What does Genesis 10:2 mean?
ESV: The sons of Japheth: Gomer, Magog, Madai, Javan, Tubal, Meshech, and Tiras.
NIV: The sons of Japheth: Gomer, Magog, Madai, Javan, Tubal, Meshek and Tiras.
NASB: The sons of Japheth were Gomer, Magog, Madai, Javan, Tubal, Meshech, and Tiras.
CSB: Japheth's sons: Gomer, Magog, Madai, Javan, Tubal, Meshech, and Tiras.
NLT: The descendants of Japheth were Gomer, Magog, Madai, Javan, Tubal, Meshech, and Tiras.
KJV: The sons of Japheth; Gomer, and Magog, and Madai, and Javan, and Tubal, and Meshech, and Tiras.
Verse Commentary:
The first section in chapter 10's "table of nations" follows the sons of Japheth. Japheth's descendants mostly settled to the north of the where the nation of Israel would eventually reside. While the Old Testament prophets sometimes mentioned them, they will not feature greatly in biblical events. Thus, less is said of Japheth's successors. They were not cursed, in the way that Canaan was (Genesis 9:25). Nor were they especially blessed, in the way Shem's descendants led to Abraham and the eventual Messiah, Jesus Christ (Genesis 9:26).

However, the names of Japheth's seven sons can be correlated with the names and peoples of specific geographic regions in the ancient world, some of whom would intersect with the people of Israel from time to time. Some of these names would be associated with city-states mentioned later in Scripture, such as Magog (Ezekiel 38:2), Tarshish (Genesis 10:4; Psalm 72:10; Ezekiel 38:13) and Kittim (Genesis 10:4; Numbers 24:24; Daniel 11:30).
Verse Context:
Genesis 10:1–5 details the descendants of Noah's son, Japheth. Japheth's sons will largely settle in the regions north of what would later become the nation of Israel. While some mention is made of these descendants, they will not be directly involved in many biblical events. Chapter 11 will describe the event that causes the peoples to be dispersed across the world into their separate regions.
Chapter Summary:
Genesis 10 is sometimes called the table of nations. It describes, in three sections, the peoples that descended from Noah's sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth. Japheth's people settled mostly to the north of what would be Israel. Ham's people became great nations in the region of the Middle East, including the people that would settle in the Promised Land before Israel drove them out. Shem's line would lead to Abraham and the Israelites.
Chapter Context:
Genesis 9 described events that happened between God, Noah, and his three sons after the flood. Genesis 11 will tell the story of the Tower of Babel and the dispersal of the nations. Between them, Genesis 10 is a table of the nations that come from Japheth, Ham, and Shem after God divides and disperses humanity.
Book Summary:
The book of Genesis establishes fundamental truths about God. Among these are His role as the Creator, His holiness, His hatred of sin, His love for mankind, and His willingness to provide for our redemption. We learn not only where mankind has come from, but why the world is in its present form. The book also presents the establishment of Israel, God's chosen people. Many of the principles given in other parts of Scripture depend on the basic ideas presented here in the book of Genesis. Within the framework of the Bible, Genesis explains the bare-bones history of the universe leading up to the captivity of Israel in Egypt, setting the stage for the book of Exodus.
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