December 10, 2013
Commentary on the Book of Genesis
By: Tom Lowe
Lesson I.F.2: The Sons of Ham. (Gen. 10:6-20)
Genesis 10:6-20 (KJV)
6 And the sons of Ham; Cush, and Mizraim, and Phut, and Canaan.
7 And the sons of Cush; Seba, and Havilah, and Sabtah, and Raamah, and Sabtechah: and the sons of Raamah; Sheba, and Dedan.
8 And Cush begat Nimrod: he began to be a mighty one in the earth.
9 He was a mighty hunter before the LORD: wherefore it is said, Even as Nimrod the mighty hunter before the LORD.
10 And the beginning of his kingdom was Babel, and Erech, and Accad, and Calneh, in the land of Shinar.
11 Out of that land went forth Asshur, and builded Nineveh, and the city Rehoboth, and Calah,
12 And Resen between Nineveh and Calah: the same is a great city.
13 And Mizraim begat Ludim, and Anamim, and Lehabim, and Naphtuhim,
14 And Pathrusim, and Casluhim, (out of whom came Philistim,) and Caphtorim.
15 And Canaan begat Sidon his firstborn, and Heth,
16 And the Jebusite, and the Amorite, and the Girgasite,
17 And the Hivite, and the Arkite, and the Sinite,
18 And the Arvadite, and the Zemarite, and the Hamathite: and afterward were the families of the Canaanites spread abroad.
19 And the border of the Canaanites was from Sidon, as thou comest to Gerar, unto Gaza; as thou goest, unto Sodom, and Gomorrah, and Admah, and Zeboim, even unto Lasha.
20 These are the sons of Ham, after their families, after their tongues, in their countries, and in their nations.
Four sons of Ham are named; “Cush, and Mizraim, and Phut, and Canaan.” Cush settled in ancient Ethiopia (not the modern nation), Mizraim in Egypt, and Put may have lived in Libya. We’ve already touched upon Canaan and the people who came from his line. The descendents of Ham located in areas we would identify today as Egypt, Palestine, the Sudan, Saudi Arabia, and Yemen.
Although Ham had four sons the curse was only upon Canaan; and I cannot tell you why the others were not cursed.
At this point in the listing there is a parenthesis to discuss a famous man, Nimrod, the founder of a great empire (vv. 8-12). He is mentioned because the nations he founded played an important part in the history if Israel, and also because one of them (Babel) is discussed in the next section of Genesis.
Nimrod is called “a mighty one in the earth,” and “a mighty hunter before the Lord” (vv. 8-9). The word translated “mighty” refers to a champion, somebody who is superior in strength and courage. It’s translated “mighty men” in 1 kings 1.8 and 10 and refers to David’s special bodyguards. The image of Nimrod in the text isn’t that of a sportsman hunting game but rather of a tyrant ruthlessly conquering men and establishing an empire. He wanted to become the ruler of a great world empire, and he attempted to do it. He built four cities in Shinar (Babylonia) and four more in Assyria. Both Babylon and Assyria became enemies of Israel and were used by God to punish His disobedient people. We will learn more about Babylon as we progress in our study.
Nimrod has quite a story which you can get from secular history. It’s a fascinating story of how Nimrod was responsible for the Tower of Babel. He attempted to bring the human race together after the Flood in an effort to get them united into a nation of which he could become the great world ruler. He was the rebel, the founder of Babel and Nineveh, the hunter of the souls of men. He was the lawless one, and he is a shadow or a type of the one who will be the last world ruler, the Antichrist who is yet to appear.
At this time men were content to stand upon the same level as their neighbors, and though every man ruled in his own house, yet no man aspired to have more. But Nimrod’s aspiring mind could not rest; he was resolved to lord it over his neighbors. The same spirit that actuated the giants before the Flood, who became mighty men, and men of renown (Ge. 6.4), was revived in him. From such a beginning, Nimrod began to claim authority and force subjection. He was a violent invader of his neighbor’s rights and properties, and a persecutor of innocent men, devouring all that stood before him and taking what he wanted by force and violence. How soon was that tremendous judgment, which the pride and tyranny of those mighty men brought upon the world, forgotten.
The first great civilization, therefore, grew out of the sons of Ham. We need to recognize that. That has not been taught in the past, but it is beginning to appear more and more in textbooks as black men want more study of their race, and I don’t blame them. He hasn’t been given the opportunity in the past several hundred years. Ancient history shows that in the beginning the black man headed up the first two great civilizations that appeared on the earth. They were from the sons of Ham, and Nimrod also came from the line of Ham.
I am not going to try to develop the line of Ham any further. You see, we are following the pattern set by the Holy Spirit in which he gives the rejected line first and then drops it. We are going to turn now to the line that will lead to Abraham and then to the nation of Israel and finally to the coming of Christ into the world. It is this line that is followed throughout the Old Testament. God is saying good-bye to the rest of humanity for the time being, but He will be coming back to them later on.
In chapter 10 seventy nations are listed. Fourteen of them are from Japheth. Thirty of them come from Ham. Remember that, because it will give you a different perception of the black man at his beginning. And twenty-six nations come from Shem, which makes a total of seventy nations listed in this genealogy.
The Holy Spirit may have placed this genealogy at this point in the Bible to show us what God has done with the nations of the world. Why has the white man been so prominent in our day? Well, I’ll tell you why. Because at the beginning it was the black man, the colored races, that were prominent. Then the sons of Shem made a tremendous impact upon this world during the time of David and Solomon. And you may recall that other races came from Shem, such as the Syrians, the Lydians, and the Armenians, also the Arabians and Joktan. These great nations appeared next. Apparently, we are currently living in the period where the white man has come to the front. It seems to me that all three lines are demonstrating that, regardless of whether you are a son of Ham, or a son of Shem, or a son of Japheth, they are incapable of ruling this world. I believe that God is demonstrating this to us, so it is a tremendous thing when we see it.
 There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown.