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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.
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The Descendants of the Sons of Noah
1These are the generations#Or “family records” of the sons of Noah—Shem, Ham, and Japheth. Children#Or “sons” were born to them after the flood. 2The sons of Japheth: Gomer, Magog, Madai, Javan, Tubal, Meshech, and Tiras. 3And the sons of Gomer: Ashkenaz, Riphath, and Togarmah. 4And the sons of Javan: Elishah, Tarshish, Kittim, and Dodanim. 5From these the coastland peoples spread out through their lands, each according to his own language by their own families, in their nations.
6And the sons of Ham: Cush, Egypt, Put, and Canaan. 7And the sons of Cush: Seba, Havilah, Sabtah, Raamah, and Sabteca. The sons of Raamah: Sheba and Dedan. 8And Cush fathered Nimrod. He was the first on earth to be a mighty warrior.#Literally “He began to be a mighty warrior on the earth” 9He was a mighty hunter before Yahweh. Therefore it was said, “Like Nimrod a mighty hunter before Yahweh.” 10Now,#Or “And” the beginning of his kingdom was Babel, Erech, Akkad, and Calneh, in the land of Shinar. 11From that land he went out to Assyria, and he built Nineveh, Rehoboth-Ir, Calah, 12Resen between Nineveh and Calah; that is the great city. 13And Egypt fathered Ludim, Anamim, Lehabim, Naphtuhim, 14Pathrusim, and Casluhim (from whom the Philistines came), and Caphtorim.
15Canaan fathered Sidon, his firstborn, and Heth, 16and the Jebusites, the Amorites, the Girgashites, 17the Hivites, the Arkites, the Sinites, 18the Arvadites, the Zemarites, and the Hamathites. Afterward the families of the Canaanites were spread abroad. 19And the territory of the Canaanites was from Sidon in the direction of#Literally “in your going” Gerar as far as Gaza, and in the direction of#Literally “in your going” Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, and Zeboiim, as far as Lasha. 20These are the descendants#Or “sons” (“descendants” was chosen since the proper names in this section are gentilic in form—that is, they indicate one’s place of origin—and have the definite article) of Ham, according to their families and their languages, in their lands, and in their nations.
21And to Shem, the father of all the children of Eber, the older brother of Japheth, children were also born. 22The sons of Shem: Elam, Asshur, Arphaxad, Lud, and Aram. 23And the sons of Aram: Uz, Hul, Gether, and Mash. 24And Arphaxad fathered Shelah, and Shelah fathered Eber. 25And to Eber two sons were born. The name of the one was Peleg, for in his days the earth was divided, and the name of his brother was Joktan. 26And Joktan fathered Almodad, Sheleph, Hazarmaveth, Jerah, 27Hadoram, Uzal, Diklah, 28Obal, Abimael, Sheba, 29Ophir, Havilah, and Jobab. All these were the sons of Joktan. 30And their dwelling place extended from#Literally “was from” Mesha in the direction of#Literally “in your going” Sephar to the hill country of the east. 31These are the sons of Shem, according to their families, according to their languages, in their lands, and according to their nations.
32These are the families of the sons of Noah, according to their generations#Or “family records” and in their nations. And from these the nations spread abroad on the earth after the flood.