Noah and his family landed safely in the ark upon the Mountains of Ararat (Gen. 8:4). Noah promptly planted a garden.
“Then Noah began farming and planted a vineyard. He drank of the wine and became drunk, and uncovered himself inside his tent.” (Gen. 9:20-21)
Noah was a spiritual giant who had been the recipient of God’s grace. But he reverted back to the power of the flesh. It was not God’s design to remove the sin nature from man. Why? Maybe because the potential evil within us continuously reminds us of who and what we are apart from God’s saving grace.
We know that God condemned drunkenness, the abuse of alcohol, or any drug, and the sins that most often accompany such activity. Lot, Belshezzar, Ahazuerus, and Judah, all experienced the results of the abuse of alcohol (Prov. 31:4-7; Isa. 5:11; Isa. 28:7-8; Rom. 13:13).
“Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father, and told his two brothers outside.” (Gen. 9:22)
We are not given any details here. Noah had evidently passed out! Ham saw his father’s nakedness and either a homosexual act or an act of ridicule took place (or maybe both). In Israel and in many cultures throughout the ancient world and throughout history, to dishonor one’s father was sinful.
The Word “Uncover”
The Hebrew word for “uncover” is found many times in this passage. In this case, it refers to sexual type sins
“None of you shall approach any blood relative of his to uncover nakedness; I am the LORD. You shall not uncover the nakedness of your father, that is, the nakedness of your mother. She is your mother; you are not to uncover her nakedness. You shall not uncover the nakedness of your father’s wife; it is your father’s nakedness. The nakedness of your sister, either your father’s daughter or your mother’s daughter, whether born at home or born outside, their nakedness you shall not uncover. The nakedness of your son’s daughter or your daughter’s daughter, their nakedness you shall not uncover; for their nakedness is yours. The nakedness of your father’s wife’s daughter, born to your father, she is your sister, you shall not uncover her nakedness. You shall not uncover the nakedness of your father’s sister; she is your father’s blood relative. You shall not uncover the nakedness of your mother’s sister, for she is your mother’s blood relative. You shall not uncover the nakedness of your father’s brother; you shall not approach his wife, she is your aunt. You shall not uncover the nakedness of your daughter-in-law; she is your son’s wife, you shall not uncover her nakedness. You shall not uncover the nakedness of your brother’s wife; it is your brother’s nakedness. You shall not uncover the nakedness of a woman and of her daughter, nor shall you take her son’s daughter or her daughter’s daughter, to uncover her nakedness; they are blood relatives. It is lewdness. You shall not marry a woman in addition to her sister as a rival while she is alive, to uncover her nakedness. ‘You shall also not uncover the nakedness of your mother’s sister or of your father’s sister, for such a one has made naked his blood relative; they will bear their guilt. ‘If there is a man who lies with his uncle’s wife he has uncovered his uncle’s nakedness; they will bear their sin. They will die childless. ‘If there is a man who takes his brother’s wife, it is abhorrent; he has uncovered his brother’s nakedness. They will be childless.” (Lev. 18:6-21
This evidence seems to reveal that Ham had indeed performed a homosexual act upon Noah. The expression “Noah knew what his younger son had done to him,” also suggests a sexual act had occurred. The words “had done to him” are words that would easily explain the curse upon Ham’s family. But also from the response of the other two brothers, one could make a case for the scornful ridicule of their spiritual leader. Either way, the results are the same. Note the contrast
“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. When Noah awoke from his wine, he knew what his youngest son had done to him. So he said, ‘Cursed be Canaan, a servant of servants he shall be to his brothers.’” (Gen. 9:23-25)
This is the first mention of the word “servant” in the Bible. The meaning is that of a slave! According to Noah’s prophecy, the Canaanites were to be subjugated. The prophetic curse that he would be a servant to his brothers was not placed on Ham but on his youngest son, Canaan. God had given Noah some prophetic insight that proved to be extremely accurate throughout history.
