וַיְבָ֣רֶךְ אֱלֹהִ֔ים אֶת־נֹ֖חַ וְאֶת־בָּנָ֑יו וַיֹּ֧אמֶר לָהֶ֛ם פְּר֥וּ וּרְב֖וּ וּמִלְא֥וּ אֶת־הָאָֽרֶץ׃
And God blessed Noah and his sons and said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth.”
Paraphrase: Then, God blessed Noah and his family. He gave them the same mandate He had originally given to Adam and Eve. (Genesis 1:28) “Bear children and multiply your families so that the earth might be filled with people working to establish My kingdom every where.”
The LXX has, “αὐξάνεσθε καὶ πληθύνεσθε καὶ πληρώσατε τὴν γῆν καὶ κατακυριεύσατε αὐτῆς.”
וּמוֹרַאֲכֶ֤ם וְחִתְּכֶם֙ יִֽהְיֶ֔ה עַ֚ל כָּל־חַיַּ֣ת הָאָ֔רֶץ וְעַ֖ל כָּל־ע֣וֹף הַשָּׁמָ֑יִם בְּכֹל֩ אֲשֶׁ֨ר תִּרְמֹ֧שׂ הָֽאֲדָמָ֛ה וּֽבְכָל־דְּגֵ֥י הַיָּ֖ם בְּיֶדְכֶ֥ם נִתָּֽנוּ׃
And your fear and your dread will be on all living things of the earth and on all bird of the heavens; on all what creeps on the land and on all fish of the sea. Into your hand, they are given.
Paraphrase: To protect you from the wild beasts which I also created, I have placed within them a respect and even fear of you. When they see you, they will flee away in fear. Every animal will have this fear of you, the land animals, the birds, and even the fish. They are all in your hands to rule and to use for My glory.
כָּל־רֶ֙מֶשׂ֙ אֲשֶׁ֣ר הוּא־חַ֔י לָכֶ֥ם יִהְיֶ֖ה לְאָכְלָ֑ה כְּיֶ֣רֶק עֵ֔שֶׂב נָתַ֥תִּי לָכֶ֖ם אֶת־כֹּֽל׃
Every mover, which lives, for you it will be, for food. Just as the green herbs, I give to you all [things].
Paraphrase: All these animals are for your table. You may kill any of them and enjoy them for food. By doing this, I am providing meat for your table just as I previously gave you all the plants for vegetables.
אַךְ־בָּשָׂ֕ר בְּנַפְשׁ֥וֹ דָמ֖וֹ לֹ֥א תֹאכֵֽלוּ׃
Only the flesh; in his life, his blood you shall not eat.
Paraphrase: Be careful, however, to properly kill and prepare the animals you kill. Never eat an animal while it is still living and has its life blood in it like some of the savage nations around you do. Kill the animal first, drain out all its blood, then cook and eat it.
אַךְ is here an adverb of exception; see entry #3 for this word here.
See K 4 in Gesenius on this.
One of the seven Noahic laws is “eating of a limb cut from a living animal.”
וְאַ֨ךְ אֶת־דִּמְכֶ֤ם לְנַפְשֹֽׁתֵיכֶם֙ אֶדְרֹ֔שׁ מִיַּ֥ד כָּל־חַיָּ֖ה אֶדְרְשֶׁ֑נּוּ וּמִיַּ֣ד הָֽאָדָ֗ם מִיַּד֙ אִ֣ישׁ אָחִ֔יו אֶדְרֹ֖שׁ אֶת־נֶ֥פֶשׁ הָֽאָדָֽם׃
Surely your blood for your life, I will require. From the hand of every living thing, I will require it, and from the hand of the man, from the hand of each man, his brother, I will require the life of the man.
Paraphrase: You can be sure of this. Human life is a sacred thing and is not to be trifled with. Any person’s life that you take, I will call you to give an account of what you did. You will have to answer for every life that you take. Whether the killing was done by an animal or by a fellow human, in each case, there will be a reckoning. Justice will be done.
אַךְ is here again; this time probably an adverb of affirmation; again see here.
