Nationality, Curses, and Slavery

Genesis 10
There is no real story in this chapter, instead, it just lists different cultures and from which of Noah’s three sons they descended from. Because this is lengthy and boring, I will instead provide a map I am borrowing from Wikipedia.

I think there is one important thing to take note of here, and that is the location of the majority of the descendants of Ham. Ham, if you remember from my previous post, had seen his father naked, and thus his son Canaan was cursed to be a slave of his brothers. In this chapter, we see that Ham’s descendants turn out to be from the parts of the world where people have much darker skin.

I have heard previously that the bible supports slavery by some manner of a curse, and I think that this is where that idea comes from. I will be honest, the book itself does not directly state this. It says that Canaan is cursed, that is it. However, previous curses in the book seem to continue on. Either way, the combination of a curse of servitude, and the dark skin of Ham’s descendants has led to an interpretation and biblical justification for the enslavement of the African people. This may not have been a pervasive view throughout all members of the various abrahamic faiths, but it has happened. I do not support it, but I think it is an interesting historical repercussion of this chapter.


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