Genesis 10

The Word Made Fresh

1The following list is the family tree of Noah’s sons; Shem, Ham and Japheth, who had sons of their own after the flood:

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 Rodanim. 5These descendants of Japheth spread along the coastal regions, with their territories, their languages, tribes and nations.

6The sons of Ham were Cush, Egypt, Put and Canaan. 7The sons of Cush were Seba, Havilah, Sabtah, Raamah, and Sabteca. Raamah’s sons were Sheba and Dedan. 8Cush was the father of Nimrod. He was the first on earth to become a mighty warrior. 9He was a great hunter under God, which gave rise to the saying, “Like a great hunter under God.” 10He first established a kingdom at Babel, then Erech and Accad, all in the land of Shinar. 11From there he went to Assyria and established Nineveh, Rehoboth-ir, Calah, and 12Resen, which was between Nineveh and Calah, the great city. 13Egypt’s descendants were the Ludim, the Anamim, the Lehabim, the Naphtuhim, 14the Pathrusim, the Casluhim and the Caphtorim (from which came the Phillistines). 15Canaan’s sons were Sidon and the Heth, 16and is also the ancestor of the Jebusites, the Amorites, the Girgashites, 17the Hivites, the Arkites, the Sinites, 18the Arvadites, the Zemarites and the Hamathites. Years later the Canaanite clans scattered 19and their territory stretched from Sidon toward Gerar and as far as Gaza, and toward Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, and Zeboiim as far as Lasha. 20This is the family tree of Ham, with their tribes, languages, territories and nations.

21Shem was the ancestor of Eber. He was the older brother of Japheth. 22The sons of Shem were Elam, Asshur, Arpachshad, Lud, and Aram. 23Aram’s sons were Uz, Hul, Gether, and Mash. 24Shelah was the son of Arpachshad, and his son was Eber. 25Eber had two sons, Peleg (because there was a great earthquake then) and Joktan. 26Joktan’s sons were Almodad, Sheleph, Hazarmaveth, Jerah, 27Hadoram, Uzal, Diklah, 28Obal, Abimael, Sheba, 29Ophir, Havilah, and Jobab – all these were the sons of Joktan. 30The territory they settled ran from Mesha toward Sephar, the eastern hill country. 31These all descended from Shem, according to their clans, their languages, territories, and nations.

32All of these were Noah’s lineage – their clans in their respective nations, and from Noah’s descendants nations spread across the earth after the flood.

Commentary

1-5: We are now presented with the genealogy of the descendants of Noah. His three sons – Shem, Ham, and Japheth – will be treated in reverse order. Shem’s descendants will continue through Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and eventually to Jesus (see Luke 3:23-38). Japheth’s line is given first. Although many of the names are not known elsewhere, some of the names given here represent clans with later connections to Israel. Generally, these are peoples that lived to the north of the Assyrian Empire, and around the eastern and northern rims of the Mediterranean, including Greece and Italy (some think Tarshish was on the Atlantic coast of Spain). Note that it is said that each family of descendants of Japheth had their own language. We will have to consider that statement again when we come to chapter 11.

6-20: Ham is next. His lineage will be primarily the people who settled Canaan and then to the south and west into Egypt and up the Nile river. However, the most prominent name in the list is Nimrod, whose rule was clearly in the region of the Euphrates River, and who is considered by some researchers to have been an early king of Assyria. Babel in the land of Shinar will be treated in the next chapter, and Nineveh is the great city of which the book of Jonah is concerned. Special attention is given to Canaan, of course, since his descendants settled the territory that God eventually gave Abraham.

21-32: Shem’s lineage is listed last, although he is the oldest of Noah’s sons. Most of the names given here can be traced to areas around the Assyrian Empire circa 8th-7th century B.C. Abraham’s line will come through Shem, Arpachshad, Shelah, Eber, and Peleg. Peleg’s line will be given later. Notice that each section ends with the declaration that each of these family groups had their own languages (verses 5, 20, 31).

God is mentioned only once in chapter 10, when Nimrod is said to have been “a mighty hunter before the LORD.”

Takeaway

In the Old Testament, birth heritage plays an important role. In the New Testament faith is the heritage most valued.