- Section VIII - The Nations
2. גמר gomer “Gomer, completion; related: complete;” Κιμμέριοι Kimmerioi מגוג māgôg “Magog, Caucasian, Skyth.” מדי māday “Madai, middle: Mede.” יון yāvān “Javan”; Ἰάων Iaōn “Sanskrit, Javana; Old Persian, Juna.” תבל tubāl “Tubal”; Τιβαρηνοὶ Tibareenoi משׁך meshek “Meshek, drawing possession, valor”; Μόσχοι Moschoi תירס tı̂yrās “Tiras;” Θρᾷξ Thrax אשׁכנו 'ashkenaz “Ashkenaz,” Ἀσκάνιος Askanios ריפת rı̂ypat “Riphath,” ὄρη Ῥίπαια oree Ripaia תגרמה togarmâh “Togarmah, Thorgom, ancestor of the Armenians.”
4. אלישׁה 'elı̂yshâh “Elishah;” Ἧλις Eelis Ἑλλὰς Hellas Αἰολεῖς Aioleis תדשׁישׁ tarshı̂ysh “Tarshish, breaking, fastness: Tartessus, Tarsus, Tyrseni.” כתים kı̂tı̂ym “Kittim, smiters; Citienses;” Κᾶρες Kares דדנים dodānı̂ym “Dodanim, Dodona, Dardani.”
5. אי 'ı̂y “meadow, land reached by water, island; related: be marked off or bounded (by a water line).” גוי gôy “nation; related: be born;” γεγάασι gegaasi fifth document relates to the generations of the sons of Noah. It presents first a genealogy of the nations, and then an account of the distribution of mankind into nations, and their dispersion over the earth. This is the last section which treats historically of the whole human race. Only in incidental, didactic, or prophetic passages do we again meet with mankind as a whole in the Old Testament.
The present chapter signalizes a new step in the development of the human race. They pass from the one family to the seventy nations. This great process covers the space of time from Noah to Abraham. During this period the race was rapidly increasing under the covenant made with Noah. From Shem to Abraham were ten generations inclusive; and, therefore, if we suppose the same rate of increase after as we have supposed before, there would be about fifteen million inhabitants when Abraham was thirty years of age. If, however, we take eight as the average of a family, and suppose eleven generations after Shem at the one hundredth year of Abraham‘s life, we have about thirty million people on the earth. The average of the three sons of Noah is higher than this; for they had sixteen sons, and we may suppose as many daughters, making in all thirty-two, and, therefore, giving ten children to each household. The present chapter does not touch on the religious aspect of human affairs: it merely presents a table of the primary nations, from which all subsequent nationalities have been derived.
The sons of Japheth. - Japheth is placed first, because he was, most probably, the oldest brother Genesis 9:24; Genesis 10:21, and his descendants were the most numerous and most widely spread from the birthplace of mankind. The general description of their territory is “the isles of the nations.” These were evidently maritime countries, or such as were reached by sea. These coastlands were pre-eminently, but not exclusively, the countries bordering on the north side of the Mediterranean and its connected waters. They are said to belong to the nations, because the national form of association was more early and fully developed among them than among the other branches of the race. There is, probably, a relic of Japheth in the, Ιαπετὸς Iapetos Japetus of the Greeks, said to be the son of Uranus (heaven), and Gaea (earth), and father of Prometheus, and thus in some way connected with the origin or preservation of the human race.
Fourteen of the primitive nations spring from Japheth. Seven of these are of immediate descent.
(1) Gomer is mentioned again, in Ezekiel Ezekiel 38:6, as the ally of Gog, by which the known existence of the nation at that period is indicated. Traces of this name are perhaps found in the Κιμμέριοι Kimmerioi (Homer, Odyssey Ezekiel 11:14; Herodotus Ezekiel 1:15; Ezekiel 4:12), who lay in the dark north, in the Krimea, the Kimbri who dwelt in north Germany, the Kymry, Cambri, and Cumbri who occupied Britain. These all belong to the race now called Keltic, the first wave of population that reached the Atlantic. Thus, the Γομαρεῖς Gomareis of Josephus (Ant. 1:6.1) may even be identified with the Galatae. This nation seems to have lain to the north of the Euxine, and to have spread out along the southern coasts of the Baltic into France, Spain, and the British Isles.
(2) Magog is mentioned, by Ezekiel Ezekiel 38:6, as the people of which Gog was the prince. It is introduced in the Apocalypse Revelation 20:8, as a designation of the remote nations who had penetrated to the ends or corners of the earth. This indicates a continually progressing people, occupying the north of Europe and Asia, and crossing, it may be, over into America. They seem to have been settled north of the Caspian, and to have wandered north and east from that point. They are accordingly identified by Josephus (Ant. 1:6.1) with the Skyths, and include the Mongols among other Skythic tribes.
(3) Madai has given name to the Medes, who occupied the southern shore of the Caspian. From this region they penetrated southward to Hindostan.
(4) Javan is traced in the Ιάονες Iaones Iones, who settled in the coasts of the Aegean, in Peloponnesus, Attica, and subsequently on the coast of Asia Minor, and accordingly denotes the Greeks in the language of the Old Testament Isaiah 66:19; Ezekiel 27:13; Daniel 8:21. The name Yunau is found in the cuneiform inscriptions of the times of Sargon, referring to a western people.
(5) Tubal and (6) Meshek are generally associated. (Ezekiel 27:13; 38; 39) connects them, on the one hand, with Magog, and on the other, with Javan. Josephus (Ant. 1:6.1) finds Tubal in Iberia, and Meshek in Cappadocia, tracing the name in Mazaca. Their names are seemingly detected in the Tibareni and Moschi, and their seat was probably between the Euxine and the Caspian, whence they spread themselves northward and westward. The names of the rivers Tobal and Mosqua bear a strong resemblance to these patriarchal names.
