Shem (Semites) (26 nations)
10:30-31 – “The region
where they lived stretched from Mesha toward Sephar, in the eastern hill
country. These are the sons of Shem by their clans and languages, in their
territories and nations.”
was the ancestor of all the sons of Eber” –
The focus is on
the sons of Eber
The word “Hebrew”
comes from “Eber” or the “Eberites”
Abraham is six
generations from Eber and is still known as a “Hebrew” (Gen.11:16-26)
around the Canaanite town of Hebron
Who is the
- Gen. 9:24
makes it clear that Ham was the youngest of the three.
tradition and modern commentators interpret this verse to say that Japheth
was the eldest
English versions make Shem the eldest: NASB, NRSV, REB, NAB, NJB, NJPS and
NIV in the footnotes.
- The usual
scriptural formula is “Shem, Ham and Japheth” as in Gen. 5:32, 6:10, 7:13,
9:18, 10:1 and Frist Chronicles 1:4.
listing of Shem last in this chapters and the account that follows gives
Shem, the second son, receives priority and the favored position.
(1) is the eldest, Ham (3) is the disqualified, Shem (2) receives the
in the mountainous region east of the Tigris-Euphrates Valley in what is now modern southwest Iran.
- Susa was its ancient capital
used to think this land was originally settled by Ham but they have
recently discovered that the earliest inhabitants of this area were
Semites or from Shem.
will fight with a coalition of kings that include the King of Elam (Southwest Iran) in Gen.14:1, 9)
- Elam is situated along side the
descendents of Ham: Babylon, Assyria
descendants of Shem in Elam were replaced by Ham
on the Upper Tigris River in northern Mesopotamia in what is now modern Iraq.
gives the name to the Assyrian people or the land of Asshur or Assyria.
also appears in Ham’s line (10:11).
- So both
Ham and Shem’s line converged in the land of Asshur and became the
the Babylonians since the last Hebrew letters of Arphaxad, “ksd”, are the
letters in the word “Chaldean” or “kasdim”
exact information is still a mystery
says that from Arphaxad the Chaldeans were called “Arphaxadaeans”
- Lud is
also mentioned in 10:16 in Ham’s line
Ludites are location and people are still unknown.
Greeks call Aram “Syria”
prophet Amos says Aram came out of Kir which is located in the area of Elam or Assyria (Amos 1:5). Amos 9:7 places Aram as a Shemite neighbor of Elam
would consider the people of Aram in the area of Haran as his relatives
when looking for a wife for Isaac.
- Jacob is
called “a wandering Aramean” in Deut. 26:5
- The name
“Aram” comes up again in the genealogy of Nahor the brother of Abraham in
- Aram then migrated west and became
the Arameans (Syrians)
- One of
four descendants of Aram
- He is
the head of the Aramean tribes
- Like Aram, the name of Uz will again surface in the genealogy of Nahor, Abraham’s brother in
- Job was
a descendent of Uz living in the land of Uz and appears to be in the east
(of Midian and Egypt) in the Arabian desert
- Uz and Edom are interdependent in Lamentations 4:21 and Jeremiah 25:20-21
- A man by
the name of Uz from Edom is the son of a Horite chieftain living at Seir
in Gen. 36:28-29
- The Uz
of Aram and the Uz associated with Edom may or may not be the same. Uz
may have settled south of their father Aram making the two the same.
of four descendants of Aram
became an Aramean city.
- Third of
four descendants of Aram
became a city in Aram
of four descendants of Aram
like the same word as the Meshech in the line of Japheth but it is a
different people. This Hebrew word is spelled “mas” or “Mash”
- It may
refer to the “Masa” in central Asia Minor known to us by the Hittite
probably refers to Lebanon
- The son
is the father of Eber
- His name
appears in the families of the people of Judah
- Eber has
two sons: Peleg and Joktan
name comes along with a etymological comment
name is followed by 13 descendants
- Eber is
the origin of the name given to Abraham and his descendants: Eberites or
- It is
interesting to note that the name Eber has been discovered to have been a
proper name in use around 2300 BC. Ebrum (Eber) was the name of a king
of Elba in the second half of the third century BC.
- 10:25 – “One
was named Peleg, because in his time the earth was divided.”
name is accompanied by an explanation of its etymological meaning.
