As we come to our text, it's again the ninth chapter of Genesis, and verses 18 to 29. A brief word of explanation or even apology to those of you who aren't with us regularly. We're sort of jumping in, as we always do, to the current text, and regret you haven't had the opportunity to be with us in the previous text. But starting in chapter 6 of Genesis begins the immensely important account of the universal flood, the time which God drowned the entire world, and drowned all of humanity and all of air-breathing life on the planet in a flood, the likes of which the world had never and will never again see. That has tremendous implications on us even today, in this new world in which we live post-flood.
The reason for God's devastating judgment in which he drowned all the human race except eight people, and certainly they numbered in the millions if not the billions of people at the time, was because when God looked over the world, all he saw was sin and the only exceptions to that were Noah, his wife, his three sons and their three wives.
And so along with two pairs of animals and seven pairs of clean animals which would be used for sacrifices to God, the ark was filled up, and that amount of life was protected. After the flood, coming off the ark, they began life again in the new world.
And we pick the narrative up in verse 18. Now the sons of Noah who came out of the ark were Shem and Ham and Japheth, and Ham was the father of Canaan. These three were the sons of Noah, and from these the whole earth was populated. Then Noah began farming and planted a vineyard, and he drank of the wine and became drunk, and uncovered himself in his tent. And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father and told his two brothers outside. But Shem and Japheth took a garment and laid it upon both their shoulders and walked backward and covered the nakedness of their father, and their faces were turned away so that they did not see their father's nakedness.
When Noah awoke from his wine, he knew what his youngest son had done to him. So he said, "Cursed be Canaan, and a servant of servants he shall be to his brother". He also said, "Blessed be the Lord, the God, of Shem, and let Canaan be his servant, may God enlarge Japheth and let him dwell in the tents of Shem and let Canaan be his servant". And Noah lived 350 years after the flood, so all the days of Noah were 950 years, and he died."
Two things strike you in that text; one at the beginning and one at the end. The first is sin, and the last is death. And isn't that really the point. Sin survived the flood, and so did death. And the very first recorded post-flood event in Scripture is the story of sin in Noah's family. There are only eight humans on the planet. And the first recorded account of their life in the new world, after having experienced an unimaginable judgment of God for sin, the first recorded event is sin. Which tells us that no matter how hard they may have tried to control their lives, they were fallen people.
This wasn't the first sin, by any means. This wasn't the only sin. This was just a sin that God chose to record. He could have chosen any of thousands among them. Because sin floated in the ark, above the judgment. And walked off the ark when Noah and his family exited. Emphatically stating that the effects of Adam's sin are still in operation, even in the new world. "In Adam", the Bible says, "the whole human race sinned and died." And "death passed to everyone", says the Book of Romans. Everyone who ever lived, then, bares the mark of Adam's sin in a fallen nature, and experiences death. And the judgment of God in the flood didn't drown sin. The heart of man is still deceitful and desperately wicked. And there is none righteous; no, not one. And so in spite of having lived through the terrifying destruction of the flood, the family of man could not restrain itself from sinning.
And the record of this sin is not just to prove to us the reality of sin - there will be plenty of proof for that. Not just to prove to us the reality of death - there's going to be plenty of proof for that. There's already a well-established record of death when Genesis was read to the Children of Israel. But death is mentioned and sin is mentioned. But more importantly than that, it is very important in this text to notice how this person Canaan is featured.
In the tenth chapter of Genesis you have the records of the generations of Shem, Ham and Japheth, the sons of Noah, and the sons born to them after the flood. They had no children before the flood; as you know, after the flood they started to produce children. And you have the record of all their children here in chapter 10 - the children of Shem, the children of Japheth, the children of Ham are here given to us.
Of all of those sons and grandsons that are noted there in chapter 10, none is mentioned except this one son of Ham by the name of Canaan. And, if you look at chapter 10:6, you will notice that Ham had four sons; Cush, Mizraim, Phut and Canaan. And the question immediately jumps out, why is it important that we know about Canaan, and why is Canaan cursed, and what is the significance of that? The writer of Genesis, and for that matter Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy, the Torah, the Law, the Five Books, is Moses.
