We Are Family

We Are Family: A Study of the Table of Nations in Genesis 10

This 16-week study explores the spread of nations around this world through Shem, Ham, and Japheth, and why the account from Genesis 10 should be trusted as human history and not human legend.

 

Thesis: The tenth chapter of Genesis, the oldest Table of Nations in existence, is a completely authentic statement of how the present world population originated and spread after the Flood in the three families headed respectively by Shem, Ham, and Japheth (2345 B.C. to present day).

The Three-Fold Nature of the World in Scripture

We may sum up what has been said in Lesson 1 by recalling The Table of Nations in Genesis 10 is a historic document indicating how the present population of the world has been derived from Shem, Ham, and Japheth. Secondly, this threefold division is intended to indicate that the three families of the human race were divinely apportioned a characteristic capacity which has been reflected in the unique contribution each branch has rendered in the service of mankind as a whole. The contribution of Shem has been a spiritual one, of Ham a technological one, and of Japheth an intellectual one: in the process of history, these contributions are seen throughout the history of the families/nations of the world.

Acts 17:24-28 (NASB)

"The God who made the world and all things in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands; nor is He served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He Himself gives to all people life and breath and all things; and He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation, that they would seek God, if perhaps they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; for in Him we live and move and exist, as even some of your own poets have said, ‘For we also are His children.’"

Appendix 4 - Population Growth

Shem – the ancestor of the three great religions of the world; Judaism, Christianity and Islam. It can be argued that from Shem come instruction in morality, or one’s relationship with God. The Shemites include the descendants of Abraham through Jacob (Jews) and Esau (Arabs).

Ham – the ancestor of the greatest inventors and explorers in in human history (2300 B.C. – A.D. 1500). These “chief servants” were the explorers and the doers and from them comes technology. The Hamites include all those who scattered via land-bridges and oceans to the 7 continents.

Japheth – the ancestor of the greatest philosophers and thinkers in human history (Indo-Europeans). This quest for human understanding, different from the Shemites, is the basis for philosophy. The Japethite nations (Greece, Rome, Europe, etc.) have “enlarged the world” (colonization).

What we know as historic Western Civilization is the merging of morality, technology and philosophy. Someone might ask, “But what is the difference between morality and philosophy?” Good question.

  • Morality (Shemites) has to do with revelation and man's relationship with God.
  • Philosophy (Japhethites) has to do with ethics, which is man’s relationship with man.
  • Technology (Hamites) has to do with advancement and exploration, man’s relationship with earth.

Morality by definition is divine revelation. Philosophy by definition is rational speculation. Technology by definition is practical innovation.

  1. Shemites (The Semitic Peoples: Hebrew and Arabic)

    We have the history of the Semitic people in the Bible. We find that Abraham, a descendent of Eber, is the father of the Hebrews (Jews) and the Arabs through his sons, Jacob and Esau (Genesis 25:19-34).

    The history of conflict between the Jews and the Arabs is a history of brothers fighting brothers. Both share the same father (Abraham) and from the Jews and the Arabs have come the great religions of the world (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam). The numbers (from the year 2010) are telling: Jews number 16 million; Christians number 2.2 billion, and Muslims number 1.6 billion. Hindus number over 2 billion, but they borrow their mono-theism (Brahman) from Jews and Arabs. Semitic people are Theos-centered.

  2. Japhethites (Indo-Europeans or Aryans)

    “All the great Indo-European civilizations (Japhethites) on the other hand, manifest an impulse which no doubt took widely different forms, towards rational and in the strict sense philosophical speculation” (Jacques Maritain, An Introduction to Philosophy, Sheed and Ward, New York, 1955).

    Until comparatively recently, Japhethite nations have shown a remarkable indifference to technology. As Ralph Linton pointed out: “The Hindus have always been highly receptive to new cults and new philosophic ideas as long as these did not come into too direct conflict with their existing patterns, but have shown an almost complete indifference to improved technique of manufacture. The material world was felt to be of so little importance that minor advances in its control were not considered worth the trouble of changing established habit” (Linton, Ralph, The Study of Man, Student's Edition, Appleton Century, New York, 1936, p.343).

    Those who are acquainted with the views of the Greek philosophers know that for the Greeks it was almost a sin even to be tempted to seek any practical application of their ideas. The Greeks and Aryans claimed Japheth as their ancestor. Sir Charles Marston points out that in the "Clouds," Aristophanes claims Japetos as the ancestor of the Greeks and in the "Institutes of Manu" dated about 1280 B.C., one of the ancient Aryan histories, it is said that a certain individual named Satyaurata had three sons, the eldest of whom was named Jyapeti. The others were named Sharma (Shem?) and C'harma (Ham?).

  3. Hamites (The peoples of the world not Semitic or Arayan)

    Most of us have been brought up to believe that we, Indo-Europeans, are the most inventive people in the world. It is exceedingly difficult to escape from this culturally conditioned prejudice and take a fresh objective look at the origins of our technological achievements. One may take almost any essential element of our highly complex civilization (aircraft, paper, weaving, metallurgy, propulsion of various kinds, painting, explosives, medical techniques, mechanical principles, food, the use of electricity, virtually anything technological in nature) and an examination of the history of its development leads us surely and certainly back to a Hamitic people and very rarely to Japheth or Shem (see Appendix 5).

    The ingenuity of many of the devices and techniques of the Hamitic people is truly extraordinary, particularly in view of the paucity of natural resources. It is no exaggeration to state that primitive people have done marvels with their natural resources as they found them. The difficulty for us is that we are deceived by their very simplicity. Whether highly civilized or of primitive culture, the Hamitic people have shown an amazing ability to exploit the immediate resources of their environment to the limit (Author Custance: The Doorway Papers, Chapter 3, The Characteristics of Shem, Ham and Japheth).

