The three sons of Noah were Shem, Ham, and Japheth. They were all blessed by God. Ham apparently was the troublemaker, the black sheep of the family. He embarrassed and humiliated his father, and in return, Noah cursed Ham’s son Canaan. Ouch. Noah was found righteous by God, but Noah wasn’t perfect and neither was his son.
What did Ham do? Well, Noah planted a vineyard and then got drunk on his own wine. Oops! He probably shouldn’t have done that because then he uncovered himself, and his son Ham walked in on him, saw him naked, and instead of covering him up, he ran off to tell his brothers. His two brothers however, found a way to cover up their father without looking at him. They showed respect to their father, but Ham didn’t. Because of Ham’s actions, Noah put a curse on his son Canaan. The curse upon Canaan meant that he and his descendants would be a servant to Ham’s brothers for generations to come. That curse came true.
9:25-27 Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren. Blessed be the Lord God of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant. God shall enlarge Japheth, and he shall dwell in the tents of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant.
Was Noah overreacting? That probably depends on how much was left out of the story. We are only told the basics in scripture. Some bible scholars, however, believe that “seeing nakedness” in the bible might mean a little more than what it literally says. I’ll let you use your imagination here. Whether literal or euphemistic, according Leviticus 20:17, seeing the nakedness of a family member is wicked, and he that does it shall bear his iniquity.
Either way, Noah was one angry dad, and he cursed Ham’s son Canaan. I wonder how Noah had the power to curse, but this curse actually came true, for Canaan’s descendants were in fact servants to the descendants of Shem and Japheth. So was it the power of Noah that procured the curse? Or did God step in and answer Noah’s strange request? Or was Noah’s curse just a prophesy that God had put into his mind?
Canaan truly was cursed. His descendants were the servants of the descendants of Shem and Japheth. The Canaanites were also sexually perverse and worshipped strange idols. Later, God orders the Israelites to invade and completely destroy Canaan “that they teach you not to do after all their abominations…” (Deut. 20:18).
Noah lived 350 years after the flood, 950 years in all, probably long enough to see his curse upon Ham’s descendants take shape – and you thought your family was dysfunctional.
Blessings to you all.
2 thoughts on “My Bible Blog Genesis 9:18-29”
We look forward to this blog every week. Very insightful!
Thank you so much!