Who Was Cursed in Genesis 9?

Did God Put a Curse on Africans and their descendants including African Americans?

No doubt, you are aware of the story of Moses leading the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt, but did you know that Moses’ wife was dark skinned?  Zipporah was her name, a resident of Midian territory, but Numbers 12: 1 says that she was Ethiopian.  The ancient tribal name of the Ethiopian people was Cush, and Midian territory was once considered the land of the Cushites.  So it is no wonder that Jethro the Midianite priest had a dark-skinned daughter.

Most modern people familiar with the story were unaware of the truth about Zipporah, but back then Moses’ sister and brother were well aware.  They complained about it, because their Levite heritage traditionally married within the tribe.  If you read the story you might conclude that God had no problem with Moses’ wife. 

However, the writers of a modern Biblical commentary thought otherwise.  Commenting about Numbers 12:1, Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown published in their Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible the following:

1. an Ethiopian womanHebrew, “a Cushite woman”—Arabia was usually called in Scripture the land of Cush, its inhabitants being descendants of that son of Ham (see on Ex 2:15) and being accounted generally a vile and contemptible race (see on Am 9:7).

This statement, originally written in the 1950s but unchanged in the latest printing, mentioned “a vile and contemptible race.”  In my previous blog, I explained the origin of the use of the word race in this context, showing that it was unbiblical and from Colonial ideology.  The idea that Ethiopians were a vile and contemptible race is unsupported by the rest of the Bible including the referenced text in the book of Amos.  This popular commentary failed to mention: Ethiopia will quickly stretch out her hands to God (NASB) in Psalm 68:31 prophesying the time when all nations worship the one true God.

Yes, some biblical scholars promote racism in their highly-esteemed publications.  They perpetuate the mistaken idea that Genesis 9:25 cursed Noah’s son Ham, assigning his descendants to slavery, justifying the enslavement of Africans. 

Let’s look at Genesis 9:24-25 to see what it actually says.  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.

Canaan was the youngest son of Ham.  It was he that Noah cursed.  His descendants became the Canaanites, inhabitants of the land that God gave to Israel, who was commanded to destroy the inhabitants because of their corruption.  Moses explained in Deuteronomy 9:4-6 (NIV):

 After the Lord your God has driven them out before you, do not say to yourself, “The Lord has brought me here to take possession of this land because of my righteousness.” No, it is on account of the wickedness of these nations that the Lord is going to drive them out before you. It is not because of your righteousness or your integrity that you are going in to take possession of their land; but on account of the wickedness of these nations, the Lord your God will drive them out before you, to accomplish what he swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Understand, then, that it is not because of your righteousness that the Lord your God is giving you this good land to possess, for you are a stiff-necked people.

Clearly, God dealt with the Canaanites because they became a group of corrupt nations.  It was not because He loved them less than He loved the Israelites.  This judgment of God did not include the other descendants of Ham that included the Egyptians, the Ethiopians, the Philistines, and other tribes that migrated to western Africa.  

The books of Joshua and Judges detail Israel’s conquest of the land of Canaan, showing actually that they failed to complete the removal of the Canaanites but instead enslaved many of them (Joshua 16:10; 17:12-13; Judges 1:28-35).  Noah’s prophecy was fulfilled.

Dear readers, it is shameful to me that ordinary people who read the Bible for what it really says easily refute so called experts, who are responsible for misinforming large segments of Christianity, especially in English-speaking parts of the world, including the United States of America!  It is no wonder that the past 500 years have witnessed horrible atrocities in the name of Jesus Christ!  We today must not perpetuate these evils and continue the Church complicity in racism.  Instead, we must expose the lies and misconceptions that blot and blur Christian history and theology. Coming Blogs will uncover the beautiful truth that Jesus Christ taught and wants taught in the Church.