    It is only recently that we in our culture have become aware of our indebtedness to non-Indo-European people for practically all the basic elements, simple and complex, of our own technological civilization. The only purpose of this list here is to draw attention to the fact that in each of these elements of culture, Hamitic peoples got there first and independently, and in most cases, were our instructor.

Summary: The Table of Nations in Genesis 10 is a historic document indicating how the present population of the world has been derived from Shem, Ham, and Japheth. Secondly, this threefold division is more than merely a genetic variation of certain "racial" types: there is evidence that it is intended to indicate that the three branches of the race were divinely apportioned a characteristic capacity which has been reflected in the unique contribution each branch has rendered in the service of mankind as a whole. And thirdly, the contribution of Shem has been a spiritual one, of Ham a technological one, and of Japheth an intellectual one: in the process of history, these contributions were made effective in this order. So it is with individuals: Relationship with God, life, and fellow man.

Review: From the time of Noah’s flood (2345 BC), the world has developed nations from the three sons of Noah – Shem (Jews and Arabs), Ham (Africa, China, and the Ocean Islands) and Japheth (Indo-Europeans). From Shem we have the monotheistic religions; from Ham we have the great explorations and technological inventions of the world; and from Japheth we have the great intellectual philosophies.

In this lesson, we will see how Shem, Ham and Japheth represent three basic capacities of mankind. We are all aware of our three kinds of need: spiritual, intellectual, physical. These three characteristics could be described as “the image of God” and separate mankind (created in God’s image) from animals. We have the capacity to worship, the capacity to reason, and the capacity to create. As a result of the three capacities, the nations have developed three kinds of activities: religion, philosophy, and technology.

  1. The person who equally cultivates all three capacities develops a full and healthy personality.
    Hugh Dryden writes in The Scientist in Contemporary Life: "Man's life at its fullest is a trinity of activity (physical, mental and spiritual). Man must cultivate all these if he is not to be imperfectly developed." Viktor Frankly writes, "Man lives in three dimensions: the physical, the mental and the spiritual." When one of these capacities is denied or neglected the personality of the person is unbalanced. The man who is entirely spiritual, who has cultivated his religious life to the exclusion of his mental life and his ability to deal with physical things with reasonable success, is found to be an odd person. So too, when there is a neglect of the physical and/or the intellectual, we have an unbalanced personality.
  2. The same can be said of whole cultures or nations who reject the contributions of others.
    What is true psychologically of the individual, history shows to have been true of whole cultures. Nations also have personalities. Whenever the contributions of Shem, Ham, and Japheth have been blended into a single organized way of life, a high civilization has resulted. But when one element - whether the spiritual, intellectual or the technological - receives over-emphasis to the detriment of the other two, then that civilization becomes unbalanced. It will momentarily appear to burst ahead with new vitality, only to collapse, often with frightening suddenness. A couple of examples:
    1. The Early Christian Roman Empire (A.D. 313 to A.D. 476).
      A highly spiritual culture where the Olympics were banned as pagan, and the church sought to bring world peace through spirituality. The Indo-European world was most influenced by this overemphasis on the spiritual, and the Roman world collapsed almost completely in the face of the barbarian invasion (September 4, 476) and the Dark Ages resulted.
    2. The East Asia Pacific Islands and Native Americans (2000 B.C. to A.D. 1900).
      These islanders and native Americans, descendants of Ham, were technological geniuses. By mere ingenuity, these men and women were able to traverse vast bodies of oceans and land continents (See Appendix 6 - The Great Navigational Skills of the Children of Ham). They sustained themselves with food and shelter, but were scattered in their understanding of the Spirit God who created them. They would often die at the hands of other tribes who attacked with greater technological weapons. However, in time, when the message of the one true God arrived, many of these peoples became highly civilized (ex. The Peace Child). Why is there a controversy over converting natives to Christ? (“Kill the Indian, save the man” was the quote of Captain Richard Pratt, who loved Native Americans to Christ).
  3. Western Civilization at its highest point has embraced the spiritual, intellectual and technological.
    In the family of Noah, Shem is given priority, Ham comes second and Japheth is last. This order may well be intended to underline an important truth. Man's spiritual needs are pre-eminent, and his physical needs are next. His intellectual needs are last. History indicates that this was the order of development. And historically, as Lord Raglan has pointed out, the expression of man's religious nature came first and led, in due course, to technological development. Philosophy, the contribution of Japheth (Indo-Europeans), came relatively very late in history. How will Western Civilization fall? The following points are conclusions of anthropologist Arthur Custance in The Three Sons of Noah.
    1. It’s imperative that cultures embrace all three capacities.
      The demands of the body cannot be neglected. Since the time of the Flood, the major contribution toward meeting these demands has been rendered by the family of Ham. Virtually no people have managed to survive without finding some way of satisfying their spiritual and physical needs. Many societies have survived without philosophy. The contribution of the family of Japheth is least important of all. Nevertheless, this contribution is directly responsible for the extension of religious belief into theology, and technology into science.
    2. Overemphasis on any one capacity will lead to a downfall.
      Overemphasis on spirituality will not lead to a high civilization but tends rather in the opposite direction. The corollary is also true. Over-emphasis of man's intellectual life or physical needs has the same detrimental effects. For centuries, the dominant social classes in India concentrated on the intellectual life of man to the neglect of the spiritual and physical components, with the consequent impoverishment of the whole man. In the New World we are in danger of allowing the material to dominate the spiritual - by too great an insistence on the value of technical education to the exclusion of philosophy and theology.
    3. Nations fall when one of man’s three basic needs is neglected.
      The biblical view of the stream of history insofar as the rise and fall of civilization is concerned is not that cultures have a "life" and pass by nature through a process of birth, growth, maturity, senescence and death. It is rather that one of these three aspects of man's basic needs has been neglected or over-emphasized. It was God's intention that each of these needs should be taken care of specifically by an appointed branch of the family of man. To Shem is given responsibility of maintaining man's spiritual life; to Ham, the duty of guaranteeing man's physical survival and dominion over the earth; and to Japheth, the enlargement of man's thoughts and the elaboration of the contributions of Shem and of Ham.

