Bibliotheca Sacra 138 (1980) 22-34.

          Copyright © 1980 by Dallas Theological Seminary.  Cited with permission.

 

 

                                    Studies in the Book of Genesis

                                                         Part 3:

                       

                        The Table of Nations in

                          Genesis 10--Its Content

 

                                                      Allen P. Ross

 

            The previous article in this series dealt with the structure of

the Table of Nations in Genesis 10.1 The deliberate design in its

construction, symmetry, and unity were examined in an effort to

understand its purpose as a tOdl;OT. But in addition to the evi-

deuce from its structure, there is a wealth of information about

the nations of the world that is important for the complete under-

standing of this chapter within the message of Genesis.

 

                                    The Analysis of the Passage

 

            The heading of the chapter (Gen. 10:1) declares that this is

the record of the particulars of what became of Shem, Ham, and

Japheth after the Flood. The verse serves not only as a heading for

the Table, but also as a literary connection back to Genesis 9:18

and 28. It is to be read with the oracle of Noah in mind!

 

THE SONS OF JAPHETH (10:2-5)

            In the listing of Noah's sons, Japheth usually comes last. But

here he is first because the tribes descended from Japheth were

spread across the remote lands of the north and therefore were

less involved in Israel's history.

            The connection of Japheth and  ]Iapeto<j of the Greek tradi-

tion is striking.2 In both Greek and Hebrew traditions, then,

 ]Iapeto<j was the ancestor of the Greeks. Genesis, however, shows

him to be fully human.3 He is simply the ancestor of many north-

 

                                                            22



                        The Table of Nations in Genesis 10 - Its Content 23

 

ern tribes who were non-Semitic in physiognomy, language, and

custom.4

            The sons of Japheth are seven. Gomer, mentioned also in

Ezekiel 38:6, represents the Cimmerians, thought to be of the

same stock as the Scythians.5  Magog is also mentioned in Ezekiel

(38:2 and 39:6) as the land of Gog, the region between Armenia

and Cappadocia; the name seems to represent the Scythian

hordes southeast of the Black Sea.6 Madia (ydamA) is the normal

Hebrew word for the Medes (Isa. 13:17) or Media (2 Kings 17:6),

east of Assyria and southwest of the Caspian Sea. Even though

the Median Empire was not formed until the seventh century,

this does not mean that such a people were not known earlier as a

group in the Lake Van area. The text of Shalmaneser III refers to

them in a way that implies they were older inhabitants.

            Javan is the general word for the Hellenic race, used

throughout the Old Testament for the Ionians who dwelt in

western Asia Minor.7

            Tubal and Meshech are always found together in the Bible;

they represent northern military states (Ezek. 27:13; 32:26;

38:2; 39:1; and Isa. 66:19). Tubal is equivalent to Tibareni in

Pontus; and Meshech is located in the Moschian mountains near

Armenia .8 Their range was from eastern Asia Minor to the

Black Sea.

            Tiras has been identified in classical writings as the Thra-

cians living in the area of the river Tiras 9 It is now popular to

identify them as the Pelasgian pirates of the Aegean coasts men-

tioned in Merneptah's list of seafaring peoples.10

            From these seven, seven more were derived. From Gomer

came Ashkenaz, Riphath, and Togarmah. Ashkenaz appears to

represent a northern branch of Indo-Germanic tribes related to

the Scythians.11 Riphath may bear a remote resemblance to the

name of the river Rhebas near the Bosphorous, or the Riphaean

mountains to the west. Josephus suggested these were the

Paphlagonians.12 Togarmah seems to represent the extreme

north in Ezekiel 27:14 and 38:6.13

            From Javan came four "sons"--two geographical names

and two tribal names--all of which are kin to the Greeks.

Elishah is to be identified with the place Alashiyah on the island

of Cyprus.14 Tarshish is the name of a distant coast reached only

by sea (Isa. 66:19; Jer. 10:9; Ezek. 27:12). It has been identified

with several places on the southern coasts of Asia Minor, places

founded by Phoenician shippers.15 Kittim is preserved in the

 



24                    Bibliotheca Sacra - January-March 1981

 

name of Kition (or Kettion), also on the island of Cyprus;16 this

plural noun refers to the people who inhabited that island, as well

as other islands east of Rhodes.