The distributive use of אִישׁ here. source
שֹׁפֵךְ֙ דַּ֣ם הָֽאָדָ֔ם בָּֽאָדָ֖ם דָּמ֣וֹ יִשָּׁפֵ֑ךְ כִּ֚י בְּצֶ֣לֶם אֱלֹהִ֔ים עָשָׂ֖ה אֶת־הָאָדָֽם׃
The one shedding the blood of a human by a human his blood shall be shed for in the image of God, He made humans.
Paraphrase: I told you before that the sin which primarily brought the flood upon the first world was the sin of violence. (Genesis 6:11) Now I am instituting a law for all times and places which will help hold such violence in check. You are to find men to whom you can trust with the power of the sword. (Romans 13:4) These men are to be guided by this general principle. Anyone who kills someone else forfeits his own life. The men who bear the sword are to see to it that this principle is carried out against all those duly convicted of murder. The reason for this command is that I made humans in My own image; and therefore, their lives are uniquely sacred.
וְאַתֶּ֖ם פְּר֣וּ וּרְב֑וּ שִׁרְצ֥וּ בָאָ֖רֶץ וּרְבוּ־בָֽהּ׃ס
and you, be fruitful and multiply; repopulate the earth and multiply in her.
Paraphrase: With this basic principle of justice in place, you are now free to focus on the original creation mandate which I gave you. I’ll say it again; bear children, rejoice in large families, and celebrate My goodness. Multiply families and spread all over the earth to My glory.
וַיֹּ֤אמֶר אֱלֹהִים֙ אֶל־נֹ֔חַ וְאֶל־בָּנָ֥יו אִתּ֖וֹ לֵאמֹֽר׃
And God said to Noah and to his sons with him, saying…
Paraphrase: God continued speaking to Noah and addressed him and his sons, “…
וַאֲנִ֕י הִנְנִ֥י מֵקִ֛ים אֶת־בְּרִיתִ֖י אִתְּכֶ֑ם וְאֶֽת־זַרְעֲכֶ֖ם אַֽחֲרֵיכֶֽם׃
and I, behold I am establishing my covenant with you and with your seed after you.
Paraphrase: I am YHWH, the Great King, and it is My will and good pleasure to make a covenant with you and with your entire family, even those who will be born into your family in future generations.
The same language used in Genesis 6:17. These words show the unilateral character of this covenant. Vos asks and anwwers:
34. Is the covenant of grace unilateral or bilateral?
By this question is meant whether there is one party or two parties in it. Properly speaking, every covenant requires two parties. A unilateral covenant is a contradictio in adjecto [contradiction in terms]. There was, however, an element of truth when some theologians insisted on the unilateral character of the covenant. After all, what is on man’s side viewed as covenant obligation is at the same time God’s covenant gift. Moreover, this covenant is entirely designed by God Himself. It is not that God and man meet each other halfway in order to approach each other. God comes to us and gives His covenant, establishes it sovereignly with us. Finally, it is only man who benefits from it, and so in that sense one could also call it unilateral. In earthly, human covenants, each of the two covenant-making parties gives and receives. Here God alone gives; man alone receives.
On the other hand, it must be maintained that in its realization the covenant is bilateral, because from his side man in fact enters this covenant by believing, repenting, fulfilling the covenant requirement. Although God works this requirement in man, through this working he is enabled to do it himself. To Abraham the requirement comes in Genesis 17:1, “Walk before My face and be upright”; and then the declaration in v. 2, “I will make My covenant between me and you.” Vos, Reformed Dogmatics, 2.118.
וְאֵ֨ת כָּל־נֶ֤פֶשׁ הַֽחַיָּה֙ אֲשֶׁ֣ר אִתְּכֶ֔ם בָּע֧וֹף בַּבְּהֵמָ֛ה וּֽבְכָל־חַיַּ֥ת הָאָ֖רֶץ אִתְּכֶ֑ם מִכֹּל֙ יֹצְאֵ֣י הַתֵּבָ֔ה לְכֹ֖ל חַיַּ֥ת הָאָֽרֶץ׃
and with every living soul which is with you, with birds, with cattle, and with all living things of the earth with you. From all that went forth of the ark to all living things of the earth.
