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Curse Of The Missing Ham


  • Curse Of The Missing Ham

    Bible Reading: Gen 9:18-29

    A Picture Of Noah's Family

    Noah is the father, the patriarch. He has 3 sons, Japheth, Shem, and Ham. His grandson, Canaan, is also mentioned. Looking at Gen 9:24, Ham is the third son in birth order. Gen 10:21 indicates that Shem is the younger brother to Japheth. So Japheth is the oldest, Shem is second, and Ham is third. My translation implies that Canaan is not yet born in this story. This relates well to Gen 3 where God punishes all of humanity, not yet born, for the sins of Adam and Eve. When a picture of Noah's family is drawn on paper Noah is at the top. Japheth, the oldest, is in the middle under Noah. Shem is to the left of Japheth. And Ham and Canaan are to the right of Japheth.

    Birth order is significant in Genesis. When there are 2 sons of prominence the greater blessings always fall on the second son. It reflects Jesus' teaching to Nicodemus in John 3. First we are born of the flesh. “To see the kingdom of God we must be born again of the Spirit.” Examples of this starts early in Genesis with Cain and Abel. It continues with Ishmael and Isaac, Esau and Jacob. And ends with Manasseh and Ephraim in Gen 48:13-19. In Gen 9 Noah starts out with 3 sons, but when his blessings are handed out only 2 sons are present to receive them. Shem gets the greater blessing and Japheth gets the lesser blessing. Canaan is cursed 3 times and his father, Ham, is never mentioned during the blessings and curses.

    In Gen 9:26 it's as if Noah blesses Shem to be on a level with God. “Blessed be the Lord, the God of Shem!” Shem seems to be a picture of Christ. In Gen 9:27 Japheth is blessed to increase in numbers and dwell in Shem's tents. It's as if the relationship between Shem and Japheth is that of a groom and bride. A groom provides a home for his bride. Contrast this to John 14:1-4 “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.”
    Jesus is the groom and the church is his bride.

    A Picture Of Noah's Home

    Gen 9:21 places Noah in his tent, which is significant because of Gen 9:23. Shem and Japheth are walking backwards toward Noah using a garment to separate Noah from his sons, a veil. Again, this is taking place in a tent. And when this is drawn on paper an image of the Tent Of Meeting in Exodus comes to mind.

    In the Tent Of Meeting God (The Father) sits on the Mercy Seat, on the Ark, in the Holy of Holies. He is separated from the lesser Holy side by the Veil. Before Jesus fulfilled all the Sacrificial Laws in Leviticus only one person, the high priest, could enter into the Holy of Holies and look upon the Mercy Seat where God sat. And even the high priest could only do so at the appointed time. Anyone who violated this law would surely die.

    Another picture in Exodus is that of Moses meeting with God and God revealing stories from history to Noah that will later become the Book Of Genesis. Included in these stories is this story of Noah and his sons. When reading Genesis keep in mind that it is being revealed in Exodus, not in Genesis. It can be compared to Jesus revealing images of heaven and earth to John in the book of Revelation.

    Wages Of Sin

    When reading Gen 9:21-22 one wonders what the big deal is. Ham accidentally sees his father drunk without any clothes on. What's with all the drama? Especially when one considers that Noah was the one that got drunk in the first place, which is also a sin. Some speculate that there was a perversion between Ham and his mother, Noah's wife, because in Lev18:7 nakedness of the father is equated to
    nakedness of the mother. In my translation Gen 9:22 states that Ham “glanced at” and saw the nakedness of his father. If it relates to Leviticus then why the phrase “glanced at”?

    In Gen 3 Adam and Eve commit a similar sin. They ate fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. In doing so they attained a knowledge that belonged only to God. Likewise, Ham attained a knowledge of his father that belonged only to Noah. He simply saw his father's nakedness. It's as if Ham did not intend to see his father. But that it happened by accident. Either way it did happen and it was still considered a sin.

    Another thing that catches the Old Testament reader's attention is the fact that Ham is never talked about in a living sense after Gen 9:22. His genealogy in Gen 10 even shows that Canaan was Ham's last son. So at least in a spiritual sense, Ham is dead. As Paul writes in Rom 6:23, the wages of sin is death, and eternal life is only found through the blood of Jesus Christ.

    A Product Of Sin

    When Ham glanced at his father's nakedness Canaan was separated from the father through a string of curses, because of sin. Canaan was condemned to be a servant of servants. A lowly servant, if you will. Canaan was separated from all that Noah had to offer him. There was no longer Ham, the father, to spiritually connect them. In this story Canaan is a product of sin, as all of us are without Christ. The “Missing Ham” is a picture of sin. And Canaan represents a Product Of Sin.

