Welcome back to my study/review of Genesis. If you missed the previous parts of this study, you can find them HERE.
I am doing Genesis 10 a little differently. It looks like I will probably end up talking about this chapter for at least three posts. In the first post on Chapter 10, I covered the entire text of the chapter and started a discussion on the specifics of where Noah’s descendants settled and which groups they are thought to have become. Specifically we focused on the descent of Japheth and started looking at Ham’s descendants. If you want to understand a lot of the rest of the Old Testament (ex: Who is Magog?) then having a grasp of what is going on here is helpful.
Chapter 10 and Chapter 11 represents something of a jump forward in time from the deeply remote past of Noah (from the perspective of Moses,) to the slightly less remote past of Abraham.
10 These are the generations of the sons of Noah, Shem, Ham, and Japheth. Sons were born to them after the flood.
2 The sons of Japheth: Gomer, Magog, Madai, Javan, Tubal, Meshech, and Tiras. 3 The sons of Gomer: Ashkenaz, Riphath, and Togarmah. 4 The sons of Javan: Elishah, Tarshish, Kittim, and Dodanim. 5 From these the coastland peoples spread in their lands, each with his own language, by their clans, in their nations.
6 The sons of Ham: Cush, Egypt, Put, and Canaan. 7 The sons of Cush: Seba, Havilah, Sabtah, Raamah, and Sabteca. The sons of Raamah: Sheba and Dedan. 8 Cush fathered Nimrod; he was the first on earth to be a mighty man. 9 He was a mighty hunter before the Lord. Therefore it is said, “Like Nimrod a mighty hunter before the Lord.” 10 The beginning of his kingdom was Babel, Erech, Accad, and Calneh, in the land of Shinar. 11 From that land he went into Assyria and built Nineveh, Rehoboth-Ir, Calah, and 12 Resen between Nineveh and Calah; that is the great city. 13 Egypt fathered Ludim, Anamim, Lehabim, Naphtuhim, 14 Pathrusim, Casluhim (from whom the Philistines came), and Caphtorim.
15 Canaan fathered Sidon his firstborn and Heth, 16 and the Jebusites, the Amorites, the Girgashites, 17 the Hivites, the Arkites, the Sinites, 18 the Arvadites, the Zemarites, and the Hamathites. Afterward the clans of the Canaanites dispersed. 19 And the territory of the Canaanites extended from Sidon in the direction of Gerar as far as Gaza, and in the direction of Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, and Zeboiim, as far as Lasha. 20 These are the sons of Ham, by their clans, their languages, their lands, and their nations.
21 To Shem also, the father of all the children of Eber, the elder brother of Japheth, children were born. 22 The sons of Shem: Elam, Asshur, Arpachshad, Lud, and Aram. 23 The sons of Aram: Uz, Hul, Gether, and Mash. 24 Arpachshad fathered Shelah; and Shelah fathered Eber. 25 To Eber were born two sons: the name of the one was Peleg, for in his days the earth was divided, and his brother’s name was Joktan. 26 Joktan fathered Almodad, Sheleph, Hazarmaveth, Jerah, 27 Hadoram, Uzal, Diklah, 28 Obal, Abimael, Sheba, 29 Ophir, Havilah, and Jobab; all these were the sons of Joktan. 30 The territory in which they lived extended from Mesha in the direction of Sephar to the hill country of the east. 31 These are the sons of Shem, by their clans, their languages, their lands, and their nations.
32 These are the clans of the sons of Noah, according to their genealogies, in their nations, and from these the nations spread abroad on the earth after the flood.
Picking back up at Verse 11:
(11, 12) Out of that land went forth Asshur.—So the LXX., Syriac, and Vulg.; but the Targum and most modern authorities rightly translate, “Out of that land he went forth into Assyria.” We have here nothing to do with Asshur the son of Shem (see Genesis 10:22), but are occupied with Nimrod and the Hamites, who, after firmly establishing themselves in Babylonia, subsequently extended their influence northward. This is confirmed by the cuneiform inscriptions, which prove that the southern portion of Mesopotamia was the chief seat of the Accadians, while in Assyria they came at an early date into collision with the Shemites, who drove them back, and ultimately subjugated them everywhere. It is not necessary to suppose that this spread of Hamite civilisation northward was the work of Nimrod personally; if done by his successors, it would, in Biblical language, be ascribed to its prime mover.
