Nimrod - Of this person little is known, as he is not mentioned except here and in 1 Chronicles 1:10, which is evidently a copy of the text in Genesis. He is called a mighty hunter before the Lord; and from Genesis 10:10, we learn that he founded a kingdom which included the cities Babel, Erech, Accad, and Calneh, in the land of Shinar. Though the words are not definite, it is very likely he was a very bad man. His name Nimrod comes from מרד , marad, he rebelled; and the Targum, on 1 Chronicles 1:10, says: Nimrod began to be a mighty man in sin, a murderer of innocent men, and a rebel before the Lord. The Jerusalem Targum says: "He was mighty in hunting (or in prey) and in sin before God, for he was a hunter of the children of men in their languages; and he said unto them, Depart from the religion of Shem, and cleave to the institutes of Nimrod." The Targum of Jonathan ben Uzziel says: "From the foundation of the world none was ever found like Nimrod, powerful in hunting, and in rebellions against the Lord." The Syriac calls him a warlike giant. The word ציד tsayid, which we render hunter, signifies prey; and is applied in the Scriptures to the hunting of men by persecution, oppression, and tyranny. Hence it is likely that Nimrod, having acquired power, used it in tyranny and oppression; and by rapine and violence founded that domination which was the first distinguished by the name of a kingdom on the face of the earth. How many kingdoms have been founded in the same way, in various ages and nations from that time to the present! From the Nimrods of the earth, God deliver the world!
Mr. Bryant, in his Mythology, considers Nimrod as the principal instrument of the idolatry that afterwards prevailed in the family of Cush, and treats him as an arch rebel and apostate. Mr. Richardson, who was the determined foe of Mr. Bryant's whole system, asks, Dissertation, p. 405, "Where is the authority for these aspersions? They are nowhere to be discovered in the originals, in the versions, nor in the paraphrases of the sacred writings." If they are not to be found either in versions or paraphrases of the sacred writings, the above quotations are all false.
- XXXII. Ham
6. מצרים mı̂tsrayı̂m “Mitsraim.” מצר mētser “straitness, limit, pressure.” מצור mātsôr “distress, siege, mound, bulwark; Egypt.” מצרים mı̂tsrayı̂m “perhaps double Egypt, lower and upper.” פוּט pûṭ “Put, troubled.”
7. סבא sebā' “Seba, drinking (man, Ethiopian).” סבתה sabtâh “Sabtah.” רעמה ra‛mâh “Ra‹mah, shaking, trembling.” סבתכא sabtekā' “Sabtekha.” שׁבא shēbā' “Sheba, captive?” דדן dedān “Dedan, going slowly?”
8. נמרד nı̂mrod “Nimrod, strong, rebel.”
10. בבל bābel “Babel; related: pour, mingle, confound.” ארך 'erek “Erek, length.” אכד 'akad “Akkad, fortress.” כלנה kalneh “Kalneh.” שׁנער shı̂n‛ār “Shin‹ar.”
11. נינוה nı̂ynevēh “Nineveh, dwelling?” עיר רחבח rechobot 'ı̂yr “Rechoboth ‹ir, streets of a city.” כלח kelach “Kelach, completion, end, age.”
12. רסן resen “Resen, bridle, bit.”
13. לוּדים lûdı̂ym “Ludim, born?” ענמים ‛ǎnāmı̂ym “‹Anamim, possession, sheep. להבים lı̂hābı̂ym “Lehabim, fiery, flaming?” נפתהים naptuchı̂ym “Naphtuchim, opening.”
14. פתרסים patrusı̂ym “Pathrusim.” כסלחים kasluchı̂ym “Kasluchim.” פלשׁתים pelı̂shtı̂ym “Pelishtim”, Αλλόφυλοι Allophuloi “related: break, scatter; Aethiopic “migrate.” כפתרים kaptorı̂ym “Kaphtorim; related: crown, capital.”
15. צידון tsı̂ydon “Tsidon, hunting.” צת chēt “Cheth, breaking, affrighting.”
