A Daily Genesis

Genesis 9:24-29

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[B][COLOR=#ff0000]†.[/COLOR] Gen 9:24-25a . .When Noah woke up from his wine and learned what his youngest son had done to him, he said: Cursed be Canaan;[/B]

I'd imagine that Canaan objected very strongly upon hearing a curse pronounced upon himself when it was not him but his dad who embarrassed grandpa. What did Canaan do to deserve a curse? Not a thing. Then why did Noah curse Ham's son instead of cursing Ham? The answer to that is located in the passage below:

"Yhvh, Yhvh: a God compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in kindness and faithfulness; extending kindness to the thousandth generation-- forgiving iniquity, transgression, and sin; yet He does not remit all punishment; but visits the iniquity of parents upon children and children's children unto the third and fourth generation." (Ex 34:6-7)

Parents' progeny aren't imputed guilt for their parents' conduct, but they do sometimes become collateral damage when God goes after the parents.

For example the Flood. No doubt quite a few innocent children drowned in that event due to their parents' wickedness. The same happened to the children in Sodom and Gomorrah. And during Moses' face-off with Pharaoh, God moved against everything that pertained to the man; including, but not limited to, his economy, his land, his livestock, his citizens, his citizens' children, and his own children.

It's a very disturbing biblical fact of life that sometimes God gets back at the parents by going after things that pertain to them.

For example: God took the life of David's innocent little baby boy to get back at his father for committing the capital crimes of premeditated murder and adultery.

Another example is located in the 16th chapter of Numbers where not just the rebels were punished; but their entire families and all their belongings were swallowed by a fissure that God opened in the ground beneath their feet.

A close call is recorded in the book of Jonah. Had not the adults in Ninevah changed their ways, something like 120,000 little children would have perished; not to mention all the cattle. According to Jonah 4:11, taking out children and dumb animals is not something that God enjoys. But there is a mysterious element to absolute justice that apparently compels Him to do it.

The antediluvian's case, Ham's case, Sodom and Gomorrah's case, David's case, Pharaoh's case, Korah's case, and Ninevah's case lead me to suspect that God's chosen people caught up in the Holocaust weren't caught up as retribution for their own sins; but rather; as retribution for the sins of past generations; which also tells me that the status of God's chosen people isn't something to be proud of; but rather; something to be afraid of because moths that fly too close to the flame risk getting their wings burned seeing as how the covenant's God doesn't practice favoritism.

"You only have I chosen among all the families of the earth; therefore, I will punish you for all your iniquities." (Amos 3:2)

In other words: among the various human communities on earth; Yhvh's people have the least excuse for their impieties due to their privileged association with God and their ready access to the knowledge of His will.

[B][COLOR=#ff0000]†.[/COLOR] Gen 9:25b . . the lowest of slaves shall he be to his brothers.[/B]

That's a very derogatory remark, and more likely a colloquialism rather than a literal prediction; sort of like the one God made regarding the Serpent; that it would crawl on its belly and eat dirt; viz: henceforth be regarded the lowest sort of filth imaginable.

Well, that was Noah's prediction regarding Canaan; and it came true. The people of the land of Canaan became so abhorrent that God, in Deut 7:1-5 and Deut 18:9-14, commanded Yhvh's people to drive them out, to exterminate them, to reject their religions, and to avoid assimilation.

[B][COLOR=#ff0000]†.[/COLOR] Gen 9:26a . . And he said: Blessed be Yhvh, the god of Shem;[/B]

Yhvh (The Lord) is said to be Shem's god. But Yhvh is not said to be the god of either Ham or Japheth. Shem is the only one of the three brothers of whom it is said "Yhvh, the god of" perhaps implying that the Bible's God didn't become Shem's god just because the family he was born into worshipped that particular god, rather because Shem personally chose the Bible's God to be his god. A lot of adults are in a religion simply because that's the one they grew up with.

[B][COLOR=#ff0000]†.[/COLOR] Gen 9:26b . . let Canaan be a slave to them.[/B]

The pronoun "them" would refer to the peoples that would descend from Shem.

[B][COLOR=#ff0000]†.[/COLOR] Gen 9:27a . . May God enlarge Japheth,[/B]

That seems more a prayer than a prediction. Japheth is generally regarded as the father of several Gentile nations, most particularly the Romans and the Greeks, who became mighty world powers. Japheth seemed like an okay kind of guy who at least had a sense of propriety.

People like him; even though maybe not particularly God-fearing, will listen to reason, and can often be persuaded to do the right thing. He proved at least that much when he assisted brother Shem to cover their dad's exposure in a discreet way. It is so cool to see someone wishing good for non-Jews so early in human history.

[B][COLOR=#ff0000]†.[/COLOR] Gen 9:27b . . and let him dwell in the tents of Shem;[/B]

That doesn't necessarily mean Shem's people and Japheth's people would mingle and assimilate. The expression "dwell in the tents of" is a colloquialism sometimes used to denote compliance or conformity. Here's an example of just the opposite of what we might call dwelling in the tents of Shem.

"Better one day in Your courts than a thousand [anywhere else]; I would rather stand at the threshold of God's house than dwell in the tents of the wicked." (Ps 84:11)

The "tents of the wicked" regards a life style that has no place in it for the Bible's God and doesn't allow His spirit an influence in one's personal life. The remainder of that Psalm is dedicated to the kind of people of whom we could say: dwell in the tents of Shem.

"For The Lord God is sun and shield; The Lord bestows grace and glory; He does not withhold His bounty from those who live without blame. O Lord of hosts, happy is the man who trusts in You." (Ps 84:12-13)

People who live in the tents of the wicked, and walk where the wicked walk; sure don't walk where Shem walks. Not all of Japheth's people would dwell in the tents of Shem of course. But the idea is that Japheth's people weren't totally a bad apple like Canaan's. Many of them would become God-fearing, moral, scrupulous, and upright-- though not all of course; but at least Japheth's progeny wouldn't prove 100% incorrigible.

[B][COLOR=#ff0000]†.[/COLOR] Gen 9:27c . . and let Canaan be a slave to them.[/B]

Not all of Ham's descendants would become subservient to the people of Shem and Japheth. Only those in Canaan's line.

[B][COLOR=#ff0000]†.[/COLOR] Gen 9:28-29 . . Noah lived after the Flood 350 years. And all the days of Noah came to 950 years; then he died.[/B]

Another righteous man bites the dust. Noah lived twenty more years than Adam, but nineteen less than Methuselah-- no doubt a great role model and a tremendous influence upon the minds of all his grandchildren. He surely must have had a huge brood of them in the new world by the time his 350 post-Flood years ended.

Guys like Noah prove a point. Just because someone is righteous is no reason to think that they shouldn't have to die. The human body has its limits. No matter how righteous somebody is, their body will eventually give out.

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