This is the final instalment in part of a long series on The Flood of Genesis from my blog “Insights in Genesis.” I hope you have been enlightened by it. Please post any insights of your own or comments you have in the comment box.
The life on earth that started over after the Flood might seem a failure to some at first glance as we take a brief look at some interesting insights after the Flood. First, we learn in the middle of chapter 9 that it was Noah’s sons who repopulated the earth. We can assume, then, that Noah had no more children. Second, for the first time, Noah began to farm. Apparently he never had to before the Flood. The seed and soil took care of themselves, needing only for the weeds and thorns to be pulled. Perhaps this vineyard that Noah planted was the first vineyard. Perhaps things had never fermented before or he had never experienced fermentation.
Before we assume Noah went into depression and became a drunkard once off the boat, let us consider that maybe he had never tasted wine before the flood. He had probably never been drunk before and this drunkenness seemingly caused his blood to grow warm, which led him to take his clothes off where he lay naked in his tent. His sons found him in this state for the first time. Ham was first upon him and saw him naked. Never having seen the effects of too much wine, Ham was beside himself and reported the state of his father to his two, more respectful brothers, Shem and Japheth covered their father’s nakedness.
As we will discover in the following posts, Shem and Japheth were the “thinkers” or “soulful” ones in the family, and Ham was practical. Perhaps Ham was unable to consider or rationalize how his behavior would have been deemed as crossing the boundaries. We simply don’t know. The text doesn’t say. We are left to speculate.
When Noah regained his senses, he knew what his son had done to him. Noah cursed his sons descendants through his son, Canaan. This is the last acknowledgment of Noah in the Bible before we are told he lived 300 more years and then died.
The End of Noah and His Legacy
The ending is anti-climatic. I am left with so many questions about the rest of Noah’s days. And I am confident he died a good and faithful servant of God. But one question that looms and demands and answer is why did Ham seeing his father naked cause such a curse? And why did Noah curse Canaan and not Ham?
What was Noah’s nakedness?
Some scholars believe Noah was literally naked and being seen naked would ensure the loss of ones honor. It was dishonorable to be naked. That was simply the culture of the day. Man became aware of his nakedness through sin.
But some scholars say there is more to this story. Some believe Ham did something to Noah in his nakedness. This is because the passage reads that “Noah knew what his younger son had done to him.” They believe there is a possibility of rape and homosexual acts. Some rabbinic teachers teach that Noah was castrated. It is all speculation.
Some speculate that to “see their father’s nakedness” means to behold the wife of the father, or their mother, naked. This is due to the passage in Leviticus 20:21, “The man who lies with his father’s wife has uncovered his father’s nakedness…” They believe, then, that Noah had sexual relations with his father’s wife. He committed incest with his mother or even raped her. Perhaps she had drank too much wine, along with her husband and they both lay in bed naked and drunk and Ham took advantage of one or both of them bringing in sodomy and incest into the world. Again, this is all speculation. While these scenarios may be plausible, they will never be concrete as we hold no evidence.
Whatever the case, it caused crisis in the family and Ham lost his blessing. But that isn’t all. In answering the question of why Ham’s son Canaan was cursed instead of Ham, it opens up a whole new insight. In order to grasp the answer, we must dissect the nations that comprised the descendants of Noah. And that is a blog series that stands on its own which we will cover next. It is fascinating!
Written by Jori Sams
Jori Sams is a Christian author and freelance writer with nearly 2000 published pieces on the Internet, with over 1500 being published by Yahoo. Her books are published through Writeious Books. When she isn’t writing, you can usually find her following the sun…