As I indicated at the beginning of this series, this is not going to be a verse by verse commentary but rather personal observations that have caught my attention when reading God’s Word. If you are looking for a verse by verse commentary there are many that are available depending on your preference of authors. Here is one that I ran into recently that was recommended by Teri Dugan and appears to be sound and well received: www.versebyverseministry.org
Just thought I would throw that in there for good measure.
Moving right along …..
Genesis 9:18-19 NIV “The sons of Noah who came out of the ark were Shem, Ham and Japheth. (Ham was the father of Canaan.) These were the three sons of Noah, and from them came the people who were scattered over the whole earth.”
Now here are three names that you want to make note of, Shem, Ham and Japheth.
If you do a search on the Internet such as this: https://duckduckgo.com/?q=DNA+ancestry+bottleneck+from+Noah%27s+flood&t=ffnt&ia=web you’re going to run into an interesting array of documentation that highlights the DNA bottleneck that can be attributed to Shem, Ham and Japheth. I’m not going to go into the different responses you will find and I do have my own personal favorite but it is interesting to note that a case can be made for our DNA being traced back in our DNA history based on three Y chromosome “types”.
Genesis 9:21 NIV “When he drank some of its wine, he became drunk and lay uncovered inside his tent.”
Yep, you read that right, Noah planted a vineyard and ended up getting drunk. Accidentally? Possibly, God’s Word doesn’t actually say but the end result was that he became intoxicated to the point of being drunk and in his drunken state he was unclothed in his tent.
If you would like to get a better understanding on the meaning and history of what “nakedness” entails in the Bible, may I suggest the following overview link: gotquestions.org/uncover-nakedness
This is another good example of taking the time to dig a little deeper rather than just reading the verse at face value. Noah was naked, got it, let’s read on. Not so fast! What exactly did Noah’s “nakedness” indicate? What was the subtle inference behind this? Would understanding what “nakedness” inferred provide a greater understanding of what happened next?
Please note that at this point in time of the Genesis narrative you don’t see any teachings or Laws on “nakedness” other than God provided clothing for Adam and Eve. But as we have seen from other examples, that does not necessarily mean that there wasn’t an understanding that had been communicated to these individuals (Noah, Shem, Ham and Japheth) previously by God. When we get into Leviticus we will definitely encounter these “laws” about “nakedness”, bearing in mind that in Leviticus we are dealing with the nation of Israel, God’s chosen people and here we are dealing with individuals who are endeavoring to follow God’s ways. You recall that in Genesis 6:8 that Noah found favor and grace in the eyes of the Lord, so don’t be too quick to point fingers. Noah was exceptionally obedient and trusted in God and His directions. We do know that the Priests of the Tabernacle were not to get drunk when ministering to the Lord (Leviticus 10:9 NIV) but Noah was not a priest and this Law had not yet been given to Israel.
Genesis 9:22-23 NIV “Ham, the father of Canaan, saw his father naked and told his two brothers outside. But Shem and Japheth took a garment and laid it across their shoulders; then they walked in backward and covered their father’s naked body. Their faces were turned the other way so that they would not see their father naked.”
Note that Ham saw his father’s nakedness but that Shem and Japheth walked backwards with a blanket on their shoulders and covered their father. I’m thinking that the biggest error that Ham made was not seeing his father’s nakedness because this could have been totally accidental but rather that he did not take action to cover his father on his own. The fact that both Shem and Japheth knew enough not to deliberately look at their naked father and took measures to cover their father indicates to me that they knew to do so was viewed as wrong by God.
This is an excellent scripture example of what can be learned by CAREFULLY thinking about exactly what is being said and what is not being said.
Genesis 9:24-27 NIV “When Noah awoke from his wine and found out what his youngest son had done to him, he said,
“Cursed be Canaan!
The lowest of slaves
will he be to his brothers.”
He also said,“Praise be to the Lord, the God of Shem!
May Canaan be the slave of Shem.
May God extend Japheth’s territory;
may Japheth live in the tents of Shem,
and may Canaan be the slave of Japheth.”
And what exactly had Ham done to his father? He had left him uncovered. He had not covered his nakedness. Who is it that covers our “nakedness” or sin? When our sins are exposed are we not ashamed? And if God is his grace and wisdom covers our sins by the blood of His Son, and we accept His covering in faith, is not our nakedness also covered?
Canaan (Ham’s son) received a curse, Shem and Japheth received a blessing and God was praised. Why did Ham not receive the curse you ask? Because in Genesis 9:1 NIV God blesses Ham, Shem and Japheth and that blessings is irreversible. We’re not told why Japheth was to live in the tents of Shem, perhaps it was Shem’s idea to use a blanket and walk backwards and Japheth agreed and assisted, I don’t really know but there is no doubt as to the demotion of Canaan.
Noah obviously knew what should have been done and who didn’t do it. Hence the curse.
A little on the harsh side you might think for Canaan? If you’re following God’s guidance then not taking action when presented with the opportunity to do so, can have severe consequences. This wasn’t a small thing. Kind of puts what happened next into a different light doesn’t it?
Genesis 9:28-29 NIV “After the flood Noah lived 350 years. 29 Noah lived a total of 950 years, and then he died.”
Another 350 years, that’s a fair piece of lifespan. A total of 950 years of earthly life. We’ll see shortly how the lifespans of those who follow start to diminish. Here is an interesting link from Answers in Genesis that you might find interesting.
More to follow in Observations in Genesis – Part 6
Worthy is the Lamb! Blessings!