Genesis Chapter Ten


Read Genesis 10:1-5 – The Generations of Japheth


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


            The sons of Noah had no children until after the flood, possibly a provision by the providence of God.  Without families during the destruction of the earth they would not be tempted to follow after the rest of mankind, nor would Noah and his sons be distracted from their principle purpose by the demands of children and extended families.  Some may wonder why we should study the genealogy of Noah and while we don’t know God’s purpose in providing this genealogy; God does not provide his word without a purpose we will not omit these verses from our study.


v.2The sons of Japheth; Gomer, and Magog, and Madai, and Javan, and Tubal, and Meshech, and Tiras


            As we remember from the prior chapter, the descendants of Japheth are those of the European and Indo-European regions.  Gomer is equated with the Roman province of Galatia by Josephus, and named as the ancestor of the people of Russia, Ukraine and Azerbaijan according to Assyrian and other records.

            After reviewing what is readily available without making an exhausting study it appears that not much is really known about Magog and his descendants.  However, there are enough legends available that most European and Indo-European people from as far east as Mongolia and as far west as Spain and the Celts of England could claim him.

            Both Hebrew and Assyrian sources name Madai as the father of the Medes who later joined with the Persians and held the remnant of Judah captive in Babylon.

            In Hebrew and classical Indian Sanskrit, among other sources, Javan is named as the ancestor of the Greek speaking peoples.

            Jubal is given by Josephus and others and the father of the Italian and Spanish peoples along with some other minor groups in eastern Europe.

            Meshech is identified with various eastern European peoples including some modern Russians, the people of Georgia and other ethnic groups currently known as Slovakia, Hungary, and others of that region.

            Not much is known about Tiras and his descendants but based primarily upon some of the gods worshipped and other cultural similarities many show him as ancestor of the Germanic and Scandinavian people with their origins in Thrace.  Thrace is modern day Macedonia, Romania, Bulgaria, and the countries of southeastern Europe; from there they would have spread northward.  Josephus wrote that the descendants of Tiras were the first known fair-haired people, which would also fit these assumptions.  Thus, contrary to the bigots of this world, fair skinned or white folks were the odd ones and minority in the genealogy of mankind.


v.3  And the sons of Gomer; Ashkenaz, and Riphath, and Togarmah.”


            Ashkenaz is said to be the founder of the Armenian peoples whose country is also said to contain Mount Ararat where Noah’s ark came to rest.  Ashkenaz is also the name given to about 80% of the world Jewish population and has it origins in Germany and eastern Europe during the Dark Ages.  Most of the Jews who immigrated back to modern Israel are Ashkenaz Jews.

            Riphath is thought to be the father of peoples who lived in Asia Minor on the south coast of the Black Sea, Pontus, Phrygia and Galatia of the New Testament era.  Some Irish scholars also claim their ancestry as being from Riphath.

            Togarmah is claimed by the Armenians, Georgians and various other tribes of eastern Europe around the Caspian Sea..


v.4  And the sons of Javan; Elishah, and Tarshish, Kittim, and Dodanim.”


            Elishah is thought to be the ancestor of various Germanic tribes and some identify him with the people of Cyprus.

            No genealogy is given of Tarshish but with the similarity of names many think that these were the people of southern Asia Minor.

            Kittim is thought to be the ancestor of the western sea peoples of the Mediterrean, also possibly Cyprus contrary to those who claim Elishah is the ancestor of the Cypriots.

            Dodanim is usually associated with the people of the island of Rhodes in the Mediterrean.


v.55By these were the isles of the Gentiles divided in their lands; every one after his tongue, after their families, in their nations.”


            The lands of the Gentile nations were spoken of as isles, or islands, in many of the ancient writings whether they were physically islands or not.  A psalm of Solomon, or that is about Solomon reads:




Read Genesis 10:6-20 – The Generations of Ham


v.6  And the sons of Ham; Cush, and Mizraim, and Phut, and Canaan.”


            Cush is the ancestor of all peoples that lived in the southern Arabian area, Yemen, Ethiopia, Somali and other areas of the horn of Africa.

