Ham: The Origin of Black Africans and Black Arabs In The Bible

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Ham: Son of Noah

Noah had three sons: Shem, Ham (Cham), and Japheth, but it is Ham and his lineage that settled Africa and various parts of Arabia. Although that is the case, there is lots of evidence that Ham was not the only black son, but may have had black skin in common with Shem. According to scripture, the brothers were born when Noah was 500 years old.

“And Noah was five hundred years old: and Noah begat Shem, Ham, and Japheth.” – Genesis 5:32

According to the Strong’s Concordance #2526 (Cham) is defined as: a son of Noah, also his descendants, also a name for Egyptians. This definition plays a role in the very way we look at scripture because:

Unfortunately, mainstream Christianity ignore all of the above when it comes to identifying, painting, and casting actors for movie roles. We’re presented with a false perception that everyone in scripture was white. Understanding the role, ethnicity, and lineage of Ham is a key in ending the deception of a Eurocentric Bible view.

Suggested Reading

Was Ham Noah’s Youngest Son of Noah?

In ancient Hebrew culture, it was customary to list the children in the order of their birth, which means that Ham was possibly the middle son, and not the youngest. There is an exception to this rule, and that is when the elder ends up serving the younger. It is no coincidence that the youngest child is almost always the chosen child:

We know from Genesis 10:21 that Japheth is the oldest son. What’s interesting to note is that when all three are mentioned together, Shem is almost always first, Ham is ALWAYS second, and Japheth is almost always list. This is consistent and you can check for yourself:

  • Genesis 5:32
  • Genesis 6:10
  • Genesis 7:13
  • Genesis 9:18
  • Genesis 10:1
  • 1 Chronicles 1:4

There is only one exception to the above order. It occurs in Genesis 10 where Japheth is listed first in the genealogy, Ham is still mentioned second, and Shem is mentioned last. In both examples, Ham is the only one that never changes from the middle position. This isn’t concrete proof, but it does cast doubt on whether or not Ham was the youngest. The order of birth becomes more significant when we look into the false teaching that Ham was cursed by Noah.

The Curse of Ham – A False Teaching

There are many church leaders that have helped spread the false teaching that Ham was cursed by Noah to have black skin, and that teaching has been used to justify both slavery and racism toward black people all over there world. Here is what the Bible actually says:

“And Noah began to be an husbandman, and he planted a vineyard: 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.” – Genesis 9:21-23

The attempt to make Ham the target of the curse is the very definition of false teaching, when the verse clearly names Canaan as the target of the curse. As the story unfolds, we see that Ham was the one that discovered his father naked and immediately told his brothers. From these three verses, many false teachers have decided to create false doctrine to push on the church.

  1. The Bible does not say that he uncovered his father’s nakedness.
  2. The Bible does not say he had sex with his mother.
  3. The Bible does not say he had sex with Noah.
  4. The Bible does not say he castrated Noah.

There are no indications that any of the above scenarios took place, and yet these teachings are very prevalent within the church. Those that teach or follow such doctrine are either deceiving, being deceived, or both. The Bible goes on to say:

“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.” – Genesis 9:24-25

The verse makes reference to Noah’s “younger son”, but he then curses his grandson Canaan. Many of the false teachings that spring from these verses are due to a lack of cultural understanding or just flat out ignoring what the Bible says in order to push a race based agenda:

  • The word “grandson does not appear in the Bible”.
  • Grandsons and granddaughters were referred to as sons and daughters.
  • The phrase “younger son” can refer to a grandson as well as a son.

As we learned above, children were usually (not always) listed in the order in which they were born, and Genesis 10:6 lists Canaan as the last son of Ham, which fits with Noah referring to him as his “younger son”. In context, it was likely Canaan that did whatever it is that he did, which is why Canaan was cursed and not Ham, Mizraim, Cush, or Phut.

Beware of False Teachers Adding Words

One way false teachers deceive people is by playing around with words, inserting them where there are none, and avoiding common sense questions. Most of these false teachers will insert the word “uncovered” to replace the word “saw” so that they can falsely interpret the text as follows:

“And Ham, the father of Canaan, uncovered the nakedness of his father, and told his two brethren without.”

