Monday, September 13, 2010

Genesis Chapter Ten, Part 3

10:9-10 He was a mighty hunter before the Lord…and the beginning of his kingdom was Babel…in the land of Shinar.
The phrase “mighty hunter before the Lord” essentially means “an arrogant hunter before the Lord.” He was defiant to God’s face. Note that verse 10 tells us that the BEGINNING of his kingdom was Babel. Nimrod would aptly be described by the prophet when he wrote, “He is a proud man, and he does not stay at home. Because he enlarges his desire as hell, and he is like death and cannot be satisfied, he gathers to himself all nations, and heaps up for himself all peoples,” Habakkuk 2:5.

Shinar is most likely ancient Mesopotamia, where the tower of Babel was erected. His kingdom was Babel, so it is possible that Nimrod was the first man (the first man in Scripture at least) to name himself a king. Note in verse 11 that “he went forth Asshur,” (KJV) or “he went forth into Assyria,” (NKJV). Asshur was a son of Shem, Genesis 10:22. If the land was named after Asshur, then Nimrod founded Babel (the beginning of his kingdom) and went out to conquer Assyria. He founded Nineveh at this time, verse 11. In Nineveh was found the legend of Gilgamesh, who was created by the gods as a perfect man. The story of Gilgamesh clearly reflected a distorted hero-worship of Nimrod as the city’s founder. Gilgamesh sought to become a god, was denied, and spent the rest of his mortal life beautifying his city. Though he may easily be passed over by a casual student of the Bible, Nimrod’s life and accomplishments have left an indelible mark on history, and he was potentially the first world-ruler who brought all people together, Genesis 11:1-4.

10:14 Casluhim, (out of whom came Philistim,) and Caphtorim.
Secular historians associate the Caphtorim with the island of Crete. The Philistines migrated from this island to the eastern shore of Canaan along the Mediterranean Sea, and quickly became the inveterate enemies of the Hebrews when they settled the land, sometimes conquering Israel and holding its people in bondage.

10:15 And Canaan begat Sidon his firstborn, and Heth
Sidon, an ancient city which held prominence even in Jesus’ day, found its ancestry here. Heth is mentioned numerous times throughout Genesis. Hebron was a city of Heth, where Sarah died, Genesis 23:1-3. Rebekah used her vexation over Esau’s Hittite wives as an excuse to send Jacob away in order to protect him from his brother’s wrath; both were daughters of Heth, Genesis 26:34-35; 27:46. Finally, Jacob commanded on his death bed that his sons would return him to the cave Abraham purchased from the sons of Heth, so he might be buried with his fathers, Genesis 49:32. As implied in Genesis 26-27, Heth is the ancestor of the Hittites, who ruled a powerful empire for about 800 years.

10:16 And the Jebusite
Jebus was the original name of the ancient city of Jerusalem, Joshua 18:28. It seems unlikely then that Salem, as mentioned in Genesis 14:18, is the same city as Jebus. This city was governed by the Jebusites during the conquest of Canaan and the era of the Judges (Judges 19:11-12), until the time of King David, 2nd Samuel 5:6-10.

10:21 Unto Shem also, the father of all the children of Eber
Even though Eber is about four generations removed, Moses saw fit to make special mention of the bond between Shem, son of Noah, and Eber, from whom the Hebrews received their name. The Jews traced their lineage back with meticulous care, and were diligent to show that their genealogy went to Eber, back to Shem, and through Shem to Noah and the antediluvian patriarchs.

10:21 Shem…the brother of the Japheth the elder
Shem, though he received the prominence, was not the oldest son of Noah.

10:23 And the children of Aram; Uz
Aram, a descendant of Shem, was the father of the Syrians (Aramaeans), who gave us the Aramaic language. Some portions of the Old Testament were written in Aramaic, and it was spoken far and wide in the ancient world for quite some time. Aram’s son Uz might have been the founder of the land where Job was born, Job 1:1.
To be Concluded.

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