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The world as I am sure you know is made of continents and each of those continents there is a nation or several nations. In many cases there are different languages spoken in those different nations of the earth. Where did those nations come from? For the answers to these questions I believe to a great extent are found in Genesis chapters 10 and 11.
A Bible teacher I read said referring to this passage it is simply one of the most interesting and most important chapters in the entire word of God. But let me tell you when you read it seems to be just a long list of names and frankly it's seems a bit boring. I have to confess that when I first looked at it, I thought maybe we should skip this chapter. Where going to dig deep the morning because what on the surface look unimportant turns out to be vitally important to understanding the salvation plan of God for the whole human race. So, let’s look together at Genesis chapter 10 to see what the Bible say about the beginning of the nations.
This chapter is about the sons of Noah and they each one of those sons gets a section in this chapter. In each of these sections there is an introduction in which all the sons are named. Then a description of one of the sons and their offspring is given. Then at the end of each of these 3 sections there is a summary statement and that's the structure of the entire chapter. In each of these statements there's a concluding observation that this son produced families who ultimately would produce nations. That's the point of the chapter which is why it is popularly referred to as “The table of nations”. That each of these sons of Noah produced descendants who in turn produced the nations of the ancient world.
Firstly Japheth (Gen 10: 1-5) The text says is these children and grandchildren become families, and those families became nations, that's his point.
Then Ham; (Gen 10: 6-12) The descendants of Ham settled in what today we call Ethiopia. Canaan’s children became of course the Canaanites. Notice the pattern again because this is what's important. He names the son of Noah and then he lists all the sons of those sons and then he's picks out a few to focus on. He is now going to talk about this one descendant of Ham namely, Nimrod. He tells us he was “mighty”, to be mighty on the earth meant to be famous. Being well known for what you do is the way it is used here. Then it says he was a mighty Hunter. There's some indication but this particular word is talking about the fact that he hunted men, not just animals. The word involved in the hunt is an unusual word often used of hunting or the gathering up of men. Furthermore, the phrase before the Lord is the idea of being in the open sight of God or in revolt against God.
This is further suggested when you understand that his name Nimrod, when translated means, let us rebel. The passage goes on to tell us that he was the founder of several cities. We are told in verse 10 that the kingdom/city he founded was Babel This is Babylon the city on the Euphrates River. The passage then goes on to tell us that he built more cities in Syria and he even goes on to build Nineveh.
At this point the way the names are listed changes. (Gen: 10: 13-20) Bible experts will tell you that they are no longer describing individuals. We are no longer at that point talking about a person we are talking about the tribe the family and how these tribes will go on to become nations.
We have got one more son to look The Semites (Gen 10: 21-31_The text mentions all the family lines but then clearly highlights and emphasize one son. Eber is singled out for emphasis. The word Eber is where he we get the word Hebrew
The sum of it all this is simple, after the flood the three sons of Noah produced families that eventually produce 70+ nations. [Some say 72 to be exact] Nations dwelling in different lands and speaking different languages. In listing all these nations two family lines are focused upon Nimrod, and Eber and that's the critical part of the chapter. God is seen in this chapter to working through the nations to accomplish his will. The line of Japheth is traced for two generation then dismissed Hams descendants are described to the 3rd generation only. However, Shem is followed to 5 generations in this passage and then the family tree is continued elsewhere in the bible. So, the structure and content of the chapter is giving us a clue as to what's going on. What will become fully clear as we work our way through the remainder of the Book of Genesis is that among these nations God will choose a single nation from the line of Eber out of which He will bring a redeemer to the world. God in this chapter is preparing a people so that through them the Jewish nation will can bring a redeemer to the earth.
This chapter was designed to help us to see the world from a spiritual point of view. Nimrod is highlighted as the example of rebellion. Eber is highlighted and emphasized as the redeemer’s line.
When you look at the world what do you see? Do you just arrive at Gen Ch 10 and see a list of names and yawn him get out of there as quick as possible go and find something more interesting? What do you see when you watch the evening news or when you read your newspaper? God wants us to see it, but he wants us to see it the way He sees it. Do you sometimes look at the world and say why doesn’t God come down and wipe it all away? God did that already, it was called the flood, but here a new plan, a better plan is revealed. Maybe we should now look at the world and try and see it as God sees it, recognising that God has a plan to save people. Why not try and look at the world from God's point of view and see people that God loves and wants to save.
Some have made the connection between the fact that in Luke chapter 10 Jesus sent out 72 people. (Luke 10: 1-3) 72 sent out as evangelists for 72 nations.
I had the privilege to travel a great deal when I was younger. I've travelled as a tourist and I've visited many of places over the years. It's easy to look at the world and just see the surface stuff. It’s perhaps harder to look at the world and see the spiritual stuff and to see things as God sees them. He wants us to see the people as he sees them. He wants us to see people who are lost or in rebellion against him that just need to be redeemed. We need to look at the world, walk the world, as a missionary and not as a tourist.
God Always Has a Plan