            Dodanim, the last of the four from Javan, is difficult to

identify because of a textual problem. The word, spelled "Roda-

nim" in 1 Chronicles 1:7, would represent the inhabitants of

Rhodes. But the Qere at that passage suggests the spelling

"Dodanim." Moreover, Ezekiel lists a Dedan among northern

merchants (27:15). Neiman suggests they are the Dodanoi, the

people of Dodona, the most ancient oracle in Greece.17

            These descendants of Japheth may be broadly summarized

as Cimmerians, Scythians, Medes, Hellenes, and Thracians.

From the fourteen names given, the text adds that from

these the isles of the nations were divided in lands, by tongues,

after families, in nations. They dwell in remote lands and

distant isles.

            It should be noted in passing that these names occur fre-

quently in prophetic writings. In Genesis the great military

hordes and western merchants are rather remote. They do not

come into play, so far as the destiny of Israel in the land is

concerned, until much later. Genesis knows something about

them, but they are far beyond the movements of the patriarchs.

They too will eventually subjugate the inhabitants of the land.

 

THE SONS OF HAM (10:6-20)

            More attention is given to the line of Ham than to that of

Japheth or Shem. Ham's line has four branches: Cush, Mizraim,

Put, and Canaan. All four are probably place names for Nubia-

Egypt, Upper and Lower Egypt, Libya, and Phoenicia-Palestine

respectively. In addition, the descendants of these four are both

places and tribes.

            Ham is the ancestor of all these people from Phoenicia to

Africa. The etymology of the word Ham is disputed,18 but it is

used to depict countries in close proximity to Egypt.

Cush is the "eldest son" according to the plan of the Table. In

antiquity this was an independent kingdom on the southern

flank of Egypt; and especially during the reign of Kamose it

served as the backbone of the Egyptian army, helping to expel the

Asiatics (Hyksos).19 So the list begins in the far south with the

African tribes known to the Greeks as Ethiopians.

            Mizraim lies to the north of Cush. The word occurs almost

ninety times in the Old Testament for Egypt.

 



            The Table of Nations in Genesis 10 - Its Content 25

 

            Put is used six times in the Bible, usually representing a

warlike people used as mercenaries in the Egyptian armies (e.g.,

Ezek. 27:10). Some connect Put with Somaliland, known as Punt

(pwn.t).20  But the identification of Put with Punt is phonetically

problematic.21 Thus the identification with Libya seems to have

more support although not by similarity of names.22

            The last of the four is Canaan, which normally represents the

land of Palestine and Phoenicia with its kaleidoscopic mixture of

races, a natural result for a country which is the "bridge" of

continents.23 The name Canaan has been connected with

various etymologies including the Hurrian kinahhu, a reddish-

purple shellfish dye.24 References from antiquity show the name

is geographical. Possibly it may have been used of the merchant

class in early commercial activities.26 Exclusive to the Old

Testament is the use of the term for inhabitants of the area in a

general sense. It later came to mean the pre-Israelite population

without distinction of race or social status. These many tribes

are in some way related to Canaan, and thus are called

Canaanites.

            The lines of three of these are now carried further in the

expanding list. First are listed five sons of Cush, all of whom

show expansion in Arabia.27 Seba is usually identified with

Upper Egypt on the Nile, with the ancient city of Meroe between

Berber and Khartoum. Havilah, which means "sand-land," could

fit several areas according to its usage: Ishmaelite Arab territory

(Gen. 25:18), eastern Arabia on the Persian Gulf (Gen. 10:29), the

Ethiopian coast (Gen. 10:7), or even India as an extension of the

east (Gen. 2:11). The fact that Havilah is mentioned under both

Shem and Ham shows mixing of the races: both Shemites and

Hamites lived there.

            Sabtah is near the western shore of the Persian Gulf. It has

to been identified as Shabwat, ancient Hadhramaut28 Raamah

appears to have been in southwest Arabia; Sabteca is possibly to

be identified with Samudake, east toward the Persian Gulf.

