10:2 The sons of Japheth 4 were Gomer, 5 Magog, 6 Madai, 7 Javan, 8 Tubal, 9 Meshech, 10 and Tiras. 11 10:3 The sons of Gomer were 12 Askenaz, 13 Riphath, 14 and Togarmah. 15 10:4 The sons of Javan were Elishah, 16 Tarshish, 17 the Kittim, 18 and the Dodanim. 19 10:5 From these the coastlands of the nations were separated into their lands, every one according to its language, according to their families, by their nations.
10:6 The sons of Ham were Cush, 20 Mizraim, 21 Put, 22 and Canaan. 23 10:7 The sons of Cush were Seba, 24 Havilah, 25 Sabtah, 26 Raamah, 27 and Sabteca. 28 The sons of Raamah were Sheba 29 and Dedan. 30
10:8 Cush was the father of 31 Nimrod; he began to be a valiant warrior on the earth. 10:9 He was a mighty hunter 32 before the Lord. 33 (That is why it is said, “Like Nimrod, a mighty hunter before the Lord.”) 10:10 The primary regions 34 of his kingdom were Babel, 35 Erech, 36 Akkad, 37 and Calneh 38 in the land of Shinar. 39 10:11 From that land he went 40 to Assyria, 41 where he built Nineveh, 42 Rehoboth-Ir, 43 Calah, 44 10:12 and Resen, which is between Nineveh and the great city Calah. 45
10:15 Canaan was the father of 56 Sidon his firstborn, 57 Heth, 58 10:16 the Jebusites, 59 Amorites, 60 Girgashites, 61 10:17 Hivites, 62 Arkites, 63 Sinites, 64 10:18 Arvadites, 65 Zemarites, 66 and Hamathites. 67 Eventually the families of the Canaanites were scattered 10:19 and the borders of Canaan extended 68 from Sidon 69 all the way to 70 Gerar as far as Gaza, and all the way to 71 Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, and Zeboiim, as far as Lasha. 10:20 These are the sons of Ham, according to their families, according to their languages, by their lands, and by their nations.
10:22 The sons of Shem were Elam, 74 Asshur, 75 Arphaxad, 76 Lud, 77 and Aram. 78 10:23 The sons of Aram were Uz, Hul, Gether, and Mash. 79 10:24 Arphaxad was the father of 80 Shelah, 81 and Shelah was the father of Eber. 82 10:25 Two sons were born to Eber: One was named Peleg because in his days the earth was divided, 83 and his brother’s name was Joktan. 10:26 Joktan was the father of 84 Almodad, 85 Sheleph, 86 Hazarmaveth, 87 Jerah, 88 10:27 Hadoram, Uzal, 89 Diklah, 90 10:28 Obal, 91 Abimael, 92 Sheba, 93 10:29 Ophir, 94 Havilah, 95 and Jobab. All these were sons of Joktan. 10:30 Their dwelling place was from Mesha all the way to 96 Sephar in the eastern hills. 10:31 These are the sons of Shem according to their families, according to their languages, by their lands, and according to their nations.
11:1 The whole earth 98 had a common language and a common vocabulary. 99 11:2 When the people 100 moved eastward, 101 they found a plain in Shinar 102 and settled there. 11:3 Then they said to one another, 103 “Come, let’s make bricks and bake them thoroughly.” 104 (They had brick instead of stone and tar 105 instead of mortar.) 106 11:4 Then they said, “Come, let’s build ourselves a city and a tower with its top in the heavens 107 so that 108 we may make a name for ourselves. Otherwise 109 we will be scattered 110 across the face of the entire earth.”
11:5 But the Lord came down to see the city and the tower that the people 111 had started 112 building. 11:6 And the Lord said, “If as one people all sharing a common language 113 they have begun to do this, then 114 nothing they plan to do will be beyond them. 115 11:7 Come, let’s go down and confuse 116 their language so they won’t be able to understand each other.” 117
11:8 So the Lord scattered them from there across the face of the entire earth, and they stopped building 118 the city. 11:9 That is why its name was called 119 Babel 120 – because there the Lord confused the language of the entire world, and from there the Lord scattered them across the face of the entire earth.
11:10 This is the account of Shem.
11:26 When Terah had lived 70 years, he became the father of Abram, Nahor, and Haran.
