Why was Abraham promised land that belonged to others?


Genesis 12:1 - 20

ESV - 1 Now the Lord said to Abram, "Go from your country and your kindred and your father's house to the land that I will show you. 2 And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing.

Clarify Share Report Asked July 01 2013 Mini Anonymous (via GotQuestions)

For follow-up discussion and general commentary on the topic. Comments are sorted chronologically.

Mini Kenneth Heck

According to certain extra-canonical works such as "Jubilees", when the earth was divided up after the fall of the Tower of Babel, the sons of Japheth got the north, the sons of Ham got the south, and the sons of Shem received the middle. The Canaanites, in addition to their wickedness, chose to live on land that actually was given to Shem. So, in the final sense, the land they inhabited never belonged to them - they were no more than squatters.

October 06 2015 Report

Data Danny Hickman

If we would take off the "christian prescription glasses" when we read the bible, we'd get a better understanding of what we're being taught. Noah planted a vineyard (Gen 9:20). Why? It doesn't say why, but we know what he did with the fruit. It makes me think he planted the fruit to make himself some wine. There's nothing wrong in that. But he drank too much. Was it the first time he drank, or was it something he often did?

This episode of Noah's life is the last thing we're told about Noah. He cursed Ham, blessed the other two sons, and then we're told he lived 350 more years and he died. End of story.

January 10 2022 Report

Mini Kenneth Heck

According to Gen 9.1, God blessed Noah and all his sons. This was the only blessing they received.

In Gen 9:22-27, Ham was not cursed by Noah. Noah only cursed Canaan, the fourth son of Ham. Japheth and Shem did not receive a blessing from Noah. Noah blessed the LORD God of Shem, not Shem himself.

The text implies that Canaan had done something evil, perhaps intentionally substituting a drink with too high an alcoholic content for the one intended by Noah. It isn't inconceivable that wine played a part in some ritual or ceremony for Noah and his sons - since we still use wine today as part of the Lord's supper.

The bible can't be responsible for fully explaining every happening in the Old Testament from the modern historical viewpoint, since its purpose is only to delineate and support the spiritual origin and eternal validity of Divine Law, and specifically the Law of Moses.

January 10 2022 Report

Data Danny Hickman

The text doesn't imply that Canaan had done anything evil. Implying that Canaan switched one drink for a stronger drink is like saying he slipped his grandfather a micky. Does anyone really believe that?

Canaan was Noah's grandson. Noah cursed his grandson. Maybe you have to have grandchildren to know how "Out There" that is.

Fourth Son? Is that supposed to mean something? I'm my dad's third son. If it meant something he never let on about it!!

Some of the theological inconsistencies sound more like Facebook than Bible to me. Conspiracy theories should be absent from Bible study!

January 13 2022 Report

Mini Kenneth Heck

Gen 9:24 makes it clear that Canaan had done something to Noah to make him become drunken and uncovered in his tent. Canaan was clearly guilty of such an extremely serious action that it led to his being cursed. The curse permanently lowered Canaan and his descendants' cultural and spiritual status among the offspring of Noah.

This passage about Noah and Canaan provides some background for God's decision to turn the land over to the Israelites. You can't find anything good about the Canaanites in the bible. The curse was completely effective over the centuries.

The distinction between sons in the bible is important since it is the first son who inherits the birthright. Canaan was not as important to Ham as Cush was, and Ham never complained about Canaan's curse.

Let's take the example of Adam and Eve. Is it fair for God to burden us and all generations with the original sin of two people thousands of years ago? But this is standard theology accepted by every Christian since the time of Christ.

January 13 2022 Report

Data Danny Hickman

Mr Heck, I grew up in the heart of the church, if you know what I mean. My dad was a pastor. I ate, slept, and breathed church!