So these five tribal regions in the lower sections of Arabia

were populated with descendants from Ham. Of them, Raamah

produced two other tribes: Sheba and Dedan. Sheba is the name

of the ancient kingdom in southwest Arabia whose metropolis is

Marib, forty-five miles east of Sena'a of Yemen .29 Dedan is associ-

with modern 'Ula in northern Arabia, an important trading

center from antiquity, bordering on Edom (Ezek. 25:13; 27:20).

Some of the people of Sheba and Dedan traced their ancestry



26                    Bibliotheca Sacra - January-March 1981

 

back through the Cushite Raamah; others traced their ancestry

to Joktan in the line of Shem (10:29).

Inserted in the Table is the story of Nimrod (Gen. 10:8-12).

This is the first dlayA ("begot") section and forms a major stylistic

break from the tribal and territory names preceding it. The verse

need not be interpreted to say that Nimrod was the actual son of

Cush, but that is possible. Many attempts have been made to

identify him, but the most plausible is the reflection of the name

in Ninurta, the god of hunting and war.30

Because his name has been connected with the root dramA ("to

rebel"), and because of the statements made about him, he seems

to represent tyrannical power. Genesis 10:9 describes him as a

mightly hunter,31  a term often used for the hunting of men, and

the founder of the colossal powers of the east, which suggests he

is not just someone known for his derring-do.

Genesis 10:10 lists these cities as the "beginning" of his

kingdom: Babel, Erech, and Accad (and Calneh in the land of

Shinar). Since Babel, the well-known city of Babylon, is listed

first, it is not surprising to see it as the subject of the next

narrative (11:1-9), where it is described as the first gathering

point of the race.

Erech is the Akkadian Uruk, to be identified with ancient

Warka, the city of heroes like Gilgamesh 32 It is one hundred

miles southeast of Babylon. Accad is another ancient city, the

Agade of Sargon, north of Babylon on the Euphrates. It declined

sharply in importance about 2000 B.C.

Calneh is nowhere attested in cuneiform. While some have

tried to find a city so named in the great Shinar region, many

have followed Albright and translated it "and all of them.”33

The second part of the Nimrod digression lists the cities he

colonized (Gen. 10:11-12). Nimrod went out to Assyria34 and

built Nineveh, Rehoboth-Ir, Calah, and Resen. Nineveh is the

most famous city of Assyria (just as Babel was for the other

region). Rehoboth-Ir could be explaining Nineveh, but probably

is the suburb of Rebit Nina. Calah is Kalhu, modern Nimrud

situated twenty miles south. Resen may be Risnu, between the

other cities. It seems that all these cities were close enough

together to be one great metropolis.

Nimrod's exploits extended over two geographical areas,

Shinar and Assyria, and included seven cities. All these are part

of the Hamitic line.35



The Table of Nations in Genesis 10 - Its Content 27

 

After this dlayA section, another follows: Mizraim developed

into tribes. From the Egyptians sprang the Ludim, a group of

African tribes west of the Delta;36 the Anamim, in the vicinity of

Cyrene;37 the Lehabim, the Libyans on the north African shore

(Nah. 3:9 and Dan. 11:43); the Naphtuhim, the people of the

Delta (Lower Egypt); the Pathrusim, the people of Upper Egypt;38

the Casluhim, the people who dwelt east of the Delta between

Egypt and Canaan;39 and the Caphtorim, the Cretans.40

The clause "from whence come the Philistines" is problem-

atic because of its position in the text. Scripture connects the

origin of the Philistines with Caphtor (Amos 9:7; Deut. 2:23;

Jer. 47:4), but the Caphtorim, the Cretans, come after this

clause. While some have suggested rearranging the clauses, it

may not be necessary. The clause in the Table suggests migration

and not lineage. Amos has the Philistines from Caphtor in the

same sense that Israel was from Egypt--migration and not

origination.41 The difficulty may be solved by looking at their

origin and their migration from the Aegean bases through Caph-

tor into the Delta and finally into Palestine.

