Genesis 10 - Outline of Genesis (MENU page)
10:1 Now these [are] the generations of the sons of Noah, Shem, Ham, and Japheth:
and unto them were sons born after the flood.
{9:19}
This chapter provides an overview of the world's ethnic groups, as traced from Noah's sons.
Here we have the beginnings of the nations.
Some of the names are readily recognizable in history and/or geography, others are not.
 

10:2 The sons of Japheth;
Gomer,- the ancient Cimmerians, the Celtic peoples.
and Magog,- the Scythians, who lived north of the Black Sea.
cp. Eze 38:2; 39:6; Rev 20:8
and Madai,- the Medes
and Javan,- Ionia, the Greeks, Romans & related peoples.
and Tubal,- originally lived south of the Black Sea, migrated north.
Tobolsk, is derived from Tubal.
and Meshech,- associated with Magog & Tubal: the Russians.
Moscow, may be derived from Meshech.
and Tiras.- the Thracians, occupied the coastlands of the Aegean Sea, Greece & Turkey.
10:3 And the sons of Gomer;
Ashkenaz {according to Jewish tradition: Ashkenazim live in the region of Germany},
and Riphath, and Togarmah
{both in Asia Minor, Armenia}.
10:4 And the sons of Javan;
Elishah {Sicily, Cyprus}, and Tarshish {associated with Spain; cp. 1Kin 10:22, Jonah 1:3},
Kittim, and Dodanim
{or, Rodanim, Rhodes in the Aegean Sea}.
10:5 By these were the isles {ie., coasts, regions} of the Gentiles divided in their lands;
every one after his tongue, after their families, in their nations.
The division of tongues occurs in ch.11, chronologically at the fourth generation after Shem (v.25).
 

10:6 And the sons of Ham;
Cush,- Ethiopia
and Mizraim,- Egypt
and Phut,- Lybia
and Canaan.- the Canaanites are further divided at v.15.
Many of the names listed (in v.15-19)
correspond to cities in or around Palestine.
10:7 And the sons of Cush; Seba, and Havilah, and Sabtah, and Raamah, and Sabtecha:
and the sons of Raamah; Sheba, and Dedan.
10:8 And Cush begat Nimrod:
he began to be a mighty one in the earth.
10:9 He was a mighty hunter before the LORD:
wherefore it is said, Even as Nimrod the mighty hunter before the LORD.
10:10 And the beginning of his kingdom was Babel,
and Erech, and Accad, and Calneh, in the land of Shinar
{Mic 5:6; Gen 11:2}.
10:11 Out of that land went forth Asshur, and builded Nineveh, and the city Rehoboth, and Calah,
10:12 And Resen between Nineveh and Calah: the same [is] a great city.
out of that land went forth Asshur...-
Asshur was a son of Shem (v.22), who populated the region of Assyria (which takes its name from Asshur). The interaction with the land of Nimrod indicates the historic influence of that geographic region, and the political & religious influence of Nimrod on other people groups.
      However, since these verses (v.8-12) focus on the exploits of Nimrod, an alternate reading is preferrable here:
'...from that land he went forth into Assyria...' [NASB]  That is, Nimrod moved, from the region of Cush, north to Assyria, and there built the city of Nineveh.
    Some archaeologists believe that Nimrod was Sargon the Great, whose kingdom began in the Mesopotamian city of Kish {the name is derived from Cush} and expanded northwestward, up the Tigris and Euphrates valleys and into Assyria. (Note that Babylon and Kish are in close proximity.)
Nimrod the mighty hunter before the LORD (v.9)- This title is not favorable.
Nimrod founded a corrupt religious system which drew men away from the LORD, at the peril of their eternal souls. Later, the practice of this false religion (Baal & Ashtaroth worship) was a factor in the corruption of Israel. cp. Eze 13:17-23
the beginning of his kingdom was Babel - ie., Babylon. (v.10; 11:9)
This is the first mention of Babylon in the Bible. Babylon (as a corrupt system, extending beyond the original geographic area) remains a dominent influence in the world until the second coming of Christ (Rev 18:1-3,21-24).
''Whenever God has a corporate witness on earth, Satan has a Babylon to mar and corrupt that witness. When God connects His name to a city, Babylon takes the form of a city. When God connects His name to a Church, Babylon is a corrupt religious system.'' [CHM]
(For more, see the Notes at Rev 2:20.)
10:13 And Mizraim begat Ludim, and Anamim, and Lehabim, and Naphtuhim,
10:14 And Pathrusim, and Casluhim, (out of whom came Philistim), and Caphtorim.
     
{Caphtor is Crete, from where the Philistines migrated.}
10:15 And Canaan begat Sidon his firstborn, and Heth {the Hittites},
10:16 And the Jebusite,
     
{The Jebusites lived near Jebus (an old name for Jerusalem); Judg 19:10}
and the Amorite, and the Girgasite,
10:17 And the Hivite, and the Arkite, and the Sinite,
10:18 And the Arvadite, and the Zemarite, and the Hamathite:
and afterward were the families of the Canaanites spread abroad.
10:19 And the border of the Canaanites was from Sidon, as thou comest to Gerar, unto Gaza;
as thou goest, unto Sodom, and Gomorrah, and Admah, and Zeboim, even unto Lasha.
10:20 These [are] the sons of Ham, after their families, after their tongues, in their countries, [and] in their nations.
 

10:21 Unto Shem also, the father of all the children of Eber,
the brother of Japheth the elder, even to him were [children] born.
10:22 The children of Shem;
Elam,- the peoples east of Babylon, northern Persian Gulf
and Asshur,- the Assyrians
and Arphaxad,- the line of promise, see Eber (v.24; 11:10-32)
and Lud,- associated with Egypt, northern Africa
and Aram.- Syria
10:23 And the children of Aram; Uz {cp. Job 1:1}, and Hul, and Gether, and Mash.
10:24 And Arphaxad begat Salah; and Salah begat Eber
{'Hebrew' derives from his name}.
10:25 And unto Eber were born two sons:
the name of one [was] Peleg; for in his days was the earth divided;
and his brother's name [was] Joktan
{progenitor of several Arabian tribes}.
     Peleg means 'division.' The division of people groups, by the confusion of language (ch.11),
     occurred 'in his days' (probably around the time of his birth).
10:26 And Joktan begat Almodad, and Sheleph, and Hazarmaveth, and Jerah,
10:27 And Hadoram, and Uzal, and Diklah,
10:28 And Obal, and Abimael, and Sheba,
10:29 And Ophir, and Havilah, and Jobab: all these [were] the sons of Joktan.
10:30 And their dwelling was from Mesha, as thou goest unto Sephar a mount of the east.
10:31 These [are] the sons of Shem, after their families, after their tongues, in their lands, after their nations.
Someone may ask: ''From whom are 'the Arabs' descended?''
'The Arab Nation' is a relatively recent development. In the sixth & seventh centuries A.D., Muslim invasions, from the Arabian Penninsula, spread the Arabic language and the Islamic religion across regions occupied by various people groups (eg., into northern Africa, Asia Minor, and the Persian Gulf). The common language, rather than a common ancestry defines the Arab world.
     After Babel, the Arabic language may have been spoken first by descendants of Joktan (v.26), who is probably the 'Qahtan' from whom some Arab tribes claim descendence. Ishmael is also regarded as the ancestor of some Arab tribes (Gen 25:12-18).
10:32 These [are] the families of the sons of Noah, after their generations, in their nations:
and by these were the nations divided in the earth after the flood.

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