Sin Continues After the Flood (Genesis 9:18-29).

Sin is like leprosy or to put it in contemporary terms, it’s like cancer. Leprosy is a modern ailment still affecting thousands of people. When you get it, it spreads. The drunk becomes a drunk because he started with his first drink. It spreads; it’s like a cancer. And so, when the Bible wants to describe sin graphically, it compares sin to a leprous kind of disease.[1]

A college with an established football team wanted a mascot so they decided to get a goat. The question was where to keep the goat! Two of the students offered to keep the goat in their room. The head of the sports department got wind of this and approached the two students. “Well, I hear you are gonna keep the goat in your room. What about the smell?” One of the students replied, “The goat will get used to it.”

Although the goat may get used to it, God doesn’t. Sin is a violation, a transgression of the law of God.838[2]

Today we see a passage in which Noah falls into sin.

My theme today is:

Sin continues after the flood. Noah and his family still have a sin problem and so do we.

  1. The sin and then the curse on Canaan (verses 18-27).

Verses 18-19, Genesis 9:18-19: The sons of Noah who went forth from the ark were Shem, Ham, and Japheth. (Ham was the father of Canaan.) These three were the sons of Noah, and from these the people of the whole earth were dispersed.

  • The sons of Noah: Shem, Ham and Japheth. There is a special note that Ham is the father of Canaan This may have to do with Canaan being the land in which the Israelites were to eventually take possession.
    • The whole earth was populated from these three men (verse 19).
    • Now we see Noah’s new work (verse 20).

Verse 20, Genesis 9:20: Noah began to be a man of the soil, and he planted a vineyard.

Verse 21, Genesis 9:21: He drank of the wine and became drunk and lay uncovered in his tent.

Verses 22-23, Genesis 9:22-23: And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father and told his two brothers outside. Then Shem and Japheth took a garment, laid it on both their shoulders, and walked backward and covered the nakedness of their father. Their faces were turned backward, and they did not see their father’s nakedness.

  • It is difficult to know what was going on here.
    • Ham is specified as the father of Canaan. Now, the land of Canaan will be the land that the Israelites will eventually inherit.
    • The people of Canaan will later be corrupted with sexual depravity.
    • What was the nakedness?
    • Often times “uncovered” is a euphemism, in the Bible. In other words “uncovered” would be a word in order to sanitize what was really going on. It is likely that some type of sinful sexual activity is going on. Or, maybe just a sexual act, but Ham, or possibly Canaan, saw it and tried to get the brothers to come look as well.
    • The text says that Ham saw the nakedness, but it could be that Canaan actually saw the nakedness.
    • This is because the text in verse 24 says that Noah cursed his youngest son. His youngest son is not Ham, but Canaan was the youngest grandson so far mentioned.
    • The Moody Bible Commentary makes an interesting point that Canaan was the actual culprit: The following considerations, on the other hand, clearly support the view that Canaan was the culprit. Noah himself identified the culprit as his youngest son (v. 24), and whereas Ham was Noah’s middle son (5:32; 6:10; 7:13; 9:18; 10:1; 1Ch 1:14), Canaan was his youngest grandson (10:6; 1Ch 1:8). Whether Canaan was the youngest of all Noah’s grandchildren, he was the youngest so far mentioned (Gn 9:18, 22) and hence the only person with whom the youngest son in v. 24 can be identified. Canaan was the one cursed, and the biblical pattern, already established in 3:14, is that the actual culprit is cursed (cf. Dt 27:15–16; 1Sm 26:19; Jr 48:10). Also the sin involved something that the culprit had physically done (’asa, which typically denotes physical, not merely verbal, activity) to Noah in his nakedness (note that Lv 18 uses the expression “to uncover the nakedness” of a relative to refer to inappropriate sexual relations). The phrase about seeing the nakedness of his father (v. 22) seems to imply that a homosexual sin was committed, which is consistent with the same specific perversity by which Canaan’s descendants are characterized a few chapters later (namely, the Sodomites in 19:4–7, whose “exceeding wickedness” is already noted in 13:13; on their explicit descent from Canaan, see 10:19). For these reasons Canaan’s identity as the culprit has long been recognized in Jewish interpretive tradition.[5]
  • Noah awakes and is aware of what Ham, his youngest son, had done (verse 24). But remember “Ham” is not his youngest son.
    • Now, if this is the case why would he say “Ham” in verse 22? Maybe it is because Ham is Canaan’s father and they are being identified together.
    • Either way, some type of sexual act was viewed, or committed, and Canaan is cursed.

Verses 24-27, Genesis 9:24-27: When Noah awoke from his wine and knew what his youngest son had done to him, he said, “Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants shall he be to his brothers.” He also said, “Blessed be the Lord, the God of Shem; and let Canaan be his servant. May God enlarge Japheth, and let him dwell in the tents of Shem, and let Canaan be his servant.”

