PATHS In Bible Chapters

Genesis 10
Theme: The Sons Of Noah
Key Text: Verse 32


            Here is a chapter of genealogies. To many, it is only a long register of very unfamiliar names that offer little for profitable meditation. Yet, as T. H. Leale wrote, “Here we have the ground-plan of all history.” Beginning with the sons of Noah, this oldest ancestral table sets forth the universal brotherhood of man, implies the universal corruption of the human race, and proclaims the necessity of a universal redemption for man’s malady.


1. The Son Before
            According to a later reference, Japheth was the “elder” son in the family (10:21). We must assume that this is why his lineage is first recorded (10:2-5). Although it is not our goal to identify all the names of his family tree with various races and nations of the past and present, it is clear that Japheth was the father of the Gentile nations of the world (10:5). The enlargement that was earlier predicted, “God shall enlarge Japheth, and he shall dwell in the tents of Shem” (9:27), would become global and include great world monarchies–a prophecy not soon fulfilled, but seen more clearly in our generation.


2. The Son Between
            Since Ham is always situated between the other two in the Scriptures, we assume he was the second-born son of Noah. Interestingly enough, of the seventy nations mentioned in this chapter, thirty of them are of Hamitic origin (10:6-20). Although their dominion was short-lived, this race produced the early leaders of civilization, the most notable and notorious being the mighty “Nimrod” (10:8,9). The southern portion of the globe, namely Chaldea, Babylon, and Egypt, the latter even being called “the land of Ham” (Psa. 105:23, 27; 106:22), became their habitat.


3. The Son Behind
            As we come to the conclusion of this ethnological record, we are confronted with the pedigree of the Semitic peoples of the world–the offspring of Shem (10:21-31). Immediately and conspicuously, we are instructed that Shem is the father of “the children of Eber,” or the Hebrew race (10:21), through which came the oracles of God and the Messiah! In reality, then, the last becomes first, not only in the order of each Biblical reference (it is always Shem, Ham, and Japheth), but also in the time-table of God’s purposes.


            We see the Lord graciously dealing with all three divisions of the human race in three successive chapters in the book of Acts. The conversion of the Ethiopian, a son of Ham, is recorded in Acts 8. The new birth of Saul of Tarsus, a son of Shem, is set forth in Acts 9. Then, we read of the salvation of Cornelius, a Gentile, a son of Japheth, in Acts 10. Thank God! His great love embraces the world (see John 3:16). His redemptive purposes reach “every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation” (Rev. 5:9).