Genesis 9:5-7

Verses covered in this passage:

  • Genesis 9:5
  • Genesis 9:6
  • Genesis 9:7

Genesis is a book about many beginnings. The beginnings of the world, the human race, sin and redemption, and the nation of Israel to name a few. In fact, the word Genesis from the Greek means “origin,” and in Hebrew it means “beginning.” The book of Genesis contains the events of the flood, tower of Babel, Sodom and Gomorrah, and the lives of the Patriarchs.

In the beginning, God created everything by simply speaking, “God said…and it was so” (Genesis 1:6-7, 9, 11, 14-15). This is not a scientific technical account of creation, but it shows a loving God creating a universe and mankind to rule it and fellowship with God. Man was formed especially from the ground and given the breath of life from God. The woman was made from the man’s rib (Genesis 2:7).

After man fell into sin, things began to spin out of control quickly. Cain murdered his brother Abel and the human race became so violent that God decided to destroy them all with a flood. God saved one righteous man (Noah) and his family in an ark filled with animals to deliver the human race from extinction. God chose Abraham and blessed a special group of people named “Israel.” God began to unfold a plan of salvation from a coming famine by sending Joseph to rule in Egypt. The failure of man in every circumstance is met by the salvation of God. We fail, but the good news is God saves us.

Genesis chapter 9 is about new beginnings and new order after the flood. God establishes an everlasting covenant with Noah. The sign of this covenant can still be seen today. God makes some new commandments that are different from the pre-flood era. There is an event that causes Noah to feel shame and Ham to sin that results in a blessing and a curse. No promise of God can fail. We see a repetition of human failure and godly punishment, but through it all there is hope and salvation.

God makes a new rule that murder of another human being shall require their life. God also instructs for Noah to populate the earth abundantly and multiply in it.


Violence and murder was a major factor in God’s judgment of the flood. God stated that the earth was filled with violence (Genesis 6:11). God says that all life belongs to him, so if someone murders another human being, God will require his life (a life for a life). Whoever sheds man’s blood, By man his blood shall be shed, God sought to reaffirm the sanctity of human life.


God had put fear into the animals, but now He needed to put fear into the humans to murder another human, so they would not destroy each other. No other sin shows greater contempt for human life than homicide. God requires each person to account for his or her own actions, men cannot harm or kill another human being without giving an answer for it. God established moral authority for human government with this verse, granting that by man his blood shall be shed as the penalty to be paid. Man is now in charge of justice. It is now man’s job to prevent the earth from filling with violence, by using the threat of violence as a deterrent. Murder is killing someone created in God’s image. Killing a person who is made in the image of God is an offense to God himself.


In verse 6, God describes the crime, Whoever sheds man’s blood. Then to proclaim the penalty, those three words are reversed, his blood shall be shed. God’s justice was to be proportional: a measure for measure or an eye for an eye. The punishment should fit the crime, it should not be overly harsh. But in this case, the proper response is blood for blood. Who carries out this punishment? It is a human responsibility. God was seeking to correct the condition of “lawlessness” that existed prior to the flood (Genesis 6:11). A human being bears the stamp of the divine maker “in the image of God.” God delegates his significant authority to mankind, He set up capital punishment as protection for human life. He gives man the right to punish murderers. The moral authority for human government to pursue and maintain justice by use of coercive force derives from this grant from God.


Noah and his family were saved from the destruction of the flood by faith. In verse 7 we see a repetition of Genesis 9:1 stating for Noah and his family to populate the earth abundantly. And again they are admonished to be fruitful and multiply. God’s desire was that all humans have confidence in His mercy as they repopulated the earth.

Biblical Text

5 “Surely I will require your lifeblood; from every beast I will require it. And from every man, from every man’s brother I will require the life of man. 6 “Whoever sheds man’s blood, By man his blood shall be shed, For in the image of God

He made man. 7 “As for you, be fruitful and multiply; Populate the earth abundantly and multiply in it.”

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