Attention!
10 million Ukrainians without power because of Russia. Help us purchase electrical generators for churches.
Consider helping today!

Bible Commentaries

Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary

Genesis 10

Verses 1-5

GENESIS - CHAPTER TEN

Verses 1-5:

This listing includes seven sons of Japheth, and seven grandsons. Each of these became the progenitor of a nation. These nations populated the regions to the north and east, including Europe, Wales, the Balkan areas of Eastern Europe, the areas around the Black Sea, the Euxine Sea, and the Caspian Sea. Ethnologists trace the lineage of Japheth’s descendants generally as:

Gomer: peoples dwelling in "the sides of the north" (Eze 38:6); the Galatae of the Greeks and the Cimmerians, who apparently spread from the Caspian and Euxine over Europe to the Atlantic and the British Isles.

Magog: a warlike people who settled in the Caucasus, in what is known today as Russia. Ezekiel prophesied their destruction, in chapters 38 and 39. In Re 20:8, Gog and Magog are arrayed against God and His people.

Madai: the Medes or Medians, settling on the southwest region of the Caspian.

Javan: the Greeks, see Isaiah 66:19; Eze 27:13; Da 8:21; 10:20; Joe 3:6.

Tubal and Meshech: tributaries of Magog (Eze 38:2, 3; 39:1). Peoples in the north of Armenia.

Tiras: Thracians.

The Sons of Gomer...and Javan: nations dwelling in Armenia, the Balkans, southern Europe, and some of the Mediterranean islands. The language describing these indicate maritime countries.

The descendants of Japheth appear to have been expansionists, pushing the boundaries of their territories into the remote regions. They were warlike peoples, but they also engaged in extensive commercial enterprises. Highly intelligent, many of these peoples excelled in the arts and sciences and philosophy. Some of the world’s most beautiful art and sculpture and architecture come from the Japhetic peoples. However, their pursuit of esthetic beauty and human intellect led them to glorify man and his accomplishments rather than God.

Verses 6-14

Verses 6-14:

3) The four sons of Ham include Cush, Mizraim, Phut, and Canaan.

Cush: Ethiopia, a territory much larger than the modern country of that name. Included is Arabia and Abyssinia. Some historians believe the original settlement of Cush was on the Upper Nile, from where his descendants migrated to Arabia, Babylonia, and as far as India. Josephus records that Ethiopia was called Cush. The ancient Egyptian name of Ethiopia was Keesh. The Scriptures describe Cushites as of great statute (Isa 14:14) and black (Jer 13:23).

Mizraim: in the Hebrew text, a dual form, likely representing both Upper and Lower Egypt. The ancient Egyptian name is Kemi, or Chemi, likely a reference to Ham.

Phut: denotes the Lybians of North Africa. The ancient boundaries of their territory were likely much greater than modern Lybia.

Canaan: Ham’s youngest son, whose descendants settled in the region along the eastern coast of the Mediterranean. The most famous of the sons of Cush was Nimrod. His name reflects his character and that of his descendants. It is from maradh, to rebel. Monarchism as a form of government began under Nimrod. Society at that time was patriarchal, with each clan, tribe, or family acknowledging as ruler its own natural head. Under Nimrod, many different clans or tribes recognized the rule of one not the natural head but who acquired rulership by conquest. This is monarchism. Tradition pictures Nimrod as an oppressor of people’s liberties and a rebel against Divine authority. Josephus identifies Nimrod as the instigator of the Tower of Babel.

Nimrod gained the reputation of a "mighty one," gibbor, a man of fame; in the land where he lived. He as a "mighty hunter," not only of wild beasts but of men. "Before the Lord," denotes a spirit of defiance in the sight of Jehovah. His kingdom began with Babylon, and rapidly expanded to include cities to the south, north, and northeast. He pushed Asshur, son of Shem, from that territory northward, where he (Asshur) founded Nineveh which became the capital of Assyria, as well as other cities nearby.

Verses 15-20

Verses 15-20:

Sidon, son of Canaan, established a city which became famous for commerce and a strong maritime power. Included in this territory was Tyre. The Phoenicians were among Canaan’s descendants. They are famous for their explorations by sea. Some historians believe they sailed as far as both North and South America. Similarities between Phoenician inscriptions and some found in the Americas seem to lend weight to this belief.

The territory of Canaan’s descendants is defined as the same area which Israel included in the territory God promised to Abraham. Some were annihilated by Israel under Joshua, and some became slaves to Israel, but not forever. Thus was fulfilled the prophetic curse which only Noah pronounced upon Canaan, if the curse was actually on the son Canaan instead of on the entire Hamite lineage.

Verses 21-32

Verses 21-32:

Five sons of Shem are named, and twenty-one grandsons. The sons: Elam, Asshur, Arphaxad, Lud, and Aram.

Elam: his descendants first settled Elymais, a territory bordering on Susiana and Media, extending from the Persian Gulf to the Red Sea. In history they are the Persians.

Asshur: the ancestor of Assyria, see verses 11 and 12.

Arphaxad: his descendants occupied a region north of Assyria.

Lud: ancestor of the Lydians of Asia Minor.

Aram: his descendants settled the region of Mesopotamia, between the Tigris and the Euphrates Rivers, and that part of Syria around Damascus.

The grandsons of Shem populated the area extending from the upper Euphrates on the north to the lower regions of the Arabian Peninsula on the south; and the Persian Gulf on the east to the Red Sea on the west.

In the lifetime of Peleg, "was the earth divided." The precise meaning of this clause is uncertain. Some suggest it refers to the separation of the continents from the original land mass (Ge 1:9, 10). This seems unlikely to those who believe such a phenomenon would necessarily involve earthquakes and tidal waves of such magnitude as to destroy virtually all life. Others suggest this refers to the division of the nations following the confusion of tongues at Babel (Ge 11:7-9). This appears the most likely interpretation. However it may have referred to both.

National and social patterns have changed so drastically that it is impossible to determine accurately the ethnic background of all earth’s peoples. Some are obvious, such as the Blacks, most of whom are of Hamitic origin. However, many Semitic people are also dark-skinned. Japhetic people are generally fair-skinned, with light-colored hair. However, many Semitic people also fit this general description.

NOTES.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Blessed Hope Foundation and the Baptist Training Center.
Bibliographical Information
Garner, Albert & Howes, J.C. "Commentary on Genesis 10". Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghb/genesis-10.html. 1985.