But part of the problem is the general assumption that this

name is anachronistic since all sources so far attest that the

Philistines in the strict sense date from around 1200 B.C. But the

Philistines of Genesis are quite different from those of later

periods. Grintz concluded that they were different enough to

posit successive migrations of different tribes .42  He concluded

there were three migrations: the first was the migration of

Pelasgo-Philistine tribes from Casluhim (Genesis and Exodus),

the second was the movement of the Philistines from Caphtor to

Gaza, and the third was the further movement of the Pelasgo-

Philistines in the period of Rameses III. Therefore the tribes from

Mizraim are seven, and out of one come the Philistines. If this be

so, then the powerful Egyptian influence carried far north into

the Aegean.

The final Hamite line to be traced is that of the sons of

Canaan (Gen. 10:15-19). This line focuses on the peoples living

in the land promised to Israel. In fact, the section closes with

the territorial boundaries specifically given.

Once again a dlayA section is inserted to introduce the cities and

tribes. The first-begotten is Sidon, the predominant Phoenician

city.44 This suggests that the founder gave his name to the city.

Heth, the Hittites in the Old Testament, is problematic here

under Canaan. The text is listing a mixed population in Canaan,

 



28                    Bibliotheca Sacra - January-March 1981

 

and so the term is justified if it describes Hittites who swept

south in vast ethnic movements.45

A series of tribes are mentioned beginning with the Jebu-

sites. The Jebusites dwelt in Jebus (Jerusalem) and were part of

the early stock of Canaanite tribes. The Amorites pose another

problem. The term can refer to a mixed population in the land in

general. It does not fit the description of the western Semites

whose center was in Mari.46 These are smaller ethnic groups that

inhabited the mountains around Jordan.

Very little is known about the Girgashites and the Hivites.

They are mentioned only in the cliche lists for Canaanites in

Edom, Shechem, and Gibeon.47 Possibly terms like "Hivite" and

"Hittite" are used pejoratively and ideologically, but as North

says, "we cannot see that all organic link of origin with those

foreign populaces is excluded."48

The rest of the list includes the Arkites, those living in Leba-

non north of Sidon; the Sinites near 'Arqa; the Arvadites, the

most northerly of Phoenician cities north of the river El Kebir; the

Zemarites, those living in the town of Sumra (modern) north of

‘Arqa; and the Hamathites, the inhabitants of Hamath on the

Orontes. Hamath, it may be noted, is the central point of the

northern boundary of the land.

It is clear that the writer wished to emphasize the names of

the Canaanites who dwelt in the land promised to Israel because

he mentions the familiar boundary notices in all directions, from

the cities of the plain to Gerar to the northern extremities. Such

an emphasis coming after the account of the curse of Canaan and

written for a people who were to dispossess these Canaanites

would have great impact.

 

THE SONS OF SHEM (10:21-31)

A new heading lists the relationship of Shem to Japheth (the

brother) and Eber (the descendant)--the former speaking of an

alliance based on Genesis 9 and the latter speaking of the connec-

tion in the line to the Hebrews.

The first name in the list is Elam. Descendants of Shem early

penetrated the highlands east of Babylon even though they were

later not the dominant racial or linguistic group.49 Asshur,

Shem's second son, is the name for the region and people of

Assyria. Arpachshad, the third name, is the ancestor of the

Hebrews. Arpachshad's meaning and location have caused con-

siderable speculation, but he can only be generally listed as resid-

 



The Table of Nations in Genesis 10 - Its Content 29

 

ing northeast of Nineveh.50  Lud is probably the Ludbu of the

Assyrians, situated on the Tigris. Aram is the name of the Ara-

mean tribes of antiquity living in the steppes of Mesopotamia.

The descendants from Aram--Uz, Hul, Gether, and Mash -

are not well known. They seem to be located in the north between

Armenia and Mesopotamia.51

The passage then refers to the developing line from Arpach-

shad, using the dlayA form through Shelah to Eber. One of Eber's

sons is Peleg, in whose days the earth was divided (probably

referring to the division of nations at Babel 52). Once the Table

mentions Peleg, it traces his line no further. Rather, it lists the

many tribes from Joktan, using the dlayA formula again.

