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John Day





The Table of Nations: The Geography of the World in Genesis 10





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John Day





The Table of Nations: The Geography of the World in Genesis 10








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The Table of Nations: The Geography of the World in Genesis 10

A window into the extent of ancient Israel’s knowledge of the geography of the world.


The Table of Nations: The Geography of the World in Genesis 10

The world north of Ashkenaz and south of Seba was unknown to the ancient Israelites. Image adapted from 123rf

There is nothing really comparable to the table of nations (Gen 10) anywhere else in the Hebrew Bible.[1] It presents itself as a genealogy of Noah’s three sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth, but it is actually a list of places and nations that extends in all directions:

East – to south-west Iran (Elam)
West – to southern Spain (Tarshish)
South – to East Africa (Seba) and Yemen (Sheba)
North – to Ukraine (Ashkenaz: the Scythians)

The list provides information about ancient Israel’s knowledge of the geography of the world at the time of its compilation. Since India is absent from the list, but present in the book of Esther (1:1; ca. 400–300 B.C.E.), the list was likely composed before then.

Seventy Nations

Excluding the short narrative on Nimrod (vv. 8–12), which appears to be a later addition,[2] Genesis 10 contains 70 names of nations or cities, a number that was symbolic of totality. Similarly, the descendants of Jacob were 70 in number (Gen 46:37; Exod 1:5),[3] as were the sons of the supreme Canaanite god El, with whom YHWH became equated.[4]

Deuteronomy preserves a hint of this tradition:

דברים לב:ח בְּהַנְחֵל עֶלְיוֹן גּוֹיִם בְּהַפְרִידוֹ בְּנֵי אָדָם יַצֵּב גְּבֻלֹת עַמִּים לְמִסְפַּר בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל.
Deut 32:8 When the Most High gave the nations their inheritance, when he separated the sons of men, he fixed the boundaries of the peoples according to the number of the sons of Israel.

Although the Hebrew Masoretic text reads “sons of Israel” (bene yisraʾel), the version of this passage in the Septuagint and in the Qumran text 4QDeutj indicates that originally the verse read “sons of God” (bene ʾelohim), meaning that God divided the nations based on the number of his sons.[5] Later we find the notion of seventy angels of the nations in 1 Enoch 89:59; 90:22, 25.


Throughout Genesis, Noah’s sons are commonly listed as “Shem, Ham, and Japheth,” and the table of nations introduces them in this order:

בראשׁית י:א וְאֵלֶּה תּוֹלְדֹת בְּנֵי נֹחַ שֵׁם חָם וָיָפֶת וַיִּוָּלְדוּ לָהֶם בָּנִים אַחַר הַמַּבּוּל.
Gen 10:1 These are the generations of Shem, Ham, and Japheth, the sons of Noah: sons were born to them after the Flood.

The subsequent list of their descendants in Genesis 10, however, presents them in the reverse order: the 14 descendants of Japheth, 30 descendants of Ham, and 26 descendants of Shem. This order places Shem, the ancestor of Abraham and ultimately Israel, at the climax of the list. Israel is not explicitly mentioned among Shem’s descendants; it emerges later on in Genesis. Eber, however, the eponymous ancestor of the Hebrews, is referred to here: (בְּנֵי עֵבֶר, “the sons of Eber”; v. 21; cf. v. 25).

The principle of organization in Genesis 10 is primarily geographical: Japheth, Ham, and Shem very roughly correspond to a similar division of the world into three parts—Europe, Africa, and Asia—employed by the ancient Greeks.

The words אֵלֶּה בְנֵי חָם, “These are the descendants of Ham” (v. 20), and אֵלֶּה בְנֵי שֵׁם, “These are the descendants of Shem” (v. 31), appear at the end of the sections on the Hamites and Shemites. The words “These are the descendants of Japheth” have fallen out of the text in the conclusion to Japheth’s list of descendants, but most scholars agree they were originally there.[6]

Japheth and His Descendants

Japheth is represented as the ancestor of various Anatolian and Mediterranean nations lying to the north and west of Israel (vv. 2–3):

Yawan (Javan) – originally Ionia, the dwelling place of Greeks in western Turkey; later Greece in general.

Madai – the Medes of N.W. Iran.

Ashkenaz – the Scythians, who emigrated from Siberia to Ukraine (the furthest north of the nations listed).[7]

Several places in Asia Minor (modern Turkey).