  • Curse on Canaan, the son of Ham (verse 25): Noah curses the son of Ham and he will be a servant of his brothers (descendants of Shem and Japheth).
    • Blessing on the Lord, the God of Shem, Canaan, son of Ham, shall be his servant (verse 26).
    • The Israelites would come from Shem.
    • K&D: “Servant of servants (i.e., the lowest of slaves, vid., Ewald, § 313) let him become to his brethren.” Although this curse was expressly pronounced upon Canaan alone, the fact that Ham had no share in Noah’s blessing, either for himself or his other sons, was a sufficient proof that his whole family was included by implication in the curse, even if it was to fall chiefly upon Canaan. And history confirms the supposition. The Canaanites were partly exterminated, and partly subjected to the lowest form of slavery, by the Israelites, who belonged to the family of Shem; and those who still remained were reduced by Solomon to the same condition (1 Kings 9:20, 21). The Phoenicians, along with the Carthaginians and the Egyptians, who all belonged to the family of Canaan, were subjected by the Japhetic Persians, Macedonians, and Romans; and the remainder of the Hamitic tribes either shared the same fate...[6]
    • Blessing on Japheth, dwell in the tents of Shem, Canaan (son of Ham) to be his servant (verse 27).
    • Dr Constable: There is no basis for the popular notion that this oracle doomed the Hamites, who were mainly Africans, to a position of inferiority or slavery among the other peoples of the world. Canaan and his branch of the family are the subject of this prophecy, not Ham and all his descendants.

“There are no grounds in our passage for an ethnic reading of the ‘curse’ as some have done, supposing that some peoples are inferior to others. Here Genesis looks only to the social and religious life of Israel’s ancient rival Canaan, whose immorality defiled their land and threatened Israel’s religious fidelity (cf. Lev 18:28; Josh 23). It was not an issue of ethnicity but of the wicked practices that characterized Canaanite culture.”344[7]

  1. Noah’s final days (verses 28-29).
    • 350 years after the flood (verse 28).

Verses 28-29, Genesis 9:28-29: After the flood Noah lived 350 years. All the days of Noah were 950 years, and he died.

  • 950 years of life and he died (verse 29).
    • CSB: Noah’s 950 years mark him as the third-oldest human in biblical history, behind Methuselah (969 years) and Jared (962 years).[8]
  • Applications:
    • In verse 21 Noah fell into sin. We must always guard ourselves against sin.

An evangelist had to travel often to preach. On one trip, he arrived at his hotel and proceeded to go to his room, which was on the fifth floor. The man got on the elevator and a lady with a lot of baggage got on too. She noticed that he had pressed the button for the fifth floor and told him that she was going to the same floor. The evangelist, being a gentleman at heart, offered to help her since they were going to the same floor anyway and because she was so weighed down by her baggage. They arrived at their floor and the evangelist proceeded to help her carry her bags to her room. When they finally got to her door, the woman said, “Oh, sir, thank you very much, won’t you come in for a while?” The minister politely declined and hurried to his room. When retelling this story to a close friend, his friend said, “So, you were obedient to the Word in fleeing immorality because of your fear of God.” The evangelist replied, “No, I think I was fleeing immorality out of the fear of my wife!”844[9]

  • We must pray “lead us not into temptation (Matthew 6:13).
    • We must pray that we do not give the devil a foothold (Eph 4:27).
    • We must pray that we do not even give the appearance of sin (1 Thess 5:22).
    • We must guard that we are not drunk (Eph 5:18).  
    • We must guard against other sins as well.
    • We must have an active relationship with God in order to enable us to stay away from sin (John 15:1-5; Prov 27:17; Psalm 119:9-11).

Sickness often doesn’t happen suddenly. A person may feel a little tired one day and then notice a tickle in the throat the next. Many people ignore sickness at this stage because it doesn’t bother them that much or interrupt their life enough for them to take notice. They won’t rush to take vitamin C or head to the pharmacy for medicine. They will go on with business as usual. But, very suddenly, something that is insignificant can become significant. Sickness can dominate, knock a person down, and then knock them out. What starts out as a tickle can become a full-blown virus.836[10]


[1] Tony Evans, Tony Evans’ Book of Illustrations: Stories, Quotes, and Anecdotes from More than 30 Years of Preaching and Public Speaking (Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers, 2009), 279.

[2] Tony Evans, Tony Evans’ Book of Illustrations: Stories, Quotes, and Anecdotes from More than 30 Years of Preaching and Public Speaking (Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers, 2009), 280.

lit Literally/literally

Hb Hebrew

[3] Robert D. Bergen, “Genesis,” in CSB Study Bible: Notes, ed. Edwin A. Blum and Trevin Wax (Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers, 2017), 23.

vv. verses

[4] Robert D. Bergen, “Genesis,” in CSB Study Bible: Notes, ed. Edwin A. Blum and Trevin Wax (Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers, 2017), 23.

v. verse

v. verse

cf. compare or consult

v. verse

[5] Michael A. Rydelnik and Michael Vanlaningham, eds., “Genesis,” in The Moody Bible Commentary (Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers, 2014), 63.

[6] Carl Friedrich Keil and Franz Delitzsch, Commentary on the Old Testament, vol. 1 (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 1996), 100.

344 344. Mathews, p. 423. See also Charles C. Ryrie, You Mean the Bible Teaches That . . ., p. 60; Thomas Figart, A Biblical Perspective on the Race Problem, p. 55; and O. Palmer Robertson, “Current Critical Questions Concerning the ‘Curse of Ham’ (Gen 9:20–27),” Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society 41:2 (June 1998):177-88.

[7] Tom Constable, Tom Constable’s Expository Notes on the Bible (Galaxie Software, 2003), Ge 9:25.

[8] Robert D. Bergen, “Genesis,” in CSB Study Bible: Notes, ed. Edwin A. Blum and Trevin Wax (Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers, 2017), 23.

[9] Tony Evans, Tony Evans’ Book of Illustrations: Stories, Quotes, and Anecdotes from More than 30 Years of Preaching and Public Speaking (Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers, 2009), 281.

[10] Tony Evans, Tony Evans’ Book of Illustrations: Stories, Quotes, and Anecdotes from More than 30 Years of Preaching and Public Speaking (Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers, 2009), 279.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s