The Assyrian cities were:—
1. Nineveh.—So happily situated on the Tigris that it outstripped the more ancient Babylon, and for centuries even held it in subjection.
2. The City Rehoboth.—Translated by some Rehoboth-Ir, but with more probability by others, “the suburbs of the city:” that is, of Nineveh, thus denoting already the greatness of that town.
3. Calah.—A city rebuilt by Assur-natzir-pal, the father of Shalmaneser, and interesting as one of the places where the Assyrian kings established libraries (Chald. Gen., p. 26). The ruins are still called Nimroud.
4. Resen.—The “spring-head.” Of this town nothing certain is known. Canon Rawlinson places it at Selamiyah (Anc. Mon., ), a large village half-way between Nineveh and Calah. As the vast ruins scattered throughout Mesopotamia are those of Assyrian buildings, Resen, though “a great city” in Hamite times, might easily pass into oblivion, if never rebuilt by the conquerors.
Through Ham, you end up with Nimrod, and through Nimrod you get two of Israel’s most notorious foes – Assyria and Babylon.
(13, 14) “With Mizraim are connected seven inferior African races, the names of which are given in the plural, namely:—
1. The Ludim.—There were two races of this name: one Semitic, descended from Lud, the son of Shem (Genesis 10:22), and mentioned in Isaiah 66:19; the other Hamite, and subject to the Pharaohs ( Jeremiah 46:9; Ezekiel 30:5). They seem to have inhabited the Nile valley, but their exact position is unknown.
2. The Anamim.—Knobel gives some reasons for supposing this race to have inhabited the Delta.
4. The Naphtuhim.—Knobel explains these as “the people of Phthah, the deity worshipped at Memphis.” If so, they were the true Egyptians, as Egypt is Kah-Phthah, “the land of Phthah,’ or more correctly, according to Canon Cook, Ai-Capth. (See Note on Capthorim.)
5. The Pathrusim.—People of Pathros, or Upper Egypt. According to Canon Cook, Pa-t-res means “the land of the south.”
6. The Casluhim.—Probably the people of Cassiotis, a mountainous district to the east of Pelusium.
7. The Philistim.—The word Philistine means emigrant, and is translated alien, foreigner, by the LXX·We are here told that they came into Palestine as colonists from the Casluhim; but in Jeremiah 47:4, Amos 9:7, they are described as a colony from Caphtor. Probably the first Philistine settlers in Gerar (Genesis 26:1), and in the towns conquered by Judah (Judges 1:18), were Casluchians; but afterwards, at the time when they struggled with Israel for empire, in the days of Samson, Eli, and Saul, there had been a second and larger immigration from Crete. As they seem to have spoken a Semitic tongue, they had apparently adopted the language of the Canaanites among whom they had settled, and especially of the Avim (Deuteronomy 2:23). The objection to their being of Egyptian origin, brought from their neglect of the rite of circumcision, has but little weight. The Israelites all but discontinued it (Joshua 5:5), and colonists escaped from the dominion of the priests might gladly dispense with such a custom. There is also much reason for believing that the institution of circumcision in Egypt was of a date subsequent to this emigration.
8. The Caphtorim are generally connected with Crete, but Egyptologers derive the name from Kah-Phthah, “the land of Phthah.” According to this, the Caphtorim, like the Naphtuhim, would have been true Egyptians, and the Delta, with Memphis, for their capital, would have been their original home. The need of expansion, joined to the seafaring habits learnt on the shores of the Delta, may easily have led them to colonise Crete, while others of the race were going as settlers into Palestine. It is worth notice that while Cyprus and Rhodes are given to the sons of Javan (Genesis 10:4), no mention is there made of Crete.
It is plain from this survey that Mizraim at this time was not of very great extent, these seven tribes being confined to the lands closely bordering on the Delta and the upper part of the Nile valley. There is nothing to indicate that the great city of Thebes had as yet come into existence.
Here we have the origins of Egypt and the Philistines among others.
