Genesis – Chapter 10

The Bible – Old Testament



Chapter 10


1 These are the descendants of Noah’s sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth, to whom sons were born after the flood.


2 The descendants of Japheth: Gomer, Magog, Madai, Javan, Tubal, Meshech, and Tiras.


3 The descendants of Gomer: Ashkenaz, Riphath, and Togarmah.


4 The descendants of Javan: Elishah, Tarshish, the Kittim, and the Rodanim.


These are the descendants of Japheth, and from them sprang the maritime nations, in their respective lands – each with its own language – by their clans within their nations.


5 The descendants of Ham: Cush, Mizraim, Put, and Canaan.


The descendants of Cush: Seba, Havilah, Sabtah, Raamah, and Sabteca. The descendants of Raamah: Sheba and Dedan.


6 Cush became the father of Nimrod, who was the first potentate on earth.


He was a mighty hunter by the grace of the LORD; hence the saying, «Like Nimrod, a mighty hunter by the grace of the LORD.»


7 The chief cities of his kingdom were Babylon, Erech, and Accad, all of them in the land of Shinar.


8 From that land he went forth to Asshur, where he built Nineveh, Rehoboth-Ir, and Calah,


9 as well as Resen, between Nineveh and Calah, the latter being the principal city.


Mizraim became the father of the Ludim, the Anamim, the Lehabim, the Naphtuhim,


10 the Pathrusim, the Casluhim, and the Caphtorim from whom the Philistines sprang.


11 Canaan became the father of Sidon, his first-born, and of Heth;


also of the Jebusites, the Amorites, the Girgashites,


the Hivites, the Arkites, the Sinites,


the Arvadites, the Zemarites, and the Hamathites. Afterward, the clans of the Canaanites spread out,


12 so 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.


These are the descendants of Ham, according to their clans and languages, by their lands and nations.


To Shem also, Japheth’s oldest brother and the ancestor of all the children of Eber, sons were born.


The descendants of Shem: Elam, Asshur, Arpachshad, Lud, and Aram.


The descendants of Aram: Uz, Hul, Gether, and Mash.


Arpachshad became the father of Shelah, and Shelah became the father of Eber.


13 To Eber two sons were born: the name of the first was Peleg, for in his time the world was divided; and the name of his brother was Joktan.


Joktan became the father of Almodad, Sheleph, Hazarmaveth, Jerah,


Hadoram, Uzal, Diklah,


Obal, Abimael, Sheba,


Ophir, Havilah, and Jobab. All these were descendants of Joktan.


Their settlements extended all the way to Sephar, the eastern hill country.


These are the descendants of Shem, according to their clans and languages by their lands and nations.


These are the groupings of Noah’s sons, according to their origins and by their nations. From these the other nations of the earth branched out after the flood.

1 [1-32] This chapter presents a remarkably good classification of the various peoples known to the ancient Israelites; it is theologically important as stressing the basic family unity of all men on earth. The relationship between the various peoples is based partly on linguistic, partly on geographic, and partly on political grounds according to their . . . languages, . . . lands and nations (⇒ Genesis 10:31). In general, the descendants of Japheth (⇒ Genesis 10:2-5) are the peoples of the Indo-European languages to the north and west of Mesopotamia and Syria; the descendants of Ham (⇒ Genesis 10:6-20) are the Hamitic-speaking peoples of northern Africa; and the descendants of Shem (⇒ Genesis 10:21-31) are the Semitic-speaking peoples of Mesopotamia, Syria and Arabia. But there are many exceptions to this rule; the Semitic-speaking peoples of Canaan, for instance, are considered descendants of Ham, because at the time they were subject to Hamitic Egypt (⇒ Genesis 10:6, ⇒ 15-19). This chapter is a composite from the Yahwist source (⇒ Genesis 10:8-19, ⇒ 21, ⇒ 24-30) of about the ninth century B.C., and the Priestly source (⇒ Genesis 10:1-7, ⇒ 20, ⇒ 22-23, ⇒ 31-32) of a few centuries later. That is why certain tribes of Arabia are listed under both Ham (⇒ Genesis 10:7) and Shem (⇒ Genesis 10:26-28).
2 [2] Gomer: the Cimmerians; Madai: the Medes; Javan: the Greeks.
3 [3] Ashkenaz: the Scythians.
4 [4] Elishah: Cyprus; the Kittim: certain inhabitants of Cyprus; the Rodanim: the inhabitants of Rhodes.
5 [6] Cush: Biblical Ethiopia, modern Nubia. Mizraim: Egypt; Put: either Punt in East Africa or Libya.
6 [8] Cush: here, the Kassites; see note on ⇒ Genesis 2:10-14. Nimrod: probably Tukulti-Ninurta I (thirteenth century B.C.), the first Assyrian conqueror of Babylonia and a famous city-builder at home.
7 [10] Shinar: ancient Sumer in southern Mesopotamia, mentioned also in ⇒ Genesis 11:2; ⇒ 14:1.
8 [11] Asshur: Assyria. Rehoboth-Ir: literally «wide-streets city,» was probably not the name of another city, but an epithet of Nineveh; cf ⇒ Jonah 3:3.
9 [12] Calah: Assyrian Kalhu, the capital of Assyria in the ninth century B.C.
10 [14] The Pathrusim: the people of upper (southern) Egypt; cf ⇒ Isaiah 11:11; ⇒ Jeremiah 44:1; ⇒ Ezekiel 29:14; ⇒ 30:14. Caphtorim: Crete; for Caphtor as the place of origin of the Philistines, cf ⇒ Deut 2:23; ⇒ Amos 9:7; ⇒ Jeremiah 47:4.
11 [15] Heth: the biblical Hittites; see note on ⇒ Genesis 23:3.
12 [19] Lasha: the reading of this name is uncertain; perhaps it should be «Bela»; cf ⇒ Genesis 14:2.
13 [25] In the Hebrew text there is a play on the name Peleg and the word niplega, «was divided.»