In the book of Genesis, it is worthy to note the curse attributed to Ham: “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. 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: 20-25 The phrase “… the nakedness of his father…” needs to be understood for proper interpretation of the text.
In Leviticus 18, God is speaking to Moses and giving him judgments and ordinances: “None of you shall approach to any that is near of kin to him, to uncover their nakedness: I am the LORD. 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. The nakedness of thy father’s wife shalt thou not uncover: it is thy father’s nakedness.”
Leviticus 18: 6-8 Also, stated in Leviticus 20 they are to be put to death for such a crime: “And the man that lieth with his father’s wife hath uncovered his father’s nakedness: both of them shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.” Leviticus 20: 11
These passages of scripture give clarity to the curse pronounced upon Canaan. Why would Noah curse Canaan and not Ham? But it was what Ham did that caused this curse to be placed on his son Canaan. Ham slept with his mother and impregnated her with his seed and Canaan was the offspring. Canaan is the father of the major enemies of the Israelites: “And Canaan begat Sidon his firstborn, and Heth, And the Hivite, and the Arkite, and the Sinite, And the Arvadite, and the Zemarite, and the Hamathite: and afterward were the families of the Canaanites spread abroad. And the border of the Canaanites was from Sidon, as thou comest to Gerar, unto Gaza; as thou goest, unto Sodom, and Gomorrah, and Admah, and Zeboim, even unto Lasha.” Genesis 10: 15-18