Thoughts on Canaan's curse …

After I posted my thoughts on Noah, a friend asked what I thought about Noah’s curse on Ham and Canaan (Gen 9: 18-29). She found the whole curse thing troubling, given that Noah had made a spectacle of himself, after all.

I’ve heard a couple of different takes on the issue, the most prominent being that Ham “gloated” over Noah’s nakedness and even delighted in seeing his father come to such disgrace. Just as Noah’s sin was wrong, Ham’s reaction to Noah’s sin was also wrong. The curse part is troubling, but one writer points out that Noah cursed Canaan, Ham’s son, rather than Ham himself (Genesis 9: 25). In fact, a better translation of that verse might be, “Cursed is Canaan.” According to the author I read, essentially Noah may have been saying that Ham was a disrespectful son and a bad father by rejoicing in Noah’s disgrace. As a result, Ham’s son, Canaan, was cursed to follow the same path – he too would be a bad father and a disrespectful son. This follows the same type of warning that we find in Exodus 20:5-6 when it talks about the sins of the fathers being visited on the sons. It isn’t the fault of the sons that the fathers sinned, but often children simply repeat the behaviors they’ve seen from their parents and carry both the good and the bad baggage into their own families. Again, Noah’s sin, Ham’s sin and the curse on Canaan continue to underscore our brokenness and our need for a Savior.

I’ve posted a link to the commentary that outlines this view:

It’s a little long, but worth the read. What think ye?


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