The biblical record shows how the experience of these three families was suited to prepare them for their tasks. Ham was scattered far and wide at a very early time in history, reaching the most distant parts of the habitable world far in advance of Shem or Japheth. This experience forced them to bend every energy to the stupendous task of pioneering and achieving mastery over every kind of environment which would allow man to establish a permanent settlement. Necessity quite literally became the mother of invention and the Hamites became the world's foremost technologists. Later in history, when the way had already been opened up, Japheth spread slowly into many of these areas, becoming heirs to the solutions of their predecessors. Ham excelled in "know-how"; Japheth began to ask "why?" Meanwhile, the spiritual life of man was in grave danger and the Truth was almost eclipsed. But God called out one man from the family of Shem (Abraham), and through his seed came the Messiah, “the Who” of life. As we know, the family of Shem failed to recognize their King Messiah, and this spiritual light was passed to Japheth until “the fullness of the Gentiles” comes in (Rom. 11). God has established a purpose for the world, and all of history is the working out of that purpose.

Appendix 7 - We Are Family

“The God who made the world and all things in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands; nor is He served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He Himself gives to all people life and breath and all things; and God made from one blood every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation ... for in Him we live and move and exist ... for we are His children” (Acts 17:24-28).

REVIEW

  • All the nations of the world dispersed from a single multiplying population which scattered in successive waves of migrants, each wave driving further away from the original population point.
  • The most remote and primitive populations settled in the least hospitable areas, where these cultures often suffered physical degeneration as a consequence of their environment.
  • The small, remote and strongly inbred tribes (families) bear cultural similarities with other isolated cultures which link together all the widely dispersed peoples and indicate a common origin for them all.
  • So-called “fossil men” are simply fossils of extinct and primitive societies.
  • All these initially dispersed populations are of one basic family – the Hamitic family of Genesis 10.
  • These technological explorers (Hamites) were subsequently displaced or overwhelmed by Indo-Europeans (i.e., Japhethites), who nevertheless inherited and/or adopted and extensively built upon the Hamites technology and so gained an advantage in each geographical area where they spread.
  • Throughout these waves of migration, in both prehistoric and historic times, there were never any human beings who did not belong within the family of Noah and its descendants.

Evangelicals do not usually disagree over the historicity of the ancient Table of Nations in Genesis 10. Rather, evangelicals are not of the same opinion over the comprehensiveness of the Table of Nations. The question raised is whether we are really to understand that Scripture intends to signify that this genealogy supplies us with the names of the progenitors of the whole of the world's present population, including all cultures and races (e.g. “red and yellow, black and white” – Jesus Loves the Little Children). There is little disagreement among Evangelicals as to the basic fact that all men, none excepted, are to be traced back ultimately to Adam. If we accept Adam (Genesis 1), then we must accept Noah (Genesis 10).

THESIS:

The Table of Nations in Genesis 10 is a unique and priceless document which makes a justifiable claim of comprehensiveness for the whole human race, and supplies us with insights into the relationships of the earliest people known to us, which would be quite lost to us but for Genesis 10.

The Table of Nations thus becomes an essential part of Scripture in its earliest portions, not merely for the satisfying of our natural curiosity, but to establish the fact that all men are of one blood, the offspring of the first Adam, and redeemable by the blood of one Man, the second Adam.

See Appendix 8From One Blood

The Purpose of the Table of Nations

The Table of Nations is given as a straightforward explanation for the establishment of the nations of the world. It presents a series of names, whether of individuals, whole tribes, or even places, as though they were “persons” related by birth. In Western Civilization, it is often difficult for us to accept the idea that if a man founded a tribe (family) or subsequently a city (a tribal dwelling), the aggregate people of that family would be summed up in the person of the founder. For example, Sidon (10:15) is spoken of as the firstborn of Canaan. By 10:19 Sidon is a city’s name. Similarly, Canaan is mentioned in 10:6 as the son of Ham, in 10:16 as the father of several tribes who are listed as separate families (10:18), and in the verses that follow, Canaan is the name for a territory.

The idea that a "father" determines to a significant extent the character of his descendants for several generations underlies a certain class of statements that appear both in the Old and the New Testaments. Jesus spoke of his bitterest critics as "Children of Satan," or "Sons of Belial," denying emphatically their claim to be "Children of Abraham." The very term "the Children of Israel," came to mean something more than the mere descendants of Jacob. The Lord spoke of Nathaniel as "an Israelite indeed," giving reference to his character, not his lineage. It is important in this context to guard against the assumption that the "children" of an ancestor will only perpetuate the undesirable elements in his character. History shows that there is such a thing as "national character," which appears distinctly at first in a single individual and reappears in his children and grandchildren with sufficient force to result in the formation of a widespread behavior pattern that thereafter tends to reinforce and perpetuate itself as the family grows from a tribe into a nation.

