Genesis 10


The generations of the sons of Noah, 1.

JAPHETH and his descendants, 2-4.

The isles of the Gentiles, or Europe, peopled by the

Japhethites, 5.

HAM and his posterity, 6-20.

Nimrod, one of his descendants, a mighty hunter, 8, 9,

founds the first kingdom, 10.

Nineveh and other cities founded, 11, 12.

The Canaanites in their nine grand branches or families, 15-18.

Their territories, 19.

SHEM and his posterity, 21-31.

The earth divided in the days of Peleg, 25.

The territories of the Shemites, 30.

The whole earth peopled by the descendants of Noah's three

sons, 32.


Verse 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 Ge 10:4, 6, 13, 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, Ge 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


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,

Ge 10:26; and probably

Ophir and Havilah, Ge 10:29. But this is not infrequent in the

sacred writings, as may be seen 1Ch 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 1Ch 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. See Clarke on Gen 9:29.

Verse 2. The sons of Japheth] Japheth is supposed to be the

same with the Japetus of the Greeks, from whom, in an extremely

remote antiquity, that people were supposed to have derived their


Gomer] Supposed by some to have peopled Galatia; so Josephus,

who says that the Galatians were anciently named Gomerites. From

him the Cimmerians or Cimbrians are supposed to have derived their

origin. Bochart has no doubt that the Phrygians sprang from this

person, and some of our principal commentators are of the same


Magog] Supposed by many to be the father of the Scythians and

Tartars, or Tatars, as the word should be written; and in great

Tartary many names are still found which bear such a striking

resemblance to the Gog and Magog of the Scriptures, as to leave

little doubt of their identity.

Madai] Generally supposed to be the progenitor of the Medes;

but Joseph Mede makes it probable that he was rather the founder

of a people in Macedonia called Maedi, and that Macedonia was

formerly called Emathia, a name formed from Ei, an island, and

Madai, because he and his descendants inhabited the maritime

coast on the borders of the Ionian Sea. On this subject nothing

certain can be advanced.

Javan] It is almost universally agreed that from him sprang

the Ionians, of Asia Minor; but this name seems to have been

anciently given to the Macedonians, Achaians, and Baeotians.

Tubal] Some think be was the father of the Iberians, and that

a part at least of Spain was peopled by him and his descendants;

and that Meshech, who is generally in Scripture joined with him,

was the founder of the Cappadocians, from whom proceeded the


Tiras.] From this person, according to general consent, the

Thracians derived their origin.

Verse 3. Ashkenaz] Probably gave his name to Sacagena, a very

excellent province of Armenia. Pliny mentions a people called

Ascanitici, who dwelt about the Tanais and the Palus Maeotis;

and some suppose that from Ashkenaz the Euxine Sea derived its

name, but others suppose that from him the Germans derived their


Riphath] Or Diphath, the founder of the Paphlagonians, which

were anciently called Riphataei.

Togarmah.] The Sauromates, or inhabitants of Turcomania. See

the reasons in Calmet.

Verse 4. Elishah] As Javan peopled a considerable part of

Greece, it is in that region that we must seek for the

settlements of his descendants; Elishah probably was the first who

settled at Elis, in Peloponnesus.

Tarshish] He first inhabited Cilicia, whose capital anciently

was the city of Tarsus, where the Apostle Paul was born.

Kittim] We have already seen that this name was rather the

name of a people than of an individual: some think by Kittim

Cyprus is meant: others, the isle of Chios; and others, the

Romans; and others, the Macedonians.

Dodanim.] Or Rodanim, for the and may be easily

mistaken for each other, because of their great similarity. Some

suppose that this family settled at Dodona in Epirus; others at

the isle of Rhodes; others, at the Rhone, in France, the ancient

name of which was Rhodanus, from the Scripture Rodanim.

Verse 5. Isles of the Gentiles] EUROPE, of which this is

allowed to be a general epithet. Calmet supposes that it

comprehends all those countries to which the Hebrews were obliged

to go by sea, such as Spain, Gaul, Italy, Greece, and Asia Minor.

Every one after his tongue] This refers to the time posterior

to the confusion of tongues and dispersion from Babel.

Verse 6. Cush] Who peopled the Arabic nome near the Red Sea

in Lower Egypt. Some think the Ethiopians descended from him.

Mizraim] This family certainly peopled Egypt; and both in the

East and in the West, Egypt is called Mezr and Mezraim.

Phut] Who first peopled an Egyptian nome or district,

bordering on Libya.

Canaan.] He who first peopled the land so called, known also

by the name of the Promised Land.

Verse 7. Seba] The founder of the Sabaeans. There seem to be

three different people of this name mentioned in this chapter, and

a fourth in Ge 25:3.

Havilah] Supposed by some to mean the inhabitants of the

country included within that branch of the river Pison which ran

out of the Euphrates into the bay of Persia, and bounded Arabia

Felix on the east.

Sabtah] Supposed by some to have first peopled an isle or

peninsula called Saphta, in the Persian Gulf.