11:27 This is the account of Terah.
Terah became the father of Abram, Nahor, and Haran. And Haran became the father of Lot. 11:28 Haran died in the land of his birth, in Ur of the Chaldeans, 125 while his father Terah was still alive. 126 11:29 And Abram and Nahor took wives for themselves. The name of Abram’s wife was Sarai, 127 and the name of Nahor’s wife was Milcah; 128 she was the daughter of Haran, the father of both Milcah and Iscah. 11:30 But Sarai was barren; she had no children.
11:31 Terah took his son Abram, his grandson Lot (the son of Haran), and his daughter-in-law Sarai, his son Abram’s wife, and with them he set out from Ur of the Chaldeans to go to Canaan. When they came to Haran, they settled there. 11:32 The lifetime 129 of Terah was 205 years, and he 130 died in Haran.
1 tn The title אֵלֶּה תּוֹלְדֹת (’elle tolÿdot, here translated as “This is the account”) here covers 10:1–11:9, which contains the so-called Table of Nations and the account of how the nations came to be dispersed.
2 sn Sons were born to them. A vertical genealogy such as this encompasses more than the names of sons. The list includes cities, tribes, and even nations. In a loose way, the names in the list have some derivation or connection to the three ancestors.
3 tn It appears that the Table of Nations is a composite of at least two ancient sources: Some sections begin with the phrase “the sons of” (בְּנֵי, bÿne) while other sections use “begot” (יָלָד, yalad). It may very well be that the “sons of” list was an old, “bare bones” list that was retained in the family records, while the “begot” sections were editorial inserts by the writer of Genesis, reflecting his special interests. See A. P. Ross, “The Table of Nations in Genesis 10 – Its Structure,” BSac 137 (1980): 340-53; idem, “The Table of Nations in Genesis 10 – Its Content,” BSac 138 (1981): 22-34.
4 sn The Greek form of the name Japheth, Iapetos, is used in Greek tradition for the ancestor of the Greeks.
5 sn Gomer was the ancestor of the Cimmerians. For a discussion of the Cimmerians see E. M. Yamauchi, Foes from the Northern Frontier (SBA), 49-61.
6 sn For a discussion of various proposals concerning the descendants of Magog see E. M. Yamauchi, Foes from the Northern Frontier (SBA), 22-24.
7 sn Madai was the ancestor of the Medes, who lived east of Assyria.
8 sn Javan was the father of the Hellenic race, the Ionians who lived in western Asia Minor.
9 sn Tubal was the ancestor of militaristic tribes that lived north of the Black Sea. For a discussion of ancient references to Tubal see E. M. Yamauchi, Foes from the Northern Frontier (SBA), 24-26.
10 sn Meshech was the ancestor of the people known in Assyrian records as the Musku. For a discussion of ancient references to them see E. M. Yamauchi, Foes from the Northern Frontier (SBA), 24-26.
11 sn Tiras was the ancestor of the Thracians, some of whom possibly became the Pelasgian pirates of the Aegean.
12 sn The descendants of Gomer were all northern tribes of the Upper Euphrates.
13 sn Askenaz was the ancestor of a northern branch of Indo-Germanic tribes, possibly Scythians. For discussion see E. M. Yamauchi, Foes from the Northern Frontier (SBA), 63.
14 sn The descendants of Riphath lived in a district north of the road from Haran to Carchemish.
15 sn Togarmah is also mentioned in Ezek 38:6, where it refers to Til-garimmu, the capital of Kammanu, which bordered Tabal in eastern Turkey. See E. M. Yamauchi, Foes from the Northern Frontier (SBA), 26, n. 28.
16 sn The descendants of Elishah populated Cyprus.
18 sn The name Kittim is associated with Cyprus, as well as coastlands east of Rhodes. It is used in later texts to refer to the Romans.
19 tc Most of the MT
20 sn The descendants of Cush settled in Nubia (Ethiopia).
21 sn The descendants of Mizraim settled in Upper and Lower Egypt.
22 sn The descendants of Put settled in Libya.
23 sn The descendants of Canaan lived in the region of Phoenicia (Palestine).
24 sn The descendants of Seba settled in Upper Egypt along the Nile.
