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Wordwise Insight, Issue #128
April 14, 2015


BIBLE INSIGHTS (and Reader Q & A): Why did Noah condemn Canaan?

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Noah and Canaan

QUESTION: According to Genesis 9:18 Noah had three sons, and one son (Ham) looked at the nakedness of the father. Instead of cursing Ham, the sinner, God cursed Canaan the son. The Bible says in Ezekiel 18:1-5 that the person who sins is the one to die. Was God fair to curse "the innocent child"? And are the black people descendants from Canaan?

ANSWER: Regarding Ham and his father. I need to note a couple of important things as we deal with the incident recorded in Genesis 9:20-27.

First, in these very early times–before we get to Abraham and beyond–a great sweep of history is passed over very briefly. We're looking at thousands of years between Genesis one at the end of chapter eleven, where we get to the family of Abraham. Many details are therefore missing. God has only told us what He wants us to know. For the rest, we can speculate, carefully, but we cannot be dogmatic.

Second, keep in mind the author of Genesis, and the time when the book was written. Genesis through Deuteronomy was written by Moses, after he was used of God to deliver the Israelites from Egypt. Sometimes these five books are called simply "Moses" (Lk. 24:27). Jesus (and others) spoke of them as "the Law of Moses" (vs. 44). My guess is that Genesis (which deals with the time before Moses lived) was revealed to Him on Mount Sinai.

Genesis gave vital information to Israel--about things they would otherwise not have known. It gave them a sense of their identity through the family of Abraham, and an understanding of their relationship with God, because of what's called the Abrahamic Covenant. Also, they needed to realize why the Lord was so angry with the Canaanites, and planned to destroy them–giving their land, instead, to the Israelites.

God is merciful. The Canaanites had time to...

(To read the remainder of this article, click on Noah and Canaan.)


Come and Pay Us a Visit!

I have developed a blog that is called Wordwise Hymns. As the title suggests, it is about hymns, and church music in general.

But as many of you will know, a blog is especially designed to facilitate a conversation on its particular subject. Readers can easily post comments about what they see, and I'm able to reply. I hope you will take part in the discussion!

Through 2010, almanac entries dealt with what happened in hymn history on each day of the year. Beginning in 2011, I hope to analyze hymns from a biblical standpoint, linking to the material that has come before.

My hope is that the blog will add to the value of the website and this newsletter, and promote some profitable exchanges on the subject of sacred music.

What happened on this day in hymnology? To find out, click Wordwise Hymns.

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