Paraphrase: In fact, I make this covenant with every living thing which is on the earth, both animal and human. With every creature of Mine which was rescued in the ark and which has now gone forth to populate the earth, I establish this covenant.
וַהֲקִמֹתִ֤י אֶת־בְּרִיתִי֙ אִתְּכֶ֔ם וְלֹֽא־יִכָּרֵ֧ת כָּל־בָּשָׂ֛ר ע֖וֹד מִמֵּ֣י הַמַּבּ֑וּל וְלֹֽא־יִהְיֶ֥ה ע֛וֹד מַבּ֖וּל לְשַׁחֵ֥ת הָאָֽרֶץ׃
And I establish my covenant with you, and all flesh will not be cut off again by waters of a flood, and it will not be again a flood to destroy the earth.
Paraphrase: Now this is My covenant which I am making with you today. Never again, will I destroy the earth and all its inhabitants with a worldwide flood.
וַיֹּ֣אמֶר אֱלֹהִ֗ים זֹ֤את אֽוֹת־הַבְּרִית֙ אֲשֶׁר־אֲנִ֣י נֹתֵ֗ן בֵּינִי֙ וּבֵ֣ינֵיכֶ֔ם וּבֵ֛ין כָּל־נֶ֥פֶשׁ חַיָּ֖ה אֲשֶׁ֣ר אִתְּכֶ֑ם לְדֹרֹ֖ת עוֹלָֽם׃
And God said, “This is the sign of the covenant which I am giving between me and between you and between all living souls which are with you to generations eternal.”
Paraphrase: “Furthermore, I am going to give you a sign which will stand as a perpetual sign to all generations that I have made this covenant with every creature on earth and with those generations yet to come.
אֶת־קַשְׁתִּ֕י נָתַ֖תִּי בֶּֽעָנָ֑ן וְהָֽיְתָה֙ לְא֣וֹת בְּרִ֔ית בֵּינִ֖י וּבֵ֥ין הָאָֽרֶץ׃
My bow I gave in the clouds, and she will be for a sign of the covenant between Me and between the earth.
Paraphrase: This sign will be the rainbow which I have placed in the sky many times already. You have seen it during or after a rain shower. What a glorious blaze of color circles the sky when it is present! From now on, however, this rainbow will not just be a beautiful thing you see on a rainy day. It will also be the sign of this covenant which I have enacted between Me and you.
It is noteworthy that the verb נָתַתִּי is a QTL form and is generally translated into the past tense. Gesenius speaks of QTL verbs being used “in direct narration to express actions which, although really only in process of accomplishment, are nevertheless meant to be represented as already accomplished in the conception of the speaker.” see §i here. Lange has an interesting quote from Maimonides on this:
For the words are in past time, אֵת קַשְׁתִּי נָתַתִּי, my bow have I set (or did set) in the cloud, not, I am now setting, or about to set, which would be expressed by אֲנִי נוֹתִן, according as he had said just before, הַבְּרִית אֲשֶׁר אֲנִי נֹתֵן, the covenant which I am now establishing. Moreover the form of the word קַשְׁתִּי my bow, shows that there was something to him so called from the beginning. And so the Scripture must be interpreted: the bow which I put (נתתי) in the cloud in the day of creation, shall be, from this day, and henceforth, for a sign of the covenant between me and you, so that every time that it appears, I will look upon it and remember my covenant of peace. If it is asked then, what is meant by the bow’s being a sign, I answer that it is like what is said Gen. 31:48, in the covenant between Jacob and Laban, הִנֵּה הַגַּל הַזֶּה עֵד, lo, this heap is a witness, etc., or Gen. 31:52, עֵדָה הַמַּצֵּבָה, and this pillar shall be a witness, etc. And so also Gen. 21:30, אֶת שֶׁבַע כְּבָשׁוֹת תִּקַּח מִיָּדִי, seven lambs shalt thou take from my hand, לְעֵדָה for a witness. In like manner everything that appears as thus put before two, to cause them to remember something promised or covenanted, is called אוֹת. And so of the circumcision; God says, it shall be a sign of the covenant, לְאוֹת בְּרִית, between me and you. Thus the bow that is now visible, and the bow that was in nature (בטכע) from the beginning, or from of old (מעוֹלם) are one in this, that the sign which is in them is one. source
