God's Curse On Canaan, the Son of Ham
Dr. Joe Temple


Open your Bibles, please, to the book of Genesis. We have been studying the book of Genesis for a number of weeks, chapter by chapter, verse by verse. We come now to the latter portion of chapter 9 and what happened after the flood.

As we read this portion of Scripture, I think you will recognize immediately that it discusses a prophecy which is pertinent to the age in which we are livng. Certainly, in view of all the many things that are being said about this particular Scripture, it is needful for us to understand what it does say. I would like for you to keep that in mind as we read this portion of the Word of God as it begins with chapter 9, verse 18:

Genesis 9:

18And the sons of Noah, that went forth of the ark, were Shem, and Ham, and Japheth: and Ham is the father of Canaan.

You will want to keep that statement in mind. The Holy Spirit placed it there because what follows is related to it. You will want to remember it.

Genesis 9:

19These are the three sons of Noah: and of them was the whole earth overspread.

You will want to keep that also in mind, because it is important. The entire earth was populated by the descendants of Shem, Ham, and Japheth. Notice verse 20:

Genesis 9:

20And Noah began to be an husbandman, and he planted a vineyard:
21And he drank of the wine, and was drunken; and he was uncovered within his tent.
22And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father, and told his two brethren without.
23And Shem and Japheth took a garment, and laid it upon both their shoulders, and went backward, and covered the nakedness of their father; and their faces were backward, and they saw not their father's nakedness.
24And Noah awoke from his wine, and knew what his younger son had done unto him.
25And he said, Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren.
26And he said, Blessed be the Lord God of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant.
27God shall enlarge Japheth, and he shall dwell in the tents of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant.
28And Noah lived after the flood three hundred and fifty years.
29And all the days of Noah were nine hundred and fifty years: and he died.

As we go back over this passage of Scripture, you will remember that the earth had been cleansed by the Flood, and God was starting everything over anew. We will not take time to do it now, but it would be very profitable for you to compare what God said to Adam at the beginning of the creation, and what God said to Noah at the beginning of this new era in the world's history. You would find that in ten different ways God said to Noah practically the same things he said to Adam.

This indicates for us that man had failed once, and God was giving him another chance. Here was an opportunity for man to prove himself, if it were possible for him to do so. However, you can see in the passage of Scripture at which we have looked that this new era began in failure, and when we get over to chapter 11 of Genesis, we will find that it ended in failure. Failure was written large over man even with a new beginning and a new chance.

If you will look with me at the reason for this failure, we will be able to lay the foundation for the basic portion of this paragraph which we want to notice together. Look at chapter 9, verse 20:

Genesis 9:

20And Noah began to be an husbandman, [that is, Noah became a farmer after the flood] and he planted a vineyard:

These, you will notice, are all ordinary, natural pursuits in which there is no harm and with which there is certainly nothing wrong. Then notice verse 21:

Genesis 9:

21And he drank of the wine, and was drunken;…

The Sin of Drunkenness

Of course, quite a bit of time elapsed between verses 20 and 21. There had to be time for the vineyard to produce grapes. There had to be time for the wine to be made, and there had to be time for the wine to ferment until it was intoxicating. Noah drank of the wine, and he was drunk. This is the first time drunkenness is mentioned in the Bible, but it is not the last time.

The very first time it is mentioned is in association with sin. We need to lay that down firmly in our minds. There is a movement on in our generation to declare that you are terrible if you suggest that drunkenness is related to sin. Drunkenness is only a disease, and if you get the disease cured, like smallpox or anything else, the problem will be solved. I want to say to you that you may arrest the disease of drunkenness, but it will never be cured until it is recognized as sin. The grace of God is implemented in men's lives to set them free from the slavery of drink.

I want to say this in the interest of those of you who may be faced with the problem, not as far as you yourselves are concerned, but for loved ones, because you may be called upon to help people like this. I think it is wise for us to remember that that which is a sin can result in a diseased body and a diseased mind. A person may be saved by the grace of God and be forgiven the sin of drunkenness, but still in some instances need the healing of the mind or the body.

