10:22 The sons of Shem were Elam, 1 Asshur, 2 Arphaxad, 3 Lud, 4 and Aram. 5 10:23 The sons of Aram were Uz, Hul, Gether, and Mash. 6 10:24 Arphaxad was the father of 7 Shelah, 8 and Shelah was the father of Eber. 9 10:25 Two sons were born to Eber: One was named Peleg because in his days the earth was divided, 10 and his brother’s name was Joktan. 10:26 Joktan was the father of 11 Almodad, 12 Sheleph, 13 Hazarmaveth, 14 Jerah, 15 10:27 Hadoram, Uzal, 16 Diklah, 17 10:28 Obal, 18 Abimael, 19 Sheba, 20 10:29 Ophir, 21 Havilah, 22 and Jobab. All these were sons of Joktan. 10:30 Their dwelling place was from Mesha all the way to 23 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.
1 sn The Hebrew name Elam (עֵילָם, ’elam) means “highland.” The Elamites were a non-Semitic people who lived east of Babylon.
2 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.
3 sn The descendants of Arphaxad may have lived northeast of Nineveh.
4 sn Lud may have been the ancestor of the Ludbu, who lived near the Tigris River.
5 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.
7 tn Heb “fathered.”
10 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.
11 tn Heb “fathered.”
12 sn The name Almodad combines the Arabic article al with modad (“friend”). Almodad was the ancestor of a South Arabian people.
13 sn The name Sheleph may be related to Shilph, a district of Yemen; Shalph is a Yemenite tribe.
14 sn The name Hazarmaveth should be equated with Hadramawt, located in Southern Arabia.
15 sn The name Jerah means “moon.”
16 sn Uzal was the name of the old capital of Yemen.
17 sn The name Diklah means “date-palm.”
18 sn Obal was a name used for several localities in Yemen.
19 sn The name Abimael is a genuine Sabean form which means “my father, truly, he is God.”
20 sn The descendants of Sheba lived in South Arabia, where the Joktanites were more powerful than the Hamites.
21 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).
23 tn Heb “as you go.”
24 tn Or “separated.”