Bare Naked Noah

From: Dick Fischer (
Date: Sat Jan 26 2002 - 18:24:58 EST

  • Next message: John W Burgeson: "Re: Bare Naked Noah"

    Just to further demonstrate that the Genesis narrative may make more sense
    than some think it does:

    Genesis 9:21-26: "And he drank of the wine, and was drunken; and he was
    uncovered within his tent. And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness
    of his father, and told his two brethren without. And 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. And Noah awoke from his wine, and
    knew what his younger son had done unto him. And he said, Cursed be Canaan;
    a servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren. And he said, Blessed
    be the LORD God of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant."

    Bible scholars have wondered at this prophetic judgment directed at Noah's
    grandson weighed against the apparent insignificance of the offense. Why
    was Noah angered at his son seeing him naked and telling his brothers? The
    significance is understandable, however, viewed in the context of what
    nakedness meant in ancient Sumer.

             "Pottery from third millennium Sumer shows several naked people
    doing menial tasks. Except during temple rituals,
             naked people were slaves and slaves were not allowed to wear
    clothes. A Sumerian word for slave SUBAR literally
             meant "skin body." People who failed to pay their taxes or
    captured enemies who were not killed were punished with
             compulsory nakedness which labeled them as slaves. This practice
    continued into the first millennium BC in Assyria
             (Isaiah 20:4)." 1

    Noah's embarrassment went beyond simple modesty. He had been king of
    Shuruppak, the capital of Sumer in the pre-flood era. From his lofty seat
    of power he had been reduced to a drunkard, and perhaps regarded as little
    more than a common slave in the eyes of his son. It is a way of saying,
    "Just as you have viewed me as a servant, your son shall be a servant."

    1. Robert M. Best, Noah's Ark and the Ziusudra Epic (Fort Meyers: Enlil
    Press,1999) p.190-191.

    Dick Fischer - The Origins Solution -
    "The answer we should have known about 150 years ago"

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