WELCOME TO THE FAMILY TREE
Heavenly Father, put Your loving hand around my family, near and far, today.
Read Genesis 10:1–32
The Table of Nations
10 This is the account of Shem, Ham and Japheth, Noah’s sons, who themselves had sons after the flood.
2 The sons[a] of Japheth:
Gomer, Magog, Madai, Javan, Tubal, Meshek and Tiras.
3 The sons of Gomer:
Ashkenaz, Riphath and Togarmah.
4 The sons of Javan:
Elishah, Tarshish, the Kittites and the Rodanites.[b] 5 (From these the maritime peoples spread out into their territories by their clans within their nations, each with its own language.)
6 The sons of Ham:
Cush, Egypt, Put and Canaan.
7 The sons of Cush:
Seba, Havilah, Sabtah, Raamah and Sabteka.
The sons of Raamah:
Sheba and Dedan.
8 Cush was the father[c] of Nimrod, who became a mighty warrior on the earth. 9 He was a mighty hunter before the Lord; that is why it is said, “Like Nimrod, a mighty hunter before the Lord.” 10 The first centers of his kingdom were Babylon, Uruk, Akkad and Kalneh, in[d] Shinar.[e] 11 From that land he went to Assyria, where he built Nineveh, Rehoboth Ir,[f] Calah 12 and Resen, which is between Nineveh and Calah—which is the great city.
13 Egypt was the father of
the Ludites, Anamites, Lehabites, Naphtuhites, 14 Pathrusites, Kasluhites (from whom the Philistines came) and Caphtorites.
15 Canaan was the father of
Sidon his firstborn,[g] and of the Hittites, 16 Jebusites, Amorites, Girgashites, 17 Hivites, Arkites, Sinites, 18 Arvadites, Zemarites and Hamathites.
Later the Canaanite clans scattered 19 and the borders of Canaan reached from Sidon toward Gerar as far as Gaza, and then toward Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah and Zeboyim, as far as Lasha.
20 These are the sons of Ham by their clans and languages, in their territories and nations.
21 Sons were also born to Shem, whose older brother was[h] Japheth; Shem was the ancestor of all the sons of Eber.
22 The sons of Shem:
Elam, Ashur, Arphaxad, Lud and Aram.
23 The sons of Aram:
Uz, Hul, Gether and Meshek.[i]
24 Arphaxad was the father of[j] Shelah,
and Shelah the father of Eber.
25 Two sons were born to Eber:
One was named Peleg,[k] because in his time the earth was divided; his brother was named Joktan.
26 Joktan was the father of
Almodad, Sheleph, Hazarmaveth, Jerah, 27 Hadoram, Uzal, Diklah, 28 Obal, Abimael, Sheba, 29 Ophir, Havilah and Jobab. All these were sons of Joktan.
30 The region where they lived stretched from Mesha toward Sephar, in the eastern hill country.
31 These are the sons of Shem by their clans and languages, in their territories and nations.
32 These are the clans of Noah’s sons, according to their lines of descent, within their nations. From these the nations spread out over the earth after the flood.
a Genesis 10:2 Sons may mean descendants or successors or nations; also in verses 3, 4, 6, 7, 20-23, 29 and 31.
b Genesis 10:4 Some manuscripts of the Masoretic Text and Samaritan Pentateuch (see also Septuagint and 1 Chron. 1:7); most manuscripts of the Masoretic Text Dodanites
c Genesis 10:8 Father may mean ancestor or predecessor or founder; also in verses 13, 15, 24 and 26.
d Genesis 10:10 Or Uruk and Akkad—all of them in
e Genesis 10:10 That is, Babylonia
f Genesis 10:11 Or Nineveh with its city squares
g Genesis 10:15 Or of the Sidonians, the foremost
h Genesis 10:21 Or Shem, the older brother of
i Genesis 10:23 See Septuagint and 1 Chron. 1:17; Hebrew Mash.
j Genesis 10:24 Hebrew; Septuagint father of Cainan, and Cainan was the father of
k Genesis 10:25 Peleg means division.
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectHow much of your family tree do you know?
OK, there are a lot of names here. Seventy to be precise, divided according to the sons of Noah, listing the descendants of Japheth (2), Ham (6) and Shem (21). They stretch out across roughly five generations, all the way to the great-great-great-grandsons of Shem – the 13 sons of Joktan (in verses 26–29). I’m not going to pretend that this is fascinating reading – it isn’t.
What’s it doing here? The tradition developed that these 70 offspring became the 70 nations of the world. It’s actually Joktan’s brother Peleg (25) whose family line is picked up in 11:16, and leads on to Abram (Abraham). So one of these 70 nations turned out to be Israel. (Look at Deuteronomy 32:8, 9 for an example of this idea.)
In a sense then, this chapter is a map of the world. Note verses 5, 20 and 31: each of these names indicates a nation with its own place and language. This is clearly quite some time after the food. Is it designed to show that God is ruler not just of Israel, but also over the whole earth (32)?
Remembering that God is God of the whole world, choose a country somewhere else in the world and learn about their Christian population. www.persecution.com is a good place to start.
Sovereign Lord, I pray for my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ today. Strengthen them through Your Spirit and protect them.