These are the sons of Ham, after their families, after their tongues, in their countries, and in their nations.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Genesis 10:20 in the usual form. It appears that Ham occupied Africa and a certain portion of Asia along the eastern coast of the Mediterranean, in the south of Arabia, about the lower valley of the Frat and Diljah, and perhaps along the south of Asia. In extent of territory, Japheth ultimately far exceeded, as he occupied most of Asia and almost all of Europe and the New World. Ham is next to him, as he inherited Africa and a portion of Asia. Some of his descendants have also been forcibly transplanted to the New Hemisphere. But in point of political contact with Shem, Japheth, in early times, sinks comparatively into the shade, and Ham assumes the prominent place. Babylon, Kush, Egypt, and Kenaan are the powers which come into contact with Shem, in that central line of human history which is traced in the Bible. Hence, it is that in the table of nations special attention is directed to Kush, Nimrod, Mizraim, and to the tribes and borders of Kenaan.
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.
after their families, after their tongues, in their countries, and in their nations: families of the same language joined together and dwelt in the same country; see Gill on Genesis 10:5 all Africa and a considerable part of Asia were possessed by the four sons of Ham and their posterity; Mizraim had Egypt, and Phut all the rest of Africa; and Cush and Canaan had a large portion in Asia.These are the sons of Ham, after their families, after their tongues, in their countries, and in their nations.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)20. These are the sons of Ham (P), &c.] Cf. Genesis 10:31; and the note on Genesis 10:5.
The synonyms here given are characteristic of P’s fondness for redundancy and repetition.Verse 20. - These are the sons of Ham, after their families, after their tongues, in their countries, and in their nations (vide ver. 5). 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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