The Table of Nations

1 This is the account1 of Noah’s sons Shem, Ham, and Japheth. Sons2 were born3 to them after the flood.

2 The sons of Japheth4 were Gomer,5 Magog,6 Madai,7 Javan,8 Tubal,9 Meshech,10 and Tiras.11 3 The sons of Gomer were12 Askenaz,13 Riphath,14 and Togarmah.15 4 The sons of Javan were Elishah,16 Tarshish,17 the Kittim,18 and the Dodanim.19 5 From these the coastlands of the nations were separated into their lands, every one according to its language, according to their families, by their nations.

6 The sons of Ham were Cush,20 Mizraim,21 Put,22 and Canaan.23 7 The sons of Cush were Seba,24 Havilah,25 Sabtah,26 Raamah,27 and Sabteca.28 The sons of Raamah were Sheba29 and Dedan.30

8 Cush was the father of31 Nimrod; he began to be a valiant warrior on the earth. 9 He was a mighty hunter32 before the Lord.33 (That is why it is said, “Like Nimrod, a mighty hunter before the Lord.”) 10 The primary regions34 of his kingdom were Babel,35 Erech,36 Akkad,37 and Calneh38 in the land of Shinar.39 11 From that land he went40 to Assyria,41 where he built Nineveh,42 Rehoboth-Ir,43 Calah,44 12 and Resen, which is between Nineveh and the great city Calah.45

13 Mizraim46 was the father of47 the Ludites,48 Anamites,49 Lehabites,50 Naphtuhites,51 14 Pathrusites,52 Casluhites53 (from whom the Philistines came),54 and Caphtorites.55

15 Canaan was the father of56 Sidon his firstborn,57 Heth,58 16 the Jebusites,59 Amorites,60 Girgashites,61 17 Hivites,62 Arkites,63 Sinites,64 18 Arvadites,65 Zemarites,66 and Hamathites.67 Eventually the families of the Canaanites were scattered 19 and the borders of Canaan extended68 from Sidon69 all the way to70 Gerar as far as Gaza, and all the way to71 Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, and Zeboiim, as far as Lasha. 20 These are the sons of Ham, according to their families, according to their languages, by their lands, and by their nations.

21 And sons were also born72 to Shem (the older brother of Japheth),73 the father of all the sons of Eber.

22 The sons of Shem were Elam,74 Asshur,75 Arphaxad,76 Lud,77 and Aram.78 23 The sons of Aram were Uz, Hul, Gether, and Mash.79 24 Arphaxad was the father of80 Shelah,81 and Shelah was the father of Eber.82 25 Two sons were born to Eber: One was named Peleg because in his days the earth was divided,83 and his brother’s name was Joktan. 26 Joktan was the father of84 Almodad,85 Sheleph,86 Hazarmaveth,87 Jerah,88 27 Hadoram, Uzal,89 Diklah,90 28 Obal,91 Abimael,92 Sheba,93 29 Ophir,94 Havilah,95 and Jobab. All these were sons of Joktan. 30 Their dwelling place was from Mesha all the way to96 Sephar in the eastern hills. 31 These are the sons of Shem according to their families, according to their languages, by their lands, and according to their nations.

32 These are the families of the sons of Noah, according to their genealogies, by their nations, and from these the nations spread97 over the earth after the flood.