- The name
Peleg (“peleg” or “p-l-g” in Hebrew) has a similar sound and spelling as
“divided” (“niplega” or “nplg” in Hebrew”)
mention of this event ties Peleg to a specific event
word for “divided” is used in:
Psalm 1:3 where
it refers to the noun for “channel” or “stream”. This meaning is well attested
Job 38:25 it is
used for digging a channel for rainwater
“divided” is used in a curse on the wicked that would “confuse” or “divide”
their speech: “Confuse the wicked, O Lord, confound their speech, for I see
violence (hamas) and strife in the city.”
- A direct
connection to the Tower of Babel in chapter 11 is assumed but this word
for “divided” (“niplega”) is not the same word as “scattered” (“pus”) of
- The word
“earth” refers to “land” and can be translated that way. This would then
be saying, “In Peleg’s day the channels of water divided the earth”.
event would have taken place around the time of Peleg’s birth causing
Eber to name his son after the event.
event clearly involved a division of land or people. The options are:
people at the Tower of Babel
Division of the
land or earth with earthquakes followed by water filling in the divisions.
of the people of Eber from the rest of the line of Shem or the separation of
Peleg from Joktan.
Or, Peleg may
have been a cultural hero who originated or made popular the digging of cannels
to irrigate the land
means “the younger son”
names of his sons are Arabian groups.
southern Arabian people
- The same
as the Arabian Salaf or Salif
occurs in Sabean inscriptions as the name of a Yemenite district.
in the Wadi Hadramaut in south west Arabia east of Yemen
capital was Shabwa
- May be
related to a people close to Hazarmaveth
the modern site Dauram inYemen
- A in the
neighborhood of Medina called Azalla
means “date-palm grove” and refers to some oasis filled with palms
unknown Arabian group
dwelling in the southwest corner of the Arabian Peninsula
in Arabia and across the Red Sea into Africa
of good gold pursued by Solomon and Jehoshaphat
coast of Arabia
11:1-9 - The City of Babel
account of the city of Babel and its tower is placed in scripture between the
two sons of Eber: Joktan and Peleg.
of Babel follows the line of Jaktan and reflects the conflict man has with God.
that follows Peleg and his line is the account of Abram which reflects the life
of faith and obedience to God.
- Man vs.
- World vs.
- Babel (Babylon, Iraq) vs. Jerusalem
God has a
plan for man beginning in Genesis 1 that:
a place of blessing man
- a plan
that includes that which is good
continues to refuse to trust God and instead tries to create his own good.
what happened in the garden.
told man to fill the earth. Fill the land of blessing and receive the good
things God has prepared.
gathered in Babel to create a city and seek what they thought was good.
moved east which means they had been in the land west of Babel.
Genesis 4 moving east has been an indication of men leaving the land of
- Adam and
Eve went east of Eden
- Cain went
east of Adam and Eve
- Lot will leave Abram and move east
- Here, in
Gen. 11:1 men moved east again
- When God
calls Abram he tells him he will take him to a land. As the story goes
God leads Abram to the land west of Babel. He goes back to the land of
several word plays and rhymes in this short story.
written full of irony and sarcasm as if mocking the men of Babel.
forced his way into the story so as to make it impossible to retell it with out
including him while at the same time reducing the men of Babel to the level of
is what the men say – “let us build”
is what the Lord says – “let us confuse”
- The men
seek a “name” or “fame” in 11:4 but by 11:9 that “name” or “fame” is the
embarrassment of being called forever “Babel”
- Men try
to build to heaven but God comes down from heaven
- “Babel” is the name of the city but God will “confuse” (“balal”) their language
means “purpose, devise”
means “be impossible”
they mean do whatever the person wants to do
- In Job
42:2 it refers to God and says he can do exactly as he pleases.
applied to men it reflects what the Greeks called “hubris” or “outrageous
- The tower of Babel was an act of “hubris” where men thought they could do whatever they wanted
to. This attitude always leads to destruction. It can be done by a
person or an empire.
of Babel had united language, collective knowledge, a common goal.
of unity is great achievement.
could solve a lot of problems if we could unite, but the division we face will
be our judgment.
of Babel lost:
was the building of the city of Babel stopped. It will be completed by Rev. 18