"Genesis Chapter 10" - The Account of Shem, Ham and Japheth
According the Genealogies Listed in Genesis Chapter 10, The Sons of Noah, Shem, Ham and Japheth Repopulated the World by Producing 70 Original Nations
This is the account of Shem, Ham and Japheth, Noah’s sons, who themselves had sons after the flood. Genesis 10:1
The three sons of Noah were to be responsible for the repopulating of the world after the flood. All people on earth today descend from Noah’s sons. There were 70 original nations after the Flood.
This is the account of Shem, Ham and Japheth…
Through Shem, the middle son, the “promised seed of the woman” (Messiah) would be transmitted. Shem was to be the father of the Semitic line of descent which comprised 26 nations including the Jews and Arabs. The middle son’s descendents lived in the middle nations. I believe that since the Bible is centered on God’s plan of redemption and the importance of Messiah, Shem is listed first in the introduction to Genesis chapter 10.
“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” Acts 1:8
According to Genesis 9:24, Ham was the youngest son of Noah. The Hamites or sons of Ham comprised 30 nations whose descendants became the Canaanites and the southern people of Africa. I believe that Ham is listed after Shem in the first verse of Genesis 10 because the Hamites occupied the lands immediately surrounding Judea.
Japheth was the oldest son according to Genesis 10:21. The Japhethites or the sons of Japheth comprised the 14 nations who became the northern peoples of Eurasia. Although Japheth is the eldest, he is listed last because the Japhethites spread to the ends of the earth.
The sons of Japheth: Gomer, Magog, Madai, Javan, Tubal, Meshech and Tiras. The sons of Gomer: Ashkenaz, Riphath and Togarmah. The sons of Javan: Elishah, Tarshish, the Kittim and the Rodanim. (From these the maritime peoples spread out into their territories by their clans within their nations, each with its own language.) Genesis 10:2-5
From the Japhetites already named, the tribes on the Mediterranean descended and separated from one another as they dwelled in their lands. The islands in the Old Testament are the islands and coastlands of the Mediterranean, on the European shore, from Asia Minor to Spain.
Ezekiel 38:1-6, 18
The word of the LORD came to me: "Son of man, set your face against Gog, of the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal; prophesy against him and say: 'This is what the Sovereign LORD says: I am against you, O Gog, chief prince of Meshech and Tubal. I will turn you around, put hooks in your jaws and bring you out with your whole army—your horses, your horsemen fully armed, and a great horde with large and small shields, all of them brandishing their swords. Persia, Cush and Put will be with them, all with shields and helmets, also Gomer with all its troops, and Beth Togarmah from the far north with all its troops—the many nations with you..
This is what will happen in that day: When Gog attacks the land of Israel, my hot anger will be aroused, declares the Sovereign LORD
This war lead by Gog of the land of Magog is prophesied by Ezekiel and is listed in chapters 38 and 39 of the book that bears his name.
The present day location of the descendants of Japheth’s sons, Magog, Meshech, Tubal and Gomer and his grandson Beth Togarmah are located in Asia Minor.
Magog Western Turkey
Meshech: Central Turkey
Tubal: Eastern Turkey
Gomer: East central Turkey
Beth Togarmah: The southeastern part of Turkey near the Syrian border
Modern day Turkey will lead in the prophesied war when Gog attacks the land of Israel.
The sons of Ham: Cush, Mizraim, Put and Canaan. Genesis 10:6
The genealogy of Ham includes his sons, grandsons and great grandsons. Among Ham’s sons is Cush, whose descendants presently are the people of Northern Sudan and Ethiopia, and Put, whose descendants occupy Libya. These peoples will be part of the Ezekiel 38 invaders who attack the land of Israel.
According to the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia:
“Some of the earliest sculptures yet found in Egypt represent the god Min. This god seems also to have been called Khem, a very exact Egyptian equivalent for Cham, Ham, the second son of Noah and the ancestor of the Hamitic people of Egypt. That Ham the son of Noah should be deified in the Egyptian pantheon is not surprising. The sensuality of this god Min or Khem also accords well with the reputation for licentiousness borne by Ham the son of Noah. These facts suggest very strongly a trace in Egyptian mythology of the actual history of the movements of Hamitic people.” Mizraim’s descendents presently occupy Egypt.
The descendants of Canaan, the son of Ham, settled in the area that God later promised to give to the descendants of Shem. The Canaanites were Hamitic in origin, but they adopted a Semitic language and culture, as we know from both the Bible and archaeology.
The sons of Cush: Seba, Havilah, Sabtah, Raamah and Sabteca. The sons of Raamah:
Sheba and Dedan. Genesis 10:7
These five sons of Cush ended up being nations in southern Arabia. The sixth son was Nimrod. The five other brothers each became the founder of a people; but Nimrod did not and is therefore not included until these following verses.