The Structure of the Table of Nations

In this Table, we meet with three groups of people, the descendants of Shem, Ham and Japheth. There are the Japhethites who can be conveniently equated for our purposes with the Caucasians, Indo-Europeans, or White Man; the Hamites who are held to encompass the people who spread from Babylon and explored the world (the people of color due to environmental conditions) and the Shemites who comprise both the Hebrew people (ancient and modern), the Arabs, and a few once powerful nations, such as the Assyrians and Babylonians. These three groups, the Japhetites, Hamites and Shemites have with certain capacities and aptitudes, which when properly exercised, have made a unique contribution in the total historical development of mankind and which, when allowed to find full cooperative expression during a single epoch, have invariably led to the emergence of a high civilization.

The Time the Table of Nations Was Written

2000 B.C. – as in 10:1 – “These are the generations of Shem, Ham and Japheth, the sons of Noah...”
Genesis 2:4, These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth
Genesis 6:9, These are the generations of Noah (cf. Genesis 10:1)
Genesis 11:10, These are the generations of Shem
Genesis 11:27, Now these are the generations of Terah
Genesis 25:12, Now these are the generations of Ishmael
Genesis 25:19, And these are the generations of Isaac
Genesis 36:1, Now these are the generations of Esau (cf. Genesis 36:9)
Genesis 37:2 These are the generations of Jacob

See Appendix 9The Dating of the Table of Nations to 2000 B.C.

What has Athens to do with Jerusalem?

The Bible is the story of Shem (Semitic people, the Jews) through Shem’s great-grandson Heber (Eber) who is the father of the Hebrew people (Jews). In Jewish teaching, Eber lived in the time of Babel, and refused to take part in the Tower of Babel, so the Shemites (as well as the Japhethites) never had their language confused. One can trace the Semitic people (Jews and Arabs) and the Japhethite people by their languages (Semitic and Indo-European languages respectively). All the descendants of Ham spread throughout the world, exploring the land, and finding their languages confused. An illustration of the family of Ham are the Yap Natives of the Pacific Islands. Though from the same family, Yap Natives on differing islands have different languages without the same root. But tonight we study the Japhethtites.

Western culture, sometimes called Western civilization, is a term used very broadly to refer to a heritage of social norms, ethical values, traditional customs, belief systems, political systems and specific influences that have some origin or association with Europe. It is sometimes called the Occident (which means “the west”) in opposition to the Orient (which means “the east”), terms usually associated with Turkey are in the middle (where the ark landed). The term also applies beyond Europe, to countries and cultures whose histories are strongly connected to Europe by immigration, colonization, or influence. For example, Western Culture includes countries in the Americas and Australasia, whose language and demographic ethnicity majorities are currently European. The Japethites are the founders of western culture, or the Indo-European civilization (see Appendix 10).

Japheth is the Father of the Europeans and the Indians (of India, not America)

To begin with, it is well known that Japheth's name has been preserved in both branches of the Aryan family, which very early split into two major divisions and settled in Europe and India. The Greeks, for example, trace themselves back to Japetos. In Aristophanes' The Clouds, Japetos is referred to as one of the Titans and the father of Atlas. Japetos was considered by the Greeks not merely as their own ancestor but the father of the human race. According to their tradition, Ouranos and Gaia (i.e., Heaven and Earth) had six sons and six daughters, but of this family only one - Japetos by name - had a human progeny. He married Clymene, a daughter of Okeanos, who bore him Prometheus and three other sons. Prometheus begat Deukalion who is, in effect, the "Noah" of the Greeks, and Deukalion begat Hellen who was the reputed father of the Hellenes or Greeks. If we proceed a little further, we find that Hellen himself had a grandson named Ion; and in Homer's poetry the Greeks were known as Ionians.

Meanwhile, the Indian branch of this Aryan family also traced themselves back to the same man. In the Indian account of the Flood, "Noah" is known as Satyaurata, who had three sons, the eldest of whom was named Jyapeti. The other two were called Sharma and C'harma (Shem and Ham?). To the first he allotted all the regions north of the Himalayas and to Sharma he gave the country to the south. But he cursed C'harma, because when the old monarch was accidentally inebriated with strong liquor made from fermented rice, C'harma had laughed at him. In primitive Aryan speech the title Djapatischta means "chief of the race," a title which looks like a corruption of the original form of the name "Japheth." We know little about Japheth from Scripture, except that in Hebrew his name means “fair.” We know much more about his seven sons (see Appendix 11).

Out of the spreading of Japheth’s seven sons, there emerges a reasonably clear picture in which a single family beginning with Japheth multiplied in the course of time and peopled the northern shore of the Mediterranean, the whole of Europe, the British Isles and Scandinavia, and the larger part of Russia.

The same family settled India, displacing a prior settlement of Hamites who had established themselves in the Indus Valley. Isolated groups of this same people seem to have wandered further afield towards the East, contributing to small pockets of Japhethites which, in course of time, were almost, if not wholly, swallowed up by the Hamites. It is possible that some of them contributed characteristics found in the people of Polynesia, and it is conceivable that in the Ainu of northern Japan there is a remnant of Japhethites.

Noah had said that God would enlarge Japheth (Genesis 9:27). It seems that this enlargement began very early in Japheth's history, but it has been a continuing process and occurring in every part of the world, with the exception of the Far East. The children of Japheth have tended to spread and multiply at the expense of the Shem and Ham families. This enlargement did not mean that Japhethites were the first to migrate far and wide, for wherever they have spread, whether in prehistoric or historic times, they have been preceded by even earlier settlers whose racial origin was not Indo-European. This pattern of settlement of the habitable areas of the world has had a profound significance in the development of civilization, a significance which is considered in some detail in another Doorway Paper.

It has been established by many lines of evidence that the actual names provided in Genesis 10:1-5 were indeed those of real people, whose families carried with them recognizably clear recollections (though often in corrupted form), of their respective forebears, so that they have survived to the present day, still bearing the kind of relationships that are implied in this ancient Table of Nations. And even the patriarchal name is often unmistakably preserved!

