Genesis 9:4
Parallel Verses
New International Version
"But you must not eat meat that has its lifeblood still in it.

New Living Translation
But you must never eat any meat that still has the lifeblood in it.

English Standard Version
But you shall not eat flesh with its life, that is, its blood.

New American Standard Bible
"Only you shall not eat flesh with its life, that is, its blood.

King James Bible
But flesh with the life thereof, which is the blood thereof, shall ye not eat.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
However, you must not eat meat with its lifeblood in it.

International Standard Version
However, you are not to eat meat with its life—that is, its blood—in it!

NET Bible
But you must not eat meat with its life (that is, its blood) in it.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
"But you are not to eat meat with blood in it. (Blood is life.)

Jubilee Bible 2000
But flesh with the soul (or life) thereof, which is its blood, ye shall not eat.

King James 2000 Bible
But flesh with its life, which is its blood, shall you not eat.

American King James Version
But flesh with the life thereof, which is the blood thereof, shall you not eat.

American Standard Version
But flesh with the life thereof, which is the blood thereof, shall ye not eat.

Douay-Rheims Bible
Saving that flesh with blood you shall not eat.

Darby Bible Translation
Only, the flesh with its life, its blood, ye shall not eat.

English Revised Version
But flesh with the life thereof, which is the blood thereof, shall ye not eat.

Webster's Bible Translation
But flesh with the life of it, which is its blood, shall ye not eat.

World English Bible
But flesh with its life, its blood, you shall not eat.

Young's Literal Translation
only flesh in its life -- its blood -- ye do not eat.
Parallel Commentaries
Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary

9:4-7 The main reason of forbidding the eating of blood, doubtless was because the shedding of blood in sacrifices was to keep the worshippers in mind of the great atonement; yet it seems intended also to check cruelty, lest men, being used to shed and feed upon the blood of animals, should grow unfeeling to them, and be less shocked at the idea of shedding human blood. Man must not take away his own life. Our lives are God's, and we must only give them up when he pleases. If we in any way hasten our own death, we are accountable to God for it. When God requires the life of a man from him that took it away unjustly, the murderer cannot render that, and therefore must render his own instead. One time or other, in this world or in the next, God will discover murders, and punish those murders which are beyond man's power to punish. But there are those who are ministers of God to protect the innocent, by being a terror to evil-doers, and they must not bear the sword in vain, Ro 13:4. Wilful murder ought always to be punished with death. To this law there is a reason added. Such remains of God's image are still upon fallen man, that he who unjustly kills a man, defaces the image of God, and does dishonour to him.

Pulpit Commentary

Verse 4. - But - אַך, an adverb of limitation or exception, as in Leviticus 11:4, introducing a restriction on the foregoing precept - flesh with the life thereof, which is the blood thereof. Literally, with its soul, its blood; the blood being regarded as the seat of the soul, or life principle (Leviticus 17:11), and even as the soul itself (Leviticus 17:14). The idea of the unity of the soul and the blood, on which the prohibition of blood is based, comes to light everywhere in Scripture. In the blood of one mortally wounded his soul flows forth (Lamentations 2:12), and he who voluntarily sacrifices himself pours out his soul unto death (Isaiah 53:12). The murderer of the innocent slays the soul of the blood of the innocent (ψυχὴν αἵματος ἀθώου, Deuteronomy 27:25), which also cleaves to his (the murderer's) skirts (Jeremiah 2:34; cf. Proverbs 28:17, blood of a soul; cf. Genesis 4:10 with Hebrews 12:24; Job 24:12 with Revelation 6:9; vide also Psalm 94:21; Matthew 23:35). Nor can it be said to be exclusively peculiar to Holy Scripture. In ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics the hawk, which feeds on bloods, represents the soul. Virgil says of a dying person, "purpuream vomit ille animam" ('AEneid,' 9:349). The Greek philosophers taught that the blood was either the soul (Critias), or the soul s food (Pythagoras), or the soul's seat (Empedocles), or the soul's producing cause (the Stoics); but only Scripture reveals the true relation between them both when it declares the blood to be not the soul absolutely, but the means of its self-attestation (vide Delitzsch s ' Bib. Psychology,' div. 4. sec. 11.). Shall ye not eat. Not referring to, although certainly forbidding, the eating of flesh taken from a living animal (Raschi, Cajetan, Delitzsch, Luther, Peele, Jamieson) - a fiendish custom which may have been practiced among the antediluvians, as, according to travelers, it is, or was, among modern Abyssinians; rather interdicting the flesh of slaughtered animals from which the blood has not been properly drained (Calvin, Keil, Kalisch, Murphy, Wordsworth). The same prohibition (commonly regarded by the Hebrew doctors as the seventh of the Noachic precepts which were enjoined upon all nations; vide infra, ver. 6) was afterwards incorporated in the Mosaic legislation (cf. Leviticus 3:17; Leviticus 7:26, 27; Leviticus 17:10-14; Leviticus 19:26; Deuteronomy 12:16, 23, 24; Deuteronomy 15:23), and subsequently imposed upon the Gentile converts in the Christian Church by the authority of the Holy Ghost and the apostles (Acts 15:28, 29). Among other reasons, doubtless, for the original promulgation of this law were these: -

1. A desire to guard against the practice of cruelty to animals (Chrysostom, Calvin, 'Speaker's Commentary').

2. A design to hedge about human life by showing the inviolability which in God s eye attached to even the lives of the lower creatures (Calvin, Willet, Peele, Kalisch, Murphy).

3. The intimate connection which even in the animal creation subsisted between the blood and the life (Kurtz, 'Sacr. Worship,' I. A.V.).

