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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.
10
Nations Grow and Spread
1This is the history of the families of Shem, Ham, and Japheth. They are Noah’s sons. These men had children after the flood.
Japheth’s Descendants
2Japheth’s sons were Gomer, Magog, Madai, Javan, Tubal, Meshech, and Tiras.
3Gomer’s sons were Ashkenaz, Riphath, and Togarmah.
4Javan’s sons were Elishah, Tarshish, Kittim, and Dodanim.#10:4 Dodanim Or “Rodanim, the people of Rhodes.”
5All the people who lived in the area around the Mediterranean Sea came from these sons of Japheth. The people separated and went to different countries according to languages, families, and nations.
Ham’s Descendants
6Ham’s sons were Cush,#10:6 Cush Another name for Ethiopia. Mizraim,#10:6 Mizraim Another name for Egypt. Also in verse 13. Put, and Canaan.
7Cush’s sons were Seba, Havilah, Sabtah, Raamah, and Sabteca.
Raamah’s sons were Sheba and Dedan.
8Cush also had a son named Nimrod who became a very powerful man on earth. 9He was a great hunter before the Lord. That is why people compare other men to him and say, “That man is like Nimrod, a great hunter before the Lord.”
10Nimrod’s kingdom spread from Babylon to Erech, to Akkad, and then to Calneh in the land of Babylonia.#10:10 Babylonia Literally, “Shinar,” which may be a form of the name Sumer. Also in 11:2; 14:1. 11Nimrod also went into Assyria. In Assyria, Nimrod built the cities of Nineveh, Rehoboth Ir, Calah, and 12Resen. (Resen is the city between Nineveh and Calah, the big city.)
13Mizraim was the father of the people of Lud, Anam, Lehab, Naphtuh, 14Pathrus, Casluh, and Caphtor. (The Philistine people came from Casluh.)
15Canaan was the father of Sidon. Sidon was Canaan’s first son. Canaan was also the father of the Hittites, 16Jebusites, Amorites, Girgashites, 17Hivites, Arkites, the Sinites, 18Arvadites, Zemarites, and Hamathites.
The families of Canaan spread to different parts of the world. 19The land where the Canaanites lived went from Sidon down along the coast to Gerar and from Gaza as far east as Sodom and Gomorrah and from Admah and Zeboiim as far north as Laish.
20All these people were descendants of Ham. They are arranged by families, languages, countries, and nations.
Shem’s Descendants
21Shem was Japheth’s older brother. One of Shem’s descendants was Eber, the father of all the Hebrew people.#10:21 One … Hebrew people Literally, “To Shem was born the father of Eber’s sons.”
22Shem’s sons were Elam, Asshur, Arphaxad, Lud, and Aram.
23Aram’s sons were Uz, Hul, Gether, and Mash.
24Arphaxad was the father of Shelah.
Shelah was the father of Eber.
25Eber was the father of two sons. One son was named Peleg.#10:25 Peleg This name means “division.” He was given this name because the earth was divided during his life. The other son was named Joktan.
26Joktan was the father of Almodad, Sheleph, Hazarmaveth, Jerah, 27Hadoram, Uzal, Diklah, 28Obal, Abimael, Sheba, 29Ophir, Havilah, and Jobab. All these people were Joktan’s sons. 30They lived in the area between Mesha and the hill country in the East.#10:30 East This usually means the area between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers as far east as the Persian Gulf. Also in 11:2. Mesha was toward the country of Sephar.
31These are the people from the family of Shem. They are arranged by families, languages, countries, and nations.
32This is the list of the families from Noah’s sons. They are arranged according to their nations. From these families came all the people who spread across the earth after the flood.