Archive for March 1st, 2009

Genesis 9:18-29 “Noah’s Fall”

Posted on March 1, 2009. Filed under: Genesis: Answers to Life's Crucial Questions |

Redeemer Church Sunday School

Genesis Class

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Gen. 9:18-29 “Noah’s Fall”


Read Genesis 9:18-29



Introduction: Today we come to a passage that is a little bit embarrassing and shameful in its details. But as we study it, we will see that it is far more than a simple moralistic passage against getting drunk. This passage is really an important story that links Noah’s story with, not only Adam, but, more importantly with what is to come. This passage not only has a moral message for our day, but it has a prophecy that reaches down through the millennia to our day and points us to Christ. In this text we see Noah’s sin and the fact that we all are sinners. But we also see God’s amazing grace.


I.                   Literary Structure

A.     As we have gone through this passage the last few weeks we have seen repeatedly that Noah represents a second Adam of sorts; there are several words and parts of the story that relate back to the first creation and Adam. There is clearly an effort to show a re-creation here. But we have seen too that Moses is relating what happened in Noah’s day with what is going on in his day with Israel in the wilderness. There is also an effort to tie the story of Noah with the story of Lot. So let’s look at that aspect first.


Open your Bibles to Gen. 19 but keep a finger in the Flood story of Gen. 6-9 and we are going to look for some parallels. Let’s just take a few minutes to read through 19:1-38, and instead of me lecturing, I want you to discover what parts of the two stories are parallel. If we don’t have enough discussion and discovery then I shall resort to giving hints.


1.      Judgment comes due in part to sexual sin 6:1-4; 19:1-11

2.      Possible angels involved in both situations above. Those of you in the class last semester when we were in chapter 6 we had a discussion about who the “sons of God” of 6:2,4 and the “Nephilim” of 6:4 were. Some say they were the godly line of Seth compromising their standards and marrying into the line of Cain and some say they were tyrannical rulers. But a strong Jewish tradition and the early church, is that they were fallen angels breeding with the daughters of men. Clearly in 19:1-11 we have a physical manifestation of angels and men who desire to have sex with them.

3.      God remembered his elect 19:29; 8:1. The thief on the cross asks Jesus to remember him when he comes into his kingdom in Lk.23:42.

4.      Divine warnings precede the judgment in 6:13-22 and 19:15-22.

5.      The elect are brought into a place of safety and the door is shut, 7:16 and 19:10.

6.      Judgment is rained down 7:4 and 19:24.

7.      In 7:21 and 19:13 the wicked are killed.

8.      Both Noah and Lot found favor, or grace, in the eyes of the LORD in 6:8 and 19:19.

9.      Only one family escapes the judgment 7:21-23 and 19:15, 25-21.

10.  Both Noah and Lot get drunk 19:30-38 and 9:20.

11.  And in 19:30-38 and 9:20-24 sexual sin was involved.

B.     Words that link the story back to Gen.3.

1.      Noah and Adam share the same profession, gardener and tiller of the soil 2:15 and 9:20.

2.      Curses and blessings are used in both stories 3:14,17 and 9:25 for curses and 1:28; 5:2 and 9:26 for blessing.

3.      The shame of nakedness in 3:7, 10-11 and 9:22-23.

4.      Adam’s sin led to fratricide in his sons and Noah’s sin led to enslavement for the descendents of Ham.

5.      the tree of knowledge lay in the “midst” of the garden ( Heb. betok) 2:9; 3:3, 8 and Noah was inside (betok) the tent, 9:21.

6.      In 3:6 the woman saw (ra’a) and Ham saw (ra’a)

7.      Adam and Eve knew they were naked (yada) and Noah knew (yada) what his son had done.

8.      God asked Adam “who told (nagad) you that you were naked” and Ham told (nagad) his brothers about their father.

C.     New Testament Links- Luke 17:26-30 and 2Peter 2:4-10.

1.      Jesus and Peter both link the stories of Noah and Lot so the above theory seems to be biblical and authenticated by Jesus and an apostle.

2.      Notice that the NT uses of these passages also point to a future judgment and our need for faith in Christ to preserve us through the day of judgment.

