Is the Curse of Ham Mentioned in the Bible?

We as Christians know that the Bible is the infallible Word of God. In essence, the Holy Bible is perfect; however, when man attempts to combine worldly philosophies with the inerrant Scriptures, many fallacies and problems occur. Such a fallacy is the alleged “curse of Ham.”
When slavery was pre-eminent in the world, many religious leaders attempted to use Scriptures to justify their actions on the dark-skinned. One of the most famous Scriptures pointed out was the “curse of Ham”. The Mormons actually teach that the curse of Ham was a prophecy of the African Americans: that they would ultimately be servants to “superior races”. Mormon doctrine from 1958 states, “We know the circumstances under which the posterity of Cain (and later of Ham) were cursed with what we call Negroid racial characteristics.” Sadly, it is not just the Mormons who believe in this. Many churches and Christians bought into the lie of higher and lower “races” of man.

By taking a look at the actual Scriptures (Genesis 9:20-27), we can correct many of these fallible statements:

“And Noah began to be an husbandmen, and he planted a vineyard: 21And he drank of the wine, and was drunken; and he was uncovered within his tent. 22And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father, and told his two brethren without. 23And Shem and Japheth took a garment, and laid it upon both their shoulders, and went backward, and covered the nakedness of their father; and their faces were backward, and they saw not their father’s nakedness. 24And Noah awoke from his wine, and knew what his younger son had done unto him. 25And he said, Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren. 26And he said, Blessed be the Lord God of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant. 27God shall enlarge Japheth, and he shall dwell in the tents of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servants.” (Bolded for emphasis)

As we can see just by reading the Scriptures, Noah never cursed Ham for what he did. There actually was no such thing as the “curse of Ham”! The curse was on Canaan! Yet, how does this resolve the issue? The Jehovah Witnesses even realize this but simply address that it is by the curse of Canaan that brought on darker shades of skin. In The Golden Age, a publication of The Watchtower, the Jehovah Witnesses are quoted as saying in a Questions in Answers, “Question: Is there anything in the Bible that reveals the origins of the Negro? Answer: It is generally believed that the curse which Noah pronounced upon Canaan was the origin of the Black race. Certain it is that when Noah said, ‘Cursed be Canaan, a servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren,’ he pictured the future of the Colored race.”
Unlike the Mormons mentioned earlier in the article, the Jehovah Witnesses taught that it was the curse of Canaan that brought on the dark-skinned people. They even say that the curse predicted “the future of the Colored race”. Even with this argument, there are several things that are wrong.
It is very important to note, at first, that there are no higher or lower “races”. This thinking came into being by the publication of Charles Darwin’s book, The Descent of Man. In the book, Darwin addresses the Australians, Mongolians, Africans Indians, South Americans, Polynesians, and even as Eskimos as savages. He even goes on to say that he would rather be a descendant from an ape than from a “savage”. This racist thinking can be destroyed by studying the Bible. The Bible never records two races; in fact, the Bible makes it very clear that there is only one race-the race of man! Genetics and research into DNA also confirms this. The Bible further teaches that we have all descended from one man- Adam.
If there were more than one race, there would be need of more than one Savior. There are many verses in the New Testament alluding to this and we can draw to the conclusion that if there was more than one race, there would be a need of more than One Savior. Since there is only One Savior, Jesus Christ, there is only one race of man- the descendants of Adam.
There is even another problem with the Jehovah Witness’s theory on the origins of the dark skinned! The inhabitants of Africa have been recorded by Josephus and many other ancient historians as having been descendants of Ham, but not of Canaan! To be precise, the African inhabitants are recorded to have descended from Cush, Phut, and Mizraim; but not Canaan! Canaan actually gave rise to the infamous rivals of Israel- the Canaanites. This makes the alleged rise of the “Negroid race through the curse of Canaan quite a myth. It is impossible since none of the “Negroid” race came from Canaan!

As we have seen, it is very important not to combine worldly philosophy with the infallible teachings of the Bible. We also see that the Bible demolishes any ground for racism (since we are all descended from one man-Adam). We as Christians need to be careful not to mix worldly thinking with the Bible! Instead, we should use the Bible to look at the world and see that “the heavens declare the glory of God and the firmament showeth His handiwork.”
(Psalm 19:1).


1). I Corinthians 15:22, Romans 5:12, I Corinthians 15:45


The Henry Morris Study Bible

Ham, Ken and A. Charles Ware One Race One Blood: Master Books Publication. Green Forest AZ 2010

Hodge, Bodie The Tower of Babel: Master Books Publication. Green Forest, AZ 2016

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