I listened to him and other preachers preach the same message you're espousing. They never said ONE WORD about how wrong it was for Noah to curse his descendants before they're even born. They touched on him being wrong to get drunk. (You can't even bring yourself to say that, you claim he was given something he hadn't planned on drinking). But they completely overlooked how evil it is to curse your children. The writer doesn't say it was wrong of Noah, he has a reputation for being a good guy, a preacher who God trusted to build the ark, so he's given a pass when he messes up. But not by God... The children he cursed WERE HIS!! Would a sober man do that?

And they, like you and many others, thought Noah had the authority to pronounce a curse. If any palm reader does as much, they'd laugh her to scorn. In no time flat, nobody can know who is Canaanite and who is Semitic. Moses married a foreigner. What were his kids?

The story of Noah getting drunk and cursing some of his descendants is saved for last in the story of that great man. It's told to us for a good reason. That reason isn't for some of us to try to defend the way we treat some people. That’s what a misunderstanding of the scriptures usually causes us to do!

That's why we're told to love God and love others the way we love ourselves. ALL of God's love is shown that way.

January 14 2022 Report

Mini Kenneth Heck

The answer to the question "Why was Abraham promised land that belonged to others?" is that the Canaanites were involved in grossly abominable practices. One of the most egregious was offering their children to their gods by burning them alive (Dt 12:31). Then the question arises, “Why did the Canaanites degenerate into these abominable practices?” The answer is that they were cursed from the beginning by Noah to an inferior social and spiritual status.

Did Noah become drunk because he drank too much wine, or was the wine much more alcoholic than he expected? The reasonable answer, based on the fact that Canaan had done something to Noah, is that the wine was more alcoholic than expected. Canaan was not an innocent bystander, rather guilty of an extremely serious violation of the dignity of his grandfather.

Where does it say in the Old Testament that cursing in itself is a sin? Look at all the curses in Deut 27:15-26 instituted by God himself as part of the Mosaic Law. Cursing was a quite common practice in Old Testament times, but today Christians are not permitted to curse anyone.

We can't apply Christian moral standards to Noah because this incident occurred thousands of years before Christ. There has been a lot of moral and spiritual progress since then. The first thing Noah did after leaving the ark was to offer an animal burnt sacrifice to the Lord. Today, we don't expect divine favor from the sacrifice of animals (or even children). What was right then is wrong now.

January 15 2022 Report

Data Danny Hickman

Mr Heck, Ham, Noah's son saw his father naked and drunk and laughed at him; it wasn't his grandson Caanan as you say. You write that he was "guilty of a serious violation against his grandfather." That's not what the bible says. Caanan isn't mentioned until Noah pronounced his curse. He pronounced a curse on his son's offspring.

My dad has three sons; my two brothers and I. If he tells one of us that our offspring will serve the other two, he curses more than that son, he curses that son's sons and daughters, and their sons and daughters. That's quite a response for getting drunk and having a son be disappointed in you.

Then all the blame is somehow shifted from the dad to the son, the dad cursing the son's descendants, as if they played a role in what Ham did.

Bible stories are often treated differently than stories we read in secular news. I don't know why! I think it's because of the people whose reputations are at stake. Bible readers sometimes try to protect these faulty people. I don't think God means for these stories to be understood that way. He's very quiet about who's more wrong in cases like Noah and his son. Both did wrong!! I don't think some people are conscious of that. I just fail to understand why...

June 12 2022 Report

Mini Kenneth Heck

Any curse must fall on the person committing the violation. Otherwise it is grossly unfair. Sometimes, it can be hereditary. If so, then all descendents would be affected, not just one branch.

The verse Gen 9:24 indicates something definite had been done unto Noah. Ham had four sons - if he was guilty one, why was only Canaan cursed?

What did Ham really do to Noah? What is the harm in seeing him naked? They were all mature men. No women were involved. No law at that time prevented sons or grandsons from seeing nakedness of their elders. The bible never mentions the "curse of Ham," only the curse of Canaan.

The words "younger son" in Hebrew can refer to either a son or a grandson. Ancient languages can be problematic in interpretation.

The passage is too indefinite to be conclusive, so I suggest we terminate this conversation.

June 12 2022 Report

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