Origins and Destinies

  The Dark Powers That Bind - Destiner Press Titles

Extra Notes


for Section 1. MESOPOTAMIA

regarding Noah's curse and Genesis 9:18 to 10:12

Scholars have noted that unless one reads both chapters 9 and 10 carefully there is a common misunderstanding that Canaan was Noah's fourth son and therefore a brother of Shem, Japheth and Ham. That is not what it says; neither was Canaan the only one to bear the effects of this curse.

Noah had three sons, not four (Genesis 9:19 and 10:1). Canaan was a son of Ham and therefore one of Noah's grandsons (Genesis 10:6) and was yet to be born at the time of the curse described in the earlier chapter. Bear in mind that Moses had the advantage of hindsight while writing these words. The curse was on the lineage of Ham. Noah awoke and knew what his youngest son (Ham) had done to him (Genesis 9:24) and cursed even Ham's seed into the next generation. It is common for a Biblical curse to rest not only on the original perpetrator of a particular sin but also on his seed (sons, descendants).

Why Canaan in particular received the brunt of Noah's curse is unclear. Whatever the reason, Canaan was not only to be overshadowed and enslaved by his brothers (Ham's other sons) (Genesis 9:25) but also held in subordinate service to his uncles (Ham's brothers) Shem and Japheth and their descendants (Genesis 9:26,27). Canaan was to be smacked from every direction and was indeed relegated to a subservient and secondary role in Middle East history, a small nation, his land most often overrun and ruled by others. Even the Canaanites religion was to be a miniature echo of the Mesopotamian model that was cut and pasted on them by the descendants of Cush and Egypt.

In terms of Biblical history it is obvious that Canaan was specifically mentioned in this curse because his land was to be the small but significant area where the descendants of Shem through Eber and Abraham to Isra-El (people of the LORD God) and the descendants of Canaan (worshippers of the lord Baal) were to be locked in perpetual conflict, after Israel was rescued from Egypt.

In terms of the bigger picture, it is clear that all four sons of Ham - Canaan, Libya, Cush and Egypt - were fathers of nations that descended into monumental idolatry and gross unbelief, which we discover as this whole epic unfolds. They were all four cursed and dramatically delivered into the hands of the Dark Powers That Bind.


Some notes from the Matthew Henry (1662-1714) Concise Bible Commentary, Genesis 9.

(originally written in 1706, available online at many sites and as a paperback or hardcover book from Nelson Publishing)

Noah curses Canaan, blesses Shem, prays for Japheth.

(words in brackets added to clarify the old English prose)

"Noah declares a curse on Canaan, the son of Ham; perhaps this grandson of his was more guilty than the rest. A servant of servants, that is, The meanest and most despicable servant, shall he be, even to his brethren. This certainly points at the victories in after-times obtained by Israel over the Canaanites, by which they were put to the sword, or brought to pay tribute.

The whole continent of Africa was peopled mostly by the descendants of Ham; and for how many ages have the better parts of that country lain under the dominion of the Romans, then of the Saracens, and now of the Turks! In what wickedness, ignorance, barbarity, slavery, and misery most of the inhabitants live! And of the poor Negroes, how many every year are sold and bought, like beasts in the market, and conveyed from one quarter of the world to do the work of beasts in another! But this in no way excuses the covetousness and barbarity of those who enrich themselves with the product of their sweat and blood. God has not commanded us to enslave Negroes; and, without doubt, he will severely punish all such cruel wrongs.

The fulfillment of this prophecy (prophetic curse on Ham's descendants), which contains almost a history of the world, frees Noah from the suspicion of having uttered it from personal anger. It fully proves that the Holy Spirit took occasion from Ham's offence to reveal his secret purposes (for the peoples of the whole world).

Jews were, for a great while, the only professing people that God had in the world. Christ, who was the Lord God, in his human nature should descend from Shem; for of him, as concerning the flesh, Christ came. Noah also blesses Japheth, and, in him, the Gentiles that were peopled by his seed. We may read it, that God shall persuade Japheth, and being persuaded, he shall dwell in the tents of Shem. Jews and Gentiles shall be united together in the gospel fold; both shall be one in Christ. Noah lived to see two worlds; but being an heir of the righteousness which is by faith, he now rests in hope, waiting to see a better (world) than either (the pre-Flood earth or this present one)."