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.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)After their generations.—Heb., according to their Tôldôth. This makes it probable that each family preserved in some way an historical record of its descent; and as this table is called the Tôldôth of the Sons of Noah, it was probably formed by a comparison of numerous Tôldôth, each showing the descent of various members of the three great families into which the sons of Noah were divided.Genesis 10:31 contains the usual closing formula for the pedigree of the Shemite tribes; and Genesis 10:32 contains the corresponding form for the whole table of nations.
From a review of these lands it is evident that Shem occupied a much smaller extent of territory than either of his brothers. The mountains beyond the Tigris, the Persian Gulf, the Red Sea, the Levant, the Archipelago, and the Black Sea, bound the countries that were in part peopled by Shem. Arabia, Syria, and Assyria contained the great bulk of the Shemites, intermingled with some of the Hamites. The Kushites, Kenaanites, and Philistines trench upon their ground. The rest of the Hamites peopled Africa, and such countries as were supplied from it. The Japhethites spread over all the rest of the world.
In this table there are 70 names, exclusive of Nimrod, of heads of families, tribes, or nations descended from the 3 sons of Noah - 14 from Japheth, 30 from Ham, and 26 from Shem. Among the heads of tribes descended from Japheth are 7 grandsons. Among those from Ham are 23 grandsons and 3-great-grandsons. Among those of Shem are 5 grandsons, one great-grandson, 2 of the fourth generation, and 13 of the fifth. Whence, it appears that the subdivisions are traced further in Ham and much further in Shem than in Japheth, and that they are pursued only in those lines which are of importance for the coming events in the history of Shem.
It is to be observed, also, that, though the different races are distinguished by the diversity of tongues, yet the different languages are much less numerous than the tribes. The eleven tribes of Kenaanites, and the thirteen tribes of Joctanites, making allowance for some tribal peculiarities, most probably spoke at first only two dialects of one family of languages, which we have designated the Hebrew, itself a branch of, if not identical with, what is commonly called the Shemitic. Hence, some Hamites spoke the language of Shem. A similar community of language may have occurred in some other instances of diversity of descent.
and by these were the nations divided in the earth after the flood; not immediately, not till they were so increased as to form distinct nations; not till Peleg's time, when the division was made; not until the building of the city and tower of Babel, for unto that time these families were together, and then and not before were they dispersed abroad upon the face of the earth; and by degrees peopled all the known parts of the world, Asia, Africa, and Europe, and no doubt America, though the way of their passage thither is unknown to us; and to this partition of the earth by the three sons of Noah, Pindar (u) seems to have respect, when he says,"according to the ancients, Jupiter and the immortal ones parted the earth;''and he speaks of one man having three sons, who dwelt separate, the earth being divided into three parts.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.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)32. of these were the nations divided] Cf. Genesis 10:1, Genesis 9:19. The word rendered “divided” is different from that in Genesis 10:25, but is the same as that which is found in Genesis 10:5. Looking back we can discern the object of the compiler in demonstrating (1) the unity of the race through Noah; (2) the origin of the peoples through his sons; (3) the origin of Israel through Shem and Eber.
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