Why Was Canaan Cursed?

* Why Did Noah Curse His Grandson Canaan? As described in detail in Bob's article, Why Was Canaan Cursed?, Genesis 9 records that the boy's father, Ham, saw Noah’s nakedness, and as a result, Noah cursed his grandson Canaan. Then Canaan went on to become the patriarch of Israel’s longstanding enemies, the Canaanites. The story seems capricious on the surface, in contrast to so much reasonable history in Genesis. So a closer look is merited. A common biblical figure of speech appears in Canaan’s story, and when Christians reread the story understanding this figure, the message of this account becomes compelling.

Ancient Hebrew commonly speaks of a man’s nakedness to refer to sexual intercourse with the man’s wife. As Moses wrote in Leviticus, “The man who lies with his father’s wife has uncovered his father’s nakedness”(Lev. 20:11; also, 20:20-21; 18:6-15; Ezek. 22:10; etc.) Canaan lived a cursed life, not because his father saw his grandfather naked sometime before Canaan was even born, but because the boy was conceived in incest between Ham and Ham's mother, Noah's wife. Thus the brief story twice reminds its ancient readers that Ham (not Noah) is the father of Canaan. So Noah cursed Canaan not as an evil spell or hex, but as recognition of cause and effect, reaping what is sown, and his tragic circumstance, and as a warning to others against following in Ham’s wicked way. And readers of Genesis find a clear and reasonable origin for the conflict that lasted for centuries between the Jews and the Canaanites.

* A Related Scientific Prediction: On Oct. 8, 2009, Bob Enyart updated his Canaan article with a discovery and a scientific prediction! You might want to check it out!

* Today's Resource: This program on the Curse of Canaan comes from Bob's verse-by-verse study of the extraordinary book of Genesis. You can get Bob's full Genesis study, subscribe to his ongoing Bible Study on DVD or on MP3 CD, or find out more about the tragic story of Canaan at Bob's popular article at kgov.com/why-was-canaan-cursed. And to see why we say, "popular", just Google the phrase: why was canaan cursed.