Dr. Jack L. Arnold                                    Equipping Pastors International                                           Genesis


Lesson 28

The Table Of Nations

Genesis 10:1-31


A.  In chapter nine, it was shown that all the people or races came from the three sons of Noah. Chapter ten gives a panoramic view of the beginning of early peoples and nations. Biblical and secular archeologists agree that the Middle East has been rightly called the “Cradle of Civilization” or the “Cradle of Mankind.”

B.  The nation Israel, elected to be the instrument of redemptive blessing to the world, needed to know the source from which the various nations around her sprang, that she might know how to act toward them. This was the primary reason for giving the table of nations.

C  Those who study races and peoples are called ethnologists, and one of the tools of ethnology is to trace the recurrence of names through history. Some places and/or names of individuals persist for a long time through the course of human events. Letters may be transposed, endings added, prefixes taken away or added, but there is a basic root which persists for years and even centuries, and these give ethnologists a way of tracing the spread of the peoples of the earth, NOTE: Due to lack of proper facts, it is difficult to trace with absolute accuracy all the peoples mentioned in the table of nations, but there is enough Biblical and secular evidence to help us fit some of the pieces of the puzzle together.



A.  Generally speaking these people went into Europe-Asia. One group settled in India and the other in Europe. Together they form what is known as the Indo-European family of nations. These peoples seem to be gifted in the area of philosophical and intellectual pursuits. NOTE.  It is interesting to note that both the Indians and the Europeans trace their ancestry back to Japheth (tradition). The early Greeks say that ancestor was a man named Japetos, which sounds very much like Japheth. The Indians, on the other hand, have an account of the Flood similar in many respects to the biblical account. The name of their hero is not Noah, but Satyaurata, and he had three sons. The name of the oldest was Iyapeti (sounds like Jepheth), and the other two were Sharma, and C’harma (Shem and Ham). The interesting thing about the Indian account is that C’harma was cursed by his father because he laughed at him when he got drunk. This sounds very much like the curse on Canaan through Ham.

B.  Moses has less to say on the genealogy of Japheth than the other two genealogies. Yet, most people in America are of the stock of Japheth, so it is interesting to spend some time knowing our family tree.

C.  Japheth has seven sons, but only three are traced for us in any detail. Gomer settled originally in the Balkan area and later migrated into Germany. From Gomer, came the word Gaul or Gallic. They migrated north and from Gomer came the early settlers of Spain, France, Britain and especially Germany. From the Gauls came most of the early families of Western Europe, and consequently, of the Americas as well. Magog founded the northern barbarian hordes that settled beyond the Caspian and Black Seas. This would be the whole central section of modern Russia. Madai is easily identified as the Medes, of the famous Medes and Persian Empire. Javan is unquestionably the ancestor of the Greeks. His name, Javan, is still found in the Greek in the form of Ionia. The Ionic Sea, and Ionian Peninsula all derive from this word Javan. Tubal and Meschech migrated into the area of modern-day Turkey. Tiras was probably the ancestor of the Tirsenoi, a pirate Aegean people.

D.  Gomer had three sons: Ashkenas, Riphath and Togarmah. Ashkenas first settled around the Black Sea and then moved north into a land which is called Ascenia, and which later became known as the Islands of Scandia, which are now identified as the Scandinavian countries, Riphath probably settled in central Europe, and some scholars feel that the name Europe came from the name Riphath. Togarmah refers to present-day Armenia, who also migrated north into southern Germany. Certain scholars have felt that the word Germany derives from the word Togarmah. If you drop the first syllable you have the basic root for Germany. Javan had four sons:  Elishah, Tarshish, Kittim and Dodanim. Elishah can be traced to the Greek word “Helles” from which we get the Greek people the Hellenes. Tarshish most scholars relate to Spain. Kittim refers to the Island of Cyprus. Dodanim settled around the Black Sea and still finds a modern parallel in the word, Dardanelles.

E.  These men and their sons are said to have settled in the “isles of the Gentiles” referring to the fact that most of the settlements at first would be along the coastlines.



A.  Generally speaking these peoples moved into Egypt, Africa and Canaan. Perhaps the darker skinned people were descendants of Ham. The family of Ham seemed to have been particularly gifted with technical proficiency. Because of the great adaptability of these people to primitive conditions, the Hamites became the pioneers of mankind. All the great early civilizations were Hamitic: the Egyptians, the Babylonians, the Mayans, the Aztecs, the Sumerians.

B.  Ham had four sons: Cush, Mizraim, Phut and Canaan. Cush is associated with the peoples of Southern Arabia and Ethiopia. Ethiopians still trace their ancestry back to Cush. Mizraim is a clear reference to Egypt. Phut is associated with Lydia, on the west of Egypt, in North Africa. Canaan is the area in and around Palestine.

C.  The sons of Cush are interesting. Seba settled in South Arabia. Havilah settled in Arabia. Raamah, Sabteca, Sheba and Dedan are representative Cushite tribes of Arabia.