Cush was the father of Nimrod, who grew to be a mighty warrior on the earth. He was a mighty hunter before the LORD; that is why it is said, “Like Nimrod, a mighty hunter before the LORD.” Genesis 10:8-9
…he said, “Cursed be Canaan! The lowest of slaves will he be to his brothers.”Genesis 9:25
Cush was Canaan’s brother. Nimrod was Cush’s youngest son. Cush apparently resented the curse of Canaan more and more as the years went on. By the time Nimrod was born, the resentment had become so strong that Cush gave his son a name that means the “Rebel,” or literally, “Let us rebel.” The implication is that from childhood Cush trained Nimrod to be a leader in a planned and organized rebellion against God.
Nimrod grew to be a mighty warrior on the earth. He was a hunter of animals, but he was also a hunter of men. The Rabbis teach that he began to display man’s power over the wild animals by hunting them, and then capturing them. He was a mighty hunter before the Lord. The phrase, before the LORD implies antagonism against and opposition to God Himself. The Jerusalem Targum says that he was powerful in hunting and wicked before the Lord, for he was a hunter of the souls of the sons of men.
During the Great Tribulation, the Antichrist, or the lawless one (2 Thessalonians 2:8), will also lead a planned and organized rebellion against God. He, too, will be a hunter of souls.
The first centers of his kingdom were Babylon, Erech, Akkad and Calneh, in Shinar. From that land he went to Assyria, where he built Nineveh, Rehoboth Ir, Calah and Resen, which is between Nineveh and Calah; that is the great city. Genesis 10:10-12
Nimrod was the first to establish kingdoms. As a mighty hunter and warrior, people followed him seeking protection and provision. Instead of trusting in God, they put their faith in a man who stood in opposition to God. In Genesis 9:1, God commanded Noah’s sons to multiply in number and fill the earth. Instead, Nimrod built cities where people clustered together.
Nimrod built his kingdoms in two stages. The first stage took place in the plain of Shinar where the Tower of Babel would eventually be built. The first city of his kingdom was in Babylon. Therefore, Nimrod laid the seeds of the Babylon captivity (Jeremiah 52:1-34; Daniel 1:1-2) and Mystery Babylon (Revelation 17:1-18), the fountainhead of all false worship.
Then there was a second stage. As a result of the confusion of languages at the Tower of Babel, Nimrod went from the land of Shinar to Assyria (which is called the land of Nimrod in Micah 5:6). There he built several cities, the first of which was Nineveh, on the Tigris River, two hundred miles north of the city of Babylon. This became the capital of the Assyrian Empire. Therefore, Nimrod also laid the seeds of the Assyrian captivity of the Northern Kingdom.
Mizraim was the father of the Ludites, Anamites, Lehabites, Naphtuhites, Pathrusites, Casluhites (from whom the Philistines came) and Caphtorites. Genesis 10:13-14
The second son of Ham was Mizriam. Mizraim is the Hebrew word for Egypt. It literally means two Egypts and is referred to historically as Upper and Lower Egypt. He had seven sons and was the father of the peoples who would populate Egypt. Mizraim’s youngest son was Caphtor. Caphtor is another name for Crete and was the original homeland of the Philistines.
Canaan was the father of Sidon his firstborn, and of the Hittites, Jebusites, Amorites, Girgashites, Hivites, Arkites, Sinites, Arvadites, Zemarites and Hamathites. Later the Canaanite clans scattered and the borders of Canaan reached from Sidon toward Gerar as far as Gaza, and then toward Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah and Zeboiim, as far as Lasha. Genesis 10:15-19
We recognize many of the names of Canaan’s sons from the books of Exodus and Joshua.
So I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey—the home of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites. Exodus 3:8
These are the sons of Ham by their clans and languages, in their territories and nations. Genesis 10:20
While the sons of Ham comprised the nations whose descendants became the Canaanites and the people of Northern Africa, the Semitic peoples (Arabs and Israelites) descended from Shem.
Sons were also born to Shem, whose older brother was Japheth; Shem was the ancestor of all the sons of Eber. The sons of Shem: Elam, Asshur, Arphaxad, Lud and Aram. Genesis 10:21-22
Elam’s descendants became the people of Persia. Persia is modern day Iran. According to Ezekiel 38, Turkey, along with Iran, Lybia and Northern Sudan are all Muslim nations that will join together in an attack against Israel in these last days.
The sons of Aram: Uz, Hul, Gether and Meshech. Genesis 10:23
Aram’s descendants now occupy Syria. Damascus is the capital and the second largest city of Syria. Damascus is often claimed to be the oldest continuously inhabited city in the world.
