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Bible Commentaries
Genesis 10

Kretzmann's Popular Commentary of the BibleKretzmann's Commentary

Verses 1-5

The Sons of Japheth

v. 1. Now these are the generations of the sons of Noah, Shem, Ham, and Japheth; and unto them were sons born after the Flood.

v. 2. The sons of Japheth, who in this chronological table is named first, as the oldest, while in the other table Shem is mentioned first, as the progenitor of the children of Israel: Gomer, and Magog, and Madai, and Javan, and Tubal, and Yeshech, and Tiras. The descendants of these men have been identified respectively, and with some show of probability, as the Cimmerians of Asia Minor, with whom the Cymry of Wales and Brittany and the Cimbri of ancient Germany are related, as the Scythians of Southern Russia, as the Medes south of the Caspian Sea, as the Graeco-Italian family of nations, and as the Iberians, Georgians, and Armenians of Asia Minor.

v. 3. And the sons of Gomer: Ashkenaz, and Riphath, and Togarmah, whose descendants were probably the Askanians in Northern Phrygia, the Celts, or Gauls, and the major part of the Armenian nation.

v. 4. And the sons of Javan: Elishah, and Tarshish, Kittim, and Dodanim, from whom the Aeolians of Greece (Thessaly), the ancient Spanish nations, the Cyprians and the Carians, and the Dardanians, or Trojans, are possibly descended.

v. 5. By these were the isles of the Gentiles divided in their lands, every one after his tongue, after their families, in their nations. From the Japhetites there have descended and then have separated themselves the nations along the Mediterranean Sea, each one according to its own language, according to its generations in its nations.

Verses 6-14

The Sons of Ham

v. 6. And the sons of Ham: Cush, and Mizraim, and Phut, and Canaan. Their descendants are to be found later in Ethiopia, Egypt, Libya, and the land of Canaan.

v. 7. And the sons of Cush: Seba, and Havilah, and Sabtah, and Raamah, and Sabtechah; and the sons of Ra amah: Sheba and Dedan. Their descendants afterward lived in Northeastern Africa, in Arabia, and along the Gulf of Persia.

v. 8. And Cush begat Nimrod; he began to be a mighty one in the earth.

v. 9. He was a mighty hunter before the Lord; wherefore it is said, Even as Nimrod, the mighty hunter before the Lord.

v. 10. And the beginning of his kingdom was Babel, and Erech, and Accad, and Calneh, in the land of Shinar. One son of Cush is here singled out on account of his extraordinary ability and mighty conquests. This was Nimrod, whose feats of hunting were not only so unusual as to become proverbial among all the nations of his day, but who also established a great kingdom on the Euphrates and Tigris rivers, with Babylon as its capital and other mighty cities, the ruins of which have in part been discovered. But his work was undertaken over against God, in opposition to Jehovah, in the haughtiness and pride of his own mind, a fact which also made him a tyrant toward men, as the text implies.

v. 11. Out of that land went forth Asshur, and builded Nineveh, and the city Rehoboth, and Calah,

v. 12. and Resen between Nineveh and Calah; the same is a great city. Out of the land of Babylon Nimrod, not satisfied with his conquests, marched forth into the land toward the north, which was afterwards known as Asshur, or Assyria. Here he built the great city of Nineveh, which consisted of four quarters, Nineveh proper, the southern section, Rehoboth, the eastern section, Calah, toward the north, and Resen, in the center. So great was this complex of cities that it was afterward described as having a circumference of four hundred and eighty stadia, or about fifty-five miles, which agrees well with the account in the book of Jonah, Genesis 3:3.

v. 13. And Mizraim begat Ludim, and Anamim, and Lehabim, and Baphtuhim,

v. 14. and Pathrusim, and Casluhim, (out of whom came Philistim,) and Caphtorim. These nations were afterwards found in Egypt proper, along the Mediterranean toward the northwest and northeast as far as Philistia, and on the islands of the Mediterranean.