16. יבוּסי yebûsı̂y “Jebusi; related: tread.” אמרי 'emorı̂y “Emori; related: Say, be high.” גגשׁי gı̂rgāshı̂y “Girgashi; related: clay, clod.”
17. צוּי chı̂vı̂y “Chivvi; related: live.” ערקי ‛arqı̂y “‹Arqi; related: gnaw, sting.” סיני sı̂ynı̂y “Sini; related: mud, clay.”
18. ארודי 'arvādı̂y “Arvadi; related: roam, ramble.” צמרי ; tsemārı̂y “Tsemari; noun: wool; verb: cover.” חמתי chāmātı̂y “Chamathi; noun: fastness; verb: guard.”
19. גרר gerār “Gerar; related: draw, saw, abide.” עזה 'azâh ‹Azzah, strong.” סדם sedom “Sodom; related: shut, stop.” עמרה 'amorâh “‹Amorah; noun: sheaf; verb: bind.” אדמה 'admâh “Admah; adjective: red; noun: soil.” צבים tseboyı̂m “Tseboim, gazelles; verb: go forth, shine.” לשׁע lesha‛ “Lesha; verb: pierce, cleave.”
And the sons of Ham. - Ham the youngest of the three brothers Genesis 9:24, is placed here because he agrees with Japheth in becoming estranged from the true God, and because the last place as the more important is reserved for Shem. As the name of Japheth is preserved in the Ιαπετος Iapetos of the Greeks, so Chain is supposed to appear in Chemi of the Coptic, χημία cheemia of Plutarch, Chine of the Rosetta Stone, an old name of Egypt. This country is also called the land of Ham in Scripture Psalm 78:51; Psalm 105:23, Psalm 105:27; Psalm 106:22. But this term was of more comprehensive import, as we find some ancient inhabitants of a region in the south of Judah, said to have come from Ham 1 Chronicles 4:40. Thirty primitive nations sprang from Ham. Of these, only four were immediate descendants.
(15) Kush has left traces of his name perhaps in the Caucasus, the Caspian, and the Cossaei of Khusistan. There is an allusion in Amos (Amos 9:7) to his migration to the land south of Egypt which bears his name. This name is preserved in Gheez, the name of the ancient language of the people, and some say even in Habesh. It is possible, that some of the Kushites went toward India. To Ethiopia, however, the name generally refers in Scripture. The Ethiopians were called by Homer (Odyssey I. 23), ἔσχατοι ἀνδρῶν eschatoi andrōn “remotest of men.”
(17) Put has with one consent been placed beyond Egypt, in the north of the continent of Africa. He is mentioned along with Lubim as the helper of Nineveh (Nab. Isaiah 3:9), and with Kush, as forming part of the army of Neko Jeremiah 46:9. His descendants penetrated far westward. A river bearing the name of Phutes has been mentioned in Mauretania, and an inland country is designated by the name of Futa. The name may be preserved also in Buto, the capital of lower Egypt, on the Sebennytic mouth of the Nile.
(18) Kenaan settled in the country called after his name. There are some grounds for believing that this land was previously inhabited by Shemites, as the land was Shemitic. If so, the Kenaanites came in as intruders, and followed the language of their predecessors. But of this hereafter.
Kush had five sons and two grandsons, who were reckoned among the founders of nations.
(19) Seba is associated with Kush Isaiah 43:3; Isaiah 45:14. Josephus (Ant. I. 6,2; II. 10,2) places him in Meroe, a country almost insulated by the Nile and its branches, the Astapus (Blue Nile) and Astaboras (Atbarah).
(20) Havilah occurs as the name of a country in the antediluvian times. The present Havilah may refer to a tribe in Africa, called Avalitae, lying south of Bab-el-mandeb, which corresponds very well with the situation of Kush and Seba. This nation, however, may also have a representative in the Χαυλοταῖοι Chaulotaioi of Strabo (xvi. 728), situated on the Persian Gulf, where some other Kushites were to be found. The fragments of this nation may have separated by migration, and left its name in both localities.
