Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Genesis 10

1Now these are the generations of the sons of Noah, Shem, Ham, and Japheth: and unto them were sons born after the flood.

2The sons of Japheth; Gomer, and Magog, and Madai, and Javan, and Tubal, and Meshech, and Tiras.

3And the sons of Gomer; Ashkenaz, and Riphath, and Togarmah.

4And the sons of Javan; Elishah, and Tarshish, Kittim, and Dodanim.

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

6And the sons of Ham; Cush, and Mizraim, and Phut, and Canaan.

7And the sons of Cush; Seba, and Havilah, and Sabtah, and Raamah, and Sabtechah: and the sons of Raamah; Sheba, and Dedan.

8And Cush begat Nimrod: he began to be a mighty one in the earth.

9He was a mighty hunter before the LORD: wherefore it is said, Even as Nimrod the mighty hunter before the LORD.

10And the beginning of his kingdom was Babel, and Erech, and Accad, and Calneh, in the land of Shinar.

11Out of that land went forth Asshur, and builded Nineveh, and the city Rehoboth, and Calah,

12And Resen between Nineveh and Calah: the same is a great city.

13And Mizraim begat Ludim, and Anamim, and Lehabim, and Naphtuhim,

14And Pathrusim, and Casluhim, (out of whom came Philistim,) and Caphtorim.

15And Canaan begat Sidon his first born, and Heth,

16And the Jebusite, and the Amorite, and the Girgasite,

17And the Hivite, and the Arkite, and the Sinite,

18And the Arvadite, and the Zemarite, and the Hamathite: and afterward were the families of the Canaanites spread abroad.

19And 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.

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

21Unto Shem also, the father of all the children of Eber, the brother of Japheth the elder, even to him were children born.

22The children of Shem; Elam, and Asshur, and Arphaxad, and Lud, and Aram.

23And the children of Aram; Uz, and Hul, and Gether, and Mash.

24And Arphaxad begat Salah; and Salah begat Eber.

25And unto Eber were born two sons: the name of one was Peleg; for in his days was the earth divided; and his brother's name was Joktan.

26And Joktan begat Almodad, and Sheleph, and Hazarmaveth, and Jerah,

27And Hadoram, and Uzal, and Diklah,

28And Obal, and Abimael, and Sheba,

29And Ophir, and Havilah, and Jobab: all these were the sons of Joktan.

30And their dwelling was from Mesha, as thou goest unto Sephar a mount of the east.

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

32These 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.
Time to take another look at the family tree. We get down about fourteen generations, and there's a total of four named women, and we have never heard once about the births of any of them (unless you count the spare-rib story).

No wonder every single priest and pastor in the world is gay. OK, some of them aren't gay. Some of them just throw puppies out of moving vehicles.

Females are invisible to these people, so if you miraculously have a daughter (where do they come from?), a parochial school is the safest place for her. Because these fellows don't notice those little plaid skirts. For them, it's man-on-man action on every page, the way Mark Foley likes it. And where did he learn it?


Anonymous said...

The list of descendants is called the "table of nations". Its a primitive attempt at understanding the ethnic relationship between various middle eastern groups. (Fundamentalists usually claim that it refers to countries in the whole world, usually modern countries like Germany and so on)

For example, Mizraim means "two lands", and refers to Egypt-proper (traditionally "upper egypt" and "lower Egypt"; two lands); Ham refers to the Egyptian Empire, which contained egypt proper, but also Canaan, Kush (to the south of Egypt), and bits of libya (Phut being similar to the name of one of the two main tribes there). Sheba refers to the Sabeans, a nation which once spanned what is now western Yemen and northern Eritrea.

Magog is more obscure, and hasn't been worked out.

Anonymous said...

By the fourth century BC, the lack of women had become an embarrassment to Jewish writers, so someone invented the "Book of Jubilees" which covers the history up to where the "Book of Chronicles" picks it up, adding in the names of wives for all these people.

Luke said...

you're putting 21st century standards on the book... the line was traced through the first male heir.. so women, daughters, and any male heirs thereafter are inconsquential. this is all part of the leverite marriage and the hebrew preistly tradition.

helps to have background on the history and tradition of things... otherwise you're pointing out what YOU think are absurdities which just makes your point invalid.

Vast Left-Wing Conspiracy said...


The day that everyone agrees that the Bible is obsolete, I'll stop worrying about how well it jibes with today's reality.

Luke said...

what does that have to do with anything i just said?

get your history right.

Vast Left-Wing Conspiracy said...


