10 This is the account of Shem, Ham and Japheth, Noah’s sons, who themselves had sons after the flood.
2 The sons of Japheth:
Gomer, Magog, Madai, Javan, Tubal, Meshek and Tiras.
3 The sons of Gomer:
Ashkenaz, Riphath and Togarmah.
4 The sons of Javan:
Elishah, Tarshish, the Kittites and the Rodanites. 5 (From these the maritime peoples spread out into their territories by their clans within their nations, each with its own language.)
6 The sons of Ham:
Cush, Egypt, Put and Canaan.
7 The sons of Cush:
Seba, Havilah, Sabtah, Raamah and Sabteka.
The sons of Raamah:
Sheba and Dedan.
8 Cush was the father of Nimrod, who became a mighty warrior on the earth. 9 He was a mighty hunter before the Lord; that is why it is said, “Like Nimrod, a mighty hunter before the Lord.” 10 The first centers of his kingdom were Babylon, Uruk, Akkad and Kalneh, in Shinar. 11 From that land he went to Assyria, where he built Nineveh, Rehoboth Ir, Calah12 and Resen, which is between Nineveh and Calah—which is the great city.
13 Egypt was the father of
the Ludites, Anamites, Lehabites, Naphtuhites, 14 Pathrusites, Kasluhites (from whom the Philistines came) and Caphtorites.
15 Canaan was the father of
Sidon his firstborn, and of the Hittites, 16 Jebusites, Amorites,Girgashites, 17 Hivites, Arkites, Sinites, 18 Arvadites, Zemarites and Hamathites.
Later the Canaanite clans scattered 19 and the borders of Canaan reached from Sidon toward Gerar as far as Gaza, and then toward Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah and Zeboyim, as far as Lasha.
20 These are the sons of Ham by their clans and languages, in their territories and nations.
21 Sons were also born to Shem, whose older brother was Japheth; Shem was the ancestor of all the sons of Eber.
22 The sons of Shem:
Elam, Ashur, Arphaxad, Lud and Aram.
23 The sons of Aram:
Uz, Hul, Gether and Meshek.
24 Arphaxad was the father of Shelah,
and Shelah the father of Eber.
25 Two sons were born to Eber:
One was named Peleg, because in his time the earth was divided; his brother was named Joktan.
26 Joktan was the father of
Almodad, Sheleph, Hazarmaveth, Jerah, 27 Hadoram, Uzal, Diklah,28 Obal, Abimael, Sheba, 29 Ophir, Havilah and Jobab. All these were sons of Joktan.
30 The region where they lived stretched from Mesha toward Sephar, in the eastern hill country.
31 These are the sons of Shem by their clans and languages, in their territories and nations.
32 These are the clans of Noah’s sons, according to their lines of descent, within their nations. From these the nations spread out over the earth after the flood.
(Genesis 10:1-32 NIV)
As we walked through Chapter 9, we saw God’s blessing on Noah and his family, their commission to fill the earth, a change in dietary options, God’s covenant with all the creatures of the earth to never wipe everyone and everything out with a flood, and God’s sign of a rainbow to constantly remind us of that promise over the millennia.
As we walk through Chapter 10, we see Noah’s family tree through his three sons. At first glance, it is tempting to skip over this chapter, as it lists the generations of Noah, listing a bunch of names that we struggle to pronounce.
The key to understanding Chapter 10 is found in verses 5, 20, 31, and 32. This genealogy is not just the first cousins, second cousins, etc. of Noah’s sons – this is the record of the birth of:
- entire nations
Chapter 10 is the “macro” view of Noah’s family; Chapter 11 is the “micro” view that focuses in on Shem’s family, which is the family line that gave us Abraham, David, and eventually, Jesus.
Remember Noah’s prophecy against his son Ham, and specifically his grandson Canaan? We see this prophetic curse come true in Ham’s family tree here in Chapter 10. Consider the line of ungodly nations that came from Ham:
- Babylon (v. 10)
- Assyria and Nineveh, its capital (v. 11)
- Egypt (v. 13)
- The Philistines, including Goliath (v. 14)
- all the “-ite” nations that battled against the Jewish people (vv. 15-18)
- Sodom and Gomorrah, which God later destroyed their namesake cities for their extreme wickedness (v. 19)
While we may not have nations that will spring up in our family line, Chapter 10 is a solemn reminder to live our lives focused on the Lord and in constant connection to Him, and the consequences of families that go their own ways.