            Mizraim is the ancestor of the Egyptian and several other smaller tribes, including the Philistines

            Phut was the father of the Libyan and other north African peoples.       

            Canaan was the father of all peoples that inhabited the shore of the east end of the Mediterrean from Sidon in Phoenicia to Gaza, including Sodom and Gomorrah with the exception of the Philistines who moved in somewhat later, before, or about the time that Israel occupied that area.


v.7-87And the sons of Cush; Seba, and Havilah, and Sabtah, and Raamah, and Sabtecha: and the sons of Raamah; Sheba, and Dedan. 8And Cush begat Nimrod: he began to be a mighty one in the earth.”


            Those that we might note in this list are Havilah, the name of the land where the Garden of Eden was located (Genesis 2:11).  The last son of Cush listed is Nimrod he was characterized as mighty in the earth and it thought to have been the first man who ruled as a king over his people and perhaps others as well.


v.9-10He was a mighty hunter before the LORD: wherefore it is said, Even as Nimrod the mighty hunter before the LORD. 10And the beginning of his kingdom was Babel, and Erech, and Accad, and Calneh, in the land of Shinar.”


            Nimrod is given credit for being a mighty hunter, the king of Mesopotamia, founder of Babel which later become Babylon and today is about 50 miles south of Baghdad in the country of Iraq.  Shinar is the ancient name for the country of Babylonia of which Babel, Erech, Accad and Calneh were chief cities.


v.11-12Out of that land went forth Asshur, and builded Nineveh, and the city Rehoboth, and Calah, 12And Resen between Nineveh and Calah: the same is a great city.”


In this section of Ham’s generations we’re told about Asshur, the father of the Assyrians, but Asshur is a son of Shem, not Nimrod.  His descendents built the great city of Nineveh that repented under the preaching of Jonah.  Rehoboth was not found in the records search, Calah is another city in current Iraq, about 30 miles southeast of Mosul.  Ancient Calah covered about 16 square miles, so it was not a small city.  We don’t know the location of Resen, except that the scripture tells us it was between Nineveh and Calah.


v.13-14And Mizraim begat Ludim, and Anamim, and Lehabim, and Naphtuhim, 14And Pathrusim, and Casluhim, (out of whom came Philistim,) and Caphtorim.”


            There are two men named Ludim, the other a descendant of Shem, this man is the father of the inhabitants of Libya.  Anamim and Lehabim are the fathers of people in northern Africa, Naphtuhim is linked to a people of central Egypt and is said to be the country of Queen Candace whom we meet as the employer of the Ethiopian baptized by Philip in Acts 8.  Pathrusim was the father of the inhabitants of upper Egypt, Casluhim, whom we know only as the father of the Philistines, and the descendants of Caphtorim were another Egyptian people.


v.15-18And Canaan begat Sidon his firstborn, and Heth, 16And the Jebusite, and the Amorite, and the Girgasite, 17And the Hivite, and the Arkite, and the Sinite, 18And the Arvadite, and the Zemarite, and the Hamathite: and afterward were the families of the Canaanites spread abroad.”


            Here we have the origin of the tribes of Canaan, most of who were still there when the Israelite nation occupied the land.

The descendants of Sidon were the Phoenician people of the city of Sidon and the surrounding area.

            Heth was the father of the Hittite people who lived in Canaan even during the reign of David (Uriah).

            The descendants of Jebusi occupied the area given to the tribe of Benjamin.

            The Amorites occupied the land from east of Jordan to the mountains and between Hebron and Jerusalem.

            The Girgashites are mentioned in with the other in five places, nothing else is known about them.

            The Hivites were the people who fooled Joshua and formed a treaty with Israel to become their servants.

            The Arkites were located north of Phoenicia (Sidon), today’s Lebanon, and established the city of Arka.

            The Sinites lived in the same general area as the Arkites.

            The Arvadites, Zemarites, and Hamathites were also all Phoenician groups that lived north of Israel.


v.19-20And the border of the Canaanites was from Sidon, as thou comest to Gerar, unto Gaza; as thou goest, unto Sodom, and Gomorrah, and Admah, and Zeboim, even unto Lasha.  These are the sons of Ham, after their families, after their tongues, in their countries, and in their nations.”


