Genesis 10


Before we begin looking at these passages, it’s important to remember that in chronological order, Genesis 10 should come after Genesis 11, the reason for this is simply seen in that God didn’t give different human languages until Genesis 11 but here in Genesis 10, we see people speaking in different languages.

The sons of Japheth

‘This is the account of Shem, Ham and Japheth, Noah’s sons, who themselves had sons after the flood. The sons of Japheth: Gomer, Magog, Madai, Javan, Tubal, Meshek and Tiras. The sons of Gomer: Ashkenaz, Riphath and Togarmah. The sons of Javan: Elishah, Tarshish, the Kittites and the Rodanites. (From these the maritime peoples spread out into their territories by their clans within their nations, each with its own language.)’ Genesis 10:1-5

The lists of names here are for genealogy purposes, later the Jews, especially if a man wanted to become a priest, he had to prove is historical linage back to Aaron. Some of the places mentioned where the fathers settled are known and others are unknown.

Concerning the sons of Japheth were distinguished by their land territory, probably modern-day Turkey, some islands in the Mediterranean and possibly into southern Europe. and their own specific language.

Gomer’s family have been identified in the records of Assyria as the Cimmerians. Magog is a term that probably referred to all northerners, particularly those of eastern Turkey, Ezekiel 38:2 / Ezekiel 39:1 / Ezekiel 39:6.

Madai would be the Median nation, Javan would be the Ionian Greeks, Tubal would be the Aegean Island inhabitants or the Etruscans. Ashkenaz would be the residents of the Caucasian mountains near the Black and Caspian Sea, Jeremiah 51:27.

Riphath possibly lived in Anatolia or Turkey, Togarmah possibly lived near Carchemish, Elishah lived in Cyprus, Tarshish in the southern coast of Spain. Kittim in Cyprus, the Rodanites possibly resided on Rhodes of the Aegean Sea.

To us these may be just a bunch of names but to the Jews these names are very important. The Old Testament wasn’t just the word of God for them, it was proof of their origin.

The sons of Ham

‘The sons of Ham: Cush, Egypt, Put and Canaan. The sons of Cush: Seba, Havilah, Sabtah, Raamah and Sabteka. The sons of Raamah: Sheba and Dedan. Cush was the father of Nimrod, who became a mighty warrior on the earth. He was a mighty hunter before the LORD; that is why it is said, ‘Like Nimrod, a mighty hunter before the LORD.’ The first centres of his kingdom were Babylon, Uruk, Akkad and Kalneh, in Shinar. From that land he went to Assyria, where he built Nineveh, Rehoboth Ir, Calah and Resen, which is between Nineveh and Calah—which is the great city’. Genesis 10:6-12

The Cushites established Kish in the Mesopotamian valley and later they became the Kassites, some of whom possibly migrated to southern Arabia. They then moved into Abyssinia of east Africa, Ethiopia. Nimrod became the honoured leader of the Cushites and it was him who built a great city and kingdom that was composed of the city states of Babel, Erech, Accad and Calneh.

In contrast to a shepherd who has the people at heart, Nimrod was a ‘hunter.’ The reference here is probably to inform us that he subdued people, rather than being a hunter of animals.

‘Egypt was the father of the Ludites, Anamites, Lehabites, Naphtuhites, Pathrusites, Kasluhites (from whom the Philistines came) and Caphtorites.’ Genesis 10:13-14

West of Egypt is Ludim, or Libyia. Pathrusim were the people of Pathros in upper Egypt and Casluhim is the Philistines, and Caphtorim the people of Crete.

‘Canaan was the father of Sidon his firstborn, and of the Hittites, Jebusites, Amorites, Girgashites, Hivites, Arkites, Sinites, Arvadites, Zemarites and Hamathites. Later the Canaanite clans scattered, and the borders of Canaan reached from Sidon toward Gerar as far as Gaza, and then toward Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah and Zeboyim, as far as Lasha. These are the sons of Ham by their clans and languages, in their territories and nations.’ Genesis 10:15-20

The Canaanites were known as Phoenicians by the Greeks. Their main cities were the coastal cities of Sidon and Tyre that still exist in Lebanon. They were the dominant group of Palestine from as far north as Sidon to as far south as Gaza and into parts of Egypt.

From Heth came the Hittites who became established in Palestine and who built the city of Hebron, Genesis 10:23. From Heth came the Jebusites who lived in the area of Jerusalem, 2 Samuel 5:6-10.

The Amorites lived in the highlands of Palestine and the territory east of the Jordan River.

The sons of Shem

‘Sons were also born to Shem, whose older brother was Japheth; Shem was the ancestor of all the sons of Eber. The sons of Shem: Elam, Ashur, Arphaxad, Lud and Aram. The sons of Aram: Uz, Hul, Gether and Meshek. Arphaxad was the father of Shelah, and Shelah the father of Eber. Two sons were born to Eber: One was named Peleg, because in his time the earth was divided; his brother was named Joktan. Joktan was the father of Almodad, Sheleph, Hazarmaveth, Jerah, Hadoram, Uzal, Diklah, Obal, Abimael, Sheba, Ophir, Havilah and Jobab. All these were sons of Joktan. The region where they lived stretched from Mesha toward Sephar, in the eastern hill country. These are the sons of Shem by their clans and languages, in their territories and nations. These are the clans of Noah’s sons, according to their lines of descent, within their nations. From these the nations spread out over the earth after the flood.’ Genesis 10:21-32

The children of Eber came to be referred to as the Hebrew people, they were a Semitic-speaking nomadic people who settled around the Arabian Desert. The Elamites lived east of the Mesopotamian valley, whereas Ashur became the people of Assyria.

Northeast of the Assyrians, the descendants of Arphaxad possibly settled. The descendants of Aram became the Syrian people. Their language, Aramaic, became the international language of communication during the Assyrian, Babylonian and Persian empires.

The sons of Uz established a city state east of the Jordan in the Arabian Desert where Job lived, Job 1:1. The descendants of Sheba established the area south of Egypt from which the queen of Sheba came to visit Solomon, 1 Kings 10:1-13.

Go To Genesis 11



"Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you."