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Thread: Homosexuality: Canaan's Curse Extended?

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    Homosexuality: Canaan's Curse Extended?

    The thread on genes and the study I found regarding male homosexuality being more prevalent if a person has older male siblings got me thinking about an odd, old, Bible verse we studied in a literature class in college.

    Fraternal birth order. The probability that a man has homosexual preference increases with the number of older brothers he has. Each older brother increases the odds by 1/3 1/2. This effect cannot have a genetic basis. Speculations for this effect focus on the mother progressively building antibodies against an unknown male protein, more so with each son.
    Pulled from here: Biological Correlates of being Gay - Biological Determinism?

    The Bible story in question is this from KJV (English translations are all quite similar in this passage):

    Genesis 9
    20And Noah began to be an husbandman, 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 servant.


    So Ham went into Noah's tent and the translated text leads us to believe that he simply saw his father naked. Ham's two older brothers cover Noah with a blanket. His father wakes up and somehow detects what "Ham had done to him" and goes into a rage. He doesn't curse Ham but instead curses Ham's youngest son, Canaan, to a life of subservience. In addition, he curses Canaan's future family line with the same fate.

    The interesting thing is that the same Hebrew words that, in this passage, were translated as "uncovered" and "nakedness" are translated as "have sexual relations with" in Leviticus 18:6-19.

    Ham having sexual relations with his unconscious father would make more sense in the context of Genesis 9 because Ham accidentally seeing his father naked would not have warranted an everlasting curse and also Noah would not have been able to "know what was done to him" if his son had merely seen him naked.

    So Ham, the youngest son of Noah, sees his father naked, gets turned on, and performs an unknown sexual act on his sleeping pop. Dad wakes up, sees his spilled seed or some such thing, and goes into a rage. Noah then sees a more fitting punishment is to curse Ham's own youngest son, Canaan, to be homosexual so that Ham may experience what it is like to be molested by one's youngest son.

    Noah had three sons and Ham was the youngest. Ham had four sons and Canaan was his youngest.

    I thought this was in interesting co-relation to the study stating that the youngest male sibling is statistically more likely to be homosexual.

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    Life's A Ball! loser's Avatar
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    Well, it sounds logical and feasible and it looks like good exegesis but how definitive is it? Consider Jacob who had 12 sons. Obviously, we should expect some of the youngest there to be gay (providing the science and the exegesis are correct). Would having different mothers be a factor? For example, even though Joseph is the next to last of the twelve sons of Jacob, he is the first son of Rachel. Would that make a difference?

    Leah bore Jacob 6 sons. If we accept the notion that the first two would most likely be straight and the third one gay, we have this 'privilege' passing to Levi. Hmmm, Levi is the father of priests. You might be on to something. The next son (the fourth) of Leah is Judah, the father of all Jews. Is there a high proportion of homosexuals among Jews? I have always thought so but I have no data to suggest this. Anybody?
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    Well, in order to believe as such, you'd have to believe that Canaan was a real person, now, wouldn't you?

    I think it's rather rude to say that a particular legal sexual preference is a "curse". I wouldn't wish homosexuality on anyone since it is difficult to deal with in our society and they're second class citizens, but it's a stretch to call it a curse.

    And your birth order statistics are an interesting correlation without causation.
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    Even if Ham did preform some homosexual act with Noah, Noah cursed Canaan to be 'a servant of servants' according to your text. I don't claim to know the alternate hebrew translations for 'servant' or 'subservient', but unless 'homosexual' is one of them, it would seem that Noah cursed Canaan's family line with a social affliction rather than a sexual one.
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    Quote Quote by: loser View Post
    Well, it sounds logical and feasible and it looks like good exegesis but how definitive is it? Consider Jacob who had 12 sons. Obviously, we should expect some of the youngest there to be gay (providing the science and the exegesis are correct). Would having different mothers be a factor? For example, even though Joseph is the next to last of the twelve sons of Jacob, he is the first son of Rachel. Would that make a difference?

    Leah bore Jacob 6 sons. If we accept the notion that the first two would most likely be straight and the third one gay, we have this 'privilege' passing to Levi. Hmmm, Levi is the father of priests. You might be on to something. The next son (the fourth) of Leah is Judah, the father of all Jews. Is there a high proportion of homosexuals among Jews? I have always thought so but I have no data to suggest this. Anybody?
    The sibling connection, according to the study, is dependent on having a common mother. They suspect the increased likelihood of homosexuality is due to some sort of hormone or protein that becomes depleted in the mother with each subsequent male child.

    On the Biblical side, it seems that Canaan and all further offspring of his line would be cursed with "subservience," regardless of sex or birth order.

    I just thought it was interesting in relation to the birth order study that Noah's own youngest son would do "something" to him and that Noah's punishment was not aimed at Ham but Ham's own youngest son. There probably was some cultural significance of that at the time but I still thought it was interesting since the crime appeared to have been homosexual in nature.

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    Quote Quote by: tivodan1116 View Post
    Well, in order to believe as such, you'd have to believe that Canaan was a real person, now, wouldn't you?

    I think it's rather rude to say that a particular legal sexual preference is a "curse". I wouldn't wish homosexuality on anyone since it is difficult to deal with in our society and they're second class citizens, but it's a stretch to call it a curse.

    And your birth order statistics are an interesting correlation without causation.
    I agree with everything you say. The original post was primarily pointing out what I thought was an interesting connection. I didn't really have anywhere to go with it but figured it would be a good way to showcase what is, in my opinion, one of the more entertaining Biblical stories.

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