Genesis 9:22-27 – Sin in the Tent

 22And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father, and told his two brethren without.

 23And Shem and Japheth took a garment, and laid it upon both their shoulders, and went backward, and covered the nakedness of their father; and their faces were backward, and they saw not their father’s nakedness.

 24And Noah awoke from his wine, and knew what his younger son had done unto him.

25And he said, Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren.

26And he said, Blessed be the LORD God of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant.

 27God shall enlarge Japheth, and he shall dwell in the tents of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant.

It is interesting to note here that mankind has been pretty much the same way for all time. Here we see Ham, one of the sons of Noah, seeing his father’s nakedness in the tent, and what does he do? He runs to spread the gossip. He gets a good laugh and shares it with his brothers.

Who would be at fault here?

Noah has become drunk and something odd, something not right is either able to be seen (his nakedness) or something has happened here in this tent. Noah has become earthy and he has in totality opened the door to sin and caused his sons to possibly follow suit.

Ham is hamming it up here, making a spectacle of his father in such a bad shape.

Ham saw his father’s nakedness in his tent. Those closest to us see our weaknesses and we see theirs as we get closer and bond with them. Sometimes we start to see only the flaws.

What do we do? How do we react to these situations?

What do we do when someone does something that is flawed and we see the cracks in others.

What do I do when I see sin in another’s tent?

Look at the different reactions of the brothers

 22And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father, and told his two brethren without.

 23And Shem and Japheth took a garment, and laid it upon both their shoulders, and went backward, and covered the nakedness of their father; and their faces were backward, and they saw not their father’s nakedness.

Ham runs and tells his brothers about their father. Shem and Japheth take a garment, lay it upon their shoulders, and as they walk backward, cover up their father.

The difference is the reaction, the intent of the heart.

So many times we are all too eager to talk about others. We are all too eager to gossip or to knock someone else down a notch and make ourselves feel better rather than keep our mouths shut!

We should talk about problems, our problems and not others and we can raise questions or share burdens with each other about others but when we start talking ABOUT someone instead of praying for them or trying to help them, we are headed for trouble

 

Galatians 6

 1Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.

 2Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.

In those times it was considered disrespectful to look upon or see another’s nakedness. The ancient Hebrew says that Ham “told with delight” what he saw. He thought it was funny and he brought possible disrespect to the whole family.

His brothers covered their Father, they had respect for their father.

1 Peter 4

8And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins

Proverbs 10:12
Hatred stirs up strife, But LOVE COVERS all sins.

Romans 4:7
“Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, And whose SINS ARE COVERED;

And we need to be like the older brothers. We need to be covering, loving when we see other people’s sin in their tent, in their body physically and in the body, the church.

 

 24And Noah awoke from his wine, and knew what his younger son had done unto him.

Some believe that Ham just saw his father’s nakedness and that he made sport of it, he hammed it up.

Others believe that he performed castration on his father to keep him from having more children

The Legends of the Jews
by Louis Ginzberg

 

In his drunken condition Noah betook himself to the tent of his wife. His son Ham saw him there, and he told his brothers what he had noticed, and said: “The first man had but two sons, and one slew the other; this man Noah has three sons, yet he desires to beget a fourth besides.” Nor did Ham rest satisfied with these disrespectful words against his father. He added to this sin of irreverence the still greater outrage of attempting to perform an operation upon his father designed to prevent procreation.

(Louis Ginzberg, 1909)

Some think that the sin was homosexuality

Some think that it was simply husband and wife having intercourse, while others see an incestuous relationship with his mother

 

 25And he said, Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren.

Generational curses

Many times sin is passed down, not just by genes or by nature but through examples.

 

One does wonder if perhaps Canaan was also involved

Ezekiel 18

 1The word of the LORD came unto me again, saying,

 2What mean ye, that ye use this proverb concerning the land of Israel, saying, The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children’s teeth are set on edge?

 3As I live, saith the Lord GOD, ye shall not have occasion any more to use this proverb in Israel.

 4Behold, all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine: the soul that sinneth, it shall die.

And yet he might not have done anything but feel the unfortunate repercussions from the sin of his father. Some believe that this was because Noah and his sons had already been blessed by God and so could not be cursed

Noah’s Three Sons

by Arthur C. Custance

 

The Curse on Ham’s Son

It has always been a matter of controversy as to why Canaan rather than Ham should have been cursed. Canaan was Ham’s son, and was therefore grandson to Noah. Some people have supposed that the name Canaan was substituted for Ham by Jewish scribes who had particularly strong feelings against this branch of Ham’s family. Evidence for this is believed to be provided by some manuscripts of the Septuagint and the Arabic versions, which have the words “Ham, the father of Canaan” instead of the word “Canaan” alone.

There is another explanation which seems to me more probable and which, if it is true, means that Noah really was cursing Ham. It is a common social custom among many primitive people to attribute the greatness of a son to the father, who then receives the honour for having raised such a worthy child. This is clearly reflected in Scripture where Saul seeks to honour David after the slaying of Goliath. He asks his general whose son the lad is (1 Sam. 17:55). This has always seemed to mean that he did not recognize David, which would seem strange in view of David’s close associations with him. Undoubtedly Saul knew David well enough, but evidently did not know who his father was. And it was the father he was seeking to honour according to social custom.

A man, in blessing his own son, was in fact blessing himself. This was true when Noah blessed Shem and Japheth. By the same token, however, if he had cursed Ham, the real offender, he would at the same time have been cursing himself. Quite logically, he could only pass judgment upon Ham by cursing Ham’s own son, which is what he therefore did.

 

 26And he said, Blessed be the LORD God of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant.

 27God shall enlarge Japheth, and he shall dwell in the tents of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant.

Shem

Shem means “glory”

He is the father of the Semite people, the Jewish and Arabic peoples. They settled primarily in the Middle East.

Ham

Depending upon the lexicon used, Ham means “black, or hot”

The Hamite people settled in Africa. Some believe that the curse on Canaan is the reason why the people of Africa were enslaved

The Legends of the Jews
by Louis Ginzberg

When Noah awoke from his wine and became sober, he pronounced a curse upon Ham in the person of his youngest son Canaan. To Ham himself he could do no harm, for God had conferred a blessing upon Noah and his three sons as they departed from the ark. Therefore he put the curse upon the last-born son of the son that had prevented him from begetting a younger son than the three he had.” The descendants of Ham through Canaan therefore have red eyes, because Ham looked upon the nakedness of his father; they have misshapen lips, because Ham spoke with his lips to his brothers about the unseemly condition of his father; they have twisted curly hair, because Ham turned and twisted his head round to see the nakedness of his father; and they go about naked, because Ham did not cover the nakedness of his father. Thus he was requited, for it is the way of God to mete out punishment measure for measure.

(Louis Ginzberg, 1909)

This would not be the case though because Canaan was the cursed one and not all of the Hamite people. Canaan’s descendants were so perverted and polluted that God ordered their annihilation in order to put them out of their misery

Japheth

His name means “Ruler” and his people settled mostly in Europe

We will be able to look at each son a little better in the next chapter

 

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About Clint Rodgers

I am a father of 2 wonderful children and the husband of a beautiful woman who has taught me more about compassion for goofballs than I could have ever learned. I have know Jesus for many years but about 5 years ago I truly met Him and now I do my best to follow Him as I walk in this world
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