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Noah Part 8 – Noah’s Sin And Restoration


Let’s go back one verse before we start a new section:

Genesis 9:17 And God said to Noah, “This is the sign of the covenant which I have established between Me and all flesh that is on the earth.”

This covenant between God and Noah brought to a conclusion the events connected with the greatest catastrophe this earth has ever experienced.

The earth, once beautiful and perfect, offered a picture of utter desolation as far as the eye could reach. Man had received a lesson concerning the awful results of sin.

The unfallen worlds had seen the fearful end to which man comes when he follows the bidding of Satan. A new beginning was to be made.

Inasmuch as only faithful and obedient members of the antediluvian human family had survived the Flood, there was reason to hope that the future would present a happier picture than the past.

After having been saved by God’s grace from the greatest imaginable cataclysm, the descendants of Noah might be expected to apply for all future ages the lessons learned from the Flood.

Noah and His Sons

Verse 18 Now the sons of Noah who went out of the ark were Shem, Ham, and Japheth. And Ham was the father of Canaan.

His three sons, mentioned repeatedly in previous passages (5:32; 6:10; 7:13), are again mentioned as the heads of the nations into which the human family developed. Their names are explained in connection with the table of nations.

Ham is the father of Canaan. Ham’s son Canaan is mentioned here in prospective allusion to what follows.

Furthermore, it must have been the purpose of Moses to direct the attention of the Hebrews of his time to the unsavory event described in the next verses.

This is in order that they might understand better why the Canaanites, whom they soon would meet, were so deeply degraded and morally corrupt. The root of their depravity was found in their early ancestor Ham, “the father of Canaan.”

Verse 19 These three were the sons of Noah, and from these the whole earth was populated.

This passage declares in terse but unmistakable words that all later inhabitants of this globe are descendants of Noah’s three sons. Even if we are not able to trace every nation and tribe back to one of the heads of families enumerated in the following chapter, this text states emphatically that the whole earth was populated by Noah’s descendants.

The view that certain races had been spared by the Flood in remote regions of this world, and had no direct relationship with Noah’s sons, is un-Scriptural.

Verses 20 And Noah began to be a farmer, and he planted a vineyard.

The text does not necessarily imply that Noah had not been a husbandman before the Flood, but that he began the new era as, literally, “man of the ground.” Although Noah had received license to slaughter animals and eat their meat, he felt that it was nevertheless necessary at once to till the ground and obtain food from it.

He planted a vineyard.

The statement does not imply that Noah planted nothing else than a vineyard.

The vineyard is mentioned to explain the following events, but not to exclude his tilling the ground for other purposes.
Armenia, the country in which the ark settled down, was, in antiquity, known as a country of vineyards, as the Greek soldier-historian Xenophon testifies.

The cultivation of the vine was common to the whole ancient Near East, and can be traced back to the earliest times. Noah did nothing wrong in planting a vineyard. The vine is one of the noble plants of God’s creation.

Did Christ use it as an illustration?
Yes to illustrate His relationship to the church (John 15), and honoured its fruit by drinking of it the last night of His earthly ministry (Matt. 26:27–29). Grape juice is highly beneficial to the human body, as long as it is unfermented.

Verse 21 Then he drank of the wine and was drunk, and became uncovered in his tent.

Hebrew yayin, the juice of the grape. In most if not all instances the Scripture context indicates a fermented — and therefore intoxicating — drink. As a result of Noah’s use of this beverage he became “drunk.”

Since drunkenness had been one of the sins of the antediluvian era, we must assume that Noah was acquainted with the evils of drinking alcoholic beverages.

The record of Noah’s sin testifies to the impartiality of the Scriptures, which record the faults of great men as well as their virtues. Neither age nor previous spiritual victories are a guarantee against defeat in the hour of temptation.

Who would have thought that a man who had walked with God for centuries, and had withstood the temptations of multitudes, should fall alone?

One heedless hour may stain the purest life and undo much of the good that has been done in the course of years.

Became uncovered.

What a sad picture. The righteous man drank himself to stupor laid naked.

“Wine is a mocker” (Prov. 20:1), and may deceive the wisest of men if they are not watchful.

Drunkenness deforms and degrades the temple of the Holy Spirit, which we are, weakens moral principle and thus exposes a man to countless evils. He loses control both of physical and of mental faculties. Noah’s intemperance brought shame to a respectable old man, and subjected one who was wise and good to derision and scorn.

Verse 22 And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father, and told his two brothers outside.

That Ham is again called the father of Canaan seems to imply that both father and son had similar unholy inclinations. What could they be?

These unholy inclinations revealed themselves, not only in the incident described here, but later in the religious practices of a whole nation.

Furthermore, it shows that the event took place some time after the Flood, when Canaan, the fourth son of Ham (10:6), was already born. The sin of Ham was not an unintentional transgression.

He may have seen his father’s shameful condition accidentally, but instead of being filled with sorrow over his father’s folly, he rejoiced in what he saw and found delight in publishing it.

One day we will get the whole picture. Remember Ham grew up when the most wicked society ever, was around and he witnessed their debasing sexual life style. Did he back slide and practice some of it?

What exactly did son and father do Noah? Let’s first see how Shem and Japheth acted:

Verse 23 But Shem and Japheth took a garment, laid it on both their shoulders, and went backward and covered the nakedness of their father. Their faces were turned away, and they did not see their father’s nakedness.

