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Old 03-09-2017, 12:46 PM   #1
awareness
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Join Date: Jul 2008
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Default The Curse of Ham

Thanks to Nigel Tomes for this.

BLACK SLAVERY AS ‘THE CURSE OF HAM’—
Bible Truth, Jewish Myth or Racist Apologetic?
“And Noah said ‘Cursed be Canaan! A slave of slaves, a slave to his brothers! Blessed be God, the God of Shem, but Canaan shall be his slave. God prosper Japheth…But Canaan shall be his slave’.” (Gen., 9:25-27 Message)1

Bro. Witness Lee (1905-1997) was an outstanding Bible teacher. His prodigious output of publications testifies to his ability as an expositor of Scripture. However, the “blended brothers’” posthumous exaltation of Witness Lee as the unique2 “Minister of the Age” conferred upon him virtual infallibility. They assert that W. Lee’s3 “ministry of the age subsumes and includes all the foregoing ministries. The whole New Testament ministry has been recovered…” His writings are ascribed a status equal to the Holy Scriptures, if not higher. To adherents W. Lee’s exposition of Scripture is the “Interpreted Word,”4 virtually inerrant, containing the Bible’s definitive interpretation. Given the undisputed primacy attributed to the “Ministry of the Age,” other interpretations (even on non-essentials) are not tolerated in the Lord’s recovery. “It is impossible for there to be different interpretations of the Scriptures…” LSM’s “blended brothers” assert,5 “Interpretational differences prove that some members have problems with the Head and are not under the Head.” Consequently LSM’s publication of the “gold bar”6—the Recovery version of the Bible, enshrining W. Lee’s teaching in its footnotes,7 was hailed as the “canonization of the Interpreted Word,” an historic event on a par with the “canonization” of Scripture at the Council of Carthage in AD 397!

These extravagant claims contrast starkly with the view espoused by most evangelical believers. They regard the Bible is the unique canon8 and the only standard for evaluating all Christian teaching. Moreover, evangelicals claim their “divine right,” under the priesthood of all believers (1 Pet. 1:9; Rev. 1:6) to personally interpret Scripture themselves9 under the Holy Spirit’s guidance (Heb. 8:11; 1 John 2:27). In contrast to Roman Catholics, they reject the notion that any minister or group of ministers has a monopoly on the correct interpretation of Scripture.10 Furthermore Scriptural interpretation is an on-going process. It is always true that “the Lord has yet more light and truth to break forth from His Word.” (Hymns #817) Hence, only the Bible itself is infallible; no Scriptural exposition is regarded as inerrant, nor is any equal to Scripture. Therefore mainstream evangelical believers categorically reject claims by LSM’s “blended brothers” that Witness Lee is the “Minister of the Age” and that his writings constitute the definitive exposition, the “canonized Interpreted Word.”

Rather than discuss these competing views in the abstract, we focus here on one example of Witness Lee’s teaching—his interpretation of Noah’s cursing of Ham (Gen. 9.) He expounds this event in terms of the genesis of various ethnic-racial groups of mankind. Noah’s three sons, Shem, Ham and Japheth are taken as the forefathers of the Jews, Black-Africans and Europeans. Two controversial implications are drawn—[1] Noah’s cursing of Ham is described as a curse on Black people and [2] the slavery of Black-Africans is regarded as a fulfillment of this prophetic curse. To some these points may seem trivial; yet to many Black people and believers with African roots these are important topics. We ask—Is this Bible truth? Is this exposition the definitive interpretation which ought to be accepted without question, since it comes from the “Minister of the Age”? Or, is this interpretation a carry-over of Medieval Jewish myths and/or the remnants of a discredited “scriptural” justification for black slavery? Put differently, is this explanation of ethnic and racial origins the product of proper biblical exegesis—“cutting straight the word of truth” (2 Tim. 2:15)? Or is it the result of eisegesis—reading into the Bible a meaning foreign to the text?

Noah’s Blessing & Curse—Prophecy concerning Jews, Blacks & Europeans?

Genesis 9 narrates events after the flood; Noah planted a vineyard, made wine, became drunk and “uncovered himself in his tent.” Ham saw his father’s nakedness and broadcast his parent’s failure to his brothers who discretely covered their father. W. Lee says,11 “Noah's failure was a test to his sons. From the same test, one received a curse and two received a blessing.” Later, he repeats, “One of Noah's sons was cursed and the other two were blessed.” (p. 448) Bro. Lee identifies Ham as the one cursed, saying, “Why was Ham cursed? Because he touched God's authority and became involved with God's government.” (p. 445)

In discussing Noah’s blessing and curse, W. Lee links Noah’s sons to various racial and ethnic groups. He says, “According to history and geography, Shem, Noah's first son, was the forefather of the Hebrews, the Jews. Ham, his second son, was the forefather of the black people. Ham's son was Cush, the forefather of Ethiopia. Japheth, Noah's third son, was the forefather of the Europeans.” (p. 448) Hence, Noah’s three sons are identified as the ancestors of three ethnic-racial groups—the Jews, “black people,” and “the Europeans.” Moreover, Noah’s speaking was prophetic, “Noah’s curse and blessing were inspired by God…who exercises His government over mankind,” W. Lee says (p. 448). He calls this “God’s prophecy concerning mankind spoken through Noah.” (p. 450)

Bro. Lee finds in history the fulfillment of Noah’s “prophetic blessing;” the Europeans (including Americans,) signified by Japheth, have been expanding; God is the God of Shem (the Jews.) Concerning Noah’s other son, W. Lee says “Ham has been cursed…he became a slave of slaves. Has this been proved by history or not? It has.” (p. 450) Putting these statements together, he is saying “Ham…was the forefather of the black people.” “Ham has been cursed…he became a slave of slaves.”
This has been proven by history—W. Lee asserts. According to “the Interpreted Word,” black people are under Noah’s prophetic curse and black slavery was the fulfillment of his curse upon Ham.

Nevertheless, Bro. Lee admonishes, “do not feel disappointed,” because “our natural status has been changed by the salvation of God in Christ.” (p. 450) This is exemplified by the Church in Antioch (Acts 13:1) which included believers from diverse backgrounds. Thus, “the five great functioning members of the church in Antioch were composed of two Jews, descendants of Shem, [plus] one from Africa and one who might have been a black person, both of whom might have been descendants of Ham, and one…culturally related to…Japheth.”(p. 450) W. Lee identifies Ham’s two descendents in Antioch as [1] “Simeon was called Niger (which means black). From this designation, he might have been a Negro.”12 And [2] “Lucius of Cyrene was from Africa. Cyrene was a city in northern Africa, where Libya is today.” Yet, regardless of their background, both were gifted members of the Antioch Church. Similarly, “Since we have been regenerated, we are all the church people. We were born of different origins, but now we are all in the same church.” (p. 450) No doubt, in Christ, believers are a “new creation.” Nevertheless, important questions are posed by this exposition.

Over thirty years have elapsed since this teaching on racial origins was presented to the Lord’s recovery in N. America. In wider society this view is contentious because,13 “the Curse of Ham… has constituted one of the standard justifications for the degradation and enslavement of the African black in both South Africa and the American South.” Surprisingly, despite its controversial elements (according to my knowledge) this teaching has never been questioned in the Lord’s recovery.
Important issues remain—are black people, by virtue of their natural status, under Noah’s curse? Was the slavery of Afro-Americans sovereignly allowed by God to fulfill the “curse of Ham”? Is this view vulnerable to the charge that it implicitly condones black slavery as a historical necessity?

Are Blacks under Noah’s Curse?

Let’s re-examine this exposition. By far the most controversial elements are the twin assertions: [1] Blacks are under the “curse of Ham” and [2] the slavery of Afro-Americans was the fulfillment of Noah’s curse. Is this conclusion the result of a straightforward exegesis of Scripture? Or is it the product of eisegesis—reading a preconceived concept into the divine text?

One basic point is that the Genesis record itself makes no reference to skin color or race. The Bible tells us Adam was the father of the whole human-kind (Acts 17:26); it does not explicitly tell us the genesis of various races. Any scriptural exposition of racial or ethnic origins relies on the expositor’s interpretation and extrapolation of the biblical text. Significantly, W. Lee says, “According to history and geography, Shem…was the forefather of the Hebrews, the Jews. Ham…the forefather of the black people….Japheth…the forefather of the Europeans.” The Scriptures themselves do not state this. Rather, it is the expositor’s juxtaposing of “history and geography” with Scripture which generates these conclusions. Just as the laws of science cannot be derived from the Bible, it’s also conceivable that the genesis of racial and ethnic groups cannot be deduced from Scripture. We pause to inquire—Are we asking questions of the Bible it’s not designed to answer?

Who did Noah Curse—Ham, Canaan or Cush?

