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Fred Williams

What About Ham Being Cursed For Seeing His Father's Nakedness?

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One more interesting note, linguistically -- the name "Ham" evidently means 'burnt one', indicating a possible dark skin color.

Ham does not mean burnt, or burnt one. Ham means "hot" and this has no bearing at all to skin color.

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Ham does not mean burnt, or burnt one. Ham means "hot" and this has no bearing at all to skin color.

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This was a good point to raise, Jay. While its possible Ham was of darker skin, we really don’t know, at least from scripture. Your point is worth mentioning because some people in the later centuries unfortunately twisted this loose interpretation to justify enslavement of Africans.

 

Fred

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This was a good point to raise, Jay. While its possible Ham was of darker skin, we really don’t know, at least from scripture. Your point is worth mentioning because some people in the later centuries unfortunately twisted this loose interpretation to justify enslavement of Africans.

 

Fred

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And the other strange thing about this notion is that many try to take the thought of this name meaning "dark" or "burnt" and apply it to Canaan. These people were Adamites and I believe they were of lighter skin. It is a true tragedy what some in ignorance and greed have done to other men in the name of God and the bible.

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A skeptic once wrote in my guest book ridiculing this passage in the Bible:

 

Noah, a man of the soil, proceeded to plant a vineyard. When he drank some of its wine, he became drunk and lay uncovered inside his tent. Ham, the father of Canaan, saw his father's nakedness and told his two brothers outside. But Shem and Japheth took a garment and laid it across their shoulders; then they walked in backward and covered their father's nakedness. Their faces were turned the other way so that they would not see their father's nakedness.

When Noah awoke from his wine and found out what his youngest son had done to him, he said,

    "Cursed be Canaan!

    The lowest of slaves

    will he be to his brothers."

(Genesis 9:20-25)

...Ham was not cursed for covering a naked Noah, he was cursed for sleeping with Noah’s wife (his mom)! The Bible explains it in a polite fashion by describing this vile act as “uncovering Noah’s nakednessâ€ÂÂ.

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There is one thing that points to Ham having S@xual intercourse with his mother bearing an incesteous son (Canaan). And that's because Canaan is called a servant of his brothers. OK, the term brother could have used as figurative speech. But there is some indication that Ham acted s*xually and that this may have involved s@x with his mother. Alternatively I have heard that Ham committed a H*mos*xual act to Noah.

 

Concerning blessing and curse, I'd rather see the meaning in adapting the people for the living conditions and providence after the flood.

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There is one thing that points to Ham having S@xual intercourse with his mother bearing an incesteous son (Canaan). And that's because Canaan is called a servant of his brothers. OK, the term brother could have used as figurative speech. But there is some indication that Ham acted s*xually and that this may have involved s@x with his mother. Alternatively I have heard that Ham committed a H*mos*xual act to Noah.

 

Concerning blessing and curse, I'd rather see the meaning in adapting the people for the living conditions and providence after the flood.

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It's more like Ham tried to usurp Noah's authority by telling everyone what Noah did. For Noah to retain headship over the people. And seeking counsel from God. Means he had to have their respect for living a Godly life. What ham attempted is the same thing that happens today when a preacher sins and it ends up in the news. They usually lose their position. ham was trying to discredit His father to make him lose his position guiding the people. The people are not going to follow someone they have lost respect for.

 

To not curse Ham, would show his inability to control his own family and keep family matters to themselves. So Ham was basically a traitor for what he did.

 

Example: What if you got into a drunken state and did some ungodly stuff. Your son tells all the neighbors what you did, then showed up at your work and told them also. You might get away with it over time when it became boring to talk about. But back in Noah's time, that was not accepted. It would be like going to church and the preacher showing p*rn as today's sermon. Laying naked in the tent with it open was like p*rn show in those days.

 

The other 2 brothers showed respect by covering their father. Notice that the Bible says: 23 And 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.

