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Bible Commentaries
Genesis 10

Lange's Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal and HomileticalLange's Commentary

Verses 1-32


The Ethnological Table.

Genesis 10:1-32

1Now these are the generations [genealogies] of the sons of Noah; [they were] Shem, Ham, and Japheth; and unto them were sons born after the flood.

1. The Japhethites (Genesis 10:2-5).

2The Sons of Japheth; Gomer [the Cimmerians, in the Taurian Chersonesus; Crimea], and Magog [Scythians], and Madai [Medes], and Javan [Ionians], and Tubal [Tibereni], and Meschech 3[Moschi], and Tiras [Thracians]. And the sons of Gomer1; Ashkenaz1 [Germans, Asen], and Riphath [Celts, Paphlagonians], and Togarmah [Armenians]. 4And the sons of Javan2; Elishah2 [Elis, Æolians], and Tarshish [Tartessus; Knobel: Etruscans], Kittim [Cyprians, Carians], and Dodanim [Dardanians]. 5By these Were the isles [dwellers on the islands and the coasts] of the Gentiles [the heathen] divided3 in their lands; every one after his tongue, after their families, in their nations.

2. The Hamites (Genesis 10:6-20).

6And the sons of Ham; Cush [Æthiopians], and Mizraim4 [Egyptians], and Phut 7[Lybians], and Canaan [Canaanites, Lowlanders]. And the sons of Cush; Seba [Meroe], and Havilah [Abyssinians], and Sabtah [Æthiopians in Sabotha], and Raamah [Eastern Arabians], and Sabtecha [Æthiopian Caramanians]: and the sons of Raamah; Sheba and Dedan 8[Sabæan and Dadanic Cushites, on the Persian Gulf]. And Cush begat Nimrod [we will rebel]: Hebrews 9:0 began to be a mighty one in the earth. He was [he became] a mighty hunter before the Lord5; wherefore it is said, Even as Nimrod [is he] the mighty hunter before the Lord. 10And the beginning of his kingdom was Babel [Babylon, see ch. xi. 9], and Erech [Orchoe], and Accad, and Calneh [Ktesiphon], in the land of Shinar [Babylonia]. 11Out of that land went forth Asshur6 [Assyrians], and builded Nineveh [city of Ninus], and the city Rehoboth 12[city markets], and Calah [Kelach and Chalach; completion], And Resen [bridle] between Nineveh and Calah; the same is a great city. 13And Mizraim begat Ludim [Berbers? Mauritanian races], and Anamim [inhabitants of the Delta], and Lehabim [Libyans of Egypt], and Naphtuhim 14[middle or lower Egyptians], And Pathrusim [upper Egyptians], and Casluhim [Cholcians], out of whom came Philistim [emigrants, new comers], and Caphtorim [Cappadocians? Cretans?]. 15And Canaan begat Sidon [Sidonians, fishers?] his firstborn, and Heth [Hittites, terror], 16And the Jebusite [Jebus, Jerusalem, threshing-floor], and the Amorite [inhabitants of the hills], and the Girgasite [clay, or marshy soil], 17And the Hivite [paganus?], and the Arkite [inhabitants of Arka, at the foot of Lebanon], and the Sinite [in Sinna, upon Lebanon], 18And the Arvadite Arabians on the island Arados, north of Tripolis], and the Zemarite [inhabitants of Simyra, on the western foot of Lebanon], and the Hamathite [Hamath, on the northern border of Palestine]: and afterwards were the families of the Canaanites spread abroad. 19And the border of the Canaanites was from Sidon as thou comest to Gerar [city of the Philistines], unto Gaza [city of Philistines, stronghold]; as thou goest unto Sodom [city of burning], and Gomorrah [city of the wood], and Admah [in the territory of Sodom, Adamah?], and Zeboim [city of gazelles or hyenas], even unto Lasha [on the east of the Dead Sea, earth cleft]. 20These are the sons of Ham, after their families, after their tongues, in their countries, and in their nations.

3. The Shemites (Genesis 10:21-31).

21Unto Shem also, the father of all the children of Eber [on the other side], the brother of Japheth the elder [Lange, more correctly, translates, elder brother of Japheth], even to him were children born. 22The children of Shem; Elam [Elymæans, Persians], and Asshur [Assyrians], and Arphaxad [Arrapachitis, in Northern Assyria, fortress, or territory of the Chaldæans], and Lud 23[Lydians in Asia Minor], and Aram [Aramæans in Syria, highlanders]. And the children o Aram; Uz [Aisites? native country of Job], and Hul [Celo-Syria], and Gether [Arabians], and Mash 24[Mesheg, Syrians]. And Arphaxad begat Salah [sent forth]; and Salah begat Eber [from the other side, emigrant, pilgrim]. 25And unto Eber were born two sons: the name of the one was Peleg [division]; for in his days was the earth divided; and his brother’s name was Joktan [diminished; by the Arabians called Kachtan, ancestor of all the Arabian tribes]. 26And Joktan begat Almodad [measured], and Sheleph [Salapenians, old Arabian tribe of Yemen, drawers of the sword], and Hazarmaveth [Hadramath, in S. E. Arabia, court of death], and Jerah [worshipper of the moon, on 27 the Red Sea], and Hadoram [Atramites, on the south coast of Arabia], and Uzal [Sanæ, a city in Yemen], 28and Diklah [a district in Arabia, place of palm-trees], And Obal [in Arabia, stripped of leaves], and Abimael [in Arabia, father of Mael, the Minæans?], and Sheba [Sabæans, with their capital city, Saba], 29And Ophir [in Arabia, probably on the Persian Gulf], and Havilah [probably Chaulan, a district between Sanæ and Mecca, or the Chaulotæ, on the border of stony Arabia], and Jobab: all these were sons of Joktan. 30And their dwelling was from Mesha [according to Gesenius, Mesene, on the Persian Gulf], as thou goest unto Sephar [Himyaric royal city in the Indian Sea, Zhafar], a mount of the east. 31These are the sons of Shem, after their families, after their tongues, in their lands, after their nations. 32These are the families of the sons of Noah, after their generations [genealogies], in their nations: and by these were the nations divided in the earth after the flood.


1. The Literature.—See Matthew, p. 19; the present work, p. 119; Kurtz: “History of the Old Testament,” p. 88; Knobel, p. 107; Keil, p. 108; a full and well-arranged survey see in Delitzsch, p. 287; also the notes in Delitzsch, p. 629. See also the articles, Babel, Babylon, Nineveh, and Mesopotamia, in Herzog’s Real-Encyclopedia. Layard’s account of “Excavations at Nineveh,” together with the “Description of a Visit to the Chaldæan Christians in Kurdistan, and to the Jezidi or Worshippers of Satan.” German of Meissner, Leipsic, 1852. Here belong also the “Ethnographical Works, or the National Characteristics,” etc: Lazarus and Steinthal. “Journal of Popular Psychology.” Berlin: Dumler, 1859. Berghaus, Friedrich von Raumer, Vorlander, and others.

2. The basis of the genealogical table. According to Hävernik and Keil, this document was grounded on very old tradition, and had its origin in the time of Abraham. According to Knobel, the knowledge of the nations that is represented in it, had its origin, in great part, in the connection of the Hebrews with the Phœnician Canaanites. Delitzsch assigns its composition to the days of Joshua. The signs of a high antiquity for this table present themselves unmistakably in its ground features. There belong here: 1. The small development of the Japhethan line; on which it may be remarked, that they were the people with whom the Phœnicians maintained the most special intercourse; 2. the position of the Æthiopians at the head of the Hamites, the historical notices of Nimrod, as also the supposition that Sodom and Gomorrah were then existing; 3. the discontinuance of the Jewish line with Peleg, as well as the accurate familiarity with the branching of the Arabian Joktanites, who have as much space assigned to them alone as to all the Japhethites, when for the commercial Phœnicians they would be of least significance. The table indicates various circles of tradition—more universal and more special. The Japhethan groups appear least developed. Besides the seven sons, the grandchildren of Japheth are given only in the descendants of Gomer and Javan, in the people of anterior Asia, and in the inhabitants of the coasts and islands of the Mediterranean Sea. Magog, Madai, Thubal, Meshech, and Tiras are carried no farther. The table certifies a very copious tradition of the Hamites. First, there are mentioned the four sons of Ham, then five sons of his firstborn, Cush, then the two sons of Raamah, the fourth son of Cush. These two are, therefore, great-grandchildren of Ham. Nimrod is next presented as a specially prominent son of Cush. Then follows the second son of Ham, Mizraim, with six sons. The sixth, Casluhim, is again presented in the mention of the Philistim and Caphtorim, who are, therefore, also great-grandchildren of Ham. Phut, the fourth son of Ham, is the only one who is carried no farther. The fifth, Canaan, appears with eleven sons; namely, Sidon, the ancestor of the Phœnicians, and the heads of the other Canaanitish tribes. Shem, finally, has five sons, of whom, again, Elam, Asshur, and Lud, are no farther developed. The line of his son, Aram, appears in four sons, grandchildren of Shem. Of the sons of Shem, Arphaxad is treated as most important. The line goes from Shem through Arphaxad and Salah, even to the great-grandchild, Eber. Eber forms the most important point of connection in the Shemitic line. With his son Peleg the earth is divided; that is, there is formed the strong monotheistic, Abrahamic line, in contrast with the line of his brother Joktan and the Arabian Joktanites. Joktan is developed in thirteen sons, great-grandchildren of Shem.
From this survey it appears: 1. That the table has a clear and full view of the three ground-types or points of departure of the Noachian humanity—Shem, Ham, Japheth. It however, inverts the order of the names, because Shem, as the ancestor of the people of the promise, is the peculiar point of aim in the representation. Japheth, however, comes first, because, since the history of Israel stands in nearest reciprocal connection with that of the Hamites, the Japhethites in this respect take the background. 2. The table has, in like manner, a clear view of the nearest descendants of the three sons of Noah, of the seven sons of Japheth, of the four sons of Ham, and the five sons of Shem. It presents us, therefore, the sixteen ground-forms of commencing national formations. 3. In the case of five sons of Japheth, one son of Ham, and three sons of Shem, the genealogy is not carried beyond the grandchildren. 4. In respect to the Japhethites, it does not, generally, go beyond the grandchildren; among the Hamites it passes through the grandchild, Raamah, to the great-grandchildren; so, likewise, through the grandchildren, the Casluhim; among the Shemites, through Arphaxad, it proceeds to the great-great-grandchildren, and these, through the great-great-grandchild, Joktan, are carried one step farther. 5. The table occupies itself least with the Japhethans; beyond the Medes, the people of Middle Asia and the eastern nations generally come no farther into the account. It appears, however, to have little familiarity with the Phœnicians proper, since it only makes mention of Sidon, whilst it exhibits a full acquaintance with the Egyptians, with the inhabitants of Canaan, and with the Arabian tribes. In this peculiar form of the table lies the mark of its very high antiquity. 6. It contains three fundamental geographical outlines, one political, and besides this, an important theocratic-ethnographic notice. Geographical: 1. The mention of the spreading of the Javanites (Ionians) over the isles and coasts of the Mediterranean; 2. the spreading of the Canaanites in Canaan; 3. the extension of the Joktanites in Arabia. Political: The first founding of cities (or states) by Nimrod. Theocratic: The division of the world in the time of Peleg, the ancestor of Abraham.

