Now this is the genealogy of the sons of
Noah: Shem, Ham, and Japheth. And sons were born to them after
the flood. The sons of Japheth were
Gomer, Magog, Madai, Javan, Tubal, Meshech, and Tiras. The sons of
Gomer were Ashkenaz, Riphath, and Togarmah. The sons of Javan were
Elishah, Tarshish, Kittim, and Dodanim. From these the coastland
peoples of the Gentiles were separated into their lands, everyone
according to his language, according to their families, into their
Anthropologically and ethnologically speaking, this is one of the
most important documents in man's possession today. It records
the earliest lines of the human race. The biblical scholar, H. S.
Miller, tells us that 70 nations are found in this account ... all of
which came from Noah's three sons. I believe these boys were triplets,
Japheth being the first born (Gen. 10:21).
Fourteen nations are found here in Japheth's genealogy.
They are as follows:
From Magog ... the Scythians,
Slavs, Russians, Bulgarians, Bohemians, Poles, Slovaks and Croatians.
From Madai ... the Indian, Iranic,
Mede, Persian, Afgan and Kurdish peoples.
From Javan ... the Romance
peoples, the Greeks, Romans, French, Spanish, Portuguese and others.
... the Thracians, Teutons, Germans, Angles, Saxons and
Anglo-Saxons. In general, these were the light skinned and European
peoples whose territories ranged from the Caspian Sea to the Atlantic
The sons of Ham were
Cush, Mizraim, Put, and Canaan. The sons of Cush were Seba, Havilah,
Sabtah, Raamah, and Sabtechah; and the sons of Raamah were Sheba and
Dedan. Cush begot Nimrod; he began to
be a mighty one on the earth. He was a mighty hunter before the LORD;
therefore it is said, "Like Nimrod the mighty hunter before the LORD."
And the beginning of his kingdom was Babel,
Erech, Accad, and Calneh, in the land of Shinar. From that land he went
to Assyria and built Nineveh,
Rehoboth Ir, Calah, and Resen between Nineveh and Calah (that is the
principal city). Mizraim begot Ludim, Anamim, Lehabim, Naphtuhim,
Pathrusim, and Casluhim (from whom came the Philistines and Caphtorim).
Canaan begot Sidon his firstborn, and Heth; the Jebusite, the Amorite,
and the Girgashite; the Hivite, the Arkite, and the Sinite; the
Arvadite, the Zemarite, and the Hamathite. Afterward the families of
the Canaanites were dispersed. And the border of the Canaanites was
from Sidon as you go toward Gerar, as far as Gaza; then as you go
toward Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, and Zeboiim, as far as Lasha. These were
the sons of Ham, according to their families, according to their
languages, in their lands and in their nations.
Thirty nations are
found in the descendants of Ham.
They were dark skinned peoples, the majority of which lived south of
Palestine. Ham has been handed a "bad rap" by many. But, it should be
noted that from him came two of the
world's earliest and greatest civilizations ... namely, the Egyptians and
the Babylonians. The greatest personality among Ham's
descendants was Nimrod. We are told he was a mighty hunter
before the Lord. His reputation was so great that he became a
legend among early mankind. They even had a saying about him ... like Nimrod the mighty
hunter before the Lord. He was the founder of the cities of
Babel and Nineveh which become the capital cities of Babylon and
And children were born also to Shem,
the father of all the children of Eber,
the brother of Japheth the elder. The sons of Shem were Elam, Asshur,
Arphaxad, Lud, and Aram. The sons of Aram were Uz, Hul, Gether, and
Mash. Arphaxad begot Salah, and Salah begot Eber. To Eber were born two sons: the name of one
was Peleg, for in his days the earth was divided; and his
brother's name was Joktan.
Joktan begot Almodad, Sheleph, Hazarmaveth, Jerah, Hadoram, Uzal,
Diklah, Obal, Abimael, Sheba, Ophir, Havilah, and Jobab. All these were
the sons of Joktan. And their dwelling place was from Mesha as you go
toward Sephar, the mountain of the east. These were the sons of Shem,
according to their families, according to their languages, in their
lands, according to their nations. These
were the families of the sons of Noah, according to their generations,
in their nations; and from these the nations were divided on the earth
after the flood.
are found among the descendants of Shem.
They comprise the Semitic, Oriental and Mongoloid peoples. Eber is
thought to be the grandfather of Abraham. It was probably from him that
the name Hebrew (Eberooo) was
Take special note of this man, Peleg, here. His
name comes from the Hebrew word palag
... meaning split or divide.