(7) Tiras is referred by Josephus to Thrace. The name is perhaps discernible in the Tyras or Dniester. The seat of the nation was east of the Euxine, whence it spread to the north. Thus, we have the original starting-points of these seven nations about the Caspian, the Euxine, and the Aegean Seas.
Gomer has three sons, who are the founders of as many nations.
(8) Ashkenaz is supposed to have lain south of the Euxine, and to be traceable in its original name ἄξενος axenos and in the Ascanius and Ascania of Bithynia, perhaps in Scandinavia. Part of the nation may have migrated to Germany, which is called Ashkenaz by the Jews, and where the word Sachsen (Saxon) occurs. It perhaps contains the root of the name Asia.
(9) Riphath seems to have travelled north, and left his name in the Rhipaean mountains. Josephus, however, places him in Paphlagonia, where the name Tobata occurs (Diphath) 1 Chronicles 1:6.
(10) Togarmah is said to have been settled in Armenia. By a tradition in Moses Chorenensis, Haik, the ancestor of the Armenians, is the son of Thorgom, the son of Gomer. At all events, the Black Sea might convey colonies from Gomer to Asia Minor and Armenia.
Javan has four sons, who are the heads of nations.
(11) Elishah is noted by Ezekiel Ezekiel 27:7 as a nation whose maritime country produced purple, which agrees with the coast of Laconia or the Corinthian Gulf. The name has been variously sought in Elis, Hellas, and Aeolis. The last is due to Josephus. It is possible that Elea or Velia, in the south of Italy, may contain some reference to the name.
(12) Tarshish is conjectured by Josephus to be the people of Cilicia; which, he affirms, was anciently called Tharsus, and the capital of which was Tarsus. But whether this be the primitive seat of Tarshish or not, it is almost certain that Spain retains the name, if not in Tarraco, at least in Tartessus.
(13) Kittim is discovered, by Josephus, in Cyprus, where we meet with the town of Citium Κίτιον Kition He adds, however, that all the islands and the greater part of the seacoasts are called Χεδίμ Chedim by the Hebrews. We may therefore presume that the Kittim spread into northern Greece, where we have a Κίτιον Kition in Macedonia, and ultimately into Italy, which is designated as “the isles of Kittim” Numbers 24:24; Isaiah 23:1; Jeremiah 2:10; Ezekiel 27:6; Daniel 11:30.
(14) Dodanim leaves a trace, perhaps, in Dodona, an ancient site of the Hellenes in Epirus, and perhaps in Dardania, a district of Illyricum.
Thus, we have discovered the ancient seats of Japheth,
d Iapetos - , around the Caspian, the Euxine, the Aegean, and the north of the Mediterranean. From these coastlands they seem to have spread over Europe, northern, western, and southern Asia, and, both by Behring‘s Straits and the Atlantic, they at length poured into America. So true is it that Japheth was enlarged, and that by them were “the isles of the nations divided.”
In their nations. - We here note the characteristics of a nation. First. It is descended from one head. Others may be occasionally grafted on the original stock by intermarriage. But there is a vital union subsisting between all the members and the head, in consequence of which the name of the head is applied to the whole body of the nation. In the case of Kittim and Dodanim we seem to have the national name thrown back upon the patriarchs, who may have themselves been called Keth and Dodan. Similar instances occur in the subsequent parts of the genealogy. Second. A nation has a country or “land” which it calls its own. In the necessary migrations of ancient tribes, the new territories appropriated by the tribe, or any part of it, were naturally called by the old name, or some name belonging to the old country. This is well illustrated by the name of Gomer, which seems to reappear in the Cimmerii, the Cimbri, the Cymri, the Cambri, and the Cumbri. Third. A nation has its own “tongue.” This constitutes at once its unity in itself and its separation from others. Many of the nations in the table may have spoken cognate tongues, or even originally the same tongue. Thus, the Kenaanite, Phoenician, and Punic nations had the same stock of languages with the Shemites. But it is a uniform law, that one nation has only one speech within itself. Fourth. A nation is composed of many “families,” clans, or tribes. These branch off from the nation in the same manner as it did from the parent stock of the race.
- XXXII. Ham
6. מצרים mı̂tsrayı̂m “Mitsraim.” מצר mētser “straitness, limit, pressure.” מצור mātsôr “distress, siege, mound, bulwark; Egypt.” מצרים mı̂tsrayı̂m “perhaps double Egypt, lower and upper.” פוּט pûṭ “Put, troubled.”
7. סבא sebā' “Seba, drinking (man, Ethiopian).” סבתה sabtâh “Sabtah.” רעמה ra‛mâh “Ra‹mah, shaking, trembling.” סבתכא sabtekā' “Sabtekha.” שׁבא shēbā' “Sheba, captive?” דדן dedān “Dedan, going slowly?”
8. נמרד nı̂mrod “Nimrod, strong, rebel.”
10. בבל bābel “Babel; related: pour, mingle, confound.” ארך 'erek “Erek, length.” אכד 'akad “Akkad, fortress.” כלנה kalneh “Kalneh.” שׁנער shı̂n‛ār “Shin‹ar.”
11. נינוה nı̂ynevēh “Nineveh, dwelling?” עיר רחבח rechobot 'ı̂yr “Rechoboth ‹ir, streets of a city.” כלח kelach “Kelach, completion, end, age.”
12. רסן resen “Resen, bridle, bit.”
13. לוּדים lûdı̂ym “Ludim, born?” ענמים ‛ǎnāmı̂ym “‹Anamim, possession, sheep. להבים lı̂hābı̂ym “Lehabim, fiery, flaming?” נפתהים naptuchı̂ym “Naphtuchim, opening.”
14. פתרסים patrusı̂ym “Pathrusim.” כסלחים kasluchı̂ym “Kasluchim.” פלשׁתים pelı̂shtı̂ym “Pelishtim”, Αλλόφυλοι Allophuloi “related: break, scatter; Aethiopic “migrate.” כפתרים kaptorı̂ym “Kaphtorim; related: crown, capital.”