(15-18) Canaan.—The meaning of this name is uncertain, as, most probably, it is a Hamitic word: if derived from a Semitic root, it may mean the lowland. Though the Canaanites spoke a Semitic tongue at the time when we find them in Palestine, yet the assertion of the Bible that they were Hamites is confirmed by the testimony of profane writers, who say that their original home was on the Indian Ocean. They had probably been driven thence by the pressure of Semitic races, with whose language they had thus already become familiar; and when, farther, they found a Semitic people thinly spread over Palestine, they may, while absorbing them, have been confirmed in the use of their tongue. So, subsequently, Abraham gave up Syriac for Hebrew; and though these are kindred dialects, yet they are often remote enough from one another (see Genesis 31:47). On the other hand, the whole character of the Canaanite religion and thought was Hamitic, and while they Were active in commercial pursuits, and in culture far in advance of the Greeks, to whom they gave their alphabet, they were intensely sensuous in their worship and voluptuous in their manners. They are divided into eleven tribes, namely:—
1. Sidon.—This is remarkable as being the only town mentioned in the account either of Mizraim or of Canaan. All the rest are apparently the names of tribes still wandering about; and thus we gain a clearer idea both of the antiquity of this early record, and also of the great advance made by Nimrod in founding so many cities. Sidon, situated on the sea-shore, about thirty miles north of Tyre, became thus early a settled community and the seat of social life, because of its advantages for fishing (whence its name is derived), and also for commerce.
2. Heth.—The Kheta, or Hittites, a powerful race, whose language and monuments have recently become the object of careful study. They seem subsequently to have possessed not only Syria, but a large portion of Asia Minor. (See Note on Genesis 23:3; Genesis 23:5.)
4. The Amorite.—Or rather, Emorite, that is, mountaineer. Next to the Kheta, or Hittites, they were the most powerful race in Palestine, holding the hill country of Judea, where they had five kings (Joshua 10:5), and a large district on the eastern side of the Jordan (2 Samuel 9:10).
5. The Girgasite.—Mentioned in Joshua 24:11, but otherwise unknown.
7. The Arkite.—Also in Lebanon.
8. The Sinite.—A small tribe in the same neighbourhood.
9. The Arvadite.—A more important people, inhabiting the island Aradus.
10. The Zemarite.—An obscure people, inhabiting Samyra, in Phœnicia.
11. The Hamathite whose city, Hamath, was the capital of Northern Syria. It was situated on the river Orontes, and though called Epiphaneia by the Macedonians, still retains its ancient name. The Kheta subsequently gained the supremacy at Hamath, and had their capital in the immediate neighbourhood.
Afterward were the families of the Canaanites spread abroad.—This may mean either that they spread inwards, or may refer to the numerous colonies of the Tyrians on the Mediterranean. While in Babylonia the Hamites are described as black, this branch was called Phœnicians, from their ruddy colour, in contrast with the olive-coloured Semitic stock. As they came by sea from the Indian Ocean, their earliest settlement was on the coast, and thus Sidon is called “the first-born” of Ham. Thence they advanced into the interior, and though few in number, absorbed by their superior culture the inhabitants of Palestine. It is probably this expansion inwards which is here referred to.
Canaan was cursed by Noah to be a servant of servants to his brothers. When we look at his descendants, we see primarily tribesmen and not city builders. The Cush line subjects a lot of Canaan’s line.
Interestingly, the Canaanites have a link to (according to the above) both the Indian Ocean and Phoenicia. On the face, that seems odd. However, scholars have reason to believe that trade routes existed between India and the Mediterranean coast as early as the time of King Solomon (1000~BCE) if not earlier. Perhaps those trade routes were familiar in their earliest days?
(19, 20) The border . . . —The boundaries given are Sidon in the north, Gerar and Gaza in the south and south-west, and thence to the Dead Sea. The only Lasha known is a place famous for its hot springs on the east of the Red Sea Though the Phœnicians may-have occupied this town on their way to Palestine, it could not have been one of their boundaries, so that it is probably some place destroyed in the convulsion which overthrew the cities of the plain. We must notice also that while Sidon is Aradus and Hamath were considerably above it. It is probable, therefore, that both the Arvadite and the Hamathite were still wandering tribes without settlements when this table was drawn up.
This wraps up the Hamite section. We went through the Japheth section in the last post. We have almost spread out across the globe. Shem remains, though.