Kurtz recommends the following as fundamental positions in deciding on the names in the ethnological table: 1. The names denote, for the most part, groups of people, whose name is carried back to the ancestor; the race, together with the ancestor, forming one united conception. 2. Moreover, the one designation for a land and its inhabitants, must not be misapprehended; for example, the names Canaan, Aram, etc., pass over from the land to the people, and then from the people to the ancestor. 3. In general, the table proceeds from the status in quo of the present, solving the problem of national origin formally in the way of evolution (unity for multiplicity), but materially in the way of reduction, in that it carries back to unity the nations that lie within the horizon of the conceiving beholder. The last position, however, hardly holds of the sons of Noah himself; just as little can it be applied to the genealogies of the Shemitic branching. In regard, then, to the sources of the table, Kurtz also remarks: “together with Hengstenberg and Delitzsch, we regard the sources of this ethnological table to have been the patriarchal traditions, enriched by the knowledge of the nations that had reached the Israelites through the Egyptians. Hengstenberg had already begun to make available, in proof of this origin, the knowledge of the peoples that was expressed on the Egyptian monuments. In assigning its composition (as a constituent element of Genesis) to about the year 1000 b. c., Knobel must naturally regard the ethnological knowledge of the Phœnicians as its true source.” On the significance of the table, the same writer (Kurtz) remarks: “Now that the sacred history is about to leave the nations to go their own way, the preservation of their names indicates, that notwithstanding this, they are not wholly lost to it, and that they are not forgotten in the counsel of everlasting love. Its interest for the Old Testament history consists particularly in this, that it presents so completely the genealogical position which Israel holds among the nations of the earth. It is, moreover, like the primitive history everywhere, in direct contrast with the philosophemes and myths of the heathen.” In relation to the idea, that henceforth the nations are to be suffered to go their own way, Keil reminds us of Acts 14:16; in relation to the prospect of their restoration, he describes the ethnological table as a preparation for the promise of the blessing which is to go forth from the promised race over all the races of the earth (Gen 12:23). For the historicalness of the ethnological table, Keil presents the following arguments: 1. That there is no trace of any superiority claimed for the Shemites; 2. no trace of any design to fill up any historical gaps by conjecture or poetic invention. This is seen in the great differences in the narration as respects the individual sons of Noah; in one case, there is mention made only to the second; then again to the third and fourth member; of many the ancestors are particularly mentioned; whilst in other cases the national distinctions alone are specified; so that in respect to many names we are unable to decide whether it is the people or the ancestor that is meant to be denoted; and this is especially so because, by reason generally of the scantiness and unreliability of ancient accounts that have come down to us from other sources concerning the origin and commencements of the nations, many names cannot be satisfactorily determined as to what people they really belong.

Against the certainty of this ethnological table, there have been made to bear the facts of linguistic affinity. The Phœnicians and the Canaanites are assigned to Ham, but their language is Shemitic. Tuch ascribes this position of the people aforesaid among the Hamites to the Jewish national hatred, and would regard it as false. But on the contrary, it must be remembered that the Jews, notwithstanding their national hatred, never denied their kinsmanship with the Edomites and others. Knobel solves the philological problem by the supposition that the Canaanites who migrated to that country might have received the Shemitic language from Shemites who had previously settled there. Add to this that the affinity of the Phœnicians and Canaanites with the Hamitic nations of the south seems to be established (Kurtz, p. 90; Kaulen, p. 235). As to what concerns the Elamites on the Persian Gulf, we must distinguish them from the eastern Japhethic Persians. Besides these philological difficulties, there has been set in opposition to the ethnological table the hypothesis of autochthonic human races. We have already spoken of this. And again, say some, how, in the space of four hundred years, from Noah till the Patriarchal time, could such a formation of races have been completed? On that we would remark, in the first place, that the American and Malayan races have only been known since the time of modern voyages of discovery. The Mongolian race, too, does not come into the account in the patriarchal age. There is, therefore, only the contrast between the Caucasian and the Æthiopic. For the clearing up of this difficulty, it is sufficient to note: 1. The extraordinary difference, which, in the history of Noah, immediately ensued between Shem and Japheth on the one side, and Ham on the other; 2. the progressive specializing of the Hamitic type in connection with the Hamitic spiritual tendency towards its passional and the sensual; 3. the change that took place in the Hamitic type in its original yielding conformity to the effect of a southern climate. The Hamitic type had, moreover, its universal sphere as the Æthiopic race; this constituted its developed ground-form, whilst single branches, on the other hand, through a progress of ennobling, might make an approach to the Caucasian cultivation.7 That Shem and Japheth, however, in their nobler tendency, should unite in one Caucasian form, is not to be wondered at. The great difference between the Shemitic type and the Japhethan, as existing within the Caucasian, is, notwithstanding, fully acknowledged. Since, however, the Shemitic type in its nobler branches, may make transitions to the Caucasian; so also may separations from the Japhethic and Shemitic form, perhaps, the Mongolian and the American races, in consequence of a common tendency (see Kurtz, p. 80. “The Direction of the Noachidæ.”)

There have also been objected to the table chronological difficulties; in so far as it forms a middle point for the assumption of Jewish and Christian chronology. According to Bunsen, the time before Christ must be reckoned at 20,000 years,—namely, to the flood, 10,000, and from the flood to Abraham, 7,000 (see, on the contrary, Delitzsch, p. 291). Taking these 20,000 years, the ante-Christian humanity loses itself in a Thohu Vabohu running through many thousand years of an unhistorical, beastly existence, wherein the human spirit fails to find any recognition of its nobility.

Delitzsch, in his admirable section on the ethnological table, remarks, p. Genesis 286: “The line of the promise with its chosen race, must be distinguished from the confusion of the Gentiles; such is the aim of this great genealogical chart, and in accordance with which it is constructed. It is a fundamental characteristic of Israel, that it is to embrace all nations as partakers of a like salvation in a participation of hope and love,—an idea unheard of in all antiquity beside.8 The whole ancient world has nothing to show of like universality with this table. The earth-describing sections of the Epic poems of the Hindoos, and some of the Puranas, go greatly astray, even in respect to India, whilst the nearest lands are lost in the wild and monstrous account that is given of them. Their system of the seven world islands (dvîpas) that lay around the Meru, seems occupied with the worlds of gods and genii rather than with the world of man. (Lassen, in the “Journal of Oriental Knowledge,” i. p. 341; Wilson, The Vishnu Purana). Nowhere is there to be found so unique a derivation of the national masses, or so universal a survey of the national connections. A tinge of hopeful green winds through the arid desert of this ethnological register. It presents in perspective the prospect that these far-sundered ways of the nations shall, at the last, come together at the goal which Jehovah has marked. Therefore does Baumgarten complete the saying of Johannes von Müller, “that history has its beginning in this ethnological table,” with a second equally true, “that in it also, as its closing limit, shall history find its end.” We may undervalue this table if we overlook the fact that, in its actual historical and ethnological ground-features it presents, symbolically, a universal image of the one humanity in its genealogical divisions. We may overvalue it, or rather, set a false value upon it, when we attempt to trace back to it, with full confidence, all the known nations now upon the earth. Even the number 70, as the universal symbol of national existences, can only be deduced from it by an artificial method; as, for example, in Delitzsch, p. 289. It is only in the symbolical sense that the catalogue may be regarded as amounting to this number.

Neither can we derive this subdividing the nations to such a multiplicity of national life, from the confusion of languages at Babel. The natural subdivision of the people has something of an ideal aspect; the increased impulse given to it at Babel had its origin in sin. We regard it, therefore, as a strong proof of the canonical intuition that this ethnological table precedes instead of following the history of the tower-building. Kurtz treats the history of Babel as earlier than that of the register; and Keil, too, would seem inclined to identify the diversity of the nations with the confusion of tongues (p. 107).
After these general remarks, we will confine ourselves to the most necessary particulars.


1.Genesis 10:2-5.—The Japhethites.—Gomer.—The Cimbri, as well as the Cumry or Cymry in Wales, and in Bretagne, are to be regarded as in relation with the Cimmerians; They represent the north-western portion of the Japhethan territory.—Magog appears to represent the whole northeast, as the Scythians, in the most general way, denote the cycle of the northeastern nations. “The Sarmatians, for the most part, lie to the west. The chief people in the army of Gog, Ezekiel 38:2-3; Ezekiel 39:1, is רֹאשׁ, that is the Rossi, or Russians.” Knobel.—Madai; the Medes, who inhabit the south and Southwest.—Javan, belonging to the south, the Græco-Italian family of nations.—Thubal and Meshech as well as Thogarma, inhabiting the middle tracts: Iberians, or Tahomans, Armenians, Pontus, the districts of Asia Minor generally.—Gomer’s Sons: Ashkenaz is referred to the Germans, by others to Asia Minor, the Asiones. Ashkenaz is explained by Knobel as denoting the race of Asen. The oldest son of the Germanic Mannus was called Iskus, equivalent to Ask, Ascanios.—Riphat is referred by Knobel to the Celts, by Josephus to the Paphlagonians; in which there is no contradiction, since the Celts also (the Gauls) had a home in Asia (Galatia).—Thogarma.—The Armenians to this day call themselves the House of Thorgom or Thorkomatsi.—Sons of Javan: Elisa is referred to Elis and to the Æolians, Tarshish to Tartessus, and also to the Etruscans, whom, nevertheless, Delitzsch holds to have been Shemites; Kittim is referred to the Cyprians and the Carians; Dodanim to the Dardanians.