Turning to Genesis 9, there’s an arresting asymmetry between Noah’s blessing and his curse; he blessed Shem and Japheth; he did not curse Ham. Rather, Noah pronounced a curse on Ham’s son, Canaan, saying, “Cursed be Canaan: A servant of servants shall he be to his brothers…Blessed be…Shem and let Canaan be his servant.” Hence, strictly speaking, it is inaccurate to talk of “the curse of Ham.” The “curse of Canaan” is the correct term. This is important because Ham had four sons: Cush is listed first and Canaan, last (Gen. 10:6.) W. Lee points out that “Ham's son was Cush, the forefather of Ethiopia.” Scholars agree that “Cush” means “black.” Hence many expositors concur with W. Lee that “Ham…was the forefather of the black people,” through his son, Cush.14 Yet, Ham was the forefather of other peoples also—through his other sons. So why focus attention exclusively upon only one lineage—Ham’s black descendents? Moreover, regardless of the ethnic origins or skin colors of the Cu****es, the fact remains that no curse is pronounced on either Ham or Cush. The curse of servitude was pronounced on Caanan, another of Ham's sons. The Bible states clearly that Noah cursed Ham’s fourth son, Canaan, not Ham’s first son, Cush (the black, “Ethiopian.”) There is no Biblical justification for transposing Noah’s curse from one of Ham’s son to the other.

The Old Testament indicates that Ham had four sons: Cush, Mizraim, Put and Canaan (Gen.10:6). According to scholars,15 Cush, Ham’s oldest son represents the African tribes known as Ethiopians; Mizraim corresponds to Egypt; Put (or Phut) is linked by some to Somalia, by others to Libya. Lastly, Canaan16 “normally represents the land of Palestine and Phoenicia…the Old Testament… use[s] the term for inhabitants of the area in a general sense…These many tribes are in some way related to Canaan, and thus are called Canaanites.” So “Ham is the ancestor of all these people from Phoenicia [through Palestine and Egypt] to Africa.” It is an unjustified leap of logic to reassign Noah’s curse away from Canaan to Ham (his father) or Cush, his black “Ethiopian” brother. The notion that Ham himself was black, originated in later rabbinical folklore. It is without Scriptural foundation. Hence expositors conclude17 “The reputed curse of Ham is not on Ham, but on Canaan, one of Ham's sons.
This is not a racial but geographic referent. The Canaanites, typically associated with the region of the Levant (Palestine, Lebanon, etc) were later subjugated by the Hebrews when they left bondage in Egypt according to the Biblical narrative.” Thus, these scholars conclude the object of Noah’s curse was not black people, but Canaan, the forefather of the Canaanites. Noah’s curse was fulfilled by the Hebrews’ subjugation of the Canaanites. Canaan became “a slaves of slaves,” when the Canaanites [e.g. the Gibeonites (Joshua 9:21, 27)] served the ex-slaves from Egypt, the Children of Israel. Genesis provides no biblical support for the assertion that black people are under Noah’s curse.

Black Slavery as the ‘Curse of Ham’—Bible Truth, Jewish Myth or Racist Apologetic?

When expounding Noah’s curse, W. Lee refers to “the fulfillment of God's prophecy concerning mankind spoken through Noah.” (p. 450) He identifies Ham as “the forefather of the black people” and elaborates by asserting, “Ham has been cursed…Under the curse, he became a slave of slaves. Has this been proved by history or not? It has.” This implies black slavery is the fulfillment of Noah’s prophetic curse. Yet, closer investigation suggests this interpretation is tenuous at best. Cush, the forefather of the black peoples, was not cursed by Noah; rather it was Canaan. Therefore, simple logic dictates that Noah’s curse to be “a slave of slaves, a slave to his brothers,” does not apply to black people. The NIV Study Bible notes,18 “Noah’s curse cannot be used to justify the enslavement of blacks, since most of Ham’s descendants are known to be Caucasian, as the Canaanites certainly were (as shown by ancient paintings of the Canaanites discovered in Egypt).” We conclude that Genesis provides no biblical basis, either ethically or prophetically, to justify black slavery.

If black slavery is not a logical deduction from Genesis, where did this concept arise? Nowhere in Genesis do we find evidence that Ham was black. The tradition that Ham was a black man developed much later. It is a Rabbinical elaboration,19 not explicitly formulated until the Babylonian Talmud of 500 AD. Hence this concept belongs in the category of Jewish “myths and unending genealogies” (1 Tim.1:4). In the middle ages, European scholars of the Bible picked up on the Jewish Talmud idea that the "sons of Ham" were "blackened" by their sins.20 These arguments became increasingly common during the slave trade of the 18th and 19th Centuries. A historian, Edith Sanders, concludes that the identification of Ham’s descendents as Black Africans,21 “gained currency in the sixteenth century.” Thereafter, it “persisted throughout the eighteenth century, [and] served as a rationale for slavery, using Biblical interpretations in support of its tenets. The image of the Negro deteriorated in direct proportion to the growth of the importance of slavery.” Benjamin Braude, Professor of history at Boston College, writes22 “in 18th and 19th century Euro-America, Genesis 9:18-27 became the curse of Ham, a foundation myth for collective degradation, conventionally trotted out as God's reason for condemning generations of dark-skinned peoples from Africa to slavery.” Sadly this notion has been perpertuated through its uncritical repetition by Bible teachers and writers.
However, today evangelical scholars reject this view as an out-dated remnant of folklore, masquarading as Scriptural truth. Others, perceiving the more sinister motive of a racist apologetic, denounce this notion as a23 “false teaching…used to justify slavery and other non-Biblical, racist attitudes.”

Black Africa—under Noah’s Curse OR Source of ‘the Man-Child’?

Witness Lee was an outstanding Bible teacher. His Life-studies stand as a monumental testimony to his gifts as an expositor of Scripture. This is more impressive since he was not an “armchair expositor,” but labored practically to produce local churches throughout the globe. W. Lee was a gifted minister of Christ, an inspirational speaker and devotional writer. Yet he was not infallible.24 He was not a systematic theologian, nor an academic historian. He testified of adopting teachings from prior generations, especially the Plymouth Brethren who emphasized Bible prophecy.
Perhaps his view of Noah’s curse as a prophecy concerning races was acquired from that source. In W. Lee’s hands generally-accepted teachings were habitually reexamined in the light of Scripture. However, it seems this teaching about racial origins and black slavery, “slipped through the net” of critical re-evaluation. With W. Lee’s passing, LSM’s “blended brothers” are left with the uncomfortable fact that the “Interpreted Word,” embodied in the “Life-studies,” perpetuates a view of racial origins decisively rejected by evangelical scholars today. This teaching originates from fanciful rabbinical elaborations of Scripture rather than resulting from “cutting straight the Word of the truth.” Moreover it was used by prejudiced scholars to justify black slavery in North America and elsewhere. This realization raises the issue—will LSM’s “blended brothers” now repudiate the twin teachings that [1] As a race, black people are under Noah’s curse, and [2] Black slavery was the fulfillment of Noah’s prophetic curse on Ham? To do so would undermine the concept that W. Lee’s teachings are virtually inerrant as the “Interpreted Word,” the definitive Bible exposition by today’s “Minister of the Age.” However such an acknowledgment may remove a cause of stumbling to Afro-Americans. Even casual observation suggests that Afro-American believers are seriously under-represented in North American local churches affiliated with LSM. Moreover, in Africa, the development of the LSM-churches lags far behind the growth of evangelicals. Perhaps one “stone of stumbling,” one under-lying cause of this under-representation, is this teaching regarding the genesis of the races. A decisive repudiation by LSM’s “blended brothers” of this teaching concerning racial origins could help rectify this situation.

The Church in Antioch’s leadership included diverse races, reflecting the fact that25 “the church is composed of all races” and “spiritual gifts and functions…are not based on…natural status.” Hence, W. Lee points out that “the five great functioning members…in Antioch were composed of two Jews…. [plus] one from Africa and one who might have been a black person, both….descendants of Ham, and one…related to…Japheth [European].”(p. 450) This suggests Antioch’s leadership was 20-40% Black; 40% Jewish and 20% European (Caucasian?). Descendents from all three of Noah’s sons were well represented. Contrast this with today’s world-wide leadership in the Recovery. 63 “blended co-workers” signed the “Quarantine Letter” (Oct. 2006). We estimate over 50% of signatories are Caucasian; Over 40% are Asian, mostly Chinese. Significantly the Black race has only a token representative; only one brother was identified as Afro-American. This under-representation of black people was underscored by 3 American brothers (2 Chinese and one Caucasian) signing “Representing Africa”! The 63 “blended co-workers” claim to represent the whole Recovery, world-wide. However, racially they are Caucasian or Asian (Chinese). Nationally they are an American-Taiwanese group (73%). Apparently “grace has not overcome race” within today’s Recovery as it did in early Antioch.

Interestingly Brazil’s Bro. Yu-Lan Dong has propounded a different view concerning Black Africa. Based on a creative use of cartography, he suggested that Africa will produce “the Man-Child” of Revelation 12. Bro. Dong used the outlines of the continents to depict Europe and Asia as the Great Dragon (Satan,) North America as “the Eagle” and South America “the Wilderness.” Africa is represented as a fetus. In this view, rather than being under the “curse of Ham,” Black Africa is blessed to bring forth the “Man-child”! This turns W. Lee’s interpretation on its head! This exposition is attractive to Africa’s Black population, making them the center of God’s plan to produce overcomers!
This may help explain why Bro. Dong’s work is more successful than LSM’s work in Africa. Indeed we wonder whether the “blended brothers” representing Africa (Bros. John Huang, James Lee & Dick Taylor) even mention LSM’s teaching about Noah’s curse when they minister in Africa! Needless to say, Bro. Dong has been severely rebuked26 by LSM’s “blended brothers” for “teaching differently” from the “Minister of the Age.” We know of no convincing Biblical basis supporting Bro. Dong’s view. His interpretation is based upon cartography, just as W. Lee’s exposition is (in his words) “according to history and geography.”

Finally we note that Living Stream Ministry publishes the journal Affirmation & Critique27 “to refute and correct the defects and errors of traditional Christian theology.” They claim “this publication reconsiders crucial aspects of Christian thought and practice…” Here we pose the question—Is LSM willing to “reconsider this aspect of Christian thought”? Perhaps they don’t consider this issue “crucial.” Nevertheless, to many Afro-Americans and Black Africans this is an important question, not lightly dismissed. Moreover, if needed, will LSM acknowledge and “correct the defects and errors” in their own theology about the Black race? Or have they set themselves on a pedestal beyond evaluation, impervious to correction by others, while they sit as judges critiquing the whole of Christianity?

Nigel Tomes

Toronto, Canada

October, 2007

NOTES:
1. The Recovery Version reads: “And Noah said ‘Cursed be Canaan: A servant of servants shall he be to his
brothers…Blessed be Jehovah, the God of Shem and let Canaan be his servant. May God enlarge
Japheth…and let Canaan be his servant’.” (Gen., 9:25-27 RcV.)
2. Consider the following statements: “As many of us were under Brother Lee’s ministry for years, even
decades, no one can dispute the fact that he was the minister of the age, that he had the vision of the
age….” (BP, The Ministry, vol.7, no. 6, August, 2003, p. 36, emphasis added.) “Brother Lee could not say
it then, but we can say it today: He was the wise master builder; he was the minister of the age….” [RK,
The Ministry, vol. 10, No. 1, (Jan./Feb. 2006) p. 150 (emphasis original)]
3. EM, The Ministry, vol. 9, No. 2, Feb. 2005, p. 137. Further examples of the accolades heaped upon W.
Lee’s ministry are: “We thank the Lord for the ministry of the age which has reached the final stage to be
the all-inheriting ministry of the age with the vision of the age.” [DT, The Ministry, vol. 9, No. 8, Sept.
2005, p. 34] “We need to declare to the whole universe that the ministry we have been under is the
apostles’ teaching. This is the ministry that is being released into the recovery today.” [BP, The Ministry,
vol. 9, #3, March 2005, p. 124] Note this last quote equates “the apostles’ teaching” (the entire New
Testament) with W. Lee’s ministry (“the ministry we have been under”.)
4. One example of the “blended brothers” use of the phrase “the interpreted word” is: “we must recommend
the use of the Life-studies and the Recovery version. We need to spend time to dig into the interpreted
word of God…” [Minoru Chen, The Ministry, vol. 9, No. 3, (March 2005) p. 55] In this context the role of
the Life-studies and footnotes is emphasized; “We all need to be helped through the Life-studies and
Recovery version with the footnotes to see the intrinsic significance of the word of the Bible. The collection
of footnotes in the Recovery version is a precious gem. The practical way to be educated and thus to be
reconstituted with the truth is with the tools of the Life-studies and Recovery version with the footnotes.”
[Minoru Chen, The Ministry, vol. 9, No. 3, (March 2005) p. 53] Consider also the following statements by
LSM-President, Benson Phillips: “Today we have the Bible in our hands, but not many believers
understand the Bible. It is closed to them. However, in the Lord’s recovery, we have the Bible that has
been properly translated. The recovery version is probably the best translation available. We also have the
ministry of the age. Through the ministry of the age, the Lord has continued to further unveil His word.
The ministers of the age have interpreted and given the sense that is in the Word. Today we not only have
the Bible; we also have the ministry that interprets the Word of God and gives the sense of the Word.”
[Benson Phillips, The Ministry, vol. 9, No. 3 (March 2005) p. 117] Benson Phillips continues by making
some striking exclusive claims: “In Nehemiah’s time they had the Word, and they had the interpretation.
They were given the sense of the Word, entering into its intrinsic significance. Today we have the same.
This takes place only in the Lord’s recovery. Everything in the publications circulated among Christian s
today is old. However, in our publications everything is new. The Word is opened; every page opens up
the Word along with its intrinsic significance. Only here can it be said that there is such a deep and real
opening of the Word.” [Benson Phillips, The Ministry, vol. 9, No. 3 (March 2005) pp. 117-8]

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5. RK, The Ministry, vol. 8, no. 7 p. 183. The quote, in context, reads: “When Christ is the Head practically in
our experience, it is impossible for there to be different interpretations of the Scriptures. The Head is very
clear. Interpretational differences prove that some members have problems with the Head and are not
under the Head. Many brothers have spoken ardently concerning the ministry and the minister of the age.
But recently I heard one young brother…who declared that Brother Lee was wrong on a certain point.…
There is no point in even discussing differences because this and other things like it are a matter of the
headship.” Moreover, minor differences are alleged to be fatal in terms of “one accord.” The “blended
brothers” allege that “As long as we have different views on a minor point, we cannot have one accord
(Phil. 3:15)….If one brother has a different view, even if it is on a minor point, we cannot have the one
accord.” (The Ministry, vol. 9, No. 2, Feb. 2005 p. 64) Such teachings tend to produce uniformity of
scriptural interpretation, the accepted interpretation being Witness Lee’s. This teaching on the
impossibility of interpretational differences overlooks the fact that in this age of grace “we see through a
mirror obscurely” (1 Cor. 13:12). Hence, what we discern may differ. Only in the next age will we see
“face to face” (1 Cor. 13:12)
6. The term “gold bar” gained widespread currency when the 1st edition of the NT Recovery version was
published by LSM. According to the understanding of some people in the recovery, Witness Lee had a
“Midas touch,” everything he touched turned to gold. Hence, the Recovery version, with his footnotes,
became a “gold bar.”
7. Consider the following recommendation: “Within this ultimate consummation everything is included. The
footnotes in the Recovery Version of the Holy Bible are all-inclusive. The truth, the life, the light, the
revelation, and the vision in these notes are inherited. These notes are not the work of one or two
individuals. Every positive element of vision in the Scriptures is included in the up-to-date all-inheriting
vision of the age. Thus there is no reason to go back.” [RK, The Ministry, vol. 9, No. 8, Sept. 2005, p. 17]
8. This accords with Watchman Nee’s famous assertion—“The Bible is our only standard. We are not afraid to
preach the pure Word of the Bible, even if men oppose; but if it is not the Word of the Bible, we could
never agree even if everyone approved of it.” [W. Nee, The Christian, Issue No. 1, 1925, in Collected
Works, vol. 7, p. 1231.] Thirty years ago the “Co-workers in the Lord’s Recovery” declared, “All
teachings…which claim the Holy Spirit as their source must be checked by God’s revelation in His Word.”
[Quote from pp. 8-9 of The Beliefs and Practices of the Local Churches by “The Co-workers in the Lord’s
Recovery,” published by LSM, 1978.]
9. A recently published book by Alister McGrath (Professor of Historical Theology at the University of Oxford)
states, “The idea that lay at the heart of the 16th century Reformation…was that the Bible was capable of
being understood by all Christian believers—and that they all have the right to interpret it and to insist
upon their perspectives being taken seriously.” [A. McGrath, Christianity’s Dangerous Idea: The Protestant
Revolution, Harper-Collins (2007), p.2] Professor McGrath links this concept to the “priesthood of all
believers.” He says, “Luther’s radical doctrine of the ‘priesthood of all believers’ empowered individual
believers. It was a radical, dangerous idea that bypassed the idea that a centralized authority had the
right to interpret the Bible. There was no centralized authority, no clerical monopoly on biblical
interpretation.” [McGrath, p. 3] Contrast this view with the statements quoted above (in footnote 4) by
LSM-President, Benson Phillips: “Today we have the Bible in our hands, but not many believers
understand the Bible. It is closed to them. However, in the Lord’s recovery…Today we not only have the
Bible; we also have the ministry that interprets the Word of God and gives the sense of the Word…In
Nehemiah’s time they had the Word, and they had the interpretation. They were given the sense of the
Word, entering into its intrinsic significance. Today we have the same. This takes place only in the Lord’s
recovery. [Benson Phillips, The Ministry, vol. 9, No. 3 (March 2005) pp. 117-8, emphasis added]
10. This statement does not annul the role of God’s servants (past and present) in unfolding God’s Word to
His people. McGrath quotes William Whitaker (1547-95) as presenting the “Protestant consensus when he
stated, ‘For we also say that the church is the interpreter of Scripture, and that the gift of interpretation
resides only in the church: but we deny that it pertains to particular persons, or is tied to any particular
see [i.e. the Pope] or a succession of men’.” [A. McGrath, Christianity’s Dangerous Idea: The Protestant
Revolution, p.211, emphasis added.] The denial that “the gift of interpretation…pertains to particular
persons…or a succession of men’,” refutes the “blended brothers’” concept of successive “Ministers of the
Age,” just as much as Roman Catholic claims of Papal infallibility in Scriptural interpretation.
11. W. Lee, Life-study of Genesis, Message #33, p. 445. All subsequent quotes from W. Lee’s exposition of
Genesis are from this message, unless indicated otherwise.
12. W. Lee, Life-study of Genesis, Message 33, p. 450. It is unfortunate that both the Life-study of Genesis
and Recovery version (footnote Acts 13:1) employ the racially-insensitive term--“Negro,” rather than
“black.” Concerning the distinction, The Oxford English Dictionary says it was in “the late 1960s that black
(or Black) gained its present status as a self-chosen ethnonym with strong connotations of racial pride,
replacing the then-current Negro among Blacks and non-Blacks alike with remarkable speed. Equally
significant is the degree to which Negro became discredited in the process, reflecting the profound
changes taking place in the Black community during the tumultuous years of the civil rights and Black
Power movements. …African American achieved sudden prominence at the end of the 1980s when several
Black leaders….championed it as an alternative ethnonym for Americans of African descent. The appeal of