Map Ham Shem Japheth

REVIEW: After the ark landed (2345 B.C.), Noah and his wife, their three sons and their wives, gave rise in the course of time to three distinct families who, according to their patriarchal lineage, are most properly termed Japhethites, Shemites, and Hamites. In modern terminology, these three families would be represented by the Semitic people (Hebrews, Arabs, and ancient nations of the Middle East and Arabian Peninsula), the great world explorers the world (Hamites) whose families include the Mongoloid and Negroid Hamites, and finally, the Caucasoid Japhethites (the Indo-Europeans).

At first they kept together. But within a century or so they broke up into small groups, and subsequently some of the family of Shem, most of the family of Ham, and a few of the family of Japheth arrived from the east in the Mesopotamian Plain (Genesis 11:2). Here it would appear from evidence discussed elsewhere that the family of Ham, who had become politically dominant, initiated a movement to prevent further dispersal by proposing the building of a monument as a visible rallying point on the flat plain, thus bringing upon themselves a judgment which led to an enforced and rapid scattering throughout the earth (See Appendix 12, The Tower of Babel).

The Difficulties of Tracing the Descendants of Ham

The descendants of Ham present problems which are not shared by the families of Japheth and of Shem. Several listed descendants of Ham are also easily traceable today, for example, Mizraim (Egypt), Canaan (Canaanites), and Heth (Hittites). But there are many names of which we have very little information, yet all of whom may have been ancestors of very substantial portions of the present world's population. In the languages of the Hamitic line there is a great deal of confusion. Among the descendants of Ham are dialects that rapidly developed between neighboring and related tribes as they multiplied, rendering their speech unintelligible to one another in a remarkably short space of time, even when related tribes lived relatively close to one another.

The names of Ham's sons are not preserved even in corrupted form in modern times. The sons of Ham were Cush, Mizraim, Phut, and Canaan, but not one of these is held today by any living representatives in any recognizable form whatever. Cush subsequently became identified with Ethiopia, Mizraim with Egypt, Phut with Libya, and Canaan with Palestine, but the old names passed completely out of use.

On the other hand, many of the names were bywords for a long time not because there were numerous descendants, as in the case of Japheth, but rather because of some single notable achievement. Nimrod was remembered for his hunting prowess. Many of the cities which are listed as having been founded by Ham's descendants had notable histories. But they, too, for the most part ceased to have importance long before modern times. A notable exception is the city Jerusalem, which of course is not actually mentioned at all even under its older name Jebus.

How, then, can one provide substantiating evidence for the claim that from Ham are descended the people of darker color? Only by inference. For example, while there was a Cush in or near Mesopotamia at the very beginning, the most prominent settlement established by descendants of this patriarch was in Ethiopia. The Ethiopians have been habitually considered true blacks, which is recognized indirectly in Scripture when the prophet asks, "Can the Ethiopian change his skin?" (Jeremiah 13:23). There are other native African tribes which trace themselves back traditionally to Ham. The Yoruba who are black skinned, for example, claim to be descendants of Nimrod, whereas the Libyians, who are "white" skinned, are usually traced back to Lehabim, a son of Mizraim. And the Egyptians were direct descendants of Mizraim. It is possible that all of Africa, despite the different shades of color among the various tribes of its native populations, was initially settled by members of this one Hamitic family.

There still remains, however, the vast aggregate of peoples who are generally classified as Mongoloid (Chinese), who settled the Far East and the New World. Do they really appear in this genealogical tree, or must we admit that the Table of Nations is not comprehensive here?

Heth and Sin

There are two names which I think may conceivably provide us with clues. That they should be so briefly referred to in the genealogy may seem surprising as we are proposing they gave rise to such enormous populations. We are referring specifically to Heth, a son of Canaan, and the Sinites, a tribe presumably descended from Sin, a brother of Heth.

Heth was, without question, the father of the Hittites. Except for the work of archaeologists, however, we should never have known how important the descendants of this man really were at one point in history, for the Hittite empire seemed to nearly completely disappear. Anthropologist C. R. Conder contended that when the Hittite empire crumbled, all the Hittites of importance were either killed or fled eastwards (see Genesis 23:2, 26:34, 50:13 and Joshua 1:4). Conder's view was that the word "Hittite," which appears in Cuneiform as "Khittae," was borne by the fleeing remnant of this once powerful nation to the Far East and was preserved through the centuries in the more familiar form "Cathay." He assumes that they became a not unimportant part of early Chinese stock. Certainly there are curious links between them, for example, their modes of dress, their shoes with turned-up toes, their manner of doing their hair in a pigtail, and so forth. Representations show them to have possessed high cheekbones, and craniologists have observed that they had not a few characteristics of the Mongoloids. More recently, another possible corroborating link appears in the discovery that the Hittites mastered the art of casting iron and the taming of horses, two achievements of great importance, occurring early in Chinese history.

Sin is preserved in the modern term "China." The Chinese civilization originates by migrations from the West. Cuneiform scholars have noted how Sumerian is to Chinese. The Sinae people became independent in western China, their princes reigning there for some 650 years before they finally gained dominion over the whole land. In the third century B.C. the dynasty of Tsin became supreme in the Empire. The word came to have the meaning of "purebred." This word became Tsina or China (see Isaiah 49:12). The remnants of the Hittites after the destruction of their Empire travelled towards the East and settled among the Sinites who were relatives, contributing to their civilization certain arts, chiefly metallurgy (especially the casting of iron) and being so absorbed subsequently as to disappear entirely from history as a distinct people. That the New World was peopled by a Mongoloid stock is generally agreed, although there is some evidence of a small Negroid component. The evidence, it is true, is slim, but what evidence there is appears to me to point consistently in the same direction, supporting our initial contention that not only Africa with its black races, but the Far East and the Americas with their people of color were all descendants of Ham. (Source: Arthur Custance, The Descendants of Ham).

