Understanding the Scriptures
|Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth (v. 1)||Have children|
|Delivered (v. 2)||Given|
|Green herb (v. 3)||Plants|
|Sheddeth man’s blood (v. 6)||Kills another person|
|Cut off (v. 11)||Destroyed|
|Token (vv. 12–13, 17)||Sign|
|For perpetual generations (v. 12)||From now on|
Genesis 9—Help from the Joseph Smith Translation
As you read Genesis 9 you will get additional insight by reading each reference from the Joseph Smith Translation for this chapter.
Genesis 9:18–29—A Confusing Story about Noah
We likely do not have all the details of this story of Noah’s drunkenness. We do know that the Lord never condemned Noah for this incident even though He condemned drunkenness elsewhere in scripture. In Old Testament times, when juice of the grape (called wine) was stored, it would naturally ferment over time and could cause intoxication. But fermented grape juice is very different from what the Bible calls “strong drink.” Strong drink was made from various fruits and grains and was intentionally intoxicating. Noah’s drunkenness after drinking “wine” was likely unintentional.
We are also uncertain as to what happened in Genesis 9:22 when “Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father” and why, in verse 25, Noah cursed Canaan as a result. Some believe that the garment involved was taken because it had special religious significance and may have been a representation of Noah’s priesthood. If Canaan, or Ham, took the garment, the cursing may be related to Abraham 1:26–27 where we read that the descendants of Ham were “cursed … as pertaining to the Priesthood” (v. 26).
The Prophet Joseph Smith added: “I referred to the curse of Ham for laughing at Noah, while in his wine, but doing no harm. Noah was a righteous man, and yet he drank wine and became intoxicated; the Lord did not forsake him in consequence thereof, for he retained all the power of his priesthood, and when he was accused by Canaan, he cursed him by the priesthood which he held, and the Lord had respect to his word, and the priesthood which he held, notwithstanding he was drunk, and the curse remains upon the posterity of Canaan until the present day” (History of the Church, 4:445–46).
When we seek to obtain or use the blessings of the priesthood dishonestly, we will be cursed, and we will lose opportunities, blessings, and power. For example, people who obtain the priesthood or priesthood ordinances by lying about their worthiness will not receive the blessings of those ordinances but will lose blessings. We cannot deceive the Lord.
Studying the Scriptures
Do activity A as you study Genesis 9.
What Is Your “Rainbow”?
The Lord gave Noah a sign, or reminder, of the covenant He made. The sign helped Noah remember how merciful the Lord was to him. Write about something that reminds you how merciful the Lord is to you.
How can the sacrament be to us what the rainbow was to Noah?