Genesis 10:1-32 Table of Nations
Genesis 10:1-32 Table of Nations
Genesis 10 is called the “Table of Nations.”. Even secular scholars are amazed at the accuracy of this table of nations. After the Flood, the people increased, and they scattered in all directions:
(1) the Japhethites (Genesis 10:2-5) went to Europe and to the northern areas of Asia;
(2) the Hamites (Genesis 10:6-20) into Egypt, Ethiopia, Arabia, Asia Minor, and Canaan;
(3) the children of Shem and of Eber (Genesis 10:21-31) went into Elam (western Mesopotamia), Assyria, Arabia, and other lands of the Middle East. Many names mentioned here are identifiable with nations of ancient times, some of which have continued down to the present.
Of special significance is “Eber” (Genesis 10:25), because his name is given as one of the sources of the term “Hebrew” (Genesis 14:13; Exodus 5:1-3). In all likelihood it was Shem or one of his relatives that kept this table. He lived for 502 years after the flood, which included the entire period recorded here. The sons of Ham and Japheth are given only to the third generation while Shem’s continues to the 6th generation. Archaeological discoveries continue to demonstrate the accuracy of this table.
Genesis 10:2-3 We have the description of the Sons of Japheth – Gomer are the people who settled in Asia Minor just south of the Black Sea. Magog is an area composed of the three sectors of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal, and constitutes an area currently occupied by Russia. Many believe the name Russia is derived from the name Rosh. These lands figure in the prophetic events spoken in Ezekiel 38. He describes the battles of nations leading to Armageddon along with the prophet Daniel. Madai, another son of Japheth corresponds with the Medes who succeeded after conquering the Babylonians.
Javan is the nation associated with Ionians from which the word AIonian columns are derived and is synonymous with Greece. Tubal was the nation located in the eastern part of Asia Minor. The Assyrians named this land ATabal. In Scripture they are most associated with Meshech in Ezekiel 27:13; 32:26; 38:2-3. Meshech dwelt at the southwestern corner of the Black Sea, and again in historical documents of the Assyrians that have been discovered, they were named Muskaya.
Tiras, was likely a nation on the Aegean Sea. These people were known as pirates who terrorized other nations. They later are identified as the Eutruscans of Italy. The sons of Gomer were Ashkenaz is identified with the Sythians of western Asia Minor.
Jewish tradition suggests that this nation migrated north to occupy the land now known as Germany. It is from this land and from the Pale of Settlement in Eastern Europe that these Jewish people came to be known as Ashkenazi Jews as opposed to Sephardic. Riphath were those who dwelt further west of them on the Rhebas river and perhaps as far west as the Bosphorus Sea. Togarmah is the area associated with Cappadocia in Asia Minor.
Genesis 10:4-5 Elishah is associated with the west coast of Cyprus it was a land where Tyre got its purple dye Ezekiel 27:7. Tarshish is associated with Spain in Scripture and ancient geography. Kittim is the peoples who settled on the east coast of Cyprus. Dodanim is a plural like Kittim were the people who settled in the northern part of Greece where archaeology describes a city with the name Dodona. Thus the descendants of Japheth spread for the most part through what is now Europe and Eastern Asia as well as the maritime islands in the Eastern Hemisphere seas.
Genesis 10:6 – The sons of Ham were Cush whose subdivisions are described in Genesis 10:7 and represent the land of Ethiopia and Egypt. Cushites are found also in the Arabian Peninsula. Mizraim is the Hebrew word for Egypt. Put, was a nation in Africa associated with Egypt and Ethiopia. Probably a reference to certain tribes of Libya. Jeremiah 46:9; Ezekiel 30:5; 38:5; Nahum 3:9.
Genesis 10:7 – The sons of Cush were Seba was likely located in southwest Arabia and inhabited by the Sabeans (Isaiah 45:14), and closely related to Sheba. Psalm 72:10; Isaiah 43:3; 45:14. Havilah was a region inhabited by the Ishmaelites and Amalekites, most likely located in northwest Arabia.
Genesis 25:18; 1 Samuel 15:7. Sabtah alternatively spelled Sabta in 1 Chronicles 1:9 settled along the southern coast of Arabia, where several cities bear his name. Raamah was located in southwest part of Arabia, their merchants traded with Tyre Ezekiel 27:22.
Sabteca also settled in the southern part of Arabia and is mentioned in 1 Chronicles 1:9. The sons of Raamah included Sheba who settled in a mountainous area in southwest Arabia. Sheba became a commercial power through caravan trading in the exotic goods of Arabia.
In the 10th century BC, the queen of Sheba journeyed to Jerusalem to test the wisdom of Solomon and, and also to obtain a trade agreement from him. 1 Kings 10:1-13; Job 6:19; Ezekiel 27:22-23. Dedan the second son of Raamah mentioned settled in around an oasis in the northwes Arabia, near Edom. The Dedanites were also known as traders whose caravans ranged across the wilderness of Arabia. Jeremiah 25:23; Ezekiel 25:13; 27:15.
Genesis 10:8-12 – Cush was the father of Nimrod whose name today is a synonym for Ahunter and is credited with establishing a kingdom that united the major cities of Babylon, Erech, Akkad, and Calneh. He also founded Nineveh and other cities. The “land of Nimrod” according to Micah 5:6 is Assyria. The name literally comes from a Hebrew root meaning Ato revolt or rebel.
