James Gray - Concise Bible Commentary
Now these are the generations of the sons of Noah, Shem, Ham, and Japheth: and unto them were sons born after the flood.Genesis 10:1-32
This chapter is more than a list of names of individuals. Several are names of families or nations, and make it the most important historical document in the world. You will see that the stream of the race divides according to the three sons of Noah. Whose division is first traced (Genesis 10:2)? What part of the world was settled by his offspring (Genesis 10:5)? This might read: “By these were the coast lands of the nations divided,” and research indicates that the names of these sons and grandsons are identical with the ancient names of the countries bordering on the seas of northern and northwestern Europe. (Examine map number 1 in the back of your Bible). Whose offspring are next traced (Genesis 10:6)? A similar examination will show that these settled towards the south and southwest in the lands known to us as Palestine, Arabia, Egypt, Abyssinia, etc. Whose offspring are last named (Genesis 10:21)? What distinction is given to Shem in that verse? “Eber” is another form of the name Hebrew, and the distinction of Shem is that he was the ancestor of the Hebrews or the Israelites. His descendants settled rather in the south and southeast, Assyria, Persia, etc.
THE FIRST WORLD-MONARCHY (Genesis 10:8-12)
The verses relating to Nimrod call for attention. What describes the energy of his character? How does (Genesis 10:9 show his fame to have descended even to Moses’ time, the human author of Genesis? What political term is met with for the first time in Genesis 10:10? Attention to the map will show “the land of Shinar” identical with the region of Babylon in Asia, affording the interesting fact that this kingdom was thus founded by an Ethiopian. Genesis 10:11 might read, “but of that land [i.e., Shinar] he went forth into Assyria,” etc., indicating Nimrod to have been the inspiration of the first world- monarchy in the sense that he united under one head the beginnings both of Babylon and Assyria, proving him a mighty hunter of men as well as wild beasts. Rawlinson’s Origin of the Nations says: “The Christian may with confidence defy his adversaries to point out any erroneous or impossible statements in the entire [tenth] chapter, from its commencement to its close.”