110:1tn The title אֵלֶּה תּוֹלְדֹת (’elle tolÿdot, here translated as “This is the account”) here covers 10:111:9, which contains the so-called Table of Nations and the account of how the nations came to be dispersed. 210:1sn Sons were born to them. A vertical genealogy such as this encompasses more than the names of sons. The list includes cities, tribes, and even nations. In a loose way, the names in the list have some derivation or connection to the three ancestors. 310:1tn It appears that the Table of Nations is a composite of at least two ancient sources: Some sections begin with the phrase “the sons of” (בְּנֵי, bÿne) while other sections use “begot” (יָלָד, yalad). It may very well be that the “sons of” list was an old, “bare bones” list that was retained in the family records, while the “begot” sections were editorial inserts by the writer of Genesis, reflecting his special interests. See A. P. Ross, “The Table of Nations in Genesis 10 – Its Structure,” BSac 137 (1980): 340-53; idem, “The Table of Nations in Genesis 10 – Its Content,” BSac 138 (1981): 22-34. 410:2sn The Greek form of the name Japheth, Iapetos, is used in Greek tradition for the ancestor of the Greeks. 510:2sn Gomer was the ancestor of the Cimmerians. For a discussion of the Cimmerians see E. M. Yamauchi, Foes from the Northern Frontier (SBA), 49-61. 610:2sn For a discussion of various proposals concerning the descendants of Magog see E. M. Yamauchi, Foes from the Northern Frontier (SBA), 22-24. 710:2sn Madai was the ancestor of the Medes, who lived east of Assyria. 810:2sn Javan was the father of the Hellenic race, the Ionians who lived in western Asia Minor. 910:2sn Tubal was the ancestor of militaristic tribes that lived north of the Black Sea. For a discussion of ancient references to Tubal see E. M. Yamauchi, Foes from the Northern Frontier (SBA), 24-26. 1010:2sn Meshech was the ancestor of the people known in Assyrian records as the Musku. For a discussion of ancient references to them see E. M. Yamauchi, Foes from the Northern Frontier (SBA), 24-26. 1110:2sn Tiras was the ancestor of the Thracians, some of whom possibly became the Pelasgian pirates of the Aegean. 1210:3sn The descendants of Gomer were all northern tribes of the Upper Euphrates. 1310:3sn Askenaz was the ancestor of a northern branch of Indo-Germanic tribes, possibly Scythians. For discussion see E. M. Yamauchi, Foes from the Northern Frontier (SBA), 63. 1410:3sn The descendants of Riphath lived in a district north of the road from Haran to Carchemish. 1510:3sn Togarmah is also mentioned in Ezek 38:6, where it refers to Til-garimmu, the capital of Kammanu, which bordered Tabal in eastern Turkey. See E. M. Yamauchi, Foes from the Northern Frontier (SBA), 26, n. 28. 1610:4sn The descendants of Elishah populated Cyprus. 1710:4sn The descendants of Tarshish settled along the southern coast of what is modern Turkey. However, some identify the site Tarshish (see Jonah 1:3) with Sardinia or Spain. 1810:4sn The name Kittim is associated with Cyprus, as well as coastlands east of Rhodes. It is used in later texts to refer to the Romans. 1910:4tc Most of the MT mss read “Dodanim” here, but 1 Chr 1:7 has “Rodanim,” perhaps referring to the island of Rhodes. But the Qere reading in 1 Chr 1:7 suggests “Dodanim.” Dodona is one of the most ancient and revered spots in ancient Greece. 2010:6sn The descendants of Cush settled in Nubia (Ethiopia). 2110:6sn The descendants of Mizraim settled in Upper and Lower Egypt. 2210:6sn The descendants of Put settled in Libya. 2310:6sn The descendants of Canaan lived in the region of Phoenicia (Palestine). 2410:7sn The descendants of Seba settled in Upper Egypt along the Nile. 2510:7sn The Hebrew name Havilah apparently means “stretch of sand” (see HALOT 297 s.v. חֲוִילָה). Havilah’s descendants settled in eastern Arabia. 