When you are dealing with people who have this problem, not only should you pray for the spiritual deliverance, but in most cases you should pray for their physical and mental healing. Intoxicating beverages are poison, and it is a well-proven fact that the brain is damaged by drink. There is evidence that the body is damaged by drink.

Though the Lord may save the soul, He does not always restore the mind and the body. Thank God that He can, but He does not always. I sometimes think we fall short in our praying about this problem in both of these ways. Some people fail to look at it as sin and recognize it only as a disease, and some people look upon it only as sin and fail to realize that it has damaged the person. I would like for you to keep that in mind.

The Sin of Immorality

Looking again at verse 21, we find that Noah was uncovered in his tent. Here we find, as is so often true in the Word of God, and as is so very, very often true in the practical aspects of the case, impurity is related to intoxication. For this statement, “Noah was uncovered in his tent,” does not mean that the old man fell asleep in his tent and the covers fell off him. The Hebrew language, in which this was written, indicates that it was a deliberate act of impurity…a deliberate act of immorality related to the intoxicated condition of his mind. Again there is sin in this earth. Before the new dispensation of human government had gone along very far, Noah had sinned.

The Results of Sin

I want us to pause here for a moment and draw a few lessons from this, because I do not believe that God put this in the Word of God just as an historical statement. I believe He wanted us to know a few things. The first thing I would suggest to you, without elaborating on it too much in detail, is that no Christian…no matter how much used of God he has been, no matter how spiritual he is…no Christian is free from the possibility of sin.

You would think that Noah, a creature of righteousness for one hundred and twenty years, a man who was wont to find grace in the eyes of the Lord in the midst of a generation of people so wicked that God could not stand it…you would think that man would be above the possibility of sin. If I had been going to choose a man that I did not think would sin, I would have chosen Noah.

One year and ten days he spent in an Ark recognizing the preserving power of God, and so fixed in the Ark that the only place he could look was up. The window in the Ark was top-side. You would think that the man would be immune from sin, but he was not.

Let us recognize that there is no person, so long as he is in this flesh, that is free from the possibility from sin. “ Let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.”

The second thing I would like to leave with you in this relationship is that Noah failed in the course of ordinary, everyday living. Will you remember that? Noah did not get involved in some great big scandal and then fail. He was going about his ordinary everyday affairs, and he fell into sin.

I believe that the Devil ensnares us all in that way more quickly than in any other way. If he should come before us waving a great big red flag, saying, “Look out, I am going to tempt you to sin,” we would be on our guard. In the terms of our text, so often like Noah we end up drunk. We do not know what has happened until after it has happened. We have slipped away from God. We need always to be on our guard, because the Scripture says that the Devil walketh about as a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.

There are some people who make an attempt to excuse Noah in relation to what he did by saying there was no fermentation before the flood, and Noah did not know that the wine would make him drunk. That is debatable, of course. Many, many pages have been written in discussion of it, but nothing has been proven.

This much is sure. The act that brought down the curse of God upon the segment of the human race was not Noah's drunkenness. It was Noah's nakedness. The drunkenness may have caused the nakedness, but the nakedness certainly was sinful.

There can be no question in this passage of Scripture that Noah was to blame for his sin. I would like to suggest to you that we cannot escape the guilt for our sins. We are guilty before God.

Another thing I would like to leave with you is that this was a completely new thing to Noah. There is no record that he had ever planted a vineyard before. There is no record that he had ever been drunk before. This was something new, whether fermentation entered into it or not.

That reminds me that the Devil is as wise as the serpent which symbolizes him. He is quite ready to inject something new, something that no one has ever heard about, in order to bring about the downfall of the human race.

Why am I saying this? It is to warn you that if you think you are a match for the Devil, you are so wrong! If you think that what has happened to multitudes of other people in relation to human failure cannot happen to you, you are so wrong! For the Devil is wise, and he can bring about your downfall.

There is one revealing feature about Noah's sin, and it is suggested in the last statement of the verse that is related to Noah's awakening, in verse 24 of chapter 9:

Genesis 9:

24And Noah awoke from his wine, and knew what his younger son had done unto him.

