Welcome to EBible Fellowship’s Bible study in the Book of Genesis. This is study #12 of Genesis, chapter 9 and we are going to read Genesis 9:20-27:
And Noah began to be an husbandman, and he planted a vineyard: And he drank of the wine, and was drunken; and he was uncovered within his tent. And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father, and told his two brethren without. And Shem and Japheth took a garment, and laid it upon both their shoulders, and went backward, and covered the nakedness of their father; and their faces were backward, and they saw not their father's nakedness. And Noah awoke from his wine, and knew what his younger son had done unto him. And he said, Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren. And he said, Blessed be JEHOVAH God of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant. God shall enlarge Japheth, and he shall dwell in the tents of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant.
I will stop reading there. In our last study, we looked at verse 20 and we saw that when Noah began to be a husbandman and planted a vineyard, it was a picture of God the Father who established the vineyards of Old Testament Israel and the New Testament churches and congregations. Through these vineyards, God gathered His “fruit.”
We find that after it says that Noah was a husbandman and planted a vineyard, it then tells us: “And he drank of the wine, and was drunken.” We can learn something other than that he drank wine and got drunk, if we turn to 1Corinthians 9:7:
Who goeth a warfare any time at his own charges? who planteth a vineyard, and eateth not of the fruit thereof?
This is what Noah was doing. The wine came from his vineyard. Noah planted the vineyard. It would have been rained upon and the fruit developed and, finally, it was harvested. The grapes would have been trodden underfoot to extract the wine. All of this is in view when he drank of the wine and it ties into the statement in 1Corinthians, chapter 9. If he plants a vineyard, you would expect him to eat of the fruit of it. So, it is as though God is partaking of the fruit of the vineyard He has planted, spiritually. The fruitfulness of Old Testament Israel was to produce the Lord Jesus Christ and the fruitfulness of the New Testament churches was to produce the firstfruits, the 144,000, which was a figure of all those saved during the 1,955 years of the church age. God is in view, spiritually, and He is partaking of the fruit of His vineyard, which He has a right to do.
Regarding the drinking of wine, we know it relates to the Gospel. For instance, it says in Isaiah 55:1:
Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.
Milk is a type and figure of the Gospel. Wine is a type and figure of the Gospel. The vineyard produced wine and Noah partook of it, just as any husbandman would eat of his own fruit, but it goes on to tell us that he was “uncovered within his tent.” This passage makes a big deal out of this because verse 21 tells us he was uncovered; verse 22 tells us that “Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of is father;” verse 23 tells us that Shem and Japheth went backward “and covered the nakedness of their father;” and the end of that same verse repeats that they “saw not their father’s nakedness.” So, in each of these verses Noah’s “nakedness,” or his being “uncovered,” is very much in view and God is directing our attention to that idea. Why is God directing our attention to this and, especially, regarding Ham seeing the nakedness of his father? He told his two brothers and the two brothers covered Noah, but then it says in Genesis 9:24-25:
And Noah awoke from his wine, and knew what his younger son had done unto him. And he said, Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren.
We will discuss Canaan a little later, but it was Ham who saw his father’s nakedness and did nothing to cover it. I think that is the problem or difficulty. He simply told his two brothers and they were the ones that very respectfully covered him; they walked backwards so they would not see him and they had garment laid upon their shoulders and covered Noah’s nakedness. This act is blessed and spoken very highly of in Genesis 9:26-27:
Blessed be JEHOVAH God of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant. God shall enlarge Japheth, and he shall dwell in the tents of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant.
The two sons that covered Noah’s nakedness are blessed and Ham who failed to cover his nakedness is not directly cursed, but his son Canaan is the one that was cursed. It is a pretty strange account until we consider that it has everything to do with the Gospel.
You know, historical accounts like this prove the spiritual nature of the Bible because you can read the historical account and it just sounds strange. The whole idea of Noah being naked and Ham, perhaps, should have covered him, but in the eyes of the world it is no big deal. The world would say that it was really Noah’s fault for getting drunk and falling asleep in that condition. Why would Canaan be blamed? The natural, historical situation is very unusual and it is not until we understand the spiritual dimension that it makes sense.
First, the word “uncovered” is Strong’s #1540 and it is found in a few other places. Let us turn to Leviticus 18:8:
The nakedness of thy father's wife shalt thou not uncover: it is thy father's nakedness.
The same word translated as “uncovered” that is used in Genesis, chapter 9 is translated here as “nakedness.” Someone might say, “But this verse refers to a wife and not to Noah.” Yes, historically, that is true, but there is a principal here because we see that it is equivalent to seeing Noah’s nakedness. It says in Leviticus 20:11:
And the man that lieth with his father's wife hath uncovered his father's nakedness: both of them shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.
Ham saw his father’s nakedness. Here, the equivalent idea is that if you lie with your father’s wife, you uncover his nakedness. It also says in Deuteronomy 27:20:
Cursed be he that lieth with his father's wife; because he uncovereth his father's skirt. And all the people shall say, Amen.
Again, to lie with your father’s wife causes you to uncover your father’s “skirt,” or to see your father’s “nakedness.” Notice that one involved in this sin is cursed, just like Canaan was cursed by Noah. He cursed him because Ham saw his nakedness.
I know some people may be wondering why there is a distinction between Ham and Canaan, but it is better that we wait until later before I explain it. But there is a Biblical principal that if one lies with his father’s wife, he uncovers his father’s nakedness. By the way, it does not necessarily mean that the “wife” is the mother of the perpetrator because there could be a father that has two or more wives and the son of one of the father’s wives could lie with another one of his father’s wife and “uncover” his father’s nakedness in that way. That is exactly what Rueben did in Genesis 35:22:
And it came to pass, when Israel dwelt in that land, that Reuben went and lay with Bilhah his father's concubine: and Israel heard it…
Reuben laid with his father’s concubine and Jacob heard about it. This was a very serious matter because the Law stipulated that if you lie with your father’s wife, you are uncovering your father’s nakedness. It was a very shameful thing. Because of this, we learn that when Jacob was blessing his sons before his death, it says in Genesis 49:3-4:
Reuben, thou art my firstborn, my might, and the beginning of my strength, the excellency of dignity, and the excellency of power: Unstable as water, thou shalt not excel; because thou wentest up to thy father's bed; then defiledst thou it: he went up to my couch.
Reuben was the firstborn and we should have heard much more about Reuben because he was the firstborn son of Israel. The Bible speaks of the blessings and birthrights of the firstborn, but because he laid with his father’s wife, we read the following in 1Chronicles 5:1:
Now the sons of Reuben the firstborn of Israel, (for he was the firstborn; but, forasmuch as he defiled his father's bed, his birthright was given unto the sons of Joseph the son of Israel: and the genealogy is not to be reckoned after the birthright.
We can see what a grievous sin it was to lie with his father’s wife and uncover his nakedness. That is the equivalent. Ham uncovered the nakedness of his father because he saw him naked and it was the equivalent of lying with Noah’s wife. It causes the loss of the birthright.
Who else do we know in the Bible that lost his birthright? Esau lost his birthright. He lost the blessing of the firstborn and it was given to Jacob or “Israel” and now Israel’s own son, Reuben, lost his birthright because he laid with his father’s wife. The loss of the birthright represents the judgment of God. It indicates that the wrath of God is upon him and God hated Esau: “Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.” Esau is “Edom” and it typifies the unsaved in the churches. An individual that uncovers his father’s nakedness also typifies the unsaved in the corporate church. You may recall that we read about this particular sin in 1Corinthians 5:1-5:
It is reported commonly that there is fornication among you, and such fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentiles, that one should have his father's wife. And ye are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he that hath done this deed might be taken away from among you. For I verily, as absent in body, but present in spirit, have judged already, as though I were present, concerning him that hath so done this deed, In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when ye are gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.