2.Genesis 10:6-20.—The Hamites. The three first sons of Ham settled in Northern Africa. 1. The Æthiopians of the upper Nile; 2. the Egyptians of the lower Nile; 3. the Libyans, west of the Egyptians, in the east of Northern Africa. The Cushites appear to have removed from the high northeast (Cossæ), passing over India, Babylonia, and Arabia, in their course towards the south; for “in these lands the ancients recognized a dark-colored people, who were designated by them as Æthiopians, and who have since, in part, perished, whilst a few have kept their place to this day.” Knobel.—Mizraim.—The name denotes narrowing, enclosing; its dual form denotes the double Egypt (upper and lower Egypt); Αἴγυπτος is probably from Kah-ptah, land of Ptah. The old Egyptian name is Kemi, Chemi, (with reference to Ham).—Canaan.—Between the Mediterranean Sea and the western shore of Jordan.—The name Pœni (Puni), allied to φόνος, blood, and φοινος, blood-red, denotes the Phœnicians in their original Hamitic color.—Sons of Cush. Seba.—Meroë, which, at one time, according to Josephus, was called Seba.—Chavila.—In the Septuagint, Εὐϊλα. The Macrobians (or long living), Æthiopians of the modern Abyssinia.—Sabta.—Sabbata, a capital city in Southern Arabia. “To this day there is in Yemen and Hadramaut a dark race of men who are distinct from the light-colored Arabians. So it is also in Oman on the Persian Gulf.” Knobel.—Raamah.—Septuagint: ‘Ρεγμα, in Southeastern Arabia—Oman. There, too, there are obscure indications of Raamah’s sons Sheba and Dedan.—Sabtecha.—Dark-colored men on the east side of the Persian Gulf, in Caramania.—Aside from these, Nimrod is also made prominent as a son of Cush, Genesis 10:8-12. Knobel regards this section as a Jehovistic interpolation, and so does Delitzsch. The name Jehovah, however, as occurring here, is no proof of such a fact; it comes naturally out of the accompanying thoughts. The only thing remarkable is, that Nimrod is not named in immediate connection with the other sons of Cush, but that the two sons of Raamah go before him. It is, however, easy enough to be understood, that the narrator wished first to dispose of this lesser reference.9 Interruptions similar to it are of repeated occurrence in the table, as is the case also in other genealogies (1 Chronicles 2:7; 1 Chronicles 23:4; 1 Chronicles 23:22).—He was a mighty hunter.—“The author presents Nimrod as the son of Cush, putting him far back before the time of Abraham, and assigns him to the Æthiopian race. In fact, the classical writers recognize Æthiopians in Babylonia in the earliest times. They speak, especially, of an Æthiopian king, Cepheus, who belongs to the mythical time, and there is mention of a trace of the Cephenians as existing to the north of Babylon.” Knobel. In the expression, “he began to be a hero, or a mighty one upon the earth,” there is no occasion for calling him a “postdiluvian Lamech” (Delitzsch). He began the unfolding of an extraordinary power of will and deed, in the fact mentioned, that he became a mighty hunter in the presence of Jehovah. The hunting of ravenous beasts was in the early time a beneficent act for the human race. Powerful huntsmen appear as the pioneers of civilization; a fact which clearly proclaims itself in the myth of Hercules. And so the expression, “Nimrod was a mighty hunter before Jehovah,” may mean, that he was one who broke the way for the future institutions of worship and culture which Jehovah intended in the midst of a wild and uncultivated nature. There is another interpretation: he was so mighty a hunter, that even by Jehovah, to whom, in other respects, nothing is distinguished, he was recognized as such (Knobel; Delitzsch); but this seems to us to have little or no meaning. Keil holds fast to the traditional interpretation: in defiance of Jehovah, and, at the same time, takes the literal sense of animal-hunting in connection with the tropical sense of hunting men, so that he explains it, with Herder, as meaning an ensnarer of men by fraud and force. Neither the expression itself, nor the proverb: “like Nimrod, a mighty hunter before the Lord,” justifies this view. By such a proverb, there may be denoted a praiseworthy, Herculean pioneer of culture, as well as a blameworthy and violent despot. In truth, the chase of the animals was, for Nimrod, a preparatory exercise for the subjugation of men. “For him and his companions, the chase was a training for war, as we are told by Xenophon (Kunegete, C. i.), the old heroes were pupils of Chiron, and so, μαθηταὶ κυνηγεσίων, disciples of the chase.” Delitzsch.—And the beginning of his kingdom was Babel.—Knobel: “His first kingdom in contrast with his second.” This, however, is not necessarily involved in the expression, “the beginning.” It denotes rather the basis. In thus playing the hero, Nimrod established, in the first place, a kingdom that embraced Babel, that is, Babylon, Erech, or Orech, in the southwest of Babylonia, Akkad (in respect to situation ’Ακκήτη), in a northern direction, and in the Northeast, Calneh, in respect to territory corresponding to Chalonitis, or Ktisiphon, on the east shore of the Tigris. This establishment of an empire transforming the patriarchal clan-governments into one monarchy is not to be thought of as happening without force. The hunter becomes a subjugator of men, in other words, a conqueror.—Out of that land went forth Asshur. [Lange translates: Out of that land went he forth towards Asshur.]—The Septuagint, Vulgate, and many interpreters (Luther, Calvin) regard Asshur as the grammatical subject, and give it the sense: Asshur went forth from Shinar. On the contrary, the Targum of Onkelos, Targum of Jonathan, and many other authorities, (Baumgarten, Delitzsch, Knobel) have rightly recognized Nimrod as the subject. Still, it does not seem clear, when Knobel supposes that Nimrod had left his first kingdom for the sake of founding a second. Moreover, it is not to be supposed that he barely extended his rule over an uninhabited territory for the purpose of colonizing it. It was rather characteristic of Nimrod, that he should seek still more strongly to appropriate to himself the occupied district of Assyria by the establishment of cities. The first city was Nineveh (at this day the ruin-district called Nimrud), above the place where the Lycus flows into the Tigris; the second was Rehoboth, probably east of Nineveh; the third Calah, northward in the district of Kalachan, in which there is found the place of ruins called Khorsabad; the fourth was Resen, between Nineveh and Calah.—The same is a great city.—The first suggested sense would seem to denote Resen as the great city, or as the greater city in relation to the others named with it. On the contrary, remarks Knobel: Resen is nowhere else mentioned as known to antiquity, and could not possibly have been so distinguished, as to be called in this short way the great city. Rather does the expression denote the four cities taken together, as making Nineveh in the wider sense, and which, both by Hebrews and Assyrians, was thus briefly called the great city.” According to Ktesias, it had a circumference of four hundred and eighty stadia (twenty-four leagues), with which there well agrees the three days’ journey of Jonah 3:3; it embraced the quarter founded by Nimrod, out of which it grew in the times that followed Nimrod, when the Assyrian kings gradually combined the four places into one whole; thus the whole city was named Nineveh after its most southern part. The ancient assertions respecting the circuit of the city are confirmed by the excavations. “These four cities correspond, probably, to the extensive ruins on the east of the Tigris, that have lately been made known by Layard and Botta, namely, Nebi-Junus and Kujundschik, opposite Mosul, Khorsabad, five leagues north, and Nimrud, eight leagues north of Mosul.” Keil. See also the note (p. 112) on the agreement of Rawlinson, Grote, Niebuhr, and others, as opposed by the conjectures of Hitzig and Bunsen.—The sons of Mizraim: 1. Ludim. As distinguished from the Shemitic Ludim, Genesis 10:22; Movers regards it as the old Berber race of Levatah that settled by the Syrtis,—so called after the manner of other collective names of the Mauritanian races. According to Knobel it was the Shemitic Ludim, who, after the Egyptian invasion, were called Hyksos. This is in the face of the text. 2. Anamim. This is referred by Knobel to the Egyptian Delta. 3. Lehabim. Ægyptian Libyans, not to be confounded with פּוּט, the Libyans proper. 4. Naphtuhim. According to Knobel, the people of Phthah, the god of Memphis, in Middle Egypt; according to Bochart, it agrees with Νέφθυς, that connects with the northern coast-line of Egypt. 5. Pathrusim. Inhabitants of Pathros, Meridian land, equivalent to Upper Egypt, or Thebais. 6. Casluhim. The Colchians, “who, according to Herod., ii. c. 105, had their descent from the Egyptians.” This may probably be held of one branch of Mizraim; whereas the origin of the Cushites themselves would seem to point back to Colchis (see Genesis 2:0.).—Out of whom came Philistim.—The name is explained as meaning emigrants, from the Æthiopian word fallasa. According to Amos 9:7; Jeremiah 47:4, the Philistines went forth from Caphtor. We may reconcile both these declarations, by supposing that the beginning of the settlement of the Philistines on the coast-line of Canaan, had been a Casluhian colony, but that this was afterwards strengthened by an immigration from Caphtor, and then their territory enlarged by the dispossession of the Avim, Deuteronomy 2:23.—And Caphtorim.—By old Jewish interpreters these are described as Cappadocians; they are regarded by Ewald as Cretans. Both suppositions may agree in denoting the course of migration taken by the Caphtorim.—The sons of Canaan:—“Notwithstanding the Shemitic language, the Phœnician Canaanites are here reckoned among the Hamitic nations, and must, therefore, have had their origin from the South. In fact, ancient writers affirm that they came from the Erythræan Sea, that is, from the Persian Gulf, to the Mediterranean. And with this agrees the mythology which makes the Phœnician ancestors, Agenor and Phœnix, akin, partly to Belus in Babylonia, and partly with Egyptus (Danaus the Æthiopian).” Knobel. 1. Zidon. Although originally the name of a person, this does not exclude its relation to the famous city so called, צוד, primarily, to lay nets; it appears, however, to denote fishing as well as hunting proper. Sidon was the oldest city of the Phœnicians. 2. Heth. This also stands as the name of a person, whereas the designations of the Canaanites that follow have the form of national appellations. In this position of Heth, together with Sidon the first-born, they would appear to be denoted as the peculiar point of departure of the Canaanitish life. The Hittites (Hethites) on the hill-land of Judah, and especially in the neighborhood of Hebron, were only a branch of the great original Hittite family (1 Kings 10:29; 2 Kings 7:6). The Kittim also, and the Tyrians, are, according to Knobel, comprehended in this name. 3. The Jebusites. Distinguished as the inhabitants of the old Jebus, Jerusalem. 4. The Amorites. On the hill-land of Judah, and on the other side of Jordan, the mightiest family of the Canaanites; therefore may their name embrace all Canaanites (chs. Genesis 15:16; Genesis 48:22) 5. The Girgasites. (Genesis 15:21; Deuteronomy 7:1; Joshua 24:11); their relation to the Gergesenes (Matthew 8:28) is very uncertain. 6. Hivites (or Hevites) in Sichem (Genesis 34:2), at Gibeon (Joshua 9:7), and at the foot of Hermon (Joshua 11:3). “The five last sons of Canaan dwelt northward in Phœnicia.” Knobel. The Arkites. Denoted from the city Arka, north of Sidon. The Sinites, named from the city Sina, mentioned by Hieronymus, still farther north. More northern still the Zemarites, named from the city Simyra (Sùmrah, by the moderns). Farthest north the Arvadites (also on the island Aradus); on the northeast, the Hamathites, name from the city Hamath, still existing.—And afterwards were spread abroad.—This spreading extends from the Phœnician district along the coast. The Kenites, mentioned Genesis 15:19-21, the Kenezites, and the Kadmonites, are regarded by Delitzsch as people of Hamitic descent. So also the Rephaim, besides whom there are still farther named the Perezites. The same thing may probably be said of the Geshurim, mentioned 1 Samuel 27:8. The Susim and Emim, Genesis 14:0, he (Delitzsch) holds to be not Canaanites, but a people of a later introduction (p. 300). An immigration of Shemites must, in truth, have preceded that of the Hamites into Canaan.—The sons of Shem (Genesis 10:21-31). The father (ancestor) of all the children of Eber.—This declaration calls attention beforehand to the fact, that in the sons of Eber the Shemitic line of the descendants of Abraham separates again in Peleg, namely, from Joktan or his Arabian descendants. 1. Elam. Elamites, the most easterly Shemites who dwelt from the Persian Gulf to the Caspian Sea; at a later day they are lost, together with their language, in the Persians. 2. Asshur. Assyrians to the east of the Tigris, from thence extending towards Syria and Asia Minor. Their mother-country was a plain; hence the name (from אָשַׁר). Their Shemitic language also underwent a change, and became foreign to the Hebrews 3:0. Arphaxad. Their dwelling-place was in Arrapachitis, on the east side of the Tigris, from which they spread out; by Ewald and Knobel it is interpreted as referring to the Chaldæans, which Keil, however, regards as uncertain. 4. Lud. The Lydians of Asia Minor, related to the Assyrians (see Keil, p. 114; by Knobel they are referred to the Canaanite and Arabian races). 5. Aram. Aramæans, in Syria and Mesopotamia.—The sons of Aram: Uz and Gether, probably Arabians; Hul and Mash, probably Syrians.—The sons of Arphaxad:—The names Salah and Eber (sending forth and passing over) denote the already commencing emigration of the Abrahamic race. The two sons of Eber are called Peleg (division) and Joktan (diminished, small). With them there is a division of the Abrahamic and the Arabian lines. Peleg is the ancestor of the first. This is the explanation: in this manner was it that “in his day the earth was divided.” Fabri interprets this expression of a catastrophe that took place in the body of the earth, whose form was then violently divided into the later continental relations (in his treatise on the “Origin of Heathenism,” 1859). Delitzsch interprets it as referring, in general, to the division of the earlier population; Keil explains it of the division that took place in consequence of the building of the tower of Babel.10 Knobel refers the language of the separa of the two brothers, Peleg and Joktan, in which Joktan and his sons took their way to the south. We find here indicated the germ of the facts by which the earth, that is, the population of the earth, became divided into Judaism and Heathenism. For the separation of Abraham is no immediate or sudden event. The interrupted emigration of Terah had been previously prepared in Salah and Eber; fully so in Peleg. Therefore is Peleg’s son called רְעוּ, friend of God. In contrast with Salah (the sent), Eber (the passing over), and Peleg (the separating, division), Serug denotes again the complicated or entangled, Nahor, the panting, possibly the ineffectual striving, and, finally, Terah, the loitering, the one who tarries on the way. Then comes Abram, the high father, with whom the race of the promise decidedly begins. We have no hesitation in taking these names as at the same time historical and symbolical.—The sons of Joktan: In their multiplicity they present a remarkably clear figure of the Arabian tribes. “Thirteen names, some of which can still be pointed out in places and districts of Arabia, whilst others have not, as yet, been discovered, or have been wholly extinguished.” Knobel. Concerning their strife, and perhaps, too, their merging in the Hamites, who were in Arabia before them, compare Knobel, p. 123—The beni Kahtan, sons of Joktan, or Joktanidæ, form their leading point of view in Northern Yeman. 1. Almodad. The name El Mohdad is found among the princes of the Djorhomites, first in Yemen, and then in Hedjez. 2. Sheleph, the same as Salif, the Salapenians in a district of Yemen. 3. Hazarmaveth, the same as Hadramaut (court of death), in Southeastern Arabia, by the Indian Ocean; so named because of the unhealthy climate. 4. Jereh. Sons of the moon, worshippers of the moon; south from Chaulan. 5. Hadoram. The Adramites, on the south coast of Arabia. 6. Uzal. One with Sanaa, a city of Yemen. 7. Diklah, meaning the palm; probably cultivator of the palm-tree; they may be placed conjecturally in the Wady Nadjran, abounding in dates. 8. Obal. Placed by Knobel with Gebal and the Gebanites. 9. Abimael. Father of Mael;11 undetermined. 10. Sheba. The Sabæans, a trading people whose capital city is Marĭaba. 11. Ophir. Placed by Knobel to the southwest of Arabia, the land of the Himyarites. Lassen, Ritter, and Delitzsch, remove Ophir to the mouths of the Indus. For the different views, see Gesenius. It would appear, however, that the point of departure for Ophir must still be sought in Arabia. 12. Havilah. District of Chaulan, in Northern Yemen; probably also colonized in India (see Delitzsch, p. 308). 13. Jobab.—And their dwelling was from Mesha.—Concerning these undetermined bounding districts of Mesha and Sephar, compare Keil.—And by these were the nations divided.—A preparation for what follows, see the next chapter.


