Studies in Genesis, The Table of Nations, Lesson XXII, Genesis 10:1-32
Before we continue in Genesis 10 I will make a few remarks about Noah’s pronouncement regarding the relationship between Shem and Japheth for it was these brothers who acted together to cover the nakedness of their father and for this they were blessed in order to bless each other.
For Noah said” Blessed be the Lord God of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant. 27 God shall enlarge Japheth, and he shall dwell in the tents of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant.
This of course was a prophetic utterance by Noah and this special relationship throughout history is obvious and especially in our time where we know so much because of modern communication and record keeping.
I will read of this relationship from an on-line source called JINFO.ORG
Now this web site addresses this relationship from the Jewish perspective and self-praises the Jews without much if any consideration of our God who gave the Jews so many gifts, so many gifts which have benefited greatly the western world, much of it of Japheth and the world in general.
But I think it appropriate to bring this up in light of our study of Noah’s blessing of the relationship of Shem and Japheth.
But try to grasp the idea here, remembering that whatever Shem brought to his descendants was put there by God and to God goes all the glory even if that is neglected in this reading.
There is probably some evolutionary thought within this writing so take that into account also as you listen.
REFLECTIONS ON JUDAISM & THE JEWS
Adapted with permission of the publisher from THE HINGES OF HISTORY, Volume II: THE GIFTS OF THE JEWS: How a Tribe of Desert Nomads Changed the Way Everyone Thinks and Feels, by Thomas Cahill (Nan A. Talese / Doubleday, New York, ©1998, pp. 3-6; for online information about other Random House, Inc. books and authors, see Internet Website http://www.randomhouse.com).
The Jews started it all - and by "it" I mean so many of the things we care about, the underlying values that make all of us, Jew and Gentile, believer and atheist, tick. Without the Jews, we would see the world with different eyes, hear with different ears, even feel with different feelings. And not only would our sensorium, the screen through which we receive the world, be different: we would think with a different mind, interpret all our experience differently, draw different conclusions from the things that befall us. And we would set a different course for our lives.
By "we" I mean the usual "we" of late-twentieth-century writing: the people of the Western world, whose peculiar but vital mentality has come to infect every culture on earth, so that, in a startlingly precise sense, all humanity is now willy-nilly caught up in this "we." For better or worse, the role of the West in humanity's history is singular. Because of this, the role of the Jews, the inventors of Western culture, is also singular: there is simply no one else remotely like them; theirs is a unique vocation. Indeed, as we shall see, the very idea of vocation, of a personal destiny, is a Jewish idea.
Our history is replete with examples of those who have refused to see what the Jews are really about, who - through intellectual blindness, racial chauvinism, xenophobia, or just plain evil - have been unable to give this oddball tribe, this raggle-taggle band, this race of wanderers who are the progenitors of the Western world, their due. Indeed, at the end of this bloodiest of centuries, we can all too easily look back on scenes of unthinkable horror perpetrated by those who would do anything rather than give the Jews their due.
But I must ask my readers to erase from their minds not only the horrors of history - modern, medieval, and ancient - but (so far as one can) the very notion of history itself. More especially, we must erase from our minds all the suppositions on which our world is built - the whole intricate edifice of actions and ideas that are our intellectual and emotional patrimony. We must reimagine ourselves in the form of humanity that lived and moved on this planet before the first word of the Bible was written down, before it was spoken, before it was even dreamed ...
... All evidence points to there having been, in the earliest religious thought, a vision of the cosmos that was profoundly cyclical. The assumptions that early man made about the world were, in all their essentials, little different from the assumptions that later and more sophisticated societies, like Greece and India, would make in a more elaborate manner. As Henri-Charles Puech says of Greek thought in his seminal Man and Time: "No event is unique, nothing is enacted but once ... every event has been enacted, is enacted, and will be enacted perpetually; the same individuals have appeared, appear, and will appear at every turn of the circle."
This is my insert here: 2 Peter 3:4
And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.
The Jews were the first people to break out of this circle, to find a new way of thinking and experiencing, a new way of understanding and feeling the world, so much so that it may be said with some justice that theirs is the only new idea that human beings have ever had. But their world view has become so much a part of us that at this point it might as well have been written into our cells as a genetic code. We find it so impossible to shed - even for a brief experiment - that it is now the cosmic vision of all other peoples that appears to us exotic and strange.
