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Genesis and the Descendants of Noah


SeattleGhostWriter

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I have started to simply read through the scriptures by going to readthescriptures.org. My attempt is to read all the standard works within 365 days. I have already completed day three readings.

The problem is that sometimes I dwell too much on some passages of scripture that strike me as peculiar, impressions of thoughts and applications, and how particularly interesting a passage would strike my fancy.

This morning's reading had a very deep "Ah-Ha!" moment, and in fact had to re-read a significant portion of the passages.

In Genesis 10, we read the descendants of Noah. This comes after the Flood story of Genesis 8. It is a laundry list of children born to Shem, Ham, and Jepeth. What is interesting is that in Genesis 10, there are three significant passages that make a very interesting statement.

The first Genealogical listing is of Japheth. In verse five, we read the following:

5 By these were the isles of the Gentiles divided in their lands; every one after his tongue, after their families, in their nations.

Notice this says "every one after his tongue, after their families, in their nations".

We then read the Genealogical list for Ham, which includes Canaan, and then read the same thing at the end of Ham's family tree:

20 These are the sons of Ham, after their families, after their tongues, in their countries, and in their nations.

And the final one is that of Shem, the oldest, and we read:

31 These are the sons of Shem, after their families, after their tongues, in their lands, after their nations.

Even more interesting is the last chapter of Genesis 10:

32 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.

Again, point of interest is that we have the text relate that the nations were separated by the three sons, in their respective tongues, and were divided upon the isles, the stretch of land of Canaan, and the nations were divided after the flood.

So, why is this important? Why worry about the division of nations after the sons of Shem, Ham, and Japheth?

The peculiarity of this is on the context of Genesis 11.

Genesis 11:1 states that the nations were of one language. If Genesis 10 distinguishes that the families of each son were separated according to their own tongues, how could there be one language and one speech amidst a diverse and separate nations? Also, how could they be of one nation when Genesis 10 states that they were divided respectively?

Even more peculiar, we read how the Lord comes down and sees what the children of men are doing and how they are of one language and how they come together and build a tower. We then read how the Lord confounds the languages of men and scattered them in their respective nations. And, we then come across a different Genealogical record of Shem only. This genealogical record ends with Abram and Lot.

For me, this is proof that the Bible is not an infallible record, but a compilation by someone, or a group of individuals, who attempted to give a more summarized account than what was originally recorded.

The main question here being, were the nations already divided prior to the account of the tower of Babel and the confounding of languages, or was the account of Babel and the confounding of languages the cause of the many different languages and separate nations?

Personally, I think what happened is that the account of the tower of Babel was more of an after thought insertion into the text and that it actually occurred prior to the separation of the nations that came from Shem, Ham, and Japheth. I could be wrong, and the two separate texts are separate and distinct, and were drawn from two different sources.

What are your thoughts on this?

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I have started to simply read through the scriptures by going to readthescriptures.org. My attempt is to read all the standard works within 365 days. I have already completed day three readings.

The problem is that sometimes I dwell too much on some passages of scripture that strike me as peculiar, impressions of thoughts and applications, and how particularly interesting a passage would strike my fancy.

This morning's reading had a very deep "Ah-Ha!" moment, and in fact had to re-read a significant portion of the passages.

In Genesis 10, we read the descendants of Noah. This comes after the Flood story of Genesis 8. It is a laundry list of children born to Shem, Ham, and Jepeth. What is interesting is that in Genesis 10, there are three significant passages that make a very interesting statement.

The first Genealogical listing is of Japheth. In verse five, we read the following:

Notice this says "every one after his tongue, after their families, in their nations".

We then read the Genealogical list for Ham, which includes Canaan, and then read the same thing at the end of Ham's family tree:

And the final one is that of Shem, the oldest, and we read:

Even more interesting is the last chapter of Genesis 10:

Again, point of interest is that we have the text relate that the nations were separated by the three sons, in their respective tongues, and were divided upon the isles, the stretch of land of Canaan, and the nations were divided after the flood.

So, why is this important? Why worry about the division of nations after the sons of Shem, Ham, and Japheth?

The peculiarity of this is on the context of Genesis 11.

Genesis 11:1 states that the nations were of one language. If Genesis 10 distinguishes that the families of each son were separated according to their own tongues, how could there be one language and one speech amidst a diverse and separate nations? Also, how could they be of one nation when Genesis 10 states that they were divided respectively?

Even more peculiar, we read how the Lord comes down and sees what the children of men are doing and how they are of one language and how they come together and build a tower. We then read how the Lord confounds the languages of men and scattered them in their respective nations. And, we then come across a different Genealogical record of Shem only. This genealogical record ends with Abram and Lot.

For me, this is proof that the Bible is not an infallible record, but a compilation by someone, or a group of individuals, who attempted to give a more summarized account than what was originally recorded.

The main question here being, were the nations already divided prior to the account of the tower of Babel and the confounding of languages, or was the account of Babel and the confounding of languages the cause of the many different languages and separate nations?

