Yesterday, we read about a detailed interaction (the only one we’re shown) between Noah and his three sons. We saw Noah in a compromised position…and we saw how his sons handled the moment. The reactions of Ham, Shem, and Japheth directly affected their families and their futures.
Today, we will discover a little more of what those futures held. In this time after the flood, the world was unclaimed…the sons of Noah had their choice in how and where to settle. We’ll read about their ever-increasing families, the spread of territories, the building of cities and nations.
We will see some of these names and places again as we continue traveling the pages of Scripture…it can be easy to just skim over these lists, but I hope that you’ll take your time reading this chapter today. Look for familiar names. Consider the connections between the heart of Ham and those who followed him. Think about the foundations of the future being put into place by these first generations after the flood.
An interesting note comes with one of Shem’s great-grandsons, Eber. We’re told that Shem is the ancestor of all the sons of Eber. It seems that Eber’s descendants would be significant, since he was singled out and directly connected to Shem in this way. Following this thread into Matthew Henry’s commentary and the Strong’s Concordance, I found out that Eber could also be called Heber…and that this is the name that carried on to describe his descendants: the children of Abraham, the chosen family of God, the Hebrew people.
It makes me wonder about Eber. I wonder if he was one of those men – men like Enoch and Noah – who faithfully walked with God. I wonder if he put his whole heart into serving the God of his great-grandfather, Shem, and his fathers before him. I wonder if it was his example that helped lead his someday-family in remembering God and recognizing His voice when He spoke into their lives.
For this is the line that leads to Abraham…Jacob…David…and, eventually, to Jesus Christ.
I wonder how Eber would have felt, during his lifetime, to know that the promise given to defeat the enemy would be fulfilled through his descendants.
This reminds me, again, that we don’t know how or when God will complete the good work He begins in us…we just know His promise that He will finish it. (Phil.1:6) It’s our choice, every day, to press on toward the purposes to which He has called us…trusting Him to fulfill that calling in us. His ways are different than ours, so we can’t imagine how He will use our obedience today to affect an eventual tomorrow…but His purposes stand through all generations and so we keep walking by faith – when we can’t yet see the harvest of all we’re sowing, we believe “that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose for them.” (Rom. 8:28)
This is the account of the families of Shem, Ham, and Japheth, the three sons of Noah. Many children were born to them after the great flood.
The descendants of Japheth were Gomer, Magog, Madai, Javan, Tubal, Meshech, and Tiras.
The descendants of Gomer were Ashkenaz, Riphath, and Togarmah.
The descendants of Javan were Elishah, Tarshish, Kittim, and Rodanim. Their descendants became the seafaring peoples that spread out to various lands, each identified by its own language, clan, and national identity.
The descendants of Ham were Cush, Mizraim, Put, and Canaan.
The descendants of Cush were Seba, Havilah, Sabtah, Raamah, and Sabteca. The descendants of Raamah were Sheba and Dedan.
Cush was also the ancestor of Nimrod, who was the first heroic warrior on earth. Since he was the greatest hunter in the world, his name became proverbial. People would say, “This man is like Nimrod, the greatest hunter in the world.” He built his kingdom in the land of Babylonia, with the cities of Babylon, Erech, Akkad, and Calneh. From there he expanded his territory to Assyria, building the cities of Nineveh, Rehoboth-ir, Calah, and Resen (the great city located between Nineveh and Calah).
Mizraim was the ancestor of the Ludites, Anamites, Lehabites, Naphtuhites, Pathrusites, Casluhites, and the Caphtorites, from whom the Philistines came.
Canaan’s oldest son was Sidon, the ancestor of the Sidonians. Canaan was also the ancestor of the Hittites, Jebusites, Amorites, Girgashites, Hivites, Arkites, Sinites, Arvadites, Zemarites, and Hamathites. The Canaanite clans eventually spread out, and the territory of Canaan extended from Sidon in the north to Gerar and Gaza in the south, and east as far as Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, and Zeboiim, near Lasha.
These were the descendants of Ham, identified by clan, language, territory, and national identity.
Sons were also born to Shem, the older brother of Japheth. Shem was the ancestor of all the descendants of Eber.
The descendants of Shem were Elam, Asshur, Arphaxad, Lud, and Aram.
The descendants of Aram were Uz, Hul, Gether, and Mash.
Arphaxad was the father of Shelah,[h] and Shelah was the father of Eber.
Eber had two sons. The first was named Peleg (which means “division”), for during his lifetime the people of the world were divided into different language groups. His brother’s name was Joktan.
Joktan was the ancestor of Almodad, Sheleph, Hazarmaveth, Jerah, Hadoram, Uzal, Diklah, Obal, Abimael, Sheba, Ophir, Havilah, and Jobab. All these were descendants of Joktan. The territory they occupied extended from Mesha all the way to Sephar in the eastern mountains.
These were the descendants of Shem, identified by clan, language, territory, and national identity.
These are the clans that descended from Noah’s sons, arranged by nation according to their lines of descent. All the nations of the earth descended from these clans after the great flood.