|ham (hot; heat; brown, sunburnt, warm, south,
RELATED: Canaan, Cush, Japheth, Mizraim, Noah, Phut, Shem
Easton's Bible Dictionary
warm, hot, and hence the south; also an Egyptian word
meaning "black", The youngest son of Noah ( Genesis 5:32 ; comp Genesis 9:22 ,
9:24 ). The curse pronounced by Noah against Ham, properly against Canaan his
fourth son, was accomplished when the Jews subsequently exterminated the Canaanites.
One of the most important facts recorded in Genesis 10 is the foundation of the
earliest monarchy in Babylonia by Nimrod the grandson of Ham (Genesis 6 , 8 ,
10). The primitive Babylonian empire was thus Hamitic, and of a cognate race with
the primitive inhabitants of Arabia and of Ethiopia. (See ACCAD.)
The race of Ham were the most energetic of all the descendants of Noah in the
early times of the post-diluvian world.
Hitchcock's Dictionary of Bible Names
hot; heat; brown
Smith's Bible Dictionary
(1) The name of one of the three sons of Noah, apparently the second in age. (B.C.
2448.) Of the history of Ham nothing is related except his irreverence to his
father and the curse which that patriarch pronounced. The sons of Ham are stated,
to have been "Cush and Mizraim and Phut and Canaan." ( Genesis 10:6 ) comp. 1
Chronicles 1:8 Egypt is recognized as the "land of Ham" in the Bible. ( Psalms
78:51 ; 105:23 ; 106:22 ) The other settlements of the sons of Ham are discussed
under their respective names. The three most illustrious Hamite nations--the Cushites,
the Phoenicians and the Egyptians--were greatly mixed with foreign peoples. Their
architecture has a solid grandeur that we look for in vain elsewhere.
(2) According to the present text, ( Genesis 14:5 ) Chedorlaomer and his allies
smote the Zuzim in a place called Ham, probably in the territory of the Ammonites
(Gilead), east of the Jordan.
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia
(1) ham (cham; Cham):
1. The Youngest Son of Noah:
The youngest son of Noah, from whom sprang the western and southwestern nations
known to the Hebrews. His name first occurs in Genesis 5:32, where, as in 6:10
and elsewhere, it occupies the second place. In Genesis 9:18 Ham is described
as "the father of Canaan," to prepare the reader for Genesis 9:25 - 27, where
Noah, cursing Ham for having told Shem and Japheth of his nakedness, refers to
him as Canaan. On account of this, it has been suggested that "Canaan" stood originally
in all the passages where the three brothers are spoken of, and that this was
later changed to "Ham," except in the verses containing the curse. It seems more
likely, however, that the name "Canaan" is inserted prophetically, as Noah would
not desire to curse his son, but only one branch of that son's descendants, who
were later the principal adversaries of the Hebrews.
2. Ham as a Nationality:
The name given, in Psalms 105:23 , 17 ; 106:22 (compare 78:51), to Egypt as a
descendant of Ham, son of Noah. As Shem means "dusky," or the like, and Japheth
"fair," it has been supposed that Ham meant, as is not improbable, "black." This
is supported by the evidence of Hebrew and Arabic, in which the word chamam means
"to be hot" and "to be black," the latter signification being derived from the
3. Meaning of the Word:
That Ham is connected with the native name of Egypt, Kem, or, in full pa ta' en
Kem, "the land of Egypt," in Bashmurian Coptic Kheme, is unlikely, as this form
is probably of a much later date than the composition of Genesis, and, moreover,
as the Arabic shows, the guttural is not a true kh, but the hard breathing h,
which are both represented by the Hebrew cheth.
4. The Nations Descending from Ham:
Of the nationalities regarded as descending from Ham, none can be described as
really black. First on the list, as being the darkest, is Cush or Ethiopia (Genesis
10:6), after which comes Mitsrayim, or Egypt, then PuT or Libyia, and Canaan last.
The sons or descendants of each of these are then taken in turn, and it is noteworthy
that some of them, like the Ethiopians and the Canaanites, spoke Semitic, and
not Hamitic, languages--Seba (if connected with the Sabeans), Havilah (Yemen),
and Sheba, whose queen visited Solomon. Professor Sayce, moreover, has pointed
out that Caphtor is the original home of the Phoenicians, who spoke a Semitic
language. The explanation of this probably is that other tongues were forced upon
these nationalities in consequence of their migrations, or because they fell under
the dominion of nationalities alien to them. The non-Sem Babylonians, described
as descendants of Nimrod (Merodach), as is welI known, spoke Sumerian, and adopted
Semitic Babylonian only on account of mingling with the Semites whom they found
there. Another explanation is that the nationalities described as Hamitic--a parallel
to those of the Semitic section--were so called because they fell under Egyptian
dominion. This would make the original Hamitic race to have been Egyptian and
account for Ham as a (poetical) designation of that nationality. Professor F.
L. Griffith has pointed out that the Egyptian Priapic god of Panopolis (Akhmim),
sometimes called Menu, but also apparently known as Khem, may have been identified
with the ancestor of the Hamitic race--he was worshipped from the coast of the
Red Sea to Coptos, and must have been well known to Egypt's eastern neighbors.
He regards the characteristics of Menu as being in accord with the shamelessness
of Ham as recorded in Genesis 9:20.
See JAPHETH; SHEM; TABLE OF NATIONS.
T. G. Pinches
(2) A place East of the Jordan named between Ashteroth-karnaim and Shaveh-kiriathaim,
in which Chedorlaomer smote the Zu-zim (Genesis 14:5). No name resembling this
has been recovered. Septuagint reads bahem "with them," instead of beham, "in
Ham." Some have thought that "Ham" may be a corruption from "Ammon"; or that it
may be the ancient name of Rabbath-ammon itself.
(3) A poetical appellation of Egypt:
"the land of Ham" (Psalms 105:23, etc.) is the land of Jacob's sojourning, i.e.
Egypt; "the tents of Ham" (Psalms 78:51) are the dwellings of the Egyptians. It
may be derived from the native name of Egypt, Kemi, or Khemi.
See MIZRAIM; SHEM.
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