2610:7sn The descendants of Sabtah settled near the western shore of the Persian Gulf in ancient Hadhramaut. 2710:7sn The descendants of Raamah settled in southwest Arabia. 2810:7sn The descendants of Sabteca settled in Samudake, east toward the Persian Gulf. 2910:7sn Sheba became the name of a kingdom in southwest Arabia. 3010:7sn The name Dedan is associated with àUla in northern Arabia. 3110:8tn Heb “fathered.” Embedded within Cush’s genealogy is an account of Nimrod, a mighty warrior. There have been many attempts to identify him, but none are convincing. 3210:9tn The Hebrew word for “hunt” is צַיִד (tsayid), which is used on occasion for hunting men (1 Sam 24:12; Jer 16:16; Lam 3:15). 3310:9tn Another option is to take the divine name here, לִפְנֵי יִהוָה (lifne yÿhvah, “before the Lord [YHWH]”), as a means of expressing the superlative degree. In this case one may translate “Nimrod was the greatest hunter in the world.” 3410:10tn Heb “beginning.” E. A. Speiser, Genesis (AB), 67, suggests “mainstays,” citing Jer 49:35 as another text where the Hebrew noun is so used. 3510:10tn Or “Babylon.” 3610:10sn Erech (ancient Uruk, modern Warka), one of the most ancient civilizations, was located southeast of Babylon. 3710:10sn Akkad, or ancient Agade, was associated with Sargon and located north of Babylon. 3810:10tn No such place is known in Shinar (i.e., Babylonia). Therefore some have translated the Hebrew term כַלְנֵה (khalneh) as “all of them,” referring to the three previous names (cf. NRSV). 3910:10sn Shinar is another name for Babylonia. 4010:11tn The subject of the verb translated “went” is probably still Nimrod. However, it has also been interpreted that “Ashur went,” referring to a derivative power. 4110:11tn Heb “Asshur.” 4210:11sn Nineveh was an ancient Assyrian city situated on the Tigris River. 4310:11sn The name Rehoboth-Ir means “and broad streets of a city,” perhaps referring to a suburb of Nineveh. 4410:11sn Calah (modern Nimrud) was located twenty miles north of Nineveh. 4510:12tn Heb “and Resen between Nineveh and Calah; it [i.e., Calah] is the great city.” 4610:13sn Mizraim is the Hebrew name for Egypt (cf. NRSV). 4710:13tn Heb “fathered.” 4810:13sn The Ludites were African tribes west of the Nile Delta. 4910:13sn The Anamites lived in North Africa, west of Egypt, near Cyrene. 5010:13sn The Lehabites are identified with the Libyans. 5110:13sn The Naphtuhites lived in Lower Egypt (the Nile Delta region). 5210:14sn The Pathrusites are known in Egyptian as P-to-reshi; they resided in Upper Egypt. 5310:14sn The Casluhites lived in Crete and eventually settled east of the Egyptian Delta, between Egypt and Canaan. 5410:14tn Several commentators prefer to reverse the order of the words to put this clause after the next word, since the Philistines came from Crete (where the Caphtorites lived). But the table may suggest migration rather than lineage, and the Philistines, like the Israelites, came through the Nile Delta region of Egypt. For further discussion of the origin and migration of the Philistines, see D. M. Howard, “Philistines,” Peoples of the Old Testament World, 232. 5510:14sn The Caphtorites resided in Crete, but in Egyptian literature Caphtor refers to “the region beyond” the Mediterranean. 5610:15tn Heb “fathered.” 5710:15sn Sidon was the foremost city in Phoenicia; here Sidon may be the name of its founder. 5810:15tn Some see a reference to “Hittites” here (cf. NIV), but this seems unlikely. See the note on the phrase “sons of Heth” in Gen 23:3. 5910:16sn The Jebusites were the Canaanite inhabitants of ancient Jerusalem. 6010:16sn Here Amorites refers to smaller groups of Canaanite inhabitants of the mountainous regions of Palestine, rather than the large waves of Amurru, or western Semites, who migrated to the region. 