In the previous chapter, Genesis offered a popular Hebrew wordplay rather than a scientific etymology for the name Japheth:

בראשׁית ט:כז יַפְתְּ אֱלֹהִים לְיֶפֶת....
Gen 9:27 May God enlarge (yaft) Japheth (yefet)….

Japheth’s name is probably related to that of the Titan Iapetos, attested in Greek mythology, who was the ancestor of the Hellenistic peoples, just as Japheth is the ancestor of the Greeks and other Mediterranean peoples. Iapetos’s wife, Klymene, was given the name Asia, thus indicating a connection with Anatolia (Asia Minor, modern Turkey), which features strongly among the sons of Japheth. There is no known Greek etymology for the name Iapetos.

The sons of Yawan represent Mediterranean peoples (v. 4):

Elishah – Cypriots of Greek or other non-Phoenician origin.[8]

Tarshish – the furthest western place mentioned in Genesis 10, though its precise location is disputed. Various biblical references imply that Tarshish was a distant place in the west reached by sea (Ps 72:10; Isa 66:19; Jon 1:2; cf. 4:2), a point reinforced by the fact that ships going to distant places like Ophir were called “ships of Tarshish” (1 Kgs 10:22; 22:49 [*22:48]; Isa 2:16; 23:1, 14; 60:9). Tarshish is traditionally equated with Tartessos in southern Spain, which produced the same metals that the Bible attributes to Tarshish and that the Phoenicians brought back to the Levant.[9]

Kittim – also Cypriots, especially those of Phoenician origin, a name derived from the Phoenician site of Kition, on the east coast of Cyprus.

Rodanim – the island of Rhodes (emending Hebrew MT Dodanim, with the Septuagint, Samaritan Pentateuch, and 1 Chr 1:7).[10]

Ham and His Descendants

Ham (vv. 6–20) is especially represented as the father or ancestor of various peoples in north Africa around Egypt and of various places in Arabia, but also curiously of the Canaanites (as well as a few others like Cretans and Lydians). The origin of the name Ham is uncertain,[11] but we can say that “the land of Ham” elsewhere in the Bible refers to or at least includes Egypt (Ps 78:51; 105:23, 27; 106:22; 1 Chr 4.40).

The immediate sons of Ham are said to be (v. 6):

Kush – Although traditionally rendered “Ethiopia,” Kush is actually northern Sudan and Egypt south of Aswan, the area sometimes known as Nubia.

Egypt – in Hebrew mitzrayim.

Put – Put is Libya (not Punt, which has a t not ṭ, and an n).

Canaan – this embraces both the area of Palestine/Israel and also modern Lebanon (the latter occupied by the Phoenicians).

Kush is the ancestor of various places, mainly in Arabia, including (v. 7):

Havilah – in southern Arabia. The name is duplicated in verse 29 under Shem.

Dedan – an oasis and city-state in north-west Arabia.

Sheba – the kingdom of Saba in south-west Arabia, modern Yemen, made famous by the story of the Queen of Sheba’s visit to Solomon. It is called אֶרֶץ מֶרְחָק, “a distant land,” in Jeremiah 6:20, and רָחוֹק, “far off,” in Joel 4:8 [*3:8].[12] Later it was misidentified as Ethiopia, as in Josephus (Jewish Antiquities, 2:10.2 §249; 8:6.5 §165) and the Ethiopian national epic, Kebra Negast. Sheba is duplicated in verse 28 under Shem.

Seba – in east Africa. This name seems related to Sheba. Sheba and Seba are the most southerly places in the table of the nations.

Canaan is the father of Sidon and Heth, the latter designating the Hittites (v. 15). The second set of names descended from Canaan are in the plural (vv. 16–18), suggesting peoples rather than eponymous individual ancestors of nations:

In Palestine – Jebusites, Amorites, Girgashites, and Hivites.

In Phoenicia – Arkites, Sinites, Arvadites, Zemarites, and Hamathites. The names are cited in correct geographical order from south to north, with the exception of the Zemarites, who should come just before, not after the Arvadites.

The switch to the plural forms and the fact that several of the Canaanites listed here lived north of Sidon, even though Sidon is said to be the northern boundary of Canaan (v. 19), suggests that this list of peoples is a later addition.

