What is the Table of Nations?


Clarify Share Report Asked July 01 2013 Mini Anonymous (via GotQuestions)

Community answers are sorted based on votes. The higher the vote, the further up an answer is.

Shea S. Michael Houdmann Supporter Got Questions Ministries
Genesis chapter 10, commonly known as the Table of Nations, is a list of the patriarchal founders of seventy nations which descended from Noah through his three sons, Shem, Ham and Japheth. Twenty-...

July 01 2013 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

Mini John Appelt
The “Table of Nations” is a term for Genesis 10, which tells how from Noah’s three sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth, the world was populated. The total of the mentioned descendants is seventy. A remarkable comment is found in Deuteronomy 32:8 which says the number of nations is as the seventy members of Jacob’s family, Genesis 46:27, Exodus 1:5, Deuteronomy 10:22. The totals by the sons of Noah are:
Japheth – 14
Ham – 30
Shem – 26

Each section of the three sons closes with a statement that these descendants were grouped by ethnicity “families,” linguistics “languages,” territories “lands,” and politics “nations. These were not selective nations, but the total ethnic groups of the whole world, Genesis 10:32, probably witnessed and written by Shem, Genesis 11:10. It is likely that the world was divided, and the peoples were assigned allotted portions, Genesis 10:25, Acts 17:26. 

The post-flood world cannot be gauged by the present world. Maps and nations have changed much, with people groups migrating, branching out, intermarrying, conquering and being conquered. But, the descendants, as a rule, kept their ethnic identities, Acts 2:5. Also, as people migrated, they called themselves by the names of their ancestors, and called certain land features, rivers, major cities after them. 

As an example, Gomer, the first listed grandson of Noah, settled in what is now a part of Turkey. Josephus, the historian, said they were called “Galatians” or “Gaul,” but were known before as Gomerites. They were also the “Cimmerians” who settled by the Caspian Sea, who the Assyrians called the “Gimirraya” or “Gimirrai.” Some of the Gomerites migrated to France which was once called “Gaul,” and to northern Germany and Denmark called the “Cimbri.” Others went to the north-west region of Spain which is still called “Galicia.” One group that migrated went to present-day Wales where the Welsh language was called “Gomeraeg.” Other names that represent Gomer are the “Celts,” the “Goths,” “Cambria,” and “Crimea.”

The story can be duplicated, to some degree, with all of the other 69 listed descendants of Noah. So, it is very possible for the three sons of Noah to populate the whole earth, Genesis 9:1, 19, even if the connections to certain peoples may not be clear. 

Genesis 10 is attested by historians and scholars as an accurate document. For example, Bill Cooper, the author of “After the Flood,” was one who studied the matter for many years. In comparing Genesis 10 to the records of the surrounding nations, he noted the names without exception were accurate. 

Genesis 11:1-9 is the mechanism that caused the dispersal of the people that were all assembled in the land of Shinar. The language confusion led to the scattering of the people which became the suddenly and fully developed nations. It has been documented that the Egyptian, Greek, and Babylonian civilizations emerged very early. For one thing, they already had a language and likely a writing system in place. 

Genesis 10 is appropriately called the “Table of Nations.”

October 10 2023 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

Add your Answer

All answers are REVIEWED and MODERATED.
Please ensure your answer MEETS all our guidelines.

What makes a good answer? ▼

A good answer provides new insight and perspective. Here are guidelines to help facilitate a meaningful learning experience for everyone.

  1. Adhere to the eBible Statement of Faith.
  2. Your answer should be complete and stand-alone.
  3. Include supporting arguments, and scripture references if possible. Seek to answer the "why".
  4. Adhere to a proper tone and spirit of love and understanding.
  5. For more info see The Complete Guide to eBible
  1. 4000 characters remaining