Notes & Commentary:
Ver. 2. Japheth. From his being placed first, some conclude that he was the eldest; and perhaps the famed Japetus of the Greeks is the same person. (Du Hamel) — Sem comes last, though elder than Cham, that the history of the true Church may be more connected. Though it would be a work of great labour to discover what nations sprung from the people here mentioned, yet some are sufficiently obvious; and the learned Bochart has given very plausible applications of the different names to the respective nations, in his Phaleg. or sacred Geography. Gomer is supposed to be the father of the Cimbri in Germany, from whom the French and English also probably sprung. (Haydock) — Magog, father of the Scythians, &c. (Ezechiel 36.[Ezechiel xxxviii.?]) Madai of the Medes, Javan of the Ionians in Greece, Thubal of the Iberians and Spaniards, Mosoch of the Muscovites, Thiras of the Thracians.
Ver. 3. Ascenez father of the Germans, Thogorma father of the Turks. (Menochius)
Ver. 5. The islands. So the Hebrews called all the remote countries, to which they went by ships from Judea, as Greece, Italy, Spain, &c., (Challoner) whether they were surrounded with water or not. (Jeremias xxv. 22.) (Menochius)
Ver. 9. A stout hunter. Not of beasts, but of men; whom by violence and tyranny he brought under his dominion. And such he was, not only in the opinion of men, but before the Lord; that is, in his sight who cannot be deceived. (Challoner) — The Septuagint call him a giant; that is, a violent man. According to Josephus, he stirred up men to rebel against the Lord, maintaining that all their happiness must come from themselves, &c., Antiquities i. 4. Thus he broached the first heresy after the deluge. (Worthington) — He seems to have been the same as Bel, father of Ninus, and the author of idolatry. (Menochius)
Ver. 11. That land, of Sennaar, near the city of Babylon. Assur, or Ninus, who founded the Assyrian empire. (Menochius) — But many understand this of Nemrod, who, in his progress from Babylonia to conquer the world, and oppress the rest of his brethren, came forth into Assyria, as if it were written Assurah; the He signifying motion towards, being often omitted in names of places. See 2 Kings vi. 10. (Bochart.) There he built Ninive, on the Tigris. But the exact situation of this vast city is not even known. (Calmet) — And the streets, &c., which were amazingly extensive, Jonas iii. 3. It may also signify the city Rohoboth. (Pagnin.) — Chale perhaps of Halah, 4 Kings xvii. 6, on the banks, or near the source of the river Chaboras.
Ver. 12. Resen, perhaps Larissa, here written without the La; as 1 Paralipomenon v. 26. Hala has the preposition, and is written Lahela. (Bochart.) — This, &c. It is doubtful which of these three cities is meant: but as we know that Ninive was remarkable for size and magnificence, we may suppose that it is designated. (Calmet) (Menochius)
Ver. 19. To Lesa, or Laisa, to the north, on the Jordan, as Sodom was on the southern extremity of that river. Sidon and Gaza were on the Mediterranean sea, north and south; so that these four cities are like four points, determining the extent of the promised land, which, as it was important for the Israelites to know, Moses descends to these particulars in speaking of the Chanaanites.
Ver. 21. Of Heber. That is, of the nations beyond the Euphrates. Hebrews, &c. (Calmet) — The elder brother, fratre Japheth majore, may be rendered as well “Japheth being his elder brother,” which, as we have already observed, was probably the case. By mentioning him alone, we may gather that Sem was elder than Cham, who is called the less or younger son. (Haydock) — The Hebrew may be translated either way. But the Chaldean, Liranus, and many excellent interpreters, make Japheth the eldest. (Calmet)
Ver. 24. Begot Sale; either his son, or his grandson, by Cainan. See Luke iii. 36, where we shall examine this question; also chap. xi. 12. The copies of the Septuagint still extant, all assert that Cainan was the son of Arphaxad, in all the places where they are mentioned, both in Genesis and Chronicles; and though some endeavour to prove that this is an interpolation, inserted by a later hand, it is certain it was found in the Septuagint in the days of St. Luke, who confirms it by his authority, as all the copies both Greek and Latin, except a very faulty one which belonged to Beza, and is now at Cambridge, testify. Beza was so bold as to expunge the name. But before we allow of this freedom, we must be informed how St. Luke could adopt such an error, being, as he was, under the guidance of the Holy Ghost! See Salien, &c. (Haydock) — Mariana asserts, that the Hebrew copies have been vitiated.
