2000-10-19 - Noah's Curse to Ham
Gen 9:20-27 Then Noah began farming and planted a vineyard. 21 And he drank of the wine and became drunk, and uncovered himself inside his tent. 22 And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father, and told his two brothers outside. 23 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. 24 When Noah awoke from his wine, he knew what his youngest son had done to him. 25 So he said,"Cursed be Canaan;
After the flood, Noah probably planted more than just a vineyard. His family would need food, but the vineyard was something that might have been planted as a treat. The thought of grapes and juice and the wine after the flood, and what was probably a lot of dried food, would have been sweet and special.
Matthew Henry suggests in his commentary that Noah's age may have been a factor. He spent many years working on the ark with his sons. There was probably little time for wine and leisure. It may have been a considerable time since Noah had tasted wine. That combined with his age may have contributed to his becoming drunk at what was probably a harvest party.
Somehow, Noah stumbled back to his tent and tried to change clothes for bed, or simply removed them because he was flushed and warm. Either way he fell into bed naked. Canaan walked by his father's tent and was so amused by his father's plight that he had to run and tell his brothers.
Noah had been a Godly father to his sons. This is evidenced by the fact that his sons all knew God well enough that they joined in the building of the ark when Noah explained that he had been told by God to build it. This is true even in an age where men refused to recognize God at all. This sounds dangerously similar to our modern day culture. Noah is rewarded by Canaan for all the lessons and efforts of his father with jokes and barbs deriding his father's drunken state. This is Canaan's first error.
Obad 12 "Do not gloat over your brother's day,
Canaan fails to honor his father publicly. Instead he holds him up to ridicule and scorn. The word outside in Gen 9:22 means in the street. Shem and Japheth walk in to Noah's tent backwards, to avoid seeing their father naked, with some article of clothing or blanket between them to cover their father. They were careful not to look themselves, and prevented anyone else from seeing Noah in this compromising situation. I don't think Noah became drunk on purpose, but he erred and it would have been to his shame that he would be seen this way. As the Patriarch of the family, and the head of his household, his integrity would have been tainted.
When Noah wakes up and finds himself covered knowing that he did not do it, he would want to know what happened and why. It would not take long to get to the truth. The kind of disrespect that Canaan had shown to Noah was unheard of in his family. I'm sure there must have been days when some doubted Noah's warning was from God. But, they said nothing, and certainly not publicly if anything. And when the animals began to show up and God Himself closed the ark door and the rain poured down, they were glad they had respected Noah. Noah's curse may seem severe to us, but the level of disrespect was also unprecedented.
The first commandment given years later with regard to man's relationship to other men would be as follows:
Ex 20:12 "Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be prolonged in the land which the LORD your God gives you. (NAS)
God seems to regard this matter of respect for parents, and authority fairly highly. Without it, society itself begins to unravel. We see it today with laws that require parental permission to get your ears pierced if you are under the legal age - yet a young girl may get an abortion without her parents' consent or even them knowing in many cases. While I agree a juvenile has some rights and deserves a level of personal respect, God created society built on the family where mother and father pass down values they feel are important. For the vast majority of families this has worked well for untold centuries.When government elects to refuse to recognize God and override the role of parents allowing children to disrespect their parents, in the area of abdominal surgery, respect of life and in sexual conduct in the above example, we are truly sowing the wind. The whirlwind can not be far behind.
Grace & Peace,