See the Exegetical.
1. The religious significance of the ethnological table: 1. Personal characters form the basis of the human world; the relation of God to humanity is conditioned by the personal relation of God to personal being. The revelation of salvation, therefore, tends also to take upon itself a genealogical form. The ethnological table is the extended ground-outline of the relation between God and humanity, and of those that men bear to one another. The genealogies are trees of human life that God has planted. 2. In the christological point of view, the genealogical table is the prefiguration of the universality of the gospel, corresponding to the universality of the divine love, grace and compassion. 3. It gives us a clear idea of the regular gravitation of humanity to its centre in Shem, Eber, Abraham, Christ; that is, the genealogy of Christ. 4. As the branching of the three principal races places them in contrast, so, in a special manner, is this the case with the branching of the Hamitic race into the better lines, and in the Canaanites; and so also the branching of the Shemites, or that of the sons of Eber in the line of the descendants of Joktan, and in the line of the promise. 5. The signs of preparation for the later calling of Abraham are already contained in the names of his ancestors from Salah and Eber onward.
2. On the names Babel and Nineveh, compare the Theological dictionaries; on the history of Babel and Nineveh, see the historical works. We must be careful here, not to confound the beginning of this very old city, including in it the Babylonian tower, with its later world-historical development, and its falling into ruin. Nevertheless, even the ruins of that city are still a speaking witness, not only for the fulfilling of the divine predictions and threatenings, by the prophets, but also of the historical consistency and truthfulness of these very narrations in Genesis. Concerning the geographical relations, especially the situation of Babylon on the Euphrates, and of Nineveh on the Tigris, compare the maps of the old world in the Bible-atlas of Welland and Ackerman; the Historico-Geographical Atlas of the Old World, by Kiepert; the Atlas of Kutscheit, and others. Already, in Xenophon’s time, Nineveh lay in ruins; according to Strabo, it perished with the Assyrian Empire (see in Herzog’s “Real-Encyclopedia” the article on the Ruins of Nineveh). Babylon was much broken by the Persian kings, especially by Xerxes; Alexander the Great would have restored it, but contributed only the more to its destruction; the founding of Seleucia laid it in ruins. As Seleucia lies opposite to the ruins of Babylon, so does Mosul to those of Nineveh.