There can be no doubt that the natural impression produced by this passage in respect to the sign of the covenant is, that it now for the first time appeared in the lower heavens. The Lord might, no doubt, then, or at any future time, have taken an existing phenomenon in nature, and by a special appointment made it the instrument of conveying some new and higher meaning to the subjects of His revelation. But in a matter like the present, when the specific object contemplated was to allay men’s fears of the possible recurrence of the deluge, and give them a kind of visible pledge in nature for the permanence of her existing order and constitution, one is at a loss to see how a natural phenomenon, common alike to the antediluvian and the postdiluvian world, could have fitly served the purpose. In that case, so far as the external sign was concerned, matters stood precisely where they were; and it was not properly the sign, but the covenant itself, which formed the guarantee of safety for the future. We incline, therefore, to the opinion that, in the announcement here made, intimation is given of a change in the physical relations or temperature of at least that portion of the earth where the original inhabitants had their abode; by reason of which the descent of moisture in showers of rain came to take the place of distillation by dew, or other modes of operation different from the present. The supposition is favored by the mention only of dew before in connection with the moistening of the ground; and when rain does come to be mentioned, it is rain in such flowing torrents as seems rather to betoken the outpouring of a continuous stream, than the gentle dropping which we are wont to understand by the term, and to associate with the rainbow. source
וְהָיָ֕ה בְּעַֽנְנִ֥י עָנָ֖ן עַל־הָאָ֑רֶץ וְנִרְאֲתָ֥ה הַקֶּ֖שֶׁת בֶּעָנָֽן׃
And it will be when I bring clouds on the earth, and the bow will be seen in the cloud
Paraphrase: It will still rain on the earth. There will still be times when the clouds gather and perhaps even dark storm clouds similar to the clouds that formed when I was about to bring the flood-judgment on the earth. Perhaps, you will begin to tremble with fear, thinking that I am going to crush the earth again under a mighty flood of water. But then you will see it! You will see this happy sign with all its sparkling glory and color, and you will remember what was transacted between us today. You do not need to fear because not only will you see the bow in the cloud but…
וְזָכַרְתִּ֣י אֶת־בְּרִיתִ֗י אֲשֶׁ֤ר בֵּינִי֙ וּבֵ֣ינֵיכֶ֔ם וּבֵ֛ין כָּל־נֶ֥פֶשׁ חַיָּ֖ה בְּכָל־בָּשָׂ֑ר וְלֹֽא־יִֽהְיֶ֨ה ע֤וֹד הַמַּ֙יִם֙ לְמַבּ֔וּל לְשַׁחֵ֖ת כָּל־בָּשָֽׂר׃
I will remember My covenant which is between Me and between you and between all living souls, with all flesh, and it will not be again the waters for a flood to destroy all flesh.
Paraphrase: …I will see it as well. Then I will remember that this covenant has been duly established between Me and you and between every living thing which moves on this earth. I swear by My own Name (Hebrews 6:13) that there will never again be a worldwide flood to destroy the earth.
וְהָיְתָ֥ה הַקֶּ֖שֶׁת בֶּֽעָנָ֑ן וּרְאִיתִ֗יהָ לִזְכֹּר֙ בְּרִ֣ית עוֹלָ֔ם בֵּ֣ין אֱלֹהִ֔ים וּבֵין֙ כָּל־נֶ֣פֶשׁ חַיָּ֔ה בְּכָל־בָּשָׂ֖ר אֲשֶׁ֥ר עַל־הָאָֽרֶץ׃
And the bow in the cloud and I will see her to remember the eternal covenant between God and between all living souls, with all flesh which is on the earth.
Paraphrase: Then you need not fear and tremble to see the storm clouds gathering. You can be sure that I will see the bow and remember our covenant. This covenant is an eternal covenant that stands between me and all living things both those now living and those to come. I will never forget this covenant; I will always be faithful to it.
