Noah became drunk.
Genesis 9:20-26 – And Noah began to be a farmer, and he planted a vineyard. Then he drank of the wine and was drunk, and became uncovered in his tent. And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father, and told his two brothers outside. But Shem and Japheth took a garment, laid it on both their shoulders, and went backward and covered the nakedness of their father. Their faces were turned away, and they did not see their father’s nakedness. ¶ So Noah awoke from his wine, and knew what his younger son had done to him. Then he said: “Cursed be Canaan; A servant of servants He shall be to his brethren.” And he said: “Blessed be the LORD, The God of Shem, And may Canaan be his servant.
We know that it takes a very long time to grow a vineyard so it wasn’t like Noah went through the flood and became depressed or anything. He went right to work, creating and evidently building up a little farm area where he planted grapes.
Nobody knows why Noah got drunk, but he did. Maybe he was celebrating the birth of his grandchild Canaan, who knows? What is obvious is that Noah decided to enjoy some of the fruits of his labor for what ever reason and became drunk.
He must have passed out because his son Ham came into the tent and sees his father drunk and naked, leaves to go back outside the tent and tells his two brothers. Ham’s two brothers come in backwards, carrying a garment of some type and covered up their father’s nakedness. The reason they came in backward was so they didn’t see their father naked, therefore honoring their father.
It wasn’t as if Noah invented wine and became the first person to get drunk. The reason God made the decision to flood the earth was because man had become corrupted by the evil inclinations with-in their hearts.
Genesis 6:5-7 Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. ¶ And the LORD was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart. So the LORD said, “I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth, both man and beast, creeping thing and birds of the air, for I am sorry that I have made them.”
In a recent article in the Journal of Archaeological Science, archaeologists from a joint Armenian, American and Irish expedition, co directed by Gregory Areshian of UCLA, announced the discovery of the earliest known winemaking operation in an Armenian cave near the southern border with Iran. This site, which lies about 60 miles from Turkey’s Mt. Ararat, the traditional site of the Biblical ark’s grounding, contained well-preserved ancient remains. They added that the relatively advanced setup indicated that wine production had already been developing in the region around Mt. Ararat and Armenia for quite some time. ~ Biblical Archaeology Society Staff 10/11/2011
We find out later in the New Testament that there was evidently wine or at least alcohol of some kind, before the flood.
Matthew 24:38-39 For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark, And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.
However, the drunkenness of the father, led to the son seeing him naked and for some reason when Noah wakes up, he does not curse his son Ham for seeing him naked, but instead Noah curses Ham’s son Canaan who wasn’t even there, as far as we are told through the scriptures.
Why? Ham saw his naked father, left him that way, and gossiped about it to his two brothers, mocking the exposure of their father. Ham’s sin is that he did not honor his father, showing his lack of respect, and he failed to take what may have been the proper action to protect his father’s nakedness like his two brothers did.
Above all things have constant love among yourselves, because love hides a multitude of sins. 1st Peter 4:8 ~ ONMB
Some folks actually try to read between the lines that some hanky panky went on inside of the tent. I do not agree with this thinking because for one, it really isn’t inferred in the scriptures. Among other things, the penalty for sodomy would more than likely have been death by stoning, not a curse on the perpetrator’s child, that is if we are looking at what the laws response to that issue would have been.
One might argue that the Ten Commandments had not yet been written in stone, but they evidently had been written in the heart at some point because of what we see going on outside the garden, East of Eden just after the fall. (The offerings of the two brothers, Cain and Abel and the lamb that was slain to make the atonement that provided the covering for Adam & Eve’s nakedness)
In any case, later on in the law, we do find this teaching: Leviticus 18:6-7 ¶ None of you shall approach to any that is near of kin to him, to uncover their nakedness: I am the LORD. The nakedness of thy father, or the nakedness of thy mother, shalt thou not uncover: she is thy mother; thou shalt not uncover her nakedness.
We can now begin to comprehend that because Ham did not cover his father’s nakedness, ultimately he left his father uncovered.