D.  Cush also begat Nimrod. Nimrod means “rebel” for he was in rebellion to God. He was a “mighty one” on the earth. Some have taken this word “mighty” to mean tyrannical in that Nimrod gained such power he began to oppress and enslave people. Others see a connection between Genesis 6:4 and Nimrod. Nimrod was a “mighty one” just like there were mighty ones who were demon possessed before the Flood. He was a “hunter” not of beasts but of men. The Jewish Talmud says he was a “hunter of the souls of men.” He was a demon-possessed tyrant who was morally degraded. He was the arch-apostate of the post-deluvian world. NOTE: From Nimrod came a reli­gion that was anti-God and based upon human works (cf. Lesson #29). NOTE.  The land of Shinar is also the land of Shunar or Shumar from which we get the word Sumeria, and the Sumerian civilization. The city of Resen was founded by people who later migrated into the north of Italy and began the great Etruscan empire.

E.  The countries that came from Egypt (Mizraim) are recognizable. Most of these settlements can be identified, and are related to countries of North Africa.

F.  The sons of Canaan are also identified. These tribes occupied the general area of Palestine. They were a morally degraded people, and were probably a result of demonic invasion. That does not mean that every individual was demonically pos­sessed, but there was considerable experience of this among these people. Sidon founded a city on the coast of Phoenicia. Heth is the father of the Hittitte nation. The Hittites were once regarded by archeologists as a biblical blunder. They claimed that there never was such a tribe of people. But recent archeological discoveries have shown definite proof of a Hittite civilization. NOTE.  The Hebrew form of this word, Hittite, is Khettai, and from this comes the word Cathay, which many will recognize as an ancient name for China. Perhaps certain of the Hittites migrated eastward and settled in China. Sinites may also be linked with China. Perhaps the Sinites migrated eastward until they came into Western China and named their new land Sinim. This perhaps is the Biblical word for China. This word is still used for China. For instance we speak of the Sino-Japanese War. Perhaps these Sinites came over the land bridge into Alaska and are the ancestors of the Eskimos and Indians who first settled North America. The Eskimos and American Indians do have Mongoliad features.

G.  Are the descendants of Ham all black people? No, in fact very few were black. From the genealogy tables in Genesis 10:15-20, We find that of the 32 descendants of Ham, four settled in unknown places, 23 settled in the Middle East and five settled in Africa. Archeologists tell us that no groups inhabiting the Middle East in Biblical times were Negroid, The Egyptians represented themselves as reddish-brown and had Caucasian features.  What about the Hamites that settled in Africa, surely they were Negro? The Ludims were the only ancient race known to have blond hair and blue eyes. We know that the Cushites were black. The situation is then that of some 32 Hamitic groups 28 are white, the majority of three others are white, and one is Negro. In other words 94% of the Hamites were white and 6% were Negro.





A.  Generally speaking these peoples settled in the Middle East. To Shem and his ancestry were given the religious primacy of mankind. The Semitic peoples are responsible, under God, to develop the spiritual life of mankind.  It is not surprising then that from the Semitic peoples have arisen the three great world religions: Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

B.  Shem is said to be the father of the children of Eber. From Eber comes the word Hebrew. Abraham, who was really the founder of the Hebrew nation, was six genera­tions beyond Eber. Yet Eber is of such note that Abram is identified as an Eberite or Hebrew. Elam is southern Mesopotamia. Asshur is related to Assyria. Arphaxad relates to the mountainous area north and northeast of Nineveh and Assyria. Lud, is the Lydians in Asia Minor.  Aram, the Aramneans or Syrians is Syria and Mesopotamia.

C.  Elam had two sons, Peleg and Joktan. The tribes listed as from Joktan are all associated with Arabia. Peleg means “division” and it says “in his days the earth was divided.” NOTE.  There is some evidence to link this with the scientific theory of continental drift. The idea is that once the continents were bound to­gether in one great landmass, but sometime in the past they separated and began to drift apart until the Americas came to their present location.  Australia slid down into the south.  Antarctica slid still further south, and the continents assumed the present distribution of land mass on earth. Perhaps in the days of Peleg the continents drew apart so that the seas broke into the inner world and formed the Red Sea, the Mediterranean Sea, and the Dead Sea. If this were the case, it may well have been that the American continent was still in view of Europe and Asia in those days, and that as it moved westward gradually disappeared from the horizon. This gave rise to the many myths and stories about a lost continent called Atlantis, which disappeared beneath the Atlantic.

D.  God deals with Shem last because he is the most important. The emphasis in Genesis from this time out will be upon Shem’s line, for this is the line of Messiah. NOTE.  God sovereignly restricts the portion of humanity that he will deal with to one family group, the family of Shem.  In Genesis 11:10, He begins to narrow it even further to one man, Abraham. From Abraham, He begins to broaden out again to take in Abraham and all his descendants, both physical and spiritual. The rest of the Bible is all about the children of Abraham, both physically and spiritually.