New Defender's Study Bible Notes
9:5 will I require. If the blood of animals is to be regarded as too sacred to be eaten, since it represents the “life” (or “soul”–Hebrew nephesh) of the animal and is acceptable as a substitutionary sacrifice for man’s sins, how much more sacred is the blood of man himself! His blood represents his life and, since he alone is “in the image of God,” the Creator of life, man’s blood is not even to be shed, let alone eaten! If either man or beast slays a man, that man or that animal is, judicially, to be slain himself, the reason being the divine sacredness of human life.
9:6 blood be shed. This establishment of capital punishment, administered judicially by man, has never been changed or withdrawn. It is still God’s law today, and forms the basic authorization of the institution of human government. It implies also the enactment and enforcement of regulations for those human activities (e.g., stealing, adultery) which if unrestrained, would lead to murder. It does not stipulate the form, but only the fact of government. It extends the primeval mandate by giving man the responsibility to control not only the animals but his own society also. The original commission in effect had authorized the natural sciences and technologies; this new extension incorporated in God’s covenant with Noah in effect authorizes the social sciences and their technologies (e.g., psychology, law, sociology, anthropology, political science, government, police, criminology).
Although capital punishment is the proper prerogative of human society (“every man’s brother”) in so far as strict justice is concerned, mitigating circumstances (especially sincere repentance and restitution) may warrant extension of mercy in individual cases. Nevertheless, the basic right of governments to exact capital punishment as penalty for murder cannot legitimately be abrogated as far as God is concerned. This is clear even in the Christian dispensation. The eating of meat (I Timothy 4:3,4), the abstinence from blood (Acts 15:19, 20) and the authority of the governmental sword (Romans 13:4; Acts 25:11) were reaffirmed to the early church, making it clear that the Noahic mandate still applied.