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Chapter 10

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The Table Of Nations (ch. 10:1 - 32)


Before commenting on this chapter, it's pretty well accepted by most scholars that chapter 11 comes before chapter 10 chronologically speaking.


Verse 1 tells us that this is the account of Shem, Ham, and Japheth.  What is seen in this chapter is the lineage of Noah's three sons.  I will not comment on every name.


When the three sons of Noah are mentioned in the Bible, they're mentioned as Shem, Ham, and Japheth.  You might think that they are listed from oldest to youngest, but isn't so.   From chapter 9 verse 24 wee learn that Ham was the youngest.  From chapter 10 verse 21 we learn that Japheth was the oldest. 


Concerning the oldest and youngest of Noah's sons, Ham is mentioned in chapter 9 verse 24 as the youngest son, even though he is always mentioned second when listed with his brothers.  Clearly, the listing of Shem, Ham, and Japheth aren't in order of age.    


We also need to note that the names mentioned here are in terms of geography, that is, where these people eventually moved to and lived. 


We also see 70 names, (some say 68, 69, or even 71) names and families here.  This may not be a full accounting of all the families.  Many commentators suggest these are a select group of people, not the whole group.


To remind you, Japheth's descendents went westward into Europe, Ham's descendents went into Africa, and Shem's descendents located themselves in the middle east and far east.


As I said earlier, I won't comment on each name mentioned in chapter 10, only a few.  There are some discrepancies between scholars to where some of these people ended up.  Some are more obvious, with less of a debate, while others are hard to track down.  


Verse 2 introduces us to the sons of Japheth.   Gomer settled north of the Black Sea.  In verse 3 Askenez is a son of Gomer.  Germans came from this man.   


Also in verse 2 we see Magog.   Magog settled north of modern day Turkey and ended up in what is now known as Russia.  Magog is important in prophecy because it is mentioned a number of times in the Bible as one of the nations from the north that comes down to attack Israel at the end of this age.


We see the name Riphath.  The corruption of this name over time is how we get the name Europe.


In verse 2 we see the name Meshech.  Many scholars feel this name evolved into the city of Moscow. The Madai family are the Medes, as in Medes and Persian farther down the line in history.  They became Curds, many of which live in modern day Iraq.  


We see the name Javan in verse 4.  His descendents became Greeks.


Also in verse 4 we see Tarshish.  This is where Jonah went when he tried to escape from the will of  God.  Jonah went the opposite direction from Jerusalem.  Some think these people ended up in Spain.  Others actually feel these people migrated up into modern day England.   Stonehenge might well be a result of these people's work and activity. Around fifteen hundred B. C. there was much travel even up into modern day England.


Verse 6 begins the descendents of Ham.  One son of Ham was Cush.  These people probably settled around the area of Ethiopia. 


In verse 8 we have an insertion of a story that involves Nimrod, a son of Ham.   He was a mighty hunter.  The name Nimrod means "I will rebel."  Verse 9 says that he was a mighty man before the Lord, but his mightiness is seen in opposition to the Lord.


Verse 10 tells us that Nimrod's kingdom began around what became Babylon.  This appears to be the first attempt at a world empire.  This is where Babylon first begins.  Babylon is seen in Scripture as a man made society that is in direct opposition to the Kingdom of God.  We will learn more about this later.


Concerning Nimrod, we should note that he was a son of Ham, whoso son Canaan  was cursed by Noah.  It seems to me that the evil line that some see through Cain continues here in Ham. 


We see Canaan mentioned, the one who Noah cursed.  His descendents went to the near east and as far as the far east, which includes China.


Shem's descendents begin in verse 21.   We see Eber as one of Shem's sons.  The word Eber means "to cross over."  The word "Hebrew" comes from Eber.


Also in verse 21 we note that Japheth is the oldest of these three sons of Noah. 


Elam, in verse 22 became the Persians.


In verse 23 we see Uz.  Uz is where Job lived.


Again, in verse 24 we see Eber.  Abraham, the father of the Hebrews came from Eber.


In verse 25 we see Peleg, which means "divided".   This may have something to do with God dividing and scattering all people after the Tower of Babel events of chapter 11.   


Verse 32 tells us that from these three sons of Noah all the nations of the earth came from.  This leads to the natural question; "Did Noah have other sons after the flood, especially in light of the face that God told him to have more children?"  It would seem logical to me that he did have more sons.  If so, why aren't they mentioned here, and would not the nations of the world have come from them as well ?  We just don't know the answer to this, or at least, I don't know the answer at this time.  


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