What was so serious about this shameful thing?

Shem and Japheth took a garment.

Ham’s two older brothers did not share his perverted feelings. Adam also had had two well – disciplined sons, Abel and Seth, and one child of sin, Cain.

Although all had received the same parental love and training, sin manifested itself much more markedly in one than in the others.

Now the same spirit of depravity breaks forth in one of Noah’s children, while the older sons, reared in the same home and under the same conditions as Ham, show an admirable spirit of decency and self-control.

As the evil trends of criminal Cain were perpetuated in his descendants, Ham’s degraded nature revealed itself further in his offspring.

Verse 24 So Noah awoke from his wine, and knew what his younger son had done to him.

When Noah regained consciousness and reason he learned of what had happened during his sleep, probably by making inquiry as to the reason for the garment covering him.

His “younger son,” literally, “his son, the little one,” meaning “the youngest son.” Is he referring to Ham or Canaan?

Verse 25 Then he said: “Cursed be Canaan; A servant of servants He shall be to his brethren.”

Why was the curse pronounced on Canaan, Ham’s fourth son, rather than on the perpetrator of the crime himself? Is this evidence that Canaan had really been the culprit and not Ham and that he is meant in verse 24 as the youngest member of the Noachic family?

Noah’s curse does not seem to have been pronounced resentment, but rather as a prophecy. The prophecy does not fix Canaan in particular or Ham’s sons in general in the bonds of an iron destiny.

It is merely a prediction of what God foresaw and announced through Noah. Presumably Canaan already walked in the sins of his father, and those sins became such a strong feature in the national character of Canaan’s descendants that God later ordered their destruction.

Verse 25 Then he said: “Cursed be Canaan; A servant of servants He shall be to his brethren.”

Shem has subdued Japheth, and Japheth has subdued Shem, but Ham has never subdued either. In my research on this topic I came across the following one that shocked me tremendously: “Noah, speaking by divine inspiration, foretold the history of the three great races to spring from these fathers of mankind.
Tracing the descendants of Ham, through the son rather than the father, he declared, “Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren.”
And then we have these words:
“The unnatural crime of Ham declared that filial reverence had long before been cast from his soul, and it revealed the impiety and vileness of his character.
Would you like to speculate on the meaning of “unnatural crime?” Some scholars call it a euphemism, a softer word for sodomy.
“These evil characteristics were perpetuated in Canaan and his posterity, whose continued guilt called upon them the judgments of God.” {PP 117.2}
Between die ruins of the Baal en Dagon temples at Ugarit, archaeologists discovered a large amount of clay tablets. And for the first time the world could read about the baleful religious practices of the Canaanites. But during these orgies, wine and music they even sacrifices their babes.

Today we marvel why God grant them so many centuries of grace before Joshua executed God’s command to destroy this vulgar people. What did Noah say about the posterity of the other sons?

In contrast with the curse, the blessings upon Shem and Japheth are introduced with a fresh “And he said.” After the statement of each blessing comes the announcement of Canaan’s servitude, like a minor refrain.

Verse 26 And he said: “Blessed be the LORD, The God of Shem, And may Canaan be his servant

Instead of wishing good to Shem, Noah praises the God of Shem, namely, Jehovah, as Moses did in the case of Gad Deut. 33:20).

By having Jehovah as his God, Shem would be the recipient and heir of all the blessings of salvation that Jehovah bestows upon His faithful ones.

Verse 26 And he said: “Blessed be the LORD, The God of Shem, And may Canaan be his servant.

On the other hand, the reverence manifested by Shem and Japheth for their father, and thus for the divine statutes, promised a brighter future for their descendants. Concerning these sons it was declared: “Blessed be Jehovah, God of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant.

Verse 27 May God enlarge Japheth, And may he dwell in the tents of Shem; And may Canaan be his servant.”

The line of Shem was to be that of the chosen people, of God’s covenant, of the promised Redeemer. Jehovah was the God of Shem. From him would descend Abraham, and the people of Israel, through whom Christ was to come. “Happy is that people, whose God is the Lord.” Psalm 144:15.

Verse 27 May God enlarge Japheth, And may he dwell in the tents of Shem; And may Canaan be his servant.”

By a play on Japheth’s name, Noah sums up his blessing for this son in the word “enlarge,” pathach. By this, Noah indicated the remarkable dispersion and prosperity of the Japhethic nations.

May he dwell in the tents of Shem.

The personal pronoun “he” refers to Japheth. The meaning of the utterance may have been twofold, inasmuch as Japheth’s descendants in the course of time took away many of the Shemite lands, and dwelt in them, and because the Japhethites were to participate in the saving blessings of the Shemites.

When the gospel was preached in Greek, a Japhethic language, Shem’s descendant Israel, though subdued by Japhethic Rome, became the spiritual conqueror of the Japhethites and thus, figuratively, received them into his tents.

Verses 28,29 And Noah lived after the flood three hundred and fifty years. 29 So all the days of Noah were nine hundred and fifty years; and he died.

Although Noah was a righteous man and walked with God, he did not attain to the spiritual stature of his great-grandfather Enoch. Having witnessed the growth and spread of a new generation and seen how rapidly it followed the wicked inclinations of its evil heart, he died.

Updated on 21st Mar 2022

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