וַיֹּ֥אמֶר אֱלֹהִ֖ים אֶל־נֹ֑חַ זֹ֤את אֽוֹת־הַבְּרִית֙ אֲשֶׁ֣ר הֲקִמֹ֔תִי בֵּינִ֕י וּבֵ֥ין כָּל־בָּשָׂ֖ר אֲשֶׁ֥ר עַל־הָאָֽרֶץ׃פ
And God said to Noah, “This is the sign of the covenant which I have established between Me and between all flesh which is on the earth.”
Paraphrase: Then God told Noah, “This is the sign of our covenant which has been established between Me and you and with every living thing on the earth. It is so ordered.
וַיִּֽהְי֣וּ בְנֵי־נֹ֗חַ הַיֹּֽצְאִים֙ מִן־הַתֵּבָ֔ה שֵׁ֖ם וְחָ֣ם וָיָ֑פֶת וְחָ֕ם ה֖וּא אֲבִ֥י כְנָֽעַן׃
שְׁלֹשָׁ֥ה אֵ֖לֶּה בְּנֵי־נֹ֑חַ וּמֵאֵ֖לֶּה נָֽפְצָ֥ה כָל־הָאָֽרֶץ׃
Gen 9:20 וַיָּ֥חֶל נֹ֖חַ אִ֣ישׁ הָֽאֲדָמָ֑ה וַיִּטַּ֖ע כָּֽרֶם׃
Gen 9:21 וַיֵּ֥שְׁתְּ מִן־הַיַּ֖יִן וַיִּשְׁכָּ֑ר וַיִּתְגַּ֖ל בְּת֥וֹךְ אָהֳלֹֽה׃
Gen 9:22 וַיַּ֗רְא חָ֚ם אֲבִ֣י כְנַ֔עַן אֵ֖ת עֶרְוַ֣ת אָבִ֑יו וַיַּגֵּ֥ד לִשְׁנֵֽי־אֶחָ֖יו בַּחֽוּץ׃
Gen 9:23 וַיִּקַּח֩ שֵׁ֨ם וָיֶ֜פֶת אֶת־הַשִּׂמְלָ֗ה וַיָּשִׂ֙ימוּ֙ עַל־שְׁכֶ֣ם שְׁנֵיהֶ֔ם וַיֵּֽלְכוּ֙ אֲחֹ֣רַנִּ֔ית וַיְכַסּ֕וּ אֵ֖ת עֶרְוַ֣ת אֲבִיהֶ֑ם וּפְנֵיהֶם֙ אֲחֹ֣רַנִּ֔ית וְעֶרְוַ֥ת אֲבִיהֶ֖ם לֹ֥א רָאֽוּ׃
Gen 9:24 וַיִּ֥יקֶץ נֹ֖חַ מִיֵּינ֑וֹ וַיֵּ֕דַע אֵ֛ת אֲשֶׁר־עָ֥שָׂה־ל֖וֹ בְּנ֥וֹ הַקָּטָֽן׃
Gen 9:25 וַיֹּ֖אמֶר אָר֣וּר כְּנָ֑עַן עֶ֥בֶד עֲבָדִ֖ים יִֽהְיֶ֥ה לְאֶחָֽיו׃
Gen 9:26 וַיֹּ֕אמֶר בָּר֥וּךְ יְהֹוָ֖ה אֱלֹ֣הֵי שֵׁ֑ם וִיהִ֥י כְנַ֖עַן עֶ֥בֶד לָֽמוֹ׃
Gen 9:27 יַ֤פְתְּ אֱלֹהִים֙ לְיֶ֔פֶת וְיִשְׁכֹּ֖ן בְּאָֽהֳלֵי־שֵׁ֑ם וִיהִ֥י כְנַ֖עַן עֶ֥בֶד לָֽמוֹ׃
Gen 9:28 וַֽיְחִי־נֹ֖חַ אַחַ֣ר הַמַּבּ֑וּל שְׁלֹ֤שׁ מֵאוֹת֙ שָׁנָ֔ה וַֽחֲמִשִּׁ֖ים שָׁנָֽה׃
Gen 9:29 וַיִּֽהְיוּ֙ כָּל־יְמֵי־נֹ֔חַ תְּשַׁ֤ע מֵאוֹת֙ שָׁנָ֔ה וַחֲמִשִּׁ֖ים שָׁנָ֑ה וַיָּמֹֽת׃פ