1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Ham (biblical)

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HAM, in the Bible. (1) חָם, Ḥām, in Gen. v. 32, vi. 10, vii. 13, ix. 18, x. 5, 1 Chron. i. 4, the second son of Noah; in Gen. ix. 24, the youngest son (but cf. below); and in Gen. x. 6, 1 Chron. i. 8, the father of Cush (Ethiopia), Mizraim (Egypt), Phut and Canaan. Genesis x. exhibits in the form of genealogies the political, racial and geographical relations of the peoples known to Israel; as it was compiled from various sources and has been more than once edited, it does not exactly represent the situation at any given date,[1] but Ham seems to stand roughly for the south-western division of the world as known to Israel, which division was regarded as the natural sphere of influence of Egypt. Ham is held to be the Egyptian word Khem (black) which was the native name of Egypt; thus in Pss. lxxviii. 51, cv. 23, 27, cvi. 22, Ham=Egypt. In Gen. ix. 20-26 Canaan was originally the third son of Noah and the villain of the story. Ham is a later addition to harmonize with other passages.

(2) חָם, Ḥām, 1 Chron. iv. 40, apparently the name of a place or tribe. It can hardly be identical with (1); nothing else is known of this second Ham, which may be a scribe’s error; the Syriac version rejects the name.

(3) חָם, Ḥam, Gen. xiv. 5; the place where Chedorlaomer defeated the Zuzim, apparently in eastern Palestine. The place is unknown, and the name may be a scribe’s error, perhaps for Ammon.  (W. H. Be.) 

  1. A. Jeremias, Das A.T. im Lichte des alten Orients, p. 145, holds that it represents the situation in the 8th century B.C.