His father, Eber,
gave him that name because, as our text says here, in his days the earth
was divided. This statement is
also found in the genealogy in First Chronicles 1:19, as well.
In the early 1900's, geologists became aware that all the continents of Earth were originally
together in just one large landmass.
This has been the clear biblical presentation all along, by the way, as
found in the creation account in Genesis 1. At a conference in 1926,
they named this original super continent Pangaea.
According to them, millions of years ago that original single
landmass broke up and its pieces drifted apart forming the continents
that we know today. There is evidence here in Genesis, however, that
the breaking up of Pangaea
actually occurred in relatively recent human history around 4500
years ago. I believe that is what is referred to here that
took place during the days of Peleg ... and ...
after which he was named.
Doubtless, it was quite a shock to mankind when the earth began
to divide. Eber's world, suddenly and drastically, began to pull apart.
Some creationists object to this interpretation, however, insisting
that it would have necessitated enormous earthquakes, tsunamis and
other immensely destructive effects. However, if this
dividing of the earth took place under the superintending hand of God (as seems to be implied here),
... then, the destructive effects that would ordinarily
accompanying such an event could have been greatly minimized ... if not
eliminated altogether. The simple straight-forward way that it is presented to us
here in the Word of God seems to indicate that that was the case
and, I believe, that is just what happened. The humans of Eber's day
must have looked on in utter amazement as the widening gaps between
landmasses became more and more distant and the receding shorelines
could no longer be seen.
Obviously, God had a great purpose for these monumental changes in
Earth's topography. You will remember that it was his desire that men
should populate the whole Earth. This event would certainly have been
one major factor in insuring that objective. It may also be the best
explanation for a multitude of mysterious similarities between, say,
the Aztec pyramids of South America and the Egyptian pyramids of North
Africa, as well as a plethora of other similarities in peoples,
architectures and mores that are found on all the different continents
today. In addition, the dividing up of Pangea into today's separate
continents set the stage for the various nations and empires that God
had preordained for the earth.
Now the whole earth had
one language and one speech. And it came to pass, as they journeyed
from the east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar, and they
dwelt there. Then they said to one another, "Come, let us make bricks
and bake them thoroughly." They had brick for stone, and they had
asphalt for mortar. And they said, "Come, let us build ourselves a city, and a tower
whose top is in the heavens; let us
make a name for ourselves, lest
we be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth."
It is always predictable that sinful men can be counted on to do the
exact opposite of the will of God. God told Noah to be fruitful, and
multiply, and fill up the earth
(9:1). To obey, however, man would have to agree to divide up. However,
these descendants of Noah had no intention of doing that. Rather, they
proceeded to do the exact opposite. They plotted to stay together lest
scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth (11:4).
May we "chase a rabbit" here for a moment? The essence of sin is utter independence from God. It's
independence on steroids. It's, I
did it my way,
as the song so proudly trumpets. The essence of spirituality,
however, is quite the opposite. It is characterized by utter, humble dependence on God. These Tower of
Babel folks said, We're gonna do
this ... and ... We're gonna do
that. We're gonna build
ourselves a city ... and ... We're
gonna make a name for ourselves. And, like most people
today, the kind of thinking found in Colossians 3:17, never
crossed their minds.
And whatever you do in
word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to
God the Father through him.
It is obvious that the Tower of Babel people
considered themselves the captains of their own ship and the prime
determining factor of their own destinies. Perhaps I tend to go
overboard, but I even hate to hear people say, See you later! ... unless they add, God willing! How about you, dear
saint? When I used to get off work at night, my fellow workers would
usually say something like, See you
tomorrow. I always replied, or at least thought, God willing. In James 4:13-16, we read,
Come now, you who say,
"Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year
there, buy and sell, and make a profit"; whereas you do not know what
will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that
appears for a little time and then vanishes away. Instead you ought to
say, "If the Lord wills, we
shall live and do this or that." But now you boast in your arrogance.
All such boasting is evil.
Do you ever think about these things? Do you take steps to give the
Lord his due? Are you aware of his sovereignty over life? In Luke
12, Jesus told a story about a rich man whose barns had become too
small to contain his crops. So, he went to bed one night planning to
begin, the very next day, to tear down his old barns and build newer
and bigger ones to hold all of his goods. Jesus said,
But God said to him,
'Fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will
those things be which you have provided?' So is he who lays up treasure
for himself, and is not rich toward God. Luke 12:20-21
Psalm 138:6, says,
Though the LORD is on
high, yet he regards the lowly; but the proud he knows from afar.
The Proud ... such
were the people who set out to build the Tower of Babel. But they were
in for a big surprise.
