Genesis 10, the Table of Nations

Discussion in '2000-02 Archive' started by Helen, Jun 9, 2002.

  1. Helen

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    Aug 29, 2001
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    If the Tablet Hypothesis is correct, the Tablet co-authored by the three brothers, Shem, Ham, and Japheth, stops at the beginning of chapter 10 with the toledot: "This is the account of Shem, Ham, and Japhet, Noah's sons, who themselves had sons after the flood." Shem takes over from that point, finishing in Genesis 11:10. In other words, Shem covers the Table of Nations and Babel before Abraham's father, Terah, adds his own material.

    Genesis 10 is called the Table of Nations and is consistently referenced by archaeologists since it is considered to be the single most accurate document we have regardng ethnic origins! At first glance it seems pretty boring, and I suppose to those who are not interested in where people came from in their various groups, it is boring.

    Nevertheless, there are some pretty interesting things here. Taking from several other sources and linguistic studies, here are a couple of things that might spark your interest:

    Asshur -- this name is the origin of Assyria

    Hittites -- these elusive people may have been part of the origin of the Chinese. Linguistically, "Hittite" begins as "Kittae" which is awfully close to "Cathay" -- the old European name for China.

    Aso in the Canaanite line we find the Sinites, and these people were for sure ancestors of one of the Oriental groups. We still use the prefix "Sino" to refer to China, as in "Sino-Japanese War" and such.

    Then there is Gomer, whose name is the linguistic root of both Germany and Cambria, or Wales.

    Magog means 'place of Gog', which is Georgia, by the Black Sea.

    Madai not only was the root for "Medes", but also of Madras, in India!

    There is also evidence that the name Meshech survives today in the name of the Russian city of Moscow.

    So, for a linguist, this is a gold mine chapter.

    Aside from that, there are four names that are important for Bible study.

    The first is Nimrod, in verses 8-12. He is the legendary Ninus, as Nimrod was only a title, or appellation. It is a condensation of the two words Nimr and Rud. It means slayer of leopards. The most extensive and in depth study of this man and his influence on all the false religions of the world was done in the nineteenth century by Hislop. His book, Two Babylons (written, actually, to expose the Roman Catholic church as a massive apostacy) is online here:

    If you read it, you will also see where I got some of the information regarding the names and places above!

    At any rate, the term "mighty hunter before the Lord" is not quite the right meaning -- He was 'before the Lord' in the meaning of "in your face!"

    Although this is a Bible study, the study of where ancient legends and such fit into these events has always fascinated me. The Epic of Gilgamesh dates from about this time, and having both read and taught it a number of times, there is a serious idea in my mind that Gilgamesh may actually be the son of Semiramis, Nimrod's wife, who had him after Nimrod had been killed.

    For those of you with the energy (some year?) I highly recommend both a careful reading of the Hislop book, and THEN a reading of Gilgamesh. To me, it seems like pieces of the puzzle fitting in with the Bible.

    The next people to take note of are Peleg and his brother, Joktan. They are in verse 25. Peleg was so named because, 'in his days the earth was divided.' HERE is the division of the continents in a massively catastrophic way. Look at the meaning of the two names of the two brothers:
    Word Peleg = earthquake, division, channel of water – PLG = cleave, separate, divide
    PALA = tear in two, cut asunder – PL = splitting apart – Pelagos = Gk. Mediterranean
    Joktan = cut off, make small, kill, destroy, diminish, tear off .
    (from my husband's lecture notes, cut and pasted!)

    It is sometimes argued that the division at the time of Peleg was simply that of groups of people migrating. But the word 'earth' ( his days the earth was divided...) is 'eres' in Hebrew and ALWAYS means a geographic area, whether a town, a country, a continent, or the entire earth. So given this and the names of the two brothers, it seems we are being told there was a violent shifting of the earth's crust during this time which resulted in the one land mass dividing up into a number of land masses, or continents. This, by the way, would have taken place several hundred years AFTER Babel. So people and animals would have already migrated to the various areas and there would not have been a need for the miraculous transport of kangaroos to Australia or bison to America!

    The last name to note is that of one of Peleg's nephews: Joktan's son Jobab (v. 29). There is a distinct possibility that this is Job of the book of the same name. The age span of Job is appropriate to this time and the two words are obviously related. What Job talks about is also very much a part of what Peleg's time would have been seeing. Again simply lifting from my husband's notes, which I think are pretty easy to follow, look at the following from the book of Job:

    Just from these first ten chapters of Genesis, I am hoping that it is becoming evident that the Bible has a lot more to say to us historically and scientifically than we tend to give it credit for. God has, truly, not left Himself without a witness!
  2. Clint Kritzer

    Clint Kritzer
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    Oct 10, 2001
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