Summary: It’s interesting that the first time wine is mentioned in the Bible, it is connected with drunken behaviour. BUT IT IS HAM’S DISRESPECT, NOT NOAH’S FAILURES THAT FEATURE IN THIS STORY.

Genesis 9 – Part 3 – IF I CALL MY DAD AN IDIOT, AM I CURSED?

Here’s the story – Noah gets drunk and gets naked in his tent. He behaves badly. He fails in terms of his witness to his family. He fails God in that he’s way out of control.

It’s interesting that the first time wine is mentioned in the Bible, it is connected with drunken behaviour. BUT IT IS HAM’S DISRESPECT, NOT NOAH’S FAILURES THAT FEATURE IN THIS STORY.

So if I saw my Dad like this, surely it’s OK to tell him he’s an idiot and joke about him to my brothers, isn’t it? (if I had any brothers). Ham, Noah’s son, would say “yes!”

And does that mean I don’t have to respect my Dad when he has obviously failed or he is a bad example? Ham’s brothers would say “No!”.


Shem and Japheth, Noah’s sons, hearing about their father being drunk and naked, cover Noah up discreetly as he sleeps it off. In the morning Noah hears about what has happened – about how Ham made fun of him and how Japheth and Shem covered him up. Noah doesn’t apologise to his sons for getting drunk. He curses his youngest son and his grandson, Canaan, who wasn’t even there! What is that all about?

It obviously has something to do with RESPECT FOR PARENTS, but what? YOU CRITICISE THEM BECAUSE OF THEIR OBVIOUS FAILINGS AND WHAT, YOU GET CURSED? Israel was always in conflict with the Canaanites, descendents of Canaan, in the Old Testament of the Bible. Was that due to this curse?

My Dad wasn’t a very good father to me or my sisters. He drank too much and got angry at our Mum far too often. At 5 years old while my Dad had a roaring argument with my Mum, I decided to swing my fists at him and tell him I hated him and tried to push him away from my Mum.

As a kid, I remember having fun with the hose in the back yard once. My Dad warned me about getting him or the car wet but as a kid you don’t heed those warnings. I didn’t intentionally get him wet but when he got angry, he shoved the hose into my mouth. It was a stupid thing to do to a little boy and I could feel the panic of not being able to breathe. I can only imagine that he had had too much to drink. My Mother screamed at him and managed to get him off me. I spluttered around for sometime after, crying, but fortunately more scared than anything else.

But if my Dad wasn’t a good Dad, then I also wasn’t a good Son. I avoided him like the plague. I said that I loved him out loud, but inwardly I didn’t like him, and never wanted to be like him in any way. Yet he had so much that he would have offered me, if I had let him. He was a brilliant home taught mechanic. I know nothing about cars. He had quite a nice singing voice. On some occasions in the car, he would sing and I would find harmonies, the only occasions when we had something in common. Once I saw him draw a Cookaburra. It was the only time I saw him draw anything and it was amazingly accurate. He passed it off. Mostly, I missed the things that only a father can teach because I chose not to be a son. It was a self imposed curse.

WE ONLY GIVE OUR PARENTS RESPECT WHEN WE THINK THAT THEY DESERVE IT IN OUR CULTURE. It seems strange to think that somehow God would expect us to respect them, no matter what their failures might be. We don’t hold these values in our society. Parents are spoken of disparagingly without a second thought. This story about Noah seems strange.

Read it for yourself and tell me it doesn’t seem strange.

Genesis 9:22-29 (NLT) says “Ham, the father of Canaan, saw that his father was naked and went outside and told his brothers. Then Shem and Japheth took a robe, held it over their shoulders, and backed into the tent to cover their father. As they did this, they looked the other way so they would not see him naked. When Noah woke up from his stupor, he learned what Ham, his youngest son, had done. Then he cursed Canaan, the son of Ham: “May Canaan be cursed! May he be the lowest of servants to his relatives.” Then Noah said, “May the Lord, the God of Shem, be blessed, and may Canaan be his servant! May God expand the territory of Japheth! May Japheth share the prosperity of Shem, and may Canaan be his servant.”

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