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Bible Commentaries
Genesis 10

Trapp's Complete CommentaryTrapp's Commentary

Verse 1

Now these [are] the generations of the sons of Noah, Shem, Ham, and Japheth: and unto them were sons born after the flood.

And unto them were sons born after the flood. — Great store of sons: else how could they so soon have peopled the whole earth? See here the virtue of that divine benediction, Genesis 9:1 ; Genesis 9:7 .

Verse 2

The sons of Japheth; Gomer, and Magog, and Madai, and Javan, and Tubal, and Meshech, and Tiras.

The sons of Japheth. — Not all, but the chief men of renown, Ethnarchs: think the same of the other two sons of Noah: seventy-one of their posterity are here registered (fourteen of Japheth, thirty-one of Ham, and twenty-six of Shem); hence it went for current among the ancients (grounding upon Genesis 10:31-32 of this chapter) that the nations were afterwards distinguished by so many tongues and countries.

Verse 3

And the sons of Gomer; Ashkenaz, and Riphath, and Togarmah.

Ashkenaz.Hinc Tuiscones , or Duitschmen, say the Jews; making Ashkenaz the father of the Germans, as Gomer of the Cimbrians or Danes, and Meshec of the Muscovites. But of these things there is little certainty. See Breerwood’s Inquiries.

Verse 4

And the sons of Javan; Elishah, and Tarshish, Kittim, and Dodanim.

Elishah. — Whence the Eolians.

Tarshish. — Whence the Cilicians, where Tarsus (Paul’s country) was.

Kittim. — Whence the Macedonians. Numbers 24:24 Daniel 11:30

Dodanim. — Whence the Epirotes (Scanderberg’s country), where stands the city Dodaena.

Verse 5

By these were the isles of the Gentiles divided in their lands; every one after his tongue, after their families, in their nations.

By these were the isles of the Gentiles. — That is, the countries of Europe and Asia the Less, inhabited by Japheth’s posterity. Europe hath its name, in Greek, Eυρωπη , ex ευρεια et ωψ quasi dilatatio . from the latitude and large surface of it, which answers well to the name of Japheth (signifying enlargement), who, together with his offspring, was, by God’s appointment, to rule there far and wide toward the west and north. Asia hath its name from two Hebrew words that signify the fire of the Lord, àéä Ignis Domini Q. Curtius saith of Darius, that he called upon the sacred and eternal fire. which, in Persia and other parts thereof, they superstitiously deified. Asia the Less, was so called first by Attalus, king of Pergamus, who, being the last of that name and race, made the Romans his heirs by will. They turned his country into a province, and called it Asia, by the name of the continent - as devouring, doubtless in hope, that whole part of the world by this small beginning. Hence, likely, came that first distinction of the Lesser Asia.

Verse 6

And the sons of Ham; Cush, and Mizraim, and Phut, and Canaan.

Cush. — Ethiopians came of him. Psalms 7:1 . title Wicked Saul, for his black deeds, is called Cush. confer Jeremiah 13:23 Amos 9:7

Mizraim. — From whom came the Egyptians. Turks and Arabians call Egypt Mesra, or Masra, at this day. Chald. parap.

Verse 7

And the sons of Cush; Seba, and Havilah, and Sabtah, and Raamah, and Sabtecha: and the sons of Raamah; Sheba, and Dedan.

Seba. — Of whom seem to have come the Abassines in Africa, the only region there entirely possessed by Christians. Hence came the Queen of Sheba, …

Verse 8

And Cush begat Nimrod: he began to be a mighty one in the earth.

Nimrod, he began to be a mighty one. — His name signifies a rebel: he was the chief Babel builder, and there began to be a mighty one. A giant, saith the Greek, - such another as Goliath was in his generation, 1 Samuel 17:51 where the same word is used, - a magnifico, a grandio; such a one as sought to make himself great, even to a proverb. Genesis 10:9 But there is a double greatness; first, genuine; secondly, brutal. This latter is no such commendation; a beast in this may, and doth exceed us; as in the former, we exceed ourselves and others.