 

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

 

Now how did Noah find out when he woke up? The people walking past his tent were probably laughing at him and told him. Because when do you usually wake up when you were drunk the night before? Late afternoon. So the word got around by then. Noah held a p*rn showing in his tent, and ham saw it and told everyone. That is what he did to his father. Nothing s*xual.

 

And on top of all that, back then they stoned you for having same s*x relations. If Ham would have voiced that to his brothers or the people in the camp, he would have been dead before morning. So did Ham have s*x with Noah? Nope.

 

That was a lie thought up by some atheists. To bad a bunch of Christians bought into that.

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So the word got around by then. Noah held a p*rn showing in his tent, and ham saw it and told everyone. That is what he did to his father. Nothing s*xual.

 

And on top of all that, back then they stoned you for having same s*x relations. If Ham would have voiced that to his brothers or the people in the camp, he would have been dead before morning. So did Ham have s*x with Noah? Nope.

 

That was a lie thought up by some atheists. To bad a bunch of Christians bought into that.

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I believe it is very clear that it was a S@xual sin - not h*m*s*xuality, but insest. I would ask why Genesis 9:22 be an exception to an otherwise clear Hebrew idiom that to uncover someone's nakedness is to sleep with their spouse?

 

Again, let's look at this very well-established Hebrew idiom:

 

‘The man who lies with his father’s wife has uncovered his father’s nakedness…’ (Lev 20:11)

 

‘If a man lies with his uncle's wife, he has uncovered his uncle's nakedness. … ‘If a man takes his brother's wife… He has uncovered his brother's nakedness.’ (Lev 20:20-21)

 

More examples:

 

‘The nakedness of your father’s wife you shall not uncover; it is your father’s nakedness’ (). (Lev 18:8)

 

This figure of speech is used on other places including Ezekiel 22:10:

 

In you men uncover their fathers' nakedness; in you they violate women who are set apart during their impurity. ()

 

I think this idiom makes it apparent that Ham slept with his mother and thus why Noah cursed him as a statement of his wickedness.

 

In the words of Pastor Bob Enyart:

 

“Canaan’s true story shows the tragic reality of a child being set up to fail by the wickedness of his father. Thus Noah cursed Canaan as a statement of that reality, not as a hex or evil spell, but as a warning to others against following in Ham’s wicked ways. So incest set the background for centuries of conflict between Noah’s Hamitic descendents, especially those through Canaan, against the descendants of Shem, the Semites, especially the Jews, to whom God promised the land of the Canaanites.”

 

Fred

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If the father's nakedness had to do with his wife, why did the other two sons cover his father while not looking? One cannot cover up incest with a garment.

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If the father's nakedness had to do with his wife, why did the other two sons cover his father while not looking? One cannot cover up incest with a garment.

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I would again appeal to this:

 

'The nakedness of your father’s wife you shall not uncover; it is your father’s

nakedness’. (Lev 18:8)

 

His sons did not cover Noah, they covered his wife. His wife's nakedness was Noah's nakedness as this and other verses reveal to us in scripture. It was the exact idiom used in Gen 9:22, so I would ask, if it is not Noah's wife that is the victim, why is this the only place in scripture that we don't apply this Hebrew idiom?

 

Also, this truth disarms critics who love to point to this episode in Genesis to mock the Bible, since it really doesn't make much sense for such a severe curse to occur for merely seeing your dad naked. It does make sense if we apply the Hebrew idiom and see that it was incest with his wife, which makes it a big-time problem and justifiable curse.

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I would again appeal to this:

 

'The nakedness of your father’s wife you shall not uncover; it is your father’s

nakedness’. (Lev 18:8)

 

His sons did not cover Noah, they covered his wife. His wife's nakedness was Noah's  nakedness as this and other verses reveal to us in scripture.  It was the exact idiom used in Gen 9:22, so I would ask, if it is not Noah's wife that is the victim, why is this the only place in scripture that we don't apply this Hebrew idiom?