We can easily prove this to be a false teaching by looking at the Hebrew word used in Genesis 9:22:

  • Saw (Strong’s #7200):  raah – see, appear, became visible

This is important because they use the following verse in an attempt to justify their false teaching, causing many to fall for the false connection.

“The nakedness of thy father, or the nakedness of thy mother, shalt thou not uncover: she is thy mother; thou shalt not uncover her nakedness.” – Leviticus 18:7

Problem #1 – The Wrong Words

We’ve already seen the word used for “saw” in Genesis, so lets look at which word is used in Leviticus since BOTH books were written by Moses:

  • Uncover (Strongs #1540): galah – uncover, remove, expose

There are clearly two different words used, and because it’s the same author, it means the difference is INTENTIONAL so that the ideas will not be mixed up.

Problem #2 – The Wrong Timing

The law in Leviticus did not come until AFTER the time of Noah, which means even if Ham had done something with his mother, it wouldn’t have been breaking a law, but would’ve been a personal slight against Noah.

Problem #3 – Playing Semantics

The text in Leviticus clearly says “the nakedness of thy father” AND “the nakedness of thy mother”. The text differentiates between the two, but those teaching that Ham did something to his mother will not point it out. Over and over again, the Genesis text makes it clear that Ham SAW the nakedness of his father. If he’d seen his mother naked, it would use the same words as Moses used in Leviticus and said it was “the nakedness of his mother.”

Problem #4 – Stripping Context

Not once is Noah’s wife mentioned in any of the text. Genesis 9 is a story that is 100% clear to those that don’t want to strip the context of scripture.

  1. Noah planted a vineyard and grew grapes.
  2. Noah got drunk on wine.
  3. Noah fell asleep.
  4. Noah was seen naked by Ham.
  5. Ham told his brothers that Noah was naked.
  6. Shem and Japheth covered their eyes and then covered Noah.
  7. Noah woke up from being drunk and realized what had happened.
  8. Noah cursed his grandson Canaan

These are the 8 major facts of the story. Here’s what we are NOT allowed to add to the text based on the twisting of scripture.

  • At no point should we jump to the conclusion that Ham was the reason his father was naked because the text does not use the same word as used in Leviticus for “uncover”.
  • At no point should we assume that Ham got his mother pregnant with Canaan, because the text doesn’t say that.
How Long After The Flood Did This Happen?

In order to get a good idea of the time frame, I decided to Google how long it takes grapes to grow, and the answer was up to three years. If we break down the amount of time the flood waters were on the earth we get roughly a year. This event would’ve occurred 4+ years after the rain began to fall for 40 days and nights.

  • This time frame ONLY works if Noah immediately planted his vineyard after getting off of the ark.
  • If Noah did not plant the vineyard immediately, it means the event occurred more than 4 years after the flood.
  • The Bible doesn’t tell us how long after the flood that Noah planted his vineyard.

The fact is that there was plenty of time for Canaan to already have been born. It’s even possible that Ham’s wife got pregnant while they were waiting for the flood waters to dry up. Unfortunately, we’re not told how old Ham was when Canaan was born, nor are we told how hold Canaan was when he died.

While we may not know all the details of the situation, we do know that Ham DID NOT uncover the nakedness of his mother because his mother isn’t mentioned and the word for “uncover” isn’t used in the entire chapter.

The Lineage of Ham and The Land of Ham

It is through Ham’s lineage that we see the development of most of Africa and a large portion of the Middle East, including modern day Israel and Iraq. Here is a breakdown of Ham’s lineage and the countries they founded. We know that Egypt was considered the “land of Ham” because of the following verses:

Israel also came into Egypt; and Jacob sojourned in the land of Ham.” – Psalms 105:23

“They shewed his signs among them, and wonders in the land of Ham.” – Psalms 105:27

“Wondrous works in the land of Ham, and terrible things by the Red sea.” – Psalms 106:22

The Land of Ham was Egypt based on the context and reference to the events in Exodus. Many believe these verses to have been written by David. Those that claim that Ham was the father of all black Africans and then deny that Egyptians were black even though the descended from Ham, do so based solely on their racial bias to Hebrews marrying, living among, and being mistaken for black people.

