Lectionary Calendar
Sunday, December 3rd, 2023
the First Week of Advent
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Bible Commentaries
Genesis 10

Kingcomments on the Whole BibleKingcomments

Verse 1

The Descendants of Noah

In this chapter God shows us the origins of the nations of the world. In this verse the sons of Noah are mentioned in order of importance.

Verses 2-5

The Descendants of Japheth

The descendants of Japheth are the first to be mentioned. Only four verses are dedicated to him. Of the predicted expansion (Genesis 9:27) does not seem to come too much for the time being. Yet that will be the case later, especially during the fourth world empire, that is the Roman empire.

The nations are divided over the earth, counted from Israel as the center of the nations and taking into account the number of Israelites (Deuteronomy 32:8; Ezekiel 5:5). The sons of Japheth settle north of Israel, far from it.

Verses 6-20

The Descendants of Cham

The descendants of Cham settled east and south of Israel. The prophecy of Noah does not seem to be fulfilled in the descendants of Cham either. There is no question of serving his brothers (Genesis 9:25-Daniel :) yet. His descendants provide impressive people. Thus Nebuchadnezzar, the ruler of the first empire, the Babylonian, is a descendant of Cham.

The enumeration of the names of the peoples is interrupted by the insertion of the history of Nimrod. He is the origin of the Babylonian realm and is “a mighty hunter before the LORD”. This has become a proverb for people who, in his footsteps, have established kingdoms on the cost of the blood of many people.

“Before the LORD” means in this context that he defies the LORD in the face with his conduct and deeds. He does not respect Him, nor subdues himself to Him, but subdues others to himself. He is the founder of the earliest power of an empire. He establishes the kingdom of Babylon (Genesis 10:10).

Nimrod is a hunter. A hunter sheds blood. Nimrod, the tyrant, first shed blood from animals. He will also trample people for the establishment of his empire.

People who want to build God’s kingdom are always shepherds. They give their own lives for those who are entrusted to their care. Examples of shepherds are: Abel, Jacob, Moses, David. The greatest example is the Lord Jesus, “the good Shepherd” (John 10:11; John 10:14).

Verses 21-31

The Descendants of Sem

A special characteristic of Shem is that he is the “father of all the children of Eber”. Eber – in other translations Heber – means something like ‘the area on the other side of a river, or the sea’ It is generally explained that Hebrew means something like ‘someone who is opposite’ and/or someone who has ‘crossed’. Abraham is the first to be called “Hebrew” (Genesis 14:13), which is a son of Heber. Abraham distinguishes himself by distancing himself from Babylon and ‘crossing’ a river. He ‘crosses’ from his homeland to a new area God designates him to (Joshua 24:2-Leviticus :).

In the days of “Peleg”, one of the sons of Heber, the earth, that is to say the earth population, is divided. This division is the result of God’s judgment about the tower building of Babel, about which the next chapter tells us. Eber, the pilgrim, will have condemned the pursuit of unity. In the name of his son the event is reflected. “Peleg” means “division”.

Verse 32


The enumeration of the nations ends with the recalling that all the generations are descendants of Noah and that the generations were formed into nations. After the flood, the nations that came forth from the sons of Noah spread out over the earth.

The division in the days of Peleg is the result of the tower construction of Babel which is described in the next chapter. With this striving for unity, people turn against God’s earlier command to spread themselves over the earth and to populate it.

Bibliographical Information
de Koning, Ger. Commentaar op Genesis 10". "Kingcomments on the Whole Bible". https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/kng/genesis-10.html. 'Stichting Titus' / 'Stichting Uitgeverij Daniël', Zwolle, Nederland. 2021.
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