Ham (Bible)

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Ham ( Hebrew חָם, Greek Χαμ , pronunciation: Cham) was according to the Tanach and the Old Testament ( Genesis 9.24  EU ) the youngest son of Noah (Noah) and is considered the progenitor of the Hamites .


Geographical distribution of the sons of Noah according to Flavius ​​Josephus , c. 100 AD; Ham's sons shown in blue

According to the account of the Bible, his father Noah is said to have begat Ham together with his two brothers only at the age of over 500 years: And Noah was 500 years old; and he became the father of Shem, Ham, and Jafet. ( Genesis 5.32  EU ). Ham helped his father build the ark and survived the Flood as one of only eight people with his wife. Ham is said to have had children only after the flood ended.

According to the tradition of the Bible in the people table of Genesis, all people living today are descended from Ham and his brothers Shem and Jafet .

The sons of Ham are Kush , ancestor of a people probably south of Egypt, Mizraim , who is considered to be the ancestor of the Egyptians , Put , ancestor of a people probably from the neighborhood of Egypt ( Libyans ?) And Canaan .

The curse on Ham's son Canaan

When Noah was drunk on fermented grape juice, his son Ham saw him lying undressed in the tent and went to him. After telling his brothers about it, Noah cursed Ham's son Canaan. At the same time, Shem and his brother Jafet were honored with a special blessing from his father because they had covered him. ( Genesis 9.21-27  EU )

The background to the curse is controversial. Most classic Bible translations into modern languages ​​suggest that Ham happened to see his drunken father Noah naked and was cursed for it. Researchers of the late 20th century translated the original Hebrew passage differently and assume that Ham did not actually see his unconscious father naked, but that the exposure of the nakedness was an image for the incest with the mother. There is also the opinion that Ham slept with his father. This reading was already widespread in antiquity ; so it is discussed in the Talmud whether Ham only raped Noah or also castrated him. Nevertheless, the classic biblical account only describes that Ham "saw" and reported it to his brothers, whereupon they covered their father's nakedness by going backwards into the tent with a robe so as not to "see".

The curse of Canaan became a popular Christian justification of slavery used the African population by Europeans, especially in the Calvinist dominated USA .

Irish mythology

In Irish mythology, leprechaun , the central being in Irish mythology, is believed to be a descendant of Ham, who came to the island in the early days of the settlement of Ireland.

See also

Individual evidence

  1. Nicholas Oyugi Odhiambo: Ham's Sin and Noah's Curse and BLESSING UTTERANCES. Author House, 2014, ISBN 978-1-4969-3273-0 ( limited preview in Google Book Search).
  2. For the discussion, see Stephen Haynes: Noah's Curse . Oxford 2002, p. 23ff.
  3. Stephen R. Haynes AB Curry Chair of Religious Studies Rhodes College: Noah's Curse. The Biblical Justification of American Slavery. Oxford University Press, 2002, ISBN 978-0-19-803260-1 , p. 11 ( limited preview in Google Book Search).