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Genesis 9:18-23

“And the sons of Noah, that went forth of the ark, were Shem, and Ham, and Japheth: and Ham is the father of Canaan. These are the three sons of Noah: and of them was the whole earth overspread. And Noah began to be an husbandman, and he planted a vineyard: And he drank of the wine, and was drunken; and he was uncovered within his tent. And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father, and told 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; and their faces were backward, and they saw not their father's nakedness.”

A dear friend and brother in Christ and I were talking about this section of verses a few days ago. I hope to convey in this article some of the things that he and I discussed and contemplated.

As I read the verses above a question kept coming to mind. “Why would there be such an emphasis in these verses on Ham being the father of Canaan?” The two verses in this section or paragraph that I am referring to are verse 18; “And the sons of Noah, that went forth of the ark, were Shem, and Ham, and Japteth: and Ham the father of Canaan” (italicized words removed) and verse 22; “And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father, and told his two brethren without.” In both of these verses the saying “the father of Canaan” seems to be parenthetical which means that it is not needed but it is there for extra or added information. Why would the Holy Spirit put the emphasis on Ham being the father of Canaan when he was also the father of Cush, Mizraim and Phut. It doesn't seem to make much sense. Unless it doesn't have anything to do with “Canaan” the son but with what “Canaan” the word means. The scary thing about this to me is that if this is true then it would point to a poor translation of this section of the Scriptures. I tread lightly here because by no means am I a linguist nor do I understand the Hebrew language but am simply using the helps that the Lord has seen fit to grant me.

In verse 18 we read that Noah and each of his sons went forth from the ark and then it ends with, “and Ham the father of Canaan.” The Hebrew word for Ham means “hot” or “passionate”. The word “is” is italicized which means that it was not in the original but was inserted by the translators. The words “the father” are one Hebrew word and can mean “father” but can also mean “chief” or “principal.” The words “of Canaan” are also one Hebrew word and it means “humiliated” or “lowland.” When we put these together we get a completely different meaning and outlook than what is in the translation. “And the sons of Noah, that went forth of the ark, were Shem, and Ham, and Japeth: and Ham (the hot or zealous one) the chief humiliated.

So, taking the information from what I attempted to show above and inserting that information into the verses that I originally quoted and continue on down to verse 27 it would read something like this.

Genesis 9:18-27

“And the sons of Noah, that went forth of the ark, were Shem, and Ham, and Japheth: and Ham the chief humiliated (lowlander). These the three sons of Noah: and of them was the whole earth overspread. And Noah began an husbandman, and he planted a vineyard: And he drank of the wine, and was drunken; and he was uncovered within his tent. And Ham, the chief humiliated (lowlander), saw the nakedness of his father, and told his two brethren without. And Shem and Japheth took a garment, and laid upon both their shoulders, and went backward, and covered the nakedness of their father; and their faces backward, and they saw not their father's nakedness.

And Noah awoke from his wine, and knew what his younger son had done unto him. And he said, Cursed the humiliated (lowlander); a servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren. And he said, Blessed the LORD God of Shem; and the humiliated (lowlander) shall be his servant. God shall enlarge Japheth, and he shall dwell in the tents of Shem; and the humiliated (lowlander) shall be his servant.”

To me this seems to make more sense because it isn't until the next chapter when we read about Canaan being the son of Ham (Chapter 10 verse 6). The emphasis now in the above verses is on Ham and who he was instead of on His son. The curse is on Ham and his descendants and not specifically on Canaan. Which again makes much more sense as we look at the descendants of Ham and his sons.

This has simply been some food for thought. There is a whole lot more here that I haven't touched on and Lord willing someday someone much more able than I will write or speak on this and do it justice.

In hope,
Tom Adams
7/12/08