- Locate the passage
This pericope records the history of Noah and his sons after disembarking from the ark. It covers the final 349 years of Noah’s life.
The passage is narrative. The only conversation is from Noah regarding the judgment on Ham and the blessing on Shem and Japheth.
- Determine the structure of the passage
9:18-20 – Noah’s sons repopulate the earth
9:21-23 – Noah’s intoxication and Ham’s foolishness
9:24-27 – Noah’s curses and blessings
9:28-29 – The end of Noah’s life
- Exegete the passage
The flood did not eradicate sin; it just judged sinners. Noah’s 3 sons began to fulfill the Lord’s command to repopulate the earth (9:7).
9:19 – The earth was “populated”
- “naphats” means “scattered”
- This anticipates the spreading of the world’s population in Genesis 11.
9:19 – Noah became a “farmer”
- “a man of the land”
- Gen. 5:29 and the prophecy regarding Noah
9:19 – It is not specified how much time passed. But enough time passed for Noah to plant a vineyard, the grapes to grow, harvest the vineyard, and make wine.
- Noah was over-served and under-dressed
- This is the first occasion of drunkenness in Scripture. It is not clear if Noah knew the effect that too much alcohol would have. The Scripture does not assess Noah’s vintner activities, but merely reports them.
9:22 – Ham … saw the nakedness of his father
- There is no indication in the text and no reason to read into the verse more than voyeurism and immature gossip.
- The sin would not be seeing his father naked (that would be Noah’s fault). The sin would be taking pleasure in it and mocking his inebriated father to his brothers.
- His actions demonstrated disrespect for his father and deserved his father’s anger, though Noah has no authority to curse. That right only belongs to God.
9:23-24 – Shem and Japheth took a garment
- Shem and Japheth showed their father the respect Ham neglected.
9:25 – this is the first occasion in Scripture of a person uttering a curse
- An embarrassed curse
- Noah seems to be shifting the blame from the embarrassment of his improper behavior to the immature reaction of Ham.
9:25 – “Cursed”
- The Hb. “arar” is the same word used of the serpent (3:14), the ground (3:17), Cain (4:11-12), and the ground (5:29; 8:21).
9:25 – The Curse of Canaan
- Not clearly specified in the text:
- Did the curse actually come true or should it have been uttered?
- Why Canaan was judged and not Ham?
- In what way Canaan became a servant to servants?
- In what way Canaan was ever subject to Japheth?
- Why was Canaan punished and not Ham? This is perhaps due to the fact that God had previously blessed Ham (9:1). This also anticipates the subsequent conflict between Israel (the descendants of Shem) and the Canaanites. Thus, the character of the father portends the traits of future generations. Though, the “sins” of the Canaanites was not the curse of Ham (they would be accountable for their own sin), but perhaps the curse would be knowing that it would occur.
- Perhaps the “curse of Canaan” foreshadows the later tradition of sexual misconduct that became symptomatic of the Canaanites.
9:28-29 – a sad and somewhat quiet end to Noah’s life.
- The man who found favor with the Lord did nothing in the last 350 years of his life that merited recording in Scripture
- Let the structure of the text drive the sermon
- There is a difference between enjoying God’s blessings and abusing the privilege of having them.
- One does not need a law to know that kindness is appropriate
- The importance of Godly examples we set for our children
- Noah for his sons
- Ham for Canaan
- The silence of Noah’s final years is preferable to the drunken stupor, but loud in its absence of subsequent faith from the man who found favor with God.
- Noah, undoubtedly, had more than one great moment of faith, since he found favor with God before building the ark. But, none are recorded after.