The first tribe was Almodad, referring to a South Arabian

people. The second is Sheleph, another tribe of the southern

Arabian peninsula.54 Hazarmaveth, the third, is identified with

the exporter of myrrh known as Hadramaut in Southern

Arabia. Jerah and Hadoram are difficult, but are assumed to be

in the same vicinity. Uzal is the designation of San'a, the old

capital of Yemen. Diklah, the Arabic name for "date-palm," may

refer to an oasis. Obal seems to be 'Abil, a term used for several

localities in Yemen. Abimael is taken to be a genuine Sabaean

formation, with the ma being emphatic ("my father, verily, he

is God").

Sheba was also listed under Ham; the name here attests to

the fact that Joktanites lived there as well.56 Ophir and Havilah,

also listed under Ham, were southern Arabian territories rich in

gold. Jobab is assumed to be identical to Yuhaybib in South

Arabia.

These thirteen descendants of Joktan represent settled Ara-

bian tribes in the peninsula. Israel would find ancient blood ties

with the Joktanites of the desert of Arabia, as well as her relatives

to the east.

The final verse of the chapter forms the colophon-type end-

ing of the Table. All families came from the sons of Noah, but

these families listed here have significant developments (dlayA) as

far as Israel's interests are concerned.

 

The Meaning of the Passage

 

Most commentators observe that the Table demonstrates the

unity of the human race. Coming from the sons of Noah, the

survivors of the Flood were fruitful and multiplied.

 



30                    Bibliotheca Sacra - January-March 1981

 

But the passage is far more complex than that. The Table is a

select list of names, and that selection must serve a purpose. The

names are names of individuals, cities, tribes, and nations

arranged according to the genealogical connections of the ances-

tors or founders. The pattern of the Table is segmented rather

than linear; it is designed to show blood ties, treaties, alliances

and other connections between existing peoples.

That the promised land is central to the Table can be seen

from the arrangement of the descendants. The Japhethites are

spread from east to west across the northern frontier; the Ham-

ites surround the land from south to west; and the Shemites are

traced from the eastern to the southern borders of the land.

Moreover, the preoccupation with the Canaanites in the land of

promise shows the concern of the writer to fit the Table to the

message of the book: the fulfillment of God's promise to bless

Israel as a nation in that land, and to bless those nations that

bless her, and curse those who are antagonistic to her.

The Table then deliberately selected these tribes and traced

their development. This was done by expanding (in the dlayA ["be-

got"] sections) important elements found in the basic genealogy

(the yneB; ["sons of"] structure). From the heading (tOdlOT, "particu-

lars") it is clear that the passage was designed to do just this. The

purpose of this tOdl;OT in Genesis is to trace what became of

Noah's descendants, but the particular items included in this

genealogy were selected because of their significance for Israel.

The tOdl;OT of the yneB; Noah moves in four directions (in each of

the dlayA sections). Through these four sections the genealogy

focuses on the dominant kingdoms of Assyria and Shinar, the

powerful Egyptian tribes, the Canaanite tribes in their lands, and

the Arabian tribes of the line of Shem. These are peoples with

whom the new nation of Israel would have dealings in accord with

the oracle of Noah in Genesis 9.

According to Genesis, the new nation of Israel was to be

blessed as God's people in the land of Canaan. God's plan to bless

Israel involved the movement, displacement, and subjugation of

other peoples. The oracle of Noah in Genesis 9 anticipated the

blessing for Shem, along with Japheth, and the cursing of Ca-

naan, a son of Ham. This Table in Genesis 10 gives direction to

that oracle. It presents the lines of Shem and Japheth as pure

tribal groups around the promised land; it also presents the old

block of Hamites, especially the mixed races in the land of Ca-

naan, as the predominant powers on the earth. The dlayA sections



The Table of Nations in Genesis 10--Its Content 31

 

identify these tribes for Israel and signify their relationship to the

blessing or cursing.

 

Notes

1 Allen P. Ross, "The Table of Nations in Genesis 10-Its Structure," Bibliotheca

Sacra 137 (October-December 1980):340-53.

2 Apollodorus The Library 1. 2-3, Loeb Classical Library (Cambridge: Harvard

University Press, 1921), p. 12; Hesiod Works and Days, lines 50, 54, and

Theogany, lines 507-12, 543, Loeb Classical Library (Cambridge: Harvard Uni-

versity Press, 1914), pp. 6, 116, 118.