Appendix 13 - The Use of the Terms Downs Syndrome and Mongoloids

From the line of Shem comes Israel, the Lawgiver Moses, all the Prophets, Priests and Kings of Israel (north and south). So, the Bible is really a history of the Semitic people (Jews and Arabs) through ONE family, Arphaxad, the son of Shem (See Appendix 14Noah, Shem and Abraham Were Contemporaries). The Arabs come from Abraham’s marriage to Hagar (son Ishmael) and descendants of Esau (Edomites). While all the descendants of Shem are mentioned in Genesis 10, most families other than Arphaxad’s are not mentioned throughout the Old Testament. In the very next chapter (Genesis 11), the family of Arphaxad is traced all the way to Abraham. Of all the descendants of Shem in Genesis 10, Peleg is a descendant of whom something is said (See Appendix 15What Happened in the Days of Peleg?). The Bible deals with the family of Adam/Arphaxad/Abraham, so let’s review what we know about this family.

“And through your offspring all nations on the earth will be blessed” (Genesis 22:18).

4000 B.C.
The Creation of Adam
Since nobody was around when the first man and woman appeared, it seems to me it takes greater faith to believe all humans evolved from amoebas and apes than it does Adam and Eve were created by God in His image (see Genesis 1:27).

2345 B.C.
The Flood of Noah
The Table of Nations in Genesis 10 is a stunning study on the world's population growth, as well as a key that unlocks the door to different cultures that cover the globe. The population of the world can only be what it is today if population growth began from scratch in 2400 B.C. Otherwise, the world's population by the scientific rate of growth would have our world population in the trillions (instead of 7 billion).

2000 B.C.
The Call of Abram
The Creator of the world is calling Abram to Himself to "make of him a great nation" (Genesis 12:2), through whom "all the peoples of the earth will be blessed" (Genesis 12:3). This call begins the nation called Israel, through whom the Messiah - who would bless all peoples of the earth - would come.

1500 B.C.
The Call of Moses
When the Israelites left Egypt in the 15th century B.C., God made a covenant with them at Mt. Sinai. This conditional covenant of Law was a promise that IF Israel obeyed God, THEN Israel would be blessed by God. But IF Israel violated their conditions of the covenant, THEN Israel would experience the wrath of God. We call this covenant "the Old Covenant."

1051 B.C.
The Kingdom of Israel
When God allowed Israel to have a king, it was the beginning of a decline that eventually led to a complete divorce of God from national Israel because Israel "broke the covenant with God" (Jeremiah 3:8). Saul (1051-1011 B.C.) - David (101 - 971 B.C.) - Solomon (971 - 931 B.C.).

931 B.C.
The Division of the Kingdom of Israel
When Solomon died, his son Rehoboam wished to continue the heavy taxes his father had imposed to build the Temple. Ten tribes of Israel rebelled and started their own kingdom with another son of Solomon named Jeroboam. This split in Israel led to two nations. The 10 tribes formed a northern kingdom they called Israel. Two tribes - Judah and Benjamin - remained in the south and formed the southern kingdom called Judah.

722 B.C.
The Fall of the Northern Kingdom of Israel
The northern kingdom of Israel never followed God in covenant relationship. Their nineteen kings were all evil. Stories like that of King Ahab and Jezebel reveal how lost the people of Israel and their leaders were. Prophets like Elijah, Hosea, and others came to northern Israel and spoke to the people and kings on behalf of God. In 722 B.C. Assyria conquered the northern kingdom, took the Israeli men into captivity (Nineveh was Assyria's capital), and brought in pagan men they'd captured in other nations and forced them to intermarry with the Israeli women. The descendants of these "mixed marriages" were the Samaritans, considered "half-breeds" by the Jews of Jesus day.

586 B.C.
The Fall of the Southern Kingdom
After the fall of the northern kingdom, the southern kingdom (Judah), composed of the tribes of Judah and Benjamin, would be the only families of Israel remaining. Of course, the Lion of the tribe of Judah (Jesus) was to come from Judah, and the Messiah would "reign over the house of David forever." King David was from the tribe of Benjamin. So the promise God originally made to Abraham that through him "all the nations of the earth would be blessed" was still in effect. However, the people of Judah began to go the way of their northern brothers. Prophets like Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and others began to warn Judah that they too would perish if they didn't repent and return to God. The world's second empire, the Babylonians, conquered the Assyrians, and in a series of three increasingly severe attacks on Jerusalem (609, 597 and 586 B.C.), Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon, eventually destroyed the Temple and the city of Jerusalem, and took the Jews (the abbreviation for the people of Judah) into captivity.

400 B.C.
The Close of the Old Testament

4 B.C.
The Birth of Christ

A.D. 30
The Death, Burial and Resurrection of Christ

A.D. 70
The Destruction of the Jewish Temple and the End of the Old Covenant
The time between the death, burial and resurrection of Christ (A.D. 30) to the destruction of the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem by the Romans (A.D. 70) is what the Bible calls "the last days." It's the last days of the Old Covenant, not the last days of the world. In fact, during this time of transition (40 years), the good news of what Christ came to do went to "the Jews first, then the Gentile" (Romans 1:16). Daniel prophesied the end of the nation of Israel (Daniel 9:24-27). "The last days" of the Old Covenant are times between A.D. 30 and A.D. 70 - the beginning of a New Agreement between God and the world.

