Being that if wrong here makes it work more for the other side, is the reason I won't commit. And if I'm wrong, at least it would be not erring in the direction of helping the other side mock the Bible.
If this is a tie-breaker criteria for you, then you should be all over the insest explanation offered in this thread, because this passage has long been something critics mock! I can't count the number of times through the years where a Bible skeptic would mock this passage since it makes no sense for such a severe curse to be issued for what seems like a fairly harmless act. The plain text, without the idiom, merely suggests that Ham saw his dad naked. The critics laugh at the Bible and say "Big deal!" and how can we argue with this? They're right, on the surface it shouldn't be a big deal. Well, years later I hear this explanation regarding the Hebrew idiom, and it made total sense, and it totally, I mean totally, defuses the mockers of this passage, it stops them dead in their tracks.
Here are the reasons I disagree:
My responses inline:Ikester: 1) Is adultery a worse of a sin than incest with a person's mother?
I have to correct an earlier statement I made. Insest back then was not only legal, it was genetically safe and would in many cases be necessary. God did not outlaw insest until several generations after the genetic bottleneck caused by the flood. The fact is, Ham committed the sin of adultery, and perhaps rape, all in one act.Ikester: 2) How could have Noah known Ham laid with his wife?
Easy! The scripture says Ham told his brothers about it! He probably was bragging about it. In my secular past and the crowds I hung out with, I can't tell you the number of times I heard guys brag about their promiscuous encounters. I'm sure it disgusted his brothers and they went and told Noah. Or maybe Noah found out from his wife, or his daughter in laws. Get a bunch of women together and there is no way this stays a secret.
(my apologies to the women of this forum for this sexist comment
)Ikester: 3) Then there is the garment issue. What was there to cover up if it was not Noah? It did say Noah laid naked in his tent, did it not?
The Hebrew idiom is very clear that this could either be Noah, or his wife. The idiom states that his wife's nakedness is his nakedness, it even says this in the marriage passage, "they shall become one flesh". (Gen 2:24). They covered Noah's wife - to cover Noah's wife's nakedness is to cover Noah's nakedness (Lev 18:8)Ikester: 4) There are to many blanks to fill in here to make it work another way.
To be completely honest Isaac, I see very few blanks to be filled in, other than less-important details. Ikester: 5) And if you are in error, your error is helping the atheist mock the Bible.
Again, this is where I strongly disagree, and I think I can easily convince you of this. No need to take my word for it, just go to another forum where atheists reign and ask them what they think of this passage without telling them about the Hebrew idiom. Watch them mock and laugh and say how ridiculous it is for such a severe curse be issued for, by all appearances, a completely harmless thing. Then tell them about the Hebrew idiom, and watch it totally disarm them, because now all the sudden it makes sense that Ham was severely cursed, then watch them change the topic to a different verse in the Bible! I've experienced this reaction many times since I was shown the key that unlocks the mystery behind the Ham curse.Ikester: 6) The Bible not being specific on what happened, in my opinion means that more should not be read into it then what is written there.
I'm not reading more than what is there. The Hebrew idiom has been defined in over half a dozen places, I believe it is completely reasonable to assume the idiom applies in Genesis 9:22, it fits like a glove (not OJs glove
). Ikester: 7) Also, the only person ever mentioned as being naked was Noah. His wife is totally omitted. Why mention Noah got drunk and lay naked in his tent if the nakedness of Noah was his wife and not him?
Already mentioned - the Hebrew idiom means that mentioning Noah is as good as mentioning his wife, they are both one flesh. The idiom is God's polite way to describe a very bad sin. Ikester: 8) If Noah's wife consented, then it's adultery. If she did not, then it's rape. If I'm not mistaken, people were stoned for both sins back then.
There is no scriptural or historical evidence such crimes were capital offenses back then. The Mosaic law was given after the flood, though the law itself has always been written on the conscience of men (Rom 2:15). In fact the death penalty was not instituted until shortly before the Ham incident (Gen 9:6), but it was only for murder at that time. Remember that the prior recorded murder had not been punishable by death (Cain). Dispensationalists such as myself believe God used this as a teaching lesson to show man the impact of a society with no accountability (Gen 6:5 - Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.). Kind of like today with how the left has stripped accountability from society, where rapists and child molesters are set free only to commit the crime again. I agree with the Bible - string'em up!