3 David Neiman, "The Two Genealogies of Japheth," Alter Orient and Altes

Testament 22 (1973):124.

4 E. Dhorme, "Les Peuples issus de Japhet d'apres le chapitre X de la Genese,"

Syria 13 (1932):28-49; Donald J. Wiseman, "Genesis 10: Some Archaeological

Considerations," 925th Ordinary General Meeting of the Victoria Institute,

December 6, 1954, p. 17.

5 They are listed in Assyrian as Gimirraya, and in Greek as Kimmerioi (Odys-

sey 11. 14 and Herodotus 1. 15, 103; 4. 1-142). Speiser identifies them with

Cymry as in the Welsh (E. A. Speiser, Genesis, The Anchor Bible [Garden City, NY:

Doubleday & Co., 1964], p. 63).

6 Josephus Antiquities of the Jews 1. 122-29. Skinner identified them with

barbarians called Ga-ga (John Skinner, A Critical and Exegetical Commentary

on Genesis [Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 19101, p. 197); Speiser related the name

to Gyges of Lydia and Gogaia in the Amarna Letters (Speiser, Genesis, p. 66).

7 They are called Yamanai in Sargon's texts, Ym'n in the fourteenth century Ras

Shamra tablets, and Ye-uan-(n)a in Egyptian referring to the Sea Peoples.

For a discussion of the identification of Javan with the twelve settlements iii

western Asia Minor, see Cassuto, From Noah to Abraham (Jerusalem: Magnes

Press, 1953), p. 190.

8 Wiseman says they are the same as the Hittite Tipal and Tibar district which

Naram Sin traversed around 2200 B.C. (Wiseman, "Genesis 10: Some Archaeolog-

ical Considerations," p. 18). Herodotus located the region in the north on the shore

of the Black Sea (Herodotus 3. 94); Josephus called them Cappadocians (Antiqui-

ties of the Jews 1. 122-29).

9 Thucydides 4. 109; Herodotus 1. 57, 59.

10 The connection with the Etruscans, suggested by Dhorme, is supported by

Wiseman. It would be comparable to the classical Tursanioi.

11 See Francis Brown, S. R. Driver, and Charles A. Briggs, A Hebrew and

English Lexicon of the Old Testament (Oxford: At the Clarendon Press, 1907), p.

79. They identify the word as Ascan(ians) with the az ending of Armenian

patronymics. The texts of Esarhaddon list Asguzai in the Lake Urmia region.

12 A textual problem makes the identification difficult; 1 Chronicles 1:6 has a'1

for the r. Since so little is known of the name, it is impossible to argue the case.

13 Hittite writings of Marsilis II (fourteenth century B. C.) list a district known as

Tagarma north of the road from Haran to Carchemish (Cassuto, From Noah to

Abraham, p. 192).

14 The name is listed on Amarna and Hittite lists. Excavations show these

people supplied purple to Tyre before being displaced by the Philistines around

1200 B.C. (Y. Lynn Holmes, "The Location of Alashiya," Journal of the American

Oriental Society 91 [19711:426-29).

15 The meaning of Tarshish is "foundry," according to David Neiman: the ships

of Tarshish carried iron ore ("Phoenician Place-Names," Journal of Near Eastern

Studies 24 (1965):113-15), Albright suggested Sardinia ("New Light on the Early



32                    Bibliotheca Sacra - January-March 1981

 

History of Phoenician Colonization" Bulletin of the American Schools of

Oriental Research 83 [19411:14-22). Herodotus had identified it with Spain's

Tartassos (Herodotus 1. 163; 4. 152; see also Strabo 3. 151).

16 It is still a designation of the Greeks in later literature (1 Mace. 1:1; 8:5;

Babylonian Talmud Ta'anith 5b).

17 Neiman, "The Two Genealogies of Japheth," p. 121 (cf. Iliad 2. 750; 16.233-34

Odyssey 14. 327; 19. 296; Apollodorus The Library 1. 9, 16).

18 Neiman thinks it is related to the Egyptian term for "Black Land," for that title

of their land in Bohairic is Khemi; but the Hieroglyphic Egyptian begins with K

(Neiman, "The Two Genealogies of Japheth," p. 122).