Before man's evolutionary origin was proposed it was generally agreed that the Cradle of Mankind was in Asia Minor, or at least in the Middle East. Any evidence of primitive types elsewhere in the world, whether living or fossil, were considered proof that man became degraded as he departed from the site of Paradise. When Evolution seized the imagination of anthropologists, primitive fossil remains were at once hailed as proof that the first men were not much removed from apes. One problem presented itself however, the supposed ancestors of modern man always seemed to turn up in the wrong places.

  1. The geographical distribution of fossil remains is such that they are most logically explained by treating them as marginal representatives of a widespread and in part forced dispersion of people from a single multiplying population established at a point more or less central to them all, and sending forth successive waves of migrants, each wave driving the previous one further toward the periphery.
  2. The most degraded specimens are those representatives of this general movement who were driven into the least hospitable areas, where they suffered physical degeneration as a consequence of the circumstances in which they were forced to live;
  3. The extraordinary physical variability of fossil remains results from the fact that the movements took place in small, isolated, strongly inbred bands; but the cultural similarities which link together even the most widely dispersed of them indicate a common origin for them all;
  4. What I have said to be true of fossil man is equally true of living primitive societies as well as those which are now extinct;
  5. All the initially dispersed populations are of one basic stock -- the Hamitic family of Genesis 10;
  6. The initial Hamitic settlers were subsequently displaced or overwhelmed by Indo-Europeans (i.e., Japhethites), who nevertheless inherited, or adopted, and extensively built upon Hamitic technology and so gained an advantage in each geographical area where they spread;
  7. Throughout the great movements of people, both in prehistoric and historic times, there were never any human beings who did not belong within the family of Noah and his descendants;
  8. Finally, this thesis is strengthened by the evidence of history which shows that migration has always tended to follow this pattern, has frequently been accompanied by instances of degeneration both of individuals or whole tribes, usually resulting in the establishment of a general pattern of cultural relationships which parallel those archaeology has revealed.

The tenth chapter of Genesis stands between two passages of Scripture to which it is related in such a way as to shed light on both of them. In the first, Genesis 9:20-27, we are given an insight into the relationship of the descendants of the three sons of Noah throughout subsequent history, Ham doing great service, Japheth being enlarged, and Shem's originally appointed place of responsibility being ultimately assigned to Japheth. We are not told here the nature of Ham's service, nor how Japheth would be enlarged nor what special position Shem was ultimately to surrender to his brother. In the second passage, Genesis 11:1-9, we are told that there was but a single language spoken by all men until a plan was proposed that led to the dramatic scattering of the planners over the whole earth.

The real significance of the events which surrounded and stemmed from the abortive plan to build the Tower of Babel would similarly be lost to us except for the knowledge that it was Ham's descendants who paid the penalty. This penalty led to their being scattered very early and forced them to pioneer the way in opening up the world for human habitation, a service which they rendered with remarkable success but no small initial cost to themselves.

Moreover, if we consider the matter carefully, we shall perceive also the great wisdom of God who, in order to preserve and perfect His revelation of Himself, never permitted the Shemites to stray far from the original cultural center in order that He might specially prepare one branch of the family to carry this Light to the world as soon as the world was able to receive it. For it is a principle recognized in the New Testament by our Lord when He fed the multitudes before He preached to them and borne out time and again in history, that spiritual truth is not well comprehended by men whose struggle merely to survive occupies all their energies.

Thus where Ham pioneered and opened up the world to human occupation, Japheth followed at a more leisurely pace to consolidate and make more secure the initial "dominion" thus achieved. And then — and only then — was the world able and prepared to receive the Light that was to enlighten the Gentiles and to cover the earth with the knowledge of God as the waters cover the sea.

Acts 17:24-28 (READ)

The National Academy of Sciences (NAS) has recently published an educator’s guidebook entitled Teaching about Evolution and the Nature of Science. It has been made available to educators throughout America to encourage teachers to incorporate more evolution in their classes and basically teach particles-to-people evolution as a fact. The guidebook states its purpose in the preface:

Many students receive little or no exposure to the most important concept in modern biology, a concept essential to understanding key aspects of living things — biological evolution.

However, it’s hard to believe that ‘many students receive little or no exposure’ to evolution. The whole secular education system in America (and most other countries around the world) is underpinned by evolution. After reviewing a number of biology textbooks in the secular school system, we find they are all blatantly pro-evolution. It’s also hard to believe that evolution is an ‘essential concept’ in biology, because most ‘key aspects of living things’ were discovered by creationists.

For example, Louis Pasteur discovered that many diseases were caused by germs and showed that life comes only from life, Gregor Mendel discovered genetics, and Carolus Linnaeus developed the modern classification system, to name but a few creationist pioneers of modern biology [see The Creationist Basis for Modern Science]. Also, many highly qualified biological scientists of the present day do not accept evolution—their work is not affected in the slightest by whether or not fish really did turn into philosophers.

The book Refuting Evolution seeks to redress the lopsided pro-evolutionary way in which origins are taught. You can purchase Refuting Evolution by Dr. Jonathan Sarfati at your favorite bookstore or on Amazon.

(Source for Lesson 9, The Gospel Is at Stake: Noah’s Three Sons, Arthur Custance, Part II, Chapter 5)


Appendix 16

Genesis 9:20-27

Then Noah began farming and planted a vineyard. He drank of the wine and became drunk, and uncovered himself inside his tent. Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father, and told his two brothers outside. But Shem and Japheth took a garment and laid it upon both their shoulders and walked backward and covered the nakedness of their father; and their faces were turned away, so that they did not see their father’s nakedness. When Noah awoke from his wine, he knew what his youngest son had done to him. So he said,

   “Cursed be Canaan;
   A servant of servants
   He shall be to his brothers.”