D.    Genealogical Bookends

1.      Vss. 18-19 bring up a standard formula of a main character with 3 sons. Adam had Cain, Abel and then Seth. Lamech had Jabal and Jubal and Tubal-Cain. In ch.11 Terah fathers Abram, Nahor and Haran.

2.      Bringing up the three sons in vss.18-19 points us forward to ch.10 and the spreading of the population and the mention of Ham’s son, Canaan, points forward to the curse from Noah and of course, the invasion of Israel into Canaan in Moses’ day.

3.      Vss. 28-29 hearken back to ch.5 and concludes this toledoth, preparing the way for the toledoth that begins in 10:1 “These are the generations of…”

4.      Note: the discussions in points A, B and C are heavily dependent upon the work of Bruce K. Waltke, Genesis: A Commentary, Zondervan: Grand Rapids, 2001 p. 130.


II.                Noah’s Sin

A.     Exposition-

1.      Vs.20- “Noah…planted a vineyard” Again we find Moses linking Noah and his story back to what he has written earlier. In 2:8 we see that “the LORD God planted a garden…” and now we see “Noah…planted a vineyard”. In the ESV the verse reads, “Noah began to be a man of the soil…” while the NIV reads, “Noah, a man of the soil, proceeded to plant a vineyard”. Waltke, p.148, says this means that Noah was the first to plant vineyards and the first to make wine, then, “As in 4:17-22, human advance in technology is distorted by human depravity.” Gordon Wenham in WBC vol.1, p.198 also believes the translation should indicate that Noah was the first to cultivate grapes and make wine. He also points out that grapes began to be cultivated in the part of the world where Noah’s Ark came to rest.

2.      Vs.21 “He drank of the wine and became drunk…” Wine is not the problem here, it is the excessive use of wine that leads to drunkenness that is the problem. The Scripture portrays wine in a positive light (Ps.104:14-15; many burnt offerings required a libation of wine- Num.15:5-10; and the Scriptures approve buying wine and strong drink at festivals in Deut.14:25-26). The wine that Jesus made from the water at the wedding feast in John 2 was real wine, even the best wine 2:10. Paul recommends drinking a little wine for Timothy’s stomach ailment in 1Tim.5:23.

3.      But Scripture also warns against getting drunk. Prov.20:1 “Wine is a mocker, strong drink a brawler”. Prov.23:31; 31:4; Lam.4:21; Eph.5:18; 1Tim.3:8.

4.      Historically, the American Church has been involved in the Temperance Movement of the early 1800’s and the Prohibition movement of the early 20th century. It is very possible that in our eagerness to solve the problem of drunkenness in our society we have become legalists and gone further than Scripture in the matter of wine. So here is a Crucial Question from our text: Should Christians have the liberty to drink beer and wine? Should we condemn or look down on those who choose to drink in moderation? Despite all the illegal drugs out there, the legal drug of alcohol is a bigger problem in society with drunk driving, families and lives broken, health problems and job problems.

5.      Vs.21 “…and lay uncovered in his tent.” Sailhamer, EBC vol 2, Zondervan, p.95, points out that just as Adam and Eve ate the fruit and realized they were naked, Noah drank of the fruit and became naked. Throughout the OT nakedness is a sign of sin, shame and degradation. But there is a difficulty here in that he was not out in public, he was in his own tent! Habakkuk 2:10 “Woe to him who gives drink to his neighbors, pouring it from the wineskin till they are drunk, so that he can gaze on their naked bodies”. Nakedness, going back to Gen.3:7, 21 is related to shame, “is publicly demeaning (2Sam.6:16, 20), and is incompatible with living in God’s presence (Ex. 20:26; Deut. 23:12-14….The regulations against nakedness aim to protect people from sin. Noah’s nakedness occasions Ham’s sin.” Waltke, p.149.

6.      But the problem for us is that there is no apparent sin on Noah’s part in being naked in his own tent. Something seems to be missing. Various commentators have suggested the Hebrew text is being deliberately vague and is using a euphemism for sexual relations that is common in other texts. Lev.18:6-18 is a series of laws against incest that use the words uncovering nakedness. Possibly then, what the text is saying is that Noah was having marital relations while he was drunk. Perhaps the tent flap was open or unsecured and it allowed Ham to come in during daylight. Noah was at least indiscreet and provided Ham the opportunity to sin.