But the LORD came down to see the city and the
tower which the sons of men had built.
And the LORD said, "Indeed the people are one and they all have one
language, and this is what they begin to do; now nothing that they
propose to do will be withheld from them. Come, let usgo down and there confuse their language,
that they may not understand one another's speech." So the LORD scattered them abroad from
there over the face of all the earth, and they ceased building the city.
Therefore its name is called Babel,
because there the LORD confused the language of all the earth; and from
there the LORD scattered them abroad
over the face of all the earth.
When we read, the Lord came down to see the city, we are not reading
that he had to come down to find out what was going on. Rather, we are
reading that the Lord actually did come down, in bodily form, to
personally inspect the city that the descendants of Noah were building.
Our God is a hands on God, you see. I believe this was yet another pre-incarnate appearance of the Lord
Jesus Christ. Again, theologians call these appearances theophanies.
After his personal inspection, the Lord decided to supernaturally
intervene at Babel, so that his will for the human race would continue
to be carried out. Instantaneously, he created the basis for the wide variety of
human languages that we find on Earth today ... implanting them into the
individual minds of the men of Babel as he saw fit. As a result, the
inhabitants of Babel could no longer understand one another, much less work together, and they were forced to
separate and scatter over the earth as they had been originally commanded.
This is the true origin of human languages. Later, these people were
further divided by the physical pulling apart of their world during
the days of Peleg, as we previously discussed.
By the way, the Lord's words here, let us go down and
confuse their language, is another allusion to the Trinity. We
first encountered this kind of expression back in 1:26, where we read,
And God said, 'Let
us make man in our image'.
Before we move on, I would like to mention that there is a very
exciting and fascinating archaeological site in southern Turkey that I
believe may well be the remains of the Tower of Babel. It is called Gobekli Tepe.
It is located several hundred miles from where the ark may have come to
rest in the mountains of Ararat. The site is massive and the German
archaeologists who have been working there since 1994, have only
uncovered about 5 percent of it. It consists of large circular
megalithic structures, made up of stone columns with caps that are
designed to support timbers. The site was never used for residency, but
according to the archaeologists, had some sort of religious or cultic
significance. And, for reasons unknown, its construction was
abandoned and then actually covered over by its builders. Carbon dating dates the
site at 12,000 BC, making it the oldest known unified construction by
man on Earth (7000 years before the pyramids of Egypt). It is so
unusual that, on the History channel (4/29/2011), there was speculation
that aliens may have been
constructing it! However, in reality, Gobekli Tepe has all of the
earmarks of being the remains of the incomplete construction of the
Tower of Babel. I believe this to be the case for the following
1. It is
in the right area
... some 400 miles east of Mount Ararat, it is just where you would
expect the remains of the Tower of Babel to be. The biblical text says
as people moved
eastward they found a plain in Shinar. (NIV). This gives us the
general location for the Tower of Babel. Shinar
is an ancient name that has a long history. The name has an etymology of many
nuances and interpretations. Later in history, it became the name for
the land of the Babylonian empire. The Old Babylon Period is dated from
2000 to 1595 BC; the Middle Babylonian Period from 1595 to 1000 BC; and
the Neo-Babylonian Period from 1000 to 539 BC. Gobekli Tepe is located
at the northern end of the ancient land of Shinar.
2. It is
post-Flood ... the earliest known site of a coordinated, large
scale, construction by humans.
multitude of stone carved animals, birds and insects adorning its
pedestals, point to Noah's immediate descendants from the ark.
was built atop a hill ... 1000 feet above the valley floor below.
Obviously, intended to be impressive and visible for miles around.
was deliberately covered over before it was totally abandoned. This
is one of its greatest mysteries. Why would its builders cease
construction and then go to all the effort of hauling tons of earth and rock to cover over their previous work? May I suggest that they did
so out of fear? They covered
it up because, after God's powerful intervention, they were
terrified to proceed with their tower. And ... thinking they might provoke God's
anger even further ... they fearfully took it down and buried it! That certainly is a
more plausible explanation than the History channel's alien
construction hypothesis, is it not? Pictures of the Gobekli Tepe site
can be found at: http://bit.ly/Gobekli_Tepe.
Carbon dates, by the way, are not set in stone. There are many
variables and assumptions that can throw a carbon date off. Therefore,
dates obtained by carbon dating should be carefully examined, both as
to the methodology and the assumptions that were used in arriving at
them. A good article on this subject can be found at: http://bit.ly/Carbon_dating.
From our study of Genesis 5, we learned that the Flood ended around
2619 BC. This gave mankind up to 600 years or so to repopulate the
earth before the time when the Tower of Babel began to be built.