He also said,

   “Blessed be the Lord,
   The God of Shem;
   And let Canaan be his servant.
   “May God enlarge Japheth,
   And let him dwell in the tents of Shem;
   And let Canaan be his servant.”

When Noah awoke after his drunken stupor, and somehow found out what his younger son (Ham) had done to him, he became very angry. Like many who have lost their self-esteem and are angry at themselves, Noah became enraged against his son. But he did not curse him; he cursed his grandson accordingly (see v. 25). Because of this curse on Canaan, some are of the conviction that the text is in error. Noah blesses Shem and Japheth, but Ham is ignored and a grandson, Canaan, who can surely have had no responsible part in Ham's misbehavior, suffers the full brunt of his grandfather's anger. Why?

In Exodus 20:5 God declared that He would "visit the iniquities of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generations...." There is nothing arbitrary, barbaric, or even surprising about this. The sins of the fathers are often reflected in the behavior of their children. Children often pay the penalty. What is surprising, however, is that often the truth is distorted. It soon comes to mean that a child is not to be blamed for his sins - his environment and his heredity being held chiefly responsible. We say easily enough, "It is our fathers who are to be blamed, the generation which educated us. We are simply the children of our own age."

This is exactly what the Israelites did in Exodus 20:5. And by the time of Jeremiah the Israelites were fond of excusing their behavior with the same rationale. "The fathers have eaten sour grapes and the children's teeth are set on edge" (Jeremiah 31: 29).  In other words, it was not the children's misdeeds which had brought all these misfortunes upon them. It was all their fathers' fault! But the Lord said in effect to Jeremiah, "You must correct this; it is quite wrong. Tell them that 'every one shall die for his own sin; every man that eats sour grapes, his own teeth shall be set on edge'" (Jeremiah 31:30).

It might be thought that this would have settled the matter and straightened things out once for all. But in the course of time, the truth was again distorted in another way and people came to interpret this to mean that any misfortune which overtook a man was due to his own sinfulness. Not unnaturally, this had the effect of destroying all sympathy, for a man who was in trouble or sickness was simply receiving his just deserts. It served him right.

This is what created the peculiar problem for the disciples when they were brought face to face with a man born blind (see John 9:1-3). It seems doubtful if it was sympathy that made them question the Lord about his case, but rather a kind of theological curiosity. Here was a man who had suffered a great misfortune. He had been born blind. But since he was born blind, it seemed impossible to attribute the fault to the man himself. On the other hand, Jeremiah had made it clear that Exodus 20:5 did not mean that it was his parents' fault. So they asked, "Who did sin, this man or his parents?" Their question reflected their attitude towards suffering. The Lord, however, while not denying the truth of the implications in their question, pointed out that in this instance the blind man was a privileged person who providentially was permitted to show forth the glory of God.

There are at least three reasons why people suffer:

  1. Because of the wickedness of their parents,
  2. Because of their own sinfulness, or simply
  3. Because of the glory of God.

Canaan’s Curse Was Judgment for Ham’s Sin

In the post-flood Noahic families, for reasons which are not always clear, it was customary to attach the blame for a man's failings upon his parents. But by the same token, it was also customary to give them the credit for his successes. In Semitic cultures, both ancient and modern, this principle has been publicly recognized.

It is an attitude which is quite remarkably reflected in Scripture. Perhaps the clearest illustration is to be found in the story of Saul and David (I Samuel 17:50-58). In this instance, David had performed a deed of great national importance by killing Goliath. David was no stranger to Saul for he had on many occasions played his harp to quiet the king's distracted spirit. Yet Saul saw David go forth against Goliath (verse 55) and said to Abner, the captain of his hosts, "Abner, whose son is this youth?" And although Abner must certainly have known David, he replied, "As thy soul lives, O King, I cannot tell."

This is a strange remark unless you understand that the credit of David’s actions were to go to his father! The question was about David’s father, whom Abner did not know. This is confirmed in verse 58 when Saul says to David, “Whose son are you, young man?” and David answers, “I am the son of your servant Jesse, the Bethlehmite.” Jesse was to receive the recognition.

Another illustration can be found in I Kings 11:9-12 (Read).

Solomon was to be punished: but he could not be punished personally without bringing discredit on David his father, and this the Lord was not willing to do. The only way in which Solomon could be punished appropriately without injuring David's name was therefore to punish Solomon's son.

In the New Testament we find another instance of this principle. It is quite obvious that while a man can publicly seek to give credit to the father of a worthy son, a woman could not discreetly make reference to the father in complimentary terms for fear of being misunderstood. She therefore refers instead to the son's mother who rightly shares in the worthiness of her children. This fact is reflected clearly in Luke 11:27, where we read of a woman who suddenly perceiving the true greatness of the Lord Jesus Christ, cried out in spontaneous admiration, "Blessed is the womb that bare Thee and the breasts which Thou hast sucked."

When we apply this principle to the story given in Genesis 9:20-27, the significance of the cursing of Canaan rather than Ham at once becomes clear. According to ancient custom, Canaan’s curse was judgment upon his father Ham.

Jewish rabbis had access to a copy of the Septuagint (the Greek translation of the Old Testament, made in the third century B.C. by the Jews in Alexandria and which appears to form the basis of a number of quotations in the New Testament from the Old Testament) in which the name "Canaan" was replaced by the name "Ham.'' It is proposed by some authorities that this was the original reading and that the text was tampered with by Hebrew scribes who wished to add to the degradation of the Canaanites by showing that they were the subjects of a divine curse.

However, it is quite possible to explain the text exactly as it is, as a reflection of the social custom which we have been considering above. To punish Ham, then, Noah must of necessity pronounce a curse upon Canaan, Ham's son.  (Source: Arthur Custance, Noah’s Three Sons).

Appendix 17

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