(21) Sabtah, Josephus finds in the Astaborans of Ethiopia, others in Sabota, a town in southwest Arabia.
(22) Ramah is traced in Rhegma on the southeast of Arabia.
(23) Sabteka is the third name, beginning with the same syllable. Such names are frequent from the Persian Gulf to the coast of Africa. Some find this place on the coast of Abyssinia, others in Samydake on the east side of the Persian Gulf. From Ramah are two tribes descended.
(24) Sheba, and (25) Dedan, lying in the south of Arabia or on the Persian Gulf. Daden, an island in the gulf, now Barhein, may represent the latter.
In this episode Genesis 10:8-12, the author turns aside from the table of nations to notice the origin of the first great empires that were established on the earth. “And Kush begat Nimrod.” The author had before enumerated the sons of Kush, who were heads of nations. Here he singles out one of his sons or descendants, who became the first potentate of whom we have any record. He notices his qualities for rising to this position among men. “He began to be a mighty one in the land. He was mighty in hunting, before the Lord.” Hunting is a comprehensive term, indicating the taking of any species of animal, whether of the air, the sea, or the land. Nimrod‘s distinction in this respect was so great as to become proverbial. The expression, “before the Lord,” intimates, not merely that the Lord was cognizant of his proceedings, for he knoweth all things, but that Nimrod himself made no secret his designs, pursued them with a bold front and a high hand, and at the same time was aware of the name and will of Yahweh. This defiant air gives a new character to his hunting, which seems to have extended even to man, as the term is sometimes so applied (1 Samuel 24:12 (1 Samuel 24:11), Jeremiah 16:16). His name, which literally means “we shall rebel,” is in keeping with the practice of an arbitrary and violent control over men‘s persons and property.
The beginning or first seat and the extent of his kingdom among men are then described. It consists of four towns - Babel and Erek and Akkad and Kalneh, in the land of Shinar. The number four is characteristic of Nimrod‘s kingdom. It is the mark of the four quarters of the earth, of universality in point of extent, and therefore of ambition. The site of Babel (Babylon) has been discovered in certain ruins near Hillah, chiefly on the opposite or eastern bank of the Euphrates, where there is a square mound called Babil by the natives. Erek has been traced also on the east bank of the Euphrates, about one hundred miles southeast of Babil, or half way between the city and the confluence of the rivers. It is the Orchoe of the Greeks, and the ruins now bear the name of Urka, or Warka. This name appears as Huruk on the cuneiform inscriptions of the place. Akkad, in the Septuagint. Archad, Col. Taylor finds in Akkerkoof, north of Babel, and about nine miles west of the Tigris, where it approaches the Euphrates. Here there is a hill or mound of ruins called Tel Nimrud. Rawlinson finds the name Akkad frequent in the inscriptions, and mentions Kingi Akkad as part of the kingdom of Urukh, but without identifying the site. Kalneh, Kalno, Isaiah 10:9; Kanneh, Ezekiel 27:23, is regarded by Jerome, and the Targum of Jonathan, as the same with Ktesiphon on the Tigris, in the district of Chalonitis. Its ruins are near Takti Kesra. Rawlinson identifies it with Niffer, but without assigning satisfactory grounds. The sites of these towns fix that of Shinar, which is evidently the lower part of Mesopotamia, or, more precisely, the country west of the Tigris, and south of Is, or Hit, on the Euphrates, and Samara on the Tigris. It is otherwise called Babylonia and Chaldaea.
Genesis 10:11, Genesis 10:12
Out of that land came he forth to Asshur. - This may be otherwise rendered, “out of that land came forth Asshur.” The probabilities in favor of the former translations are the following: First. The discourse relates to Nimrod. Second. The words admit of it. Third. The word Asshur has occurred hitherto only as the name of a country. Fourth. Asshur, the person, was considerably older than Nimrod, and had probably given name to Asshur before Nimrod‘s projects began. Fifth. Asshur would have been as great a man as Nimrod, if he had founded Nineveh and its contiguous towns; which does not appear from the text. Sixth. “The beginning of his kingdom” implies the addition to it contained in these verses. Seventh. And the phrases “in the land of Shinar, out of that land,” and the need of some definite locality for the second four cities, are in favor of the former rendering.
