There are some chapters of the Bible that are easy to skim over, or rush thru. Chapter 10 of Genesis is one of those chapters. There are names of people that, even if you have a good knowledge of the Word of God, you have never heard of. Names like Askkenaz, Kittim or Put. Names that don’t mean anything to us, yet have a lot of meaning. Here’s a quick example. I just mentioned Put. Put is the ancient biblical name for Libya. As you can already tell, there is too much in this chapter to unpack in a brief devotion, so we will hit the highlights and end with a spiritual application to our lives. Let’s dive in.
Chapter 10 is divided into three sections. Each section gives the descendants of each of the three sons of Noah. Japheth is first, followed by Ham, and finally, Shem’s descendants.
Genesis 10 is the genealogy of the sons of Noah. Genealogy has become popular in our society. People go online to websites like Ancestry.com or 23&me to discover their family history or if they are related to some famous person or historical figure.
Genealogy is a vital part of the Biblical narrative. The Bible, unlike any other religious book, traces the history of mankind. It establishes the bloodline from Adam to Jesus and proves that Jesus, the Son of God, was also the son of Adam who provided the sacrifice for the sins of all mankind. In the first 11 chapters of the Bible, there are four chapters that give us genealogy. Genesis 5 gives the genealogy of Adam, chapter 6 gives the genealogy of Noah, chapter 10 gives the genealogy of the sons of Noah, and chapter 11 focuses on the genealogy that leads to Abraham.
Genesis 10 is also a “link” chapter to the rest of the Old Testament in that it tells us where some of the ancient cities and civilizations began. From the grandson of Ham, Nimrod, we learn about the city of Babel, which becomes Babylon. It is the first kingdom mentioned in scripture. The second, Erech, we now know as the country of Iraq. From another grandson, Canaan, come the nations mentioned in the Old Testament that Israel had to conquer as they entered the promised land. The Jebusites, Amorites, Hivites are a few examples. Verse 14 tells where the Philistines began.
All of the nations of the world can be traced back to chapter 10. The Greeks traced their heritage back to a Japetos, a form of Japheth. People in the east - in India, Persia – trace themselves back to a flood account with a man named Japeti as their father. Japeti – Japetos – Japheth. In verse 22, Shem’s son, Asshur is mentioned. From Asshur comes the nation of Assyria and the modern day nation of Syria. I know you are wondering, which son did I descend from? The descendants of another son of Japheth, Gomer, went north in the Black Sea area. Later they expanded into Europe, settling in France, called Gauls; in Spain, called Galicia; in Britain, called Kelts or Celts. If your ancestors come from Europe, you are a descendant of Japheth. There are some great resources that trace all of the connections, but let’s get to a spiritual application.
Verses 8 thru 12 tells the story of Nimrod. He was a great warrior who established the first kingdom of Babel. His name means “rebel”. He was the great-grandson of Noah. His grandfather, Ham and even Noah, his great-grandfather, would have told him stories about the flood and how God destroyed all living creatures on earth. Nimrod’s story proves that mankind, only 3 generations away from the flood and a great-grandfather who “walked with God”, is once again turning away from God. It shows the hopelessness of humanity because of sin. Regardless of the advances of a society, or nations, they are destined to deteriorate and be replaced by others that will repeat the cycle. Chapter 11 will prove this. But we have HOPE. Thru Jesus, we have the forgiveness of sin, a life that has purpose, and the promise of being part of His kingdom that will never deteriorate or fade away. A kingdom that will last forever. This story challenges us to contend for the faith and to not move away from what we have been told by previous generations of godly parents, grandparents, or leaders.