Sunday, June 11, 2006

The Generations of Shem

Genesis 10:1b (the "Table of Nations") through Gen 11:10 (the end of the Babel episode) form a single narrative organized topically. Bookended by toletoths ("These are the generations of...) this document illustrates the history of families following the flood, then relates the event which caused them to be separated "by their languages, in their nations." Probably the work of the family of Eber, if you read carefully you can occasionally catch driving directions that illustrate that while the author had a good grasp of geography, he expected that his audience would only be familiar with the more famous landmarks of the Ancient Near East.

Sons were born to Shem, Ham, and Japheth after the flood.

· The sons of Japheth: Gomer, Magog, Madai, Javan, Tubal, Meshech, and Tiras.

o The sons of Gomer: Ashkenaz, Riphath, and Togarmah.

o The sons of Javan: Elishah, Tarshish, and the Kittim and Dodanim.

· This is how the isles of the Gentiles were divided in their lands, each after his language, family, and nation

· The sons of Ham: Cush, Mizraim, Phut, and Canaan.

o The sons of Cush: Seba, Havilah, Sabtah, Raamah, and Sabtecha

§ The sons of Raamah: Sheba and Dedan.

o Cush fathered Nimrod, who became a mighty man all over the earth. He was a mighty hunter before the LORD, which is why some say, “Like Nimrod, the mighty hunter before the LORD.” The beginning of his kingdom was Babel, Erech, Accad, and Calneh, in the land of Shinar. Out of that land Asshur went forth and built Nineveh, the city Rehoboth, Calah, and Resen (a great city between Nineveh and Calah).

o Mizraim fathered the Ludim, Anamim, Lehabim, Naphtuhim, Pathrusim, Casluhim, (out of whom came the Philistines,) and the Caphtorim.

o Canaan begat Sidon his firstborn and Heth, and the Jebusites, Amorites, Girgasites, Hivites, Arkites, Sinites, Arvadites, Zemarites, and the Hamathites. Afterward the families of the Canaanites were spread abroad. The border of the Canaanites was from Sidon as you come to Gerar, to Gaza as you go to Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, Zeboim, all the way to Lasha.

· These are the sons of Ham, after their families, after their languages, in their countries, and in their nations.

· To Shem - the father of all the children of Eber, and brother of Japheth the elder - children were also born. The children of Shem are Elam, Asshur, Arphaxad, Lud, and Aram.

o The children of Aram: Uz, Hul, Gether, and Mash.

o Arphaxad fathered Salah, Salah fathered Eber.

§ To Eber were born two sons. The name of one was Peleg (“Division” – El B) for in his days the earth was divided. His brother’s name was Joktan.

· Joktan fathered Almodad, Sheleph, Hazarmaveth, Jerah, Hadoram, Uzal, Diklah, Obal, Abimael, Sheba, Ophir, Havilah, and Jobab. These were all sons of Joktan and they dwelt from Mesha as you go to Sephar, a mountain of the east.

· These are the sons of Shem, after their families, after their languages, in their lands, after their nations.

These are the families of the sons of Noah, after their generations, in their nations, and in this way the nations were divided in the earth after the flood.

[end genealogy with the statement that the families were divided. Now begins the narration that explains the statement – El B]

The whole earth was of one language, and of one speech. And as they journeyed from the east they found a plain in the land of Shinar and dwelt there.

They said one to another, “Get up, let us make brick and burn them thoroughly,” (they had brick in place of stone and used mud for mortar). Then they said, “Get up, let us build a city, with a tower whose top will reach the heavens. Let us make a name for ourselves so we are not scattered over the whole earth.”

The LORD came down to see the city and the tower the children of men had built. And the LORD said, “Look, this people is united and have one language, yet this is what they do. Now nothing will they have thought to do can be kept from them. Let us go down and confuse their language so they may not understand one another’s speech.”

So the LORD scattered them abroad from there over the whole earth: and they quit building the city. This is why the name of the city is Babel (“confusion” – El B) - because in that place the LORD confused the language of all the earth and from that place the LORD scattered them over the whole earth.

This has been the family history of Shem.

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