Ver. 29. Sons of Jectan; though not perhaps all born before the dispersion of nations, which may be said of some others, whom Moses here mentions, that he may not have to interrupt his narration. (Calmet)
Bible Text & Cross-references:
The genealogy of the children of Noe, by whom the world was peopled after the flood.
1 These are the generations of the sons of Noe: Sem, Cham, and Japheth: and unto them sons were born after the flood.*
2 The sons of Japheth: Gomer, and Magog, and Madai, and Javan, and Thubal, and Mosoch, and Thiras.
3 And the sons of Gomer: Ascenez and Riphath and Thogorma.
4 And the sons of Javan: Elisa and Tharsis, Cetthim, and Dodanim.
5 By these were divided the islands of the Gentiles in their lands, every one according to his tongue and their families in their nations.
6 And the sons of Cham: Chus, and Mesraim, and Phuth, and Chanaan.
7 And the sons of Chus: Saba and Hevila, and Sabatha, and Regma, and Sabatacha. The sons of Regma: Saba, and Dadan.
8 Now Chus begot Nemrod: he began to be mighty on the earth.
9 And he was a stout hunter before the Lord. Hence came a proverb: Even as Nemrod the stout hunter before the Lord.
10 And the beginning of his kingdom was Babylon, and Arach, and Achad, and Chalanne in the land of Sennaar.
11 Out of that land came forth Assur, and built Ninive, and the streets of the city, and Chale.
12 Resen also between Ninive and Chale: this is the great city.
13 And Mesraim begot Ludim, and Anamim, and Laabim, Nephthuim.
14 And Phetrusim, and Chasluim; of whom came forth the Philistines, and the Caphtorim.
15 And Chanaan begot Sidon his first-born, the Hethite,
16 And the Jebusite, and the Amorrhite, and the Gergesite.
17 The Hevite and Aracite: the Sinite
18 And the Aradian, the Samarite, and the Hamathite: and afterwards the families of the Chanaanites were spread abroad.
19 And the limits of Chanaan were from Sidon as one comes to Gerara even to Gaza, until thou enter Sodom and Gomorrha, and Adama, and Seboim even to Lesa.
20 These are the children of Cham in their kindreds and tongues, and generations, and lands, and nations.
21 Of Sem also the father of all the children of Heber, the elder brother of Japheth, sons were born.
22 The sons of Sem: *Elam and Assur, and Arphaxad, and Lud, and Aram.
23 The sons of Aram: Us, and Hull, and Gether; and Mes.
24 But Arphaxad begot Sale, of whom was born Heber.
25 And to Heber were born two sons: the name of the one was Phaleg, because in his days was the earth divided: and his brother’s name Jectan.
26 Which Jectan begot Elmodad, and Saleph, and Asarmoth, Jare,
27 And Aduram, and Uzal, and Decla,
28 And Ebal, and Abimael, Saba,
29 And Ophir, and Hevila, and Jobab. All these were the sons of Jectan.
30 And their dwelling was from Messa as we go on as far as Sephar, a mountain in the east.
31 These are the children of Sem according to their kindreds and tongues, and countries in their nations.
32 These are the families of Noe, according to their people and nations. By these were the nations divided on the earth after the flood.
1: 1 Paralipomenon iii.[i.?] 5.
22: 1 Paralipomenon i. 17.