Genesis 9-12 Noah, after the flood

 A couple of things stuck out to me here, questions that I have for the justness of curses, especially curses given by man to man.

In Genesis 9, Noah becomes drunk (and who wouldn’t after seeing all the people of the earth drowned while he and his family were the only ones saved, not to mention the fact that with the waters receded, they would have had to deal with the physical remains of men and animals that had died a year previous and then spent the ensuing year floating in the flood waters). While drunk he is apparently naked and his son Ham sees him and reports on his father’s shame to his brothers. So, I can understand Noah cursing Ham because he mocked his father’s shame while the brothers came in backwards and covered their father without ever seeing him.

But Noah doesn’t curse Ham. Instead Noah curses Ham’s son Canaan (Gen 9:25-26)

It raised, for me, the question of who is allowed to curse and why those curses are honored by God. As far as we see in the story, Canaan does nothing wrong, and yet he is told that he will be the servant of his brothers, the servant of Shem. This isn’t the first time that we see an Old Testament figure curse someone, even someone that has done no evil, and yet, we know from later events that God chooses to honor this curse and bring it about that Canaan and his descendents serve those of Shem.

Why does God allow this? Why not curse those who dare to curse in his name, or who curse incorrectly? Or are we perhaps only seeing the stories in which the people curse correctly? Which brings me back to the question of why God honors this curse.

I guess it isn’t a huge thing that I’m noticing here, but just more of something that I’m noticing and wondering about.


One thought on “Genesis 9-12 Noah, after the flood

  1. The Old Testament, as well as other Fertile Crescent cultures of the time, is very big on “corruption of blood”, that is, you’re accountable for your family’s actions, not just your own. See also the Code of Hammurabi; not only is it “an eye for an eye”, it’s “your son’s eye for a son’s eye”. Because the family is the unit, not the individual.

    It’s one of the reasons the US Constitution explicitly forbids “corruption of blood” in cases of serious crimes like Treason, because “your father opposed me therefore I’ll kill his entire blood line” used to be standard procedure, even up through the early modern period.

    Liked by 1 person

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