Where does the text say (or even suggest) that Canaan was "black"
clearly it does not -- what would prove more useful is tracing the descendants of Ham thru Canaan -- what countries sprang from him & what does their known history tell us, if anything (NET note: Genesis 10 will explain that Canaan was the ancestor of the Canaanite tribes living in the promised land
) -- were they physical slaves or did they have a similar character flaw -- this latter idea is in the NET notes & makes sense to me:The curse is pronounced on Canaan, not Ham. Noah sees a problem in Ham’s character, and on the basis of that he delivers a prophecy about the future descendants who will live in slavery to such things and then be controlled by others...In a similar way Jacob pronounced oracles about his sons based on their revealed character.
it appears that the "curse of Canaan" may in fact be better read as the curse of the people of Canaan rather than simply some individual (the "historical son" of Ham)...Thus, one does not need to question why a particular son of Ham was cursed for the sin of Ham
this may prove a better approach -- i heard a message as we went thru Genesis that this Passage may have been included as a commentary on mankind -- some thoughts:
like Adam, Noah took the fruit & sinned
since Adam, nakedness was deemed shameful
Ham's character made him want to gossip about his father's sin (that never happens when a saint falls today, right?)
Ham's brother's showed respect/compassion on their father
like Adam, Noah was righteous yet still sinned
the Flood did nothing to reconcile mankind to God
the Act that did reconcile mankind to God is greater than a Flood that destroyed life on the planet (we know this but it's beyond our comprehension to understand the scope of what God needed to Do in order to Pay for our debt -- it also helps to understand a little more the "stain" of sin)
more NET notes that are germaine:
re: what Ham did to Noah -- i think the above comment makes sense & here's a note on it:Some would translate “had sexual relations with,” arguing that Ham committed a homosexual act with his drunken father for which he was cursed. However, the expression “see nakedness” usually refers to observation of another’s nakedness, not a sexual act (see Gen 42:9, 12 where “nakedness” is used metaphorically to convey the idea of “weakness” or “vulnerability”; Deut 23:14 where “nakedness” refers to excrement; Isa 47:3; Ezek 16:37; Lam 1:8).
The following verse (v. 23) clearly indicates that visual observation, not a homosexual act, is in view here. In Lev 20:17 the expression “see nakedness” does appear to be a euphemism for sexual intercourse, but the context there, unlike that of Gen 9:22, clearly indicates that in that passage sexual contact is in view. The expression “see nakedness” does not in itself suggest a sexual connotation. Some relate Gen 9:22 to Lev 18:6-11, 15-19, where the expression “uncover [another’s] nakedness” (the Piel form of גָּלָה, galah) refers euphemistically to sexual intercourse. However, Gen 9:22 does not say Ham “uncovered” the nakedness of his father.
According to the text, Noah uncovered himself; Ham merely saw his father naked. The point of the text is that Ham had no respect for his father. Rather than covering his father up, he told his brothers. Noah then gave an oracle that Ham’s descendants, who would be characterized by the same moral abandonment, would be cursed. Leviticus 18 describes that greater evil of the Canaanites (see vv. 24-28)
Saw the nakedness. It is hard for modern people to appreciate why seeing another’s nakedness was such an abomination, because nakedness is so prevalent today. In the ancient world, especially in a patriarchal society, seeing another’s nakedness was a major offense
The word translated “garment” has the Hebrew definite article on it. The article may simply indicate that the garment is definite and vivid in the mind of the narrator, but it could refer instead to Noah’s garment. Did Ham bring it out when he told his brothers?
-- that last bit is speculation but it does seem to jive with the gossip theme -- the garment would be the "smoking gun" -- it would futher illustrate the character of Ham
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