And the sons of Ham; Cush, and Mizraim, and Phut, and Canaan. And the sons of Cush; Seba, and Havilah, and Sabtah, and Raamah, and Sabtechah: and the sons of Raamah; Sheba, and Dedan. And Cush begat Nimrod: he began to be a mighty one in the earth. He was a mighty hunter before the Lord: wherefore it is said, Even as Nimrod the mighty hunter before the Lord. And the beginning of his kingdom was Babel, and Erech, and Accad, and Calneh, in the land of Shinar. (Genesis 10:6-10)
Noah’s son Ham had four sons; Cush, Mizraim, Phut, and Canaan.
Special attention is focused on the line of Cush. His sons were Seba,Havilah,Sabtah, Raamah. and Sabtecha. Raama’s two sons were Seba and Dedan. Cush settled in southern Arabia and in Ethiopia. Seba and Dedan also located on the Arabian peninsula.
But the text draws our attention to one other son of Cush, Nimrod, whose name means ‘let us rebel’ . Nimrod settled in the land of Shinar, that is between the Tigris and the Euphrates river, and founded the world’s first great Empire, known by modern archeologists as Sumeria.
Nimrod was said to begin’… to be a mighty one in the earth’. In other words Nimrod would be the first of a long line of powerful despots. Nimrod is furthermore described as being a ‘mighty hunter before the Lord”, in fact it became a proverb, ‘As Nimrod, a might y hunter before the Lord’.
But what does it mean, this two part saying, that actually entered into the minds and mouths of the common man, as an adage, ‘Nimrod, a mighty hunter…” and “…before the Lord”?
That Nimrod was a mighty hunter, does not refer to the pastime of hunting wild game, rather he was as a King , a conqueror. He took cities, territories and Peoples.
“Before the Lord…”, at first glance is obvious, God sees everything everyone does, and takes note for the day of judgment. But there is more to the saying than that, for it also indicates a radical separation from the Lord, in the modern vernacular it could be paraphrased, “In the very face of the Lord“, or even, “in defiance of the Lord”.
Thus the power and prowess of Nimrod and his open defiance of the God of Shem, made him wildly popular with many of his contemporaries, so much so that His rebellion became a byword in the ancient world.
Out of that land went forth Asshur, and builded Nineveh, and the city Rehoboth, and Calah, And Resen between Nineveh and Calah: the same is a great city. And Mizraim begat Ludim, and Anamim, and Lehabim, and Naphtuhim, And Pathrusim, and Casluhim, (out of whom came Philistim,) and Caphtorim.
Ham’s other sons, founded great civilizations, settling in all of Africa, Arabia and the land of Canaan, and as seafaring Phoenicians and Philistines, built cities around the Mediterranean.
And Canaan begat Sidon his first-born, and Heth, And the Jebusite, and the Amorite, and the Girgasite, And the Hivite, and the Arkite, and the Sinite, And the Arvadite, and the Zemarite, and the Hamathite: and afterward were the families of the Canaanites spread abroad. And the border of the Canaanites was from Sidon, as thou comest to Gerar, unto Gaza; as thou goest, unto Sodom, and Gomorrah, and Admah, and Zeboim, even unto Lasha. These are the sons of Ham, after their families, after their tongues, in their countries, and in their nations. (Genesis 10:6-20)
Mizraim founded Egypt, Phut settled west of Egypt in what is now known as Libya. Mizraim’s son Pathrusim founded Pathros. The Philistines descend from Ham, through Mizraim’s son Casluhim.
Finally Canaan settled in what is now known as the Holy land. Canaan had a son Sidon whose name survived in the city-state on the coast of Lebanon.
Genesis 10 tells us that “and afterwards were the families of Canaan spread abroad…”. Henry Morris speculates that “This suggests the intriguing possibility that certain groups of Canaanites (notably the Hittites and perhaps also the Sinites, whose very name suggests China) may have spread over into the great Asian Continent as well. The record does say that of the three sons of Noah,”The whole earth was overspread”(Genesis 9:19). (Henry Morris , God and the Nations)
We do know that everyone on earth is traceable to at least one of these three Sons of Noah, and that the nations were formed and divided that men may seek God.
And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation; That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us:(Acts 17:25-26)