15. צידון tsı̂ydon “Tsidon, hunting.” צת chēt “Cheth, breaking, affrighting.”
16. יבוּסי yebûsı̂y “Jebusi; related: tread.” אמרי 'emorı̂y “Emori; related: Say, be high.” גגשׁי gı̂rgāshı̂y “Girgashi; related: clay, clod.”
17. צוּי chı̂vı̂y “Chivvi; related: live.” ערקי ‛arqı̂y “‹Arqi; related: gnaw, sting.” סיני sı̂ynı̂y “Sini; related: mud, clay.”
18. ארודי 'arvādı̂y “Arvadi; related: roam, ramble.” צמרי; tsemārı̂y “Tsemari; noun: wool; verb: cover.” חמתי chāmātı̂y “Chamathi; noun: fastness; verb: guard.”
19. גרר gerār “Gerar; related: draw, saw, abide.” עזה 'azâh ‹Azzah, strong.” סדם sedom “Sodom; related: shut, stop.” עמרה 'amorâh “‹Amorah; noun: sheaf; verb: bind.” אדמה 'admâh “Admah; adjective: red; noun: soil.” צבים tseboyı̂m “Tseboim, gazelles; verb: go forth, shine.” לשׁע lesha‛ “Lesha; verb: pierce, cleave.”
And the sons of Ham. - Ham the youngest of the three brothers Genesis 9:24, is placed here because he agrees with Japheth in becoming estranged from the true God, and because the last place as the more important is reserved for Shem. As the name of Japheth is preserved in the Ιαπετος Iapetos of the Greeks, so Chain is supposed to appear in Chemi of the Coptic, χημία cheemia of Plutarch, Chine of the Rosetta Stone, an old name of Egypt. This country is also called the land of Ham in Scripture Psalm 78:51; Psalm 105:23, Psalm 105:27; Psalm 106:22. But this term was of more comprehensive import, as we find some ancient inhabitants of a region in the south of Judah, said to have come from Ham 1 Chronicles 4:40. Thirty primitive nations sprang from Ham. Of these, only four were immediate descendants.
(15) Kush has left traces of his name perhaps in the Caucasus, the Caspian, and the Cossaei of Khusistan. There is an allusion in Amos (Amos 9:7) to his migration to the land south of Egypt which bears his name. This name is preserved in Gheez, the name of the ancient language of the people, and some say even in Habesh. It is possible, that some of the Kushites went toward India. To Ethiopia, however, the name generally refers in Scripture. The Ethiopians were called by Homer (Odyssey I. 23), ἔσχατοι ἀνδρῶν eschatoi andrōn “remotest of men.”
(16) Mizraim is the ordinary name for Egypt in the Hebrew scriptures. The singular form, Mazor, is found in later books 2 Kings 19:24; Isaiah 19:6; Isaiah 37:25.
(17) Put has with one consent been placed beyond Egypt, in the north of the continent of Africa. He is mentioned along with Lubim as the helper of Nineveh (Nab. Isaiah 3:9), and with Kush, as forming part of the army of Neko Jeremiah 46:9. His descendants penetrated far westward. A river bearing the name of Phutes has been mentioned in Mauretania, and an inland country is designated by the name of Futa. The name may be preserved also in Buto, the capital of lower Egypt, on the Sebennytic mouth of the Nile.
(18) Kenaan settled in the country called after his name. There are some grounds for believing that this land was previously inhabited by Shemites, as the land was Shemitic. If so, the Kenaanites came in as intruders, and followed the language of their predecessors. But of this hereafter.
Kush had five sons and two grandsons, who were reckoned among the founders of nations.
(19) Seba is associated with Kush Isaiah 43:3; Isaiah 45:14. Josephus (Ant. I. 6,2; II. 10,2) places him in Meroe, a country almost insulated by the Nile and its branches, the Astapus (Blue Nile) and Astaboras (Atbarah).
(20) Havilah occurs as the name of a country in the antediluvian times. The present Havilah may refer to a tribe in Africa, called Avalitae, lying south of Bab-el-mandeb, which corresponds very well with the situation of Kush and Seba. This nation, however, may also have a representative in the Χαυλοταῖοι Chaulotaioi of Strabo (xvi. 728), situated on the Persian Gulf, where some other Kushites were to be found. The fragments of this nation may have separated by migration, and left its name in both localities.
(21) Sabtah, Josephus finds in the Astaborans of Ethiopia, others in Sabota, a town in southwest Arabia.
(22) Ramah is traced in Rhegma on the southeast of Arabia.
(23) Sabteka is the third name, beginning with the same syllable. Such names are frequent from the Persian Gulf to the coast of Africa. Some find this place on the coast of Abyssinia, others in Samydake on the east side of the Persian Gulf. From Ramah are two tribes descended.
(24) Sheba, and (25) Dedan, lying in the south of Arabia or on the Persian Gulf. Daden, an island in the gulf, now Barhein, may represent the latter.
In this episode Genesis 10:8-12, the author turns aside from the table of nations to notice the origin of the first great empires that were established on the earth. “And Kush begat Nimrod.” The author had before enumerated the sons of Kush, who were heads of nations. Here he singles out one of his sons or descendants, who became the first potentate of whom we have any record. He notices his qualities for rising to this position among men. “He began to be a mighty one in the land. He was mighty in hunting, before the Lord.” Hunting is a comprehensive term, indicating the taking of any species of animal, whether of the air, the sea, or the land. Nimrod‘s distinction in this respect was so great as to become proverbial. The expression, “before the Lord,” intimates, not merely that the Lord was cognizant of his proceedings, for he knoweth all things, but that Nimrod himself made no secret his designs, pursued them with a bold front and a high hand, and at the same time was aware of the name and will of Yahweh. This defiant air gives a new character to his hunting, which seems to have extended even to man, as the term is sometimes so applied (1 Samuel 24:12 (1 Samuel 24:11), Jeremiah 16:16). His name, which literally means “we shall rebel,” is in keeping with the practice of an arbitrary and violent control over men‘s persons and property.