Genesis was written then after the Exodus from Egypt. You remember that Israelites, the Jews, were captive in Egypt for a period of 430 years. They were in bondage to Pharaoh. And God delivered them by Moses. Moses was the leader, God sent a series of ten plagues, and the famous exodus from Egypt took place. God parted the Red Sea, the Children of Israel walked through at least two million strong, Pharaoh and his army tried to follow and were drowned and you know the story. Exodus was about 1445 B.C., 1445 years before Christ. Moses died about 1405 B.C. Remember that Moses led the Children of Israel out of Egypt and for 40 years in the wilderness, but was never allowed to enter the Promised Land because he had struck the rock in an attempt to make it look like he had the power rather than speak to the rock and let it be known that God had the power, and in that act of disobedience disqualified himself from entering into the Promised Land and so he died out in the wilderness before ever entering the Promised Land around 1405. So sometime in that period of 40 years of wandering, God inspired Moses to write the Pintitude, the law books that we know as the first five books of the Old Testament.
The first reading of Genesis, the first reading of this amazing book of origins occurred sometime prior to the Jews crossing the Jordan River to take possession of the Promised Land. They had come from Egypt, and if you could sort of put a map in your mind of that area of the world, you can maybe visualize it a little bit. It always looks like a hand to me - Egypt's down here and the Mediterranean is here and Isreal is here. It may look that way to you. but out of Egypt they came, they wandered around in that desert south of Israel and east of Israel for 40 years, and they're ready to go into the land of Israel, that little thin strip of land that we're so familiar with between Africa and Europe, and Asia to the east, and they were to go in and take possession of that land. After the 40 years of wandering they had been purged, the generation that came out of Egypt had died off, Moses was set apart at that point to be their leader until the time to enter the land, and then the mantle was passed, as you know, to Joshua, and you know the story of them going in, sending spies, the whole time moving in and taking the Promised Land.
Now at that time, that land was called the land of what? Canaan. The land of Canaan. And that is because it was occupied by descendents of Ham through Canaan. Canaanites. And here are the Jews on the brink of going in to take this land. And God had told them go in, take the land, it belongs to you, and kill the people who live there. You are acting as instruments of divine judgment. You need to go in on behalf of God and be the instrument of judgment against the wicked Canaanites. And they were wicked. Vile, idolatress people. Who if not eliminated, would corrupt the Israelites. And as you know the history, the Jews did not eliminate them as God told them to, and they suffered the corruption. Because they didn't, it cost them ultimately to again to into captivity into Babylon, and lose the glory of their great land.
But here are the Jews on the brink, they're ready to go in to take this land. Turn to the 15thchapter for a moment of Genesis. And I think it's important for you to kind of see what's going on here. Here is where initially the land is promised to the descendents of Abraham, the Jewish people for whom Abraham and those who came after him; Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Jacob's name is changed to Israel, and that's the line of descent that ends up being Jewish people.
But here in the original promise to Abraham that we know as the Abrahamic Covenant, God promises to Abraham and his descendents this land. Let's pick it up in verse 7 of Genesis 15. God said to Abram as he was called initially, "I am the Lord who brought you out of err of the Caldeans to give you this land to possess it." And he said, "O Lord God how may I know that I shall possess it?" You're telling me that there's gonna be a land that I'm going to possess? A great land, in fact a land that extends far beyond the current borders of Israel in its original pledge, that engulfs most of the Middle East, east of Israel.
But Abram asked a very important question, how do I know that I'm gonna possess this land? And the Lord said to him some interesting thing. Bring me a 3-year-old Heifer, 3-year-old female goat, 3-year-old ram, turtle dove and a young pigeon. He said what in the world is that menagerie about? In ancient times, when covenants were made; covenants, binding pledges, there needed to be something to affirm the strength of commitment in the covenant. And so covenants were cut in blood. And it was a way of the person saying if I don't keep my covenant, may I die, symbolically. The Lord was gonna make this statement in a very, very complete and clear way. so he asked for a heifer, goat, ram, turtle dove and a pigeon.
