Genesis 9:18-29

April 12, 2011 at 12:41 pm | Posted in Bible Study | Leave a comment
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Now the sons of Noah who came out of the ark were Shem and Ham and Japheth; and Ham was the father of Canaan. These three were the sons of Noah, and from these the whole earth was populated. Then Noah began farming and planted a vineyard. He drank of the wine and became drunk, and uncovered himself inside his tent. Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father, and told his two brothers outside. But Shem and Japheth took a garment and laid it upon both their shoulders and walked backward and covered the nakedness of their father; and their faces were turned away, so that they did not see their father’s nakedness. When Noah awoke from his wine, he knew what his youngest son had done to him. So he said, “Cursed be Canaan; A servant of servants He shall be to his brothers.” He also said, “Blessed be the LORD, The God of Shem; And let Canaan be his servant. “May God enlarge Japheth, And let him dwell in the tents of Shem; And let Canaan be his servant.” Noah lived three hundred and fifty years after the flood. So all the days of Noah were nine hundred and fifty years, and he died.

This week’s Bible study continues with the last section of Genesis 9. Noah, his sons, and their wives, have survived the global Flood and have come off the ark. All of the animals on the ark have been released and the command has been given for all things to “be fruitful and multiply”. The entire face of the earth has been changed. God has given Noah, his family, and the entire planet the promise that He will never destroy the earth with a global Flood again. He gives the sign of the rainbow to them as a reminder of His promise. He has put the fear of man upon all animals and they are now to be food for him along with plants. He has also set up the law by declaring that if a man kills another then that man shall die as well.

The passage that we are looking at this week an event that took place shortly after things had settled down and the effect it had on Noah’s sons. Noah and his family had settled down, set up a tent, and started farming. Noah also planted a vineyard. In the course of gleaning the grapes, he made wine and got drunk. From the verses, we see that Noah went into his tent to lay down and in the process uncovered himself. Ham entered into the tent and saw his father’s nakedness, and then went outside and told his brothers. The two brother’s entered the tent backwards with a garment on their shoulders and draped it over their father. They didn’t look at his nakedness. The passage says that when Noah woke up, he knew what the youngest one had done. What’s odd here is that Noah doesn’t curse Ham, he curses Canaan, Ham’s son!

The cursing of one of Noah’s sons has brought some controversy. Through the years, the curse of Ham (as well as the mark of Cain) have been used to discriminate against people based on race. The Mormon church and others have taught that the curse of Ham was black skin. But, Noah didn’t curse Ham and nothing is said about skin color. Instead, Noah curses Canaan, Ham’s son. Canaan was cursed to be the servant of both Shem and Japheth. But, why the curse? Why did Noah curse Canaan and not Ham? Well, to answer the first question, I would say that the curse came because of Ham’s reaction to his father’s nakedness. I don’t know that the act of seeing his father naked would have been bad in this instance because it is doubtful that Ham was aware of that. But, when he did see his father naked, he didn’t respond like his brothers did. Instead of covering his father, Ham went out and talked to his brothers about it. If Ham’s response had been that of his brothers, I doubt that there would have been a curse at all. This, of course, is just speculation. As to why Noah cursed Canaan and not Ham, I can’t say. There are some that say that Canaan was Ham’s favorite, but we have no indication of that. What we do know is that Canaan was cursed (not with black skin).

After this, we are told that Noah lived 350 more years for a total of 950 years, and then he died. It is this faithful preacher of righteousness, through his three sons, that we are all descended from. As we continue through the next chapters of Genesis, we will see the expansion and division of the families of Noah’s three sons. You and I are from one of these three sons, who descended from Noah, who descended from Adam. We are in the lineage of Adam and therefore bear the mark of sin from the time we are conceived. Like Canaan, we are cursed because of sin. The result of the curse is death, not just of the flesh, but an eternal death in hell because of the lawlessness that is sin. But there is One who came from Adam (and Noah) who is without sin or spot. Jesus Christ, the Son of God, came from the lineage of both Noah and Adam, but He was without sin. He lived a sinless life for 33 and a half years and then went to the cross to die for our sins. Those who will repent and put their trust in Christ will be saved from the curse of sin and the eternal hell that is its end. Have you done that? Have you repented of the lying, stealing, lusting, gossip, hatred, adultery, murder and other sins? Have you put your faith in Christ alone to save you and not your good works? If so, then the Bible says that you are born again and can have assurance that you are saved from God’s wrath and from hell. If you haven’t, then as you read this know that you have at least one more chance. Please, if you haven’t repented of your sins, do so today. Acknowledge your sin before God and repent. Then, put your faith in Christ to save you. Call out to God while you still can. Today is the day of salvation and now is the appointed time….

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