The beginning or first seat and the extent of his kingdom among men are then described. It consists of four towns - Babel and Erek and Akkad and Kalneh, in the land of Shinar. The number four is characteristic of Nimrod‘s kingdom. It is the mark of the four quarters of the earth, of universality in point of extent, and therefore of ambition. The site of Babel (Babylon) has been discovered in certain ruins near Hillah, chiefly on the opposite or eastern bank of the Euphrates, where there is a square mound called Babil by the natives. Erek has been traced also on the east bank of the Euphrates, about one hundred miles southeast of Babil, or half way between the city and the confluence of the rivers. It is the Orchoe of the Greeks, and the ruins now bear the name of Urka, or Warka. This name appears as Huruk on the cuneiform inscriptions of the place. Akkad, in the Septuagint. Archad, Col. Taylor finds in Akkerkoof, north of Babel, and about nine miles west of the Tigris, where it approaches the Euphrates. Here there is a hill or mound of ruins called Tel Nimrud. Rawlinson finds the name Akkad frequent in the inscriptions, and mentions Kingi Akkad as part of the kingdom of Urukh, but without identifying the site. Kalneh, Kalno, Isaiah 10:9; Kanneh, Ezekiel 27:23, is regarded by Jerome, and the Targum of Jonathan, as the same with Ktesiphon on the Tigris, in the district of Chalonitis. Its ruins are near Takti Kesra. Rawlinson identifies it with Niffer, but without assigning satisfactory grounds. The sites of these towns fix that of Shinar, which is evidently the lower part of Mesopotamia, or, more precisely, the country west of the Tigris, and south of Is, or Hit, on the Euphrates, and Samara on the Tigris. It is otherwise called Babylonia and Chaldaea.
Genesis 10:11, Genesis 10:12
Out of that land came he forth to Asshur. - This may be otherwise rendered, “out of that land came forth Asshur.” The probabilities in favor of the former translations are the following: First. The discourse relates to Nimrod. Second. The words admit of it. Third. The word Asshur has occurred hitherto only as the name of a country. Fourth. Asshur, the person, was considerably older than Nimrod, and had probably given name to Asshur before Nimrod‘s projects began. Fifth. Asshur would have been as great a man as Nimrod, if he had founded Nineveh and its contiguous towns; which does not appear from the text. Sixth. “The beginning of his kingdom” implies the addition to it contained in these verses. Seventh. And the phrases “in the land of Shinar, out of that land,” and the need of some definite locality for the second four cities, are in favor of the former rendering.
Asshur was a country intersected by the Tigris. It included the part of Mesopotamia north of Shinar, and the region between the Tigris and Mount Zagros. Its extension westward is undefined by any natural boundary, and seems to have varied at different times. Nineveh was a well-known city of antiquity, situated opposite Mosul on the Tigris. The country in which it was placed is called by Strabo Aturia, a variation seemingly of Asshur. It‘s remains are now marked by the names Nebbi-yunus and Koyunjik. Rehoboth-ir, the city broadway or market, has not been identified. Kelah is said to be now marked by the ruin called Nimrud. This lies on the left bank of the Tigris, near its confluence with the greater Zab, Its name seems to be preserved in the Calachene of Strabo. It was about twenty miles south of Nineveh. It is possible, however, so far as we can conjecture from conflicting authorities, that Kelah may be Kileh Sherghat, about fifty miles south of Mosul, on the right bank of the Tigris. Resen is placed by the text, between Nineveh and Kelah, and is therefore probably represented by Selamiyeh, a village about half way between Koyunjik and Nimrud. If Kelah, however, be Kileh Sherghat, Resen will coincide with Nimrud. “That is the great city.”
This refers most readily to Resen, and will suit very well if it be Nimrud, which was evidently extensive. It may, however, refer to Nineveh. This completion of Nimrod‘s kingdom, we see, contains also four cities. The Babylonian and Assyrian monarchies were akin in origin, and allied in their history and in their fall. They were too near each other to be independent, and their mutual jealousies at length brought about the ruin of the northern capital. A Kushite, and therefore a Hamite, founded this first world-monarchy or tyranny. Another Hamite power arose simultaneously in Egypt. A branch of the Kushites seem to have gone eastward, and spread over India. But another branch spread through the South of Arabia, and, crossing into Africa, came into contact, sometimes into alliance, and sometimes into collision with the Egyptian monarchy. The eastern empire is noticed particularly, because it intruded into Shemitic ground, and aimed continually at extending its sway over the nations descended from Shem.
Mizraim has seven sons, from whom are derived eight nations.
(26) the Ludim are probably mentioned in Isaiah 66:19, in connection with Tarshish and Put; in Jeremiah 46:9, in connection with Kush and Put; and in Ezekiel 27:10; Ezekiel 30:5, in connection with Put. In all these instances the name is in the singular, but in our text in the plural, expressly denoting the nation of which Lud was the progenitor. The Ludim were distinguished for the use of the bow. They were, doubtless, an African tribe, related to the Egyptians, and well known to the prophets, though their country cannot now be pointed out. Josephus intimates that they were destroyed, as well as other tribes descended from Mizraim, in the Ethiopic war of the time of Moses; but they still existed in the times of Ezekiel. Movers finds them in the Lewatah, a tribe of Berbers. Others place them in Mauretania. Pliny mentions a river Laud in Tingitana.
(27) the Anamim are not elsewhere mentioned.
(28) the Lehabim are generally identified with the Lubim 2 Chronicles 12:3; 2 Chronicles 16:8; Daniel 2:43; Nahum 3:9, who are introduced in connection with the Kushim. They are probably the Libyans, who lay to the west of Egypt, and, extending from the Mediterranean indefinitely to the south, came into contact with the Kushites of Abyssinia.
(29) the Naphtuhim Bochart places in Nephthys, near Pelusium on the Lake Sirbonis. Others find a trace of them in Napata, a town of Meroe. This agrees with the indications of Josephus and the Targum of Jonathan.