25 sn The Hebrew name Havilah apparently means “stretch of sand” (see HALOT 297 s.v. חֲוִילָה). Havilah’s descendants settled in eastern Arabia.
26 sn The descendants of Sabtah settled near the western shore of the Persian Gulf in ancient Hadhramaut.
27 sn The descendants of Raamah settled in southwest Arabia.
28 sn The descendants of Sabteca settled in Samudake, east toward the Persian Gulf.
29 sn Sheba became the name of a kingdom in southwest Arabia.
30 sn The name Dedan is associated with àUla in northern Arabia.
31 tn Heb “fathered.” Embedded within Cush’s genealogy is an account of Nimrod, a mighty warrior. There have been many attempts to identify him, but none are convincing.
33 tn Another option is to take the divine name here, לִפְנֵי יִהוָה (lifne yÿhvah, “before the
35 tn Or “Babylon.”
36 sn Erech (ancient Uruk, modern Warka), one of the most ancient civilizations, was located southeast of Babylon.
37 sn Akkad, or ancient Agade, was associated with Sargon and located north of Babylon.
38 tn No such place is known in Shinar (i.e., Babylonia). Therefore some have translated the Hebrew term כַלְנֵה (khalneh) as “all of them,” referring to the three previous names (cf. NRSV).
39 sn Shinar is another name for Babylonia.
40 tn The subject of the verb translated “went” is probably still Nimrod. However, it has also been interpreted that “Ashur went,” referring to a derivative power.
41 tn Heb “Asshur.”
42 sn Nineveh was an ancient Assyrian city situated on the Tigris River.
43 sn The name Rehoboth-Ir means “and broad streets of a city,” perhaps referring to a suburb of Nineveh.
44 sn Calah (modern Nimrud) was located twenty miles north of Nineveh.
45 tn Heb “and Resen between Nineveh and Calah; it [i.e., Calah] is the great city.”
46 sn Mizraim is the Hebrew name for Egypt (cf. NRSV).
47 tn Heb “fathered.”
48 sn The Ludites were African tribes west of the Nile Delta.
49 sn The Anamites lived in North Africa, west of Egypt, near Cyrene.
50 sn The Lehabites are identified with the Libyans.
51 sn The Naphtuhites lived in Lower Egypt (the Nile Delta region).
52 sn The Pathrusites are known in Egyptian as P-to-reshi; they resided in Upper Egypt.
53 sn The Casluhites lived in Crete and eventually settled east of the Egyptian Delta, between Egypt and Canaan.
54 tn Several commentators prefer to reverse the order of the words to put this clause after the next word, since the Philistines came from Crete (where the Caphtorites lived). But the table may suggest migration rather than lineage, and the Philistines, like the Israelites, came through the Nile Delta region of Egypt. For further discussion of the origin and migration of the Philistines, see D. M. Howard, “Philistines,” Peoples of the Old Testament World, 232.
55 sn The Caphtorites resided in Crete, but in Egyptian literature Caphtor refers to “the region beyond” the Mediterranean.
56 tn Heb “fathered.”
57 sn Sidon was the foremost city in Phoenicia; here Sidon may be the name of its founder.
59 sn The Jebusites were the Canaanite inhabitants of ancient Jerusalem.
60 sn Here Amorites refers to smaller groups of Canaanite inhabitants of the mountainous regions of Palestine, rather than the large waves of Amurru, or western Semites, who migrated to the region.
61 sn The Girgashites are an otherwise unknown Canaanite tribe, though the name is possibly mentioned in Ugaritic texts (see G. J. Wenham, Genesis [WBC], 1:226).
62 sn The Hivites were Canaanite tribes of a Hurrian origin.
63 sn The Arkites lived in Arka, a city in Lebanon, north of Sidon.
64 sn The Sinites lived in Sin, another town in Lebanon.
65 sn The Arvadites lived in the city Arvad, located on an island near the mainland close to the river El Kebir.
66 sn The Zemarites lived in the town Sumur, north of Arka.
67 sn The Hamathites lived in Hamath on the Orontes River.
68 tn Heb “were.”
70 tn Heb “as you go.”
71 tn Heb “as you go.”
72 tn Heb “And to Shem was born.”
