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Genesis 10

10
The Table of Nations
1 This is the account#tn The title אֵלֶּה תּוֹלְדֹת (’elle tolÿdot, here translated as “This is the account”) here covers 10:1–11:9, which contains the so-called Table of Nations and the account of how the nations came to be dispersed. of Noah’s sons Shem, Ham, and Japheth. Sons#sn Sons were born to them. A vertical genealogy such as this encompasses more than the names of sons. The list includes cities, tribes, and even nations. In a loose way, the names in the list have some derivation or connection to the three ancestors. were born#tn It appears that the Table of Nations is a composite of at least two ancient sources: Some sections begin with the phrase “the sons of” (בְּנֵי, bÿne) while other sections use “begot” (יָלָד, yalad). It may very well be that the “sons of” list was an old, “bare bones” list that was retained in the family records, while the “begot” sections were editorial inserts by the writer of Genesis, reflecting his special interests. See A. P. Ross, “The Table of Nations in Genesis 10 – Its Structure,” BSac 137 (1980): 340-53; idem, “The Table of Nations in Genesis 10 – Its Content,” BSac 138 (1981): 22-34. to them after the flood.
2 The sons of Japheth#sn The Greek form of the name Japheth, Iapetos, is used in Greek tradition for the ancestor of the Greeks. were Gomer,#sn Gomer was the ancestor of the Cimmerians. For a discussion of the Cimmerians see E. M. Yamauchi, Foes from the Northern Frontier (SBA), 49-61. Magog,#sn For a discussion of various proposals concerning the descendants of Magog see E. M. Yamauchi, Foes from the Northern Frontier (SBA), 22-24. Madai,#sn Madai was the ancestor of the Medes, who lived east of Assyria. Javan,#sn Javan was the father of the Hellenic race, the Ionians who lived in western Asia Minor. Tubal,#sn Tubal was the ancestor of militaristic tribes that lived north of the Black Sea. For a discussion of ancient references to Tubal see E. M. Yamauchi, Foes from the Northern Frontier (SBA), 24-26. Meshech,#sn Meshech was the ancestor of the people known in Assyrian records as the Musku. For a discussion of ancient references to them see E. M. Yamauchi, Foes from the Northern Frontier (SBA), 24-26. and Tiras.#sn Tiras was the ancestor of the Thracians, some of whom possibly became the Pelasgian pirates of the Aegean. 3 The sons of Gomer were#sn The descendants of Gomer were all northern tribes of the Upper Euphrates. Askenaz,#sn Askenaz was the ancestor of a northern branch of Indo-Germanic tribes, possibly Scythians. For discussion see E. M. Yamauchi, Foes from the Northern Frontier (SBA), 63. Riphath,#sn The descendants of Riphath lived in a district north of the road from Haran to Carchemish. and Togarmah.#sn Togarmah is also mentioned in Ezek 38:6, where it refers to Til-garimmu, the capital of Kammanu, which bordered Tabal in eastern Turkey. See E. M. Yamauchi, Foes from the Northern Frontier (SBA), 26, n. 28. 4 The sons of Javan were Elishah,#sn The descendants of Elishah populated Cyprus. Tarshish,#sn The descendants of Tarshish settled along the southern coast of what is modern Turkey. However, some identify the site Tarshish (see Jonah 1:3) with Sardinia or Spain. the Kittim,#sn The name Kittim is associated with Cyprus, as well as coastlands east of Rhodes. It is used in later texts to refer to the Romans. and the Dodanim.#tc Most of the MT mss read “Dodanim” here, but 1 Chr 1:7 has “Rodanim,” perhaps referring to the island of Rhodes. But the Qere reading in 1 Chr 1:7 suggests “Dodanim.” Dodona is one of the most ancient and revered spots in ancient Greece. 5 From these the coastlands of the nations were separated into their lands, every one according to its language, according to their families, by their nations.