(30) the Pathrusim have their place in Pathros, a name of upper Egypt or the Thebais. It is arranged by Isaiah Isaiah 2:11 between Egypt and Kush.
(31) the Kasluhim are supposed by some to be represented by the Colchians, whom Herodotus (ii. 104) traces to Egypt. It is possible the Colchians may have been a colony from them. But their original seat must have been somewhere on the coast of the Red Sea.
(32) Philistim, who came from (31). The Philistines dwelt on the coast of the Mediterranean, from the border of Egypt to Joppa. They had five principal cities, - Gaza, Ashdod, Ashkelon, Gath, and Ekron. They gave the name פלשׁת peleshet Pelesheth, to the whole of Kenaan, from which is derived the Greek name Παλαιστὶνη Palaistinee “Palaestina.” They are stated by the text to be a colony or offshoot of the Kasluhim.
(33) Kaphtorim. From Jeremiah 47:4, it appears that Kaphtor was a coastland. From Amos 9:7, we learn that the Philistines came from this land. Hence, we conclude that the Kaphtorim dwelt on the coast of the Red Sea, adjacent to the Kasluchim, and left their name, perhaps, in Koptos and Αἴγυπτος Aiguptos Cappadocia, Crete, and Cyprus only slightly resemble the name, and have no other recommendation. The Kasluhim may have been their southern neighbors, and thus the Philistines may have occupied a part of Kaphtor, before their settlement on the coast of the Great Sea, within the borders of Kenaan, where they would, of course, be another tribe ( ἀλλόφυλοι allophuloi ). This account of these descendants of Mizraim agrees best with the hint of Josephus, that many of them bordered on the Ethiopians; and perished, or perhaps were forced to migrate, in the Ethiopic or other wars (i. 6,3). Thus, it appears that the descendants of Mizraim were settled in Africa, with the exception of the Philistines, who migrated into the country to which they gave their name.
From Kenaan are descended eleven nations:
(34) Zidon is styled his first-born. The name is retained in the well-known town on the coast of Phoenicia, which is accordingly of the highest antiquity among the cities of that region. The Sidonians were reckoned co-extensive with the Phoenicians, and are mentioned by Homer (Iliad 23:743; Odyssey 4:618).
(35) Heth. This tribe dwelt about Hebron and in the mountains around, and perhaps still further north in the districts extending toward the Euphrates Genesis 23:3; Numbers 13:29; Joshua 1:4. Esau took wives from the Hittites Genesis 26:34-35, and some part of the nation existed even after the captivity Ezra 9:1.
(36) the Jebusite has his chief seat in and around Jerusalem, which was called Jebus, from his chief; and the citadel of which was wrested from him only in the time of David 2 Samuel 5:7.
(37) the Amorite was one of the most important and extensive tribes of Kenaan. Five kings of this nation dwelt in the mountains afterward occupied by Judah Genesis 14:7, Genesis 14:13; Numbers 13:29; Joshua 10:5, and two on the east of the Jordon, in Heshbon and Bashan, north of Moab Numbers 21:13; Deuteronomy 4:47. The eastern Amorites were conquered under Moses, the western under Joshua. A remnant of them were made bondsmen by Solomon 1 Kings 9:20. They survived the captivity Ezra 9:1.
(38) the Girgashite seems to have lain on the west of the Jordan, and the name may be preserved in the reading Γεργεσηνῶν Gergesēnōn of Matthew 8:28. The town of the Gergesenes is supposed to have been at the southeast of the lake of Gennesaret Genesis 15:21; Deuteronomy 7:1; Joshua 24:11.
(39) the Hivite was found at Shalem, Gibeon, and also at the foot of Hermon and Antilibanus Genesis 34:2; Joshua 9:7; Joshua 11:3; Judges 3:3. The former were also classed under the Amorites Genesis 48:22; 2 Samuel 21:2. With the exception of four cities of the Gibeonites, they were conquered by Joshua Joshua 9:17; Joshua 11:3, Joshua 11:19.
(40) the Arkite probably dwelt near a town called Arke or Caesarea Libani, lying some miles north of Tripolis, at the foot of Lebanon. Its ruins are still extant at Tel Arka.
(41) the Sinite is supposed to have dwelt in Sinna, a town mentioned by Strabo, called Sine by Jerome, and Syn in the fifteenth century (Strab. xvi. 2,18; Hieron. Quaest. in Gen., Breitenbach, Travels, p. 47), not far from Arke.
(42) the Arvadite dwelt in Arvad, Aradus, now Ruad, a Phoenician town on an island of the same name.
(43) the Zemarite has been traced in the town Σίμυρα Simura the ruins of which were found by Shaw at the western foot of Lebanon, under the name of Sumra.
(44) the Hamathite was the inhabitant of Hamath, called Hamath Rabbah (the great), by the Greeks Epiphaneia, and at present Hamah. It is situated on the Orontes, and held an important place in the history of Israel. The land of Hamath was of great extent, including the town of Riblab 2 Kings 25:21 and reaching even to Antioch. The entrance of Hamath חמת בוא bô' chamāt the northern part of the valley between Lebanon and Antilibanus, formed the utmost boundary of Palestine to the north Numbers 13:21; Joshua 13:5; 1 Kings 8:65. Its king was in alliance with David 2 Samuel 8:10.
And afterward were the families of the Kenaanites spread abroad. - After the confusion of tongues were these nations formed; and after the formation of these Kenaanic tribes occurred the dispersion spoken of in the text. We do not know what was the original seat of the Kenaanites; or whether the dispersion here mentioned was violent or not. Its primary result, however, seems to have been their settlement in the country of which the boundaries are next described. It is not improbable that this land was allotted to a portion of the Shemites, and occupied by them when the Kenaanites entered and established themselves among them Genesis 40:15. The Kenaanites probably had the same grasping tendency which displayed itself in Nimrod, their kinsman; and therefore seized upon the country with a high hand, and called it after their name. Their expulsion, on the conquest of the land by the Israelites, and their commercial activity, led to a still further dispersion; as colonies were sent out by them to the distant shores of the Mediterranean, to Asia Minor, Greece, Africa, Spain, and even the British Isles. But it can scarcely be supposed that reference is here made to these subsequent events in their history.