The identification of Canaan as a descendant of Ham is unexpected. Ethnically and linguistically, the Canaanites were Semitic, and geographically they were closer to some of the descendants of Shem than to the descendants of Ham. Some scholars have therefore suggested that this list reflects knowledge of the Late Bronze Age (ca. 1500–1200 B.C.E.), when Egypt ruled Canaan,[13] but this is unlikely, since the Bible elsewhere shows no knowledge of this history. It is far more likely a consequence of Israelite hostility to the Canaanites, and thus the desire to say that Israelites and Canaanites have different ancestors. Nations included under Ham seem to reflect peoples toward whom the Israelites felt a certain distance or antipathy.[14]

Shem and His Descendants

Shem, whose name lies behind our word “Semitic,”[15]is the ancestor of various countries that are mostly in western Asia (vv. 21–31):

Elam – in north-west Iran, the most eastern location mentioned in Genesis 10. Although included amongst the sons of Shem, Elam was not Semitic and Elamite is not a Semitic language. Presumably, Elam is listed here because of its geographical location east of Mesopotamia, represented by the next two sons of Shem, Asshur and Arpachshad. The name Elam is found in the Hebrew Bible as late as the exile (cf. Isa 21:2), but from the time of Cyrus the Persian’s conquest of Babylon (539 B.C.E.) onwards it is always called Persia in the Bible.

Asshur – Assyria, in northern Mesopotamia (modern Iraq).

Arpachshad – Coming after Elam (Persia) and Asshur (Assyria), it denotes Chaldea (Babylonia, in southern Mesopotamia), as already recognized in antiquity.[16]The second part of the name plausibly relates to kaśdîm, the Hebrew name for the Chaldeans, but the first part of the name has proved puzzling to scholars. Possibly the name is a deliberate distortion of ארץ כשד (ʾrṣ kśd), “land of Chaldea,”[17]which could have become the meaningless ארפכשד (ʾrpkšd) by the alteration of one letter (the tzade becoming a pe).

Lud – Lydia in western Asia Minor (also listed as a descendant of Ham in v. 13; more on these doublets later).

Aram – Syria. This nation gave its name to the Aramaic language.

Eber is the grandson of Arpachshad, but he is specially highlighted at the beginning of the section on Shem:

בראשׁית י:כא וּלְשֵׁם יֻלַּד גַּם הוּא אֲבִי כָּל בְּנֵי עֵבֶר אֲחִי יֶפֶת הַגָּדוֹל.
Gen 10:21 Sons were also born to Shem, ancestor of all the descendants of Eber and older brother of Japheth.

The name Eber (ʿeber) is a back-formation, a word formed from the already existing ethnic designation ʿibri, “Hebrew,” so in effect Eber is Mr. Hebrew, the eponymous ancestor of the Hebrews.[18]As such, he is the ancestor of Abraham and the subsequent Israelites, though Israel is not mentioned until later in Genesis (like Israel’s neighbours Moab, Ammon and Edom, amongst others). Eber has two sons:

Peleg – Abraham is descended from Eber’s son Peleg (v. 25), as noted in Genesis 11:16–26. The geographical identity of Peleg is uncertain, though Phaliga at the junction of the Khabur and Euphrates rivers has been suggested.

Joktan – His descendants include as many as 13 place names of nations in southern Arabia (vv. 26–29), which implies a remarkable sense of kinship between Israel and the Arabs (contrast v. 7, which attributes various Arab countries to Ham and comes from P; more on this later).

Southern Arabia was an important source of the spice and gold trade. Some of the names in verses 26–29 are somewhat obscure but the best known are Ophir and Sheba. Ophir was especially noted for its gold. In the past Ophir was sometimes thought of as an imaginary land like Eldorado, but this was disproved by the discovery of an 8th century B.C.E. ostracon from Tel Qasile, which mentions “gold of Ophir to Beth-Horon, 30 shekels.”[19] Others sometimes located Ophir in far off places like southern Africa or India. It was almost certainly in southern Arabia, however, as it is listed between Sheba and Havilah in Genesis 10:29, and all the other identifiable Joktanites were there.

Uz, a descendant of Aram (v. 23), is mentioned as the home of Job (cf. Job 1:1). Scholars have debated whether Uz is located in Edom/North Arabia or Syria. Most of the evidence supports the former location. Thus, in Genesis 36:28, Uz is listed among the descendants of Esau (Edom), and in Lamentations 4:21 Edom is described as “dwelling in the land of Uz.” Furthermore, two of Job’s so-called comforters come from Edom (Eliphaz the Temanite) and north Arabia (Bildad the Shuhite; cf. Gen 25:2), while the additional man, Elihu the Buzite, came from Buz (Jer 25:23, mentioned alongside Uz in Gen 22:21).[20]

