Saturday, November 26, 2011

Noah's Curse On Canaan (Part 2) - Genesis 9:24-25 Bible Commentary

I ended the previous post by bringing up a lingering objection you might have. You might be wondering how it is right for an entire line of unborn descendants to be cursed on the basis of a decision made by one of their ancestors. Ham wronged Noah, but Noah cursed Canaan. How is that right?

The concept of God punishing people based upon the actions of their ancestors makes an appearance in the Ten Commandments. God said to Moses:
You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth. You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing lovingkindness to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments. (Exodus 20:4-6, emphasis added)
The sinful decisions made by a person's ancestors often have a negative influence on the generations that come after them. The first generation of Israelites that let a tiny bit of idolatry into their lives allowed those who came after them to let even more idolatry into their lives.

The truth is, as humans, we like to think we are independent. But in all reality, we are not. Although we are ultimately condemned on the basis of our own actions, from Adam onward, the decisions made by other humans have affected every part of our daily lives. When Adam sinned, God cursed Adam and every other human that would come after Adam.

The sinful decisions made by our more recent ancestors can also have a negative effect on us— and it is only by the grace of God that we can escape our idolatry, turn from the ways of our sinful ancestors, and kneel before the foot of the cross.

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Related Posts:
The Blessing On Shem And Japheth - Genesis 9:26-27
Ham's Evil Act Against Noah - Genesis 9:22-24
Noah's Fall - Genesis 9:20-21
Why You Are Related To Noah - Genesis 9:18-19


  1. Didn't God remove punishment through ancestors iniquities in Ezekiel 18?

  2. No. I do not think that you could conclude that based on that passage. Ezekiel 18 is simply making the point that each man will be judged for his own sin (following the general context of that passage is also incredibly important, especially the proverb the Israelites were making use of in verse 2).

    Furthermore, God threatens something resembling a curse on upon a certain group's offspring in Malachi 2:2-3 (this, of course, took place after Ezekiel's time).

  3. It says when he knew what his youngest son had done.... Ham was his middle son but youngest son was also an idiom meaning grandson. He cursed Cannan because it was Cannan's sin! ;-)