The border of Kenaan, as here described, extends along the coast from Zidon in the direction of (as thou goest unto) Gerar, which lay between Kadesh and Shur Genesis 20:1, and has its name preserved in the Wady el-Jerur, which is nearly in a line connecting Ain el-Weibeh and Suez. It turns at Azzah (Gaza), and passes to the cities of the plain, of which the later history is so memorable. Its terminating point is Lesha, which is generally supposed to be Callirrhoe, to the northeast of the Dead Sea, so called from the hot springs which form a stream flowing into the lake. It is possible, however, that Lesha is only another variation of Laish and Leshem, a city belonging to the Sidonians, and situated near the sources of the Jordan. Thus, we have the western, southern, and eastern border briefly given in this verse. It is manifest, however, that they did not confine themselves to these limits, but “afterward spread abroad” into the adjacent regions. The Hittite went to the northeast; the Amorite crossed the Jordan, and occupied a great part of Peraea; the Hivite, the Arkite, the Sinite, the Arvadite, the Zemarite, and the Hamathite stretched far north of the boundary.
The list of the Hamites is summed up Genesis 10:20 in the usual form. It appears that Ham occupied Africa and a certain portion of Asia along the eastern coast of the Mediterranean, in the south of Arabia, about the lower valley of the Frat and Diljah, and perhaps along the south of Asia. In extent of territory, Japheth ultimately far exceeded, as he occupied most of Asia and almost all of Europe and the New World. Ham is next to him, as he inherited Africa and a portion of Asia. Some of his descendants have also been forcibly transplanted to the New Hemisphere. But in point of political contact with Shem, Japheth, in early times, sinks comparatively into the shade, and Ham assumes the prominent place. Babylon, Kush, Egypt, and Kenaan are the powers which come into contact with Shem, in that central line of human history which is traced in the Bible. Hence, it is that in the table of nations special attention is directed to Kush, Nimrod, Mizraim, and to the tribes and borders of Kenaan.
- XXXIII. Shem
21. אבר 'eber “‹Eber, yonder side; verb: pass, cross.”
22. עילם 'eylām “‹Elam.” עוּל ‛ûl “suckle.” עלם ‛ālam “hide; be mature.” ארפכשׁד 'arpakshad “Arpakshad.” כשׂד ארף 'arp keśed “boundary of Kesed, or (von-Bohlen) Arjapakshata, beside Aria.” ארם 'ǎrām “Aram, high; verb: be high.”
23. עוּץ ‛ûts “‹Uts; verb: counsel; be firm, solid.” חוּל chûl “Chul; verb: rub, twist, writhe, be strong, await.” גתר geter “Gether, bridge?” משׁ meshek “Mash; related: feel, touch.”
24. שׁלח shelach “Shelach, missile, shoot.”
25. פלג peleg “Peleg; noun: brook, canal; verb: divide.” יקטן yāqṭān “Joctan, small.”
26. אלמודד 'almôdād “Almodad.” למד lāmad “learn.” מדד mādad “measure.” שׁלף shelep “Sheleph; verb: draw out or off.” חערמות chatsarmāvet “Chatsarmaveth, court of death.” ירח yerach “Jerach, moon, month.”
27. הדורם hadôrām Hadoram, “majesty, beauty;” verb: “swell, honor.” אוּזל 'ûzāl Uzal; verb: “go out or away.” דקלה dı̂qlâh Diclah, “palm.”
28. עובל ‛ôbāl ‹Obal, “bare, bald.” אבימאל 'ǎbı̂ymā'ēl Abimael, “father of Mael” (circumcision).
29. אופיר 'ôpı̂r Ophir; verb: “break, veil.” יובב yôbāb Jobab; verb: “cry, call.”
30. משׁא mēshā' Mesha, שׁאה shā'âh = שׁוא shô' “roar, crash.” ספר sepār Sephar, “counting. writing.”
From Japheth, who penetrated into the remotest regions, the writer proceeds to Ham, who came into close contact with Shem. From Ham, he passes to Shem, in whom the line of history is to be continued.
Shem is here distinguished by two characteristics - the former referring to a subsequent, the latter to an antecedent event. He is “the father of all the sons of Heber.” It is evident from this that the sons of Heber cast luster on the family of Shem, and therefore on the whole human race. It is unnecessary to anticipate the narrative, except so far as to note that the sons of Heber include most of the Arabians, a portion of those who mingled with the race and inhabited the land of Aram, and, most probably, the original element of the population in the land of Kenaan. This characteristic of Shem shows that the table in which it is found was composed after the Hebrews had become conspicuous among the descendants of Shem.
Shem is next distinguished as the “older brother of Japheth”; that is, older than Ham. This interpretation of the words is most agreeable to the Hebrew idiom, and is the only one which affords an important sense. That Shem was the second son appears from the facts that Ham was the youngest Genesis 9:24, that Shem was born in the five hundred and third year of Noah Genesis 11:10, and, therefore, Japheth must have been the one born when Noah was in his five hundredth year Genesis 5:32. The reason for inserting this statement is to prevent the order in which the brothers are introduced in the pedigree from being taken as that of their age, instead of that of the historical relationship subsisting among the nations descended from them.
Twenty-six of the primitive nations are descended from Shem, of which five are immediate.
(45) Elam was settled in a part of the modern Persia, to which he gave name. This name seems to be preserved in Elymais, a province of that country bordering on the Dijlah, and now included in Khusistan. It was early governed by its own kings Genesis 14:1, and continued to occupy a distinct place among the nations in the time of the later prophets Isaiah 22:6; Jeremiah 49:34; Ezekiel 32:24. Its capital was Shushan or Susa Daniel 8:2, now Shuster.