4. Its symbolic use as an atonement for sin (Peele, Delitzsch, ' Bib. Psy.' 4:11; Keil, Wordsworth, Murphy). That the restriction continues to the present day may perhaps be argued from its having been given to Noah, but cannot legitimately be inferred from having been imposed on the Gentile converts to Christianity as one τῶν ἐπάναγκες τούτων, from the burden of which they could not be excused (Clarke), as then, by parity of reasoning, meat offered to idols would be equally forbidden, which it is not, except when the consciences of the weak and ignorant are endangered (Calvin).

Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

But flesh with the life thereof, which is the blood thereof, shall you not eat. This is the only exception to the eating of flesh; it was not to be eaten with the blood in it, which is said to be its life; not that the blood is of itself the life, but because it is a means of life, and that being exhausted, the creature must die, and because the animal and vital spirits appear to us most vigorous in it; yea, it is the ailment and support of them, and which furnishes out the greatest quantity of them: or rather it may be rendered, "the flesh with its life in its blood" (m); while there is life in the blood, or while the creature is living; the meaning is, that a creature designed for food should be properly killed, and its blood let out; that it should not be devoured alive, as by a beast of prey; that raw flesh should not be eaten, as since by cannibals, and might be by riotous flesh eaters, before the flood; for notwithstanding this law, as flesh without the blood might be eaten, so blood properly let out, and dressed, or mixed with other things, might be eaten, for aught this says to the contrary; but was not to be eaten with the flesh, though it might separately, which was afterwards forbid by another law. The design of this was to restrain cruelty in men, and particularly to prevent the shedding of human blood, which men might be led into, were they suffered to tear living creatures in pieces, and feed upon their raw flesh, and the blood in it. The Targum of Jonathan is,"but the flesh which is torn from a living beast at the time that its life is in it, or which is torn from a beast while it is slain, before all its breath is gone out, ye shall not eat.''And the Jewish writers generally interpret this of the flesh of a creature taken from it alive, which, they say, is the seventh precept given to the sons of Noah, over and above the six which the sons of Adam were bound to observe, and they are these;1. Idolatry is forbidden. 2. Blasphemy is forbidden. 3. The shedding of blood, or murder is forbidden. 4. Uncleanness, or unjust carnal copulations is forbidden. 5. Rapine or robbery is forbidden. 6. The administration of justice to malefactors is required. 7. The eating of any member or flesh of a creature while alive (n) is forbidden.Such of the Heathens who conformed to those precepts were admitted to dwell among the Israelites, and were called proselytes of the gate.

(m) "carnem cum anima, "seu" vita ejus, sanguine ejus", Cartwright. (n) Maimon. Hilchot Melachim, c. 9. sect. 1.

Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

4. But flesh … the blood … shall ye not eat—The sole intention of this prohibition was to prevent these excesses of cannibal ferocity in eating flesh of living animals, to which men in the earlier ages of the world were liable.

Genesis 9:4 Additional Commentaries
Context
The Covenant of the Rainbow
3"Every moving thing that is alive shall be food for you; I give all to you, as I gave the green plant. 4"Only you shall not eat flesh with its life, that is, its blood. 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.…
Cross References
Acts 15:20
Instead we should write to them, telling them to abstain from food polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from the meat of strangled animals and from blood.

Acts 15:29
You are to abstain from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals and from sexual immorality. You will do well to avoid these things. Farewell.

Leviticus 7:26
And wherever you live, you must not eat the blood of any bird or animal.

Leviticus 17:10
"'I will set my face against any Israelite or any foreigner residing among them who eats blood, and I will cut them off from the people.

Leviticus 17:11
For the life of a creature is in the blood, and I have given it to you to make atonement for yourselves on the altar; it is the blood that makes atonement for one's life.

Leviticus 17:14
because the life of every creature is its blood. That is why I have said to the Israelites, "You must not eat the blood of any creature, because the life of every creature is its blood; anyone who eats it must be cut off."

Leviticus 19:26
"'Do not eat any meat with the blood still in it. "'Do not practice divination or seek omens.

Deuteronomy 12:16
But you must not eat the blood; pour it out on the ground like water.

Deuteronomy 12:23
But be sure you do not eat the blood, because the blood is the life, and you must not eat the life with the meat.

Deuteronomy 15:23
But you must not eat the blood; pour it out on the ground like water.

1 Samuel 14:32
They pounced on the plunder and, taking sheep, cattle and calves, they butchered them on the ground and ate them, together with the blood.

1 Samuel 14:34
Then he said, "Go out among the men and tell them, 'Each of you bring me your cattle and sheep, and slaughter them here and eat them. Do not sin against the LORD by eating meat with blood still in it.'" So everyone brought his ox that night and slaughtered it there.
Treasury of Scripture

But flesh with the life thereof, which is the blood thereof, shall you not eat.

the life.

Leviticus 3:17 It shall be a perpetual statute for your generations throughout all …

Leviticus 7:26 Moreover you shall eat no manner of blood, whether it be of fowl …

Leviticus 17:10-14 And whatever man there be of the house of Israel, or of the strangers …

Leviticus 19:26 You shall not eat any thing with the blood: neither shall you use …

Deuteronomy 12:16,23 Only you shall not eat the blood; you shall pour it on the earth as water…

Deuteronomy 14:21 You shall not eat of anything that dies of itself: you shall give …

Deuteronomy 15:23 Only you shall not eat the blood thereof; you shall pour it on the …

1 Samuel 14:34 And Saul said, Disperse yourselves among the people, and say to them, …

Acts 15:20,25,29 But that we write to them, that they abstain from pollutions of idols, …

1 Timothy 4:4 For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if …

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