Determining the actual population numbers of those early men is difficult because
there are so many variables, not the least of which was
the fact that they lived far longer than we do. Calculating their
number at the end of 600 years ... beginning with only 8 people and a
growth rate of 0.02 ... their number would have increased to 1,133,947.
If we calculated their number after 300 years with a growth rate of
.035, their number would have been 234,560. If you would like to work
with the figures for yourself, go to: http://bit.ly/PopulationProjection.
Below are modern and ancient maps of the ancient land of Shinar and the
present location of Gobelki Tepe. It is at the northern end of the
ancient territory of Shinar.
This is the genealogy of Shem: Shem
was one hundred years old, and begot Arphaxad
two years after the flood. After he begot Arphaxad, Shem lived five
hundred years, and begot sons and daughters. Arphaxad lived thirty-five
years, and begot Salah. After
he begot Salah, Arphaxad lived four hundred and three years, and begot
sons and daughters. Salah lived thirty years, and begot Eber.
After he begot Eber, Salah lived four hundred and three years, and
begot sons and daughters. Eber lived thirty-four years, and begot Peleg.
After he begot Peleg, Eber lived four hundred and thirty years, and
begot sons and daughters. Peleg lived thirty years, and begot Reu.
After he begot Reu, Peleg lived two hundred and nine years, and begot
sons and daughters. Reu lived thirty-two years, and begot Serug.
After he begot Serug, Reu lived two hundred and seven years, and begot
sons and daughters. Serug lived thirty years, and begot Nahor. After he begot Nahor, Serug
lived two hundred years, and begot sons and daughters. Nahor lived
twenty-nine years, and begot Terah.
After he begot Terah, Nahor lived one hundred and nineteen years, and
begot sons and daughters. Now Terah lived seventy years, and begot Abram, Nahor, and Haran.
Here, the writer records the line of Shem, through whom Messiah would
come. Notice that, like the genealogy found in chapter 5, this is also
an interlocking genealogy. Interlocking genealogies insure the exact
record and age of each person involved. In all, eleven generations are
recorded here, and we will find that longevity, after the Flood, has
now been cut in half. During the 365 years that this genealogy covers,
if each man had 8 children, and each of his children had 8 children,
and so on ... by the time of Abraham, the population of the earth would
have been around 100 million.
This is the genealogy of Terah:
Terah begot Abram, Nahor, and Haran.
Haran begot Lot.
And Haran died before his father Terah in his native land, in Ur of the
Chaldeans. Then Abram and Nahor took wives: the name of Abram's wife
was Sarai, and the name of
Nahor's wife, Milcah, the
daughter of Haran the father of Milcah and the father of Iscah. But Sarai was barren; she had no child.
And Terah took his son Abram and his grandson Lot, the son of Haran,
and his daughter-in-law Sarai, his son Abram's wife, and they went out with them from Ur of the
Chaldeans to go to the land of Canaan; and they came to Haran and dwelt there. So the days
of Terah were two hundred and five years, and Terah died in Haran.
We come now to a very important turning point in the book of
Genesis. Up to this point, we have studied four events: The Creation,
The Fall, The Flood and The Tower of Babel. Now, Genesis will take up
four persons: Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Joseph.
Here, at the end of this genealogy, we come to this man, Abram. His name
means father. Later, God will
change his name to Abraham,
which means father of a multitude.
Terah was Abraham's dad and he had three boys. Again, I believe these
boys were triplets. One of them, Haran,
died before Abram's family left their home of origin in Ur of the
Chaldees. In those days, they were just a family of idol worshipers.
Yet, God called to Abram and Abram responded ... believing God ... and
thereby, for all time, became the father of all who trust and believe
in the true and living God. As you have it later in the book, And Abraham believed
God and it was counted to him for righteousness
(15:6). Furthermore, it was from Abraham that God raised up a people
for his name's sake ... namely, the Jewish people, who would come into
being through Abraham's grandson, Israel (Jacob).
Abraham fathered the Arabic peoples, as well, through his son Ishmael.
In addition, it was to Abraham, and his covenant descendants, through
Isaac, that the land of Palestine was given to the Jewish people by God as an everlasting
possession (13:15). And last, but not least, it was to Abraham that the
promise of Messiah was given ... promising that through his Seed,
all the nations of the earth would be blessed (26:4). So, at this
point, God's Word will now take up this remarkable saint, Abraham.
Abraham is very, very special in the history of God's dealings with
taken from the New King James Version. Copyright 1982 by Thomas
Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.