    Picture Of Christ And The Church

    Now let's look again at the whole picture of Noah's family and their relationship to each other: we have a picture of Christ (Shem) and His church (Japheth) on the left with Father God (Noah), and the 'lost' apart from God on the right (Canaan). The irony of this is that as Christians we are so comfortable with this picture. We want to seek out Christian friends. We desire that our children attend Christian colleges. And we would like to avoid non-believers as much as possible. I'm not saying that Christians live this way, but that it is what is most comfortable for us. It is human nature to only associate with people like us.

    And what does Christ, Himself, have to say about this? ...

    The Servant

    Gen 9:25-27 shows us Canaan being cut off and cursed to the bottom of society. A servant of servants, a lowly servant. A servant to his uncles as well as to his brothers. A servant to all levels of society. What are some other words to describe Canaan? Poor in spirit? Mournful? Meek? Persecuted? These words are used by our Savior in Matt 5:1-12, The Beatitudes. In Matt 23:11 Jesus tells his followers, “The greatest among you is your servant.”

    The Lost Sheep

    So what would Jesus have to say about Canaan? In Matt 18:11-14 He reminds us that God rejoices in heaven when even one lost soul (sheep) is found and saved. How does God find and save His lost sheep? Who does He send to find them, if not His followers? Where do we go to find the lost sheep? Canaan? It seems ironic that Canaan and Israel are geographically the same place. Yet when we here the names we think of two very different places. One a place of sin. The other a land flowing with milk and honey. For the Christian, Canaan is not a comfortable place at all. Not to mention some of the temptations if one is not careful.

    But throughout scripture Canaan is where God calls His people to go. In Exodus God calls His people to conquer Canaan to make it an Israel. But when we read between the lines, and read about Jesus, we are called to conquer Canaan with love.

    The Hungry Lambs

    At the end of John, specifically John 21:15-17, Jesus is asking Peter. “Peter, do you love me?” He asks him three times, and this is associated with Peter's three times denial of Jesus in John 18. While this association is valid, there is more here if one digs deeper.

    Jesus is more than a man here. He is a manifestation of God. He is even asking Peter “Do you love Me” - in the Amplified translation: Do you love Me [with reasoning, intentional, spiritual devotion, as one loves the Father]? What Jesus is really asking Peter is this: “Do you love God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind?” (Matt 22:37-38) Peter do you desire to keep the most important commandment? Yes? Then Feed My lambs. Then Shepherd My sheep. Then Feed My sheep.

    Fellow Christians how do we follow Christ's/God's most important commandment? Is the answer found in the safety of the pew in a large church? In Israel? Or is it in Canaan? Where the world looks ugly and feels dangerous? We all must know our limits and ask God where he wants us. And church is a great place to get our souls charged and get great council. But Jesus is calling, “Do you love Me?”

    When God puts a Canaanite in our path we want to run for Israel. But God wants us in Canaan to tend His flock. Lead Canaan back to Noah.

    The Multitude

    Rev 7:9-11 - “After this I looked and a vast host appeared which no one could count, [gathered out] of every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages. These stood before the throne and before the Lamb; they were attired in white robes, with palm branches in their hands.

    In loud voice they cried, saying, [Our] salvation is due to our God, Who is seated on the throne, and to the Lamb [to Them we owe our deliverance]!

    And all the angels were standing round the throne and round the elders [of the heavenly Sanhedrin] and the four living creatures, and they fell prostrate before the throne and worshiped God.”

    • ohlurdy
      ohlurdy commented
      Editing a comment
      Thank you very much for displaying this information. It has been so enlightening. May God bless and keep you, in Jesus' precious name, Amen.

    • Daniel
      Daniel commented
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      Re: Article: Curse Of The Missing Ham

      Originally posted by ohlurdy
      Thank you very much for displaying this information. It has been so enlightening. May God bless and keep you, in Jesus' precious name, Amen.
      Thanks. I'm glad someone was touched by it. When I was reading scriptures in the OT it was as if God grabbed me and would not allow me to stop thinking about it until I wrote on it. It took my a couple of months just thinking about it. My only regret is that I'm not a better writer. It was very difficult to fit everything into the allotted space. When I read it I almost get lost in it before I finish. I just hope it's not too much of an eye-sore.

      During the initial writing I found this forum. It was as if God provided a medium for me to put it into. Hopefully others who read it will be blessed by it.
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