Brought them all, cut them in half. Laid each half opposite the other, didn't cut the birds. Cut a bird and all you get is a bunch of feathers, so you just put one dead bird on one side, one dead bird on the other side. The other animals were split down the middle, you got a little corridor going between halves of these animals and two birds that have been killed.
This is God; this is God. And when the sun was going down, verse 12, says Moses the writer, "A deep sleep fell upon Abram." God gave him a divine anesthetic, knocked him out. "And behold terror and great darkness fell upon him." I mean, he went into a serious coma. They indicate that there was a fear, overwhelming fear, indicative of the presence of God. And God said to Abram, "Know for certain that your descendents will be strangers in a land that is not theirs, where they will be enslaved and oppressed 400 years". God gives him a prophecy that there's going to be an enslavement of the Children of Israel, the Children of Abraham, for 400 years. Actually, specifically, 430 years they were in Egypt, "But I will also judge the nation whom they will serve, and afterward they will come out with many possessions". That's exactly what God did. The Israelites came out of there with a measure of wealth, delivered from Egypt by, as you know, the ten plagues, the Red Sea parted for them. "As for you, Abram, you shall go to your fathers in peace, you shall be buried at a good old age." And the fourth generation after the 400 years of captivity, they shall return here. For the iniquity of the Amorite is not yet complete." Here is the land I'm gonna give you, He says to Abram, right here in front of you. You left there, you've come here, here's the land. But I want you to know your descendants are gonna get this land, I'm gonna make a covenant, I'm cutting the pieces right here, to signify the seriousness of this covenant as if to say may I die if I don't keep the covenant. But I'm telling you, the covenant is not gonna be fulfilled immediately; in the intervening period there's gonna be a 400-year enslavement. And you're not gonna be able to come back and take this land, look at this, until the inequity of the Amorite is complete. The Amorite is another word for Canaanite.
I can't bring you into the land until you can act as my instrument of judgment on an iniquitous people. so from the very beginning, God had pledged to Abram this land. What land is it? go down to verse 18. "On that day the Lord made a covenant with Abram saying 'To your descendents I have given this land from the River of Egypt, as far as the Great River, the River Euphrates.'" That would be from the Euphrates way at the east, way back in the Iraq/Iran fertile crescent area; we don't know where the ancient River Euphrates exactly was and where it exactly flowed, to the River of Egypt. Probably not understood to be the Nile, but rather, what has been known in ancient times as Wadde El Orach, the southern border of Judah. "I'm giving you all that land, the land of the Kenite, the Kennezite, the Cadmonite, the Hittite, the Parazite, the Rupham, the Amorite, the Canaanite, the Girgashite, the Jebusite; the Jebuse being an ancient name of Jerusalem, and the ancient occupants of God's city. So all of these people were a part of their whole Canaan culture. But He said I can't give you the land until the iniquity of these people is full.
We now jump not 420 years later, but closer to 600 plus years later. The 430-year captivity is past, it didn't come for a while after Abraham as you know, they didn't go into Egypt in Abraham's time. They went into Egypt after Abraham and the stories of Joseph are the ones that are linked with Egypt.
So, there's some time to pass, then there's 430 years, and now here we are jumping ahead 600 or so years, and the inequity of these people is full. The inequity of the Canaanites, the Amorites meaning Canaanites is full. And God has now brought his people through this equitous trek. Forty years in the wilderness, they stand on the edge of the Jordan to cross and take the land. They're entitled to it, because God pledged it to Abram.
And to show you how binding the pledge was, I want you to go back to verse 17 for a minute. I think this is one of the most interesting little pieces of insight in the Old Testament. When the sun set, remember now, Abram's in a coma. Usually when there's a covenant, you cut the animals, and both parties walk though. Both parties together walk through the dead animals. They're cutting the covenant, and signifying by walking between the bloody pieces, may such happen to me if I don't keep the covenant.