 

Also, this truth disarms critics who love to point to this episode in Genesis to mock the Bible, since it really doesn't make much sense for such a severe curse to occur for merely seeing your dad naked. It does make sense if we apply the Hebrew idiom and see that it was incest with his wife, which makes it a big-time problem and justifiable curse.

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I find that the Bible to be more specific when something bad happens like this. Plus the standard for right and wrong was much harsher then we would understand. Adultery today is a yawner, back then you were killed for doing that. Yet having incest with your mother is less worse then adultery? If she did not consent, then it's considered rape.

 

I can see your logic. But being that the Bible was not specific on "exactly" what Ham did, and many "blanks" have to be filled in to make that logic work. Means you could possibly be wrong. 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.

 

And there is another factor to consider here. Since Noah listened to God's counsel. When this happened, do you think God would have not intervened and told Noah to be harsher then he was with Ham? Why was God silent unless the judgment was just?

 

Here are the reasons I disagree:

 

1) Is adultery a worse of a sin than incest with a person's mother?

2) How could have Noah known Ham laid with his wife?

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?

4) There are to many blanks to fill in here to make it work another way.

5) And if you are in error, your error is helping the atheist mock the Bible.

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.

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?

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.

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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.

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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. :D (my apologies to the women of this forum for this sexist comment :P )

 

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!

 

Fred

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I'd just like to pop in and say this discussion is very enlightening. I had wondered why such a strong repremand was made for a seemingly innocent act. I put it down to some sort of copy error as it seemed an unfair punishment.

 

You know..and this is a different tack..with all the research on epigentics, I sometimes think that behaviour and things like that, who you are inside, has an expressive genomic response that may be passed down to the next generation, similarly to other sorts of epigenetic inheritance. This may speak to Adams and Eve 'passing on sin' and curses to generations or families. Just a fleeting idea!

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I'd just like to pop in and say this discussion is very enlightening. I had wondered why such a strong repremand was made for a seemingly innocent act. I put it down to some sort of copy error as it seemed an unfair punishment.

 

You know..and this is a different tack..with all the research on epigentics, I sometimes think that behaviour and things like that, who you are inside, has an expressive genomic response that may be passed down to the next generation, similarly to other sorts of epigenetic inheritance. This may speak to Adams and Eve 'passing on sin' and curses to generations or families. Just a fleeting idea!

 

Because Noah ruled over the people with a freewill choice (they were not forced to allow him to rule). The people only followed because they respected him and his ability to communicate with God. Therefore his respect was also earned by him being the godly example. Ham's actions was an attempt to destroy all that. Once he can get the people to laugh Noah to shame, the respect would be gone.

 

In spiritual warfare, Ham was being used by Satan to knock down God's appointed authority (Noah). Noah taking swift action to curse Ham showed the people that his authority was not threatened by such an action. And the people did not lose respect for Noah, and Ham actions were revealed for what they were.

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I'd just like to pop in and say this discussion is very enlightening. I had wondered why such a strong repremand was made for a seemingly innocent act. I put it down to some sort of copy error as it seemed an unfair punishment.

 

You know..and this is a different tack..with all the research on epigentics, I sometimes think that behaviour and things like that, who you are inside, has an expressive genomic response that may be passed down to the next generation, similarly to other sorts of epigenetic inheritance. This may speak to Adams and Eve 'passing on sin' and curses to generations or families. Just a fleeting idea!

 

Hello! I have thought along the same lines about epigenetics.

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Hello all, I guess I got in on this late. Just noticed it. I agree whole heartedly. When I teach a Bible class on this, here is what I teach:

 

 

 

Noah’s Intoxication

 

 

If we hear five theologians expound on this event, we will get five different sermons. Some say that Ham’s sin was h*m*s*xuality. And some say this and some say that. But the only one that makes sense is incest. Let’s examine it. But some things to consider are that Moses wrote about this some centuries later, and Canaan, whom Noah cursed, was not yet born but was the result of Ham’s incestuous relationship with his mother.