The original language of this particular verse indicates that Noah was heartsick over his sin…ashamed of the sin that was his before his children. That is what indicates that Noah was a righteous man. Read, when you have time, chapter 23 of the book of Proverbs, and you read a perfect picture of a drunken man. After the picture is presented in Proverbs, the statement is made, “When I awake, I will seek it yet again.”

There is a difference between this man and Noah. Noah never sought it again, and he lived for the remaining days of his life, three hundred and fifty years, with a scar on his experience. He regretted it the rest of his life. The whole context indicates that.

That suggests to us, among other things, that today Noah would be called a Christian man. I have said to you before, and I want to re-emphasize it again, that it is not a question of how much you sin. It is a question of how you feel about your sin. If you can sin and not be concerned about it, not be brokenhearted about it, not shed tears, not be ashamed, then you should be concerned about your relationship to Jesus Christ. If, when you do sin, you realize the terrible thing that you have done, then your heart cries out to God for forgiveness. You may be weak, but you have a heart to which God will respond.

Remember, there is only one man in the Bible of whom it is said he had a heart after God's heart, and yet that man was guilty of murder. He was guilty of adultery. He was a liar and a thief. Someone says, “A man like that…a man after God's heart?” Well, God was not commending his murder, and He was not commending his adultery, his lying, his thievery. That man was David, and God was commending the fact that David had a broken and a contrite heart.

Read Psalm 32, and if you get into the spirit of it, you will know what it is to confess your sins. Read Psalm 51, and if you get into the spirit of it, you will realize what true repentance is, and you will know whether you feel right about your sin.

Noah failed God and failed miserably, and he lived with his scar all the rest of his life. The saddest thing about Noah's sin is how it affected everyone else. That is the basic part of our lesson. If you could sin, and I could sin, and affect only ourselves, it would be bad enough. We cannot! Noah's sin affected one of his boys very, very much.

Ham's Two Sins

Notice what the Scripture says in Genesis, chapter 9, verse 22:

Genesis 9:

22And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father, and told his two brethren without.

Here the English translation does not paint the picture as vividly as the original Hebrew. The story behind this Scripture is not that Ham passed by the door, and seeing his own father lying there in a drunken, naked stupor, went out and said, “Boys, let's do something about that.” It was not that.

It was that he passed by the door and laughed, “There is the old man, the one who has been preaching to me and telling me how to live. Look at the old fool!” There was utter disrespect. When the Scripture says he went out and told his brethren, it was not, “Boys, let's do something to help Dad.” He went out and mocked his father before his brothers, laughed, and poked fun at Noah and Noah's God.

The other two boys had a deeper spiritual perception than did Ham, and they realized what an awful thing had happened. Then, as the Scriptures say, they took a garment, and they walked backward and covered the nakedness of their father, and they closed the door until such a time as he could sober up.

Ham committed two vile sins against God for which he and his descendants suffered. If Noah had not sinned, there would not have been an occasion for Ham to sin. That is a sad thing. Noah got Ham into trouble through Noah's sin. What were the two sins of Ham?

One of them, as I have suggested to you by trying to describe the actual text, was that he made a mock of sin. Solomon, in the book of Proverbs, says, “Fools make a mock at sin.” Only fools do that. It is a serious sin to laugh at sin. God does not look at it like that. That is one thing that Ham did that was wrong.

The second sin that Ham committed was the sin of failing to honor his father. In this day of delinquency, there is a great deal of disobedience to parents, and there is a great deal of lack of honor extended to parents. Yet the Bible teaches a command that was a principle before it was a command.

Keep in mind that everything that was given in the Ten Commandments was a principle upon which God operated from the very beginning. He just wrote the Commandments down on tables of stone at the hand of Moses. He operated on those principles long before he wrote them down.

If we had time to go back and look at chapter 20 of the book of Exodus, we would read, “Honor thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.” We need to recognize that though man's law may have set a legal age of adulthood, be it 18 or 21…and some people live for the day when they can reach that age and jeer at their mother and father…though the law may have set that age, God never has.

