18 For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit: 19 By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison; 20 Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water. 21 The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ

The Holy Bible: King James Version, Electronic Edition of the 1900 Authorized Version. (Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 2009), 1 Pe 3:18–21.

Poole writes:

25 And he said, Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren.

And he said, not from the passion of revenge, but by Divine inspiration, and the Spirit of prophecy, Cursed be Canaan; hateful to God, abhorred by men, miserable in his person and posterity.

When Canaan is mentioned, Ham is not exempted from the curse, but rather more deeply plunged into it, whilst he is pronounced accursed, not only in his person, (which is manifestly supposed by his commission of that sin for which the curse was inflicted,) but also in his posterity, which doubtless was a great aggravation of his grief; as on the contrary Joseph is said to be blessed when his children are blessed, Gen. 48:15, 16. 2.

So here Canaan may be put for the father of Canaan, as the Arabic translation hath it, that is, Ham, as the Seventyhere render it. And though Ham had more sons, yet he may be here described by his relation to Canaan, because in him the curse was more fixed and dreadful, reaching to his utter extirpation, whilst the rest of Ham’s posterity in after-ages were blessed with the saving knowledge of the gospel.

Matthew Henry:


1. He pronounces a curse on Canaan the son of Ham (v. 25), in whom Ham is himself cursed, either because this son of his was now more guilty than the rest, or because the posterity of this son was afterwards to be rooted out of their land, to make room for Israel.




25. Cursed be Canaan. It is asked, in the first place, why Noah, instead of pronouncing the curse upon his son, inflicts the severity of punishment, which that son had deserved, upon his innocent grandson; since it seems not consistent with the justice of God, to visit the crimes of parents upon their children? But the answer is well known; namely, that God, although he pursues his course of judgments upon the sons and the grandchildren of the ungodly, yet, in being angry with them, is not angry with the innocent, because even they themselves are found in fault. Wherefore there is no absurdity in the act of avenging the sins of the fathers upon their reprobate children; since, of necessity, all those whom God has deprived of his Spirit are subject to his wrath. But it is surprising that Noah should curse his grandson; and should pass his son Ham, the author of the crime, over in silence. The Jews imagine that the reason of this was to be traced to the special favour of God; and that, since the Lord had bestowed on Ham so great an honour, the curse was transferred from him to his son. But the conjecture is futile. Certainly, to my mind, there is no doubt that the punishment was carried forward even to his posterity, in order that the severity of it might be the more apparent; as if the Lord had openly proclaimed that the punishment of one man would not satisfy him, but that he would attach the curse also to the posterity of the offender, so that it should extend through successive ages. In the meantime, Ham himself is so far from being exempt, that God, by involving his son with him, aggravates his own condemnation.

It would seem as if these revered writers see Ham as reprobate; hence, this ‘saving’ that Peter speaks of was not salvific but a saving from disaster and dread from physical death. The ark IS akin to Christ and the abrahamic covenant; it is a reflection of the visible church alone; some people being in the internal side of the Abrahamic covenant and the external aspect.