6 The sons of Ham were Cush,#sn The descendants of Cush settled in Nubia (Ethiopia). Mizraim,#sn The descendants of Mizraim settled in Upper and Lower Egypt. Put,#sn The descendants of Put settled in Libya. and Canaan.#sn The descendants of Canaan lived in the region of Phoenicia (Palestine). 7 The sons of Cush were Seba,#sn The descendants of Seba settled in Upper Egypt along the Nile. Havilah,#sn The Hebrew name Havilah apparently means “stretch of sand” (see HALOT 297 s.v. חֲוִילָה). Havilah’s descendants settled in eastern Arabia. Sabtah,#sn The descendants of Sabtah settled near the western shore of the Persian Gulf in ancient Hadhramaut. Raamah,#sn The descendants of Raamah settled in southwest Arabia. and Sabteca.#sn The descendants of Sabteca settled in Samudake, east toward the Persian Gulf. The sons of Raamah were Sheba#sn Sheba became the name of a kingdom in southwest Arabia. and Dedan.#sn The name Dedan is associated with àUla in northern Arabia.
8 Cush was the father of#tn Heb “fathered.” Embedded within Cush’s genealogy is an account of Nimrod, a mighty warrior. There have been many attempts to identify him, but none are convincing. Nimrod; he began to be a valiant warrior on the earth. 9 He was a mighty hunter#tn The Hebrew word for “hunt” is צַיִד (tsayid), which is used on occasion for hunting men (1 Sam 24:12; Jer 16:16; Lam 3:15). before the Lord.#tn Another option is to take the divine name here, לִפְנֵי יִהוָה (lifne yÿhvah, “before the Lord [YHWH]”), as a means of expressing the superlative degree. In this case one may translate “Nimrod was the greatest hunter in the world.” (That is why it is said, “Like Nimrod, a mighty hunter before the Lord.”) 10 The primary regions#tn Heb “beginning.” E. A. Speiser, Genesis (AB), 67, suggests “mainstays,” citing Jer 49:35 as another text where the Hebrew noun is so used. of his kingdom were Babel,#tn Or “Babylon.” Erech,#sn Erech (ancient Uruk, modern Warka), one of the most ancient civilizations, was located southeast of Babylon. Akkad,#sn Akkad, or ancient Agade, was associated with Sargon and located north of Babylon. and Calneh#tn No such place is known in Shinar (i.e., Babylonia). Therefore some have translated the Hebrew term כַלְנֵה (khalneh) as “all of them,” referring to the three previous names (cf. NRSV). in the land of Shinar.#sn Shinar is another name for Babylonia. 11 From that land he went#tn The subject of the verb translated “went” is probably still Nimrod. However, it has also been interpreted that “Ashur went,” referring to a derivative power. to Assyria,#tn Heb “Asshur.” where he built Nineveh,#sn Nineveh was an ancient Assyrian city situated on the Tigris River. Rehoboth-Ir,#sn The name Rehoboth-Ir means “and broad streets of a city,” perhaps referring to a suburb of Nineveh. Calah,#sn Calah (modern Nimrud) was located twenty miles north of Nineveh. 12 and Resen, which is between Nineveh and the great city Calah.#tn Heb “and Resen between Nineveh and Calah; it [i.e., Calah] is the great city.”
13 Mizraim#sn Mizraim is the Hebrew name for Egypt (cf. NRSV). was the father of#tn Heb “fathered.” the Ludites,#sn The Ludites were African tribes west of the Nile Delta. Anamites,#sn The Anamites lived in North Africa, west of Egypt, near Cyrene. Lehabites,#sn The Lehabites are identified with the Libyans. Naphtuhites,#sn The Naphtuhites lived in Lower Egypt (the Nile Delta region). 14 Pathrusites,#sn The Pathrusites are known in Egyptian as P-to-reshi; they resided in Upper Egypt. Casluhites#sn The Casluhites lived in Crete and eventually settled east of the Egyptian Delta, between Egypt and Canaan. (from whom the Philistines came),#tn Several commentators prefer to reverse the order of the words to put this clause after the next word, since the Philistines came from Crete (where the Caphtorites lived). But the table may suggest migration rather than lineage, and the Philistines, like the Israelites, came through the Nile Delta region of Egypt. For further discussion of the origin and migration of the Philistines, see D. M. Howard, “Philistines,” Peoples of the Old Testament World, 232. and Caphtorites.#sn The Caphtorites resided in Crete, but in Egyptian literature Caphtor refers to “the region beyond” the Mediterranean.
