What does Genesis 10:26 mean?
ESV: Joktan fathered Almodad, Sheleph, Hazarmaveth, Jerah,
NIV: Joktan was the father of Almodad, Sheleph, Hazarmaveth, Jerah,
NASB: Joktan fathered Almodad, Sheleph, Hazarmaveth, Jerah,
CSB: And Joktan fathered Almodad, Sheleph, Hazarmaveth, Jerah,
NLT: Joktan was the ancestor of Almodad, Sheleph, Hazarmaveth, Jerah,
KJV: And Joktan begat Almodad, and Sheleph, and Hazarmaveth, and Jerah,
This verse continues the genealogy of Shem, listing the sons of his great-great-grandson, Joktan. In total, 13 sons are listed. The names of several of these sons became associated with well-known areas in the larger region of the Middle East. This is part of chapter 10's "table of nations," explaining the origin of the ancient world's various people groups. The actual dispersal of these people to their eventual geographic regions, does not seem to occur until chapter 11 at the incident of the Tower of Babel.
Jerah is a Hebrew word meaning "new moon." Later on in history, the moon would become one of the foremost gods worshiped in the region, which seems to be the ancestral homeland of Arabic peoples.
Genesis 10:21–32 details the descendants of Noah's son, Shem. Shem's brothers, Japheth and Ham, fathered the nations described in the earlier portion of this chapter. Shem's children would be especially blessed by God. Into Shem's line, Abraham (Abram) would be born, as would the nation of Israel, and eventually the Messiah, Jesus Christ. The context given here suggests that some of these descendants were born after the events of the Tower of Babel, explained in chapter 11.
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.
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.
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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