Bible Study Notes on Genesis 10 & 11 – 20161012

Bible Study Notes

Genesis 10  Listing of the descendants of Noah through his sons Shem, Ham, and Japheth.  The chapter lists some areas where the descendants migrated and settled.  Checked other sources for explanation of the location names and found some confusion over directions and families.  Important information from chapter 10 is:
1)  All nations or family groups came from Noah and his descendants.  Within the first few generations, I’m sure there was some crossover between the families, so the groupings must be viewed as general.
2)  We’re given some indication as to the migration direction of some of the groups, but not all of them.
3)  Appears the descendants of Ham through Canaan are the ones who first settled into the land which God eventually gave to Israel known as the land of Canaan.  The Israelites will come through the descendants of Shem.
4)  A few thoughts regarding outside sources.  Some were too quick to refer to the descendants as races.  This isn’t accurate nor very wise as the secular worldview uses the term to refer to the groups into which it places mankind.  Mankind multiplied and divided himself into family groups, but all came from the same source.  I also encountered the attempt to establish man’s origins through the use of genetic tracking.  This system had mankind originating in the African continent.  Problem is it assumes that mankind is derived through evolution and has existed from 200,000 to 300,000 years.  Information discovered/observed is interpreted from that viewpoint.  Some sources tried to reconcile the information, but that would not be possible given the different viewpoints.  Same problem exists in trying to reconcile the creation account in Genesis with secular views of origins using evolution theory.  Observed or scientific discovery is interpreted according to viewpoint which leads to varying conclusions.  Given that the scripture is the oldest source we have of what happened so long ago, and it is written by witnesses or those associated with witnesses, I place the greater weight on its interpretation rather than observations of current existence and speculation of causes which cannot be recreated.

Genesis 11  Chapter 10 gave an overview of how the descendants of Noah multiplied and migrated over the earth.  Chapter 11 fills in some of the blanks.

1  “…whole earth had one language and one speech”
Language which God would have given Adam and Eve.  Have heard some say that it may have been similar to Hebrew due to certain root terms in that language.

2  “…plain in the land of Shinar…”
Plain area which is now Iraq.  The city of Babylon will be built in this area.

4  “…let us build ourselves a city…a tower whose top is in the heavens…a name for ourselves…lest we be scattered…”
Direct violation of what God has told them to do.  May have been at least one hundred years or so since the end of the flood, and man is already rebelling against God.

6  “…nothing that they propose to do will be withheld from them”
Due to the people having one language and being able to fully understand each other, any rebellious action would be possible  Most things a people propose to do are possible as long as the people are unified in purpose.

7-9  “…let Us go down and there confuse their language…LORD scattered them abroad…its name is called Babel…”
By giving them different languages, God broke up their unity, and they lost interest in trying to build something together.  Each group of like-speech would then have migrated in their own direction.
While the focus has been on those who chose to rebel against God, I’m sure there were some who did not.  That group or groups may have begun the migration which God had ordered.  Job may have been part of that group.  No mention is made of those folks so we don’t know how they are incorporated into the overall migration.

10-26  Descendants of Shem down the line to Abram.  Reminds me of the record of the line of Seth down to Noah.  The idea there was to show the Godly line of those who remembered God.  May be the same idea here.
Had a thought on this.  If we assume that there was a Godly line through Shem’s descendants, those who followed God’s commands from the end of the flood, that group may have kept the language God gave originally.  They wouldn’t have been part of the people that rebelled and had to have their language changed.  If that is the case, and Abraham came from this group, it may very well be that the original language was Hebrew or an early form of it.

27-32  Overview of the beginning of the story of Abraham.  Bible tends to be working in this way.  Overview and then more specific details given.

27-29  “…Terah begot Abram, Nahor, and Haran.  Haran begot Lot.  And Haran died before his father Terah in his native land, in Ur of the Chaldeans…Abram’s wife was Sarai…”
Introduction of the main players, Abram and his wife Sarai.  Began in Ur of the Chaldeans.  Sources place Ur in what is now southern Iraq, the site of the modern city of Tell el-Muqayyar.

30  “…Sarai was barren; she had no child”
Will be a main point of contention in the story.

31-32  “…Terah…went out with them from Ur…to the land of Canaan…came to Haran and dwelt there…two hundred and five years…Terah died in Haran”
Written from the standpoint of the oldest at this point, Terah.  He, Abram, Sarai. and Lot start out for Canaan.  We aren’t told why at this point and must remember this is an overview of what will eventually happen.  Checked on modern location of Haran.  Best guess is near the modern town of Sanliurfa, Turkey, just across the Syrian border.  Looking at the map, it appears they followed the Euphrates river northwest which would have brought them near Sanliurfa.  Terah died at two hundred and five.  Life spans are beginning to shorten.

I hope you enjoy reading and studying His word.  May it accomplish what He desires.  Please feel free to comment or post questions.  Thanks for reading!

Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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