101 Bible Secrets
Bible Secret Number 57 

The Castration of Ham

Audio read by Tom Parks -  MP3
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What was Ham’s sin against Noah that so offended Shem and Japheth?

Noah became drunk with wine (Genesis 9:21) and was naked in his tent. Ham "saw the nakedness of his father" and told Shem and Japheth (verse 22). They were horrified and covered their father with garments without observing him. What was it that Ham did to his father?

It certainly wasn’t simple observation of Noah’s nakedness that was the problem because Abraham and later Joseph allowed the testifying of oaths on their private parts, and Joseph did so with his own father (Genesis 47:29). But "Noah awoke from his wine and KNEW what his younger son had done to him" (Verse 24). Something drastic must have happened to Noah.

Note this important point. The curse that Noah placed upon Ham (who had been the perpetrator of the deed) was not against Ham himself. His curse was delivered to Ham’s descendantsspecifically upon Ham’s fourth son named Canaan (verse 25). This may be the clue to what Ham did to Noah. It appears that Ham emasculated his father. Ham must have wanted to protect his own inheritance and that the portion of the world destined for this descendants would not be restricted. By preventing his father from having more children, he could then obtain a full third of the world as the inheritance for himself and his descendants.

So, Ham must have prevented Noah from having a fourth son (or any more sons). When Noah saw what Ham had done to him, he responded by cursing Ham’s fourth son, Canaan (verses 25-27). The early Jewish commentator Rashi paraphrased Noah’s rebuke of Ham: "You have brought it about that I cannot bear a fourth son to serve me: cursed, therefore, be your fourth son to serve under the descendants of these elder ones upon whom the duty of serving me will devolve from now on" (Comment on Genesis 9:25). Ham must have prevented Noah from having more children.

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