Daily Word

First sin again | Genesis 9:18-28

18 The sons of Noah who went forth from the ark were Shem, Ham, and Japheth. (Ham was the father of Canaan.) 19 These three were the sons of Noah, and from these the people of the whole earth were dispersed.

20 Noah began to be a man of the soil, and he planted a vineyard. 21 He drank of the wine and became drunk and lay uncovered in his tent. 22 And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father and told his two brothers outside. 23 Then Shem and Japheth took a garment, laid it on both their shoulders, and walked backward and covered the nakedness of their father. Their faces were turned backward, and they did not see their father’s nakedness. 24 When Noah awoke from his wine and knew what his youngest son had done to him, 25 he said,  “Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants shall he be to his brothers.” 

26 He also said, “Blessed be the LORD, the God of Shem; and let Canaan be his servant. 

27 May God enlarge Japheth, and let him dwell in the tents of Shem, and let Canaan be his servant.”

28 After the flood Noah lived 350 years. 

Genesis 9:18-28 (ESV)

First sin again

No surprise. A few months after they were out of the Ark and restarting civilisation, sin is back on the scene. But is it ever far from anyone at any time? Surely the sin nature was a crouching lion waiting to spring into action. 

But what was the first sin? Later, especially in the NT, God clearly identifies drunkenness as sin (Ephesians 5:18, 1 Corinthians 6:9-11). In the OT, it is to be avoided (Isaiah 5:11, Proverbs 20:1) – for the very reason we see here. Drunkenness most always leads to poor conduct, numbed senses, weakened self control and any number of sins. 

But here, the sin in the spotlight is Ham’s action which reflected his heart. 

Ham’s sin

So what was his sin? It’s not obvious here but we can guess it was sexual in nature, maybe perverted sexual thoughts. In Leviticus 18:6-20 God gives instructions that are similar to this situation and could give us a clue to Ham’s sin. 

“There is no explicit indication that Ham disrobed his father or committed some homosexual act. However, because the expression ‘saw the nakedness’ is sometimes used of sexual intercourse, it is possible that some form of sexual immorality was involved.” (planobiblechapel.org) It could be the son was disrespecting his father by not covering him as his brothers did, and even mocking him. 


Regardless, Ham sinned. The specific consequence is his descendents would be servants, even a servant of servants, to his brothers. But it’s interesting his son, Canaan, receives the curse. We’re not sure why. Maybe he was involved in Ham’s sin. No matter, Deuteronomy 5:9 tells us the sins of the father are passed to the children. For more on this, click here

The Canaanites ended up living in the land God later gave to the Israelites. They were known for their wickedness, especially related to sexual sins, as we’ll see later in Genesis. “When Joshua invaded their land, he proved to be God’s instrument of punishment for the Canaanites. Moses’ mention of Noah’s curse on Canaan would have encouraged his original Israelite readers, by reminding them that the people who occupied the land that they were about to enter were cursed.” (planobiblechapel.org


  • Does your family of origen have a history of a particular sin and /or hatred for God? Identify it and repent to break the curse by God’s grace. Seek pastoral help or Biblical counseling if needed.
Grapes abide in the vine. Yield wine. Image from Pxfuel.com

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