(46) Asshur seems to have originally occupied a district of Mesopotamia, which was bounded on the east by the Tigris Genesis 2:14. The inviting plains and slopes on the east of the Tigris would soon occasion a migration of part of the nation across that river. It is possible there may have been an ancient Asshur occupying the same region even before the flood Genesis 2:14.
(47) Arpakshad is traced in Ἀῤῥαπαχῖτις Arrapachitis Arrhapachitis, a region in the north of Assyria. V. Bohlen and Benfey identify it with Ariapakshata, denoting a country beside Aria. Gesenius renders it border or stronghold of the Kasdim; but the components of the word are uncertain. The nations descended from Arpakshad are noted at the close on account of their late origin, as well as their import for the subsequent narrative.
(48) Lud is usually identified with the Lydians, Λυδοὶ Ludoi who by migration at length reached and gave their name to a part of the west coast of Asia Minor.
(49) Aram gave name to the upper parts of Mesopotamia and the parts of Syria north of Palestine. Hence, we read of Aram Naharaim (of the two rivers), Aram Dammesek (of Damascus), Aram Maakah on the southwest border of Damascus, about the sources of the Jordan, Aram Beth Rechob in the same neighborhood, and Aram Zoba to the north of Damascus. The name is perhaps varied in the Ἄριμοι Arimoi of Homer (Iliad 2:783) and Strabo (xiii. 4,6). From Aram are descended four later nations.
(50) Uz ( Ἀνσῖτις Ausitis Septuagint.) the chief of a people having their seat in the north of Arabia Deserta, between Palestine and the Euphrates. From this Uz it is possible that the sons of Nahor and of Seir Genesis 22:21; Genesis 36:28 obtained their name. Job dwelt in this land.
(51) Hul is supposed to have his settlement about the sources of the Jordan in Huleh. Others trace this nation in the Hylatae (Pliny 5:19) near Emesa.
(52) Gether is of uncertain position, probably in Arabia.
(53) Mash may have left a trace of his name in Mons Masius, Karajah Dagh, south of Diarbekir, and perhaps also in the Mysians and Moesians, who may have wandered westward from under this mountain.
Arpakshad begat (54) Shelah. We know nothing of the nation of which he was the founder. He begat
(55) Heber. He is the progenitor of the Hebrews, the race to which Abraham belonged. He is marked out very prominently for reasons partly unknown to us at this distance of time, but partly no doubt because he was the ancestor of the chosen race who immediately preceded the confusion of tongues, and to whom belonged that generic Hebrew tongue, which afterward branched into several dialects, of which the Hebrew, now strictly so called, was one. It is probable that most of the diversified modes of speech retained the substance of the primeval speech of mankind. And it is not improbable, for various reasons, that this Hebrew tongue, taken in its largest sense, deviated less from the original standard than any other. The Shemites, and especially the Hebrews, departed less from the knowledge of the true God than the other families of man, and, therefore, may be presumed to have suffered less from the concussion given to the living speech of the race.
The knowledge previously accumulated of the true God, and of his will and way, would have been lost, if the terms and other modes of expressing divine things had been entirely obliterated. It is consonant with reason, then, to suppose that some one language was so little shaken from its primary structure as to preserve this knowledge. We know as a fact, that, while other nations retained some faint traces of the primeval history, the Hebrews have handed down certain and tangible information concerning former things in a consecutive order from the very first. This is a proof positive that they had the distinct outline and material substance of the primeval tongue in which these things were originally expressed. In keeping with this line of reasoning, while distinct from it, is the fact that the names of persons and things are given and explained in the Hebrew tongue, and most of them in that branch of it in which the Old Testament is composed. We do not enter further into the special nature of the Hebrew family of languages, or the relationship in which they are found to stand with the other forms of human speech than to intimate that such investigations tend to confirm the conclusions here enunciated.
This nation was very extensive, and accordingly branched out into several, of which the immediate ones are Peleg and Joctan.
(56) Peleg is remarkable on account of the origin assigned to his name. “In his days was the land divided.” Here two questions occur. What is the meaning of the earth being divided, and what is the time denoted by “his days?” The verb “divide” (פלג pālag ) occurs only three times elsewhere in the Hebrew scriptures 1 Chronicles 1:19; Job 38:25; Psalm 55:10. The connection in which this rare word is used in the Psalm, “divide their tongues,” seems to determine its reference in the present passage to the confusion of tongues and consequent dispersion of mankind recorded in the following chapter. This affords a probable answer to our first question. The land was in his days divided among the representative heads of the various nations. But to what point of time are we directed by the phrase “in his days?” Was the land divided at his birth, or some subsequent period of his life? The latter is possible, as Jacob and Gideon received new names, and Joshua an altered name, in later life.
The phrase “in his days” seems to look the same way. And the short interval from the deluge to his birth appears scarcely to suffice for such an increase of the human family as to allow of a separation into nations. Yet, on the other hand, it is hard to find any event in later life which connected this individual more than any other with the dispersion of man. It is customary to give the name at birth. The phrase “in his days” may, without any straining, refer to this period. And if we suppose, at a time when there were only a few families on the earth, an average increase of ten children in each in four generations, we shall have a thousand, or twelve hundred full-grown persons, and, therefore, may have five hundred families at the birth of Peleg. We cannot suppose more than fifty-five nations distinguished from one another at the dispersion, as Heber is the fifty-fifth name, and all the others are descended from him.
And if three families were sufficient to propagate the race after the flood, nine or ten were enough to constitute a primeval tribe or nation. We see some reason, therefore, to take the birth of Peleg as the occasion on which he received his name, and no stringent reason for fixing upon any later date. At all events the question seems to be of no chronological importance, as in any case only four generations preceded Peleg, and these might have been of comparatively longer or shorter duration without materially affecting the number of mankind at the time of his birth. Peleg is also remarkable as the head of that nation out of which, at an after period, the special people of God sprang. Of the Palgites, as a whole, we hear little or nothing further in history.