You're complaining about me applying 21st century standards to the Bible. That is precisely what this blog is for, and I do it because so many people are applying this old book to our daily affairs, treating it as the ultimate, infallible guide to life.

Is that unclear to you?

Anonymous said...

Luke, the line was NOT traced through the male heir. It was traced through the FEMALE heir. Israelite/Jewish society has always been matriarchal at the core; it is the ethnicity of the MOTHER that determines whether someone is ethnically Jewish - and that is still true in modern times.

And if you are wondering where the mother figures are in the story, you haven't noticed S-R-A (Sarah), J-C-B-D (Jochebed), Ruth, or A-B-G-Y-L (Abigail).

S-R-A (Sarah) is the real ancestor-figure in the Israelite narrative; Israel is I-S-R-A-L (note the S-R-A, which forms the word root), and Abraham (which basically just means "(fore-) father") is a later alteration to the story when just having a matriarch was politically embarassing. J-C-B-D is described as the ancestor of all the Aaronid priests, and more importantly, J-C-B (Jacob) seems to be a corruption of J-C-B-D (Jochebed) - in other words Jacob was originally a woman.

Levirate marriage, by the way, is marrying your dead brother's wife. (That's how King Henry VIII got his first wife).

Luke said...

"because so many people are applying this old book to our daily affairs, treating it as the ultimate, infallible guide to life."

crystal clear... and as a liberal christian i'm trying to stop these ignorant people from creating other ignorant people such as yourself. what i'm saying is that you can't really read shakespear just by picking up the book. you really need a knowledge of the histories and phrases of the time period. for example, it'd be helpful to know that bitting your thumb is an insult like a middle finger... you wouldn't really know this if you just picked up the book and started reading.

also to the response of "the line was NOT traced through the male heir. It was traced through the FEMALE heir" this is completely unfactual... why then would jacob fight for his inheritence. the "promise" of abram can only be passed through certain people and each generation needs a male heir to pass the promise on... women are sent OUT of the house into other households.. not so with males. therefore it is a patriarchical story.. plus i've read everyday life in the period of the hebrew bible as well by Carol L. Meyers and i think you've missed something there.. where have you found this information? i'd love to hear that "Jacob was originally a woman" as it would clear up why Jacob was "hairless and put hair to disguise himself" when tricking Isaac. but then how did this woman jacob have 4 wives and 12 sons? that seems a little slippery to me.

Vast Left-Wing Conspiracy said...


As I've said previously (though you may not have reached that post yet)...

With the growing meme about putting the Bible into school curricula as “literature,” my "modern eyes" approach strikes me as eminently reasonable.

IMHO, if literature can’t stand on its own two feet, it becomes a mere historical artifact. It’s fine if you have to look up a word or forty in a superannuated text. I don’t mind having to look up “thane” to understand the Scottish play, because it remains a timeless, powerful narrative, rich with cautionary life lessons.

True Believers don't generally say to read the Bible and then just reflect on human foibles and potential; they say to trust that this book -- and not historical commentary about it -- is the inerrant guide to life.

Unlike Caesar's Gallic Wars, it is presented as much more than an artifact, but rather that it's God's instruction manual to the people he created.

I don't knock the urge to do scholarly research, and I invite those who have the time and inclination to do so to post comments about any important background they feel I've left out. However, I think reading the text as the text is a perfectly legitimate way to read it, especially given the rather exalted reviews its author(s) have received.

The Gideons don't leave Bible interpretations in hotel-room drawers, and the BS4A has, for better or worse, chosen that approach as well. Unlike some folks and organizations, I'm not saying my approach is for everybody.

Anonymous said...

Luke, the Table of Nations is about ethinicity. And Israelite/Jewish ethinicity has ALWAYS been a maternal thing. IT STILL IS TODAY.

Its only tribal membership that is passed on the male line. But that's not important here; this chapter is about ethnicity not tribes.

And the thing about Jacob's "children" and "wives" is more complex than you perhaps realise. Its a bit out of place to discuss it here (as its later in Genesis that this comes up) but...

1. The bible states that Jacob had 2 wives not 4. The other 2 women were the servants of his 2 wives.
2. The story of his wives & sons is spliced together from multiple sources; in increasing recent-ness:
(a) Jahwist source, which mentions ONLY Leah in the "birth of the sons" narrative.
(b) Elohist source, which mentions Leah AND Rachel, but not the 2 servant women
(c) Priestly source, which mentions the 2 servant women as well as Leah and Rachel.

3. The thing about the narratives about Jacob, Abraham, and company, is that they are really vignettes, and shouldn't be taken as a continuous narrative; they have only been sewn together that way by the editors who wrote down the much older stories. That's why the stories seem sometimes similar and sometimes fairly unworthy of mentioning - like the tiny place-naming stories.

