LITTLUNS, LAND, & LANGUAGE
God, You are Lord over human multiplication.
Read GENESIS 10
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)
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“Children are a gift of the LORD … Like arrows in the hand of a warrior … How blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them” (Ps 127:3–5, NASB).
This chapter is like Genesis 5 in that it demonstrates that humans are being fruitful and multiplying and that God is blessing them; the human race really takes off in Genesis 10. Children now, as then, are a gift of God, a fact particularly painful to those who are unable to conceive or who have lost a child. Like chapter 5, this chapter gives us very little knowledge about the names listed; we hear only that Nimrod was a mighty hunter (8, 9). How might you be remembered, and how would you like to be remembered if these verses were written about you? Pray that you can become more like the person you would like to be.
The climax of chapter 5 was Noah, the key figure who would restart the human race. Chapter 10, often referred to as “The Table of Nations”, does not have that climax. Instead, it shows the spread of humanity across the earth. We are told of the various lands inhabited by the descendants of Noah’s three sons, and we learn that they spoke different languages (5), a point to which we will return in the next chapter.
Roughly speaking, the area that Ham inhabited was west of the Red Sea, in what is now northern and eastern Africa, including Egypt and the Sudan. Shem settled east of the Red Sea, between it and the Persian Gulf, in what is now Saudi Arabia, Syria, Iraq etc. Japheth occupied what is now Iran and Turkey, extending into Asia and Europe. Seventy names are listed: 14 descendants of Japheth; 30 descendants of Ham (from whom come the Canaanites who would become the indigenous inhabitants of the Promised Land) and 26 descendants of Shem (the most important of whom would be Abraham, and thus Israel would descend from Shem).
Pray for someone who has lost a child (by miscarriage or after birth), or for someone who would have liked children. If that is you, may God give you comfort.
Lord, superintend us as we obey Your commandment to go forth and multiply and replenish the earth.