The Land of Ham

The Sons of Ham (Genesis 10:6)
  1. Cush (Sudan)
  2. Mizraim (Egypt)
  3. Phut (Libya)
  4. Canaan (Israel)
The Sons of Cush (Ham’s Grandsons)
  1. Seba (North-Easter Africa)
  2. Havilah (North-West Yemen)
  3. Sabtah (Near Ethiopia and Sudan)
  4. Raamah (Near Saudi Arabia)
  5. Sabtecha (Unknown)
  6. Nimrod (Iraq / Babylon)
The Sons of Mizraim (Ham’s Grandsons)
  1. Ludim (The Moors – Near Libya)
  2. Anamim (unknown)
  3. Lehabim (unknown)
  4. Naphtuhim (Meroe)
  5. Pathrusim (Pathros – Upper Egypt)
  6. Casluhim (Part of Egypt)
  7. Caphtorim (Cilicia, Cyprus, Crete)
The Sons of Canaan (Ham’s Grandsons)
  1. Sidon (Lebanon)
  2. Heth (HittitesHebron / Canaan)
  3. Jebusite (Canaan)
  4. Amorite (Canaan)
  5. Girgasite (Canaan)
  6. Hivite (Canaan)
  7. Arkite (Canaan)
  8. Sinite (Canaan)
  9. Arvadite (Canaan)
  10. Zemarite (Canaan)
  11. Hamathite (Canaan)

The sons of Phut are not mentioned, but we know that they existed because Phut’s lineage (Libyans) is mentioned in general several times in scripture. When we look at all of the countries that descended from Ham, and then we look at scripture, we see that not only did the Hebrews interact and mix with them regularly, but we see that they inhabited large parts of the “Middle East”, which casts major doubt on the notion that Arabia of the past was full of white or even light skinned people as it is in the modern day.

Shemite and Hamite Intermixing

One very interesting fact that we find in scripture, is that the descendants of Ham and Shem often mixed. The following is a list of Hamites and Shemites that mixed and the children they had if applicable (names listed in alphabetical order by male’s name):

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Contradictions In Eurocentric Christian Theology

When it comes to European Christian theology, there are major contradictions when it comes to Ham, his descendants, and what they looked like. In racist theology like Christian Identity and Mormonism, black people are seen as cursed, which is often used as an excuse to justify evils like slavery and murder. However, European Christians can’t seem to get their theology straight. Even though they teach the black people come from Ham:

Ham only had four sons, which means they deny the blackness of his only four sons, while claiming that Ham is the father of all black people. The reason for this outright denial of the truth in spite of the facts and their own theology is 100% based on skin color. Europeans understand that if they concretely admit that any of Ham’s four sons were beyond a shadow of a doubt black, then they also have to admit that Hebrews were black as well because they mixed with the descendants of Ham.

Suggested Reading

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By Black History In The Bible

"And because I tell you the truth, ye believe me not. Which of you convinceth me of sin? And if I say the truth, why do ye not believe me? He that is of God heareth God's words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God." - John 8:45-47


  • Thank you for this information. I’ve been reading more on history and started looking at the maps in the Bible and remembering some sermons I’ve heard and information just does not add up. Maybe I am seriously confused but if Ham is black aren’t Shem and Japheth? Sans the factor of albinism and people with melanin being able to produce all shades, wouldn’t all of Noah’s sons be genetically black? Why is there a distinction made between the sons in regards to color? This never made sense to me. I understand they populated different regions and it is a way to address lineage but if they come from the same father and mother is the DNA so different that the sons create different races of people? Enough, at least, for there to be a clear distinction that they are different. I could have a better understanding if there were other people in this equation but I’m only seeing
    four and they are all related. I see the map of the men of Shem reproducing with the women of Ham to create “mixed” offspring. But Ham and Shem are from the same father and mother. Are these two son’s DNA so vastly different that they created people that look so different from one another in such a short period of time? What is the reason to distinguish between the son’s other than lineage? Thank you again for this information

