These are the sons of Shem, after their families, after their tongues, in their lands, after their nations.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Genesis 10:31 contains the usual closing formula for the pedigree of the Shemite tribes; and Genesis 10:32 contains the corresponding form for the whole table of nations.
From a review of these lands it is evident that Shem occupied a much smaller extent of territory than either of his brothers. The mountains beyond the Tigris, the Persian Gulf, the Red Sea, the Levant, the Archipelago, and the Black Sea, bound the countries that were in part peopled by Shem. Arabia, Syria, and Assyria contained the great bulk of the Shemites, intermingled with some of the Hamites. The Kushites, Kenaanites, and Philistines trench upon their ground. The rest of the Hamites peopled Africa, and such countries as were supplied from it. The Japhethites spread over all the rest of the world.
In this table there are 70 names, exclusive of Nimrod, of heads of families, tribes, or nations descended from the 3 sons of Noah - 14 from Japheth, 30 from Ham, and 26 from Shem. Among the heads of tribes descended from Japheth are 7 grandsons. Among those from Ham are 23 grandsons and 3-great-grandsons. Among those of Shem are 5 grandsons, one great-grandson, 2 of the fourth generation, and 13 of the fifth. Whence, it appears that the subdivisions are traced further in Ham and much further in Shem than in Japheth, and that they are pursued only in those lines which are of importance for the coming events in the history of Shem.
It is to be observed, also, that, though the different races are distinguished by the diversity of tongues, yet the different languages are much less numerous than the tribes. The eleven tribes of Kenaanites, and the thirteen tribes of Joctanites, making allowance for some tribal peculiarities, most probably spoke at first only two dialects of one family of languages, which we have designated the Hebrew, itself a branch of, if not identical with, what is commonly called the Shemitic. Hence, some Hamites spoke the language of Shem. A similar community of language may have occurred in some other instances of diversity of descent.Genesis 11:13.
after their families, after their tongues, in their lands, after their nations: from hence sprung various families at first, and these of different languages upon the confusion of Babel, which thenceforward formed different nations, dwelt in different lands; which have been pointed at as near as we can at this distance, and with the little helps and advantages we have: it seems from hence that Shem's posterity were of different languages as well as those of Ham and Japheth.These are the sons of Shem, after their families, after their tongues, in their lands, after their nations.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)31. These are, &c.] Cf. Genesis 10:5; Genesis 10:20.Verses 31, 32. - These are the sons of Shorn, after their families, after their tongues, in their lands, after their nations. The pedigree of the Shemite tribes is closed with the customary formula (vide ver. 5); that which follows being the concluding formula for the entire table of nations. These are the families of the sons of Noah, after their generations (literally, according to their Tholdoth, or historical developments), in their nation,: and by these (literally, from the) were the nations divided (or, did the nations scatter themselves) in the earth after the flood.
Genesis 10:31, and the entire genealogy of the nations with Genesis 10:32. According to the Jewish Midrash, there are seventy tribes, with as many different languages; but this number can only be arrived at by reckoning Nimrod among the Hamites, and not only placing Peleg among the Shemites, but taking his ancestors Salah and Eber to be names of separate tribes. By this we obtain for Japhet 14, for Ham 31, and for Shem 25, - in all 70 names. The Rabbins, on the other hand, reckon 14 Japhetic, 30 Hamitic, and 26 Semitic nations; whilst the fathers make 72 in all. But as these calculations are perfectly arbitrary, and the number 70 is nowhere given or hinted at, we can neither regard it as intended, nor discover in it "the number of the divinely appointed varieties of the human race," or "of the cosmical development," even if the seventy disciples (Luke 10:1) were meant to answer to the seventy nations whom the Jews supposed to exist upon the earth.
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