(57) Joctan, if little or insignificant as an individual or a nation, is the progenitor of a large group of tribes, finding their place among the wandering races included afterward under the name Arabic. Cachtan, as the Arabs designate him in their traditions, may have given name to Cachtan, a town and province mentioned by Niebuhr.
The thirteen tribes of the Joctanites or primitive Arabs are enumerated here in Genesis 10:26-29.
(58) Almodad is usually referred to Yemen. The first syllable may be the Arabic article. Mudad is the name of one celebrated in Arab story as the stepfather of Ishmael and chief of the Jurhum tribe of Joctanites. The Ἀλλουμαιῶται Alloumaiōtai of Ptolemy belonged to the interior of Arabia Felix.
(59) Sheleph is traced in the Σαλαπηνοὶ Salapeenoi of Ptolemy (vi. 7), belonging to the interior.
(60) Hazarmaveth gives name to a district on the Indian Ocean, abounding in spices, now called Hadramaut. This tribe is the Chatramitae of Greek writers.
(61) Jerah occupied a district where are the coast and mountain of the moon, near Hadramaut.
(62) Hadoram is preserved in the tribe called Ἀδραμῖται Adamitai Atramitae, placed by Pliny (vi. 28) between the Homerites and the Sachalites on the south coast of Arabia.
(63) Uzal perhaps gave the ancient name of Azal to Sana, the capital of Yemen, a place still celebrated for the manufacture of beautiful stuffs.
(64) Diclah settled possibly in the palm-bearing region of the Minaei in Hejaz.
(65) Obal is otherwise unknown.
(66) Abimael is equally obscure. Bochart supposes there is a trace of the name in Μάλι Mali a place in Arabia Aromatifera.
(67) Sheba is the progenitor of the Sabaei in Arabia Felix, celebrated for spices, gold, and precious stones, and noted for the prosperity arising from traffic in these commodities. A queen of Sheba visited Solomon. The dominant family among the Sabaeans was that of Himjar, from whom the Himjarites (Homeritae) of a later period descended.
(68) Ophir gave name to a country celebrated for gold, precious stones, and almug wood, which seems to have lain on the south side of Arabia, where these products may be found. What kind of tree the almug is has not been clearly ascertained. Some suppose it to be the sandal wood which grows in Persia and India; others, a species of pine. If this wood was not native, it may have been imported from more distant countries to Ophir, which was evidently a great emporium. Others, however, have supposed Ophir to be in India, or Eastern Africa. The chief argument for a more distant locality arises from the supposed three years‘ voyage to it from Ezion-geber, and the products obtained in the country so reached. But the three years‘ voyage 1 Kings 10:22; 2 Chronicles 9:21 seems to be in reality to Tarshish, a very different region.
(69) Havilah here is the founder of a Joctanite tribe of Arabs, and therefore his territory must be sought somewhere in the extensive country which was occupied by these wandering tribes. A trace of the name is probably preserved in Khawlan, a district lying in the northwest of Yemen, between Sana and Mecca, though the tribe may have originally settled or extended further north.
(70) Jobab has been compared with the Ἰωβαρῖται Iōbaritai of Ptolemy (vi. 7). Bochart finds the name in the Arabic: yobab a desert.
The situation of Mesha is uncertain. But it is obviously the western boundary of the settlement, and may have been in the neighborhood of Mecca and Medina. Sephar is perhaps the Arabic Zaphari, called by the natives Isfor, a town on the south coast near Mirbat. It seems, however, to be, in the present passage, the “mount of the east” itself, a thuriferous range of hills, adjacent, it may be, to the seaport so-called. Gesenius and others fix upon Mesene, an island at the head of the Persian Gulf, as the Mesha of the text. But this island may have had no existence at the time of the Joctanite settlement. These boundaries include the greater part of the west and south coast of the peninsula, and are therefore sufficient to embrace the provinces of Hejaz (in part), Yemen, and Hadramaut, and afford space for the settlements of the thirteen sons of Joctan. The limits thus marked out determine that all these settlers, Ophir among the rest, were at first to be found in Arabia, how far soever they may have wandered from it afterward.
Genesis 10:31 contains the usual closing formula for the pedigree of the Shemite tribes; and Genesis 10:32 contains the corresponding form for the whole table of nations.
From a review of these lands it is evident that Shem occupied a much smaller extent of territory than either of his brothers. The mountains beyond the Tigris, the Persian Gulf, the Red Sea, the Levant, the Archipelago, and the Black Sea, bound the countries that were in part peopled by Shem. Arabia, Syria, and Assyria contained the great bulk of the Shemites, intermingled with some of the Hamites. The Kushites, Kenaanites, and Philistines trench upon their ground. The rest of the Hamites peopled Africa, and such countries as were supplied from it. The Japhethites spread over all the rest of the world.
In this table there are 70 names, exclusive of Nimrod, of heads of families, tribes, or nations descended from the 3 sons of Noah - 14 from Japheth, 30 from Ham, and 26 from Shem. Among the heads of tribes descended from Japheth are 7 grandsons. Among those from Ham are 23 grandsons and 3 great-grandsons. Among those of Shem are 5 grandsons, one great-grandson, 2 of the fourth generation, and 13 of the fifth. Whence, it appears that the subdivisions are traced further in Ham and much further in Shem than in Japheth, and that they are pursued only in those lines which are of importance for the coming events in the history of Shem.
It is to be observed, also, that, though the different races are distinguished by the diversity of tongues, yet the different languages are much less numerous than the tribes. The eleven tribes of Kenaanites, and the thirteen tribes of Joctanites, making allowance for some tribal peculiarities, most probably spoke at first only two dialects of one family of languages, which we have designated the Hebrew, itself a branch of, if not identical with, what is commonly called the Shemitic. Hence, some Hamites spoke the language of Shem. A similar community of language may have occurred in some other instances of diversity of descent.
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Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Genesis 10". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/
the Second Week after Epiphany