3. Starke: In this chapter we see the origin of many nations in all parts of the world, and therefore, the power of the blessing which God, after the flood, had renewed to men in respect to their multiplying and propagation; and so, finally, we learn the fathers from whom Christ was born according to the flesh. Neither Noah nor his sons begat any offspring during the time of the flood. The same may be conjectured to be true of the animals which were shut up with him in a dark dungeon, and as it were in the midst of death.—Lange: Many readers, when they come to this tenth chapter, are wont to regard it as of little value; some really think it to be superfluous, or of little use, on account of so many unknown names. But, in truth, we ought to regard it as a right noble gem in the crown of Holy Writ, the like of which has never been, or can be shown, from any writings of the old heathenism that yet remain to us.12—Gerlach: There is no account of antiquity which gives us so full and so general a survey of the ancient nations, as this ethnological table; as appears from the fact, that the exactness and truth of the national divisions as presented in the same, are ever more and more confirmed. The heathen had no other relations to people who were foreign to them, than those of war and trade, with the addition, perhaps, of a certain community of religious legends, knowledge, and culture; irrespective of this, however, each nation remained shut up within itself. In the history of revelation, on the other hand, before the narrative of the dispersion of the nations stands the promise that Japheth shall find a home in the tents of Shem.—Bunsen: So much is now clear, that the races of Shem are the Shemites of philology. This is not clear at all; just as little, in fact, as that the Gallic Franks must be of Romanic origin. Compare in other places the learned explanation of the ethnological table by Bunsen. Says the same authority (vol. i. part 2, p. 63): “The ethnological table is the most learned among all the ancient documents, and the most ancient among the learned. For tradition predominates far above research, though the latter is not wanting. In its core it must be regarded as earlier than the time of Abraham; but this by no means excludes the idea that Moses may have made investigations respecting it.” So says Schröder: “From this chapter must the whole universal history of the world take its beginning.” To the same effect Joh. von Müller. Citation of the historical catalogues of Heathen nations, as they are found in the palace of Karnak, a ruin of the old city Thebes, in Bendidad, and on the monuments of Persepolis. These have throughout a national character. Nimrod’s chase of the beasts was the bridge of transition to the hunting of men (Jeremiah 16:16; Lamentations 3:52; Lamentations 4:18; Matthew 4:19; Luke 5:10).

4. On the numbering of the seventy nations, which the Rabbins make out of this table, as Delitzsch farther constructs it, see Keil, p. 116. Delitzsch traces a relation between the seventy peoples, and the seventy disciples, Luke 10:1, and designates the number as that of the divinely-ordained multiplicity of the human. Probably, also, the name of the Septuagint has reference to the heathen nations for whom the Alexandrian translation of the Old Testament was designed. Keil objects, that the numbering can only come out clean and round when we assign the name of nations to Salah and Eber. But Salah might have actually had more sons. And, besides, it is not necessary that the symbolical numbers should always literally correspond to the historical. This frequent appearance of the number seventy resolves itself into some early symbolizing. Seven is the number of God’s work, including his holy day of rest; ten is the number of the perfect human development; the seventy nations were, therefore, the entire outspreading of God’s host, under his rule.

5. Nimrod’s despotic power, at least if we judge from the name, was denoted as a rebellion, as a revolution. It partook of both forms of revolution against the divine ordinance: 1. From above downwards; 2. from below upwards; of which the first seems, in truth, to have been the oldest.


In the homiletical treatment of the ethnological table, we must, of all things, avoid giving way to uncertain and etymological and historical conjectures. It contains, however, enough points of certainty to make it a page of Holy Writ rich in life and instruction. Thereto belongs the threefold division of the nations according to the names Japheth, Ham, and Shem, the wide, wide, world-wandering of Japheth, in which the grandchildren and great-great-grand-children disappear from the horizon of the theocratic consciousness; the early ripe, yet most ancient development of the Hamitic culture, with its corruptions, in which the ungodly Cainitic culture once more mirrors itself; the reciprocal intercourse of the Shemites and the Hamites in the early time; finally, the gradual, yet authentically historical preparation for the calling of Abraham, and for the Messianic theocracy in the line of Shem. If the sermon is designed with reference to the ethnological table, the best ground will be furnished by taking directly Genesis 10:1, or Deuteronomy 32:8; or better still, some New Testament text most appropriate for the purpose, as Matthew 28:19; John 10:16; Acts 14:16-17; Acts 15:18; Acts 17:26; Romans 11:32; Ephesians 3:6; 1 Peter 4:6; Revelation 21:24.—The baptism of the flood a forerunning emblematic baptism of the whole human race. As God knows the name of the stars (that is, their most interior being, Isaiah 40:0), so does he likewise know the name of all men and of all races (Matthew 22:32). The theocratic, believing consciousness hath ever proved itself to be also a humanitarian consciousness, or one that embraces all humanity.—The higher significance of historical tradition.—The commendation of the world’s history in the history of God’s kingdom.—The relation between the history of God’s kingdom and the world-history: 1. The contrast; 2. the connection; 3. the unity (in its wider sense is the whole world’s history a history of the kingdom of God).—Shem’s history, the last in the world, the first in the kingdom of God.—The elect and their appointment to be salvation for all.—The distinction: 1. Among the sons of Noah; 2. of Japheth; 3. of Ham; 4. of Shem.—Nimrod’s threefold position: 1. As the pioneer of civilization; 2. as oppressor of the patriarchal liberties; 3. as the instrument of God for the development of the world.—Peleg, or the dividing and the uniting again of humanity.

Schröder: All these sons, the white posterity of Japheth, the yellow and dark sons of Ham, however they may live in temporal separation, are all still God’s children, and brothers to one another.

[Excursus on the Hebrew Chronology—the state of the Primitive Men—the Rapid Beginnings of History. The brief Hebrew chronology is urged as an objection to the Scriptures. Hence the tendency, even among believers, to prefer the numbers given in the Septuagint. There is hardly time enough, it is thought, for the great historical commencements, and the scale on which they appear, so soon after the flood. Others, like Lepsius and Bunsen, would go very far beyond the LXX., carrying up the human chronology, and that of the Egyptian monarchy along with it, twenty thousand years before the time of Christ, and twelve or fifteen thousand years before the flood. The main ground of this theory is not so much the monuments, though Bunsen has much to say about them, as an assumption respecting the earliest condition and slow progress of the human race. With regard to the monuments, on which so much reliance is placed, there is not space, nor occasion, to say much here. Those who refer to them with most confidence have to admit that there is great difficulty in determining their meaning as well as their historical authority, even if rightly interpreted. It is made a question, too, whether, in many cases, they represent successive or cotemporaneous dynasties. Their barrenness in respect to almost everything else but names, detracts also from their chronological testimony. Like the Chaldean, Hindoo, and Chinese statements, they are hardly anything else but numbers. There is little or no filling up of these blank statistical spaces with anything like a veritable life-like history. Had much that is on these monuments been found in the early Scriptures, it would have made them the scoff of the infidel and the rationalist. There is, however, one concise argument, which, if rightly considered, ought to dispose of the whole matter. Egypt was visited, two thousand three hundred years ago, by a most intelligent Greek, whose valuable history has come down to us entire. In faithful narrative of what he saw, as he saw it, and of what he heard, as he heard it, Herodotus is excelled by no writer, ancient or modern. His pains and fidelity are attested by those immense journeys, whose extent would be deemed a wonder, even with all the facilities of modern travel. Now this most credible witness saw these monuments in their freshness, and when they were as intelligible to the Egyptian priests, as would be to us the contents of a modern census. They decipher for him these hieroglyphics, now so puzzling, and give him, as deduced therefrom, what they understand to be the Egyptian history. It is contained in his second book. Can we ever expect a better interpretation than the one made under such circumstances, and under the direction of such competent guides? They had every motive to present their nation in its most antique and imposing aspect, knowing, as they doubtless did, that the inquirer was collecting materials for a history of the world, as then known. If they erred at all, it would most likely have been on the side of an excessive antiquity. And yet, the chronology of Herodotus13 may, without any great difficulty, be made to agree with that of the Bible—certainly with that of the Septuagint. In regard to the monuments, such a view should be deemed conclusive. Herodotus is, after all, the great historical authority in respect to the antiquity of the Egyptian monarchy; and he is likely to remain so, since we have no reason to expect any interpretation of these hieroglyphics that escaped his eager search, or the intelligence of his well-informed and zealous instructors.

The other ground, that is, the necessity of a very long time to bring about such results in the slow progress of mankind, is a sheer assumption, that may at once be met by arguments drawn from the intrinsic aspects of the case. It all depends upon the hypothesis with which we start in respect to the condition of the primitive men; and this involves, first of all, an inquiry as to the primitive man, or the primus homo, or whether there ever really was such a distinct individual, the head of a distinct race, having a supernatural beginning at a distinct moment of time. Some, who favor the view of the low primitive condition of man, from which he struggled slowly up into language and a distinct human consciousness, making his appearance in history only after he had been many ages upon the earth, may still hold to something like a creation of the species; but logically it is very difficult to separate such a doctrine from that eternal-development theory, which, in opposition to the axiom de nihilo nihil, or, what is equivalent to it, that more cannot come out of less, would bring the highest life out of the lowest forms of matter, and make God himself (supposing it to acknowledge something under that name) the end instead of the beginning of nature. On the contrary, the admission of a creation, in any intelligible sense of the word, is the admission of a distinct time, a distinct moment of time, when the thing created began to be, which a moment before was not. This, however, does not demand the idea of an instantaneous coming from nothing, or even de novo, of everything belonging to, or connected with the new existence, but only the new and distinct, beginnning of that which especially makes it what it is, a new, peculiar entity, separate from everything else. To apply this to man, the origin of his physical, his earthly, may have been as remote as any geological theory of life-periods, or any biblical interpretation supposed to be in accordance with it, may allow. If we admit the idea of growth, or succession in creation, as perfectly consistent with supernatural starts regarded as intervening and originating its successive processes, then man may have been long coming from the earth, from the deepest parts of the earth, as is said Psalms 139:15. The formation of the human physical may have begun in the earliest stages of the κτίσις, or world-building. The words מן עפר, “from the dust,” may denote a process comparatively quick or slow. The essential faith is satisfied either way; since it only demands two things—a dual derivation of the completed humanity, and an order, that is, a succession, whether in nature or in time (or in both), rather than any precise duration. Even the common notion of an outward plastic formation of the body implies the use of a previous nature in a previous material or materials—that is, a use of them according to such natures. There is essentially the same idea in the employment of previous growths and processes, as in that of previous material, although with the conception of such successions there necessarily comes that of time, longer or shorter. How many steps there were we cannot know; but in thus bringing up the human physical through lower structural forms, there may have been outwardly approximations to the human, long before there was reached that humanity proper in Which nature and spirit unite. Without scientific comparison and deduction, the simplest inspection of nature is sufficient to suggest the thought that man is built upon types from below him, even as he is formed in the image of that which is above him. If then such a view of successive evolutions from the dust, instead of an immediate outward plastic formation of the human earthly, be not inconsistent with the comprehensive language of Scripture, we should not be startled at the thought of there having been anthropoidal forms14 of various degrees of approximation, some of them, perhaps, larger than any now found upon earth, and which may have perished, like some of the larger or mammoth species of mammalia. If the explorations of science have brought to light any such remains, our faith need not be disturbed by the question of their pre-historicalness. The interpreter of Scripture is little concerned, either in affirming or denying such discoveries. Whatever be their date, we have not yet come to the humanity proper, the Adamic humanity, that humanity which Christ assumed and raises to a still higher sphere. The animal world is not yet surpassed. But there is a moment when the human race now upon the earth had its distinct beginning, and that, too, in a primus homo,—the “first Adam”—even as there is a “new man,” a new humanity, that is to have its finish or completion in a second Adam, or last Adam (ἔσχατος Αδὰμ), as the apostle calls him. This beginning of humanity upon earth was not a physical act merely, or the mere completion of a physical progress. It took place in the spiritual sphere. The true creation of man was not merely a formation, or an animation, but an inspiration, a direct, divine inspiration (Genesis 2:7); and now there is what before was not, a בריאה, a new thing upon earth, not simply something higher physically (though even that would require a divine intervention), but an entity distinct as connected with a higher or supernatural world. This Adamic man, thus divinely raised out of nature, and lifted above the pure animality, is the one of whom the Bible gives us so particular an account. He was the one who first awoke to a true rational human consciousness. Thus man “became a living soul.” The emphasis is in the manner of the inbreathing; but to distinguish it wholly from the animation of other kinds who are also called נפש חיה, the wondrous event is described in other language as a sealing, a forming into a higher type, pattern, idea, or image,—not physically, but spiritually. The all-important article of faith is the dual succession, whether regarded as an order in time, or as an order of constitution without reference to time: “first the natural (τὸ ψυχικὸν, the animal), afterwards that which is spiritual” (τὸ πνευματικόν). First that which comes from nature (τὸ ἐκ γῆς χοϊκόν), “from the earth, earthy,” second, that “which bore the image of the heavenly,”15 or of “the Lord from heaven.”