Moral Degeneration of Canaan
The moral degeneration of the people who came from Canaan is recorded throughout the Bible. No religion has been so perverted by sexual acts as that of the Canaanites. The land that Canaan settled was along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean, stretching from the city of Sidon in the north to Gaza in the south, and reaching inland at least as far as the Jordan Valley.
“Canaan became the father of Sidon, his firstborn, and Heth and the Jebusite and the Amorite and the Girgashite and the Hivite and the Arkite and the Sinite and the Arvadite and the Zemarite and the Hamathite; and afterward the families of the Canaanite were spread abroad. The territory of the Canaanite extended from Sidon as you go toward Gerar, as far as Gaza; as you go toward Sodom and Gomorrah and Admah and Zeboiim, as far as Lasha.” (Gen. 10:15-19)
Archaeologists have recovered texts from the ancient Canaanite city-state of Ugarit, discovered in 1928 in modern-day Syria. These documents reveal details of the political and religious lifestyle of the Canaanites and fully support the way the Bible pictures these tribes.
The remains found by archaeologists testify that the Canaanites were intelligent and very aggressive. Around 3,000 B.C. they had settled the land of Canaan and by 2,000 B.C. they had written records. They had a language that contained over 30 different consonants.
Politically, the Canaanites were organized into independent city-states, each with its own ruler and aristocracy (Joshua 12). The great majority of people in and around each city were politically powerless farmers and workers.
The Canaanites had a very complex religious mythology. The religion of the Canaanites focused on fertility, and its myths were structured around the agricultural cycle that came from Nimrod and the tower of Babel. The gods of the Canaanites were brutal and highly sensual. One myth actually portrays Baal having intercourse with a young cow. Religious rites encouraged sensual activity between persons not married to each other in order to stimulate the gods and goddesses to grant fertility to the land and to their livestock.
The fertility of the land, it was believed, depended on the deities’ sensual activity. The Canaanites even designated homosexual priests and priestesses as their “holy ones.” These were employed as cult prostitutes.
The Old Testament shows God’s total contempt for these and other Canaanite practices. The Law commands, “No Israelite man or woman is to become a shrine prostitute” (Deut. 23:17), and established the death penalty for homosexuality (Lev. 20:13) and bestiality (Lev. 20:15). Deuteronomy describes other practices of the Canaanites and strictly forbids Israel from adopting them.
“Let no one be found among you who sacrifices his son or daughter in the fire, who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead. Anyone who does these things is detestable to the Lord.” (Deut. 18:10-11)
The moral and religious depravity of the Canaanites, portrayed in Scripture and substantiated in the materials recovered from the Ugarit, explains why God commanded Israel to totally destroy these people within the borders of the Promised Land.
Behind the scenes there was an obvious satanic attempt on the part of the Canaanites to infiltrate the Jews, first religiously, and then to corrupt them physically. This may have been done in order to prevent the prophesied Messiah from coming into the world through Israel. This would not have been possible if the Jews had lost their cultural identity.
Much of the book of Genesis records God’s protection of His people from religious degeneration. God warned Israel through Moses: “Completely destroy them. Otherwise they will teach you to follow all the detestable things they do in worshiping their gods.” (Deut. 20:17-18)
Seen in this perspective, the command to exterminate the Canaanites was not only justified, but it was necessary for the good of all humanity in the coming ages (Gen. 12:5; Num. 34:1-12).
The ancient Phallic cult and the reputation that followed it, was located in Carthage in North Africa. Even the Romans were shocked at the perversion of the Carthinians. It led to snake worship, human sacrifices, homosexual orgies, sodomy, bestiality, and other insidious activity.
So Ham’s sin and Noah’s prophecy became very important to the religious history of Israel. Has Noah’s prophecy completely come to pass?
New American Standard Bible
Brown, Driver, Briggs’ Hebrew Definitions
R. B. Thieme, Jr.