Today: Genesis 10 – Genealogies of the Human Race after the Flood: In Genesis 10, we read a comprehensive genealogy of Noah’s three sons. Most people find these lengthy lists of unpronounceable names as insignificant and pass them over. On the contrary, in the record of these family lines, there are tantalizing clues relevant to many central themes in the Bible, therefore studying them and making a note of them will assist us greatly.
[Gen 10:1-32 KJV] 1 Now these [are] the generations of the sons of Noah, Shem, Ham, and Japheth: and unto them were sons born after the flood. 2 The sons of Japheth; Gomer, and Magog, and Madai, and Javan, and Tubal, and Meshech, and Tiras. 3 And the sons of Gomer; Ashkenaz, and Riphath, and Togarmah. 4 And the sons of Javan; Elishah, and Tarshish, Kittim, and Dodanim. 5 By these were the isles of the Gentiles divided in their lands; every one after his tongue, after their families, in their nations. 6 And the sons of Ham; Cush, and Mizraim, and Phut, and Canaan. 7 And the sons of Cush; Seba, and Havilah, and Sabtah, and Raamah, and Sabtecha: and the sons of Raamah; Sheba, and Dedan. 8 And Cush begat Nimrod: he began to be a mighty one in the earth. 9 He was a mighty hunter before the LORD: wherefore it is said, Even as Nimrod the mighty hunter before the LORD. 10 And the beginning of his kingdom was Babel, and Erech, and Accad, and Calneh, in the land of Shinar. 11 Out of that land went forth Asshur, and builded Nineveh, and the city Rehoboth, and Calah, 12 And Resen between Nineveh and Calah: the same [is] a great city. 13 And Mizraim begat Ludim, and Anamim, and Lehabim, and Naphtuhim, 14 And Pathrusim, and Casluhim, (out of whom came Philistim,) and Caphtorim. 15 And Canaan begat Sidon his firstborn, and Heth, 16 And the Jebusite, and the Amorite, and the Girgasite, 17 And the Hivite, and the Arkite, and the Sinite, 18 And the Arvadite, and the Zemarite, and the Hamathite: and afterward were the families of the Canaanites spread abroad. 19 And the border of the Canaanites was from Sidon, as thou comest to Gerar, unto Gaza; as thou goest, unto Sodom, and Gomorrah, and Admah, and Zeboim, even unto Lasha. 20 These [are] the sons of Ham, after their families, after their tongues, in their countries, [and] in their nations. 21 Unto Shem also, the father of all the children of Eber, the brother of Japheth the elder, even to him were [children] born. 22 The children of Shem; Elam, and Asshur, and Arphaxad, and Lud, and Aram. 23 And the children of Aram; Uz, and Hul, and Gether, and Mash. 24 And Arphaxad begat Salah; and Salah begat Eber. 25 And unto Eber were born two sons: the name of one [was] Peleg; for in his days was the earth divided; and his brother’s name [was] Joktan. 26 And Joktan begat Almodad, and Sheleph, and Hazarmaveth, and Jerah, 27 And Hadoram, and Uzal, and Diklah, 28 And Obal, and Abimael, and Sheba, 29 And Ophir, and Havilah, and Jobab: all these [were] the sons of Joktan. 30 And their dwelling was from Mesha, as thou goest unto Sephar a mount of the east. 31 These [are] the sons of Shem, after their families, after their tongues, in their lands, after their nations. 32 These [are] the families of the sons of Noah, after their generations, in their nations: and by these were the nations divided in the earth after the flood.
In v. 1-5, we find a more greatly detailed genealogy of Japheth, Noah’s second son. Japheth’s descendants are often referred to as the northern peoples. They settled what became Western Europe and the Russias. Japheth’s name means “opened.” This is interesting because the great open societies that modern civilization owes a great debt to arise from the line of Japheth. It is helpful to make a mental note about Gog and Magog because of the part they play in the prophetic theme of the scriptures. In Revelation 20:8, Gog and Magog are predicted to be the military might behind the final Antichrist battle after the millennial reign. In history, Magog is located to the north of Israel in the land now encompassing the borders of the former Soviet Union.
Verses 6-10 list for us the children and generations descending from Ham. Ham is the second son of Noah who perpetrated an immorality against his father Noah, and as a result, Noah cursed Ham’s youngest son Canaan. It is a little known fact, but Canaan was not Ham’s only son – there are three older sons, the eldest being Cush. While Canaan was cursed, the other sons that did not suffer under the pronouncement of Noah against Canaan. Cush’s descendants established Egypt and the African tribes and also Nimrod who initiated the golden age of the Babylonian empire. So for whatever reason, the curse of Noah because of Ham’s violation was limited to Canaan who was the progenitor of the peoples of Canaan who were the ancient and sworn enemies of the people of God. Again, we find it necessary to underscore this information because misinformed and bigoted people falsely conclude that Canaan’s curse to be a “servant of servants” is a divine edict justifying the enslavement of the African people. Canaan’s descendants were servants of servants because the Hebrew slave generation out of Egypt conquered them and enslaved them just as Noah predicted, which had nothing to do with African or dark-skinned people. There is no validity to searching in vain for scriptural justification for bigoted and ungodly disdain for people of African descent.
Ham’s eldest son Cush was father to Nimrod. Who was Nimrod? He was the founder of Babylon and the leader of the project to build the tower of Babylon that God intervened to stop. The phrase “mighty hunter before the Lord” can also be rendered “a mighty hunter in opposition to God.” Several Jewish traditions teach that Nimrod and Abraham met one another in battle where Nimrod’s numberless army was destroyed by an army (plague) of gnats Abraham conjured against him with God’s help. This is not Biblical fact, but it is an ancient tradition and therefore worth mentioning.
In v. 11-20, we come to the descendants of Shem. It is mentionable in chapter ten of Genesis that instead of recounting the genealogy of the firstborn Shem FIRST the genealogy of Japheth and Ham are narrated first. Matthew 20:16 tells us that the first shall be last and being the first-born this last-mentioned reference to Shem is a connection to the blessing on his family line from which Abraham, David and ultimately Jesus came from. Shem’s name means “son of renown.” It is a literary equivalent of Israel, prince of nations.” The name Shem is where we get the word “Semite” and also “anti-Semitic” because from the line of Shem Abraham and the Hebrew nation was brought forth. Shem’s name is connected with piety toward God, and one ancient tradition believes that when Jesus rose from the dead that Shem was one of the ancients that resurrected and were seen in the streets of Jerusalem (Matt. 27:51-53).
Shem is also believed to be the Melchizedek king of Salem who met and made a covenant with Abraham in Gen. 14. This is entirely possible because Shem was still alive at the time that this meeting took place on the plains of Mamre. This being a fact would define the Melchizedek order as the order of the family ordained by God in Eden. Shem was in effect the federal head of the human race because he had a direct line of descent from Adam and was, therefore, THE patrilinear head of the human race. Incidentally, extra-biblical sources cite Shem as killing Nimrod in an attempt to thwart the evil agenda behind the building of the tower of Babylon.
What would be the implications of Shem being Melchizedek? Because he as the head of the human race stood for God before Abraham in Genesis 14 and ratified with a covenant meal, God’s favor and planned destiny for Abraham. Then hundreds of years later Jesus as the direct descendant of Shem sat with 12 men and ratified this covenant and enlarged it to include all who believe (and we call this the Lord’s Supper and celebrate it as communion.)
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