            Again, before we leave the generations of Ham, we want to emphasize that the curse that God pronounced on Ham was not on Ham directly or even the darker skinned descendants of Ham but rather the descendants of Canaan.  They occupied the lands that were to ultimately become the land of Israel, though Israel, did not subdue all of them.  They came closest during the reign of Solomon.  The listing of the peoples that were to be removed reads like the listing of the sons of Canaan:


Joshua 12:7-8And these are the kings of the country which Joshua and the children of Israel smote on this side Jordan on the west, from Baalgad in the valley of Lebanon even unto the mount Halak, that goeth up to Seir; which Joshua gave unto the tribes of Israel for a possession according to their divisions; 8In the mountains, and in the valleys, and in the plains, and in the springs, and in the wilderness, and in the south country; the Hittites, the Amorites, and the Canaanites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites:”


Read Genesis 10:21-32 – The Generations of Shem


v.21-22Unto Shem also, the father of all the children of Eber, the brother of Japheth the elder, even to him were children born. 22The children of Shem; Elam, and Asshur, and Arphaxad, and Lud, and Aram.”


            Shem is called the “FATHER OF ALL THE CHILDREN OF EBER,” Eber was a great-grandson, so what is the significance of this name?  Eber or Heber is the father of all Hebrew peoples.  The people through whom God chose to fulfill the seed promise.  We have five sons of Shem listed.

            Elam and the Elamites became the people that we know later as Persia and were located in what is modern day Iran and the lowlands of Khuzestan.  It is one of the oldest recorded civilizations known to man and figures heavily in the history of modern Iran.

            As noted above with verses 11 and 12, Asshur was the father of the Assyrian people, the builder of Nineveh, Calah, and other cities of Assyria, known as Syria today.

            As we will see in chapter 11, Arphaxad was the ancestor of Abraham and of the Israelite nation.  This is the line through which the Savior of the world was to be brought into the world.

            Not much is known about Lud or his descendants.  Scholars are divided between his offspring being further east from Elam or Persia in western India and being in Asia Minor or the Asian portion of Turkey.

            Nothing was found concerning Aram but the country northeast of Palestine occupied by Syria and northern Mesopotamia was called Aram.  This is the region that Abram traveled to when he left the Chaldean city of Ur.  This is were Nahor lived and where Isaac and Jacob traveled to find their wives.


v.23-24And the children of Aram; Uz, and Hul, and Gether, and Mash. 24And Arphaxad begat Salah; and Salah begat Eber.”


            Again we have a reference to Eber, the father of the Hebrew peoples.  One of the things that I found to be rather intriguing in this study is that two of the modern world’s religions find their origin in the same place and with the same man.  Both the Old Covenant of God given to Israel and Islam originated and claim their source from the descendants of Eber, specifically Abraham.  But these people have been at war for centuries and have worked at slaughtering each other since the beginning of recorded history.


v.25And 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.”


            The name Peleg means division and it was during the days of Eber at about the time of the birth of this son that the nations of the world were divided by language.  Joktan means small and this is literally all that we know about him.


v.26-30And Joktan begat Almodad, and Sheleph, and Hazarmaveth, and Jerah, 27And Hadoram, and Uzal, and Diklah, 28And Obal, and Abimael, and Sheba, 29And Ophir, and Havilah, and Jobab: all these were the sons of Joktan. 30And their dwelling was from Mesha, as thou goest unto Sephar a mount of the east.”


            The descendants of Joktan lived in the southwestern portion of that Arabian peninsula.  One of the significant names in this group is that of Sheba.  The Queen of Sheba, who came to visit with Solomon, lived in the same region as noted above between Yemen and Ethiopia.  The name Sephar is better known as Zafar, an ancient city that is prominent in Arab, Roman and Greek history of that region.


v.31-32These 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, in their nations: and by these were the nations divided in the earth after the flood.”


            Thus we have the generations of Noah and his sons, their locations, for those that we know, their descendants and the roles that they played in the regeneration of mankind after the flood.