Bible Commentaries

Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments

Genesis 10

Verses 1-32

Genesis 10:2. The sons of Japhet were Gomer, &c. Japhet is the Iapetos of the Greeks. His blessing Niphtha occasioned him to be called Neptune by the Greeks. Gomer, the father of the Galatinians, or Galatians. Magog, father of the Scythians, north of the Euxine. Ezekiel 38:15. Madai, father of the Medes. Javan, the Prometheus of the Greeks; and Janus, father of the Ionians. Tubal, father of the Iberians, or ancient Spaniards, and others north of the Mediterranean sea. Meshech, father of the Moscovites, called Moschenos, Moschicos, Moschini, Mossyni, &c. Tiras, father of the Thracians, as all critics agree, for his name is evidently the primitive of the names of many towns and rivers.

Genesis 10:3. The sons of Gomer, Ashkenaz, or Ascenaz, father of the Esclavonians, or the Ascanii, who found their way in the east of Germany. Riphath, or Diphath, (1 Chronicles 1:6) father of the Paphlagonians, who inhabited Pontus and Bithynia. Togarmah, father of the Tygramenians, or the Turks,

Genesis 10:4. The sons of Javan, Elishah, father of the Greek tribes, generally called Hellenists, who inhabited Achaia, &c. From them arose many names of persons, as Helen; of towns, as Eleusis, Elis; and the country Peloponnesus. Tarshish, father of the Tharsenians; hence Tarsis, a city of Cilicia. This name is often rendered by the LXX Carthage, as Isaiah 23:6. Jonah took a ship, it is more likely, to Carthage than to Tarsis. We cannot deny that the first settlers in Cadiz might give the name of Tartessus, from the same father of a race who delighted in the seas. Kittim, or Chittim, father of the Cittii, Cretians, Cyprians, &c. Dodanim, or Rhodamis, (1 Chronicles 1:7) father of the Rhodians; hence the names of cities, Rhodano and Dodano.

Genesis 10:6. The sons of Ham, Cham, or Jupiter Hammon, the Cronus of the Greeks, were Cush, the Coum of the Greeks, the father of the Ethiopians and Abyssinians. It pleased God, whose works are various, to change the colour of his skin to black. Mizraim, or Misor of Sanchoniatho, and Osiris, worshipped in Egypt, was father of the Egyptians; the word is plural, and refers to his posterity. Egypt is called Masor. Isaiah 19:7. Micah 7:12. And the capital of Egypt was called Messri by the Egyptians, Memphis by the Greeks, and Noph by the Hebrews. This change of the letters is common in ancient names, as Vulcan for Tubal Cain. Phut, father of the Lybians, and Mauritanians; that is, the country of the blacks. Many names of towns and rivers are derived from this primitive, as Pharsi, and Fez, &c. Canaan, father of the Canaanites. The word, applied to his posterity, no doubt designates a merchant. He is the Mercury of pagan fable.

Genesis 10:7. The sons of Cush; Saba, father of the Sabeans, who took Job’s oxen. They inhabited the south of Arabia, or the desert. Havilah, who gave his name to Ophir or Africa, the land where there is much gold. To place this patriarch near the Sabeans is without support; yet many make the Pison to be the Ganges, and place Havilah near the sources of that river.

Genesis 10:8. Nimrod; that is, tyrant, revolter, rebel. A giant, as the LXX read; a man who formed designs of empire, by the subjugation of other tribes. He is generally regarded as the father of Ninus, and as having been worshipped under the name of Baal. But this idea does not seem to accord with a prophecy in the Voluspa, a northern poem of very high antiquity, which says, “Balthur shall come, and dwell with Hauthur in Thropt’s abode.”

Genesis 10:10. Erech. The kingdom connected with this city, was called Irak by the Arabians, or Iran, as in Sir William Jones’s sixth discourse before the Society of Calcutta. Parthia, now Persia, afterwards obtained as the name of the whole country.

Genesis 10:11. Asshur, from whom the Assyrians derived their name.

Genesis 10:22. Arphaxad, generally reputed to be father of the Chaldeans. Elam, father of the Elamites or Persians. Lud, (or Ludim, a people) father of the Lydians. Aram, father of the Armenians.

Genesis 10:24. Heber, thought to be a patriarch of great worth, and from him, as a paternal honour, the Hebrews derive their name.

Genesis 10:25. Peleg פלג Palag, he divided. Usher, as in our Bible, places his birth in the 102nd year after the flood. As he was the fifth from Noah, and as the first four post-diluvian fathers cannot be supposed to marry till they were fifty years of age, though Peleg married at thirty, his birth may be placed in the year 200 or 250. He lived to the age of 239. At what year of his age the event happened, and from which he received his surname, is not said: perhaps about 400 years after Noah left the ark: Helvicus thinks 500. What the division of the earth means we are not told, except by the rabbins, that it was a division of the earth by lot among the descendents of Noah, at the head of which was a princely patriarch. But Noah had already given Asia to Shem, Europe to Japhet, and Africa to Ham, and Canaan’s family had settled in Palestine on the road, a land which according to Noah’s will, was not theirs.—But the name is applied to a divided fountain or waters, as well as to divided lands.

Now, we know that there was an inundation of the sea on the lower marshes, which drowned king Ogyges at Thebes. From this inundation to the first Greek olympiade Eusebius reckons above 1020 years. Præp. Genesis 10:10. Our miners also inform us, that there is a rent across the county of Durham, in which one side of the earth has subsided 120 yards. Bailey’s Hist. Mr. Whitehurst has given us plates of the strata at Chatsworth in Derbyshire, in which there is a subsidence of all the strata of lias, toadstone, and coal, for the like space of 120 yards. Dr. Price states the like subsidence of one side in Cornwall for 38 yards. This event probably proceeded from the bursting of the earth by subterranean fires, which drove the winds and waves to fury. De Lisle found trees near Thorne, from 12 to 14 feet thick towards the roots. The tides, still warping up their estuaries, have covered the bog-timber in some places to the depth of 10 or 20 feet. Thus in all the marshes of America, as well as in Europe, trees are found, and largely mixed with the horns and bones of herbivorous animals. The body of a woman, with antique sandals on her feet, was dug up at the Isle of Axholme near Epworth. Many papers in the Royal Society, as well as the assent of Dr. Edward Clarke, our accredited traveller in the East, perfectly coincide with this account of the Ogygian inundation. See more, Genesis 47:25.

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Bibliographical Information
Sutcliffe, Joseph. "Commentary on Genesis 10". Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jsc/genesis-10.html. 1835.