19 T. Save-Soderbergh, "The Nubian Kingdom of the Second Intermediate

Period," Kush 4 (1956):54-61.

20 Kenneth A. Kitchen, "Punt and How to Get There," Orientalia, n.s. 4

(1971):184-207; Wendell Phillips, Qataban and Sheba (New York: Harcourt

Brace, & Co., 1955), p. 108.

21 The connection between the two is phonetically problematic, not only be

cause of the "n" in Punt, but also because of the "t" as against the "t" of Punt

which is only a feminine termination (J. Simons, "The 'Table of Nations' [Gen. 10]

Its General Structure and Meaning," Oudtestamentische Studien 10 [ 1954]:179)

22 The Greek and Latin versions refer to it as Libya. Josephus says Libya was

founded by Phoutes (Antiquities of the Jews 1. 132). Jubilees 9:1 takes it as Libya,

and Libyan mercenaries are well known from extra-biblical literature (but

Puntians are not) (Simons, "The 'Table of Nations,"' p. 180).

23 John C. L. Gibson, "Observations on Some Important Ethnic Terms in th

Pentateuch," Journal of Near Eastern Studies 20 (1961):217.

24 B. Maisler, "Canaan and the Canaanites," Bulletin of theAmerican Schools o

Oriental Research 102 (1946):7-12; E. A. Speiser, "The Name Phoinikes,"

Language 12 (1936):121-26.

25 Robert North, "The Hivites," Biblica 54 (1973):51.

26 The Memphis Stele of Amenophis II mentions 640 Canaanites in a social

standing (not ethnic); and the Tell El Amarna letters (EA 9, 19) mention ki-na-ha-

a-a-u. See Gibson, "Observations on Some Important Ethnic Terms," p. 217. .

27 James A. Montgomery, Arabia and the Bible (New York: KTAV Publishing

House, 1969).

28 Ibid., p. 42.

29 Cassuto, among others, believed that it had first been northern on the

peninsula, and then moved south around the eighth century B.C. (Cassuto, From

Noah to Abraham, p. 199).

30 Wiseman, "Genesis 10: Some Archaeological Considerations," p. 17; Bohl

"Babel and Bibel, " p. 115. Speiser takes him to be Tukulti-Ninurta I, an early ruler

of Assyria ("In Search of Nimrod," Oriental and Biblical Studies [Philadelphia

University of Pennsylvania Press, 1967], pp. 41-52).

31 The Septuagint renders dyica rOBGi as "the hunting giant," the Arabic as "the

terrible tyrant," and the Syriac as " the warlike giant." Midrash Rabbah 37:2 says

he snared people (see also Yoma 10a, and Josephus Antiquities of the Jews 1. 113-14).

32 Wiseman suggests that since Erech is written Uruk or Unuk in Sumerian, it

might be the city named after Enoch. Enoch's son was Irad, and he may have

founded Eridu (Wiseman, "Genesis 10: Some Archaeological Considerations," p  20).

33 J. A. Thompson, "Samaritan Evidence for 'All of them in the land of Shinar

(Gen. 10:10)," Journal of Biblical Literature 90 (1971):99-102.

34 It is possible to translate it "Asshur went out," but it is probably better to take

it the other way since the story is about Nimrod's exploits, and the preceding was

only the beginning.

35 Wiseman points out that archaeology shows that the earliest inhabitant



The Table of Nations in Genesis 10 - Its Content              33

 

and languages of the region were not Semitic. Before 2600 the civilization is

"Sumerian." Moreover there is a direct cultural link between Assyria, Babylonia,

and Egypt (Wiseman, "Genesis 10: Some Archaeological Considerations," p. 21).

36 Cassuto, From Noah to Abraham, p. 200. Los connects them to Lydian (Asia

Minor) mercenaries (F. J. Los, "The Table of Peoples of the Tenth Chapter of

Genesis," The Mankind Quarterly 7 [ 1967]:148).

37 Los connects them with On, the inhabitants of Heliopolis being meant

(ibid., p. 148). See also W. F. Albright, "A Colony of Cretan Mercenaries on the

Coast of the Negeb," Journal of the Palestine Oriental Society 1, 2 (1920-

22):117-94.

