Ten months in a boat with a whole lot of animals. I can’t imagine how difficult that was. It must have been noisy, smelly, dirty…And a great relief for Noah, Ham, Shem, Japheth and their wives. God provided for their safety and preserved them when he destroyed all else. What a relief to know that he will not destroy the earth again, at least not by flood. These events teach us how greatly our sins anger and offend God. They also teach us that God is patient and forgiving, willing to endure all that we do against Him, in order to complete his plans and restore his creation. Every time you see a rainbow, remember the promise God has made and the covenant with his creation, which he renewed with Noah.
Ham wronged his father, and for that he was cursed; his descendents were cursed to serve their cousins, sons of Shem. What exactly was Ham’s wrongdoing? What does it mean that he uncovered Noah? I have heard a few explanations, even some wild ones. But the one that makes the most sense came from a seminary professor. Ham’s offense was not indecently exposing his father who was in a vulnerable state. Taking his cloak had little to do with nakedness; it was bold theft. The ancients carried valuables, deeds, etc. in their cloaks – sewn into the hem. Ham was not simply mocking Noah, he attempted to steal his (and his brothers’) inheritance (sound like one of Jesus’ parables?). To me, this understanding makes more sense of the situation and the curse (and maybe even Joseph’s coat generations later). From Shem come the people of Israel; from Ham come the Canaanites, and all other enemies of Israel in the Old Testament. It would be hundreds of years before Noah’s curse reaches its height and Israel subdues Canaan, but it begins here.