Fathers of the Bible: Noah, father of Clans

We are all familiar with the story of Noah and the Ark.  Noah was the 6x great-grandson of Seth and 7x great-grandson of Adam.  The name Noah means rest or repose.

Noah was 500 years old when he became a father.   “After Noah was 500 years old, he became the father of Shem, Ham and Japheth.”  {Genesis 5:32}  The name Shem means renown, Ham means black and Japheth means fair.

God gave Noah a vision

“Noah walked with God in spite of surrounding iniquity. Noah was obedient when appointed to a difficult task.” {Men of the Bible}

“The Lord saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time. 6 The Lord regretted that he had made human beings on the earth, and his heart was deeply troubled.”  {Genesis 6:5-6}

“ Noah was remembered by God and delivered from death. Noah, by faith, worked out his salvation.”  {Men of the Bible}

“But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord.”   {Genesis 6:8}

Noah is instructed to build and ark and we are again reminded he has three sons.  Most likely his sons assisted him in building the ark. 

“Noah warned his neighbors of impending judgment.”  {Men of the Bible}

“The Lord then said to Noah, “Go into the ark, you and your whole family, because I have found you righteous in this generation.”   {Genesis 7:1} 

The animals began arriving two by two

 We know Noah’s three sons and their wives {along with Noah’s wife} boarded the ark with him. They were surrounded by a pair of every animal. 

“And Noah and his sons and his wife and his sons’ wives entered the ark to escape the waters of the flood.”  {Genesis 7:7}

We are reminded he was not alone a few verses later.

“On that very day Noah and his sons, Shem, Ham and Japheth, together with his wife and the wives of his three sons, entered the ark.”  {Genesis 7:13}

The family stayed upon the ark as the rains poured down forty days and forty nights.  Then they waited until the waters receded enough for them to step onto dry land.

Water covered the land

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

“In general, God blessed Noah and his sons that is, he assured them of his good-will to them and his gracious intentions concerning them. This follows from what he said in his heart. Note, All God’s promises of good flow from his purposes of love and the counsels of his own will.”  {Matthew Henry Commentary}

“Then God said to Noah and to his sons with him:  “I now establish my covenant with you and with your descendants after you  and with every living creature that was with you—the birds, the livestock and all the wild animals, all those that came out of the ark with you—every living creature on earth. 11 I establish my covenant with you: Never again will all life be destroyed by the waters of a flood; never again will there be a flood to destroy the earth.””   {Genesis 9:8-11}

God makes a promise which stands even today.  He promised never to destroy the world with a flood.  His rainbow stands as  reminder of his promise to us.

Noah and his family waited for the water to subside

“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.”   {Genesis 9:18-19}

“The names of his sons are again mentioned as those from whom the whole earth was overspread, by which it appears that Noah, after the flood, had no more children: all the world came from these three. Note, God, when he pleases, can make a little one to become a thousand, and greatly increase the latter end of those whose beginning was small. Such are the power and efficacy of a divine blessing.”  {Matthew Henry Commentary}

These three couples populated the whole world.  Just as Adam’s descendants populated the world, they died in the flood.  A new beginning took place with these three couples.

The dove brought an olive branch and the next time did not return

“Noah, a man of the soil, proceeded 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.”  {Genesis 9:20-23}

Noah celebrated and became drunk.

“He planted a vineyard; and, when he had gathered his vintage, probably he appointed a day of mirth and feasting in his family, and had his sons and their children with him, to rejoice with him in the increase of his house  as well as in the increase of his vineyard; and we may suppose he prefaced his feast with a sacrifice to the honour of God. If this was omitted, it was just with God to leave him to himself, that he who did not begin with God might end with the beasts; but we charitably hope that it was not: and perhaps he appointed this feast with a design, at the close of it, to bless his sons, as Isaac.”   {Matthew Henry Commentary}

The problem wasn’t Noah’s celebration but the shame which came as a result of the celebration. A shame one of his sons would prey upon.

“Now the consequence of Noah’s sin was shame. He was uncovered within his tent, made naked to his shame, as Adam when he had eaten forbidden fruit. Yet Adam sought concealment; Noah is so destitute of thought and reason that he seeks no covering. This was a fruit of the vine that Noah did not think of. “  {Matthew Henry Commentary}

“When Noah awoke from his wine and found out what his youngest son had done to him,  he said, “Cursed be Canaan! The lowest of slaves will he be to his brothers.”   {Genesis 9:24-25}

 “Ham’s impudence and impiety: He saw the nakedness of his father, and told his two brethren.. To see it accidentally and involuntarily would not have been a crime; but, 1. He pleased himself with the sight, as the Edomites looked up on the day of their brother pleased, and insulting. Perhaps Ham had sometimes been himself drunk, and reproved for it by his good father, whom he was therefore pleased to see thus overcome.“  {Matthew Henry Commentary}

Ham took great delight in his father’s shame and the first thing he wanted to do was tell his brothers.

“He pronounces a curse on Canaan the son of Ham in whom Ham is himself cursed, either because this son of his was now more guilty than the rest, or because the posterity of this son was afterwards to be rooted out of their land, to make room for Israel.” {Matthew Henry Commentary}

He also said,  “Praise be to the Lord, the God of Shem! May Canaan be the slave of Shem.  May God extend Japheth’s territory; may Japheth live in the tents of Shem, and may Canaan be the slave of Japheth.”   {Genesis 9:26-27}

Noah cursed Ham, while praising his brothers.

“The pious care of Shem and Japheth to cover their poor father’s shame.  They not only would not see it themselves, but provided that no one else might see it, herein setting us an example of charity with reference to other men’s sin and shame; we must not only not say, A confederacy, with those that proclaim it, but we must be careful to conceal it, or at least to make the best of it, so doing as we would be done by.”  {Matthew Henry Commentary}

28 After the flood Noah lived 350 years. 29 Noah lived a total of 950 years, and then he died.   {Genesis 9:28}

Each of the men goes on to have their own families, which become nations after the flood.  The table of Nations coming from Shem, Ham and Japheth can be found in Genesis 10.

Chapter 10 ends by telling us, “These are the clans of Noah’s sons, according to their lines of descent, within their nations. From these the nations spread out over the earth after the flood.”   {Genesis 10:32}

So, Noah became the father of clans. The clans of Noah’s sons grew and expanded, each creating their own nation.

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