38 See Brown, Driver, and Briggs, who define it as "southland" and connect it

with the Akkadian Paturisi and the Egyptian P-to-rest (A Hebrew and English

Lexicon, p. 837). See also "Pathros"' in Isaiah 11:11 and Jeremiah 44:1.

39 Leupold thinks they may have come from Crete, earlier than the Philistines,

as part of the swarms of nations mixing with Egyptians (H. C. Leupold, Exposition

of Genesis [Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1953], p. 370).

40 They are identified with Keftiu ("the region beyond"), referring to the

Mediterranean in the Egyptian language (Skinner, Genesis, p. 214).

41 Kenneth A. Kitchen, "The Philistines," in Peoples of Old Testament Times,

ed. Donald J. Wiseman (Oxford: At. the Clarendon Press, 1973), pp. 53-54.

42 J. M. Grintz, "The Immigration of the First Philistines in the Inscriptions"

[Hebrew], Tarbiz 17 (1945):32-42; "Notes on the Immigration of the First Philis-

tines in the Inscriptions" [Hebrew], Tarbiz 19 (1947):64.

43 A. Van Selms, "The Canaanites in the Book of Genesis," Oudtestamentische

Studien 12 (1958):182-213.

44 Wiseman points out that the Table must go back before the thirteenth

century due to the omission of Tyre (Wiseman, "Genesis 10: Some Archaeological

Considerations," p. 21).

45 See Hans Giiterback, "Toward a Definition of the Term Hittite," Oriens 10

(1975):233-39; Harry A. Hoffner, "Some Contributions of Hittitology to Old

Testament Study," Tyndale Bulletin 20 (1969):37; and Gibson, "Observations on

Some Important Ethnic Terms in the Pentateuch," p. 225. Of course if Genesis 10

is talking about the very beginnings, then there is no need to look for migrations.

But the Hattians or Nesites, the people of Hatti, remain a problem.

46 Alfred Halder, Who Were the Amorites? (Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1971), pp. 20, 65-

66; Giorgio Buccellati, The Amorites of the Ur III Period (Naples: Institutio

Orientals di Napoli, 1966); M. Liverani, "The Amorites," in Peoples of Old Testa-

ment Times, p. 102.

47 North said the Hivites must represent the Horites or Hurrian element ("The

Hivites," p. 44).

48 Ibid., p. 61.

49 Arno Poebel, "The Name of Elam in Sumerian, Akkadian, and He-

brew," American Journal of Semitic Languages and Literatures 48 (1931):20-

37:2 says 26• See also Wiseman, "Genesis 10: Some Archaeological Considerations,

p. 22.

50 Several have tried to connect Arpachshad with the Kasdim, or Chaldeans

(e-g•, Los, The Table of Peoples of the Tenth Chapter of Genesis,” p. 158).

51 B. Maisler, The Genealogy of the Sons of Nahor and the Historical Back-

ground of the Book of Job" [Hebrew], Zion 11 (1946):1-16.

52 See the author's article, "The Dispersion of the Nations in Genesis 11:1-9, in

the forthcoming April-June 1981 issue of Bibliotheca Sacra.

53 Most take this to be a combination of the article lxa plus ddAOm ("friend”).

54 Silph is a district of Yemen, and Salph a Yemenite tribe (G. R. Driver, "Notes



34                    Bibliotheca Sacra - January-March 1981

 

in Some Recently Recovered Proper Names, Bulletin of the American Schools of

Oriental Research 90 [1943]:34).

55 Phillips notes that even today tribesmen of Hadramaut proudly state they are

descendants of Joktan, supposed by them to be Qahtan, great-great-great-

grandson of Shem, son of Noah, and legendary ancestor of all South Arabians

(Phillips, Qataban and Sheba, pp. 28-29).

56 Gus W. Van Beck, "Prolegomenon," in Montgomery, Arabia and the Bible, pp

xiii-xv. He suggests that there were commercial and ethnic affinities across the

sea, the African Saba owing allegiance to the Arabian.

 

 

 

This material is cited with gracious permission from:

Dallas Theological Seminary

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            Dallas, TX   75204          

www.dts.edu

Please report any errors to Ted Hildebrandt at:  thildebrandt@gordon.edu