What does the King James Bible say about the curse Noah put on his
grandson Canaan? and Where in the King James Bible did Noah tell Canaan
that his off springs would be dark?
First, it is probably better to ask where in the Bible such things are
found or not found. The King James has no authority in and of itself
because it clearly is a translation. The King James version is not the
worst we have available, but it certainly is not the best. Because the
translation of the King James or Authorized Version was made from only a
very small number of Hebrew and Greek manuscripts, and because those
manuscripts were not nearly old or of as good quality as those we have
available today, it has many flaws. If we want to know what God said (and
I assume that is what you are interested in), we should ask what the
original Hebrew or Greek text said.
Sorry if I bored you with that little introductory lecture. Let me get to
answering your question. In Genesis chapter nine we find the story to
which you refer. After leaving the ark, Noah built a vineyard.
Unfortunately, he drank too much of the wine and got drunk. For reasons we
do not know, when Ham, the father of Canaan, found Noah naked, he did
nothing about it, except tell his brothers Shem and Japeth. Shem and
Japheth were very sensitive to their father’s dignity, despite his sin and
covered up his shame. For this good treatment, and because of Ham’s
apparent lack of concern, Noah said concerning his grandson, the son of
Cursed be Canaan! The lowest of the slaves will he be to his brothers.” and
Blessed be the Lord, the God of Shem! May Canaan be the slave of Shem.
May God extend the territory of Japheth; may Japheth live in the tents of
Shem, and man Canaan be his slave.
This is the NIV version, but the KJV is virtually identical. Canaan became
the father of the Hittites, Jebusites, Amorites, Girgashites, Hivites and
so forth. This prophecy of Noah was fulfilled when the sons of Ham, the
Canaanites, were defeated by the nation of Israel, sons of Shem, under the
leadership of Joshua. Those who were not killed in these wars became
slaves and servants to the Israelites. The lesson of this story is that
our love, respect and concern for our fathers should be important to us.
Let me deal with the question of Canaan’s descendents being dark.
Unfortunately, certain extremist racist groups have used the passage
quoted above from Genesis chapter nine to support a racist agenda. This
passage has been abused to make the claim that God supports slavery.
Nowhere in the Bible does it say that Canaan’s sons would be dark. The
Bible does not ever in any way whatsoever associate dark skin with evil.
If I were you, I would be skeptical of whatever source you heard about the
Canaan being dark idea. There may very well be a racist agenda lurking
behind that source. By the way, you should note that the Book of Mormon
does very specifically associate darkness of skin with a curse from God.
Perhaps this is where the association between dark skin and being cursed
by God came from. That is one of hundreds of reasons to completely reject
the Book of Mormon as being the legitimate word of God. Either way, I
would totally distance myself from associating dark skin with a curse if I
John Oakes, PhD