Raamah] Or Ragmah, for the word is pronounced both ways,

because of the ain, which some make a vowel, and some a

consonant. Ptolemy mentions a city called Regma near the Persian

Gulf; it probably received its name from the person in the text.

Sabtechah] From the river called Samidochus, in Caramanla;

Bochart conjectures that the person in the text fixed his

residence in that part.

Sheba] Supposed to have had his residence beyond the

Euphrates, in the environs of Charran, Eden, &c.

Dedan.] Supposed to have peopled a part of Arabia, on the

confines of Idumea.

Verse 8. Nimrod] Of this person little is known, as he is not

mentioned except here and and in 1Ch 1:10, which is evidently a

copy of the text in Genesis. He is called a mighty hunter before

the Lord; and from Ge 10:10, we learn that he founded a

kingdom which included the cities Babel, Erech, Accad, and

Calneh, in the land of Shinar. Though the words are not definite,

it is very likely he was a very bad man. His name Nimrod comes

from , marad, he rebelled; and the Targum, on 1Ch 1:10,

says: Nimrod began to be a mighty man in sin, a murderer of

innocent men, and a rebel before the Lord. The Jerusalem Targum

says: "He was mighty in hunting (or in prey) and in sin before

God, for he was a hunter of the children of men in their

languages; and he said unto them, Depart from the religion of

Shem, and cleave to the institutes of Nimrod." The Targum of

Jonathan ben Uzziel says: "From the foundation of the world none

was ever found like Nimrod, powerful in hunting, and in rebellions

against the Lord." The Syriac calls him a warlike giant. The word

tsayid, which we render hunter, signifies prey; and is

applied in the Scriptures to the hunting of men by persecution,

oppression, and tyranny. Hence it is likely that Nimrod, having

acquired power, used it in tyranny and oppression; and by rapine

and violence founded that domination which was the first

distinguished by the name of a kingdom on the face of the earth.

How many kingdoms have been founded in the same way, in various

ages and nations from that time to the present! From the Nimrods

of the earth, God deliver the world!

Mr. Bryant, in his Mythology, considers Nimrod as the principal

instrument of the idolatry that afterwards prevailed in the family

of Cush, and treats him as an arch rebel and apostate. Mr.

Richardson, who was the determined foe of Mr. Bryant's whole

system, asks, Dissertation, p. 405, "Where is the authority for

these aspersions? They are nowhere to be discovered in the

originals, in the versions, nor in the paraphrases of the sacred

writings." If they are not to be found either in versions or

paraphrases of the sacred writings, the above quotations are all


Verse 10. The beginning of his kingdom was Babel] babel

signifies confusion; and it seems to have been a very proper name

for the commencement of a kingdom that appears to have been

founded in apostasy from God, and to have been supported by

tyranny, rapine, and oppression.

In the land of Shinar.] The same as mentioned Ge 11:2. It

appears that, as Babylon was built on the river Euphrates, and the

tower of Babel was in the land of Shinar, consequently Shinar

itself must have been in the southern part of Mesopotamia.

Verse 11. Out of that land went forth Asshur] The marginal

reading is to be preferred here. He-Nimrod, went out into Assyria

and built Nineveh; and hence Assyria is called the land of Nimrod,

Mic 5:6. Thus did this mighty hunter extend his dominions in

every possible way. The city of Nineveh, the capital of Assyria,

is supposed to have had its name from Ninus, the son of Nimrod;

but probably Ninus and Nimrod are the same person. This city,

which made so conspicuous a figure in the history of the world, is

now called Mossul; it is an inconsiderable place, built out of the

ruins of the ancient Nineveh.

Rehoboth, and Calah, &c.] Nothing certain is known concerning

the situation of these places; conjecture is endless, and it has

been amply indulged by learned men in seeking for Rehoboth in the

Birtha of Ptolemy, Calah in Calachine, Resen in Larissa, &c.,


Verse 13. Mizraim begat Ludim] Supposed to mean the inhabitants

of the Mareotis, a canton in Egypt, for the name Ludim is

evidently the name of a people.

Anamim] According to Bochart, the people who inhabited the

district about the temple of Jupiter Ammon.

Lehabim] The Libyans, or a people who dwelt on the west of the

Thebaid, and were called Libyo-Egyptians.

Naphtuhim] Even the conjectures can scarcely fix a place for

these people. Bochart seems inclined to place them in Marmarica,

or among the Troglodytae.

Verse 14. Pathrusim] The inhabitants of the Delta, in Egypt,

according to the Chaldee paraphrase; but, according to Bochart,

the people who inhabited the Thebaid, called Pathros in Scripture.

Casluhim] The inhabitants of Colchis; for almost all authors

allow that Colchis was peopled from Egypt.

Philistim] The people called Philistines, the constant plagues

and frequent oppressors of the Israelites, whose history may be

seen at large in the books of Samuel, Kings, &c.

