Jamieson-Fausset-Brown 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.
Ge 10:1-32. Genealogies.
1. sons of Noah—The historian has not arranged this catalogue according to seniority of birth; for the account begins with the descendants of Japheth, and the line of Ham is given before that of Shem though he is expressly said to be the youngest or younger son of Noah; and Shem was the elder brother of Japheth (Ge 10:21), the true rendering of that passage.
generations, &c.—the narrative of the settlement of nations existing in the time of Moses, perhaps only the principal ones; for though the list comprises the sons of Shem, Ham, and Japheth, all their descendants are not enumerated. Those descendants, with one or two exceptions, are described by names indicative of tribes and nations and ending in the Hebrew im, or the English "-ite."
The sons of Japheth; Gomer, and Magog, and Madai, and Javan, and Tubal, and Meshech, and Tiras.
And the sons of Gomer; Ashkenaz, and Riphath, and Togarmah.
And the sons of Javan; Elishah, and Tarshish, Kittim, and Dodanim.
By these were the isles of the Gentiles divided in their lands; every one after his tongue, after their families, in their nations.
5. the isles of the Gentiles—a phrase by which the Hebrews described all countries which were accessible by sea (Isa 11:11; 20:6; Jer 25:22). Such in relation to them were the countries of Europe, the peninsula of Lesser Asia, and the region lying on the east of the Euxine. Accordingly, it was in these quarters the early descendants of Japheth had their settlements.
And the sons of Ham; Cush, and Mizraim, and Phut, and Canaan.
6. sons of Ham—emigrated southward, and their settlements were: Cush in Arabia, Canaan in the country known by his name, and Mizraim in Egypt, Upper and Lower. It is generally thought that his father accompanied him and personally superintended the formation of the settlement, whence Egypt was called "the land of Ham" [Ps 105:23, 27; 106:22].
And the sons of Cush; Seba, and Havilah, and Sabtah, and Raamah, and Sabtecha: and the sons of Raamah; Sheba, and Dedan.
And Cush begat Nimrod: he began to be a mighty one in the earth.
8. Nimrod—mentioned as eclipsing all his family in renown. He early distinguished himself by his daring and successful prowess in hunting wild beasts. By those useful services he earned a title to public gratitude; and, having established a permanent ascendancy over the people, he founded the first kingdom in the world [Ge 10:10].
He was a mighty hunter before the LORD: wherefore it is said, Even as Nimrod the mighty hunter before the LORD.
And the beginning of his kingdom was Babel, and Erech, and Accad, and Calneh, in the land of Shinar.
10. the beginning of his kingdom—This kingdom, of course, though then considered great, would be comparatively limited in extent, and the towns but small forts.
Out of that land went forth Asshur, and builded Nineveh, and the city Rehoboth, and Calah,
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.
And Resen between Nineveh and Calah: the same is a great city.
And Mizraim begat Ludim, and Anamim, and Lehabim, and Naphtuhim,
And Pathrusim, and Casluhim, (out of whom came Philistim,) and Caphtorim.
And Canaan begat Sidon his firstborn, and Heth,
And the Jebusite, and the Amorite, and the Girgasite,
And the Hivite, and the Arkite, and the Sinite,
And the Arvadite, and the Zemarite, and the Hamathite: and afterward were the families of the Canaanites spread abroad.
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.
These are the sons of Ham, after their families, after their tongues, in their countries, and in their nations.
Unto Shem also, the father of all the children of Eber, the brother of Japheth the elder, even to him were children born.
21. Unto Shem—The historian introduces him with marked distinction as "the father of Eber," the ancestor of the Hebrews.
The children of Shem; Elam, and Asshur, and Arphaxad, and Lud, and Aram.
And the children of Aram; Uz, and Hul, and Gether, and Mash.
23. Aram—In the general division of the earth, the countries of Armenia, Mesopotamia, and Syria, fell to his descendants.
And Arphaxad begat Salah; and Salah begat Eber.
24. Arphaxad—The settlement of his posterity was in the extensive valley of Shinar, on the Tigris, towards the southern extremity of Mesopotamia, including the country of Eden and the region on the east side of the river.
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.
25. Peleg; for in his days was the earth divided—After the flood (Ge 11:10-16) the descendants of Noah settled at pleasure and enjoyed the produce of the undivided soil. But according to divine instruction, made probably through Eber, who seems to have been distinguished for piety or a prophetic character, the earth was divided and his son's name, "Peleg," was given in memory of that event (see De 32:8; Ac 17:26).
And Joktan begat Almodad, and Sheleph, and Hazarmaveth, and Jerah,
And Hadoram, and Uzal, and Diklah,
And Obal, and Abimael, and Sheba,
And Ophir, and Havilah, and Jobab: all these were the sons of Joktan.
And their dwelling was from Mesha, as thou goest unto Sephar a mount of the east.
These are the sons of Shem, after their families, after their tongues, in their lands, after their nations.
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.
32. These are the families of the sons of Noah, after their generations, in their nations, &c.—This division was made in the most orderly manner; and the inspired historian evidently intimates that the sons of Noah were ranged according to their nations, and every nation ranked by its families, so that every nation had its assigned territory, and in every nation the tribes, and in every tribe the families, were located by themselves.