But Abram didn't go through this ritual. He didn't go through the pieces, God knocked him out. Came about when the sun had set. It was very dark. "And behold there appeared a smoking oven, and a flaming torch which passed between these pieces." Who was that? God, by himself. That's why we say the Abrahamic Covenant is a unilateral, unconditional covenant made between God and Himself. It's not dependent on Abraham. It is unilateral, it is a covenant which God makes with Himself. He willgive Abram a people. He willgive that people the land. That's His promise.
And when they were standing on the edge of the Jordan River looking across at the land, and ready to go take the land, and the surrounding area, the question would immediately come into their mind, what right do we have to this land? The answer: the promise of God to Abram. This is your covenant land. But why should we go in and dispossess the Canaanites? Because their inequity is complete. God has a limit. And you will be his instruments of judgment. But why Canaanites? Well, they would know the answer to that, wouldn't they. When they heard the reading that I just read to you. let's go back to chapter 9. Because Canaan was the one who was cursed.
Now, moving along a little bit, I told you last time the passage gives three central realities in the new world. The first one is propagation, verses 18 and 19, the whole earth was populated from that one family, we talked about that. The second word, pollution. Verses 20 to 30, here's where we find the sin that ends up with the curse. Here we see very simply Noah is a farmer. He's a man of the ground, like Adam was; a tiller of the soil. And of course, since there was only one family in the world, if they wanted to eat, they had to grow their own food.
And so he began farming, and he planted a vineyard. And when you deal with grapes, or you could use the word orchard - it's true of any fruit drink - part of the fallenness of the world is fermentation, and you have to be very careful. You have to drink the fruit when it's fresh, or mix it with water, as typically was done, so that you dilute its alcohol content. But he drank the wine, became drunk, and uncovered himself in his tent.
Here is the record of the inevitable sin, and as I said, the Lord could have chosen from a thousand different sins, but he chooses this one. Drunkenness, and a loss of proper inhibitions. Noah lost his dignity. He lost his decency. In the stupor of his drunkenness he became immodest, and behaved himself shamefully. Nakedness, exposure, does not elicit noble, pure thoughts from fallen people. The Old Testament isn't explicit beyond the fact that he just was naked.
The implication is that this was a shameful thing. To so expose himself with others nearby. And since Adam's fall - you remember the first thing that Adam and Eve did when they fell was sew together fig leaves to cover themselves; Genesis 3:7. Civilized people have always worn clothing to safeguard, as much as possible, what is a pure relationship. Clothes cover shame and protect purity. And that's why we say when people wanna seduce other people, they expose themselves; the more of themselves they expose, the more blatant is the seduction. God forbid such in Exodus 20:26, exodus 28:42, and all through Scripture.
So here was Noah, drunk and abandoning his normal sense of virtue and reasonable shame, and you know they have this mental control in behaving in the way that he did. Then in verse 22, and Ham- and here we are again introduced to this father of Canaan idea which was also back in verse 18. and at this point, it seems rather arbitrary, but Ham the father of Canaan saw the nakedness of his father, and told his two brothers outside. Now we need to just talk about this for a moment, because this is the whole point, isn't it?
I wanna tell you something about Ham. Ham was a believer. Ham had received the righteousness of God imputed to him by faith in God. Ham was a man who loved God and worshipped God and served God, and that is why he escaped the judgment of the flood. He didn't escape the judgment of the flood because he was the child of a believer, that won't do it. he was a believer. He was a man whom God had graciously protected in judgment, because he belonged to God.
But he does something that is sinful here, and that certainly is a reminder that righteous people sin. He saw the nakedness of his father. I admit that that's admittedly a cryptic comment, but I can't go anywhere that the Bible doesn't go, it's enough to say he saw the nakedness of his father. The seeing, the original use of that term, can imply that he gazed with some delight. Here was his father without modesty and without dignity, it was his father without the covering that provides a boundary for fallen human relationships. And Ham saw it. And he saw it with some measure of delight, is the implication.
