Saturday, August 20, 2016

Genesis 10:21-32 comments: Shem's descendants

21 ¶  Unto Shem also, the father of all the children of Eber, the brother of Japheth the elder, even to him were children born. 22  The children of Shem; Elam, and Asshur, and Arphaxad, and Lud, and Aram. 23  And the children of Aram; Uz, and Hul, and Gether, and Mash. 24  And Arphaxad begat Salah; and Salah begat Eber. 25  And unto Eber were born two sons: the name of one was Peleg; for in his days was the earth divided; and his brother’s name was Joktan. 26  And Joktan begat Almodad, and Sheleph, and Hazarmaveth, and Jerah, 27  And Hadoram, and Uzal, and Diklah, 28  And Obal, and Abimael, and Sheba, 29  And Ophir, and Havilah, and Jobab: all these were the sons of Joktan. 30  And their dwelling was from Mesha, as thou goest unto Sephar a mount of the east. 31  These are the sons of Shem, after their families, after their tongues, in their lands, after their nations. 32  These are the families of the sons of Noah, after their generations, in their nations: and by these were the nations divided in the earth after the flood.

We get the word, “Semites,” from Shem. It has come to refer only to the Jews but it has a much broader application Biblically. Shem is first noted as the father of the line of Eber, his great grandson.

Eber’s son Peleg marks the significant event coming up at Babel that affected all of the rest of the earth’s history and moved forward the repopulation of the earth. We will see this soon. 

Shem’s son, Elam, lends his name to a great, early empire in what is now part of Iran. It was a significant political entity in the ancient Near East after the Babel dispersal. Some of the oldest written records of man are located from there. We must understand that scholars talk about the oldest tablets or parchments they have in hand but that doesn’t necessarily mean they are the oldest in actual date because documents that are found in a later age may be copies of even earlier documents which we don’t have the originals of. For instance, the earliest copies of Homer’s Illiad we have are from the 900’s AD. However, we know that The Illiad was penned over  a thousand years earlier. So, don’t be fooled when someone says, “the earliest writing came from Sumeria.” No, the earliest copies of writing we actually can find may be from Sumeria or Elam but that doesn’t mean that the earliest writing comes from there, only that’s the evidence we have. But, all of the spades and shovels of archaeology will never dig up most of history and we must be cautious with absolute statements made from incomplete evidence.

Genesis 14:9  With Chedorlaomer the king of Elam, and with Tidal king of nations, and Amraphel king of Shinar, and Arioch king of Ellasar; four kings with five.

Asshur built Nineveh, Assyria’s capital, which we have seen, and lent his name to that great empire of the ancient world. Assyria and Asshur are translated from the same word.

Numbers 24:22  Nevertheless the Kenite shall be wasted, until Asshur shall carry thee away captive.

The scholars of The Enlightenment era denied that Assyria existed other than as a myth in the Bible. The Bible was the only testimony of the empire historically. Then, in the early 1800’s the remains of Nineveh were uncovered in what is today northern Iraq. Information began to be revealed that confirmed the Bible account teaching us not to doubt the Bible. Science may catch up to it but it is never in danger of being wrong.

Aram’s child, Uz, is noteworthy as lending his name to the land where the Bible character, Job, dwelled.

Job 1:1  There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil.

Uz was in the area that later became Edom which plays prominently in the Bible.

La 4:21a  Rejoice and be glad, O daughter of Edom, that dwellest in the land of Uz...

Edom was in current day southern Jordan.

Although it is a fascinating study to trace each of these names to their linguistic roots or try to figure out where they wound up after Babel or who they were the ancestor of I doubt it will be helpful in moving the narrative along to the next important step in man’s ‘development’ or rather his ‘devolution’. Nevertheless, these were the nations, or families and tribes, that the world of men was divided into after the Flood and the Babel event.

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