And Noah began to be an husbandman, and he planted a vineyard: 21And he drank of the wine, and was drunken; and he was uncovered within his tent. 22And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father, and told his two brethren without. 23And Shem and Japheth took a garment, and laid it upon both their shoulders, and went backward, and covered the nakedness of their father; and their faces were backward, and they saw not their father's nakedness. 24¶And Noah awoke from his wine, and knew what his younger son had done unto him. 25And he said, Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren. 26And he said, Blessed be the LORD God of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant. 27God shall enlarge Japheth, and he shall dwell in the tents of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant. — Genesis 9:20-27

Some commentators have said that the "youngest son" is Canaan, based on the fact that Ham was not Noah's youngest son, and that the word "son" also means "grandson" in Hebrew, along with the fact that Canaan was punished, and not Ham. What is most probable based on the text?

Thank you.

  • Canaan is not a son of Noah but his Grandson from his son Ham, as per verse 22 above that you noted. The sons of Noah were Shem , Ham, and Japheth. (Genesis 5:32) You need to edit your question. Commented Aug 8, 2019 at 19:42
  • 2
    Noah doesn't call Canaan his son, so I don't understand the point of this question??
    – curiousdannii
    Commented Aug 8, 2019 at 22:36
  • @OzzieNicolas It's obvious based on the question that I am aware of this i assumed that everyone who read this question would know that Canaan was Noah's grandson.
    – CMK
    Commented Aug 9, 2019 at 20:03
  • I don’t think you’re asking all the questions about this passage and therefore it’s rather confusing. Commented Apr 13, 2020 at 15:35
  • In the extra Biblical account found with the DSS the testament of Noah, Noah awakes from a prophetic dream/vision though the text is too fragmented or lost to know what he dreamt but enough to say that Canaan was the cause of those future events and Noah awoke to see it was already happening as Ham felt compelled because of Canaan to sleep with his own mother. So Noah cursed the grandchild. Two ways this can be interpreted from the English, what Ham did or what Canaan did but in both cases Canaan who was cursed is the cause. Commented Apr 13, 2020 at 15:43

4 Answers 4


And the sons of Noah were Shem, Ham and Japheth. Genesis 9:18

And Ham saw. . . and told . . . Genesis 9:22

And Noah awoke and knew what his younger son [Ham] had done. Genesis 9:24

And [Noah] said Cursed be Canaan. Genesis 9:25

It was Ham, the younger son of Noah, who transgressed. Noah does not even mention Ham's name. He curses Ham's son for the transgression of his father, Ham.

The idea of 'son' not meaning 'son' and meaning 'grandson' is completely irrelevant.

  • 1
    I think they are getting hung up on youngest son, as opposed to younger son Commented Apr 13, 2020 at 18:00

So the word we find for Son H1121 Ben בֵּן can mean son, grandson, child, member of a group.

And the word we find for youngest H6996 qatan קָטָן young, small, insignificant, unimportant, small, insignificant, young, unimportant.

Now to establish that Ham was the lease important insignificant son of Noah doesn't exactly make sense nor him being the youngest since Ham is always named second with Japheth always being named last.

To take this one step further the Name of Ham H2526 - Cham חָם Ham = "hot" 2nd son of Noah, father of Canaan and of various peoples which were inhabitants of southern lands.

So it's pretty undisputable that Ham is not Noah's youngest son but rather he was speaking of Canaan.

As for what Canaan did to Noah that Noah felt the need to curse his own grandson well......in Leviticus 18:7 to uncover someone's nakedness is to fornicate with them. So it could be possible that while Noah was drunk his grandson did something unspeakable to him.

We see another example of this in Genesis 19:30-38 when Lot's daughters get him drunk on wine and lay with him.

  • It’s clear from the text that Ham did the unspeakable thing but Canaan was cursed because he was the cause of his father’s desperate actions. +1 for the first portion Commented Apr 13, 2020 at 17:58

Ham was not Noah’s youngest son. But Canaan was Ham’s youngest son. So I think Noah cursed Canaan appropriately. Noah’s sons were mentioned in chapter 9, Ham in the middle. Later in chapter 10 it discusses Ham’s sons, and Canaan is the youngest. So Noah was talking about what Ham’s youngest son did to him...not Ham. “So Noah awoke from his wine and knew what his younger son had done to him.” What HAM’S younger son did to him...which isn’t clear what he did, but it wasn’t good whatever it was.

  • Welcome to the S.E. Q&A forum. Thank you for contributing.
    – Steve11235
    Commented Apr 17, 2020 at 18:32

Please refer to the Companion Bible and the commentary of E.W. Bullinger regarding the birth order of Shem, Ham, and Japheth. Also, note the following rule as it pertains to the seed line of the Messiah:

Romans 9:12

It was said unto her, The elder shall serve the younger.

You might be surprised.

  • As it’s currently written, your answer is unclear. Please edit to add additional details that will help others understand how this addresses the question asked. You can find more information on how to write good answers in the help center.
    – Community Bot
    Commented Jun 4 at 14:04
  • Answers (on all Stack Exchange sites) are supposed to be self-contained, not simply instructions for where to find an answer. It should explicitly quote the relevant commentary from Bullinger (so we don't have to "refer to" and "be surprised"). Commented Jun 4 at 15:09

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