Asshur was a country intersected by the Tigris. It included the part of Mesopotamia north of Shinar, and the region between the Tigris and Mount Zagros. Its extension westward is undefined by any natural boundary, and seems to have varied at different times. Nineveh was a well-known city of antiquity, situated opposite Mosul on the Tigris. The country in which it was placed is called by Strabo Aturia, a variation seemingly of Asshur. It‘s remains are now marked by the names Nebbi-yunus and Koyunjik. Rehoboth-ir, the city broadway or market, has not been identified. Kelah is said to be now marked by the ruin called Nimrud. This lies on the left bank of the Tigris, near its confluence with the greater Zab, Its name seems to be preserved in the Calachene of Strabo. It was about twenty miles south of Nineveh. It is possible, however, so far as we can conjecture from conflicting authorities, that Kelah may be Kileh Sherghat, about fifty miles south of Mosul, on the right bank of the Tigris. Resen is placed by the text, between Nineveh and Kelah, and is therefore probably represented by Selamiyeh, a village about half way between Koyunjik and Nimrud. If Kelah, however, be Kileh Sherghat, Resen will coincide with Nimrud. “That is the great city.”
This refers most readily to Resen, and will suit very well if it be Nimrud, which was evidently extensive. It may, however, refer to Nineveh. This completion of Nimrod‘s kingdom, we see, contains also four cities. The Babylonian and Assyrian monarchies were akin in origin, and allied in their history and in their fall. They were too near each other to be independent, and their mutual jealousies at length brought about the ruin of the northern capital. A Kushite, and therefore a Hamite, founded this first world-monarchy or tyranny. Another Hamite power arose simultaneously in Egypt. A branch of the Kushites seem to have gone eastward, and spread over India. But another branch spread through the South of Arabia, and, crossing into Africa, came into contact, sometimes into alliance, and sometimes into collision with the Egyptian monarchy. The eastern empire is noticed particularly, because it intruded into Shemitic ground, and aimed continually at extending its sway over the nations descended from Shem.
Mizraim has seven sons, from whom are derived eight nations.
(26) the Ludim are probably mentioned in Isaiah 66:19, in connection with Tarshish and Put; in Jeremiah 46:9, in connection with Kush and Put; and in Ezekiel 27:10; Ezekiel 30:5, in connection with Put. In all these instances the name is in the singular, but in our text in the plural, expressly denoting the nation of which Lud was the progenitor. The Ludim were distinguished for the use of the bow. They were, doubtless, an African tribe, related to the Egyptians, and well known to the prophets, though their country cannot now be pointed out. Josephus intimates that they were destroyed, as well as other tribes descended from Mizraim, in the Ethiopic war of the time of Moses; but they still existed in the times of Ezekiel. Movers finds them in the Lewatah, a tribe of Berbers. Others place them in Mauretania. Pliny mentions a river Laud in Tingitana.
(27) the Anamim are not elsewhere mentioned.
(28) the Lehabim are generally identified with the Lubim 2 Chronicles 12:3; 2 Chronicles 16:8; Daniel 2:43; Nahum 3:9, who are introduced in connection with the Kushim. They are probably the Libyans, who lay to the west of Egypt, and, extending from the Mediterranean indefinitely to the south, came into contact with the Kushites of Abyssinia.
(29) the Naphtuhim Bochart places in Nephthys, near Pelusium on the Lake Sirbonis. Others find a trace of them in Napata, a town of Meroe. This agrees with the indications of Josephus and the Targum of Jonathan.
(30) the Pathrusim have their place in Pathros, a name of upper Egypt or the Thebais. It is arranged by Isaiah Isaiah 2:11 between Egypt and Kush.
