Chapter 10 is mostly just another montage “family tree” chapter, listing the sons of the sons of the sons, etc. So because of its brevity, I decided to have a bit of fun. There’s a whole bushel of interesting names here, some of which I’ve highlighted below. I’m not making any of these up.
- Magog (sounds like an Orc name)
- Dodanim (also sounds Tolkien-esque, like a nomadic and especially distrusting race of men. Yes, I’m a Lord of the Rings nerd.)
- Ashkenaz (Wait, like the phrase “Ashkenazi Jew”? Huh.)
- Havilah (Havaaaaa Nagila)
- Arphaxad (definitely an alien race from a science fiction paperback)
- Hazarmaveth (and you thought your name was hard for people to pronounce)
- Phut (*stifles laughter* I’m sorry. I’m going to hell.)
And Nimrod! Yes,the insult synonymous with “idiot” was apparently the name of a mighty hunter way back in the day. Wonder what he did to deserve such a legacy.
At one point they begin talking about whole cities rather than just people. I recognized a few place names: Babel, Nineveh, Gaza, Sodom, Gomorrah, and Rehoboth. (I’m assuming the Bible isn’t talking about the beach in Delaware.)
Interestingly enough, the similarities in syntax highlight that cities beget other cities the same way people do:
Out of that land went forth Asshur, and builded Nineveh, and the city Rehoboth, and Calah, And Resen between Nineveh and Calah: the same is a great city. (10:11-12)
And so spreads the human race.
But despite the farcical attitude I had while reading most of the chapter, the last line of the chapter sobered me up a bit.
These are the families of the sons of Noah, after their generations, in their nations: and by these were the nations divided in the earth after the flood. (10:32)
The image of “nations divided in the earth” reminded me that before there was just a bunch of people – no countries, no borders. But now we have separate nations, divided. And large-scale societies, of course, beget large-scale problems. So I guess that’s my favorite line, because it made me think.