on Genesis 10 :1
Now these are the generations - It is extremely difficult to say what particular nations and people sprang from the three grand divisions of the family of Noah, because the names of many of those ancient people have become changed in the vast lapse of time from the deluge to the Christian era; yet some are so very distinctly marked that they can be easily ascertained, while a few still retain their original names.
Moses does not always give the name of the first settler in a country, but rather that of the people from whom the country afterwards derived its name. Thus Mizraim is the dual of Mezer, and could never be the name of an individual. The like may be said of Kittim, Dodanim, Ludim, Ananim, Lehabim, Naphtuhim, Pathrusim, Casluhim, Philistim, and Caphtorim, which are all plurals, and evidently not the names of individuals, but of families or tribes. See Genesis 10:4, Genesis 10:6, Genesis 10:13, Genesis 10:14.
In the posterity of Canaan we find whole nations reckoned in the genealogy, instead of the individuals from whom they sprang; thus the Jebusite, Amorite, Girgasite, Hivite, Arkite, Sinite, Arvadite, Zemarite, and Hamathite, Genesis 10:16-18, were evidently whole nations or tribes which inhabited the promised land, and were called Canaanites from Canaan, the son of Ham, who settled there. Moses also, in this genealogy, seems to have introduced even the name of some places that were remarkable in the sacred history, instead of the original settlers. Such as Hazarmaveth, Genesis 10:26; and probably Ophir and Havilah, Genesis 10:29. But this is not infrequent in the sacred writings, as may be seen 1 Chronicles 2:51, where Salma is called the father of Bethlehem, which certainly never was the name of a man, but of a place sufficiently celebrated in the sacred history; and in 1 Chronicles 4:14, where Joab is called the father of the valley of Charashim, which no person could ever suppose was intended to designate an individual, but the society of craftsmen or artificers who lived there.
Eusebius and others state (from what authority we know not) that Noah was commanded of God to make a will and bequeath the whole of the earth to his three sons and their descendants in the following manner: - To Shem, all the East; to Ham, all Africa; to Japheth, the Continent of Europe with its isles, and the northern parts of Asia. See the notes at the end of the preceding chapter, Genesis 9:29 (note).
on Genesis 10 :1
- Section VIII - The Nations
2. גמר gomer, "Gomer, completion; related: complete;" Κιμμέριοι Kimmerioi. מגוג māgôg, "Magog, Caucasian, Skyth." מדי māday, "Madai, middle: Mede." יון yāvān, "Javan"; Ἰάων Iaōn; "Sanskrit, Javana; Old Persian, Juna." תבל tubāl, "Tubal"; Τιβαρηνοὶ Tibareenoi. משׁך meshek, "Meshek, drawing possession, valor"; Μόσχοι Moschoi, תירס tı̂yrās, "Tiras;" Θρᾷξ Thrax.
3. אשׁכנו 'ashkenaz, "Ashkenaz," Ἀσκάνιος Askanios. ריפת rı̂ypat, "Riphath," ὄρη Ῥίπαια oree Ripaia, תגרמה togarmâh "Togarmah, Thorgom, ancestor of the Armenians."
4. אלישׁה 'elı̂yshâh, "Elishah;" Ἧλις Eelis, Ἑλλὰς Hellas, Αἰολεῖς Aioleis. תדשׁישׁ tarshı̂ysh, "Tarshish, breaking, fastness: Tartessus, Tarsus, Tyrseni." כתים kı̂tı̂ym, "Kittim, smiters; Citienses;" Κᾶρες Kares; דדנים dodānı̂ym, "Dodanim, Dodona, Dardani."
5. אי 'ı̂y, "meadow, land reached by water, island; related: be marked off or bounded (by a water line)." גוי gôy, "nation; related: be born;" γεγάασι gegaasi.
The fifth document relates to the generations of the sons of Noah. It presents first a genealogy of the nations, and then an account of the distribution of mankind into nations, and their dispersion over the earth. This is the last section which treats historically of the whole human race. Only in incidental, didactic, or prophetic passages do we again meet with mankind as a whole in the Old Testament.
The present chapter signalizes a new step in the development of the human race. They pass from the one family to the seventy nations. This great process covers the space of time from Noah to Abraham. During this period the race was rapidly increasing under the covenant made with Noah. From Shem to Abraham were ten generations inclusive; and, therefore, if we suppose the same rate of increase after as we have supposed before, there would be about fifteen million inhabitants when Abraham was thirty years of age. If, however, we take eight as the average of a family, and suppose eleven generations after Shem at the one hundredth year of Abraham's life, we have about thirty million people on the earth. The average of the three sons of Noah is higher than this; for they had sixteen sons, and we may suppose as many daughters, making in all thirty-two, and, therefore, giving ten children to each household. The present chapter does not touch on the religious aspect of human affairs: it merely presents a table of the primary nations, from which all subsequent nationalities have been derived.
The sons of Japheth. - Japheth is placed first, because he was, most probably, the oldest brother Genesis 9:24; Genesis 10:21, and his descendants were the most numerous and most widely spread from the birthplace of mankind. The general description of their territory is "the isles of the nations." These were evidently maritime countries, or such as were reached by sea. These coastlands were pre-eminently, but not exclusively, the countries bordering on the north side of the Mediterranean and its connected waters. They are said to belong to the nations, because the national form of association was more early and fully developed among them than among the other branches of the race. There is, probably, a relic of Japheth in the, Ιαπετὸς Iapetos, Japetus of the Greeks, said to be the son of Uranus (heaven), and Gaea (earth), and father of Prometheus, and thus in some way connected with the origin or preservation of the human race.
Fourteen of the primitive nations spring from Japheth. Seven of these are of immediate descent.
(1) Gomer is mentioned again, in Ezekiel EZechariah 38:6, as the ally of Gog, by which the known existence of the nation at that period is indicated. Traces of this name are perhaps found in the Κιμμέριοι Kimmerioi, (Homer, Odyssey Ezekiel 11:14; Herodotus Ezekiel 1:15; Ezekiel 4:12), who lay in the dark north, in the Krimea, the Kimbri who dwelt in north Germany, the Kymry, Cambri, and Cumbri who occupied Britain. These all belong to the race now called Keltic, the first wave of population that reached the Atlantic. Thus, the Γομαρεῖς Gomareis, of Josephus (Ant. 1:6.1) may even be identified with the Galatae. This nation seems to have lain to the north of the Euxine, and to have spread out along the southern coasts of the Baltic into France, Spain, and the British Isles.
(2) Magog is mentioned, by Ezekiel EZechariah 38:6, as the people of which Gog was the prince. It is introduced in the Apocalypse Rev 20:8, as a designation of the remote nations who had penetrated to the ends or corners of the earth. This indicates a continually progressing people, occupying the north of Europe and Asia, and crossing, it may be, over into America. They seem to have been settled north of the Caspian, and to have wandered north and east from that point. They are accordingly identified by Josephus (Ant. 1:6.1) with the Skyths, and include the Mongols among other Skythic tribes.
(3) Madai has given name to the Medes, who occupied the southern shore of the Caspian. From this region they penetrated southward to Hindostan.
on Genesis 10 :1