Verse 9

He was a mighty hunter before the LORD: wherefore it is said, Even as Nimrod the mighty hunter before the LORD.

He was a mighty hunter. — Of men, whose lives he sacrificed to his lust, not of beasts for sacrifice to the Lord, as Aben-Ezra will have it, and takes occasion thereupon highly to commend him. Epiphan. Heres., 38. But there wanted not those that commended Cain also for killing his brother, and were therefore called Cainites. Of others we read that extolled the Sodomites, Korah and his complices, Judas the traitor. Yea, there was one Bruno found that wrote an oration in commendation of the devil, who hath given him his reward, no doubt, by this, unless he recanted that monstrous madness.

Verse 10

And the beginning of his kingdom was Babel, and Erech, and Accad, and Calneh, in the land of Shinar.

And the beginning of his kingdom was Babel. — But not the end of it. Ambition is boundless, rides without reins, builds itself on the ruins of others, and cares not to swim to its design, though in a sea of blood. Crescit interea Roma Albae ruinis , begins one of Livy’s Decades.

Verse 11

Out of that land went forth Asshur, and builded Nineveh, and the city Rehoboth, and Calah,

Out of that land went forth Asshur. — Either because wickedness dwelt there, Zechariah 5:11 for Asshur was a son of Shem, and might have so much goodness in him; Genesis 10:22 or else he was hunted thence by Nimrod, who made himself the first monarch, and had Babel, in the land of Shinar, or Chaldea, for the beginning of his kingdom.

Verse 12

And Resen between Nineveh and Calah: the same [is] a great city.

The same is a great city. — As consisting of three cities, and having more people within the walls than are now in some one kingdom. See the greatness of this city set forth in the Preacher’s Travels , p. 89. The greatest city in the world at this day is said to be Quinsai, in Tartary, which is a hundred miles about, as M. Paulus Venetus writeth, who himself dwelt therein, about the year 1260. Cambula, the imperial city, and seat of the great Cham of Tartary, is in circuit twenty-eight miles about. Turk. Hist. , fol. 75. Nineveh was three days’ journey in Jonah’s days: now it is destroyed (as was long since prophesied by Nahum), being nothing else than a sepulchre of herself, a little town of small trade, where the Patriarch of the Nestorians keeps his seat at the devotion of the Turk. As Susa, in Persia, once a lily (as the name signifies), for the sweet sight, and so rich, as afterwards is reported, Genesis 11:3 is now called Valdac, of the poverty of the place. Preacher’s Travels, 88.

Verse 13

And Mizraim begat Ludim, and Anamim, and Lehabim, and Naphtuhim,

Ver. 13, 14, Ludim and Anamim. — Aben-Ezra thinks that these were names of provinces, and that in every province there was a family; whence also the names are all plural.

Verse 14

And Pathrusim, and Casluhim, (out of whom came Philistim,) and Caphtorim.

See Trapp on " Genesis 10:13 "

Verse 15

And Canaan begat Sidon his firstborn, and Heth,

Canaan begat Sidon. — Who built the city Sidon, in Phoenicia, near to Tyre, which afterwards contended with it for principality. It fell afterwards by lot to the tribe of Asher. Joshua 19:28

Verse 16

And the Jebusite, and the Amorite, and the Girgasite,

Ver. 16-18. These are those accursed nations. — Whose countries God afterwards gave to his people Israel, having "espied" it out of all lands for such a purpose. Ezekiel 20:6

Verse 17

And the Hivite, and the Arkite, and the Sinite,

Ver 17. See Trapp on " Genesis 10:16 "

Verse 18

And the Arvadite, and the Zemarite, and the Hamathite: and afterward were the families of the Canaanites spread abroad.

See Trapp on " Genesis 10:16 "

Verse 19

And the border of the Canaanites was from Sidon, as thou comest to Gerar, unto Gaza; as thou goest, unto Sodom, and Gomorrah, and Admah, and Zeboim, even unto Lasha.

And the border of the Canaanites. — Which was afterwards enlarged to the Israelites by the addition of two kingdoms beyond Jordan.