B.     Understanding and Application

1.      Notice that Noah has previously been described as righteous and blameless, finding favor in God’s eyes. Yet now he is a naked drunk. This teaches us that anyone can fall into sin. Abraham would follow his wife’s advice and take Hagar to bed, That led to all kinds of sinful problems even in our world today. Isaac, like his father, lied about his wife and that led to trouble. Jacob was a deceiver. David was a man after God’s own heart yet he committed adultery and murder. Peter denied Christ 3 times. Each one of remains a sinner to the core. Though we are saved, and have the Spirit living in us, and have a new nature, yet the old man wages war against us. We stir up our own lusts and we sin. Paul writes of his own struggles in Rom. 7.


Luther writes, Lectures in Genesis, vol.2, p.166, “But the intention of the Holy Spirit is familiar from our teaching. He wanted the godly, who know their weakness and for this reason are disheartened, to take comfort in the offense that comes from the account of the lapses among the holiest and most perfect patriarchs. In such instances we should find sure proof of our own weaknesses and therefore bow down in humble confession, not only to ask for forgiveness but also to hope for it. This is the true theological reason why the Holy Spirit makes mention of the extraordinary lapse of this great man…”

2.      Everyone does sin! From Gen.3 on we see one sinner after another. Rom. 3:10-23.

3.      Notice that Noah fell into sin after the great time of testing. It wasn’t during the many long years of constructing the Ark and the people around him were making fun of him. It wasn’t during the flood and the many long months of wearisome labor caring for all the animals. It was after the great deliverance by God that Noah sinned. The victory had been won, the covenant sealed. Often that is the case, isn’t it. We are able to abide in Christ while undergoing the severest trials. But after God gives us the victory…we grow complacent in success and we fail.

4.      Noah fell into sin, not as a young man, nor in middle age, but in the autumn of his life. He started out strong, but perhaps the depression hit him. Maybe he grew weary of well doing. It is important that we do not try to subsist spiritually on past victories. Having pastored a church that consisted mainly of the elderly I can attest to their being older believers who jump into sin in their golden years or who just slowly drift away into sin after being very active and faithful in the Church in their younger and middle years.

5.      We each persevere only by the grace of God. He holds onto us way more than we will ever hold onto him. Yet we are each called to persevere in the faith. We must have a spiritual plan to grow closer to the Lord all the way to the end of our lives.

6.      Arthur W. Pink, Gleanings in Genesis, Moody Press, Chicago, 1922, points out that the fact that the Scriptures reveal the faults of our heroes is a proof for its divine inspiration. I would concur.


 drinking and driving causes over 25,ooo deaths a year. overall 100,000 deaths occur each year due to the effects of alcohol.Correction: According to the NHTSA web site (, there were 43,443 alcohol related traffic fatalities in 2005 in the USA. As a comparison, AIDS claimed 18,000 lives in 2003.

How can alcohol be blamed for 100,000 deaths each year?

  • 5% of all deaths from diseases of the circulatory system are attributed to alcohol.
  • 15% of all deaths from diseases of the respiratory system are attributed to alcohol.
  • 30% of all deaths from accidents caused by fire and flames are attributed to alcohol.
  • 30% of all accidental drownings are attributed to alcohol.
  • 30% of all suicides are attributed to alcohol.
  • 40% of all deaths due to accidental falls are attributed to alcohol.
  • 45% of all deaths in automobile accidents are attributed to alcohol.
  • 60% of all homicides are attributed to alcohol.
  • (Sources: NIDA Report, the Scientific American and Addiction Research Foundation of Ontario.) Also see Alcohol Consumption and Mortality, Alcohol poisoning deaths, CDC report,


Alcohol-Attributable Deaths and Years of Potential Life Lost — United States, 2001

Excessive alcohol consumption is the third leading preventable cause of death in the United States (1) and is associated with multiple adverse health consequences, including liver cirrhosis, various cancers, unintentional injuries, and violence. To analyze alcohol-related health impacts, CDC estimated the number of alcohol-attributable deaths (AADs) and years of potential life lost (YPLLs) in the United States during 2001. This report summarizes the results of that analysis, which indicated that approximately 75,766 AADs and 2.3 million YPLLs, or approximately 30 years of life lost on average per AAD, were attributable to excessive alcohol use in 2001. These results emphasize the importance of adopting effective strategies* to reduce excessive drinking, including increasing alcohol excise taxes and screening for alcohol misuse in clinical settings.

