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Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature
Division of the Earth.
That all mankind were originally of one family spoke but one language, that, in consequence of their being united in a design which accorded not with the views of Providence, the Almighty confounded their speech, and introduced among them a variety of tongues, which produced a general dispersion, are facts declared by the sacred writers. In Acts 17:26, we are told, "God made of one blood all nations of men, for to dwell on all the face of the earth; and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation." In Genesis 10:25, it is said, in the days of Peleg the earth was divided. The idea was, that each nation received its allotted portion of territory from God. The same view is probably taken in Deuteronomy 32:8-9. When the Most High assigned an inheritance to nations When He divided the sons of Adam; He fixed the bounds of peoples, according to the number of the sons of Israel. For the portion of Jehovah is his people Jacob the lot (cord) of his inheritance. The object of the sacred historian, in the tenth chapter of Genesis, is to furnish a brief, but authentic record of the origin of the principal nation of the earth. In the form of a genealogical table, or roll, of the descendants of Noah, it contains a view of the pedigree of nations in the then known world. As such, it is a record of inestimable value, being the most ancient ethnographic document which we possess. It does not, indeed, afford to us, at this late period of the world, that degree of definite information which it doubtless conveyed in the time of Moses. A proper name is apt to assume a new form every time it is translated into a different language, and often in the same dialect at different periods. It is not, therefore, to he wondered at that many nations and peoples should have lost the names by which they were originally called, or that these names should have become so altered by time, or so distorted in being transferred into other tongues, as to make it difficult to trace their relation to those here given. But, notwithstanding the uncertainty arising from this source, far more successful results have attended the researches of learned men in this department than could have been anticipated, so that nearly all the leading nations of ancient and modern times can be distinctly traced up to their patriarchial progenitors, recited in the present catalogue. Indeed, the subject of this chapter has been so nearly exhausted by the labors of Bochart, Le Clerc, Wells, Michaelis, Sir William Jones, Hales, Faber, Rosenmü ller, and others, that little is left for future gleaners, until a more minute acquaintance shall be formed with the Asiatic regions by some one who shall be master of the various dialects spoken from the Indus to the Nile, and from the Arabic Gulf to the Caspian Sea. In considering this record, it is important to remark,
1. That the names of individuals are for the most part names of the nations descended from them, just as Judah and Israel, though names of single persons, are also names of whole nations. This is evident, not only from the fact that many of them are in the plural number, as all those ending in im, but also from the termination of many of them, especially those ending in ite, being descriptive of tribes, and not of individuals.
2. Although this chapter is placed before the eleventh, yet in the order of time it properly belongs after it; for the confusion of tongues at Babel, which was the principal occasion of the dispersion of mankind, must of course have preceded that dispersion. This is still further evident for in the expression, "after their tongues," implying a diversity of languages, which we know did not exist prior to the confusion of tongues mentioned in the eleventh chapter. But such transpositions are common with the sacred writers.
3. Speaking in general terms, it may be said that the three sons of Noah — Shem, Ham, and Japheth — are exhibited in this genealogical chart as the representatives of the three grand divisions of the earth, Asia, Africa, and Europe, although not precisely according to the boundaries of modern times. The descendants of Japheth peopled Europe and the north-west of Asia; those of Ham, the southern quarter of the globe, particularly Africa; and the Shemites, the countries of Central Asia, particularly those around the Euphrates. In accordance with this, a tradition has long and extensively prevailed throughout the East, particularly amongst the Arabs and Persians, that Noah divided the earth among his three sons. But as this tradition rests upon no express authority of Scripture, the presumption is that it arose from some confused recollection or interpretation of Noah's prophecy mentioned in Genesis 9:25-27. "It has often been asserted," says Hengstenberg, "that the genealogical table in Genesis 10 cannot be from Moses, since so extended a knowledge of nations lies far beyond the geographical horizon of the Mosaic age. This hypothesis must now be considered as exploded. The new discoveries and investigations in Egypt have shown that they maintained even from the most ancient times a vigorous commerce with other nations, and sometimes with very distant nations. But not merely in general do the investigations in Egyptian antiquities favor the belief that Moses was the author of the account in this tenth chapter of Genesis. On the Egyptian monuments, those especially which represent the conquests of the ancient Pharaohs over foreign nations, not a few names have been found which correspond with those contained in the chapter before us. It must be allowed that far more still could be effected if our knowledge of hieroglyphics were not so very imperfect." Admitting Moses to have been the writer of the book of Genesis (as is established by well known internal and external evidences), still there is no improbability in supposing that, in drawing up this genealogical table, he may have had access to the archives kept by the priests among the Egyptians, Phoenicians, and other surrounding nations. He was, we are informed, "learned in all the learning of the Egyptians;" and that this included historical and ethnographic knowledge appears from the fragmentary remains of Manetho, Sanchoniathon, and Berosus, and the testimony of Herodotus. For the sake of conciseness and perspicuity, this ancient ethnographic chart may be thrown into the following tabular form, along with the most probable explanations which the labors of the learned have enabled us to offer.
