I confess, I was not looking forward to Genesis 10. It is one of those genealogies that totally throws off your groove when you are trying to read through the whole Bible. But I committed to looking at the whole thing and I know that stuff is in there for a reason and I am going to find it by golly! But first let’s have a little fun shall we?
Ok, I would like to give out some awards for Genesis 10. I will pick some completely arbitrary categories and give a prize to the winner of each one. Ready? Go!
Biggest Tongue-Twister: Hazarmaveth. Anytime a word has a “v” and a “z” in it you know you are in trouble.
Most Unfortunate: Assur. Yep.
Most Difficult Dinner Conversation: Egypt’s family. Just try to remember who is who in a family with names like Naphtuhim, Casluhim, Caphtorim, Anamin, and Lehabim. Give me a breaktohim!
Cruelest Name: Nimrod. I think he must have been like Johnny Cash’s “Boy named Sue.” Cush just wanted to toughen him up. No wonder he became a mighty warrior and a mighty hunter. Speaking of Cush . . .
Name that Sounds the Most Like “Touche”: You guessed it! Cush!
Best Pirate Name: Peleg. All he needs is another “g” and he becomes Peg-Leg!
And Now For Something Completely Different (and somewhat serious)
The long list of names includes at least 32 people who become people groups or cities or nations. They range from small, distant places like Tarshish to superpowers like Egypt. By the way, who knew Egypt was actually a person in the Bible before it was a nation?
All of this leads me into a somewhat disturbing thought: the powers were people. Each person in this genealogy was the founder of a community of people. That community had characteristics that would have been shaped by its founder. Things might have gotten passed down from generation to generation that could have had a profound effect on the world.
And it all would have started with a father and a son.
Noah cursed Canaan. Canaan became an enemy of Israel. But Egypt was Canaan’s brother. Don’t think he wasn’t affected by the curse. Nimrod (as best as I can tell) was Canaan’s brother. He founded Babylon and Assyria and built Nineveh. These nations would become Israel’s mortal enemies in the years to come.
Again, maybe Noah should have watched his words.
Are we aware of the weight our words and actions carry? Do we understand how things we do to and for people echo through the years and generations? What fruit might a blessing bear down the road? What harm might a curse do to the next generation? The people, especially the younger ones, that we interact with today will be tomorrow’s leaders. That sounds really cliché but it is true.
And today, like in Genesis, the powers are people.