What does Genesis 9:15 mean?
ESV: I will remember my covenant that is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh. And the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh.
NIV: I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living creatures of every kind. Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life.
NASB: and I will remember My covenant, which is between Me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and never again shall the water become a flood to destroy all flesh.
CSB: I will remember my covenant between me and you and all the living creatures: water will never again become a flood to destroy every creature.
NLT: and I will remember my covenant with you and with all living creatures. Never again will the floodwaters destroy all life.
KJV: And I will remember my covenant, which is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and the waters shall no more become a flood to destroy all flesh.
NKJV: and I will remember My covenant which is between Me and you and every living creature of all flesh; the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh.
Verse Commentary:
This completes the thought begun in the previous verse. God has established His covenant promise with all life on the earth that He will never again bring a global flood to destroy every living thing. Now God says that when the rainbow becomes visible against the clouds, He will remember His covenant. He will not send another flood.

Usually in Scripture, signs for covenants are given by humans, not by God. Those signs, such as circumcision (Genesis 17:11), are meant to demonstrate the commitment of people to the covenant and to remind them to hold to the agreement they have made. In this case, though, the sign is given by God and it is to serve as a reminder to God of the agreement He has made.

It's an odd idea, to us, that God would somehow need to be reminded of His agreement. He doesn't need to have His memory jogged, of course, but He claims the right to be reminded anyway. This is similar to the reason why God, who cannot lie or change (Numbers 23:19; Malachi 3:6), speaks of "covenants" in the first place: to emphasize to mankind the serious nature of His promise. And while God says that the reminder is for Him, it's also true that the appearance of the rainbow is a reminder to humanity of God's covenant promise, of His grace and mercy to all life on the earth.
Verse Context:
Genesis 9:1–17 continues God's interaction with Noah and his sons following the flood. First, God blesses them and gives them specific instructions about how to live in this remade world. God commands them to reproduce and fill the earth, among other things. Next, God establishes His unilateral covenant to never again end all life on earth with a flood, offering the rainbow as a sign of this promise.
Chapter Summary:
Chapter 9 describes God's interactions with Noah and his sons following the flood. First, God gives blessings and instructions, including the command to reproduce and fill the earth. Next, God makes a unilateral covenant with humanity and animals never to end all life with a flood again. He offers the rainbow as a sign of this promise. Finally, Noah prophesies about the future of his son's descendants after an awkward episode in which Ham talks to his brothers about seeing Noah passed out drunk and naked.
Chapter Context:
Chapters 6, 7, and 8 describe God's destruction of the world in a massive flood. Now, in Genesis 9, Scripture describes God's dealings with Noah and his sons following the flood. First, God blesses them and gives specific instructions, including the command to fill the earth. Next, God expands on His promise to never again end all life on earth a flood. Finally, Noah curses Ham and blesses Shem and Japheth after Ham tells his brothers about seeing Noah passed out drunk and naked. Chapters 10 and 11 will sketch out the history of mankind from Noah to Abraham.
Book Summary:
The book of Genesis establishes fundamental truths about God. Among these are His role as the Creator, His holiness, His hatred of sin, His love for mankind, and His willingness to provide for our redemption. We learn not only where mankind has come from, but why the world is in its present form. The book also presents the establishment of Israel, God's chosen people. Many of the principles given in other parts of Scripture depend on the basic ideas presented here in the book of Genesis. Within the framework of the Bible, Genesis explains the bare-bones history of the universe leading up to the captivity of Israel in Egypt, setting the stage for the book of Exodus.
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