The Table of Nations

A Bible Study by Jack Kelley

70 grandsons of Noah became the heads of all the nations of the world. Knowing who they are will greatly improve your understanding of current events.  Over the years I’ve collected bits of information from here and there as I’ve studied Genesis 10 and Ezekiel 38-39.

Frequently the Lord used these ancient names to identify countries to be involved in the fulfillment of prophecy. Learning their modern identities is often helpful in relating these prophecies to current events.

I feel pretty good about the accuracy of my sources for the ones listed here realizing that there are legitimate differences of opinion. If you have any information that would help with the modern equivalent of any of these ancient names I would really appreciate your input.

Genesis 10:1-32

1. This is the account of Shem, Ham and Japheth, Noah’s sons, who themselves had sons after the flood.

2. The sons of Japheth: Gomer, (Eastern Europe, and along the Rhine and Danube valleys) Magog, (Georgia, Russia) Madai, (Medes, now Kurds, Turkmenistan, and Afghanistan) Javan, (Greece) Tubal, and Meshech (Turkey and The Central Asian Republics of the former Soviet Union, S. E. of the Black Sea) Tiras.. (Etruscans now Italy)

3. The sons of Gomer: Ashkenaz, (Germany) Riphath (a corruption of this word translates into Europe) and Togarmah. (Turkey again as well as Armenia)

4. The sons of Javan: Elishah, (Sicily) Tarshish, (England or perhaps Spain) Kittim (Cyprus) Rodanim. (Rhodes).

5. From these the maritime peoples spread out into their territories by their clans within their nations, each with its own language.

6. The sons of Ham: Cush, (Black Africa) Mizraim (Egypt) Put (Libya, Algeria, Tunisia, North Africa) Canaan (Phoenicia, now Lebanon, and the nations Israel defeated in the Promised Land)

7. The sons of Cush: Seba, Havilah, Sabtah, Raamah Sabteca. (These may represent the Black African nations) The sons of Raamah: Sheba and Dedan. (The people of the southern Arabian Peninsula. Abraham also had 2 grandsons by these names through a son born to his 2nd wife Ketura. Sheba in known in secular history as Saba home of the Sabeans and Dedan was the ancient capitol of what’s now Saudi Arabia)

8. Cush was the father of Nimrod, who grew to be a mighty warrior on the earth.

9. He was a mighty hunter before the LORD; that is why it is said, “Like Nimrod, a mighty hunter before the LORD.”

10. The first centers of his kingdom were Babylon, Erech, Akkad and Calneh, in Shinar.

11. From that land he went to Assyria, where he built Nineveh, Rehoboth Ir, Calah

12. and Resen, which is between Nineveh and Calah; that is the great city.

13. Mizraim (Mizraim means two Egypts and refers to both Upper (south) and Lower (north) parts where these people lived) the Ludites, Anamites, Lehabites, Naphtuhites,

14. Pathrusites, Casluhites (Philistines) and Caphtorites. (Crete)

15. Canaan was the father of Sidon his firstborn, and of the Hittites, (The following tribes are all mentioned as either Canaanite or Amorite nations who inhabited the promised land)

16. Jebusites, (original inhabitants of Jerusalem) Amorites, Girgashites,

17. Hivites, Arkites, Sinites, (possibly became the Chinese, see Isaiah 49:12)

18. Arvadites, Zemarites and Hamathites.

Later the Canaanite clans scattered

19. and the borders of Canaan reached from Sidon toward Gerar as far as Gaza, and then toward Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah and Zeboiim, as far as Lasha. (The land of Lebanon, Israel, and western Jordan)

20. These are the sons of Ham by their clans and languages, in their territories and nations.

21. Sons were also born to Shem, whose older brother was Japheth; Shem was the ancestor of all the sons of Eber (this name is the root of the word Hebrew).

22. The sons of Shem: Elam, (Persia, now Iran) Asshur, (Assyria, now Syria) Arphaxad, (North Eastern Iran) Lud and Aram. (Damascus, also Syria)

23. The sons of Aram: Uz, (the land of south western Jordan) Hul, Gether and Meshech.

24. Arphaxad was the father of Shelah, and Shelah the father of Eber.

25. Two sons were born to Eber: One was named Peleg, because in his time the earth was divided; (when the continents as we know them were formed) his brother was named Joktan.

26. Joktan (Joktan means “of no account.” His sons probably settled in the Arabian Peninsula) was the father of Almodad, Sheleph, Hazarmaveth, Jerah,

27. Hadoram, Uzal, Diklah,

28. Obal, Abimael, Sheba, (Ethiopia, Somalia, Sudan,probably Yemen)

29. Ophir, Havilah and Jobab.

30. The region where they lived stretched from Mesha toward Sephar, in the eastern hill country.

31. These are the sons of Shem by their clans and languages, in their territories and nations.

32. These are the clans of Noah’s sons, according to their lines of descent, within their nations. From these the nations spread out over the earth after the flood. (Genesis 10:1-32)
Please see also my commentary on Ezekiel 38-39, (An In Depth Look at the Modern Equivalent to Biblical Names in Ezek. 38) for further information on the countries also listed there.