The Composite Nature of Genesis 10

Even though the text does not state the number of entries in the list, the editor has made sure that there are 70 nations in toto[21] (excluding the later addition of Nimrod in vv. 8–12). The list is clearly composite, combining material from the P and J sources that sometimes overlaps,[22] which explains why several nations are mentioned twice: Sheba (vv. 7, 28); Havilah (vv. 7, 29); and Lydia (Lud or Ludim, vv. 13, 22).[23]

In addition to other stylistic differences, P and J can be distinguished in Genesis 10 by the fact that P nations are introduced by the formulaic phrase, “the descendants (lit. sons) of A,” whereas J nations are introduced by the formulaic phrase “A begot B” or, in two instances, by “to A was born B.”

In keeping with that pattern, we find that each of the duplicates is introduced using a different formula. For example, comparing the two mentions of the Ludim (Lydians), they first appear in J, in the list of Ham’s descendants, with Egypt as their father:

בראשׁית י:יג וּמִצְרַיִם יָלַד אֶת לוּדִים וְאֶת עֲנָמִים וְאֶת לְהָבִים וְאֶת נַפְתֻּחִים.
Gen 10:13 And Egypt was the father of the Ludim (mitzrayim yalad ʾet ludim), the Anamim, the Lehabim, and the Naphtuhim.

In P, however, Lud (Lydia) is included among the sons of Shem:

בראשׁית י:כב בְּנֵי שֵׁם עֵילָם וְאַשּׁוּר וְאַרְפַּכְשַׁד וְלוּד וַאֲרָם.
Gen 10:22 The sons of Shem (bene shem): Elam, Asshur, Arpachshad, Lud, and Aram.

We also see an ideological difference between the two sources, as the Southern Arabian peoples appear as Shemites, kin to the Israelites, in J (vv. 26–29), while P attributes various Arab countries to Ham, suggesting they are among the peoples from whom the Israelites felt some distance (v. 7).

Theological Implications and the Placing of Genesis 10

Theologically, Genesis 10 implies the unity of the human race, since all nations, whether friend or foe, are regarded as blood relations, all descendants of Noah and ultimately Adam. The list also represents the fulfillment of God’s command to Noah in P’s flood story (cf. Gen 9:19):[24]

בראשׁית ט:א וַיְבָרֶךְ אֱלֹהִים אֶת נֹחַ וְאֶת בָּנָיו וַיֹּאמֶר לָהֶם פְּרוּ וּרְבוּ וּמִלְאוּ אֶת הָאָרֶץ.
Gen 9:1 God blessed Noah and his sons, and said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth.

For P, the spread of humanity all over the earth, leading to the formation of different nations, constituted a gradual process following the flood. In contrast, J attributed the spread of humanity over the earth to God’s scattering human beings following the building of the tower and city of Babel (Gen 11:8–9).

In its current position before the Babel story, the table of the nations looks premature. Already in antiquity Josephus sensed this, leading him to place his version of Genesis 10 (Jewish Antiquities, 1:6.1–4 §§122–147) after the Babel incident (Jewish Antiquities, 1:4.3 §§115–119).[25]


The Combined Text

Key: The P text is red. The J text is indented and in blue, with the Nimrod addition shown in bold. R (the Redactor) is shown in italics in black.

בראשׁית י:א וְאֵלֶּה תּוֹלְדֹת בְּנֵי נֹחַ שֵׁם חָם וָיָפֶת וַיִּוָּלְדוּ לָהֶם בָּנִים אַחַר הַמַּבּוּל. י:ב בְּנֵי יֶפֶת גֹּמֶר וּמָגוֹג וּמָדַי וְיָוָן וְתֻבָל וּמֶשֶׁךְ וְתִירָס. י:ג וּבְנֵי גֹּמֶר אַשְׁכֲּנַז וְרִיפַת וְתֹגַרְמָה. י:ד וּבְנֵי יָוָן אֱלִישָׁה וְתַרְשִׁישׁ כִּתִּים וְדֹדָנִים. י:ה מֵאֵלֶּה נִפְרְדוּ אִיֵּי הַגּוֹיִם בְּאַרְצֹתָם אִישׁ לִלְשֹׁנוֹ לְמִשְׁפְּחֹתָם בְּגוֹיֵהֶם. י:ו וּבְנֵי חָם כּוּשׁ וּמִצְרַיִם וּפוּט וּכְנָעַן. י:ז וּבְנֵי כוּשׁ סְבָא וַחֲוִילָה וְסַבְתָּה וְרַעְמָה וְסַבְתְּכָא וּבְנֵי רַעְמָה שְׁבָא וּדְדָן.
Gen 10:1 These are the generations of Shem, Ham, and Japheth, the sons of Noah: sons were born to them after the Flood. 10:2 The descendants of Japheth: Gomer, Magog, Madai, Javan, Tubal, Meshech, and Tiras. 10:3 The descendants of Gomer: Ashkenaz, Riphath, and Togarmah. 10:4 The descendants of Javan: Elishah and Tarshish, the Kittim and the Rodanim. 10:5 From these the maritime nations branched out. [These are the descendants of Japheth] by their lands—each with its language—their clans and their nations. 10:6 The descendants of Ham: Kush, Egypt, Put, and Canaan. 10:7 The descendants of Kush: Seba, Havilah, Sabtah, Raamah, and Sabteca. The descendants of Raamah: Sheba and Dedan.
י:ח וְכוּשׁ יָלַד אֶת נִמְרֹד הוּא הֵחֵל לִהְיוֹת גִּבֹּר בָּאָרֶץ. י:ט הוּא הָיָה גִבֹּר צַיִד לִפְנֵי יְ־הוָה עַל כֵּן יֵאָמַר כְּנִמְרֹד גִּבּוֹר צַיִד לִפְנֵי יְ־הוָה. י:י וַתְּהִי רֵאשִׁית מַמְלַכְתּוֹ בָּבֶל וְאֶרֶךְ וְאַכַּד וְכַלְנֵה בְּאֶרֶץ שִׁנְעָר. י:יא מִן הָאָרֶץ הַהִוא יָצָא אַשּׁוּר וַיִּבֶן אֶת נִינְוֵה וְאֶת רְחֹבֹת עִיר וְאֶת כָּלַח. י:יא וְאֶת רֶסֶן בֵּין נִינְוֵה וּבֵין כָּלַח הִוא הָעִיר הַגְּדֹלָה. י:יג וּמִצְרַיִם יָלַד אֶת לוּדִים וְאֶת עֲנָמִים וְאֶת לְהָבִים וְאֶת נַפְתֻּחִים. י:יד וְאֶת פַּתְרֻסִים וְאֶת כַּסְלֻחִים אֲשֶׁר יָצְאוּ מִשָּׁם פְּלִשְׁתִּים וְאֶת כַּפְתֹּרִים. י:טו וּכְנַעַן יָלַד אֶת צִידֹן בְּכֹרוֹ וְאֶת חֵת. י:טז וְאֶת הַיְבוּסִי וְאֶת הָאֱמֹרִי וְאֵת הַגִּרְגָּשִׁי. י:יז וְאֶת הַחִוִּי וְאֶת הַעַרְקִי וְאֶת הַסִּינִי. י:יח וְאֶת הָאַרְוָדִי וְאֶת הַצְּמָרִי וְאֶת הַחֲמָתִי וְאַחַר נָפֹצוּ מִשְׁפְּחוֹת הַכְּנַעֲנִי. י:יט וַיְהִי גְּבוּל הַכְּנַעֲנִי מִצִּידֹן בֹּאֲכָה גְרָרָה עַד עַזָּה בֹּאֲכָה סְדֹמָה וַעֲמֹרָה וְאַדְמָה וּצְבֹיִם עַד לָשַׁע.
10:8 Kush begot Nimrod, who was the first to be a mighty man on the earth. 10:9 He was a mighty hunter before YHWH; hence the saying, “Like Nimrod a mighty hunter before YHWH.” 10:10 The beginning of his kingdom was Babylon, Erech, Akkad, and Calneh in the land of Shinar. 10:11 From that land he went out to Asshur and built Nineveh, Rehoboth-ir, Calah, 10:12 and Resen between Nineveh and Calah, that is the great city. 10:13 And Egypt begot the Ludim, the Anamim, the Lehabim, the Naphtuhim, 10:14 the Pathrusim, the Casluhim, and the Caphtorim, whence the Philistines came forth. 10:15 Canaan begot Sidon, his first-born, and Heth; 10:16 and the Jebusites, the Amorites, the Girgashites, 10:17 the Hivites, the Arkites, the Sinites, 10:18 the Arvadites, the Zemarites, and the Hamathites. Afterward the clans of the Canaanites spread out. 10:19 (The Canaanite territory extended from Sidon as far as Gerar, near Gaza, and as far as Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, and Zeboiim, near Lasha.)