God has ordained that we should honor our fathers and mothers as long as we live. So serious is it in the sight of God that He said, “If you do not, you need not expect my blessing on you.” When Ham failed to honor his father, in the manner which I have suggested to you, God immediately voiced his displeasure against him.

God's Prophecy Through Noah

That brings us to that portion of the Word of God that I say is so pertinent to the generation in which we live…the prophecy of Noah related to his three sons. Let us get something clear in our thinking. Noah did not curse Ham because he was mad at him. Get that straight. He did not curse him because he was mad at him. The spirit of prophecy came upon Noah, and he uttered the prophecy about his sons that God placed upon his lips.

It had absolutely nothing to do with him personally. He could no more have cursed one of his boys than I could curse one of my children. He had no power to do it, but the spirit of prophecy came upon him as did the spirit of prophecy come upon Jacob when Jacob prophesied about his twelve sons. Noah was only the mouthpiece of God to utter the prophecy that was ordained by the counsels of God related to his three boys, Shem, Ham, and Japheth.

We will by-pass the so-called curse that was placed upon Ham for a moment, and look at the prophecy that was related to the other two boys. When we get through with our discussion, I think you will be able to see the reason. Will you notice verse 26 of chapter 9 of Genesis:

Genesis 9:

26And he said [with the spirit of prophecy upon him], Blessed be the Lord God of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant.

“Blessed be the LORD God of Shem.” That was a blessing upon Shem, the son of Noah. What does it mean? Notice that the word “LORD” has every letter capitalized, which means that it is a translation of the word Jehovah , which was the name by which God revealed Himself to the nation of Israel. What we are saying here is that God in a special way will be related to the descendants of Shem. Will you look at verse 27:

Genesis 9:

27God shall enlarge Japheth [we will forget that for a moment for we are not thinking about it], , and he shall dwell in the tents of Shem;…

There is a difference of opinion as to what the antecedent of the word he is in this verse, because the Hebrew is not as clear as it might be. The majority of opinion is that the word he in verse 27 refers to God. The statement is that God shall take up His dwelling place with the descendants of Shem. I am of the opinion that that is the correct interpretation because of the context.


Who are the descendants of Shem? Turn, please, to chapter 10 of the book of Genesis, which you will recognize as a genealogy, and you might pass it up hurriedly, and you might say, “I do not even know why it was placed in the Bible.” Yet it is a very important record of the fulfillment of verse 19 of chapter 9:

Genesis 9:

19These are the three sons of Noah: and of them was the whole earth overspread.

Chapter 10 tells how the three sons of Noah overspread the whole earth. Will you look down at verse 21.

Genesis 10:

21Unto Shem also, the father of all the children of Eber, the brother of Japheth the elder, even to him were children born.

Then there is a list of the children who were born to Shem, known as the children of Eber. The word Eber is another word for Hebrew . You know immediately that Shem was the father of the Jewish nation, the father of the Hebrews.

Then go back to chapter 9 and notice the prophecy that Noah made concerning Shem. We noticed in verse 26 that God was going to have a very special relation, not with Shem alone, but with all the descendants of Shem, known as the Hebrews. And getting to verse 27, God is going to dwell among them as their God.

This is a prophecy. Is it true? Has it been fulfilled? I would like for you to turn with me to the book of Romans, chapter 9, and notice one of the passages of Scripture which describes the fulfillment of this prophecy. The Apostle Paul, who was a Jew, said in Romans, chapter 9, verse 1:

Romans 9:

1I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost,
2That I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart.
3For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh:

He is talking about the Jews, his brethren, his kinsmen according to the flesh. “Paul, what kind of people were your brothers?” Look at verse 4:

Romans 9:

4Who are Israelites; to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises;
5Whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for ever. Amen.

What is he saying? He means that God had with the Jews a very special relationship that He had with no other people.

Look back at chapter 3 of the book of Romans. Paul had just been saying that the Jew and the Gentile were all under sin, but the Jews had been a religious people for centuries, so he said in verse 1:

Romans 3:

1What advantage then hath the Jew? or what profit is there of circumcision? [And Paul answered.]
2Much every way: chiefly, because that unto them were committed the oracles of God.
3For what if some did not believe? shall their unbelief make the faith of God without effect?
4God forbid: yea, let God be true, but every man a liar; as it is written, That thou mightest be justified in thy sayings, and mightest overcome when thou art judged.