Corresponding to this is the specific designation by which man is distinguished among the created orders. The animals and plants are made each לְמִינֵהוּ, after its מִין, εἶδος, species, form, denoting difference in organic structure, and therefore something ultimately outward as exhibited in its last analysis, however hidden it may seem to the primary observation of the sense. It is not to be thought that the Scripture writers, in their simplicity, intended to speak scientifically or philosophically, but a deeper term was wanted in the case of man, and we have it in a remarkable change of language. Man is nowhere said to be לְמִינֵהוּ, juxta genus suum, or secundum speciem suam, but when this new entity is to be brought into the kosmos, God is represented as saying to himself, or as though addressing some higher associate than nature, “Let us make man בְּצַלְמֵנוּ in our image.” The צֶֹלֶם, therefore, in the case of humanity, may be said to make the מִין, or to come in place of it. In other words, it is the spiritual image here, and not the physical organization, that makes the species; and most important is the distinction in all our reasonings about the essential oneness of humanity, and what most truly constitutes it.

From this primus homo, thus inspired, thus sealed, comes all of human kind that ever has been, or is now upon the earth. To apply what has been said to the more direct subject of this note, there is here the decisive answer to that view which would represent man as commencing in the savage state regarded as barely and imperceptibly rising above the animal. This inspiration is a great and glorious beginning. It is a new divine force in the earth. The fall does not at once destroy it, though giving a tendency to spiritual death, and spiritual degeneracy, carrying with it a physical decline. Even with this, however, the primitive divine impulse in the first man, and in the first men, makes them something very different from what is now called the savage state, and which is everywhere found to be the dregs of a once higher condition, the setting instead of the rising sun, the dying embers fast going out, instead of the kindling and growing flame. All past and present history may be confidently challenged to present the contrary case. Among human tribes, wholly left to themselves, the higher man never comes out of the lower. Apparent exceptions do ever, on closer examination, confirm the universality of the rule in regard to particular peoples, whilst the claim that is made for the world’s general progress can only be urged in opposition by ignoring the supernal aids of revelation that have ever shone somewhere, directly or collaterally, on the human path.

The high creative impulse manifested itself in the Antediluvian period in its resistance to the death-principle, which, through the spiritual, the fall had introduced into the human physical organization. It showed itself in a rapidly developed, though a suicidal or self-corrupting civilization, in the line of Cain, and in an extreme longevity in the holier line of Seth. With a branch of the latter it passed the flood, impaired, it may be, but unspent. The preserved race, tending again to a sensual gregariousness, received a new divine impulse, which may almost be regarded as resembling a second subordinate creation. It was not the renewal of holiness, but of spiritual vigor, making humanity sublime even in its wickedness. It was the spirit of discovery, sending men over the face of the before unknown earth. It was the pioneering spirit, ever leading them on to make new settlements, to overcome new difficulties, to engage in great works, all the more astounding when we consider the little they possessed of what may be called science. What a grand conception was that of building a tower that should reach unto the skies, and make them independent of the mutations they beheld in nature! How has such a thought, though taking far more scientific forms, ever swayed mankind, showing itself still in the pretentious claims of our present knowledge, so boasting, yet so small in comparison with the great unknown, and so little able to relieve the deep-seated evils of our fallen race. “Go to,” said they, “let us build a city and a tower,” as a defence against heaven. It was the same language that was afterwards re-echoed in the Promethean boast,16 and that we still sometimes hear from a godless science, vaunting that it “has annihilated space and time,” that it has disarmed the lightning:

Eripuit cœlo fulmen—

that it will yet deprive the ocean of its terrors, and introduce, at last, that millennium of human achievement which will make man independent of any power above or without him.
It was but a short time after the flood, when there appears this new heroic spirit, this vast ambition, in the very opening of the world’s history. Scripture gives us but few points in the picture, but these are most impressive: Nimrod, “the mighty hunter before the Lord,” beginning the kingdom of Babylon; settlements rapidly following it on the upper Euphrates; the descendants of Ham already upon the Nile; the sons of Javan wending their way by the islands and coasts of the Mediterranean; Tyre and Sidon taking their place “at the entry of the sea,” as though already looking out to become “the merchant of the people for many isles.” It was the time of the tower-builders, the pyramid-builders, the great city-builders, the empire-founders. Along with the pioneering and colonizing spirit, there was also the associative tendency, so different from any thing we now see in any modern savagism. There was, also, in vigorous exercise, the government idea, or the government instinct, if any prefer thus to name it, leading men to form great polities, and to recognize in government something of a divine or supernatural nature. We may call it hero-worship, but it was something very different from anything now known in savage tribes, and led to results utterly unknown as ever following from such a state.
Such were the primitive men as the Bible presents them to us, although their mere worldly greatness was to the Scripture writers a wholly subordinate subject. Secular history confirms the account. This it does in two ways: 1st, by its silence as to all before. If men had been so many ages on the earth, what were they doing all this time? What traces have they left of their existence? At the most, only a few ambiguous bones here and there discovered, after the keenest search, and in respect to whose real antiquity men of science are still contending. We ask in vain for the marks of progress, or of any transition state. A speaking silence, like that which seems to come from the blank chamber of the great pyramid, proclaims that man, the Adamic or Noachic man, is not much older than the pyramids,—two thousand years, perhaps, a little more or a little less. If we pay no attention to this striking fact, of the almost total absence of any human remains, it might, perhaps, be said, that history only commences after the emergence from the long savage state, and, therefore, gives no testimony to the many ages of human existence that might have been before it. This, however, supposes a sudden emergence, such as would seem to demand some new power, something like a divine or ab extra impulse, unfelt in the ages before, and which would not greatly differ—at least in the marvellousness and apparent supernaturalness of it—from what the Bible tells us of a new creation of humanity. It would imply something coming into the human movement, greatly accelerating it, at least, if not wholly originating. It would be something undeveloped, or very suddenly and strangely developed, from what went before. And this brings us to the second or positive evidence of history. If it testifies by its silence, still more impressive is it when it begins to speak, and this is at the time when something in human action deemed notable, or worthy of remembrance, demands its voice. The strong self-consciousness which is the result of awakened action immediately seeks its record. The observation of passing times, or chronology, begins with it. It is this commencement of movement that creates history, whether in writing of some kind—which there is good reason to believe was among the very earliest things, and called out by this very demand for a recording medium—or in the measured language of song, or in formal traditions, which, however vague and exaggerated, present an expressive contrast to an utterly unrecording silence.

The history that thus begins to speak has not the exactness of modern annals, but, as compared with what might have been expected on the other theory, its voice is loud and clear. It comes not with muttered tones, inarticulate and unintelligible. Its utterance is more emphatic in the very beginning than in some of the lapsed ages that follow it. How much more distinctly stand out the first Pharaohs, whether of sacred or secular history (see Herod., ii. 100, 101), than the later shadows upon the monuments! The earliest history bursts upon us, as it were. It begins with men doing great things, raising pyramids, building cities,17 founding states. It opens with the Egyptian and Babylonian empires, and that, too, as new powers in fullest vigor, and presenting every appearance of youthful greatness. The proper names given to us, whether of men or places, have nothing of the cloudy, mythical aspect, but stand out with all the distinctness of veritable life. Less is known of the most early East, of India and China, but sufficient to warrant the belief, that by the Ganges, as well as by the Nile and the Euphrates, a young humanity was giving evidence of mighty bodily powers and high spiritual energy; different, indeed, from the present, and presenting some aspects strange to our modern conceptions, yet very unlike the savage state, or a rise from such a state, had such a rise been ever shown in any early or later history of the world. In brief—the first historical appearances of men upon the earth are at war with this theory of savagism. Such independent emergings as are contended for do not now take place, and never have taken place within the times of known history. The savage condition, as has been said, and cannot be denied, is one ever sinking lower and lower, until aid is brought to it from without; and at the early time referred to there was no such aid except from a supernal and supernatural source.