I don't think it was particularly sexual; there's no reason to assume that. This is not a parallel phrase to those uncoverings of nakedness that are all through Leviticus 18; that's a different phrase. He saw, it says. He didn't uncover, he saw. But the idea is that it was a sight that somehow pleased him. he found some pleasure, some delight in his father's shame; in his father's dishonor. That would be the attitude of a rebellious son. That would be something of the glee, something of the satisfaction, when somebody respected and revered and honored and who is the patriarch falls.
It was a further insult that he went outside, it says, and told his two brothers. That would be the ugly sin of ridicule. That would be the further sin of disrespect. He should have covered his father, protecting his father. But instead, he wanted his other brothers to join in the ridicule. This was an attitude of disdain. It shows, if I can stretch the phrase, an unloving attitude because love covers. Love finds something wrong with someone and covers it. Disdain or bitterness or animosity exposes it. Love doesn't wanna think evil, doesn't wanna bear evil tales. Resentment does. For some reason, Ham had resentment for his father. Some level of rebellion. A serious breach of what would later become the fifth commandment, honor your father and your mother.
So as one commentator puts it, Ham desecrated a natural and sacred barrier. His going out to tell his brothers about it and without covering the old man aggravated the act, because of this breach of domestic and filial propriety - remember, these are not little boys. These are men. Ham could expect nothing less than the oracle against his own family's honor. He dishonored his father, and God then brought shame into his family.
Look at the contrast to the other sons, verse 23. "But Shem and Japheth took a garment and laid it upon both their shoulders and walked backward, and covered the nakedness of their father and their faces were turned away so that they didn't see their father's nakedness". They had an appropriate sense of shame. They would find no pleasure in their father's indiscretion. This shows what kind of sons they were.
Now remember, as I said, these aren't boys. These guys are at least 100 years old. And Noah's well over 600. He's been their father, and they know him well. And then they've known his faults. Being cooped up on a boat with the same people for a year plus, you'd find out anything you didn't know in the first 600 years. Of course, they weren't around until the 100th, but they loved their father, and they showed respect for their father. And so they wanted also to preserve their own pure thoughts. They didn't want any opportunity for any impure thought to come into their minds. And so they put a garment over their shoulders and they backed in, and they covered him. they refused to be a part of Ham's disrespect. That phrase says they did not see their father's nakedness.
That is a strong rebut to Ham. They rebut Ham by their behavior. "You're outta line, brother. You're out of line". And by the way, this is a strong reminder to us of the boundaries that honor God. They demonstrated the heart that is defined in Habakkuk 1:13, "You are of purer eyes than to behold evil and cannot look on wickedness". What an example they are to us in a world of nakedness, designed to remove shame and normalize lust.
So the new world. Propagation, pollution. That leads to a third word. Now we get to the heart of the matter, polarization. Polarization. Sequentially in the account we are brought to polarization. What I mean by that is just how life is in the world - it's propagation, you're gonna produce children, they're gonna be sinful; it's pollution, sin is gonna be all around us, and the result of that is polarization.
On the one hand, for those who follow God and honor him, there will be blessing; for those who don't there will be cursing. That becomes a pattern through all of redemptive history. You can find the distinctions of that particularly in Deuteronomy 27 and 28, when God defines for the Children of Israel the patterns of life that bring cursing, chapter 27, and the pattern of life that brings blessing, chapter 28. Even Jesus talked about blessings and cursings, didn't he. These are the two extremes of life; that's how life is today. You're either among the blessed or among the cursed, right? That's all there are. There aren't any middle people. there are those blessed, who know and serve the true and living God, and everybody else is what? Cursed, cursed. And when there are whole nations of people that reject God, they become cursed nations.
Verse 24 opens this to us, when Noah awoke from his wine, when his stupor was over, he had slept off his drunkenness, he knew what his youngest son had done to him. Doesn't tell us how he knew, but he knew. He knew that he had dishonored him, that he had shown disrespect to him, that he had not only dishonored him and shown disrespect in the way he looked at him, but he had told the brothers and spread his disdain.