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this term is obvious, alluding as it does not to skin color but to an ethnicity constructed of geography,
history, and culture, and it won rapid acceptance in the media alongside similar forms such as Asian
American, Hispanic American, and Italian American. But unlike what happened a generation earlier,
African American has shown little sign of displacing or discrediting black, which remains both popular and
positive.” [“Usage Note” The Oxford English Dictionary]
13. Benjamin Braude, "The Sons of Noah and the Construction of Ethnic and Geographical Identities in the
Medieval and Early Modern Periods,” William and Mary Quarterly, vol. LIV (Jan. 1997): 103–142, p. 103
14. The word "Cush" means "black" and direct references are made to Cu****e and/or Ethiopian individuals in
the Biblical narrative, such as the wife of Moses, Zerah the Ethiopian army commander (2 Chronicles
14:9-15) and Tirhakah, Cu****e Pharoah of Egypt (2 Kings 19:9; Isaiah 37:9). [Allen P. Ross, “The Table
of Nations in Genesis 10--Its Content,” Bibliotheca Sacra vol. 138 (1980) pp. 22-34.]
15. See for example: Allen P. Ross, “The Table of Nations in Genesis 10--Its Content,” Bibliotheca Sacra vol.
138 (1980) pp. 22-34.
16. Allen P. Ross, “The Table of Nations in Genesis 10--Its Content,” Bibliotheca Sacra vol. 138 (1980) pp. 22-
34
17. Goldenberg, David M. The Curse of Ham: Race and Slavery in Early Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.
Princeton University Press, 2003 (New edition 2005).
18. It’s worth quoting more of the NIV Study Bible’s notes on Genesis 9:25 in their entirety: “Cursed be
Canaan! …This account of Noah’s cursing and blessing of his sons is addressed to Israel. Most likely it is
for this reason that Canaan is here singled out from Ham’s descendants as the object of Noah’s curse.
Israel would experience firsthand the depth of Canaanite sin (see Lev 18:2-3, 6-30) and the harshness of
God’s judgment on it. In that judgment Noah’s curse came to be fulfilled in the experience of this segment
of Ham’s descendants. But Ham’s offspring, as listed in 10:6-13, included many of Israel’s other long-
term enemies (Egypt, Philistia, Assyria, Babylonia) who also experienced severe divine judgment because
of their hostility to Israel and Israel’s God. Lowest of slaves. Joshua’s subjection of the Gibeonites (Jos.
9:21, 27) is one of the fulfillments (see also Jos 16:10; Jug 1:28, 30, 33, 35; 1 Ki 9:20-21). Noah’s curse
cannot be used to justify the enslavement of blacks, since most of Ham’s descendants are known to be
Caucasian, as the Canaanites certainly were (as shown by ancient paintings of the Canaanites discovered
in Egypt).” [NIV Study Bible, Zondervan]
19. Ole Bjorn Rekdal, “When hypothesis becomes myth: the Iraqi origin of the Iraqw,” Ethnology vol. 37
(1998): 17-32, p. 19. Jewish scholars, working around the 6th century AD, introduced the idea
that Ham was marked by dark skin. From the Babylonian Talmud, Sanhedrin 108b: "Our Rabbis
taught…[that] Ham was smitten in his skin."\'7bTalmud Bavli, Sanhedrin 108b\'7d James Fenton says from
the “medieval versions [of these events] we learn more about the nature of Ham's misdeeds. He mocked
Noah's nakedness, and invited his brothers to do the same (which they refused). What is more, this is
not the first of Ham's transgressions. When they had all been on the Ark together, Noah had insisted
that everyone be sexually continent, but Ham, by the aid of a magic demon, slept with his wife. Next day
Noah saw his footprints, and there grew up an enmity between Noah and his son. Ham was punished by
being given a black skin. When the world came to be divided up, Japheth received Europe, Shem got
Asia, and Ham was awarded Africa.” [James Fenton, Fenton, "A Short History of Anti-Hamitism," New York
Review of Books (Feb. IT, 1996), p.7] There is no scriptural basis for the notion that Noah enacted an
ordinance of sexual abstinence on the Ark. This fiction is the invention of a religious legalistic mind!
Professor Braude notes that there is no black depiction of Ham appears in western art until the
nineteenth or twentieth century. This was much later than the tradition of depicting one of the “three
wise men” as black. (ref. note 21 below)
20. The following are three examples of Medieval writers who make this extrapolation:[1] “Mar Ephrem the
Syrian said: When Noah awoke and was told what Canaan did. . .Noah said, ‘Cursed be Canaan and may
God make his face black,’ and immediately the face of Canaan changed; so did of his father Ham,
and their white faces became black and dark and their color changed.” Paul de Lagarde, Materialien zur
Kritik und Geschichte des Pentateuchs (Leipzig, 1867), part II [2] The Eastern Christian work, the Cave of
Treasures (4th century), explicitly connects slavery with dark-skinned people: “When Noah awoke. . .he
cursed him and said: ‘Cursed be Ham and may he be slave to his brothers’. . .and he became a slave,
he and his lineage, namely the Egyptians, the Abyssinians, and the Indians. Indeed, Ham lost all sense of
shame and he became black and was called shameless all the days of his life, forever.” La caverne des
trésors: version Géorgienne, ed. Ciala Kourcikidzé, trans. Jean-Pierre Mahé, Corpus scriptorium
Christianorum orientalium 526-27, Scriptores Iberici 23-24 (Louvain, 1992-93), ch. 21, 38-39
(translation). [3] Ishodad of Merv (Syrian Christian bishop of Hedhatha, 9th century): When Noah cursed
Canaan, “instantly, by the force of the curse. . .his face and entire body became black [ukmotha].
This is the black color which has persisted in his descendents.” C. Van Den Eynde, Corpus scriptorium
Christianorum orientalium 156, Scriptores Syri 75 (Louvain, 1955), p. 139.
21. Edith R. Sanders, “The Hamitic Hypothesis; Its Origin and Functions in Time Perspective,” The Journal of
African History, Vol. 10, No. 4 (1969), pp. 521-532
22. Benjamin Braude, "The Sons of Noah and the Construction of Ethnic and Geographical Identities in the
Medieval and Early Modern Periods,” William and Mary Quarterly, vol. LIV (January 1997): 103–142

7
Professor Braude points out that the linkage between Noah’s curse and black slavery first appears in
Western literature with Portugese voyages to W. Africa of discovery & commerce (including slavery.) He
says, “It appears, arguably for the first time in the exploration literature of Africa, in the mid-
fifteenth-century Chronicle of the Discovery and Conquest of Guinea of Gomes Eannes de Azurara,”
which talks of ‘ancient custom, which I believe to have been because of the curse which after the
Deluge, Noah laid upon his son Cain [Portuguese original-"Cairn"], cursing him in this way:- that
his race should be subject to all the other races of the world. And from his race these Blacks
are descended…’.” (pp. 127-8.) This 15th century writing confuses Canaan (Gen. 9) with Cain (in Gen. 4)
both of whom were cursed. This is probably the first historical instance of “Noah’s curse” being used to
justify Black slavery.
23. Ken Ham, Dr. Carl Wieland, & Dr. Don Batten, “Where did the ‘Races’ come from?”
24. Bro. W. Lee never personally claimed to be infallible. On occasion, he admitted making mistakes--
“Although I have always intended to do the right thing, I have nevertheless made many mistakes,
even some big mistakes. I certainly hate these mistakes, but I can testify that they have afforded God
the opportunity to show forth His wisdom. Therefore, I can thank the Lord for all my mistakes.” [W. Lee,
Life-study of Ephesians, p. 273] “My point is this—do not think that any leader could not make a
mistake. Only the Lord Jesus, the unique Leader, never made any mistake, It is absolutely impossible for
Him to be mistaken. However, all of us, including Peter, have made many mistakes.” [W Lee, One
Accord for the Lord’s Move, Elders’ Training, Book 7, p. 113] However, since Witness Lee’s passing, LSM’s
“blended brothers” have attributed virtual infallibility to Witness Lee as the “Minister of the Age.”
25. Acts 13:1, footnote 9. The wider context of the quote is: “This indicates that the church is composed of all
races and classes of people regardless of their background, and that the spiritual gifts and functions given
to the members of the Body of Christ are not based on their natural status.”
26. Bro. Yu-Lan Dong received a letter from 21 “Blended Co-workers” (dated June 4, 2005—the same date a
letter was sent to Bro. Titus Chu in the Great Lakes area) denouncing his work and publications. On the
issue of Bro. Dong’s interpretations differing from W. Lee’s, the Co-workers in S. America responded:
“Concerning Brother Dong’s interpretations of the Scriptures, we want to say that he never took any
position of someone who defines the truths as being definite and final….Everyone has the freedom to
accept or not accept his interpretations. This does not belong to the scope of the common faith. Therefore
no one can put down the ministry the Lord has entrusted him with, just because one does not agree with
his interpretations.” [Letter from “Your brothers and co-workers in S. America,” Responding to the 21
“Blended Co-workers’” Letter to Bro. Dong, June 2005]
27. Minoru Chen, The Ministry, vol. 9, no. 3, p. 48



8


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Old 03-09-2017, 02:57 PM   #2
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What I never understood about this teaching is that Exodus says that a generational curse lasts for 3 or 4 generations. Therefore this curse, if it is in fact interpreted correctly, should have expired by the end of Genesis.