73 tn Or “whose older brother was Japheth.” Some translations render Japheth as the older brother, understanding the adjective הַגָּדוֹל (haggadol, “older”) as modifying Japheth. However, in Hebrew when a masculine singular definite attributive adjective follows the sequence masculine singular construct noun + proper name, the adjective invariably modifies the noun in construct, not the proper name. Such is the case here. See Deut 11:7; Judg 1:13; 2:7; 3:9; 9:5; 2 Kgs 15:35; 2 Chr 27:3; Neh 3:30; Jer 13:9; 36:10; Ezek 10:19; 11:1.
74 sn The Hebrew name Elam (עֵילָם, ’elam) means “highland.” The Elamites were a non-Semitic people who lived east of Babylon.
75 sn Asshur is the name for the Assyrians. Asshur was the region in which Nimrod expanded his power (see v. 11, where the name is also mentioned). When names appear in both sections of a genealogical list, it probably means that there were both Hamites and Shemites living in that region in antiquity, especially if the name is a place name.
76 sn The descendants of Arphaxad may have lived northeast of Nineveh.
77 sn Lud may have been the ancestor of the Ludbu, who lived near the Tigris River.
78 sn Aram became the collective name of the northern tribes living in the steppes of Mesopotamia and speaking Aramaic dialects.
sn Uz, Hul, Gether, and Mash. Little is known about these descendants of Aram.
80 tn Heb “fathered.”
83 tn The expression “the earth was divided” may refer to dividing the land with canals, but more likely it anticipates the division of languages at Babel (Gen 11). The verb פָּלָג (palag, “separate, divide”) is used in Ps 55:9 for a division of languages.
84 tn Heb “fathered.”
85 sn The name Almodad combines the Arabic article al with modad (“friend”). Almodad was the ancestor of a South Arabian people.
86 sn The name Sheleph may be related to Shilph, a district of Yemen; Shalph is a Yemenite tribe.
87 sn The name Hazarmaveth should be equated with Hadramawt, located in Southern Arabia.
88 sn The name Jerah means “moon.”
89 sn Uzal was the name of the old capital of Yemen.
90 sn The name Diklah means “date-palm.”
91 sn Obal was a name used for several localities in Yemen.
92 sn The name Abimael is a genuine Sabean form which means “my father, truly, he is God.”
93 sn The descendants of Sheba lived in South Arabia, where the Joktanites were more powerful than the Hamites.
94 sn Ophir became the name of a territory in South Arabia. Many of the references to Ophir are connected with gold (e.g., 1 Kgs 9:28, 10:11, 22:48; 1 Chr 29:4; 2 Chr 8:18, 9:10; Job 22:24, 28:16; Ps 45:9; Isa 13:12).
96 tn Heb “as you go.”
97 tn Or “separated.”
98 sn The whole earth. Here “earth” is a metonymy of subject, referring to the people who lived in the earth. Genesis 11 begins with everyone speaking a common language, but chap. 10 has the nations arranged by languages. It is part of the narrative art of Genesis to give the explanation of the event after the narration of the event. On this passage see A. P. Ross, “The Dispersion of the Nations in Genesis 11:1-9,” BSac 138 (1981): 119-38.
99 tn Heb “one lip and one [set of] words.” The term “lip” is a metonymy of cause, putting the instrument for the intended effect. They had one language. The term “words” refers to the content of their speech. They had the same vocabulary.
100 tn Heb “they”; the referent (the people) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
101 tn Or perhaps “from the east” (NRSV) or “in the east.”
102 tn Heb “in the land of Shinar.”
sn Shinar is the region of Babylonia.
103 tn Heb “a man to his neighbor.” The Hebrew idiom may be translated “to each other” or “one to another.”
104 tn The speech contains two cohortatives of exhortation followed by their respective cognate accusatives: “let us brick bricks” (נִלְבְּנָה לְבֵנִים, nilbbÿnah lÿvenim) and “burn for burning” (נִשְׂרְפָה לִשְׂרֵפָה, nisrÿfah lisrefah). This stresses the intensity of the undertaking; it also reflects the Akkadian text which uses similar constructions (see E. A. Speiser, Genesis [AB], 75-76).
105 tn Or “bitumen” (cf. NEB, NRSV).
106 tn The disjunctive clause gives information parenthetical to the narrative.
