Studies in the Book of Genesis Part 3: The Table of Nations in Genesis 10—Its Content -- By: Allen P. Ross

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 138:549 (Jan 1981)
Article: Studies in the Book of Genesis Part 3: The Table of Nations in Genesis 10—Its Content
Author: Allen P. Ross


Studies in the Book of Genesis
Part 3:
The Table of Nations in Genesis 10—Its Content

Allen P. Ross

[Allen P. Ross, Assistant Professor of Semitics and Old Testament Studies, Dallas Theological Seminary]

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 תּוֹלְדוֹת. But in addition to the evidence from its structure, there is a wealth of information about the nations of the world that is important for the complete understanding 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 ᾿Λαπετός of the Greek tradition is striking.2 In both Greek and Hebrew traditions, then, ᾿Λαπετός was the ancestor of the Greeks. Genesis, however, shows him to be fully human.3 He is simply the ancestor of many

northern 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.You must have a subscription and be logged in to read the entire article.
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