|Oh man. I think I better cover this up.|
Well depending on the kind of person you are, the beginning of this Biblical account of exposure is either hilarious or depressing. What's certain is that what follows isn't at all funny. The Bible is very seldom a funny book.
This is my second post in a series about Fathers in The Bible. I'm doing this because this year is my first Father's Day as a father and a blogger. You can read all of the posts from this series by clicking here.
Okay, back to Noah. You see, in his later years, he settled down and establish the world's first vineyard and made the first wine. Well it didn't take him long to get utterly wasted. Apparently he liked to drink au naturel, completely exposed (who doesn't?). Well his youngest son came in and was unlucky enough to catch a glimpse of the family jewels - which, if the account is correct, were probably pretty worn out after having to help repopulate a world just recently cleansed of all life by the Flood.
Well, Noah found out his son saw him naked and was so pissed off about it that he put a curse onto Ham's son - they called it The Curse Of Ham. Make sense, right? No? Yeah, it's confusing. Here's an account from Wikipedia:
The Curse of Ham (more properly called the Curse of Canaan) refers to the biblical incident in Genesis 9:20–27 in which Ham's father Noah placed a curse upon Ham's son Canaan. Genesis tells how Noah, the first "husbandman" (farmer), was also the first to cultivate the vine and make wine. After Noah became drunk, and was "uncovered within his tent", his son Ham "saw the nakedness of his father" and told his two brothers, Shem and Japheth, who then covered Noah with a cloak while averting their eyes. When Noah awoke and "knew what his younger son had done to him", he pronounced the curse, not on Ham, but on Ham's son Canaan. Canaan was condemned to be a "servant of servants...to his brothers."Wikipedia goes on to quote the relevant Biblical passages.
Genesis 9:1 And God blessed Noah and his sons, and said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth.My first comment is that there should be a general ban from people being able to curse anyone when they are drunk or hungover. Well, they can curse all they like but nobody should take them seriously.
Genesis 9:20 And Noah began to be an husbandman, and he planted a vineyard:
21 And he drank of the wine, and was drunken; and he was uncovered within his tent.
22 And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father, and told his two brethren without.
23 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.
24 ¶ And Noah awoke from his wine, and knew what his younger son had done unto him.
25 And he said, Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren.
26 And he said, Blessed be the LORD God of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant.
27 God shall enlarge Japheth, and he shall dwell in the tents of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant.
Apparently theologians have had some difficulties correlating the seriousness of the transgression with the severity of the punishment - but I don't see how this is a problem since many of them seem to think we're capable of doing anything at all that deserves eternal damnation - but apparently they have a hard time with this one. Well so do I.
Poor Ham got to see his dad tackle out. He then, very naturally, went out and told his brothers that his dad was lying naked and passed out in his tent. What's wrong with this behaviour? It's called therapy and I would need it as well if I saw my dad in a similar condition. Seriously, nice example, dad. It probably went down something like this:
"Holy shit! I just saw dad passed out and naked. Arg! If you have to go in there, don't look!"
Well his brothers had the unsavoury task of going in and covering their shameful dad. Naturally they backed in and didn't look - because they had warning - you know... from their brother who had the unfortunate fate of seeing it, because ... you know... he didn't know what the hell he was getting into. So there you go, Ham deserves a little credit. If he hadn't told his brothers they would have likely seen dad naked as well.
So then Noah wakes up and knows what his youngest son had done unto him. And nobody knows what this is exactly. We know he saw Noah's bits but we don't know anything else. Was Noah ashamed of his bits? Did Ham joke about the size or shape of his bits? Who knows.
So Noah curses Ham to become a slave forever and for all his offspring to become slaves. Because, not so obviously, they deserve it too. Just like little human babies are just as guilty as Adam and Eve for eating that apple in that garden.
That's what really gets me with this story. Even if Ham deserved it - and we're seriously missing enough evidence for this - why do his kids? I think the whole story is just a reverse engineered justification for enslaving the Canaanites, plain and simple.
Thanks, dad. You really make a whole lot of sense when your shouting out curses naked and hungover. I can see why God's on your side.