Verses 15-20

The Sons of Canaan

v. 15. And Canaan begat Sidon, his first-born, and Heth,

v. 16. and the Jebusite, and the Amorite, and the Girgasite,

v. 17. and the Hivite, and the Arkite, and the Sinite,

v. 18. and the Arvadite, and the Zemarite, and the Hamathite; and afterward were the families of the Canaanites spread abroad. This explains the origin of the Phenicians on the eastern coast of the Mediterranean, of the Hittites, whose various branches were found throughout Asia Minor, Syria, and Canaan, some of them occupying the hill land of Judah in the neighborhood of Hebron, of the Jebusites, who lived in the country where Jerusalem was afterward built, of the Amorites on the mountains of Judah and far beyond the Jordan, of the Girgasites, who may have occupied the country southeast of the Sea of Galilee, of the Hivites, who lived from Gibeon to the foot of Herman, of the Arkites, north of Sidon, of the Sinites and Zemarites, who lived well into what was later Northern Syria and Cilicia, of the Arvadites, farthest north of all these tribes, of the Hamathites, on the river Orontes. All these tribes and nations came into existence as the children of Canaan left the home of their fathers and sought their own places to live.

v. 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. These are the general boundaries of the Canaanites, who later gave the children of Israel so much trouble: from Sidon in Phenicia to Gaza in Philistia, and including the country toward the west as far as the later location of the Dead Sea.

v. 20. These are the sons of Ham, after their families, after their tongues, in their countries, and in their nations.

Verses 21-32

The Sons of Shem

v. 21. Unto Shem also, the father of all the children of Eber, the brother of Japheth the elder, even to him were children born. Shem is here called the father of all the children of Eber, the Hebrews in the wider sense of the word, because Eber, through his sons Peleg and Joktan, was the progenitor of two distinct series of peoples, the Joktanites of Arabia and the Abrahamites, afterward the children of Israel.

v. 22. The children of Shem: Elam, and Asshur, and Arphaxad, and Lud, and Aram. The nations, or tribes, which descended from them were afterward found in the Persian country of Elymais, in Assyria, in Chaldea, in Lydia in Asia Minor, and in Syria, respectively.

v. 23. And the children of Aram: Uz, and Hul, and Gether, and Mash. These names, as found in various accounts, point to the fact that the tribes descending from Aram gradually moved toward the east and northeast.

v. 24. And Arphaxad begat Salah; and Salah begat Eber. The two names Salah (sending forth) and Eber (passing over) may indicate that the emigration of tribes in one large movement, as spoken of in the next Chapter, took place at this time.

v. 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. Eber probably took part in the great Babylonian emigration, or he named his older son Peleg (division), with reference, undoubtedly, to the division and confusion brought about in consequence of the interference of God.

v. 26. And Joktan begat Almodad, and Sheleph, and Hazarmaveth, and Jerah,

v. 27. and Hadoram, and Uzal, and Diklah,

v. 28. and Obal, and Abimael, and Sheba,

v. 29. and Ophir, and Havilah, and Jobab: all these were the sons of Joktan.

v. 30. And their dwelling was from Mesha, as thou goest unto Sephar, a mount of the east. of the thirteen names in this list several have been preserved in various parts of Arabia, and so the Arabians are the Joktanites, descendants of Shem.

v. 31. These are the sons of Shem, after their families, after their tongues, in their lands, after their nations.

v. 32. These are the families of the sons of Noah, after their generations, in their nations: and by these were the nations divided in the earth after the Flood. This is the Lord's own genealogical table, and it has not yet been superseded. The most careful work on the part of archeologists has rather confirmed the Biblical account in every item. All the nations of men that dwell on the earth have come from one blood, Acts 17:26.

Bibliographical Information
Kretzmann, Paul E. Ph. D., D. D. "Commentary on Genesis 10". "Kretzmann's Popular Commentary". https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/kpc/genesis-10.html. 1921-23.
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