How is this used as some kind of justification for slavery that took place 4,000 years later?

I think this is one example of what a poor a Bible expositor WL was. In my opinion his voluminous studies are not a credit to him, rather they are an example of how much he lifted the teachings of others with little thought. The only teachings we can find of WL that were essentially unique to him have been thoroughly debunked. Those that are unique to WN have also been debunked. The reason the blendeds have "codified" WL is they are unable to read the Bible themself.

In my opinion this teaching is a really shameful attempt at justification for an evil practice of subjugating an entire race to "untouchable" status. Why would he do it? Completely self serving, his ministry was all about unquestioning loyalty to a corrupt leader, violating your conscience as a result of some kind of superstitious worship of obeisance to the "MOTA".
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Old 03-09-2017, 06:35 PM   #3
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I must say, my cousin, that said America is being judged by God for not following His law of keeping Ham's descendants enslaved, would fit right in with Witness Lee.

Their earlier source for this notion must be the same. It was a common notion used as Biblical support against abolitionists. It was a Southern Baptist notion back when they were born. That must be where my cousin picked it up.

But where did Lee pick up the Ham/Black/slave notion? Did he get it from the Plymouth Brethren? Ohio might know.

Was Lee a racist, using the Bible to support his bigotry, like the Southern Baptists?
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Old 03-10-2017, 10:46 AM   #4
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Quote:
Genesis 9

24 Later, Noah woke up. (He was sleeping because of the wine.) When he learned what his youngest son Ham had done to him, 25 he said,

“May there be a curse on Canaan[a]!
May he be a slave to his brothers.”
26 Noah also said,

“May the Lord, the God of Shem, be praised!
May Canaan be Shem’s slave.
27 May God give more land to Japheth.
May God live in Shem’s tents,
and may Canaan be their slave.”


ZNP argued that slavery as permitted and regulated by the Lord in the Bible was a good thing. Why does the author of Genesis think it was a curse?
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Old 03-10-2017, 11:07 AM   #5
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Default Re: The Curse of Ham

Tome's effectively debunk's use of the "curse of Ham" to justify the enslavement of black Africans. Isn't it more likely that the Hebrews used the curse of Canaan to justify the enslavement of Canaanites?
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Old 03-10-2017, 12:39 PM   #6
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ZNP argued that slavery as permitted and regulated by the Lord in the Bible was a good thing. Why does the author of Genesis think it was a curse?
Cush, the first son of Ham was blessed. Cush means black (Jer. 13:23 - Will the Cu****e change his skin .... (Julia E Smith translation) Untohim has to fix this problem ... I mean I can't even cut and paste from my Bible without **** appearing. It's a Bible quote for gosh sakes. Not a dirty word).

So the blacks were blessed, not cursed. And get this, it is said that the Canaanites were Caucasian. So it's the whites that were cursed. Why? So the Hebrews could enslave the Canaanites with God's blessing. The Hebrews, the writers of this crazy story, were in the land of Canaan at the time Genesis was written. The Canaanites were their kin & neighbors. But they lusted after their land. So, just like here in America, God was used to justify taking other peoples lands (except here in America we used the devil -- sama same really). And btw, the same is true today. As the Hebrews are still using God to take other peoples land in Palestine.

Proving, God is a handy tool, when you want to take something that's not yours -- so is the devil. -- and when you want to enslave people. The Southern Baptist's and Witness Lee were right, except for the skin color part. Blacks, in this crazy Noah story, were blessed, not cursed.

But ain't it niffy that God in the Bible doesn't forbid slavery, but actually orders it. Doesn't that make it right? Will God judge America for its anti-slavery laws?
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Old 03-10-2017, 03:19 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by zeek View Post
ZNP argued that slavery as permitted and regulated by the Lord in the Bible was a good thing. Why does the author of Genesis think it was a curse?
Actually ZNP argued that slavery as regulated by the Lord in the Bible was a better (not same as good) way to deal with criminals, illegal aliens, POWs and those who are bankrupt and on the verge of starving to death.

Does that answer your question or do you need more explanation?
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Old 03-10-2017, 03:20 PM   #8
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Tome's effectively debunk's use of the "curse of Ham" to justify the enslavement of black Africans. Isn't it more likely that the Hebrews used the curse of Canaan to justify the enslavement of Canaanites?
Is there any archaelogical or historical evidence to support this?

I was under the impression that this teaching on Ham as a justification for slavery was developed by the South to justify their brand of racism.
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Old 03-10-2017, 04:17 PM   #9
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Before looking at the curse itself and its implications, I don't think many Christians have thought about what crime Ham committed that deserved such a curse.

Most would believe that Ham simply saw his father in the nude and that was such a crime (well, in the Victorian era it would have been, shocking to even see a knee or an elbow), it deserved generations of curse. However years of punishment for Ham simply seeing his father's nakedness does not make much sense. The punishment does not fit the crime.

Over the past centuries, there have been two main theories proposed by Jewish and Greek scholars - that Ham had sexual relations with his father (did something sexual to him), or that Ham castrated his father, or both.

The sin that Ham committed was castrate his father to prevent him from having more children.

There are parallels between Adam and Eve with Cain and Abel, and Noah and his sons. Like Adam and Eve, Noah was to repopulate the earth. God gave Noah the same command he gave Adam:

Genesis 9:1 Then God blessed Noah and his sons, saying to them, "Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the earth.


Ham committed the same sin that Cain did which was to kill his brother. But Ham did worse - he prevented his father from having more children. By castrating Noah while he was drunk, Ham prevented Noah from carrying out God's earlier command.

There have been various interpretations over the translation of the word "see".

Verse 24 indicates that Ham did something bad to him (not just simply see him naked):

Genesis 9:24 "And Noah awoke from his wine, and knew what his younger son had done to him."
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Old 03-10-2017, 06:41 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Evangelical View Post
Before looking at the curse itself and its implications, I don't think many Christians have thought about what crime Ham committed that deserved such a curse.

Most would believe that Ham simply saw his father in the nude and that was such a crime (well, in the Victorian era it would have been, shocking to even see a knee or an elbow), it deserved generations of curse. However years of punishment for Ham simply seeing his father's nakedness does not make much sense. The punishment does not fit the crime.

Over the past centuries, there have been two main theories proposed by Jewish and Greek scholars - that Ham had sexual relations with his father (did something sexual to him), or that Ham castrated his father, or both.

The sin that Ham committed was castrate his father to prevent him from having more children.

There are parallels between Adam and Eve with Cain and Abel, and Noah and his sons. Like Adam and Eve, Noah was to repopulate the earth. God gave Noah the same command he gave Adam:

Genesis 9:1 Then God blessed Noah and his sons, saying to them, "Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the earth.


Ham committed the same sin that Cain did which was to kill his brother. But Ham did worse - he prevented his father from having more children. By castrating Noah while he was drunk, Ham prevented Noah from carrying out God's earlier command.

There have been various interpretations over the translation of the word "see".

Verse 24 indicates that Ham did something bad to him (not just simply see him naked):

Genesis 9:24 "And Noah awoke from his wine, and knew what his younger son had done to him."
Pure speculation.

Noah had three grown sons, it is doubtful he would have more at his age.

Had Noah been castrated, and a bloody mess, surely his other two sons would have done a little more than walk in backwards.

Then why would Noah curse Canaan?

Makes no sense.
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Old 03-10-2017, 06:53 PM   #11
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But where did Lee pick up the Ham/Black/slave notion?
Note 19:
Quote:
Professor Braude notes that there is no black depiction of Ham appears in western art until the nineteenth or twentieth century. This was much later than the tradition of depicting one of the “three wise men” as black.
Note 22:
Quote:
Professor Braude points out that the linkage between Noah’s curse and black slavery first appears in Western literature with Portuguese voyages to W. Africa of discovery & commerce (including slavery.) He says, “It appears, arguably for the first time in the exploration literature of Africa, in the mid-fifteenth-century Chronicle of the Discovery and Conquest of Guinea of Gomes Eannes de Azurara,” which talks of ‘ancient custom, which I believe to have been because of the curse which after the Deluge, Noah laid upon his son Cain [Portuguese original-"Cairn"], cursing him in this way:- that his race should be subject to all the other races of the world. And from his race these Blacks are descended…’.” (pp. 127-8.) This 15th century writing confuses Canaan (Gen. 9) with Cain (in Gen. 4) both of whom were cursed. This is probably the first historical instance of “Noah’s curse” being used to justify Black slavery.
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Old 03-10-2017, 07:32 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by awareness
But where did Lee pick up the Ham/Black/slave notion?
Note 19:
Quote:
Professor Braude notes that there is no black depiction of Ham appears in western art until the nineteenth or twentieth century. This was much later than the tradition of depicting one of the “three wise men” as black.
Note 22:
Quote:
Professor Braude points out that the linkage between Noah’s curse and black slavery first appears in Western literature with Portuguese voyages to W. Africa of discovery & commerce (including slavery.) He says, “It appears, arguably for the first time in the exploration literature of Africa, in the mid-fifteenth-century Chronicle of the Discovery and Conquest of Guinea of Gomes Eannes de Azurara,” which talks of ‘ancient custom, which I believe to have been because of the curse which after the Deluge, Noah laid upon his son Cain [Portuguese original-"Cairn"], cursing him in this way:- that his race should be subject to all the other races of the world. And from his race these Blacks are descended…’.” (pp. 127-8.) This 15th century writing confuses Canaan (Gen. 9) with Cain (in Gen. 4) both of whom were cursed. This is probably the first historical instance of “Noah’s curse” being used to justify Black slavery.
Thanks Ohio.