I could go into a lot of detail here, but this writing is not about the law. Just suffice it to say, that Noah was very upset with his son and took matters into his own hand and cursed his grandson.
Not only was the grandson Canaan cursed but throughout the following books in the Old Testament we find that the generations of Ham are all cursed. The Caananites, The Egyptians, the Philistines, the Hittites and the Ammorites were all nations that decended from Ham.
Wine making originally became the ideal solution to kill off the bacteria that was in the water. This practice of drinking wine in preference to water was still going on in the days of Paul. 1Timothy 5:23 No longer drink only water, but use a little wine for your stomach’s sake and your frequent infirmities. Paul told Timothy to stop drinking the water and drink wine instead because the drinking water was contaminated. Paul being the elder of the two, was a bit more experienced in matters. His teaching Timothy and proabably others was so that they would know that the sickness he was fighting was avoidable.
The scriptures do not forbid drinking alcoholic beverages however they do forbid drunkenness. It is possible to drink in moderation and never violate the teachings of scripture. I do not understand why Noah got upset with his son when it was his getting drunk that led to his son seeing his nakedness. However, his getting drunk left unfortunate results for the whole human race proving that sin does have it’s consequences.
Genesis 6:9 These are the generations of Noah: Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God.
Personally I feel that since ‘Noah was a just man and perfect’, I find it hard to believe that Noah just sat down and decided to get drunk. There is evidence that alcohol does influence a living organism, this is why folks get drunk. It can be a toxic substance in any form, whether a small amount or a much larger amount that leaves one drunk. A small amount affects the mind and puts it into a state of numbness.
However, I can give some leeway to the ‘theory’ of the canopy effect that was over the earth prior to the flood. Before the flood, the earth was covered with a type of what I will call a canopy, which held the sun at bay. Therefore, we know that plants grew and were sustained by the water vapor because it had never before rained upon the earth. God provided the herb after He provided the man to till the earth, but yet God had not caused it to rain upon the earth before the Great Flood. Before the flood, it may have taken a long time for wine to ferment even though we do have evidence that there were folks drinking and giving in marriage. This is why the rainbow was the perfect ‘sign of the covenant’ that God made with Noah.
“While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and Summer and Winter, and day and night will not cease.”
Now after the flood, the sun that was once kept at bay caused the waters to dry up and go back into the earth’s crust, the waters receding into the ground caused by a harsh sun. The fermenting process may have speeded up. Noah may have not expected his wine to be as strong as it was, which may have contributed to Noah’s getting so drunk that he was not aware that he was naked and drunk inside his tent.
For whatever reason we are not told why Noah cursed his grandson instead of his son. For whatever reason we are not told why nakedness is something that having been seen, deserves being cursed. We can find a deeper understanding of nakedness in the fact that the word naked in Hebrew is arowm, pronounced aw-rome’ from the primitive root word of `aram, pronounced aw-ram’ meaning to be (or make) bare; but used only in the derivative sense (through the idea perhaps of smoothness) to be cunning (usually in a bad sense): –X very, beware, take crafty (counsel), be prudent, deal subtly.
Nevertheless what we do know is that the image of God is in all humankind and God did not destroy all humankind in the flood. Only humankind posses the image of God. The very beginning scripture in Chapter nine of Genesis tells us that the three sons were blessed as well as Noah. We can just imagine how Ham must have felt knowing that his father had cursed his son, which indirectly cursed the son.
Noah, a righteous man got drunk. So be it. He was human. The evil inclination of humankind remained in the heart of man even after the flood, thereby showing further proof that man needs salvation from himself because of the sin nature, or rather humankind’s tendency to commit sin, which is transgression of the teachings of God.
1 John 3:4 ¶ Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.
Jesus gave His life to save us from the law of sin and death.
For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. ~ Romans 6:23
For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. ~ Romans 8:2
The art of writing is the art of discovering what you believe. ~ Gustave Flaubert
- Saving the Seed of Cain from the Flood of Noah (dwindlinginunbelief.blogspot.com)
- January 4 (bibleday2day.wordpress.com)
- Do your parents deserve honor? (honorandaffirmation.wordpress.com)