Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Genesis 10

It would be helpful now to read Genesis Chapters 10 & 11. These chapters tell us of the origin of the nations. There is not another historical document comparable to the Bible in its accuracy in this area. Even non-believing authorities such as Dr. William Albright, the world’s leading authority on archaeology of the Near East says regarding the Scripture's Table of Nations, “It stands absolutely alone in ancient literature, without a remote parallel, even among the Greeks, where we find the closest approach to a distribution of peoples in genealogical framework. The Table of Nations remains an astonishingly accurate document.” Noah and his descendants are listed and are identified with the cities and countries that they established. The record was kept for as long as the families were able to keep in touch with each other. Shem, as the one through whom the Redeemer would come, is the logical one to have kept this record. He lived for 502 years after the Flood which would have encompassed the time period of the development of the Table of Nations. Since the Tower of Babel dispersion would have created not only distancing, but inability to communicate in some cases, the genealogy would only follow certain families that would lead to Christ. The original language of the world, would no doubt be the one kept by Shem since he is the one keeping and passing on the records. Since these records end up with Moses, it is logical to assume that the original language of the world is Hebrew, as this is the language spoken by the Israelites. It makes sense that God would keep the original language reserved for his people.

Chapter 10

1) Some of the names mentioned here will appear again in the prophecies about the end time's battles that will be fought over Israel. Most of these names have been altered somewhat over the years, but historians have traced some of them to certain countries of today. Magog is a major name in an end time battle and is associated with Meshech and Tubal. Magog means place of Gog, and is connected with Georgia near the Black Sea. Meshech is preserved in the name Muskovi, the original name of Russia, and also in the name Moscow. Tubal is associated with the Russian city of Tobolsk. Both Meshech and Tubal are associated with Rosh in Ezekiel, the name from which Russian is derived. So the Russian people are considered descendants of them. Gomer is Germany. Ashkenaz is also associated with Germany and even today German Jews are called Ashkenazi. Madai is the ancestor of the Medes or Persians (now Iran) Javan is the original form of Ionia which is Greece. Hellas also applies to Greece (Hellenists). Kittim is a reference to Cyprus. The term Ma-Kittim which means the land of Kittim may have given us the name Macedonia. Cush is Ethiopia. Mizraim is the ancestor of the Egyptians and is the customary name for Egypt in the Bible. Phut is Libya. Canaan is the Canaanites with whom we are far more familiar. Seba became Sudan. Havilah, Sabtah, Sabtechah, and Raamah all settled in Arabia. These are not all, but many of the nations and their present locations.

2) Cush fathered Niimrod, who was a mighty hunter. Nimrod settled in the Tigris-Euphrates valley. Nimrod’s name means “Let us rebel”, which indicates the frame of mind of Cush, Ham’s son. God says He curses and blesses to the seventh generation, and this seems to be a continuation of the curse put on Ham’s family because of his sin. They are rebellious by nature and teach their children to rebel. The title of "mighty hunter" does not just indicate a man who was good at killing wild beasts. While he had apparently gained quite a reputation for what probably was sport hunting of large wild animals, it says he was a hunter before the Lord which actually means against the Lord. This reputation made him a leader among men. It made him a hunter of men in that he became their leader and led them to go against God. He encouraged their following him in rebellion. The Jerusalem Targum says of him “He was powerful in hunting and in wickedness before the Lord, for he was a hunter of the sons of men, (possibly he actually hunted people for sport as well as leading them in rebellion) and he said to them, Depart from the judgment of the Lord and adhere to the judgment of Nimrod! Therefore it is said: As Nimrod the strong one, strong in hunting, and in wickedness before the Lord.” Nimrod was the leader of a group of people who built Babel. There is much more to Nimrod than is being mentioned here. But that is something that must wait for now.

3) Of the genealogies, the one that is important is Shem’s, as this is the one through whom the children of Israel come. In fact the word Semite comes from Shem’s name. Of his descendants, Eber is listed as important. It is from Eber that the word Hebrew comes. Eber had a son named Peleg. Peleg is of interest because of the meaning of his name. It means division. And while it probably references the division caused by the Tower of Babel incident, there are some scholars who say it goes further than this. Besides separating people by language, God wanted them to spread abroad. We know that the land was one mass before the flood and no doubt, in spite of the upheaval, after the flood also. It is possible that the continents started to rapidly drift apart at this time, so that God could facilitate moving people away from each other. Some historians say that the Incas and other South Americans came from Asia, across the land bridge, and down through the Americas to get to South America. Given the very similar cultures to the Egyptians, pyramids, pagan gods, etc. it seems more likely that they were at one time part of the same continent and had contact with each other, but the world was divided by continental drift and they were separated. Either that, or as the continents drifted, some got into boats and traveled to the other shores. It seems so peculiar otherwise for both to have the pyramids. They are basically patterned somewhat after what the Tower of Babel was supposed to have looked like. Especially the Mayan pyramids. Continental drift does not have to been as slow then as it is now. God would accomplish His ends quickly. Of course this falls under the heading of speculation, as we have no record of what happened.

4) The listing of this genealogy gives us seventy nations. Twenty-six from Shem, Thirty from Ham, and fourteen from Japheth. The number seventy is significant. It is the number of the children of Israel that came into Egypt from Canaan when the famine hit and Joseph was a high official. The number seventy has since been associated with the nation of Israel. In Daniel we are told that “seventy weeks are determined upon thy people” (an end times prophecy we will get to). Israel was led by seventy elders. There were seventy members of the Sanhedrin. Seventy scholars translated the Old Testament to Greek to produce the Septuagint. Moses wrote that man is allotted seventy years for a life span. The Babylonian captivity lasted seventy years. The temple was destroyed in 70 A.D.

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