Go back to the book of Genesis with me now as we remind you that Noah prophesied that the descendants of Shem would be a Hebrew people who would have a very special relationship with God. They had that relationship, and they have it now. Will you notice what I am saying to you? The prophecy that Noah made about Shem did not last just for Shem's lifetime. It did not last to the second and third generation after Shem. It lasts down to the present hour. I would like for you to keep that in mind, because that is the basis for the correct interpretation of this paragraph.


Going back to the book of Genesis, chapter 9, will you notice verse 27:

Genesis 9:

27God shall enlarge Japheth, and he shall dwell in the tents of Shem;…

If this passage of Scripture makes the antecedent of this pronoun he other than what I suggested…that is, if Japheth is the antecedent instead of God…then two things are said about Japheth in this verse.

One is that God shall enlarge Japheth, and not only Japheth, but Japheth's descendants. This, putting it mildly, is to say that Japheth is going to be enlarged from the standpoint of territory more than any of the other sons of Noah. That is the blessing that was placed on Japheth, one of Noah's sons.

If we take the time to glance through chapters 10 and 11, we find that that prophecy was fulfilled as far as territory is concerned, because the descendants of Japheth are all Gentiles. You will notice in Genesis, chapter 10, verse 1:

Genesis 10:

1Now these are the generations of the sons of Noah, Shem, Ham, and Japheth: and unto them were sons born after the flood.
2The sons of Japheth; Gomer, and Magog…

We will not take the time to read them because I do not think you would remember them any longer than it takes to read them.

I have here the Rand-McNally Historical Atlas of the Bible which is available to anyone. This is not a large map, but it will serve to illustrate what I am suggesting in far less time that I could in words. Included in the Atlas is a map upon which are pictured all the nations that are described for us in chapter 10 of the book of Genesis.

As you glance at this map, you will be able to see the exact locations of these people, and you will see that Japheth was indeed the largest people. This is the ancient world, that of the descendants of Noah. Green represents the descendants of Shem, yellow represents the descendants of Ham, and the pink represents the descendants of Japheth.

As you can see, by and large the greatest territory has been turned over to the descendants of Japheth. That is a fulfillment of the prophecy, “God shall enlarge Japheth.” The world…I am talking not about population, but about dominion…the world has been under the dominion of Japheth since the time of this prophecy, and it is now under the dominion of Japheth.

You say, “Well, wait a minute. I thought Communism was taking the world.” Communism is a political idea. Even if you say that Russia is trying to dominate the world, you have done no violence to the prophecy, because Russia, if you will look at verse 2 of chapter 10, is a descendant of Japheth. You will notice the word, Magog . That is another name for Russia. Tubal is the ancient name for the Russian city of Tobolsk. Meschech is the ancient name for what is known today as the city of Moscow.

You see that the prophecy of Noah is fulfilled to this day. You will keep in mind that I am placing the emphasis on the duration of the prohecy…to this day.

The second thing that is said about Japheth, if we follow the second suggestion concerning the interpretation of verse 27, is that Japheth shall dwell in the tents of Shem , which means that Japheth will share in the blessings of the descendants of Shem.

We will not take the time to go back to chapter 9 of the book of Romans, but you will remember that it was through Shem that Christ came. Who would declare other than that we are blessed because of the Jews, in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ? In that respect, we dwell in the tents of Shem.


I want us to look at what was said about Ham. I have followed this procedure so that you may see the foundation for our statement in relation to Ham. You will notice in verse 25, when the spirit of prophecy came upon Noah, he said:

Genesis 9:

25And he said, Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren.

The phrase, servant of servants , is a superlative degree in the Hebrew language which means an intense servitude, one from which it would be impossible to escape. Three times over is that suggestion made, two times besides the one I have just read. Notice in verse 26:

Genesis 9:

26And he said, Blessed be the Lord God of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant.
27God shall enlarge Japheth, and he shall dwell in the tents of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant.