On either view, we are compelled to admit the fact of a great beginning of humanity on the earth. The primitive man was a splendid being—not scientific, nor civilized, in our modern sense of the words, but possessing great power, both of body and soul. He had all to learn, yet learned most rapidly. Researches among the earliest monuments sometimes astonish us by the suggestions they offer of a knowledge supposed to belong only to modern times, or to which, in some cases, modern discovery has not yet reached. There is brought out evidence of results in the arts, in manufactures, and in the employment of mechanical aids, that we find it very difficult to account for. If we cannot believe them to have come from processes of investigation strictly scientific, then must we ascribe them to other powers of a high order, and in which we fail to surpass them—such as keen observation awake to every outward application of natural forces, most acute senses, and unrivalled manual skill. If it was the greatness of force and magnitude, it was greatness still, such as was never attained to by any savage people in historical times. These early men had great aims, they attempted great things, and they accomplished them rapidly. We have only to take this view, fortified as it is by Scripture and the early profane history, to account for what seems so wonderful to some writers, and which has drawn them to their long chronologies. As remarked elsewhere (p. 317), the history of human progress has ever been one of starts and impulses. As in the geological ages, so also within historical times, there are periods in which more has been done in a few generations, than, under other circumstances, has been accomplished in many centuries. Thus the time that intervened between the Scriptural flood and the first mention of the Egyptian monarchy, even as reckoned by the shorter chronology, may have brought on the world’s history faster than ages of comparative torpor, such as have appeared in the varied annals of mankind.
Again, there is an intrinsic difficulty in such views as that of Bunsen, which, when closely examined, presents a greater incredibility than anything of which it professes to give the explanation. Admitting such idea of emergence after ages of unhistorical savagism, still the questions arise: Why was not this more universal after it had commenced? Why did it not appear in other parts of the earth? Why did the early light confine itself to one people for so long a time, making Mitzraim historically what it is geographically and etymologically, the narrows, a line immense in length with the scantiest breadth? During these fifteen thousand years, or more, of monumental history, all the rest of the earth was in comparative night. Established institutions, a regular monarchy for ten thousand years, at least, king inheriting from king, or dynasty succeeding dynasty, a political state unbroken for a period three times as long as the whole series of Assyrian, Babylonian, Persian, Roman, Mongolian, and Turkish empires—social orders uninterruptedly transmitted, records of all this preserved, monuments attesting it! It is incredible in itself—much more so when we consider the condition of the rest of the earth, even the nearest parts. In Egypt, ten thousand years of government, of civilization, of advanced agriculture, of social order, and all this time Greece, Italy, and even Asia Minor, in total darkness—uninhabited, or in the lowest unhistorical savagism! It is very hard to believe this. It presents a marvel greater than anything recorded in Genesis about the origin and early condition of mankind—greater for the imagination, far greater for the reason. Egyptian history would be like an Egyptian obelisk standing in the desert, spindling up to a vast height, whilst all around was desolation in the view that height presented. Such an antiquity in this one people, should we reason from it a priori, and connect with it the modern claim of progress, would throw out of proportion all the other chapters of history. It would bring the Roman empire before the days of Abraham, and make our nineteenth century antedate the Trojan war.

These considerations do not only support the Bible chronology as prolonged in the LXX., but furnish an argument in favor of the still shorter Hebrew reckoning. Taking the primitive men as the Bible represents them, and the latter gives ample time for all that is recorded. Connected with this there is another thought. How came this Hebrew chronology to present such an example of modesty as compared with the extravagant claims to antiquity made by all other nations? The Jews, doubtless, had, as men, similar national pride, leading them to magnify their age upon the earth, and run it up to thousands and myriads of years. How is it, that the people whose actual records go back the farthest have the briefest reckoning of all? The only answer to this is, that whilst others were left to their unrestrained fancies, this strange nation of Israel were under a providential guidance in the matter. A divine check held them back from this folly. A holy reserve, coming from a constant sense of the divine pupilage, made them feel that “we are but of yesterday,” whilst the inspiration that controlled their historians directly taught them that man had been but a short time upon the earth. They had the same motive as others to swell out their national years; that they have not done so, is one of the strongest evidences of the divine authority of their Scriptures. And how fair is their representation! Egypt, Babylon, Assyria, Tyre, the early Javanic settlements, all starting about the same time, and from the same quarter of a late inhabited earth; this is credible, probable, making harmonious sacred and profane history. The other view of the long and lonely Egyptian dynasties is monstrous, out of all proportion—incredible. Had the Bible given such a long, narrow, solitary antiquity of twenty thousand, or even ten thousand, years, to the people whose history it mainly assumes to set forth, it would, doubtless, have called out the scoff of those whose sceptical credulity so easily receives the fabulous chronology of other nations.—T. L.)


[1][Genesis 10:3.—גֹּמֶר, Gomer (G M R). These radical letters are found extensively combined in the history and geography of Europe; as though some early, roving people had left the mark of their name from the Pontus, or Black Sea, to Ireland: G M R., K M R., K y M M e R i i Cymmerians), by metathesis, K R M., C R i M e a, G R M., Germani, C y M R I, Cymri, Cimbri, Cumbri, Cumberland, Humberland, Northumberland, Cambria, etc. They may not be all etymologically connected, but there is every probability that they were left by the same old people, ever driven on Westward by successive waves of migration. אַשְׁכְּנַז, Ashkenaz, by metathesis אכשנז, Aksenaz, Axenas, may be the old name for the Black Sea, or the country lying upon it. The Greeks called it ά̓ξενος, for which they accordingly found a meaning in their own language—the inhospitable—afterwards euphemized to εύ̓ξεινος—the Euxine.—T. L.]

[2][Genesis 10:4.—יון, Jwan, Javan, Iwan, Ion. There can be no doubt that this is Greece. Compare Joe 4:6; Ezekiel 27:13; Daniel 8:21. It is the name or patrial epithet of Greece in the cognate languages, as given to it in historical terms: Syriac, ܝܰܘ ܒܳܚܶܐ, Chald. יְוָנִי, Arab. يُـو ذَـا نُ, and also by the Greeks themselves, when they would present the name in its old, Oriental form; as in the Persæ of Æschylus, when the mother of Xerxes is made to call them ̓Ιαόνες, and their land γῆν ̓Ιαόνων (line 175), and in another place, 563, διά δ̓ ̓̓Ιαόνων χέρας. See also, Herod.,i. 56, 58. אֱלִישׁה, ̔Ελλας. דֹדָנִים, in some Hebrew copies רֹדָנִים, which the LXX read, and rendered Ρόδιοι.—T. L.]

[3][Genesis 10:5.—נִפְרְדוּ, were parted. Maimonides says this term was applied to the Japhethites because of their far roving, which parted them from each other in separate isles and coasts; whereas it is not said of Ham’s descendants, because they were near to each other, forming dense and contiguous populations.—T. L.]

[4][Genesis 10:6.—מִצְרַיִם. This dual name has been supposed to denote the political division of Upper and Lower Egypt. It would seem more likely to have a geographical significance; The Narrows—the two narrows, or the double narrows—the straits. What could be more descriptive of this long and very narrow strip of territory, lying on both sides of the Nile, many hundred miles in length, and averaging only a dozen or so in breadth. It is strange that Rosenmüller should say of this name, that it is uncertain whether it is Hebrew or Egyptian. It is purely Hebrew, and no other proper name in the language ever had a clearer significance. This appearance of extreme narrowness, with mountains or deserts on each side, must have suggested itself at the earliest date, whereas, the other idea must have had a later origin. The son of Ham, who first settled Egypt with his children, must have been at once struck with this territorial peculiarity, so different from anything in the Northern or Eastern regions, whence he came. The name which he gave to it afterwards came back to him as its settler and proprietor. There is reason to suppose that Mitzraim was not his earliest name. It was rather a territorial designation, afterwards genealogically and historically adopted. The original name of this first settler may have been Gupt, Copt, or Cupht, from which came the other popular designation, Αὶ-γυπτ-ος, Egypt.—T. L.]

[5][Genesis 10:9.—“Mighty hunter (whether of men or beasts) לִפְנֵי וְהוָֹה before the Lord,” to express his notoriety for boldness and wickedness, as something ever before the divine presence; so bad, that God could not take his eyes from it. Compare with it Genesis 6:10, the whole earth corrupt, לִפְנֵי אֱלֹהִים.—T. L.]

[6][Genesis 10:11.—יָצָא אַשּׁוּר. In support of the view that אַשּׁוּר here denotes the place whither, instead of being the subject of the verb יָצָא, Maimonides refers to Numbers 34:4-5, וְיָצָא הֲצַר אַדָּר וְעָבַר עַצְמֹנָה, “and it went out (to) Hazar-addar, and passed over (to) Azmonah;” also to Numbers 21:33, וְיָצָא עוֹג מֶלֶךְ הַבָּשָׁן אֶדְרֶעִי, “And Og, king of Bashan, went out (to) Edrei;” in neither of which cases is there a preposition. He refers also to Micah 5:5, where “Asshur and the land of Nimrod” are mentioned together.—T. L.]

