And in those days when no land could be seen from the ark—for the flood was covering the whole face of the ground—Ham, the son of Noah and the brother of Shem and Japheth, sighed loud enough to wake his wife from her nap. Not being the first time Ham’s wife had been disturbed by Ham’s mood since coming on board, she said to him, “At least you are not out there.” And Ham responded, “It would be better for me to die out there than to live in here. God has taken away everything from me” (For Ham was a strong man with much earned influence over the people of the earth, including the Nephilim.) And Ham’s wife responded, “You do have one thing—God has given you work.” But Ham responded, “I have no work here.”
Ham said, “I have no work here,” because he was greatly ashamed by the work he had been given by his father. To Shem, Noah gave the responsibility of taking care of the beasts and livestock. To Japheth, Noah gave the responsibility of feeding and watching the birds and winged creatures. And to Ham, Noah gave the work of keeping alive every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.
Noah looked on his sons with gladness, and Ham looked on his brothers with envy. And Ham said to his wife, “They are given ways to prove the strength and reach of their limbs. But my work only requires me to stoop, even onto the ground. It is no wonder my father does not look upon me.”
Ham’s wife was perplexed, for she knew that Noah cared for Ham, but she knew her husband’s stubbornness and he would not believe her words. Later that week, Ham’s wife was alone with Noah’s wife and asked how she might remedy Ham’s woes. Noah’s wife said, “Tell Ham to come to Noah’s room soon after the sun has gone down under the waters and to wait quietly outside his door. I will ask Noah what he loves about our sons, and my son shall overhear my husband’s answer, whether he speaks good or evil.”
And Ham’s wife told Ham about his mother’s plan, and Ham, after feeding the creeping things, went to wait outside to see when the sun went down under the waters. As the sun descended, Ham gazed out over the reddened waves and wept, saying, “Was this not the earth, which I established by my mighty power for the glory of my majesty? It is no longer the world, but only confusion.” And Ham realized the sun had already gone down under the waters, and Ham rushed to his father’s room.
When he arrived, he waited quietly outside the door. He did not hear his mother’s voice, and for a moment he did not hear his father’s voice. Ham inched his eyes into the room, and saw Noah kneeling on the floor near his bed in private prayer. Then Noah began whispering, and Ham was amazed, saying to himself, “Why does he talk to himself?” And Noah prayed in thanksgiving for the Lord’s protection of his family, and he prayed for patience to be granted to his whole family as they waited for the arrival of the new earth.
Ham heard these words and took them as a rebuke, thinking that Noah knew he was nearby. And Ham grew angry with Noah and his mother and his wife. Ham found no solace on the ark, not even among the creeping things. And he wished only and always to return to his old life before the flood.