After God was done killing everyone and everything on Earth, save for what Noah was hauling aboard the Ark, it came to pass that things had to start anew. Noah, his boys, and their wives set about begetting in order to repopulate the Earth.
A man needs hobbies and old Noah, who was already 600 years old at this point, got into wine making, a business I heartily approve of. He also got into wine drinking and would, from time to time, hit the sauce a little hard. Turn, if you will, to Genesis 9, verses 18 to 29 wherein Noah’s sons come in to find the old man dead-drunk and lying naked on the floor.
18 The sons of Noah who came out of the ark were Shem, Ham and Japheth. (Ham was the father of Canaan.) 19 These were the three sons of Noah, and from them came the people who were scattered over the whole earth.
20 Noah, a man of the soil, proceeded[a] to plant a vineyard. 21 When he drank some of its wine, he became drunk and lay uncovered inside his tent. 22 Ham, the father of Canaan, saw his father naked and told his two brothers outside. 23 But Shem and Japheth took a garment and laid it across their shoulders; then they walked in backward and covered their father’s naked body. Their faces were turned the other way so that they would not see their father naked.
24 When Noah awoke from his wine and found out what his youngest son had done to him, 25 he said,
“Cursed be Canaan!
The lowest of slaves
will he be to his brothers.”
26 He also said,
“Praise be to the Lord, the God of Shem!
May Canaan be the slave of Shem.
27 May God extend Japheth’s[b] territory;
may Japheth live in the tents of Shem,
and may Canaan be the slave of Japheth.”
28 After the flood Noah lived 350 years. 29 Noah lived a total of 950 years, and then he died.
When my wife and I first got together, she told me that she wanted to see me drunk. The reason for this wasn’t that she wanted a drunken man running around the house, but rather that she wanted to know what kind of person I turned into when I was drunk. Could I handle my booze without becoming a complete asshole. Was I a bad drunk?
As luck would have it, I passed the test. When I get really drunk, three things happen. First, I get a bit louder. I’m normally a bit loud anyhow, so the volume does tend to rise a bit. Second, I get tired. I don’t get angry or physical. I get tired. Eventually, I fall asleep. When I eventually wake up, I’m pretty much back to normal. For reasons I don’t understand, but appreciate a great deal, I don’t get hangovers. Ever.
Noah, on the other hand, was what we’d call a bad drunk. He turned into a complete belligerent jerk.
Worse yet is what Noah’s curse of his son, Ham, meant for people of colour, especially those born with darker skin, such as African blacks, who are regarded as the descendents of the Canaanites. It is said, after all, that God punished Ham by blackening his face. Since Noah’s curse meant that Ham and his descendents would be the lowest of slaves, this ‘curse of Ham’ has been used to justify slavery.