Benjamin Braude - ACADEMIC PROFILE
Professor Braude teaches courses on the Middle East and on European-Middle Eastern relations. In addition to those interests, his research also focuses on religious, racial, and ethnic identities in Jewish, Christian, and Muslim culture. Currently he is completing Sex, Slavery, and Racism: The Secret History of the Sons of Noah, which examines the construction of attitudes toward color and identity from the ancient Near East and the classical world to the present. More broadly, he is interested in post-national conceptions of historiography. He has been a visiting professor at the École des hautes etudes en sciences sociales in Paris and a fellow at the Institute for Advanced Studies at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.
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Old 03-10-2017, 07:56 PM   #13
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Quote:
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Note 19:

Note 22:
Thanks for those notes, it nice to have someone who understands the history.
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Old 03-10-2017, 08:59 PM   #14
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Pure speculation.

Noah had three grown sons, it is doubtful he would have more at his age.

Had Noah been castrated, and a bloody mess, surely his other two sons would have done a little more than walk in backwards.

Then why would Noah curse Canaan?

Makes no sense.
The neighbouring Phoenicians, Hurrites and Greeks all had myths of intergenerational conflict in which a son castrated his father or ruler. Philo of Byblos tells us the Phoenician god Kronos castrated his father Uranus with his own knife; the Hurrite god Kumarbi rebelled against the sky god Anu and replaced him as the ruler of the heavens, even biting his knee and swallowing his genitals. We know of the Greek myth of Kronos castrating his father Uranus, god of the sky.

http://vridar.org/2014/04/28/what-did-ham-do-to-noah/
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Old 03-10-2017, 11:12 PM   #15
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Before looking at the curse itself and its implications, I don't think many Christians have thought about what crime Ham committed that deserved such a curse.

Most would believe that Ham simply saw his father in the nude and that was such a crime (well, in the Victorian era it would have been, shocking to even see a knee or an elbow), it deserved generations of curse. However years of punishment for Ham simply seeing his father's nakedness does not make much sense. The punishment does not fit the crime.

Over the past centuries, there have been two main theories proposed by Jewish and Greek scholars - that Ham had sexual relations with his father (did something sexual to him), or that Ham castrated his father, or both.

The sin that Ham committed was castrate his father to prevent him from having more children.

There are parallels between Adam and Eve with Cain and Abel, and Noah and his sons. Like Adam and Eve, Noah was to repopulate the earth. God gave Noah the same command he gave Adam:

Genesis 9:1 Then God blessed Noah and his sons, saying to them, "Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the earth.


Ham committed the same sin that Cain did which was to kill his brother. But Ham did worse - he prevented his father from having more children. By castrating Noah while he was drunk, Ham prevented Noah from carrying out God's earlier command.

There have been various interpretations over the translation of the word "see".

Verse 24 indicates that Ham did something bad to him (not just simply see him naked):

Genesis 9:24 "And Noah awoke from his wine, and knew what his younger son had done to him."
Where's the Biblical evidence for this claim of castration, or sexual assault?.
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Old 03-10-2017, 11:26 PM   #16
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Where's the Biblical evidence for this claim of castration, or sexual assault?.
Did you see the article Evangelical cited? http://vridar.org/2014/04/28/what-did-ham-do-to-noah/
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Old 03-10-2017, 11:59 PM   #17
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Where's the Biblical evidence for this claim of castration, or sexual assault?.

To see or uncover nakedness means to have sexual relations. It can also mean to have sex with your father's wife.

Lev 18:8 The nakedness of thy father's wife shalt thou not uncover: it is thy father's nakedness.

Deuteronomy 22:30
"A man shall not take his father's wife so that he will not uncover his father's skirt.

Genesis 9:24 Noah said that Ham had "done something to him".
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Old 03-11-2017, 05:06 AM   #18
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To see or uncover nakedness means to have sexual relations. It can also mean to have sex with your father's wife.

Lev 18:8 The nakedness of thy father's wife shalt thou not uncover: it is thy father's nakedness.

Deuteronomy 22:30
"A man shall not take his father's wife so that he will not uncover his father's skirt.

Genesis 9:24 Noah said that Ham had "done something to him".
Why is it that the same writer who so explicitly told us Reuben's sin would decide to use euphemistic language with Canaan? We are told in no uncertain terms why Reuben is cursed, yet Canaan's curse is explained in very vague and euphemistic terms (if your interpretation is accurate). Why?
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Old 03-11-2017, 06:27 AM   #19
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Did you see the article Evangelical cited? http://vridar.org/2014/04/28/what-did-ham-do-to-noah/
Oh boy, I did miss that. My bad Evangelical. Interesting article too.

So here's what I gather so far : The book "The Ark before Noah" pretty much proves that the flood story in Genesis is taken from much earlier Mesopotamian stories (the cuneiform tablets). And the story of Ham is a truncated story taken from Phoenician, Hurrite and Greek myths, and the writer just skipped, or forgot to include, the information that Ham went into his dad's tent, while he was blind drunk and naked, anally raped him, and then castrated him ... and when his dad Noah woke up in the morning, with a bad hangover, and sore in both the front and backside, cursed Ham's youngest, Canaan ... so the writer could justify the Hebrews enslaving the Canaanites.

Curiouser and curiouser ....
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Old 03-11-2017, 04:14 PM   #20
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Oh boy, I did miss that. My bad Evangelical. Interesting article too.

So here's what I gather so far : The book "The Ark before Noah" pretty much proves that the flood story in Genesis is taken from much earlier Mesopotamian stories (the cuneiform tablets). And the story of Ham is a truncated story taken from Phoenician, Hurrite and Greek myths, and the writer just skipped, or forgot to include, the information that Ham went into his dad's tent, while he was blind drunk and naked, anally raped him, and then castrated him ... and when his dad Noah woke up in the morning, with a bad hangover, and sore in both the front and backside, cursed Ham's youngest, Canaan ... so the writer could justify the Hebrews enslaving the Canaanites.

Curiouser and curiouser ....
It does make one wonder, given the similarities between the stories. But it could also be because they all came from the same true events which is what I believe.

There is another idea that Canaan is a son that Ham had with his mother (incest) and that is why Noah cursed Canaan. But I do not believe the mother was involved in this case.

But I think Canaan is cursed because of the principle of putting the sins of the father on the children:
Numbers 14:18 "visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children ".
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Old 03-11-2017, 04:17 PM   #21
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Why is it that the same writer who so explicitly told us Reuben's sin would decide to use euphemistic language with Canaan? We are told in no uncertain terms why Reuben is cursed, yet Canaan's curse is explained in very vague and euphemistic terms (if your interpretation is accurate). Why?
I think because Reuben is more important as the first born, so the bible devotes more attention to it.
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Old 03-11-2017, 05:43 PM   #22
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I think because Reuben is more important as the first born, so the bible devotes more attention to it.
Euphemistic is not equal to brief. The Bible could have just as equally been brief and blunt. It is an incredible piece of information that is presented in a very vague way for a Book that has not displayed any squeamishness at graphically depicting sins.

On the one hand it certainly would justify Noah cursing him, but it is truly unbelievable. If he was going to do all that why not just kill him? What did he expect would happen? This makes Jacob's family look like the well adjusted gentile family on Penny lane.
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Old 03-11-2017, 07:56 PM   #23
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But I think Canaan is cursed because of the principle of putting the sins of the father on the children:
Numbers 14:18 "visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children ".
Oh boy, don't get ZNP going. The next thing he'll try to do is prove the Bible knew about DNA, and the passing of genetic medical failures down to the third and forth generations.

We won't mention that.

But what are the moral implications of passing a sin I may have committed onto generations that had nothing to do with it? Why visit bad things upon the innocent?

The real God, not the one falsely depicted in the OT, would not, could not, do such a thing. Cuz the real God is righteous ... not a mean irrational impetuous monster.
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Old 03-11-2017, 08:07 PM   #24
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Euphemistic is not equal to brief. The Bible could have just as equally been brief and blunt. It is an incredible piece of information that is presented in a very vague way for a Book that has not displayed any squeamishness at graphically depicting sins.

On the one hand it certainly would justify Noah cursing him, but it is truly unbelievable. If he was going to do all that why not just kill him? What did he expect would happen? This makes Jacob's family look like the well adjusted gentile family on Penny lane.
Well according to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Curse_...TEREFKugle1998

Three Greek translations of the Bible, replace the word "see" in verse 22 with another word denoting homosexual relations.

But your argument is flawed anyway because the vagueness of a description does not exclude its plausibility. Consider that the 7 day creation account of Genesis may as well be considered a euphemism for the violent and long process of evolution?

