Whenever we see in Scripture, a situation of certain death, in which a miraculous deliverance results in either the preservation of life or the restoration of life, we have just seen the Torah theme of life from death; i.e., resurrection! The picture of resurrection is the picture of Messiah, for He is the resurrection and the life (Joh 11:25)!
In fact, every nature and science museum in the world is declaring witness with a loud voice to all mankind that God judges sin, but in Messiah is the resurrection and the life. For they are filled with the fossils of all manner of animal and plant life, which were laid down with great amounts of sediment by water, and they have been found on every continent, including mountain tops. These fossils declare that what was once living came to their death violently and catastrophically by a worldwide flood which covered the tops of the mountains (Gen 7:20); but that humans exist to view them in science museums testifies that one family was preserved alive through judgment.
Jesus Christ is the ark, and He is the open door (Joh 10:9). If we enter through Him while there is time, we will be saved, but if we enter not, we will likewise perish. For judgment for sin will come, and even though God delay, as we saw with the long lifespan of Methuselah, He will not tarry forever.
This parashah contains the first mention in Torah, repeated in Leviticus, that the life of the flesh is in the blood (Lev 17:11). It is for this reason that the lifeblood of Messiah was shed, so that all who believe in Him may have eternal life.
The first thing we notice, is that the parsha divisions have singled out the sons of Canaan into their own parsha. We cannot even say that God divided the paragraphs up by the sons of each of the three sons, for Japhath and Ham share a paragraph – except for the sons of Canaan. The paragraph divisions are a teaching tool that serves to shine a spotlight on irregularities like this — irregularities to human logic, that is.
I had done a Hebrew word study on the names of each of the three sons of Noah. But as I was thinking about the curse on Canaan, I realized I had not done a word study on the name, “Canaan.”
Canaan is from Strong’s H3665 כנע, kaph + nun + ayin, a primitive root. In the ancient Hebrew pictographs, the kaph is the open palm, the hand used to bless others rather than to work or fight. The nun is the seed, so also, son, generation, continuation. The ayin is the eye, so also, to watch, look, see, know, or understand.
The kaph – nun combination paints the picture of the opening of the seed, so the going down of the root to provide a firm foundation for the plant above the ground. The verb form, then, means to stand, as the root provides the support that enables the plant to be upright; the concrete noun means a root; and the abstract concept is sureness. So interesting! Now when we add the ayin, the eye, on to that picture, we get the going down of the eye; i.e. to bow the head, to humble oneself, to be humbled, or to be brought into subjection. The name “Canaan” actually means “lowland.”
So what does this have to do with Messiah?
Remember what Noah said of Canaan? “Cursed be Canaan; A servant of servants he shall be to his brethren;” (Gen 9:25). Of Messiah Yeshua the Word says:
“Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” Mat 11:29
“… Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.” Phi 2:5-8
“Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree;” Gal 3:13
The curse on Canaan is a veiled prophecy of the means by which Messiah would redeem us. He brought Himself down, He humbled Himself and made Himself the Servant of servants to His brethren. In so doing, He became a curse for us, when the sin of the world was placed upon Him, and brought about His death.
The next time Canaan plays a prominent role in the Old Testament, we find that the sin of the Canaanites has grown so great, that God executes judgment on them by causing their death as a nation. This is another veiled prophecy in the same manner: the wages of sin is death – but the one who died, is the Servant of servants to the brethren, “canaan,” the One who caused His eye to go down.
Man built a tower whose top was to be in the heavens. They did not like His commandment(s) and, wanting to bypass them, tried to establish their own way to go up to God. But the LORD God came down to us (Gen 11:5). We cannot go up to Him, He comes down to us. Isn’t He wonderful? All His judgments are just!