י:כ אֵלֶּה בְנֵי חָם לְמִשְׁפְּחֹתָם לִלְשֹׁנֹתָם בְּאַרְצֹתָם בְּגוֹיֵהֶם.
10:20 These are the descendants of Ham, according to their clans and languages, by their lands and nations.
י:כא וּלְשֵׁם יֻלַּד גַּם הוּא אֲבִי כָּל בְּנֵי עֵבֶר אֲחִי יֶפֶת הַגָּדוֹל.
10:21 Sons were also born to Shem, ancestor of all the descendants of Eber and older brother of Japheth.
י:כב בְּנֵי שֵׁם עֵילָם וְאַשּׁוּר וְאַרְפַּכְשַׁד וְלוּד וַאֲרָם. י:כג וּבְנֵי אֲרָם עוּץ וְחוּל וְגֶתֶר וָמַשׁ.
10:22 The descendants of Shem: Elam, Asshur, Arpachshad, Lud, and Aram. 10:23 The descendants of Aram: Uz, Hul, Gether, and Mash.
י:כד וְאַרְפַּכְשַׁד יָלַד אֶת שָׁלַח וְשֶׁלַח יָלַד אֶת עֵבֶר. י:כה וּלְעֵבֶר יֻלַּד שְׁנֵי בָנִים שֵׁם הָאֶחָד פֶּלֶג כִּי בְיָמָיו נִפְלְגָה הָאָרֶץ וְשֵׁם אָחִיו יָקְטָן. י:כו וְיָקְטָן יָלַד אֶת אַלְמוֹדָד וְאֶת שָׁלֶף וְאֶת חֲצַרְמָוֶת וְאֶת יָרַח. י:כז וְאֶת הֲדוֹרָם וְאֶת אוּזָל וְאֶת דִּקְלָה. י:כח וְאֶת עוֹבָל וְאֶת אֲבִימָאֵל וְאֶת שְׁבָא. י:כט וְאֶת אוֹפִר וְאֶת חֲוִילָה וְאֶת יוֹבָב כָּל אֵלֶּה בְּנֵי יָקְטָן. י:ל וַיְהִי מוֹשָׁבָם מִמֵּשָׁא בֹּאֲכָה סְפָרָה הַר הַקֶּדֶם.
10:24 Arpachshad begot Shelah, and Shelah begot Eber. 10:25 Two sons were born to Eber: the name of the first was Peleg, for in his days the earth was divided; and the name of his brother was Joktan. 10:26 Joktan begot Almodad, Sheleph, Hazarmaveth, Jerah, 10:27 Hadoram, Uzal, Diklah, 10:28 Obal, Abimael, Sheba, 10:29 Ophir, Havilah, and Jobab; all these were the descendants of Joktan. 10:30 Their settlements extended from Mesha as far as Sephar, the hill country to the east.
י:לא אֵלֶּה בְנֵי שֵׁם לְמִשְׁפְּחֹתָם לִלְשֹׁנֹתָם בְּאַרְצֹתָם לְגוֹיֵהֶם. י:לב אֵלֶּה מִשְׁפְּחֹת בְּנֵי נֹחַ לְתוֹלְדֹתָם בְּגוֹיֵהֶם וּמֵאֵלֶּה נִפְרְדוּ הַגּוֹיִם בָּאָרֶץ אַחַר הַמַּבּוּל.
10:31 These are the descendants of Shem according to their clans and languages, by their lands, according to their nations. 10:32 These are the groupings of Noah’s descendants, according to their generations, by their nations; and from these the nations branched out over the earth after the Flood.


November 14, 2022


Last Updated

June 17, 2024


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Prof. John Day is Professor Emeritus of Old Testament Studies in the University of Oxford, and Emeritus Fellow & Tutor in Theology & Religion, Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford. He holds two doctorates, a Ph.D. from Cambridge and a D.D. from Oxford, and has written or edited 17 books, almost 80 articles and about 200 book reviews. In 2014 he was President of the Society for Old Testament Study. In his earlier years his work centered mostly on Canaanite religion and the Hebrew Bible, his middle years were much taken up with editing volumes on a wide variety of biblical topics, while most recently his work has concentrated on Genesis 1–11. This has resulted in the volumes From Creation to Babel: Studies in Genesis 1–11 (2013) and From Creation to Abraham: Further Studies in Genesis 1–11 (2021), which together contain a total of 22 essays. These volumes are both spin-offs from his ongoing work on the forthcoming ICC commentary on Genesis 1–11.