(31) the Kasluhim are supposed by some to be represented by the Colchians, whom Herodotus (ii. 104) traces to Egypt. It is possible the Colchians may have been a colony from them. But their original seat must have been somewhere on the coast of the Red Sea.
(32) Philistim, who came from (31). The Philistines dwelt on the coast of the Mediterranean, from the border of Egypt to Joppa. They had five principal cities, - Gaza, Ashdod, Ashkelon, Gath, and Ekron. They gave the name פלשׁת peleshet Pelesheth, to the whole of Kenaan, from which is derived the Greek name Παλαιστὶνη Palaistinee “Palaestina.” They are stated by the text to be a colony or offshoot of the Kasluhim.
(33) Kaphtorim. From Jeremiah 47:4, it appears that Kaphtor was a coastland. From Amos 9:7, we learn that the Philistines came from this land. Hence, we conclude that the Kaphtorim dwelt on the coast of the Red Sea, adjacent to the Kasluchim, and left their name, perhaps, in Koptos and Αἴγυπτος Aiguptos Cappadocia, Crete, and Cyprus only slightly resemble the name, and have no other recommendation. The Kasluhim may have been their southern neighbors, and thus the Philistines may have occupied a part of Kaphtor, before their settlement on the coast of the Great Sea, within the borders of Kenaan, where they would, of course, be another tribe ( ἀλλόφυλοι allophuloi ). This account of these descendants of Mizraim agrees best with the hint of Josephus, that many of them bordered on the Ethiopians; and perished, or perhaps were forced to migrate, in the Ethiopic or other wars (i. 6,3). Thus, it appears that the descendants of Mizraim were settled in Africa, with the exception of the Philistines, who migrated into the country to which they gave their name.
From Kenaan are descended eleven nations:
(34) Zidon is styled his first-born. The name is retained in the well-known town on the coast of Phoenicia, which is accordingly of the highest antiquity among the cities of that region. The Sidonians were reckoned co-extensive with the Phoenicians, and are mentioned by Homer (Iliad 23:743; Odyssey 4:618).
(35) Heth. This tribe dwelt about Hebron and in the mountains around, and perhaps still further north in the districts extending toward the Euphrates Genesis 23:3; Numbers 13:29; Joshua 1:4. Esau took wives from the Hittites Genesis 26:34-35, and some part of the nation existed even after the captivity Ezra 9:1.
(36) the Jebusite has his chief seat in and around Jerusalem, which was called Jebus, from his chief; and the citadel of which was wrested from him only in the time of David 2 Samuel 5:7.
(37) the Amorite was one of the most important and extensive tribes of Kenaan. Five kings of this nation dwelt in the mountains afterward occupied by Judah Genesis 14:7, Genesis 14:13; Numbers 13:29; Joshua 10:5, and two on the east of the Jordon, in Heshbon and Bashan, north of Moab Numbers 21:13; Deuteronomy 4:47. The eastern Amorites were conquered under Moses, the western under Joshua. A remnant of them were made bondsmen by Solomon 1 Kings 9:20. They survived the captivity Ezra 9:1.
(38) the Girgashite seems to have lain on the west of the Jordan, and the name may be preserved in the reading Γεργεσηνῶν Gergesēnōn of Matthew 8:28. The town of the Gergesenes is supposed to have been at the southeast of the lake of Gennesaret Genesis 15:21; Deuteronomy 7:1; Joshua 24:11.
(39) the Hivite was found at Shalem, Gibeon, and also at the foot of Hermon and Antilibanus Genesis 34:2; Joshua 9:7; Joshua 11:3; Judges 3:3. The former were also classed under the Amorites Genesis 48:22; 2 Samuel 21:2. With the exception of four cities of the Gibeonites, they were conquered by Joshua Joshua 9:17; Joshua 11:3, Joshua 11:19.
(40) the Arkite probably dwelt near a town called Arke or Caesarea Libani, lying some miles north of Tripolis, at the foot of Lebanon. Its ruins are still extant at Tel Arka.
