Genesis 9 reveals a new world after the flood, but a different world. No longer will man exercise his dominion over animals in the way that resembled Eden. Instead, animals would have “fear and dread” of man (setting the stage for the “great hunter,” Nimrod, introduced in chapter 10). No longer would man rely on plants alone for food. Now he would be carnivorous. Man is instructed that when animals are eaten, their blood is not to be eaten, in recognition that all life is a precious gift from God.
Now that man is starting to slaughter animals, he is reminded that man is not just an animal, but a creature made in the image of God. As such, respecting the value of a human life, severe punishment was prescribed for murder.
The chapter also includes the first covenant God establishes with man. The sign of the covenant is a rainbow. The next time you see the rainbow, remember that God is a faithful, promise-keeping God. And remember that all of God’s covenants with people are fulfilled in His Son, Jesus.