Haydock Catholic Bible Commentary
Japheth. From his being placed first, some conclude that he was the eldest; and perhaps the famed Japetus of the Greeks is the same person. (Du Hamel) --- Sem comes last, though elder than Cham, that the history of the true Church may be more connected. Though it would be a work of great labour to discover what nations sprung from the people here mentioned, yet some are sufficiently obvious; and the learned Bochart has given very plausible applications of the different names to the respective nations, in his Phaleg. or sacred Geography. Gomer is supposed to be the father of the Cimbri in Germany, from whom the French and English also probably sprung. (Haydock) --- Magog, father of the Scythians, &c. (Ezechiel. xxvi.) Madai of the Medes, Javan of the Ionians in Greece, Thubal of the Iberians and Spaniards, Mosoch of the Muscovites, Thiras of the Thracians.
Gen 10:3 father of the Germans, Thogorma father of the Turks. (Menochius)
The islands. So the Hebrews called all the remote countries, to which they went by ships to Judea, as Greece, Italy, Spain, &c., (Challoner) whether they were surrounded with water or not. (Jeremias xxv. 22.) (Menochius)
A stout hunter. Not of beasts, but of men; whom by violence and tyranny he brought under his dominion. And such he was, not only in the opinion of men, but before the Lord; that is, in his sight who cannot be deceived. (Challoner) --- The Septuagint call him a giant; that is, a violent man. According to Josephus, he stirred up men to rebel against the Lord, maintaining that all their happiness must come from themselves, &c., Antiquities i. 4. Thus he broached the first heresy after the deluge. (Worthington) --- He seems to have been the same as Bel, father of Ninus, and the author of idolatry. (Menochius)
That land, of Sennaar, near the city of Babylon. Assur, or Ninus, who founded the Assyrian empire. (Menochius) --- But many understand this of Nemrod, who, in his progress from Babylonia to conquer the world, and oppress the rest of his brethren, came forth into Assyria, as if it were written Assurah; the He signifying motion towards, being often omitted in names of places. See 2 Kings vi. 10. (Bochart.) There he built Ninive, on the Tigris. But the exact situation of this vast city is not even known. (Calmet) --- And the streets, &c., which were amazingly extensive, Jonas iii. 3. It may also signify the city Rohoboth. (Pagnin.) --- Chale perhaps of Halah, 4 Kings xvii. 6, on the banks, or near the source of the river Chaboras.
Resen, perhaps Larissa, here written without the La; as 1 Paralipomenon v. 26. Hala has the preposition, and is written Lahela. (Bochart.) --- This, &c. It is doubtful which of these three cities is meant: but as we know that Ninive was remarkable for size and magnificence, we may suppose this is designated. (Calmet) (Menochius)
To Lesa, or Laisa, to the north, on the Jordan, as Sodom was on the southern extremity of that river. Sidon and Gaza were on the Mediterranean sea, north and south; so that these four cities are like four points, determining the extent of the promised land, which, as it was important for the Israelites to know, Moses descends to these particulars in speaking of the Chanaanites.
Of Heber. That is, of the nations beyond the Euphrates. Hebrews, &c. (Calmet) --- The elder brother, fratre Japheth majore, may be rendered as well "Japheth being his elder brother," which, as we have already observed, was probably the case. By mentioning him alone, we may gather that Sem was elder than Cham, who is called the less or younger son. (Haydock) --- The Hebrew may be translated either way. But the Chaldean, Liranus, and many excellent interpreters, make Jepheth the eldest. (Calmet)
Begot Sale; either his son, or his grandson, by Cainan. See Luke iii. 36, where we shall examine this question; also chap. xi. 12. The copies of the Septuagint still extant, all assert that Cainan was the son of Arphaxad, in all the places where they are mentioned, both in Genesis and Chronicles; and though some endeavour to prove that this is an interpolation, inserted by a later hand, it is certain it was found in the Septuagint in the days of St. Luke, who confirms it by his authority, as all the copies both Greek and Latin, except a very faulty one which belonged to Beza, and is now at Cambridge, testify. Beza was so bold as to expunge the name. But before we allow of this freedom, we must be informed how St. Luke could adopt such an error, being, as he was, under the guidance of the Holy Ghost! See Salien, &c. (Haydock) --- Mariana asserts, that the Hebrew copies have been vitiated.
Sons of Jectan; though not perhaps all born before the dispersion of nations, which may be said of some others, whom Moses here mentions, that he may not have to interrupt his narration. (Calmet)