 

 

 

And Noah began to be a husbandman, and he planted a vineyard. And he drank of the wine, and was drunken; and he was uncovered in his tent. And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father [his mother], and told [perhaps bragged to] his two brethren without. And Shem and Japheth took a garment, and laid it upon both their shoulders, and went backward, and covered the nakedness of their father [their mother]; and their faces were backward, and they saw not their father’s [mother’s] nakedness. And Noah awoke from his wine, and knew what his younger son [Ham] had done unto him. And he said, Cursed be Canaan [the yet unborn heir of Ham’s incestuous relationship with his mother]; a servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren. Gen. 9:20-25

 

 

 

A thousand years from now when people read, “He’s a few fries short of a happy meal” or “his elevator doesn’t go all the way to the top,” the meaning will be totally lost. The “nakedness of his father” is a Hebrew idiomatic expression which means “your father’s wife.” Would Shem and Japheth have had to back into the tent to keep from viewing Noah’s nakedness? No! We can see this idiom elsewhere in the Bible.

 

 

 

The nakedness of thy father, or the nakedness of thy mother, shalt thou not uncover: she is thy mother; thou shall not uncover her nakedness [a nice way of saying do not have S@xual relations with her]. The nakedness of thy father’s wife shalt thou not uncover: it is thy father’s nakedness. The nakedness of thy sister, the daughter of thy father, or daughter of thy mother, whether she be born at home, or born abroad [related by blood or marriage], even their nakedness thou shall not uncover. Lev. 18:7-9

 

 

 

Thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of thy father’s brother, thou shalt not approach to his wife: she is thine aunt. Thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of thy daughter-in-law: she is thy son’s wife; thou shalt not uncover her nakedness. Lev. 18:14-15

 

 

 

And the man that lieth with his father’s wife hath uncovered his father’s nakedness…. [crystal clear here] Lev. 20:11

 

 

 

And if a man shall lie with his uncle’s wife, he hath uncovered his uncle’s nakedness…. And if a man shall take his brother’s wife, it is an unclean thing: he hath uncovered his brother’s nakedness…. Lev. 20:20-21

 

 

 

In thee [israel] have they discovered their fathers’ nakedness: in thee have they humbled [violated] her that was set apart [isolated] for pollution [during her menstrual period]. Ezek. 22:10

 

 

 

Also thou shalt not approach unto a woman to uncover her nakedness, as long as she is put apart for her uncleanness [during her menstrual period]. Lev. 18:19

 

 

 

There are more references in the Bible to demonstrate clearly that “uncovering your father’s nakedness” means seducing his wife. Noah became intoxicated, and he could have given some wine to his wife as well. And Ham could have also imbibed. Why is this incident significant?

 

 

 

This incestuous relationship produced a cursed line of descendants—Canaan. The whole story is about Canaan. Through Canaan came the Canaanites, Jebusites, Amorites, Girgashites, Hivites, Arkites, Arvadites, Zemorites, and Hamathites and the Democrites and the Republishites even. Well maybe not these last two. When God would later bring Israel out of Egypt into the Promised Land, God would instruct Israel to “utterly drive them out.”

 

 

 

In the above story, none is innocent. Although God is not against drinking alcohol, He is against being a drunkard. Noah drank too much, probably passed out, and was not a protector of his wife. Ham probably imbibed and did what he might not have done sober. And Noah’s wife does not appear to be a rape victim. And, let us not forget that these people had just left a pre-Flood society where wickedness and perversion were the norm.

 

 

 

God also shows here that having children as a result of sin has terrible consequences and should be stigmatized. For example, when illegitimate offspring are stigmatized, women will not be so ready to have children out of wedlock. In our society, where we are so loving and nicer than God and illegitimate births are condoned, 30 percent of all white children have no dads and 90 percent of all black children are fatherless. God knows best.

 

 

 

Had this event occurred after God gave His law to Moses, the punishment for Ham and Noah’s wife (if she had not been raped), would have been the death penalty.

 

TeeJay

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