Monday, September 13, 2010

Genesis 9:18-29 Noahs Nakedness and Hams Shame

"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."

When Adam and Eve fell in the garden, we saw that they lost their innocence and no longer enjoyed the dimensionality that allow them to walk physically with G-d. As a result of the flood, we will see the ages of man begin to diminish. Here we see that Noah drank of the fruit of the vine and got drunk. As a result of the flood, there was no longer a protective covering against the harmful effects of the cosmos. Man and all creation began to degrade quicker. This causes the juice of grapes, or wine, to do something that it probably never done before, that is, ferment. I’m sure that Noah had drank wine before. However, due to the fermentation of the wine, he became drunk.

"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. And Noah awoke from his wine, and knew what his younger son had done unto him."

This incident has been one of speculation within the Christian church for a long time. However, I believe we can look at the text and the Talmud for direction here. First, the text says that, “…Ham…saw the nakedness of his father.” The word translated as “saw” is the Hebrew word, “raw-aw” which means, “to joyfully look unto”. Some scholars indicate that it was a homosexual encounter.

Even though the same words would be used to express a homosexual encounter, I doubt it very much if Ham would have bragged to his brothers about it. No. It is more likely that Ham saw his father naked and drunk and he made fun of it, bringing public humiliation upon his father. As a matter of fact, we can see this in Hams firstborns name, Canaan, which means, “humiliation”.

The main question in my mind is: Why would he humiliate his father? I believe that the Talmud gives us this answer.

“Our Rabbis taught: Three copulated in the ark, and they were all punished — the dog, the raven, and Ham. The dog was doomed to be tied, the raven expectorates [his seed into his mate's mouth], and Ham was smitten in his skin.”

{Talmud Bavli, Sanhedrin 108b}

Here, we have a little history of a punishment given to Ham, as a result of his disobedience within the ark. It doesn’t say it in the Bible, but it implies here in the Talmud that no sexual intercourse was allow while they were in the ark. In this Talmudic entry, we find that Ham had sex with his wife. Once again, some say that this meant that there was some unnatural shenanigans going on between the dog, the raven and Ham, which is physically ludicrous and would have been more plainly laid out within the passage. The three had sex with their mates, which were forbidden. With this history and it’s punishment, it was no wonder that Ham most likely resented it and attempted to humiliate his father. As we will see, it backfired on him.

And he said, Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren. And he said, Blessed be the LORD God of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant. God shall enlarge Japheth, and he shall dwell in the tents of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant.

As a result of Hams sin, his descendants were punished, destined to servants or slaves. Hams punishment was that he had to live with the blame.

"Noah lived after the flood three hundred and fifty years. And all the days of Noah were nine hundred and fifty years: and he died."

Please notice the ages of man begin to reduce from here on out.