Genesis 10:1-20

April 18, 2011 at 7:32 pm | Posted in Bible Study | Leave a comment
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Now these are the records of the generations of Shem, Ham, and Japheth, the sons of Noah; and sons were born to them after the flood. The sons of Japheth were Gomer and Magog and Madai and Javan and Tubal and Meshech and Tiras. The sons of Gomer were Ashkenaz and Riphath and Togarmah. The sons of Javan were Elishah and Tarshish, Kittim and Dodanim. these the coastlands of the nations were separated into their lands, every one according to his language, according to their families, into their nations. sons of Ham were Cush and Mizraim and Put and Canaan. The sons of Cush were Seba and Havilah and Sabtah and Raamah and Sabteca; and the sons of Raamah were Sheba and Dedan. Now Cush became the father of Nimrod; he became a mighty one on the earth. He was a mighty hunter before the LORD; therefore it is said, “Like Nimrod a mighty hunter before the LORD.” The beginning of his kingdom was Babel and Erech and Accad and Calneh, in the land of Shinar. that land he went forth into Assyria, and built Nineveh and Rehoboth-Ir and Calah, and Resen between Nineveh and Calah; that is the great city. Mizraim became the father of Ludim and Anamim and Lehabim and Naphtuhim  and Pathrusim and Casluhim (from which came the Philistines) and Caphtorim. Canaan became the father of Sidon, his firstborn, and Heth and the Jebusite and the Amorite and the Girgashite and the Hivite and the Arkite and the Sinite and the Arvadite and the Zemarite and the Hamathite; and afterward the families of the Canaanite were spread abroad. The territory of the Canaanite extended from Sidon as you go toward Gerar, as far as Gaza; as you go toward Sodom and Gomorrah and Admah and Zeboiim, as far as Lasha. These are the sons of Ham, according to their families, according to their languages, by their lands, by their nations.

This week, we begin looking at the descendants of Noah. Where the people groups of today came from, and some of the significance of all of this. This week, we will study two of Noah’s three sons, and next week, we’ll take a look at the last one. Today, we’ll look at the sons of Japheth and Ham. Before we do this, chapter 10 starts with a familiar phrase that we’ve already seen at least twice in Genesis:

Now these are the records of the generations of…

This phrase is important and is used to show a point of focus by Moses. We started with Adam and his generations, we’ve seen it with Noah and his generations, and now we will see it with Noah’s three sons. As we continue, we’ll see that Moses narrows it down further, making the focus of the Genesis account one man and his family. Many people seem to despair when they reach these parts of scripture where it is an “unending list” of names and “so-and-so begat so-and-so”, but there is information here that will help us later as well as an interesting story or two. It is believed that Moses started with Japheth’s sons and didn’t give them much space because they were the furthest away from the focused area of Israel. Ham’s descendants are those who would become the enemies of Israel.

The sons of Japheth are first (verses 2-5) and although we don’t learn much about them, we do learn a little bit. We see that Japheth had seven sons. Many of the names are unfamiliar to us, but there are a couple that you may recognize. Gomer, Gog, Magog, Tubal, and Mesech are all talked about as being part of the last days in Ezekiel 38 as well as Revelation 20. These, we are told, are the peoples who went and lived in the coastlands. There is much discussion as to where exactly many of them went, but I will give you some of the information that I’ve found just as flavor, it is not in scripture.

Japheth’s first son Gomer is believed to be the descendant of those who live in Krimea, northern Germany, and many of the people of Britain. They are also believed to have populated Galatia (modern day Turkey), and parts of Spain and France. Obviously, his sons would be the heads of these different tribes as they spread out. Magog is believed to be the ancestor of the Scythians, who dwelt from the Black Sea north into Ukraine and west as far as the Danube river.  Madai is the ancestor of the Medes (who lived in modern day Iran), of whom the kings Darius (Daniel 5, 6) and Ahasuerus (Esther) are known. Javan is believed to be the beginner of the Greek peoples (Ionians). Tubal is believed to be the ancestor of the Spanish and Italian peoples while Meshech and Tiras are the same for a group of people in western Turkey.

The sons of Ham are next and some of these names should be recognizable as well. Cush is the father of the Ethiopians and that area is still sometimes referred to Cush today. Some of Cush’s descendants are believed to have moved into the Arabian peninsula as well. If you look at some of the names of the sons of Cush, you will see names that you might be familiar with like Sheba, Raamah, and Dedan. The most prominent son of Cush is Nimrod. Nimrod was known for his boldness and daring. He was a mighty hunter but it is believed that this was in opposition to God and not according to His will (possibly hunting men for sport). Nimrod’s name means “we will revolt”. He founded a powerful kingdom which began with Babel and included Assyria and Ninevah.  Mizraim is the father of the Egyptians. But, of all of Ham’s sons, it is Canaan that we are probably most familiar. This is for two reasons. If you’ll remember from last week, it was Canaan (and not Ham) that was cursed for Ham’s actions. The second reason is that Canaan is the son of Ham that settled closest to Israel. Canaan’s descendants became the peoples who would be used by God to harass and punish Israel. The are the people who lived in much of the territory that would be Israel’s Promised Land.

One thing that is important to recognize is that as we go through chapter 10, we need to understand that this is another overview of what we are about to see happen. Moses is laying out the descendants of each of the three sons in order for us to have some background for what is coming in chapter 11. The division into families, languages, and nations will be looked at then.

Next week, we’ll take a look at the descendants of Shem! Please be here with us and help us to spread the word of the joyous good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ. If this blog has been helpful, please let us know. If there is something you have a question or comment on, please leave us a message so that we can get back to you. Thanks again for taking the time to read along with us! See you next week!

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