Notes for Gen 10:1LEB

The title אֵלֶּה תּוֹלְדֹת (’elle tolédot, here translated as "This is the account") here covers 10:1–11:9, which contains the so-called Table of Nations and the account of how the nations came to be dispersed.


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.


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, béne) 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.


Notes for Gen 10:2LEB

The Greek form of the name Japheth, Iapetos, is used in Greek tradition for the ancestor of the Greeks.


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.


For a discussion of various proposals concerning the descendants of Magog see E. M. Yamauchi, Foes from the Northern Frontier (SBA), 22–24.


Madai was the ancestor of the Medes, who lived east of Assyria.


Javan was the father of the Hellenic race, the Ionians who lived in western Asia Minor.


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.


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.


Tiras was the ancestor of the Thracians, some of whom possibly became the Pelasgian pirates of the Aegean.


Notes for Gen 10:3LEB

The descendants of Gomer were all northern tribes of the Upper Euphrates.


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.


The descendants of Riphath lived in a district north of the road from Haran to Carchemish.


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.


Notes for Gen 10:4LEB

The descendants of Elishah populated Cyprus.


The descendants of Tarshish settled along the southern coast of what is modern Turkey. However, some identify the site Tarshish (see Jonah 1:3LEB) with Sardinia or Spain.


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.


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.


Notes for Gen 10:6LEB

The descendants of Cush settled in Nubia (Ethiopia).


The descendants of Mizraim settled in Upper and Lower Egypt.


The descendants of Put settled in Libya.


The descendants of Canaan lived in the region of Phoenicia (Palestine).


Notes for Gen 10:7LEB

The descendants of Seba settled in Upper Egypt along the Nile.


The Hebrew name Havilah apparently means "stretch of sand" (see HALOT 297 s.v. חֲוִילָה). Havilah’s descendants settled in eastern Arabia.


The descendants of Sabtah settled near the western shore of the Persian Gulf in ancient Hadhramaut.


The descendants of Raamah settled in southwest Arabia.


The descendants of Sabteca settled in Samudake, east toward the Persian Gulf.


Sheba became the name of a kingdom in southwest Arabia.


The name Dedan is associated with ˓Ula in northern Arabia.


Notes for Gen 10:8LEB

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.


Notes for Gen 10:9LEB

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).


Another option is to take the divine name here, לִפְנֵי יִהוָה (lifne yéhvah, "before the Yahweh [YHWH]"), as a means of expressing the superlative degree. In this case one may translate "Nimrod was the greatest hunter in the world."


Notes for Gen 10:10LEB

Heb "beginning." E. A. Speiser, Genesis (AB), 67, suggests "mainstays," citing Jer 49:35 as another text where the Hebrew noun is so used.


Or "Babylon."


Erech (ancient Uruk, modern Warka), one of the most ancient civilizations, was located southeast of Babylon.


Akkad, or ancient Agade, was associated with Sargon and located north of Babylon.


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).


Shinar is another name for Babylonia.


Notes for Gen 10:11LEB

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.


Heb "Asshur."


Nineveh was an ancient Assyrian city situated on the Tigris River.


The name Rehoboth-Ir means "and broad streets of a city," perhaps referring to a suburb of Nineveh.


Calah (modern Nimrud) was located twenty miles north of Nineveh.


Notes for Gen 10:12LEB

Heb "and Resen between Nineveh and Calah; it [i.e., Calah] is the great city."


Notes for Gen 10:13LEB

Mizraim is the Hebrew name for Egypt (cf. NRSV).


Heb "fathered."


The Ludites were African tribes west of the Nile Delta.


The Anamites lived in North Africa, west of Egypt, near Cyrene.


The Lehabites are identified with the Libyans.


The Naphtuhites lived in Lower Egypt (the Nile Delta region).


Notes for Gen 10:14LEB

The Pathrusites are known in Egyptian as P-to-reshi; they resided in Upper Egypt.


The Casluhites lived in Crete and eventually settled east of the Egyptian Delta, between Egypt and Canaan.


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.


The Caphtorites resided in Crete, but in Egyptian literature Caphtor refers to "the region beyond" the Mediterranean.


Notes for Gen 10:15LEB

Heb "fathered."


Sidon was the foremost city in Phoenicia; here Sidon may be the name of its founder.


Some see a reference to "Hittites" here (cf. NIV), but this seems unlikely. See the note on the phrase "sons of Heth" in Gen 23:3LEB.


Notes for Gen 10:16LEB

The Jebusites were the Canaanite inhabitants of ancient Jerusalem.


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.


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).


Notes for Gen 10:17LEB

The Hivites were Canaanite tribes of a Hurrian origin.


The Arkites lived in Arka, a city in Lebanon, north of Sidon.


The Sinites lived in Sin, another town in Lebanon.


Notes for Gen 10:18LEB

The Arvadites lived in the city Arvad, located on an island near the mainland close to the river El Kebir.


The Zemarites lived in the town Sumur, north of Arka.


The Hamathites lived in Hamath on the Orontes River.


Notes for Gen 10:19LEB

Heb "were."


Heb "as you go."


Heb "as you go."


Notes for Gen 10:21LEB

Heb "And to Shem was born."


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 11:7LEB; Judg 1:13; 2:7; 3:9; 9:5LEB; 2 Kgs 15:35LEB; 2 Chr 27:3LEB; Neh 3:30LEB; Jer 13:9; 36:10LEB; Ezek 10:19LEB; Ezek 11:1LEB.


Notes for Gen 10:22LEB

The Hebrew name Elam (עֵילָם, ’elam) means "highland." The Elamites were a non-Semitic people who lived east of Babylon.


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.


The descendants of Arphaxad may have lived northeast of Nineveh.


Lud may have been the ancestor of the Ludbu, who lived near the Tigris River.


Aram became the collective name of the northern tribes living in the steppes of Mesopotamia and speaking Aramaic dialects.


Notes for Gen 10:23LEB

The MT reads "Mash"; the LXX and 1 Chr 1:17 read "Meshech."


Uz, Hul, Gether, and Mash. Little is known about these descendants of Aram.


Notes for Gen 10:24LEB

Heb "fathered."


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 3:35–36LEB.


Genesis 11 traces the line of Shem through Eber (עֵבֶר, ’ever ) to Abraham the "Hebrew" (עִבְרִי, ’ivri).


Notes for Gen 10:25LEB

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 55:9LEB for a division of languages.


Notes for Gen 10:26LEB

Heb "fathered."


The name Almodad combines the Arabic article al with modad ("friend"). Almodad was the ancestor of a South Arabian people.


The name Sheleph may be related to Shilph, a district of Yemen; Shalph is a Yemenite tribe.


The name Hazarmaveth should be equated with Hadramawt, located in Southern Arabia.


The name Jerah means "moon."


Notes for Gen 10:27LEB

Uzal was the name of the old capital of Yemen.


The name Diklah means "date-palm."


Notes for Gen10:28LEB

Obal was a name used for several localities in Yemen.


The name Abimael is a genuine Sabean form which means "my father, truly, he is Elohim."


The descendants of Sheba lived in South Arabia, where the Joktanites were more powerful than the Hamites.


Notes for Gen 10:29LEB

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, 22:48LEB; 1 Chr 29:4LEB; 2 Chr 8:18, 9:10LEB; Job 22:24, 28:16LEB; Ps 45:9; Isa 13:12LEB).


Havilah is listed with Ham in v. 7.