Saturday, 2 February 2008

The table of nations

In Genesis 10 we read about the descendants of the Flood survivors. Noah and his wife, with their 3 sons Shem, Ham and Japheth, and their wives, were the sole human survivors of the global deluge. All people descend from Noah's 3 sons (though I guess it is plausible that Noah and his wife had other children following the Flood).

Below are the names of Noah's descendants who were the forefathers of the subsequent tribes named after them.

Japheth Gomer Ashkenaz




Riphath




Togarmah



Magog




Madai




Javan Elishah




Tarshish




Kittim




Dodanim



Tubal




Meshech




Tiras



Shem Elam




Asshur




Arpachshad Shelah Eber Peleg




Joktan Almodad





Sheleph





Hazarmaveth





Jerah





Hadoram





Uzal





Diklah





Obal





Abimael





Sheba





Ophir





Havilah





Jobab

Lud




Aram Uz




Hul




Gether




Mash


Ham Cush Seba




Havilah




Sabtah




Raamah Sheba




Dedan



Sabteca



Mizraim Ludim




Anamim




Lehabim




Naphtuhim




Pathrusim




Casluhim Philistines



Caphtorim



Put




Canaan Sidon




Heth




Jebusites




Amorites




Girgashites




Hivites




Arkites




Sinites




Arvadites




Zemarites




Hamathites



The list has a combination of personal names and tribal names. The tribal names are italicised. Clearly Canaan is the forefather of the Canaanites and presumably the Ludim are descendants of Lud.

No specific tribes were named after Noah's sons though their names are attached to the major groupings. The Jews are Semitic (from Shem), the Europeans are Japhetic.

There has been significant intermarriage between some groups, especially those who live in close proximity to each other.

Excluding Noah's sons there are 70 families mentioned.

It is reasonable to think the confusion of languages at Babel was along family lines.

The list may not be completely exhaustive, though it may be as far as the number of generations mentioned. Madai was the father of a nation, while Gomer's sons Ashkenaz, Riphath and Togarmah are the founders of 3 nations. Ii is possible that Gomerites are a grouping of separate descendants of Gomer. Alternatively Gomerite may be a term to describe the supertribe of Ashkenazim, Riphathites and Togarmahites combined. Or possibly Gomerite could be used in either way depending on context.

Some of these nations are known currently and most are referenced in history.

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