Personally, I think what happened is that the account of the tower of Babel was more of an after thought insertion into the text and that it actually occurred prior to the separation of the nations that came from Shem, Ham, and Japheth. I could be wrong, and the two separate texts are separate and distinct, and were drawn from two different sources.

What are your thoughts on this?

It could be as simple as being editorial notes by a later writer, much like Mormon did as he recopied and condensed the Book of Mormon.

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It could be as simple as being editorial notes by a later writer, much like Mormon did as he recopied and condensed the Book of Mormon.

I agree. The "laundry list" appears to be an editorial digression, and isn't intended to fit into the narrative in a chronological sense.

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Actually, chapter 11 and Chapter 10 do appear to be separate and independent additions to the narrative. There is a definitive end to the Gen 10 narrative, and then a brand new one begins, in Gen 11. In other words, It's as if the compiler says, "Or, maybe it happened this way..."

An additional question: is the tower account in the Book of Ether necessarily an original to the Jaredite plates, or was their story placed in the familiar scriptural context with additional details added by Mosiah/Mormon? Could it have begun with simply a promise that the inhabitants of the Land would be scattered by disobedience, and Mosiah/Mormon took that to have reference to the Tower story? The tower is only mentioned in a narrative context 1:33. It plays no other role than "Once upon a time, in a land far away", and no other details are given... (1:3 serves the same purpose, "The full story begins at the creation, but for our purposes, we're starting here")

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The Tower of Babel is mentioned on the title page, in Omni, and in Mosiah all in conjunction with the Jaredites.

The Brother of Jared also specifically prays that their language will not be confounded.

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The Tower of Babel is mentioned on the title page, in Omni, and in Mosiah all in conjunction with the Jaredites.

The Brother of Jared also specifically prays that their language will not be confounded.

Good call. So if it were an interpolation, it would necessarily bring it back to Mosiah - the original translator - being the one declaring it. Mormon and Moroni would just be perpetuating the tradition.

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The laundry list of Noah's descendents in Genesis 10.

It actually forms an integral part of Genesis, it is a very important device, to show WHY the Lord was morally justified in giving the land of Canaan to the Israelites.

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What are your thoughts on this?

Genesis 10 is much later than the surrounding narrative. The names in the list are eponymic. That is, they represent the origins of different ethnic groups. The name Eber, for instance, is intended to be the origin of the Hebrew ethnic group. The problem is, many of the names are eponyms for ethnic groups that did not exist until the 9th and 8th centuries BCE. Ashkenaz, the son of Gomer, for instance, is intended to be an eponym for the Ashkuz (Scythians). These people first appear in Assyrian records in the 8th century. Madai, son of Japheth is intended as an eponym for the Medes, which first appear in 9th century Assyrian sources. There are several others, but what they indicate is that the author is producing an eponymic list for ethnic groups living around the 8th century BCE. Thus Genesis 10 comes from around the 8th century BCE.

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What we have here is a simple solution. Chapter 10 tells us of the lineage of Noah's sons. The tower of Babel happened fairly early after the ark landed (about 200-300 years). The lineage told in chapter 10 goes through and then surpasses the tower of Babel and scattering of the people. Thus, at some point in each of the sons lineage, one of their sons was at the tower of Babel and was then scattered and as is recorded had their own tongue from that point on. Chapter 11 speaks of the point around the tower of Babel.

I see no problem.

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Genesis 10 is much later than the surrounding narrative. The names in the list are eponymic. That is, they represent the origins of different ethnic groups. The name Eber, for instance, is intended to be the origin of the Hebrew ethnic group. The problem is, many of the names are eponyms for ethnic groups that did not exist until the 9th and 8th centuries BCE. Ashkenaz, the son of Gomer, for instance, is intended to be an eponym for the Ashkuz (Scythians). These people first appear in Assyrian records in the 8th century. Madai, son of Japheth is intended as an eponym for the Medes, which first appear in 9th century Assyrian sources. There are several others...

like Egyptus...

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Genesis 10 is much later than the surrounding narrative. The names in the list are eponymic. That is, they represent the origins of different ethnic groups. The name Eber, for instance, is intended to be the origin of the Hebrew ethnic group. The problem is, many of the names are eponyms for ethnic groups that did not exist until the 9th and 8th centuries BCE. Ashkenaz, the son of Gomer, for instance, is intended to be an eponym for the Ashkuz (Scythians). These people first appear in Assyrian records in the 8th century. Madai, son of Japheth is intended as an eponym for the Medes, which first appear in 9th century Assyrian sources. There are several others, but what they indicate is that the author is producing an eponymic list for ethnic groups living around the 8th century BCE. Thus Genesis 10 comes from around the 8th century BCE.

That is more of what I am thinking. And, this makes sense because Hebrew Linguistics have proven that the Hebrew Language is not linear like our English Language.

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