There is no mistake about the curse that was placed upon Ham.

Let us get a few things straight in our minds. Let us notice first of all that the curse was not placed on the color of Ham's skin. Will you notice that, please. I do not know how many times people have said to me, “Where is that passage of Scripture in the Bible which says that Noah made one of his sons black because he sinned?”

There is no such passage of Scripture in the Word of God. The curse has absolutely nothing to do with the color of Ham's skin. The curse has only to do with the place of servitude which God, through the lips of Noah, prophesied would be the lot of the descendants of Ham.

Someone may say, “Why, then, are the Negroes black? Why, then, do people say that Negroes should always be servants?” If people say that Negroes should always be servants, they are saying something that has no foundation in the Word of God. If they say that God has prophesied that the descendants of Ham should be servants forever, then they are speaking correctly.

Yet, if you will look at chapter 10 of the book of Genesis, you will see that the curse is not related to the color of their skin. The color of their skin was related to the lands in which they settled, because you read in verse 6:

Genesis 10:

6And the sons of Ham; Cush [That is another word for Ethiopia. You have all seen pictures of Haile Selassie, who has colored skin], and Mizraim [That is another name for Egypt. The Egyptians have colored skins], and Phut [Libya], and Canaan [the land that bore the name of the fourth son of Ham].

You will notice also that the word Cush is related along with the other words to Africa, the place of dark-skinned people. You will notice also that Nimrod was a descendant of Ham. Nimrod is known as the founder of what we call the Babylonian Empire, a white race. Thus, once again, the curse had nothing to do with the color of the skin. It had only to do with the position of servitude Ham's descendants should hold in the world in relation to the descendants of Shem and in relation to the descendants of Japheth.

The Curse on Canaan

If you are thinking and are following me in this discussion, you probably are saying, “Well, you keep mentioning that the curse was placed upon Ham, but it very plainly says it was placed upon Canaan. Now, why is that?” Canaan was the fourth son of Ham. Why didn't Noah curse Ham? Why did he curse his fourth son?

If I had a verse of Scripture that said exactly why, we would not have any problem. I do not have any verse of Scripture like that, and there is none. Therefore, all we can do is make some suggestions to you that may be helpful, and you can accept them or reject them. If you do not accept them, then there is no answer to us as to why God placed a curse upon Canaan instead of Ham.

It is suggested, and it is so assumed, or so gathered from the tradition of the Rabbis, that Canaan was the first one to see Grandfather Noah in the drunken condition in which he was, and he went and told his father, Ham. Instead of the father rebuking his son for that lack of respect, he joined in with him. That is pure tradition. There may not be a thing to it. It is tradition, and it was believed by the Jews for a very long time.

There is another reason, and I believe perhaps a more logical one. It is that the first descendants of Ham actually to become servants were the Canaanites. They became the servants of Shem when the children of Israel marched into what we know as the land of promise.

It had been occupied by the Canaanites, and when Joshua led the Israelites into the land of Canaan, he could very well point to this passage of Scripture, though it was not written at that time, and say, “God has promised that these people will be our servants,” and he could have gained courage to march into the land.

That is a suggestion that you can either accept or reject. I know of no other reason God would have inspired Noah to curse Canaan instead of Ham. The prophecy that has been placed upon the descendants of Ham, that they shall be the servants of Shem and Japheth, has been fulfilled down through the ages.

Babylon was the first to fall under the descendants of Japheth. From the time of the fall of Babylon down to the present hour, the territory that was occupied by the descendants of Ham has been subjugated to the Japhethite nations as a matter of history.

True, in our day the feeling of nationalism is stirring and the yoke of the Japhethite races is being thrown off. That is nothing to be alarmed about. It is something to be encouraged about, because it should remind us that God is just about through with this earth, that we are living in the end of the age, and that time is about to run out. These nations may well throw off the yoke of the Japhethite and the Semitic nations before it is over. This is the curse upon Ham.

