Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Ham's Evil Act Against Noah - Genesis 9:22-24 Bible Commentary

Noah— the man who had accomplished so much and had been so faithful to God— was lying in his tent, drunk and naked. Noah's already bad day turned worse when his son, Ham, walked into the tent:
Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father, and told his two brothers outside. 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. (Genesis 9:22-23)
Noah's reaction to Ham's actions is described in the next few verses:
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." (Genesis 9:24-25)
What exactly did Ham do that caused Noah to curse him? This question has stumped people for a long time, but for a good reason: The Bible does not tell us what Ham did to Noah!

The only thing that we can be sure of is that Ham did something to Noah. Some suggest that Ham merely saw his father, but verse 24 clearly implies that Ham did something to Noah. What that something was, we do not know. Some have suggested Ham committed some sort of lewd act against his father. Yet it is important to remember that such a suggestion is merely speculation, not firm fact.

So why is this here? Why is Ham's evil act in Scripture? What's the point? If anything, Ham's evil act shows us that although the flood had passed, man was still the same. Noah sinned after the flood— and so did his son. Just as the pre-flood era was filled with rebellion against God, so too would the new post-flood era world be filled with rebellion.

Related Posts:
Noah's Curse On Canaan (Part 1) - Genesis 9:24-25
Noah's Fall - Genesis 9:20-21
The Genealogy: Adam to Noah - Genesis 5
Why You Are Related To Noah - Genesis 9:18-19


  1. Cannan not Ham... the term youngest son is idiomatic for grandson. Ham was the middle son but Cannan was the grandson (Cannan was mentioned well above this story and probably was on the ark) so that explains why it was Cannan who was cursed. Ham was innocent. Also, to uncover their nakedness meant to have sex, either with them or more often with their wife. Read Leviticus about this subject. The Hebrew word is Evra and means sex. Remember how David's son uncovered his father's nakedness by having sex with David's wives/concubines on the roof for all to see. The most likely explanation about the Noah story is that Ham discovered Cannan having sex with Noah's wife (probably rape as she was not punished) ...this explains why Cannan (youngest son=grandson) was cursed and not Ham. Prehaps Ham was at fault for not raising Cannan properly (pun intended) ;-)

    1. Xcellent.....thank you for your correct answer....its the Grace of God by which you received this revelation .

  2. I too have felt for many years, based on Scripture interpreting Scripture, as to the act of 'uncovering someones nakedness' to mean having sex with another's female family member (wife, aunt, mother, sister, etc) that Ham actually went in and had sex with Noah's wife (which wasn't necessarily Ham's mother) in order to usurp Noah's authority as family leader (as did Reuben, Absalom, (and Adonijah brother of Solomon attempted to do with Abishag in 1 Kings2:21) They all did this to try to usurp the reigning authority leader at the time. I believe Noah's wife conceived from this act from which came Canaan, and that is why the child was cursed, so there would be no chance of him coming to power within the family (but we know a descendant of Canaan was Nimrod; the worlds first global leader (type and shadow of the anti-Christ).