What does Genesis 9:22 mean?
ESV: And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father and told his two brothers outside.
NIV: Ham, the father of Canaan, saw his father naked and told his two brothers outside.
NASB: Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father, and told his two brothers outside.
CSB: Ham, the father of Canaan, saw his father naked and told his two brothers outside.
NLT: Ham, the father of Canaan, saw that his father was naked and went outside and told his brothers.
KJV: And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father, and told his two brethren without.
NKJV: And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father, and told his two brothers outside.
Verse Commentary:
After the flood, Noah plants a vineyard and enjoys the wine it produces. While the Bible speaks positively of wine (Numbers 15:5–10; Deuteronomy 14:26), including its ability to influence a person's mood (Psalm 104:15), it also strongly warns about the danger which alcohol represents. This story shows one such potential pitfall of consuming alcohol: In the previous verse, Noah is described as getting drunk and laying naked in his own tent. It is unclear whether this implies a sinful action on Noah's part or simply a carelessness about his own modesty because of his drunken state.

In literal terms, all that this verse tells us is that Ham saw Noah's drunken nakedness, and told his brothers about it. Noah's reaction later in the passage, however, certainly suggests an offense more involved than simply seeing Noah naked and going to tell others, rather than helping him (Genesis 9:24). Some scholars suggest that Ham took advantage of his father in some way, perhaps even sexually. As disturbing as that might seem, and while the text itself does not describe any such action in the following verses, Noah will condemn Ham for what he "had done to him."
Verse Context:
Genesis 9:18–29 comes immediately after God has established his promise to never again destroy all life with a flood. This includes a sign: the rainbow. The passage reintroduces Noah's three sons as the fathers of all the people of the earth to come. This passage also states that Ham was the father of Canaan. Next, we're told the embarrassing story of when Noah became drunk and lay naked in his tent. After seeing Noah uncovered, Ham went out and told his brothers about it. When Noah woke up, he cursed the descendants of Ham's son Canaan to be subservient to the descendants of Shem and Japheth.
Chapter Summary:
Chapter 9 describes God's interactions with Noah and his sons following the flood. First, God gives blessings and instructions, including the command to reproduce and fill the earth. Next, God makes a unilateral covenant with humanity and animals never to end all life with a flood again. He offers the rainbow as a sign of this promise. Finally, Noah prophesies about the future of his son's descendants after an awkward episode in which Ham talks to his brothers about seeing Noah passed out drunk and naked.
Chapter Context:
Chapters 6, 7, and 8 describe God's destruction of the world in a massive flood. Now, in Genesis 9, Scripture describes God's dealings with Noah and his sons following the flood. First, God blesses them and gives specific instructions, including the command to fill the earth. Next, God expands on His promise to never again end all life on earth a flood. Finally, Noah curses Ham and blesses Shem and Japheth after Ham tells his brothers about seeing Noah passed out drunk and naked. Chapters 10 and 11 will sketch out the history of mankind from Noah to Abraham.
Book Summary:
The book of Genesis establishes fundamental truths about God. Among these are His role as the Creator, His holiness, His hatred of sin, His love for mankind, and His willingness to provide for our redemption. We learn not only where mankind has come from, but why the world is in its present form. The book also presents the establishment of Israel, God's chosen people. Many of the principles given in other parts of Scripture depend on the basic ideas presented here in the book of Genesis. Within the framework of the Bible, Genesis explains the bare-bones history of the universe leading up to the captivity of Israel in Egypt, setting the stage for the book of Exodus.
Accessed 5/29/2024 8:22:24 PM
© Copyright 2002-2024 Got Questions Ministries. All rights reserved.
Text from ESV, NIV, NASB, CSB, NLT, KJV, NKJV © Copyright respective owners, used by permission.
www.BibleRef.com