You probably are wondering, because it is pertinent to our day, what does this passage of Scripture have to do with integration? What does it have to do with segregation? It has absolutely nothing to do with integration and segregation as far as our present locality is concerned. It should be a warning to every Bible-taught Christian that there is no point in getting involved in all of these movements which have their roots in opposition to the Word of God.

There is no point in getting involved in all of these movements which try to undo the prophecy that Noah voiced by the inspiration of the Spirit of God upon the descendants of Ham. You and I are not going to be able to change God's prophecy one little bit, and it does not give you any reason to be mean. It does not give you any reason to be cruel. It does not give you any reason to lord it over any of the descendants of Ham. Instead, it should help to enlighten you in relation to your attitude in connection with it, because God has said it, and that is the way it is going to be!

Nay But, O Man, Who Are Thou That Repliest Against God?

You may be saying, and if you do not, someone will say it to you if you repeat what we have said, “Well, I do not think that is right of God. How dare God curse some people and bless other people?” What are you to say to a thing like that? What is your answer? Someone says, “I do not want to have anything to do with a God like that, who curses a nation generation after generation because of what one man did. That is not right.” What is going to be your answer to that?

I am going to suggest to you two answers that I give. One of them is in the words of the Psalmist when he declared that he did not concern himself with things that were too high for him. He did not worry, he did not fret, about things that he could not change one little bit, whether he could understand them or not. He left the entire matter with the Lord.

When you and I learn to do that, we will be a whole lot better off…not to concern ourselves with things that are too great or too high. We read in Psalm 131:

Psalms 131:

1Lord, my heart is not haughty, nor mine eyes lofty: neither do I exercise myself in great matters, or in things too high for me.
2Surely I have behaved and quieted myself, as a child that is weaned of his mother: my soul is even as a weaned child.
3Let Israel hope in the Lord from henceforth and for ever.

He says, “I do not exercise myself in great matters, or in things too high for me.”

The other reason that I give is the answer the Apostle Paul gave in chapter 9 of the book of Romans when he was faced with this very same thing but in a little different light. The Apostle had just said that God had chosen Jacob over Esau, that he had displaced Esau in favor of Jacob. He expressed this in terms of love and hate. In verse 13, we read:

Romans 9:

13As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.

He did not hate Esau in the sense that you might hate someone. He simply meant that he displaced Esau in favor of Jacob. And in verse 14:

Romans 9:

14What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid. [Perish the thought! Do not even mention it. There is no unrighteousness with God.]

Whether you and I can understand the way of God or not, there is no unrighteousness with God. That much we know. Whether it sounds right to us, whether it sounds sensible to us, whether it sounds fair to us, one thing we know: there is no unrighteousness with God!

Paul goes on to point out some passages of Scripture to prove his point. In verse 15 of chapter 9 of Romans:

Romans 9:

15For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.

That is just another way of saying, “I will bless whomever I want to bless, and I will curse whomever I want to curse. That is none of your business.” That is what He is saying. Verse 16:

Romans 9:

16So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy.

This means that God did not owe Ham anything. He did not owe Shem anything. He did not owe Japheth anything. If God was pleased to give Shem and Japheth something He did not give Ham, it was God's business. Ham may not have liked it, but it was not any of Ham's business. It was of God, the creator and ruler of all things.

Verse 17 of chapter 9 of Romans:

Romans 9:

17For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might shew my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth.
18Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth.
19Thou wilt say then unto me, Why doth he yet find fault? For who hath resisted his will? [What is God blaming us for then if He has taken charge of things?]

What does Paul say? Does he apologize for God? Does he say, “Well, you know, I have not thought about that. God ought not to blame us.” Not at all. Notice what he says in verse 20:

Romans 9:

20Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God?…

Who do you think you are, anyway, that you can question the wisdom of God in what He does? Who do you think you are, anyway, that you can say God had no right to curse Ham, that he should not have blessed Japheth and Shem and cursed Ham? Verse 21:

Romans 9:

21Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?
22What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction:
23And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory,

It is God's business if He wants to bless, or if He wants to curse.

With that, we are through. There is no other answer as to whether or not it was right for God to curse Ham and bless Japheth and Shem. God's Word is sufficient to answer any and all charges.

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