[7][Caucasian Cultivation. Caucasus, or Caucasia, denotes, geographically, the region between the Black and Caspian Seas. Ethnologically, no term is more indefinite. If we take it of the territory above indicated, it may be truly said, that its inhabitants were, at this early time, and long afterwards, the lowest in the human scale. Where it was not ά̓βατος ἐρημία, as described by Æschylus, it was occupied by tribes proverbial for their barbarism. “The savage Caucasus” (ἀπάνθρωπος, ἀρέρπης) becomes a name for all that was most rude and ferocious. See the account given by Herodotus of the wretched hordes that then lived the lowest nomadic life between these two seas, ἀπ ὔλης�, deriving their sustenance from the wild products of the forest, painting themselves with the figures of animals, and living like them, in ways so gross, that Rawlinson and others omit the passage in their translations,—μίξιν τε τούτων τῶν�. Herod. i. 203. To say that the Egyptians and Phœnicians, or the Hamites in general, or any single branches of them, “through an ennobling (durch Veredelung) might make an approach to the Caucasian culture,” that is, be raised higher in the scale of civilization, would be very much like ascribing a similar elevating influence to the Finns and the Laplanders, as exercised upon the French and English. The savage, as we now understand the term, was not the primitive condition of mankind; but the earliest appearance of it as a degeneracy, as a loss of the humane-ness, of spiritual superiority, and a tendency to the wilder animal state, presented itself in this very region. The inhabitants have shown the same ever since. No part of the earth, geographically known, has had less of a history, or been less connected with history (if that is a criterion of ethnological rank) than this boasted Caucasia, or Circassia. The Kalmuc, and other Tartar tribes that even now roam its wilds, though perhaps possessing a more comely personal appearance, like the wild horses of the same region, are inferior in civilization, and in some kinds of literary culture, to the inhabitants of Bornou and other kingdoms of Central Africa, in which the old Egyptian and Ethiopian humane-ness has not wholly gone out, or has been kept alive through Arabian influence. The sons of Japheth, who went north, were the earliest of the human race to become wholly savage, and the longest to continue such, until met, at a much later day, by the Southern and Mediterranean streams of civilization carrying with it the Christian cullus. Even the Javanites, the Greeks—not the earliest Pelasgi, merely, but the later Hellenes and Dorians—were, for a long time, the Barbarians, as compared with the Egyptians and the Phœnicians. See how Homer everywhere speaks of these older and more civilized peoples, as compared with his own countrymen. The ancient stream of light has since turned northward, as it may again be deflected to the south; but all the boasting about Caucasian supremacy is in the face of history. It is a carrying of the most modern ideas, and the most irrational of modern prejudices, into our estimate of the ancient world, or of the human race, during much the greater part of its existence—T. L.]

[8][The most secluded people in ancient times, the only one possessing, and carrying with them in their history, a world-idea, and this dating from the very earliest period! See Genesis 28:14, and still earlier, Genesis 3:15 : “In thee and in thy seed shall all the families of the earth he blessed.” This certainly presents the Jewish nation in a most remarkable light, demanding the attention of all who talk about the philosophy of history, and especially of those who are fond of describing the Old Testament as presenting an outward, narrow, and exclusive economy. How universal the influence of Grecian culture and Roman conquest, yet neither of them had what may be called a world-idea, or anything like the Messianic conception.—T. L.]

[9][Maimonides seems to give a better explanation of this. He says: “These, Seba and Havilah, were heads of peoples, and the sons of Raamah became two peoples: but Nimrod did not become a people (genealogically), wherefore the Scripture saith simply, and ‘Cush begat Nimrod,’ and not, the ‘sons of Cush were Nimrod, and Seba, and Havilah.’ ” That is, Nimrod does not come in the ethnological register of peoples, though he is mentioned afterwards as a historical person. He applies the same principle of interpretation to other similar cases.—T. L.]

[10][This would seem to be the interpretation which most readily commends itself to the plain reader. The division of the earth is referred to as something easily known from what is contained in the narrative, or is soon to be mentioned. Had there not been such a division so prominently put forth in the xith chapter, there might be some room for speculation. But the obvious connection seems to shut out every other view : He was called Peleg (division), for in his day did that great event take place that is soon to be mentioned, and which is a ground of all these genealogical divisions. See Bochart : Phaleg.—T.L.]

[11][אֲבִימָאֵל, Abi-mael—a kind of naming similar to that by which Ham was designated, אֲבִי כְנַעַן, Abi-Canaan, father of Canaan, a method which afterwards becomes quite common among the Arabians. In this, and in the appearance of the article in אַלְמוֹדַד, El-modad, verse 26 above, we have germs of peculiar forms in the Arabic dialect, showing that it was already deviating from the Hebrew, or the Hebrew from it, whichever may have been the oldest.—T. L.]

[12][It is as essential to an understanding of the Bible, and of history in general, as is Homer’s catalogue, in the second book of the Iliad, to a true knowledge of the Homeric poems and the Homeric times. The Biblical student can no more undervalue the one than the classical student the other.—T. L.]

[13][The Egyptian chronology here intended is that which can be made out, though in a very general way, from the outlines of actual history as derived by Herodotus from the monuments, and the priests’ interpretation of them, together with other accounts, traditional or otherwise, which they give to him. Menes was the first king, who stands away back at the beginning of Egyptian history. The next one of any historical note is Mœris, who had not been dead 900 years when Herodotus was in Egypt, and must have been, therefore, about 1,350 years before the time of Christ. All that the priests had between these two was contained in a papyrus roll, having the bare names of 330 monarchs, whom, if real, a thousand years, or so, would easily dispose of, on the supposition of cotemporaneous dynasties, or frequent revolutions, such as Egypt must have had as well as other nations, reducing reigns to one or two years, and many of them to months. Let the reader call to mind how rapidly emperors succeed each other during some parts of the later Roman history. These other kings, the priests tell him, were “persons of no account,” with the exception of Mœris, before mentioned, thus showing, that with all their parade of rolls and dynasties, Menes and Mœris were the only two conspicuous points in the Egyptian antiquity, until 1,400 years before Christ. Such are the only data for chronology, though the Egyptian priests pretend to fill up this empty, unhistorical space, with 341 generations, making about 10,000 years (see Herod., ii. 100, 142); but this is evidently due to that national pride which elsewhere led to the same extravagant reckoning. They found little or nothing of record or monument to confirm it, or they certainly would have given it to the historian. What they tell him, that during this period of 300 generations, the sun had twice risen where he now sets, and twice set where he now rises, is enough to show what historical value belongs to the empty numbers with which they would fill up this waste extent of time. See Rawlinson’s Herodotus.—T. L.]

[14][There is so much of caricature and grotesqueness in the appearance of the simia tribe of animals, that we revolt at the thought of any connection with them, even as a link in the mere physical. Their actions are so absurd, they are such a mere mimicry of reason, ludicrous, yet actually lower than the sober instinct of other kinds, that the outward resemblance makes us the more disdain the idea of even a physical relationship. It is thus that the ape-nature places itself in stronger contrast to the human than that of other animals having less outward likeness, either in form or in action. And yet such resemblance, in some degree, is very general. There is something in the most common animal-faces around us, that would startle us by its human look if we had seen nothing of the kind before.—T. L.]

[15][There is a very great difficulty in confining this language of the apostle, 1 Corinthians 15:46-47, to the historical incarnation, or to the effect of the coming of Christ at the beginning of the Christian era. It must refer to something constitutive of humanity in the beginning, before the fall, and in the very process of the becoming man. Otherwise it would follow, that before such historical advent, man was an animal merely, wholly earthly and sensual, ψυχικὸς, χοϊκός. If the πνεῦμα ζωοποιοῦν, the “life-giving spirit,” in distinction from the ψυχὴ ζῶσα, the soul of life, or merely “living soul,” was not in our humanity at its first constitution, then not only Adam, but Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Moses, David, Isaiah, were only natural men, animal men, having nothing, in a true sense, spiritual about them. If we would avoid this very strange consequence, the language referred to must have something of a creative or constitutive sense, and the πνεῦμα ζωοποιοῦν, must be regarded as the φῶς φώτιζον πάντα ἄνθρωπον, “the Light that lighteth every man coming into the world” of John 1:9, making, in the beginning, that peculiar constitution which we may call the completed man, and which was never wholly lost as a high spiritual power, however much it may have been marred in its ethical aspect. Christianity is indeed καινὴ κτίσις, “a new creation,’ 2 Corinthians 5:17, or the making of a “new man,” but this is not inconsistent with the idea of a restoration, a re-creation, a renewed spirituality, or even the bringing back to a higher state than that from which man fell. The second Adam was not absent from the creation of the first. In the spiritual image of Him who is himself styled the express image, or hypostatic image, χαρακτὴρ ὕποστάσεως, Hebrews 1:3, was man spiritually formed. Through it he became man, and therefore it is truly said of the incarnate Logos, that “he came to his own;” and thus also is he truly bar-nosho, son of man, the Hebrew and Syriac term for the generic homo. In his eternity, and in his historical incarnation, he is “the root as well as the offspring” of humanity.—T. L.]


Τοῖον παλαιστὴν νῦν παρασκευάζεται

̔̀Ος δὴ κεραυνοῦ κρείσσον’εὑρήσει φλὁγα,

Θαλασσίαν τε γῆς τινάκτειραν νόσον
Τρίαιναν, αἰχμὴν τὴν Ποσειδῶνος σκεδᾶ.

Æschylus, Prom. Vinct. 919.

[17][Four great cities are started in the very “beginning of Nimrod’s kingdom, Babel, and Erech, and Accad, and Calneh in the land of Shinar,” Genesis 10:10. This is confirmed by Herodotus. He speaks of it as a remarkable peculiarity of Assyria in his day—the number and greatness of its cities. They must have been founded in the earliest times, and by a people who had a passion for great structures—see Herod., i. 178. Rawlinson regards this large number of important cities as one of “the most striking features of the Assyrian greatness.” He shows, too, how remarkably it is confirmed by the modern discoveries among the vast Assyrian ruins: “Grouped around Nineveh were Calah (Nimrud), Scripture Calneh; Dur Sagina (Khorsabad); Tarbisa (Sherifkhan); Arbel (Arbil); Khazeh (Shamamek); and Asshur (Shirgut). Lower down, the banks of the Tigris exhibit an almost unbroken line of ruins from Tekrit to Baghdad, while Babylonia and Chaldea are throughout studded with mounds from north to south, the remains of the great capitals of which we read in the inscriptions. Again, in upper Mesopotamia, between the Tigris and the Khabour, Mr. Layard found the whole country covered with mounds, the remnants of cities belonging to the early Assyrian period.” Rawlinson’s Herodotus, vol. i. p. 243. These go back to the very beginnings of history. They make history. There is none before them, as there is no historical place for them in later annals, when these empires began to crumble, as they did at a very early period. So everything confirms the idea, that the pyramids and the great structures of Thebes and Memphis belong to the very beginnings of Egyptian history. They are monuments of the primæval men. From these ruins they yet speak to us of a period of great action, of a vast ambition suddenly manifesting itself, and before which silence reigned over all the earth.—T. L.]

Bibliographical Information
Lange, Johann Peter. "Commentary on Genesis 10". "Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal, and Homiletical". https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/lcc/genesis-10.html. 1857-84.
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