Caphtorim] Inhabitants of Cyprus according to Calmet.

Verse 15. Sidon] Who probably built the city of this name, and

was the father of the Sidonians.

Heth] From whom came the Hittites, so remarkable among the

Canaanitish nations.

Verse 16. The Jebusite-Amorite, &c.] Are well known as being

the ancient inhabitants of Canaan, expelled by the children of


Verse 20. These are the sons of Ham after their families] No

doubt all these were well known in the days of Moses, and for a

long time after; but at this distance, when it is considered that

the political state of the world has been undergoing almost

incessant revolutions through all the intermediate portions of

time, the impossibility of fixing their residences or marking

their descendants must be evident, as both the names of the people

and the places of their residences have been changed beyond the

possibility of being recognized.

Verse 21. Shem also, the father of all the children of Eber] It

is generally supposed that the Hebrews derived their name from

Eber or Heber, son of Shem; but it appears much more likely that

they had it from the circumstance of Abraham passing over (for so

the word abar signifies) the river Euphrates to come into the

land of Canaan. See the history of Abraham, Ge 14:13.

Verse 22. Elam] From whom came the Elamites, near to the Medes,

and whose chief city was Elymais.

Asshur] Who gave his name to a vast province (afterwards a

mighty empire) called Assyria.

Arphaxad] From whom Arrapachitis in Assyria was named,

according to some; or Artaxata in Armenia, on the frontiers of

Media, according to others.

Lud] The founder of the Lydians. In Asia Minor; or of the

Ludim, who dwelt at the confluence of the Euphrates and Tigris,

according to Arias Montanus.

Aram.] The father of the Arameans, afterwards called Syrians.

Verse 23. Uz] Who peopled Caelosyria, and is supposed to have

been the founder of Damascus.

Hul] Who peopled a part of Armenia.

Gether] Supposed by Calmet to have been the founder of the

Itureans, who dwelt beyond the Jordan, having Arabia Deserta on

the east, and the Jordan on the west.

Mash.] Who inhabited mount Masius in Mesopotamia, and from

whom the river Mazeca, which has its source in that mountain,

takes its name.

Verse 24. Salah] The founder of the people of Susiana.

Eber.] See Ge 10:21. The Septuagint add

Cainan here, with one hundred and thirty to the chronology.

Verse 25. Peleg] From palag, to divide, because in his

days, which is supposed to be about one hundred years after the

flood, the earth was divided among the sons of Noah. Though some

are of opinion that a physical division, and not a political one,

is what is intended here, viz., a separation of continents and

islands from the main land; the earthy parts having been united

into one great continent previously to the days of Peleg. This

opinion appears to me the most likely, for what is said, Ge 10:5,

is spoken by way of anticipation.

Verse 26. - 30. Joktan] He had thirteen sons who had their

dwelling from Mesha unto Sephar, a mount of the east, which places

Calmet supposes to be mount Masius, on the west in Mesopotamia,

and the mountains of the Saphirs on the east in Armenia, or of the

Tapyrs farther on in Media.

In confirmation that all men have been derived from one family,

let it be observed that there are many customs and usages, both

sacred and civil, which have prevailed in all parts of the world;

and that these could owe their origin to nothing but a general

institution, which could never have existed, had not mankind been

originally of the same blood, and instructed in the same common

notions before they were dispersed. Among these usages may be

reckoned, 1. The numbering by tens. 2. Their computing time by a

cycle of seven days. 3. Their setting apart the seventh day for

religious purposes. 4. Their use of sacrifices, propitiatory and

eucharistical. 5. The consecration of temples and altars.

6. The institution of sanctuaries or places of refuge, and their

privileges. 7. Their giving a tenth part of the produce of their

fields, &c., for the use of the altar. 8. The custom of

worshipping the Deity bare-footed. 9. Abstinence of the men from

all sensual gratifications previously to their offering sacrifice.

10. The order of priesthood and its support. 11. The notion of

legal pollutions, defilements, &c. 12. The universal tradition of

a general deluge. 13. The universal opinion that the rainbow was

a Divine sign, or portent, &c., &c. See Dodd. The wisdom and

goodness of God are particularly manifested in repeopling the

earth by means of three persons, all of the same family, and who

had witnessed that awful display of Divine justice in the

destruction of the world by the flood, while themselves were

preserved in the ark. By this very means the true religion was

propagated over the earth; for the sons of Noah would certainly

teach their children, not only the precepts delivered to their

father by God himself, but also how in his justice he had brought

the flood on the world of the ungodly, and by his merciful

providence preserved them from the general ruin. It is on this

ground alone that we can account for the uniformity and

universality of the above traditions, and for the grand outlines

of religious truth which are found in every quarter of the world.

God has so done his marvellous works that they may be had in

everlasting remembrance.

Verse 27. See Clarke on Ge 10:26.

Verse 28. See Clarke on Ge 10:26.

Verse 29. See Clarke on Ge 10:26.

Verse 30. See Clarke on Ge 10:26.

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