Genesis 9 22-25


Can someone explain what was Ham’s sin and why so terrible.


I found this answer on it.


A well-respected Jewish reference book that I consulted suggested that the sordid details of the incident have been suppressed in the Torah.

You are probably referring to the larger question of why Ham’s son Canaan and his descendants were cursed for this incident. The Jewish scholars suggested that Canaan may have participated in Ham’s action. Again, the details are so repugnant that they were not recorded. The possibility exists that when this story was in verbal form, before it was written down, the readers/listeners already knew what the details were, so that they were left out of the text of Genesis.

Genesis says other things like this, such as saying that a cherubim was stationed at the entrance to Eden, to prevent Adam and Eve from returning. There was no Hebrew dictionary at that time, that we know of, so someone could not look up the definition of cherubim. The writer assumed that the readers/listeners knew what a cherubim was.


In a variety of contexts, Scott Hahn has suggested that Ham may have committed incest with his mother. The “uncovered his father’s nakedness” phrase shows up in the holiness code of Leviticus; it is always used there as an idiom denoting illicit sexual conduct. If this is the case here, then it makes sense that Canaan is the one who is cursed, if he is the product of this incestuous intercourse.


Ham’s greatest sin was eating bacon. Sorry couldn’t help it.


(Yes, of all the Biblical names people give their kids, you seldom hear the name Ham. Among Jews you will hear “Moses” or Moshe, Isaac or Yitzhak, Sarah, Rachel, but not Ham – that I’m aware of. You even hear of an occasional Ishmael, but not Ham – maybe it is because he was a bad guy. Probably why you don’t hear the name Judas, much, either)


Ham had sex with one of his father’s wives.

And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father, and told his two brothers outside. (Genesis 9:22)

Seeing your father’s nakedness or uncovering your father’s nakedness was a polite way of saying that you had sex with your father’s wife.

*You shall not uncover the nakedness of your father’s wife; it is your father’s nakedness. (Leviticus 18:8)

The man who lies with his father’s wife has uncovered his father’s nakedness; both of them shall be put to death, their blood is upon them. (Leviticus 20:11)*

Noah had three wives and what makes this sin particularly bad was that she was also Ham’s mother. Noah realizes “what his youngest son had done to him” and curses Ham’s child Canaan. Canaan is the father of the Canaanites which Israel later destroyed.



Hmm… no, this doesn’t sound right. Are you sure about this? Genesis tells us that Noah had a wife and three sons. It tells us that Noah, his wife, his sons, and his sons’ wives entered the ark. In 1 Peter 3:20, it’s asserted that there were eight people on the ark, presumably Noah and his wife, Ham and his wife, Japheth and his wife, and Shem and his wife.


You are correct. I was wrong. The correction is appreciated.

Somehow I confused Noah’s son’s wives with Noah’s wife but Noah had one wife. Ham had sex with Noah’s one wife which was also his mother.

Noah’s one wife shows his righteousness, his similarity with Adam and Eve, the two who became one flesh.



DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit