Genesis 10:15
And Canaan begat Sidon his first born, and Heth,
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(15-18) Canaan.—The meaning of this name is uncertain, as, most probably, it is a Hamitic word: if derived from a Semitic root, it may mean the lowland. Though the Canaanites spoke a Semitic tongue at the time when we find them in Palestine, yet the assertion of the Bible that they were Hamites is confirmed by the testimony of profane writers, who say that their original home was on the Indian Ocean. They had probably been driven thence by the pressure of Semitic races, with whose language they had thus already become familiar; and when, farther, they found a Semitic people thinly spread over Palestine, they may, while absorbing them, have been confirmed in the use of their tongue. So, subsequently, Abraham gave up Syriac for Hebrew; and though these are kindred dialects, yet they are often remote enough from one another (see Genesis 31:47). On the other hand, the whole character of the Canaanite religion and thought was Hamitic, and while they Were active in commercial pursuits, and in culture far in advance of the Greeks, to whom they gave their alphabet, they were intensely sensuous in their worship and voluptuous in their manners. They are divided into eleven tribes, namely:—

1. Sidon.—This is remarkable as being the only town mentioned in the account either of Mizraim or of Canaan. All the rest are apparently the names of tribes still wandering about; and thus we gain a clearer idea both of the antiquity of this early record, and also of the great advance made by Nimrod in founding so many cities. Sidon, situated on the sea-shore, about thirty miles north of Tyre, became thus early a settled community and the seat of social life, because of its advantages for fishing (whence its name is derived), and also for commerce.

2. Heth.—The Kheta, or Hittites, a powerful race, whose language and monuments have recently become the object of careful study. They seem subsequently to have possessed not only Syria, but a large portion of Asia Minor. (See Note on Genesis 23:3; Genesis 23:5.)

3. The Jebusite.—This race held the territory afterwards occupied by Benjamin, and retained Jerusalem until the time of David (2Samuel 5:6-9. See Note on Genesis 14:18.)

4. The Amorite.—Or rather, Emorite, that is, mountaineer. Next to the Kheta, or Hittites, they were the most powerful race in Palestine, holding the hill country of Judea, where they had five kings (Joshua 10:5), and a large district on the eastern side of the Jordan (2Samuel 9:10).

5. The Girgasite.—Mentioned in Joshua 24:11, but otherwise unknown.

6. The Hivite.—At Sichern (Genesis 34:2), at Gibeon (Joshua 9:7), and near Hermon and Lebanon (Joshua 11:3; Judges 3:3).

7. The Arkite.—Also in Lebanon.

8. The Sinite.—A small tribe in the same neighbourhood.

9. The Arvadite.—A more important people, inhabiting the island Aradus.

10. The Zemarite.—An obscure people, inhabiting Samyra, in Phœnicia.

11. The Hamathite whose city, Hamath, was the capital of Northern Syria. It was situated on the river Orontes, and though called Epiphaneia by the Macedonians, still retains its ancient name. The Kheta subsequently gained the supremacy at Hamath, and had their capital in the immediate neighbourhood.

Afterward were the families of the Canaanites spread abroad.—This may mean either that they spread inwards, or may refer to the numerous colonies of the Tyrians on the Mediterranean. While in Babylonia the Hamites are described as black, this branch was called Phœnicians, from their ruddy colour, in contrast with the olive-coloured Semitic stock. As they came by sea from the Indian Ocean, their earliest settlement was on the coast, and thus Sidon is called “the first-born” of Ham. Thence they advanced into the interior, and though few in number, absorbed by their superior culture the inhabitants of Palestine. It is probably this expansion inwards which is here referred to.

Genesis 10:15. The account of the posterity of Canaan, and of the land they possessed, is more particular than that of any other in this chapter; because these were the nations that were to be subdued before Israel, and their land was to become Immanuel’s land. And by this account it appears that the posterity of Canaan were both numerous and rich, and very pleasantly seated; and yet Canaan was under a curse. Canaan here has a better land than either Shem or Japheth; and yet they have a better lot, for they inherit the blessing.10:15-32 The posterity of Canaan were numerous, rich, and pleasantly seated; yet Canaan was under a Divine curse, and not a curse causeless. Those that are under the curse of God, may, perhaps, thrive and prosper in this world; for we cannot know love or hatred, the blessing or the curse, by what is before us, but by what is within us. The curse of God always works really, and always terribly. Perhaps it is a secret curse, a curse to the soul, and does not work so that others can see it; or a slow curse, and does not work soon; but sinners are reserved by it for a day of wrath Canaan here has a better land than either Shem or Japheth, and yet they have a better lot, for they inherit the blessing. Abram and his seed, God's covenant people, descended from Eber, and from him were called Hebrews. How much better it is to be like Eber, the father of a family of saints and honest men, than the father of a family of hunters after power, worldly wealth, or vanities. Goodness is true greatness.From Kenaan are descended eleven nations:

(34) Zidon is styled his first-born. The name is retained in the well-known town on the coast of Phoenicia, which is accordingly of the highest antiquity among the cities of that region. The Sidonians were reckoned co-extensive with the Phoenicians, and are mentioned by Homer (Iliad 23:743; Odyssey 4:618).

(35) Heth. This tribe dwelt about Hebron and in the mountains around, and perhaps still further north in the districts extending toward the Euphrates Genesis 23:3; Numbers 13:29; Joshua 1:4. Esau took wives from the Hittites Genesis 26:34-35, and some part of the nation existed even after the captivity Ezra 9:1.

(36) the Jebusite has his chief seat in and around Jerusalem, which was called Jebus, from his chief; and the citadel of which was wrested from him only in the time of David 2 Samuel 5:7.

(37) the Amorite was one of the most important and extensive tribes of Kenaan. Five kings of this nation dwelt in the mountains afterward occupied by Judah Genesis 14:7, Genesis 14:13; Numbers 13:29; Joshua 10:5, and two on the east of the Jordon, in Heshbon and Bashan, north of Moab Numbers 21:13; Deuteronomy 4:47. The eastern Amorites were conquered under Moses, the western under Joshua. A remnant of them were made bondsmen by Solomon 1 Kings 9:20. They survived the captivity Ezra 9:1.

(38) the Girgashite seems to have lain on the west of the Jordan, and the name may be preserved in the reading Γεργεσηνῶν Gergesēnōn, of Matthew 8:28. The town of the Gergesenes is supposed to have been at the southeast of the lake of Gennesaret Genesis 15:21; Deuteronomy 7:1; Joshua 24:11.

(39) the Hivite was found at Shalem, Gibeon, and also at the foot of Hermon and Antilibanus Genesis 34:2; Joshua 9:7; Joshua 11:3; Judges 3:3. The former were also classed under the Amorites Genesis 48:22; 2 Samuel 21:2. With the exception of four cities of the Gibeonites, they were conquered by Joshua Jos 9:17; Joshua 11:3, Joshua 11:19.

(40) the Arkite probably dwelt near a town called Arke or Caesarea Libani, lying some miles north of Tripolis, at the foot of Lebanon. Its ruins are still extant at Tel Arka.

(41) the Sinite is supposed to have dwelt in Sinna, a town mentioned by Strabo, called Sine by Jerome, and Syn in the fifteenth century (Strab. xvi. 2, 18; Hieron. Quaest. in Gen., Breitenbach, Travels, p. 47), not far from Arke.

(42) the Arvadite dwelt in Arvad, Aradus, now Ruad, a Phoenician town on an island of the same name.

(43) the Zemarite has been traced in the town Σίμυρα Simura, the ruins of which were found by Shaw at the western foot of Lebanon, under the name of Sumra.

(44) the Hamathite was the inhabitant of Hamath, called Hamath Rabbah (the great), by the Greeks Epiphaneia, and at present Hamah. It is situated on the Orontes, and held an important place in the history of Israel. The land of Hamath was of great extent, including the town of Riblab 2 Kings 25:21 and reaching even to Antioch. The entrance of Hamath חמת בוא bô' chamāt, the northern part of the valley between Lebanon and Antilibanus, formed the utmost boundary of Palestine to the north Numbers 13:21; Joshua 13:5; 1 Kings 8:65. Its king was in alliance with David 2 Samuel 8:10.

And afterward were the families of the Kenaanites spread abroad. - After the confusion of tongues were these nations formed; and after the formation of these Kenaanic tribes occurred the dispersion spoken of in the text. We do not know what was the original seat of the Kenaanites; or whether the dispersion here mentioned was violent or not. Its primary result, however, seems to have been their settlement in the country of which the boundaries are next described. It is not improbable that this land was allotted to a portion of the Shemites, and occupied by them when the Kenaanites entered and established themselves among them Genesis 40:15. The Kenaanites probably had the same grasping tendency which displayed itself in Nimrod, their kinsman; and therefore seized upon the country with a high hand, and called it after their name. Their expulsion, on the conquest of the land by the Israelites, and their commercial activity, led to a still further dispersion; as colonies were sent out by them to the distant shores of the Mediterranean, to Asia Minor, Greece, Africa, Spain, and even the British Isles. But it can scarcely be supposed that reference is here made to these subsequent events in their history.

11. Out of that land went forth Asshur—or, as the Margin has it, "He [Nimrod] at the head of his army went forth into Assyria," that is, he pushed his conquests into that country.

and builded Nineveh—opposite the town of Mosul, on the Tigris, and the other towns near it. This raid into Assyria was an invasion of the territories of Shem, and hence the name "Nimrod," signifying "rebel," is supposed to have been conferred on him from his daring revolt against the divine distribution.

Sidon his first-born, the father of the people, and builder of the city of Sidon, Joshua 11:8 19:28.

Of Heth came the Hittites, Joshua 1:4 9:1, &c. And Canaan begat Sidon his firstborn,.... Canaan is the fourth son of Ham; the posterity of Phut, his third son, are omitted: the firstborn of Canaan was Sidon, from whom the city of Sidon had its name, being either built by himself, who called it after his own name, or by some of his posterity, who called it so in memory of their ancestor: it was a very ancient city, more ancient than Tyre, for that was built by the Sidonians; Homer makes mention of it, but not of Tyre: it is now called Said, as it was in the times of Benjamin of Tudela (f). Justin (g) says it had its name from the plenty of fish on its coasts; but, since Canaan had a son of this name, it was no doubt so called from him.

And Heth; the father of the Hittites, who dwelt about Hebron, on the south of the land of Canaan; for when Sarah died, the sons of Heth were in possession of it, Genesis 23:2 of this race were the Anakim, or giants, drove out from hence by Caleb, Numbers 13:22 and these Hittites became terrible to men in later times, as appears from 2 Kings 7:6 hence signifies to terrify, affright, and throw into a consternation.

(f) Itinerarium. p. 34. (g) E. Trogo, l. 18. c. 3.

And Canaan begat Sidon his first born, and Heth,
15. Canaan] Observe that we pass from Cush and Mizraim to Canaan, the fourth son of Ham; omitting Put, the third son in Genesis 10:6.

Zidon his firstborn] “Firstborn”; i.e. the capital, and most ancient city, of the Phoenicians. The Phoenicians called themselves Zidonians, and were so called by the Israelites. Cf. 1 Kings 16:31. Zidon probably means “fish-town.”

Heth] i.e. the Hittites called by the Egyptians “Khêta,” and by the Assyrians “Khatti.” It is more than doubtful whether the Hittites had any connexion with the Phoenicians. Their language has not yet (1913) been deciphered. The Hittite empire appears to have lasted from 1800 b.c. to 700 b.c. Carchemish on the Euphrates was for a time their capital. They made their influence felt throughout Syria and Asia Minor. Their famous collision with Egypt occurred in the reign of Rameses III, about 1180 b.c. The mention of Heth as the “son of Canaan” is probably to be understood as indicating the presence of a large number of Hittite dwellers in Phoenicia and Palestine. There are traces of these elsewhere in O.T., e.g. ch. 23; Numbers 13:29; Jdg 1:26; 1 Kings 10:29; 2 Kings 7:6. The supremacy of the Hittites throughout Syria and Canaan belongs to the period shortly after the age represented by the Tel-el-Amarna tablets (1400 b.c.).Verse 15. - And Canaan begat Sidon his firstborn. A famous commercial and maritime town on the coast of Syria (1 Kings 5:6; 1 Chronicles 22:4; Isaiah 23:2, 4, 12; Ezekiel 27:8); here including Tyre. From the mention of the circumstance that Sidon was Canaan's firstborn, we may infer that in the rest of the table the order of seniority is not followed. And Heth. The father of the Hittites (Genesis 23:3, 5), identified by Egyptologers with the Kheta, a powerful Syrian tribe. From Canaan descended "Zidon his first-born, and Heth." Although Zidon occurs in Genesis 10:19 and throughout the Old Testament as the name of the oldest capital of the Phoenicians, here it must be regarded as the name of a person, not only because of the apposition "his first-born," and the verb ילד, "begat," but also because the name of a city does not harmonize with the names of the other descendants of Canaan, the analogy of which would lead us to expect the nomen gentile "Sidonian" (Judges 3:3, etc.); and lastly, because the word Zidon, from צוּד to hunt, to catch, is not directly applicable to a sea-port and commercial town, and there are serious objections upon philological grounds to Justin's derivation, "quam a piscium ubertate Sidona appellaverunt, nam piscem Phoenices Sidon vocant" (var. hist. 18, 3). Heth is also the name of a person, from which the term Hittite (Genesis 25:9; Numbers 13:29), equivalent to "sons of Heth" (Genesis 23:5), is derived. "The Jebusite:" inhabitants of Jebus, afterwards called Jerusalem. "The Amorite:" not the inhabitants of the mountain or heights, for the derivation from אמיר, "summit," is not established, but a branch of the Canaanites, descended from Emor (Amor), which was spread far and wide over the mountains of Judah and beyond the Jordan in the time of Moses, so that in Genesis 15:16; Genesis 48:22, all the Canaanites are comprehended by the name. "The Girgashites," Γεργεσαῖος (lxx), are also mentioned in Genesis 15:21; Deuteronomy 7:1, and Joshua 24:11; but their dwelling-place is unknown, as the reading Γεργεσηνοί in Matthew 8:28 is critically suspicious. "The Hivites" dwelt in Sichem (Genesis 34:2), at Gibeon (Joshua 9:7), and at the foot of Hermon (Joshua 11:3); the meaning of the word is uncertain. "The Arkites:" inhabitants of Ἀρκή, to the north of Tripolis at the foot of Lebanon, the ruins of which still exist (vid., Robinson). "The Sinite:" the inhabitants of Sin or Sinna, a place in Lebanon not yet discovered. "The Arvadite," or Aradians, occupied from the eighth century before Christ, the small rocky island of Arados to the north of Tripolis. "The Zemarite:" the inhabitants of Simyra in Eleutherus. "The Hamathite:" the inhabitants or rather founders of Hamath on the most northerly border of Palestine (Numbers 13:21; Numbers 34:8), afterwards called Epiphania, on the river Orontes, the present Hamh, with 100,000 inhabitants. The words in Genesis 10:18, "and afterward were the families of the Canaanites spread abroad," mean that they all proceeded from one local centre as branches of the same tribe, and spread themselves over the country, the limits of which are given in two directions, with evident reference to the fact that it was afterwards promised to the seed of Abraham for its inheritance, viz., from north to south, - "from Sidon, in the direction (lit., as thou comest) towards Gerar (see Genesis 20:1), unto Gaza," the primitive Avvite city of the Philistines (Deuteronomy 2:23), now called Guzzeh, at the S.W. corner of Palestine, - and thence from west to east, in the direction towards Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, and Zeboim (see Genesis 19:24) to Lesha," i.e., Calirrhoe, a place with sulphur baths, on the eastern side of the Dead Sea, in Wady Serka Maein (Seetzen and Ritter).
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