Verse 20

These [are] the sons of Ham, after their families, after their tongues, in their countries, [and] in their nations.

These are the sons of Ham. — More in number, and more sweetly situated, than the posterity of either Shem or Japheth: thirty sons and nephews of cursed Ham are here recited and registered, when of blessed Shem we find but twenty-six, and of Japheth but fourteen. And for their countries, Canaan hath the navel of the world ( sumen totius orbis , as one L. Flor, lib. i. cap. 16. See Deuteronomy 8:7-9 ; Deuteronomy 11:11-12 . calls that country), a land that floweth with milk for necessity, and honey for delight; where the hardest rocks sweat out honey and oil. Deuteronomy 32:13 Exodus 3:17 Nihil mollius coelo, nihil uberius solo , as Florus saith of Campania; a land that God had spied out among all lands for his own peculiar people, yea, for himself to dwell in. Lo, this was Ham’s possession, when his two better brethren dwelt in the more barren waste countries of the east and west. God deals by his people here as the host doth by his guests, who lets them have the best meats and fairest lodgings, but reserves the inheritance for his children. The Lord holds his servants to hard meat many times; but then they have it of free cost: whereas the wicked eat of the fat and drink of the sweet; but their "meat in their bowels is turned into the gall of asps, God shall cast it out of their bellies". Job 20:14-15 In fattening them he doth but fit them for destruction, as he did these Canaanites, whose pleasant land he afterwards made a spoil to his own Israel. They grew a burden to that good land, which therefore, for their wickedness, spued them out, Leviticus 18:25 after they had filled it from corner to corner with their abominable uncleannesses. Ezra 9:11

Verse 21

Unto Shem also, the father of all the children of Eber, the brother of Japheth the elder, even to him were [children] born.

Unto Shem also. — His issue is set down last, because to be most insisted on in the holy history.

Verse 22

The children of Shem; Elam, and Asshur, and Arphaxad, and Lud, and Aram.

Elam. — Father of the Persians, that warlike people, but worshippers of the sun. We read of a Persian ambassador, who, when he was among Christians, would have these words much in his mouth, Soli Deo gloria , cunningly, under that covert, giving honour to the sun.

Verse 23

And the children of Aram; Uz, and Hul, and Gether, and Mash.

Uz. — Haply Job’s country: for we can here but hariolari in re dubia , go by conjecture only.

Verse 24

And Arphaxad begat Salah; and Salah begat Eber.

And Arphaxad. — Held to be the father of the Chaldees.

Verse 25

And unto Eber were born two sons: the name of one [was] Peleg; for in his days was the earth divided; and his brother’s name [was] Joktan.

Peleg, for in his days was the earth divided. — Eber, of whom came the Hebrews or Israelites, Exodus 1:15 that he might have before his eyes a perpetual monument of God’s just displeasure against the ambitious Babel builders, calls his son Peleg, or Division, because in his days was the earth divided. It is good to write the remembrance of God’s worthy works, whether of mercy or justice, upon the names of our children, or otherwise as we can best, to put us in mind of them; for we need all help; such is either our dulness or forgetfulness. What was it else that made David so often to put the thorn to his breast? Psalms 103:1-3 And why would God have the plates of the censers of those sinners against their own souls, to be a covering to the altar, but to be a memorial to the children of Israel, that no stranger come near to offer incense, that he be not as Korah and his company, …? Numbers 16:38 ; Numbers 16:40

Verse 26

And Joktan begat Almodad, and Sheleph, and Hazarmaveth, and Jerah,

Joktan begat Almodad, … — This man with his sons may seem to have seated in the East Indies; but, fallen from Heber’s faith to heathenism, they are written in the dust: there is little mention of them in the Scriptures. They have lost their genealogy, as those degenerate priests, who in the time of the captivity took scorn to be in the register, and were therefore worthily afterwards rejected by the Tirshatha. Ezra 2:62-63

Bibliographical Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Genesis 10". Trapp's Complete Commentary. https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jtc/genesis-10.html. 1865-1868.
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