Genesis 10 Series, Part 1, Verses 1-7

  • | Chris McCann
  • Audio: Length: 26:06
  • Passages covered: Genesis 10:1-7, Genesis 10:2-3, Ezekiel 38:1-2,
    Ezekiel 38:3, Ezekiel 38:5-6, Revelation 20:7, Genesis 10:3,
    Genesis 10:4, Genesis 10:5, Genesis 10:25.

| 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 |

Welcome to EBible Fellowship’s Bible study in the Book of Genesis. This is study #1 of Genesis, chapter 10 and we are going to read Genesis 10:1-7:

Now these are the generations of the sons of Noah, Shem, Ham, and Japheth: and unto them were sons born after the flood. The sons of Japheth; Gomer, and Magog, and Madai, and Javan, and Tubal, and Meshech, and Tiras. And the sons of Gomer; Ashkenaz, and Riphath, and Togarmah. And the sons of Javan; Elishah, and Tarshish, Kittim, and Dodanim. By these were the isles of the Gentiles divided in their lands; every one after his tongue, after their families, in their nations. And the sons of Ham; Cush, and Mizraim, and Phut, and Canaan. And the sons of Cush; Seba, and Havilah, and Sabtah, and Raamah, and Sabtecha: and the sons of Raamah; Sheba, and Dedan.

In this passage, we have a genealogy and it will continue for most of this chapter and we will get into a discussion of the Biblical calendar of history in the next chapter. Here, God is telling us of the sons of Japheth and Ham and God is not giving us a timeline as far as how long an individual lived, but in Genesis, chapter 11 God will pick up the Biblical calendar again, as we saw in Genesis 5, up to the point of the flood in 4990BC.

We saw in the previous chapter that Noah lived 350 years after the flood. The Biblical calendar of history does not follow Noah during that 350 years, but it follows one of his sons and we will pick that up in the next chapter.

In this passage and throughout most of chapter 10 God gives us information concerning some of the sons of Shem, Ham and Japheth. It is not easy reading and sometimes we may feel we are not learning much, but one thing we can see is that after the flood when Noah and his family came out of the ark and settled on dry ground they were obedient to God’s command to multiply and replenish the earth. They began to reproduce and have children.

This chapter is helpful because it allows us to see some of the historical background of certain nations in the Bible that we will read about, again, and again. For instance, there are references to nations that will be mentioned hundreds of times in the Bible and we can track the beginning of these nations to Shem, Ham or Japheth. For example, it says in Genesis 10:2-3:

The sons of Japheth; Gomer, and Magog, and Madai, and Javan, and Tubal, and Meshech, and Tiras. And the sons of Gomer; Ashkenaz, and Riphath, and Togarmah.

Where do we find those names in the Bible? We find some of these names in a very interesting place in the Book of Ezekiel. It says in Ezekiel 38:1-2:

And the word of JEHOVAH came unto me, saying, Son of man, set thy face against Gog, the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal, and prophesy against him,

In verse 2 we see the land of “Magog” and we know that one of the sons of Japheth was Magog. Not only that, but it also mentions “Tubal.” Two of the nations that are identified with Gog and Magog relate back to Japheth. It goes on to say in Ezekiel 38:3:

And say, Thus saith the Lord JEHOVAH; Behold, I am against thee, O Gog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal:

Meshech is also mentioned in Genesis 10, verse 2, so now we have Magog, Tubal and Meshech, three of the sons of Japheth. Then it says in Ezekiel 38:5-6:

Persia, Ethiopia, and Libya with them; all of them with shield and helmet: Gomer, and all his bands; the house of Togarmah of the north quarters, and all his bands: and many people with thee.

Gomer is also a son of Japheth and he is listed in Genesis 10, verse 2. Now we can see that Gomer, Magog, Tubal and Meshech all identify with Gog and Magog.

One other thing I would like to mention about Genesis 10, verse 2 is “Madai,” another son of Japheth. It is Strong’s #4074 and it the same Strong’s number that is used for the word “Medes,” when we read of the Medes and the Persians. Madai is really the Medes. So, we do see that five out of the seven sons of Japheth listed in our verses have significant roles to play in the Scriptures. Most of them are “negative” roles because they identify with Gog and Magog. We learned of Gog and Magog in Revelation 20:7:

And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea.

Once Satan was loosed at the beginning of the end of time on May 21, 1988, he began to rule the nations of the world in a greater way than ever before. The mention of the “four quarters of the earth” indicates it is a worldwide rule over all the unsaved in an unprecedented manner, so Magog is a picture of those ruled over by Satan and it identifies with the nations of the world.

The same is true of Gomer, where it says in Genesis 10:3:

And the sons of Gomer; Ashkenaz, and Riphath, and Togarmah.