An oracle concerning Damascus: “See, Damascus will no longer be a city but will become a heap of ruins. Isaiah 17:1
This prophecy has not yet been fulfilled. The phrase, “in that day” appears several times in this oracle and alludes to the “Great and Terrible Day of the LORD.”
Arphaxad was the father of Shelah, and Shelah the father of Eber. Two sons were born to Eber: One was named Peleg, because in his time the earth was divided; his brother was named Joktan. Genesis 10:24-25
In the genealogy of Jesus that appears in Luke chapter 3, is a list that includes: Shem’s son Arphaxad, Shem’s grandson Shelah, Shem’s great grandson Eber and Shem’s great, great grandson Peleg.
Peleg became the ancestor of Abraham, the first to be called Hebrew, a word that is highly similar to the name Eber, Peleg’s father. The name, Eber (ay'-ber) and the word, Hebrew both denote a “region beyond” or “passing through” or “crossing over.”
The name Peleg comes from the Hebrew verb, (palag) which means, to split or divide. In his time the earth was divided.
Some suggest the continents of the earth were divided at this time. However, this seems unlikely. Such a process would have had to occur within a very confined time period. The resultant geological violence would be overwhelmingly catastrophic—like another Noahic Flood all over again. Any continental separation thus likely occurred during the Flood. The traditional interpretation, which seems more reasonable, relates this verse to the division of people/nations at the Tower of Babel event in Genesis 11. Just like the English word “earth” can have a variety of meanings, the Hebrew word, “erets” can also mean nation(s). The expression, “Erets Yisrael,” literally means the “Land of Israel” but also refers to the nation or people of Israel.
Joktan was the father of Almodad, Sheleph, Hazarmaveth, Jerah, Hadoram, Uzal, Diklah, Obal, Abimael, Sheba, Ophir, Havilah and Jobab. All these were sons of Joktan. Genesis 10:26-29
Joktan’s family of thirteen sons is the largest family of early Bible times. Only Joktan’s first generation lineage was recorded; Gen. 10:26-29; I Chron. 1:19-23. All later Bible history is based on Peleg’s lineage (Genesis 11) Peleg’s lineage has more visibility in the Bible because it led up to Abraham and the history of his descendants.
The total disappearance of Joktan’s people from the Bible narrative means that his family left western Asia entirely and migrated to another land far away. The earliest sojourn of the Flood survivors was eastwards of Babylon, across the Iranian plateau, requiring more than a century according to Gen. 11:10-16.
It could even have taken well beyond a century before Peleg entered Babylon. We know that Peleg migrated to Babylon because his descendants dwelt there including Abraham, but Joktan did not go with Peleg into Babylon. This pre-Babylonian sojourn is an important factor for it helps us to know the location of Joktan’s migration route. He must have separated from the caravan before they came to Babylon because he chose to go east.
The region where they lived stretched from Mesha toward Sephar, in the eastern hill country. Genesis 10:30
The caravan migrating westward towards Babylon was already in the east, so Joktan’s decision to go eastward means that he separated from the caravan and turned towards the orient. It also makes sense that Joktan having the most sons listed in the Table of Nations would have the most descendants – the large population of eastern Asia.
These are the sons of Shem by their clans and languages, in their territories and nations. Genesis 10:31
The seventy nations listed in the Table of Nations descended from the clans of Noah’s sons.
These are the clans of Noah’s sons, according to their lines of descent, within their nations. From these the nations spread out over the earth after the flood. Genesis 10:32
…these I will bring to my holy mountain and give them joy in my house of prayer. Their burnt offerings and sacrifices will be accepted on my altar; for my house will be called a house of prayer for all nations.”
The temple in Jerusalem was to be a house of prayer for all nations.
“‘On the fifteenth day of the seventh month, hold a sacred assembly and do no regular work. Celebrate a festival to the LORD for seven days. Present an offering made by fire as an aroma pleasing to the LORD, a burnt offering of thirteen young bulls, two rams and fourteen male lambs a year old, all without defect.” Numbers 29:12-13
The Feast of Tabernacles begins on the fifteenth day of the seventh month and lasts for seven days. On the first day thirteen bulls are sacrificed, on the second day twelve bulls, on the third day eleven bulls, on the fourth day ten bulls, on the fifth day nine bulls, on the sixth day eight bulls and on the seventh day seven bulls (13+12+11+10+9+8+7 = 70) for a total of seventy bulls were sacrificed during the Feast of Tabernacles – one for each nation. Yahweh’s House was to be a house of prayer for all the nations of the earth.
After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. And they cried out in a loud voice:
“Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.”
All the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures. They fell down on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, saying:
“Amen! Praise and glory and wisdom and thanks and honor and power and strength be to our God for ever and ever. Amen!” Revelation 7:8-12