The Old Testament scriptures are a commentary on this passage. We could not understand it fully without those verses. This individual in the church at Corinth laid with his father’s wife and it was commonly reported. Even the Gentiles did not commit that sin. That fact is interesting. This man was guilty of lying with his father’s wife, but this kind of sin was not found among the Gentiles. Why is that interesting? It is interesting because of the situation with Ham and Canaan. As we saw in a previous study, Ham was the ancestor or progenitor of the Babylonians, the Assyrians and the Egyptians and what did these nations have in common? They were all world powers that were enemies of the kingdom of heaven. The Egyptians held the Israelites captive. The Assyrians destroyed Israel in the North. The Babylonians destroyed Judah in the South. They represent the world. Egypt, Babylon and Assyria were types of the world, but they can also represent the corporate church.
Does the world bear any responsibility, spiritually speaking, for uncovering the spiritual nakedness of anyone? Again, in the Bible “nakedness” has to do with having our sins open and exposed to God, as we read in Hebrews 4:13: “Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.” In the Genesis account, Adam and Eve were “naked.” They did not even realize it until they disobeyed God by eating of the fruit of the forbidden tree and then they tried to cover their nakedness. God asked them, “Who told thee that thou wast naked?” The covering of one’s “nakedness” points to salvation. That is why Christ’s righteousness is likened to a robe of “righteousness.” The Bible tells us that we are clothed in fine, white linen, which is the righteousness of the saints. When God slew an animal and covered Adam’s nakedness, it was a picture of salvation covering one’s sin.
In our verse, Ham is a representative of the wicked kingdoms of the world and the world itself. It is a picture of the world as it goes astray from God and no longer has identification with the kingdom of heaven. The world has no relationship with God. To say it another way, there are unsaved people out in the world and their sins are exposed and they are spiritually naked; and when other people of the world have contact with that person, they see that person’s nakedness in the sense that they see their sins – they drink with them, drug with them and smoke with them – and, yet, they do not try to provide a spiritual covering for the other person’s nakedness, so does God hold them accountable? The answer is, “No.” God does not hold the world accountable because the “nakedness” and the remedy for it all exist in the spiritual realm which the world does not understand. However, God did hold the New Testament church accountable to cover “nakedness” and that is why Ham, a figure of the unsaved of the world, saw his father’s nakedness, but it was Canaan that was cursed. That is because Canaan identifies with the land of Canaan and the land of Canaan identifies with the churches, which had the duty and obligation to bring the Gospel that would cover the nakedness or sins of mankind with the righteousness of Christ.
The figure is that Canaan, who came from the loins of Ham and represented the unsaved within the corporate body, did not fulfill His obligation to cover the nakedness of Noah (a type of God) and, therefore, Canaan was cursed and the corporate church was cursed. It is just like the account in 1Corinthians, chapter 5 where the man had committed fornication with his father’s wife, which means he exposed the nakedness of his father. It was not the area of Ham’s concern, just as it was not the concern of the world to provide the Gospel that would cover sins. The judgment by Paul against the man in Corinth typified the judgment of God, in 1Corinthians 5:3-5:
For I verily, as absent in body, but present in spirit, have judged already, as though I were present, concerning him that hath so done this deed, In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when ye are gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh…
That is basically what happened at the end of the church age because the churches failed to cover “nakedness.” They were unfaithful to the Gospel and they were bringing a “free will gospel” that could never cover the sins of anyone and it could not provide the possibility of salvation. Therefore, God came in judgment and the judgment was to deliver them to Satan. God loosed Satan and Satan came up out of the bottomless pit and went straightway to take his seat in the temple, where he ruled over the churches and congregations throughout the 23 years of judgment against the churches. It all resulted in the “destruction of the flesh.” When you deliver one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, how can that possibly save the spirit? The answer is that it cannot result in salvation. There is no way. If you are talking about an individual, if his flesh was delivered to Satan, it cannot provide salvation for the soul. The only way this can be understood is to remember the principal of the “wheat and tares.” The “wheat” was the saved and the “tares” were the unsaved. Within the churches and congregations, you had those that were in the flesh (the unsaved) and you had those that were in the spirit (the saved). Therefore, when God delivered up the flesh or those that were carnal (tares), he saved those in the spirit by calling His people outside of the churches and He completed His salvation program outside of the churches.