As a result of Ham's actions, Noah pronounced a curse on his grandson, Ham's fourth son:

When Noah awoke from his wine and knew what his youngest son had done to him, he said, “Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants shall he be to his brothers.”
(Genesis 9:24-25) [ESV]

Noah continues to speak prophetically about his sons Shem and Japheth and Canaan:

He also said, “Blessed be the LORD, the God of Shem; and let Canaan be his servant. May God enlarge Japheth, and let him dwell in the tents of Shem, and let Canaan be his servant.” (Genesis 9:26-27)

It seems when speaking of Shem, Noah is also saying Canaan will be a servant to the LORD, the God of Shem. In other words, Canaan will not only be a servant to his "brothers" Shem and Japheth, he will be a servant to the LORD, who is Shem's God. Looking to the future, Christ Jesus takes on the form of a servant (Philippians 2:5-8) and so that sense "a servant of servants" would include the LORD, the God of Shem.

Is Noah's curse on Canaan a prophecy the LORD would become, or take on the form of a servant?

Related question: who are the other “Servants” that Noah was referring to in Gen 9:25??

  • I cannot see that such a curse would be an allusion to the filial humility (to the Father) of the coming Lord.
    – Nigel J
    Jan 2 '21 at 19:58
  • 1
    @NigelJ It is not the curse which does this, rather the blessing of the LORD, the God of Shem, whom Canaan will [also] serve. Jan 2 '21 at 20:03

The curse and prophecy of Gen 9:25-27 contains three statements about Canaan (apparently a metaphoric reference to Ham):

  • (v25) a servant of servant to his brothers
  • (V26) a servant to Shem
  • (V27) a servant to Shem

The name of the LORD is used to amplify the blessing on Shem (v26). However, nothing here is either a reference to the coming Messiah, nor the characteristics of Messiah. The prophecy is purely about the future relationship of the three brothers (actually their descendants); specifically, that Canaan would be a servant to Shem.

Note the weighty instruction in 1 Cor 4:6 -

learn from us the meaning of the saying, "Do not go beyond what is written."


In Luke 12, Jesus teaches that faithful servants are blessed, not cursed.

41Peter said, “Lord, are you telling this parable for us or for all?” 42And the Lord said, “Who then is the faithful and wise manager, whom his master will set over his household, to give them their portion of food at the proper time? 43 Blessed is that servanti whom his master will find so doing when he comes.

Other commentaries how Canaan was cursed.

Ellicott's Commentary

A servant of servants. That is, the most abject of slaves. This was fulfilled in the conquest of Canaau by Joshua

Pulpit Commentary

A servant of servants. ... "a most base and vile servant" (Ainsworth);

The works of Jesus as a servant were blessed and became blessings to others.

  • I am downvoting your answer because, it doesn't appear you addressed the question: does the passage in Genesis point to the LORD coming to earth as a servant? Two other points, (1) a "servant" in the OT could be a honored position, like a steward. (2) The NT is explicit, Jesus became a curse for us (Galatians 3:13). IOW the complete(d) works of Christ are both blessing and curse, just as in Noah's words. Jan 2 '21 at 18:45
  • Thanks for letting me know your reasons.
    – Tony Chan
    Jan 2 '21 at 18:51
  • What I am trying to understand is whether Noah's prophecy also points to God coming to earth as a servant. In other words, "Blessed be the LORD, the God of Shem, [who will come as a servant] and let Canaan (a servant of servants) serve Him." Jan 2 '21 at 19:10
  • Up-voted +1. I, also, cannot see that such a curse could be an allusion to the coming Lord.
    – Nigel J
    Jan 2 '21 at 19:57

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