15 Canaan was the father of#tn Heb “fathered.” Sidon his firstborn,#sn Sidon was the foremost city in Phoenicia; here Sidon may be the name of its founder. Heth,#tn Some see a reference to “Hittites” here (cf. NIV), but this seems unlikely. See the note on the phrase “sons of Heth” in Gen 23:3. 16 the Jebusites,#sn The Jebusites were the Canaanite inhabitants of ancient Jerusalem. Amorites,#sn Here Amorites refers to smaller groups of Canaanite inhabitants of the mountainous regions of Palestine, rather than the large waves of Amurru, or western Semites, who migrated to the region. Girgashites,#sn The Girgashites are an otherwise unknown Canaanite tribe, though the name is possibly mentioned in Ugaritic texts (see G. J. Wenham, Genesis [WBC], 1:226). 17 Hivites,#sn The Hivites were Canaanite tribes of a Hurrian origin. Arkites,#sn The Arkites lived in Arka, a city in Lebanon, north of Sidon. Sinites,#sn The Sinites lived in Sin, another town in Lebanon. 18 Arvadites,#sn The Arvadites lived in the city Arvad, located on an island near the mainland close to the river El Kebir. Zemarites,#sn The Zemarites lived in the town Sumur, north of Arka. and Hamathites.#sn The Hamathites lived in Hamath on the Orontes River. Eventually the families of the Canaanites were scattered 19 and the borders of Canaan extended#tn Heb “were.” from Sidon#map For location see Map1-A1; JP3-F3; JP4-F3. all the way to#tn Heb “as you go.” Gerar as far as Gaza, and all the way to#tn Heb “as you go.” Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, and Zeboiim, as far as Lasha. 20 These are the sons of Ham, according to their families, according to their languages, by their lands, and by their nations.
21 And sons were also born#tn Heb “And to Shem was born.” to Shem (the older brother of Japheth),#tn Or “whose older brother was Japheth.” Some translations render Japheth as the older brother, understanding the adjective הַגָּדוֹל (haggadol, “older”) as modifying Japheth. However, in Hebrew when a masculine singular definite attributive adjective follows the sequence masculine singular construct noun + proper name, the adjective invariably modifies the noun in construct, not the proper name. Such is the case here. See Deut 11:7; Judg 1:13; 2:7; 3:9; 9:5; 2 Kgs 15:35; 2 Chr 27:3; Neh 3:30; Jer 13:9; 36:10; Ezek 10:19; 11:1. the father of all the sons of Eber.
22 The sons of Shem were Elam,#sn The Hebrew name Elam (עֵילָם, ’elam) means “highland.” The Elamites were a non-Semitic people who lived east of Babylon. Asshur,#sn Asshur is the name for the Assyrians. Asshur was the region in which Nimrod expanded his power (see v. 11, where the name is also mentioned). When names appear in both sections of a genealogical list, it probably means that there were both Hamites and Shemites living in that region in antiquity, especially if the name is a place name. Arphaxad,#sn The descendants of Arphaxad may have lived northeast of Nineveh. Lud,#sn Lud may have been the ancestor of the Ludbu, who lived near the Tigris River. and Aram.#sn Aram became the collective name of the northern tribes living in the steppes of Mesopotamia and speaking Aramaic dialects. 23 The sons of Aram were Uz, Hul, Gether, and Mash.#tc The MT reads “Mash”; the LXX and 1 Chr 1:17 read “Meshech.”sn Uz, Hul, Gether, and Mash. Little is known about these descendants of Aram. 24 Arphaxad was the father of#tn Heb “fathered.” Shelah,#tc The MT reads “Arphaxad fathered Shelah”; the LXX reads “Arphaxad fathered Cainan, and Cainan fathered Sala [= Shelah].” The LXX reading also appears to lie behind Luke 3:35-36. and Shelah was the father of Eber.#sn Genesis 11 traces the line of Shem through Eber (עֵבֶר, ’ever ) to Abraham the “Hebrew” (עִבְרִי, ’ivri). 25 Two sons were born to Eber: One was named Peleg because in his days the earth was divided,#tn The expression “the earth was divided” may refer to dividing the land with canals, but more likely it anticipates the division of languages at Babel (Gen 11). The verb פָּלָג (palag, “separate, divide”) is used in Ps 55:9 for a division of languages. and his brother’s name was Joktan. 