets too old, it then becomes used to this food source, villages are scared of the animal as its powerful, can kill a child in seconds. To free the village from this fear, the animal is hunted and killed, otherwise it would not stop. Yehovah killed the lamb after Adam and Chavah, dressed themselves in leaves. As the lamb would have been their, friend companion, they would have felt sad, upset, regret at their actions. Also the shed blood of the lamb, points to Yeshua, the Messiah, who gave his life to free us all and cover us with his shed blood. We're are to respect our parents, no matter how old we are. When Noach realised that his son had seen him naked and mocked him, he felt anger and shame. His son mocked him to his brother's which we never ever do. Thus he cursed Ham that he would always desire the blessings of his elder brothers.

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