You know, by this incident, Noah had the heart attitudes of his sons revealed to him. And he responded. With a curse on the one hand, and blessing on the other. And that's how everybody in this world lives; you either live under the blessing of God or the curse of God. But God doesn't speak here; in fact it's somewhat sad silence shows God's silent displeasure. But we are given - and this is quite interesting- the first words and only words of Noah in the Bible.
Noah was a preacher of righteousness, the New Testament says. He preached for 120 years while he was building the ark, he must have had a lot to say - we've been dealing with him since the sixth chapter - but this is the first and only thing he ever says on the pages of Scripture. Verse 25, listen carefully. When a man doesn't say anything, and he finally speaks, it's probably pretty important. So he said, this is all we hear from him: "Cursed be Canaan, a servant of servants he shall be to his brothers."
Isn't that strange? What is Canaan? Why not Ham? What? I've heard lots of people talk about the curse of Ham, there isn't any such thing. Do you ever hear people talk about the curse of Ham? Ham wasn't cursed. Canaan was cursed. And who was he? The fourth son of Ham. The youngest of the four, over in chapter 10:6; he comes after Cush and Mizraim; why pick on him? why does God sovereignty attach this curse to this one son? Well let me tell you why. Believe me, the literature is massive on this discussion and I read 'til I was back full circle and started reading more of the same that I'd already read. But it's a big circle.
Why does he curse Canaan? And I will tell you what my conviction about this is. I believe that he couldn't curse Ham. Because, Ham was a righteous man. And to be God's child, and to be declared righteous, and to be granted grace, is to escape the curse. If he escapes the flood, how could he possibly be cursed? Well you say, he could have cursed Cush, and he could have cursed Mizraim, and he could have cursed Phut - yeah. But, he didn't. which leads me to the conviction that it is very likely that those three boys were also righteous. That they, too, knew God and loved God and served God, and by grace were declared righteous.
The only person that God is gonna curse is somebody who rejects him. and I think the best way to understand this is you have to move through Ham's family to the first unbeliever there, who then bears the weight of the curse.
So here what you have is Noah's only statement, and the only thing he ever says turns out to be his last will and testament. Here's his legacy to his family before his death, he's gonna die as we see in verse 28 and 29, he speaks and then he dies in the flow of the text. And he attaches the curse to Canaan. The only way that I can understand that Canaan would be cursed would be that Canaan is the unbeliever in the family.
Now, you say Noah cursing - I can understand God cursing, but what's Noah doing? Is this Voodoo? Was this some magic worked on Canaan? No. When God cursed somebody, that was fixed. I mean, we've already seen that, haven't we, in Genesis chapter 3, God cursed the serpent, God cursed the woman, God cursed mankind as such. God cursed the ground to make it difficult, but Noah cursing somebody? Well I think it's an appeal to God. I think he understands cursed be Canaan. I think he is reaching into Ham's family to identify a person, and it may be prophetic at this point, because we don't know whether these other sons were born yet, but by inspiration, he's giving some oracle or some prophecy reaching into the family of Ham, under God's direction, and puts the curse on this youngest son. And that was prophetic of Canaan's unbelief and Canaan's unbelieving progeny, that eventually became the wicked Canaanites, the nation profamed and blasphemous of all that was divine and holy. And so the curse of sin was passed through to Canaan.
That is not to say that the rest of the family weren't sinners - they were all sinners, of course. But this is a unique curse that shows up in the line of Canaan, ultimately in the Canaanites. And the Canaanites become the enemies of God's people all through the Book of Genesis. Starting in chapter 11 we'll see it, all the way to chapter 50. They are the enemies of God's people. In fact, the sin of the Canaanites was so massive and so great, that it defiled the land. You can read about that, Leviticus 18:28, Joshua 23; their inequity was so great, they had totally defiled the land.