107 tn A translation of “heavens” for שָׁמַיִם (shamayim) fits this context because the Babylonian ziggurats had temples at the top, suggesting they reached to the heavens, the dwelling place of the gods.
108 tn The form וְנַעֲשֶׂה (vÿna’aseh, from the verb עשׂה, “do, make”) could be either the imperfect or the cohortative with a vav (ו) conjunction (“and let us make…”). Coming after the previous cohortative, this form expresses purpose.
109 tn The Hebrew particle פֶּן (pen) expresses a negative purpose; it means “that we be not scattered.”
110 sn The Hebrew verb פָּוָץ (pavats, translated “scatter”) is a key term in this passage. The focal point of the account is the dispersion (“scattering”) of the nations rather than the Tower of Babel. But the passage also forms a polemic against Babylon, the pride of the east and a cosmopolitan center with a huge ziggurat. To the Hebrews it was a monument to the judgment of God on pride.
111 tn Heb “the sons of man.” The phrase is intended in this polemic to portray the builders as mere mortals, not the lesser deities that the Babylonians claimed built the city.
113 tn Heb “and one lip to all of them.”
114 tn Heb “and now.” The foundational clause beginning with הֵן (hen) expresses the condition, and the second clause the result. It could be rendered “If this…then now.”
115 tn Heb “all that they purpose to do will not be withheld from them.”
116 tn The cohortatives mirror the cohortatives of the people. They build to ascend the heavens; God comes down to destroy their language. God speaks here to his angelic assembly. See the notes on the word “make” in 1:26 and “know” in 3:5, as well as Jub. 10:22-23, where an angel recounts this incident and says “And the
117 tn Heb “they will not hear, a man the lip of his neighbor.”
118 tn The infinitive construct לִבְנֹת (livnot, “building”) here serves as the object of the verb “they ceased, stopped,” answering the question of what they stopped doing.
119 tn The verb has no expressed subject and so can be rendered as a passive in the translation.
120 sn Babel. Here is the climax of the account, a parody on the pride of Babylon. In the Babylonian literature the name bab-ili meant “the gate of God,” but in Hebrew it sounds like the word for “confusion,” and so retained that connotation. The name “Babel” (בָּבֶל, bavel) and the verb translated “confused” (בָּלַל, balal) form a paronomasia (sound play). For the many wordplays and other rhetorical devices in Genesis, see J. P. Fokkelman, Narrative Art in Genesis (SSN).
121 tn The word “other” is not in the Hebrew text, but is supplied for stylistic reasons.
122 tn The word “other” is not in the Hebrew text, but is supplied for stylistic reasons.
123 tc The reading of the MT is followed in vv. 11-12; the LXX reads, “And [= when] Arphaxad had lived thirty-five years, [and] he fathered [= became the father of] Cainan. And after he fathered [= became the father of] Cainan, Arphaxad lived four hundred and thirty years and fathered [= had] [other] sons and daughters, and [then] he died. And [= when] Cainan had lived one hundred and thirty years, [and] he fathered [= became the father of] Sala [= Shelah]. And after he fathered [= became the father of] Sala [= Shelah], Cainan lived three hundred and thirty years and fathered [= had] [other] sons and daughters, and [then] he died.” See also the note on “Shelah” in Gen 10:24; the LXX reading also appears to lie behind Luke 3:35-36.
125 sn The phrase of the Chaldeans is a later editorial clarification for the readers, designating the location of Ur. From all evidence there would have been no Chaldeans in existence at this early date; they are known in the time of the neo-Babylonian empire in the first millennium
126 tn Heb “upon the face of Terah his father.”
127 sn The name Sarai (a variant spelling of “Sarah”) means “princess” (or “lady”). Sharratu was the name of the wife of the moon god Sin. The original name may reflect the culture out of which the patriarch was called, for the family did worship other gods in Mesopotamia.
128 sn The name Milcah means “Queen.” But more to the point here is the fact that Malkatu was a title for Ishtar, the daughter of the moon god. If the women were named after such titles (and there is no evidence that this was the motivation for naming the girls “Princess” or “Queen”), that would not necessarily imply anything about the faith of the two women themselves.
129 tn Heb “And the days of Terah were.”
130 tn Heb “Terah”; the pronoun has been substituted for the proper name in the translation for stylistic reasons.