  • I don’t know if you consider Jubilees to be inspired or not, but it says, “Noah took to himself a wife…in the first year in the fifth week: and in the 3rd year thereof she bare him Shem, in the 5th year thereof she bare him Ham, and in the 1st year in the sixth week she bare him Japheth.”
    So the birth order given here was Japheth, Shem, and Ham.
    It also says, “And Ham knew that his father had cursed his younger son…”
    So like you said, when he said younger son, he still could have been referring to Canaan, but still possible that it was Ham.
    Jasher (history, as it doesn’t claim inspiration) says Noah had Japheth and then Shem when he was 502. Silent on Ham’s birth. So not exactly helpful.
    But even if Ham was the youngest son, Canaan is the one who got the curse and even if Ham was the one who erred and Canaan got the curse, it still does not justify ill treatment of all of Ham’s descendants in the least.
    This was really informative as I had heard the “uncover thy father’s nakedness” theory and thought it didn’t quite fit the text. I didn’t even think to check the Hebrew of the word “saw”. Nice work.

  • This was great information. To be honest I barely like to reference much from any of these bibles as they were rewritten numerous of times and context were both added and taken out. So usually I just say I believe in the Great I Am and all powerful. I am willing to learn with the understanding to be careful as there are things put out there to confuse/misinform others.

  • We don’t really know why Noah was so upset with Canaan but I heard a minister state that it is possible that Ham also saw Noah’s wife’s nakedness too but only Noah’s name is mentioned because the wife was like property so only Noah’s name is mentioned. Instead of Ham keeping this information to himself, he told
    his brothers and this made Noah angry. This makes more sense than a father becoming this angry just because his sons saw him naked in his drunken stupor.

    • Black History In The Bible -

      Let’s be clear here… in your mind it makes sense that a grown man saw his mom naked, told his brothers, and his dad got so mad that he walked into their dwelling and saw his mom naked on accident, that he woke up and cursed his grandson’s descendants to be slaves?

      Why not curse Ham specifically instead of his grandchild?

      • I was trying not to go into this because it will be long. First, we must define what “father’s nakedness” means in Genesis 9. The first definition of father nakedness is in Leviticus 18:6-8. The New English Translation states it this way: 6 “‘No man is to approach any close relative to have sexual intercourse with her. I am the Lord. 7 You must not expose your father’s nakedness by having sexual intercourse with your mother. She is your mother; you must not have intercourse with her. 8 You must not have sexual intercourse with your father’s wife; she is your father’s nakedness. So you see, the father nakedness is the wife. Back to Genesis 9:18, Do you notice that Canaan is mentioned with thee 3 sons. Although the other sons had children and Ham had other children, Canaan is the only grandchild mentioned at this time. Also, noticed how it clarify that this son is Ham’s biological son; although he is still mentioned as the sons of Noah who populated the earth. It looks like Ham had intercourse with his mother and a child was produced between he and his mother. Ham told his brothers about the indiscretion and the brothers tried to cover her without looking at her. When Noah sobered up and found out what happened, he cursed the unborn baby who was his grandchild and his son (similar to a step son). This is the reason Canaan is mentioned with the other 3 sons. I think the curse was more like a deep hate because Noah did not have anything other than his inner feelings to call this act a sin. That did not come until later when YAH said do not have intercourse with close relatives.

        • Black History In The Bible -

          1. NOTHING in the verse says Ham “uncovered” anyone.

          2. If Ham saw his father naked, why did the brothers cover Noah?

          3. Explain how the Bible would say “Noah was naked”, if you assume that any time it refers to a man’s nakedness it really means his wife. That doesn’t make sense especially since the verse you’re referring to also mentions “the nakedness of thy mother”. The text is 100% clear, but those like you prefer to torture it to say something else.

          4. The Bible says Ham “saw”… it doesn’t say anything else. Stop adding to the text. The Hebrew words for “saw” and “uncovered” are two different words. A basic study of both texts reveal that.

          5. Canaan was cursed instead of Ham. It doesn’t make sense that Noah would randomly curse his grandson that many of you believe wasn’t even born yet.

          6. Whatever was done was already done before Ham found Noah naked.

          7. Saying “younger son” can also refer to Canaan in the Bible since the word “grandson” and “grandfather” are never used. They’re referred to as fathers and sons. So when Noah knew what his “younger son” had done, it can refer to his grandson.

