Genesis 9:5 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Genesis 9:5, NIV: "And for your lifeblood I will surely demand an accounting. I will demand an accounting from every animal. And from each human being, too, I will demand an accounting for the life of another human being."

Genesis 9:5, ESV: "And for your lifeblood I will require a reckoning: from every beast I will require it and from man. From his fellow man I will require a reckoning for the life of man."

Genesis 9:5, KJV: "And surely your blood of your lives will I require; at the hand of every beast will I require it, and at the hand of man; at the hand of every man's brother will I require the life of man."

Genesis 9:5, NASB: "I certainly will require your lifeblood; from every animal I will require it. And from every person, from every man as his brother I will require the life of a person."

Genesis 9:5, NLT: "'And I will require the blood of anyone who takes another person's life. If a wild animal kills a person, it must die. And anyone who murders a fellow human must die."

Genesis 9:5, CSB: "And I will require a penalty for your lifeblood; I will require it from any animal and from any human; if someone murders a fellow human, I will require that person's life."

What does Genesis 9:5 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Genesis 9 opens with God's blessings and commands to humanity as the world resets following the flood. In the previous verse, God commanded humans not to eat the blood of animals, calling the blood the creature's "life." This is one of the first moments in Scripture where blood, specifically, is tied to life. Later, through moments such as the first Passover (Exodus 12:1–7), and the sacrifices in the temple (Exodus 29:19–21; Leviticus 4:1–21), this reverence for blood will be magnified. The ultimate meaning of this symbol will be fulfilled in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross (John 1:29; 1 Corinthians 5:7).

This verse pivots from an animal's lifeblood to the shedding of the blood of humans. This is a new command for the way human communities should conduct themselves; it is a change from God's requirements for mankind before the flood. Specifically, God will require a reckoning—a dire accountability—when the lifeblood of a person is shed. God will require that reckoning whether the one who kills a person is a man or an animal. The next verse will reveal that reckoning to be the death of the one who kills any human being.

Following the first recorded murder in Scripture, God allowed Cain to live and, in fact, to thrive on the earth. With this new beginning after the flood, however, God will require death for the intentional, unjustified killing of another person.