Noah’s family flourished after the flood and lived as farmers and shepherds. Every enterprise was blessed and profitable. The family vineyard, for example, put out a potent jug of wine.
One day the patriarch got so drunk, he passed out stark naked in his tent. Noah’s youngest son Ham stumbled upon his father’s undignified condition and defiled him.
He told his brothers about it, but instead of laughing, Shem and Japheth took a robe into their father’s tent, and, walking backward with their heads turned away, they covered the unconscious man.
Later, when Noah found out how his eldest son had behaved, he cursed Ham’s entire family tree throughout eternity. “Your son Canaan will bow to Shem forever,” he vowed.
The first sign of the curse landed upon Ham’s grandson, the mighty warrior Nimrod. He was the chief architect of a new real estate project in Babylonia. In the middle of that city, a mud-bricked tower of record-breaking heights would dwarf all other known human-made structures.
This project was a direct contradiction to God’s desire for humankind to be unbounded and to multiply over the whole earth. When God said to Noah “the whole earth,” he meant across its furthest breadths and depths. But everyone seemed dead set on populating a high-rise on a tiny plot of ground. Its heights would reach the sky dome and puncture it.
God saw the people were determined, tech-savvy, and unified in their endeavor. Every engineer and worker on the project spoke the same language, so they’d likely accomplish their goal, as well as anything else under the dome.
So God descended, stirred up vernacular chaos, and the tower’s construction was ultimately abandoned. The place was named Babel, and every brick eventually fell into ruin.
Thus Ham’s curse had spread like a contagion amidst the development of the first civilization, so the peoples of earth resumed their migration across the whole planet.
Inspiration: Genesis 9, 11