I. GOMER — the Cimmerians on the north coast of the Black Sea. Their descendants were,
1. Ashkenaz — an unknown people, perhaps between Armenia and the Black Sea.
2. Riphath — the inhabitants of the Riphaean Mountains.
3. Togarmahe. — Armenia.
II. MAGOG — the inhabitants of the Caucasus and adjacent countries — Scythians.
III. MADAI — the Medes.
IV. JAVAN — the Ionians or Greeks. Their descendants were,
1. Elisha — the Hellenes, strictly so called.
2. Tarshish — Tartessus, in the south of Spain.
3. Kittim — the inhabitants of Cyprus and other Greek islands, with the Macedonians.
4. Dodanim — the Dodonaei, in Epirus, or perhaps the Rhodians.
V. TUBAL — the Tibareni, in Pontus.
VI. MESHECH — the Moschi (Muscovites?), in the Moschian Mountains, between Iberia, Armenia, and Colchis.
VII. TIRAS — the Thracians, or perhaps the dwellers on the River Tiras, the Dniester.
I. CUSH — the Ethiopians. Gesenius thinks that all the nations enumerated in Genesis 10:7, as sprung from Cush, are to be sought in Africa. Their descendants were,
1. Nimrod — the first king of Shinar, i.e., Babylon and Meaopotamia, where he founded Babel, Erech, Calneh, and Accad.
2.Seba — Meroe.
3. Havilah — the Avalitae, dwelling on the Sinus Avalites, now Zeila, southward of the straits of Babel-Mandeb.
4. Sabtah — Sabata, situated on the coast of the Arabian Gulf, not far from the present Arkiko.
5. Raamah — Rhegma, in the south-east of Arabia, on the Persian Gulf. Descendants or colonies were,
A. Sheba — probably a tribe in the northern Arabian desert, near the Persian Gulf.
B. Dedan — Daden, an island in the Persian Gulf.
6. Sabtechah — the Zingitani, in the eastern parts of Ethiopia.
II. MISRAIM — the Egyptians. Their descendants were,
2. Anamim, probably African tribes.
3. Lehabin or Lubim — the Libyans.
4. Naphtuhi — the inhabitants of the province of Nepltys, on the Lake of Sirbo, on the borders of Egypt and Asia.
5. Pathrusim — the inhabitants of the Egyptian canton of Pathures (Pathros).
6. Casluhim — the Colchians. Their descendants or colonies were, A. Philistim — the Philistines.
B. Caphtorim — the Cretans.
III. PHUT — the Mauretanians.
IV. CANAAN — the inhabitants of the country so called, from Sidon to the south end of the Dead Sea. Their descendants were,
1. Sidonians — on the northern borders of Canaan or Phoenicia.
2. Hethites or Hittites — in the country of Hebron, south of Jerusalem.
3. Jebusites — in and around Jerusalem.
4. Amorites — on the east and west side of the Dead Sea.
5. Girgasites — south-east of the Sea of Galilee.
6. Hivites — at the foot of Helmon and Antilibanus.
7. Arkites — in the city of Area, in Phosnicia.
8. Sinites — in the country of Lebanon.
9. Arvadites — on the Phoenician island of Aradus, and the opposite coast.
10. Zemarites — the inhabitants of the Phoenician town of Simyra.
11. Hamathites — the inhabitants of the Syrian town of Epiphania, on the Orontes.
I. ELAM — the Persians, particularly of the province of Elymais.
II. ASSHUER — the Assyrians, founders of Nineveh, Rehoboth, Calneh, and Resen.
III. ARPHAXAD — the inhabitants of the northern point of Assyria (Arrapachitis). A descendant was
Salah; from whom came Eber, progenitor of the Hebrews; and from him,
A. Peleg, and
B. Joktan, called by the Arabians Kachtan, ancestor of the following Arab tribes:
1.Almodad — in Southern Arabia.
2. Sheleph — the Selapenes, in Nejd or Tellama, in Southern Arabia.
3. Hazarmaveth — the inhabitants of the Arabian province of Hhadramaumt.
4. Jerah — the inhabitants of the Mountain of the Moon (Jebel or Gobb el-Kamar), near Hhadramaut.
5. Hadoram — probably the Atramitse, on the southern coast of Arabia.
6. Uzal — the inhabitants of the country of Sanaa, in South ern Arabia.
7. Diklah — probably the district of the MinEei, in Arabia.
8. Obal — unknown.
9.Abimael — the Mali, in the vicinity of Mecca.
10. Sheba — the Sabeans, in Southern Arabia.
11. Ophir — the inhabitants of El-Ophir, in the Arabian province of Oman.
12. Havilal — the Chaulotai, dwelling on the Persian Gulf.
13. Jobab — the Jobabites, on the Gulf of Salachitis, between Hadramaut and Oman.
IV. LUD — probably the Lydians in Asia Minor.
V. ARAM — the inhabitants of Syria and Mesopotamia. Their descendants were,
1. Uz — the inhabitants of a district in the north of Arabia Deserta.
2. Huel — perhaps the inhabitants of Caelo-Syria. 3. Gether — unknown.
4. Mash — the inhabitants of a part of the Gordiaean Mountains (Mons Masius), north of Nisibis.
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McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Division of the Earth.'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/eng/tce/d/division-of-the-earth.html. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.
the Fourth Week after Epiphany