Roots of BitternessWorld Events

Roots of Bitterness: Canaan’s Rebellion Started Middle Eastern Conflicts

From the previous post, we know that Noah imprecated a cursed upon Canaan — to be subservient to both Shem and Japheth’s bloodlines.

“When Noah awoke from his wine and knew what his youngest son had done to him, he said, ‘Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants shall he be to his brothers.’ He also said, ‘Blessed be the LORD, the God of Shem; and let Canaan be his servant. May God enlarge Japheth, and let him dwell in the tents of Shem, and let Canaan be his servant'” (Genesis 9:24-27 ESV).

Noah’s curse in this passage is just the tip of the iceberg.

The Book of Jubilees, chapters 8 and 9, provides vivid detail concerning the bloodlines of Noah and how they agreed to distribute the land, as indicated in the previous post.  At the end of Jubilees 9, the families sealed their arrangement with an oath.

“And thus the sons of Noah divided unto their sons in the presence of Noah their father, and he bound them all by an oath, imprecating a curse on every one that sought to seize the portion which had not fallen (to him) by his lot. And they all said, ‘So be it; so be it’ for themselves and their sons for ever throughout their generations till the day of judgment, on which the Lord God shall judge them with a sword and with fire for all the unclean wickedness of their errors, wherewith they have filled the earth with transgression and uncleanness and fornication and sin” (Jubilees 9:14-15).

Chapter 10 tells the rest of the story of how the families migrated from Ararat eastward to the land of Shinar, culminating with the Tower of Babel debacle and the dispersion of the nations.

As the clans dispersed to claim their allotted territories, Canaan decided to abandon the family oath.  According to the Book of Jubilees, Canaan’s territory was supposed to be in Northern Africa westward toward Libya and Morocco.

“And Ham divided amongst his sons, and the first portion came forth for Cush towards the east, and to the west of him for Mizraim [Egypt], and to the west of him for Put, and to the west of him [and to the west thereof] on the sea for Canaan” (Jubilees 9:1).

Instead of claiming his allotted land, however, Canaan decided to settle in the region of Lebanon.

“And Ham and his sons went into the land which he was to occupy, which he acquired as his portion in the land of the south. And Canaan saw the land of Lebanon to the river of Egypt, that it was very good, and he went not into the land of his inheritance to the west (that is to) the sea, and he dwelt in the land of Lebanon, eastward and westward from the border of Jordan and from the border of the sea. And Ham, his father, and Cush and Mizraim his brothers said unto him: ‘Thou hast settled in a land which is not thine, and which did not fall to us by lot: do not do so; for if thou dost do so, thou and thy sons will fall in the land and (be) accursed through sedition; for by sedition ye have settled, and by sedition will thy children fall, and thou shalt be rooted out for ever. Dwell not in the dwelling of Shem; for to Shem and to his sons did it come by their lot. Cursed art thou, and cursed shalt thou be beyond all the sons of Noah, by the curse by which we bound ourselves by an oath in the presence of the holy judge, and in the presence of Noah our father.’ But he did not harken unto them, and dwelt in the land of Lebanon from Hamath to the entering of Egypt, he and his sons until this day. And for this reason that land is named Canaan” (Jubilees 10:28-34).

Webster defines sedition as: incitement of resistance to or insurrection against lawful authority.

Canaan was originally cursed by Noah to be the servant of both Shem’s and Japheth’s bloodlines, and due to his rebellion against the family oath, his father and brothers level a much more severe warning.  Canaan was warned that he would be “accursed through sedition”, that he and his sons would fall (die) in the land, and be rooted out forever.

That is a very bold warning, yet history confirms the fulfillment of Canaan’s fate.

Canaan’s defiance is the root from which Middle Eastern conflicts originate.   His single act of rebellion set a series of events in motion that led directly to God’s promise to Abraham and the establishment of the Israel.  Read more here

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