4. The "birth of the sons" story is just another vignette. Its an attempt to put into allegory the structure of the Israelite confederation as it was in about the 9th Century BC.

5. You can see the older structure of the Israelite confederation in older writings, like the Song of Deborah (Judges 5), which don't mention Judah, Simeon, Levi, or Manasseh as being among the tribes, but do list Machir and Gilead (neither of which are included by the priestly source as being tribes).

6. Levi originated as a job title, not a tribe; its related to the Minaean word for "priest". Gad and Asher are the names of Canaanite deities, not of ancestral people.

7. What really happened is that
(a) the Israelites are really the Canaanites in disguise - the Israelites were just a cultural movement, like modern art.

(b) A group of them later migrated to Egypt, BUT most did not. The ones in Egypt gradually came to be very powerful (gradual change over centuries), and were eventually expelled from Egypt by political rivals. This group (Joseph) returned to Israel; they had more wealth and became the most powerful tribe, displacing the former leading tribe (Reuben).

(c) Then the land was invaded from the west by Sea Peoples; ultimately some groups among the sea peoples (Dan, Issachar, possibly Asher) joined the Israelite confederacy as new tribes, while others remained opposed to it (mainly the Philistines).

(d) Also, nomadic groups started to settle on the fringes and some joined the confederation (Gad, possibly Asher); while doing so, Gad absorbed the weaker Israelite tribe of Gilead.

(e) Another country, much weaker and culturally less significant, formed to the south. This other country (Judah) slowly absorbed various nomadic and slowly settling groups in the region (Caleb, Jerahmeel, Kenites).

(f) Part of Joseph split off and joined Judah (the south) instead of Israel (the north), becoming Benjamin (meaning "son of the south").

(g) The remainder of Joseph split into two tribes - Manasseh and Ephraim. Manasseh began to have close relations with Machir (which occupied territory physically unconnected to Manasseh's), and eventually the two merged, with Machir becoming "half of Manasseh".

8. The history, as far as Genesis is concerned, began to be collected in written form at around the time that Judah was absorbing Simeon - which is why Simeon is treated as a distinct tribe throughout but Caleb, Jerahmeel, and the Kenites, are treated as becoming part of Judah.

8. This structure is reflected in the "family" relationships of Jacob; the original Israelites are from Leah (the "first" wife), the Joseph group (aka Benjamin, Manasseh, Ephraim) are from Rachel (the "second" wife), and the sea peoples/more-foreign groups are offspring of the mere "servants"

9. All the Isaac narratives set after the sacrifice of Isaac are hollow. They are just thin copies of the other narratives to pad out Isaac's life to make it seem possible for him to have Jacob as his son. In the original text, Isaac was killed by Abraham in the sacrifice, and no connection was given between Jacob and Abraham (like no connection was given between Noah and Abraham - and even now its only a very bureaucratic statistical list). The last few verses that say Isaac survived were really only added after the late 8th century BC.

fervent atheist said...

Even if some people only use the Bible as a sort of life guide, while understanding it isn't the true word of God, these people in turn believe certain things from the book to be true, such as concerning homosexuality.

Nobody reads Shakespeare to seek which morals to apply to their lives. You might read his books and then read other books and try to reach a personal opinion, but Christians say the Bible is their authority on morals.

If the book doesn't make sense in most parts, it's worth demonstrating because picking morals only from the Bible is a scary thought.

Luke said...

gotcha... fundies bad, gotcha. and good point about the "no commentaries" i guess i get too wrapped up in dissecting and scholarly approaches which really counter a lot of the fundie's notions of the bible. esp in regards to homosexuality and feminism.

on the anonymous post after VLC, i agree with everything but this "The bible states that Jacob had 2 wives not 4. The other 2 women were the servants of his 2 wives"

jacob had children with those two servants Zelpha and Bilpha and according to hebrew law, he has effectively married them. but all others i'm well aware of and just studied to hopefully pass a test on monday! wish me luck and i'll bid you adeu.

Anonymous said...

If that were true, then the bible obviously supports gay marriage, since two men having sex "effectively" constitutes marriage.

Luke said...

"If that were true, then the bible obviously supports gay marriage, since two men having sex "effectively" constitutes marriage"

it does. i see no problem with gay marriage as i have yet to see one passage that effectively relates to the homophobia so rapamant within christianity.

Ledfox said...

I have to disagree with fervent atheist on this one.

I read Shakespeare for moral guidance. It's clearer and ultimately more ethical than the Bible is.