          Before you come here and attempt to start interpreting text, make sure you address all 7 of the issues above AND the problem of two different words being used for two different actions. There is no curse on Ham and the Bible doesn’t say Ham did anything except see and report. Stop rushing through scripture and grasping old ideas that make no sense. Ideas that have been used to justify the mistreatment of black people based on false European perversion of scripture.

  • Greetings. Thank you for this wonderful piece. I have learned so much. A pastor from a local church once preached to the congregation that blacks are cursed by Noah and I had doubts and also preached that the Gentiles refered to black people. Well, I'm over that now. 

    My question is, Noah cursed Canann right, was Cannann that was caused by Noah the same owner of the Land filled with milk and honey that God promised the Israelites?? 

    • Black History In The Bible -

      If you’re asking if that is the same Canaan, then yes it is the same lineage that was in the land before Israel.

  • Minister Fortson: Thank you for providing clarity to “misunderstood” biblical subjects. I have a question: It is an historical fact much of the biblical records of the ancient Hebrews were “confiscated” by the Romans in the destruction of the Hebrew’s sacred temple in Jerusalem in 70 A.D.; and held by Europeans (the Roman Catholic “church”) for hundreds of years before the first printing of the “JKB” in the mid-18th century. Also, it has been noted by several historians many biblical texts were either deliberately excluded from the “KJB” or corrupted (by the mid-1800’s both Europe and the U.S. were profiting from the enslavement of kidnapped Africans). In your opinion, could it stand to reason the entire “curse of Ham” narrative (among others) be an example of the self-serving corruption of Scripture?

    Unlike yourself I am no bible scholar but it seems to me the primary reason so many of us “laypeople” find it hard to grasp and connect to the full impact of the Scriptures is due to the prevalence of contradictions and often somewhat obvious self-righteous (self-serving) perversions.

    • Black History In The Bible -

      Yes, the false teaching of the curse on Ham is 100% race related. The Bible says Canaan was cursed, but they intentionally false teach that it was Ham, and therefore all black people. They do this to keep Hebrews away from the truth, and many have fallen for the lie.

      As far as contradictions. That tends to only occur when people try to understand the Bible without having a complete picture of the full situation. There are no contradictions, just misunderstandings on the part of the reader.

  • Neither of Noah`s children became the Arabs. When you read in Genesis 16 where Sarai convinces Abraham to have a relationship with her maid Hagar and she ends up having a son called Ishmael. They are later put away and Ishmael eventually marries an Egyptian and has 12 sons. It is through these sons of Ishmael that you originate the Arab nations, not from any of Noah`s family tree.

    • Black History In The Bible -

      Here’s why you’re wrong. Arab is defined by living on the Arabian Peninsula, not by ethnicity. Anyone living in Arabia was an Arab. We now call it “The Middle East”, which is why people say “Middle Eastern”. So yes, Shem and Ham both gave rise to Arabians through their descendants.

    • You are contradicting yourself. Noah was a great grandfather of Abraham who gave birth to Ishmael. Remember, after the flood there was no human race except Noah and his family. This mean all the human race are descendants of Noah. Egyptians are descendants of Ham as mentioned in Gen 10: 6. If you are reading KJV, Egypt is referred to as Mizraim)

  • Ham is the youngest son of Noah & not the middle son according 2 Genesis 9:24. It specifically states that, “And Noah awoke from his wine, and knew what his younger son had done unto him.” This is alluding 2 Genesis 9:22 which states, “And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father, and told his two brethren.” From this perspective, Genesis 10:21 specifies that Japheth is the oldest, which puts Shem as the middle son among the three. PLEASE E-mail me in reference 2 this information

    • Black History In The Bible -

      Actually, not true. You ASSUME it means Ham… and yet the text itself never uses the word “grandson”. Grandsons were referred to as sons. The fact that Noah cursed his grandson Canaan means that Ham wasn’t the one referred to. Ham had four sons and for Noah to randomly choose one of his innocent grandsons to curse doesn’t make any sense at all.

      It also says Ham saw, exited, and told his brothers. It never says he did anything to Noah to make him naked. It doesn’t say he “uncovered” anything as some try to teach. That’s adding to the text based on a preconceived notion. There’s a reason Canaan was cursed and not Ham.

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