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Positioning the Pieces – Genesis 10:1-10:32

This genealogy positions the communities of the Old Testament in their particular locations.  Further, it presents a scenario in which each community is clearly segregated from the rest.  It is understood that there is disharmony between the groups despite the bond as descendants of Noah.  All this leaves a sense of anticipation as to the role that the locations and the relational divisions among these descendants of Noah will play in the coming future.

The Art will be visible once we have at least five pieces to show.

Genesis 10

New American Standard Bible (NASB)

10 Now these are the records of the generations of Shem, Ham, and Japheth, the sons of Noah; and sons were born to them after the flood.

The sons of Japheth were Gomer and Magog and Madai and Javan and Tubal and Meshech and Tiras. The sons of Gomer were Ashkenaz and Riphath and Togarmah. The sons of Javan were Elishah and Tarshish, Kittim and Dodanim. From these the coastlands of the nations were separated into their lands, every one according to his language, according to their families, into their nations.

The sons of Ham were Cush and Mizraim and Put and Canaan. The sons of Cush were Seba and Havilah and Sabtah and Raamah and Sabteca; and the sons of Raamah were Sheba and Dedan. Now Cush became the father of Nimrod; he became a mighty one on the earth. He was a mighty hunter before the Lord; therefore it is said, “Like Nimrod a mighty hunter before the Lord.” 10 The beginning of his kingdom was Babel and Erech and Accad and Calneh, in the land of Shinar. 11 From that land he went forth into Assyria, and built Nineveh and Rehoboth-Ir and Calah, 12 and Resen between Nineveh and Calah; that is the great city. 13 Mizraim became the father of Ludim and Anamim and Lehabim and Naphtuhim 14 and Pathrusim and Casluhim (from which came the Philistines) and Caphtorim.

15 Canaan became the father of Sidon, his firstborn, and Heth 16 and the Jebusite and the Amorite and the Girgashite 17 and the Hivite and the Arkite and the Sinite 18 and the Arvadite and the Zemarite and the Hamathite; and afterward the families of the Canaanite were spread abroad. 19 The territory of the Canaanite extended from Sidon as you go toward Gerar, as far as Gaza; as you go toward Sodom and Gomorrah and Admah and Zeboiim, as far as Lasha. 20 These are the sons of Ham, according to their families, according to their languages, by their lands, by their nations.

21 Also to Shem, the father of all the children of Eber, and the older brother of Japheth, children were born. 22 The sons of Shem were Elam and Asshur and Arpachshad and Lud and Aram. 23 The sons of Aram were Uz and Hul and Gether and Mash. 24 Arpachshad became the father of Shelah; and Shelah became the father of Eber. 25 Two sons were born to Eber; the name of the one was Peleg, for in his days the earth was divided; and his brother’s name was Joktan. 26 Joktan became the father of 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 Now their settlement extended from Mesha as you go toward Sephar, the hill country of the east. 31 These are the sons of Shem, according to their families, according to their languages, by their lands, according to their nations.

32 These are the families of the sons of Noah, according to their genealogies, by their nations; and out of these the nations were separated on the earth after the flood.

 

The Theme Explained

Before continuing, read the passage above and slowly let the images soak in.  Each image is someone’s personal expression of the theme.  Discover how the images reveal the theme from the passage.


This genealogy is not a linear sequence as most genealogies of the Bible.  The reason is that, while other genealogies attempt to trace a direct connection between individuals, this narration is positioning pieces on the map in order for the coming narrative of Israel.  The pieces are identified in terms of their location and their relationship.

The locations of Nimrod’s kingdom, the positions of the Canaanite clans, the coastal Gentiles, and the sons of Joktan towards the East, cover the surface of the map of Canaan.  Drawn on a map of the Promised Land, one can see how North, South, East and West are now filled with people from different clans.  The names of these clans, though irrelevant at the moment, will ring in the ears of the readers as Israelites would recognize the names from their history.

The relationships of the people groups also suggest the importance of the clans and tongues.  Such identification creates a sense of communal identity among each specific set of descendants.  The converse is also true; that it creates a sense of division and segregation between communities stemming from different ancestors.  The connection to Noah is irrelevant in this disharmony.

The unique positioning of Nimrod is almost in isolation to all the other descendants.  The reader is left wondering what is the significance of this individual and his kingdom.

This genealogy positions the communities of the Old Testament in their particular locations.  Further, it presents a scenario in which each community is clearly segregated from the rest.  It is understood that there is disharmony between the groups despite the bond as descendants of Noah.  All this leaves a sense of anticipation as to the role that the locations and the relational divisions among these descendants of Noah will play in the coming future.

 

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