And so this is to help the Jews understand that when they go in, they are acting as the judges of God, or I should say the executioners, bringing out God's judgment. And what is this specifically, this curse, "...a servant of servants he shall be to his brothers". A servant of servants he shall be to his brothers. That is, he's gonna be a slave. He's gonna be a slave, first of all, to the family of Shem. Because it was out of the family of Shem that Abraham came and the Jews came. These people were wicked.
Did you know if you - we'll see it as we read further - if you study the territory of Ham, the territory of Canaan coming from Ham - it included Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities of the Plane. Go down to verse 15, Canaan became the father of Sidon his firstborn, and now you see them develop the Jebucites, Amorite, the Girgashite, the Hivite, the Arkite, the Sinite, the Arvadite, the Zemaritem the Hamathite; afterward the families of the Canaanite were spread abroad, they're going everywhere extending from Sidon, that's on the coast of what is now Israel, toward Gerar as far as Gaza on the south, Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, Zeboiim - they sweep all the way to Sodom and Gomorrah. That whole area was the area of these people who were the descendents of Canaan. Wicked, wicked people. Corrupt and corrupting. We'll see that in chapter 13, chapter 15, 18, chapter 19, and particularly in chapter 38 of Genesis.
And they by the way, interestingly enough, were the people whose lifestyle was characterized by nakedness. When we get to Leviticus chapter 18, if you wanna look it up, I think as I remember, 24 times the issue of uncovering nakedness is mentioned there, and it was part of the lifestyle of the Canaanites. Somehow, that abhoration, that experience of nakedness that occurred with Ham shows up generations later in this immoral pension for uncovering peoples nakedness; that is for having activities outside of God's boundaries. God didn't make them evil; in fact, God waited for centuries, until their evil had reached an intolerable limit. God's hatred of these sins particularly caused him to ready the Children of Israel to take that land.
So summing up what I've said, Ham couldn't be cursed in that sense because he was a true believer. He couldn't be cursed and thereby subjected to this judgment of God. Apparently the other sons weren't cursed either because they were to be believers or if any of them were born, perhaps were believers, but Canaan bore the curse. And consequently, they were the ones whom God providentially put into that land, and then judged in that land with the coming in of Israel. Israel, then, is justly taking the land. That's what I want you to see - justly taking the land.
Then in verse 26, a lot more can be said about that. Verse 26 he also said, "Blessed" - here comes the other polarization here - "Blessed be the Lord the God of Shem, and let Canaan be his servant. May God enlarge Japheth and let him dwell in the tents of Shem, and let Canaan be his servant". So here is blessing for the Lord who is the God of Shem. And may God enlarge Japheth. So on the other hand, the two sons who did what was right received blessing.
This is all - you can tell, I think, in the English language how it's set apart. It's all in Hebrew poetic form, which is interesting. He is appealing to God - he is saying God curse Canaan. He may be saying it prophetically; it may, as most commentators would say, be an oracle in which he's inspired by God to pronounce a curse on behalf of God; on the other hand, it may be an appeal to God to do this. I lean toward the idea that it's an oracle, how else could he put it upon Canaan. So he literally is speaking, but yet it is an oracle coming from God.
Here he's pronouncing blessing on the Lord who is the God of Shem. And if you bless the Lord who is the God of Shem, if Shem is following the blessed Lord then Shem will be blessed, and Canaan will be his servant. And that's exactly right - out of Shem came the Israelites, and the Canaanites served them. Shem was a true worshipper of God, as were his brothers and their wives - including Ham. Shem was a true worshipper. Particularly in this incident, he acted righteously; showing that the Lord was his God. And so Noah his father says blessed be the Lord the God of Shem.
And he says blessed be the Lord - he uses the name Yahweh, which is God's personal covenant name, and he links God's personal covenant name with Shem as if to say Shem and God are linked in a redeeming covenant. He and his line are therefore set aside for covenant blessing, which will be fulfilled all the way through Abraham, and the great Abrahamic Covenant. And you know ultimately who is the one who fulfills the promises of the Abrahamic covenant, who is it? It's Jesus. Because the Abrahamic Covenant promised blessing in the land. But Israel will never have blessing in the land until they come to the knowledge of Jesus Christ, son of Abraham, son of God, and their Savior. And when they put their trust in him, they will receive all the promises that God made to Abraham.