I consider castration or incest to be more plausible the reason than simply seeing daddy's penis. I can imagine Ham maybe mocked , laughed, fooled around, but did something bad enough to be punished (simulated sexual act, perhaps? which is close enough to be considered incest).
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Old 03-11-2017, 08:18 PM   #25
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Well according to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Curse_...TEREFKugle1998

Three Greek translations of the Bible, replace the word "see" in verse 22 with another word denoting homosexual relations.

But your argument is flawed anyway because the vagueness of a description does not exclude its plausibility. Consider that the 7 day creation account of Genesis may as well be considered a euphemism for the violent and long process of evolution?

I consider castration or incest to be more plausible the reason than simply seeing daddy's penis. I can imagine Ham maybe mocked , laughed, fooled around, but did something bad enough to be punished (simulated sexual act, perhaps? which is close enough to be considered incest).
There is nothing in my response that excluded the plausibility.

Instead I have asked a very logical question that you have avoided answering. The book of Genesis makes it very clear why Reuben was cursed. Why, if your interpretation is correct, does it speak euphemistically about Noah?

The creation account of 6 days is something completely different. The Bible is about man and goes into great detail about the Patriarchs. The creation is very obviously given the cliff notes treatment.
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Old 03-11-2017, 08:20 PM   #26
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Oh boy, don't get ZNP going. The next thing he'll try to do is prove the Bible knew about DNA, and the passing of genetic medical failures down to the third and forth generations.

We won't mention that.

But what are the moral implications of passing a sin I may have committed onto generations that had nothing to do with it? Why visit bad things upon the innocent?

The real God, not the one falsely depicted in the OT, would not, could not, do such a thing. Cuz the real God is righteous ... not a mean irrational impetuous monster.
You obviously have missed my exegesis of Jacob's dream concerning breeding sheep.
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Old 03-11-2017, 08:20 PM   #27
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Oh boy, don't get ZNP going. The next thing he'll try to do is prove the Bible knew about DNA, and the passing of genetic medical failures down to the third and forth generations.

We won't mention that.

But what are the moral implications of passing a sin I may have committed onto generations that had nothing to do with it? Why visit bad things upon the innocent?

The real God, not the one falsely depicted in the OT, would not, could not, do such a thing. Cuz the real God is righteous ... not a mean irrational impetuous monster.
Things have changed now of course:
Jer 31:29
"In those days people will no longer say, 'The parents have eaten sour grapes, and the children's teeth are set on edge.'

Through the eyes of the old testament the child is part of the parent, so whatever the parent did the child suffered. I believe it was a way to hold parents to account.

God's intention, I believe, was to hold the parent to account for their actions, by using their children as collateral. It is really no different to how people swear on something they hold dear to themselves "I swear on my child's life". "you can hurt me but please don't hurt my children".

I believe there is a genetic aspect to this. Sin in many cases is an abuse of man's natural desires and needs and these strange desires are often genetic.
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Old 03-11-2017, 08:25 PM   #28
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Things have changed now of course:
Jer 31:29
"In those days people will no longer say, 'The parents have eaten sour grapes, and the children's teeth are set on edge.'

Through the eyes of the old testament the child is part of the parent, so whatever the parent did the child suffered. I believe it was a way to hold parents to account.

God's intention, I believe, was to hold the parent to account for their actions, by using their children as collateral. It is really no different to how people swear on something they hold dear to themselves "I swear on my child's life". "you can hurt me but please don't hurt my children".

I believe there is a genetic aspect to this. Sin in many cases is an abuse of man's natural desires and needs and these strange desires are often genetic.
I think it is pretty obvious that if the parent makes a bad investment and goes broke the kids and grandkids will suffer. It is also pretty obvious that it is difficult to pass wealth down more than 4 or 5 generations (look at the Rockefeller's).
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Old 03-11-2017, 08:30 PM   #29
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There is nothing in my response that excluded the plausibility.

Instead I have asked a very logical question that you have avoided answering. The book of Genesis makes it very clear why Reuben was cursed. Why, if your interpretation is correct, does it speak euphemistically about Noah?

The creation account of 6 days is something completely different. The Bible is about man and goes into great detail about the Patriarchs. The creation is very obviously given the cliff notes treatment.
I think it was because what Reuben did was worse than what Ham/Canaan did, no great amount of detail or attention is given to it by comparison. You said before that Euphemistic does not equal brief, and I agree. However the two can go hand in hand - we could expect that a euphemism may be used to describe something both unpleasant and something we do not want to go into much detail about The way we describe going to the toilet is one such example - there is no need to explain in detail what we are going to do, because it is not so important, and also we use a euphemism to cover the fact that we are excavating our bowels.
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Old 03-11-2017, 08:30 PM   #30
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I think it is pretty obvious that if the parent makes a bad investment and goes broke the kids and grandkids will suffer. It is also pretty obvious that it is difficult to pass wealth down more than 4 or 5 generations (look at the Rockefeller's).
That is obvious to me as well.
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Old 03-11-2017, 08:46 PM   #31
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Things have changed now of course:
Thank God, or other possible influences.

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Through the eyes of the old testament the child is part of the parent, so whatever the parent did the child suffered. I believe it was a way to hold parents to account.
But it's a little extreme, to say the least, to visit the sins of a parent to the 3rd and 4th generations.

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I believe there is a genetic aspect to this. Sin in many cases is an abuse of man's natural desires and needs and these strange desires are often genetic.
But the genetic aspect has no moral agent ... it's just nature and evolution doing its thing.
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Old 03-11-2017, 08:51 PM   #32
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I think it is pretty obvious that if the parent makes a bad investment and goes broke the kids and grandkids will suffer. It is also pretty obvious that it is difficult to pass wealth down more than 4 or 5 generations (look at the Rockefeller's).
This needs no God to make it so.
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Old 03-12-2017, 01:00 AM   #33
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Thank God, or other possible influences.


But it's a little extreme, to say the least, to visit the sins of a parent to the 3rd and 4th generations.


But the genetic aspect has no moral agent ... it's just nature and evolution doing its thing.
I believe the science shows that moral choices can cause genetic consequences, which in turn can contribute to moral choices. There is no clear delineation between choices and genetics when talking about causality. I think ZNPaaneah would agree with me.
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Old 03-12-2017, 07:03 AM   #34
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I believe the science shows that moral choices can cause genetic consequences, which in turn can contribute to moral choices. There is no clear delineation between choices and genetics when talking about causality. I think ZNPaaneah would agree with me.
I think it's likely that it's a full duplex thing too. But where's the science on it?
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Old 03-12-2017, 03:02 PM   #35
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This needs no God to make it so.
God made it so when He created the world we inhabit.
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Old 03-12-2017, 03:04 PM   #36
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I think it's likely that it's a full duplex thing too. But where's the science on it?
How an 1836 famine altered the genes of children born decades later:

http://io9.gizmodo.com/how-an-1836-f...n-d-1200001177
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Old 03-12-2017, 07:37 PM   #37
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How an 1836 famine altered the genes of children born decades later:

http://io9.gizmodo.com/how-an-1836-f...n-d-1200001177
Great article. Thanks. It helps me understand evolution a little better. Now I see how genetics can change, for better or worse, affecting natural selection.

The data showing effects of feast or famine, during the pre-puberty age, affecting grandchildren, means that some of the good consequences will result in a better chance of survival and offspring, and conversely, some of the bad consequences will result in less of a chance of survival and offspring, pretty much explains at least one operation of evolution.

The question of the sins of the fathers , to the 3rd and forth generation, is : Is God involved? So, is there a moral agent, known as God, involved in the operations and processes of evolution? Christian Theistic evolutionists believe so.

Then, concerning the curse of Ham, it means there's a slavery gene, that's, passed down to the descendants of Canaan. The article pointed out that "Scientists who reviewed (and rejected) the paper for publication did not quibble with the statistics. Rather, they said: “it’s impossible,”"

Well I think the idea that there's a slavery gene is impossible.

Not to mention, that all of this smashes to smithereens the idea of free will.
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Old 03-13-2017, 06:08 AM   #38
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Great article. Thanks. It helps me understand evolution a little better. Now I see how genetics can change, for better or worse, affecting natural selection.

The data showing effects of feast or famine, during the pre-puberty age, affecting grandchildren, means that some of the good consequences will result in a better chance of survival and offspring, and conversely, some of the bad consequences will result in less of a chance of survival and offspring, pretty much explains at least one operation of evolution.

The question of the sins of the fathers , to the 3rd and forth generation, is : Is God involved? So, is there a moral agent, known as God, involved in the operations and processes of evolution? Christian Theistic evolutionists believe so.

Then, concerning the curse of Ham, it means there's a slavery gene, that's, passed down to the descendants of Canaan. The article pointed out that "Scientists who reviewed (and rejected) the paper for publication did not quibble with the statistics. Rather, they said: “it’s impossible,”"

Well I think the idea that there's a slavery gene is impossible.

Not to mention, that all of this smashes to smithereens the idea of free will.
There is a debate going on as to what has caused our humanistic revolution of the last 400 years? It is very clear that things done as common practice or for amusement during the dark ages are unthinkable today. Any theory has to be consistent with the timeline, meaning a cause has to precede the change. Also it should be similar in scope, since the change affected a major portion of the inhabited world the cause should also be global in scale. The only theory put forth that fits those two criteria is that we are witnessing the effect of the printing press.

