In Genesis 9 God gives all beasts into the hands of men, even as food, with a caveat: don’t eat the life blood and if a man or beast kills another man, then the life of the killer is required. The rainbow is given as a sign the earth will not endure another world wide flood. Ham performs some mysterious offence against Noah. Noah curses Canaan. Noah lives a long time and then dies.
I guess the most engrossing and titillating story within the stories of this chapter is about Ham dissing Noah and then Noah cursing (or prophesying about) Ham’s grandson, Canaan.
There are many theories bandied about about what exactly did Ham do to Noah and most of them involve some sexual impropriety on Ham’s part (and perhaps on other players as well). The story goes that Noah, at some time after the ark landed – we don’t know how long – could be years, cultivated a vinyard, made some wine and got drunk. He ended up naked in his tent, Ham saw or said or did something to Noah and then told his brothers who would not even look upon Noah’s nakedness. Noah then awoke, knew somehow what had transpired and cursed, not Ham, but Ham’s grandson Canaan.
Now the theories or speculations on what exactly transpired in the tent between Noah and Ham range from Ham just observing that his father was drunk and naked to Ham having incestuous intercourse with his father or his mother to Ham castrating his father. When I read about these speculations I at first dismissed them out of hand as musings of a salacious and vulgar imagination. Then… I read this:
Now I wonder what took place in the tent. And the speculation that Noah got drunk, and Ham took advantage of the situation to have sex with Noah’s wife, in a lewd power-play, and which made the mother of the Canaanites – Noah’s wife, is intriguing. But again, we just don’t and won’t know for sure what happened in our lifetime.
And then Noah seems to have cursed Ham’s grandson Canaan. And an interesting fact about the Canaanites is that they, and their various tribes, were guilty of sexual sins. Was Noah cursing or prophesying.
What can I take home from this chapter? These kinds of stories make the Bible real and believable to me – you just can’t make up this kind of drama. And regardless of mankind’s foibles – God is able to work it all out to His satisfaction or desires. Therefore, when I am in turmoil over some personal stupidity – I know that He is able to make it all right and He is not going to consign me to Hell because I acted human (like Noah) BUT if I persist in playing the evil game( like Ham) – well I may not be the only one to suffer – but my actions may damn my friends, family, nation, world.