Thursday, 17 November 2011

The Book of Genesis

I’m not sure how this particular bibulous biblical reference came into conversation last week, but Noah’s infamous ventures with wine growing ended up scrutinised with a glass of wine over supper, so here it is in full.

Noah, having recently battened down the hatches on his ark and saved his family and the world’s animals from drowning in the flood, has now been told by God to multiply, and replenish the earth. He sets about this by becoming a farmer, along with which he plants a few rows of grapes. In the Old Testament’s first reference to viticulture, Noah gets disgustingly drunk and passes out in his gaff:

9:20 And Noah began to be an husbandman, and he planted a vineyard:
9:21 And he drank of the wine, and was drunken; and he was uncovered within his tent.
9:22 And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father, and told his two brethren without.
9:23 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.
9:24 And Noah awoke from his wine, and knew what his younger son had done unto him.
9:25 And he said, Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren.
9:26 And he said, Blessed be the LORD God of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant.
9:27 God shall enlarge Japheth, and he shall dwell in the tents of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant.

What happens when Noah passes out is clothed in biblical obfuscation. It’s pretty much open to conjecture but there those who suggest a serious misdemeanour, either after the booze gets the better of him, or before. At any rate, the other two brothers cover the old boy up and sit out the wrath of the grape the next day when Noah wakes up with the bible’s first hangover. Ham’s son Canaan gets it in the neck for what has happened between his father and grandfather, so it was obviously something worse than not putting him into the recovery position...

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