6110:16sn The Girgashites are an otherwise unknown Canaanite tribe, though the name is possibly mentioned in Ugaritic texts (see G. J. Wenham, Genesis [WBC], 1:226). 6210:17sn The Hivites were Canaanite tribes of a Hurrian origin. 6310:17sn The Arkites lived in Arka, a city in Lebanon, north of Sidon. 6410:17sn The Sinites lived in Sin, another town in Lebanon. 6510:18sn The Arvadites lived in the city Arvad, located on an island near the mainland close to the river El Kebir. 6610:18sn The Zemarites lived in the town Sumur, north of Arka. 6710:18sn The Hamathites lived in Hamath on the Orontes River. 6810:19tn Heb “were.” 6910:19map For location see Map1-A1; JP3-F3; JP4-F3. 7010:19tn Heb “as you go.” 7110:19tn Heb “as you go.” 7210:21tn Heb “And to Shem was born.” 7310:21tn Or “whose older brother was Japheth.” Some translations render Japheth as the older brother, understanding the adjective הַגָּדוֹל (haggadol, “older”) as modifying Japheth. However, in Hebrew when a masculine singular definite attributive adjective follows the sequence masculine singular construct noun + proper name, the adjective invariably modifies the noun in construct, not the proper name. Such is the case here. See Deut 11:7; Judg 1:13; 2:7; 3:9; 9:5; 2 Kgs 15:35; 2 Chr 27:3; Neh 3:30; Jer 13:9; 36:10; Ezek 10:19; 11:1. 7410:22sn The Hebrew name Elam (עֵילָם, ’elam) means “highland.” The Elamites were a non-Semitic people who lived east of Babylon. 7510:22sn Asshur is the name for the Assyrians. Asshur was the region in which Nimrod expanded his power (see v. 11, where the name is also mentioned). When names appear in both sections of a genealogical list, it probably means that there were both Hamites and Shemites living in that region in antiquity, especially if the name is a place name. 7610:22sn The descendants of Arphaxad may have lived northeast of Nineveh. 7710:22sn Lud may have been the ancestor of the Ludbu, who lived near the Tigris River. 7810:22sn Aram became the collective name of the northern tribes living in the steppes of Mesopotamia and speaking Aramaic dialects. 7910:23tc The MT reads “Mash”; the LXX and 1 Chr 1:17 read “Meshech.”sn Uz, Hul, Gether, and Mash. Little is known about these descendants of Aram. 8010:24tn Heb “fathered.” 8110:24tc The MT reads “Arphaxad fathered Shelah”; the LXX reads “Arphaxad fathered Cainan, and Cainan fathered Sala [= Shelah].” The LXX reading also appears to lie behind Luke 3:35-36. 8210:24sn Genesis 11 traces the line of Shem through Eber (עֵבֶר, ’ever ) to Abraham the “Hebrew” (עִבְרִי, ’ivri). 8310:25tn The expression “the earth was divided” may refer to dividing the land with canals, but more likely it anticipates the division of languages at Babel (Gen 11). The verb פָּלָג (palag, “separate, divide”) is used in Ps 55:9 for a division of languages. 8410:26tn Heb “fathered.” 8510:26sn The name Almodad combines the Arabic article al with modad (“friend”). Almodad was the ancestor of a South Arabian people. 8610:26sn The name Sheleph may be related to Shilph, a district of Yemen; Shalph is a Yemenite tribe. 8710:26sn The name Hazarmaveth should be equated with Hadramawt, located in Southern Arabia. 8810:26sn The name Jerah means “moon.” 8910:27sn Uzal was the name of the old capital of Yemen. 9010:27sn The name Diklah means “date-palm.” 9110:28sn Obal was a name used for several localities in Yemen. 9210:28sn The name Abimael is a genuine Sabean form which means “my father, truly, he is God.” 9310:28sn The descendants of Sheba lived in South Arabia, where the Joktanites were more powerful than the Hamites. 9410:29sn Ophir became the name of a territory in South Arabia. Many of the references to Ophir are connected with gold (e.g., 1 Kgs 9:28, 10:11, 22:48; 1 Chr 29:4; 2 Chr 8:18, 9:10; Job 22:24, 28:16; Ps 45:9; Isa 13:12). 9510:29sn Havilah is listed with Ham in v. 7. 9610:30tn Heb “as you go.” 9710:32tn Or “separated.”