We saw in Ezekiel 38, verse 6 that Gomer and Togarmah were mentioned and now we understand why it says, “Gomer, and all his bands; the house of Togarmah of the north quarters, and all his bands: and many people with thee,” because Gomer is the father of Togarmah.

It goes on to say in Genesis 10:4:

And the sons of Javan; Elishah, and Tarshish, Kittim, and Dodanim.

We recognize that the Bible refers to “the ships of Tarshish” and in the Book of Jonah, Jonah fled to Tarshish. It is a merchant city with merchant vessels and these ships identify with the corporate church. God speaks of destroying the ships of Tarshish, which refers to the judgment on the corporate church.

Then it says in Genesis 10:5:

By these were the isles of the Gentiles divided in their lands; every one after his tongue, after their families, in their nations.

Here, the Lord is giving a look ahead to what will come in later passages concerning the division of the earth. At this point in history right after the flood, the land mass was still one enormous continent. There had been no breaking apart of the continents. The land was one land mass, surrounded by water. Of the days of Peleg, it says in Genesis 10:25:

And unto Eber were born two sons: the name of one was Peleg; for in his days was the earth divided; and his brother's name was Joktan.

It was in the time of Peleg that God divided the continents. He caused ruptures that broke apart the land masses and they began to slide across the sea. Scientists speak of “continental shift” and we will talk more about that when we get to this verse and we read about the earth being divided.

But, right now, God is giving us advance notice of this and it says in Genesis 10, verse 5: “By these were the isles of the Gentiles divided in their lands,” and this would be a good verse to prove that the “isles” are the continents. The continents are surrounded by water and they are really “large islands.” You can see that very well with the continent of Australia, but it is true of all the continents and God speaks of them as “isles.” The Hebrew word translated as “Gentiles” is the same Hebrew word translated as “nations,” so we could read this verse as saying, “By these were the isles of the nations divided in their lands; every one after his tongue, after their families, in their nations.” In Genesis, chapter 11 we are going to read about the “confusion of tongues,” when God confounded man’s language. It was the Lord’s purpose to cause separation of men so mankind could not have one “large community” as was allowed by one continent. Why did God do this? We will discuss this in more detail when we get to chapter 11, but for now we understand that the purpose was to slow down man’s progress in keeping with the timeline. It was at the time of the end that God sort of “reversed” the Tower of Babel and the language barrier and speed of communication become less of a problem. Instant communication and speedy modes of travel have done much to reverse the impact of the division of the continents. Mankind has “come together” in a way that they have not been able to do since there was one land mass and one language. The effects of the division of the continents and the division of the languages have been “reversed” as we have reached the time of the end.

Again, it says in Genesis 10:5:

By these were the isles of the Gentiles divided in their lands; every one after his tongue, after their families, in their nations.

In addition to being divided in their lands and in their tongues, it also adds, “after their families, in their nations.” This is something we probably have not looked at or thought about all that much and that is the fact that when the Lord confounded the languages (which probably happened close to the time of the division of the continents), God did not cause the family members to speak different languages. God wanted a separation of language and his intent was that those that spoke a separate language would gather together and go off in the same direction. When the continents were divided, some might go toward Africa and others might have gone in the direction of what is now South America. There was a spreading out of humanity where mankind could not reach one another easily or communicate with one another. Of course, the Lord is very wise and He realized that if He divided the tongues of a husband and wife or a parent and child, the families would still stay together and learn the other language, so the Lord did not do that. It says that God divided them “after their families, in their nations,” so the Lord did not break apart the immediate family or the “clan” of near relatives and they would all speak the same language and, therefore, the family units could understand one another. This would make it much more likely that this separation would take place because it did not impact the communication within a family and they would have been much more willing to leave an area where there were people they had some dealings with in the past, but now they could not communicate with them. One family clan would gather together in one place and another family clan gathered together with those of like speech somewhere else. The separation that God intended was now in place and the Lord could divide the continents and God would bring them in their nations across the sea. We will talk more about the movement of the continents when we get to that chapter.

For now, it is interesting and significant to realize that God very carefully separated mankind by peoples, making it difficult for mankind to advance and progress in the development of things and it also set the stage for nations to struggle against nations. After a while, you would have one nation in one location that spoke a particular language and another nation speaking another language, and so forth. When there is difficulty in communication, there can be disputes over territories and we see that in nations today as they very jealously guard their boundaries. This would lead to trouble and there would be warfare between nations that had previously been of one blood and one family. We all came from Shem, Ham and Japheth and we can trace our lineage back to them, as well as to Adam and Eve. This separation of land and language served to set one nation apart from another nation. One thing that disputes and wars have done is to hold back mankind from collectively progressing and advancing in certain areas. Again, God had His reasons and purposes for doing this to allow things to happen at set times. Everything has a time and season, in accord with God’s timetable, so the Lord acted soon after the flood to make sure that mankind would not advance too quickly and get ahead of God’s timetable.