Genesis 9 – Skeptic's Annotated Bible answered

A response and reply to the notes on Genesis 9 in the Skeptic's Annotated Bible (SAB).

King James Version

SAB comment

My comment

1 And God blessed Noah and his sons, and said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth.

(9:1, 7) "Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth."
Although this would have been good advice for the mythical Noah, it is wrong for humankind as a whole. Overpopulation is one of our greatest problems, yet there is nothing in the bible to address it.
What the Bible says about birth control
The author of the SAB calls “overpopulation one of our greatest problems.” I'm always scary when people claim there are too many humans. Which are the ones they want to get rid off? Which are the ones who may not procreate?
The basic idea behind it comes from Paul Ehrlich's book The Population Bomb. I only have to give one quote from the numerous failed prophecies he made:

The battle to feed all of humanity is over. In the 1970's the world will undergo famines--hundreds of millions of people are going to starve to death in spite of any crash programs embarked upon now.

I'm sure everyone remembers the hundreds of millions dying in the 70s... Actually, the biggest threat many nations face today is not enough babies. What do you think is going to happen in China with their one child policy when all the parents retire? Who is going to care for them?
On birth control, The Pathway Machine gives a concise summary.
With confidence we can already give one prediction: nations that kill their babies will have killed their future.

2 And the fear of you and the dread of you shall be upon every beast of the earth, and upon every fowl of the air, upon all that moveth upon the earth, and upon all the fishes of the sea; into your hand are they delivered.

(9:2) "The fear of you and the dread of you shall be upon every beast. Into your hand are they delivered."
According to this verse, all animals fear humans. Although it is true that many do, many do not. Sharks and grizzly bears, for example, are generally much less afraid of us than we are of them.
(9:2) "Into your hands are they delivered."
God gave the animals to humans, and they can do whatever they please with them. This verse has been used by bible believers to justify all kinds of cruelty to animals and environmental destruction.
The exception proves the rule? But sharks do not hunt humans. They mistake them for seals. The only animal known to actively hunt for humans are polar bears. All other animals do not see humans as prey, and attack only in isolated cases.
But as John Gill comments, the contrast is actually with the situation in Paradise:

these obeyed him cheerfully, and from love, but sinning, he in a good measure lost his power over them, they rebelled against him; but now though the charter of power over them is renewed, they do not serve man freely, but are in dread of him, and flee from him

Yes, Bible believers are responsible for animal cruelty and environmental destruction. Not! In reality it were the atheistic regimes that were responsible for environmental destruction. Christian William Wilberforce was founder of the SPCA. I urge readers to check next time cruelty or environmental destruction is mentioned in the newspaper to check on the beliefs of those performing such acts. And who are the people who are responsible for the destruction of humans in the womb?

3 Every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you; even as the green herb have I given you all things.

(9:3) "Every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you."
Which animals may we eat?

4 But flesh with the life thereof, which is the blood thereof, shall ye not eat.

(9:4) "But flesh with the life thereof, which is the blood thereof, shall ye not eat."
God forbids eating meat without first draining the blood. Many Jehovah's Witnesses have needlessly died because the governing body considers blood transfusions to be "eating blood".
Many diseases are transferred by blood, so just from a scientific perspective this makes eminent sense.
On Jehovah's Witnesses, they are not Christians, they hardly believe a thing found in the Bible, and it seems they have come back from this point of view, indicating they have forced people's consciences to let their children die. For which the governing body will have to answer their judge.

5 And surely your blood of your lives will I require; at the hand of every beast will I require it, and at the hand of man; at the hand of every man’s brother will I require the life of man.

6 Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man.

(9:6) "Whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed."
Then why did God put a mark on Cain (after he murdered Abel) so that others wouldn't kill him? (Gen.4:15).
Does God approve of capital punishment?
What the Bible says about capital punishment
Firstly, at that time, there was no human judiciary to trial and convict Cain. Secondly, this law had not been given at that time. As John Gill comments:

though it seems to be the first law of this kind that empowered the civil magistrate to take away life; God, as it is thought, reserving the right and power to himself before, and which, for some reasons, he thought fit not to make use of in the case of Cain, whom he only banished, and suffered not others to take away his life, but now enacts a law, requiring judges to punish murder with death: and which, according to this law, ought never to go unpunished, or have a lesser punishment inflicted for it: the reason follows, for in the image of God made he man

7 And you, be ye fruitful, and multiply; bring forth abundantly in the earth, and multiply therein.

8 And God spake unto Noah, and to his sons with him, saying,

9 And I, behold, I establish my covenant with you, and with your seed after you;

(9:9-13) "I do set my bow in the cloud."
God is rightly filled with remorse for having killed his creatures. He makes a deal with the animals, promising never to drown them all again. He even puts the rainbow in the sky so that whenever he sees it, it will remind him of his promise so that he won't be tempted to do it again. (Every time God sees the rainbow he says to himself: "Oh, yeah.... That's right. I promised not to drown the animals again. I guess I'll have to find something else to do.").
The covenant wasn't made with his animals, but with Noah and his sons. And the rainbow is not only for God, but for us also: a reminder that God righteously punished the first earth. We have sinned enough to be punished likewise, but the rainbow is a reminder that God is graceful not to do so.