Alcohol-Related Disease Impact (ARDI)* software was used to estimate the number of AADs and YPLLs. ARDI estimates AADs by multiplying the number of deaths from a particular alcohol-related condition by its alcohol-attributable fraction (AAF). Certain conditions (e.g., alcoholic cirrhosis of the liver) are, by definition, 100% alcohol attributable. For the majority of the chronic conditions profiled in ARDI, the system calculates AAFs by using relative risk estimates from meta-analyses (2,3) and prevalence data on alcohol use from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System. For some conditions, especially those with an acute onset (e.g., injuries), ARDI includes direct estimates of AAFs. Direct estimates of AAFs are based on studies assessing the proportion of deaths from a particular condition that occurred at or above a specified blood alcohol concentration (BAC) (4,5). For acute conditions, a death is alcohol attributable if the decedent (or, as in the case of motor-vehicle traffic, a driver or non-occupant) had a BAC of >0.10 g/dL. AAFs for motor-vehicle–traffic deaths are obtained from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (6). YPLLs, a commonly used measure of premature death, are then calculated by multiplying age- and sex-specific AAD estimates by the corresponding estimate of life expectancy. For chronic conditions, AADs and YPLLs were calculated for decedents aged >20 years; for the majority of acute conditions, they were calculated for decedents aged >15 years. However, ARDI also provides estimates of AADs and YPLLs for persons aged <15 years who died from motor-vehicle crashes, child maltreatment, or low birthweight. Consistent with World Health Organization recommendations (7), the harmful and beneficial effects of alcohol use are reported separately.

In 2001, an estimated 75,766 AADs and 2.3 million YPLLs were attributable to the harmful effects of excessive alcohol use (Table). Of the 75,766 deaths, 34,833 (46%) resulted from chronic conditions, and 40,933 (54%) resulted from acute conditions. Overall, 54,847 (72%) of all AADs involved males, and 4,554 (6%) involved persons aged <21 years. Of the deaths among males, 41,202 (75%) involved men aged >35 years; of those deaths, 41,202 (58%) were attributed to chronic conditions. For males and females combined, the leading chronic cause of AADs was alcoholic liver disease (12,201), and the leading acute cause of AADs was injury from motor-vehicle crashes (13,674). In addition, in 2001, an estimated 11 lives were saved because of the potential benefits of excessive alcohol use, all of which were attributable to a reduced risk for death from cholelithiasis (i.e., gall bladder disease).

Of the estimated 2,279,322 YPLLs, 788,005 (35%) resulted from chronic conditions, and 1,491,317 (65%) resulted from acute conditions (Table). Overall, 1,679,414 (74%) of the total YPLLs were among males, and 271,392 (12%) involved persons aged <21 years. Of all YPLLs among males, 973,214 (58%) involved men aged >35 years, of which 53% were attributed to chronic conditions. Deaths from alcoholic liver disease resulted in 316,321 YPLLs, and deaths from motor-vehicle–traffic crashes resulted in 579,501 YPLLs.

Reported by: LT Midanik, PhD, Univ of California, Berkeley, California. FJ Chaloupka, PhD, Univ of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, Illinois. R Saitz, MD, Boston Univ, Boston, Massachusetts. TL Toomey, PhD, Univ of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota. JL Fellows, PhD, Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research, Portland, Oregon. M Dufour, MD, CSR Incorporated, Arlington, Virginia. M Landen, MD, New Mexico Health Dept. PJ Brounstein, PhD, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Svcs Admin, Rockville, Maryland. MA Stahre, MPH, RD Brewer, MD, TS Naimi, MD, JW Miller, MD, Div of Adult and Community Health, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, CDC.




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