26 Joktan was the father of#tn Heb “fathered.” Almodad,#sn The name Almodad combines the Arabic article al with modad (“friend”). Almodad was the ancestor of a South Arabian people. Sheleph,#sn The name Sheleph may be related to Shilph, a district of Yemen; Shalph is a Yemenite tribe. Hazarmaveth,#sn The name Hazarmaveth should be equated with Hadramawt, located in Southern Arabia. Jerah,#sn The name Jerah means “moon.” 27 Hadoram, Uzal,#sn Uzal was the name of the old capital of Yemen. Diklah,#sn The name Diklah means “date-palm.” 28 Obal,#sn Obal was a name used for several localities in Yemen. Abimael,#sn The name Abimael is a genuine Sabean form which means “my father, truly, he is God.” Sheba,#sn The descendants of Sheba lived in South Arabia, where the Joktanites were more powerful than the Hamites. 29 Ophir,#sn Ophir became the name of a territory in South Arabia. Many of the references to Ophir are connected with gold (e.g., 1 Kgs 9:28, 10:11, 22:48; 1 Chr 29:4; 2 Chr 8:18, 9:10; Job 22:24, 28:16; Ps 45:9; Isa 13:12). Havilah,#sn Havilah is listed with Ham in v. 7. and Jobab. All these were sons of Joktan. 30 Their dwelling place was from Mesha all the way to#tn Heb “as you go.” Sephar in the eastern hills. 31 These are the sons of Shem according to their families, according to their languages, by their lands, and according to their nations.
32 These are the families of the sons of Noah, according to their genealogies, by their nations, and from these the nations spread#tn Or “separated.” over the earth after the flood.

Genesis 10

10
Table of the Nations.#Verse 1 is the fourth of the Priestly formulas (2:4; 5:1; 6:9; 11:10) that structure Part I of Genesis; it introduces 10:2–11:9, the populating of the world and the building of the city. In a sense, chaps. 4–9 are concerned with the first of the two great commands given to the human race in 1:28, “Be fertile and multiply,” whereas chaps. 10–11 are concerned with the second command, “Fill the earth and subdue it.” (“Subdue it” refers to each nation’s taking the land assigned to it by God.) Gn 9:19 already noted that all nations are descended from the three sons of Noah; the same sentiment is repeated in 10:5, 18, 25, 32; 11:8. The presupposition of the chapter is that every nation has a land assigned to it by God (cf. Dt 32:8–9). The number of the nations is seventy (if one does not count Noah and his sons, and counts Sidon [vv. 15, 19] only once), which is a traditional biblical number (Jgs 8:30; Lk 10:1, 17). According to Gn 46:27 and Ex 1:5, Israel also numbered seventy persons, which shows that it in some sense represents the nations of the earth.This chapter classifies the various peoples known to the ancient Israelites; it is theologically important as stressing the basic family unity of all peoples on earth. It is sometimes called the Table of the Nations. The relationship between the various peoples is based on linguistic, geographic, or political grounds (v. 31). In general, the descendants of Japheth (vv. 2–5) are the peoples of the Indo-European languages to the north and west of Mesopotamia and Syria; the descendants of Ham (vv. 6–20) are the Hamitic-speaking peoples of northern Africa; and the descendants of Shem (vv. 21–31) are the Semitic-speaking peoples of Mesopotamia, Syria and Arabia. But there are many exceptions to this rule; the Semitic-speaking peoples of Canaan are considered descendants of Ham, because at one time they were subject to Hamitic Egypt (vv. 6, 15–19). This chapter is generally considered to be a composite from the Yahwist source (vv. 8–19, 21, 24–30) and the Priestly source (vv. 1–7, 20, 22–23, 31–32). Presumably that is why certain tribes of Arabia are listed under both Ham (v. 7) and Shem (vv. 26–28). 1These are the descendants of Noah’s sons, Shem, Ham and Japheth, to whom children were born after the flood.
