Genesis 9:4 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Genesis 9:4, NIV: "But you must not eat meat that has its lifeblood still in it."

Genesis 9:4, ESV: "But you shall not eat flesh with its life, that is, its blood."

Genesis 9:4, KJV: "But flesh with the life thereof, which is the blood thereof, shall ye not eat."

Genesis 9:4, NASB: "But you shall not eat flesh with its life, that is, its blood."

Genesis 9:4, NLT: "But you must never eat any meat that still has the lifeblood in it."

Genesis 9:4, CSB: "However, you must not eat meat with its lifeblood in it."

What does Genesis 9:4 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

These first few verses of Genesis 9 include God's blessings and commands to Noah and his sons. These instructions are also meant for the generations that will follow from them. In the previous verse, God made clear that humanity was free to eat any kind of creature that moved. This would include birds, fish, beasts, and creeping things. Whether or not mankind was specifically allowed to eat animals prior to flood, they are given specific permission now to do just that.

However, while God does allow man the ability to eat animal flesh, He includes a restriction: Humans are not to eat the blood of these animals along with their flesh. The verse describes the blood as the animal's life. Later, under the Law of Moses, Israelites will be required to very carefully drain the blood from animals before consuming them. This deep respect for blood is the first step in a long process, establishing the symbolism of Christ's sacrifice for human sin on the cross.