The line of Shem, from which we get the word Semitic, goes right through Abraham to Jesus Christ. So the language blesses God, not Shem, but it blesses God for blessing Shem, for making Shem the kind of man he is - "Bless you Lord, that you are the God of Shem", and Shem becomes Israel, who subdues and conquers the Canaanites. That's why he says let Canaan be his servant. The child of Canaan would be in bondage to the offspring of Shem. Edwardo Cassudo, a Hebrew commentator, has a paragraph that I wanna read for you. It says this: "Here it is stated that Canaan would be a slave to Shem. That means that the children of Canaan would be in bondage to the children of Shem." Now further on in chapter 10:22 we are told who the children of Shem are, and that the first of them is Elam. In the same chapter, verse 19, the borders of the Canaanites are defined. And they are said to extend in the direction of Sodom, Gomorrah, Zeboiim and as far as Lasha. That is to say that all these cities were included in the territory of the Canaanites. These cities, Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah and Zeboiim are again listed together in chapter 14, where the relations between the kings of the Canaanite cities and Kedarlaomer, King of Elam, are described.
Now the relationship was that they had served Kedarlaomer, chapter 14:4, that is the children of Canaan served him who ruled over the first of the peoples of the children of Shem. Point being, that from the very earliest, the children of Canaan were under the rulership of the children of Shem.
He goes on to say they have served exactly what we are told here, and let Canaan be his slave. That's exactly the way history worked. Immediately they were under the authority of Semites. And it stayed that way until finally, the Jewish people took their land.
And I might just say the promise to Abraham of the land for the people of God is still in place today. It's still their land, it still belongs to them, and God will see that they receive it.
I want to just take you a little further, and then I'm gonna explain this more next time when we look at chapter 10. Verse 27, may God enlarge Japheth and let him dwell in the tents of Shem and let Canaan be his servant. Her is a blessing on Japheth who did the right thing, enlarging Japheth. The descendents of Japheth, by the way, were the Indo-European nations, people groups, to the north, to the west, to the east; they were the colonizers of the world, the colonizers who established the great cities, the great nations; they enlarged and they expanded - they will dwell in the tents of Shem. In other words, they will have a peaceful relationship with the Semites. A good relationship. And that's the way it's been, pretty much. All the fury and all the animosity against Israel has come from that middle eastern part of the world. And that's all part of this description.
And I wanna say more about it, as I said, when we get into chapter 10. We'll leave it at that for tonight.
We will close it off, however, with versus 28 and 29. "And Noah lived 350 years after the flood, so all the days of Noah were 950 years, and he did." 60 years before the flood, actually one year plus during the flood, 350 years after the flood makes it 951 years. Just so you get a perspective on that, he lived through the tower of Babel. It is possible that he lived until the time of Abraham. Now let me just give you the big picture.
Noah was born 69 years after Enoch walked with God. Enoch was a contemporary of Adam. Right? Enoch knew Adam. Sixty nine years after Enoch's gone, Noah is born. And by the way, that's only 57 years after Adam died. It's amazing how close those lives were, because they lived so long.
So the whole of human history is spanned by Adam, Enoch, stick Methuselah in the middle years between the death of Adam and the birth of Noah, you got Methuselah, so you've got Adam, Enoch, Methuselah, and Noah. And this is only 2,000 years after creation, and it's spanned by four lives. But the inevitable came. He died. Because even for a believer, the wages of sin is still a physical death. It's not that we shall die spiritually, not because our sins are covered and the death that we should die has been already died by the Lord Jesus Christ.
Our Father, we thank you again for what we've learned tonight about history, origins. We have brought it all to its conclusion by reminding ourselves that there are only two possible acts on your part toward man; one is cursing and the other is blessing. We than you that because of Christ, we can be among the blessed. And we bless you, our Lord and our God, for blessing us in Christ, in whose name we pray, Amen.
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