JEWISH NOBEL PRIZE WINNERS
At least 197 Jews and people of half- or three-quarters-Jewish ancestry have been awarded the Nobel Prize, accounting for 22% of all individual recipients worldwide between 1901 and 2016, and constituting 36% of all US recipients2 during the same period. In the scientific research fields of Chemistry, Economics, Physics, and Physiology/Medicine, the corresponding world and US percentages are 26% and 39%, respectively. Among women laureates in the four research fields, the Jewish percentages (world and US) are 33% and 50%, respectively. Of organizations awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, 22% were founded principally by Jews or by people of half-Jewish descent. Since the turn of the century (i.e., since the year 2000), Jews have been awarded 25% of all Nobel Prizes and 27% of those in the scientific research fields. (Jews currently make up approximately 0.2% of the world's population and 2% of the US population.)
· Chemistry (36 prize winners, 21% of world total, 31% of US total)
· Economics (30 prize winners, 38% of world total, 50% of US total)
· Literature (15 prize winners, 13% of world total, 33% of US total)
· Peace (9 prize winners, 9% of world total, 10% of US total)4
· Physics (52 prize winners, 26% of world total, 37% of US total)
· Physiology or Medicine (55 prize winners, 26% of world total, 39% of US total)
See also related data on:
· Jewish Recipients of the Kyoto Prize (25% of recipients)
· Jewish Recipients of the Wolf Foundation Prize (34% of recipients)
· Jewish Recipients of the US National Medal of Science (38% of recipients)
· Jewish Recipients of the Grande Médaille of the French Academy of Sciences (53% of recipients)
· Jews Elected to Foreign Membership in the British Royal Society, 1901-Present (27% of total, 35% of current Foreign Members)
· Jews Among the Creators of History's Greatest Lifesaving Medical & Scientific Advances (estimated 2.8 billion lives saved)
And we who believe the Bible believe that all this is as a result of Noah’s blessing on the honorable cooperative act of Shem and Japheth.
Now let us go in our Genesis study of Chapter 10
Reading Genesis 10:1-32, Now these are the generations of the sons of Noah, Shem, Ham, and Japheth: and unto them were sons born after the flood.
2 The sons of Japheth; Gomer, and Magog, and Madai, and Javan, and Tubal, and Meshech, and Tiras. 3 And the sons of Gomer; Ashkenaz, and Riphath, and Togarmah. 4 And the sons of Javan; Elishah, and Tarshish, Kittim, and Dodanim. 5 By these were the isles of the Gentiles divided in their lands; every one after his tongue, after their families, in their nations.
6 And the sons of Ham; Cush, and Mizraim, and Phut, and Canaan. 7 And the sons of Cush; Seba, and Havilah, and Sabtah, and Raamah, and Sabtechah: and the sons of Raamah; Sheba, and Dedan. 8 And Cush begat Nimrod: he began to be a mighty one in the earth. 9 He was a mighty hunter before the Lord: wherefore it is said, Even as Nimrod the mighty hunter before the Lord. 10 And the beginning of his kingdom was Babel, and Erech, and Accad, and Calneh, in the land of Shinar. 11 Out of that land went forth Asshur, and builded Nineveh, and the city Rehoboth, and Calah, 12 And Resen between Nineveh and Calah: the same is a great city. 13 And Mizraim begat Ludim, and Anamim, and Lehabim, and Naphtuhim, 14 And Pathrusim, and Casluhim, (out of whom came Philistim,) and Caphtorim. 15 And Canaan begat Sidon his first born, and Heth, 16 And the Jebusite, and the Amorite, and the Girgasite, 17 And the Hivite, and the Arkite, and the Sinite, 18 And the Arvadite, and the Zemarite, and the Hamathite: and afterward were the families of the Canaanites spread abroad. 19 And the border of the Canaanites was from Sidon, as thou comest to Gerar, unto Gaza; as thou goest, unto Sodom, and Gomorrah, and Admah, and Zeboim, even unto Lasha. 20 These are the sons of Ham, after their families, after their tongues, in their countries, and in their nations.
21 Unto Shem also, the father of all the children of Eber, the brother of Japheth the elder, even to him were children born. 22 The children of Shem; Elam, and Asshur, and Arphaxad, and Lud, and Aram. 23 And the children of Aram; Uz, and Hul, and Gether, and Mash. 24 And Arphaxad begat Salah; and Salah begat Eber. 25 And unto Eber were born two sons: the name of one was Peleg; for in his days was the earth divided; and his brother's name was Joktan. 26 And Joktan begat Almodad, and Sheleph, and Hazarmaveth, and Jerah, 27 And Hadoram, and Uzal, and Diklah, 28 And Obal, and Abimael, and Sheba, 29 And Ophir, and Havilah, and Jobab: all these were the sons of Joktan. 30 And their dwelling was from Mesha, as thou goest unto Sephar a mount of the east. 31 These are the sons of Shem, after their families, after their tongues, in their lands, after their nations.
32 These are the families of the sons of Noah, after their generations, in their nations: and by these were the nations divided in the earth after the flood.
Chapter 10 is the Bible’s Table of Nations and chronologically comes after the confusion of Babel.
For it was because of God’s confusion of languages did nations begin.
Noah having three sons results in three lines of history and Chapter 10 begins their definition.
Japheth and his seven sons Gomer, and Magog, and Madai, and Javan, and Tubal, and Meshech, and Tiras are mentioned first in verses 2-5 for Japheth is least influential in Israel’s early history.
Only two of his seven sons, Gomer and Javan, are described further in this passage.
Ham and his four sons Cush, and Mizraim, and Phut, and Canaan are mentioned next in verses 6-20 for his line is the cursed line and will play an important part in the history of Israel.
Three of Ham’s four sons are described further with no further mention of Phut.
Shem and his five sons Elam, and Asshur, and Arphaxad, and Lud, and Aram are mentioned last in verses 21-31 for Shem is the principle person in the chapter.
He is the one through whom the seed of the woman will come, that seed which will bruise the head of Satan.
He is the progenitor of the godly line and his line will be most attacked.
Only two, Arphaxad and Aram, of his five sons are described further in this passage.
And of these two the line of Arphaxad is followed into four generations, Arphaxad begat Salah; and Salah begat Eber. And unto Eber were born two sons: Peleg and his brother Joktan and Joktan begat thirteen sons.
It is interesting that Joktan’s line is listed but Peleg’s line is not however it is Eber’s line through Peleg then Reu, and Serug, Nahor, and Terah which will lead to Abraham, our father of faith, which begins the narrowing of the line to the promised Messiah, Jesus Christ.
So many of the men in Noah’s line will lead to nations and that is why this chapter is called the Table of Nations.
And those nations to come from these lines are those who will play a key role in the national development of Israel in the land of Canaan.
From Japheth will come the Indo-Europeans, Indo meaning extending from the English Isles all the way to the northern most part of India.
Most of us whose forefathers were European would be of the line of Japheth.
Now Ham, the father of a son cursed by Noah, was the forefather of those who established great cities and empires, including Babylon, Assyria, Ninevah, and Egypt.
From Canaan, the son who was cursed came those nations generally known as the Canaanites, a constant thorn in the side of God’s people which was instituted by Ham, Canaan’s father, who disrespected his own father Noah.
15 And Canaan begat Sidon his first born, and Heth, 16 And the Jebusite, and the Amorite, and the Girgasite, 17 And the Hivite, and the Arkite, and the Sinite, 18 And the Arvadite, and the Zemarite, and the Hamathite: and afterward were the families of the Canaanites spread abroad. 19 And the border of the Canaanites was from Sidon, as thou comest to Gerar, unto Gaza; as thou goest, unto Sodom, and Gomorrah, and Admah, and Zeboim, even unto Lasha.
This is the territory that was in close proximity to Israel and in many cases overlapped.
But it began as Canaanite territory but much of it ultimately taken from them for it was promised to Abraham.
So Shem is listed last for he is the forefather of the Shemites.
Shemites are simply those in the line of Shem.
Shem does have a relation to the word Semite for in the Greek and Latin versions of the Bible, Shem becomes Sem, since neither Greek nor Latin has any way of representing the initial sound of the Hebrew name.
But Semites means those who speak certain languages called Semitic languages.
The most widely spoken Semitic languages today are Arabic, (300 million), Amharic, (22 million) and Tigrinya (7 million) languages of Ethiopia, Hebrew (5 million native and non-native speakers), Tigre (1 million in 2006) language of Sudan, Aramaic, a Syrain dialect(575,000 to 1 million).
The Semitic languages include people of both Shem and Ham so Shemites and Semites are not necessarily the same.
Now every genealogy of scripture provides an opening into God’s mind for it reveals to us that it is God that determines every direction of man.
Think about the occurrence described in Genesis 9 relative to Noah’s drunkenness.
This act takes place daily minute by minute in every town and city of the earth and may be known only by a few yet this one happening is given to us to reveal the hand of God in the destiny of men.
It is given to us to show that Heavenly Wisdom is reflected in the distribution of the nations over the face of the earth.
This is in no way the lesser of the other acts concerning the creation and administration of the earth and its creatures.
The distribution of Shem, Ham and Japheth determines relationships between God’s chosen people, Israel, and the other peoples of the world.
Japheth came to the aid of Shem as Shem honored his father and throughout history the Shemites have returned that help in ways beyond count.
Think even of their cooperation concerning our Lord’s crucifixion where the Shemites conspired with the Romans, sons of Japheth of course to bring about the sacrifice of blood on our behalf and the son of Ham, Simon of Cyrene in servitude, who bore the cross of Jesus on the way to Calvary.
All three lines of Noah doing what Noah’s prophetic utterance foretold.
We would judge the events following Noah’s drunkenness as one small occurrence but it determined the course of History of all peoples.