Scripture: (Gen 9:22-23 NKJV)  And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father, and told his two brothers outside. {23} But Shem and Japheth took a garment, laid it on both their shoulders, and went backward and covered the nakedness of their father. Their faces were turned away, and they did not see their father’s nakedness.

Observation: I think there’s always the question as to what exactly Ham did that caused such reaction from Noah when he awoke.  Was it just the simple act of seeing his father naked?  Maybe some commentaries may give us some insights.  From the Bible Knowledge Commentary we can read: The basic question concerns what Ham, Noah’s youngest son, did (9:22, 24) and why Noah cursed Ham’s “son” Canaan (vv. 25-27). Many fanciful ideas have been proposed . The rabbis said Ham castrated Noah, thus explaining why Noah had no other sons. Others claim that Ham slept with his mother, thus uncovering his father’s nakedness, and that Canaan was the offspring of that union. Others have said that Ham was involved in a homosexual attack on his father. But the Hebrew expression here means what it says: Ham . . . saw his father’s nakedness (v. 22). He was not involved with Noah sexually, for in that case the Hebrew would be translated “he uncovered his father’s nakedness.” Instead Noah had already uncovered himself, and Ham saw him that way.
     To the ancients, however, even seeing one’s father naked was a breach of family ethic. The sanctity of the family was destroyed and the strength of the father was made a mockery. Ham apparently stumbled on this accidentally, but went out and exultingly told his two brothers, as if he had triumphed over his father.  So what seems to be a trivial incident turned out to be a major event. Noah’s oracle (vv. 25-27) showed that the natures of his three sons would be perpetuated in their descendants.
    The Bible Readers Companion adds that “Here the text suggests that Ham’s sin was one of ridiculing the father he should have honored (cf. Ex. 20:12).
     And the SDA Bible Commentary adds: The sin of Ham was not an unintentional transgression. He may have seen his father’s shameful condition accidentally, but instead of being filled with sorrow over his father’s folly, he rejoiced in what he saw and found delight in publishing it.
     Ellen White gives us additional insights when she writes, The unnatural crime of Ham declared that filial reverence had long before been cast from his soul, and it revealed the impiety and vileness of his character. These evil characteristics were perpetuated in Canaan and his posterity, whose continued guilt called upon them the judgments of God. {PP 117}
     So I think we can safely conclude that Ham:
1. Failed to protect his father’s vulnerable condition in his drunken stupor.
2. Went out to tell his brothers – you could even say he publicized it loudly.
3. He ridiculed his father

Application: The Lord is very clear and specific in the Ten Commandments when He wrote with His own finger, “Honor your father and your mother” (Ex. 20:12).  Shem and Japeth took this command very seriously and respectfully when they covered their father’s nakedness in a very careful and almost ceremonious way.  Any of us who have been parents know we are not perfect and there are times when we have seen our parents’ real self, before us they have been, so-to-speak, naked before us.  It is our choice to follow Ham’s example and publicize our parents’ mistakes and shortcomings, to maybe even ridicule them for those moments of weakness, or we can protect them from others and thus show them we honor, respect, and love them.

A Prayer You May Use: Dear Lord, our Father and our God, thank you for our parents.  Help us, Father, to be patient, kind, and understanding with them, knowing that like any other human being, they may have weak moments when they make mistakes.  May we honor them, respect them, and love them during the good times as well as the bad times, and may we protect them from the outside by maintaining their frailties private and praying for them daily.

Used by permission of Adventist Family Ministries, North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists.



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