The word hunter in the Hebrew language can have two connotation as in the English language. One can be a hunter of animals for food or the other a hunter of men to force them into servitude and to dominate them. This is the nuance of the expression in prophecy regarding the regathering of the Jewish people in the last days as spoken by the prophet Jeremiah foretold in Jeremiah 16:16-18.
Nimrod was blessed with many gifts and abilities but he used them to build a kingdom for himself and not God. The empire he ruled included the cities of Erech, Accad and Calneh all located in what was then known as the land of Shinar, which was located in the Southern end of Mesopotamia.
Mesopotamia is a Greek word meaning Aland between the waters. In archaeological digs in Erech which is located today in Iraq, discoveries were made of ancient writings that pre-date Abraham. Accad was located further north on the Tigris River it too was built by Nimrod and it is the city that the Akkadian empire drew its name.
Not only did Nimrod build these cities but also Nineveh, Rehoboth, Calah, and Rezin. It was to Nineveh that God sent the prophet Jonah, to warn the people of the city’s impending destruction. The people repented, forestalling the overthrow of Nineveh for nearly two centuries.
Genesis 10:13-15 – Mizraim is the Hebrew name for Egypt named for its founder. As of today the cities or lands of Ludim, Anamim, Lehabim, and Naphtuhim have not yet been discovered. Pathruthites dwelt in Pathros, or Upper Egypt. Then we are told that the Philistines came from the Casluhites. Modern historians place the origin of the Philistines as from the island of Crete.
Ham’s youngest son was Canaan, and he had eleven sons and a number of daughters as well. Canaan’s first born was Sidon who was the father of the Phoenicians. Sidon was the sister city of Tyre. Heth, the second born, was the father of the Hittites (Genesis 23:10), they were a powerful nation from the time of Abraham until the time of King Solomon.
In archaeological discoveries of cuneiform writings the name for Hittites was AKhittae, which scholars believe may have evolved to ACathay as they settled in the Far East. There are strong similarities between the Hittites and the Mongols. They both pioneered the art of smelting and casting iron, and in the breeding and training of horses.
Genesis 10:16-20 – The remaining sons of Canaan were the fathers of the Canaanite tribes that occupied the land when the 3 million plus Israelites arrived to occupy the land after their release from captivity in Egypt. The Jebusites, descended from Jebus, were those who occupied Jerusalem until the time of David’s victory there 3,000 years ago. The Amorites were descendants of another of Canaan’s sons and were one of the most prominent tribes that Israel displaced.
The rest of these tribes represent the other sons of Canaan, some who occupied the land of promise while others in the surrounding areas and are mentioned in later portions of Scripture. The Sinites may have been for whom Sinai was named. In Isaiah 49:12 there is mention of ASinim in KJV and the NASV. There is some debate where this area was, many Biblical scholars believe this is China.
The belief is that the descendants of ASin the son of Canaan migrated to China. The prefix ASino as in Sino-Russian, is used to describe the Chinese. These along with the Hittites are most likely the roots of the Mongoloian people. This also may mean that the native Americans may be descended from Ham and Canaan, who migrated over the Bering Sea land bridge that existed prior to the Ice Age.
The dimensions of the Canaanite boundaries were from Sidon on the Northern edge of what is now Lebanon south to Gerar, which is the southern end of the Gaza Strip, then east and south along the cities of the plain to the Dead Sea. These cities were Sodom and Gomorrah, Admah and Zeboim, which were later destroyed by the Lord as recorded later in Genesis. Lasha probably marked the Northeast border and as yet has not been discovered.
Genesis 10:21-24 – Here Shem is spoken of as the father of Eber, the emphasis here is what has led many to believe that the title AHebrew comes from the descendants of Eber. In archaelogical monuments that have been discovered the peoples called Athe Habiru are believed to be descendants of Eber. Five children of Shem are noted, Elam, Asshur, Arphaxad, Lud, and Aram. Elam is the father of the Elamites. We find in Chedorlaomer, king of Elam was part of a confederacy of northern tribes that attacked Sodom and captured Lot in Genesis 14.
Abraham with 300 men attack and defeats these peoples. The city of Susa also known as Shushan was its capital located in Mesopatamia. The Elamites merged with the Medes to form the Medio-Persian Empire. Asshur was the father of the Assyrians, though it should be noted that Nimrod and his followers invaded the land of Asshur where he founded Nineveh. So the Assyrian people and culture is derived from both the Sons of Shem and the sons of Ham, assimilating both cultures into theirs.
Little is know about Arphaxad except that he is in the genealogical line that leads to Abraham. Josephus wrote that Lud was the father of the Lydians of Asia Minor. The fifth son of Shem was Aram from whom descended the Aramaens also known as the Syrians. It is the Aramaic language that became the predominant language of the then civilized world, adopted by the Assyrians, the Babylonians. Some of the Old Testament is written in the Aramaic language, and was the common language spoken by Jesus and the Jewish people in the first century. The sons of Aram listed here were probably significant in the lives of the sons of Abraham and that=s why they are listed here.
Genesis 10:25-32 Eber had two sons Peleg and Joktan and this verse notes that in Peleg’s days that the earth was divided. The name Peleg means Adivision. This division is clearly a reference to the events described in Genesis 11 concerning the tower of Babel.
The division of nations had just occurred and Peleg was named as a reminder of this momentous event. The thirteen sons of Joktan, Peleg’s brother are listed here. They settled in the area of Arabia. The chapter concludes with the summation that these are the sons of Noah and their divisions. Later Moses told the Israelites as they were entering the land they were called to be reminded of how the Lord divided the nations (Deuteronomy 32:7-9).