Human government has been around for thousands of years. Leviathan (large centralized government) has been growing and becoming more and more influential during that time with emperors, empires, and republics.

But a key component of a democracy, a relatively new development in human government is the education and involvement of the people. The printing press allowed the average man to have a voice whereas before it was financially prohibitive. Just like we needed an aluminum engine to make flight possible, we needed a printing press to make democracy viable.

What leviathan (human government) has done is to create an environment that is best suited for those able to live in a society. The government weeds out sociopaths and psychopaths. When you read human history it is very obvious that psychopathic behavior like Cain killing Abel was much more common in the past. Can anyone today imagine a government edict to kill all first born males of a particular ethnic group? We have had some genocides in the last century but they have been universally reviled and they are far less common than historical accounts. In Homer the genocide of your enemy was taken for granted. It wasn't reviled, it was standard protocol.

What does this have to do with evolution? Consider the domestication process of an animal like a dog. We selectively choose and mate animals for certain traits. By arresting and imprisoning or executing "criminals" we are removing them from the gene pool. If we are very successful (arresting the truly guilty party and convicting the truly guilty) then our process of selecting for this trait will also be very successful. Man has become domesticated (though we use the term "civilizing" instead to denote the process).

If the laws that we use for this process of selecting which males and females get to breed came from God then of course He is responsible for this "civilizing" or "domestication of man".

Consider what Evangelical shared about the story of Noah. If true it is abhorrent. Who would want to live in a society with someone like that? Over the last few thousand years we have selected against those behaviors with our laws and social norms.
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Old 03-13-2017, 02:43 PM   #39
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Bro ZNP, I'm lost to respond to your last response to me.

So back to the curse of Ham. Concerning DNA, in the story it seems if that's what happened, with that curse, it was a special affect on DNA, not like all the rest of us, that are busy passing DNA down the line, without God's intervention.

But I have to point out that the curse, in the Bible stories, did indeed workout.

It wasn't Cush, the blacks, that were cursed. It was Canaan and his descendents.The curse of slavery on Canaan worked out, in the Bible stories. The Hebrews were Canaanites. And down the line, as the Bible stories go, as descendants of Canaan, they were enslaved in Egypt. Maybe Noah was supernatural after all.

But let's consider the actual chronology of the writing with with supposed preceding Biblical historical events. The Biblical historicity is that the writing of the book of Genesis is hundreds of years after the Hebrews were enslaved in Egypt. That supposed slavery, written about long before Genesis was written, had to play a part in this Noah story, of introducing slavery as justified by God. What it says is that God judges those that aren't true to Him, by cursing them with slavery. And that happened to the Hebrew Canaanites ... as the Bible stories go.
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Old 03-13-2017, 04:00 PM   #40
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Bro ZNP, I'm lost to respond to your last response to me.

So back to the curse of Ham. Concerning DNA, in the story it seems if that's what happened, with that curse, it was a special affect on DNA, not like all the rest of us, that are busy passing DNA down the line, without God's intervention.

But I have to point out that the curse, in the Bible stories, did indeed workout.

It wasn't Cush, the blacks, that were cursed. It was Canaan and his descendents.The curse of slavery on Canaan worked out, in the Bible stories. The Hebrews were Canaanites. And down the line, as the Bible stories go, as descendants of Canaan, they were enslaved in Egypt. Maybe Noah was supernatural after all.

But let's consider the actual chronology of the writing with with supposed preceding Biblical historical events. The Biblical historicity is that the writing of the book of Genesis is hundreds of years after the Hebrews were enslaved in Egypt. That supposed slavery, written about long before Genesis was written, had to play a part in this Noah story, of introducing slavery as justified by God. What it says is that God judges those that aren't true to Him, by cursing them with slavery. And that happened to the Hebrew Canaanites ... as the Bible stories go.
I don't buy into the idea that the curse was for more than his grandchildren and great grandchildren.

Even if it is DNA that would get diluted with each generation.

Let's suppose that Evangelical's reference does shine a light on what happened. It did seem a little absurd that Noah would be that concerned that his son saw him lying naked in his room.

Noah basically boots him out of his family business, he will now have to go out and hire himself out to work, his kids won't get any inheritance and will also have to work for others. How many generations will it take them to recover from this horrific behavior of their father, grandfather, etc.

If you were related to the Rockefellers and then your branch of the family got disowned because of some dirtbag who is your father, grandfather, great grandfather you would consider that man to have been a curse to you.
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Old 03-13-2017, 05:47 PM   #41
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I don't buy into the idea that the curse was for more than his grandchildren and great grandchildren.

Even if it is DNA that would get diluted with each generation.

Let's suppose that Evangelical's reference does shine a light on what happened. It did seem a little absurd that Noah would be that concerned that his son saw him lying naked in his room.

Noah basically boots him out of his family business, he will now have to go out and hire himself out to work, his kids won't get any inheritance and will also have to work for others. How many generations will it take them to recover from this horrific behavior of their father, grandfather, etc.

If you were related to the Rockefellers and then your branch of the family got disowned because of some dirtbag who is your father, grandfather, great grandfather you would consider that man to have been a curse to you.
Is that all it was. Noah just tossed out an empty curse. That does make sense.

Efforts to make sense of these verses, that Noah cursed one of his grandchildren and his descendants, just for one of his son's seeing him without clothes, is where Evangelical's posted outrageous claims of anal rape and castration came from.

The story doesn't make any sense. And Witness Lee, and ZNP, claimed it was for not respecting God's authority. That's just as much bunkum.

My question is : Why take such a silly story serious at all?
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Old 03-13-2017, 06:22 PM   #42
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Is that all it was. Noah just tossed out an empty curse. That does make sense.

Efforts to make sense of these verses, that Noah cursed one of his grandchildren and his descendants, just for one of his son's seeing him without clothes, is where Evangelical's posted outrageous claims of anal rape and castration came from.

The story doesn't make any sense. And Witness Lee, and ZNP, claimed it was for not respecting God's authority. That's just as much bunkum.

My question is : Why take such a silly story serious at all?
Why do you say it is empty? The wages of sin is death.
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Old 03-13-2017, 06:55 PM   #43
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Why do you say it is empty? The wages of sin is death.
That's empty too ... in relation to Ham's curse.
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Old 03-13-2017, 07:11 PM   #44
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That's empty too ... in relation to Ham's curse.
If Ham sinned then the wages of that sin is death. Why do you have an issue with this?
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Old 03-13-2017, 07:23 PM   #45
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If Ham sinned then the wages of that sin is death. Why do you have an issue with this?
But the curse wasn't death. It was slavery. Stay on topic ZNP. And "if" Ham sinned is in question.
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Old 03-13-2017, 08:05 PM   #46
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But the curse wasn't death. It was slavery. Stay on topic ZNP. And "if" Ham sinned is in question.
Stay on topic? No one is going to be able to know more than a theory about what happened. We have the word from Genesis, and then we have the interpretation that this word was a euphemism for a much uglier sin. Either way it will merely be conjecture.

Second, we have the curse:

Cursed be Canaan;
A servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren.
26 And he said,

Blessed be Jehovah, the God of Shem;
And let Canaan be [d]his servant.
27 God enlarge Japheth,
And [e]let him dwell in the tents of Shem;
And let Canaan be his servant.

This curse is only on Ham and Canaan. Not on his grandkids or great grandkids.

Noah essentially disowned Ham, not unlike Jacob disowning Reuben. They got cut off from the inheritance, they are now going to have to work salary jobs, so what? How is this not Noah's right to decide who is in his will and who isn't?
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Old 03-13-2017, 10:13 PM   #47
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Stay on topic? No one is going to be able to know more than a theory about what happened. We have the word from Genesis, and then we have the interpretation that this word was a euphemism for a much uglier sin. Either way it will merely be conjecture.

Second, we have the curse:

Cursed be Canaan;
A servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren.
26 And he said,

Blessed be Jehovah, the God of Shem;
And let Canaan be [d]his servant.
27 God enlarge Japheth,
And [e]let him dwell in the tents of Shem;
And let Canaan be his servant.

This curse is only on Ham and Canaan. Not on his grandkids or great grandkids.

Noah essentially disowned Ham, not unlike Jacob disowning Reuben. They got cut off from the inheritance, they are now going to have to work salary jobs, so what? How is this not Noah's right to decide who is in his will and who isn't?
Well that settles it then. But seems to me that if sin was committed that would be Noah, and not Ham, and definitely not Canaan.

And Reuben, well his dad was the sinner first. He defiled his couch first. I guess it takes one to know one. And it was likely jealousy that his concubine desired Reuban more than him, that caused him to cut Reuben off. Hope she was worth it.
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Old 03-14-2017, 08:34 AM   #48
ZNPaaneah
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Default Re: The Curse of Ham

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Originally Posted by awareness View Post
Well that settles it then. But seems to me that if sin was committed that would be Noah, and not Ham, and definitely not Canaan.

And Reuben, well his dad was the sinner first. He defiled his couch first. I guess it takes one to know one. And it was likely jealousy that his concubine desired Reuban more than him, that caused him to cut Reuben off. Hope she was worth it.
If Ham sins it makes sense that Noah cuts him off in the inheritance but you know people's ego. A person would say "so what, don't need him". So the real loser is Canaan.

Yes, Noah sinned and as a result he lost one of his sons and some grandchildren. Now when they have family gatherings they will be a little less happy, a constant reminder of Noah's sin.
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