It made sense to the ancient team of scribal redactors to insert this Table of Nations right after Noah’s remarkable prophecy.
As it turns out, though, this is a stand-alone document among all other ancient writings. There is nothing like it in antiquity, tracing the origin of people groups and their migrations. Even more fascinating is the archaeological and anthropological support for what these authors outlined, several thousand years ago.
Though Noah’s sons are consistently listed as “Shem, Ham, and Japheth,” it seems this was not their actual birth order, but rather order of significance. Since Genesis chapter 10 acts as both an expansion and illustration of what Noah was prophesying, I’ll work through the Table of Nations using Noah’s prophecy as my guide—Noah dealt first with his youngest son, Ham, then moved on to prophecy over his other two sons, Japheth and Shem, so this week will be about Ham, and next week will be about Japheth and Shem.
Ham produced four sons and their descendants. All the first great empires came from Ham, the Egyptians, the Babylonians, the Aztecs, the Mayans and the Sumerians.
Cush – is associated with the peoples of Southern Arabia and Ethiopia, and now called Kish by archeologists. Excavations show it to be one of the oldest empires we know of, huge libraries, their rulers called themselves “kings of the world.”
Misraim – Egypt.
Put – North Africa, most notably Libya (or its more ancient name, Cyrenaica).
Canaan – which included the infamous Sodom and Gomorrah.
Now, the Table of Nations zooms in on an individual named Nimrod
Cush became the father of Nimrod; he was the first on earth to become a mighty warrior. He was a mighty hunter before the Lord; therefore it is said, “Like Nimrod a mighty hunter before the Lord.”
The beginning of his kingdom was Babel, Erech, and Accad, all of them in the land of Shinar. From that land he went into Assyria, and built Nineveh, Rehoboth-ir, Calah, and Resen between Nineveh and Calah; that is the great city.Genesis 10:8-12 (NRSV)
Note how Nimrod was called a mighty man, “a mighty hunter before the LORD.” Initially, that might sound like an endorsement. Even today, in many archaeological sites throughout what was then Mesopotamia, there are inscriptions and place names reflecting his power and popularity. In fact, all of Nimrod’s cities are well-attested in archaeology as among the earliest city states on earth, indicating a sophisticated military complex of technology and might.
By founding Babylon and Nineveh we have a hint of Nimrod’s nature and character. Nineveh later became the capital of Assyria, whose very name cast dread in the hearts of the ancient near-east for their truly horrific torture and terrorism. We are told here that he was “the first mighty man on earth,” in other words, after the Flood.
That phrase, “mighty man,” takes us back to Genesis 6 to the Nephilim, who also appear later on in the Canaanite tribes, suggesting that Nimrod was one of this kind of “mighty men,” who introduced a perverted, degraded form of religion into the world.
Did you notice his first kingdom was Babel? The story of Babel, which concludes the Origin Narratives of Genesis, along with Erech and Accad, were cities in southern Mesopotamia, present-day Iraq.
The Jewish Talmud states he was “a hunter of the souls of men.” His name meant “we will revolt,” and the phrase “before the Lord” is thought to mean “against the Lord.” Put all together, a picture emerges of a magnetic, charismatic, ruthless man, dynamic and controlling, the kind of person everyone was both terrified of and fascinated by, held hopelessly in his thrall.
In fact, if you drop the first consonant of Nimrod’s name and take the other consonants – M, R, D – you will have the basic root of the god of Babylon, whose name was Marduk, whom most scholars identify with Nimrod. In the Babylonian religion, Nimrod (or Marduk) and his goddess wife Semiramis had a son whom Semiramis claimed was virgin‑born. In other words, the Babylonians founded the mother and child cult. You can see Satan’s work, trying to subvert what would one day be the real Son of God, truly born of a virgin.
This age-old Babylonian cult of the mother and child spread to other parts of the earth.
- You will find it in the Egyptian religion as Isis and Horus, and every Egyptian pharaoh.
- In Greece it is Myrrha and Adonis (Myrrha was cursed by Aphrodite to lust after her own father, King Cinyras of Cyprus, again, a twisting of the truth to come).
- In Hinduism it is Ushas and Vishnu.
In Jeremiah the Israelites are warned against offering sacrifices to “the Queen of Heaven.” This idolatrous religion culminates in the book of Revelation.
Among Egypt’s sons are listed the Caphtorim, from whom come the Philistines. The Philistines, as recent genetic research and other archaeological finds have now established, were of Aegean descent, originating most likely on the island of Crete, called Caphtor by the Egyptians.
If we take what the scriptures attribute to themselves, then we accept the Genesis chronicles as having originally come through Moses, who may have worked with journals Joseph himself kept. Joseph, whose wife was from the priestly caste, and Moses, having grown up in the palace, would both have had access to all of Egypt’s annuls in which is found the earliest reference to the Sea Peoples, who invaded Egypt in around 1190 BC.
The Aegean peoples, interestingly, trace their history through Javan, son of Japheth. It presents an intriguing conundrum. Nevertheless, it is through the Philistines that Palestine was eventually given its name.
The last of Ham’s sons, Canaan, was the progenitor of several well-known peoples.
Sidon — was a Phoenician city, present-day Sidon in Lebanon
Jebusites — Canaanites who lived in Jerusalem before David’s conquest.
Heth — is the father of the Hittite nation. Archeologist once thought the Bible’s accounts of the Hittites were all myth and legend, but since then Hittite relics have been unearthed in abundance, further outside proof of scripture’s reliability.
The Hebrew form of this word, Hittite, is Khettai and from this comes the word Cathay, which is a bygone name for China. Evidently, certain of the Hittites migrated eastward and settled in China. Another name, the Sinites, is also linked with China. They pushed eastward and toward the north over the land bridge into Alaska. That puts the Sinites among the people groups who settled the Americas in prehistoric days.
All told, Ham fathered famous sons with long-lasting impact on how the cultures of antiquity were formed.
 Geographically, Assyria occupied what is today the nation of Iran.
[Global DNA map | Chakazul [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)]