2#1 Chr 1:5–10. The descendants of Japheth: Gomer,#Gomer: the Cimmerians; Madai: the Medes; Javan: the Greeks. Magog, Madai, Javan, Tubal, Meshech and Tiras.#Ez 38:2. 3The descendants of Gomer: Ashkenaz,#Ashkenaz: an Indo-European people, which later became the medieval rabbinic name for Germany. It now designates one of the great divisions of Judaism, Eastern European Yiddish-speaking Jews. Diphath and Togarmah. 4The descendants of Javan: Elishah,#Elishah: Cyprus; the Kittim: certain inhabitants of Cyprus; the Rodanim: the inhabitants of Rhodes. Tarshish, the Kittim and the Rodanim. 5From these branched out the maritime nations.
These are the descendants of Japheth by their lands, each with its own language, according to their clans, by their nations.
6The descendants of Ham: Cush,#Cush: biblical Ethiopia, modern Nubia. Mizraim: Lower (i.e., northern) Egypt; Put: either Punt in East Africa or Libya. Mizraim, Put and Canaan. 7The descendants of Cush: Seba, Havilah, Sabtah, Raamah and Sabteca. The descendants of Raamah: Sheba and Dedan.
8Cush#Cush: here seems to be Cossea, the country of the Kassites; see note on 2:10–14. Nimrod: possibly Tukulti-Ninurta I (thirteenth century B.C.), the first Assyrian conqueror of Babylonia and a famous city-builder at home. became the father of Nimrod, who was the first to become a mighty warrior on earth. 9He was a mighty hunter in the eyes of the Lord; hence the saying, “Like Nimrod, a mighty hunter in the eyes of the Lord.” 10His kingdom originated in Babylon, Erech and Accad, all of them in the land of Shinar.#Shinar: the land of ancient Babylonia, embracing Sumer and Akkad, present-day southern Iraq, mentioned also in 11:2; 14:1. 11From that land he went forth to Assyria, where he built Nineveh, Rehoboth-Ir#Rehoboth-Ir: lit., “wide-streets city,” was probably not the name of another city, but an epithet of Nineveh; cf. Jon 3:3. and Calah, 12as well as Resen, between Nineveh and Calah,#Calah: Assyrian Kalhu, the capital of Assyria in the ninth century B.C. the latter being the principal city.
13#1 Chr 1:11–16. Mizraim became the father of the Ludim, the Anamim, the Lehabim, the Naphtuhim, 14the Pathrusim,#The Pathrusim: the people of Upper (southern) Egypt; cf. Is 11:11; Jer 44:1; Ez 29:14; 30:13. Caphtorim: Crete; for Caphtor as the place of origin of the Philistines, cf. Dt 2:23; Am 9:7; Jer 47:4. the Casluhim, and the Caphtorim from whom the Philistines came.
15Canaan became the father of Sidon, his firstborn, and of Heth;#Heth: the biblical Hittites; see note on 23:3. 16also of the Jebusites, the Amorites, the Girgashites, 17the Hivites, the Arkites, the Sinites, 18the Arvadites, the Zemarites, and the Hamathites. Afterward, the clans of the Canaanites spread out, 19so that the Canaanite borders extended from Sidon all the way to Gerar, near Gaza, and all the way to Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah and Zeboiim, near Lasha.
20These are the descendants of Ham, according to their clans, according to their languages, by their lands, by their nations.
21To Shem also, Japheth’s oldest brother and the ancestor of all the children of Eber,#Eber: the eponymous ancestor of the Hebrews, that is, the one to whom they traced their name. children were born. 22#1 Chr 1:17–23. The descendants of Shem: Elam, Asshur, Arpachshad, Lud and Aram. 23The descendants of Aram: Uz, Hul, Gether and Mash.
24Arpachshad became the father of Shelah, and Shelah became the father of Eber. 25To Eber two sons were born: the name of the first was Peleg, for in his time the world was divided;#In the Hebrew text there is a play on the name Peleg and the word niplega, “was divided.” and the name of his brother was Joktan.
26Joktan became the father of Almodad, Sheleph, Hazarmaveth, Jerah, 27Hadoram, Uzal, Diklah, 28Obal, Abimael, Sheba, 29Ophir, Havilah and Jobab. All these were descendants of Joktan. 30Their settlements extended all the way from Mesha to Sephar, the eastern hill country.
31These are the descendants of Shem, according to their clans, according to their languages, by their lands, by their nations.
32These are the clans of Noah’s sons, according to their origins and by their nations. From these the nations of the earth branched out after the flood.