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Book of Genesis Chapter 10 Summary

The Origin of Nations

  • All of 10:1-32 may appear at first glance to be a sleep-inducing genealogy. But pay as much attention as you can, because it tells the story of the emergence of the world's nations, which can be traced back to Noah's three sons.
  • Here are some highlights.
  • Japheth's ancestors will form the "coastland peoples" (10:5), who are likely none other than Greeks, who colonized the coastland of Palestine.
  • Ham's ancestors will form a whole host of nations and empires with whom Israel will have to deal in what will be very brutal international politics, including Akkadia, Assyria, Babylonia, as well as the Canaanites and Philistines.
  • Nimrod is singled out here for special mention. In a way that is far removed from our English put-down ("you nimrod!"), this guy is a mighty warrior and hunter, who establishes nations that will become expansive empires as well as important cities, such as Nineveh.
  • Shem is likewise the father of a whole bunch of nations.
  • The conclusion of the genealogy is pretty fitting: "from these the nations spread abroad on the earth after the flood" (10:32 NRSV).
  • Shem is likewise the father of a whole bunch of nations.
  • The conclusion of the genealogy is pretty fitting: "from these the nations spread abroad on the earth after the flood" (10:32 NRSV).

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