10 And with every living creature that is with you, of the fowl, of the cattle, and of every beast of the earth with you; from all that go out of the ark, to every beast of the earth.

11 And I will establish my covenant with you; neither shall all flesh be cut off any more by the waters of a flood; neither shall there any more be a flood to destroy the earth.

12 And God said, This is the token of the covenant which I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for perpetual generations:

13 I do set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of a covenant between me and the earth.

14 And it shall come to pass, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the bow shall be seen in the cloud:

15 And I will remember my covenant, which is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and the waters shall no more become a flood to destroy all flesh.

16 And the bow shall be in the cloud; and I will look upon it, that I may remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is upon the earth.

17 And God said unto Noah, This is the token of the covenant, which I have established between me and all flesh that is upon the earth.

The Drunkenness of Noah
(Giovanni Bellini, 1515)

18 And the sons of Noah, that went forth of the ark, were Shem, and Ham, and Japheth: and Ham is the father of Canaan.

19 These are the three sons of Noah: and of them was the whole earth overspread.

20 And Noah began to be an husbandman, and he planted a vineyard:

21 And he drank of the wine, and was drunken; and he was uncovered within his tent.

22 And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father, and told his two brethren without.

(9:20-25) "Noah ... drank of the wine, and was drunken; and he was uncovered within his tent."
The "just and righteous" Noah (6:9, 7:1) plants a vineyard, gets drunk, and lies around naked in his tent. His son, Ham, happens to see his father in this condition. When Noah sobers up and hears "what his young son had done unto him" (what did he do besides look at him?), he curses not Ham, who "saw the nakedness of his father," but Ham's son, Canaan. "A servant of servants shall he [Canaan] be unto his brethren." This is a typical case of biblical justice, and is one of many Bible passages that have been used to justify slavery.
Are we punished for the sins of others?
What the Bible says about nudism
If Noah sinned, why the glee?
At this verse the author of the SAB suddenly remembers that Noah was naked in his tent, although he describes Noah as “naked in front of his sons” in an earlier smear, chapter 6:9.
The author of the SAB raises two issues:
  1. Ham only looked at him, this was no big deal.
  2. You would expect Ham to have been cursed, but instead his son Canaan got cursed.
We can dismiss his link on nudism, as the author of the SAB is comparing apples and oranges there: live in Paradise was very much different than after.
On what Ham did, the author of the SAB mentions homosexual rape in one of his comments, verse 24. That must be surely be one of the most far fetched explanations around. What happened in this verse is that Ham didn't just caught his father naked by surprise, but he had delight in it and went to his brothers so they could mock his father as well. It's not seeing his father's nakedness, but his desire to mock him.
On why Canaan was cursed, it is very likely that his son Canaan saw his grandfather first, and told his father.

23 And Shem and Japheth took a garment, and laid it upon both their shoulders, and went backward, and covered the nakedness of their father; and their faces were backward, and they saw not their father’s nakedness.

24 And Noah awoke from his wine, and knew what his younger son had done unto him.

(9:24) "Noah awoke from his wine, and knew what his younger son had done unto him."
What did Ham do? Did he just look at his naked father or was there something more to it than that? Some commentators have suggested that Ham committed homosexual rape on his drunken father, and that this was why Ham's descendants were eternally punished with slavery. Does God approve of slavery?
See verse 21 on what Ham did.
The author of the SAB claims Ham's descendants were eternally punished with slavery. First of all, Ham isn't cursed, but his fourth son Canaan (Gen. 10:6). Canaan lived in, as the name says, Canaan. And Canaan's descendants were not blacks living in Africa. So the Canaanites would be driving out of their land, and serve the Israelites. And not just for Canaan's sins, but for their own as all archaeologists admit they were a very wicked race.

25 And he said, Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren.

26 And he said, Blessed be the LORD God of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant.

27 God shall enlarge Japheth, and he shall dwell in the tents of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant.

28 And Noah lived after the flood three hundred and fifty years.

29 And all the days of Noah were nine hundred and fifty years: and he died.

(9:29) "And all the days of Noah were nine hundred and fifty years."
It appears Noah didn't suffer any ill effects from a changed environment after the Flood. So the shortening of the human life span might well have to do with the genetic bottleneck humanity went through.