(41) the Sinite is supposed to have dwelt in Sinna, a town mentioned by Strabo, called Sine by Jerome, and Syn in the fifteenth century (Strab. xvi. 2,18; Hieron. Quaest. in Gen., Breitenbach, Travels, p. 47), not far from Arke.
(42) the Arvadite dwelt in Arvad, Aradus, now Ruad, a Phoenician town on an island of the same name.
(43) the Zemarite has been traced in the town Σίμυρα Simura the ruins of which were found by Shaw at the western foot of Lebanon, under the name of Sumra.
(44) the Hamathite was the inhabitant of Hamath, called Hamath Rabbah (the great), by the Greeks Epiphaneia, and at present Hamah. It is situated on the Orontes, and held an important place in the history of Israel. The land of Hamath was of great extent, including the town of Riblab 2 Kings 25:21 and reaching even to Antioch. The entrance of Hamath חמת בוא bô' chamāt the northern part of the valley between Lebanon and Antilibanus, formed the utmost boundary of Palestine to the north Numbers 13:21; Joshua 13:5; 1 Kings 8:65. Its king was in alliance with David 2 Samuel 8:10.
And afterward were the families of the Kenaanites spread abroad. - After the confusion of tongues were these nations formed; and after the formation of these Kenaanic tribes occurred the dispersion spoken of in the text. We do not know what was the original seat of the Kenaanites; or whether the dispersion here mentioned was violent or not. Its primary result, however, seems to have been their settlement in the country of which the boundaries are next described. It is not improbable that this land was allotted to a portion of the Shemites, and occupied by them when the Kenaanites entered and established themselves among them Genesis 40:15. The Kenaanites probably had the same grasping tendency which displayed itself in Nimrod, their kinsman; and therefore seized upon the country with a high hand, and called it after their name. Their expulsion, on the conquest of the land by the Israelites, and their commercial activity, led to a still further dispersion; as colonies were sent out by them to the distant shores of the Mediterranean, to Asia Minor, Greece, Africa, Spain, and even the British Isles. But it can scarcely be supposed that reference is here made to these subsequent events in their history.
The border of Kenaan, as here described, extends along the coast from Zidon in the direction of (as thou goest unto) Gerar, which lay between Kadesh and Shur Genesis 20:1, and has its name preserved in the Wady el-Jerur, which is nearly in a line connecting Ain el-Weibeh and Suez. It turns at Azzah (Gaza), and passes to the cities of the plain, of which the later history is so memorable. Its terminating point is Lesha, which is generally supposed to be Callirrhoe, to the northeast of the Dead Sea, so called from the hot springs which form a stream flowing into the lake. It is possible, however, that Lesha is only another variation of Laish and Leshem, a city belonging to the Sidonians, and situated near the sources of the Jordan. Thus, we have the western, southern, and eastern border briefly given in this verse. It is manifest, however, that they did not confine themselves to these limits, but “afterward spread abroad” into the adjacent regions. The Hittite went to the northeast; the Amorite crossed the Jordan, and occupied a great part of Peraea; the Hivite, the Arkite, the Sinite, the Arvadite, the Zemarite, and the Hamathite stretched far north of the boundary.
The list of the Hamites is summed up Genesis 10:20 in the usual form. It appears that Ham occupied Africa and a certain portion of Asia along the eastern coast of the Mediterranean, in the south of Arabia, about the lower valley of the Frat and Diljah, and perhaps along the south of Asia. In extent of territory, Japheth ultimately far exceeded, as he occupied most of Asia and almost all of Europe and the New World. Ham is next to him, as he inherited Africa and a portion of Asia. Some of his descendants have also been forcibly transplanted to the New Hemisphere. But in point of political contact with Shem, Japheth, in early times, sinks comparatively into the shade, and Ham assumes the prominent place. Babylon, Kush, Egypt, and Kenaan are the powers which come into contact with Shem, in that central line of human history which is traced in the Bible. Hence, it is that in the table of nations special attention is directed to Kush, Nimrod, Mizraim, and to the tribes and borders of Kenaan.