This chapter contains, the only certain account extant of the original of nations; and yet, perhaps, there is no nation, but that of the Jews, that can be confident from which of these seventy fountains (for many there are here) it derived its streams. Through the want of early records, the mixtures of people, the revolutions of nations, and distance of time, the knowledge of the lineal descent of the present inhabitants of the earth is lost: nor were any genealogies preserved but those of the Jews, for the sake of the Messiah.Only, in this chapter, we have a brief account,
- Of the posterity of Japheth, ver. 2 - 5.
- The posterity of Ham, ver. 6 - 20.
and, in that particular notice taken of Nimrod, ver. 8 - 9.
- The posterity of Shem, ver. 23 - 31.
|10:2||Moses begins with Japhet's family, either because he was the eldest, or because that lay remotest from Israel, and had least concern with them, at that time when Moses wrote; and therefore he mentions that race very briefly; hastening to give account of the posterity of Ham, who were Israel's enemies, and of Shem, who were Israel's ancestors: for it is the church that the scripture designed to be the history of, and of the nations of the world only as they were some way or other interested in the affairs of Israel.|
|10:5||The posterity of Japheth were allotted to the isles of the Gentiles, which were solemnly, by lot, after a survey, divided among them, and probably this island of ours among the rest. All places beyond the sea, from Judea, are called isles, Jeremiah 25:22 , and this directs us to understand that promise, Isaiah 42:4 , the isles shall wait for his law, of the conversion of the Gentiles to the faith of Christ.|
|10:8||Began to be mighty on the earth - That is, whereas those that went before him were content to stand upon the same level with their neighbours, Nimrod could not rest in this parity, but he would top his neighbours, and lord over them. The same spirit that the giants before the flood were acted by, Genesis 6:4 , now revived in him; so soon was that tremendous judgment, which the pride and tyranny of those mighty men brought upon the world, forgotten.|
|10:9||Nimrod was a mighty hunter - This he began with, and for this became famous to a proverb. Some think he did good with his hunting, served his country by ridding it of wild beasts, and so insinuated himself into the affections of his neighbours, and got to be their prince. And perhaps, under pretence of hunting, he gathered men under his command, to make himself master of the country. Thus he became a mighty hunter, a violent invader of his neighbour's rights and properties. And that, before the Lord - Carrying all before him, and endeavouring to make all his own by force and violence. He thought himself a mighty prince; but before the Lord, that is, in God's account, he was but a mighty hunter.Note, Great conquerers are but great hunters. Alexander and Caesar would not make such a figure in scripture history as they do in common history. The former is represented in prophecy but as a he - goat pushing, Daniel 8:5 .Nimrod was a mighty hunter against the Lord, so the seventy; that is, he set up idolatry, as Jeroboam did, for the confirming of his usurped dominion; that he might set up a new government, he set up a new religion upon the ruin of the primitive constitution of both.|
|10:10||The beginning of his kingdom was Babel - Some way or other, he got into power: and so laid the foundations of a monarchy which was afterwards a head of gold. It doth not appear that he had any right to rule by birth; but either his fitness for government recommended him, or by power and policy he gradually advanced into the throne. See the antiquity of civil government, and particularly that form of it which lodges the sovereignty in a single person.|
|10:15||The account of the posterity of Canaan, and the land they possessed is more particular than of any other in this chapter, because these were the nations that were to be subdued before Israel, and their land was to become Immanuel's land. And by this account, it appears that the posterity of Canaan was both numerous and rich, and very pleasantly seated, and yet Canaan was under a curse. Canaan here has a better land than either Shem or Japheth and yet they have a better lot, for they inherit the blessing.|
|10:21||Two things especially are observable in this account of the posterity of Shem.|